“I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement” (Rev. 17:6).
In our previous message we saw the spiritual significance of martyrdom. A martyr is one who loses their lower life (soul) to gain their higher life (Christ). We saw that the Greek word for martyr is ‘martus’ which means ‘witness’. Thus, martyrs are those who through the slaying of their soul bear witness to the manifestation of Christ in their being. To witness to the truth is to give your life to the truth, to thus become the truth. Therefore, these don’t just bear witness but become the very witness in their very being.
What a glorious testimony to be a martyr of Jesus. Yet this is neither for temporal praise nor the cheap admonition of men but to attain to greatness in the Kingdom so that we could be positioned to advance the Lord’s plan for the ages, to proclaim the everlasting gospel of the ages and to redeem all of creation from its bondage into God’s fold. The martyrs’ mark of distinction is the very condition of their soul; it is slain. Through its death, they have cut all ties with the woman, the beast and his image. Thus ‘the martyrs of Jesus’ are a distinct company from those saints who congregate in the religious church system of our day.
Our initial text reads: “I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17:6). Some may justifiably view that the drinking of the blood of the martyrs as signifying their killing by the Babylonish system. Thus, we read that they “have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink” (Rev. 16:6). Over the course of history the earth has been stained by the blood of the martyrs of Christ. Countless are the witnesses who have been labeled as heretics and put to death by the religious system of man. From the well know persecutions of the Roman Papacy, the Inquisition and the Reformation to various killings enacted in times past and now throughout the earth, much wrongdoing has been committed by religion against those professing the fresh word of God to their generation.
Yet, many more have been slain, metaphorically speaking, by Mystery Babylon. Today, many sons who have severed ties with the Babylonish system and who expose her adulterations have been excommunicated, rejected, criticized, denounced, discredited, cut off, and detested by her and the harlots she mothers (Rev. 17:5). This is the fulfilment in our age of what God declared saying: “I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute, that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple.” (Luke 11:49-51). Babylon pronounces damnation on those who do not worship the image of the beast or receive its mark. Those who reject her doctrines, challenge her methods and denounce her religious forms are considered heretics.
Here, I would like to point you to an important truth which is the means by which these martyrs have their soul slain. John tells us specifically that it was by beheading. “The souls of those who had been BEHEADED for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God” (Rev. 20:4). The martyrs of Jesus are beheaded; they have their heads cut off. Self is no longer the head. The self-will of the Adamic nature has been severed and no longer governs their desires and emotions. The carnal mind has been decapitated from ruling their thoughts and actions. These have been delivered from the headship of man and are coming under the true Headship of Christ.
A popular interpretation of this section of scripture claims that Mystery Babylon is a future one-world religion and that those who are beheaded (literally) are believers alive on the earth during the time of the Antichrist’s reign. If this impeding event is to occur, is it not strange that all are beheaded and not killed by other means?
However, such a view is contrary to what we read in scripture. In Revelation 6:9, as the fifth seal is opened, John sees: “under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.” The word used in the original Greek for ‘for’ is ‘dia’ which means ‘by’ or ‘by the means of’. It denotes the means or method of an act. Therefore, the text should read “under the altar the souls of those who had been slain BY the word of God and BY the testimony which they held.” Their souls are neither slain by the Antichrist, nor by the carnal governments, nor by any man or external entity. They are slain by the word of God. Carnal men cannot slay carnal Adam. We are talking of spiritual realities here.
The word of God and the very testimony of the martyrs is the means or weapon by which the soul life is slain. I’m sure it’s clear to all that: “the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit” (Heb. 4:12). This is not the mere letter of the word but the word that is quickened by Spirit that comes forth from the very mouth of God to subdue and kill all that is of the self-life. No wonder then that John saw one like the Son of Man from whose mouth went a sharp two-edged sword (Rev. 1:16). The revelation of the word is not just knowledge; it is the very impartation of the logos of God: Christ Jesus who comes riding on a fiery red horse wielding a mighty sword on our earth (Rev. 6:4). Thus Jesus came not to bring peace but a sword (Matt. 10:34). Praise God for the sword! This sword of the word slays. It severs the head of Adam. It is the very preeminence of Christ from within our spirit that weakens and kills the soul and all its fleshly desires. Yet it is true that as His inward work of the sword takes effect, our Father will take us through a wilderness of testing and proving that we may experientially walk out the new life He is bringing forth.
Quickly returning to our initial idea, our text reads that the harlot was drunk with the blood of these martyrs. If we agree that the blood signifies life, a question follows: how is it then that this woman can get drunk by the blood of those who have been consecrated and whose souls have been slain?
The fact of the matter is that the same experience can produce different effects in different people. Consider the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. While His words imparted life to the disciples it further bound the Pharisees to a dying order. While Peter testified: “you have the words of eternal life”, the Pharisees and Sadducees who partook of the same ministry accused Him of blasphemy and of ministering by Beelzebub. The Pharisees and Sadducees are indeed emblematic of the spiritual drunkenness of Babylon. Can we not see then that the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus reinforced their drunken condition instead of liberating them?
It’s no different today, the word of this new Day of the Kingdom that is being proclaimed is being received with great joy among those who have been sobered and awakened. But for those bound to Babylon, our message is further hardening them. As they defend, protect and guard the harlot’s doctrines and programs, they continue to pay homage to her and continue to sip of her wine further filling her intoxication.
Notice what the word says: “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life” (2 Cor. 2:15-16). The same fragrance of Christ produces life in one and death in another. While it sobers one, it keeps another drunk. Jesus knowing this used many a parable to relay the message of the kingdom so that “seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn and their sins be forgiven them” (Mar. 4:11). Simply, it was to keep them drunk until their appointed time.
This was also the commission of Isaiah, to “make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed” (Isa. 6:10). Today, we share in the same ministry, for we will continue to proclaim the full gospel of the Kingdom and to raise a banner against the perversion and lies of Mystery Babylon. This will continue until the full measure of her drunkenness fills to the brim and until the number of those apprehended, who would be killed like the martyrs, is completed (Rev. 6:11).
Glory and dominion be to God our Father!
To be continued…