Rest a Little Longer
When I was a little girl, my grandmother would spend the night with us on Christmas Eve. She would sleep in my bed. Each year, I looked forward to cuddling with her and talking to her as I tried to sleep. Throughout the night, I’d ask, “How much longer till I can get up and see my Christmas gifts?” Until daybreak, she’d gently reply,“You need to rest a little while longer.”
In this scene in Revelation 6, the martyrs whose souls are under the altar cry out to the Lord. They ask, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” They too are told to rest a little while longer.
Although they are told to wait (see verse 11), they are also given divine assurance that the Lord will judge and avenge their blood. By saying “a little longer,” God is pledging that the time is finite. A day is coming when God will judge the world and those who are disobedient to His will.
After the martyrs cry out to the Lord, John envisions the judgement that falls upon the earth. The imagery of earthquakes, eclipses, collapse of the heavens, and mighty winds are all symbols of judgment. Kings and servants alike run to the hills, but they cannot escape the wrath of God.
These images of judgment are a warning to those who oppose God, and they are an encouragement to the believers and martyrs that their service of the Lord is not in vain. God will judge evil.
As we wait on the Lord to fully and finally defeat evil, we can rest in the blessed assurance that “Jesus is mine,” as mentioned in Fanny Crosby’s hymn. We would be like those who cannot stand before the wrath if it weren’t for Him. But praise God! He keeps no record of our sin, because we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. As the hymn says, “Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest; watching and waiting, looking above, filled with his goodness, lost in his love.”
Take a few minutes to sing “Blessed Assurance” as a prayer to the Lord. Also read Psalm 130 and thank the Lord for the forgiveness and the assurance that with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.
Revelation 6 (ESV):
Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.
3 When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.
5 When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!”
7 When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8 And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider's name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.
9 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. 10 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?” 11 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.
12 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, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 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, 16 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, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”