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Revelation - Lesson 15

The Seven Bowls

A vision of the seven bowls.

Lesson 15
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The Seven Bowls

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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.

  • 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. 

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Revelation

Dr. Robert Mulholland

nt666-15

The Seven Bowls

Lesson Transcript

 

Here it is. Okay, let's not do that. In September, we'll know for you. Thank you, everybody. Let's get this. I don't know. I mean. Yeah, I can understand that. You can be near the heap. You're all here, but I can't do it. Did you run here this morning? Fired up. Oh, yeah. Oh, you know what you did? How many babies was everyone? Oh, family. I'm sure you do. That's right. Recently? Yeah. Yeah. Aw, that's really unfair. I'm not going to do that. I mean, just like it's the law, and it's okay. In fact, you're gonna be doing that. Good morning. Good morning. Do it all the time. Hope you had a good break. Welcome back. See what happens when we wholeheartedly accept the world as teacher and identity giver. What dynamic is set into motion? The moment I believe that I will never be anything but what the world tells me I am. And hence believe that the key to being real is always to adjust to the demands of society. And here's a quote from Merton. Trying to adjust involves a whole galaxy of illusions. First of all, you take yourself very seriously as an individual autonomous self, a little isolated world of reality, something quite definitive, something established in its own right. The thinking subject. This thinking reality sets itself to consider what is all around it, to get everything in focus. Clear ideas. Clear ideas of what? Don't ask too many embarrassing questions. Please. What is important is to establish that A is A, and in 10 minutes from now it will still be a and 100 years from now. Well, already one has started to adjust. 100 years or now a will have vanished forever. But the statement, as they will be true adjusted of course, to read a was a then you might have to adjust it to read that since you thought it was a read it that you at least you thought it was a.

 

However, since you yourself are no longer around and nobody cares what you thought anyway. This text provides us with an insight into a very common expression of the false self in the world. The process begins with the individual imagining itself to be a little walled in existence, cut off from yet living with countless other little walled in existences. The pool together to form society. The primary goal of this little walled in existence that I imagine myself to be is that of adjusting to the demands of society. This is essential for this little self derives its total meaning called relevance. Yet from the myths held by the other selves as the other selves keep changing, adjusting and readjusting these meds. The isolated individual must keep pace in order to avoid falling into nonexistence. The problem is that this flow of change is moving everyone toward inevitable extinction. Each society suffers from a we have finally arrived syndrome in which the attitudes, achievements and opinions held by that society society are given a colossal significance. The towers over what other societies say, think and do. The individuals in each society are expected to believe in and support what the society determines to be significant. Your fail to do this is to become oneself insignificant. And in this context, not to be significant to the society is not to be at all. One of the primary tasks of all the authentic religious traditions is that of freeing us precisely from this kind of tyranny in which the world is a place that makes absolute demands to which we must comply in order to remain real. Pray with me. Gracious, loving God. We. We thank you for. These insights from our brothers. At least we think we thank you for them.

 

They challenge. They challenge us at the very root of our identity. How much have we allowed the world around us to shape our identity? How much do we find our identity and the values and the perceptions and the lifestyles of the world around us rather than in you? Lord, help us to see. Help us to see clearly. Where we have sunk the roots of our identity into things other than you. Where we have allowed ourselves to be squeezed into the world's mold. Rather than being transformed by. That life hid with Christ in you. This, we ask in your name. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I'm in. I mean, there's still a few I'm struggling with here. Brandon Lewis. Mm. David Shoemaker. David. Jeremy, It's been our. Wow. Melanie, there you are. Okay. Jessica Varney. Right. Okay. Jeffrey Waters. Yes. Cindy. William Wendell. Jeremy Zirkle. Okay, I'm almost there. Okay. Where we left off. Let me just put a slide up here to sort of review where we are. We're in this section 11, 1955. And what we've looked at so far in chapter 12, John has revealed to us her has seen in his vision the deep nature of the cross. That is, that the cross is a revelation of who God is, that that God is cruciform love. We've seen the nature of Satan's rebellion and we've seen God's response to that rebellion in Chapter 12 that God enters into Satan's realm. There's no place for Satan in God's realm, remember, but God enters into Satan's realm and Satan tries to get rid of God and fails. It's impossible. God has a place in Satan's realm that the cruciform God is present at the heart of the rebellion and the retina the rebel capital are cannot do anything about it.

 

And then we saw in chapter 13 the incarnation of Satan's rebellion. The way things were done is incarnate in human history in the to Be the beast from the sea, representing the worldview of the rebellion that is the world view that blasphemed God in God's name and God's dwelling and His. It does not allow God to be God and the beast from the Earth, which represents the lifestyle that results from that worldview. And then we saw that John reprises that by using the idea of the mark of the beast and the number of the beast, and that the forehead, of course, represents the seat of perception, right hand represents lifestyle action. And then what John is saying at the end of Chapter 13 is that, you know, anyone whose worldview has no place for God on God's terms already has the mark of the beast. Anyone whose lifestyle does not manifest the reality of God on God's terms already has the mark of the beast on the right hand. And we saw the number six, six six related to Nero. That was a very specific application of John's vision to his readers. Then as we got in chapter 14, we saw the LAMB and who and those with him 144,000, the redeemed community who have his name and his father's name on there for it. You see, they they are God reference beings. And and then we saw the two options, you know, the good news and bad news you choose. And that's where we ended up before break. So come now to the end of chapter 14. Well, after the good news bad news you choose we have here is a call for the endurance of the saints. And again, when when John uses these these terms is the second time we've seen him use this.

