A Demonstration of the Faith of Jesus
“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the Earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.” (Revelation 6:9-11)
Seal #5 – Martyrdom
When the fifth seal is broken, there will be a period of time when the saints will be martyred. This makes the fifth seal very sobering, but once you understand God’s purpose for the martyrdom and His promise to give a martyr’s faith to His saints, this coming martyrdom should not be feared. There are things worse than “sleeping” through the remainder of the great tribulation. According to my calculation, Jesus will open the fifth seal about 1,039 days into the Great Tribulation and the martyrdom that follows will last about seven months.
The fifth seal declares that circumstances are coming when the human race will be severely tested. The saints will choose something more precious than life. Those loyal to God and His Word will choose death rather than submit to Lucifer’s demands. The saints will do this because their faith in God will trump their love for life. The Bible says, “They overcame him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Revelation 12:11, insertion mine)
A person gets to a place in his life where being loyal to God is more important than life itself through small steps, from one faith experience to the next. “For therein [within the gospel of Christ] is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17, KJV, insertion mine) Living from one faith experience to the next is contrary to human nature. This is why Jesus rebuked the church at Laodicea. “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire [multiple faith experiences when trust in God is purified by significant tests], so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Revelation 3:17-21, insertion mine)
Martyrdom Is Justified
The fact that God’s people have been persecuted through the ages is no accident. Hostility toward God’s people was put in motion on the day that Adam and Eve sinned. When Jesus came to Earth to meet with the guilty pair, I believe Jesus built the first altar and killed the first sacrificial lamb to demonstrate a profound truth about the nature and price of salvation. His actions pointed forward to a day when the Father would produce the altar, provide the sacrifice, and slay the Lamb of God. I believe Jesus told Adam and Eve that He would become the sacrificial lamb. He explained that He would have to die so Adam and Eve could return to Eden. I am sure they wept at such a thought. The devil was summoned to this meeting and Jesus spoke directly to Lucifer saying, “And I will put enmity [opposition, hostility, hatred] between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He [the sacrificial Lamb] will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, insertions mine) Then, Jesus took the skin from the sacrificial lamb and clothed Adam and Eve. (Genesis 3:21) Little did Adam and Eve realize that the promised enmity would lead to the murder of their second son.
I am sure there are many divine reasons why the saints will be martyred. By the time the fifth seal is broken, most of God’s saints will have endured two years of horrible tribulation and persecution. In this sense, martyrdom is merciful because it ends the travail. Notice how John’s words apply to the fifth seal: “This [martyrdom] calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. Then I heard a voice from Heaven say, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’ ” (Revelation 14:13, insertion mine) From God’s point of view, death is inconsequential. For the saints, death is a temporary “resting place.” The martyred saints will simply “sleep through” the remaining days of the great tribulation. Jesus will call them back to life when He arrives to take His children home.
Consider the phrase “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on?” The reason why the Bible says “Blessed are the dead who die . . . ” instead of “Blessed are the living who die in the Lord . . . ” is found in this verse: “If anyone [any saint] is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone [any saint] is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.” (Revelation 13:10, insertions mine) This verse indicates that when the Great Tribulation begins, God has already determined the experience and journey for each of His children. God does this to free will beings because when a person gives His heart and soul to the Lord, “to go, to be, and to do all that the Lord commands,” that person voluntarily places himself at the Lord’s disposal. As an example, when a person joins the military, that person voluntarily places himself at the disposal of his commander. Millions of soldiers have died because they surrendered their will and destiny to the will of their commander. Likewise, Jesus, our Commander-in-Chief, has a purpose for each of His saints and those destined for death need not to be afraid. Jesus will grant a martyr’s faith when it is needed and the martyr will not flinch.
