Rev 6:9-11 NKJV – 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 testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both [the number of] their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they [were], was completed.
The great tribulation of the Elect will be a time of much suffering, persecution and as John saw in the opening of the fifth seal, even martyrdom for the saints of God. Those slain cry out asking ‘How long O Lord until you avenge our blood?’ and they are told ‘a little while longer until the number of those who would be killed was complete’. The word for avenge in the Greek as in ‘avenge our blood’ is the word ekdikéō, (ek-de-keh-o) and is found in Rom 12:19 NKJV – 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but [rather] give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance [is] Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Here we see the connection between vengeance and wrath. How will the Lord avenge His righteous ones? Through wrath. He will repay, but as those under the altar in the fifth seal were informed, even though it would not be long, that time of wrath had not yet come. It is on the opening of the sixth seal – on the Day of the Lord, that we read Rev 6:17 ‘the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?’ This will mark the end of 1260 days of great tribulation, and will initiate the sequence of seven bowls of wrath we find recorded in Rev 16. Significantly in Rev 14 and 15 we see the Elect, already gathered and in Heaven by this time. The outpouring of God’s wrath will never be upon His Bride, how can that be? Then Rev 17,18 describes the judgement of ‘Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth’ when the appeal of those slain and under the altar in Rev 6 is answered. Rev 19:2 NKJV reads – 2 “For true and righteous [are] His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants [shed] by her.”
The day of wrath coming upon the earth will be an entirely righteous indignation from a God who is entirely Holy. Sin will run its full course, and wickedness will flourish, as lawlessness runs rampant to replace the righteousness of God, with a toxic humanism and perversion of the Created Order. Yet even as in Noah’s day there will be opportunity to repent right up until the final hour. Rev 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
But for those who receive the mark of the beast their fate is clear. Rev 14:9A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
Our God is a loving God and He is so merciful, not treating us as our sins deserved, that whilst we were still sinners He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes on Him will not perish but receive everlasting life. As Peter writes in 2 Pet 3:4 there are those who question the Day of the Lord saying ‘Where is the promise of His coming, things have not changed but continue to be as they always have been’ Peter responds in v9 saying ‘The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,1 not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.’
To those who receive the gift of His Son Jesus, who have been washed in His blood and their sin expunged from the record, they will never be taken from His hand. To those who keep their lamps lit during the night vigil, who live a life worthy of the calling, who are numbered amongst the Elect they may be comforted that the Lord has not forgotten them, and will soon come for them to take them to the wedding of the Lamb. But there must be a day of reckoning. Sin must be dealt with once and for all. The reign of darkness imposed by the fallen minions of every demonic kind, rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, will be torn from their thrones and stripped of their authority for ever. We can endure the night, because we know that rejoicing will come in the morning. What a day it will be, when the summation of all history will converge at that time. When the prophetic timeline of Jew and Gentile shall be joined forever, when our Bridegroom shall see the travail of His soul and be satisfied, when the longing of His heart to gather Jerusalem as a hen gathers her chick shall finally be fulfilled. Those days shall soon be upon us, let us be comforted by Paul’s words in Rom 5:9 [ESV2011] Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.