Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Fifth Seal

Rev. 6:9-10 And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of people who had been slain on account of the word of God and on account of the witness which they had (made). They cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O holy and true Master, before you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth? "

If anyone forces (the meaning of) the loosening of the four seals to apply to the foregoing acts of dispensation by Christ, he will naturally adapt this to the previously fulfilled prophets and the remaining saints who cry out loud because of the divine forbearance which He endured being insulted by the Jews unto the cross. And if any take these things to mean a foretelling of future events according to the teachers of the Church, he will suppose that such a thing is fitting, that those who were killed for Christ will cry out against their persecutors, at which (time) the worthy will return to cut off the impiety of the disobedient at the consummation of the world, so that the righteous will not stretch out their hands in lawlessness. For even though already at that time, as it has been said, the ungodly were tested by the divine wrath, nonetheless the relies (of the saints) were asking for punishing or chastising afflictions.


Rev. 6:11 And he gave them each a white robe and told them to rest again a little longer, until their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed in the future even as they (had been), completed (their number).

And by these (words) the saints seem to be asking for the full consummation of the world. Wherefore, they are called upon to endure patiently until the completion of the (number of) brothers, so that they will not become compl├Ęte without them, according to the Apostle. The white robes show the blooming brightness of the virtues in which they are vested, even though they have not yet received the promises. So at least in the hope of these things, to which they look forward spiritually, having ceased from ail earthliness they naturally delight in reposing in the bosom of Abraham?  For this has been said by many of the saints, that each one will have as one's share a place worthy of each of the worker's virtue through which also their future glory is to be assigned.

Rev. 6:12-13  And 1 saw, and when he opened the sixth seal, and a great earthquake occurred; and the sun became black as sackcloth, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree casts its winter fruit when shaken by a great wind;

Some took ail these things to mean the siege of Vespasian, each of these things
mentioned having been understood figuratively. It seems to us that here a shift has taken place beginning from the time of persecutions to  the time before the arrival of the pseudo-Christ, during which so many afflictions were prophesied to come, and perhaps the people, being practised in these afflictions, did not renounce the punishments brought upon them by the Antichrist, of which sort as we have never known. The earthquake, which we often find in the Scriptures, certainly (represents) a change. For the once more I will shake signifies the change of the things being shaken, as the Apostle says. And in the Old
(Testament) it is said, concerning the journey of the Israelites out of Egypt, the earth was shaken and the heavens dripped. The darkening of the sun, and the moon without light and blood-like, shows those who are unenlightened overtaken by divine wrath — for thus many times the blessed Cyril also interpreted these things in this manner — the falling of the stars as it already has been written about the ones deceived by Antiochus, (means) also the falling of those who think they are luminaries in the world who bend the knee to created things; as the Lord says, Even the chosen will be deceived, if possible, by the magnitude of the affliction. For perhaps on account of this also the fig tree is taken as an example of this, like the unripe fruits which had not yet suffered burning temptations and have not yet been sweetened by grace, in which, shaken by diabolical winds, (the fig tree) is thrown down. For in two (ways) we have seen this, taken in a good (way) and a bad (way) shown in the two baskets of Jeremiah of the useful figs and the bad figs, and also from the fig tree dried up by Christ and the one referred to in the Canticle. Whether these will happen perceptibly when Christ the Judge will come in glory, would be known by him who holds the secret treasures of wisdom and Knowledge.



Translation of the Apocalypse Commentary of Andrew of Caesarea
BY EUGENIA SCARVELIS CONSTANTINOU





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