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The Martyrs Of Revelation

After jumping ahead to Revelation 13 to look at the False Prophet, The Book Of Signs returns to Revelation 6 and begins its discussion of the martyrs under the altar with a look at modern-day martyrs.  Before we begin our examination of this book’s teaching on this subject, let’s look at the verses themselves.

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 testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.  Rev. 6:9-11, NKJV

Bible in Forest With Sunlight

Must Jews Be Martyrs?

Before the Israelites entered their promised land, Moses prophesied that they would be severely persecuted throughout history.  Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 271). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

After making this statement, Dr. David Jeremiah quotes Deut. 28:64-67.  This section of Scripture is describing the curses that could befall the Jews.  Let’s take a moment to look at the context.  At the beginning of the chapter, we read:

The martyrs of Revelation

“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.  And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God: Deut. 28:1-2, NKJV

Then we read:

“But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:  Deut. 28:15, NKJV

Then just four verses before the passage Dr. David Jeremiah quotes, we read:

“If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD, then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues—great and prolonged plagues—and serious and prolonged sicknesses.  Deut. 28:58-59, NKJV

In the statement from The Book Of Signs quoted above, it is implied that God destined the Jews to persecution just because they were Jews.  What an insult to the character of God!  The Scripture plainly states that they could have blessing or cursing depending on their obedience to the Law of God.  All these bad things that Dr. Jeremiah quotes don’t just happen because of who or whose they are; they are a direct consequence of deliberate, defiant rebellion against God - the God Who saved them from Egyptian slavery and gave them a land flowing with milk and honey.  Did this ‘Bible expositor’ not bother to read the chapter before insulting God?  This is not a matter of controversial interpretation; this is simply reading the context.

Collateral Damage?

Christians seem to have inherited the hatred directed at the Jews, for Christian history is saturated with persecution from the outset.  Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 272). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

It would appear that in The Book Of Signs, the Jews, as a physical nation, are the loyal, long-suffering servants of God, and Christians are just collateral damage to the ‘real’ purpose of God.  This ignores that most Jews, for most of their history as a nation were rebellious against God.  The prophets were constantly calling them to repentance.  In the time of Elijah, the number of faithful Jews was down to only 7,000 in the entire nation.

And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”…Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”  1 Kings 19:14, 18, NKJV

It’s tough when reality clashes with a person’s chosen fantasy.

Martyrs Want Justice

These martyrs are believers who will be killed after the church is raptured and the dead in Christ have been resurrected.  Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 273). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

There is nothing in the verses in Revelation 6 to justify this assumption that I can see.  Jesus Himself gives us the answer as to who these martyrs are who are awaiting Justice.

“Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.  Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.  Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?  Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.  Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.  Matt. 23:31-36, NKJV

Jesus told the Jews of His generation that they were going to be held responsible for all the righteous blood shed in the Old Testament, climaxing with their murder of the very Son of God Himself.  The martyred Old Testament saints were the people who were under the altar waiting for justice - for about 4,000 years [starting with Abel].  Who are you going to believe, Jesus or Dr. Jeremiah?  Your choice.  I know my choice.

Center Of God's Plan: Jesus Or Israel?

After the rapture of the church, God will redirect His focus, placing it again on Israel…Paul affirms that the salvation of Israel is a key element in God’s ultimate plan…. Jeremiah, David. The Book of Signs (p. 273). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

The Book Of Signs seems to believe that physical Jews are somehow the centre of God’s plan.  Why?  Is God going to reward the unrepentant physical nation that killed His only beloved Son?  Who is the central object of God’s plan: Jesus or Israel?  What did God say to Israel through Isaiah?  [For comments on the Rapture, see our previous article.]

“I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’  To a nation that was not called by My name.

I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in a way that is not good, According to their own thoughts;

A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face; Who sacrifice in gardens, And burn incense on altars of brick…You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen; For the Lord God will slay you, And call His servants by another name;  Is. 65:1-3, 15, NKJV

God said that He was rejected by rebellious Israel, and so He would be found by a nation [Gentiles] that wasn’t pretending to seek Him.  He told Israel that their name would be a curse, and He would call His people by another name [Christian].  

