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Showing posts from July, 2020

Final Battle - Armageddon

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The several “battle” scenes in Revelation all present the same final assault by Satan against the saints of the Lamb .  We tend to assume the visions of Revelation are presented in strict chronological sequence, an assumption that creates difficulties when we attempt to interpret the several battle scenes depicted in chapters 11, 12, 13, 16, 19, and 20. Do they portray different “final battles” that occur at different points in time, or is the same final battle presented from different aspects? - [ Photo by Nicola Nuttall on Unsplash ].

Fourth Trumpet - Darkness

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The fourth trumpet blast caused a partial darkening of the sun, moon, and the stars - Revelation 8:12 .  The darkening of the sun, moon, and stars is based on the ninth Egyptian plague that darkened the land for three days. It also employs imagery from the judicial pronouncement against Pharaoh in Ezekiel , a judgment carried out by the ancient empire of Babylon. Now, darkness will consume the realm of end-time “ Babylon ” - ( Ezekiel 32:7-11 ) - [ Photo by Ed Pirnak on Unsplash ]. The fourth trumpet blast and the fourth “ bowl of wrath ” are connected – Both impact the same parts of the creation, the luminary bodies in the heaven: ( Revelation 8:12 ) – “ And the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun was smitten, and a third of the moon, and the third of the stars, in order that the third of them might be darkened, and the day might not shine for the third of it, and the night, in like manner .” “ It was poured out upon the sun to scorch men with fire, and men were scorched wit

Third Trumpet

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The third trumpet resulted in a “great star” falling into the sources of freshwater, embittering them – Revelation 8:10-11 .  The third trumpet uses imagery from the first plague of Egypt that polluted that nation’s sources of fresh water. The “ Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river ” because it had turned “ into blood .” In Revelation , the plague also killed the fish in rivers and streams, “ embittering ” a third of the earth’s drinking water - [ Photo by Justin W on Unsplash ].

Second Trumpet - Burning Mountain

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The second trumpet harmed much of the commerce on which human society, the “inhabitants of the earth,” relied – Revelation 8:8-9 .  The second trumpet blast upset the sea, and thereby disrupted a third of all seaborne commerce. In Revelation , the “ sea ” is vital to the commerce on which “ Babylon ” depends, and it is the place from which the “ beast ” will ascend. This explains why, at the end of the book, no “ sea ” is found in “ New Jerusalem .” In the symbolic world, it is linked to the “ Dragon ” and the “ beast .” - [ Ship aground - Photo by Khamk√©o Vilaysing on Unspla ].

First Trumpet - Hail

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The first trumpet blast unleashed forces that affected agriculture. Its plague was patterned on the seventh plague of Egypt – Revelation 8:7 .  F ire from the “ golden altar ” has been “ cast onto the earth ” in response to the “ prayers of the saints .” This was followed by “ claps of thunder, voices, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake ,” which concluded the “ seven seals ” and signaled the start of the “ seven trumpets .” Thus, the seven angels are now poised to blow their trumpets - [ Photo by Eugene Triguba on Unsplash ].

Sounding the Seven Trumpets

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An overview of the series of seven trumpets and the several intervening events between the sixth and seventh trumpets –  Revelation 8:7-11:19 .  The “ seven trumpets ” follow the same literary pattern as the “ seven seals .” Like the first four seals, the first four trumpets form a distinct group, and the last three trumpets are marked off from the first four as the “ three woes .”  Furthermore, like the “ seven seals ,” several events interrupt the series between the sixth and seventh trumpets, and both series are preceded by the “ prayers of the saints .” - [ Photo by  HalGatewood.com  on Unsplash ].

Standing Before The Lamb

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One of the twenty-four “elders” interpreted the vision of the innumerable saints standing before the Lamb and the throne  -  Revelation 7:13-17 .  We have reached the point where the two questions have been answered - How long must the martyrs wait for vindication, and “ who is able to stand ” before the “ wrath of the Lamb ” and he “ who sits on the throne .” Having been sealed, numbered, and assembled, John has witnessed all the saints “ standing ” before Jesus and his Father in victorious worship - [ Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash ].

