These saints under the altar cried and prayed one thing very loud. The word translated cried is krazo (Greek) meaning ‘to scream.’ They were screaming for vengeance. The Lord Jesus said the days of vengeance would come upon the generation to whom he spoke. The 1st century generation.

By Pastor Delbert Young

Revelation Chapter 6a – Souls under the altar, Vengeance, Collapsing universe terminology

Revelation Chapter 6a – Souls under the altar, Vengeance, Collapsing universe terminology

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(These are the same notes from the previous lesson I did not finish.)

Revelation 6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and i heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, come and see.

1 The Lion Lamb, earlier described as having seven horns and seven eyes, began opening the biblion. He did not delay. He took the scroll and went about his purpose of bringing in the kingdom of God.

Perhaps a description of the scroll would be helpful at this point. Some project the scroll as a progressively sealed scroll, that is, a seal that then opens a portion to another seal, then opens a portion to another seal, etc. Others see the seven seals all outside pointing to a perfect (7) sealing.

It does not seem to matter, concerning the interpretation, if these seals are all on the outside or one following another. One thing is for certain. The opening of the seals released the beginning of sorrows. Jesus had told his disciples that wars, pestilence, earthquakes, devastations upon the earth, false prophets, apostasy, etc. (Mat 24:1-13) would all be deceiving signs (Mat 24:4). Jesus called these things “the beginning of sorrows.” That seen in Revelation chapters six and seven, as the seven seals were opened, will be the beginning of sorrows. “These things,” Jesus said, “must come to pass” (Mat 24:6). As we learned in chapter 1, the things John was to write were to shortly come to pass (1:1), and the time was at hand (1:3). This being true, the seals were the “beginning of sorrows.”

As the first seal was opened by the Lamb, a voice like thunder is heard by John. The NIV translation says, “Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, ‘Come!'” The beast (creature) is one of the four faces around the throne (man, eagle, ox, lion) in chapter four. Each beast (creature) will call one of the four horsemen to come forth. King James interprets the passage as showing the beast inviting John to come and see. Other translations interpret the passage as the beast (creatures) calling forth the horses and riders to bring their powers upon the earth.

Only the King James Version interprets as an invitation to John saying come and see. A much better interpretation of these verses is the beasts (creatures) calling forth the horsemen.

As we saw, the four beastswith the four faces represent humanity (Eze 1:10). They are the faces of man (adam). That which came from the sealed biblion did indeed affect all of humanity.

Revelation 6:2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

2 The first seal that was removed released a white horse. The rider was equipped with a bow. John is giving us an allusion quotation from Habakkuk 3:9. Dispensationalists and modern tradition picture this rider on the white horse as the antichrist. By reading the passage to which John alludes, one can see that the antichrist is not what John is seeing (Hab 3:3-16).

Habakkuk was not referring to the antichrist or to anyone or to anything other than God (Hab 3:3). The Lord had the bow (Hab 3:8). He was going forth conquering and to conquer the nations (Hab 3:12). There is no question what the rider did. The question is who was the rider? The question is not who have we been told he was, but rather what is he Biblically? Biblically, the rider is the Lord. Who is the rider with the bow in the Revelation? Whom do we find later on the white horse? The answer is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God (Rev 9:11-13).

Another passage referring to the white horse is Zechariah 1:8. White is never used in the book of Revelation to describe evil! The “antichrist” is never seen riding a horse in the Bible, much less a white horse. White is only used to describe the Lord, his saints, and the throne of God (see scriptures using white Rev 1:14; 2:17; 3:4, 5, 18; 4:4: 6:2, 11; 7:9, 13, 14; 14:14; 15:6; 19:8, 11, 14; 20:11) .

To attempt to make this the antichrist would be a misuse of the Scriptures. There is nothing to substantiate that interpretation.

Think about this. The readers of the first century church would not relate the rider equipped with a crown and a bow to the antichrist. Matthew Henry, writing prior to the dispensational­ist doctrines about the Zechariah 1:8 passage, says,

“The man is no other than the man Christ Jesus, the same that appeared to Joshua with his sword drawn in his hand as captain of the host of the Lord (Josh 5:13, 14) and to John with his bow and his crown, Rev. 6:2.”

Matthew Henry says this man is the man Christ Jesus! Henry is one of the most revered Bible scholars to ever live.

John’s readers, who were the seven churches in Asia, would immediately associate the white horse, bow, and crown to the great One who came forth conquering and to conquer. That would be Jesus Christ. That was the interpretation until the time of the dispensationalist.

