The Apostle John’s message in Revelation was designed to bring peace and comfort to God’s people in the midst of savage persecutions. The saints were facing living nightmares and needed hope and security in order to survive.
God did not remove the persecutions because he set freewill in motion and Satan’s forces were voracious in their hunger for blood (Ephesians 6:10-11; 1 Peter 5:8). As soldiers in the war against Satan, all of God’s children will face a perpetual battle.
“All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12, NKJV).
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18).
“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15).
The words of Revelation were an extraordinary comfort for the saints in distress. The peace they gained from knowing that their labors and courage were valued by God was exhilarating.
“John’s words are a reminder that throughout history there has been a persistent hostility toward deeply-committed Christians on the part of those wielding power.”/1
“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?'” (Revelation 6:10).
The Lord tenderly adorns the martyrs in heaven with a pure white robe and assures them that the time was short for their brethren on earth.
The saints in the fires of Rome were sending fervent petitions to heaven and their prayers were heard by their loving Father (Mark 11:24; James 5:16).
“And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand” (Revelation 8:4).
God lets the saints know that he will win and that the godly will be avenged (Revelation 8:5-13; 19:17-20:3). They could fight on against their enemies and allow their faith to sustain them, bolstering their courage.
The message for us today is clear. Faith brings courage and resolve, knowing God will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). He is our conqueror and in him, we will always win (1 Corinthians 15:26).
1/ Leon Morris, Revelation (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), 105.