The Revelation (53)

Saturday, 18 June 2011 21:57

Pt. 25 - The Four Living Creatures

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In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”  (Revelation 4:6-8)

Four_Living_CreaturesThe four living creatures around the throne of God are seen as somewhat enigmatic in scripture since they are never directly identified. They are merely described in the most bizarre fashion, having attributes of four different animals, multiple sets of wings, the appearance of men, and eyes all over them.

Complicating the identification process is the fact that Isaiah, Ezekiel and the Revelation each provide slightly different portrayals of them, as though they were different creatures in each instance. Or perhaps they were the same creatures, but were described in different ways for some symbolic purpose. All things considered, the potential symbolism behind these beings is difficult to understand, and the only thing we truly know about their identity comes from the prophet Ezekiel, who described them as "cherubim" (Ezekiel 10:15), the highest order of angels created by God. So in this week's post, let’s see if we can unpack some of this symbolism and determine who or what these strange beings really are. 
Saturday, 28 May 2011 15:04

Pt. 24 - Seven Spirits and the Sea of Glass

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From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. (Revelation 4:5-6)


Lightning, Rumblings and Thunder

LightningWhen we read from the Psalms or Job, we certainly get the idea that lightning and thunder are symbolic of God’s power and majesty, and in the Revelation there are several instances that build on that idea. For instance, “peals of thunder” are mentioned six times and “thunder” is mentioned once, with each of those seven instances accompanying seven pivotal moments in the drama. It’s as though they were symbolizing a pronouncement of a course of action dictated by God himself. And that is probably the case, since the “seven thunders” that we’ll read about in Revelation chapter 10 seem to confirm this idea;

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke.  (Revelation 10:1-3)

So as we read along in the Revelation, we’ll have to pay special attention to the moments where “thunder” is heard, since those are the moments where God is roaring and moving in the world.
Thursday, 12 May 2011 15:09

Pt. 23 - The Father of the Groom

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A.K.A. "The Throne in Heaven"

All seven candles on the Passover mini-menorah have now been lit and will continue to burn as our High Priest (Yeshua) turns his attention to the next lampstand. But before we leave the Seven Letters entirely, it's worth mentioning again that the theme of these Letters and the theme of Passover were a perfect match. The seven letters outlined the requirements to be the overcomer that God will redeem from the earth, while the corresponding theme of Passover happens to be redemption. And we will see this concept play out in each of the remaining mini-menorahs as well, where the theme of each particular Festival will perfectly match the theme of the events that are taking place on that lampstand.

It's also worth mentioning again that God designed his entire prophetic plan aroud the menorah, and all of creation seems to rest upon this structure. As we discovered in our pictographic Hebrew study of the word 'menorah', this structure even represents the "first sign" of the Son of Man, whose name contains the same seven flames or candles that we find on the menorah.
Menorah_Ch._4
With that said, we'll now focus on the shamash stand that leads to the next mini-menorah of Unleavened Bread, as shown on the adjacent illustration. This shamash stand will consist of chapters 4 and 5 of the Revelation, and will introduce us to the Father of the Groom (Yahweh) in chapter 4, and the Groom himself (Yeshua) in chapter 5.

You may also recall from our Tree of Life lesson in Part 2 of this series that the seventh candle on each mini-menorah also joins itself to the next shamash stand and becomes part of the stand. This dynamic will become more notable in the remaining lampstands as we proceed through the next several chapters.
Saturday, 07 May 2011 01:46

Pt. 22 - 7 Festivals, 7 Millennia

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In the preceding seven posts we examined each of the seven churches separately and saw how they represented a particular phase in church history in the last two millennia, with one millennia yet to come. These phases included the following blocks of time;

EPHESUS  “The Laboring Church”  (30-100 A.D.)
The early church labored intensely to bring the Gospel to a pagan world

SMYRNA  “The Persecuted Church”  (100- 314 A.D.)
The early church was severely persecuted by the Roman Empire as the church grew

PERGAMUM  “The Corrupted Church”  (314-590 A.D.)
The church became corrupted when Constantine married the church to pagan Rome

THYATIRA  “The Tolerant Church”  (590-1517 A.D.)
When the church of England split from Catholicism, it also became tolerant of paganism

SARDIS  “The Dead Church” (1517-1750 A.D.)
The church was dead, however reformation began with Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses

PHILADELPHIA  “The Reformed Church”  (1750 A.D. to Present)
This phase saw the greatest evangelical movement in history, which continues even today

LAODICEA  “The Privileged Church” (Millennial Age)
During the Millennial Age, the ‘mortal’ church will take their privileged position for granted


7_LettersAs described in Lesson 5 of this series, these seven churches are represented by the seven candles of the Passover mini-menorah on the Revelation master menorah, otherwise known as the Tree of Life in this study.  Since the theme of Passover is redemption, it’s no coincidence that the seven letters focus on the redemptive nature of God's divine ketubah, along with the requirements to be the overcomer that will qualify to be the bride of Christ.

