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21 Brief Observations Concerning Revelation 6:9-11... Proof we do have some insight about earth when in heaven

Loyal
By Randy Alcorn
December 18, 2009
"When [the Lamb] opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, 'How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?' Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed" (Revelation 6:9-11).

1. When these people died on Earth, they relocated to Heaven (v. 9).

2. These people in Heaven were the same ones killed for Christ while on Earth (v. 9). This demonstrates direct continuity between our identity on Earth and our identity in Heaven. The martyrs' personal history extends directly back to their lives on Earth. Those in the intermediate Heaven are not different people; they are the same people relocated—"righteous men made perfect" (Hebrews 12:23).

3. People in Heaven will be remembered for their lives on Earth. These were known and identified as ones slain "because of…the testimony they had maintained" (v. 9).

4. "They called out" (v. 10) means they are able to express themselves audibly. This could suggest they exist in physical form, with vocal cords or other tangible means to express themselves.

5. People in the intermediate Heaven can raise their voices (v. 10). This indicates that they are rational, communicative, and emotional—even passionate—beings, like people on Earth.

6. They called out in "a loud voice," not "loud voices." Individuals speaking with one voice indicate that Heaven is a place of unity and shared perspective.

7. The martyrs are fully conscious, rational, and aware of each other, God, and the situation on Earth.

8. They ask God to intervene on Earth and to act on their behalf: "How long…until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?"(v. 10).

9. Those in Heaven are free to ask God questions, which means they have an audience with God. It also means they need to learn. In Heaven, people desire understanding and pursue it.

10. People in the intermediate Heaven know what's happening on Earth (v. 10). The martyrs know enough to realize that those who killed them have not yet been judged.

11. Heaven dwellers have a deep concern for justice and retribution (v. 10). When we go to Heaven, we won't adopt a passive disinterest in what happens on the earth. On the contrary, our concerns will be more passionate and our thirst for justice greater. Neither God nor we will be satisfied until his enemies are judged, our bodies raised, sin and Satan defeated, Earth restored, and Christ exalted over all.

12. The martyrs clearly remember their lives on Earth (v. 10). They remember at least some of the bad things from earth, since they even remember that they were murdered. (Heaven's joys are not rooted in ignorance, but perspective.)

13. The martyrs in Heaven pray for judgment on their persecutors who are still at work hurting others. They are acting in solidarity with, and in effect interceding for, the suffering saints on Earth. This suggests that saints in Heaven are both seeing and praying for saints on Earth.

14. Those in Heaven see God's attributes ("Sovereign…holy and true") in a way that makes his judgment of sin more understandable.

15. Those in Heaven are distinct individuals: "Then each of them was given a white robe" (v. 11). There isn't one merged identity (ala Nirvana) that obliterates uniqueness, but a distinct "each of them."

16. The martyrs' wearing white robes suggests the possibility of actual physical forms, because disembodied spirits presumably don't wear robes. The robes may well have symbolic meaning, but it doesn't mean they couldn't also be physical. The martyrs appear to have physical forms that John could actually see.

17. God answers their question (v. 11), indicating communication and process in Heaven. It also demonstrates that we won't know everything in Heaven—if we did, we would have no questions. The martyrs knew more after God answered their question than before they asked it. There is learning in the present Heaven.

18. God promises to fulfill the martyrs' requests, but says they will have to "wait a little longer" (v. 11). Those in the intermediate Heaven live in anticipation of the future fulfillment of God's promises. Unlike the eternal Heaven—where there will be no more sin, Curse, or suffering on the New Earth (Revelation 21:4)—the present Heaven coexists with and watches over an Earth under sin, the Curse, and suffering.

19. There is time in the intermediate Heaven (vv. 10-11). The white-robed martyrs ask God a time-dependent question: "How long, Sovereign Lord…until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" (v. 10). They are aware of time's passing and are eager for the coming day of the Lord's judgment. God answers that they must "wait a little longer" until certain events transpire on Earth. Waiting requires the passing of time. (This seems to refute the "no time in Heaven/ instantaneous resurrection" theory, as well as soul sleep.)

20. The people of God in Heaven have a strong familial connection with those on Earth, who are called their "fellow servants and brothers" (v. 11). We share the same Father, "from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named" (Ephesians 3:15, ESV). There is not a wall of separation within the bride of Christ. We are one family with those who've gone to Heaven ahead of us. After we go to Heaven, we'll still be one family with those yet on Earth. These verses demonstrate a vital connection between the events and people in Heaven and the events and people on Earth.

