Study Guide: Revelation 6:9-17 - Martyrs and Kings
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 witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
Main Idea: God is the author of history, and in the end, he will justly pour out his wrath on the world for defiling his glory.
Summary: In this passage, we see the fifth and sixth seal judgments. The first five seals characterize the entire age between the first and second comings of Christ, with the fifth seal describing the persecution and martyrdom of those who belong to God. The sixth seal describes the final judgment, where God’s wrath and judgment has arrived for all, no matter their class or status.
- Look at Revelation 6:9-11. Who are the souls under the altar? What are they waiting on? Do you think this means all believers will be persecuted for Christ?
- Look at Revelation 6:12-17. What does this passage reveal about God’s wrath? What are the reactions of those who are being judged? How does it describe people with power and influence (kings, generals, the rich)?
- This passage uses Old Testament imagery to convey that it is describing the final judgment, the end of the world. Read Joel 2:31, Isaiah 13:10, Isaiah 34:3 and compare to what is written here in Revelation.
- Jesus has given us salvation, so what should believers expect in our life on earth? Are you ready to die for Jesus? How should you live like there is something worth dying for?
- It is common to hear people say that the God of the New Testament is different from the God of the Old Testament. How does this passage debunk that notion? How do we see God’s grace and wrath here?
- Knowing what God’s wrath brings, how should we view our unbelieving neighbors, friends, and family members? Does this give you an urgency to share with them the Good News of Jesus?
Prayer: Spend some time thanking God for rescuing you from the wrath that is to come and asking him how you might live for him with urgency.
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