Wednesday, April 16, 2014

#40daybible Day 38 (Rev. 4-16)

Today's reading covers the middle chapters of Revelation (4-16).

Some notes:
  • With Revelation 4, the apocalyptic section of the book launches in earnest in the throne room of heaven. I've always liked the KJV of 4:11.  "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty."
Seven Seals
  • From Revelation 5-8, we have a series of seven seals. I don't think that these are sequential or exact pictures, but fantastical apocalyptic images. 
  • Before the seals can be opened, there must be someone worthy to break them. Only the Lamb can do so. Hard to compete with Handel on Revelation 5:12!
  • A key to Revelation is that, no matter how much might be about the end of history, it is written most directly to the churches of Asia. These churches were suffering. When 6:9-11 talks of those slain for the word of God and its testimony, John surely primarily had in mind those who were being persecuted at that time.
  • The 144,000 of Revelation 7 symbolizes those in Israel who will finally be saved.
  • The great throng of those in white robes probably represents all of those who will be saved who are not of Israel--those of every nation, tribe, people, and language who had believed. They have come out of great tribulation (not the Great Tribulation, there's no "the" there in the Greek).
  • Perhaps we should think of the end of time blurred with the situation of John's day. Nothing here speaks of another special tribulation at the end of time. Revelation surely has primarily in view the tribulation of John's day.
Seven Trumpets
  • The seventh seal starts seven trumpets in chapter 8-11. With the redeemed removed from the earth, the judgment of the world now begins. Again, I don't think we should read this as sequential or exactly literal.
  • The fifth trumpet starts three woes--again, not chronological, not exactly how it will happen. 
  • When the seventh trumpet sounds, the Hallelujah chorus begins!
The Cosmic Battle
  • We've seen the redeemed. We've seen the damned. Now in Revelation 12 we see the scene from another angle, the cosmic one. It is another symbolic presentation of the same struggle all over again.
  • The dragon is Satan. I think the woman represents (true) Israel, believing Israel. She has twelve stars on her head, which sounds like Israel. The son is obviously Christ.
  • The beast probably relates to the Roman Empire. The descriptions of the beast could easily be read in terms of Nero, who committed suicide in 68.  If you take the letters "Caesar Nero" and treat them as numbers, they add up to 666.
  • The 144,000 probably refers again to the saved in Israel.
Seven Last Plagues
  • Again, we shouldn't think of these plagues as exactly chronological. We're back to the judgment of the earth in Revelation 15.
  • The seven last plagues come from seven bowls of wrath. And the final earthly battle is the battle of Armageddon
Favorite of the day:
  • Not the prettiest verse, but I love the Battle Hymn of the Republic: "The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia" (Rev. 14:19-20).


Pastor Bob said...

I studied Revelation under Dr. Bruce Metzger ( at Asbury in summer class in the 1980's )and he had a preterist view that interprets prophecies as events that have already already happened. It was interesting, but I think there is more to it, much to take place in the future and it is closer than most think. Your points are interesting and good, thank you for posting.

Ken Schenck said...

I think it is John's time and the end time blurred together. Images of the end of time are like a descant above a melody of that time. The way to approach Revelation is therefore to ask first what imagery is based in that time and then see truths about the end time layered on top of that.

Clay Knick said...

Do you have an NIV Bible that you use and recommend?