Revelation - Lesson 12

The Seven Trumpets (Part 3)

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

Lesson 12
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The Seven Trumpets (Part 3)

  • 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.

  • This lesson dives into the idea of encountering God in the world, warns about the destructiveness of sin, and presents a powerful angelic figure symbolizing God and Jesus as triumphant over fallen Babylon, with a mysterious aspect of the vision.
  • 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.

  • In this lesson, you gain insights into the concept of Fallen Babylon and the transformative power of the cross. It emphasizes that accepting the cross liberates you from the world's illusions, allowing you to accept your own falsity as healed and yielding to the Holy Spirit's action. The lesson challenges the idea of choosing between the world and Christ, proposing that you can choose both simultaneously, seeking unity, wholeness, and love at the deepest level of your being.
  • 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.

  • Dr. Mulholland's lesson delves into God's love as the core of self-discovery. False self obstructs the truth. True self blooms in faith, openness, trust, and yielding to God, shifting focus from ego to divine presence. Embrace this shift, become citizens of a new Jerusalem in a fallen world.
  • 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


The Seven Trumpets (Part 3)

Lesson Transcript


This window in this world. Hopefully any time you know what it is, then those verses like that actually put that in a short term as a time. And I feel like you're not going to go the left field is particularly good. That was a yes. Yes and yes. I know that I was in this room and all of a sudden this whole thing. Yes, I do have a lot more power to it because I'm waiting for something right now, just like it's still recording functionality and they make that. Got to see how long it how bad it kills battery life on the part where it's coming up. Oh, yes. Something else. It depends. I mean, if you're a big gamer, I'm sure it's going to be a huge issue. But the reality situation is the new app, the new SDK to build a plug in apparatus just in the back of our show, an example of some flooding in our blood pressure device. And it'll record all your device and all your measurements if you want to set it up because it's not a possibility astronomically, you'll be able to plug into a computer and get healed just like that. Know, by the time I it, I wouldn't even know why I do that. Well, I know you're all loopy. And it was all it was actually going to be like role play on it too. Like you can play like games. Like I can be. We were right next to each other. I could be playing in like, three walk out as the very, I don't know, those games live. And I'm like, Oh my God, I never I don't think you could hear. Oh, yeah, I heard it. Yeah, you can't do that.


But it was like, Yeah, I think I did. I think that's important. But he's very positive part of it initially, I think, you know, I think, you know, you're absolutely separate from your work with now and your thinking on it. Oh, yeah. It's all right. I think I think I first read some of your commentary on this. Really? Hi. How are you? Yeah, actually, you got to do that because we're not talking guys previous, but the other guy. Good morning. Who I am must never be prostituted to the demands of what others tell me I must do. Without this basic priority, I am reduced to a commodity. And I can do little to foster society's half hidden, yet essential purpose of leading its members to a full actualization as created persons. This reveals an important aspect of the vocation of the mystic or the contemplative within the human family. In a sense, the contribution of the contemplative lies in the fact that the contemplative does not make a contribution in the sense the world understands by that word. Merton writes, In a certain sense, we are supposed to be useless because our mission is not to do this or that job, but to be persons of God. We do not live in order to exercise a specific function. Our business is life itself. End of quote. This not only applies to contemplative living in monasteries. It applies to all Christians living a life of prayer. In prayer. We are useless. We do not do anything but rather open ourselves to be the person God calls us to be. God is beyond pragmatic functions. He is useless. Yet by that very fact does all things. Since we are like God in our deaths, we are useless also.


So to our children and sunsets and simple recognition of the song of a bird life itself is useless, for life is to be lived and not written in eaten, packaged, sold or patented. The south in us that preys is useless and it is prayer that allows us to discover the positive uselessness of life in God. It is likewise a blindness to prayer that exposes us to the pitfalls of becoming ourselves like those for whom a tree has no reality until they think of cutting it down, for whom an animal has no value until it enters a slaughterhouse. Men who never look at anything until they decide to abuse it and who never notice what they what they do not want to destroy. This is the lowest kind of love. The love which destroys its object as the love is fulfilled. This is the love of the false self. They can appreciate and acknowledge only that which it devours, to feed and to foster its own frail shadow existence. The person of prayer brings to the world that qualitative dimension which saves human life from being but a package that each generation continues to rap in more cleverly devised slogans and projects. Pray with me. We give you thanks and praise, gracious, loving God that. You call us into such a life of abandonment to you? And it is in our nothingness that. Your presence becomes full. It's in our weakness that your strength becomes manifest. It is in our foolishness that your wisdom. He's shown us. Lord, help us to be willing to lose ourselves for your sake. In your name, We pray. On in. Let me walk away here. Jonathan Hunt. All right. Let me turn and Jonathan joining us. Yes. When I can't get you stuck in my head.


Jonathan. And Brandon Lewis. Greg Miller. Robert Mueller. Yes. Okay. Brian. Nutter. Where's Brian? Yeah. Okay. And Brandon. All. Right. Okay. We'll see if that holds over the weekend, since we are a little bit ahead of the schedule. I thought this would be an opportune time to to share a project that a student did a few years ago. I don't know if any of you were around and knew Omar. Omar all record. Omar was an Iraqi and this was the project he did for the course. Yes, it must have been probably two years ago anyway. So we will take a look at this. And not only is it a good project, but it's also very informative. She. In 2000 years of church history, every age has had to deal with wars, rumors of wars, natural cataclysmic disasters and moral decline. And every age has had someone in it who believed that they were living in the last days, that theirs was the final chapter in human history before Christ would return and the end of the world would happen. And this idea of rapture or Christ will mysteriously and quickly fly out his believers before the end times. And the dispensation of theology that has grown along with it came out of a concern that many prophecies in the Bible had not yet been fulfilled. Now, this movement started off very small, but over the decades it has spread madly through the mainline Protestant church. It began at a healing prayer meeting in 1830 in Glasgow, Scotland, where a young teenage girl named Margaret MacDonald claimed to have received a vision of a two stage second coming of Christ. One of the men who heard McDonnell's story was an evangelical preacher named John Nelson Darby, who had founded a small denomination called the Plymouth Brethren.


