The Weekend Word
At this point I think it is critical to pause to tie up some loose ends, review a bit and look at where we are.
- We are at a similar point of what we experienced earlier. As we saw with the first vision of events (the seven seal judgments) which were the history of events on earth throughout the church era. This is similar to that event between the 6th and 7th seals – a pause (chapter 7).
- This interlude consists of two scenes: 1) The Mighty Angel and 2) The Two Witnesses. As we will see, this interlude focuses on the mission of the Church throughout the church age and God’s protection of the church in that mission.
- Chapter 10 now takes up this role – a pause between the 6th and 7th
- These pauses seem to be for the purpose of providing certainty – a huge theme in Revelation – the certainty of victory with Jesus – an assurance to John as he will be asked to do more and to the Church as we see its mission described in 11:1-13.
- So after the first 6 trumpets and all the ensuing demonic action, it is easy for us to reflect, “has it all been in vain? Is it all for nothing?” These pauses remind us of the promises – that there is a rest and a peace from this great demonic tragedy.
- Looking back to the end of chapter 9, we look at the darkness of the inhabitants of the world (the lost) who refuse to repent. We see the world continues on in its old destructive ways of unbelief, and the prayers of the church unanswered during the history of the world. Remember chapter 6 “how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
- The temptation for John, for his initial hearers and for us today as we have all lived in perilous, dangerous, darks days is to despair – to stop trusting in the one who is on the throne, and the Lamb.
- Right here in the middle of the book of all places, John is given a start over. John is going to start over again and retell the vision.
- This is why some commentators, me included, will say when you read Revelation it is like going up a spiral stair case. It spirals, and it seems like you are covering the same territory – but it escalates a little each time through.
- Chapters 10 through 14:20 could be considered a book within a book – just as I pointed out that the letters to the 7 churches were letters within the larger letter. (Revelation is actually a letter to the churches.)
- John introduces this thought in verse 1 with the angel and the little scroll. It is a summary of the book John was told to write – it is like a microcosm in the macrocosm.
- Chapter 10 – 14 is not something new, but is a repeat of what has already been discussed but from a different perspective, a new angle – another camera shot of that game winning touchdown pass.
- The theme is the same; this is a revelation of Jesus Christ who has won the victory through his death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave.
- A caution – many times we can listen to the book of Revelation and wonder “wow, when will that take place? When are we going to see these locust and the horse riders come out?” as if this is all in the future rather than this being a description of what is happening in these last days where we live.
- The New Testament says that the last days encompass the time from Christ’s first coming through to his second coming.
- In this, John can say in his other writing “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” 1 John 2:18
- Hebrews 1:2 can say the same “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” – the same way Paul will speak of the Church being of the time which the end of the ages has come. “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” (1 Cor 10:11).
- I would like to bring forward as a refresher as passage I had in my introductory articles to this book – speaking to the point of recapitulation;
This is the style John uses telling the Revelation story – the story from God’s point of view. Some examples – (very simple and not comprehensive – just to get the thought rolling.) – at each stop, this is all end of the world language
- The 7 Seals (5:1 – 8:5) leads to the end = 6:12-17.
- The 7 Trumpets (8:6 – 11:19) leads to the end = 11:15-19
- The Interlude (12:1 – 14:20) leads to the end = 14:9-20
- The 7 Bowls (15:1 – 16:21) leads to the end = 16:17-21
- If the back half of Revelation were lost to the ages and ended at Rev 7:17, I am sure that the readers would have been satisfied that they had been shown the end and the following heavenly scene.
- If true, then this would show that John was not writing a chronology, but indeed, retelling the same history, over and over again.