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Showing posts from June, 2020

Worthy is the Lamb

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The central figure of Revelation is the slain Lamb, who alone is worthy to open the sealed scroll  –  Revelation 5:5-14 .  In the preceding paragraph, John saw the scroll sealed with seven seals held tightly in the right hand of the “ One Who Sits on the Throne .” A search was made throughout the Cosmos to find someone “ worthy ” to break the seals and open the scroll, but no one could be found. This caused John to weep profusely. If the scroll remained sealed, its contents could not be revealed and implemented - [ Photo by Bill Fairs on Unsplash ].

Sealed Scroll

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The One Sitting on the Throne held a scroll sealed with seven seals. A universal search was made for one “worthy” to open it  –  Revelation 5:1-4 .  Next, John saw a scroll sealed shut with seven seals and held in the “ right hand ” of the “ One Sitting on the Throne ,” who dispatched a “ mighty angel ” to discover someone from the created order who was “ worthy ” to take and open the scroll. Despite an exhaustive search, at least momentarily, no one “ worthy ” could be found - [ Pho to by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash ].

Throne and Cosmos

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The image of the Throne presents God reigning at the center of the created order  –  Revelation 4:1-11 .  The vision of the “ throne ” is the theological center of the book and sets the stage for all that follows. In chapter 4, John saw the divine “ throne ” and the “ One Who Sits on it ” reigning from the center of the Creation. In chapter 5, he saw the “ slain Lamb ” take the “ sealed scroll ” from the “ throne ,” then all creation declared him “ worthy ” to open the scroll - [ Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash ].

Kings of the East

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The “Kings of the East” are identical to the “Kings of the Earth” that are allied with the “Beast from the Sea” – Revelation 16:12-19 .  The “ sixth bowl of wrath ” presents us with an image of an army led by the “ kings from the east ” crossing the Euphrates River. The picture is derived from prophecies of the overthrow of Babylon by the “ Medes and Persians .” Now, God is about to use a “pagan” force to destroy “ Babylon ,” only this time the attack is against end-time “ Babylon ” - [ Photo by T.H. Chia on Unsplash.com ].

Is Russia "Rosh"?

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Revelation identifies Gog and Magog, the nations from the four corners of the Earth led by Satan to destroy the saints  –  Revelation 20:7-10 .  Ezekiel described a coalition of nations that would invade  Israel led by “ Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of  Rosh , Meshech, and Tubal ” ( ASV ). In some interpretations, “ Rosh ” is identified with the modern state of Russia, therefore, the prophet   predicted a Russian-led attack against Israel in the “last days” - [ Photo by  Andrew Stutesman  on Unsplash ].

Gog and Magog

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Revelation identifies “Gog and Magog” as the nations from the “four corners of the Earth” that attack the “saints” – Revelation 20:7-10 .  The prophet Ezekiel received a vision of an invading army composed of regional nations that would attack Israel from the north, spearheaded by “ Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal ” - ( KJV ). But before destroying Israel, “ Gog ” and his forces would be destroyed by Yahweh “ on the mountains of Israel ” - [ Photo by Arpit Rastogi on Unsplash ].

Church at Laodicea

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The church at Laodicea receives no commendation, only corrections, and ominous warnings – Revelation 3:14-22 . Laodicea was founded in approximately 260 B.C. on the site of an older village named Diospolis , meaning the “ city of Zeus .” It was sixty-five kilometers southeast of Philadelphia and one hundred and sixty kilometers east of Ephesus. Because of its location at the confluence of three major trade routes, the city depended heavily on regional trade - [ Photo by Stefan Gogov on Unsplash ].

Philadelphia

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Philadelphia receives no correction, for she has remained faithful, and therefore, she will be kept from the “hour of trial” – Revelation 3:7-13 .  Philadelphia lay fifty kilometers southeast of Sardis, where it straddled a major road into the interior, making commerce with the other cities of Asia vital to its economy. The city was established in 189 B.C. by the king of Pergamos, and later, came under the Roman provincial government when the last king bequeathed his realm to Rome in 133 B.C. - [ Photo by Tom Podmore on Unsplash ].

Sardis

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The church at Sardis received no commendation, only warnings, and calls to repent while time remained – Revelation 3:1-6 .  Sardis was situated approximately sixty kilometers south of Thyatira, near the crossroads between Smyrna and Pergamos. Therefore, regional commerce was vital to the economic and cultural life of the city. Woolen goods figured prominently in local trade. Sardis is mentioned in  Obadiah - (“ They of the captivity of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad shall possess the cities of the South ”), “ Sepharad ” being the Hebrew form of ‘Sardis.’ - [ Photo by  Caglar Araz on Unsplash ].

Thyatira

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The prophetess “Jezebel” deceived many at Thyatira into accommodating the idolatrous practices of pagan society – Revelation 2:18-29 .  The city of Thyatira was situated fifty-five kilometers southeast of Pergamos and eighty kilometers from the Aegean Sea. Its proximity to Pergamos explains why the doctrines of the Nicolaitans had also infiltrated this congregation. Christianity reached Thyatira at an early stage, but the details of its establishment are unknown. Most likely, it was an area reached by Paul’s earlier missionary activities from Ephesus - [ Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash ].

Pergamos

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The church at Pergamos received correction for tolerating the teachings of “Balaam”  –  Revelation 2:12-17 .  P ergamos  lay sixty kilometers to the north of Smyrna and twenty kilometers from the  sea . Though not a major commercial center, occasionally, it served as the seat of the Roman provincial government and the provincial center for the  imperial cult . The first temple dedicated to  Augustus Caesar  in Asia was built at  Pergamos  in 29 B.C. - [ Pergamos theater- Photo by Ahmet Demiro─člu on Unsplash ].

Smyrna

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Ironically, the church at Smyrna was promised even more “tribulation” after its past faithfulness in persecution – Revelation 2:8-11 .  The city of Smyrna was a seaport approximately fifty-five kilometers northwest of Ephesus. It marked the start of the major road and trade route into the interior of the province . As a leading commercial center, the city prospered from its location and the importation of goods by sea. The imperial cult was well-established and widespread in the city - [ Photo by Antonio Sessa on Unsplash ].

Ephesus

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The "angel" at Ephesus was commended for rejecting false apostles but chastised for losing his “first love”  –  Revelation 2:1-7 .  The first three letters form a distinct literary unit, which is indicated by the order of the concluding  exhortation  and  promise  at the end of each for “ he who overcomes .” Each of them ends with the exhortation to “ hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches ,” followed by the promise to overcomers. This sequence is reversed in the final four letters - [ Roman Arch - Photo by Jace & Afsoon on Unsplash ].

Missing Seventy Weeks of Daniel

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SYNOPSIS  - Despite its frequent use of the book of Daniel, Revelation does not apply Daniel’s “seventy weeks” prophecy to any of its visions . The book of Revelation never cites or alludes to the “ seventy weeks ” prophecy from the book of Daniel , a passage from the Hebrew Bible that is foundational to the chronologies and expectations to many interpretations about the end-times. Revelation never attempts to use Daniel’s prophecy for its chronology or in any of its visions - ( Daniel 9:24-27 ). - [ Photo by Jean-Jacques Halans on Unsplash ].