The phrase, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on” references a specific moment in time. The Bible says “from now on.” When Jesus breaks the fifth seal and the martyrdom begins, He will especially bless these faith-full martyrs. “Then each of them was given a white robe.” (Revelation 6:11) Do not confuse this gift with the promise of a white robe. During the fifth seal, through the martyrs, Jesus will reveal the faith of Jesus (that is, the relationship which Jesus and the Father had when Jesus was on Earth) to the world. When Jesus was transfigured on the mount, the Bible says, “There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” (Matthew 17:2) I believe Jesus will transfigure the martyrs right before the eyes of their enemies. Notice what happened when Stephen, the first Christian martyr was executed: “All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was [illumined, bright] like the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:15, insertion mine)
A second reason why the saints will be martyred during the fifth seal pertains to saving people who, thus far during the great tribulation, have remained defiant toward God. I calculate that the time remaining to receive salvation is short, about seven months after Jesus breaks the fifth seal. Jesus is not willing that any person should perish, so He will use the martyrdom of His saints (along with the glory that each martyr displays) to arouse, if possible, the sensibilities of wicked people. If you recall, Stephen’s testimony and demeanor deeply affected Saul of Tarsus (who held Stephen’s coat while he was being stoned). The most powerful testimony for truth that a saint can give occurs when a person like Stephen, full of grace, peace, and joy, willingly and fearlessly lays down his life for His Lord. Therefore, the Lord permits many saints to be martyred so that He might save some of the defiant wicked. This is God’s love for sinners! You might think that allowing millions of saints to be martyred to save a few wicked people is unfair, but remember that Jesus willingly laid down His life for each of us. John 3:16 says the Father so loved this world that He even gave up Jesus!
Finally, Jesus allows His saints to be martyred to demonstrate the difference between faith and presumption. Faith loves God and upholds God’s Word at all cost. Faith humbly submits to God’s demands without regard for the consequences. Faith says the commands of the Creator are greater than the desires of the created. Conversely, presumption believes in God, but it justifies rebellion against God’s commands to avoid the consequences. The behaviors of Cain and Abel demonstrate the difference between faith and presumption. Both men built altars to worship God. Abel obeyed the Lord’s command by bringing a lamb from his flock. Cain presumed God would accept his offering of fruit. The sinner uses presumption in an attempt to justify his rebellion. Faith occurs when we obey God’s command and the price for so doing is significant. Presumption is hostile to faith, and ultimately, presumption attempts to justify the destruction of the faithful.
The Meaning of “Faith in Christ” Badly Distorted Today
The devil has managed to turn “faith in Christ” into “presumptions about Christ.” Today, many religious leaders are teaching fables as truth and laymen have deceived themselves into thinking that God is pleased with their actions. (See Isaiah 1-4 for a review of this ever-persistent problem.) The fruit that comes from religious presumption is decadence and blasphemy. The devil’s deceptions are clever. He is also a master of gradualism and introduces intellectual concepts that lead to compromises because he knows that over time, any drift from a plain “thus saith the Lord” will bring consequences.
For example, United States’ citizens have been wrestling with the abortion issue for forty years and the United States is just as divided today on the subject as when the controversy started. Unfortunately, hardly anyone is addressing the sinful, immoral behavior that produces unwanted babies. There is so much silence about the evils of sexual promiscuity. Immoral behavior is glamorized in television and movies and the media is consumed with nudity and sexual immorality. Sex sells. The devil knows that once an immoral couple conceives, tough choices lie ahead for everyone involved. Something has to be done with the fruit of promiscuity. So, the controversy moves away from the cause of the problem to dealing with the consequences of sinful behavior and there is no solution for sin!
An intellectual assent to truth cannot withstand the purifying fires of persecution. Jesus willingly went to His death because of the faith He exercised in His Father each day. When Jesus arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane, His faith in His Father was strong. Jesus asked the Father to remove the cup of martyrdom from His lips, but it was the Father’s will that Jesus die and Jesus accepted His Father’s will. Similarly, many martyrs will pray for deliverance, but they will submit to death because it is Jesus’ will. This is why the Bible says, “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.” (Revelation 13:10)
The Altar in Heaven
“I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the Word of God and the testimony they had maintained.” (Revelation 6:9) John saw the souls of martyrs located under an altar in Heaven when Jesus broke the fifth seal. The altar mentioned in the fifth seal refers to the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering. You may recall, this altar was located in the courtyard of the Earthly tabernacle (Exodus 40:6), while the golden Altar of Incense was located inside the tabernacle, near the veil. (Exodus 40:5; Leviticus 16:12) Since the golden Altar of Incense is specifically mentioned in Revelation 8:3, this has led some people to assume the altar mentioned in the fifth seal is also the golden Altar of Incense. But we discover the true identity of the altar by comparing it with the Altar of Burnt Offering in the earthly temple. (Hebrews 8:1-5) Notice this text: “Present your burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord your God, both the meat and the blood. The blood of your sacrifices must be poured beside the altar of the Lord your God, but you may eat the meat.” (Deuteronomy 12:27, See also Leviticus 5:9; 8:15.) This text indicates that the priest was to pour the blood of animal sacrifices into a container beneath the Altar of Burnt Offering in the earthly temple. At the end of each day, the blood was taken outside the camp and buried. In the earthly temple, all sacrifices were offered on the Altar of Burnt Offering and no animal was sacrificed on the Altar of Incense. Therefore, no blood was stored beside or near the earthly Altar of Incense. Because blood is only used with the Altar of Burnt Offering on Earth, references to blood on the altar during the fifth seal obviously must refer to the Heavenly bronze Altar of Burnt Offering.
