The opening of the fifth seal described in the Book of Revelation is a topic of much debate. Some believe the opening of the fifth seal has already occurred while others argue that it has not happened yet. In this article, I will provide insight about the fifth seal and answer whether it has already been opened.
Fifth Seal Overview
Revelation 6:9-11 details the events associated with the opening of the fifth seal. The passage describes a scene in Heaven where a group of souls are seen under an altar. The individuals gathered were martyred for their faith, and they cry out to God to avenge their deaths:
“(9) 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: (10) 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? (11) And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. ” (Revelation 6:9-11)
As I said, some believe the fifth seal has already been opened. However, Revelation 20:4 provides strong evidence that the opening of the fifth seal remains unopened. The verse reveals that the fifth seal martyrs refused to worship the beast (the Antichrist) and refused to accept the Mark of the Beast.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4)
The reference to the Mark of the Beast and martyrs’ refusal to worship the Antichrist indicates that they will be martyred during the end times. When during the end times will we find martyrdom? Christ described an unprecedented time of persecution known as the great tribulation:
“(21) For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (22) And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22)
Therefore, the fifth seal has not been opened yet. Instead, the opening of the fifth seal depicts the events of the great tribulation in the Book of Revelation. People will be martyred for their faith and for their refusal to worship the Antichrist during this time of unmatched persecution. The martyrs will be rewarded for their faith and loyalty with the opportunity to live and reign with Christ for a 1,000 years according to Revelation 20:4.
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