 

You know this is a call for the endurance of the saints. We saw it back in chapter 13 as well that it is a reminder to to the New Covenant community, to the citizens of New Jerusalem who remain faithful to their citizenship in New Jerusalem as they experience the pressures of forming Babylon to conform to form in Babylon or in the words of our devotional this morning, you know, to to find their identity in the worldview, value system and lifestyle of fallen Babylon, instead of finding their identity in the worldview, value system and lifestyle of the kingdom. So these calls to endure the endurance of the Saints is a reminder not to succumb, in Paul's words, not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed. And then notice who the saints are, those who who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus. And that sort of is is another one of those brackets here. We're getting near the end of this unit. Remember, we saw this classic structure where it begins with a temple open and then sees a great sign in heaven. And at the end you have see, it's a great sign and having the temple open. But shortly after those two in chapter 12, there is the call that Satan goes to make war against the rest of the woman's children and those who have to keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus. And so here we get it again, you see. So you almost get three dynamics that emphasize the classic structure of this whole unit. 1119 2 to 555. And John hears a voice from heaven saying, Write this, Blessed are the dead, who from now on die in the Lord.

 

Yes, says the Spirit. They will rest from their labors for their deeds. Follow them. Now, this is the second of the Seven Blessings. It's very interesting. Your first blessing is one three. Blessed is the one who reads and those who hear the words of this property and keep the things that are written in it. And you have to wait. Amen. You get all the way over here in a chapter, almost the end of chapter 14, where you get the second blessing. Not in the Wesleyan terms, but two out of seven. Okay. We're going to see that, you know, the last six now will appear here in these last eight chapters. But again, and this C this ties in to the call for endurance. Blessed are those who are blessed are the dead from now on who die soon. Remember, we're dealing with a situation where we know there's already been one murder in one of the churches, and we're dealing with a situation where martyrdom is a very real possibility that if you do not succumb to the pressures of fall in Babylon, fall in Babylon is liable to take you out. So this call for endurance, you see, is again emphasized in this idea that you may even die for the faith, but blessed are those who die in the Lord. And the Spirit says, Yes, they will rest from their labors for their deeds. Follow them. Now, this is this is interesting because we've seen a couple of places all the way through. The John focuses on deeds. And almost sounds like works righteousness. And as you will see more of these as we as we move further in here, when we get to chapter 20, we'll see. John, just turn that whole works righteousness world on its head.

 

And I suspect that what he's doing, again is, you know, typical rhetorical fashion. He is developing a theme very familiar to his readers. Remember, his readers are basically operating within the Jewish frame of reference where deeds obedience to Torah is crucial. And so John keeps sort of, you know, triggering this memory by talking about their deeds. And we're going to read chapter 20. We'll see how it just turned that world upside down. Then in in 14. John has an interesting. Aspect to his vision, he says. I looked and there was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like the son of man, the golden crown on his head, sharp sickle in his hand. Now this unit for the rest of chapter 14. Let me just. Give another slide here. What's. This. Oh, no, that's that's the wrong one. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Let me go back then. When you when you look at this in the Greek text particularly, you see there's a tremendous amount of parallelism. You've got sort of two harvests going on here. The first is a is a wheat harvest in verse 15 when it says use your sickle and reap for the hour to reap has come because the harvest of the earth is fully ripe. If you look at the Greek text over here, it says the harvest of the earth is zero. One thing we get Xerox from this word, it means it means that it is it is dried. And that is a term that would apply to the wheat harvest. You know, the wheat has come to the point where it's dry, it's ready. It's ready for harvesting. And then the second one is the grape harvest. So you've got a wheat harvest and a grape harvest.

 

Now, harvest imagery in the Jewish tradition and the Jewish poor images is associated with the restoration of the kingdom. This is this is one of the dynamics of the restoration. And in Joel, you find both of these together. Isaiah uses just I think Isaiah just uses the. The one. But in Joel, he brings both of these together, the wheat harvest and the grape harvest. And John is picking up on that dynamic. Now, one of the common ways that this has been interpreted is that, you know, John is seeing the end of the world because Jesus uses the harvest imagery in that kind of a context. Remember the parable of the wheat in wheat where the farmer so is the wheat or his hired hand. So the wheat, the enemy comes along. So is weeds in the field. When they come up, you know, the laborers recognize the weeds and say, shall we pull them up? And the master says, No, let them grow together until the harvest. Now the harvest will take the weeds and throw them into the fire with the wheat and in the bar. And Jesus is using that in the sense of, you know, the end of the fallen order and the fallen world. He's moved the harvest imagery see out to the end. I suspect that here, John is using this in the Jewish form, particularly since he's picking up very, very closely with with what you have in Joel, with this this dual image, the harvest of the wheat and the harvest of the grapes. So you have one like the sun, A man sit on the cloud. Of course. This is Daniel imagery. And by the way, Daniel's imagery at that point is looking for the restoration. And Daniel is in his vision.