The souls of the martyrs were represented to John as being underneath the Altar of Burnt Offering because their blood represents human sacrifices for the cause of Christ. The Bible says they were slain because of their faithfulness to the Word of God and the testimony they maintained. Remember the campaign to translate and distribute the Bible that began with the second seal. A large sword, the sword of truth, was placed in the rider’s hand and Bible translation and distribution would eventually cause men to kill each other. If we properly put these pieces together, we find that the breaking of the fifth seal is the fulfilling of the second seal. The Bible says the souls under the altar were slain because of the Word of God.
During the great tribulation, God will have people who stand on the Bible and the Bible alone as the basis for their faith in God. Ironically, a time is coming when people on Earth will regard everyone who obeys God’s Word to be God’s enemy because Lucifer will appear on Earth and masquerade as Almighty God. (See Appendix B for a discussion on this topic.) Because the saints will refuse to worship this glorious imposter of Jesus, the devil will insist “God’s enemies” be killed. “He [the devil] was given power [from God] to give breath [life] to the image of the first beast [a theocracy], so that it could speak [and make laws] and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.” (Revelation 13:15, insertions mine) Jesus warned His disciples, “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you.” (John 16:1-4)
The Problem with a Pre-Tribulation Rapture
The fifth seal presents a problem for people who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. Advocates of a pre-tribulation rapture believe that they are worthy of escaping the suffering of the Great Tribulation because they “believe in Christ.” This is a foolish idea. James wrote, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” (James 2:19) Believing there is a God is one thing, but obeying God’s commands even to the point of death is quite another.
Currently, a large part of the world does not know about Jesus. Many people who have heard about Jesus reject the idea that He is Deity, the Creator of everything in Heaven and on Earth. (Colossians 1:16) Earth’s population is exploding faster than the gospel can travel. This means billions of people have not thoughtfully considered that Jesus will soon return, destroy Earth, and establish His eternal kingdom. Even worse, billions of people cannot consider such a gospel because they are prisoners of culture, language, religion, and ignorance. These poor people should not be punished and persecuted for years while raptured saints are safe and secure, playing their harps in Heaven. It would not be fair for Jesus to torment all of the unsaved with a great tribulation and also maintain that Christians are responsible for proclaiming and demonstrating the gospel to the unsaved. (Matthew 28:19,20)
Who has the greater guilt: The unsaved who could not hear the gospel because Christians did not come to their village, or Christians who chose a fine paying job at home instead of traveling to remote villages to share the gospel? The “great escape” (pre-tribulation rapture) is only plausible when presumption has displaced faith in Christ. If Jesus, our Lord and Master, came to Earth to suffer and die for us, His servants should do no less for Him. Jesus said, “Remember the words I spoke to you: No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.” (John 15:20,21)
Souls under the Altar / Doctrine of Soul Sleep
Many Christians use the fifth seal to prove the doctrine of soul sleep is a bogus doctrine. However, we have to remember the elements that Jesus revealed to John are representations instead of realities when we study the book of Revelation. For example, the Lamb having seven horns and seven eyes can only be Jesus. The four living creatures riding four horses that go into all the Earth can only be the Holy Spirit. The angel king of the Abyss that commands millions of locusts can only be Lucifer and his angels.
God showed John the souls of martyrs under the Altar of Burnt Offering in Heaven because they represent people who were “sacrificed” on the altar to save other people. Similarly, priests in the tabernacle collected blood from sacrifices in a jar below the Altar of Burnt Offering. The doctrine of soul sleep teaches that when a person dies, his soul ceases to exist. “For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son – both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die.” (Ezekiel 18:4) When Jesus judges the dead, He examines each life record and determines each person’s eternal destiny. So, all dead people are awaiting a resurrection, either the first resurrection when Jesus returns at the second coming or the second resurrection at the end of the 1,000 years. (John 6:39,40; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Revelation 20:5) The souls of Abel, Stephen, Paul, and millions of other martyrs are not located under the Altar of Burnt Offering in Heaven. Dead souls are not burning in Hell, either. Furthermore, the fifth seal has yet to be opened so the souls of those martyred during the fifth seal should not be confused with people who have been martyred through the ages. The souls under the Altar are a representation; they represent people who will die for Jesus after He breaks the fifth seal.
