The Fifth Seal — Revelation 6:9-11

When the Lamb broke the fifth seal John immediately got a vision of the heavenly temple; and his focus was under the altar of incense where he saw the souls of those who had been slain.

Who are the souls under the altar? These are the souls of the redeemed who were martyred very early in the Tribulation. It is possible that they were saved just after the Rapture of the church, as a result of the preaching of the 144,000 witnesses.

There is another group in Revelation 7:9-17, that is mentioned as a “great multitude” and as “ones who come out of the great Tribulation.” This is possibly a later group, which are from the last half of the Tribulation, and that is mentioned in Revelation 6:11 as “their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been…” Or, it may be that they (in Rev. 7:9-17) represent all martyred Tribulation saint, including the ones spoken of here (in Rev. 6:9-11).

What will these souls be doing under the altar? The answer is plain; they will be crying out to God in prayer, saying to Him, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

They clearly will want vengeance; and they will not be wrong in wanting it. However, God has His own time table.

What is God’s answer? His answer was two-fold: 1) God in John’s vision gave all of them white robes, signifying to them that they were redeemed by Christ’s blood; He wanted them to be mindful of their salvation and to rejoice in it.  2) Then God told them to rest for a little while longer until all of their brethren who were predestined to be killed are killed just as they were. So, I take it that if they were killed early, maybe just two years or so after the Tribulation began, they will be waiting about five years. At that time God will indeed judge them; and they will be thrown into the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41-46; Rev. 20:11-15).

About Stephen Nielsen

I'm an author, a self publisher, and a painting contractor. I live in beautiful Minnesota, USA . Welcome to my blog site.
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