The word nikao (Greek) translated conquering means “to subdue.” This word nikao has already been used to describe the Lamb. “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed [nikao] to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (Rev 5:5). The Lion of the tribe of Judah is the nikao. The conqueror is not the antichrist.

Matthew Henry, interpreting this passage of Revelation 6:2, says,

“The Lord Jesus appears riding on a white horse. White horses are generally refused in war, because they make the rider a mark for the enemy; but our Lord Redeemer was sure of the victory and a glorious triumph, and he rides on the white horse of a pure but despised gospel, with great swiftness through the world… He went forth conquering, and to conquer. As long as the church continues militant Christ will be conquering; when he has conquered his enemies in one age he meets with new ones in another age; men go on opposing, and Christ goes on conquering, and his former victories are pledges of future victories.”

It is amazing how the writers prior to the 1850 Dispensationalists’ teachings viewed the Scriptures. The rider of the white horse is our conquering and crowned King going forth. This demonstrates Christ going forth after he received the biblion.

Revelation 6:3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

Revelation 6:4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

3-4 The second seal was opened. Again the beast said Come! This horse was red. The allusion is Zechariah 1:8.

Zechariah 1:8 I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. (emphasis added)

We see the promise of war! This rider would take peace from the earth. The removal of peace allows the inhabitants of the earth to kill one another (Mat 24:6; Mar 13:7; Luk 21:9). The Lord clearly told his disciples that wars and rumors of wars would come prior to the end of the age of Moses and the end of that generation (Mat 23:36; 24:34). As we will see peace all but left the land.

Who is he that sat thereon the red horse? Here is a place Christology is challenged and/or molded. Could this possibly have been Christ? According to modern popular theologies, it was not, and could not be, our Christ. According to modern, popular theologies, it is again the anti-Christ. Jesus Christ would not remove peace, would he? Perhaps to discover the correct answer, we can locate who is it that possesses the great sword which the rider upon the red horse yields. Throughout the book of Revelation, we are told again and again who actually has the sword.

Rev 1:16 And he had in his right-hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Rev 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

Rev 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Rev 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Rev 19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (emphasis added)

We are never told anywhere that the antichrist had the sword. We are told that the beast in Revelation 13:14 was wounded by the sword. Again, the first-century church viewed the Son of man, the Christ, as the conquering King with the great sword who was possessing (present tense) the nations. They understood Christ would make war with any nation by removing peace from that nation. Removing peace includes the thought that they should kill one another. As will be shown shortly, this is exactly what happened to Judah. Peace was removed from the nation. The nation went to war with Rome and the people of Judah within killed one another.

The terms such as “Lord,” “King,” “Conqueror” meant something very different to John’s readers than it does to readers today. With conquering came war, and with war came death. It doesn’t carry that meaning today in contemporary theology. This is because of the teachings we have unfortunately sat under. We are taught something similar to we have a King, but he is not conquering. We are taught our King must wait until the rapture of the church to conquer. Why?

Again I quote from Matthew Henry writing prior to today’s modern theology.

“…this is certain. 1. That those who will not submit to the bow of the gospel must expect to be cut in sunder by the sword of divine justice. 2. That Jesus Christ rules and commands, not only in the kingdom of grace, but of providence. And, 3. That the sword of war is a dreadful judgment; it takes away peace from the earth, which is one of the greatest blessings, and it causes men to kill one another. Men, who should love one another and help one another, are, in a state of war, set upon killing one another.”

Revelation 6:5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

Revelation 6:6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

5-6 The third seal was opened. The third beast said, “Come!” Out galloped a black horse. This rider was equipped with a pair of balances or scales which would be used to measure barley, oil, and wine. The rationing of food speaks of famine which followed any prolonged time of war. Jesus speaks of this in Matthew 24:7, Mark 13:8, and Luke 21:11.

Famines were also the beginning of sorrows and not to be interpreted as the sign of the end. Yet, today we hear how earthquakes, wars, famines, etc. are the sign of the end of time. These are deceiving signs sent out to trouble those not understanding the Word of God.

The Lord continued to ride through the ages ruling nations in this manner.

“This is God’s curse on men whenever they rebel: The land itself spews them out (Lev 18:24-28; Isa 24). The Curse devours productivity in every area, and the ungodly culture perishes through starvation, disease, and oppression (Deu 28:15-34). This is how God controls the wicked: They must spend so much time just surviving that they are unable to exercise ungodly dominion over the earth. In the long run, this is the history of every culture that departs from God’s Word.”

