Jun 022018

Revelation 10 – A Pause

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.


  61 Responses to “The Weekend Word”

  1. While I’m not completely convinced of this position, I thinks it’s as reasonable and workable as any and more so than some.

    It has the real message of the book…the kingdom of God will triumph over the beast empires of man and Christ is Lord, Caesar is not…hang on, pilgrims…

  2. It is entirely possible that the scenario and the symbolism that MLD espouses and the interpretation of the rational and academically qualified wing of dispensationals are two sides of the same coin and are not antithetical…………

  3. I’m a contrarian… but I think the overarching message of this book (and really, the whole Bible) gets lost in our desire for certainty and “literal” details.

    I need the message…I’ll let others fight about the details.

  4. Yes, either route, the theme and the message are the same … The power, the grace and the goal of the Holy God stay the same…. IMHO. 😇

  5. I don’t think Revelation is that complicated except some of the language. It is a Christian letter written to the Christian churches about the future for the Christian church from their Lord Jesus Christ.
    As the gospel writers wrote about Jesus’ life and ministry on earth. John writes of Jesus’ life and ministry between the 2 advents.

    My only certainty about the book is that it is not about the nation state of Israel, it is not about some future hope for a nation of Israel as we have already seen Jesus is Israel reduced to one and The Twelve as they are called is the actual reconstitution of God’ Israel.

    If the church has been raptured, especially by chapter 4 as is often claimed, then this book belongs in the old covenant.

  6. Em, your view may be compatible with mine in your mind – but my view is in no way compatible with yours. We are either talking about the church or we are talking about Israel – it cannot be both.

    You can read ahead to chapter 14 – the end of this world – Judgment Day as God orders the harvesting. The church is here at the end and there is no mention of setting Israel aside from this harvesting.

  7. MLD, you have devoted far more time than i have to this book, dug much deeper into the various interpretations and chosen where you’ll stand and what you will teach.

    You need to be right. I don’t. That said, my one serious trip through the book, on my own without an attempt to interpret anything, only to record events as they unfolded essentially after chapter 5 gives me no reason to doubt the truth of, for want of a better term, the dispensational interpretation. Further, i think it is possible that God’s design plays out pretty much as you teach. However, at the end of history the whole scenario condenses, intensifies and goes from A to Z in a repeat.

  8. What does your last sentence mean? “… From A to Z”?
    I don’t need to be right but Jesus needs to be understood.
    I always lay out my position clearly and support it with biblical passages. I ask others to do the same.
    Show me Jesus speaking of the rapture – show me a NT passage speaking of the rapture. Show me any passage from Revelation that speaks of a rapture.

    I hold up the exact same question about the restoration of the nation Israel. Jesus? NT passages? From the book of Revelation?
    I will consider anything presented by you or anyone.

    When Jesus spoke to the subjects he said something completely different.

  9. MLD, when Jesus spoke in Matthew weren’t his warnings concerned with what the folks listening to Him there were going to have to deal with shortly?
    I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to “teach,” but the case is better made by a teacher with a lesson plan or better still a well written book. ..
    If there are single verses where Jesus says here cometh the Rapturo, i’ve never been made aware of one…

  10. Em, I do think that much of Matthew 24 was what the church and the city of Jerusalem was to go through shortly thereafter. Matt 24 is that interim period covered in Revelation – between the 2 advents written by John.

    Now I didn’t expect a verse that said ‘here comes the rapture’ (although we have seen several times him saying ‘here comes da judge, here come da judge’ – who used to say that on TV?)

    What I would expect to see is Jesus speaking / teaching something about his “sooner” return to come rescue his church out of trouble. I have not seen that which is why I ask for the help. I would expect to see the apostles running around speaking / teaching about either the rapture or telling about the restoration of Israel to great prominence in God’s economy – or to see it taught in the epistles. Nowhere do I see such taught in the NT and I do see this as a huge void.

    In my opinion, dispensationalism came about with a misunderstanding about when OT prophecies were to be fulfilled and by who (or is it whom?) The big one, the land promise was fulfilled to Israel in Joshua and the current day implication (the NT interpretation of the land promise) was explained by Paul in Romans when he said that the promise was of the whole world as opposed to a geographical setting in Palestine.

