The Martyr’s Seal


The Martyr’s Seal

April 1st, 1962 @ 10:50 AM

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Revelation 6:9-11

4-1-62    10:50 a.m.



On the radio you are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the 11:00 o’clock morning message entitled The Martyr’s Seal.  In our preaching through the Bible, we have come to the Revelation.  In our preaching through the Revelation, to chapter 6 and the opening of the fifth seal which is described in verses 9 through 11.  The reading of the text is this, Revelation 6:9-11:

And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 

And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

[Revelation 6:9-11]


This is a book of judgment.  The Old Testament describes the days of the law.  The New Testament describes the days in which we now live, the days of grace.  But Apocalypse is a revelation of the days of the visitation of the wrath and the judgments of God. 

The throne that John saw in heaven is a throne of judgment [Revelation 4:1-2].  In Revelation 4:5, “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices.”  This is the seat and the throne of the judgment of God.  The four cherubim who stand before God to administer His decrees and His judgment are instruments of the wrath of God upon this earth [Revelation 4:6].  They stand at each instance administering the decrees of God, and as they speak, there appears on the horizon of history, these four horsemen of the Apocalypse [Revelation 6:2-8].  And the four horsemen are themselves the instruments of judgment upon this earth.

 The first seal brings on the stage of human history, the first horseman who is the final and ultimate Antichrist.  The world receives him and acclaims him and welcomes him [Revelation 6:1-2].  And the opening of the second and the third and the fourth seals are the judgments of God that follow the acceptance of that tyrannical world dictator [Revelation 6:3-8].  The second seal brings out the second horseman who is red like blood.  Has a great sword in his hand and represents wars that scourge the earth [Revelation 6:3-4].  The third seal brings the third horseman, who is black; representing want and scarcity and famine that inevitably accompanies war [Revelation 6:5-6].  And the fourth seal brings forth the fourth horseman that is a ghastly greenish, ghoulish color; the color of the corpse in death [Revelation 6:7-8].  The sixth seal is the seal of the judgment day of God, when the heavens are rolled back like a scroll; when the great men of the earth cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall upon them, when the great day of God’s wrath is come [Revelation 6:12-17].  And the seventh seal, of course, is the seven trumpets of the judgment of God [Revelation 8:1-2]; and the seventh trumpet is the seven bowls of the final wrath [Revelation 16:1], the last plagues of the Almighty [Revelation 16:2-20]

The book is a book of judgment from beginning to end and this fifth seal is no different; it is a seal of judgment [Revelation 6:9-11].  These who are martyred have born witness to the visitation to the wrath of God and in their disembodied state in heaven.  As souls they cry for that day of vengeance and visitation, the consummation of God’s judgment in the earth [Revelation 6:9-11].  All of this book, all of these seals, all of these trumpets, all of these bowls of wrath; the whole book is a book of the final judgment of God upon this earth. 

Now this seal is different from the rest of the seven, in that you do not see here the action of the thing itself, but you see the result of the action, the result of what has happened.  Heretofore and hereafter, as a seal is broken or a trumpet blown or a vial poured out, there across the stage of human history you will see the thing develop; what happens.  But not here; this is a picture of the result of what has happened.  He sees under the altar, the souls of those who have already been slain [Revelation 6:9].  And back of those souls that are slain, you can see—though it is undepicted and undescribed—you can see the blood, and the fury, and the fire of the awful persecution, the bloodbath in which they lost their lives [Revelation 6:10-11]. 

Who are these martyrs whose souls John sees under the altar of heaven? [Revelation 6:9].  Who are they?  They are not the martyrs of all times—the saints of God of all ages who have lost their lives in days past—because their murderers are still living upon the earth.  As they cry to God, they say, “O Lord, how long dost Thou not avenge our blood on them that are dwelling on the earth?” [Revelation 6:10].  So these martyrs are a special group and their murderers still live in the earth.  Another thing: they are not the souls of those who have been martyred through all the years and the millenniums because, in the fourth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, John sees the four and twenty elders around the throne of God, and these four and twenty elders represent God’s saints of all ages who are resurrected, who are clothed, who are crowned, who are in the presence of the Almighty [Revelation 4:4, 10-11]. 