 

Daniel is seeing the coming of the Messiah way down the road in the future. Who is going to restore the kingdom to Israel? So when Daniel, the son of man imagery, is a redemption image and is a restoration image in the same way it's picked up in the test mental period, Son of Man is the one who is going to restore the covenant community. So an angel comes out of the temple calling with a loud voice. Do we want sitting on the cloud? Use your sickle and reap for the hour to reap is come. The harvest is fully ripe. So the one who sat on the cloud swung his sickle. Now the translation says over the earth. Notice the AP, and it's a good translation. Over the earth. We're going to see in a moment the second angel, the second harvest. Put a cycle into the earth. And I've already pointed out to you, even seeing all the way through a whole number of things that go into the Earth when Satan is is defeated in his war, he is cast into the Earth in the seventh seal. The incandescent prayers of the saints are cast into the earth and there's an earthquake in the offing in God's presence released. Then the one who sat in the cloud swung a cigar over the earth. The earth was reached. I didn't say anything about where the harps went to. Just, you know, it's a harvest image. Then John sees another. Sees another angel come out of the temple. He, too, had a sharp sickle. Here's you get a. A linguistic parallelism between these two images that really links them together. And another angel came out from the altar. The angel has authority over fire. Remember the altars where the sacrificial fire is burning? And he called with a loud voice to the one who had the chance to go Use your sharp circle to gather the clusters of the mind of the earth for its grapes are ripe.

 

Here's the grape harvest. So the angel. Now see what they've done here. So the angel. Swung his sword or put his right ace into the earth. Not over. If translated. So you have the same preposition in both places. Yeah. I think what John is, is trying to indicate here is that Earth, remember, is not the third rock from the sun. Earth is the rebellious realm. So the first thing a man harvests, which is second upon the earth, not into it. So this is this is the harvest of of God's people. This is the harvest of the faithful. Here. The second goes into the earth. And as we'll see here, he swung. He puts a sickle into the earth, gathered the vintage of the earth, and he threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. It's a very obviously see, we're dealing here with the rebellious realm. Now he doesn't say anything about where the wheat harvest goes. And I think there's a significance in that. I'll come back to that in a moment. The wine press was trying outside the city. And blood flowed from the wine press as high as a horse's bridle for a distance of about 200 miles. That's a whole lot of blood. You know, the blood bank wouldn't have to open again for centuries with that. Now, what's going on here? What's the issue? As I said, many, many interpreters see this as sort of a, you know, a vision of the final event of history. But I think there's significance in the fact that John does not say anything about where the wheat goes. Jesus. When Jesus uses the harvest image at the end of history, he talks about the wheat being gathered into the barn, which of course, in the context of that parable would be gathered into heaven.

 

But here John does not mention that, but he does mention what happens to the grapes there trodden in the wine press of the wrath of God. I think what John is doing here he is he is using Joel's imagery. There's this dual imagery. To indicate that what Joel was seeing as as a future event, the restoration as a future event has taken place. And of course, we've seen this all along. You know, John, he starts on Jesus, you know, is, you know, Grace, Drew and peace from Jesus the Messiah. The faithful martyr. The firstborn from the dead was cleansed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom and praise all of those our restoration dynamics. So John starts out his description of his vision even before he gets to his vision. His epistolary introduction sets the frame. Set his narrative world is one in which the. Fulfillment of the promise of restoration has come. It has taken place and we've seen all the way through a number of instances. We saw, for instance, the two witnesses in Chapter 11 who are Moses and Elijah, right together in the death, resurrection, and essentially of Jesus, that the old covenant, you see has been consummated in the cross, resurrection and ascension. So I think what we're getting here is another illustration of that. That that fall in Babylon is falling. The victory has already been won, and we've seen that a couple of times. And again in Chapter 11, after we see that that image of the old covenant that Moses and Elijah and the Prophet is being consummated in the cross. You have that in the seventh trumpet heavens rejoicing that that God has taken the great power and begun to reign and the kingdom of its world to become the kingdoms of our God and of His Messiah.

 

We saw it again in in Chapter 12, after Satan is cast out of heaven. There is this rejoicing, you know, that God has done it. And I think we're seeing the same thing here that John is picking up the dual harvest image of Joel and using it to indicate it has been done. And when he doesn't say anything about the wheat harvest, you see, that's because that final aspect hasn't come yet. That's still out there ahead of us. But Fall in Babylon has already been judged, even though it's got a mortal wound. To go back to Chapter 13, even though it goes on as though that mortal wound was healed. Terry, is there anything to this very specific measure? Verse 20 of the blood. Good question. Yeah. Is there he's asking, is there any significance in the measurement of the blood, not the height of it as high as a horse's bridle? I've not been able to figure out exactly what's going on there. I've not been able to find any clear connections in the Jewish poll of images, but that the 200 miles, those are the dimensions of the promised land. Hmm. And what does the restoration deal with? Restoration deals with the restoration of the promised land. So and of course the the idea of blood as as cleansing maybe coming in here as well, although how the enemy's blood cleanses is is difficult to grasp. And whether it you know, whether that's what John is using by this image or not is hard to determine. But that that's the only clear connection that we have for for these dimensions. So I think what John is doing here again is and we're coming right toward the end of this unit, he is again indicating that God has fulfilled the promises to the prophets.

 

That God has consummated the old covenant, that in Jesus it has been done, and that we are now participants in this restored kingdom, although it is a radically different kind of restoration than what the Jews had been expecting. Then Chapter 15. John says, I saw another sign in heaven. I see here. Here's where we're getting into the classic structure. The first sign was the woman bringing forth the child. God is the woman. Now He sees a great sign in heaven, great and amazing seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last four with them, the wrath of God is ended. Now he's doing the same thing here. Remember in the seventh SEAL? That the first thing John does, he introduces the angels with seven trumpets, which is the next piece. And then he comes back and talks about the incense offering imagery that he uses in the seventh seal. He's doing the same thing here as we come to the end of this unit, a very clearly defined unit, by that classic structure. Jon introduces the actors, you might say, of the next unit, which is going to be the Seven Moles. And then he shifts back from that you see in verse two, and I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mixed with fire. Now we've seen this sea of glass before. Chapter four. Remember when John sees God seized upon the throne? Underneath his feet was a sea black last like crystal. So, you know, using the same kind of imagery throws us back to that. But now it's mixed with fire. Now what has happened between chapter four and and now. Well, we have seen that that God's redemptive act that God in cruciform love has entered into the heart of the rebellion.

