Faithful Witness (Revelation 6:9–11) - Radical

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Faithful Witness (Revelation 6:9–11)

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “Oh, sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
– Revelation 6:9–11

What a scene, as all of these martyrs around the throne. People, just think, throughout the history of Christianity… All across the world… People who’ve been slain for the Word of God and for the witness they had borne. People who have died for sharing the gospel.

Revelation 6:9–11 portrays faithful martyrs worshipping before the throne of God.

What an honor to be before the throne of God, having given your life proclaiming the gospel. And they’re all pictured here crying out with one voice, “Sovereign Lord.” And even that, what a picture. They trust, they know the sovereignty of God better than we ever could in this world. They know that God is in control. Sovereign Lord, holy and true. They see God in his holiness and his truth. And they know that the truth for which they gave their lives was worth it.

Then they say, “How long before justice comes on the earth?” And they’re told, “Follow this,” to rest a little longer until. So there’s something else to come before justice comes on the earth, full and final justice. And what is left to come? The number of their fellow servants and their brothers is still not complete. And just in case we’re unclear on what that means, verse 11 continues. “More people who will be killed as martyrs before them have been.”

In other words, there’s still more martyrs to come. There are still more followers of Jesus who will give their lives proclaiming the gospel. Disciples who will lose their lives because of the Word of God and the witness they bear. And as we read that, think about that. And pray according to that. I want to lead us to pray in two directions. One, to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters right now, for their boldness, even unto death if the sovereign Lord so ordains.

Revelation 6:9–11 encourages us to be willing to risk it all for the spread of the Gospel.

And for our willingness in each of our lives to do whatever God calls us to do, all the way to the point of losing our lives, proclaiming the gospel, and anything else leading up to that. That we would have no restrictions, no conditions on our obedience to God and specifically our obedience in proclaiming the gospel right around us and wherever he leads us, no matter what it costs us. Whether it costs us a reputation, whether it costs us a job, whether it costs us relationships, or whether it costs us our very breath.

So God, we praise you for the martyrs who are gathered around your throne right now. We praise you for the witness they have borne. Lord, we praise you for your Word in their lives, through their lives. We praise you for their commitment to follow you and make disciples, proclaim you no matter what it costs them. And we cry out with them for justice on the earth for them. And justice fully and finally, in every way across the world, God, we pray for that justice. As we do, we know there are still, based on your Word here, more martyrs to come.

This verse reminds us to pray for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted for their faith.

And so we pray, oh God, for our persecuted sisters and brothers in Christ right now, those who are in prison, those who are facing threats against their life, those who live in places where as they share the gospel, they could lose their life.

God, we pray that you would help them, strengthen them, uphold them with your righteous right hand, and embolden them to proclaim the gospel in every way you call them to, all the way to the point of joining this group around your throne. And God, we pray for our own lives. We pray that you would keep us from placing any conditions on our obedience to you. Help us to follow you, proclaim you with all of our hearts, souls, all of our lives, no matter what that means for us. God, help us to do that today. Help us not to be silent with the gospel today, especially if we live in places where we don’t face the risk of our lives for sharing the gospel, maybe the risk of our reputation, maybe the risk of awkwardness in a conversation, maybe the risk of a job.

God, help us to do whatever you call us to do, to make disciples, to share the gospel no matter what it costs us. And we pray that if any of us, or when any of us might be faced with the choice of testifying to your Word or losing our lives, that we would gladly and boldly, compassionately and willingly lay down our lives to proclaim your Word. God, we pray all this according to your Word in Revelation 6:9–11. In Jesus’ name, in the name of the one who laid down his life for us. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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