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Vengeance of the Martyrs

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  • Vengeance of the Martyrs

    In Revelation, John reports seeing the martyrs in Heaven loudly asking Jesus when their deaths will be avenged. Jesus responds that the remainder of living Christians need to be killed before their bloodlust is satisfied. That’s a long time (thousands of years) relative to how long they’ve already been there (a few years at most?). The temporal reference is strange, since they’re already impatient, and Jesus is saying “soon.” (Even through the figurative lens, it’s a puzzling scene. I think John intended for his audience to visualize his report as he saw it—literally.)

    Revelation 6:9–11
    9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

    That passage always seemed odd to me. They are in Heaven with Jesus, albeit not yet glorified and in spirit form, but their main concern is karma for their killers? “Avenge our blood” clearly is a reference to their anger over being killed for the faith. Martyrs aren’t typically known for having these feelings but consider it an honor to die in the manner they chose. Jesus even implores God to forgive those who killed him.

    Nothing in particular about Revelation has the signature of an inspired vision that’s any different than the other esoteric apocalypses. This in particular just sounds like something an old bitter man would write. If not, what obvious signature of inspiration am I missing here?

    I request that H_A and JimL please not participate here. Thank you.


  • #2
    Originally posted by whag View Post
    In Revelation, John reports seeing the martyrs in Heaven loudly asking Jesus when their deaths will be avenged. Jesus responds that the remainder of living Christians need to be killed before their bloodlust is satisfied. That’s a long time (thousands of years) relative to how long they’ve already been there (a few years at most?). The temporal reference is strange, since they’re already impatient, and Jesus is saying “soon.” (Even through the figurative lens, it’s a puzzling scene. I think John intended for his audience to visualize his report as he saw it—literally.)

    Revelation 6:9–11
    9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

    That passage always seemed odd to me. They are in Heaven with Jesus, albeit not yet glorified and in spirit form, but their main concern is karma for their killers? “Avenge our blood” clearly is a reference to their anger over being killed for the faith. Martyrs aren’t typically known for having these feelings but consider it an honor to die in the manner they chose. Jesus even implores God to forgive those who killed him.

    Nothing in particular about Revelation has the signature of an inspired vision that’s any different than the other esoteric apocalypses. This in particular just sounds like something an old bitter man would write. If not, what obvious signature of inspiration am I missing here?

    I request that H_A and JimL please not participate here. Thank you.
    I must admit that you come up with some intriguing questions. It's almost enough to get me studying Revelation at depth. Right now, I don't have answers, but the topic is of interest, so I'll look into it.
    1Cor 15:34 Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
    .
    ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛
    Scripture before Tradition:
    but that won't prevent others from
    taking it upon themselves to deprive you
    of the right to call yourself Christian.

    ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛

    Comment


    • #3
      We have no idea when this vision takes place. But obviously during the end times which have not happened yet. So they were there more than a few years at most like you say. And it would include all those Christians killed for their faith from the beginning of Christianity until whatever date in the future this is. Jesus is telling them that the end times have not concluded yet and even more Christians will be killed, but it will end soon. And also, I believe this happens after the rapture, which means that these other Christians would be new Christians that converted during the tribulation, after the other Christians have already been taken in the rapture. But it's been a while since I studied this stuff and there are various opinions on the endtimes.

      Comment


      • #4
        Commentaries vary between "judge the Earth and vindicate the martyrs," and "condemn the Earth and exact vengeance for the martyrs."
        It is quite a tangled knot. Links are apparent between the Old Testament and the New, and the God of the Old Testament and of the New. Those links are more readily apparent in Revelation than in other sections of the New Testament.

        Passages feed into the situation described in Revelation 6:9-11

        John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that
        (for whose benefit?)


        whoever believes in Him
        (what is that benefit?)


        shall not perish, but have eternal life.

        John 1:11-12
        11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
        12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name
        [who gets the authority to become a child of God?]
        [side issue: is "becoming a child of God an immediate, or a developing circumstance?]





        Acts 10:34-35
        34b God is not one to show partiality,
        35 but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.
        What are two conditions are needed to be acceptable to God?





        BTW: Apocalypse simply means revelation/disclosure.



        Last edited by tabibito; 09-02-2023, 03:08 PM.
        1Cor 15:34 Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
        .
        ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛
        Scripture before Tradition:
        but that won't prevent others from
        taking it upon themselves to deprive you
        of the right to call yourself Christian.

        ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sparko View Post
          We have no idea when this vision takes place. But obviously during the end times which have not happened yet. So they were there more than a few years at most like you say. And it would include all those Christians killed for their faith from the beginning of Christianity until whatever date in the future this is. Jesus is telling them that the end times have not concluded yet and even more Christians will be killed, but it will end soon.
          If it's in the end times, they'd have at least 1,000 years to go for their bloodthirst to be slaked.

          Originally posted by Sparko View Post
          And also, I believe this happens after the rapture, which means that these other Christians would be new Christians that converted during the tribulation, after the other Christians have already been taken in the rapture. But it's been a while since I studied this stuff and there are various opinions on the endtimes.
          There's no new information here. What difference does it make that these martyrs were killed during the tribulation?

          The various options don't make this any less ingenuine sounding. It reads like any other apocalypse.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tabibito View Post
            Commentaries vary between "judge the Earth and vindicate the martyrs," and "condemn the Earth and exact vengeance for the martyrs."
            It is quite a tangled knot. Links are apparent between the Old Testament and the New, and the God of the Old Testament and of the New. Those links are more readily apparent in Revelation than in other sections of the New Testament.

            Passages feed into the situation described in Revelation 6:9-11

            John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that
            (for whose benefit?)




            whoever believes in Him
            (what is that benefit?)




            shall not perish, but have eternal life.

            John 1:11-12
            11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
            12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name
            [who gets the authority to become a child of God?]
            [side issue: is "becoming a child of God an immediate, or a developing circumstance?]







            Acts 10:34-35
            34b God is not one to show partiality,
            35 but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.
            What are two conditions are needed to be acceptable to God?

            It seems to lean pretty heavy on their thirst for vengeance. Even if it meant "vindication," that's no less problematic. They were vindicated by being delivered into the company of God.

            Originally posted by tabibito View Post
            BTW: Apocalypse simply means revelation/disclosure.
            I know, but you must have gathered I was talking about the pseudonymous apocryphal apocalypses--the ones pertaining to future events and judgment--none of which are any less believable that Revelation.

            Book of Enoch: The Book of Enoch is a collection of Jewish apocalyptic writings attributed to Enoch, a biblical figure. It includes the Book of the Watchers, the Book of Parables, the Book of Astronomy, and the Book of Dream Visions, among others. These texts describe visions of the heavens, angels, and future events.

            2 Esdras (also known as 4 Ezra): This is a Jewish apocalypse that is considered apocryphal by many Christian denominations. It deals with themes of suffering, the end of the world, and the fate of the righteous.

            3 Baruch (also known as the Apocalypse of Baruch): This text is associated with the Jewish apocalyptic tradition and contains visions and revelations given to the prophet Baruch. It explores themes of divine judgment and the fate of the righteous.

            Apocalypse of Peter: This is an early Christian apocalyptic work that was considered canonical by some early Christian communities but was ultimately excluded from the New Testament canon. It describes visions of heaven and hell and includes teachings about judgment and the afterlife.

            Apocalypse of Paul (Visio Pauli): This apocryphal text is attributed to the Apostle Paul and contains a vision of heaven, hell, and various theological teachings.

            The Shepherd of Hermas: Although not strictly an apocalypse, this early Christian work contains apocalyptic elements and visions experienced by Hermas. It emphasizes repentance, moral living, and the role of the Church.

            The Apocalypse of Thomas: This text is part of the New Testament apocrypha and contains teachings and revelations attributed to the Apostle Thomas. It explores esoteric and mystical themes.

            The Apocalypse of Adam: This Gnostic text presents revelations given by Jesus to his disciple, Adam. It contains discussions of the nature of humanity, the divine, and the material world.

            The Revelation of Stephen: A Coptic Christian text that contains visionary experiences and revelations given to Stephen, one of the first Christian martyrs.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by whag View Post
              That passage always seemed odd to me. They are in Heaven with Jesus, albeit not yet glorified and in spirit form, but their main concern is karma for their killers? “Avenge our blood” clearly is a reference to their anger over being killed for the faith. Martyrs aren’t typically known for having these feelings but consider it an honor to die in the manner they chose. Jesus even implores God to forgive those who killed him.
              The words used for "judge" and "avenge" would indicate pronouncing a judgement and passing a sentence on a person. Effectively the martyrs are wanting for justice and Jesus tells them to be patient. I've always considered Blue Letter Bible an excellent source.
              P1) If , then I win.