 

The see remember represents the rebellious order. The beast came from the sea. But God has entered into the rebellion in order to overcome it so that the fire of God's holiness you see now burns at the heart of the sea. I mean, the idea of a C mingle with fire doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Water and fire don't mix very well. I think John is using his fire imagery here the same way he's been using it all the way through fire, light brightness as images of God. And of course, one of the images, one of the fire images of God is that God's holiness is he is a consuming fire. That that the holiness of God burns out or burns against All that is unholy. God, God is a refining fire, you see, refining his people, refining out of them the impurities. And so here you see the fire of God's holiness has entered into this rebellious order. And you might say inflamed in. And then I saw those who had conquered the beast. Now it is of those who are conquering again the present. Those who are conquering. All the way through. Translators tend to put this sort of past tense. I saw those who are conquering the beast and its image and the number of its name standing, another one standing beside. No. Standing up on the sea. I don't know what's happened here, where the translator just couldn't fathom the idea of people standing on the sea or not there being too literalist against what they're doing. But they're standing on the sea. With hearts of God in their hands. You see what John is saying here? These obviously are the redeemed. They are those who are conquering, that is, they are trampling fallen Babylon under their feet.

 

Just as in chapter four. The sea is under God's feed here. The sea is under the citizens of New Jerusalem Sea. They're standing on the sea. These are the ones who are conquering. And here's also you see where we get a clear idea of what conquering is all about. You know, we've seen it all the way through, especially in the seven churches that that litany at the end of each letter to the one who is conquering. I will give you have a promise. And again, there is the present tense of the present participle, ones who are conquering, not the ones who have. And here we get a clear idea what conquering is. Conquering is not succumbing to falling Babylon. It is refusing to worship the beast and its image to receive its mark. Mr. refused to to be sucked into form a battle on citizenship. And so in that you see they are trampling fall Babylon under their feet. Now they're singing the song of Moses move to supplement it. They're singing the song of Moses, the Servant of God, and the song of the LAMB. Now you've got sort of at least two different songs. Or are they the same song with interwoven melodies? What have you hear? What is the song of Moses? The Song of Moses was a song that they sang When God Deliver Them from Egypt at the Red Sea. The Song of the LAMB is the Song of God Deliverance of His people from Fallen Babylon. So you've got the song of the old covenant community, the song of Moses, and you've got the song of the New Covenant community, the song of the land. And it is in a sense argument. Well, Antiphonal really doesn't work, but the Song of the LAMB, in a sense, is, is the, you know, pulling together.

 

And in consummation, what began with the Song of Moses putting putting these two things together. And here is the nature of their song. Great and amazing are your deeds. Gawd God the Almighty just and true are your ways King of the Nations. And remember, we've already seen that God has taken His great power and begun to reign. We got rains over the nations. Whether they acknowledge or not, is not the issue you see. Then Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name. And there we see that combination we've seen before. Remember the the first danger, the good news, bad news you choose. Back there in the middle of chapter 14, one Angel with an internal gospel to proclaim to those who call upon the earth where we try to hang on people. That is the gospel for fall Babylon. And what was the gospel? Fear God and give Him glory. Here again. You see who will not fear and glorify your name. Or you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgment, have been revealed. And this here, here the John is again introducing a theme that we'll see fulfilled in chapter 21, Chapter 22, where the nations bring their wealth into a new Jerusalem. And the kings of the nations come to a new Jerusalem. What he is doing here is indicating the Gentile involvement in this new covenant community. Remember in the Jewish understanding, God was right when God restored the kingdom to Israel. This was for the Jews. This was not for Gentiles. The restoration was a geopolitical restoration on the promised land. And we've already seen again over and over and over through throughout the vision, John has been pointing to the inclusion of the Gentiles.

 

Remember, remembered Chapter seven, received 144,000 from Israel, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. Then in seven, nine, a great numberless multitude from every tribe, nation, tongue and people standing before the throng of home, wrenches in their hands, you know, singing to God for their deliverance. We're having the liver that. Because the palm branch, remember, is the flag of Israel. Your Palm Sunday. Most of our people don't have a clue what was going on there. They just think this was just a great, wonderful, great you know, this was a revolutionary movement. The people waving their palm branches, you know, and saying, blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord, blessed of the coming kingdom of our father, David. Look at that. That is radically seditious. That's why Jesus ends up on the cross as king of the Jews. This is the way Rome took care of political revolutionaries. This was a political revolution. What's going on here? So in chapter seven, you see the Gentiles, those from every tribe nation hugging people. Park rangers in their hands. Standing before the throng. Gentiles are included. And here you're seeing it again. Here all nations will come and worship before you. And of course, in a sense, you see this, John is seeing that in this this restored kingdom, in this radically different kind of restored kingdom, that the purpose of the old covenant has been fulfilled, that God called a people through Abraham to be a light to the Gentiles, to be a light to the nations. And now we're seeing the fulfillment of this. In Jesus. Where your judgments have been revealed. And, of course, the scene is judgment against Paul Babylon. If all of Babylon has been judged that the cross is its judgment.

 

Yeah, John. Throughout this, we've been kind of talking about nation being like all the worldly order and stuff, that there was this hint that even those who aren't redeemed are going to be falling before God and worshiping them. In that sense, or is this just restricted to redeeming this? Yeah. That's a good question. Remember John has. John is just seen in chapter 14 that strange image of hell being right in the midst of heaven. You know that those who worship the beast in its image or receive its mark are torment forever in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the land. And of course, the Where is the lamb? The lamb is on the throne in the center of, you know, the heavenly host. We've also seen in Chapter 13 Falling Babylon's Worship of God, which is a negative worship. And remember, what we saw in the blasphemy of the Beast is the antithesis of the actions of the elders in Chapter four. Remember the elders represent us. 24 is the number for the priesthood. And we're the priests in John's vision. So remember, they bowed, they worship, they cast the crown. They acknowledge God as God. They allowed God to be God and they allowed God to be gone on their own terms, on God's terms to be blasphemed. God blaspheme God's name. His nature doesn't allow God to be God and blasphemed God's dwelling. That is, those who dwell in heaven, who was in heaven, those who allow God to be gone on God's terms. So what we what we're seeing there is the negative, the obverse of the worship of New Jerusalem in the worship of Fall of Babylon. So. Is there is there a twist to that? That in the end, you know, when Paul's at every knee, we're bound, every tongue confess.

 

For some, this will be a confession of, you know, eternal joy in your life. For others, it'll be a confession of eternal torment. Is this what what he is inferring here? Well, I'm not sure I suspect what he's dealing with here. Is the fulfillment of the old covenant, the purpose of the old covenant to be a light to the nations so the nations would come and worship God. I'm not sure that meant every Gentile in the world would do so. And I'm not sure that John would mean that here or when we get out in chapter 21 and 22 and see again the nations, you know, bringing their their wealth into the kingdom. I because outside and we're going to see there in New Jerusalem outside is falling out a lot. And although the gates are always open, nothing unclean can come in. So So John, John, John certainly does not see universal salvation. As part of his vision. I didn't mean it kind of like in terms of the term salvation, but I was thinking about it. If you were in a fallen state and you're talking about eternal torment, how would it be to be worshiping God but not be pure and whole? I couldn't quite understand how awful it needed to be directly before God, like in the presence of God, like you said earlier, and worshiping him, but knowing that you're incomplete or knowing that you're not whole. I'm not one of the redeemed. Uh huh. You know, I just didn't know who was going in with that or. Yeah. I suspect that going back to Chapter 14, well, 13 and 14. You really can see the blasphemy of the beast as. A form of worship of God, but is a negative worship and antithesis of the true worship of God.

 

But you see, it is it is, in a sense, an acknowledgment that God. Truly is God and God's nature is truth, etc.. In a backward sort of way. And that your judgments have been revealed. You see, as we said, all of Babylon has already been judged. And as we've seen, remember, if you go back to. The Chapter 12. What you see there is that the judgment? Already was there before the creation of the world. Because following Babylon's rebellion. Was failed was doomed from the beginning because of the nature of who got it. And we're going to see other images of this as we move forward here. But that what we're dealing with here is a an implacable reality, you might say an unbearable reality, an immutable reality against which the rebellion crumbles. That that the judgment is not something that came along several millennia after the rebellion. We saw in Chapter 12. The cross is not something God did. The cross is a revelation of who God is, that God is cruciform like. That when God made the decision to create beings in his own image. To have a relationship of loving union with him. Inherent in that was their ability to say no. It's not a love relationship if they can't. God, already in the very nature of God's being, had decided what the response to the possibility of the No would be. It would be cruciform love. See, there's the judgment right there. It was not something that happened at a certain point in history. It's something that is revealed. At a certain point in history. What was revealed, you see. And that's why in chapter 12, you have heaven's praise for God's victory before the foundation of the world. You've got the LAMB slain, the Chapter 13 from Before the Foundation of the World.

 

Then says, After this, I locked the temple of the tent of Witness and Heaven was open and out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues, robe and pure bright linen with golden sashes across their chests. Now, here again, it's John, sort of melds into this next unit the same way he came into it. Remember, we as you. As you came to the end of the seventh trumpet. It just sort of flows into I saw the temple and have an open. And here, you know, he sees the temple in heaven open and it just moves right into the angels with the with the seven bowls of wrath. So it's not John doesn't come to a nice, clear demarcation. Again, I think in terms of the cyclorama idea, that image that we've been using. That if you go to a cyclorama. You don't have segments with, you know, maybe a two inch space between that segment and the next segment. It is a whole it's a unity. You know, if you go to the one in Gettysburg, you're standing in the middle of Devil's Den and there's no breaks. You know, just like. How would you describe this room is not in this room. Not quite circular, but there's no breaks. You know, it's all a unified whole. So you don't get you don't get these. I mean, at the end of this unit now, that's all done now. John is, I think, trying to indicate, by the way he ties things together in this way. That we're dealing with a unity. We're dealing with a unity of kind of reality, not a piecemeal kind of reality. Now the temple of the tent of Witness in Heaven was opened in. 1119, just as I saw the Temple in heaven opened.

 

Here now is the temple of the tent of Witness. And now he's combining temple and tent, you know, in the wilderness wanderings. You had the tabernacle, the tent. So he's sort of bringing both of these images together. And the temple of the tent of witness was opened. And again, access to God. And we're going to see an aspect of this here in a moment. Now the seven angels with the seven plagues robe in pure bright linen with golden sashes across their chests. Now. There's an interesting possibilities here for the Seven Angels. Their road in pure bright linen. We're going to see when we get over to Chapter 19 that the pure bright linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. It is given to the bride to be clothed and pure bright linen. And then John has a little, you know, parenthetical remark. These are the righteous deeds of the saints. We've already seen that that the you know, the white garments or linen garments relate to the redeemed. It is the outer manifestation of the inner reality of their cleansing, of their holiness. Are these angels in some way linked to the seven, quote, angels of the churches? The same word. Angelus Now, we saw in the seven churches, what we're really dealing with here is the the messenger of the church. The one who represents that church before God. Now they're getting the answer through their messenger. Is John playing upon that idea here? Because remember, we've seen and this comes back to it to the bowls in the seventh seal. Hmm. Remember the the the angel who performs the incense offering and the day of atonement? Incense hovering. That he has much incense to be mingled with the prayers of the saints.