Well, who are these who have lost their lives and who cry unto God for vengeance? [Revelation 6:10].  Well, these are the martyrs who have lost their lives under those first four seals in the first half of the tribulation [Revelation 6:1-7].  And the other martyrs of the tribulation, in the last half, are referred to when God says to these, “You rest for a while, until these other martyrs that are to be slain are slain” [Revelation 6:11], these who are slain in the last half of the tribulation [Revelation 14:13].  And at the end of the tribulation and at the beginning of the millennium, in Revelation 20 and verse 4, you will find all of the martyrs standing in the presence of God and preparing to enter into that millennial kingdom where they reign with the Lord for a thousand years [Revelation 20:4].  So these are they who have lost their lives under those terrible blood baths of the opening of the first four seals. 

Now John says, “I saw them under the altar” [Revelation 6:9].  That is an unusual thing; but the whole book is an unusual thing.  The Book of Hebrews describes the heavenly tabernacle, the heaven temple.  And the Book of Hebrews says what Exodus says: that Moses saw the pattern of that tabernacle, that temple, the form of it in heaven, and he made a material copy of it down here in the earth [Exodus 25:9; Hebrews 8:5].  So the heaven that God now has, where the Lord now dwells, that heaven has a temple.  In the eleventh chapter of the Revelation, John sees the temple of God in heaven—the pattern of which was given to Moses, who made a material copy in the earth.  Therefore, it has an altar [Revelation 11:1] and you will find both altars described in the Book of the Revelation.  There is the altar of brass, which is the altar of sacrifice, mentioned several times in the Revelation.  And there is the altar of gold [Exodus 39:38-39], which is the altar of burnt incense and prayer, which is mentioned several times in the Revelation [Revelation 8:3-5, 9-13].  Now this altar is the altar of sacrifice [Revelation 11:1]—the brazen altar that stood in the courtyard of the tabernacle and of the temple [Exodus 38:30, 39:30]

It is a most unusual thing how the Word of God always presents the devotion of the lives of His children that are sacrificed unto God.  All through the book it is presented that on the altar of God—this one in heaven—the saints are sacrificed who are martyred, who lay down their lives for God, they are sacrificed unto the Lord.  And they are looked upon as sacrifices unto God. 

You will find that idea all through the Scriptures.  For example, in Romans 12:1, Paul exhorts us to offer our lives a living sacrifice on the altar of God.  In the passage that Brother Carter led us to read this morning, Paul says, “For I am now ready to be offered” [2 Timothy 4:6].  And that’s a sacrificial word.  As he looks forward to his soon and immediate martyrdom, he looks upon it as a sacrifice unto God on the altar of heaven.  And that is the way God looked upon all of His children who pour out their lives unto Him.  And it is in that devotion and in that degree that we are to live and to work and to serve our Lord God Almighty.  If it is pleasing to Him that the sacrifice be a living sacrifice, wonderful and well; but if it is pleasing to God in the elective purpose of God, that the sacrifice be one in death, then whether death, whether life, we are to offer our lives unto God [Romans 14:7-8]. 

I read of a young fellow in the years ago, after David Livingstone had opened up the heart of Africa, I read of a young man in England, who offered his life to go as a missionary in the jungles of Africa.  But the doctor said to the young fellow, “You cannot go.  You are sickly and anemic and you are not physically able to go.”  But the young fellow said, “In every bridge, underneath in the foundations unseen, there are stones embedded in the earth, without which the bridge could not stand.  So,” said the young fellow, “there are lives that are unknown, that are sacrificed unto God, and it is upon this devotion and this consecration that God’s great kingdom and temple is built.  And I am going.  And if I am one of those stones buried in the earth and unknown and unseen, that is in the elective purpose of God.  I am called.  I go.”  He went.  And in keeping with the judgment of the physician, he soon died in that hot, equatorial jungle.  That is in the will of God; God does not need us to live.  If God chooses us to die, that is in His purpose, and in His decree, in His plan, in His elective choice for us.  Our part is to offer our lives on the sacrificial altar of God.  And if it is here to live, if it is there to die, if it is here to stay, if it is yonder to go, that lies in the elective purpose of God; our part is to offer our lives unto Him.  It is a tremendous conception, “I saw under the altar” [Revelation 6:9].  There is an altar of God in heaven.  And all through the Scriptures that idea is presented, that on that altar God’s people are sacrificed unto Him. 

Now he says, “I saw these souls under the altar” [Revelation 6:9].  Had the text said they were on the altar, it would be in the holocaust itself, in the action itself, in the burning itself.  But when he says, “I see these souls underneath the altar” [Revelation 6:7] the sacrifice has already been made, the action is already past, the life has already been poured out.  And under the altar—as in Leviticus, the blood is poured out at the base of the altar [Leviticus 4:34]—under the altar, the sacrifice has already been made.  And in keeping with another glorious symbolism of the word of God, they are at rest, they are at peace under the protecting sheltering care of Christ [Revelation 6:11].  For the altar is always our Lord Christ.  And under His wings, and in His shepherdly care, protected from evil and judgment and wrath, there they rest for a while, under the keeping care of Jesus. 

Now why were they slain, these martyrs?  It says here that they were slain [Revelation 6:9], and that word “slain,” sphazō, is the word for the sacrificial altar: the sacrifice, “slain.”  There is a Greek word for that slaying, that cutting, that terrible slaughter: sphazō.  They were slain.  They were sacrifices, looked upon—to the world they were destroyed—but to God, they were offered as a sacrifice unto Him [Revelation 12:11, 20:4].  They gave their lives for the Lord and the Lord looked upon them as His; they are His martyrs.  And why were they slain?  They were slain “for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held” [Revelation 6:9].  The truth of God always brings opposition and turbulence, and many times destruction of those who deliver it. 

They were slain for the word of God.  They were slain for the testimony which they held [Revelation 1:9]; there’s just a little difference there.  In Revelation 1:9, it is said of John that he “was exiled to Patmos because of the word of God, and because of the testimony of Jesus Christ” [Revelation 1:9].  But these are slain “because of the word of God and because of the testimony which they held” [Revelation 6:9].  Well, what could that be?  It was a little different here: John, “for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus” [Revelation 1:9].  But these are slain “because of the word of God, and the testimony which they held” [Revelation 6:9].  Well, it is very apparent what that was.  They are living in the days of the visitation of the judgment and the wrath of Almighty God, and they were saying that these things that were happening were happening because they were the judgments of God.  Of course, to the world, “Why, these things just happen.”  Just like today, “These things just happen.”  But to a prophet of God, the great trouble that America faces is because of the sins of America and our country is getting more debauched every day. 

We have a little grandson at our house, two and one-half years old.  He goes around the house now with little pieces of paper, and a spoon, or a little gadget that he’s played with in his playroom, and that is his cigarette.  He is two and one-half years old,  two and one-half years old.  He sits there and he looks at that television by the hours; a small baby.  And you can imagine the kind of an America that we are shaping, when day and night and hour by hour, they see the blood, and the slaughter, and the crime, and the unspeakable iniquity that characterizes what they think is the life of America.  And to show you that I am not speaking of that just as a preacher, there are men in the State Department who come back from their post overseas and say that the image and the picture that the world sees of America in its screen and in its television programs caricatures the real life and the real meaning of our people.  And don’t you ever think that that image finally will not come to be the actual life of our American people! 

Now when we live in fear and in anxiety, I don’t think there is any doubt but the day is coming, you don’t build bombs and not use them, you don’t invent jet propelled planes and not use them, and you don’t invent gas, and you don’t invent lethal rays, and you don’t invent hydrogen bombs and not use them.  The prophecy was made that in the atomic bomb, if the atomic fission is ever invented, it would first be used in a bomb, and that thing came to pass precisely.  These things to the world are just “happen-sos,” but to the prophet of God, they are the visitations of the judgment of the Almighty.  And if the day comes when bombs rain down upon the cities of America, the worldly men will say, “This is just a happen-so.”   But the prophet of God will say, “This is a visitation of the judgment of the wrath of the Almighty.”

Now that is what happened here: they are in the great tribulation.  They are in the horrible holocaust of that final wrath and judgment of God.  And these sainted prophets are saying what is happening to us, the blood and the slaughter; what is happening to us is our—the penalty, the judgment of God upon our drunkenness, and upon our debauchery, and upon our iniquity, and upon our blasphemy, and upon our worldliness, and upon our crass, cheap materialism.  Upon the decadence of our lives, this is the judgment of Almighty God.  And they don’t like to hear it; they don’t like to hear it. 

And the restraining power of God that we feel today [2 Thessalonians 2:7] has been taken out of the earth, and they are mercilessly slaughtered and massacred.  These are the martyrs who cry unto God [Revelation 6:9-10]. 

