The Four Main Views of Revelation 9: 12-21

8 10 2009

The Preterist view: They see this passage as God’s vengeance, using the Roman armies to descend on apostate Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem in 66-70 A.D. Josephus recorded that the Euphrates is where the Roman troops, defending the eastern border, came from. “Very hour” refers to the precise nature of Roman attacks. This is also what Daniel prophesied in his “seventy weeks” (Deut. 28; Dan. 9:24; Mark 13:3; Luke 21:6-7, 20-32). “Two hundred million” is seen as the fearsomeness of Rome and the travesties of war. “Plague” refers to the locust plagues in 66 A.D. The lack of repentance is from the debased reprobate mind (Rom. 1: 20-28). Josephus recorded massive insane evils by Jews to other Jews during this time including cannibalism; and still they refused to repent. 

The Futurist view: They see this passage as about literal demonic angels who are invading or who are influencing the human invaders from the Orient in a great future battle (2 Kings 2:11; 6:13-17; Rev. 19:14). “Two hundred million” is what they see as the literal number of the armies. They see the “breastplates” as descriptions of modern military machines. The lack of repentance is from the hardening of the hearts, ignorance, and refusing to see the veracity of their situation (Eph. 4:17-19). They see “magic arts” from the word pharmakon, which in its English form is “pharmacy,” as drug abuse, civil decay, and sin during the tribulation. (This is an example of the improper use of exegetical methodologies; one should always seek the meaning from the actual original languages and context and also what it meant to the intended audience, then compare it to other passages such as, in this case, Daniel, to find the authentic meaning. This is proper “exegesis.” Never seek a meaning from modern vernaculars or hearsays¾that is reading into the text, which is called “eisegesis” or sometimes refered to as “isogesis” (means “to lead in” as in to introduce into the text our own presuppositions, ideas and thoughts and ignore what is actually there to satisfy our own agendas and opinions) ¾because you will skew the intent that God has for us.)  However, in this case drugs may be a possible application, as drug abuse is extremely destructive and may perhaps be a means that God uses; nevertheless the clear meaning here is “witchcrafts,” as this is what the text is clearly saying. 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as symbolic; the means and aftermath of war as God’s judgment comes from using the metaphor of Euphrates, which indicates a boundary for God’s restraint and the protection of Israel. It now refers to the means of the destruction and judgment of those who persecute God’s Church (Psalm 33:16-17; Prov. 21:31; Isa. 31:1; Zech. 9:10). That only one-third are judged and killed is a representation of God’s grace and mercy, and the fact that He judges is the result of His hearing prayers and His faithfulness to the faithful (Rev. 5:8; 8:3-4). The judgments are from false beliefs and worldliness that create moral decay and bring about judgment to a society. When society beaks down, wickedness occurs; it is a result of sin without any restraint or repentance. In other words, people judge themselves and God wants us to be triumphant and joyful in Him with His percepts that are best. The lack of repentance is from man’s refusal to acknowledge God, the desire to remain in sin and pain, and a refusal for conviction. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as the age of the Byzantine Empire around 1000 A.D. They were under attack from the Tartars, then the Turkmans in 1055 A.D. and again in 1453 A.D. by the Turks who were all horsemen. All invaded from the Euphrates area. (This is a “micro” application of this view, overlooking the veracity of the meaning. Others have said the same of the two world wars of the 20th century and all the chaos and calamity that resulted. Many in this camp have complicated and convoluted theories for the “very hour,” calculating precise days for their theories. This is an example of reading into the text what is not there.) The lack of repentance is from apostate churches that cater to their own sin and/or the corrupt Papacy in the Middle Ages that led to the Reformation.