But as we also learned in Lesson 5, God’s redemptive plan will take us on a journey through all seven Festivals and all 49 events of the Revelation before man will experience the "freedom throughout the land" promised by God's ultimate Jubilee. And if the end times are as near as most commentators believe, this freedom will likely be declared during the 70th Jubilee since Israel crossed over the Jordan River, which will also be the 40th Jubilee since the ministry of Jesus in the 1st century A.D. 
Sunday, 17 April 2011 18:16

Pt. 21 - The Church at Laodicea

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The seventh and final letter went to the church at Laodicea, whose name is generally interpreted to mean “peoples opinions”. However, it seems to me that the interpretation “people judged” might be a bit more appropriate for two reasons.

Great_White_ThroneFirst, Laodicea is formed from the Greek words laos, which means “people” and dikazo, which is a personal "opinion" resembling a decree or sentence handed down by a judge. Hence "people judged" is an appropriate rendering.

Second, I believe Laodicea is the Millennial church that will be seeded by those who survive Christ's second coming and the subsequent judgment of man. And as the Millennium church, it would also witness the 'Great White Throne' judgment that will take place once the Millennial reign of Jesus is closed. In other words, the name "people judged" would be incredibly appropriate for the church that witnesses both of these events, and in the chronology of the seven churches of the Revelation, that could only be Laodicea.
Monday, 28 March 2011 14:58

Pt. 20 - The Church at Philadelphia

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The sixth letter to the churches went to those at Philadelphia, which as you may already know means “brotherly love”. This word comes from two separate Greek words, the first being phileo, which means ‘to love’, and the second being adelphos, which means ‘brother’.

Eumenes_IIPhiladelphia was founded in 189 B.C. by King Eumenes II of Pergamum during the time of the Attilid Empire. According to history, Eumenes II was quite fond of his brother, Attalus II, who had been very loyal and dedicated to his brother. Because of this loyalty, he gave him the nickname ‘Philadelphos’, which meant ‘one who loves his brother’, and he also named this city ’Philadelphia’ in his honor. 
Monday, 14 March 2011 14:14

Pt. 19 - The Church at Sardis

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The name Sardis comes from the Greek word ‘sardeis’, the plural form of ‘sard’, and this singular and plural form has historical significance that we'll cover in a moment. But of greater significance is the meaning of this name, which is "those who come out", because coming out works on several different levels with this city and this church;

1) The name Sardis 'came out' of the word Sard
2) The Sardis of Apostolic times 'came out' of the former Sard due to population growth
3) Jesus counseled those in Sardis to 'come out' of their pagan Babylonian ways
4) By extension, Jesus counsels believers today to 'come out' of their pagan Babylonian ways
5) Sardis represents the Reformation church period when it 'came out' of Catholicism

Martin_LutherHistorically, most commentators believe that the church at Sardis was representative of the overall church from 1517 A.D. to approximately 1750 A.D., the time of the Reformation.  This period began when Martin Luther nailed his “Ninety-Five Theses” on the door of the Church of Wittenburg in Germany, outlining his grievances against the Papacy and Roman Catholicism. This led to the formation of the Lutheran church in Germany, and ultimately led to the overall Protestant reformation. From 1517 forward, the Protestant church came out of the Catholic church.

Spiritually, the patriarch of this church and the 5th signatory on God’s divine Ketubah was Moses, who along with Israel had 'come out' of Egypt during the Exodus.  As we go along in this post, the relationship between Moses and Sardis will become clear.
Monday, 07 March 2011 03:10

Pt. 18 - The Church at Thyatira

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Thyratira means 'daughter', coming from the Greek word 'thygater', or the Koine Greek word 'thuateira', and the name of this city has an interesting etymology that appears to work on at least three different levels.

First, the city was named daughter by king Seleucus I Nicator around 301 B.C., when word arrived during a battle with Lysimachus that his wife had given birth to a daughter. Prior to that, the city had been named Pelopia, but it was later re-named Semiramis, after Babylon's 'Queen of Heaven'. That name has some import that we'll cover in a moment.

