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[THE LION, THE LAMB, AND THE SEVEN SEALS, CONT.]
[the fifth seal]
When the fifth seal was opened, John saw under the altar 'the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.' (Rev. 6:9). In its end-time fulfillment, the fifth seal is the natural consequence of the coming on the scene of the four horses and their riders. These forms of tyranny would naturally lead to much blood shed, especially against those having the conscience and will to resist their encroachments. And such are they who truly have the Word of God and a living testimony. That which is described under the fifth seal continues to the end, as the intensity of persecution and martyrdom increases as forces of entrenched evil gain greater dominion and boldness. Those initially martyred as the fifth seal opens are pictured as saying, 'How long; O Lord, holy and true do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?' (Rev. 6:10). Therefore they are aware that judgment is being readied against the forces that were responsible for their death. But there is a time of waiting, 'and white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.' (Rev. 6:11). They are resting in that realm called paradise, clothed in their purified (white) soul bodies, waiting until the first, or out-resurrection, from the dead, when they will have their physical bodies restored to them in glorified power, being received of the Lord into His heavenly Kingdom. This shall be at the final sound of the seventh trumpet when the 'dead in Christ' are raised and the living saints are changed (I Thess. 4:16-17).
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