An apocalyptic prophecy rule that I use is “Apocalyptic language can be literal, symbolic, or analogous. To reach the intended meaning of apocalyptic prophecy, the student must consider: (a) the context, (b) the use of parallel language elsewhere in the Bible, and (c) relevant statements in the Bible which define the symbol if an element is thought to be symbolic.” This rule mandates that we consider parallel language as demonstrated in the following passage: “Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I do not know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ The Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’ ” (Genesis 4:8-10) Of course, Abel’s blood was not talking to God, but Abel’s innocent blood that was spilled spoke volumes to God! God saw Abel’s blood on the ground and its presence cried out for justice. Therefore, the Lord punished Cain for the murder of his brother. (Genesis 4:11-16)
This is the point of the fifth seal. John saw souls under the altar and their location under the altar meant they were sacrifices for the cause of Christ. Like Abel’s blood, the blood of these martyrs cried out in a loud voice for relief and revenge saying, “ ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the Earth and avenge our blood?’ [Then, God told the martyrs,] . . . to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.” (Revelation 6:10,11, insertion mine)
God gave us the knowledge of the fifth seal in advance so that when the martyrdom begins, we can know that Jesus is faithfully following the Father’s plan. Jesus is intimately aware of each martyr’s situation and He is meticulously counting the quantity of martyrs sacrificed. Long ago, the Father set a specific number of saints that He would sacrifice to save wicked people who will wake up at the last minute and come to their senses.
The Setting for the Fifth Seal
To better appreciate the fifth seal, consider the setting on Earth when martyrdom begins. About two and a half years after the Great Tribulation begins, God will send a fifth judgment (also called the fifth trumpet) to impact Earth. He will release Lucifer, the devil, and his angels, from the Abyss (the spirit world). (Please see Appendix B.) At this point in time, almost everyone will have heard Jesus’ gospel (the terms and conditions of salvation), but many people will have refused to love the truth and be saved. This is why God will release the devil.
When the Lord releases the devil and his angels from the spirit world, they will appear physically all over Earth. The devil will masquerade as Almighty God and millions of the devil’s angels will join him. Jesus permits the devil to do this because the wicked have thus far, rejected Christ’s authority. Paul wrote about this event saying, “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
When people refuse to obey the eternal gospel and worship Jesus and refuse to submit to Christ’s authority after the 144,000 has presented the clearest evidences of His will, and defiantly refuse to accept the Holy Spirit’s urging, there is nothing that Jesus can do to save people. So Jesus releases the Antichrist – Lucifer, “the destroyer” – from the Abyss. (Revelation 9:1,11) The devil’s physical presence, with power and radiance, changes everything on Earth. Human beings will have only two choices: Obey God or obey Lucifer. No other options exist. The devil’s physical appearing will force undecided people to make a firm decision. When the devil commands people to worship him, the question in their minds will be who will defy him? Thus, the conflict between Christ and the Antichrist will narrow down to the same question that Elijah asked Israel on Mt. Carmel: “How long will you waver between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18:21)
About five months before Jesus breaks the fifth seal, the devil will appear and his angels will torment the people who refuse to worship Lucifer, but they are not allowed to kill a single person. “They [Lucifer’s angels] were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.” (Revelation 9:5,6, insertion mine) For five months, the devil will intimidate and torture people into submission. Then, Jesus breaks the fifth seal and the sixth trumpet judgment arrives simultaneously. Most of the people on Earth will have made their decision whether to worship Christ or the Antichrist, but a few wicked people will remain undecided.
