Though God confounds human understanding in how he fulfills each of his promises, the promises themselves are plainly recorded in the Bible.
Sometimes Christians claim to receive new promises directly from God through supernatural revelation. Other Christians claim to discover new promises from God through clever interpretations of Scripture. Neither of these fit the biblical pattern of martyrdom.
In biblical martyrdom, the promise of God is never hidden. It does not require special revelation or scholarship to discover. It is not only available to enlightened interpreters. If it were, that would draw attention to the interpreter, taking the honor and glory away from God.
Martyrs are rarely prophetic figures, powerful leaders, or Bible scholars. Instead, most martyrs are very ordinary people who simply trust the promises of God that are plainly and straightforwardly recorded in scripture.
Biblically, it is never the promise of God that is hidden but rather the fulfillment of the promise.
Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, advocated the plain, or literal, reading of scripture. Through his reading, he concluded that while God’s promises are plainly recorded in scripture for all people, the fulfillment of God’s promises is always “hidden under the opposite.” That is, at the time a promise of God is being fulfilled, it appears that God is absent or has even failed us. Jesus’ death on the cross is the primary example.
Faith is not required to discover God’s promises, but faith is required to trust that God’s promises are being fulfilled, because what we can see, understand, feel, or want seems to show exactly the opposite.