Church_of_EnglandSecond, As the 4th letter and the 4th church in the overall chronology of Christianity, Thyatira typified the medieval church that existed from about 590 to 1517 A.D. This is the period where the Church of England split off from Roman Catholicism, becoming it’s ‘daughter’ church. It was also the time of the 'Dark Ages' where the Bible was not available to the laity, as the church sought to be the only repository of God's word.

SemiramisThird, the 'Jezebel' at work in this church could be considered the spiritual daughter of the Old Testament Jezebel, who in turn was the spiritual daughter of Semiramis, for whom the city was formerly named. Why? Because the deeds of Thyatira's Jezebel were the same as the Old Testament Jezebel, whose deeds were the same as those of Semiramis, the pagan wife of Nimrod, the founder of Babylon.

As Nimrod's 'Queen of Heaven', Semiramis developed Babylon's pagan system of worship, which was later exported to the entire known world, corrupting man's understanding of God. In fact, virtually every pagan religious system practiced throughout the world today can be traced back to her Babylonian system. And the pagan rituals and pagan priesthood she developed there were later adopted by the Old Testament Jezebel when she married king Ahab. For those that remember the story of Jezebel from 1Kings and 2Kings, she became one of the most wicked influences on Israel in their storied history.

So when Jesus called this woman in Thyatira 'Jezebel', it is clear that she was a highly corrupting influence within the church, and that she was advocating the same pagan practices as the original Jezebel, who got them from Semiramis. When we consider the relationship between these harlots, their entire lives bear a stunning resemblance;
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 16:53

Pt. 17 - The Church at Pergamum

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The third letter was written to the Church at Pergamum, the compromising church that married the world. In fact, marriage is at the root of the name, with Per meaning ‘improper’ and Gamos meaning ‘marriage’. So the name Per-gamos, or Pergamum, simply means ‘improper marriage’.  That begs the question, what or who was improperly married? The answer to this question functions on three levels.

1) The church at Pergamum was improperly married to the pagan culture that surrounded it, which Jesus points out in the body of this letter. It seems that since Satan couldn’t stop the Christian movement by killing it’s disciples, he decided to marry them to his pagan Roman Empire instead, and corrupt them from within. This was the tactic Balaam used against Israel in ancient times, and it has since been employed by spirits many times throughout history.

2) The chronological church was improperly married to Rome, when Constantine the Great, the Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 A.D., became the first Emperor to convert to Christianity. In 313 A.D. he issued the Edict of Milan, which reversed the persecutions of Diocletian and other former Emperors, paving the way for religious tolerance of Christians throughout the Roman Empire. Christianity soon found itself as the state religion, and while this newfound tolerance was appealing to the faithful, many of the pagan influences of the Roman Empire then became church doctrine. Once again, it was the way of Balaam.

Abraham3) Abraham was improperly married to his wife’s maidservant Hagar after his wife Sarah was found to be barren. God had promised Abraham that his descendents would become a great nation, but rather than waiting for God to fulfill this promise through Sarah, Abraham agreed to produce a family through a surrogate instead. The results of that decision hinder Israel and the world to this day, illustrating the negative consequences of an improper marriage. For this reason, as well as a few others, Abraham is the 3rd signatory on the divine ketubah.
Monday, 21 February 2011 19:58

Pt. 16 - Smyrna, the 'Persecuted' Church

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The second of the seven letters was addressed to the church at Smyrna, known as ‘the persecuted church’ due to the great suffering that it endured at the hands of the Romans and the Greeks. Smyrna is the Greek translation for the Hebrew word ‘myrrh’, an embalming spice, and the symbolism behind this name is quite appropriate. Myrrh emits it’s pleasant aroma only by being crushed, just as the perseverance of those in Smyrna was a pleasant aroma to the Lord when they were crushed for His name.

MyrrhBut there are additional layers to this symbolism, because this persecution went beyond just those in Smyrna. Their affliction also typified the experience of the overall church from about 100 A.D. to 313 A.D., where 5,000,000 saints were martyred for Christ’s name during the greatest period of persecution the church has ever known. And beyond that, it was similar to the persecution experienced by God’s people before the great flood, therefore Noah is the patriarch of this church, and the second signatory of God’s divine ‘ketubah’ with man.

(For a refresher on the meaning of the ketubah, refer to ‘Part 2’ of this series)
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