13th Mar 2017
This is the last installment of our examination of the doctrine of Blood Atonement, i.e. the avenging of the martyrs, and its relationship to eschatology. Be sure to read the previous installments
Look now at how Revelation incorporates the key Old Testament prophecies that we’ve examined.
Deuteronomy 32:32, says that in Israel’s last days, she would become the vine of Sodom. In describing the city that killed the two witnesses, i.e., the prophets of God, she is spiritually called Sodom.
Likewise, at her destruction and demise, in Revelation 19, the paean of victory is sung and that victory is what? It is a direct echo of Deuteronomy 32: 43 that said He will avenge the blood of his saints. But in Revelation 19:2 we find, He has avenged the blood of his saints. Here is the Law of Blood Atonement fulfilled, as it was poured out on the city that had slain the prophets, Jesus and his apostles and prophets. They were unrepentant and hostile. There was no city of refuge for them.
Isaiah 2-4 predicted the last days vindication of the martyrs at the coming of the Lord. Yet, men would flee to the hills. Well, Revelation 6:12f, as we have seen, is a direct citation of Isaiah 2:19.
Isaiah 27 foretold the destruction of Leviathan at the time of the vindication of the martyrs. In Revelation 20:8f, we find the destruction of Satan at the end of the millennium.
Isaiah 59, the salvation of the remnant. Revelation 7 and 14, the salvation of the 144,000, the righteous remnant.
Daniel chapter 12 foretold the resurrection and the rewarding of the prophets. Revelation 11:15f, has the time of the dead that they should be judged, and the time to reward the prophets – once again a direct echo of Daniel 12. When would it be? At the fall of that city where the Lord was slain.
This raises another hermeneutical question. Each of these Old Testament prophecies posited martyr vindication in Israel’s last days, at the end of the millennium and the destruction of Satan at the judgment of Old Covenant Israel. Revelation incorporates these Old Testament prophecies of the vindication of martyrs to promise imminent vindication at the judgment of Babylon. Revelation likewise incorporates Jesus’ promise of imminent vindication of the martyrs, the Old Testament prophets and Jesus’ apostles and prophets.
Remember Blaising’s quote that Revelation 20 is about the fulfillment of Jesus’ promises. If Revelation 20, the end of the millennium judgment, is about the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise of the vindication of the martyrs, then the end-of-the-millennium resurrection had to be in Jesus’ generation. All of these things would come upon this generation. Once again, Jesus undeniably posited vindication of the martyrs, all the blood shed on the earth, all the way back to creation, in AD70.
So a great hermeneutical question is raised: What is the justification for rejecting the Old Testament prophecies, Jesus’ emphatic promise, and Paul’s perfectly corresponding theology, and applying Revelation to a different persecuting power, a different set of martyrs, a different judgment, at the end of a different age, in fulfillment of a different set of promises, i.e., promises made to the church divorced from Israel? I suggest that there is no justification.
So I would ask you, and I would encourage you, yes, I would challenge you, to listen very carefully today. Listen very carefully to how the speakers who will follow — you know, well, I’ve got a target on my chest; I know I’m the first speaker, so here it is, you know, take a shot. But, listen very carefully to how the speakers deal with the undeniable fact that the consummative, not typological, but the consummative avenging of the martyrs is inextricably tied to Israel and her blood guilt in her last days, not the church divorced from Israel. Lamentably, far too few commentators honor this reality.
The Thessalonian Christians who were being persecuted by the Jews at that time would be given a relief “when the Lord Jesus is revealed,” and how they incorporate that with Jesus’ promise of vindication in that generation, thus delimiting the end of the millennium to that time.
I suggest that any interpretation of Revelation 20 that excludes Old Covenant Israel, her covenant promises and her blood guilt, thus her judgment, at the end of her covenant age, and ignores Jesus’ and Paul’s emphatic teaching on martyr vindication is prima facie false.
I think you can see that the vindication of the martyrs – and the application of the Law of Blood Atonement – is inextricably tied to the end of the millennium and to Israel, not the end of the church age.
Once again, Jesus emphatically posited vindication of all the martyrs, all the way back to creation, not just a small, isolated group, but all the martyrs all the way back to creation for his generation at the judgment of Jerusalem in AD70.
This agrees perfectly with all of the Old Testament prophecies, with what we have seen in Thessalonians and in Revelation. This definitively establishes my view. Does it raise all sorts of other questions? Indeed! But, all of the evidence points to the fact that the end-of-the-millennium resurrection was, “when the power of the holy people was completely shattered.” And no other time, and no other event better matches the Biblical datum than the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel that arrived with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.