              P2)

              C) I win.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Diogenes View Post

                The words used for "judge" and "avenge" would indicate pronouncing a judgement and passing a sentence on a person. Effectively the martyrs are wanting for justice and Jesus tells them to be patient. I've always considered Blue Letter Bible an excellent source.
                You just said what the passage says and what I said. The martyrs are howling for vengeance, obviously.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by whag View Post

                  You just said what the passage says and what I said. The martyrs are howling for vengeance, obviously.
                  So do courts enact "vengeance"? Assuming there was a large number, a shout would be loud, but the question is asked a single time in a unified voice. It's almost like a supplication. It's not like there's constant complaint.
                  P1) If , then I win.

                  P2)

                  C) I win.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Diogenes View Post

                    So do courts enact "vengeance"?
                    Courts are hardly analogous to them. Their specific words were “avenge our blood.”

                    Originally posted by Diogenes View Post
                    Assuming there was a large number, a shout would be loud, but the question is asked a single time in a unified voice. It's almost like a supplication. It's not like there's constant complaint.
                    That they said it in unison doesn’t really make it any more believable, just even weirder. They’re martyrs in the company of Jesus who want their blood avenged. That strikes me as something martyrs in Heaven in the ineffable presence of God wouldn’t be thinking about.

                    It sounds like a man wrote it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by whag View Post

                      Courts are hardly analogous to them. Their specific words were “avenge our blood.”



                      That they said it in unison doesn’t really make it any more believable, just even weirder. They’re martyrs in the company of Jesus who want their blood avenged. That strikes me as something martyrs in Heaven in the ineffable presence of God wouldn’t be thinking about.

                      It sounds like a man wrote it.
                      On this issue, I lean toward Diogenes' assessment.
                      Until when will you not judge and avenge/vindicate/punish our blood from the dwellers on the Earth?
                      "For how long will you stay judgement and sentence?" might indicate impatience, but "until when" might not.



                      It cuts across the concept of God as omni-benevolent, but that concept appears nowhere in scripture. The passage does not undermine the concept that the rights to judge and penalise are not conferred by God to another.
                      Last edited by tabibito; 09-03-2023, 02:19 AM.
                      1Cor 15:34 Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                      .
                      ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛
                      Scripture before Tradition:
                      but that won't prevent others from
                      taking it upon themselves to deprive you
                      of the right to call yourself Christian.

                      ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                        Commentaries vary between "judge the Earth and vindicate the martyrs," and "condemn the Earth and exact vengeance for the martyrs."
                        IIRC from my Sunday School class, the former was what we were taught. As things got worse, they wanted earth to be brought under God's judgment.








                        I'm always still in trouble again

                        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                          IIRC from my Sunday School class, the former was what we were taught. As things got worse, they wanted earth to be brought under God's judgment.
                          There are quite a number of variations that fall between the two extremes, but when God decides to personally step in rather than appointing and authorising agents to act, things have deteriorated to the point where vengeance is certainly a component in delivering justice. That is readily apparent through both testaments.
                          1Cor 15:34 Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                          .
                          ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛
                          Scripture before Tradition:
                          but that won't prevent others from
                          taking it upon themselves to deprive you
                          of the right to call yourself Christian.

                          ⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛⊛

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by whag View Post

                            Courts are hardly analogous to them. Their specific words were “avenge our blood.”
                            Do courts not avenge the blood of murder victims.


                            That they said it in unison doesn’t really make it any more believable, just even weirder. They’re martyrs in the company of Jesus who want their blood avenged. That strikes me as something martyrs in Heaven in the ineffable presence of God wouldn’t be thinking about.

                            It sounds like a man wrote it.
                            From a liturgical point of view, it's not so weird. You'd have a better point the demand was constant and not a single time after a seal being unsealed.

                            P1) If , then I win.

                            P2)

                            C) I win.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by whag View Post

                              If it's in the end times, they'd have at least 1,000 years to go for their bloodthirst to be slaked.



                              There's no new information here. What difference does it make that these martyrs were killed during the tribulation?

                              The various options don't make this any less ingenuine sounding. It reads like any other apocalypse.
                              I was just telling you that your idea that this is happening 2,000 years ago is wrong. This is John seeing a vision of the future. Basically the martyrs are asking "why is this taking so long?" and are being told to wait a bit longer. And it is not bloodlust, it is asking for justice for what was done to them. Justice for the evil in the world. Justice that will be doled out when it is right time.

                              Comment

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