Revelation; Souls under the altar.

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posted on May, 2 2010 @ 12:52 PM
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I want to offer some thoughts on Revelation ch6 vv9-11.

This is the "Fifth Seal", of course, next in the series after the seals of the "Four Horsemen". It's a dialogue scene- a group of souls gathered "under the altar", complaining to God and getting a response.

Who are these people? John says they're martyrs; they've all been slain "for the word of God and for the witness they have borne". Since they're already dead, they're set aside from the main action. We can almost see them as commenting from the sidelines.

Where are they?
We can take the altar as an incense altar, the place where they make their prayer.
Or we can take it as a sacrificial altar, the place where their lives have notionally been "sacrificed".

In what sense are they "under the altar"?
I see no reason to go for the more bizarre interpretation, which puts them inside the hollow cavity (when were things ever kept inside the Old Testament altars?). I'm quite content with the best alternative, "at the foot of the altar"

When did they die?
I was arguing the case in a previous thread- "4 Horsemen-Why?"- that the opening of the seals would be God's response to the oppression of his people. If I'm right, that implies there must have been some sort of "oppression of God's people" as part of the background of this chapter. It would make sense if these martyrdoms were all part of that. In other words, they would have died before the beginning of ch6. In fact, their deaths would be the reason for what's happening in ch6.

John's first readers would probably have identified them with the victims of the most recent great persecution.

What are they asking for?
The key point here is that underneath the word "souls", what we're really looking at is the blood of the martyrs. It's the principle stated in Leviticus ch17 v11, "the life is in the blood", which is the basis of Old Testament sacrifice and much else.

The appeal in v10 comes from the line of thought that the blood of a murdered man appeals to God for justice. It goes right back to God's encounter with Cain, Genesis ch4 v10- "The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground".

The most direct precedent for the wording is Psalm 79. The psalmist cries in v5 "How long, O Lord?" and he adds, in v10, "Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of thy servants be known among the nations before our eyes." V10 of this chapter is showing just the same sentiment; "How long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?"

The setting of Psalm 79 (as we see from the opening words) is the Babylonian destruction of Solomon's Temple. If the "souls" here are quoting Psalm 79, that implies they've been experiencing something just as catastrophic. There's the same kind of anguish in their appeal.

At this point, though, the alert reader might be noticing something which looks like a contradiction. If the "Four Horsemen" have been God's response to the deaths of these people- which is what I've been arguing- why, then, do they still feel the need to appeal for justice? Isn't God already giving them justice?

My suggested answer is that they recognise, and welcome, the events of ch6 as the start of God's justice.
But what they're really looking for is the completion of God's justice.
That would mean the full destruction of evil power on the earth, and that's when they'll be satisfied.

The response they get from God is that they're given fresh robes and they're told to "rest until...". That is, they're told to wait. They must wait, in the first place, until a further batch of martyrs has been "made complete", and is ready to join them.

But as a response to the cry "How long?", as a response to an appeal for justice, the instruction to "wait" also implies that they're not immediately going to get the full vindication they're expecting.

We can see that as an advance warning of what happens at the beginning of ch7, when angels come out and hold back the destructive "four winds of the earth", which have been blowing on the earth all through ch6.

In other words, the process of destruction has been "put on hold". This opens up a time of "truce" in God's relationship with the world. This is the same "truce" which I was discussing in the thread "Silence in heaven".

Then the Beast builds up his power.
God makes his own preparations.
And the net result is the second batch of martyrs mentioned in v11.

For the church of John's own time, in the period immediately following a great persecution. this message would have two effects. It would deliver the promise that the recent martyrs would be vindicated. It would also explain why the vindication might be postponed (and the church of John's time had to wait a couple of centuries before persecution finally ceased).

When using this book as prophecy for the future, the implication seems to be that the cycle of "oppression-followed-by-God's-vengeance" would actually occur twice in the course of the book.

The first appearance of the cycle would be the "implied background of ch6" followed by ch6 itself.

The second appearance of the cycle would then be the persecution associated with the Beast, and the final destruction of the Beast.




posted on May, 2 2010 @ 05:05 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

I'm just adding links to the previous threads in this series, to wit;

Silence in Heaven

4 Horsemen-Why?

4 Horsemen-Running



posted on May, 3 2010 @ 12:54 AM
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Very very interesting



posted on May, 3 2010 @ 04:37 PM
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reply to post by dave2770
 


Thank you for your encouraging comments.
I hope to be looking at the Sixth Seal next week.



posted on May, 4 2010 @ 09:22 PM
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I think your difficulty is trying to make all the events of Revelation occur in chronological order. In fact many of the events overlap. The crying out of the martyred is an event that overlaps several other events in Revelations.

The seal judgements, bowl judgements and trumpet judgments are all clearly overlapping events. You can relate them via the clear descriptions of each type of event.

I made a timeline of Revelations events and Matthew 24 events and show some of the correspondances here.
home.earthlink.net...