Darby became captivated by this vision, and he expanded on it by creating a roadmap of the end times that went right through the land of Israel. It began with the rapture, which would be followed by a seven year world wide tribulation, culminating in a battle over Israel and Jesus establishing his kingdom in Jerusalem. Darby also created a theological idea known as dispensation, all ism, dispensations or different periods of history in which God operates. Each with its own prophecies and rules and each period treated differently from the others. Darby concluded that there were seven specific dispensations or ages. For example, the first age is the dispensation of innocence. Adam and Eve before the fall. The final dispensation is the Millennium Reign of Christ, which culminates after the events described in the Book of Revelation have been. Witherington is a professor and New Testament scholar at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky. He has written extensively on this subject. The most important part about the whole dispensation or scheme really, is that it has a sort of two track model of prophecy fulfillment. Over here are prophecies in the Old Testament that are fulfilled and and for the church, the body of Christ. On the other hand, we've got this whole series of prophecies that are fulfilled in and for Israel. So we got Israel over here and the church over here, and never the twain shall meet. And so one of the key things about, quote, rightly dividing the word of truth in what which is a favorite dispensation or line or cliche, is to decide which of those biblical prophecies are fulfilled, in which era and for which audience. Darby made several trips to the United States between 1859 and 1877, a time of national crisis in America.


Before, during and after the Civil War, Darby preached dispensation and rapture theology to churches all across America. One of the things we know about dispensation of theology is that it plays especially well during crises when people would like to get out of here. During the first two and a half years of the Civil War, the North suffered terrible losses. And so Darby concentrated his preaching to the northern states and this theology of we're going to get out of here so we don't really have to panic about this war and live with its consequences forever. In fact, we're probably getting out of here soon. This theology plays very well. This theology could have ended up as a wartime fad. Other self-proclaimed prophets in the 19th century had also preached on visions regarding the end of the world and the fate of believers in America, namely Joseph Smith with Mormonism and Charles Taze Russell with the Jehovah's Witnesses. There were a lot of these kind of otherworldly movements, but clearly the one that was going to have one of the most major impacts on Protestantism, rather than going its own way like Mormonism did, or the rise of Jehovah's Witness, would be just been socialism. And the the key person who made it okay for Americans to believe this was Dwight Helmuth. Moody Dwight L Moody was the Billy Graham of his day. Like Darby, he had also become captivated with this theology and began to promote it heavily in both the United Kingdom and America. In 1886, he founded the Chicago Evangelization Society, which today is called the Moody Bible Institute. But the movement was still waiting for its biggest moment. Movements come and go. If you don't have literature that promulgates this in a prominent way.


Movements come and go if they're not sort of seminal books that do that. In 1878, William Blackstone published a bestseller titled Jesus Is Coming, however, would be the work of Cyrus Eyes. Scofield. That would be the crucial development and cement the union of Darby's theology to Scripture. Schofield took Darby's themes and ideas and connected them to Scripture using Henry's topical outlines, maps, charts and nodes, all intended to show that these ideas were in fact in the Bible. He published his work in 1909, and to this day, the Scofield reference Bible has sold millions of copies worldwide. However, Scofield was not a scholar, and he had not used the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic text to do his interpretations. A Presbyterian minister named Louis Schaefer was concerned that this theology would end up as just a popular movement and wanted to, as Witherington puts it, shore up some of the theological liabilities of dispensation holism. So in 1924, Schafer founded the Dallas Dispensation Institute, which today is Dallas Theological Seminary. What's going on with the Rapture? Well, the key to understanding it is found in First Thessalonians chapter four, beginning with verse 16. It says, For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with the commanding shout with the call of the Archangel. And when the trumpet call of God first, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with Him forever. Now there's something we have to take into consideration when thinking about the Jewish and Roman world in which these scriptures were written. A city like this. Monica was surrounded by a wall, and when a victorious general or a king would come to the city, they would come up to the city wall, stand outside the city, and someone would go before the king and blow a trumpet.


Then someone within the city wall would call down, Who is this king of glory? And the call would go up. This is who the king or this is who the general is. And the doors of the city would open and all the people in the city would go out to meet the king and then process back with him. So this rapture idea that we will be taken off to heaven doesn't quite fit with the context of this Scripture. It actually implies that when Christ returns, we will go out to meet Him and then come to Earth with him. And also the Scriptures that talk about the judgment of God, where two are standing side by side and one is taken away and one is left behind. We have completely switched that around, that the believers taken away and the nonbelievers left for judgment. But in reality, the one who's taken away is being taken to judgment. And the one who left is left behind is the believer who says, I'm glad that didn't happen to me. Now, one of the major problems with dispensation is that it uses current events to try to explain or understand passages of scripture or prophecies. For many decades, writers and teachers and professors from Dallas Seminary and Moody Institute continue to write books and preach on these things. Now, the movement probably would have stayed within itself had it not been for three events in the latter half of the 20th century that propelled it to the main stage of Protestant Christian thought. One of the cause of rapture theology is the return of Jews to the land of Israel. This idea received a major boost in 1948 with the creation of the current nation of Israel. This was the first event that helped lend a sense of credibility and urgency to the message and helped usher in a sense that we are indeed living in the end times.


But as Dr. Witherington pointed out before, a movement needs literature. And as the struggles in the Middle East, specifically the Arab-Israeli conflict escalated in the second half of the 20th century, many writers began to publish works mapping out the last days of humanity. For example, John Ward, who was the president and professor of systematic theology at Dallas Seminary, published Armageddon Oil and the Middle East Crisis in 1974 and revised it at the start of the first Gulf War in 1990. But probably the most notorious publication was the late Great Planet Earth, which was written in 1970 by a student of wall words named Hal Lindsay. In later editions of his work, Lindsay would be bold enough to actually predict that the world would end in 1988. But neither of these works would have the success or the impact as the second event to give major momentum to this movement. In 1996, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins published the novel Left Behind, a fictional account of the last days based on perceived theological realities. The story begins with the immediate rapture of Christ followers and the ensuing chaos that follows when cars without their drivers and planes without their pilots crashed to earth, killing thousands. What's going on? You get your deal. Never get laughed out by the rest of the 12 novel series follows a group of those left behind who struggle through the seven year tribulation the war over Israel, the rise of the Antichrist, the Battle of Armageddon and the Final Glorious Return of Christ. Though the story was fiction, it was a way to evangelize the tenets of rapture theology. And it was a huge success. The storyline had such an impact on pop culture that it was even parodied in the mainstream secular media, as shown in this episode from The Simpsons.


James Everyone's doing it. Where did my Christian limo driver go? My husband is missing. The baby I chose to have baptized is gone. Mr. Thompson. What's happening? It's a repetition of the rapture. The virtuous have gone to heaven, and the rest of us have been left below this balloon. I heard that before. Is the title of the movie. It's everywhere. We were fools. And because we rejected God tacitly accepting Satan, we must suffer through the apocalypse. In eight years, LaHaye and Jenkins sold over 60 million copies of the 12 volume story, mostly in the Bible Belt South. It was a perfect combination of conservative Christian belief in the moral decline of the country, coupled with the war in the Middle East, a theology that tells of what will happen to those who hold on until judgment. And a largely biblically illiterate church that doesn't know what the Bible fully says. Beginning in 1996, they published at least one volume a year. And had just released the eighth installment in August of 2001. The reports are preliminary and they are looking into the theory of Osama bin Laden's connection, strong indications that Osama bin Laden and his organization would see that it might turn on the United States. For the first time in history, the terrorism in the Middle East had literally crashed into the shores of the United States. This marks the third event to an already trembling body of believers who have been overly sensitized to a cataclysmic set of convictions. This served as a catalyst for the belief that we were heading into the last days. Arab Islamic terrorists had attacked a country that supported Israel. And the United States quickly struck back. Short time later, the United States invaded Iraq, another Arab country that was also the biblical land of Babylon, where the ancient Israelites had been taken into exile.


You have the war and now you have a theology that supports the war. Theology supports the war. Why? Because it's in the Middle East. I still remember the first Sunday after the 911 attacks. Standing outside the sanctuary of my church in Texas. All of us huddled into groups, talking and trying to come to terms with what had happened that week. Standing next to me was a man who I dearly loved, and he said, Well, what would you expect from the descendants of Ishmael? It was right then that I began to understand the dark danger of this theology in the Old Testament story. Abraham's firstborn son was named Ishmael, but God said that his covenant would be with his second son, Isaac, and the biblical nation of Israel were Isaac's descendants. The story goes on to say that God had Abraham sent Ishmael away, but not before promising that his descendants would also be a great nation. Many believe that the Arab people are those descendants and that they have been engaged in a sibling rivalry ever since. One major problem is that many associate Arab to mean Muslim. And that is simply just not the case. But the greatest danger has been in the belief that anyone today who is opposed to the political land of Israel is an enemy of God. And anyone who supports her is in God's favor. The impact of this in mainstream evangelical Protestant believers is evidenced in the message of another Dallas Seminary alum, Dwight Edwards, who preached this message at Grace Bible Church in College Station, Texas, the week after the 911 attacks. In fact, God himself in Genesis 16 says of Ishmael, He will be a wild donkey of a man and his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand will be against him.


This is why there will never be peace in the Middle East, because you have one group of people coming from Ishmael who are of the seed of the wild donkey, if you will, and they want to kick Israel out because they feel it's their land. Israel is never going to get out because they believe it's their land. And you have a truce with warfare that is never going to stop until the anti-Christ comes into power and signs a covenant protecting Israel from surrounding nations. And frankly, I think it's very possible. That the reason God hasn't judged this nation. The way that he ought to have. Is it? We have supported Israel. It is very possible that what happened last week was not God's judgment. It was Satan's hostility towards people siding with Israel. Having spent a lot of time in the Middle East. I would not hesitate to say that this is a dangerous and potentially racist theology. And and the other side of it, too, is that it goes absolutely against the New Testament message about the impartiality of God. So then how could a theology that seems to be proclaiming the victory of Christ over the enemy be dangerous and possibly even racist? How does this theology misinterpret God's actions in history and shut out an entire race of people? The writers of the New Testament, from STEM to stern, from Matthew to Revelation, all believe that the people of God are now Jew and Gentile, united in Christ, and that the promises of God and the prophecies of God are all Yay and amen in Jesus Christ. It's going to be fulfilled in and through the work of Christ and in and for his people, not somebody else. This is why the earliest Jewish critiques of Christianity were that it was super secessionist.


