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In die Skriflig

versão On-line ISSN 2305-0853
versão impressa ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.45 no.1 Pretoria Jun. 2011




'n Noodkreet om God se regverdiging of 'n wraakroep om selfgelding? Martelaars aan die voet van die altaar (Op. 6:9-11)


A cry of distress for justice or a vindictive call for vengeance? The martyrs under the altar (Rev. 6:9-11)



J.A. du Rand

Buitengewone Professor: Fakulteit Teologie, Potchefstroomkampus. Noordwes-Universiteit. Potchefstroom. E-pos:




Die wesenlike vraag wat in hierdie artikel aan die orde kom, is of die martelaars se noodroep in Openbaring 6:9-11 fokus op die regverdiging van God se oordeel of op die martelaars se selfsugtige wraak. Handel dit dus oor die goddelike beskikking in die gang van die geskiedenis van die Christendom of oor die martelaars se wraakgierige selfbevrediging? Albei standpunte het deur die eeue eksegetiese steun gekry wat weer gelei het tot uiteenlopende en dikwels verwarrende teologiese stand-punte. Die eksegetiese keuses het onvermydelik dogmatiese en etiese implikasies. Dit kan verder gevra word of dit teologies betaamlik is dat mense by God kan smeek om wraak te neem op medeskepsels van God. Bogenoemde eksegetiese kernvraag met sy teologiese implikasies word gerieflikheidshalwe in die meeste eksegetiese analises van Openbaring 6:9-11 verswyg. Nuwer navorsing oor die psigologiese en sosio-kulturele situa-sie van die historiese eerste ontvangers van Openbaring, asook oor martelaarskap in die vroeë kerk, word in hierdie artikel aangewend om 'n nuwe blik te kry op 'n ou eksegetiese probleem. Eksegetiese uitsluitsel word oor genoemde vrae na aanleiding van Openbaring 6:9-11 verkry en die resultaat ontplooi as 'n sleutelmotief en "sakelys" in die ontvouing van die dramatiese narratief en teologiese boodskap in die res van die gang van die dramatiese narratief van Openbaring.


The essential question to be answered in this article arises from the martyrs' cry in Revelation 6:9-11. Is the cry to be interpreted as a justification of God's judgement or as a cry for vengeance by the suffering martyrs? In other words, is it about God's disposition in the history of Christianity or about the revengeful self-satisfaction of the martyrs? Both these views have been proposed by exegetes and this has led to confusing theological viewpoints. These exegetical preferences determine further dogmatic and ethical implications. The question may also be asked whether it is at all fitting for Christians to urge God to take revenge on their fellows. In almost all the commentaries on Revelation 6:9-11 the exegetes have neglected the theological implications of their exegetical choices concerning these texts. Newer research on the psychological and socio-cultural situation of the first historical receivers of Revelation, as well as the issue of martyrdom in the early church, help an exegete to gain new insights into an old exegetical problem. Decisive exegetical results also serve as key motifs in the unfolding of the dramatic narrative and theological message in the further chapters of Revelation.



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