Perhaps this will help your analysis. By the way, I'm not the only one who analyzes Revelations this way. There is even a technical name for this interpretation, according to my former pastor, but I forget the term.



posted on May, 4 2010 @ 09:49 PM
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Very interesting observation, and not one I had considered. Please note that one idea on Revelation is that the events not so much overlap, as much as occur at the same time, BUT from two different perspectives...one is from the Earth, the other coinciding view is Heaven...it's like two people on each side of the street describing the same car accident.

I've always looked at the souls under/beneath the altar as being Saints killed in the ensuing tribulation preceeded by the 4 horsemen...these are also the first 4 signs Jesus gives of His return....white horse=false christ/conquerer, red horse=wars and rumours of war, black horse = famine/disease/pestilence, pale-green horse=death.

Ironically, these are the exact cycles of a major conflict...cause and effect...but on a global level. The space of time is to allow as many people as possible to accept Christ and God and be saved spiritually. After seeing all of these things, there will be many that realize what is going on.

NOTE: Do you know what the #1 question is to the US Geological Survey service is? With all the earthquakes, is the end of the world near? Seriously...

The vengeance comes with the 7 bowls of wrath...in the last/7th trumpet...Christ with the angels has come and taken all the Saints. Now God pours His wrath upon the Earth. Pretty terrible stuff...this is where all those that took the mark break out in festering boils. The false christ persecutes all that do not worship him.

Keep up the good work.



posted on May, 4 2010 @ 10:02 PM
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Originally posted by DISRAELI
But what they're really looking for is the completion of God's justice.
That would mean the full destruction of evil power on the earth, and that's when they'll be satisfied.


We can see that as an advance warning of what happens at the beginning of ch7, when angels come out and hold back the destructive "four winds of the earth", which have been blowing on the earth all through ch6.

In other words, the process of destruction has been "put on hold". This opens up a time of "truce" in God's relationship with the world. This is the same "truce" which I was discussing in the thread "Silence in heaven".



The angels who have been holding back the winds are evil angels.
We are the winds (our breath, our words) which have been gathered from the four corners of the earth. Internet has made this possible. This is how we have come to all be gathered.

The angels who have been holding back the winds are the evil factions in the world who previously dictated that those who questioned should be punished or shunned. Those who experienced evil at the hands of priest-molesters should be silenced. No one could speak against the church without punishment and guilt. No one could question the twisted scriptural interpretations of "the authorities"...(some who are only backwoods preachers and charlatans who claim to blow the holy ghost on people and push them down). No one could question the reason for the mysterious rituals which symbolized cannibalism and blood drinking. No questions! Only obedience and conformity! Or else....people were shunned, scorned, ostracised, and even divided from their loved ones and families at the insistence of religious dogma and rules put forth by evil controlling men.

We are the breath of the four winds. And until now, these evil angels have prevented us from speaking.

It has been unleashed. We are overriding them.

This is NOT a time of truce. This is a time of LAST CALL for those who are truly evil and are continuing on in a system knowing they are lying to people, deceiving others out of greed, being manipulated to continue in their evil through blackmail or profit. It is LAST CALL for them to wash their hands and come out of "her" evil network.



posted on May, 4 2010 @ 10:09 PM
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Originally posted by AlreadyGone
pale-green horse=death.



We are the riders of the pale green horse and we are the ones who will bring death to this system of evil.

Where is your horse? Look at the colors on your router, on your tower, the buttons at the bottom of your screen and on your speakers.

It is the pale green horse that is taking us into this battle through an electronic medium.



posted on May, 5 2010 @ 05:17 PM
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Originally posted by SevenThunders
I think your difficulty is trying to make all the events of Revelation occur in chronological order. In fact many of the events overlap.

The seal judgements, bowl judgements and trumpet judgments are all clearly overlapping events. You can relate them via the clear descriptions of each type of event.

Thank you for making this thoughtful contribution, and thank you for the link you provided. Unfortunately it takes me to a PDF file, and my browser doesn't give me access to PDF files (I probably need to update).

I don't intend to be dogmatic about making all the events chronological.

For example, in a later thread (probably the third after this one), I expect to be describing the first half of ch12 as a "flashback" scene.

To me, the "Trumpets" are describing different aspects of God' judgements, so I see no reason why they need not be simultaneous. Similarly the bowls.

As for the Seals, I have already, in my "4 Horsemen- Running" thread, suggested that they would be active almost simultaneously as the different components of one major catastrophe. I see the fifth and sixth seals as a contrasting pair of reactions to this event.

Nevertheless, I will still defend the existence of a basic chronological sequence, inasmuch as;
The Seals, as a group; are followed by
The Trumpets, as a group; which are followed by
The Bowls, as a group.

In the case of the latter two, it seems to me that the state of affairs under the Bowls represents a deterioration of the state of affairs under the Trumpets. The most obvious example is that of the sea, which degenearates from "a third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatues died" to "the sea became like the blood of a dead man, and all the living creatutes died." I pointed this out on the recent "Ch16v3" thread, which associated the verse with the great oil spill (but nobody was taking any notice).

