I came across a reference to Revelation 6:10 in a video arguing against Christian Universalism this morning. This is another passage that is nearly always seen by "eternal tormentors" as a call for God to execute retribution and vengeance. It reminded me of a blog I read once by someone who pointed out that Revelation 6:9-10 can be seen in two different ways, depending on how you translate the Greek word 'ek-dikeis. If you "dis-assemble" the word, the parts literally mean "to out-show". According to its usage in the bible, it seems to mean vindicating the "right-ness" of one side in a dispute by openly punishing those who oppose. But there are different ways to see it. One way is to see the martyrs under the altar desiring to see their murderers killed just as they were. Justice pure and simple. It might make the one who suffered unjustly feel better to see the bad guy(s) suffer their just desserts, often it does not. The other way is to see these martyrs longing and crying out to have their murderers come to their senses and realize what they have done and repent. That way the martyrs will not have died in vain and their decision to allow their blood to be shed in martyrdom will be vindicated by some positive results. If these martyrs had laid down their lives for their testimony to Jesus, Who taught His followers that we are to forgive our enemies rather than seek vengeance, why would these people do an about-face after dying and contradict their former testimony? Imagine Stephen, in Acts 4 forgiving his murderers at the point of his death, but once he joins the other martyrs under the altar, he starts crying out for vengeance. Kind of incongruent, isn't it? In looking up the meaning of the greek word ek-dikeo and other words related to it, in the context of the passage it makes much more sense to see the martyrs desiring to see more promising results from laying down their lives than watching the 4 horsemen seem to prevail so harshly over all the earth. The martyrs may know that to have God ek-dikeo or "out-show" their blood to the world would not only justify them, but would also put the spotlight on the blood shed by the One they had testified to, and this would put a stop to all the destruction and death being wreaked by the four horsemen. This care over the situation of those being
destroyed by the four horsemen would be the antithesis of what translating the word as "vengeance" would imply. Wouldn't these martyrs already seeing one fourth of the world that put them to death getting destroyed by the four horsemen be enough to satisfy a desire for "vengeance", if that is what they were really seeking?

The words related to "dikeo" also seem to imply that there is something self-evident about the "rightness" of a situation when God brings things out in the open. Man's nature since the fall has always been (willingly or not) to hide at least part of the truth. When God lays things out every mouth is stopped.

Another way to see the usage of ek-dikeo is to see that in each case where it is used in the bible, it seems there are two sides that each think they are right. When God eventually makes it plain which side is right, this may cause the "losing" side some pain, but it is not a case where God inflicts pain for the purpose of making them suffer. I seem to remember reading one of the early church fathers describing his gratitude to one of his opponents for opening his eyes to a painful truth that he was ignorant of. He saw both sides of the debate coming out as "winners". His opponent had "won" the debate, and he had "won out" over his former ignorance through the help of his opponent.