 





Exegetical look into Revelation 9: 18-21

8 10 2009
  • Breastplates. The breastplate at this time was a “coat of mail” of inner woven rings of brass laid over leather that protected the soldier; arrows could easily pierce it.
  • Out of their mouths came fire. The Parthians used flaming arrows made from canvases and wood that easily destroyed villages (1 Kings 1:10-12; Rev. 11:5).
  • Fiery red, dark blue/sapphire. This is the color of burning sulfur; these images are used to invoke fear, as fire especially in its ferocity is a “primal fear.” 
  • Heads of lions.  Also a primal fear; No unarmed, normal human can meet a lion and live. Lions were a symbol of power and were also used as a means of God’s judgment (2 Kings 17:25-26; 1 Chron. 12:8; 2 Chron. 9:17-21; Jer. 50:17).
  • In their tails. May refer to the arrows of the Parthian’s rear cavalry or an unknown means of delivery of God’s judgment. This perhaps underscores the demonic source of the horses, over which God is still in control.
  • Like snakes. This may refer to thievery and those who are a clear and present danger (Rev. 12:9).
  • They did not stop worshiping demons. This metaphor also alludes to the worship of idols who can’t move, talk, or respond, and who are made and controlled by man. Such idols and those who make and follow them are worthless and powerless and can do nothing but look pretty (Psalm 135:15-18; Isa. 46:6-7; 1 Cor. 10:20). This also refers to fallen angels working with Satan to bring and bear evil manipulation on humanity (Duet. 4:28; Psalm 115:5-7; 1 Cor. 10:20).
  • Still did not repent indicates that the people are “stupid” and have no excuse. They had some warning, either by prophets, by the clear teaching of the Word, or by some supernatural pronouncement. They knew their deeds were wrong, yet they refused to acknowledge Christ or repent of their ways even in the face of catastrophes. In addition, if they repented, they would be spared their calamities, yet they refused… talk about being hardheaded (Ex. 7:22-23; 8:10; 9:14-29; 10:2; 14:4; Amos 4:6-11; Rev. 2:14; chaps 10-11; 16:9-11)!
  • Magic arts / sorceries refers to any kind of witchcraft or sorcery being brought together. The word denoting magic arts also means, “mix in” (pharmakon) and is where we get our English word pharmacy. In Acts, there was some repentance of this, but not usually (Acts 19:19).

 





Exegetical look into Revelation 9: 12-17

8 10 2009
  • Other woes. “Woe” means “look out, terror is coming,” or a stern warning. John is not done yet; he is giving further warning, as more trouble is to come. This is indicative of Old Testament prophetic orators such as Jeremiah and Amos (Amos. 5:18-6:1; Rev. 6:10; 8:13; 10:1-11:14).
  • The horns of the golden altar referred to the extensions at the four corners of the altar inside of the Temple. This calls to mind an image of worship, and the portrayal of God’s heavenly throne (Ex. 24:10; 27:2; Deut. 11:11; 1 Kings 7:23-25; 2 Kings 16:17; 2 Chron. 4:2-6,15, 39; Psalm 11:4; Isa. 51:9-11; Jer 27:19; Ezek. 1:22; Rev. 8:3-5; 11:19; 14:15, 17; 15:2-6, 8; 16:1, 17). This was also an image of refuge and a place of repentance to those fleeing judgment, and/or providing safety measures from an avenging person. They could ask the priest for clemency before God by taking hold of the horns (1 Kings 1:50-53; 2:28; Amos 3:14).
  • Four Angels. These angels are not mere messengers; they have authority from Christ to do His bidding, and they had influence over leaders of people (Dan. 10:13-21). The context and meaning here may denote that the angels are figurative and it will be human means that will create these plagues such as war or terrorism. But, they can also be supernaturally created angels in command of the demonic cavalry, or God using demons for His bidding.
  • Released. Jewish traditions stated that God imprisoned angels who were destructive or who were “fallen,” usually in the depths of the seas or earth, to protect His people until such time as He desired to use them for His purpose.
  • Great River Euphrates. This longest river in western Asia stretches for 1,700 miles. This was the boundary God gave Israel and also the boundary of the Roman Empire and the Parthians (Deut. 1:6-7; 11:24; Jos. 1:4; Isa 8:5-8; Rev. 16:12).
  • Very hour and day and month and year. This is apocalyptic language that shows us that God acts according to His purpose and His timetable. It is not meant to be taken literally lest we read our versions, agenda, or timetable into it.
  • To kill a third of mankind. These are “casualty statistics” also used by John to invoke fear and call wayward people to repentance. Such destruction can only happen if God allows it for His purpose; keep in mind the call for repentance that is being disregarded. Such judgment is merited and deserving, yet by God’s grace, He spares two-thirds!
  • Mounted troops. Most likely referring to the Parthians, who were exceptional horsemen and brought war, with cavalry troupes (also known for being skilled archers on white horses), into play. They invoked total fear and chaos to the region. A battle with them would fit the cosmic images that John uses, but John is pointing to them not as just earthy threats in his time, but the real threats against our eternal souls to the entirety of all Christianity and the Church.
  • The number …was two hundred million. This is an incalculable number, not necessarily literal. Such a number is in “hyperbole language (intended exaggeration)” as this was more than the population of the entire world at that time. The entire armies of the world today would be under 10 million. China has 2.3 million, and Russia had three million at its highest (now a small fraction thereof). The largest assembled army during the first Gulf War, including 31 nations, was under one million (Psalm 68:17; Dan. 7:10; Rev 5:11).