On that basis, I regard the Bowls as the final stage of the process commenced under the Trumpets.

As for the Seals;
A little earlier, I posted a link to my "Silence in Heaven" thread.
If you follow that link, you will find my argument that John is indicating (in ch8 v1) a clear interval between the dramatic events of ch6 and the dramatic events of the Trumpets.

This is important, because, in my opinion, this interval is the setting for the rise of the Beast to power.



posted on May, 5 2010 @ 05:39 PM
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Originally posted by AlreadyGone
Please note that one idea on Revelation is that the events not so much overlap, as much as occur at the same time, BUT from two different perspectives...one is from the Earth, the other coinciding view is Heaven.

these are also the first 4 signs Jesus gives of His return....white horse=false christ/conquerer, red horse=wars and rumours of war, black horse = famine/disease/pestilence, pale-green horse=death.
Ironically, these are the exact cycles of a major conflict...cause and effect...but on a global level.

Keep up the good work.

Thank you for your thoughtful contribution.

On the first point quoted above- Yes, I agree that the different perspectives are an important element in the situation. This will probably come out more in later threads.

On the second point, about the nature of the "Four Horsemen";
A little earlier, I planted a link to my previous "4 Horsemen- Running" thread.
If you follow that link, you might find it interesting.
In my account of them, I throw my weight (such as it is) behind the more traditional popular understanding, which names them as Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death.

But you'll also find me echoing your point about "cause and effect". My argument is that these four factors would be occurring almost simultaneously, and in one of the paragraphs I suggest how, by natural causation, they might help to cause one another and aggravate one another. Some people might think that I was describing these possibilities with too much relish (I half-thought so myself, as I was writing it). That's what happens when you get a student of history working on these things.

And thank you for the last comment. I was intending to, anyway, but a little encouragement is always welcome.



posted on May, 5 2010 @ 05:58 PM
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Originally posted by Alethea

The angels who have been holding back the winds are evil angels.

Thank you for your thoughtful contribution.

I suggested that the "four winds" were destructive ones, and I stand by that claim.

A little earlier, I planted a link to one of my previous threads, "4 Horsemen-Why?"

If you follow that link, you will find my argument that the "Four Horsemen" are echoes of the four horsemen and four chariots which are to be found in Zechariah ch1 and ch6, where they indicate God's wrath against the nations because of their treatment of Judah.

In Zechariah ch6 v5 these chariots, carrying God's power, are described as "going forth to the four winds of heaven". In Jeremiah ch49 v36, the Lord of Hosts says "I will bring upon Elam the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and I shall scatter them to all those winds". Thus, again, the four winds are seen as bringing the wrathful power of God upon the world.

O the basis, I'm convinced that the "four winds" of Revelation ch7 v1, and the "Four Horsemen" of ch6, are simply two different metaphors for the same thing- viz. the destructive action of God.

Therefore, the angels who hold them back are doing the world a service. It means that the period of destruction is, for the time being, coming to an end.

I think you may be making the mistake of taking the passage in isolation form the rest of the book. instead of interpreting the book as a whole.



posted on Oct, 13 2010 @ 12:58 PM
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I now add in a link to a later thread dealing with ch1 of this book, which is fundamental to this theme;

Fear Not



posted on Dec, 18 2010 @ 04:25 AM
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I now attach a link to a later thread, which relates to ch4 of this book.
That chapter is about God's throne and power, which is central to what happens in Revelation.

In the presence of God
edit on 18-12-2010 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 22 2010 @ 12:24 AM
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The souls are under the alter in gods room,so you cant look at it like it's a wood alter you would see at church.
The souls are under the alter, is what i would say if a bunch of good people died and then things got altered because of it.



posted on Dec, 22 2010 @ 12:49 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


As always I've read, flagged and stared your thread. I continue to find excellence in the explanations, of your understanding God's communicado to us. I always come away with something gained, so I always read your threads. I hope you keep them coming and thanks for sharing.



posted on May, 10 2011 @ 02:39 PM
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There is now an Index, covering all these Revelation threads, at this location;

Index of Revelation threads

This thread is numbered as #9 in the "order of chapters" list and Biblical reference index.



posted on Feb, 28 2012 @ 11:23 AM
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Just to clarify;
Nothing in the OP is intended to suggest any particular prophetic signifcance in the year 2012 or the date 21/12/2012



posted on Mar, 6 2013 @ 06:17 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


My response to the claims made about the year 2012 was that I could see no prophetic significance in the date.
This position seems to have been vindicated.



posted on Mar, 6 2013 @ 06:51 AM
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The Altar...

The very thing that missing in 90% of Christian churches these days and more importantly, not being utilized if they are there.. the very thing that could start a revial is shunned by the church...

I found it always intresting that the response of those at the foot of the altar get a immediate response as well ..
)



posted on Mar, 6 2013 @ 08:34 AM
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reply to post by Komodo
 

Many commentators think that altar is in heaven.
Perhaps if we all use the "altar in heaven", that will be enough?
We know we have a "great High Priest" who wil take it further.





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