The Dead — Where Are They? 13 The Souls Under the Altar

The Souls Under the Altar

In Revelation 6:9-11 the souls of martyrs “under the altar” are said to cry,

“How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”

Some have taken this to mean that the martyrs were enjoying a conscious existence between their death and their resurrection. This passage, from the allegorical and highly figurative book of Revelation, is not a proper foundation for a teaching that contradicts the plain statements of Scripture ; viz., that the dead are asleep, that they know not anything, and that therefore they cannot call on the Lord. The dead martyrs, slain on account of their faithfulness to the testimony of Jesus, were offered on the altar of the worldliness of a persecuting church and state — all of them “slain” socially, in the sense of ostracism, and many slain physically also. They could not, while in the death state, personally pray to God, yet the fact of their martyrdom, could and does cry to him emphatically, “with a loud voice,” in the same way that Abel’s blood cried unto God from the ground, and in the same way that the faithfulness of the Ancients is a testimony to us. (Gen. 4:10; Heb. 11:4.)

The martyr Stephen did not in his dying moments cry for vengeance on his persecutors; and were he consciously existing in a disembodied state he would be unlikely to alter his prayer —

“Lay not this sin to their charge.” (Acts 7:60.)

The narrative plainly states that

“When he had said this, he fell asleep.”

But God, in Whose eyes the death of His saints is precious (Psa. 110: 15), has arranged retribution for the persecutors of His people, details of which are given in later chapters of the Apocalypse. It is said of Babylon the great,

“In her was found the blood of the prophets and of the saints and of all that were slain upon the earth.” — Rev. 17: 6; 18: 5-8, 24.

– The New Covenant Advocate June 1909

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Preceding

The Dead — Where Are They? 1 Universal Inquiry

The Dead — Where Are They? 2 Scientific Answer

The Dead — Where Are They? 3 The Spiritualist’s Answer 

The Dead — Where Are They? 4 The Bible’s Answer

The Dead — Where Are They? 6 Death for man and beast

The Dead — Where Are They? 7 Man became a living soul

The Dead — Where Are They? 8 Man in God’s likeness

The Dead — Where Are They? 9 The Resurrection of the Dead

The Dead — Where Are They? 10 Depart and be with Christ

The Dead — Where Are They? 11 Absent from the Body, Present with the Lord

The Dead — Where Are They? 12 The Thief on the Cross

Next

The Dead — Where Are They? 14 The Spirits in Prison

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Related

  1. The Scroll Of The Revelations – God’s Judgments Unsealed
  2. The Seal Judgments & God’s Sealed People (Revelation 6:1-8:1)
  3. Martyrdom and the Justice of God (Rev 6:9-11)
  4. Obstacles for the good endeavours of the dead
  5. Noise from the notebook: The Dead – a Jungian meditation
  6. Rescue – Acts 7:9-10
  7. The Intermingling of Witness and Suffering
  8. Revelation 6:9-11
  9. DC Talk: “Jesus Freak”
  10. The innocent blood cries out!
  11. Won’t Eternity Be Boring?

14 thoughts on “The Dead — Where Are They? 13 The Souls Under the Altar

  1. Very good writing! I had never thought of it the way you have written that the soul’s under the alter would not be speaking with God to ask Him how long, but this makes perfect (Spiritually) sense that it would be their blood speaking. VERY INSIGHTFUL! God Bless and Keep you Always.
    Julia

    Like

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