What does Revelation 6:11 mean?
ESV: Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.
NIV: Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
NASB: And a white robe was given to each of them; and they were told that they were to rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who were to be killed even as they had been, was completed also.
CSB: So they were each given a white robe, and they were told to rest a little while longer until the number would be completed of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters, who were going to be killed just as they had been.
NLT: Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters — their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred — had joined them.
KJV: And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
NKJV: Then a white robe was given to each of them; 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.
Verse Commentary:
In response to the martyrs' question about how long it would be before God avenged their shed blood, God gave each of them a white robe and told them to rest a little longer. God would delay His vengeance until the number of future martyrs was complete. When will vengeance take place? Revelation 19:11–15 makes it clear that it will occur when Jesus returns to earth in a blaze of glory.

The martyrs' white robes signify their purity. The robes were likely long, flowing robes, the kind that was worn at celebrations. The angel who sat near the open tomb after Jesus had risen from the dead was wearing a white robe (Mark 16:5). Perhaps the angel's robe signified he was celebrating Jesus' victory at Calvary and His subsequent resurrection. Also, the robe the prodigal's father gave him when he returned home was a described as "the best," making it a symbol of honor and praise (Luke 15:22). The father was ready to celebrate his wayward son's restoration (Luke 15:23–24).
Verse Context:
Revelation 6:9–11 continues a description of what will happen when Jesus—the Lamb—opens the seven seals. This section relates specifically what happens when the fifth seal is opened. The four horsemen of the first four seals inflict severe pain and turmoil on the earth; verse 9 introduces a group that experience martyrdom for their faith and witness. Although their bodies succumb to death, their souls live on. The apostle John saw their souls under the altar in heaven, and he heard them cry out to God for vengeance. He also heard God's response to their prayer and saw Him give each soul a white robe.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter typifies the dramatic, heavily symbolic description of end-times events for which Revelation is famous. John sees a series of visions corresponding to Jesus opening the first six seals of the scroll He received in chapter 5. The first four seals unleash four horsemen, respectively symbolizing a world leader, war, famine, and death. The fifth seal reveals the prayers of martyrs pleading with God to avenge their deaths. The sixth seal unleashes massive natural disasters. In response, the people of the world cower in fear, admitting that they are suffering under the wrath of God.
Chapter Context:
The largest section of Revelation extends from chapter 4 to the end and describes events ''that are to take place after this'' (Revelation 1:19). Chapter 5 focused on a scroll containing God's judgment on sin and a search for someone to open it. Only Jesus is worthy to open it. When Jesus took the scroll from God, He received praise from every creature in heaven and on earth. Now, in chapter 6 our attention focuses on the events that transpire when Jesus opens six of the seven seals, one at a time. This process will continue through chapter 8.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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