Monday, February 6, 2017

Revelation 12 inline interpretive notes

View this post on in full presentation format.

< Revelation 11b

The Woman, and the Child, Overcoming the Dragon

Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.

[Two perspectives of this vision of the Woman and the Child Overcoming the Dragon are here overlapped upon one another and are seen as one vision.  Each of these two perspectives provides different information.

These two perspectives are marked by the two accounts of the Woman being hidden in the wilderness for a period of time. Technically the period of time is 3 1/2 years. However, this period is first designated in one perspective as "1,260 days" and then in the second perspective as "a time, times and half a time".

In the first view we are introduced to the Woman as the mother of the unique child, then being hidden in the wilderness.  In this view we will see her with the overview perspective of the eagle and the Adam. In the second view we will find the woman has become the mother of many children who are spiritually faithful to the unique child.  In this second view we will see the woman with the on-the-ground perspective of the ox and the lion.  The progression of these perspectives, the one building on the other and tying into the other will lead us directly into the next visions, when the great serpent gives its power to the artificial beast and then when we see the Lamb with the 144,000 on Mount Zion.

The woman is Israel, not Israel as humans see Israel, but rather, the woman is Israel as seen to appear spiritually as God sees her. Indeed, she is Jerusalem as God sees her from his heart, with all Israel gathered together within the holy city to meet with him in remembrance of the Passover of Redemption, to meet with him and  go on to live in eternal intimacy with him. In the previous vision of the Two Witnesses, Jerusalem has just been seen by all in heaven to finally repent fully and completely and turn to God through the testimony given by his last prophets to the Lamb who was slain.  Now this woman, who is Israel and Jerusalem, is seen in this vision in heaven appearing as God sees her, as he has always seen her, as being worthy to bring forth the Messiah.

The vision given in this chapter has been obscure and hard to understand when it has been seen from the vantage point of the nations, which stand in the Temple's outer court able to learn only indirectly what goes on within the Temple.  "Who is the woman?" the nations ask.  "Is she Israel?  Is she the Church? Is she Mary, the mother of Jesus?  Why does the vision say that her child was caught up into heaven immediately, as soon as he was born?" they ask.  "Was it not after he had lived 33 years, died and rose again that he was caught up into heaven?  Perhaps it is not meant literally but as poetic licence," they say.  "Maybe it is saying that he was already beginning to be caught up as soon as he was born," someone in the court of the nations suggests.  "But why is the woman crowned with twelve stars?" the nations ask.  "And why does it say twice that the woman hides in the wilderness?  What kind of metaphorical language is this and what is its meaning?" they wonder. "What is the meaning of the 3 1/2 years of her being hidden that is given in these two different forms?"

Such, questions among many others, are the questions that were asked by gentile readers and commentators through the centuries. And then in the end, when it matters most, the court of the nations is cut off — so that even the access of the gentiles who do not enter the Temple to learn indirectly is cut off.

As seen by the worshippers who worship within the Temple the vision looks very different.  It is self-evident to those who are worshipping within the Temple what the vision reveals.  There is no obscurity, or questions arising from any obscurity.  For them it is a vision of the great and glorious Good News of Jerusalem and Her Mashiach itself.  It is the vision that reveals the full scope of redemption, illustrating that song of the Seven Thunderous Choirs of Heaven, which have just been heard ringing out the final Good News announcement: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Mashiach, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

Yet even if the vision is now being described as it is seen from within the Temple, openly before the world, those whose faith is in bondage to replacement theology will not be able to hear in their heart what is said.  If anyone reads these words and does not repent of the unbelief at the root of replacement theology, the unbelief that the blood of Yehoshua HaMashiach was shed as a prayer to God for the forgiveness of Jerusalem, their heart will not be able to receive these words.

For them, the woman of the vision will still be in hiding.  Not all the children of Israel came out of Egypt with Moshe.  There was a multitude whose hearts did not break off with Egypt enough to even leave Egypt at all.  And not all the gentiles who attached themselves to Israel at that time attached themselves to the children of Israel who left with Moshe.  Some of the gentiles who sought to attach themselves to Israel attached themselves to the children of Israel who stayed in Egypt.  So it is in this day and will be now in the day that is quickly coming.

"Narrow is the gate and straight is the way that leads to (the kingdom of) life, Matthew 7:14, (my translation).  There are those who have entered through the narrow gate but who have not continued on the narrow path that leads to the kingdom.  Perhaps they have descended with Israel into Egypt and into the death of her hope, her Anointed one, but they have been diverted from the path to the kingdom.  Although they do not know it their faith and suffering has been diverted into a sober, religious existentialism through their own sorrows.  Their faith and hope has become self-centred.  They have not continued on the straight path to overcome this world through the joy of the hope of Israel's salvation through her Mashiach's resurrection from the dead.  They are attached to the children of Israel who stayed in Egypt and did not leave with Moses.  The core of replacement theology will remain buried deep in their heart and prevent them from recognizing the woman of this vision for who she is.

It is most commonly thought that replacement theology is encapsulated in the the idea of the replacement of the nation of Israel with the Christian Church in the role of the Bride of Christ/Mashiach.  In truth, this idea is not the essence of replacement theology.  Actually, this idea is the outcome of replacement theology.

The true essence of replacement theology is not an idea or a belief.  It is the failure of a belief.  It is the failure to believe that the sacrifice of Jesus/Yehoshua was entirely a prayer to the God of Israel, not to reject Israel, not to replace Israel with any other people, but to forgive Jerusalem and now save and redeem Israel completely, as God had saved and redeemed Israel out of Egypt, in order that both Israel and the nations might know God in truth.  And the true essence of replacement theology is the failure to believe that the God of Israel answered this, his Mashiach's prayer.

The core of replacement theology is found in the human heart. It is the failure to believe that God answered the prayer of the Lamb of God for his beloved Jerusalem, to believe that God answered him for the sake of his nation Israel, raising him from the dead as an act of sovereign justice, justifying life for Israel and only because of this for Creation itself.  That failure of faith is the true spirit and essence of replacement theology.

It is those who never left the Temple who, with Yochanan, will certainly receive the full revelation of this vision, those who have never been joined to replacement theology at all, in any generation. As for those whose faith has been infected with replacement theology, only those who truly repent of this failure of faith will be counted among those who worship in the Temple with Israel and will not be left out in the court of the nations when it is fully overtaken by — and given over to — the mystery of the theology of the replacement of Israel by the nations. These who in the endtime repent and come out of replacement theology are those who now hear and believe that both the gate and the way are the Good News of Jerusalem's forgiveness and Israel's salvation, though she did not know, though she did not understand, until the time of the Two Witnesses.

Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman... It is stated in a most pronounced manner that the woman appears in heaven.*1  All that is in heaven rules over the earth.  All that is revealed through this vision of the woman, as it has appeared in heaven, rules over all that will occur through her upon the earth.

The victory crown composed of twelves stars upon the woman's head is of entirely different significance than the seven crowning rings upon the head of the serpent, which will soon be seen.  The woman's crowning victory comes before she has accomplished her work of giving birth to the child.  Her victory is in becoming worthy to give birth to the child.  In contrast, the serpent is crowned only because he did his evil work already.  He mastered the world once long before with the power of a lie, and is the god of this world only through maintaining that lie.

However, on the very occasion that the serpent first appeared to introduce its lie, God cursed the serpent with the promise of the woman being transformed through her unique child who would destroy the serpent.  Now we see a vision of the realization of this curse of the serpent, this promise of the woman and her child.

The Covenant of Day and Night

The woman seen transformed by the word of God's promise is clothed in the covenant of God, his covenant of day and night.  She is robed in the sun and the moon clothes her feet.  The covenant of day and night is the form of God's covenant that he prepared for Israel and made as the beginning, as providing a foundation for the world.

“Thus saith the LORD: ‘If you can break My covenant of the day and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season, then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne, and with the Levites the priests, My ministers, (Jeremiah 33:20-21).

God's covenant of day and night is one with his covenant with Israel and his covenant with Israel is one with his covenant with David, that the promised seed of the woman should be the heir to his throne.  Although both David and his son Solomon ruled over all twelve tribes of Israel, their rule over the twelve tribes did not completely fulfill all the covenant promises that God made to Abraham.  God therefore made his covenant with the fathers of Israel personally with David also, promising him a son in whom all of the covenant that he made with Israel would be fulfilled.  It is in accordance with this covenant as made with David that the woman is seen clothed in heaven with the sun and the moon and with a single crown of twelve stars.  For God has placed the garland of his covenant upon her head.]

Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

[It is as she appears in heaven, in her most transfigured and glorious and victorious state that the woman is heard to cry out with the birth pangs of the Mashiach.   A woman is not heard crying out at the beginning of her labor but at the very time of her delivery. Her cries do not just attract the attention of those who receive this revelation concerning her and her child but also attract the attention of her enemy.]

And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.

[Here is the first vision in this revelation of what the lying serpent has become by incorporating the civilizations of the nations under his rule, from the position to which he attained as the ruler of the earth and its principalities in the lowest heavens.

We have seen him before in the Book of Daniel and will see him again in this Revelation.  Here in this vision we have the greatest overview of the history of redemption, and here the serpent is shown in the manifestation of his vainglory to show only his wrath and his defeat.  Therefore the significance of his appearance will be discussed at a late point in the Revelation.]

His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.

[It was not after the child was born but before when the serpent's tail corrupted a third of the stars of heaven, that is to say, a third of the angels of the stars.   The serpent himself was a fallen angel who fell from heaven the moment he conceived his lie and introduced it to Adam.  But in his wake other angels fell also, for he corrupted them by the influence of his spirit.

Just as the child to be born was not to be born only of the flesh but also of the resurrection of the dead, so the woman who was to give birth was not only to give birth in this creation but also of a new creation.  For of this child it is written,

"I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have brought you to birth, (Psalms 2:7).

"And we declare unto you good news, how the promise which was made unto the fathers, God has fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he has raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, You are my Son, this day I have brought you to birth," (Acts 13:32-33)]

She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.

[As Miriam, as a daughter of Israel, gave birth to Yehoshua in the flesh, so Israel as a corporate entity, the entity fashioned and defined by God, gave birth to him by enduring the pains of her history and by eternal covenant made with Abraham, made with Sarah, and all Israel's forebears. And so Jerusalem, as spiritually representative of All-Israel, gives birth to him by virtue of her 70 weeks of labor pains and by virtue of the promise made to David.

The promise made to David was that Mashiach would sit on David's throne ruling the nations with the rod of truth, the seal of God. Indeed, it was out of the womb of Israel and out of the struggles of Jerusalem's heart that God raised Yehoshua from the dead, bringing him as the source of a renewed, eternal creation to birth.

For more depth in this perspective read the poem, The Woman's Child.  (You can read this poem in a Simplenote format here.  Or on the website, Poems of Max Carl Kirk here.)

"And her Child was caught up to God and His throne." From the day of his birth in Bethlehem until the day of his ascension in Jerusalem, all of his teaching, his death and his resurrection, all was, according to the most literal reading of this vision, a part of his being caught up to God and His throne.  The vision can be understood this way, or the vision can be understood to be saying that his resurrection was itself the birth that God had his eye upon — and all that came before was like the conception and incubation.  And that as soon as the new creation was born in the earth, in his resurrection from the dead, God caught him up to himself in heaven.  In either way that the vision is read, or if it is read in both ways, the vision tells us that it is the ascension of the child up to God and to his throne that the serpent wanted to stop.  He wanted to devour him while he was yet within his grasp upon the earth.  He did not succeed.]

Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

[This is the first of two times in the chapter that we are told that the woman had to be, and was, hidden in the wilderness from the serpent after her child was born and caught up to God and his throne. The prophetic time period is literally 3 1/2 years, and is based on the prophecy, found in the Book of Daniel, of 70 weeks for the spiritual rectification of Jerusalem.

In this instance, in reference to the 3 1/2 prophetic weeks or years, we are told that the Woman will be hidden in her place in the wilderness for 1,260 days.  In the second instance, in verse 14, we are told that she will be hidden there for "a time, times and a half a time".  These both refer to exactly the same prophetic period.  However, the first time the reference is made it is as precise as possible, while the second instance is as general as possible.  What does this tell us?  The reason for this is of great significance as we will see.

Just as Israel after redemption from Egypt, with the many Passover lambs, went into the wilderness, so now Israel after redemption through the one eternal Passover Lamb goes into the wilderness.  But Israel, as the natural mind understands Israel, is not a definition of the woman of the vision.  The woman of the vision is a definition of Israel as God sees Israel.  For as God sees Mashiach, so he is, and not as the natural mind sees him.  And as God sees Israel, so she is, and not as the natural mind sees Israel; for she is not a nation at all except by the definition of God's word.

Israel does not simply flee to the wilderness but to a place prepared in the wilderness just for her.  She does not go into the wilderness to die but to be fed and to live.  The wilderness in the Exodus was the wilderness of Israel's wandering.  But Israel did not wander just anywhere in the wilderness.  She was led on a path.

For the Visible Presence of God was there with her and led her.  The place she was led was the place prepared for her because it was the place of her correction and her perfection, the place where she was fed, the place of her preparation to enter the Land of promise where she would become the witness of Hashem. It was to be by her complete redemption in her own land that God would say to Adam and to Adam's whole race and family, "I am what I am," (not what you want me to be).  Then and only then would Adam, and Adam's whole race and family be corrected forever, by judgment and  redemption, from sin.

The revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) is the revelation that the judgment, first of Israel and then of the nations, takes place first in the death of the Lamb of God. And the redemption of Israel, then of the nations through Israel, takes place in the resurrection of the Lamb for Israel.  For it is in this way, as defined in relation to the Lamb that God sees Israel, and defines Israel as the woman who brings forth the Mashiach. Then, in due time, the revelation takes place as a correction in Israel. For the revelation of truth works from within her, from where God planted it in the deepest depths of her soul, until it emerges into the full expanse of her mind and heart and fills her with words of a song, a good news to declare!

The wilderness to which Israel flees, then, is the wilderness of the nations. It is the galut, not just to anywhere in the wilderness, but a special place in the wilderness, a place where she is spiritually hidden together with the Divine Presence from the nations round about her, a place where she is fed and prepared, transformed and brought to birth, to give all birth and to be herself eternally born.  A place where the serpent does not find her.

While we see that the woman is clothed in glory, we should not think that she is some ideal remnant of the faithful, neither one representative of the faithful, like Miriam, nor many like the gathering of disciples.  No. Though we see her dressed gloriously, she is the same nation, the same Israel who received the Torah at Sinai and who sinned with the ten spies and failed to enter the Land by faith and was then made to wander in the wilderness of Sinai.

The woman clothed in the sun, with the moon upon her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head is the Israel who failed to receive her Messiah by faith and was then made to wander in the wilderness of the nations.  But she is that Israel as seen through the eye of God, only through the eye of God.  For she did not bring forth her child by her own power, by her own faith. It was by the power of God and the grace of God and nothing else that Mashiach came into the world as a child of Israel, made atonement for sin and was raised from the dead in a newness of creation.

For how long does the woman wander in her hiding place, her place of regeneration?  For how long is she hidden from the serpent and her glory from the nations?  At first we are told that it is for 1,260 days.  This is the same number we have just heard used to record the testimony in Jerusalem of the Two witnesses.

This precise way of counting is used here to tell us that while her wandering and concealment begins to be measured immediately with the ascension of her child into heaven, there will be a time when it is measured in a contracted frame, as the most complete and total concealment. At first she was hidden and they sensed her. When the time span is focused she will be absolutely hidden from the serpent and from the nations.  This will be during the time of the testimony of the Two Witnesses, the time when the Temple in heaven and those who worship in it is measured but the court of the gentiles is left out, being overrun by the violence of the nations for forty-two months.

In review: We see the time of the woman's concealment measured in expanded and contracted ways. For it is a measurement of spiritual time encountering the nature of time in this world.  When the vision of the woman with her child and the dragon opens, we see the drama in the perspective of an overview, a summary. But this overview perspective focuses in, to precisely number of the 3 1/2 prophetic years in terms of days.  We are being told by this that in looking at the full overview, the drama will lead to a time when the period of the woman's concealment is a contracted period which must be counted narrowly in terms of days.  In what follows in the vision we will see in a narrower and narrower focus how the action leads to that conclusion.]

Satan Thrown Out of Heaven

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,

[When the serpent cannot devour the woman's child on the earth, he tries to follow him right to the throne of God to destroy him and prevent the complete redemption of Israel and the final revelation of the Anointed Child in his glory.  Michael, who is the great angel of the Revelation, the Angel of the Lord, the guardian angel of Israel, and all who are with him, then stand against the serpent and all who have fallen with him.  The battle is for the truth of the Good News of Israel and Her Mashiach.  Then the serpent, as he had done from the beginning, fought, together with his angels, to turn the truth into a lie.]

but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.

[The serpent first tried to establish the lie of God's rejection of Israel in heaven, but failed.  "Was it not proof of the rejection of Israel that Yehoshua had been rejected by Jerusalem as her king and had to then be taken up into heaven and concealed from Israel by his Father?" the serpent argued.  But he was cast down before God and was driven out of his court.]

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

[It is by the finished work of Mashiach for Israel that the devil is defeated and cast out of heaven. Why then is it that he cast down to earth, where he must also be defeated through Israel's testimony to their redemption by the blood of the Lamb of God?

Once he is cast down he works toward ruling the nations to fulfill the scheme of Haman. In our time he did this through the Nazi party in Germany, now through Hamas and organizations like them  All this is clear.  What will become clear that is not yet clear is that the dragon will gain equal access, to  that which he now has in organizations like Hamas, to the whole of civilization of the nations in order to attempt to fulfill the scheme of Haman. But just as Haman was allowed to establish himself only so that he might be overcome by Mordachai and Esther, so Hamas and all the nations today are being allowed to establish themselves in the power of the dragon in order that they might be overcome by the servants of the Lamb.]

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Mashiach have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

[This declaration that the Kingdom is now come is the declaration of worldwide salvation.  It is heard first after the salvation of Jerusalem in 11:13.  We see that here, therefore, we are again looking at the time of the Song of the Sea after the crossing of Israel with Moshe. This now is the song of the angels and elders in heaven upon seeing the repentance of Jerusalem, the final redemption.  Jerusalem will now testify with the angels and elders, caring forth the testimony of the Two Witnesses until the end, when Babylon falls and the serpentine dragon who possess the nations is destroyed.  And we see this here now in the vision of the woman that is before us.  We see this foretold in Isaiah 21, where one speaking in the power of the angel, Michael from the watchtower cries out concerning the coming of the Two Witnesses:

"A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights: 
And, behold, here comes a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen.  And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.

The chariot of men prophetically represents the armies of Hashem and the couple of horsemen are the witnesses of Hashem's victories, coming to announce the good news.  In Revelation 18:1-2 and following we will see the fulfillment of this prophecy explicitly portrayed in detail when we see the fall of Mystery Babylon.  Here in the vision of the Woman and Her Child we have a vision designed to give us understanding of all these matters.  Therefore it is appropriate to take time to read this vision carefully and learn all that it is meant to reveal.

Here, in the declaration of world salvation, the time frame when the woman brings forth the child and he is caught up into heaven and the time frame when Jerusalem believes the testimony of the Two Witnesses are collapsed together, as if they were one time frame.  It is first set in the time frame when the woman brings forth the child and he is caught up into heaven and the dragon is unable to devour him that a victory over the devil resulting in his being cast down to the earth is pictured.  As we will see, the timeframe of the final confrontation with the dragon's incarnation as the beast is here going to be folded into the same frame, as if it happened at the same time, where we see the serpent overcome, cast down and crushed. Indeed, in the purely spiritual realm al of this does occur at one and the same time.  It is for this reason that it is written here as it is.]

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

["They" (those who are spoken of here) are indicated under different representations.  "They," it will turn out, are Yochanan himself and the whole community of the prophets and the apostles in heaven and earth, (who include under different representations), the twenty-four elders, the saints under the altar, the 144,000, those multitudes clothed in white robes who came out of great tribulation, those who are counted as worshipping in the Temple, the Two Witnesses, repentant Jerusalem, the woman and her children; they are all those sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads. All these overcome the dragon through the child of the woman, who is the Lamb, who gave his lifeblood as a sacrifice in order to justify life for his mother and was then caught up into heaven in newness of life. And all this was done in order that the opportunity might be saved for the woman and her children through their testimony to overcome the dragon, who had deceived the whole world.]

Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”

[What is known as good news in heaven is felt only to be tribulation on the earth.  This is a reference to the third woe which we are in the middle of at the time of these visions.  There is no truth to the serpent's politics, which he has been cultivating since laying the foundations of Babylon, concerning building a utopian world for future generations, whereby he justifies slandering and cursing all who oppose him in the name of human civilization and its purported righteousness and glory.  The whole world is warned of this lie but only those who receive the testimony of God's servants will heed this warning.  For in fact the lie of human civilization, of Babylon, is a lie that twists the truth, founding itself on Biblical human rights and Biblical restorative justice and turning these into mere rebellious human ambition and licentiousness.

That the serpent knows his time is short says volumes. Only a little can be said about this here at this point.  He knows not only that he is cast down but why.  He knows, therefore, that he will not enter the new creation.  He will lie in every possible way.  He thinks he has nothing to lose.  In what follows, much will be revealed in terms of the details of what the serpent will do under these conditions.  There is much that must be said about these details and what they mean.

We have seen already in this chapter the overview of the redemption of Israel and the revelation of her Messiah, seeing it so far, as it were, from the perspective of the eagle-like angel's eye.  In this overview, we have also seen something of the complexity of the history of redemption, seeing something of the relationship of an heavenly eternity having entered into earthly time, as it were, from the perspective of the Adam-like angel.  Now we will be taken completely to ground level to see the same from the perspective of those who experienced these events. We will be moving now, as it were, to the perspective of the ox-like angel and the lion-like angel.]

This is the way it happened that the Woman was hidden and saved...

Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.

[We were already told that the woman escaped from the dragon to her place in the wilderness.  What we are being told about now is not a second instance of her being persecuted and escaping into the wilderness.  It is the same persecution, the same escape, the same hiding in her place in the wilderness.  At first we were just told this in a summary way.  Now we are going to be given more details about how this happened.  This detailed account begins by relating how that when the child was caught up into heaven a war broke out in heaven between Michael and his angels and the dragon and his angels.  This means that the dragon, when he could not gain access to the child, that is to say, the Mashiach of Israel, on earth, tried to follow him into heaven.  But the great archangel, Michael, who was made by God to be the Prince of Israel, when he assigned specific angels as princes of all the nations, was now empowered to make war against the dragon, that is to say, against Satan.

We are told that Satan was defeated and cast down to the earth, once and for all.  From this point on until the appearing again of Mashiach upon the earth this vision and every vision that follows it will fill in for us in great detail exactly how and why Michael made war with the dragon and how he was able to bring him to the point of defeat through the testimony of the woman and her children to the Lamb who was slain for them.  We will see that it is when Satan is defeated in this way that Mashiach returns and begins the process of casting him out for eternity.

How are the woman and her children together one people? And how is she hidden from the dragon and yet not all her children are hidden and are susceptible to being attacked by the dragon? She is in heaven on earth. This is the secret.  Her hiding place among the nations in the wilderness is the place where the Shechinah is also hidden in the wilderness of the nations.  And where the Shechinah is heaven is.  We will see more about this.]

But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.

[Just as she was taken out of Egypt on eagle's wings and brought into the wilderness of Sinai where she was concealed from Egypt, so here she is brought out of the nations which are ruled by the venom of the serpent and is concealed now in the wilderness of the Torah.  It can be called the wilderness of the Torah because it is a wilderness of wandering for Israel around the place of receiving the Torah. It is in this sense that it is the place prepared for her, being the place which is both in heaven and on earth. For as the seven pillars of the Shechinah concealed and protected Israel in the wilderness at the first, so they conceal and protect Israel here and now.  For the Divine Presence is not of this world but of the eternity of God, and yet the Divine Presence went with Israel down into Egypt and came up with her to cross the sea to Sinai and to dwell in  the Temple in Jerusalem.  The wilderness of the nations is the place between receiving the Torah at the first and the Land of promise, where through a renewed covenant Israel will receive the Torah with a new heart.

In the soul of the Lamb, the Divine Presence went down into death with Israel and came up again into an eternal life of God's forgiveness and righteousness.  Therefore the Woman was given Two Witnesses and two wings to keep her in the Divine Presence, for she is carried every day on the cloud and every night on the fire of the Shechinah.  And the nations do not see her.  And the serpent cannot find her.  For she is concealed within the Hand of God.  Israel is seen in the eye of God as being one with the Shechinah.  As he sees her, so he defines her.  But her children do not always yet walk by faith according to her glory with Mashiach in the eye of God.  Therefore, when they walk as others walk the world sees them and even the dragon may find them.

Now the 3 1/2 years is called "a time, times and a half a time".  This is a reference to the 3 1/2 years in the most general and non-specific form possible.  We see with complete clarity now that the 3 1/2 years, while at some point being literal years in the form of 1,260 days, are not only literal years but also are a representation of the Divine principle of final judgment through the separation of Israel and the nations. This is both the judgment of the world and the redemption of the world.  From the eternal point-of-view this "special time" began to occur when Abraham was called out of Ur of the Chaldeans. It is also the time of the Exodus.eWe understand clearly now that the finality of judgment is not so much about when it happens as what takes place and upon whom it takes place.  Final judgment is that judgment that takes place upon the deepest root and upon the crowning head of sin and rebellion.  There is an aspect of final judgment that began long, long before the final sentence of that judgment is spoken.  In the end, however, the final sentence is turned from severe judgment to mercy and from condemnation to redemption.

It is the term, "time, times and half a time," that encompasses in history the beginning and the end of judgment upon the root and head of sin.  The Revelation of Yehoshua began in the beginning of the history of the world and will be completed in the end of the history of this world.  His reign began in the past, but through an aspect both of revelation and concealment, and his having reigned over all time, first through God's all-powerful promise, then through God's keeping that promise, will be openly revealed in the future.

Here, where the escape of the woman is being seen from the perspective of the ox-like and the lion-like Living Creatures on the ground, in a narrative like way, we are being reminded that the true nature of the identity of the Woman has always been concealed from the world and from the serpent, right from the beginning of time.  And now we know something more, from the perspective that we have seen now from above, that when time is coming to an end and the serpent is cast down to the earth, the nations and the serpent will be cut off for 1,260 days even from what they could before overhear and learn about who the Woman is and where the Woman is being hidden.  For that literal period of 3 1/2 years the world and the devil will be able to learn nothing and know nothing about the Woman.]

So the serpent spewed [a] water [of spiritual impurity] out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.

[The serpent knows by his cunning that somehow the woman is both in heaven and on earth. Although he cannot understand how this is, and he cannot reach the woman or her child any longer in heaven, he knows she is also somewhere on the earth.  Therefore he floods the whole earth with demons, destruction and lies, hoping to destroy her in the demonic flood.  It is in this way that God forces the serpent to show his true nature, forcing him to unleash his demonic forces upon his own kingdom.

But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.

[From the beginning when the dragon was cast down from heaven he has been seeking to destroy the Woman and in doing so has turned his kingdom of human civilizations evermore to ambition, corruption and greed, so that through evil invention and corrupt laws human civilization ultimately returns to the state it was in before the Great Flood when it had corrupted all flesh and damaged all earth's systems.  But now, as the twenty-four elders proclaim,  "God will destroy those who are destroying the earth..." God will ensnare the dragon and submerge him in his own vile flood.

And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

[That is to say, at the end of a certain period of 3 1/2 years the serpent is given power to kill the Two Witnesses... but in doing so brings about his own destruction.  For when Jerusalem sees them brought back to life after 3 1/2 days and then caught up to heaven she knows that it is as Yehoshua was reported to have been resurrected and caught up to God.  Therefore Jerusalem, at that time, knows that his prayer for her forgiveness has been answered, and, coming out of captivity in Babylon, she takes the witness stand to testify against the lying claim of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet.

So, in the coming chapters we shall see the effect of the Woman's victory, and her children's victory, over the dragon, when Jerusalem testifies to the truth of the Good News of Yehoshua HaMashiach and the deception of the beast and the false prophet, and her testimony brings about the fall and destruction of Mystery Babylon.]

Chapter 13 >

*1 The woman in heaven
On the woman in this vision as the corporate aspect of Israel see this study:
The Corporate Nature of Israel

At one of the following links
See also the poem:

The Woman’s Child

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Revelation 11 with inline interpretive notes Part 2


< Revelation 11a

The Seventh Trumpet

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Mashiach, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 

[When Israel crossed the sea in dry ground its redemption from Egypt was accomplished and the children of Israel sang the song of the sea. Being taken out of Egypt was symbolic of being taken out of the natural, the life of Adam, and translated into the spiritual, the life of Mashiach to come.

Something of Egypt, of the life of Adam, remained in the hearts of the children of Israel, even though they sang the song of the sea. Indeed, their complete redemption would not prove to be accomplished until far in the future. It would be completely accomplished through the blood of the Lamb before the throne of God in heaven on the day of the resurrection of Yehoshua from the dead. And that redemption would be completely revealed on earth and completely accomplished on earth in the day of the Two Witnesses.

The city of Yerushalayim would come to repentance in the fear of the One who sits upon the throne in his Temple in heaven and in fear of the Lamb who was slain, through the testimony of his two witnesses.  Then, just as Israel escaped from Pharaoh's Egypt through the sea, the heart of Israel shall finally escape fully and completely from the love of this world.  The redemption of Israel shall be complete.  And All-Israel shall be saved and shall be the witness of God.

Because of this, the seventh trumpet shall be sounded. We may say this sounding corresponds spiritually to the sounding of a gold shofar with a silver trumpet on either side.  See a picture of this on the Temple Institute's website. 

According to the Revelation, the secret of Jerusalem's conversion was kept very quiet on earth. But in heaven it is the most complete and total announcement and celebration of salvation made at any time so far in the Revelation!

There were loud voices in heaven... These correspond to the Seven Thunders, that is, to their message now not concealed.  What the Seven Thunders said before was kept secret from the world until the time of the blowing of this trumpet.  But, as the Seven Thunders were loud and were multiple voices, there are now, in the echo of the blast of the seventh trumpet, loud and multiple voices like those of the Seven Thunders.  These are indeed the Seven Thunders and all the choirs of heaven accompanying them, declaring that the secret of God has been revealed, as promised.  Now!

Now that Jerusalem has been judged and has repented, now “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Mashiach, and he shall reign forever and ever!” On earth among those who, like Pharaoh, do not want to hear that the redemption of Israel is taking place, what the Seven Choirs of Heaven are thundering is not heard. Not because it cannot be heard, but because of the hardening of their hearts. But in the heart and soul of every child of God in heaven and earth it is now, at that time, heard loudly and clearly.

It is at this point that Jerusalem has become prepared in her heart to say of Yehoshua, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of Hashem."  The testimony of the Two Witnesses has succeeded in accomplishing this.  For it was in their being resurrected and called up into heaven after being observed by all the world as being dead for 3 1/2 days laying in the streets of Jerusalem, together with the earthquake of God's wrath upon the city, which produced this change of heart in Jerusalem.

At this time, the new heaven and the new earth, the word of God's new and eternal and incorruptible order of creation, will have entered into the hearts of All Israel.  Judgment can now come in full measure upon the nations, to destroy their armies and their idols, their god, Mammon, embedded in their flesh, and all their devices for worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator.  The judgments coming now, through the blowing of the seventh trumpet, will cut all nations off from their roots, without destroying Israel, without cutting her off from her roots.

Later, when the nations are revived from the dead, it will be through the corporate life of Adam that has been saved only in the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, through the blood of the Lamb that they are saved and they will have a new head.  For the world is not condemned but saved through judgment, the judgment of the cross, the judgment of the Revelation, the Apocalypse, which redeems Israel out from among the nations.

Through the testimony in Jerusalem given by the Two Witnesses, God has, at the time here foretold, removed the blindness from Israel's eyes.  The way for the return of the Lord has been prepared.   “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Mashiach, and he shall reign forever and ever.”]

And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,  who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.

The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

[Again we see that, with the twenty-four elders, we are still in the Temple, in the presence of the One who sits upon the throne and with the Lamb.

Who are those who are destroying the earth?  Those who rule in the legislatures and courts without the Gemara and the Gospel...   There are those who attempt to rule the world without God's Torah, and only with Godly dialogue, as modelled in the Gemara, is it possible to be led by the Torah to Mashiach.  And there are those who attempt to rule the earth without the Gospel, and only through the Revelation of the true Messiah is it possible to rule the world through the Good News.

Those who try to rule the world without the word of God are following in the footsteps of Adam in their sin.  They would be themselves like gods and would attempt to rule the world by their own word, only to destroy it.]

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

[The visions that now follow in chapters 12, 13, 14 are not any kind of interlude in a chronological account of judgments proceeding from the blowing of the seven trumpets to the pouring out of the seven bowls of wrath in chapter 15.  Just the opposite! The visions of chapters 12-14, together with the seven bowl judgments and all visions of judgment to the very end constitute the third woe, and all these visions come as a result of the blowing of the seventh trumpet.

Everything, all the mystery of God, is revealed at this point, in heaven....  As a result a series of full story visions, up close visions, will come to explain all judgments for the sake of the understanding of those who have faith, as the Lord explained his parables with his talmudim privately... before the final judgments commence upon the nations, (now having been set apart from Jerusalem).

It is in accordance with the blowing of this, the seventh trumpet, that the Scripture shall be fulfilled which says:

"The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 1:1ff.)

And also that Scripture which says:

"He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah 2:1-4) 

And this shall be when Israel takes possession of the Land by faith, fully rectifying the sin of the spies.  When she, by faith, is justified by the Torah in the blood of the Lamb, the truth of God, the truth which is the seal upon the forehead of His people.  For the truth shall be made known on the earth, by which Israel shall be set free, for it is the truth of the justification of life. And the one testimony shall be given by two witnesses, revealing the unity of both houses of Israel, as being one house in its testimony, that the God who redeems Israel from among the nations is the One true God, Creator of Heaven and earth, who judges and saves as He will.]

Why a Temple? 

"Thus says the LORD: 'Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool; what is the house which you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things are mine, says the LORD. But this is the man to whom I will look, he that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.'" (Isaiah 66:1)

"Am I a God at hand, says the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD." (Jeremiah 23:23, 24).

