Many calories has been eaten and burn since I last posted a post here, but I haven’t disappear totally. The reason for the long time is time… more specific lack of time. I have been in Norway and many other stuff have been going around, but I’m here.
We have went through 11 parts of the series of Revelation of John and are now come to an end. Since I like a series of 12 part better than 11, I want to end the series nicely with a summary, so lets start.
If you were to read quickly through the book of Revelation in the belief that you can interpret the vision of John literally, you may come to believe that John was taking illegal strong drugs. There are also those who say themselves to be educated and have preached on the subject for many years as well, strictly not get these things I’ve blogged. And I can say with certainty that it is not very understood in the wing I come from. Not that I are necessarily smarter or dumber but it mostly has to do with the teaching one have go through and been brought up with, and laziness in studying. Others would not, of everything on earth, give up their pride when they’ve already defended, earned a name and their income on just teaching about the “millennium”. Revelation is mostly misunderstood and remains a sealed book to most, though the angelic message was that the book should not be sealed (Rev. 22:10). I have also met understanding and respect.
John was probably not on “drugs”, just so it’s clear, but he received a vision from Jesus that showed the things that would soon take place (1:1). This vision was shown to John and he writes in a language that is derived from the ancient Jewish biblical language. It would have been strange for example to see a seven-headed beast (13:1), locusts with human faces (9:7) and a winged woman standing on the moon. (12:1).
The first is that John stresses and focus on that the events had to “shortly take place” because “the time is near” (Rev. 1:3, 22:10). So it must be in the time that he lived in, and not a few thousand years later. All attempts to present Revelation as an event in the future contradicts John the opening and closing statement.
We must not forget the theme that John going with, that Christ will come to judge those who were responsible for His crucifixion, namely the country’s tribes (Revelation 1:7). It is translated “All kindreds of the earth” (KJV) or “all tribes of the earth” (ESV) in some English Bibles but is more correctly translated “All the tribes in the country.” The Greek word used and translated as “earth” is (ge), which also translates to land. It actually refers to the “Land of Israel”, ie “the promised land”. In many places in the New Testament where the word (ge) show up, is either refer to the promised land as a whole or only part of it, eg.: “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda…” (Matt. 2:6), “and go into the land of Israel:” (Matt. 2:20, 21) “The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim,” (Matt. 4:15) and “in the land of the Jews,” (Acts 10:39).
The theme of Revelation also records from Christ’s statement to the disciples (Matt. 23:37-38; Matt. 24).
Through these 11 parts of Revelation, we see a drama that takes place. What we see is that God is divorce from its old testament wife to take a new wife. The throne is a court that God sits on throughout the Revelation (4:2, 3, 9, 10, 5:13, 6:16, 7:10, 15, 19:4, 21:5), and from there he issued a divorce writ (5:1). When this document, scroll, opened by the whom who are worthy, Jesus (5:7, 6:1), we see that Israel, who is described as whore (17:1, 5, 15, 19:2), been punished for her transgression (6:1-19:2).
At the end of the book the new bride (the church) appears, descend from heaven to take the place of the old wife (Rev. 21:2). She (the Church) is the New Jerusalem that is taking over for the old Jerusalem and she have no longer a temple, for Christ is the one who brings the presence of God to His people. (21:22).
John also describes an animal from the sea in this dramatic scene. It represents the Roman Empire, particularly Nero Caesar. (13:1 ff). He was the first Roman persecutor of the church. Israel, God’s unfaithful woman, just align themselves with the Romans against Christ and His followers. She’s like the whore who sat upon the beast (17:3, 7). This picture takes up Israel’s defenses to Caesar by rejecting Christ and His followers (cf. John. 19:12, 15; Acts 17:7, cf. Acts 4:27; 16:20; 18:12, 21:11, 24:1-9, 25:1-2).
It’s easy to apply these events to the first century destruction of Jerusalem during the First Jewish War against the Roman Empire. Much of the historical events are documented by the Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus, also called Joseph ben Matityahu, and Cornelius Tacitus.
These dramatic events has an end, and finally come to a result of God’s divorce of Israel as his people. The final order is created, which is His Kingdom. This realm appears under a picture of His 1000-year reign over the world (Revelation 20:1-6, cf. 1:6, 5:10) and as an input in the new creation principle of salvation kingdom. (Rev. 21:1, cf. Isa. 65:17-20, 2 Cor. 5:17, Gal. 6:15).
The New Testament confirmations.
These dramatic themes that Revelation presents are laid out in The New Testament. It is the coming new covenant as the final reconciled order, revealed in Christ. And there is the old covenant order (temple system) which perishes, the people (Israel) who reject Christ and His new order.
