Showing posts with the label Martyrs

The Testimony of Jesus

The Book of Revelation applies several terms to the Church that is under assault from within and without. The men who have been redeemed by Jesus form a new priestly company that transcends all national, social, and cultural boundaries, and “ tribulation ” and persecution are not aberrations to be avoided at all costs, but integral parts of what it means to belong to the Kingdom of God. Persevering in the “ Testimony of Jesus ” through affliction goes to the heart of what it means to follow the “ Lamb wherever he goes .”

Jesus, the Faithful Witness

In the salutation sent to the Seven Assemblies, Jesus is called the Faithful Witness because of his self-sacrificial death . The vision of John begins with “ greetings ” to the Seven Assemblies of Asia from the One “ Who is ,” the “ Seven Spirits ,” and Jesus Christ, the “ Faithful Witness .” The Son of God bore “ witness ” in his sacrificial death, and it becomes the pattern for the “ Assemblies ” to emulate as they give “ testimony ” while undergoing tribulation “ for the Word of God .”

Slaying of the Two Witnesses

The “ second woe ” does not end until the “ Two Witnesses ” have completed their “ testimony ” and their “ corpse ,” singular, lies on the streets of “ Babylon .” Only then will the final trumpet be heard as its ushers in the hour of the judgment. The martyrdom of the “ Two Witnesses ” puts the end into motion and seals the doom of the “ Dragon .”

Martyrs and Overcomers

Two repeated themes in  Revelation  are closely related - “ Witness ” and “ Overcome .” Beginning with Jesus of Nazareth and his martyrdom on Calvary, his followers are summoned to persevere in his “ Testimony .” In this way, they will “ overcome ” and emerge victorious in the city of “ New Jerusalem .” They must “ overcome, even as I overcame .” Moreover, Jesus is presented to the “ Seven Assemblies of Asia ” as the “ FAITHFUL WITNESS, the Firstborn of the Dead, and the Ruler of the Kings of the Earth .”

Destruction of Babylon

Next, the  Book of Revelation  presents a detailed description of the destruction of the “ Great City, ” and the justification for it. Her demise is caused, in part, by the hatred of the “ Ten Kings ” who are allied with the “ Beast from the Sea .” They are driven by God to desolate and “ burn her utterly with fire ” for her dominance of world commerce, “ sorcery ,” and especially her persecution of the “ saints .”

Great Harlot Revealed

Babylon is revealed as a bejeweled harlot dripping with the shed blood of martyred saints  –  Revelation 17:1-6 .  In chapter 17,  Revelation  presents the impressive figure of “ Babylon .” She is labeled “ harlot ” and identified as the “ great city ,” and she is responsible for the deaths of the martyrs. “ Babylon ” is also closely associated with the deceptions and economic power of the “ Beast .” In her, the book’s first audience would see the city of Rome.

Martyrs under the Altar

The opening of the Fifth Seal revealed the souls of men kept “ underneath ” the Altar, saints who had been slain for their “ Testimony .” They pleaded with God for their vindication and for judgment on the “ Inhabitants of the Earth ” who had persecuted them. They were told to wait for Him to answer their plea until the full “ number ” of their “ fellow servants ” who were going to be slain “ just as they were ” was added to their company.