Revelation 9:12-21

8 10 2009

Introduction 

“The Sixth Trumpet”  

The Sixth Angel now blows his trumpet, and brings about more judgment. On the surface, this looks like only doom and gloom, as it is for those who seek evil and refuse to repent. But, what many people choose not to see in this passage is that this is also the work of God’s patience and grace. Perhaps it is anticlimactic and our thirst for revenge outweighs our desire to see things set right. But God reveals His temperament by offering His forgiveness, thus allowing for humanity to repent and come to their senses. Nevertheless, they choose not the ways of God and life, nor do they choose the ways of goodness and virtue. Instead, they refuse His offer of grace and forgiveness and dig themselves further down in their sin and became entrenched in their debauchery. People from the past, present, and future (all of humanity) are bent on serving only the means and wants of self. They seek what is wrong¾naturally and deliberately. These acts are continual throughout human history and are contemporaneous, remaining now and in the future, a result of our fallen, sinful nature (Rom. 1: 18-32; 3:23; 6:23). 

The Roman Empire was experiencing greater and greater problems with the Parthians in the eastern border area of Asia Minor, where John’s readers were. This region greatly feared attacks and/or an all out invasion by them. These Parthians were depicted as the enemy and propaganda waged an early “cold war” between them and Rome. There was even mythology that Nero would arise from the dead and lead these Parthians in his blood lust revenge against Rome, the Jews, and the Christians. Some Jews believed the Parthians would come and save them from the Roman occupation, hence why the war of 66-70 started against a far superior force. However, they did not receive the help, and the Jewish revolt failed, abruptly ending the Temple, the city, and the Jewish way of life. The first century Jews put their trust in war and a fabled, non-convicting messiah instead of the Living Lord! 

This passage is as much about mercy as it is about judgment! The human desire is to remain in sin when we have in full view its destructive nature and how it hurts. It is not just mischief; it seriously maims us and all those around us. The idea of sin can confound the mind. Yet, it is our minds that are not conformed, neither is the soul of those who remain in sin. Sin is very, very powerful-not just a lure, but also a way of life that seems fulfilling, exciting, and desirable, even when it does not work and it kills us (Rom. 1:28-31).





What does Revelation 2: 18-29 mean to me?

27 03 2009

It is amazing how patient and longsuffering our Lord is!
He accommodates us to the point of giving us time to realize our wayward ways and giving us room to make mistakes, yet, still calls us back into His arms of love and care. Even to this evil person who was manipulating His children and causing them to sin heinously, God was giving time and grace. But, she is the one who refused to heed His Lordship and precepts. Such sin will pile up and compound, leaving us disillusioned and empty; then, if we still refuse to repent, all we will have is chastisement, and then, judgment. God is not calling us to repent to smite us, but to better us; He wants the best for us just as a good parent wants the best for his or her child. He does not want us to sin, because it destroys us and causes others to do so, too. It is like watching people you love do something really stupid like use drugs; you know it will harm them, but they refuse your counsel and treatment programs, and thus, end up destroying their lives, the lives of their children and friends, and then dying as a result. We do not say, I told you so; rather, we weep for them, as God weeps for us when we mess up. Try not to be the person for whom others and God weep; rather, take responsibility and initiative and be the person who builds his or her church and life on His Word and authority.

