With the opening of the fifth seal in Revelation 6:9-11, we read about the intense persecution and martyrdom that the faithful in Christ Jesus will suffer. During this seven year time period, multitudes of people are going to come to the saving knowledge of The Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 7:9-14). Along with that, many will suffer martyrdom because of their testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 6:11, 20:4b).
It is interesting to note that the Greek word for “testimony” in Revelation 6:9 is “marturia”, which is also translated “witness”. Not every follower of The Lord Jesus Christ is martyred unto death for their faith in Jesus, but every single Christian is called to be a witness for The Lord. It is written in Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” This “loving not their lives unto death” speaks of their martyrdom.
However, what was true of them is also true for you and me. We overcome in this world through faith in the blood of The Lamb and our testimony that Jesus Christ is Lord, The Messiah and Savior of the world (1 John 4:1-4, 5:1-5). Just as the Tribulation saints “loved not their lives unto the death”, so too we need to die to self in order to be a living witness for Jesus Christ. Although we are not presently in the Great Tribulation, the Church is indeed living in the last days, as it has been for the past 2,000 years. In this world we will encounter tribulation (John 16:33), and saints will face persecution (Matthew 5:10-12), even to the point of martyrdom (Acts 7:59,60, 12:1,2). Reports of martyrdom and intense persecution against the body of Christ are well documented in “The Voice of the Martyrs” magazine (www.persecution.com).
We in America may never be called to face the intense persecution that our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world are facing. We may never experience martyrdom because of our testimony in Jesus. Nevertheless, we are all called to be witnesses of The Lord Jesus Christ, and in order to do that, we need to walk in the power of The Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). It is only by the power of The Holy Spirit that we can live lives that bear testimony of The Lord Jesus Christ.
May the testimony of The Lord Jesus Himself and the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us (Hebrews 12:1-3) inspire us to press on in The Lord today (Philippians 3:13-14).