    The funny part is that today’s article wasn’t to speak of these items as much to make the point against the dispensational insistence that Revelation is a book written in chronological order.
    Have a good morning. 🙂

  11. “Show me Jesus speaking of the rapture ”

    Well, that’s a pretty high bar to cross. Are you a red-letter guy now? Unless Jesus specifically mentioned it, it’s not true?

    I also like this comment: “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”

    It shows exactly what I have said about your view: at least 13 chapters are just useless details.

  12. I’m not a dispensationalist. I am not a Zionist. That being said, the re-establishment of the Jewish State of Israel after an almost 2000 year diaspora is a reality. That reality does not change my view of eschatology, but it does make me ponder its meaning, historically and theologically…

  13. Josh – surely you jest. I did not limit my request to the Jesus red letters. I also included a request about the black letters. Did the apostles – Big A and / or little a – speak or teach about the rapture? Did the epistles teach anything about the “sooner” return of our Lord to rescue his endangered church? I also included the book of Revelation – a combination or red and black letters.
    The rapture thought is not taught in the red letters and it is not taught in the black letters. As a former rapture theology guy, like yourself, I now realize that I too was taught this concept from the white spaces.

  14. Are you looking for the word “rapture”?

    Because Jesus did teach the idea, as of course, Paul did in his letters to the Thessalonians.

  15. Can you show me the passages. I know both Jesus and Paul taught resurrection and not rapture. In Paul’s case the people questioned if they missed the resurrection of the living.

  16. Josh, in the Jesus passage (and I ask in all sincerity) what leads you to believe this is the rapture and not the resurrection at the end of time? We know in Matthew 25 the only ones going to heaven with Jesus are the Christians, so why in the interval of the two advents is Jesus not preparing a place and at Judgment Day he returns to fulfill it?

    The Paul passage, doesn’t it seem odd that the people would be asking about a rapture that we have not seen previously taught? I can see that the early church would teach the resurrection as a major doctrinal point that the people would ask about — a rapture? I don’t know.

    Heck, I even have trouble getting the rapture theology / dispensationalist crowd to agree that Matt 25 is Judgment Day.

  17. FWIW. .. Theologically sound, i don’t know…. However…
    Wasn’t there a tradition that the Jewish bridegroom would, before the wedding, spend some period of time preparing a place for his bride? I believe that this comparison along with the wedding, itself followed by the “hkneymoon” has been fitted into the removal of the Church to spend time with her Bridegroom before the Lord’s return to earth…. sound doctrine or not, it certainly does fit the scenario
    Who wouldn’t like some time to establish the “home” with our Lord before all hell breaks loose?

  18. I don’t see a Rapture in those passages.

    As to Israel, Romans 9-11 keeps me from being dogmatic about where they fit in to eschatology.

    I do agree with MLD that the Revelation is a book written to and for the Christian church…

  19. Em, you are right, it is not sound theology.
    Read Matt 25 the 10 virgins and it says right there beginning in verse 6 what is happening – the announcement of the return of Christ – the faithful church goes out to meet him, and returns with him, going immediately into the wedding feast.

    No meeting Jesus , then going away for 7 years and then returning. I know this is red letter Jesus story telling, but I think he means what he says.

    As I said earlier, whenever Jesus speaks on the topic, it is never the rapture scenario.

  20. “Revelation is a book written to and for the Christian church”

    Yes. True.

    There are obviously more passages where we see a rapture. I understand that not evryone reads the passages the same way, but if there are actual doubts as to what the passages are, I will post them.

  21. Josh,

    I have to tread lightly as i find the pretrib doctrine worthy of endless scorn though many of the truly faithful hold it.

    It does say something about the “perspicuity” of Scripture that we can see things so differently…

  22. Sure, which is why we should hold the less clear passages with a looser grip.I don’t think one’s millenial position is in any way essential doctrine.

    Clearer things, like the resurrection of Christ, we all agree on.

  23. “I don’t think one’s millenial position is in any way essential doctrine.”

    I agree, but a lot of folks don’t…

  24. MLD, it isn’t quite as easy as your #20 states.
    I have no problem with your chosen conclusions, only with your dismissal of all other interpretations as indefensible – i think the Faith has received more understanding over the centuries as time unfolds and the need develops… Details, not essentials. Time will tell

  25. True, and those people are obnoxious regardless of which side they stand on.

  26. I think that the church being on the earth up through judgement day is critical. I cannot hold that with a looser grip.