Thus it is for our sake and not for his sake that God builds a Temple to dwell in.  That we might know him in our midst, with intimacy and love, and learn from all his judgments and all his ways to love one another as he has loved us.]

Revelation 12 >

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Revelation 11 with inline interpretive notes Part 1

< Revelation 10

Yochanan And The Two Witnesses

Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, 

["Then I was given a measuring rod..."  This action of Yochanan being given and receiving a measuring rod follows immediately with no break from what was just said in the previous chapter. Yochanan is given the measuring rod immediately after his having been made to understand that he with his spiritual community would be called upon in the last times, just before the seventh trumpet's sounding, to make known to the world what was written in the little scroll.  As has been said, what was written in the little scroll was what he heard The Seven Thunders say but was, at that time, not allowed to reveal.  Erasing the chapter break in our minds, we are to understand that immediately he was given the rod and told to measure the Temple in heaven.

The measuring of the Temple in heaven is to be understood as a further revelation of what is already revealed in chapter 10.  We will see that this is another way of saying the same things, about the concealment within the revelation, while adding more to what this means.  First, it is important to clarify the fact that the Temple in heaven is the whole setting of the revelation that has taken place since Yochanan (John) was called up into the heavens in the Spirit in chapter 4.

The Temple on earth stood as a reflection of the Temple Above.  We must consider what it means, then, that all that has taken place in the visions of the revelation since chapter 4 have taken place in a vision of the Temple Above.  For Yochanan, the many visions have all been visions coming from a vision of the Temple in heaven into which he was called. Now he is being told to measure that Temple.

The vision of the One who sits upon the throne and the vision of the Lamb standing in the same place as the Divine Menorah of the Seven Spirits of God, as well as the golden altar before the Holy of Holies all existed in the Temple Above, and were reflected by measure in the Temple on earth.

Ezekiel was guided with a measuring rod in the hand of an angle in his vision of the Temple. Now Yochanan is told to himself measure the whole Temple Above in which this revelation is taking place, with the exception of the outer court.  Several things are essential to note here.

First remember, as stated, that for Yochanan there is no chapter break, or break of any kind.  There is no pause between his being told by The Seven Thunders that he (representatively speaking) will prophesy again in the future before all nations and peoples and then his being told to measure the Temple.  Yochanan, and we together with him, are to understand that the reason he is given this command to measure the Temple is to show that at this point there is a measure, a limitation, a set dimension, being given to The Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).  The revelation will be fully revealed to those worshiping in the Temple, but as to those in the outer court, the court of the Gentiles, the full measure of the revelation will not reach to them yet at this time.  From them the hearing of what The Seven Thunders said will be concealed until it is revealed to them in and through God's sealed witnesses — who are here measured as all those who are worshipping in the Temple.

This is the meaning also of Yochanan's having himself been brought right into the visions of the Revelation.  Until he is told to eat the little scroll he is our witness to the revelation.  Then, by eating the little scroll he becomes not only a witness to the visions but an actor in and of the vision.  In the same way, by being given the measuring rod himself and being told to measure the Temple but not the outer court he, as the representative of his personal spiritual community, is made an actual part of the vision himself.

Yochanan, having the secrets of The Seven Thunders now inside of him in the form of the little scroll, can now himself measure the whole Temple Above and count the number of those who worship in it. He no longer needs an angelic mediator to reveal such a vision to him.  This transfer of primary authority to bring final judgment upon the nations began in chapter 7 with the transfer of action from the angels holding the four winds to those having the seal of God, as has been said, (see Jn. 14:12). It is important to clarify how this understanding brings us to where we are now.

As explained earlier, in the progressive unfolding of the Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach all judgment of the nations, (which at the end of history means all judgment upon This World Order and upon the old nature of Adam), has been mitigated and turned from condemnation to salvation and redemption through the sealing of the servants of God.  As will be made fully clear in chapter 14, the sealing of the 12 thousand of each of the tribes of Israel was accomplished through the blood of the Lamb who was slain. This means that the revelation itself has been made dependent upon the sealing in the forehead of the 12,000 of each of the tribes of Israel.

Accordingly, through bringing Yochanan into the vision to be the one who enacts the vision it is the Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach itself that is now telling us that the revelation has now been made dependent, in this symbolic way, upon Yochanan. He is now the one seen as being the representative of those sealed with the seal of God.  And it is in this role that the text brings us directly from Yochanan to The Two Witnesses.

Just as all the servants and witnesses of God are represented by the 144,000, in the same symbolically representative way, all the servants and witnesses of God are represented by Yochanan himself.  This occurred first, as stated, when he was told to eat the little scroll.  Now when he is told to measure the Temple and count those who worship within it, we will see that this leads immediately to a vision of the last manifestation of the Two Witnesses, (who have been present in different forms throughout the Scriptures).

We were given to understand that Yochanan as representative of, or else through, his personal spiritual community would in the end prophesy again concerning the secret of the mystery of God, the revelation of Yehoshua the Mashiach of Israel. We will now see a vision of The Two Witnesses doing exactly this, prophesying exactly as Yochanan was just made to understand he would prophesy, to all the world from Jerusalem.

Having said this, let's begin from the beginning of the chapter again:

The aspect of the revelation that remains concealed from the world is and must be the key to the whole revelation.  Unless what remains deliberately concealed is known the revelation is not fully a revelation.  This aspect of the revelation that is concealed is however known to Yochanan and it is symbolically made to be a part of him.  He has eaten it.  He, or whom he represents, the sealed servants of God, have been made the key to the whole revelation being made known.

Yochanan is told to take a measuring rod and measure the Temple (of the Revelation).  The secret is that he is himself, (as having been made to symbolically contain the key to the revelation), the measure by which the Temple is measured.  He is, therefore, able to count those who worship in the Temple, for he represents them in the vision of the Revelation; they are like him and he is able to recognize and count them.  But he does not measure the outer court nor count the Gentiles, as we see next.]

but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. 

["...the court outside the Temple": In the Temple in heaven, this spiritual realm of the Gentiles was not entirely given over previous to this time. Until this point in the Revelation some of the radiance of the Good News of Israel and Her Mashiach radiated into the court of the nations.  But now, for forty-two months the area of that court will be completely controlled by the angels of the nations, and therefore, correspondingly on earth unregenerate Gentile forces.

To be clear, we are talking about the outer court of the Temple in heaven. What does this mean? The Temple in heaven is the Place of the Revelation of Yehoshua. Whereas previously the revelation of the Mashiach of Israel was available even to sincere onlookers from the nations, at the time of the forty-two months, during that time, there will be no revelation directly to those who stand at a distance.

The replacement theology that has always distorted the Good News of Israel and Her Mashiach, and has always partially confused the faith of the Gentiles, will at that time be allowed to completely blind them.  Only those who have been allowed to enter into the Temple and worship with Israel in the Temple will be able to receive the complete revelation of the Mashiach of Israel which will be made known at that time. After the forty two months this will change, as we will see.]

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth.”

[In this way the Two Witnesses are introduced.  1,260 days are 42 months of precisely 30 days each. Who are the Two Witnesses?  Those who have received prophetic understanding from the Word of God should already know.  The angel said to the prophet, Zechariah, "Do you not (already) know who these Two Olive Trees are?"

We have seen, and will yet see, that these Two Witnesses have two precursors in the visions of the Revelation, one being Yochanan himself, the other being the 144,000 of the twelve tribes of Israel and all are sealed with the seal of God.  We have also seen, and will yet see, that these witnesses of God together are those upon whom the full disclosure of all mysteries concealed in the Revelation are made dependant, in accordance with the oath of the angel recorded in chapter 10, verse 7.]

These are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 

[Here we are told explicitly in prophetic terms who these Two Witnesses are. There have already been constant allusions and references in the Revelation to the Scriptures.  This reference to the two olive trees and the two lamp stands, quoting the book of Zechariah exactly, brings all that has already been revealed in the Scriptures in the past about Mashiach directly into the development of the final Revelation.  It is meant to require us to go back to all prophecy that came before. We will not be able to go forward in receiving more revelation until we do this.

Moshe and Aaron stood before Pharaoh from the beginning when God redeemed Israel out of Egypt. They stood as prophet and priest in the ongoing work of the redemption of Israel, bringing Israel into the Land of Testimony and making Israel to be a worthy corporate witness.  When Israel was made to be two houses, one coming from Judah's leadership and one coming from Joseph's leadership, we were made to see that the offices that Moshe and Aaron filled coming up out of Egypt were offices established even before them, at the time of Israel going down into Egypt, in the personal testimonies of Joseph and Judah.  We will learn that the testimonies of Joseph and Judah that brought Israel down into Egypt were testimonies laying the foundation of the separate offices of priest and prophet.

When Judah and Joseph stood face to face in Egypt, wrestling together with truth and righteousness, they were just two men, two witnesses, but standing with them and being represented by them were the twelve tribes of Israel, the whole house of Jacob.  And so it will be when The Two Witnesses stand to testify in Jerusalem.  The whole house of Israel will be wrestling with their testimony and in the end will come to stand with them.

At the end of his life, we are told, "Jacob called his sons together and told them, 'Assemble yourselves around me so I can tell you all what is going to happen to you in the last days.'"

Concerning Judah he says, "Judah is a lion cub. My son, you have gone up from the prey. Crouching like a lion, he lies down, Like a lioness, who would dare rouse him? The sceptre will never depart from Judah, nor a ruler's staff from between his feet, until the One comes, who owns them both, and to him will belong the allegiance of nations. Binding his donkey to the vine and his mare's foal to its thick tendrils, he will wash his garments in wine and his robe in the juice of grapes.  His eyes are darker than wine and his teeth whiter than milk."

Without searching here into all the specifics of Jacob's blessing of his son, Judah, and their relevance to the last days, we can say that the essence of the blessing is that Judah would be, and his rulership in Israel would be, the vessel of prophecy for the coming of the Mashiach.  Though not all prophets would come from Judah, the foundation for the office of prophecy in Israel would be established in Judah.

Concerning Joseph he says, "Joseph is descended from a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine planted near springs of water. His branches climb over walls. Even though enemies attacked him, shooting at him and pursuing him viciously, nevertheless his bow remained steady and his arms kept in shape by the strength of Jacob's Mighty One, in the name of the Shepherd, Israel's Rock, by your father's God, who will continually help you, by the Almighty, who will keep on blessing you with blessings from heaven above, with blessings from the deepest ocean, with blessing from the breast and womb. Your father's blessings will prove to be stronger than blessings from the eternal mountains or bounties from the everlasting hills. May they come to rest on Joseph's head, May they be set upon the brow of the one who was separated from his own brothers."

Again, without searching here into all the specifics of Jacob's blessing of his son, Joseph, and their relevance to the last days, we can say that the essence of the blessing is that the rejection and sufferings of Joseph would, through the blessings of the covenant of his fathers, be made a sanctified sacrifice.  Though the priests in Israel would not come specifically from Joseph, the foundation of the office of priesthood in Israel was laid by Jacob's blessing of Joseph's sacrifice.

There are messianic aspects, then, in both Judah and Joseph's blessings.  Jacob, their father, saw that both of these two sons acted in the spirit of the Mashiach in their own generation and that there actions foretold the Two Witnesses that would come in the Revelation of Mashiach in the last days.

Joseph represented the house of Rachel.  He was separated from his brothers and in this separation he witnessed to the aspect of the death of Mashiach as God's Tzaddik.  He testified that God's righteous suffering servant, was like a sacrificial lamb who willingly suffered being cut off from his people for the sake of the corporate salvation of his people.  Joseph's willing acceptance of this role, expressed by all that he said and did, but especially by his absolving his brothers, in the name of God, of the sin committed toward him, was the action of a priest.

Judah  represented the house of Leah. He was not separated from his brothers but he also, like Joseph, was willing to lay his own life down as a substitute for the life of his brother, Benjamin, who was the visible remnant of the house of Rachel, the source of the life that sustained his father Israel's soul.  As a result he was found worthy to be like a lion, like Mashiach in leading all Israel to repentance and to a newness of life, testifying prophetically to Mashiach's resurrection from the dead and rulership in Israel and over the nations.]

And if anyone would harm them fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them this is how he is doomed to be killed. 

["And if anyone would harm them..." As all power and authority is given to the Lamb, so it is given through him to the witnesses of the Lamb....  At face value the authority here seems to be in conflict with the ordered manner of the "plagues," (see next verse). But the reference is simply to how Moshe and Aaron commanded that each plague take place.  Moshe had a certain discretion when personally threatened; but this discretion was there in that the need for his defense had been anticipated in the ordering of the plagues before hand.  So to with the Two Witnesses.  This also establishes that when the Two Witnesses are killed it is not that they are overcome. They are laying down their lives as did their Master.]

They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. 

[Showing that they come in the spirit and power of Elijah.  And that they stand in the office of Moses. The specifics, showing that they are in control of all present trumpet judgments and bowl/vial judgments  to come.  While the level of the authority of the judgments are ordered by one trumpet sounding after the other, the Two Witnesses possess all these levels of authority and exercise them in accordance with their testimony.  (While the vision of the Two Witnesses comes before the vision of the judgments of the bowls, the fulfillment of their vision comes at the time of the bowls).]

And when they have finished their testimony the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, 

["will...kill them..." This is actually in their control and is actually the completion of their testimony, and does not interfere with it or cut their testimony short.  What is the testimony of The Two Witnesses? How does it parallel that of Moshe and Aaron in Egypt when the witness of Moshe and Aaron did not end with Pharaoh being able to kill them?

The testimony of the Two Witnesses is the testimony of Truth, which is the seal of God, concerning the death and resurrection of Yehoshua, God's Anointed One, for the redemption of Israel.  The redemption of Israel unlocks the mystery of Israel, which is the mystery of God in this world.  So it was to be in God's redeeming Israel out of Egypt and bringing them up to receive His Torah and leading them into the Land of Promise.  But the testimony was marred by Israel's sin and unbelief. But where the sin was very great, the grace of God was much greater!

Whereas Israel sinned with the golden calf and through the unbelief of the 10 spies, God, in abundant grace, sent his prophets, from Moshe to Yehoshua to lead Israel to repentance and to rectify her sin. And whereas, even so, Israel rejected her Anointed One, and allowed the nations to make a great deal out of this rejection, like Joseph, he accepted his suffering on behalf of the salvation of the tribes of Israel and for the sake of his fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He made atonement through his blood for Israel, and the nation that would have been broken forever through sin he kept whole. Accordingly, in him the redemption of Israel in heavenly places is accomplished and will be accomplished on the earth.  So shall he be fully revealed.  So shall the mystery of God be made known, first to his sealed servants, then to all the world.  For the knowledge of Hashem shall fill the earth.

The Holy Scriptures make it clear that God's purpose in bringing Israel out of Egypt was to make Himself known and His name known.  For to know Him in truth is eternal life.  Therefore, when the Scriptures say more than 85 times, "you will know that I am the LORD," *1 we are to understand this in the sense of His message to the sinful world in and through Moshe, "I am who I am, (not who you want me to be)!" (see Exodus 3:14).

Exodus 6:7
I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 
Exodus 7:5
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”
Exodus 8:22
But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.
Since the redemption of Israel was not fully completed at the first, Ezekiel takes up and uses some form of the expression, "then you will know that I am the LORD" over 70 times, applying it both to Israel and to the nations.  In the end, Ezekiel associates the complete redemption of Israel with the resurrection of the dead, just as the apostle Paul does in Romans 11.
Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.  Ezekiel 36:36 
Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 36:38 
And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”  Ezekiel 37:6 
And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people.  Ezekiel 37:13 
And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”  Ezekiel 37:14 
Then the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”  Ezekiel 37:28
So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.  Ezekiel 38:23  
I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the Lord.  Ezekiel 39:6 
“And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.  Ezekiel 39:7 
The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward.  Ezekiel 39:22 
Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore.  Ezekiel 39:28 
The prophet Joel sums up all that has been said:
Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it. Joel 3:14-17 

It is for this reason that the first of the Ten Commandments given to Israel is:
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Exodus 20:2 

This commandment is understood in Rabbinic Judaism as the commandment to Israel to believe in God.  It should not be understood as a commandment simply not to be an atheist, but explicitly the commandment to believe in God as He revealed Himself in redeeming Israel from Egypt.*2

When we understand that the revelation is the revelation of the final and complete redemption of Israel on earth as it is in heaven, we can then understand that this is the essence of the testimony of the Two Witnesses, whose testimony brings about the completion of preparation for final stage of this redemption of Israel on earth as it is accomplished in heaven through the blood of the Lamb.

The complete redemption of Israel from the house of slavery is not only its redemption from the nations of sin and rebellion against God but from sin itself.  For anyone who sins is a slave of sin.  By revealing Himself to the fallen world as the One who Redeems Israel and becomes the God of Israel, the true God silences all false gods and all idolatrous imaginations about God of the sinful mind.  For He declares that He will redeem Adam, He will be merciful and save Humanity, but only through judgment, only in the way He chooses.  And then He does what He says.  Thus it is that the empire of the civilization of the nations will be brought to nothing and God will rule from Zion, and the world will be saved.  This is the substance of the testimony of the Two witnesses.

The house of Joseph's testimony was made to be the testimony of the gentiles who believe, just as Joseph was made to take on the role of an Egyptian but proved faithful to the name of the God of Israel.  In heavenly places the tribes attached to the house of Joseph are known at the time they are sealed with the seal of God.  But on earth Joseph and the Egyptians remain gentiles together until the final moment of salvation when Joseph is revealed.  As Messianic gentiles the testimony of God's servants on earth must free itself from all replacement theology and turn the gentile experience of salvation and the grace of God into a testimony to Israel's corporate salvation in heavenly places.

The house of Judah's testimony was from the beginning the testimony of God's justice and mercy. God brought Jacob to the point of death in fear of the loss of both Joseph and Benjamin and it is this that brought Judah and his brothers to repentance and to the experience of the mercy of God.  Were Jacob to have died in sorrow the hope of the resurrection would have died with him.  At the time of King David and King Solomon the promise of the Mashiach was also threatened with extinction.

David and Solomon together were not able to rule over the nations so as to bring the perfect prophetic picture of the Messianic fulfillment of salvation and blessing to all the families of the earth, as it was promised to Abraham,  Therefore the tabernacle of the house of David fell. By the prophet Ahijah, the Levite prophet of Shiloh, God let it be known that He would take the rulership that it had over Israel away from the house of David.  Just as when Jacob's life was threatened when he felt the life of Benjamin was threatened, now the life of his heritage was again threatened because the promise of the Mashiach, the son of David, was threatened. It was to preserve mercy and to preserve that promise to David, and to preserve His own name in Jerusalem that God then told the house of David that He would preserve one tribe under its rule.  This was the tribe of Judah and is the tribe of Judah and will be the tribe of Judah bringing the testimony of God's mercy to Israel and to Jerusalem through the Two Witnesses into the streets of Jerusalem in the last moments of the last days.]

and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. 

[It is called Egypt because Israel's heart never came fully out of Egypt, but why Sodom?  Because Israel is captive, Jerusalem is captive within in the old adamic nature, as well as without in the civilization of the nations.  But at the time of the Two Witnesses Jerusalem is about to be redeemed. ...where their Lord was crucified... the Lord of this city... It is not the city who kills the Two Witnesses, it is the Beast from the pit.  This is the final and true testimony concerning Jerusalem.  It has been published from the beginning in The Book of The Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach, and the Two Witnesses will make it to be heard and known in all nations.  This leads directly to verse 13.

For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 

[Yochanan was told he had yet to prophesy before these, and here he is shown to be one prophetically with the Two Witnesses.  The Greek seems to indicate that it is representatives of the nations which forbid the burial.  The world thinks it has won but in killing the two has lost the last battle.  Theirs is the testimony that conceives and gives birth to the testimony of Jerusalem that says, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of Hashem", (see notes below).  Since they have made this new birth of Jerusalem come about with their testimony of martyrdom, the gates of the heavens will open and there will be no more delay.  As a result also Jerusalem will be divided between wheat and chaff.

and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. 

[...that is to say, it was Hashem, the True God, who was the torment to them....So by this the world will be made to finally show its true colors.  Left and Right will rejoice together against God and His witnesses and will not know that they celebrate their own end. In order to defend themselves against the One who sits upon the throne and against the Lamb and against his witnesses, they will turn to a messiah of darkness and compromise with evil and to a union of all nations in an alliance of defense with a design to survive the Apocalypse, to save the Human Race as they know it.]

But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 

[ ...the great fear that falls on all nations is the turning and twisting of the spine of Adam.  Now the testimony is given.  The whole world will see it and hear it.  With the greatest dread and hatred they will know that the God of Israel is the One True God and Yehoshua is His Messiah, or their heart will be broken and they will repent and receive the true spirit of hope.]

Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. 

[ Yochanan heard the loud voice saying, "Come up here!"  With Yehoshua it was only his talmudim who watched him ascend.  But here it will be the enemies who watch.  Their resurrection from the dead is the final testimony that in Yehoshua, Mashiach of Israel, whom God raised from the dead, God has created His new heavens and new earth.]

And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

[This earthquake*3 is the subterranean equivalent to the heavenly Seven Thunders.  The city is the city of Jerusalem where the Two Witnesses have prophesied for 3 1/2 days. The terror is the true saving fear of Hashem.  It is in this holy fear that Jerusalem finally prepares to receive him.  This, Jerusalem's repentance for not having received her King Mashiach when first he came to her riding upon a donkey, is here most quietly revealed.  But, for all its quietness, we will see that this is the greatest verse, together with that verse showing Mashiach's second coming, in the whole of the revelation!

Those who have ears to hear and eyes to see what the Spirit says to the gathering together of Yehoshua's people will hear and see and understand that Jerusalem's change of heart toward Yehoshua and his witnesses, that here takes place, first in Judah and Jerusalem, then in all Israel, is the change which allows the final woe of judgment to come upon the nations with the blowing of the seventh trumpet.  While on the earth the change of heart in Jerusalem toward Yehoshua is not immediately apparent, it is immediately known in all the Temple of God in the heavens, so that it is the very first declaration that is made upon the blowing of the seventh trumpet, as we will see!]

The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.

[Therefore the third woe comes no longer to Jerusalem but primarily to the nations alone.  This verse marks the whole of chapters 10 and 11a as one unit.  From here we go on to the blowing of the seventh trumpet in the second half of the chapter.]

*1 "And you will know that I am the LORD."
See the complete list.

*2   Rabbinic Judaism...  Go to a post on the subject: Torah Faith Is Supernatural Faith, on the blog, Notes On The One Eternal Covenant.

*3 This earthquake
As thunder symbolizes judgments of warning or else mitigated judgment in the Revelation, so earthquakes symbolically represent judgment that is actually being enacted in the earth.