Who was the rider on the black horse? Hopefully by now, we are getting the Revelation! This too was the Lord Jesus as he rules the nations with a rod of iron. “Submit or perish” is the final line. He will do all to bring a nation into submission. If the nation will not submit to the crowned conqueror (white horse), war is inevitable (red horse). Continuing in its rebellion against the King will guarantee famine (black horse). One judgment seldom comes alone. Usually stiff-necked people will require several if not all four.

Revelation 6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

Revelation 6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

7-8 The fourth beast bade forth the fourth horse. This horse was a pale horse. This rider had a name-Death. The objection from modern theology is that this could not be our Lord. They ask, “How could our Lord ride as death?” By proposing only two questions, we disarm that question. Who holds the keys of death and hell? Does the devil hold this power? I think not (Rev 1:18)!

What did the Lord do with this bow and arrows? Were they for show or target practice? Today’s doctrines do not see our King as a man of war. Yet, that is the Biblical portrait of him.

Psa 58:7 Let they melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.

Psa 7:12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.

Psa 7:13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrowsagainst the persecutors.

Psa 18:14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.

Psa 45:5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. (emphasis added)

Psa 58:7 Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces. (emphasis added)

The Lord is serious about taking the nations. In Revelation 19, we are told that Jesus came as the Word of God upon the white horse. No one argues with that. No one has problems with his judging and being the bearer of death and hell in that passage. He even invited the fowls of the air to come and eat of the dead carcasses of men (19:17, 18). Yet the Dispensationalists teach that in chapter 6 death and hell is only of the antichrist.

The gospel of the kingdom is the gospel which says the King will conquer. It says every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Lord and Christ now! And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. This is an allusion to Ezekiel 5:17 and 14:21 which tied the beginning of sorrows to Jerusalem.

The power of this rider will bring upon Jerusalem four “sore judgments.” These are (1) the sword; (2) hunger [famine]; (3) death [pestilence, disease], and (4) beasts of the earth.

Eze 5:17 So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee: and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken it.

Eze 14:21 For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? (emphasis added)

This aspect of the seal judgment affected the fourth part of the earth (ge). The trumpet judgment affected a third part (8:7-12), and the vials affected the entire earth (ge) (16:1). We will look at this further at a later time. These four “sore judgments” sum up the curse of the law that came upon the nation of Israel. The judgment we speak of here was not simply the judgments of Revelation. These were the curses to which the nation agreed and said “Amen” in Deuteronomy chapter 27 (see Vol. 1, Rev. 3:14 on Jesus “the amen”). These four “sore judgments” summarize the curses listed in Deuteronomy 27. We can say this confidently because of the Greek word translated earth in the Revelation references previously. It is the Greek word ge. As we have seen, it means “soil; region” (see discussion 5:6). It does not mean the earth as in planet or globe. These plagues, or the beginning of sorrows, came upon the land and region of Israel.

Deu 28:21 The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.

Deu 28:25 The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.

Deu 28:42 All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.

Deu 28:26 And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away. (emphasis added)

Historically, we know this did happen to Jerusalem just as Jesus said it would. John’s readers had no problem identifying the rider(s) of the four horses. This did “shortly come to pass” (1:1). The time was then at hand (1:3; 22:10). Jesus did come quickly (22:7; 12). It was vital that John’s reader understood this fact. This was the sign that Jesus was upon the throne (Mat 24:30). Chilton writes concerning this. He says,

“Christians must face the world with confidence … When we see the world convulsed with wars, famines, plagues and natural disasters, we must say, with the Psalmist, “Come, behold the works of the Lord, who has wrought desolations in the earth (Ps 46:8).”

Chilton goes on to say how the four beasts (creatures) around the throne said, “Come!” to each rider bringing judgment. This is the desire of the throne and humanity within the throne. Humanity away from the throne will cry, “fix it.” The throne desires to destroy it. The church, in its proper personality and temperament, should be crying “Come.” The Scriptures say, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come” (Rev 22:17).

Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

Revelation 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

Revelation 6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow­servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

9-11 By allowing this to digest into our thinking, we begin to see something. We see how distant the present day ‘church’ is from the first-century church in the way it prays. It is shocking when we see how souls in heaven pray and are praying. The fifth seal is opened. When this seal was opened, John saw what was happening at the altar in the heavenly tabernacle (see notes chapter 4).