When the sixth trumpet sounds, the devil will set up a worldwide theocracy. He will rule the world as King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus will allow four powerful demons to be released to move on the hearts and emotions of wicked people. The devil will attempt to kill everyone who refuses to obey and worship him. Lucifer’s forces will kill two groups of people; those who rebel against Lucifer’s authority and the saints who refuse to worship the devil. This is when the martyrdom of the fifth seal occurs: “And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.” (Revelation 9:15,16)
There are a few profound issues we should consider. First, the Father foreknows the number of martyrs that will be required to save the most people. When the last person on Earth chooses to make his decision for Christ, the martyrdom stops and the seventh trumpet sounds. “But at that time your people – everyone whose name is found written in the Book [of Life] will be delivered [from martyrdom].” (Daniel 12:1, insertions mine) Jesus will declare: “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.” (Revelation 22:11)
The second issue is even more profound. It is hard to comprehend that millions of saints will be martyred to benefit a few people who will choose salvation at the last minute. For example, if ten million saints are sacrificed to produce ten converts to Christ during the last moments of grace, then Jesus considers the sacrifice worth it. This shows the value that Jesus places on each human being. When God’s children begin to understand that ten million martyrs are worth as few as ten converts to Jesus, we faintly begin to realize what the Father gave the world when He gave us Jesus. Jesus’ sacrifice is of greater value than the sum total of the human race! “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16,17)
There is a third profound issue that we should consider. After killing one-third of the human race, the devil gains the dominion over mankind he has wanted from the day that Adam and Eve sinned. Jesus allows the devil to kill one-third of mankind so that for a short time, the universe can watch a very powerful sinner lacking infinite love, wisdom, and knowledge operate a government. God’s created beings will study the strong contrast between Lucifer’s governance and God’s governance throughout eternity.
The martyrs cried out to the Lord in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the Earth and avenge our blood?” (Revelation 6:10) The devil’s injustice against the saints will be bitter and day after day, the martyrs will cry out for deliverance. However, God tells the martyrs to wait until the number assigned for martyrdom is completed: “Then each of them [the martyrs] was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer.” (Revelation 6:11)
When the last wicked person surrenders his life to Jesus, the door of mercy closes. The seventh trumpet will sound and the seven bowls will begin. The seven bowls contain the seven last plagues which Jesus will impose on the wicked. He will avenge the torture and persecution of His saints by making the enemies of righteousness and truth pay double. Each person who participates in the persecution and torture of God’s children will suffer twice as much as the pain he inflicted. “Give back to her [the whore, Lucifer’s government] as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup.” (Revelation 18:6)
Our examination of the fifth seal concludes with the discovery that faith in Jesus means a complete surrender to His will. We must be willing “to go, to be, and to do” all that Jesus commands at any cost, even death. Following Jesus and living by faith is so contrary to our fallen nature. No one likes pain or naturally likes to love his enemies. No one likes to live a selfless life, but Jesus died for us, while we were His enemies. (Romans 5:10) It is difficult to stand alone for what is right, but Jesus stood alone in Pilate’s judgment hall for us. (Matthew 27) It is difficult to be completely honest and true, but Jesus came from Heaven and withstood endless scorn to reveal the truth about the Father. (John 17) It is difficult to be submissive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus was tempted in all points as we are without sinning. (Hebrews 4:15) It is so hard to be different when the pressure builds to “go along to get along.” (Matthew 7:13) Living by faith is the most difficult experience known to the human race. Living in presumption is so much easier. Ancient Israel, the Catholic Church, and Protestantism failed due to presumption. When a majority of people in any religious organization displaces faith with presumption, that religious system becomes a house of darkness. (Matthew 23:27)
The gospel of Jesus is far more than an intellectual assent to truth, instead it reveals our true position and condition before God. Jesus’ gospel reveals our need for a Savior and through the gospel, he offers us power to be an overcomer. Accepting Jesus’ gospel in our lives seems to require the impossible, but we can overcome sin through the power of Christ. In fact, the fifth seal teaches that many will overcome their love for life through faith! Through faith, we can do all kinds of things. “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) Paul also wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.’ ” (Romans 1:16-17) The gospel of Jesus reveals that He gives us grace and strength to do the impossible if we are willing to submit to God’s will! (2 Corinthians 12:9) In fact, Jesus will give us strength and peace when the time comes to go to our death for Christ if that is God’s will for us. (Revelation 13:10) Jesus saved us by His faith and He will save us by our faith!
The study of the fifth seal has allowed us to examine the sharp difference between faith and presumption. The drama of martyrdom completes the story. By understanding the fifth seal, we are now in an excellent position to understand the message that came when Jesus broke the first seal. Now, we see where faith in Jesus will take us. The fifth seal allows us to see “around the bend.” We can see why Jesus needs people who will put complete faith in Him so He can use our life and our death (if/as necessary), to save those around us! The fifth seal illumines the meaning of salvific faith and unmasks the deception of presumption. People who live by faith are partakers of divine power! “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:4,5)