Rev 6:12  Then I saw the lamb open the sixth seal. There was a powerful earthquake. The sun turned as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the full moon turned as red as blood. [The sixth seal is itself the authority to bring immediate final judgment upon the nations.  Therefore all its accompanying symbols are the symbols of the judgments of wrath, including the earthquake.  All these signs take place in the vision in heaven, including a vision of an earthquake. Because Yochanan in the Temple in heaven sees a vision of an earthquake, he is to know that judgment is then being enacted in the earth.]

Rev 8:5  The angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it on the earth. Then there were peals of thunder, noises, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. [For the sake of the redemption of corporate Israel, as represented by its martyrs sealed with the seal of God, the warnings of thunder are shown to proceed through lightning to an earthquake to indicate the certainty that those judgments will come, and are in the process of coming even now in the earth, which will lead to Israel's final redemption.  Again, as in 6:12, this is a vision of an earthquake, here included with the vision of thunder, noises and flashes of lightning, which Yochanan sees in heaven.]

Rev 11:13  At that moment a powerful earthquake struck. One-tenth of the city collapsed, 7,000 people were killed by the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. [This is the first of two actual prophetic earthquakes revealed in the Revelation that take place upon the earth.  The second is recorded in chapter 16:18.  Judgment begins first at the house of God. Though many earthquakes happen in history and all echo the judgments of God upon Adam and upon the nations, for the chastisement of Israel, for the sake of the salvation of the world, these two alone, happening in real time, are central to and essential to the Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach.]

Rev 11:19  Then the Temple of God in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen inside his Temple. There were flashes of lightning, noises, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. [The series is as explained above. The final redemption will begin with the decisive judgment from Egypt of heavy hail.]

Rev 16:18  There were flashes of lightning, noises, peals of thunder, and a powerful earthquake. There has never been such a powerful earthquake since people have been on the earth. [The full force of the judgments are now working in the world.]

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Revelation 10 with inline interpretive notes

< Revelation 9

Then I saw another powerful angel [from the highest level] come down from heaven. He was dressed in a cloud, [as being clothed in the Shechinah, the very Presence of God], and there was a rainbow over his head, [just as there was over the throne of God].  His face was like the sun, and his legs were like columns of fire [because his message was the inner light of this revelation itself].

[Even while this vision and the visions that follow in this chapter and in the first half of chapter 11 are of a new order and their content of a different kind than the visions of judgment that preceded them, these visions also are a direct result of the 6th angel blowing its trumpet.  Understanding this is of critical importance for understanding the order and organization of the Book. In other words, just as  the vision concerning the loosing of the four angels imprisoned at the Euphrates river and all that followed that was a vision of woe, the second woe, to the inhabitants of the earth, so are these visions of chapter 10 and the first half of chapter 11 essential visions of the second woe.

This high and powerful angel is the angel of Hashem, as can be identified from his appearing in previous times in Scripture.  Why does the Angel of Hashem appear here and now at this point in the Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach?  We will soon see. When this angel speaks with a thunderous voice the seven thunders which are the hidden, most secretive and mysterious, key to the whole revelation also speak.  This angel, the angel of Hashem, though not here named for important reasons, can be identified by students of the Holy Scriptures as being Michael, the guardian angel of Israel.  Even as it was told to Daniel  that in the end of days Michael would stand up on behalf of his people, so here he stands up to declare by oath that the time is come for the purpose of the judgment of the nations to be accomplished and for Israel to be redeemed.]

He held a small, opened scroll in his hand. Setting his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land,

[This little scroll, as was shown first to Ezekiel, is a book of concealed prophecy in the midst of revelation.  Concealment of the word of God when it is given in the midst of, and as a part of, prophecy, (which is the perspective of the word of God itself), is not complete concealment.  It is given to a prophet to be known in the school of prophets, but to be openly revealed by the prophets to the world only at a later time.

Thus, the book of hidden prophecy is an emblem representative of concealment as a form of revelation itself. The greatest example of concealment as revelation is the concealment of the Mashiach of Israel through his ascension into heaven.  The ascension of Mashiach completely conceals him from the mind of the world.  The only light of his glory comes through the testimony of those who he transforms into his witnesses.  Even this transformation process involves concealment within revelation.  This is the nature of how his full revelation takes place.  It is the way God's grace works in the world.  And this is perfectly represented in the vision of the angel with the little scroll and the seven thunders.

It is this concealment of Mashiach in the revelation of Mashiach that is contained in the seal of God, which is sealed within the foreheads of the servants of God.  It is especially sealed in their foreheads in a manner that it not completed in perfection in the 12 tribes of Israel, to be revealed to the world until the last hour of judgment.  It is revealed and concealed in this way within the opened seals of the scroll by the Lamb of God.

The angel of the little scroll is seen in the vision as being everywhere upon the earth, standing over land and sea. The little scroll is therefore everywhere heard as heavenly thunder but this thunder is not understood — except  in its time by those for whom it is concealed, who then are given the authority by their testimony to reveal it step by step to the world.   If we are gathered unto the Lamb and are faithful to his name, (Revelation 3), we can now begin to hear and understand what the Seven Thunders said, which was written in the little scroll in heaven, which will be fully and completely heard by the witnesses of the Lamb in the time of the sealing of all the tribes of Israel.]

[Still speaking of the angel of Hashem, then, we hear this:] he shouted in a loud voice as a lion roars.  When he shouted, the seven thunders spoke [in concert with his roar] with [audible] voices of their own. 

When the seven thunders spoke, I was going to write, [Yochanan tells us] but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and don't write it down." [Seal it up in the seal of God, just as it remains written in the little scroll.]

[By Yochanan saying, "I was going to write" we are reminded of what is written previously; "the angels were going to hold back the winds".   Had the angels held back the winds, without being stopped, full and complete judgment would have immediately come upon the world.  Had Yochanan written down what the seven thunders said, without being stopped, full and complete revelation would have then come to the world; and because full and complete revelation would have then come, a full and complete judgment of wrath would have immediately come, for the world was then unprepared for the overwhelming light of the complete revelation with no concealment within it.]

Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven.

[In Hebrews chapter 6 we read, "For when God made his promise to Abraham, he swore an oath by himself, since he had no one greater to swear by.  He said, "I will certainly bless you and give you many descendants."  We also read there, "An oath given as confirmation puts an end to all argument."

What is the argument that God's oath put an end to?  It was the argument of Satan after he had seduced the humans to sin, arguing that they should be forever condemned to death, in accordance with God's word.  But God alone has the last word as to the meaning of His word.  Indeed, death would come to Humanity in accordance with God's word but not without the conditions of death that could lead to the resurrection of the dead.  And it was in order to create these conditions for resurrection and a new creation that, even in the face of Adam's curse,  God said to Abraham, "I will certainly bless you and give you many descendants!"  And to put an end to the argument of the Prosecutor who desired to see Adam eternally condemned, God swore an oath to Abraham.  Therefore, though we do not yet see the complete redemption of Israel that was promised, we hope in the promise and the oath of God.

Everyone who is regenerate in this world is, so far as their spirit goes, already living in the new creation.  Anyone who has passed from this world in faith is now living much more fully in the domain of the new creation, but they are still not entirely so, not only because they are not yet resurrected from the dead, but also because the corporate identity of Israel is not yet sealed with the seal of God.

For individual identity cannot be fully redeemed and made new and complete except in corporate identity being fully redeemed, made new and complete.  This happens only in the process of the salvation of Israel, because it is in this way, God's choice of Adam corporately in the headship of Mashiach, which choice He has fashioned into the nation of Israel, that the Creator reveals Himself in contradiction to all idolatry, all natural notions of Him, which all are corrupted through sin under the headship of the first Adam.

It is this that the angel here promises will change at the time immediately proceeding the blowing of the seventh trumpet.  At that very time the full knowledge of the salvation of Israel will be made known among twelve thousand representatives of each of the 12 tribes who have passed from this world and are with the Lamb in heavenly places.  The seal of God placed upon their minds is the complete knowledge of the corporate salvation of Israel.  It is the seal of that corporate salvation.  As a result of this occurring many faithful witnesses to the Lamb who are yet in this life upon the earth at that time will also be sealed with the seal of God, that is with complete knowledge of the corporate salvation of Israel.  This will be made evident when we read about the two witnesses in chapter 11.  And more understanding will be given concerning this when we read more about the 144,000 in chapter 14.

We read also in Hebrews chapter 6, "When God wanted to make the unchangeable character of his purpose perfectly clear to the heirs of his promise, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by these two unchangeable things, (God's promise and His oath), in which it is impossible for God to prove false, we who have taken refuge in Him might be encouraged to seize the hope set before us."

What did God want to make perfectly clear to the heirs of his promise?  The unchangeable character of His purpose.  What is His purpose and what is its unchangeable character? God's purpose is not simply to save some people from the consequences of their sins while destroying everything else in creation and starting over with the collection of individuals that He saved.  God made all of creation as one organic whole and Adam as one corporate, family, entity at the heart of the body of His creation. God's purpose is to counter the sin of Adam and the rebellion of the fallen angels without condemning Adam.  Therefore, it is to overturn the sin of Adam through the redemption of Adam in righteousness.

God's purpose is to redeem His creation and make His redeemed creation new, not to erase it as if it were a mistake and make something else in its place.  By this means, the means of redemption, God will also judge and cast out the tempter and deceiver of Adam.  God, by making Himself to be the God of Israel, to express the truth that He still chooses Adam corporately but with a new head, the seed of the woman, the saviour of the children of Israel, will demonstrate to all nations that He is completely just while justifying the ungodly.

God sets the stage to reveal to the adversary that He is just in that He choses one branch of corporately condemned Adam, which He calls Israel, declaring by covenant that He is the God of this condemned corporate branch of Adam alone.  For Adam has rejected the Creator from being their God, but God declares that, even so,  He is and will be forever the God of Israel.

Then by giving up unto death, in accordance with His sentence of death upon Adam,  for the sake of of Israel, the one whom He anoints as the head of Israel, God demonstrates His uncompromising justice.  But then the nation that He has judged as His own He justifies as His own, in that He raises its anointed head from the tomb, declaring him to be just, having sacrificed himself in accordance with the word of God, and in justifying the head, justifying corporate Israel on his behalf, including as members in corporate Israel, by His grace, all who acknowledge this act of His righteousness by faith.

We are assured by knowing these things that we are meant to receive even now, in the in the form of a living hope, the salvation that is promised to Abraham, the salvation that was promised to him to come through the redemption of Israel. At the time of the blowing of the sixth trumpet, when the seventh is about to blow, Michael here reveals detail to the oath concerning Israel's redemption, by making this oath concerning Israel's salvation in the name of the God who swore an oath concerning Israel's salvation.   The angel swears an oath here that the mystery of the redemption of Israel, the mystery of God, which He revealed to the prophets of Israel, will be completely revealed at the time of the seventh trumpet, with nothing any longer concealed within it, when that trumpet is about to be sounded. Thus we see the revelation that follows.]

He swore an oath by the one who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and everything in it, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it: "There will be no more delay.

[In the older translations we read here that time will be no more...  when understood correctly this translation is just as correct as the translation given here that says there will be no more delay. The meaning is that after this point there will be no more time of history as history has been known up to this point.

The change that is being foretold here by the sworn oath of the angel is not just a total change within world history.  It is a cosmological change where the order of the world that was is overtaken by the order of the world that will be.  The order of the new creation began with the resurrection of Yehoshua HaMashiach. With his resurrection the new creation began to enter into this creation, redeeming and re-creating all things.