    As far as the Jews in Rom 9-11 – the church being on earth until the end answers that – there needs to be no separate track to include the Jews. Paul in Romans qualifies who the Jews are very well and he is speaking of me and Marty Goetz – that we Jews from the first advent through to the 2nd have a place in the church and will be saved.

    But if you hold the position that the church was here to aggravate the Jews and must be taken out for God to complete his work with an ethnic, national Israel, well then you come up with a bunch of things not stated.

    Rapture theology / dispensationalists tell me that the separating of the sheep and goats is not judgment day for Israel. Why? because Israel is never referred to as part of the nations – so, even though there is no other game plan in the Bible – one gets made up.

  27. The Church is here to aggrevate the Jew? 😨. Nah, it’s just some of us aggrevate you. LOL
    What seems to be an indefensible approach to you is that there are dealings with this earth that will go on after the Church, just as God’s plan was in process before Abraham, before Noah even…. are we a repeat of the ark? No hope after the door if the ark closes? Possible, but i don’t think so

  28. “…is that there are dealings with this earth that will go on after the Church…”

    and there you go – my objection to rapture theology. Israel is not going to be a part of Christ’s church. They have their own covenant and are saved on the earth when the church is done, under a covenant separate than the covenant that saved the church. John Hagee holds the same position that the Jews do not need the gospel as they have their own plan / covenant.

    I call it plan A = Israel — Plan B = The Church. and never will they meet or be joined.

    You have a good way of describing your position – “No hope after the door if the ark closes? Possible, but i don’t think so.” But the tale of the 10 virgins tells just that story. – “the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ ” — this is exactly what happened after the door closed to the ark.

  29. one more thing – I find this amazing. “just as God’s plan was in process before Abraham, before Noah even…”

    So you don’t see Adan and Eve in the garden communing with God as the first church? I do. In fact the New Covenant was given before the Old Covenant. Given to Christ’s church all the way back in Genesis 3.

  30. Interesting thoughts, MLD – but i have never ever, ever held the position that the Jew is not saved or lost for Eternity in a manner different than anyone else today.
    Were Adam and Eve the first church members? Hmmm. 😯 The first retroactively redeemed, no doubt…..

  31. Em, ” but i have never ever, ever held the position that the Jew is not saved or lost for Eternity in a manner different than anyone else today.”

    But this is the consequence of bad theology. How can the Jews be saved in the same manner as the church after the church has been removed. The Holy Spirit comes and goes with the Church. The church is gone, the holy spirit is gone – unless the Holy Spirit is some how temporal to the church.

    I did have a group of rapture guys tell me once “no, the Holy Spirit will be left behind to clean things up.”

  32. Hagee is the standard we ae measuring premil by? Gotcha.

    No, I have no answer for that.

  33. MLD – you are using a different definition for church and it makes things comfusing.

  34. Josh – unconfuse me. How do you think I am using Church and how do you think it should be used.

    I am using it as the entire people of God through history that you think will be removed 7 years before Jesus returns.

  35. Josh is correct regarding how we’re defining Church… MLD’s must be small ‘c’ as it includes every soul who will enter into eternity as a believer in the God of our Bible
    On the other hand, i see the Church as a special group of born again souls tasked with living as witness to the world of God’s salvation. How many souls will realize their error and repent after the Church is removed i don’t know. Reading the Bible (the way my tribe does) would indicate the number to be a very small fraction of those “left behind.” 😇

    the new format here as i type this is kinda neat

  36. I always say that the rapture crowd has too many Christ returns, too many resurrections, too many judgments and a host of others. Now you seem to have too many churches – the BIG C and the little C.

    This get’s funny. Let me ask this – when the rapture happens, is King David in the rapture?

  37. There is one church.

    There are many ways to use the word “church”.

  38. Josh, when the church is raptured will you agree that the church is gone from the earth?
    If I remember correctly, the church is removed to protect it from the delivered wrath on the non church. So I assume 100% of the church is gone. Help me brother.

  39. define “church” in the sense that you are using it.

  40. I did that in my #35. You say I was wrong. I need you to define. Look, start here – who is getting raptured? Is there a church being raptured and a church not being raptured?

    The rapture is your gig, not mine.

  41. Who is getting raptured. Yes, all Christians, with the exception of the 144,000. Of course, a geat multitude come to Christ during the tribulation.

