Mercy or Vindication

Man, Sin, & Salvation
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jaydam
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Mercy or Vindication

Post by jaydam » Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:52 pm

How do you guys reconcile that the first two martyr's of the church (Christ & Stephen) - I place Christ loosely as a martyr, one who died for the church cause - both petitioned that their persecutors be forgiven, yet Revelation sees impatient martyrs hungry for vindication, instead of interceding for their killers?

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dizerner
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Re: Mercy or Vindication

Post by dizerner » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:19 pm

Interesting thought to see Christ as a martyr. It tilted me a little since I mostly think of him as Judge, Savior and Creator of the world. I suppose he was indeed the ultimate Martyr.

The martyrs in revelation lack of intercessory attitude probably had to do with them being killed in the time of the kingdom of the Beast—at that point the light of the world will be gone. There will be no more saving graces upon the sinful of earth. They're just waiting for the rest of the saints to die:

...and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

Another thought is that forgiveness is for humans uniquely a temporal thing, something belonging to this earthly existence. At the end of time we all wage war with Christ and after victory behold the fate of the damned, where their worm never dies and their fire is never quenched.
~ Classical Arminian Christian Mystic ~

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Paidion
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Re: Mercy or Vindication

Post by Paidion » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:45 pm

Since Revelation is basically a writing which records a vision that John saw, it is difficult or impossible to determine doctrine or assessment of human attitudes, etc. from the content.
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Re: Mercy or Vindication

Post by morbo3000 » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:55 pm

Jesus was foremost a martyr. He stood up to the oppression of the poor and outcasts by the religious authorities. They killed him for it.
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Paidion
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Re: Mercy or Vindication

Post by Paidion » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:05 pm

Yes, indeed! Jesus stood up to the oppression of the poor and outcasts by the religious authorities.

I'm not sure if that's the reason they killed Him. More likely because He didn't fulfill their Messianic expectation of delivering the Jewish nation from Rome. For that reason they considered Him to be an impostor, and not the Messiah at all. Also, they killed Him because He called "God" his father, "making Himself equal to God".
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willowtree
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Re: Mercy or Vindication

Post by willowtree » Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:16 pm

jaydam wrote:How do you guys reconcile that the first two martyr's of the church (Christ & Stephen) - I place Christ loosely as a martyr, one who died for the church cause - both petitioned that their persecutors be forgiven, yet Revelation sees impatient martyrs hungry for vindication, instead of interceding for their killers?
I don't have any problem with seeing Jesus as a martyr. I remember someone pointing out that Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God, not seated, as we would have expected. This was mentioned as an indication of respect and honour to someone who had suffered as he had.
Regarding forgiveness, I sometimes wonder who benefits the most from it - the forgiver or the forgivee. As believers who have been forgiven and hear the gospel message so frequently, we hear mostly about the benefits to the forgiven. But the one who forgives has much to gain as well, perhaps more. The forgiver is the party who contributes the most to clearing the burden of guilt, of removing that unspoken gulf of severed relationship between the two parties.
Jesus tells us in the Lord's prayer that forgiveness from God is dependent on our forgiving others. So the forgiver of men also clears the way to receive God's (continued) forgiveness.
It can thus be assumed that the martyrs who are now 'hungry for vindication' had, at their deaths, also forgiven those who executed them.
I am not convinced that, if I forgive someone, I am absolving them of their guilt before God, only of their offense towards me. So the executors still need to repent before God in their own person.
Regarding vindication, I am still trying to work around the comments found in the book of the Revelation, where, in the midst of the bowls of wrath, God is declared to be just in these activities. The resolution of this, in my mind, is in remembering that these executioners also had opportunity to repent and find forgiveness before God but had not. In addition, keeping in mind Rev 12:11 these executioners had been firsthand witnesses of one of the most powerful testimonies of the Christian faith - the willingness of a believer to lay down his life for the Lord.
If you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, always head for the rock. Ps 62..

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Re: Mercy or Vindication

Post by dwight92070 » Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:34 pm

Jaydam,

We know that Christ, Stephen, and the martyrs in Revelation all loved God and all were led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14). So Christ and Stephen were led one way and the martyrs of Revelation were led another way. Paul said, "Behold the kindness and severity of God." Sometimes He wishes to show kindness, other times He shows severity. All His decisions and judgments are just. John the Baptist was led to live an ascetic life while Jesus led a life of "eating and drinking". God alone knows the reasons why.

Dwight

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Re: Mercy or Vindication

Post by dwilkins » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:19 pm

I'd say that though God would like our attitudes to be forgiving in order to approximate his patience, eventually the bill will come due. Most people get hung up on the first part of the parallelism below and miss the punch line. Though God is long suffering, eventually there will be a day of the Lord.

2Pe 3:7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
2Pe 3:8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

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jaydam
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Re: Mercy or Vindication

Post by jaydam » Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:46 pm

Thank you for the responses.

Yes, I see Christ as a martyr. While Stephen is spoken of as the first church martyr, I would contend it was Christ.

As for the martyrs in Revelation vs. what we see in the example of Christ and Stephen, do you believe Christ prayed in futility that God would forgive those who were injuring and persecuting him?

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Homer
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Re: Mercy or Vindication

Post by Homer » Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:40 pm

Jaydam,
do you believe Christ prayed in futility that God would forgive those who were injuring and persecuting him?
I do not see Jesus' request for forgiveness for those who were responsible for his death as implying they should be forgiven absent repentance. On the Day of Pentecost in his sermon Peter accused his hearers of guilt in the death of Jesus and urged them to repent so that they could be forgiven. 3000 responded and Jesus' prayer was answered, at least in part.

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