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. (Revelation 6:9)
Killed For The Word Of God
Righteousness has always faced persecution. There is never a time in the history of mankind the conflict between right and wrong has not met on the battlefield of oppression. The character of evil must suppress the nature of goodness because it brings a sense of justification that if the righteous souls are taken away the immoral values are vindicated. It seems incredulous that a person can be killed only because of what they believe and hold dear. There is no justification for murder on any level but it becomes most heinous when a government sanctions the wholesale slaughter of thousands of citizens based upon what they believe. During the days of the Roman emperors Nero and Domitian, untold numbers of godly, law-abiding citizens and productive citizens of the Roman Empire were killed because they believed Jesus Christ was the Son of God. They had committed no crimes against society or led a rebellion against the government. For all practical purposes, those who were killed were ideal citizens with high moral codes who showed love for others, obeyed the laws of the land, and sought to live peaceful lives in a dark world. And they were killed for the word of God.
Ideology is a threat to those who believe their existence is threatened by a moral compass that does not align with the carnal nature of man. Christians were being martyred on the altars of hatred, prejudice, fear, and envy. The foundation of the New Testament church was built upon the needs of every man to make them a better person in character, personality, and individuality to change the community to be a place of prosperity and peace. Slaves were obedient to their masters and masters honored their slaves. Citizens subjected themselves to the laws of the land as long as those laws did not countermand the will of God. Families were places of love where the father guided the home with an eternal eye, mothers nurtured their children in the grace of the Lord and children were subject to their parents with respect and honor. Christians were the noblest in the workplace as they knew their master was Jesus Christ. Everything the New Testament church brought to the society was for the betterment and expanse for the peace of the nation.
The reality became a harsh and cruel testimony to the empire of Rome as it persecuted the noblest citizens of its realm. These were people who believed in the word of God and died defending their faith. They were willing to believe in a force larger than the brutal Roman sword. Nothing could dissuade their allegiance to a king greater than the Caesars. The faith of the early Christians is testimony to the will of righteous men and women accepting their deaths for the cause of Jesus Christ. It would be easy for some to deny their faith to spare their lives but their hearts would condemn them with eternal guilt. Dying for the word of God comes from a mind that knows that life is not about the here and now but the joy of what death can bring. To die for the word of God is to believe with all the heart the revealed message of Jesus Christ is an eternal reward. Nothing could change the minds of the faithful. So here is the question: are you willing to die for the word? Am I willing to die for the word?