We’ve been looking this week at the fifth seal in Revelation 6:9-11. Continue reading . . .
We’ve been looking this week at the fifth seal in Revelation 6:9-11. Here it is again:
“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. 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?” 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” (Rev. 6:9-11).
The prayer of these martyred saints is a cry for justice: “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (v. 10). There are several things of great importance here.
First, they obviously have a keen sense of divine justice. They wait in anticipation of God’s justice and vengeance on the enemies of his kingdom. Clearly they understand that it is not their responsibility or right to avenge the blood on those who had killed Christians (see Rom. 12:19). They knew that it was God’s prerogative to determine when and where and how. There is nothing wrong or unchristian to desire that God’s enemies and those who persecute God’s people be held accountable and judged for their wicked deeds (see Psalm 94:1-6).
A similar cry for vengeance is found in Psalm 79:5-6 and may provide the background for John’s language: “How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire? Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms th