Upon reading through the New-Testament book of Revelation, one comes to the following disturbing verse:
Revelation 13:7 (RSV) Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation...
Other Bible versions render the passage as follows:
Revelation 13:7 (JPS, KJ21) And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
The passage relates to the Old-Testament record of:
Daniel 7:19 Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was different from all the others,
exceedingly terrible, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze; and which devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet;
20 and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up and before which three of them fell, the horn which had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and which seemed greater than the others.
21 As I looked, this horn made war with [that is: against] the saints, and prevailed over them,
22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints received the kingdom.
23 Thus he said: "As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24 As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings.
25 He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, two times, and half a time.
26 But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
27 And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them."
28 Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed; but I kept the matter in my mind.
The same Spirit who inspired Daniel to prophetically foresee the above prediction which 'alarmed him,' inspired the revelator Saint John to elaborate on what appears to be a similar or identical future occurrence:
Revelation 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
3 And I saw that one of his heads was, as it were, wounded to death, but his deadly wound was healed. And all the world wondered after the beast.
4 And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war against him?"
5 And there was given to the beast a mouth, speaking great things and blasphemies, and power was given to him to continue forty and two months.
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and those who reside in Heaven.
7 And it was given to him to make war against the saints and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that reside on earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world.
9 If any man have an ear, let him hear:
10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity. He that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
The last part of the last verse quoted above (i.e. Revelation 13:10) is intriguing, and might infer an assortment of diverse possibilities.
The sentence: "Here is the patience and the faith of the saints" could imply that the alluded-to 'saints' should accomodate in patience to either the predicted persecution of imprisonment as long as they are in such captivity, or maintain their faith in patience until they are killed for their against-the-beast non-compliance.
Such saints will probably be mis-called "unlawful, traitors, non-patriotic, subversives, trouble-makers, insurrectionists, self-appointed subversives, rejects, non-trustworthy, wackos, nutjobs," and other derogatory names by the media and others of that time. However, Scripture describes them as follows:
Revelation 17:14 These shall make war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
In other words, upon further contemplation and speculation which can legitimately and logically be done concerning (and not regarding) the two different possible paths of persecution which certain devout-Christian activist or crusading elect saints might take are:
(1) experience [mental-asylum?] incarceration for the sake of their testimony, or
(2) be killed (which could be further defined as murdered [if killed for injust causes], or instead executed [if committed, rather than "performed," in alleged due-process so-called "legality" for engaging in violent actions taken in opposition against the temporary tyrannous worldwide rule of the aforementioned 'beast.']
If a typical common-sense person stopped reading the Revelation account with that phrase: "Here is the patient and the faith of the saints," in view of the previous mention of: "...it was given to him to make war against the saints and to overcome them," the individual might erroneously conclude that that would be the definitive end of [human] Christian witness on planet Earth until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (which Return seems to be the jist of what is described in the 19th chapter of Revelation).
The killing of saints temporarily living on for however long during the 42-month tribulation is re-emphasized in several places further on throughout Revelation:
Revelation 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If any human worships the beast and his image, and receive his mark on their forehead or on their hand,
10 the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out unmixed into the cup of His indignation; and they shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
11 And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name."
12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith in Jesus.
Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones and those who sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the Word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast, nor his image, nor had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 and shall go out to deceive the nations to the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went out over the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are; and they shall be tormented day and night to the ages of the ages.
But confinement in captivity, and - even worse - death imposed against the saints, does not seem fair nor even sensible in the minds of many Christians, and understandably so.
However and consequently, there are indications that the Lord has planned a sort of apocalyptic checkmate (a competitive term for those familiar with the game of chess), by not relegating all saints living at that time (during the chapter-13-stated 42-month tribulation) to being either taken into captivity or killed with [some] 'sword.'
There might very well be the option for some to escape both of those fates mentioned, and instead remain both alive and free by fleeing Jerusalem, hiding out in caves or remote deserted areas in secret seclusion, finding safe haven in Petra, or whatever....so as to remain alive and neither in captivity nor dead when Christ returns to slay not merely the beast and false prophet but also their assembled armies at Armageddon (see Revelation 16:16 and Revelation 19:11-21) in His glorious descent to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).
Some such saints are shown to be living within and enduring throughout the 42-month tribution, destined to 'escape the [bloody] hour of [annihilation] trial' when the Lord returns to execute executionary judgment against those allied with and in allegiance to the beast and false prophet:
Second Thessalonians 2:1 Now we implore you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and by our gathering together to Him,
2 that you all be not quickly shaken in mind or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as if from us that the Day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no human deceive you by any means, for that Day shall not come, unless there come a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition,
4 who opposes God and exalts himself above all who are called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, making himself out to be god.
5 Do you all not remember, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And you all now know what holds him back, that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only he who now holds back will hold him back, until he is taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming,
9 even him, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 and with all the deceit of non-righteousness in those who perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie,
12 that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in non-righteousness.
Not only that, but the Divine checkmate consisting of the Lord's sovereignty and witness maintained even during the diabolical forty-two months of beast-and-false-prophet-imposed tribution is done by God providing:
1. The Bowls-of-Wrath Plagues:
Revelation 16:2 So the first angel went and poured his bowl on the earth, and foul and evil sores came upon the humans who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.
Revelation 16:3 The second angel poured his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a dead man, and every living thing died that was in the sea.
Revelation 16:4 The third angel poured his bowl into the rivers and the fountains of water, and they became blood.
Revelation 16:8 The fourth angel poured his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch men with fire;
Revelation 16:9 men were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues [complaining about the weather....again!], and they did not repent and give Him glory.
Revelation 16:10 The fifth angel poured his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was in darkness; men gnawed their tongues in anguish.
Revelation 16:12 The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great river Euphrates [which cuts right through the center of Iraq, partitioning the North Kingdom and the South Kingdom spoken of in Daniel chapter 11?], and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east [countries of the Far East and Orient, including Tibet, India, and Pakistan?].
2. The Two Witnesses [one of whom will be reminiscent of the consuming-fire-from-heaven-exhibiting Old-Testament prophet Elijah] who are called by God and Divinely enabled to decree and operationally put into effect planetary plagues over the entire Earth:
Second Kings 1:10 But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, "If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty." Then fire came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
Second Kings 1:12 But Elijah answered them, "If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty." Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
James 5:17 Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are. And he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it rained not on the earth for the duration of three years and six months.
James 5:18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth brought forth its fruit.
Revelation 11:1 And there was given me a reed like a rod; and the angel stood, saying, "Rise, and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship therein.
2 But the court which is outside the temple, leave out, and measure it not, for it is given to the nations; and the holy city shall they tread under foot for forty and two months.
3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
4 These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks, standing before the God of the earth.
5 And if any man would hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies; and if any man would hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
6 These have the power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy, and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the abyss shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them.
8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
9 And they of the people and kindreds, and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not allow their dead bodies to be put in graves.
10 And they that reside on the earth shall rejoice over them and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another, because these two prophets tormented those who lived on earth.
11 But after three days and a half, the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon those who saw them.
12 And they heard a great voice from Heaven, saying to them, "Come up here!" And they ascended up to Heaven in a cloud, and their enemies observed them.
13 And that same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth part of the city fell; and in the earthquake were slain seven thousand men, and the remnant were seized with fear, and gave glory to the God of Heaven.