Under the guidance of the Spirit, Stephen gives eloquent and effective testimony to the leaders of Israel.

Early on, the church experienced conflicts between its Greek and Aramaic-speaking members. The apostles instructed the community to select seven men “full of the Spirit and wisdom” to take charge of the matter. One of the seven chosen men was Stephen, and Acts notes especially that he was “full of faith and the Spirit.”

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Jesus is the Faithful Witness who summons his disciples to emulate his example by themselves bearing faithful witness in a hostile world.

Two themes are repeated in the book of Revelation – “witness” and “overcoming,” and they are closely related. Beginning with Jesus and his own witness in his death, his followers must persevere in his “testimony,” and in this way, they “overcome” and one day will emerge victorious in the city of “New Jerusalem.” They are called to “overcome, even as I overcame.”

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The complete destruction of Babylon, especially her economic power is God’s response to her persecution of the “saints” Revelation 18:9-24.

Next, Revelation presents the detailed description of the destruction of the “Great City,” and the justification for this action. In part, her demise is caused by the hatred of the “ten kings” that are allied with the “Beast” and driven by God to desolate and “burn her utterly with fire” for her dominance of world commerce and her “sorcery.”

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Babylon is revealed as a bejeweled harlot dripping with the shed blood of martyred saintsRevelation 17:1-6.

In chapter 17, Revelation presents the impressive figure of “Babylon.” She is labeled “harlot” and identified as the “great city,” and she is responsible for the deaths of the martyrs. “Babylon” is also closely associated with the deceptions and economic power of the “Beast.” In her, the book’s first audience would see the city of Rome.

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The fifth seal revealed the souls of martyrs kept underneath the altar where they pleaded with God for vindication and justiceRevelation 6:9-11.

The opening of the fifth seal reveals the souls of the martyrs “underneath” the altar. There, they plead with God for vindication for what they have endured at the hands of their enemies. But they are told to wait for justice until the complete number of their “fellow servants” who are to be slain, “just as they,” are gathered to join them.

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