There were souls under the altar. How strange! John saw souls. He knew these souls were slain for (because of) the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. The Greek word psucheis translated here as souls. From this word we get our English word “psyche.” John saw the individual “psyche.” The American Heritage Dictionary says of “psyche”: “The mind functioning as the center of thought, emotion, and behavior and consciously or unconsciously adjusting or mediating the body’s responses to the social and physical environment.” The Strong’s definition for psuche is “breath and spirit.” What was John beholding? John saw people without bodies.

John saw these “psyches,” and they were under the altar. Why under the altar? The picture is a picture of the brazen altar where the sacrifices were slain and the blood was poured out at the base of the altar (Lev 4:7).

However, here it was not the blood of a bullock or a goat. It was the blood of people. The verse says, ” … the souls of them that were slain.” These souls cried with a loud voice. The souls were under the altar, and they were crying out with a loud voice. One cannot read this without recalling Abel whose blood cried unto the Lord from the ground (Gen 4:10). The blood cries with a loud voice.

The souls were crying with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? As one ingests this passage, it almost seems “unchristian.” These souls wanted vengeance inflicted upon those who killed them. They expected God’s wrath to come upon their murderers and their prayer was, How long?

These souls had harmed no one. They only believed and lived the word of God and had a testimony. Because they tried to do what was right, they were attacked and slain by those who purposefully set out to destroy the church.

When one truly studies prayer and sees passages like this passage, it must be asked, “What has happened to the church and prayer.” I never hear prayers like this.

“Much of the impotence of the churches today is directly attributable to the fact that they have become emasculated and effeminate. Such churches, unable even to confront evil– much less ‘overcome’ it–will eventually be captured and dominated by their enemies.”

Do we have to die before we get a revelation about imprec­atory prayer? Are we more concerned about how we sound than about the kingdom of God? Why do we allow people to constantly come against the work of the Lord and never pray the vengeance of God upon those who constantly attempt to destroy the church? HOW LONG?

For those who object to the prayer of vengeance and believe it is not Biblical, note the list following of fifty-one imprecatory prayers found in the Bible. Take special notice of Psalms. The man after God’s own heart gave the church most of these prayers. It is interesting to me that men of God such as Moses, the meekest man that ever lived, prayed imprecatory prayers. Sampson, Nehemiah, Job, David, Jeremiah, the Apostle Paul, and the beloved apostle John all prayed prayers of vengeance. Several pages are given to this. The reason is so these Scriptures will be easily accessible for those who will study them and utilize them to destroy those who work against the kingdom of God.

Num 16:15 And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.

Num 22:6 Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.

Num 23:8 How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?

Num 24:9 He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.

Deu 27:11 And Moses charged the people the same day, saying,

Deu 27:12 These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin:

Deu 27:13 And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.

Deu 33:11 Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands; smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.

Jos 8:33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.

Jos 8:34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.

Jud 16:28 And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.

2Sa 16:10 And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?

2Sa 16:11 And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him.

2Sa 16:12 It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.

Neh 4:4 Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:

Neh 4:5 And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.

Neh 5:13 Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.

Job 27:7 Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous.

Psa 5:10 Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.

Psa 6:10 Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.

Psa 9:20 Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.

Psa 10:2 The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.

Psa 10:15 Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none.

Psa 25:3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.

Psa 28:4 Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.

Psa 31:17 Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.

Psa 31:18 Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

Psa 35:4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.

Psa 35:8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.

Psa 35:26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me

Psa 40:14 Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.

Psa 40:15 Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.

Psa 54:5 He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.

Psa 55:9 Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

Psa 55:15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

Psa 56:7 Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God.

Psa 58:7 Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.

Psa 59:5 Thou therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah.

Psa 59:11 Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield.

Psa 59:15 Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied.

Psa 68:1 Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.

Psa 68:2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

Psa 69:23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.

Psa 69:24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.

Psa 69:27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.

Psa 69:28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.

Psa 70:2 Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.

Psa 70:3 Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha.

Psa 71:13 Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt.

Psa 79:10 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? let him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of thy servants which is shed.

Psa 79:12 And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord.

Psa 83:13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.

Psa 83:14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;

Psa 83:15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

Psa 83:16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.

Psa 83:17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:

Psa 94:2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.

Psa 109:7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.

Psa 109:9 Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.

Psa 109:10 Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.

Psa 109:11 Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour.

Psa 109:12 Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.

Psa 109:13 Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.

Psa 109:14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.

Psa 109:15 Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

Psa 109:16 Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.

Psa 109:17 As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him.

Psa 109:18 As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.

Psa 109:19 Let it be unto him as the garment which cover­eth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually.

Psa 109:20 Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the LORD, and of them that speak evil against my soul.

Psa 109:28 Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice.

Psa 109:29 Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle.

Psa 119:78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.