21. Our sovereign God knows down to the last detail all that is happening and will happen on Earth (v. 11), including every drop of blood shed and every bit of suffering undergone by his children. Voice of the Martyrs estimates that more than 150,000 people die for Christ each year, an average of more than four hundred per day. God knows the name and story of each one. He knows exactly how many martyrs there will be, and he is prepared to return and set up his Kingdom when the final martyr dies.
 
Active
By Randy Alcorn
December 18, 2009
'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:
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?"

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. '
(Rev 6:9-11)

Hello Dave M,

The first thing to remember when reading Revelation 6:9-11, is that this is a vision: and the figures used are 'representative of' what is being depicted.

* There are figures of speech being used which need to be noted.:-
eg., 'I saw the souls of them that were beheaded' - ie., I saw them (ie., the persons of them) that were slain (See Rev. 20:4):-

'And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them,
and judgment was given unto them:
and I saw the souls of them
that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God,
and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image,
neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands;
and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.'

(Rev 20:4)

* John saw dead persons (ie dead souls). They could not reign till they were made alive: hence in 20:4 we read tha,t 'they lived'. Also, how could dead 'souls' cry "How long?" or, as such, wear "White Robes" which "were given unto every one of them" (Rev. 6:11). The dead have no power of speech (Psalms 115:17; 146:4). This was a vision. They are represented as speaking, though slain.

'The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.' (Psa 115:17)

' Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.'

(Psa 146:3-4)

* After the Church shall have been taken away, the Remnant of Israel will be dealt with and go through a 'great tribulation' and suffer great persecution. In Revelation 6:9 this time of persecution is not yet over, and those who have been slain are represented, as speaking and asking, "How long" it would be before the earth should be judged, and their blood avenged. That this is not the language of the Church is clear; for they address the Lord as 'Despotees' ie 'despot', or 'master of slaves', and not as 'Kurios', "Lord", as the Church always does.

Thank you
In Christ Jesus
Chris
 
Active
'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:
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?"

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. '
(Rev 6:9-11)

Hello Dave M,

The first thing to remember when reading Revelation 6:9-11, is that this is a vision: and the figures used are 'representative of' what is being depicted.

* There are figures of speech being used which need to be noted.:-
eg., 'I saw the souls of them that were beheaded' - ie., I saw them (ie., the persons of them) that were slain (See Rev. 20:4):-

'And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them,
and judgment was given unto them:
and I saw the souls of them
that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God,
and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image,
neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands;
and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.'

(Rev 20:4)

* John saw dead persons (ie dead souls). They could not reign till they were made alive: hence in 20:4 we read tha,t 'they lived'. Also, how could dead 'souls' cry "How long?" or, as such, wear "White Robes" which "were given unto every one of them" (Rev. 6:11). The dead have no power of speech (Psalms 115:17; 146:4). This was a vision. They are represented as speaking, though slain.

'The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.' (Psa 115:17)

' Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.'

(Psa 146:3-4)

* After the Church shall have been taken away, the Remnant of Israel will be dealt with and go through a 'great tribulation' and suffer great persecution. In Revelation 6:9 this time of persecution is not yet over, and those who have been slain are represented, as speaking and asking, "How long" it would be before the earth should be judged, and their blood avenged. That this is not the language of the Church is clear; for they address the Lord as 'Despotees' ie 'despot', or 'master of slaves', and not as 'Kurios', "Lord", as the Church always does.

Thank you
In Christ Jesus
Chris
Not only Israel but ALL unbelievers, Jew or Gentile.
 
Active
I reckon its important to remember that to John's first generation pagan converts this whole concept had been unknown. It was great assurance and hope for them to learn that even in death, their friends and family, in Christ, we not lost to them or the kingdom.
 
Active
In all of Scripture, there is not one verse that locates the rapture before the tribulation. That I am aware of, could you show me one ?

thanks
'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:
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.
And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet,
and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds,
from one end of heaven to the other.'
(Mat 24:29)

Hello @Dave M,

Your post was made in response to my words, 'After the Church shall have been taken away,' at the start of the last paragraph of reply#2: but in saying that, I was not referring to the event that is recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4, referred to as 'the rapture'.

As you will know the expectation of the Church during the Acts period was for the imminent return of Christ: and if Israel had responded to the call of Peter in Acts 3:19-21, He would have done so. Since the departure of Israel into the blindness of unbelief at the end of the Acts period, that hope has been deferred. Israel's prophetic clock having stopped with their departure into that lo-ammi condition. When God's prophetic clock re-starts. He will resume His dealings with Israel and Daniel's 70th week of years will run its course.