You've taken all our promises. You've taken all our promises. You took our Bible. What's wrong with this? You know? Well, they were right. That's exactly what the earliest Christians were claiming. We are the real Israel. So what's really going on here? It's impossible in this little documentary to explain and interpret everything that is happening in the Book of Revelation. But it's important to know this. John's readers would have understood prophecy as the expression of God's actions in human history, not so much as the foretelling and predicting the future events. With that in mind, maybe helpful to take a small look at what is really going on in John's revelation. When John was in prison on the island of Patmos, he wrote his revelation of Jesus Christ to Jews who had become Christians while living in the heart of the Roman Empire, an empire where Caesar was considered the highest deity and professing Christ as Lord could lead to suffering and death. It is important to understand the nature of apocalyptic writing in the Jewish frame of mind. Apocalyptic writing was meant to reveal something that had already happened and cannot be fully described in our human understanding. Like trying to describe a sunset to someone who is blind. John repeatedly uses the word like a descriptive. An analogous word, as in his voice was like the sound of trumpets. John wrote to seven churches in the Empire in order to address how they were to be kingdom citizens in the midst of a fallen society. In order to write to them under the radar. In a sense, he used imagery that they would understand to help explain this idea better. Consider this image from a magazine cover. When the Republican Party took control of the Congress from the Democrats.


When we look at this picture, we know what the elephant and the donkey symbolize. They don't need to be explained to us. And so this simple image speaks to a greater reality. The same principle holds to John's vision. He used images that Jews in the first century would understand to mean something else. John primarily used Jewish Temple and Old Testament imagery because his audience, who saw themselves as the New Israel, would understand the deeper spiritual and theological meanings behind the images. The temple was the seat of God's presence, and the Old Testament was the story of God's actions in among and for His people. Take, for example, Revelations Chapter nine. Here, John uses locusts and scorpions as symbols to describe the consequences for rebellion to God in a person's life. Two Jews reading this for the first time, they would have connected this image to the locust set against Pharaoh in their Exodus story. The major problem today is preachers who interpret parts of John's descriptive images in light of a current event that would somehow fit into the theology and history they are looking for. Take, for example, this preacher teaching on the same locusts in Revelation chapter nine because they had breast plates. A lion. I don't know whether you've ever met at Locust with a breastplate of iron or not. I never have. And I never wanted. But these locust had breast plates of iron, and they had the faces of men. Now, it seemed to me that that might be the way a person who has never seen a helicopter. Would describe a helicopter. In this vision, John sees these helicopters flying through this smoke during the times of the battles. And both sides did have helicopters. I've checked it out.


And they're flying. And he sees these locusts with these breast plates of iron, but they've got the faces of men sitting in the cockpit. Another problem with most teaching and preaching of the Bible today is the issue called proof texting. This is where a preacher basically has a good idea and then packs different verses around it to support that idea. The danger is that most of the time the verses are taken out of context. And so we're not used in the way the writer originally intended them to be used. Nowhere could this be more costly than in trying to interpret the end times as shown by this Bible teacher. What is next for Israel, Jack? When you read three headlines about the European Union getting involved in the Middle East, that's because a leader will soon come out of there and set up a peace program. Daniel 926 Daniel 1121 says he comes in peaceably. Daniel 1124 Enters in peaceably and he makes the contract for seven years. Daniel 927 But the Bible teaches that is a covenant of death and hell. Isaiah 2815 Why? Because by peace he destroys many. Daniel 825 He gives them a false hope. Jeremiah 614. Jeremiah 11 They're crying out peace. Peace. But there is no peace. And when they say peace and safety, then sudden destruction come upon them. First Thessalonians five three. The first thing is Russia. Ezekiel three, 1839 make a move when Israel has the peace contract, signed Ezekiel 3811. Then China comes in Revelation 1612, Revelation nine 1418 describes the greatest war in history finding all nations come against Jerusalem. Zachariah 14 two At that moment, Christ up here sets his foot upon the Mount of Olives. Zachariah 14 four and he sets up his kingdom here in Jerusalem.


Luke 132 and 33 That's why Jerusalem be called the city of the great King. King Jesus. Matthew 535 That's what's next. Are you ready for the future? One other important issue to look at is John's use of the Greek word mater, which is often mistranslated to read. And then I saw or after that I saw or next I saw. It's sort of what is used to give credence to the idea that John was describing certain events that would happen, a certain order. I saw this and then next there was this, and then next this happened. But that's not quite what's going on there. Take, for example, this small sanctuary that completely surrounds me all the way around. Now, if this sanctuary was full of people and all sorts of things were going on around me, and I was on my cell phone trying to describe to somebody what I was seen, I would have to say, Well, I saw this and then I saw this and then I saw that and then I saw that. Now it's all happening at the same time and it's all happening around me, but I'm having to describe it individually. It's the same thing that happened in John's vision. He was completely surrounded by the reality of this vision. But the only way to tell it in his letter was to say, I saw this and then to go over and say, Say what you seeing over here? So a better way to translate it would not be next or after that. But along with this I saw giving the idea that it's all happening at one time. So how should we read Revelation? It is no easy task. Even many of the heroes of the faith who have gone before us over the centuries did not quite know what to do with this book.


Ben Witherington offers us a good place to start. What kind of information is it trying to give us? That's the question you need to ask. What kind of information is it trying to give us and is it intended to give us? And to me, the most important thing is to say this was the word of God for those Christians, the first century A.D. So whatever it meant to them is still what it means today. The meaning of the text has not changed. Now, we may apply it differently, but the meaning of the text is not changed. And whatever it couldn't possibly have meant for those first century Christians, it can't possibly be today. John wrote his revelation for first century Jews, as well as Christians through the centuries who would suffer and be martyred for living a holy life in an unholy world. It was intended to be a comfort and encouragement by showing that no matter what happens, God is still on his throne and he is still in control. In the opening of his letter, John does not say he is writing a revelation of the end times or of judgment, but a revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation shows us that God's story is not broken into dispensations, but has been a connected and ongoing prophecy from before. The foundations of the Earth were laid to the garden across the desert and into the promised land. God has been working out the salvation of His people. At the heart of the revelation of Jesus is the love of God that was manifested on the cross. And so we can look to the future to that day when people of every tribe, tongue and nation are gathered around the throne so that all who call in the name of the Lord are his people, and he calls His people to live the cruciform life for the sake of others.