In proof that God will save physical Israel, The Book Of Signs refers to Romans 11:25-26.  Honestly, Romans 11 is a controversial chapter with several opposing views.  I am not going to attempt an exposition of it here, but I would like to point out some things for your consideration.  

I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.  God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying,  “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”?  But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”  Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace…Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.  Rom. 11:1-5,7 NKJV

Paul’s point in Romans 11 is that the Gentiles should not be feeling proud or superior because Israel was rejected. He begins by pointing out that he is an Israelite, so obviously, God has not rejected all Jews.  He points out that even as in the days of Elijah, even so in his own day, there is a remnant saved through grace by God’s election and foreknowledge.  

And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  Rom. 11:23, NKJV

Here we have a condition for Jews being grafted back in: IF they do not continue in unbelief.  From the above verses, Paul clearly does not expect all physical/natural Israel to be saved, but the elect of God, the remnant.

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved… Rom. 11:25-26, NKJV

Dr. Jeremiah appears to take this as saying that all physical Israel will be saved [in the Tribulation, although the Tribulation is not mentioned anywhere in the context of this passage].  It is also perfectly possible that Paul was saying that both the elect Jews and the elect Gentiles will be saved, forming one spiritual nation so that all Israel [Jews and Gentiles] will be saved, not Jews only or Gentiles only.

According to the prophet Zechariah, in the Tribulation period two-thirds of all the Jews on earth will be slaughtered. Yet God has promised to preserve His people, saying “I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested” (Zech. 13:8–9).  Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 274). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

If we go back and read the context, the verse before the verses quoted says,

Says the Lord of hosts.  “Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; Zech. 13:7, NKJV

Jesus quoted this as being fulfilled in His disciples deserting Him in Gethsemane. 

Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd,  And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ Matt. 26:31, NKJV

However you understand verses 8-9, they must have been fulfilled around the time of Christ along with verse 7, not in some future [disputed] Tribulation period.

Martyred For Testifying To The Coming Judgment

These souls will be martyred for “the testimony which they held,” which surely refers to their proclamation of coming judgment as the Tribulation period descends into its darkest horrors.  Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 275). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

Yes, they were martyred for the testimony of the coming judgment.  Only it was the judgment coming on the nation of Israel for their constant, rebellious rejection of God, as most of the Old Testament witnesses to.  The judgment came first in the Babylonian Captivity and then finally in AD 70.

The Holy Spirit Leaves?

At the Rapture of the church, the Holy Spirit will withdraw from the earth, removing all restraints on evil.  Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 275). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

This is really an insult against the Holy Spirit.  If the Jews can stand for God against the worst persecution in world history during the so-called Tribulation without the Power of the Holy Spirit, why do we need the Holy Spirit now?  Do Gentiles need the Holy Spirit, but Jews do not?  This sounds like Jews are earning their place based on their works.  The work of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for anyone to do anything at any time that is pleasing to God.

Vengeance Or Justice?

This cry for vengeance places these martyrs squarely within the Tribulation period rather than in the prior church age…But those who suffer Tribulation atrocities will be justified in calling for vengeance because the age of grace will have ended and the day of God’s judgment will have arrived.  Jeremiah, David . The Book of Signs (p. 278). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

Actually, this is a cry for justice, not vengeance, and it places these Old Testament martyrs during the time of Christ and the apostles.  Jesus said the generation alive during His time was going to pay for all the righteous blood shed up to that point [Matt. 23:31-36].  This was the answer to the cry of the Martyrs.  When the 40-year period of grace was up for the nation of Israel, it was destroyed in the flames of AD 70. 

Return To The Book Of Signs.

Further Reading

What Is The Rapture?

The Purpose Of Israel 

Is Replacement Theology Biblical?

For more information about Glenn Davis, see our About Glenn page or visit Glenn Davis Books.

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