Martyred for the Gospel (Revelation 20:4) - Radical

Martyred for the Gospel (Revelation 20:4)

“Also, I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands.”
– Revelation 20:4

This is another one of those verses many in Revelation where we could talk a lot about this symbolism and the imagery and what this or that means and even different thoughts on what this or that might mean based on different interpretations of the book of Revelation.

But in the end, don’t miss the big picture here. This is a picture of those who’ve been beheaded, who have been martyred for the gospel, for the testimony of Jesus and the word of God. This is a picture of people who’ve given their lives, laid them down proclaiming the gospel and the word of God, and have not worshiped the beast or its image, not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands whatever that means.

Revelation 20:4 Helps Us Hold Fast to Our Faith

It’s clear that they trusted in God, they held fast a faith in Jesus even when it was costly, even when it was tempting, even when the world was trying to lure them away they held fast in faith. And that’s the reason why we have the book of revelation to encourage us to hold fast. Just like it was reminding brothers and sisters in the first century, “Hold fast in faith, to Jesus proclaim him, testify to him and his word. It is worth your life.”

Do you believe this? Do you believe the testimony of Jesus and the word of God is more important than life itself for you? And do you believe God is better than all the stuff this world has to offer you? That’s what Revelation 20:4 is asking us. And so we pray, God help us to value your word and your son, Lord Jesus, as more important than our life. Help us to see you as infinitely better than all this world might offer to us.

Revelation 20:4 Reminds Us of Suffering Christians

As we read Revelation 20:4 we see the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and the word of God and we pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world right now. God, we pray for suffering brothers and sisters who are facing imprisonment, who are facing death, who are enduring trial and suffering in their lives and their families and their churches, we pray for our brothers and sisters in North Korea in Somalia, in Yemen, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in places across the Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia, parts of Southeast Asia, East Asia.

We pray for our brothers and sisters who were being persecuted around the world that you would uphold them with your righteous right hand today. And you’d help them to hold fast to the testimony of Jesus into your word that you would help them not to worship, turn aside from you to the things of this world, to the comforts of this world.

This Verse Leads Us to Pray for The Persecuted Church

God, we pray for their faithfulness even unto death and God, we pray for the same in our lives. We pray that you would help us, especially all of us who live in places where we can proclaim the gospel today. Where we can share without fear of imprisonment, without fear of death. Help us to faithfully testify to Jesus. Help us to faithfully proclaim your word. Not to turn aside to the things of the world in our lives from you. Lord. Help us to hold fast in faith to you as our reward, as a reward that is better than life. Help us to resist temptation today. And help us to walk in holiness today. Help us not to compromise our faith today. Lord, help us to proclaim the testimony of Jesus and your word today to people right around us.

God, we pray for the spread of the testimony of Jesus. Your word to all the peoples of the world. We think today about the Chamar people of India, 54 million of them hardly any followers of Jesus among them. God, we pray that people would give their lives. Proclaiming the gospel among the Chamar of India. That this Hindu people group worshiping all kinds of different gods would hear the testimony of Jesus in the word of God. People have laid down their lives to take the gospel to them. To support the spread of the gospel among them. God, help us to live toward this end. We pray in light of Revelation 20:4 in Jesus name. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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