I thought you'd enjoy that. Very, very well done. What was that? Well, I'm not going to try. Okay. I'm back to our seventh angel here. And one of the features, remember, is that at the beginning of these last three trumpets, the end of Chapter eight, you have this eagle flying amid heaven, proclaiming, Whoa, whoa, whoa, to those who roll up on the earth at the next three trumpets. And we saw at the end of the fifth trumpet the fifth. Well, the first the first war has come at the end of the sixth trumpet. The second wall is gone. When we get to the end of the third trumpet, there's no mention of that third wall. And we're going to see two wars again later on in chapter 18. My suspicion is, is that John has not overlooked something that he's not forgotten to put in the third wall, and that's because the third wall is still out there. Now these are woes performing in Babylon. Okay, so the first wall is the torment of sin, the second wall with not only the destructiveness of sin, but God's response to that, you see, which undermines fallen. Babylon. The third wall of Babylon is when God brings everything to its consummation. Where it will fall and Babylon will be ultimately dealt with and New Jerusalem will be ultimately established forever and ever. It already is. But I mean, that final confirmation. I think this is why John does not have a third wall anywhere. You just have these two because we're still living in this now, but not yet kind of kind of reality. We are now already citizens of New Jerusalem. New Jerusalem is now already a present reality, and yet it is going to be consummated.


We'll have a final consummation of time. So and as we saw on Tuesday. We have all these voices in heaven saying the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign for ever and ever. Can you imagine how that would have gone down with John's readers living in a world under the domination of Roman power? He sure didn't look as though the kingdom in this world had become the kingdom of our God and of His Messiah, of our Lord and of His Messiah. See, this is exactly what John is indicating. That. That that world is a fallen world. And it's going to pass away. And it did. I mean, we have the advantage our readers don't have. You see, we know the Roman Empire is no more. And of course, every age of human history. Since then, every example of form in Babylon has passed from the scene. Whereas the presence of New Jerusalem in the midst of this fall in Babylon world continues on. We are now in our own time, part of that New Jerusalem and Babylon world. And this fall in Babylon world will pass away and replaced by another one. Lord comes before that. So. And this is what John is trying to emphasize to them. It's really you can imagine it's an uphill battle. I think I share with you my experience in Estonia, didn't I? You know that. That's what John's up against. You can just see his. His hearers shaking their heads. John, you're crazy. You know, look, just open your eyes, man. Look around you. Rahm is in the driver's seat. Rome is all powerful. Rome is almighty. And we're going to see in chapter 13 who is like the beast and who can war against it, you know? And so the answer is nobody.


The thing is, we've already seen it has a mortal wound. And even though it appears to be healed, it's still a mortal wound. So so John is is seeing in his vision. That God has already won the battle. There will be the final confirmation of that victory. But then God has come in Christ and then God has won the battle against fallen Babylon, even though fallen Babylon goes on. We see the 24 elders again in verse 16 who of course represent us. It's interesting when you look at those 24 elders, we saw them first in chapter four. But sometimes you sit down and look at where they appear. And they appear at the crucial junctures of John's vision. Here you see at the the consequences of the cross, God's victory in the cross. And here they are again falling on their faces, worshiping God, and they're singing We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty. Who are and who were we talk about that is to come is no longer around for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. There's another statement of this. You see, Keno, the world is beginning to become the kingdom of our Lord of the Messiah. You're taking your great power and you're begun to reign the nations rage. Your wrath has come. The time for judging the dead, for rewarding your servant, the prophets and saints and all who fear your name, both small and great, are destroying those who destroy the Earth, literally destroying the destroyers of the Earth and their destruction by name again. Remember the angel in chapter nine? The Angel of the Abyss is the Destroyer. So here again, you get this linkage together, that's all. And Babylon is an inherently destructive realm of meaning.


It is destructive of human wholeness and the destructive of God's purposes for humanity and for creation. Then. So that that that's the end of the seventh trumpet at that point. And notice no mention of the wall. Then you get a transition and John's transition aren't always neat and clean. This looks as though it's a conclusion of the seven trumpets, but it looks as though it's also the introduction to the next unit. And when you look at the literary structure that John has used here. You have a drastic structure in this next unit. And by the way, this next June 11, 1955, is remember the grid that we had with the seven churches or well, the seven churches, the heavenly vision of Chapter four and five, the seven SEALs. Then you have the seven trumpets. We're in this core unit, which will be followed by the seven bowls. And then there's Babylon, another heavenly vision, New Jerusalem. So in that grid, in that three by three grid with an introductory vision and the conclusion in that three by three grid, we're coming to the center, to the core of it. And of course, in a classic structure, your attention is drawn to the center. Now here we have another chi tastic structure. It begins with 1119. The Temple in heaven is open and it closes in 15 five with the temple and have an open. And then it follows after that in 12 one. John sees a great sign. And in 15 one he sees a great sign. So you have this A, B, B prime, a prime kind of structure. Kind of chasm in the way in which John has organized this portion of his vision to convey it to us, which indicates to us, you see the structure.


This in my mind, this is what proves that 1119 is beginning the next unit, just like 15 five ends that unit because you've got this overarching chasm or you're really going to need clues here. You see the same term beginning with the last. Then the chasm of adding also the great sign at the beginning and at the end. So actually, here is this central unit that John is carving out for us literarily by where he begins it and the way that he ends it. And now the first thing John sees. He sees a great sign. They call it a port and the Greek and say Mahone sign. I saw a great sign in heaven. A woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of stars. She was pregnant and crying out. And birth pangs. I mean, she's not just pregnant. She's in the process of giving birth. In the agony of giving birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven A great red dragon and Greek word is purity of the great fiery dragon. Remember the second rider with Hunter who racehorses fiery horse, a great fiery dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven items on his head. His tail swept down. A third of the stars of heaven threw them to the into here's another into the earth. They don't translate it right, but it's into the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. And just dropping down one more verse here. And she gave birth to a son, a male child. Who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.