 

On the golden altar. Earlier we saw the 24 elders had golden bowls, which are the prayers of the saints. Here. We got golden balls again. I remember the 24 elders represent the church. So is is John, you know, playing upon these previous images as you get to this point? Right now the golden sash is across their chest that reprises John's vision of Jesus. Back in chapter one, one, like the son of man with a golden sash across his chest, which is priestly imagery. And of course, we are the priests. So, you know, is John playing upon this? One of there's one other factor that made me pull together here. We're getting to the point in the vision where you have to go back and start pulling all sorts of threads together. Remember in the seventh SEAL. The incandescent prayers of the saints as the incense is mingled with the prayers the saints on the golden altar. Then the angel, you know, it breaks the imagery of incense offering. The angel takes and scoops up those incandescent prayers of the saints and casts them into the earth. And there is lightning and thunder and voices and a great earthquake. There is the God's presence is revealed through the prayers of the saints, the sacrificial prayers of the Saints. So are we seeing is John giving us, in a sense, that same picture? In a different sort of way. We know he does this. Remember back in chapter four, you had gone on the throne for living creatures. 24 Elders one Get over Chapter 21 We see New Jerusalem, which is four square. God's throne is in the midst of Earth. She's four square and you've got 24 units, 12 gates and 12 foundation walls. And John's first descriptor of God in chapter four is that he was like Jasper.

 

His first descriptor of the New Jerusalem is it is like Jasper. So you see what John is doing. He's taking chapter four and he's reimaging it, you might say, in chapter 21. Is he here? Reimaging the Seventh SEAL. You know, in a sense amplifying upon what the consequence of the lightning in the thunder and the voices in the earthquake that the Anthony is for fallen Babylon Because as we'll see here in a moment, this clearly relates to falling Babylon. Seven balls. And also note you get the four living creatures coming in here again. One of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden balls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. So you're you're pulling the four living creatures out of chapter four, bringing them back in here. And remember, they represent creation. So here here is in a sense, here is God dealing with foreign creation. And here's the interesting one here. The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God. And remember, the glory of God is the nature of God. Person's jokes are a person's glory is what makes them who they are. It is the essence of their being, so to speak. So the temple is filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power. No one can enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were ended. And as we get in and look at the plane, you sort of wonder what was going on here. Here. Here's the idea I've come to on this. We know that all citizens of New Jerusalem began as citizens of former Babylon. We've seen that the redeemed have been redeemed from those who fell upon the earth. The redeemed are those who have been redeemed.

 

Whom we tribe, nation, tongue and people. So we all began our trajectory through eternity as citizens of Fall of Babylon. We have been redeemed out of fallen in Babylon to become citizens of New Jerusalem. But. We have been cleansed of our sins. We can enter boldly before the throne of grace. We have access to the presence of God. And we've seen that back in Chapter 1119, when John sees the temple open, the Ark of the Covenant was seen. That means the veil is not there. Okay. So so through what God has done in Christ, we have been restored into that relationship of loving union that's possible for us now. Nothing. Nothing stands between us and God. But the only reason that's the case is if we are those who follow the lamb wherever he goes, if we are to redeem. And I think what John is pointing to here is, is that understanding and it's sort of he he's doing it in a very masked sort of way here that we're going to see in chapter 22 of the gates are always open. Nothing unclean can come in. That is, you cannot enter into the presence of God. Unless. You have been purged or cleansed, refined of the impurity of your fallen ness, or in John's image in chapter one. Cleansed from our sins by his blood. And the fact that he puts his right here, you see, before the balls of wrath. I think it is significant. Now, let's go back and refresh ourselves on the wrath of God. Remember my gravity image. We have been very careful talking about the wrath of God and anthropomorphizing it. You know, one another aspect of that, I mean, one of it one of the things we do, we take our human wrath, you know, expand it to infinite proportions.

 

And that's the wrath of God. Human wrath is vindictive, mean, punitive, retributive. And the wrath of God is vindictive, mean, punitive, retributive. You know, that that doesn't square with the way God has been revealed to us. And as John said, God is love. But if you think of. That relationship of loving union with God as the spiritual gravity of our life. When we step off the edge of that reality, we've stepped into destruction. We've we've stepped into brokenness. We've stepped out of life, into deadness, out of light, into darkness. And so we cannot get back into the relationship. In that appalling condition. You can't get into the temple. You see until. The holiness of God has burned out on holiness that is in us. And of course, smoke entails fire. You know, you've got that that fire images inherent in this. Okay. Now we're doing here. Oh, good. We might get caught up one of these days. Uh, not in 16. Then we. We. We begin the seven balls. John hears a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels. Go and pour out. Now again, look at the Greek into the earth. Not upon. Into a manger. We're out into the earth. The seven bowls of the wrath of God. So the first angel went and bought his mole into the earth again. And foul and painful sore they found painful for came on those who had the mark of the beast and it worshiped its image. No. The question is, is the pot is the foul and painful sore? The same as the mark. Is John trying to infer this? That that if you know, if you have the mark of the beast. That is, if your life, your worldview and lifestyle totally rejects God, you have a foul and painful sore.