Christ declares that his new covenant kingdom is near. (Mark 1:15). The old habit of Israel can not be repaired to the condition to be able to adopt the new order that Christ represents. The old wineskin prevents Israel and its temple-based worship to include its praise and glory, a new wineskin that is able to maintain this glory and honor has to be made. (Matt. 9:16-17). Although Jesus focuses His earthly ministry to Israel (Matt. 10:6, 15:24), He warns His disciples that Israel will ultimately reject it. (Matt. 16:21; 20:18) by pursuing them (Matt. 10:16-17; 23:34-37) until He comes in judgment (Matt. 10:23; 17:22, 20:18; 24:2, 16, 30-34). And because they did not recognize their Messiah and His message (Matt. 11:38; Luk. 19:42, 44) they will be judged and the kingdom will be given to the Gentiles (Matt. 8:10-12, Luke. 19:41-44; 21:20-24).
There are many parables that shows what happens in Revelation and we can look at some of Jesus’ parables about Israel’s rejection of Him and His consistent judgment. Lord’s cleansing of the Temple was a prophetic act of destroying the temple that had become a den of robbers. (Matt. 21:12-13). We also have the curse of the barren fig tree, representing Israel. (Matt. 21:18-20). Parable of the farm owner showing how God repeatedly even extends to Israel through the prophets, but are finally discarded when they murder his son (Matt. 21:33-45). Kingdom will be taken from them and given to a nation who bearing fruit (Matt. 21:43).
God has call on Israel many times but they would not listen. This is compared in a wedding invitation but which are discarded, resulting that the king destroys their (Israel) city (Jerusalem) in his wrath (Matt. 22:1-14). Jesus strongly accused the Pharisees as the continuing insurgency as their ancestors did (Matt. 23:1-32). The result is that they persecute the followers of Christ and in their soon coming judgment of 70 A.D. (Matt. 23:33-36). In His final words to Israel, Jesus complaints over their rejection (Matt. 23:37), surrender temple destruction (Matt. 24:2) and the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24:16 ff, Luke. 21:20-24) in the first-century generation (Matt. 24:34). As a result of Israel’s unfaithfulness and rejection issues Christ the great commission that will lead to baptism and discipleship of “nations” / Gentiles (Matt. 28:18-20).
John’s Gospel informs us that Christ came to His own but they received Him not (John 1:11). They vas indeed of their “father the devil” (John 8:44, Rev. 2:9, 3:9) and discarded him in favor of Caesar (John. 19:12, 15). As a consequence the time had come that the temple was no longer necessary (John 4:21, 23, cf. Matt. 12:6) and resulted in an overwhelming blessing to all people in the whole world (John 3:17; 12: 31-32).
In Acts we read and track the movement of the gospel from Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the world today (Act. 1:8). Although the apostles mainly wins souls in Jerusalem (Act. 2:41, 4:4, 6:7), they must eventually go to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6). The reason we find in acts, when it’s a real record of relentless Jewish persecution of Christians (Acts 4:1-3, 15-18, 5:17-18, 27-33, 40, 6 :12-15; 7:54-60; 8:1; 9:1-4,13, 21, 23, 29; 12:1-3; 13:45-50; 14:2-5, 19; 17 :5-8, 13, 18:6, 12:17, 20:3, 19; 21:11, 27-32; 22:3-5, 22-23, 23:12, 20-21; 24:5 – 9, 27; 25:2-15; 25:24; 26:21; 28:17-29).
The apostolic church declares repeatedly that Israel is responsible for the death of Christ (Acts 2:22-23, 36; 3:13-15, 4:10; 5:28, 30; 7:52, 10:39, 13: 27-29; 26:10).
It is possible to track more of these themes in the New Testament, but would take too much space. I just want to point out that the old covenant come to an end and perish, and the New Covenant replaces it (2 Cor. 3; Heb. 8:13, 12:22-29). John takes up these themes in Revelation and presents them in a dramatic legal format. The New Covenant Christianity is the new approach to God, Israel has been rejected as it favored people.
NB! When I wrote that Israel has been rejected, this is not by myself but something that actually is in the Bible. Revelation addresses the incident just before and during the year 70 AD and therefore has nothing to do with today’s Israel and Jews today. When it comes to the Jews, they as much as any other, need to be favored by God to enter into the kingdom of God. We all become equal and nobody has any right before others or special treatment to enter into the kingdom of God, but what God gives – for work saves none (Gal. 3:21). All nations and all people who are not yet saved are at same state, because all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and they need to be “favored” by God. All Christians are one people (Eph 2:19), is equal in Christ when there is neither Jew nor Greek in Christ (Gal. 3:28). It is God who favors, and He do it with the one He will. It is only by faith alone, given by God by grace (Eph. 2:8-9) which includes admission into the kingdom of God, and not who you are or what you do who determines this.
What do you think?
Bible verses are taken from the WEB (World English Bible), KJV and ESV.