And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying to me, Come here…
I. WHAT DO THE "MARTYRS OF JESUS" TEACH US ABOUT THEMSELVES?
1. Their heroic faith. They had unswerving reliance in Christ, and knew they were not following cunningly devised fables. These martyrs had not simply an opinion or impression, but a deep belief; they were resting upon evidence which they felt to be sufficient and immovable. They believed in living, risen, and reigning Lord.
2. Their sublime hope. All they could see seemed to be against them, all their surroundings were calculated to depress them; but they looked not at things seen and temporal, but for aa inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.
3. Their ardent love. They loved their country, home, and friends; but they loved their Master more, and they were prepared to relinquish all for the love they bore to Him.
4. Their complete obedience. They had their marching orders, and they marched on under the Great Captain of their salvation, to do and dare and die. They reciprocated His love.
5. Their transparent sincerity.
6. Their restful satisfaction. They felt they had not only sufficient, but satisfactory evidence of the truth as it is in Jesus. They found in Him all they needed to satisfy the wishes and wants of their spirits, so nothing could move them or shake their steadfastness.
II. WHAT DO "THE MARTYRS OF JESUS" TEACH US RESPECTING HIM?
1. He could have been no myth. These martyrs were — as the word literally means — witnesses, not inventors, or historians merely, they had the evidence of their senses as well as the experience of their hearts. From what we know of human nature, we feel it would have been impossible for the early Christians to have died for a myth or phantom: they were in a position to test most fully the historic claims of Christ, and to prove His personality and identity at the various points of His mission and ministry.
2. He could not have been a deceiver. Men may submit to be deluded when they have much to gain and nothing to lose; but when it is the reverse they will exercise the utmost vigilance and practise the strictest caution.
3. How faithful Christ was to His promise never to leave nor forsake them, and they witness to the victorious power of His religion to sustain the soul in the most trying circumstances, in torturing pain, and the dying hour.
4. The impotence of error and the omnipotence of truth. Truth is mighty, and must prevail; more is for it than all that can be against it. Error, in its rage and cowardice, has drawn the sword and gone forth to win its way, and strike terror into the hearts of the true. But the prospect of massacre and martyrdom could not deter the true followers of the Lamb: they have gone forth feeling that the Lord of hosts was with them, and that the mighty God of Jacob was their refuge. The King Immortal, Invisible, steers and guards His own ark, and all shall ultimately and utterly fail and fall who lay their unholy alien hands upon it. The noble army of martyrs praise God, and they preach to us.
(F. W. Brown.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: