Revelation - Lesson 9

Seven Seals

A vision of the seven seals.

Lesson 9
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Seven Seals

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  • There is a wide range of interpretation of the book of Revelation because of the nature of visions. When John writes Revelation, he uses a pool of images that are familiar to him and his readers and we need to take into account what the images meant to people at the time.

  • Apocalyptic literature is based on the idea that the natural order is set within a larger content of a spiritual reality and that the dynamics of the spiritual realm play themselves out in the physical realm.  Apocalypse is a message from God regarding what God is about and what he is going to do.

  • The occasion for writing Revelation was the vision John had and the situation of the seven churches. John is trying to describe a scene in which various scenes are being played out simultaneously. John emphasizes the importance of living out your theology, as opposed to only being doctrinally correct.

  • John had a vision of the Son of Man. He had a message for the church at Ephesus.

  • Messages for the churches at Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamum.

  • Messages to the churches in Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia.

  • A message to the church at Laodicea and a vision of Jesus as a Lamb who shares the throne with God.

  • A vision of God the creator and the redeemer Lamb.

  • A vision of the seven seals.

  • A vision of the seven trumpets.

  • Continuing discussion of the Seven Trumpets.

  • A vision of the seven trumpets. Chronology of the origin and development of the teaching of the rapture and dispensationalism.

  • A vision of how the death of Jesus on the cross has made it possible for us to be in relationship to God.

  • The description of the nature of Satan's war against God's children and in contrast to a description of God's redeemed.

  • A vision of the seven bowls.

  • A vision of fallen Babylon.

  • A continuation of the vision of fallen Babylon.

  • Dr. Mulholland answering questions from the students.

  • A vision of the victory of the Lamb and discussion of the wrath of God.

  • A vision of the New Jerusalem.

  • More about the New Jerusalem.

  • A vision of the people of the New Jerusalem.

  • John wrote the book of Revelation as a call to radical discipleship as faithful citizens of God’s new Jerusalem in the midst of a fallen Babylon world. There is no video for this lecture.

Revelation is a vision of Jesus the Messiah. John focuses on the profound depths of what God has done, is doing, and will ultimately consummate in and through Jesus. A second central theme in Revelation is the role of the cross in what God has done and will accomplish. The contrast and interaction of the "New Jerusalem" and "fallen Babylon" is also a significant theme in Revelation. Videos for lectures 7, 8 and 9 are not avialable yet. Lecture 23 was recorded in audio only. 

We think that the title of the devotional book that Dr. Mulholland reads from at the beginning of some of the lectures might be Merton's Palace of Nowhere by James Finley. Unfortunately, Dr. Mulholland is deceased so we can't confirm this. 



Dr. Robert Mulholland


Seven Seals

Lesson Transcript


They weren't supposed to be here. That's number one. I'm sorry. No. Oh. Oh, I'm not screaming at you. I really like you. Good morning. Good morning. You had a good weekend. Not only does the false self stand between the true self and God, but the false self quickly begins to construct its own dark universe of disorientated nothingness, which it claims as its prized creation and crowning glory is a rather awesome illustration of this in Genesis. The story of Cain when Cain goes away from the presence of the Lord. It was in the land of nod Hebrew word. No means wandering. And he goes away from the presence of the Lord. He ends up in a decent her existence in the land of wandering in. The first thing he does is that he builds for himself the city. Construct its own dark universe or disoriented nothingness. The false self sensing its fundamental unreality, begins to clothe itself in myths and symbols of power. Since it intuit that it is about a shadow, that it is nothing, it begins to convince itself that it is what it does. That ring a bell? It's one of the primary identifiers in our culture. You are what you do. Well, just go to a roomful of strangers and just eavesdrop on two strangers meeting one another. What does one ask the other within 30 seconds? What do you do? What do you do with others? What we do, we identify ourselves by what we do. And so it's an intuition is about a shadow that it is not that you begin to convince itself that it is what it does. Hence, the more it does achieves and experiences, the more real it becomes. Burton writes, All season starts from the assumption that my false self, the self that exists only in my own egocentric desires is the fundamental reality of life to which everything else in the universe is ordered.


Once I use up my life in the desire for pleasures and the thirst for experiences, for power, honor, knowledge and love, to clothe this false self and construct this nothingness into something objectively real. And I wind experiences around myself, cover myself with pleasures and glory like bandages in order to make myself perceptible to myself into the world as if I were an invisible body. It could only become visible in something visible covered its surface. The force itself knows that if it would become silent again and without it would discover itself to be nothing. It would be left with nothing but its own nothingness and the false self which claims to be everything. Such a discovery would be its undoing. Pray with me. Gracious, loving God. We we recognize that we live in a false self culture. We're one of the primary identifiers is that we are what we do. Lord, we know from these words that we are not what we do. We are what you speak US force to be. We are not primarily human doings. We are primarily human beings. We'll find our true identity in you and in you alone. Lord help us to divest ourselves of all the trappings of the false self. That we may find ourselves in you. Our true self hid with Christ in you. This, we ask in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit. I'm in. Dr. Mohan, before you go down that can we take a look at the first horse again? And is there is there more evidence that that is, in fact Jesus rather than somebody else? Okay. To come back to them and let me work on my names here. The. Daniel. Yeah. Yeah, right. Okay.


Andrew. Shane. Ted Gallagher. I don't see him here. Okay, Tony. Right. Got it. And Brian and Amy. And Laura. Mm hmm. Okay. Tom Hoffman. John. William Hogan. Jonathan. Right. Jonathan joining. Brandon Lewis. Craig McGrath. And Thomas Lyons. Oh, I must have a medical order. Thank you. Okay. Yeah. The the. The first rider. One. One aspect that I didn't pick up on this is that the writer has a boat. And notice it doesn't mention anything about arrows, just a bow. And what's interesting is that the word that is used here for a bow, the Greek word for bow here is the same word that's used for the rainbow in Genesis. The sign of the covenant God makes with with Noah. And and of course, here we've just seen it as the creator. So is this, you know, is this a sort of a sign or a carryover of a new creation? This is the sign of a new covenant. We can't tell. It's hard to tell. But the rest of these things, you know, the white horse, the white is the color of heavenly beings with really a Stefano's crown is heavenly beings. And the redeemed and conquering and to conquer is. Only with two exceptions of Christ and the redeemed. And of course, the introduction here the exact same way we saw the exact same phrases as in 1911. So that that pretty much covers it all. Jeb Another question. REINER No, it's just there's it's there's a pretty big array of different opinions about who this person is or what this person is. So I just didn't know if you had more hard evidence to to lean toward the fact that it's Jesus than in what we talked about in class. Well, you know, I don't think we've covered just about everything.


The only questionable piece about. But I think the color white, the crown and the conquering, plus that the introduction is exactly the same as when Jesus in chapter 19 for me is pretty hard evidence that we're dealing with Jesus here. John, you said you were just talking on. Is that from the Septuagint? Yeah, yeah, yeah. In the Septuagint. You briefly shared with me something about. Well, is there any significance that the BO has no errors in this in this passage? I don't know. That's the question. Is there a significance that there's no mention of errors just about and I'm not sure. I'm not sure that that is the ambiguous piece. But the rest of it to me is, you know, pretty, pretty hard evidence that this is Jesus. Okay. That's we left off with the fourth writer. And again, when Jesus opens the fourth seal, John hears the voice of the fourth living creature. So all four living creatures have been involved here. Calls out Come. John looked and there was a pale green horse. Which is a good translation as I'm just a pale horse. But if you know your Greek, you'll go over there and you'll see that it's the we're close. We get chlorophyl from this one is chlorophyl what makes plants green. So. And this is this is the color of a corpse. Now we we rarely in our culture ever see a corpse. All we see is an embalmed body that looks so natural. Oh, don't they look real? You know, we never get the opportunity to see a corpse that turns, as you know, for a future green. Well, that's the caller here. And it's writer's name was Death, which you could have told from the common horse. And Hades followed with him.


They were given authority over a fourth of the earth to kill a sword. Famine, pestilence by the wild animals of the earth. By the wild beasts of the earth. Now, now, pestilence is not a good translation. If you look over here at the Greek, who to kill with the sword and with famine and with death. Sanitize. Why do they say pestilence? I don't know. It is very, very clearly death. And then by the beast of the earth. Now, we don't have to ask who this writer is because Jon tells us the writer is Death in Haiti. Follows with him, hears death in Hades. Now the question is, given authority over a fourth of the earth, what's going on there? Have you ever noticed in the Old Testament the phrase under the third and fourth generation? You know that there are blessings under the third and the fourth generation for those who love God and obey its commandments and their cursing for those who disobey and turn away under the third and the fourth generation. Why don't they ever say the fifth of the sixth or the seventh or the eighth or the 10th or the 20th? Why is it always the third or the fourth generation? And why third or fourth? Why not your third or just fourth? What's going on here? Well, think think through this with me. In any given time in human history, you have the infant generation called that the first generation. You have the parents call that the second generation. You have the grandparents call that the third generation. Then you have a few great grandparents, especially in biblical times. So between the third and the fourth generation you see are where they're passing off the scene as the new generation, the first generation coming in.


And I suspect that was maybe what John is pointing out here. You know, biblically, the wages of sin is death. The death is a consequence of the fall. And so we're seeing here that death, the fourth horse with Hades, following after you see it has authority over a fourth of the earth. That is, that fourth generation is always passing away. It is always dying a consequence of the fall and above all, in creation. And then it lists a number of things to kill with a sword. Now that was given to the second rider. Remember, he was given a sword so that humanity would slay one another by famine. That's the third rider. No famine exists. Famine level existence. And then by death. See if a sword doesn't get you and famine doesn't get you. Sooner or later, death is going to get you. Okay. And by the wild animals were the wild beasts of the earth. The fairy on. Now in chapter 13, we're going to see two very on. And of course, Earth in John's vision is Paul and Babylon and all associated with it. And what John may be seeing here, the first three hour physical death. Sword, famine, death. A fourth one. John, maybe indicating spiritual death, because as we'll see when we get to Chapter 13, those two beasts are the agents or the incarnation of Satan's rebellion that leads humanity into the dead deadness of fallen Babylon. So so what John may be doing here is seeing that spiritual death is also involved, not just physical death. And of course, spiritual death would be the worst that. And that may be why it comes last year. Any questions on on the fourth. Horse and rider. Okay. Now, remember, there's a there's a shift here between the fourth and the fifth in all of these.


The first four are distinguished by the four riders. The next three, you don't have any riders. You have a different kind of imagery being used. When you open the fifth seal I saw under the altar the souls of those who have been slaughtered for the Word of God and for the witness they had given. And there it is again, the word of God in the witness of Jesus. And I hear this and say specifically, Witness of Jesus, establish the phrase for us, the word of God and the witness of Jesus. So these are those that have been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony or the witness they had given. Literally the witness, which they had is what it says in the context. You have to understand this is a witness of Jesus. Now it says under the alter. We have a little bit difficulty of that because, you know, the altars in our church, you might get one or two persons under them, but you're not going to get a whole lot there. Right. But the sacrificial altar in the temple in Jerusalem, we're back to temple imagery here. The sacrificial altar was this huge, monstrous structure, and you couldn't really get under because it was a solid thing. But it was a huge structure. And could you get under you could put a lot of people under it and they're crying out with a loud voice. Sovereign Lord, holy and true. How long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on those who develop on the earth and translate the inhabitants of the earth? Remember, that's the phrase that describes fallen Babylon. So here you see they have they have been slaughtered for the word of God and the witness they had.


And they're calling out for God's vengeance upon those who grown up on the earth, who are responsible for their death. So here what we're seeing is martyrs who have been martyred for their faithful citizenship in New Jerusalem at the hands of fallen Babylon and those who live on the earth. So we're seeing the clash of these two orders. And what we're seeing here in this fifth seal is the. Experience of faithful citizens of New Jerusalem at the hands of fallen Babylon. In the next year, we're going to see the experience of the citizens of in Babylon in the presence of New Jerusalem. So you're sort of getting an alternative here. They were each given a white robe. We've seen the white robe before, which is symbolic of the outer manifestation of an inner transformation. The white robe is the outer manifestation of an inward purity. And told to rest a little longer until the number would be complete. Both of their fellow servants and of their brothers and sisters who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed. So they're told just to hang in there basically until the phone number And the way they translated is here is a little. Well, interesting. Until they are fulfilled, their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who are about to be killed as also they look at the number, the number being fulfilled. The idea is that that. Remember we saw that word talk back in chapter one in talking in order that there will be a full complement of martyrs. Before the final judgment. Now when we look across 2000 years of Christian history. We see that that number has grown and grown and grown and grown and in fact, in the last century have been more martyrs in the last century than the previous 19.


So we're still in the midst of this, you see. And the number is the number is still being, you might say, built up, but not completed yet. So. Here, John, is seeing that faithful citizens of New Jerusalem experienced martyrdom at the hands of fallen Babylon. Now, it doesn't mean that every faithful citizen experienced martyrdom, but some do. Obviously. And Christian history plays this out for us, that when we live our lives as faithful citizens of New Jerusalem, in a fallen Babylon world, fallen Babylon is going to try to remove the witness of that which calls points out the lie of fallen Babylon. Following Babylon's Fall Falls Worldview. False Value system, False lifestyle. You see, just just by living the alternative reality. That in itself is enough threat performing in Babylon to try to mineralized or marginalize or to eradicate the witness of that which stands contrary to what its whole structure is built upon. So. So, John, you see you're seeing a primary reality here. Both of you, Jerusalem, citizenship, Christian discipleship and doing it in the midst of a non-Christian world. Then when he opened the six seal. John looked in the came a great earthquake. The sun became black as sackcloth. The full moon became like blood. The stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree dropped its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll rolling itself up, and every mountain in Ireland was removed from its place. Now, this imagery is very common imagery in the Old Testament, the intercontinental period. Imagery of cosmic upheaval. Is an image that is used in association with God's restoration of the kingdom. These are not literal. In fact, we see in verse 15 the kings of the Earth, the magnates, the generals, the rich, the powerful, everyone slave and free.


If the things that are listed in 12 and 13 and 14 had happened were literal happenings, there would be nobody left on earth to do anything. So that in itself is an indicator for us. But you see in especially during the interesting mental period. You get the understanding that what happens on earth, in a sense, is prefigured by what's happening in the heavenly realm. So when God restores the kingdom, you see the earth, the order is going to be totally upset. Because Israel is going to be on the top of the heap. And the nations, especially Rome in the first century, is going to be on the bottom. So you're going to have a complete reversal of order when God restores the kingdom. And such a reversal of order on earth, you see, is prefigured by these heavenly symbols. So so what John is seeing here is this this reordering. Now, there's another dimension to this. Rome existed around the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean, in a sense was the interstate highway system of Rome. Most of the foodstuffs for the capital city of Rome came from Egypt or from the Black Sea area and came by ship. Luxury goods. From the trade routes to the east came by ship. The Mediterranean was a significant. Prisons in the Roman world. Now, when you're when you are at sea, how do you know where you are? The sun and the stars. The mountains and the islands. Now, if somebody starts messing around with the sun, the stars, the mountains and the islands, what kind of an image is that for a culture for whom the sea is a central reality? It's an image of radical disruption. You see, if someone messes around with the sun, the stars, the mountains and the islands, you don't know where you are.


You are totally, utterly disoriented. So so John, in a sense, is playing at two different levels here. You have the cosmic imagery coming out of his Jewish background, which indicates, you know, a radical reversal, radical disruption of things as they are. And he's using imagery which in a maritime culture is also an image of radical disruption. So he's sort of, you know, focusing in here on this. And of course, if the sky vanishes like a scroll, you know, again, heavenly disruption, radical heavenly disruption. Then in verse 15. The kings of the earth. I remember what earth is. And the great ones make friends, like Magnates Against Time as the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful. Now that that, of course, is the story. You might say that the ruling structure of the Roman world and in a sense, the ruling structure of any culture. And everyone slave and free. That covers the rest. Hid in the caves and among the rocks and the mountains crawling to the mountains and rocks fall on us. Hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne. And from the wrath of the lamp for the great day of their wrath has come. And who is able to stand? So here we see fallen Babylon, you know, the citizenship of fallen Babylon, seeking to to hide itself from the presence of God and the land. And calling the mountains and the rocks that fall on them and the high that. And of course, remember, you've got an earthquake mentioned here as well. Now. Here John is seeing. The effect upon fall in Babylon of the presence of God in the land. But now how to God in the lamb get present and fall in Babylon.


Through the church. The body of Christ. The church is the presence of God in the world. This is why Paul calls the church the body of Christ. When we hear that, we think it's a metaphor. You know, Paul, just using a handy dandy metaphor for Paul, this is not metaphorical. This is reality. The church is the body of Christ. It is the presence of Christ in the world. And of course, Christ is the presence of God in the world. Christ is God incarnate. So so the U.S. is, in a sense, an extension of the incarnation. And notice what Paul says in Second Corinthians, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. And of course, we have no problem with that. But Paul continues and has given to us the Ministry of Reconciliation. Now, wait a minute, Paul. You just said that the Ministry of Reconciliation was Christ's work. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. Now you're saying God is going to ask the Ministry of Reconciliation. We're supposed to be like Christ. I would say you're getting it. You know, it's like he describes Jesus in Colossians at the end of the Christ, him in Colossians chapter one, in him, Jesus, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. And again, we say, Uh huh, yeah, everybody knows that. But then Paul prays for us in effusions that we might be filled with all the fullness of God. Raymond Paul. That's the way you describe Jesus. It'd be like Jesus. Yeah, you're getting it. This is what we've missed horribly in the church. We don't know what we are. We think we're we're sort of a handy little religious club that's going to go to heaven when we die with the presence of Christ in the world.


We're the presence of God in the world. And when we are faithful, Johnson When we are faithful citizens of New Jerusalem, fall in Babylon is going to be shaken. And we'll see how John plays that out when you get to the seventh SEAL Perry. I appreciate the the C commerce thing you mentioned. I've read a few commentators that also put some of the Mediterranean's. Of volcanic activity into this section and talk about it. Do you have you read similar stuff? I don't that. I really don't see any volcanic activity here. And of course, there's not that much. In the Mediterranean. I've read a few that talked about, you know, how I mean, you have Mount Etna Ash in which and everything covers the skies and rocks falling and everything. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I don't know. I think that I'd probably be pushing the. The imagery somewhat. Yeah, I kind of figured so. Well, now, of course, when John uses earthquake imagery, that that's a very valid image for them because they live in an earthquake zone. Seven churches. The seven churches anyway, would not really be greatly affected by my while. Etna would be the only active volcano in that time. Unless this is written in the nineties, in which case Vesuvius would have erupted and buried Pompeii and her nonsense. But in the Middle East, you know that the last. Volcanic eruption in the east was Tara, and that was about 1200 B.C.. Now, it probably isn't a residual memory of that, you know, even 1200 years later. But it's not something those people were looking at worrying about. So it'd probably be the people that would dated later that would probably put that imagery in. Yeah. Could be. Yeah. But I don't think volcanic activity plays a role at this point.


Let let me say a word about the wrath of the lamb, the face, the one seat on the throne from the wrath of the lamb. A great deal of their wrath has come. It's interesting. If you look in the New Testament, I think the wrath wrath associated with God appears something like 16 times. Doesn't hear much at all. Oh, it hasn't. You're going to a lot more New Testament. Only about 16 times. And it raises the question, what is the wrath of God? Now, what we do at this point is we anthropomorphize. We all have experienced wrath from others and unfortunately, others have experienced wrath at our hands. And human wrath is mean. It's vindictive. It's punitive. It's retributive. So when we hear Wrath of God, what do we do? We attach an air hose to our human experience, inflate it to infinite proportions. It is mean, as vindictive, as punitive. It's retributive. But how do you square that with John's insistence that God is love? Well, it's a little difficult to do. But let me give you an alternate image to play with. Some of you heard this. All semester. I have not seen a single one of you just obeying the law of gravity. Mm hmm. Now, you may have done it outside when I wasn't looking, but in here, no one has disobeyed the law. No, that cop just did. But none of us have. So we have been comfortable because we've all been in perfect harmony with the law of gravity. Now, let's say if for some strange reason, we decided to hold one of our class sessions on the top of the fifth third bank building in Lexington and the highest building around at 915, when it's time to break up the class instead of going down the stairs or the elevator, we just decided to step off the edge of the building.


Now, when you step off the edge of the building, does gravity suddenly become mean and vindictive and punitive and retributive? That's right. No, it just keeps on being gravity. But because we have put ourselves out of harmony with that reality when we splat on the street below, it sure feels like wrath. But you see, gravity doesn't have to do anything except be. Now you might think of this relationship of loving union with God for which we were created as the spiritual gravity of our life. And when we are in that relationship of loving union with God, we are whole persons. We are our true selves. When we step off the edge of that reality or in Cain and Keith when we go away from the presence of the Lord. Does God suddenly suddenly become vindictive? And we recorded, you know, God keeps on being God, but we begin to experience in our lives the disintegration and brokenness that results. From going away from the center of our existence and the true source of our being. Now, of course. Fallen Babylon You see experiences that uncomfortable reality. Because Fallen Babylon has stepped off the edge of the spiritual building, so to speak. It is not in right relationship with God, and so it experiences that reality. And of course, is the presence of New Jerusalem in its midst. It is a manifestation of that reality and of their unreality. It seems to fit well with the with the Old Testament as well as Jesus, with parabolic imagery of being cast into outer darkness, with the weeping of gnashing of teeth. This is where the wrath of God is made manifest when you are no longer in harmony with the community of God, where I mean, that community is centered around God and the other outside of that community.


You're not center on God, and that's where you experiences Wrath. Yeah, Yeah, exactly. You know, you experience the disintegration and brokenness that result from being out of harmony with the very reality of your being. Yeah. So here we see fallen Babylon, you see in that state of affairs, because God and the lamb are the reality of their true being. But notice what they do. Instead of repenting and responding, they try to hide themselves behind the broken pieces of their world. Which is also very characteristic of fallen Babylon. And instead of acknowledging its condition. It seeks to hide itself from reality behind the broken pieces of its world. Coming out from the mountains and the rocks to fall on them. Any other questions on on the six. What do you say to those who feel like this with all the feeling that this is an awful feeling of holography and for example, that statement about hiding in the rocks? Do you see the difference about people going to the mountains and almost basically seeing that exact phrase on the mountains? Yeah. One one of the minor interpretations, terrorist interpretations, is that all of this is related to the fall of Jerusalem in 78. I really don't find that whole type as you work all the way across the whole vision. And we'll see that as we as we work on through. Couldn't John be just working if this was written after the fall of Jerusalem? Couldn't John not necessarily be referring only to that, but couldn't he just be working with that? Idea of Jerusalem. Well, I'm kind of breaking up. He could be one of the problems there is. Who are these people? Hmm. See, they're the kings and the powerful ones. And, you know, you don't.


You don't have that in the Jewish culture, right? I mean, you had people that were intense and powerful, but you didn't have a king, though. Right. So. So that that, to me, sort of eliminates Jerusalem as an option. And it does describe basically the caste system of the Roman world. You know, you have the upper castes represented by the kings, Emperor, the generals, etc., and then you have the lower caste represented by the free in the slate. Slate would be at the bottom. So to me it's much more descriptive of the Roman culture and of the Jewish culture of the first century. So back to your question. Okay. I still have a question about them being from the wrath of God. Is there is there a feel for me here? Because if they were free from the wrath of God, the rocks falling in the wrath of God, so they would be fleeing away from the rocks, which is the wrath of God. But the gems are it's a bit confusing to me because they're supposed to be stayed away from the wrath of God. And the falling of the rocks is the wrath of God. But they're not fleeing away from that. They're running into that under that. So the face of God is there a the here? Is there a revelation here that they see that's causing them to run to the rocks? Yeah. And I think here here we're getting John is is in a way being ambiguous and it's going to get a little bit clearer at the end of the next seal, because the reality that they can see is the church is in their midst. Which is the presence of God that confronts the unreality of that order. Right.


Now, I mentioned last week that between the sixth and the seventh unit of these groups of seven, other than the seven churches, seven churches operate on a different pattern. But the seven SEALs, the seven trauma of the seven balls, not only is there is there a switch between the first four and the last three, but between the sixth and the seventh, there's also an interlude. Now, with the SEALs, you get a major interlude. Chapter seven with the trumpets, you get another major interlude, Chapter ten and part of 11 in the in the bowls, you get just a sort of a half a verse interlude. It's a little an inside remark that Jesus inserts in, but you still get this break between the sixth and the seventh unit. Here is it's in chapter seven. And after this, John says here, along with this, here's a matter to talk again. I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth. And of course, number four is number of creation. So here's the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds of the Earth from another creation imagery so that no one could blow on earth or sea or against any tree. So and by the way, the image of of the wind blowing on Earth, sea tree is an image of judgment. It's an image of God's judgment upon upon the world. So there are these four angels that are that are, in a sense, withholding, holding back God's judgment. And then John sees another angel ascending from the rising of the sun. Having the seal of the living God. And he called with a loud voice to the four angels who have been given power to damage the earth and to seize power to damage the judgment image.


Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees until we have marked the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads. Now, this is the first place where John uses the image of forehead in the Jewish pool of images. The forehead played a significant role. The forehead represents the seat of perception, particularly your perception with respect to God. For instance, when when Israel turns away and worships idols. The prophets described him as having a harlot forehead. Because you see, they have broken their marriage bond with God and they're committing adultery, spiritual adultery with these idols. So they have a harlot forehead. Or when they are failing to live by Torah. The problem is that they have a hard and a stubborn forehead. And then you have the the story of King Azaria, who at one point in his kingship decided being king wasn't enough. He also wanted to be a high priest. Because King High Priest with the two basic power structures of the Hebrew order before the fall of Babylon. So USIA goes in to offer the offerings in the temple, and he struck with leprosy. And where was he struck with leprosy when he came out of the temple. His forehead was leprous, see, because his perception toward God, perception of his relationship with God had gotten skewed. So. So the forehead represents the seat of perception, particularly with respect to your relationship with God. So the servants of God have a seal on their forehead means that these are ones for whom God is the center of their perception. God is the center of their life. We're going to see this again in chapter 14, and we're going to see it again in in chapter 21 is there are 22.


It's another way of describing the citizens of New Jerusalem. They're the ones that have the seal of God in their forehead. And another place that talks about having the name of God, which is the nature of God. On their forehead. So here you see is is an image that describes a group of persons whose orientation is a pervasively God referenced orientation as opposed to the self referenced orientation of fallen Babylon here. The the image of the other angel, the rising sun, having the seal living God or those messianic it. Well, the the the angel coming from the rising of the sun. Yes, that's a messianic image coming from the east. So. So here's another messianic image. It's not clear now we're going to see some of these other angelic beings in John's vision clearly are Jesus. And of course, he begins. Remember, in chapter one, God sends his angel to his servant, John, who appears to John Jesus. And we're going to see at least two other places whereby the imagery that he associate with the angel, the angel is Jesus here, other than rising from the sun, which is the messianic image, you don't get to see the build up of imagery identifying this angel as Jesus. It may be, but I don't think we can say for certainty that that's what we're dealing with here. Now, of course, if you talk about having the seal of the living God. Now I hear you might get into something that does more suggest Jesus, because the seal is on the forehead. That is. It is through Jesus that we are brought back into that right. Relationship with God is through Jesus. That we are restored into a God reference mode of being. Which we cannot restore ourselves to if we try to do it ourselves.


You see, it's a self referenced effort. It's impossible. And whatever God, we think we have said, it's just an idea we've created. It's not true. And living God. Because the restoration of, you know, our perception of our relationship can only be restored through God himself, through Jesus. So. So here this may be a pointer to this angel like some of the others being Jesus himself. And John, here's the number. I heard the number of those who were killed. 144,000 see out of every tribe of the people of Israel. Now. We just saw in the previous verse the servants of God being sealed on their forehead. In the Jewish pool of images. Who are the servants of God? The Covenant community. And now we see the covenant community. And when we get to verse nine. We're going to see that with the covenant community, the Old Testament covenant community. There's this great numberless multitude from every tribe, nation, Tongan people, Gentiles. You see up to verse eight, Jon's Jewish readers are able to stay within their Jewish understanding. But when you get the first nine, you see the vision sort of blows the walls out of that because now Gentiles are included. Now, this is significant in this number, first of all, 144,000. Is 12 times a thousand, which is 12,000. Reach the tribes times 12, which is 144,000. And when you want to emphasize numbers in the Jewish pool of images, you either multiply them by a thousand and we'll see John doing that in several places or you square them. And here we've got both. We've got the 12 tribes squared times of housing. 144,000 or however you want to work it out. Now that number is becomes a significant thread through John's vision here is initially introduced as representing the old covenant community, Israel.


In chapter 14, we see the lamb standing on Mt. Zion. That's a temple imagery. The temple stands on Mt. Zion. The lamb is the is the new temple. You see the lamb standing on Mt. Zion with 144,000 who have been redeemed from the Earth. And there you see John is mourning his imagery from the old covenant community into the New Covenant community using the same numbers, 144,000. Then the number appears one more time, but it's masked. In the measuring of the New Jerusalem. In Chapter 21, John sees that the New Jerusalem is 12,000 stadia on a site. 12,000 this way, 12,000 this way, and is 12,000 high. Now a cube has 12 edges, the four bottom edges of the four top edges, and they're the four verticals in. Okay. 12 times 12,000. 144,000. The dimensions of New Jerusalem add up to 144,000. And New Jerusalem, of course, is the New Covenant community of God's people, those who have been redeemed by the land. So see how John plays with his imagery here. He first established 144,000 as. The old covenant community, Israel. Then he modulates it in chapter 14 to the New Covenant community. And then in chapter 21, uses it again in the mask form to indicate the reality of New Jerusalem, which of course is the New Covenant community. Now. Then he lists the 12 tribes. By the way, 12 tribes is also significant in the restoration of the kingdom. In the first century, there were only two tribes left of the 12th. Judah and Benjamin. The other ten tribes who had been the northern kingdom were taken away into captivity in 722 B.C. by Assyria, and they disappeared from the pages of history at that point. But the Jewish expectation was that when God restored the kingdom, the 12 lost tribes would be brought back so that the covenant community will once again be entire 12 tribes on the land of Palestine, the promised land.


And this would be the restoration. So when John has 12, the 12 tribes here again, it's restoration imagery. Harry, is there any significance that the tribe of Dan is not mentioned in this list? That was my next point, but it's one step ahead of me. Ah, no, don't be sorry. That's good. Yeah. When you look at the listing of these tribes, first of all, if you go back and look at listings of the 12 tribes in the Old Testament in the transitional period. I can discern no pattern for the listings. There are multiple orders of the tribes, and I I've not been able to figure out what is the significance of this particular order in this book and this particular order here in this particular order here? I'm sure that in the minds of the writers, there was a significance in the ordering of the tribes, but I have not been able to go back. I have not read anyone who has got to that. Lots of theories out there. But there really is no consensus whatsoever as to, you know, is there a proper order of the 12 tribes? Now, here there is, I think, at least one element of order that's significant, and that is the first tribe that John Lewis is due to. Judah is the tribe of what, King? David. David. The the Black Messiah comes from what tribe? Judah. Okay. And we've already seen Jesus is the lion of the tribe of Judah in chapter five. The root of Jesse. So we've already established Jesus as the Davidic Messiah. So now Judah is listed first. My suspicion is that that is intentional by John as another indication that Jesus is the Messiah, the order of the other 11. I cannot go out if there is any significance to it.


I'm not sure. Why is Dan missing? One theory is that there is a passage where is this is an intergovernmental issue somehow links the travel ban with say. And so Dan has to be eliminated just because of that connection. That's rather tenuous evidence, I think. And in the Jewish listings, you don't get the same 12 all the time. You know, there were the two sons of Joseph that get woven in here in different ways. So I really. I don't know why Van is missing. Somebody finds it out in your research, please let me know. Wasn't wasn't Dan the place where they set up false altars? Back when Israel was its own nation, Bethlehem, The two places where they had high places and Jim was the northernmost part. Could it have any significance that it was perhaps an entryway into in Babylon or into into this into this other world? And maybe it's represented in without being represented by the numerous count of people who are from the Earth back in verse nine? I don't know that that's a big stretch. Yeah, it's pretty stretchy. Yeah. Yeah. I'm trying to get that in right then. And. Yeah. Ryan's grown. Is there any secret? Is that. That Benjamin is last in Judas first? I don't know. I mean, the fact that Judah and Benjamin were the only two tribes that, you know, still existed as. As entities in the first century. That may have something to do with it with the other ten, sort of, you know, enfolded in them. I'm not sure. I do think Judah is first because it is the tribe of the Messiah. Why Benjamin is last May, may be, you know, sort of bracketing, but without additional evidence to be hard to know.


When you see Jon, ask him, you know, and then it's not included. Are there only 11 or has Dan been replaced by something else? No, that has been replaced by the boy. Is he being replaced by. Let's just work through Manasa. I think one of the sons of Judah Asher. You have asked me. Yeah. Manasa. Yeah. I mean. Yeah. So then after this, John says, and here again, is it after this or should it be with this? I mean, we're going to see if these these this group is included, you see. So I'm suspecting that this is one of those places, again, where metadata should be with these. And, of course, the parties plural with these, and that is with the 12 tribes. I looked and there was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. I remember that is one of John's. Ciphers for the citizens of Fallen Babylon. So here you see the redeemed have been redeemed out of every tribe, nation, tongue and people. Now we've only seen in chapter five. You know the lamb. You know the slain lamb. As redeemed from every tribe nation tongue on people are made them a kingdom and priests. So. So here you see is the Gentile world. Added to the 144,000. Jonathan making addition, this is a great numberless multitude and I think he's probably signaling us here. Don't get hung up on a literal 144,000. You know, I have a great fun with Jehovah's Witnesses on this one because, you know, they believe that only 144,000 are going to go to heaven. And of course, they're all Jehovah's Witnesses. And so then I will ask them, you know, well, how many Jehovah's Witnesses are there in the world? And they were very proudly tell me how many millions there are.


And then I say, Well, how do you know you're among 144,000? And that sort of stops them for a while. I mean, you are and they aren't. Or, you know, all the rest of people in your church aren't. And I'm thinking a little bit anyway. But here, you see, I think John has this great numberless multitude to indicate to us. Don't take the numbers literally. Someone come 244,000 in chapter 14. That doesn't mean there's only going 141,000 Christians in heaven. And the same thing with the reuse of the number in Jerusalem, although they're used to using it to the some of the dimension of New Jerusalem is pretty hard to limit it to 144,000 persons. So it shows us that it's an image that talks about New Jerusalem, the whole complex, which would be this great, numberless multitude. Now, another aspect of this and this, this may be, you know, something that helps us. In the first century, you certainly did not have a great nonetheless multitude of Gentiles in the church. Especially if John is reading this in the late sixties. The church still would have been largely Jewish in its composition. With a minority gentile presence. So here you see John. John maybe, maybe see long range that the inclusion of the Gentiles. You see this great number, this modern view. We're now, of course, you know, Gentile Christians far outweigh Jewish Christians. And you could describe the contrast as, you know, 134,000, a great number of them. So whether, you know, this is an aspect of John, you know, having a long range vision at this point, it's hard to tell. And they're standing before the throne and before the lamb robed in white. I see some some translator or some commentators to to make this a judgment.


See, you know, where you got Israel over here and the Gentiles over here, you know, the sheep and goat. But they're standing before the lamb robed in white. These are the redeemed. These are the redeemed from among the Gentiles with palm branches in their hands. Now, the palm branch. The palm is the flag of Israel. When Jesus comes into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Why do we call it Palm Sunday? Because the people are waving palm branches. This is a revolutionary parade. They're proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah, as the divinity Messiah, blessed as he comes in the name of our Father David, or something like that. This is a messianic procession and they're waving the national symbol, the palm branch. If you look at the coins that were there were minted during the bar Kokhba revolt. They all have the palm branch on. So here you see is. What are the what are these Gentiles doing with palm branches in their hands? They're part of the New Covenant community. They're joining with Israel, you see. And it's another, you know, image of of the restoration has already begun. Well, wouldn't this be more internal evidence pointing toward the author being John, who wrote the gospel just because he's sort of referencing or alluding to the palm branches and the that Jesus had the triumphal entry in the gospels. I don't know whether this would point necessarily to John that he would have access to some of the documents or that sort of. Well, any, you know, any any New Testament writer, perhaps even Luke, the only Gentile writer in the New Testament. All the rest are Jewish writers who certainly would have known the symbol of the palm branch wouldn't be limited to one person. And they're crying out with a loud voice saying, Salvation belongs to our God.


We are seated on the throne and to the land. So again, you see they're affirming. These are the redeemed. And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the for living. Now we're back into that throne room scene. You see the throne, the four living creatures, the 24 elders. They fell on their faces before the throne, and they worship God. Singing. Amen. By the way, I'm in Hebrew and it means truly blessing and glory and wisdom and Thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen. And if you go back and look at the the inscriptions to God in chapter four and to the LAMB in chapter five, you'll see that most of those are replicated here in this worship of God. Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, Here are the 24 hours that are constantly, you know, day and night, never ceasing bawling, worshiping, catching the crown. Here's another one over here talking with John. Who are these robed in white and where have they come from? And John says, Sir, you're the one that knows. Then he said to me, These are those who have come out of the great tribulation, a great, great ordeal. Again, it's the same is the same word that we've seen before. These are. Those are. Come out of the. Oh, yeah, Here it is. Hayes flips Hayes magallanes the Great Tribulation. And, of course, as you know, in this sensational series, what they made of that. Now, we've already seen that for John and for his readers. There's my arrow here for John and his readers. Tribulation is what faithful citizens in New Jerusalem experience at the hands of the fallen Babylon world that John and his readers are already experiencing.


Tribulation. Chapter one I, John, your fellow participant in the Tribulation of the Kingdom Tribulation and the Patient Endurance. And we've seen in one of the churches, you know, tribulation listed twice. So what is the Great Tribulation? I think what John may be pointing to here. Is that in any generation of Christians. There are those who experience tribulation at the hands of their fallen Babylon world. And when you take every generation of Christians from the beginning who whenever the end comes. Every generation, there are going to be those who experience tribulation at the hands of their fallen Babylon world. So that when you put them all together, these would be the great tribulation. From the beginning to the end. Not some intensification in times intensification, but rather the whole sweep of tribulation. And I think we have to think that way because John introduces tribulation and something he and his readers are experiencing right there right then. And we're going to see that there are other pointers this way. John I remember Carl I didn't dispensation or criminal analysts claim that like everything as a chapter Ford and Ford is in the future that they're. Yeah, I. Chapter 4 to 22. In all future. In the future is interpretation. And of course, that way you've got to put that in future. But if you if you integrate it with what John has already said about tribulation, you'll see you've got to wrestle with it in a different kind of way. And John says for this reason. They are before the throne of God. And worship him day and night within his temple. There's temple imagery again, by the way, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more and thirst no more.


The sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat or the land at the center of the throne and say, Here is the lamb in the center of the throne with God. For God in the lamb, you'll see our our integral. The lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every fear from their eyes. And of course, this is the first John gives us in vision of you might say that that ultimate consummation of your kingdom. Beyond. Falcon Babylon. So that, you know, the springs of the water of life we're going to see when we get over to chapter 22, the River of the Water of Life. It flows from the throne of God in the land. So you see how John is preparing the way for this in the future. Okay, let's see. Anything else we need to look at here? Yes. Elizabeth with verse 15. Worship day and night within his temple. Wouldn't that throw off some of the Jewish readers if is still speaking about the Gentile worshipers? Would that be something significant in that in that, you know, because normally, wouldn't Gentiles not be let within the main part of the temple area to be sure? Yeah. Yeah. I'm just wondering if that's anything significant. But remember, John is already sort of. Thrones, the Jewish imagery out the window, in a sense, in that the redeemed are priests. See that priests were were patrilineal descent. The only way you could be a priest in the Jewish system was to be born of a priest. You had to be the son of a priest to be a priest. So when John says that he is cleansed from our sins by blood and has made us a kingdom and priests.


That in itself, you see, is a radical departure from the Jewish norm. So you come over here, you see it, it continues the temple priestly imagery, because it is the priests who worship God in the temple. You know, if you weren't a priest, you didn't go in the temple. No way. You could go. You could be outside the temple. You know, you could be in the court of Israel or in the court of women, which was outside of that. But you could not go into the temple itself. So. So the idea of worshiping him in his temple. You see is carrying out this continuing this imagery that we are the priests. And of course, again, you've got to your John is playing with temple imagery as we're going to see John use his temple imagery all the way through here. But. He doesn't want us to get fixed on that. For instance, Chapter 40 The LAMB Standing on Mount Zion. The lamb is standing where the temple is. And by the way, this may be one of those inferential connections to the Gospel of John, because it's in John's gospel where Jesus says, Destroy this temple in three days and will raise it up. You know, speaking of himself, Jesus in John's gospel is established as the new temple, as as the substitute for the temple. But when we get over to chapter 21 and see the New Jerusalem, there's no temple. For God and the lamb are the temple. So you see how John is is modulating this imagery here. I just think to reiterate that, I think it's neat that verse 15 Interplays Temple and Shelter together because they would work in the shelter, I guess, as Tabernacle or something like that or or housing dwelling.


Yeah. The well, the word here saying, okay, this schema is a tent. When when in John's gospel, the word became flesh and dwelt among us. Is the verb skin at all. So. So John uses this term in that in that kind of way. It's a good observation. Okay. Any other any other questions on. The interlude. Okay, let's. Look at the start looking at the seven. See, I don't think we finish this this morning, but we start looking at it. When the lamb open the seventh seal. There was a silence in heaven for about half an hour. It sort of makes you think think back on the six SEALs that have preceded. They're very noisy seals as each of the first seals is open. One of the four living creatures cries out like the first one with a voice like thunder. Come. And then what happens? You know, you've got a horseman coming up right in the third seal. You have a voice from the throne crying a quart of wheat for a denarius, three quarters of barley for an orange tone. Harmony on the line In the fifth seal, you hear the cries of the martyrs under the altar. How long? Or in a six year? You hear the cries of Paul in Babylon, you know, fall on us hiatus from the Wrath of the LAMB. So the first six emails are very oral. There's a lot of sound associated with them. John opens the Seventh SEAL. Violence. Sort of like that pause in the Hallelujah chorus, you know, where everybody's waiting to see if someone comes into early. But, you know, just sort of a pregnant pause. Is half an hour significant. It may be for John. I'm not sure. I'm not sure what the time frame would be here.


Frankly, John is using Jewish imagery. I suspect we're not talking about 30 minutes. 32nd, 62nd minutes. But he's talking about, you know, 35 and a half, 30 minutes of silence in your worship service. It's a significant piece of aspects of our noisy world like ours, you know. But I think that part of what John is doing is focusing us. Then he says, And I saw seven angels who stand before God and seven trumpets were given to them now. This is one of the ways in which John links together the pieces of the cyclorama that he's going through with us. Is that often he will take the next unit and introduce it as he comes to the close of the previous one. And that's what he's doing here, because the next thing we're going to see are the seven trumpets. So here in verse two, he introduces the angel with the seven trumpets. Then we come back in verse three to the description of the seventh seal. Another angel with a golden sensor came and stood. Now here is where John uses his prepositions with with precision and stood upon the altar. Having a sensor, a golden sensor, and it was given to him much intense in order that he might give with the prayers of the saints. Of all the saints. Then at the golden altar, notice ap with the accusative appeared with the genitive. John knows how to use his prepositions with surgical precision. That's why, back in chapter one, when he uses alcohol and uses the knowledge from the one who is who wasn't is a common uses nominative case with hypo. You know you realize. Is there some significance? He's misusing the grammar purposely. As I say, the call our attention to that phrase here.


He uses it with surgical precision. Translations have it backwards. You say stood at the altar, and then when you get down to the end of the verse on the golden altar. That that's that should be reversed because the first altar is the altar of sacrifice where the sacrificial fire was kept burning 24 hours a day. The golden altar was, you know, something probably about this size where the priest would come in and put the coals on the altar, put the incense on the coals, and the smoke would go up in the presence of God and the holy of holies. So you don't stand on this altar. You stand at it. But the other one you have to get up on to get to get the coals. Now what John is doing here, and I'll give you this and then we'll pick up here on Thursday. John is using the incense offering as his imagery in the temple. In the temple in Jerusalem in the Jewish corpus. The first act in the daily office was the morning incense offering. The last act in the daily cultures was the evening incense offering. They were the bookends within which all of the other offerings and sacrifices would take place. But this was the first and the last liturgical act in the temple daily morning incense offering evening at the top. When the priest. Every day of the year except the Day of Atonement, a priest would be selected. This is what John the Baptist father was doing. He had been selected out of the order of a major that was on duty in one of the 24 groups. A priest was on duty. He was selected and this was done by lots. Each morning they were cast, lots to see who would do the morning intense outbreak voodoo, the unions and its who would do the other offerings.


If you didn't get selected, you go out and have fun on the town. When I really had to assist people coming with their sacrifice, but they would go up on the all they have, they'd have a silver sensor. They go up onto the altar, scoop coals up from the sacrificial fire in the center, then come down. And every other day they were given about half a pound of incense. Then they go into the sanctuary. To the golden altar, which was between the holy of holies and the sanctuary. Right. Right in front of the curtain. And then, as I said, they will put the coals on the golden altar, put the intent on the coals, and the smoke would go up. But on the Day of Atonement, the high priest did this with a golden censor and with all the incense he could carry. So what we have here is Day of atonement imagery is the incense offering on the Day of atonement. We're talking about. Okay. So we'll let that hang there until Thursday and we'll pick up and see what John does with this, because he modulates that image in a wonderful way, Ryan, of the Angels here, because it can be translated best. But they are in the temple. And maybe like the prayers, the the the person who offered the prayers to God. Yeah, I made that same Ryan's asking a creative, Could we translate this messenger? And are they in some way connected with the messengers of the seven churches? I don't. I don't think so, because here, you know, you're talking about much larger dynamics than what's going on in individual churches are going to probably Angel is an okay translation. So you certainly have a have a good day.