Before I leave that, may I make an observation to you?  Wherever there is a true prophet of God here in this Book, he will preach that way.  Wherever there is one that appears, that’s what he will say.  These modern so-called ministers of God, they stand in their plush pulpits, and they speak all things nice.  And in these theological seminaries, they are taught never to mention the negative side of a thing, “Ignore it and it won’t exist.  There’s not any hell and there’s not any devil.”  I don’t know whether you will find—I don’t know whether there are theologians today who believe in hell and who believe in the judgment of God, and who believe in a personal devil.  All of that now is intellectually passé, we have evolved beyond that.  Way back yonder, they may have had a hell; and way back yonder, they may have spoken of a devil; and way back yonder they may have presented the wrath and the judgment of God; but in our sophisticated day, we do not do things like that.  So we stand up and we speak of the love of Jesus; and we speak of peace; and we speak of all things pretty and beautiful.”

But these other things are as real, and the same Book that tells us about the good, tells us about the bad.  And the same revelation that speaks of heaven, speaks of hell.  And the same Bible that presents to us the Lord Jesus Savior is the same Bible that presents to us the devil, our archangel and enemy, and our adversary of damnation and destruction.  And the two go together; if there is not anything to be saved from, we don’t need a Savior, “And if we can evolve into angels, just give us time and maybe we will be archangels some of these days.”

No, the observation I started to make was this: wherever in this Bible you find a true prophet of God standing up, that will be his message—that unless you repent and unless you get right with God and unless you turn, there is coming down upon us a judgment and a visitation from the Almighty.  And there is no exception to that.  For example, when Samuel, a little boy—when Samuel, a little boy, was standing up as a child to deliver his first message from God, it was a message of judgment upon the house of Eli because of the sins of his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, whom he did not rebuke [1 Samuel 3:10-18].  That was the first message of Samuel.  When Isaiah came and delivered his message, it was, that because of the sins of Judah, they should be carried away into Babylon and the temple should be destroyed and Jerusalem should be destroyed and the nation should be destroyed [Isaiah 39:6].  And when Jeremiah came to preach, they put him in stocks and they put him in chains and they put him in a miry pit because he predicted the destruction of the armies of Israel and the destruction of the temple and of the nation [Jeremiah 38:1-6]; and they don’t like to hear those things. 

We love to hear things beautiful and things encouraging and things fine.  Let’s be positive.  Let’s don’t speak of these other things.  But they are things that God speaks of!  God says them.  Did you ever notice?  These modern pedagogues say, “Let’s teach our children always the positive side and never the negative.”  [Do] you ever look at it?  All Ten Commandments are, “Thou shalt” what?  “Thou shalt—n-o-t—not” [Exodus 20:1-17].  And when we get smarter than God, you are going to raise up a family and a generation of children that are on the road to the damnation of judgment, and you cannot escape it.  It is God that put this world together, and the Lord had a whole lot of “Thou shalt nots.”  And yet, we are not to teach our children “Thou shalt not.”  Why, that gives them inferiority complexes.  That mixes up their personalities.  That does all kinds of things to them.  But God says “Thou shalt not!” [Exodus 20:3-17].  And when the child does the thing he shall not do, God says get him and give him a marvelous encouragement way down there where it will help a lot.  Pat him on the back, way down low.  That’s what God says.  That’s what God says.  And if we will raise our children according to the Book, and not according to this newfangled pedagogical science that sends our children to destruction—if you will raise them according to the Book of God, you will have a new generation and a new family.  Why this thing of the recalcitrance and rebellion of juveniles is beyond anything that the world ever saw, and it comes from that kind of an approach. 

Now I was saying—I don’t think I am ever going to get it said—I was saying that these true prophets of God all the way through, they are every one alike.  When Jonah will enter Nineveh, he will lift up his voice and say, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh will be destroyed” [Jonah 3:4].  It is the prophecy of the judgment of the Almighty God.  And when Jesus gave His great apocalyptic discourses that’s what He said.  He said these days are coming, that if it were not for God’s graciousness, even the elect would be deceived and would be lost [Matthew 24:22-24] . . . wars and rumors of wars [Matthew 24:6-7], floods, and earthquakes, and the stars falling out of their sockets in the sky [Matthew 24:29].  And when Paul wrote his 2 Timothy, his last letter, he said perilous times are coming [2 Timothy 3:1].  And when he spoke to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20, he said, “After I am gone, after my departure, shall grievous wolves enter in, not sparing the flock, destroying God’s people” [Acts 20:29].  They are all alike; they are all alike.  When a true man of God gets up to preach, if he is the true man of God, he will warn, and he will threaten, and he will speak of the judgment day of the Almighty God.  Some day we shall all stand before Him [2 Corinthians 5:10]—some day, some day. 