Psa 119:84 How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?

Psa 129:5 Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.

Psa 140:9 As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them.

Psa 140:10 Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.

Psa 143:12 And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.

Psa 144:6 Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.

Jer 11:20 But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.

Jer 12:3 But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.

Jer 15:15 O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke.

Jer 17:18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.

Jer 18:21 Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their men be put to death; let their young men be slain by the sword in battle.

Jer 18:22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet.

Jer 18:23 Yet, LORD, thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me: forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal thus with them in the time of thine anger.

Jer 20:12 But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause.

Lam 1:22 Let all their wickedness come before thee; and do unto them, as thou hast done unto me for all my transgressions: for my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.

Lam 3:64 Render unto them a recompence, O LORD, according to the work of their hands.

Lam 3:65 Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them.

Lam 3:66 Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD.

Act 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

Act 13:9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.

Act 13:10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

Act 13:11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

1Co 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

1Co 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Gal 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have

1Ti 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

2Ti 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:

2Ti 4:15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.

3Jo 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

3Jo 1:10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

3Jo 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

These saints under the altar cried and prayed one thing very loud. The word translated cried is krazo (Greek) meaning “to scream.” They were screaming for vengeance. Jesus had prophesied that vengeance would come. Here is what Jesus said in the temple to the Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees.

Mat 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

Mat 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

Mat 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Mat 23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. (emphasis added)

They wanted vengeance to come upon those who desired to destroy the church and the Kingdom of God. They screamed to the Lamb saying, ” …judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth.” The reply came back to the souls saying “…they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”

To show the difference in the kingdom prayer and contemporary prayer, we will quote a few writers concerning this “souls under the altar” experience. To begin with, we will quote Phillips.

“The cry that ascends to God from the brazen altar is not a Christian cry. It is a cry for vengeance, a cry that will be quite appropriate once the age of grace is over and conditions revert back to a pre-Christian era. What is shown here, under the breaking of the fifth seal, is elaborated further in chapter 7, where the Great Tribulation is introduced. Here only a preview is given of the terrible persecutions that will engulf the globe in a coming day.”

Phillips says this cry for vengeance “is not a Christian cry.” Yet, they had died for the Word and for their testimony.

LaHaye says,

“These, then, are tribulation saints, individuals who had not received Christ at the time of the Rapture, before the Tribulation began, but did receive Him as a result of the faithful witnesses who are depicted in chapter 7 … They will be martyred “for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.”

Phillips says these are not really Christians. LaHaye says they are martyred Christians who didn’t make the rapture.

We will look at one more. Wall says,

“Their petition is not for vengeance against their persecutors; they are more concerned about their status within God’s righteous reign than within an anti-Christian kingdom ruled by those secular elite who had convicted and executed them as ‘the enemy.'”

Wall says they actually are not asking for vengeance. They are simply displaying their concern about their status in God’s kingdom. Sort of damages the contemporary, eternal security doctrine, doesn’t it? This is the question one would have about Wall’s statement, “Why would they, after dying and being in heaven, be concerned about their status?”

Who are these souls under the altar? These souls are “prophets, and wise men, and scribes.” These are the souls of “the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” And they cried for vengeance! The Greek word ekdikeo is translated “avenge” in verse 10. It means “to vindicate; retaliate; punish.” They cried with a loud voice begging for vindication, retaliation, and punishment. The word translated cried is krazo (Greek) meaning “to croak or scream!” This sounds like they were concerned about vengeance, even though Wall says they were not. They screamed and croaked with a loud voice for God to avenge their blood!

In a little season, he did avenge. In A.D. 70, the religious system was destroyed. Ninety-seven thousand of these were taken as slaves, and one million one-hundred thousand killed.

The souls screamed, “How long?” and were given the answer, ” …yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” The answer was a little season. The answer was not two millennia! “A little season,” said the Lord.

A somewhat disturbing thought in the above reference is there was a specific number of martyrs to be killed. Jesus had said, “I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth” (Mat 23:23:34, 35). Jesus said he would send people to be killed, crucified, scourged, and persecuted. What goes beyond understanding is that there was a specific number to be killed. Their purpose in life was to be martyrs and then to scream for vengeance! Matthew Henry says,

“There are a number of Christians, known to God, who are appointed as sheep for the slaughter, set apart to be God’s witnesses. The measure of the sin of persecutors is filling up, so is the number of the persecuted martyred servants of Christ. When this number is fulfilled, God will take a just and glorious revenge upon their cruel persecutors; he will recompense tribulation to those who trouble them, and to those that are troubled full and uninterrupted rest.”