Everything that we find in The Book of The Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ), began to develop immediately with his birth, death and resurrection for the redemption of Israel and the salvation of the world.  In these notes we are looking at this from the perspective of how all facets of his revelation become brilliantly and radiantly apparent in the time of the final judgment upon the nations.  The same revelation, the unfolding of all the seven areas of authority comprehended by the seven seals can also be studied in terms of their application from the time of the apostles until now.

When the end of the age of Adam comes it will be because the authority of the risen saviour of Israel has completely taken over to the level of the very elements of the heavens and the earth and has been given to the testimony of Israel and to all those who have faith in Israel's Messiah.  From the point just preceding the blowing of the seventh trumpet on all judgments and revelation will occur through the witnesses of the Lamb.  The authority of the two testimonies that they give, in accordance with the Torah, will have taken over control of the very workings of creation.  The elements of heaven and earth will be at their command.  This is in fulfillment of those words of the Lord:

Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father,  (Yochanan 14:12).
 I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  And when He comes, He will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:…      (Yochanan 16:7-8).

It is about this, the final testimony to the Lamb, which sets Israel free, that the angel swears an oath with a thunderous roar like that of a lion.  It is about this concerning which the seven thunders echo back in seven distinct voices revealing in sevenfold detail how the authority of the Lamb to bring final judgment upon the nations, which was given to him through the opening of the seven seals, is now invested in his people.  For it is through this testimony that Israel will finally be fully freed from her old nature received from the first Adam and liberated into her new nature received from the Lamb who was slain for her, who she will receive as her King Mashiach.

Why does the angel come to swear this oath?  Why do these things not just happen without the need for such an oath?  Because even now, while we are still being gathered in the seven assemblies, from Jerusalem to Bolivia and to all the ends of the earth, we can begin to hear and to learn what the seven thunders have said, that which was concealed for the sake of the chosen of God.  For it was concealed from the world to be revealed to Yochanan and his companions alone, that they might be sealed, in due time, with the seal of God.

The angel swore this oath for our sakes, if we are among the faithful of the Lamb, that we might read and study and receive in the teaching of the Spirit of Mashiach that which Yochanan was commanded not to write down, lest the world hear it and learn what it could not understand at all, that which it should therefore not know — but which we will know fully in the time that is soon coming, if we have the Holy Spirit whom he sent and apply ourselves to listen to the revelation.

Therefore, let us consider the message of the seven thunders.  What have we learned?  Let's briefly review.  The Seven Thunders, echoed the roar and oath of the angel, the thundering out of what was written in the little scroll.  The oath of the angel directly corresponds with judgment upon the nations being mitigated for the sake of the witness of the tribes of Israel and those who stand with them in their faith.  From this we know that the Seven Thunders announced that all those sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads would be called to the witness stand at the time of the blowing of the seventh trumpet, when it was about to be blown — and that all judgment in the earth would take place in accordance with their testimony.  For the authority of the Lamb would be placed upon them as they were called to testify.  Starting here we can proceed to study more deeply.

First we see that there is a key to what the seven thunders from the little scroll said that is given openly as, what is called in Hebrew, a remez, a Scriptural hint, in that thunder is heard in one way or another with the opening of each of the seven seals. This Scriptural hint, this key, is itself somewhat hidden and has to be searched for carefully to be found.  Here is the nature of the hint we are given:

Thunders With the Opening of The Seven Seals

The nature of thunder is that it is a loud and frightening warning for all the world to hear.  First comes the thunder, then the lightning strikes.
1. The first seal is opened. The first of the four Living Angelic Creature commands with a thunderous voice, "Go!"
2. The second seal is opened. We are meant to assume that the second of the four LIving Angelic Creatures, giving the second of four commands, gives the command in the same thunderous voice.
3. The third seal is opened. The same applies: We are to understand that the command is given in a thunderous voice.
4. The fourth seal is opened. The same applies: We understand that the command is given in a thunderous voice.
5. The fifth seal is opened. The pattern remains but the actors change. Immediately following the opening of the seal, in the same place where these thunderous voices of the four Living Angelic Creatures were previously heard, the thunderous collective voice of the martyrs is heard.  Their loud, thunderous cry, "How long until divine vengeance is taken?" echos throughout the heavens.  All who have the ability to hear this terrible cry will hear.  The Scriptural hint is becoming progressively harder to uncover. Yet we can recognize through the pattern that the loud voice of the martyrs can be understood as a thunderous voice of revelation, choreographed to come at the precise place of the thunderous voices of the four Living Creatures in the opening of the first four seals.
6. The sixth seal is opened. In the giving of the authority to enact the final judgment on the nations, with the opening of the sixth seal, just when, according to the pattern that has been set we would expect the greatest thunderous sound so far, no corresponding thunder is heard in heaven. No loud immediate voice that could be understood as a thunderous voice of revelation is heard.  The mystery of why this is is heightened by the severe nature of the events that follow the opening of this seal.   
When there should be the greatest noise, concerning the calamities described — a great earthquake, the sun blackened, the moon turned to blood, the stars falling, the sky itself rolled up like a scroll, all mountains and islands moved from their place — there is instead thunderous silence. Finally, the first noise of any kind that is heard amidst this thunderous silence is the most extreme cry of all cries, not coming from visions in the heavens but, coming up from those that live upon the earth, rulers and subjects, rich and poor, crying the cry of terror, knowing that the long dreaded Apocalypse is finally come! 
Then the worst terror in the whole of the Apocalypse actually does come. The immediate suffocation of the whole planet is threatened.*1 Still, there is no thunderous warning.  But a quite commandment of mercy is heard, the commanding voice of an angel announcing the mitigation of the final judgment of the earth for the sake of the heavenly tribes of Israel.  The angels of the four winds are commanded to desist from suffocating the earth until the servants of God are sealed, but once they are sealed this action that was interrupted is never completed.  Instead, the form that the final judgment of the nations will take is changed.  It is transformed into a series of judgments that will in the end bring about complete redemption.
Only after this, during this time of the opening of the sixth seal, are any loud noises heard that could be understood to have a thunderous ring.  First, before there are any thunderous sounds, another composed voice is heard announcing the numbers of the tribes of Israel sealed with the seal of God. Then a truly thunderous song of salvation is heard from the multitudes of witnesses in heaven clothed in white robes, and after this thundering song the great Amen of praise given to God by all the angels of God is heard, with both the song and the Amen filling all of the heavens with their sound. Finally, after this, a quiet testimony concerning all those clothed in white robes is given by one of the elders.
We see a new pattern extending from the first pattern of thunders in the choreography of these visions. In the opening of the fifth seal the thunderous sound was the sound of the prayerful cry of the martyrs beneath the altar, crying for divine vengeance. In the opening of the sixth seal the thunderous sound is also a sound coming from martyrs, the witnesses of the great tribulation of the final judgment of the nations.  But now, after the sealing of the 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel, the thunderous sound of the martyrs is the sound of their universal song of salvation, not simply their personal salvation but a song of the corporate salvation of the world! 
How is this thunderous song of salvation a warning to the nations?  All the five previous thunderous sounds warned the nations simply and directly of God's wrath. This thunderous sound of those filling the heavens clothed in white robes is different.  It warns the nations concerning God's salvation, that there is no other escape from His wrath than through the Lamb and his sacrifice for corporate Israel, represented in heavenly places by the 144,000 of all the tribes of Israel.
7. The seventh seal is opened.  At first we hear no thunder, no sound at all, only the most mysterious absolute silence in heaven for about a half hour. The absoluteness of that silence is broken at first with a reminder of the prayers of the martyrs beneath the altar, as though we are being told that an answer is now being given to their prayers.   
The sound we can almost hear of the coals of the altar being thrown upon the earth is like an echo of the crying voices of the martyrs.  Then we begin to hear other sounds, the beginning of the blowing of the seven trumpets and the many sounds in the visions they bring. Then we hear the roar of the great angel Michael, which brings us directly to the resuming openly of the mighty sound of thunders.  They are now seven thunders together as one unit, thundering one immediately after the other! All the world hears them, but the world is kept from hearing what they say. And from here we will go on to hear other great voices and thunders in the revelation.

Looking More Closely At The Seven Recorded Preludes to the Seven Thunders

We have seen that an understanding of what the seven thunders speak about is first given to us in the form of a Scriptural hint with the opening of the seven seals, with each opening of a seal bringing a prelude to one of the seven thunders.  Looking more closely at this, then: 
1.)  Seal One:  The nature of the Message of The First of the Seven Thunders
— With the openly recorded thunder coming from one of the Four Angelic Beasts before the throne.  We know that the four Angelic Beasts were seen by the prophets, Isaiah and Ezekiel to carry the throne of God itself.  It is in this way that they have the power to delegate the authority of the throne.
— The One who sits upon the throne has given the authority of the throne to the Lamb who is found worthy to open the seals of the scroll. Because the authority coming from the opening of the first four seals comes from the Four Angelic Beasts, we learn that the authority of the throne itself gives authority to the 144,000 followers of the Lamb, (see chapter 14), and all those whom they represent, that is, to those sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads.*2 How do we learn this? All the remaining thunders of authority derive from this first authority given through opening of the first four seals, which is the authority delegated to angels to bring a final judgment upon the nations.  When, in the opening of the sixth seal, it is revealed to us that this authority is made dependent upon the sealing with the seal of God of the 12 tribes of Israel, we learn that the authority to enact the judgments is made dependent upon the testimony of those sealed with the seal of God.
— The secret of this authority is that Hashem is revealed through the redemption of Israel through the blood of the Lamb and in no other way, ending all idolatry and all rebellion in Humankind.
— This is demonstrated by the fact that corporate Israel is defined by God Himself making Himself known in all eternity through the exercise of this authority given to the Lamb and his followers, which is the way, the only way, Israel possesses this authority to conquer all the nations. They do this by the testimony given to the Lamb and to the name of the Lamb, (Revelation 12:11), who himself receives all power and authority from the One who sits upon the throne, (Revelation 5:7; see also Yochanan/John 6:27). 
2.) Seal Two:  The nature of the Message of The Second of the Seven Thunders
— With the unstated yet understood thunder of the next angelic beast coming in the same place as that of the first beast, the next authority is shown to be dependent on the first.
— This is Authority over all human communication, which is the instrument of all inter-human peace and conflict, as seen at the judgment of the Tower of Babel.  This includes authority over the human ability to discern between truth and error and to interpret texts, such as the Holy Scriptures, specifically the Revelation itself.
— The language (or style) of how revelation is made known is controlled by those who give the testimony of God. The confusion of tongues from the Tower of Babel is still ruling civilization and history.  The force of the effort of human civilization throughout history, since God's judgment at the Tower of Babel, has been to overcome this judgment, which God brought upon the world in preparation for the division of Israel and the nations, (Deuteronomy 32:8).   
Now, in accordance with the authority received by the Lamb in the opening of the second seal of the scroll of judgment, the witnesses of God, (who are those sealed with the seal of God), are given a testimony that controls the measure of success that the nations can have in overcoming conflict among themselves by achieving success in communication, that is, success in overcoming the judgment of God at the Tower of Babel.
— The secret of this authority is the ability of the followers of the Lamb to make known the Good News of Israel and Her Messiah.  The authority to prepare the nations to hear this Good News is put into the hands of the children of Israel and those who are joined to them in Mashiach from among the nations.  This unity between the children of Israel and those who stand with them is itself the essence of their testimony concerning Yehoshua HaMashiach.  And, for the sake of this unity a measure of unity is granted to the nations. When this second seal is opened, in due time, its authority to increase the confusion of tongues and to increase conflict will be put in the hands of those having this testimony of unity in Israel, which will then in a concealed manner rule over all communication in the world, controlling the confusion of tongues, both enabling and restraining it for the purpose of making the Good News of Israel and Her Messiah known.

