As the Lamb opens the next seal we realise that not even God’s people have been exempt from the suffering caused by the four horsemen.
We too are caught up in the deception, war, famine and death.
However, what this section also reveals is a window into this heaven for those who have died in Christ.
“When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of everyone who had been killed for speaking God’s message and telling about their faith. They shouted, “Master, you are holy and faithful! How long will it be before you judge and punish the people of this earth who killed us?” Then each of those who had been killed was given a white robe and told to rest for a little while. They had to wait until the complete number of the Lord’s other servants and followers would be killed.” Revelation 6:9-11
We continue to be careful not to read anything into the description of John’s vision. But think on what these martyrs are experiencing. Here are 7 things heaven could be like from what John saw in these 3 verses.
- They went to heaven after they had died on earth. Heaven was their next stop after earth. There was no purgatory place. Absent from the body present with the Lord. Your loved one who lived Christ may have died in your eyes prematurely but they instantly moved to better living conditions, heaven.
- They were recognised in heaven. Their identity as martyrs on earth were not eradicated in heaven. Their story on earth is still part of their story in heaven. They are the same people. My grandma used to say she would recognise me in heaven because my shirt tail would still be out! Will you be able to recognise your loved one? Absolutely!
- They shouted. To be able to do that means they have some kind of physical form in that they had a voice box, a recognised vocabulary and we can even see their emotion and their thought processes. speak, there is at least some physical form to them. They are also each given a robe to wear on some physical form of a body.
- They are fully aware of what is happening on earth. They know their murderers have not been judged yet. How I don’t know. Is there a window? Is there heavenly CCTV situated all over the earth? I don’t know but I do know they know! They know that it’s not finished on earth yet. The heaven that John saw with those who have died in Christ is perfect but nevertheless is waiting for the New Heaven and New Eartg to appear.
- They are asking God questions, so He is there with them. They are seeking to learn what His will is regarding justice. Heaven appears to be a classroom of understanding. They are praying to God. ‘As on earth as in heaven’ they have prayed for many years and now even in heaven they are still praying.
- The martyrs remember they were killed. What else could they remember? How comforting for those in mournful pain on earth to know they are remembered in heaven. It’s not just one way!
- They declare God as Master, holy and true; they can see this perfectly and have a better understanding of justice than we have on earth. Heaven makes sense of it all.