These slain whose souls are under the altar are given white robes. We need to know whom it is that receives the white robe if we want one. The white robe is rewarded to the overcomer (3:5). It is also the apparel of the twenty-four elders (4:4), the great multitude who came out of the great tribulation (7:9-14), the seven angels with the seven last plagues (15:6), and the clothing of the bride (19:8).

One can easily become concerned about our generation of “Christianity,” especially when we read of the martyrs of Scriptures and the church. We want our white robes and have been told that we would get them by praying a “sinners pray­er.” However, when the Scriptures are searched, it seems a little more than a prayer is required. At the very least, it seems we must be overcomers. Pray we are not deceived and put to sleep with a false security that is proclaimed as an eternal security. We see here those who became martyrs and whose blood screamed out to God. Compare this to today’s “Christianity” which has a difficult time getting to church on time, that is if they come at all. One must say, “God help us!”

Revelation 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

Revelation 6:13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

Revelation 6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

Revelation 6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

Revelation 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

Revelation 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

12-14. This type of writing is called “collapsing universe terminology.” It is also referred to as “de-creation.” What this means is the Lord uses creation to describe salvation (2Co 4:6; 5:17; Eph 2:10; 4:24). He uses de-creation to describe the collapse of a society.

The following Scriptures show some relevant examples of the collapsing universe terminology. We include several scriptures because of the importance of grasping.

Isa 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

Isa 13:10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. (emphasis added)

This was Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the termination of the Babylonian Empire overthrown by the Medes and Persians.

Isa 34:1 Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it.

Isa 34:2 For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.

Isa 34:3 Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.

Isa 34:4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.

Isa 34:5 For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.

Isa 34:6 The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. (emphasis added)

The Lord invites all nations to hear that he can come upon all their armies with destruction and slaughter when he pleases. Interestingly Idumea is the land just south of Jerusalem. It was included in the tremendous tribulation of A.D. 70.

Eze 32:7 And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.

Eze 32:8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD. (emphasis added)

Ezekiel prophesied to Egypt.

Joe 2:10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

Joe 2:11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that execut­eth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (emphasis added)

Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

Joe 2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

Joe 2:30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

Joe 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come. (emphasis added) [Joel prophesies the day of the Lord upon Jerusalem. Concerning this prophecy Peter said, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16). Then Peter quotes from the above passage meaning the last days of Judah were there.]

Joe 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

Joe 3:15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. (emphasis added)

Zec 14:1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

Zec 14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Zec 14:6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:

Zec 14:7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. (emphasis added)

Zechariah prophesied of the destruction of Jerusalem. It was the “day of the Lord.”

Mat 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Mat 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (emphasis added)

Jesus Christ prophesies of the destruction of Jerusalem, the great tribulation, and the end of the Mosaic society.

In none of the documented historic accounts of each of the above events did a literal star fall or a literal mountain move. The moon did not literally turn to blood. The heavens were not literally dissolved. The sun and the moon never literally stopped giving light. However, in each and every case, the nation collapsed and the existing society crumbled. It was “lights out” for the society and the system of the day in that nation. This is the identical imagery given in Revelation.

“Jesus speaks of a cosmic catastrophe: the darkening of the sun and of the moon, the falling of the stars, and the shaking of the powers of the heavens. This is poetic language and must be understood against its Old Testament background. The present author has made a thorough study of this language and has concluded that it is poetic and not meant to be taken with strict literalness …” 

Revelation 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

Revelation 6:13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

Revelation 6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

Revelation 6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

Revelation 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

Revelation 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Notice the leaders were distressed the most. The kingsgreat men, rich men, chief captains, mighty men would rather be dead than experience the wrath of the Lamb. The reason for this is, in war, the leaders of a society and their families were captured, tortured, and killed. This actually happened to the leaders of Judah. After the nation fell, the leaders still alive were taken and with them the Romans made sport. Some were even taken to Rome and mocked in a parade. One leader of the Jewish rebellion, a man named Simon, was preserved to be slain during the parade. Josephus writes,

“….for it was the Romans’ ancient custom to stay till somebody brought the news that the general of the enemy was slain. This general was Simon, the son of Gioras, who had then been led in this triumph among the captives; a rope had also been put upon his head, and he had been drawn into a proper place in the forum, and had withal been tormented by those that drew him along; and the law of the Romans required, that malefactors condemned to die should be slain there.”