3.) Seal Three:  The nature of the Message of The Third of the Seven Thunders
— Again, that the voice is like thunder here at the opening of the third seal is formally unstated but it is understood from the opening of the first seal.  Again, this indicates that the authority that is given here is dependent on the first.
— This is Authority over all human economy being given to those members of corporate Israel who are sealed with the seal of God.   
We have come in our day and age to think of the economy in terms of government and industry, global economy versus national or regional economy, etc.  But in God's order of things authority over economy means His blessing or curse in the personal ability for making a living.  And that means home and family. Economics in the Bible, even if it is being dealt with at the national or imperial level, is ultimately about home economics. The moral basis of economics is the family.   
While this fact cannot be entirely lost from human conscience, it is often forgotten.  As a result the knowledge and understanding of corporate humanity is degraded and almost lost among the nations.   
In the beginning, the curse of God, His judgment in the area of home economics upon both the man with regard to labour and the woman with regard to childbearing was intended not to condemn Humanity but to correct the mind of sin and bring heart and mind to repentance.  Home economics is at the heart of human identity and God's purpose for the family of Adam.  Therefore this is the central battleground for all spiritual warfare.  It is for this reason that God's chosen army is the redeemed family of Israel and their testimony before the nations. This will be seen more clearly beginning in the next chapter.
4.) Seal Four:  The nature of the Message of The Fourth of the Seven Thunders
— For the same reasons given for the second and third seal, it is to be understood that the authority given here is dependent upon the first.
— This is Authority over when to end each and every person's life where the timeline of their life, whether it is in full measure or cut short, has an impact on the Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach.  It goes without saying that salvation is a life and death matter. But people do not naturally want to believe this, either on the personal level or on the level of corporate Humanity.   
On a personal level, for the most part, people want to believe, or at least hope, that something of themselves will always naturally survive, even if it is only through their children or accomplishments. If there is a Day of Judgment, if there is a God, they imagine that God is good and will therefore judge them in some way like they would judge themselves.  This personal hope leaves people placing a lot of weight on their belief that Humanity as a whole should always survive and that anything, therefore, that would put an end to the world must, necessarily, be evil.  It never enters their mind that the world must end in a certain way, in a judgment of righteousness, in order that Humanity can be raised from the dead and the whole of heaven and earth be re-created.
Focusing on this level of human thinking about judgment and salvation for all Humanity, the common imagination is that since God is not evil, God will never destroy all human civilization! A story like Noah's flood could only be a myth, as far as civilized thought goes. This is because of the way the natural mind of a sinner works. The natural mind is in the end always fearful and self-justifying, if not self-justifying for this incarnation of the soul, then self-justifying for the soul itself. If not self-justifying for the personal soul, then for corporate Humanity. The instinct of human life to defend itself, even though it has sinned against its Creator, cannot be changed. It can only be overcome. Because of this, authority is given to the Lamb and to the witnesses of the Lamb to show that God's judgment ultimately does mean sudden death by the Hand of God.   
We will hear, when we hear what the fourth of the seven thunders says, that a change will be made at the time when the seventh trumpet is about to be sounded, concerning how, when and why sudden death occurs in the world.  On the personal level, we will see that the sudden death of loved ones by illness or accident, that has always occurred, in the final judgment upon the nations, will then be seen by all people to occur only at the direction of God's witnesses.   
On the level of the life and death issue of salvation for corporate humanity, the threat of the nuclear annihilation of the planet, for example, will be seen at that time by all people to be controlled entirely by the word of God's witnesses.

5.) Seal Five:  The nature of the Message of The Fifth of the Seven Thunders
— With the formally unstated thunder, yet a clearly to be understood thunder, coming in the same place as that of the four angelic beasts, but from the martyrs instead, the dependency of this authority is seen to still be directly upon the authority coming with the opening of the first seal. 
— The heart of God's revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) is that God reveals Himself in truth to a world that has believed a lie about Him. Finally, in the fullness of the revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach God reveals His Name to all the family of Adam, which had lost all true personal knowledge of Him, (Habakkuk 2:14; Revelation 22:2-4).
God does this by redeeming corporate Adam in the form of one nation only, which He Himself composes out of the family of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah and Rachel, and the twelve Torah tribes of Israel. God redeems this family by the blood of the Lamb, the Anointed One, whom God Himself gave up as a redeeming sacrifice, in order to create new life in him.  By being identified with this family, the family of Israel, both Adam, the first man and the first woman, and all their children may die and live again forever.   
To be identified with this family is to take a stand with them in their witness.  And this is to overcome the world.  It is by this victory that Jerusalem will receive her King Mashiach and the revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach will be completed. The authority of the martyrs is the authority that the Lamb received from his Father to lay down his life and to take it up again, (Yochanan/John 10:18). This is the authority derived from the first seal, and here, in the opening of the fifth seal, it becomes the authority to give this testimony in the midst of the final judgment of the nations, which leads to the death and resurrection of the whole corporate people of God and finally to the death and redeemed re-creation of the whole world.
6.) Seal Six:  The nature of the Message of The Sixth of the Seven Thunders             — The heart of the authority of the sixth seal is the authority to set the times when judgments will come upon the nations. 
7.) Seal Seven: The nature of the Message of The Seventh of the Seven Thunders   — The heart of the authority of the seventh seal is the authority to determine the precise form that the judgments will take among all the nations of the world.
The full notes on the nature of the message of the sixth and seventh of The Seven Thunders will appear in the next post on Revelation 11 with inline interpretive notes. Those notes will begin with notes on The Two Witnesses, concerning which the notes which would otherwise appear here will be seen to have direct bearing.   
Hearing The Seven Thunders is the key to knowing the testimony of The Two Witnesses. And from the time that The Two Witnesses appear in the Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach, the revelation will continue on with complete clarity, for those who have ears to hear what the Spirit says to Mashiach's Seven Gatherings, (Revelation 2:7,11,17; 3:22,29), until we come to the one whose name is, The Word of God, and to the glory that follows.  As we begin to hear what The Seven Thunders said, our ears begin to be prepared to hear the testimony of The Two Witnesses to the Word of God. 

The Seven Thunders With The Seven Seals In Relation To Israel

1. White Horse — This is the secret of Abraham.   There is only one covenant.
2.  Red Horse — This is the secret of Isaac.  There is only one faith.
3.  Black Horse — This is the secret of Jacob.  There is one blessed land.
4. Pale horse — This is the secret of Joseph.  There is one saving death, one saving life.
5. Saints above — This is the secret of Moses.  There is one prayer of salvation.
6. 12 Tribes — This is the secret of judgment.   There is one justification.
7. Word of God — This is the secret of God's voice.  There is one eternal Torah.

 Summary of What We Know About What the Seven Thunders Spoke About

Overall:  The content of what The Seven Thunders said is consistent with the seven authorities of the seven seals.   
Overall, The Seven Thunders are saying what testimony of Israel is authorized in each of the seven areas of authority. 
1.  Authority to bring final judgment upon the nations for the sake of the redemption of Israel. This is the authority of Moses and Aaron, as demonstrated in Egypt. This is the victory of the Name of God. This is the authority to receive the grace of God.
2. Authority to control conflict between person and person — in families, tribes and nations and between nations. To control language and the confusion of tongues. This authority is the authority to discern and clarify truth and error in all thought. This means to follow the Lamb even before mother and father or any other authority.
3. Authority to control all people's livelihoods and all national and international economies. This is the authority of mature discipleship in the service of God and the Lamb and means to walk by faith and not by sight in the smallest and greatest challenges of life, so as to bring true judgment upon the nations in God's service.
4.  Authority to cut lives short or extend lives by the word of testimony to the Lamb. This means to be prepared to become martyrs of the Lamb. To have power to lay down one's life and take it up again, as God commands.
5.  Authority to control time and alter history. This means to cast oneself on the mercy of God and move Him by prayer, like the prayers of Moshe and Yehoshua for Israel, to save the world from condemnation for the sake of the Lamb.
6. Authority to quiet heaven and earth with the fear of the Lord, in order to speak the final word of judgment to the nations, to command them to let Israel serve God in the Land of God, as Moses spoke the final word of judgment to Pharaoh. This means to go like Abraham to follow the voice of God and to leave this world behind, and like Moses leave all self-doubt and natural humbleness behind, and like Israel be willing to obey God in order to understand God, and serve God.
7.  This is the authority to silence heaven and earth utterly, in order, as a witness of God, to carry out all judgments at one's own will, in harmony with the whole testimony of God, in complete obedience to the Spirit of Mashiach, to bring about all the revelation, the revelation that is necessary to prepare the way of the Lord.

The Concealment of What The Seven Thunders Said 

[Having begun to hear, if we have ears informed by the Spirit, what The Seven Thunders said, which was heard but not written down by Yochanan, we now return to Yochanan's account of how the message of the little scroll and of The Seven Thunders was sealed up inside of him.]

Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, "Go and take the opened scroll from the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land."

[The transfer of the authority of the angel to Yochanan and the witness of the apostles of the Lamb and all who are sealed with the seal of God upon the earth is symbolized by Yochanan being commanded to take the little scroll out of the hand of the angel.]

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the small scroll. "Take it and eat it," he told me. "It will turn bitter in your stomach, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth."

[It is difficult (bitter) to conceal this prophecy.  It must be done in the most personal of ways.  But it must be done for the sake of the grace of God.  Just as it was personally difficult for Yehoshua to be concealed from his disciples on the day of Shavuot by being taken up into heaven, and to continue to teach them from then on concerning their testimony to the Kingdom only through the Spirit, so it was to be difficult for Yochanan to pass on the concealed prophecy and its revelation which he received in this way. Nevertheless, when he would be able to share it among those chosen to hear it, (and they before the world at the time sworn by the angel), the difficulty would turn to the sweetness of joy in the mouth.]

So I took the small scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, it turned bitter in my stomach.

[As soon as Yochanan had the scroll in his mouth he was ready to share it on account of the sweetness and goodness of its content, but he was not permitted. Therefore it turned to bitterness in his stomach.]

Then the seven thunders told me, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings. 

[Here the text says literally only "they" told me.  The translators have supplied by interpretation that "they" refers to "the seven thunders".  There seems to be no other possible "they" in this vision and experience. We might say that Yochanan understood, from having heard what the great angel and The Seven Thunders had said, that they were telling him that he had to conceal their message deep within himself and reveal it only to his closest fellowship until the time when it would be heard by all the witnesses of God sealed with the seal of God.  For in hearing what The Seven Thunders said he was representative of them.  And in the Spirit with them, at the time appointed, he would prophesy all that The Seven Thunders had said before many peoples, nations, languages, and kings. That time would be the time concerning which the angel, Michael, had sworn an oath, the time just before the seventh trumpet was blown.]

*1 Suffocation of the planet
On the threatened "suffocation" of the planet see the footnote at the end of the notes on chapter 7.

*2 144,000 sealed
That it is not only the 144,000 who are sealed with the seal of God is established by the following:

From Revelation 14:1 we see that the name of God being written on the forehead is the seal of God. 
In Revelation 4:10 and 4:12b we see that all those who are faithful to Yehoshua HaMashiach will be sealed with the seal of God: 
"Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. 
I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name." 
From 9:4 together with 7:14 we see that those clothed in white robes are sealed with the seal of God. 
This is in accordance with Revelation 3: verses 5 and 18, as well as 4:4 and 6:11. 
In Revelation 22:2-4 we see that the very nations that were judged for the sake of the redemption of Israel will be healed and that the name of God, the seal of God, will also be upon their foreheads.