And of course, that is a very. Prevalent messianic image in the Jewish pool of images. The Messiah is the one who would rule the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God into his throne. Now. There's a ton of stuff to work with here. First of all, who is the woman? Let's back up and get the descriptions. In in the in the Roman world. You could identify persons by their attributes. You could identify persons by the clothing there wore. I mean, if someone was wearing a purple stripe in their toga, you knew that this was either a member of the Imperial family or the senatorial families. If someone was wearing a scarlet and a scarlet man in their clothing, then they were of the quest, the equestrian order. The next level down. Also, you could tell who the deities were. And if you saw a male deity with a trident in his hand and dolphins at his feet, who was that as Neptune or Poseidon, the God of the sea? If you saw a female deity with a with a hunting cap and a bow, a quiver full of errors, arrows over her shoulder and a bow in her hand, a couple of hunting dogs at her feet. This is a Diana goddess of the hunt. So you could tell who people were and who deities were by the attributes that accompany that. So John is giving us three attributes for the woman that he sees in his vision. First of all. She's called with the sun. Now in the Jewish pool of images, images of fire, light brightness on our images. For who? For God. These are images for God. We've already seen in chapter one Jesus.


His face is shining brighter than the new day sun. His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet are like flaming or burnished bronze. And we saw some that repeated in chapter ten, The great Angel, a mighty angel coming down and having the same attribute. So this suggests that the woman is God. And interestingly, if you look at the 104th Psalm, Psalm hundred and four, two of the Psalms says to God, you have closed yourself with light as with a garment. Almost exactly the image that John is using here. And you must remember the Psalter was the prayer book or the Handbook of the Jewish People. If you look through the New Testament and make a list of all of the Old Testament quotations, references, allusions, echoes. When you get down your list, you're going to have more from the Psalms than anywhere else. Because this these are the scriptures that people have sung. These are the scriptures have sunk into their know being. A very interesting illustration of this. Perhaps the the second president of Asbury was with Jason and features a remarkable man, lived well into his nineties. But a year or so before he died, he had a major stroke and was unable to speak. But when he went into a worship service, he could sing the hymns, he could sing the hymns. He couldn't speak, but he could sing the hymns because they had sunk so deep into his being. It wasn't it wasn't a matter of, you know, the the linguistic part of his brain. So this is the way humanity works. And so for the Jewish people, you see when John uses an image like this, she's clothed with the sun, you know, this is going to come down on the image of brightness and fire and light.


But even this psalm, you see, would come to their minds. Now, the second aspect, the attribute that he gives to this woman is that the moon is under her feet. Well, that one puzzled me for a long, long time. Several years. I just wrestle with this and wrestle with it and wrestle with it. Couldn't find any commentaries that seemed to make sense of it until one day I was working on something else. I forget what I was working on and I was in the Old Testament and I came across the passage. The one of the passage. It talks about new moons, festivals and Sabbaths. And the light went on. Israel's worship cycle is a lunar based cycle. That's why our Easter moves all over the calendar. Because Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Tomorrow is the vernal equinox. Okay. Now the first full moon. I'm not sure exactly what the date is. Must be sometime after the 5th of April, because the 12th of April is Easter. So it has to be in that weakness. And why is that the case? Well, because Passover is the first full moon after the vernal equinox. I mean, there's sort of a combination of both solar and lunar dynamics here, but the essential dynamics of the Jewish liturgy was lunar based. And just go through some time and look at the number of times you find in the Old Testament, new moons, full moons, and almost always associated with festivals and Sabbaths in some way. So what we've got here is an image of God with the moon. The woman has a moon under her feet. Here is God. Enthroned. On the praises of Israel, on the worship of Israel.


And then third, she has a crown of 12 stars in her head. Now that that's a gimme, that's easy. 12. And that Jewish pool is what? The 12 tribes. Exactly. And can you think of any place in the Old Testament where the 12 tribes are image as stars. Joseph Joseph's dream, where the 11 stars, his brothers are bowing down to him, the 12 star. And in Isaiah. Isaiah uses the image of Israel as a crown in God's hand. Now where where does a crown end up? You know, it ends up on the head, right? So obviously from the from the imagery that John is using to describe what he's seen, his vision, the woman is gone. What do you do with the people that say that it's the Israel and the secondary level? It would be Israel giving it birth and at a tertiary and a tertiary level it would be married. But at the primary level, by the way, we I mean, read on for our part. Now we get down to earth. You don't get to the Satan's rebellion. You get to verse seven here. See, John is saying something that is before teens rebellion, although in. And the dragon's going to be identified as Satan shortly. But you see in Satan's desire to possess God for himself. There's the seed of the rebellion that then breaks out in verse seven. So John, here, his vision has taken him. Before the beginning, so to speak. And we'll see. It also takes him beyond the end. We get over to chapter 15. Yeah. Tom. Okay. With all of these attributes. Do we have any idea why John chose to use a woman? Meaning? I can only think one time in in the biblical text where Jesus slash God relates to himself as a woman, other than Jesus saying that the father is not as like a like a mother hen who brooms after her chicks.