Actually the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains. As the Roman armies invaded the land, setting their camp at Miggedo

It will be here we need an understanding of the war of A.D. 70. Without that knowledge we, at best, limp through these next chapters of Revelation. We will devote the next section of this study to the War of A.D. 70.

Cestius came upon Israel with the first Roman army. There would be three invasions by three Roman generals – Cestius, Vespasian, and Titus (seals, trumpets, vials). Many Jews and Gentiles fled into the mountains. Eventually, Josephus writes how the people desired to die rather than experience what was happening within the city.

It is extremely necessary if interpreting the Revelation to have some understanding of the state of affairs in Judea at this time just prior to the outbreak of war with Rome. With this knowledge we can understand what Jesus meant as he spoke of the “beginning of sorrows.”

“So the upshot was this, that the rich purchased their flight by money, while none but the poor were slain. Along all the roads also vast numbers of dead bodies lay in heaps, and even many of those that were so zealous in deserting at length chose rather to perish within the city; for the hopes of burial made death in their own city appear of the two less terrible to them.”

“…and this, because not only the whole country through which they fled was filled with slaughter, and Jordan could not be passed over, by reason of the dead bodies that were in it, but because the lake Asphaltiris was also full of dead bodies, that were carried down into it by the river … He then put his soldiers on board the ships, and slew such as had fled to the lake, insomuch that all Perea had either surrendered themselves, or were taken by the Romans, as far as Macherus.”

Jesus the Lamb prophesied the de-creation over Jerusalem in Matthew 24:29-30, and this was what began happening in Revelation 6:12-17. Peter, at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, said this is what Joel was talking about “that it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God … I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come” (Acts 2:17-20, (emphasis added)). This was that! Peter said, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40). Some did. Most did not. It was that generation that would see the “last days” of that society! For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

The day is come. The prophets prophesied about it. Moses sang a song about it. Jesus told them it would happen to that generation. The Lamb has taken the biblion from the right hand of the Father and has opened six of the seven seals. One seal remains. Yes, the great day of his wrath is come.


Contemporary Theological View(s)

  1. 6:1-8 White horse and rider … Red horse … Black horse … Pale horse

Most contemporaries see these as references to the antichrist. Church fathers saw this as Jesus Christ fulfilling what he said in Matthew 24.

“The Lord Jesus appears riding on a white horse. White horses are generally refused in war … our Lord Redeemer was sure of the victory and a glorious triumph, and he rides on the white horse of a pure but despised gospel, with great swiftness through the world.”

The seals would be associated with the beginning of sorrows which Jesus said must happen. One event that must take place prior to the destruction of Jerusalem was the gospel must be preached in all the world. Then the end would come. (Mat 24:14).

It is to this Matthew Henry refers. This will be studied at a later point. Here we will insert one Scripture to prove this had happened prior to the 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem.

Col 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister (emphasis added)

The book of Colossians was written 55-58 A.D. The gospel was preached in all the world before the end to which Matthew 24:14 referred came.

  1. 6:9-11 Prayers of slain saints

Rev 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

Rev 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

“Remember these are after the Christians are taken up to Heaven, the living changed and those who were ‘asleep’ raised. So there are martyrs to be killed after the rapture.”

As one can see, this passage gives contemporaries problems. They have problems explaining this prayer. First-century prayer differed from contemporary prayer. Many contemporary writers skip over the passage with little said. For example, Scofield does not comment. Those who will comment must first deal with the reasons why the Lord would rapture some, yet leave some to be martyrs and slain. Then they must dilute the prayers these slain souls pray (scream). They must make the prayers sound ‘sweet’ and religious. Van Impe says,

“These persecuted saints and martyrs are not part of the Church–the body of Christ and the bride of the Savior– already in glory (chapter 4, verse 1) … we next discover that their cry is one of vengeance. Why? They are not under grace, the love covenant. Instead, they want blood.”

As we have seen, Jesus sometimes spoke in an imprecatory manner. We have the “woe’s,” kingdom prayers over cities, and the things he said to the priests that are extremely impreca­tory and extremely New Covenant.

The problem that Van Impe and others have with this contemporary doctrine is getting these souls resurrected and raptured. He has stated that these are not of the church, then he begins to talk about these souls being absent from the body and present with the Lord (2Co 5:8). It seems Van Impe is saying they actually are of the Lord, at least he is saying these souls are in the Lord’s presence which the text (Rev 6:10) affirms. However, somehow these missed the resurrection that should have taken place at the rapture (according to their doctrine). They have a soul, but no body. How did that happen? They missed the resurrection. Van Impe says,

“Hence, Christ brings the dead – the souls and spirits already in his presence – with Him, so they may come to get their bodies. That’s why the dead in Christ rise first. But all this pictures the Rapture. The text under investigation describes a later time – the Tribulation hour.”