Well, to conclude: “and they cry unto the Lord” [Revelation 6:10], the only place in the Revelation, you have it translated here “Lord,” the only place where this term is used, translated here “Lord,” the only place where it is used is right here: o, or the Greek ho, hoho despotēs.  Now you have it in English, “despot,” ho despotēs; I presume best way to translate that, “O Sovereign Ruler.”  See, it’s the scene of judgment: “O Sovereign Ruler, how long, how long?  Holy and true, these promises You have made, true?  “How long dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” [Revelation 6:10].  That is the same thing that John the Baptist asked in the eleventh chapter of the First Gospel, when he sent to Jesus: “I can see, Lord, the ministry of good and healing and helpfulness, but where is that Messiah who lays the ax at the root of the tree?  Where is that Messiah that brings fire and judgment upon the earth?  Where is He?  Are we to look for another One?  Is there still another Messiah?” [Matthew 11:3].  Well, of course, he did not understand the first time the Lord comes, it is as a sacrifice for our sins on the cross [Isaiah 53:2-5].  The next time He comes, it is in judgment against those who refuse His mercy, who blaspheme His name, and who turn aside from His gracious appeal [Ezekiel 33:11].  “Lord, when is that day going to be?  When is that day of judgment and visitation and consummation?  When is that day going to be, Lord, when?  How long?  How long?” [Revelation 6:10].

Now look at the answer of the Lord: He deigns to listen to His children.  He listens to us in this life, He listens to us in the life to come.  First of all, there was given unto them hekastos, each one.  Isn’t that a magnificent thing?  God doesn’t treat us by gobs and by gangs and by oceans full.  Each one: to each one there was given a white robe [Revelation 6:11].  Now I don’t think a spirit can wear a white robe.  I think that is an earnest, it is a pledge of the resurrection which is soon coming—just soon.  There was given to them the promise that they should have this beautiful garment of the Lord: manifest righteousness, the glory of what God can do with a life that is devoted unto Him.  And then God said to them, “Yet”—they are already at rest.  When we go to heaven, we are not melancholy fugitives.  They rest, asleep in the Lord, the body resting with the Lord in heaven.  “Rest yet for a little while, a little season, until thy fellow servants and thy brethren, that are to be killed are killed” [Revelation 6:11].  Now you look at that.  They are martyred and they have lost their lives in blood.  And you know, many, many times, we are of the persuasion that, well, when we are gone, why, that is the end of the witness of Christ.  No, He always has His testifiers, His witnesses, His prophets, His preachers in the earth—always!  There is never a time when God does not have His true servant in the earth.  And he will be speaking, and he will be preaching, and he will be declaring the Word of the Lord. And when these who are martyred and are in heaven, God says, “Down there in that bloody earth, there are others of thy fellow servants and thy brethren who are speaking of the truth of God and bearing witness to the truth of the Almighty, and they are to be killed” [Revelation 6:11].  Now isn’t that a something?  Isn’t that strange? 

There it is: God has got His book, could I say [Psalm 69:28].  And in His book are all these that are going to be martyred.  And the list reads down to here [Revelation 6:9-11].  But it does not stop there in the book of God.  From there, where it is happened here, from there at this time, God’s list goes on down.  And God doesn’t bring that final consummation until that last martyr has been slain [Revelation 6:11].  What an unusual thing; what an unusual thing, that God holds all of this in His hand.  And the blood, and the fire, and the fury, and the furor, and the holocaust, and the visitation, and the suffering, and the offering of the life of God’s people, all of it is in His plan.  I don’t understand why.  Why doesn’t God do all this without the suffering of His people?  Why martyrs, and why their blood?  And why this suffering?  I don’t know.  There is a—there is a mystery of evil that is known but to God [2 Thessalonians 2:7].  You can take evil back, back: here it is in the father and the mother, and I got it from them.  And there the grandparents and they got it from them.  And there and there and there and you trace it on back and you finally come to Adam [Romans 5:12].  And then where does it come from in Adam?  It came from Lucifer [Genesis 3:1-6], who fell out of heaven because he rebelled against God [Isaiah 14:12]. 