Does does the. Am I forgetting anything in the Old Testament that kind of gives God a female type attribute or or his female type characteristics? Well, God. God. Is the Sheba protecting her young. Okay. In Jesus parable and the parable of the lost coin. Oh, who's the woman in that parable? A widow of God searching for the lost center. Okay. All right. Now. Why? Why? Why you? I think because women give birth. I don't know of a man in history that's given birth. Well, I know I can deal with that. It's just. It's just at first glance, I would automatically think he's referring to married women who would at first glance be that or symbolic of Israel. You know, refer to other many things as a she or a her. Like my vote, she or, you know, something like that or like pa men or should I say, will tend to refer to it as she. So I just that was the only thing that threw me. Yeah. And, and I think here the reason I want to be facetious and I wasn't attacking Tom either when I said that he's using the image of a woman because women give birth. And what John is seeing here is really the we've seen him giving us various glimpses of the dynamics of the cross. I began in chapter one, I was dead the whole in my life, forever more. I have a key of death and hate. In chapter five, we see the slain lamb. Who? Who You were slain so as to open this. The slaying was the opening. The cross was the revelation of the deep purpose of God. We've just seen in Chapter 11, The cross is the consummation of the law, and the prophets of the two witnesses are killed in the city where their Lord was crucified.


They're resurrected. They're ascending. Now John is saying his vision is taking us to the depths of the cross. And what do you see here is is of tremendous significance. Because what John is seeing is that the cross is not something God did. We've we've been locked in to that kind of understanding for more than a millennia. It sort of goes like this. And this is a sort of weird caricature, but God creates a perfect creation. Everything is exactly the way God wanted to be. This was good. This was very good. And then Adam and Eve blow it. And God says, Oh, they never saw it coming. What are we going to do about this? And so he gathers the counsels of heaven and they ponder and they think and they share. And they like good Methodists, they form subcommittees with this One day God wakes up and says, I got it. I'll send Jesus. He'll die on the cross, and that will take care of everything. Well, that's pretty silly. But think through every one of the basic redemption theologies. And that's basically what they say. That the cross is something God did. The cross was something I did to substitute Jesus. For us, the cross was something God did pay a ransom to Satan to release us from His grip. Across the something God did to give us a wonderful example. You know, all of our redemption theologies see the cross as something God did. What John is saying here is that that's not the way it is. If the cross is a revelation. Very essence of God's being. John is seeing God bringing forth God's very being into the mouth of the dragon. And the dragon gets the child. It's in that word snatched.


You see in verse five. Let me drop it back down here now. It says. But her her child was snatched away and taken to got into his throat. And that's a good translation. The translators got it pretty right here. It's a Greek word. Her poncho and her poncho means to take forcibly something. It is in the possession of another. I mean, if I reach over here and pick up my book, I'm not her pod doing it because it's my book. If I reach over here. And this year, Josh, I think Josh's drink. You see, I'm positive this is not mine. I'm snatching away from him. So the snatch you see is the cross. I mean, the snatch reveals that the dragon got the child. You know, you've got the birth, clearly you've got the ascension or resurrection. Ascension together, you know, snatched away and gone into it. Thrown. But snatched is what has the cross at the center of it. You see the dragon God, the triumph. Now if you think through on this. If Jesus. Is God incarnate. If in Jesus, God has revealed God's self to us. Then is not the cross also a revelation of God's being. Is it not a manifestation? Of who God is at the very core or essence. Of his being. This is what John is saying. That God is cruciform love. This is what Paul is wrestling with in Philippians chapter two. Which has been horribly misunderstood. And even some Greek grammars, you know, see an exception to the grammatical rule here because they can't understand what's going on, where Paul says that we are to have the same orientation of being that Jesus had. Then he goes on, Who being in the form of God? If not, count equality with God.


See Paula saying Jesus was God. Do not count equality with God. Something to be manipulated. That is, God doesn't use God's goodness to inflict himself upon his creation. He could. You could read that. Now, of course, Adam created in the image of God. What did Adam do? Adam and Eve. They grasp on their equality with God. So it's something to be manipulated. I've been doing it ever since. Then it says. But he emptied himself. And then the grammar is very crucial here. Because Paul uses to arrest participles to modify empty I send. An arrest participle. The action of an arrest participle precedes the action of the verb in modifies. We hear this, he Anthony himself, having taken the form of a servant. You know that he did it by becoming a servant, by becoming human. That's not what Paul saying before he emptied himself. He had already taken the form of a servant. And he had already become inhuman likeness. Those are the first two participles that precede the emptying. I think what Paul is wrestling with is the mystery of a god. Who enters into a fallen ness of his creation. In order to redeem that creation from its fallen. Ryan doesn't stand off to the edges and send something in to take care. God himself is the answer. You see, and this goes back to the very nature of the way in which God has created us. I mentioned before we were created for a relationship of loving union with God. But a love relationship requires that the beloved be free to say no. Now. Before God created humanity. Gone already in his own being. Provided the answer for no. You see inherent in in his creation of us in God's own image.


Is also the fact that God is cruciform love. And that's the way God deals with our. No. And we saw this back in chapter three, the letter, the letter to see her. We had, you know, at church was a pretty sick puppy. Jesus says, I'm about to vomit you out of my mouth. Right. I'm standing at the door knocking. And as we talked about that, I remember the door is anything that is put him out and we're in prison within. And what did Jesus say? Clean up your act and come out. No, you open the door. I'll come in. That's cruciform love. As cruciform love that comes into our deadness to raise us to light, comes into our darkness with light that comes into our brokenness with wholeness, into our woundedness, with healing, into the destructive bondage of our life with liberation. The God encounters us at the heart of our deadness of our fallen ness. In order to redeem us. That is cruciform love. And it's not something God did. It's who God is. The essence of his being. The cross is the revelation in history of the reality of who God. It's. Just as Jesus is a revelation in history of the reality of who God is. The cross is that you might say the summit of that revelation. You see, we've we've had the tendency to think of the incarnation, you know, Jesus life and ministry and everything. And then we sort of set the cross over here to one side. The cross is the sum of it all. The is the song video. And that's what that's what John has seen here in vision. I say HANDLER Okay. Now this? Yeah. Have you written someplace on Philippines or have you got a commentary? This is just the only the only person that I have found that has caught on to what Paul was doing in Philippians.


