are the beheaded martyrs in Revelation 20:4?
Rev. Roger Best
I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed
to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for
their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshipped
the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads
or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a
thousand years." (Revelation 20:4)
answers several questions. Who is beheaded? Clearly, believers alive
on the earth during the time Antichrist is reigning. When are they
beheaded? The text indicates that Antichrist's reign of terror begins
at the midpoint of Daniel's Seventieth Week and runs to the beginning
of the Day of the Lord. Why are they beheaded? Believers will be
challenged for their faith in Christ and their unwillingness to
it does not answer a very important question. Why are they resurrected
at the beginning of the millennium? Perhaps insight is given in
Revelation 6:9-11 concerning this question. The similarity between
the two groups of martyrs described in these two passages allow
the reader to conclude that the same group is described in both
is not possible to be dogmatic, the martyrs in the book of Revelation
appear to be special in that they refuse to submit to Antichrist's
demand for worship and are killed for it. The period beginning at
the midpoint of Daniel's Seventieth Week and running until the beginning
of the Day of the Lord/God's wrath will be the single most demanding
time in human history to be a follower of Christ. Those who are
faithful during this time, up to and including the giving of their
lives, will be honored by God. To die as a "beheaded martyr"
and be raised near the beginning of the millennial kingdom for all
to see would certainly be a great honor.
are particularly violent and ruthless which may in fact explain
why they are resurrected at the beginning of the millennial reign
of Christ. Revelation 6:11 indicates that God instructed the martyrs
to wait a little while longer for their deaths to be avenged on
those who dwell on the earth. God's vengeance against the earth
dwellers culminates with the battle of Armageddon that occurs at
the end of the 30-day reclamation period that follows the Seventieth
Week of Daniel.
these martyrs are resurrected after Armageddon very near the beginning
of the millennial kingdom. This is about as dogmatic as one is able
to be given what the text explicitly says.