263) Seal 5 – Increased Persecution Of Godly People

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?…until 1) their fellowservants also and 2) their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Revelation 6:9-11)

Christianity interprets this as

  • the martyrs are Christians
  • the word of God” is Jesus Christ
  • the testimony which they held is their faith in Jesus Christ dying on the cross.

However, when we base our interpretation on the whole body of scripture, this single passage is not limited to the testimony of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, but the full gospel of his testimony of restoration to becoming a son of God in his likeness.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy nameThy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 8:9-13)

“The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.

Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.

Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.

Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee.

  • When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him,
  • and hast been partaker with adulterers.
  • Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.
  • Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son.

These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. 

Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.

Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50)

This is not limited to Old Testament Judaism. “Whoso” means “Anyone”.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ / Yeshua Mashiach, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee…” (Mark 1:1-2)

When we check back to the prophets we find the correct interpretation and distinguish between the two groups of 1) servants assigned to serve 2) the brethren of the household of faith in God.

“Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” (Luke 12:42-43)

  • and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the [new] covenant…
  • And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. 
  • Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years…
  • For I am the LORD, I change not
  • John did…preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins
  • Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Malachi 3:1-6; Mark 1:4-15)

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers [recently incorporated into God’s people] scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia [provinces in Asia Minor / Turkey…

  • as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
  • Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy…
  • Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God…abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;”
  • ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; (I Peter 1-2)

God’s people are those who acknowledge One God of Creation and worship him in deed and in truth of his righteousness.

These are the sons of Abraham whose faith in God is demonstrated through their works, exactly like Abraham’s, and they are saved exactly like him, without being either a Jew in the Old Testament or a Christian as in the New.

the promise might be sure to all…which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” (Romans 4:16-17)

When we take that at face value, that has to include Ishmaelites / Arabs.

“And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, I have heard thee:

Abraham has asked that Ismael would have his life sustained, i.e. live forever  before thee / in your presence, i.e. to be in God’s household, even though he was not chosen to be God’s Melchizedek. And God not only reassures “I have heard thee”, he goes beyond Abraham’s request in guaranteeing he will be Israel’s equal on earth.

Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 17:18-20)

The covenant with Isaac is not for salvation. It is for leadership.

Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.

IF ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenantye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5-6)

When the Jewish leadership of the nation of Israel did not keep God’s covenant, they were replaced with Gentile leadership within the nation of Isra-El – Prince of El.

Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them…For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain…he expounded and testified the kingdom of God…And when they agreed not among themselves…they departed, after that Paul had spoken  Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” (Acts 28:17-29)

Again, this is a declaration / covenant that salvation exclusively granted to the Gentiles, but that leadership in salvation is expanded to the Gentiles due to the failure of the Jewish leaders to accomplish this critical task. 

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers / newbies scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…

  • as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
  • Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy…
  • ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
  • Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God…abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” (I Peter 1-2)

However, within a few centuries Christian leadership – exactly like Jewish leadership – had become so corrupted by political alliance with Rome that God had to once again find a replacement.

When we focus our attention on scriptural criteria for the role of leadership of God’s people into acknowledging One God and being holy as he is holy, we have to admit that development of Islam in Arabia by a branch of Abraham’s son Ishmael who was blessed by God with eternal life in his presence actually fits the bill.

Islam, major world religion promulgated by the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the 7th century CE. The Arabic term islām, literally “surrender,” illuminates the fundamental religious idea of Islam—that the believer (called a Muslim, from the active particle of islām) accepts surrender to the will of Allah (in Arabic, Allāh: God). Allah is viewed as the sole God—creator, sustainer, and restorer of the world. The will of Allah, to which human beings must submit, is made known through the sacred scriptures, the Qurʾān (often spelled Koran in English), which Allah revealed to his messenger, Muhammad. In Islam Muhammad is considered the last of a series of prophets (including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, and Jesus), and his message simultaneously consummates and completes the “revelations” attributed to earlier prophets…

In 622 CE, when the Prophet migrated to Medina, his preaching was soon accepted, and the community-state of Islam emerged. During this early period, Islam acquired its characteristic ethos as a religion uniting in itself both the spiritual and temporal aspects of life and seeking to regulate not only the individual’s relationship to God (through conscience) but human relationships in a social setting as well. Thus, there is not only an Islamic religious institution but also an Islamic law, state, and other institutions governing society.

And yes, there are Moslem individuals and nations who are evil – exactly like evil Christians and Jews. My point is that the biblical report of God’s relationship with Ishmael and his descendants parallels that of the nation of Israel, and conforms far more to the demand for righteousness than Gentile Christianity has.

In other words, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Judge Islam on the Quran’s consistency with God’s word, not on the actions of individuals just as we don’t judge Judaism or Christianity on the actions of individuals.

Where do we find a lifestyle of personal holiness and honoring the One God in the world today? Islam stands in stark contrast to a Christianity that blasphemes the name of God and Jesus Christ in a hedonistic and ungodly and anti-biblical lifestyle. Read up on the previous posts to learn how America’s Religious Right backed government has caused the deaths of far more Americans in one day through its permissive policies on AIDS than all Middle Eastern acts of terrorism combined.

Almost 3,000 people were killed on 9/11/2001 in what is called worst terrorist attack on America.

What do we call America’s response on the Middle Eastern peoples who had absolutely no responsibility for what happened in New York City? 

[Almost] 1,000,000 people have been killed by direct war violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan. The number of people who have been wounded or have fallen ill as a result of the conflicts is far higher, as is the number of civilians who have died indirectly as a result of the destruction of hospitals and infrastructure and environmental contamination, among other war-related problems.

Thousands of United States service members have died in combat, as have thousands of civilian contractors. Many have died later on from injuries and illnesses sustained in the war zones. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and contractors have been wounded and are living with disabilities and war-related illnesses. Allied security forces have also suffered significant casualties, as have opposition forces.

Far more of the people killed have been civilians. More than 387,000 civilians have been killed in the fighting since 2001…

The U.S. post-9/11 wars have forcibly displaced at least 38 million people in and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, and Syria. This number exceeds the total displaced by every war since 1900, except World War II.

The U.S. could have pursued several nonmilitary alternatives to holding accountable those responsible for perpetrating the 9/11 attacks. These alternatives would have been far less costly in human lives. For example, the U.S. invasion of Iraq turned the country into a laboratory in which militant groups such as Islamic State have been able to hone their techniques of recruitment and violence. The formation of Islamist militant groups spreading throughout the region counts among the many human costs of that war.

So America’s military response to being attacked by Middle Eastern countries is honorable but the Middle Easterners military response to being attacked by America is despicable?

Can we get out of our antisocial-narcissistic attitude and recognize that this Christian nation’s plundering of the lives and resources of Muslims is not defense against terrorism but the 5th seal’s persecution for righteousness’ sake?

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