My words applied to the Church which is His (Christ's) Body.

Thank you
In Christ Jesus
Chris
 
Loyal
I was not referring to the event that is recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4, referred to as 'the rapture'.

HI Chris
We just will have to respectful disagree then
Here are my thoughts on it
when you look at 1 Thessalonians 4 you will see it says the dead have to receive there glorified bodies first, this does not happen until the last day before we go into the 1,000 reign, so yes its the rapture at the end of the tribulation which is the same as the second coming.
 
Active
As you will know the expectation of the Church during the Acts period was for the imminent return of Christ: and if Israel had responded to the call of Peter in Acts 3:19-21, He would have done so. Since the departure of Israel into the blindness of unbelief at the end of the Acts period, that hope has been deferred. Israel's prophetic clock having stopped with their departure into that lo-ammi condition. When God's prophetic clock re-starts. He will resume His dealings with Israel and Daniel's 70th week of years will run its course.

As with any DF distinctive this one lacks anything Christian and anything of Biblical truth. And its important to note many of those who proclaim Israel's prophetic clock having stopped are those who also claim 1948 was fulfillment of prophecy ,,,regarding Israel. And we all know how the generation that saw the fig buds,,,, faded away for 88 different reasons :)
 
Active
HI Chris
We just will have to respectful disagree then
Here are my thoughts on it
when you look at 1 Thessalonians 4 you will see it says the dead have to receive there glorified bodies first, this does not happen until the last day before we go into the 1,000 reign, so yes its the rapture at the end of the tribulation which is the same as the second coming.

Hi @Dave M.

Thank you for your kind response, it is appreciated.

Yes, I am aware that I could be wrong about timings, but do know that when Christ, Who is our life, appears in glory, then the Church which is His Body shall appear with Him there. That appearing will take place 'presumably' prior to His coming. What matters is that God knows the day and hour, and that He will bring it to pass.

'If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above,
not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead,
and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear,
then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.'

(Col 3:1-4)

Praise His Name!

:love:
 
Active
Hi @Dave M.

Thank you for your kind response, it is appreciated.

Yes, I am aware that I could be wrong about timings, but do know that when Christ, Who is our life, appears in glory, then the Church which is His Body shall appear with Him there. That appearing will take place 'presumably' prior to His coming. What matters is that God knows the day and hour, and that He will bring it to pass.

'If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above,
not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead,
and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear,
then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.'

(Col 3:1-4)

Praise His Name!

:love:
So, what difference does it make?

I have already been scolded by another here at T.J. for some how being disrespectful of Jesus, or that I didn't know Jesus.

WHO here really knows Jesus, other than what Scripture tells us. I am a Believer and have Faith in Him.
I look at Jesus as my Lord and Savior, so back to "what difference does it make".
I think of things like:
1. The Bible makes it clear to me that " out of the body, in the Spirit.
2. GOD says He will never leave or forsake you!
3.If God is for you, who can be against you
4. Jesus said that even He doesnt know the timing!
- only to name a few-
Jesus will return, I believe this, but what of the timing?
If it happens in my time, hurray!!!...I want to be one of the Horsman, but something tells me , that job will go to another more worthy!
But, more than likely, I will die first.
Either way I am with the lord.
I have God given "Faith", so I say: " who cares", I am taken care of regardless!
 
Active
Hello @Dave M,

Just one more thought concerning the coming of the Lord, and our rising to be with Him.
So, what difference does it make?

I have already been scolded by another here at T.J. for some how being disrespectful of Jesus, or that I didn't know Jesus.

WHO here really knows Jesus, other than what Scripture tells us. I am a Believer and have Faith in Him.
I look at Jesus as my Lord and Savior, so back to "what difference does it make".
I think of things like:
1. The Bible makes it clear to me that " out of the body, in the Spirit.
2. GOD says He will never leave or forsake you!
3.If God is for you, who can be against you
4. Jesus said that even He doesn't know the timing!
- only to name a few-
Jesus will return, I believe this, but what of the timing?
If it happens in my time, hurray!!!...I want to be one of the Horseman, but something tells me , that job will go to another more worthy!
But, more than likely, I will die first.
Either way I am with the lord.
I have God given "Faith", so I say: " who cares", I am taken care of regardless!
Hello there, @Born Again 2004,

As long as we are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, then we have the promise of life through His Name. For He is Faithful and will do it.
Yes, we are trusting God to keep His word, and as He cannot lie, we can be assured that He will do what He has told us He will do. That is true of all that He has promised in and through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thank you for your encouraging words.
In Christ Jesus
Chris
 
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