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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:

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

6:9 under the altar the souls. Like the blood of the sacrifices under the ancient altar in the tabernacle (Leviticus 4:18), the souls of those new believers slain in these early years of the tribulation are seen as under the altar in the heavenly tabernacle (Hebrews 9:2-9).

6:9 slain for the word of God. Even though all believers will have been removed from the earth before the unleashing of these divine judgments on earth, there will still be an abundance of silent witness. Remaining on earth will be Bibles, Christian literature, Christian films and tapes, etc., as well as the eternal witness in creation and conscience, plus the testimony of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-7), and the 144,000 sealed Israelites (Revelation 7:1-8). “When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9).

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