 

And in a sense, you do. You do. Because you are living death. You. You are separated from the source of your true being. You're separated from the source of your identity. You're separated from the center of your true meaning and value. So you're you're in a in a condition of deadness. And Paul says once you are dead and the trespass is intense in which you once while. You know, there's a spiritual deadness here. And so is that what you mean by the fall and painful saw the fall in Babylon has? I suspect there's some sort of connection here with this. And remember that in the Jewish tradition. To have something like this on your body makes you ritually impure. It makes you unholy. So picking up the Jewish imagery again, you see here, here's an image of something that would separate people out of the covenant community that could not participate in it. Secondly, the second range reports, by the way, just to go back another aspect. If you go back to the seven trumpets. Remember I mentioned there's a high degree of parallelism between the salmon trumpets and the seven balls in the first four trumpets and the first four balls. The object is the same. The first trumpet deals with the earth. Second time. It deals with the fee. Third time it deals with the rivers and streams of water. Fourth term, it deals with the same thing here. So what John is doing again, you see is in a way, reimaging the same reality. So the second angel pours his ball into the sea. They got it right this time. Into the earth, into the sea, remember? And earth and sea we've now seen are the two major images John uses from the rebellious water befallen Babylon.

 

And it became like the blood of a corpse. And there's clotted blood and every living thing in the sea died. Here. We're not talking about the literal sea. Here is a revelation here at John's vision seeing the deadness of former Babylon. A third angel poured his ball into the rivers and the springs of white and got it right twice in a row. That's pretty good. Into the rivers and springs of water. And they became blood. And of course, the sea is where all the rivers and streams of water flow into. And they became blood. And I heard the Angel of the Waters say you are just a holy one who are and were for you a judge. These things never get noticed. Holy one who are and who were. Who was and is he used to come? Is there anymore? Where were we saw back in Chapter 11. That at that point, after the cross resurrection ascension of the two witnesses with Jesus. God is addressed as one who is and who wants the years to come. Isn't there? Here again? The years to come is gone. Because he's come. The cross is becoming. So you are just wholly one. And by the way, it's interesting that here is where John picks up the term holy to describe God. Because here is the Holy God dealing with the holiness of a fallen creation in holiness, a fallen Babylon. You are just a holy one. Who are and who work for you have judged these things because they shed the blood of saints and prophets. You have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve. And here it is sort of, you know, the the. It is the idea that the punishment fits the crime sort of idea.

 

They have killed the saints and the prophets. Now, of course, the prophets would include the old covenant community. The saints presumably could be both old and New Covenant community that John is dealing with here. And and remember back in chapter six, the fifth triumph of the fifth ball after the fifth seal. John sees the martyrs under the altar crying out how long will or before you will avenge our blood on those who fell upon the earth? You know, fall in Babylon. So here, in a sense, is part of the response for that. That there is this this built in justice in reality. And then, John, here, here's the alter. Respond and see here. This is what really ties it in two to chapter six. Here's the altar. Respond. Yes. Oh, Lord God, the Almighty. Your judgments are true and just. No, this probably is linked in some way to the martyrs under the altar crying out for justice. And here's the affirmation. You know, God is just. In the fourth Angel part pours his ball on the sun. And it was allowed to scorch them with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat. But they blasphemed the name of God who had authority over these plagues. Notice the grief here. Yeah, M blasphemy isn't a blasphemy. What's interesting here is we've we've seen the three blasphemies of the Beast. They blaspheme God's name about him, God, God's name and God's dwelling, those who fell upon the earth. We're going to see those same three blasphemies here, not in the same order. The order is rearranged, but you have the same three blasphemies on the part of Babylon as they experienced the consequences of their rebellion. So. Yeah. Oh, this is a silly question, Dr.

 

Holland, but what is it? And it was allowed to scorch them with fire. What is. What is it? Is it the contents in the bowl? Is it the sun or is it the effects that the contents of the bowl That's effect effect is from the from the sun? No, I think the kind of the context here, it's the sun. It's the sun. Yeah. The sun is allowed to scorch them. Okay. Yeah. Let me just look at this for a moment. Yeah, I guess the gender defenders correctly in the group had a greater brilliance and earned it. Again, I think is is this image of fire as the image of God, as holiness that burns against all that is unholy. Okay. No. Now and they blaspheme the name of God who had authority over these plagues and they did not repent and give him glory. Now, that's an interesting insight here. I think this is a crucial piece of these bowls of wrath. Because. But if you talk to most people, whether they're in the dispensation or views of revelation or whatever. The balls of Wrath are basically understood to be God's vindictive, retributive punishment of evil people. Notice what John said. They did not repent. The purpose of these balls is not punitive. The purpose of these bowls is redemptive. But they don't repent. We've seen, John, show us the same reality the earlier remember in the the sixth. Yeah, it was in the the sixth trumpet that we saw the consequences of sin is death. You know, a third of fallen Babylon is killed, but the rest did not repent of their murders and their fornication is in effect, sorceress, etc., etc.. Yeah, I think we're dealing with, again, that same dynamic on seeing that same spiritual reality here.