  42. #37 – i am not writing with any adamancy as i take the bait. 😳
    Here’s my expected scenario…. Christ returns Once. The Church’s call to meet her bridegroom is not a return of Christ to the earth. However, when Jesus Christ does return to establish His reign (1,000 years over mortal man or instant and total annihilation of this planet – take your choice) all the redeemed of all time will rise in their resurrected bodies, meet us as we line up behind Him to do whatever task He assigns after the battle, a battle that He at that point takes on Himself without our help. Of the last i am positive.

  43. Reading Josh’s #42, i have a question…. Assuming that the 144,000 is used to describe the descendents from out of the twelve tribes, are you saying that they are left behind believers or those who believe after the Church is removed?

  44. So who are these new believers? The church has been removed – I think all dispensationalist say the rapture is the end of the church dispensation and God is now back to working with Israel.

    So who is this group? They can’t be the church – the can’t be Israel. Who are they? Let’s put names and faces to these people – Rayford Steele – Hattie Durham – Buck Williams – our favorite Left Behind cast of characters – are they “new” church, church 2.0?

  45. Josh, I know it is late for you – so take a break from this and work on this at your leisure.
    My understanding that the reason for the rapture is because the church has been promised to be free from the wrath of God and that it cannot happen with the church still present.

    Read through Rev 14:6-13. Here we have the obvious wrath of God being poured out on the unbelieving world in very harsh language that shows we are at the end.

    Rev 14:14-20 is the harvesting of the earth – definitley God’s final judgment on mankind. But sandwiched in their we see the church – v12 & 13 –

    “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

    Why is there a call for the church to endure if the church has been removed?
    Have a good evening. 🙂

  46. If you are a saint you can expect that there will be the requirement to “endure, ” but not all Saints are members if the Body of Christ, the Church… Definition glitch again?

    Not speaking for Josh…

    But now i’m done

    God keep

  47. Em, “left behind” is probably a little too loaded. They may come believe after the rapture, not sure. We know that they are sealed.

    MLD – The 144,000 are Jews, but the other saints during the tribulation come from every tribe and nation.

    The idea that the rapture is to keep the church from God’s wrath is speculation on the dispie’s part.

    If you say “church” means any Christian from all times, then yes, their is a remnant of the church during the great tribulation – the 144,000 and the grreat multitude. However, you spoke better when you mentioned “church age”. At the Rapture, it is that specific age that has come to an end. And yes, I do believe Israel plays a role in the end-times scenario. I won’t go as far as to say they become God’s primary people again. Still, the only way to salvation is through Christ.

  48. It’s only 9:30pm here MLD. I’m not that OLD yet. 🙂

    I am trying to squeeze in some homework too.

  49. Just so I know who you are identifying as Christian in the church – is King David in the rapture?

  50. If they are a remnant of the church, why weren’t they raptured? Are there levels or orders of the rapture event? I need to Google the charts.

  51. 144,000. They are sealed by the Holy Spirit. I’d have to speculate as to why, but I’d guess for evangelism during the tribulation.

  52. MLD, I’m not sure how that works. “The dead in Christ”. I guess he could be one of those?

  53. I see I fell for MLD argument tactic #93: Asking an endless string of unrelated questions, sure to divert from the topic at hand and confuse all involved 🙂 Well done, MLD!

  54. “The New Testament says that the last days encompass the time from Christ’s first coming through to his second coming.”

    Where does the NT say this? Not that I disagree, I just can’t think of any referene for it.

  55. Josh I’m at the beginning of a 7 Mile Walk so I don’t have my references right here but I think if you check Peter in the book of Acts probably chapter 2 when he speaks about and these last days or in these last days however he words it is identifying right then as these last days so I hope that answers your question.

  56. 7 miles in that heat is dangerous 🙂

  57. this is the cool of the morning its 5 a.m. and it’s only 84 degrees. 🙂

  58. Josh

    Not an argument, just a question… Have you done a good exegetical study in the Greek of
    1 Thes. 4:17? There are some unusual word usages. I ask because some of the same words were used to describe the deaths of early martyrs, whose spirits rose in the air to meet the Lord at their deaths. The narratives match many of the elements found in the Thes. passage, as, for example, the vision of Perpetual before her death in which angels receive her in the clouds and bring her to paradise. Just wondering…

  59. Perpetua… not “perpetual”!

  60. Duane, I have not.

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