Questions to ponder:

1. In this church, if a Christian refused to participate in a guild (that also practiced cultism, sin, and godlessness) he was cut off from any social or economic participation in the city, and not even allowed to buy and sell food or support himself and his family. What would you have done, and why?

2. What does it mean that Jesus is the One who is to be in charge of your church? How does your leadership honor this fact? How should they honor Christ as Lord over the Church?

3. How do you feel that Jesus is looking at the way you are leading and governing His church? What gets in the way of good self-examination or accountability to see if you are doing it His way, the world’s way, or your way?

4. What happens when a church decides to weaken His Word for what they believe would be tolerated and received better so as to attract more people? (There is nothing wrong with using methods and programs to attract people, this is good. The wrong comes when we compromise His Word and Truth.) How does this defy Him as LORD?

5. What does it take for a church’s leadership, perhaps your church, to realize that Jesus holds us responsible to take the faith He gives us and personally grow it, and further, to lead with faithfulness and in truth, His Truth?

6. What would your church look like if the leadership took more responsibility and initiative to build the church and their lives on His Word and authority?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org





Exegetical look into Revelation 2: 24-29

27 03 2009

This church had the same problem as did Pergamos with compromising as well as rationalizing their actions as OK. They sought both sin and Christ, not caring or realizing that the two cannot co-exist. We are called to overcome; and when we do, because we are capable of overcoming with His empowerment, we will be blessed and powerfully used for Christ’s glory.

· Her teaching…Satan’s so-called deep secrets possibly refers to an early Gnostic teaching, that says that for us to defeat evil, we have to physically fight with Satan and steal back a secret word of knowledge that unlocks a higher level of being. And, also to defeat evil, we have to experience evil deeply. This is a very twisted mindset (Acts 15:28-29)!

· I will not impose any other burden on you. We do not need to add works to our faith for salvation; rather, we are called to be faithful in response to what He has done for us.

· Hold on…I will give authority is a quote from various Psalms that teaches the promise God gives us, the promise of a Messiah Who was fulfilled in Christ, and that He is in control. This also refers to putting on God’s armor so we can fight temptations and flee from evil; we evade the lusts of our heart and world by running from it, not toward it (Eph. 6:11-18; James. 3:15, 17; 4:4, 7-10)!

· Until I come refers to God’s impeding judgment to this church, not necessarily to His “second coming.” This is used to argue a position that Christ has already come, the “Full Preterist” view. However, it more likely means you will not bear the judgment, as “when I come” refers to the judgment of chastisement, not final judgment. This is also a commendation to those who remained faithful and were not drawn to the lure of Jezebel.

· I will give authority over the nations, a quote from Psalm 2:8-9, refers that we partake in His authority and rule as His representatives and holders of His promise. This also means that Jesus is Sovereign and greater than any nation, government, power, or authority (Matt. 25:21-23; Luke 19:17; 1 Cor. 15:41; Col. 1).

· Morning star referred to the planet Venus, and was a depiction in Judaism meaning the advent of dawn or a new day or age. This is also a name for Jesus‘ first coming, messiahship, and, in this passage, His radiance and glory. It also alludes to the kingship of Israel and refers to His Second Coming. The pagans believed that people’s lives were ruled by the stars. This testifies that Jesus is the Ruler, not the stars. Jesus is giving Himself to us (Num. 24:17; Psalm 84:11; Mal. 4:2; 2 Peter 1:12-21; Rev. 2:28; 22:16; 22:16)!

· He will rule them refers to being a caring shepherd, and at the same time, God’s strength, authority, and right to rule (Rev. 12:5; 19:15).





