Revelation 6:9-11 / How Long O Lord?

Posted on May 24, 2015


This is the eighteenth in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Revelation. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of May 24, 2015. This message details the cry of the martyrs, and who they are. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.


Rev. 6:9-11



With the opening of the fifth seal, we see the result of the work of the antichrist up to this point. These martyrs are those who will be saved (up to this point) during the tribulation.

We know that they are tribulation saints, because they are part of the fifth seal, and all of the seals are part of the great tribulation. They will accept Christ, and pay the ultimate price for it.

  • Revelation 7:13-15

The antichrist will be allowed to persecute them, and he will gladly take the job.

  • Daniel 7:25

Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 serve not only to tell us about the tribulation, they also speak directly to those who will be saved during the tribulation.

  • Matthew 24:9-14

Jesus begins with some of the common signs which we see today (war, famine, earthquake, etc.) 

  • Matthew 24:7-8

These are the beginning of sorrows. They will increase as the time draws closer, and will continue into the tribulation at magnitudes greater than has ever been seen. As Jesus very fluidly leads into the great tribulation, He is still speaking in such a way as to speak directly to those who will be saved during that time.

One way we can be sure that He is speaking of tribulation events, is His reference to the abomination of desolation.

  • Matthew 24:15

This occurs midway through the great tribulation. So, when the tribulation begins, and some people come to know Him, He will be speaking directly to them through these passages.

  • They will be delivered up into tribulation.
  • They will be hated by all others, because of their devotion to Him.
  • They will be offended, or accused and tried for being a Christian.
  • They will be betrayed and handed over by family, friends, and neighbors.

Perhaps these betrayers will be looking for some reward, favor, or immunity by their show of loyalty to the beast. 

Hate will rule the day. False prophets will arise like never before, and many people will be deceived. Lies and deception will be the law of the land. Lawlessness will abound, meaning that sin will have no bounds, no shame. The love of many will grow cold. Indeed, its hard to love, when you are completely immersed in sin.

It will be a loveless, sinful world, yet there will be those who will endure, and to those, Jesus is speaking.
We find these souls under the altar. The true altar is heaven, right where we see it in this passage. This is certainly where Christ offered His blood for the sins of the world.

  • Hebrews 9:23-24

Our earthly altars are but patterns or copies of the real one in heaven, which is where the better sacrifice is made. It is this altar which Christ has entered, not one made with hands.

From this altar, these martyred saints cry out, seeking vengeance on those who had persecuted them. The word “avenge”, in Scripture, always relates to the idea of punishment or retribution. These saints are following God’s teaching through Paul.

  • Romans 12:19

God will vindicate His elect by punishing those who killed them.

  • Luke 18:7-8

NOTE: Nothing in this verse (v.10) should be used to suggest that the saints in heaven are watching over our lives. There is nothing to suggest that our deceased loved ones are involved in our lives or witnessing our lives from heaven.

In fact, we know that they certainly cannot come back to contact us. In Luke 16 we see the account of the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus was in hell, and he knew his brothers were not saved, but there is nothing to indicate that he could somehow see them after his death. He was also told that Lazarus could not leave heaven and go to them.  Its something that simply does not happen, and believing that it does, only opens the door to all sorts of demonic deceptions.

They would know that He has not yet avenged them, because they have not yet inhabited the earth for the millennial reign. They would know, just as we do, that is when the decisive vengeance against the persecutors will happen.

These martyrs are all given white robes, as evidence of their righteousness in Jesus Christ. They are then told that they should rest a little longer. More saints would have to die.

God knows, and has known since the beginning of time, each soul who would ever live and die for Him. He knows their names and their number. He knows what must be completed. God will answer their prayer for vengeance, but in his time. until the number . . . should be complete. God has predetermined the number of the righteous whose death he will allow before moving to destroy the rebels. God has a timetable of events that must take place. Nothing can shortcut this.

For those who follow Christ, you are never forgotten. The crimes against you never go unnoticed. Your prayers never go unheard, but we must understand that everything must happen in God’s way, and in God’s time.

We have no need to get discouraged, but we have every need to take our calling seriously. We must be fully surrendered to Christ, and prepared for any outcome. Our mission is urgent, and the stakes are high.