Notice the confusion they encounter when they attempt to make their doctrines work in fairy tale interpretations. John’s readers did not read a fairy tale to the hearers (1:3) that would take place two millennia later. They heard hope and victory that would help them to become overcomers in that day. The souls under the altar were praying and screaming that vengeance would be executed upon apostate Israel. It gave them great hope, exactly as we gain great hope. We should gain hope and encouragement knowing those who have gone before us are praying, wanting justice and vindication for acts of violence upon us and the church.

  1. 6:12-17 Sixth seal “Collapsing Universe.”

Contemporaries, and especially Dispensationalists, have problems fitting this into their time frames. They want to make this a literal event of the sun becoming black, the moon becoming as blood, stars of heaven falling, heaven rolled back as a scroll, etc. They attempt to convey that the antichrist is the cause of all this. The problem is their antichrist is not identified at this point in Revelation. Their antichrist will not arise from the sea until chapter 13, yet already an Armageddon event is happening. The world is not yet out of the good three 1/2 years, and yet stars are already falling.

Dake says these are seven literal events. Here are quoted a few of them to give understanding to his doctrine.

“This outpouring of God’s wrath will produce great physical changes in the earth and heavens and distress among men … ‘The sun became black as sackcloth of hair’ … There was a dark day, May 19, 1880, in New England, when the stars shone and the chickens went to roost, but that was nothing compared to the darkness of this picture…’The stars of heaven fell unto the earth’ … These falling stars will not be the planets, all of which are many times larger than our earth, but meteors, which are not stars in the strictest sense of the word, but small bodies drawn into our atmosphere and rendered luminous for a few moments by the friction of their rush through it.” 

At this point it seems Dake has a problem making this passage continue as literal. He says,

“‘The heaven departed as a scroll.’ This does not mean that the heaven passes out of existence any more than the same expression does in Rev. 20:11; 21:1, for it is seen many times after this, Rev. 8:1, 10, 13; 9:1; etc. Cf. Acts 15:39 … ‘Every mountain and island were moved out of their places.’ This does not mean that they pass away, for they are seen again several years later undergoing a like process of change, Rev. 16:20. It merely seemed to John that they were moved entirely out of their place because of the great shaking of the earth by the earthquake in this seal.”

Notice that Dake says that John was confused. The mountains and islands were not really moved. Dake said, “It merely seemed to John that they were moved…” Contemporaries confuse themselves. Their doctrines are not consistent with other Scripture passages.

John saw mountains move, but not literal mountains. Mountains are places of religious worship in scripture. The Lamb is moving them out of their place. John is using prophetic language. He is not using atomic bombs. According to Dake, John did not see what he said he saw. “It merely seemed to John that…” This makes one wonder what else John wrote about that “merely seemed to John,” but was not exactly correct.

Other Related Sermons:

Revelation Chapter 6, Horse and Four Horsemen – video audio notes

Revelation Chapter 1 – Son of Man – Great Visions continued – The Cloud – This Generation – sermon series video audio notes – Revelation

Introduction The Revelation Chapter 1 – 4 Great Visions – Shortly Come to Pass – video audio notes

John R. Rice, Behold He Cometh, page 117

Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Volume 4, page 1105, 1106

Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Volume 6, page 921

Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Volume 6, page 922

David Chilton, The Days Of Vengeance, page 190

David Chilton, The Days Of Vengeance, page 192

David Chilton, The Days Of Vengeance, page 195

John Phillips, Exploring Revelation, page 107

Tim LaHaye, Revelation Illustrated & Made Plain, page 106

Robert W. Wall, New International Biblical Commentary Revelation, page 111

Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VI, IX, 3, page 587

Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Volume 6, page 923

George Eldon Ladd, A theology of the New Testament, page 203

George Eldon Ladd, Jesus and the Kingdom, page 41-71

Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VII, V, 6, page 594, 595

Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book IV, vi, 3

Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book IV, vii, 6

Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s commentary On The Whole Bible, Volume 6, page 921

John R. Rice, Behold He Cometh, page 140

Dr. Jack Van Impe, Revelation Revealed, page 90, 93

Dr. Jack Van Impe, Revelation Revealed, page 92

Rev. Finis Jennings Dake, Revelation Expounded, Tenth Printing July 1991, page 84, 85

Rev. Finis Jennings Dake, Revelation Expounded, Tenth Printing July 1991, page 84, 85