Revelation 6:9

New Testament

9 Now when the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been violently killed because of the word of God and because of the testimony they had given. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Master, holy and true, before you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood?” 11 Each of them was given a long white robe, and they were told to rest for a little longer, until the full number was reached of both their fellow servants and their brothers who were going to be killed just as they had been. 12 Then I looked when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and a huge earthquake took place; the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the full moon became blood red; 13 and the stars in the sky fell to the earth like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when shaken by a fierce wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place.

4 Ezra 4:35

2 Esdras

32 Reckon this up: if one grain of evil seed has produced so great a crop of godlessness, how vast a harvest will there be when good seeds beyond number have been sown! 33 ‘I asked, ‘But when? How long have we to wait? Why are our lives so short and so miserable?’ 34 He replied, ‘Do not be in a greater hurry than the Most High himself. You are in a hurry for yourself alone; the Most High for many. 35 Are not these the very questions which were asked by the righteous in the storehouse of souls: “How long must we stay here? When will the harvest begin, the time when we get our reward?” 36 And the arch-angel Uriel gave them this answer: “As soon as the number of those like yourselves is complete. For the Lord has weighed the world in a balance, 37 he has measured and numbered the ages; he will move nothing, alter nothing, until the appointed number is achieved.”‘ 38 ‘But, my lord, my master,’ I replied, ‘we are all of us sinners through and through.

 Notes and References

"... The entire scene in vv 9–11 has close parallels in both form and content with 1 Enoch 47:4 and 4 Ezra 4:35–37 ... Despite some difficulties with the text (Knibb, Enoch 2:133, note on 47.4), the reference is probably to the predetermined number of the elect (Black, 1 Enoch, 209–10). Here we find the juxtaposition of two motifs, the complete number of the righteous and the prayer for vengeance by righteous martyrs. Similarly, in 4 Ezra 4:35–37, we find a comparable sequence of motifs consisting of a brief question put by the righteous dead (beginning with the phrase “How long ... ?” as in Revelation 6:11; see Westermann, ZAW 66 [1954] 53) and the comforting answer by a supernatural being, which contains the motif of the numerus iustorum, i.e., the complete number of the righteous ..."

Aune, David Word Biblical Commentary: Revelation 6-16 (p. 163) Zondervan, 2017

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.