And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.…
No sooner has the vision of the Conqueror passed before the eye of the seer, than a darkening series in slow procession bring him from the contemplation of the source of the Church's comfort and hope to the scene of the Church's conflict, the earth. Herein is depicted the afflictions through which the Church should pass. Well was it that an assurance had been given of final triumph. Always from conditions of sorrow the Church could look back upon the great and comforting promises of redemption and triumph. The second, third, fourth, and fifth seal represent the sad truth that, in the great history of redemption, great and grievous sorrows would befall the faithful. It is a re-echo of the Lord's own words. "They shall deliver you up to councils; they shall scourge you," etc. Often has the little flock had to look back upon these words when torn by grievous wolves. Truly the kingdom of heaven is at times entered only through "much tribulation."
I. THE SUFFERING OF THE CHURCH ARISES FROM THE EXCITED ENMITY OF THE WORLD, THE SPIRIT OF WHICH IS CONDEMNED BY "THE WORD OF GOD AND THE TESTIMONY" HELD BY THE FAITHFUL.
II. THE SUFFERING OF THE CHURCH AT TIMES REACHES THE UTMOST DEGREE OF SEVERITY. "They were slain." Not only the earliest sufferers, but many also "their fellow-servants and their brethren." The Church in its conflict with the worldly power uses its own weapons of truth and righteousness; but the weapons in the hands of the enemies of the truth are carnal. It is the long story of bitter, painful, cruel, ungodly persecution.
III. THE SUFFERING OF THE CHURCH FROM THE EXCITED ENMITY OF THE WORLD MAKES ITS GREAT APPEAL TO THE LORD OF THE PATIENTLY ENDURING BELIEVERS. "How long, O Master?"
IV. BUT THE CHURCH'S SUFFERING HAS ITS LIMIT DEFINITELY MARKED. It is "yet for a little time." It is apt forever; but until their fellow servants and their brethren had finished their course.
V. THE SUFFERING OF THE CHURCH IS FINALLY REWARDED IN THE SPIRITUAL ELEVATION AND PURIFYING OF THEM THAT ENDURE. "There was given to each one a white robe."
VI. THUS THE CHURCH IN ALL AGES IS ENCOURAGED PATIENTLY TO SUFFER IN FAITH AND HOPE THE CRUEL PERSECUTION OF A WICKED WORLDLY POWER. - R.G.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.