 

See instead of. They experience a bit of the destructiveness of their rejection of God. And repenting, being restored into that relationship that would bring healing and life and wholeness to them. You see, they blaspheme. They reject. And again at the at the after the fifth one. And this is an interesting way that John is connected. These know that notice after the fifth angel pours his bowl. On the kingdom, on the throne of the beast. There's a shift from the trumpets. This is different. On the throne of the beast and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People nod their tongues in agony. They curse the God of heaven. They blaspheme the God of Heaven because of their pains and sores and did not repent of their deeds. You hear back the back story at the center of these seven bowls. Giant lifts up this idea. They don't repent. Which indicates the purpose of the bowls is rest restorative as repentance. I mean, if if you woke up this morning. And have an absolutely excruciating pain in some part of your body. What are you going to do? You're going to get to a doctor. You're going to a doctor. Because pain is an indicator that something is out of kilter, that something is out of balance and something is not consistent with wholeness. Same thing is true spiritually. When we when we go away from God. We enter into a very painful kind of existence spiritually. And the purpose of that is not punitive. And God is not saying, you dirty, rotten sinner. I'm going to make things miserable for you. We made things miserable for ourselves. And if we have an iota of sense, we will be able to to understand the symptoms. And get the restoration we need, seek the restoration we need.

 

And it seems here that is it's really a preview of what I mean, what the eternal judgment is going to be like. You have burning in sores and darkness. Mean, these are all very obvious pictures, even from the Gospels in the Old Testament, of really what hell is going to be like. Who says, well, here, here's literally hell on earth. Hopefully you'll see that this is a bad thing and turn around. Yeah, yeah. But you see, when we when we get the illusion that we're gone. Mm hmm. Mm. It's awfully hard to give up that illusion, because under that illusion that I am God. You know what we're seeing in our devotional this morning? You see this little walled in existence that I imagined myself to be. We think that we're an entity unto ourselves. And if I were to abandon. The whole dynamic of this self-reference ness. If I were to relinquish all of those centers of identity that have shaped me in this false self, who am I? You see. That's why Jesus talks about losing yourself. Yeah, we don't want to do that because we're suffering under the illusion. This is who I am. And and we may want to sort of polish up the veneer a little bit, make it look religious, you see. Thinking that we can put got off or appease God in some way. When nothing is going to do it except the abandonment of ourself to God. And allowing God to restore us into that relationship of communion in which we find our true self. If we lose ourselves, we'll find it. If we try to save our self, we're going to lose it. And, you know, I think that's part of what John is seeing here and that that loss itself is a horribly damaged, horribly flawed, horribly destructive self.

 

And of course, you just look at the world around you and you can see the pain and the sores and spiritual pain and sores of a fallen creation. Manifest themselves all over the place. Dr. Mullan You mentioned about when you were pasturing the, the gentleman you would drive was in Virginia, where at the end of DC in Washington DC, smoking had the problem with smoking. I mean it these sores are just reminding me of how symbolic it is for us, even today, for every generation. Today, today that. They would rather be in pain than give themselves over to God. Hmm. Um, just talking with friends who are Christians now, and they. They talk about. I've never I've never smoke, I've never drank. I've never done any drugs before in my life. And and to hear the horror stories of smoking, the black tar that they cough up and the pain that they're in, and you've never had a problem with it. And you knew what the source was and you chose not to quit. And they're like, No, I didn't want to quit. And it's like you'd rather knowing where the pain was, you'd rather cause yourself more pain than to quit, or in the greater sense, give your life over to God where he's not going to cause you any pain at all. This kind of pain. And it's it's just symbolic. Just just sin in general. Well, yeah. And another dimension of this is how does the false self world deal with this reality? It treats symptoms. Mm hmm. You know, we want a drug that will take care of this. We want something know to disagree on something to do this. Uh, I when I was in ministry, I there used to be an ad for it was some antacid or, you know, something for upset stomach stuff.

 

And I forget exactly what it was now, but. You know, the ad showed a person, you know, gorging, just eating and eating and eating and eating. And then I got the upset stomach was the solution. Take this pill. That's not the solution. You're only treating the symptom. It stop being rotten. We don't want to stop being gluttons and look at our overweight society. I know in the world in history there's ever been a culture as obese as ours. You know, you go to the rest of the world, you don't see a whole lot of overweight people, you know. What do we want? Well, we want quick fixes. You know, take these pills and you lose £15 a day. Stop eating so much and you lose more than that. We don't want to stop eating. We want to feed that desire, that gluttony. And that's just one example. I think, you know, we want quick fixes. We want something that will take away the pain of the problem, but not really deal with the cost of the problem. Mm hmm. And I think that's what John is seeing here. And notice at the end of the fifth one, they curse the God of heaven. They blaspheme, begotten. They blaspheme the name of God in verse nine, they blaspheme the God of heaven in verse 11. And remember that by the third blasphemy of the beast was blaspheme. Heaven, that is those who dwell there. So there's that. And the last one we'll see at the end is they blaspheme God. So the order is river is switched around. But it's the same three blasphemies. And also they blaspheme the God of heaven because of their pains and the sores. Now, I think back of the first one, sort of a sort of an inclusive oh, here, the first bow.

 

They had this pain and a foul sore. Then you have the pain of the the agony of the sun burning them. You see their gnawing their tongues, tongues in agony. So you bracket these here. They don't repent. Yeah. The three the three ways that they blaspheme. Again, the name Gods, the Beast. Blaspheme God, it must mean God, God's name and God's dwelling. That is, those who live in heaven here. If they blanch in God's name, they might see God the God of Heaven. And the last one, God. So the first sequence is one, two, three. This way. Against is. Two, three, two, three, one. Yeah. And I. I don't know if there's any significance in that re-ordering or not. I've not been able to. I was just forgetting which. Yeah. Well, we'll have to leave in the middle of the plagues. We'll pick up here on Thursday. A good day. But.