Is Tom right in his book, The New Testament of the People of God, which is a series of essays, or is that. No, I'm actually coming to the climax of the Covenant. The climax of the Covenant. Thank you. There's an essay in there on the Philippians passage, and Tom goes through and and analyzes every there's about 14 different understandings of the word that is that is translated to take advantage of. And then he deals with all the other way. And it's a marvelous piece. I highly recommend it to you. But when he comes down to is this reality that what we're seeing here, that what Paul is trying to convey to us is the very nature of God's being? That God is a God of cruciform love and often doesn't use those words, but cruciform love is what it's all about. This is who God is. Now that says something to us. But the nature of ministry. If we are to be those in whom God touches the life of this hurting broken world, What does that mean? It means cruciform love. It means losing ourself for his sake. Now has all sorts of different levels. Now I want to come back to to the identified the woman again. And Tom mentioned two of the standard ones Israel. And of course at at a secondary level. Yeah I mean Israel God chose Israel to manifest himself to the world. Israel blew it. But out of Israel. Here's Mary who becomes the means by which God becomes incarnate. The one interpretation of this that just cannot work is that that the woman is the church. And that's one of the one of the common interpretations of who this woman is, is the church. How can the church bring forth her own redeemer? Right.


That simply doesn't make sense. I mean, it is logically. Campbell. It just simply can't work. Mary and Israel, those work. But I think when we understand what John doing here, they work at a secondary level. It was through Israel and then through marry within Israel, that God reveals himself to us and to the world, which John's readers had a problem with. They have had a problem with a feminine image that's intent with John's readers, that readers have had a difficulty with the feminine image. I don't know. They may have. Just like we do. Some some do anyway. And of course, you know, John, we're seeing that John is is modulating his imagery. And often doing it in ways that probably would be at least disconcerting to his readers. If not troubling to them. One of the one of the interesting sort of the sidelights on this. I don't know if you've ever seen the name Adella Yarbrough Collins. She's a rather famous New Testament scholar. She was one of my classmates at Harvard. And Adela did her dissertation on the woman in chapter 12, and she studied all of all of the Roman Hellenistic world looking at female deities and stuff like that. And her final conclusion was that none of them really fit. What's interesting now, Adela is one of the most radical feminists. One of the interesting things is, is that here is the one, to me, clear image of God as woman in the Bible. And she missed it. We totally missed it. Because he was so intent on trying to fit it in that the female deities in the Roman world and found it really didn't fit. You know, Yeah. Some, you know, some correlations here and there, but it doesn't quite fit.


So it was sort of sort of an interesting. Sidelight to this dissertation get rejected then? Oh, no, no, no, no. I mean, a negative dissertation is still a positive finding. You know, other people aren't going to waste their time doing it. I mean, in the sense not not in her findings. It didn't fit with being a female deity, but the fact that she missed the boat, you know? Oh, no, no. Professor at Harvard would have would have seen God as a woman. Not in those days anyway. Maybe there's some now that might. Now, here. Here is another note. Now we're going to turn to the dragon for a moment in verse for his tail. So about a third of the stars of heaven. Here's that third again. You know, so that you know, in the stars I have not. Does this mean literal stars? You know, and threw them again into the earth known as Einstein Gain. Those of you can read the Greek into the earth. Well, if a third if one star of heaven went into the earth, I be the end of us. I mean, if our minor little star crashed into us, we're done. We're not talking about literal imagery here. And we've already seen in Chapter nine a star falling from Heaven and is later identified as the Angel over the Abyss, which is the destroyer. You know, it is Satan. So what we're talking about here are those, you might say, those those luminaries, those those angels of light that fell with Satan to join Satan in his rebellion. Okay. Now we come down back and then first sex. Now, this gets interesting because we want nice, logical consistency. And the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God so that there she can be nourished for 1260 days.


There's that 42 month period again, or three and a half year period again. Well, if the woman is God, what's going on here? QUESTION Well, who can better prepare a place for God in God himself? I have to say God herself in this context. But who can do that? What John is seeing here. Now, Also, you got to remember that the wilderness in a Jewish pool of images, the wilderness, has a very interesting dynamic. It is not only the place of the demonic, but it is also the place of encounters as well. At this point, you know, it's a sort of a dual dynamic period. The places that we haven't been able to hear, you can't hear all the chronic and what yeah that that the the desert or the wilderness the Greek word here is enormous desert wilderness is also a good translation that the desert in the Jewish pool of images is both the place of encounter, it's the place of the demonic, and it is also the place of encounter with God. So. So you get this this strange dualism, so to speak, of that imagery. So it works both ways. We're going to see next week when we get to the end of this chapter that the Dragon Satan is trying to get God out of his realm. So you get the image of, you know, of conflict here as well. What John is seeing, we don't see it fully here. We'll pick it up next week. What John is seeing here. Is that we're seeing the presence of God in the midst of the rebellious order. That this is where God's place is. You're not is not off somewhere infinitely removed from from Earth in a place called heaven, but that God is in the midst of the rebellious order.


He is in the midst of Satan's realm. And this, of course, you see, is carrying forward the idea of the cross being a revelation of the very heart of God's nature. The God is cruciform love that that enters into the depth of the rebellion. And that's what John is seeing here. Well, our is up will pick up here next week and, you know, sort of review and move on because we sort of stopped in the middle of things. Have a good weekend. Thank you. You're not convinced on that score yet?