In part two (previous post), I explained a bit about the people who receive this letter (Revelation), and I will therefore skip over chapters 2 and 3. But before we go any further, I will get into the legal aspect, why this judgment was coming and who’s guilty.
In the Old Testament (OT) Israel is portrayed as God’s wife, which is well known among Christians. A few verses from the Old Testament, among others, confirms this:
“For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” (Isa. 54:5)
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:” (Jer. 31:31-32)
I also mentioned that Israel did not accept Jesus, they killed Him and the prophets who were sent to her, just like their ancestors (f.eks.Mat 23:34-35). So, when Israel did this, the judgment waited (Mat.23: 35). Israel (God’s wife) is also described as one who is unfaithful to God, which is adultery, and fornication is a sin which punish to death by stoning.
“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Lev. 20:10).
“Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.” (5.Mos. 22:21).
But Israel is not the whore, Babylon the Great? … will many probably ask. Well, Israel/Jerusalem is actually the one being described as Babylon in Revelation. It is possible that some are a little startled to hear Israel/Jerusalem is the harlot, but it is not only in Revelation you find such description of Israel. Jeremiah makes the same:
“And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.” (Jer. 3:8).
Jeremiah is seeing Babylons destruction of the first temple and calls Israel “whore”, while John will soon see the destruction of the second temple and calls Israel “Babylon the great, mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” (Rev. 17:5). Jeremiah announces “You had the forehead of a harlot” (Jer. 3:3), while John focuses on the whore’s forehead, where it was “Babylon the great, mother of harlots.” (Rev. 17:5).
Jerusalem is the city of God where God dwells in His temple (2.King. 23:27; Pslm. 68:29), where he promised Israel to stay if she remained faithful (in the tent: Ex. 25:8, 29: 44-45, in the Temple: Deut. 12:10-11). But when she (Israel) was unfaithful, God issued a certificate of divorce before He threw her out of his house. (5.Mos. 24:1).
But God does not leave her without power of attorney and trial, He suing her in court with a fair hearing, witnesses and legal decent evidence. The legal marriage covenant can only be set aside with a sufficient and valid reason through a divorce letter (5.Mos. 24:1-4). God’s lawyers (the Prophets) may have free speech to issue a certificate of divorce when she (Israel) sins against Him. We see that this also justifies the destruction of the temple and her captivity in Babylon.
“Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.” (Jes. 50:1).
Marriage exists in a marriage covenant. Israel is not only accused of lack of love and tenderness, but also clearly having broken promises. In Jeremiah 2 and 3 we see a court, in which Chapter 2 deals with Israel’s sin and chapter 3 called Israel to repentance. God asks her to listen (Jer. 2:4-5), after having reminded her of her former “bridal love” (Jer. 2:2). He also asks the heavens to witness (Jeremiah 2:12). And in Jeremiah 3:1 He appeals to the Mosaic law as a standard for the court, this we find in Deut. 24:1-4.
They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD. (Jer. 3:1).
Let me interject here that the accusation of adultery tend to focus on actual idolatry, but is not limited only to apply to idol worship. In the biblical view of marriage, is the wife’s faithfulness involved in the relationship of a loving obedience. (Num. 5:29, Jer. 31:32, Eph. 5:22-23, 1 Pet. 3:1, 6), and not just her abstinence from sexual immorality. We find places where Israel is accused of adultery but the situation does not involve the actual formal harlotry. When lawlessness (not adultery) wins place in Jerusalem, the “faithful city” become a “prostitute” (Isa. 1:21-23).
Since Israel is seen as God’s wife, and that Israel is unfaithful to God , her husband, there cannot be other description than of a “whore” (harlot). Now we have seen a bit into the Old Testament and how the rightness, law and punishment works and how Israel, with their behavior, can be described as a prostitute.
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. (Rev. 4:1-5).
God’s throne is a throne where He sit, the King. King is the one who are set over commandments and paragraphs and exercise the legal judgment. In verse 3 we read that “a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” It’s almost to hear our own courts when the judge sets the court – “the court is set”. This court is set, the legal throne, and on this throne sits one, Jesus, at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19; Luke. 22:69; Acts. 2:33, 7:55, Rom. 8: 34; Heb. 10:12; 1: Pet. 3:22).
In the hand of “He who sits on the throne”, we find a scroll that must be a legal document which I see as a bill of divorce against his unfaithful wife (Israel). In the scripture we find a image, an representation of exactly this, as in Jeremiah 3 and Ezekiel 2-3.
Ezekiel sees God on His throne (Ezek. 1:26 cf. Rev. 4:2), with the rainbow as John also see (Ezekiel 1:28, cf. Revelation. 4:3), the four creature (Ezek. 1:5 cf. Rev. 4:6) and the sea of glass that sparkled like crystal (Ezek. 1:22 cf. Rev. 4:6). Ezekiel also sees a hand that was stretched out with a scroll. This scroll was written on both side, inside and outside, in the exactly same way that John sees the scroll, written on inside and outside. (Ezek. 2:9-10 cf. Rev. 5:1). On this throne the court is set and the trial is going on.
The scroll that John sees is sealed with seven (7) seals, which reflects the covenant imaging in the OT. We read in Leviticus that Israel is promised seven times more punishment if she violates God’s covenant.
And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins… And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins… Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins… Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. (Lev. 26: 18, 21, 24, 28).
After issuing the divorce petition, the judgment falls upon her in Revelation chapters 6-19, and the seals are broken one by one.
As we see it is someone who have done some illegal, who is Israel. Then to make it rightness, a trial must take place, and then the guilty one must take the punishment. Some may say that Jesus took upon Himself the punishment we deserve, and that is true, but Israel didn’t receive him, but put Him to death on the cross. Other who receive Jesus as their savior got saved as we will come bak to later.
As I mentioned above, adultery is punished by stoning. It is therefor interesting to see, when we get further into the Revelation, that we can see such stoning.
“And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” (Rev. 16:21).
This and more will we get more into in detail later. But if Jerusalem is the great city called Babylon, who is the beast?