27 May 2017

Stone 52 - Revelation

So here we are at the final post in this series of stones: Revelation. It has been a journey that has taken a bit longer to take than expected but well worth the trip. So let's lay out some thoughts on this book.

The book of Revelation seems to have a particular reputation for being the book that describes the end of the world and how it will happen. Many have tried to interpret and connect the imagery in the book to something in modern day times. I appreciate the video for Revelation for pointing out that this book is not some sort of code to be broken and pointing us back to the original context in which it was written.

That being said, do not expect me to try and reveal the secrets of this book. Just my thoughts about it.

The beginning of the book is structured like many of the letters that we have already read. The author identifies themselves and to whom they are writing. In this case, John is writing to seven churches in the province of Asia (Rev 1:4). To me, this means that there is a great deal of information here that might be more clear to the audience than it is to us today.

Verse 19 states that the Lord spoke to John and told him to write what he has seen, what is, and what will take place after this. I think this is an important verse to consider. I think it says something about the structure of the text to follow. Perhaps it hints that the text will point to events of the past, events that are currently happening, and events that are yet to take place.

What comes next are the letters to the seven churches.
  1. Ephesus
  2. Smyrna
  3. Pergamum
  4. Thyatira
  5. Sardis
  6. Philadelphia
  7. Laodicea
The churches each have a different message that applies to them specifically but we can certainly learn from what was spoken to them. I found it interesting that for five of the seven churches it was written, "I know your works." To the remaining two it was written, "I know your tribulation and poverty, yet you are rich.", and "I know where you live-where Satan's throne is!" For all seven churches there is a statement of what the "victor" can expect.

At this point we find the first of three major things that seem to be constantly debated from Revelation: The Scroll. The sealed scroll comes out and it is clear that  information within it is hidden to us since no one can open it (Rev 5:3).

But Wait! Along comes one that can open it! It is the slaughtered lamb (Rev 5:5-6). The lamb is Jesus. Verse 9 is an example of an event that has already taken place. The time of the opening of the seals, however, is debated.

*I do not intend to enter that debate.

Chapter 7 talks about the 144,000 of Israel who are sealed. It seems to flow that they are sealed up prior to the opening of the seventh seal in chapter eight which ushers in the seven trumpets and a great deal of destruction and devastation.

The first six trumpets are mentioned right away, followed by a short break similar to chapter seven. During this break there is another scroll that comes out and John is asked to eat it. This seems odd but we have seen this before (Ezek 3:1-3). Ezekiel was asked to eat a scroll as well and it was sweet like honey as well. Just as Ezekiel was asked to go and prohesy after eating the scroll, so was John. (Rev 10:10-11). We also read that John's stomach became bitter. The bittersweet experience known as ministry...

Later, after a description of two witnesses, which seems to illustrate the work of Jesus on the cross with a death and resurrection, we have the seventh trumpet going off which seems to signify the Day of the Lord.

Then there is a description of a woman, child, and dragon that seem to mirror the account of Genesis followed by some more descriptions of the "Beast".
*I have often heard various theories about what the horns on the beast represent. Many have tried to associate the horns with different countries or perhaps specific ones that have a role in the "End of Days".

I resonate, however, best with the idea that every country seems to become a Babylon in its own way where the idols of sex, money, self, and pride infect the population. This is also where we read about the mark of the beast being 666. Again, many theories have developed around this to the point of trying to identify the beast using a plethora of code deciphering techniques. Many have also tried to identify the mark itself. One such theory is the use of RFID tags being placed just under the surface of the skin and used as a way to track medical history etc.

Pursue God. Know Him.

Then come the bowls which appear to share a description of the plagues of Exodus with the trumpets. In the end, the same is seen - the Day of the Lord - the destruction of Babylon, or at least the modern day equivalent.

On one hand, I admit that I fear America is one of the Babylons - on the other, I dismiss that fear in knowing that I am on the side of Christ.

I hope that at least one of these posts was helpful in some way for someone. Please take a moment to view the two videos on the book of Revelation from our friends at the Bible Project.

Thanks for joining me.
Have an awesome day!

In Christ,

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