Innumerable Multitude - The Vision

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SYNOPSIS  -  John saw an innumerable multitude of men and women from every nation standing before the Lamb and the Throne  –  Revelation 7:9-12 .  In the seventh chapter of  Revelation , the same group of saints is presented using two different images; first, an image of the tribes of Israel assembled for travel. Second, as an  innumerable multitude  of men and women standing before the “ Lamb ” and the Throne. In this vision, imagery and language from the story of Israel sojourning through the Wilderness to the Promised Land continues to be employed. - [ Photo by Joao Marcelo Marques on Unsplash ].

Numbering the Saints

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144,000 males from the tribes of Israel are numbered and assembled for the march to the city of New Jerusalem  –  Revelation 7:4-8 .  The “ servants of God ” have been “ sealed ” against the onslaught of the “ four winds of the earth ,” but now they must be “ numbered ” to ensure that no member of the covenant community is lost in the coming “ tribulation .” The full complement of “ witnesses ” must be assembled to witness the “ day of the wrath of the Lamb .” - [ Photo by  Jonas Jacobsson  on Unsplash ].

Sealing the Saints

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The saints must be “sealed” before the onslaught of the “four winds of the earth” – Revelation 7:1-3 .  Before the first four seals and their “ riders ” could be unleashed, the “ servants of God ” had to be prepared for the coming onslaught. Moreover, their “ sealing ” would enable them to “ stand ” before the “ Lamb ” and the “ throne ” on the coming “ day of the wrath of the Lamb ” that was unveiled when the “ sixth seal ” was opened - [ Photo by Lucy Chian on Unsplash ].

Fourth Seal

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The fourth seal released “Death,” followed by “Hades” to gather the dead in its wake – Revelation 6:7-8 . To this point, the “victims” harmed by the first three seal openings have not been identified, although the details from the assigned task of each “ rider ” provide certain clues. Nothing has been said about the enemies of the “ Lamb ,” or about judgments against the “ inhabitants of the earth .” Moreover, the actions of the “ four riders ” are never labeled “plagues,” “wrath,” or “judgments.” - [ Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash ].

Lord of History

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The book of Daniel demonstrates the absolute sovereignty of Yahweh over the course of history and nations .  The very first paragraph of the  Book of Daniel  introduces its key theme:  God reigns supreme over the kingdoms of the earth , whether wicked or just. This proposition is presented in explicit statements and demonstrated by the accurate predictions of the prophet Daniel, especially to the rulers of Babylon and Persia - ( Genesis 11:1-9, Daniel 2:21-45 ,  4:17 ,  5:17-29 ,  11:1-4 ) - [ Photo by  Darran Shen  on Unsplash ].

Third Seal

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The third seal released a rider on a black horse and economic hardship – Revelation 6:5-6 . The “ Lamb ” opened the third “ seal ,” and once again, one of the “ four living creatures ” summoned its rider, this one riding a “ black horse ” that, apparently, represented economic distress and food shortages. As before, the task of the rider was declared by one of the four “ living creatures ,” as well as the limitations on its effects (“ the oil and the wine do not harm ”) - [ Photo by Lisa Lyne Blevins on Unsplash ].

Second Seal

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The second rider was sent to “remove peace from the earth” and to cause men to “slay one another” – Revelation 6:3-4 . As with the first rider, the second one was commanded by one of the four “ living creatures ” to “ go forth .” Although each seal is opened by the “ Lamb ,” the involvement of the “ four living creatures ” serves to emphasize that heaven remains in firm control over the earthly events represented by each “ rider .” - [ Photo by Alex Wigan on Unsplash ].

First Seal

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The Lamb opened the first seal, releasing a rider with a “bow” seated on a white horse, setting out to “conquer” – Revelation 6:1-2 .  Immediately after his enthronement, the “ Lamb ” began to open the “ seven seals ,” starting with the first four. His right to open the scroll is based on his sacrificial death. The Book of Revelation portrays events and processes put into motion by the Death, Resurrection, and Enthronement of Jesus, the “ faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth .” - [ Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash ].