9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O [k]Lord, holy and true, [l]will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. Revelation 6:9-11
When the fifth seal is broken we have a picture of all those who are martyred during the time of the tribulation. Now the questions that is often asked is who exactly are these who are martyred. Are they people that are dying now for the name of Jesus, or are they people who are martyred during the tribulation. If they are indeed those who are martyred during the tribulation, then how exactly is that possible if the bride of Christ is raptured and the body of Christ is gone.
Some will use this passage of scripture to prove their mid-trib or post-trib view point in which they believe that church is raptured in the middle of the seven year tribulation or at the end of the seven year tribulation. But what I personal believe as I read and meditate upon this passage and go before the Lord in prayer is that these who are martyred are those who are martyred during the tribulation who came to faith after the rapture of the church.
One of the things I point to is that these who are martyred receive a white robe and when we read the other parts of the New Testament before the book of revelation the apostle Paul always speaks of believers receiving a crown of righteousness. I believe that once the church is raptured before the seven year tribulation and then lawlessness begins on the earth there will be those who will turn their hearts to Jesus Christ and not receive the mark of the beast or worship the anti-Christ.
We will see as we continue through Revelation that God will raise up 144,000 Jewish Evangelists during the seven year tribulation and there will even be angels who will fly through the air proclaiming the eternal gospel. We must remember that God’s desire is that all would come to salvation and His desire is to always pour out mercy. During the seven year tribulation the judgment of God is poured out, but the offer of salvation is still available to any who will call upon the name of Jesus.
We must remember that when we study the book of Revelation that we are studying a vision that John received on the island of Patmos. The Lord has left some things in His word a mystery and we should never allow division to occur because we may interpret something very different than someone else. I know there are those who will disagree with me but I simply share what the Lord reveals to my heart. The bottom line is that we have an awesome privilege now to share Christ with those we come into contact with on a daily basis. We must be led by the Holy Spirit and sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He gives us opportunities.
If your desire is to share the gospel but you are fearful to do so simply ask the Holy Spirit for greater boldness. Everything we accomplish on this earth for the Lord and His kingdom is through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. May we live each day in expectation of the Lord’s return and be the faithful sons and daughters the Lord has called us to be.