Well then, Lord, why did You make Lucifer? [Ezekiel 28:15].  And why did You create a being capable of evil? [Isaiah 14:12-14].  And why did You create Adam and Eve capable of listening and falling? [Genesis 2:17].  There is a mystery of evil that we cannot understand [Romans 11:32-34, 2 Thessalonians 2:7].  Our minds finite, circumscribed, limited, our minds cannot enter into that question.  There is no solution for it, ever, or ever will be in this time in life.  We just read it.  We just see it.  We just know it.  And in the providence of God, and in the life and choice of the Almighty, it is decreed that we shall suffer [John 16:33; 1 Peter 4:16, 5:10].  That is a part of the fabric of this life.  And when you find that judgment in your own life and you go through the deep valleys and you see it—and you weep by the side of those who weep, and you stand by the side of open graves, and the sentence finally comes in your own heart and you agonize in pain and in the sleepless night—that is a part of the inexplicable mystery of how God is purging this earth.  That’s why the Revelation.  God is purging this earth, and He is bringing in His righteous kingdom; and He is bringing in that great and final consummation of a new earth and a new heaven and a new people [Revelation 21:1-3].  And how does He do it?  He does it in blood, and in suffering, and in fire, and in smoke.  And that’s the way.  Here it is in the Book: these martyrs, up to here [Revelation 6:9-10].  And then God says, “But there are others” [Revelation 6:11].  There are others.  And when that last one, when that last one has laid down his life, then when that’s fulfilled, the great consummation shall come [Revelation 6:11].

Now I have a brief comment to make, and listen for just one moment more as I make it.  Isn’t it impressive, isn’t it startlingly so?  What are these disembodied spirits? [Revelation 6:9].  And by the way, my next sermon, when it is delivered—and I have been turning over in my heart when I shall turn aside from this series in the Revelation in order to preach for our revival meeting and to get ready for these revival services.  And I have just about decided we shall turn to that revival this coming Sunday, because our meeting begins on Wednesday night.  But the next time I preach from this text, it is going to be on the sermon announced in your program this morning: The Intermediate State [Luke 16:25-26].  There is a time between when we die and when we are resurrected from the dead, that intermediate state.  Where do we go when we die?  And how is it when we die?  And what about the wicked when they die?  There is an intermediate state; there is a time of disembodiment between the day when we die and the day when the Lord comes to speak the resurrection, and when resurrected body and spirit are joined once again [John 5:28].  There is no such thing in the Word of God as the Lord being happy without corporeality.  Oh, I have got to stop.  I cannot go into these things.  God hates a disembodiment like nature hates a vacuum [2 Corinthians 5:4].  God created this corporeality.  God created this body.  God made you just like He made the spirit that lives on in the inside of you [1 Thessalonians 5:23].  And it is a restless and an unfinished work until the body and the soul are reunited and redeemed; the body and soul, the whole purchased possession in glory [Ephesians 1:14].  Well, that is this next sermon; the disembodied state, the intermediate state, between the time when we die and the time when we are resurrected. 

Now this is my comment: isn’t it a startling thing, that whether they are disembodied and in heaven, or whether we are here in the flesh and in this weary world—that whether it is they in glory, or whether it is we in this earth, we are taught to pray, “Lord, O God in heaven, Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done” [Matthew 6:9-10].  Lord, when will You cast out evil?  When will death be no more?  When will the usurper, Satan, be destroyed?  When will the righteous be vindicated?  Lord, when will our new kingdom be given to Thy saints?  Lord, when?  How long?  How long? [Revelation 6:10].

And the Lord replies, “In a little while” [Revelation 6:11] , in a little while, just a little while.  And while we are waiting, of course, it seems long.  But it isn’t.  But it isn’t.  Just a little while, just a little while.  “And He that cometh will come and will not tarry” [Hebrews 10:37].  In just a little while, God shall vindicate His people.  In just a little while, sin and death will be cast out, in just a little while, even Hades, the intermediate state, will be destroyed [Revelation 20:14].  In just a little while, we shall see our Savior; we shall be resurrected and glorified [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].  We shall find our place in His presence.  We shall live with God’s people in glory, “in a little while,” in a little while [John 16:16].  And that is their prayer—as it is ours.  “O Lord, that Thy kingdom might come” and that God’s will might be done in this sin-cursed earth as it is done in God’s beautiful heaven [Matthew 6:9-10]

Well, we must close.  One good thing about glory, if I can get anybody to listen to me, just not going to stop; just going on, just going on.  And you can listen to me for the first years and then go off on another planet and see how things are over there.  But I want you to come back because I’m not done.  I want you to come back.  Ah, the depths of the riches of the grace and goodness of God toward us!  [Romans 11:33].

Now while we sing our song, on the first note of its first stanza, while we sing our song, somebody you give your heart to Jesus [Romans 10:8-13].  Put your life in our church [Hebrews 10:24-25]; a family you, a couple you, a youth or a child, as God shall say the word and open the door, make it now, come this morning; while we stand and while we sing.