Exegetical look into Revelation 2: 18-23

27 03 2009

· Thyatira, which is now modern Akhisar, then hosted a major Apollo cult. (Apollo was a son of Zeus and eventually took Zeus’ place as the supreme Roman god.) This was a city known for its rich economy, prosperity, and its trade guilds, including a rich Bronze Guild, hence Jesus’ play on words. These guilds were similar to unions today, but with a cult-like theme. Thus, this city valued wealth above all things. The Christians were being pressured to join a guild, which was a tight-knit group, a “commune” almost, that worshiped pagan idols and participated in the pagan festivals. If a Christian refused to participate in a guild, he was cut off from any social or economic participation in the city, and not even allowed to buy and sell food or support himself and his family—a shadow of one of the roles of the anti-Christ (Rev. 13:17). Such isolation would make it a great temptation to indulge or compromise and allow false teachers to come in and mislead people, which is just what had happened. They had a small, inconsequential Jewish community. Lydia, who was a dealer in purple cloth, was from Thyatira (Acts 16:14).

· Like blazing fire refers to God’s Sovereignty, strength, and ability and right to judge, and indicated that if they did not repent, they would be judged. (See Rev. 1:14 study and Isaiah 63:1-4; Dan. 10:6 Rev. 14:19).

· Burnished bronze is a refined alloy of bronze, copper, and zinc.

· Your love and faith…service and perseverance. God honors such things, but we always have to be aware of our weaknesses and things that may cause us to compromise or slip in our faith. In contrast, the Church of Ephesus did not tolerate false teaching, but they were not loving toward God and one another, while this church tolerated false teaching, yet exercised love and faithfulness.

· You are now doing more than you did at first. For the most part, many people in this church were fearful and serving the Lord. There may have been a splinter group of people engaged in these sins, but no discipline or censor was taking place.

· I have this against you. They were tolerating paganism and even participating in it, thus compromising their faith to external social pressures and internal false teachings. This led to credibility problems with non-Christians and gave God a bad reputation (1 Cor. 2:10; 2 Cor. 5:20).

· Jezebel refers to an influential person who was teaching and causing people to sin by “seducing” them in order to cause them to compromise their faith and indulge in fornication. This person was mimicking the appalling character of Jezebel in the O.T. who was the most wicked woman depicted in the Bible. Jezebel personifies evil, greed, manipulation, and opposition to God without fear of Him or consequences. She was a harlot to God, as in betraying Him with occult practices and monstrous evil. She also led the false prophets who fought against God’s ways while saying they were God’s representatives and falsely claiming His authority, as she led the people into idolatry and sin (1 Kings 16:29; 31;19:1-2 to 21:24; 2 Kings 9:22; 30-37; Neh. 6:14; Ezek. 13:17-19).

· Prophetess. This was a female who declared or interpreted oracles from dreams or visions, either from God or from self delusions.

· Bed of suffering, as opposed to a bed of fornication. Sickness can be caused by sin as a form of punishment (1 Cor. 11:29-30).

· Commit adultery means betraying God, as to say, Jesus is my Savior, but I do not need to trust in Him, and I do not need to obey His precepts and morals. I am saved by Christ alone, by faith alone. However, I will not it allow to touch my daily life. I can do as I see fit (Judges 17:6; James 2: 14-26). This is called antinomianism in theology, meaning anti-law. It is an unbiblical belief that denies the righteousness of God and sees our grace as allowing total freedom in all that we do or can do, and using it as a license to sin. Thus, we do not need to be obedient to God, His precepts, civil law, or any moral standards, nor do we need to bear fruit. God says this is evil as it portrays evil as being good (Rom. 6:1-2; 14-15; 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14; 6:2; Gal. 5:22-25; Jude 4).

· Suffer intensely/tribulations. Some commentators mistake this phrase’s meaning, as it says “they will suffer,” as pertaining to the great tribulation. The two are unrelated because the word meanings and context do not correspond.

· Unless they repent. God gives us ample provision and time to turn from our evil and wayward ways to His True Word, His best Way (Jer. 23:22-23).

· Strike her children. “Children” refers to her followers, not literal kin, as Jezebel was a spiritual mother to spiritual corruption (Psalm 7:9; Pr 24:12; Isa. 57:3-8; Jer. 11:20; 17:10).

· I am he who searches hearts and minds refers to God’s omnipotence and omniscience. Hearts denotes the center of our rational thoughts; minds, in the Greek, literally means “kidneys,” and denotes our will and trust in Him.

· Repay each of you refers to judgment that is based on how we lead our lives with responsibility (Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6; Rev 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12).

Busyness to God does not always denote faithfulness to God!





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