The Berean Expositor
Volume 9 - Page 106 of 138
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wild beasts, with death and hades exercising their dread authority. What a blessing to
know Him who has the keys of death and hades, and to look across this darkening
nightfall of a ruined world to the day when death and hades shall be cast into the great
destructor together with all things that offend. These are the beginning of sorrows, but
they do not last for ever. Greater judgments have yet to follow them, nevertheless we,
according to His promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth
#28. The Cry for Vengeance (Rev. 6: 9-11).
pp. 97 - 101
The first four seals are connected together by the reference to the four living creatures.
The fifth seal is not connected with them, and must be considered as a separate subject.
While viewing this seal as something separate, we must remember that the words of
verse 11 link this with the awful times of the first four seals.
"And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had
been killed because of the Word of God, and because of the testimony which they held."
An altar is literally "a place of sacrifice". It occurs in 8: 3 and 5; 9: 1; 11: 18;
and 16: 7. The first and last occurrences have much in common. We read that the third
angel poured out his vial, and the angel of the waters said:--
"Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art and wast, because thou hast judged thus. For
they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink;
for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God
Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments."
While this last reference is parallel with the first, the idea of judgment is connected
with several of the remaining passages. The dispensation of grace, with its spirit of
longsuffering and meekness, has led the enemies of truth to a fatal misinterpretation. The
God who said, "Avenge not yourselves", said also, "vengeance in Mine, I will repay". To
the wicked God said, "These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest
that I was altogether such an one as thyself. . . . now consider. . . . lest I tear you in
pieces" (Psa. 50: 21, 22). The long deferred "day of vengeance" (see Luke 4: 19, 20) is
linked with the comforting of Zion (Isa. 61: 2, 3). So also in Isa. 63: 4, "For the day of
vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed is come". "The day of the Lord's
vengeance" is linked with "the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion"
(Isa. 34: 8).
The opening of the fifth seal is marked with a cry for vengeance. The apostle says
that he saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain. It is surely a sign of
weakness when such a passage is used to support the traditional teaching concerning the
soul, and we do not remember ever reading that anyone who has used this passage to
support the teaching of the soul's conscious existence after death has ever brought