The souls under the altar were not quiet souls. They knew injustice. They’d been killed for their faith. They asked God to bring justice to the earth – to “those who dwell on the earth.”
But it was not time. Not yet. The martyrs were given white robes and told to “rest.” It would be a little while longer. There would be more to come. Their “fellow servants and their brothers” would join them.
I was caught by this mini-scene that followed the opening of the fifth seal and after the trooping out of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Death and destruction pervades this chapter. The sky literally would be slammed shut. The stars would fall. And strife, famine, and pestilence would ravage the earth. It will make 2020 look like a walk in the park.
In the midst of this, we see the martyrs, crying out for justice even as they were told more martyrs were in the making. The time was not yet. “Rest a little longer.”
The way things work in this fallen world is that some will die for the sake of Christ. Some will shed their blood just as he did. If we look out across the carnage of the history of the world, we better pay attention to those who lost all for the sake of the gospel – “for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.”
It is clear God keeps them in mind.
These are treasured people to God. And they are not silent people. They obviously weren’t silent during their lives on earth. Their refusal to be silent surely led to their deaths. And afterward, they cried out to God – “O Sovereign Lord …”
These were not lukewarm, before or after.
They cause me to think about my own passion for the word of God and for my witness to the world about Jesus and for God to bring justice to the earth. And I restless like them? Are you?