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).
And,
 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.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Revelation 9 with inline interpretive notes

< Revelation chapter 8

When the fifth angel blew his trumpet, I saw a star that had fallen to earth from the sky. The star was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.  [This and what follows from this is the first of the three catastrophic woes.]

[The translation "bottomless pit" when translated back through Greek to Hebrew refers to Sheol. While Sheol is a Hebrew term that refers to every aspect of the state of death in This World, before The World To Come, here in this context of the Revelation the key to Sheol, or the bottomless pit, that is given is the key to that aspect of the state of death in which evil and fallen spirits are contained during the time of this world.  Here we will see that certain evil spirits having qualities like those of locusts are loosed upon the earth for a given time.

The star that is seen is an angel of a star. This angel that is given the key to the bottomless pit is not one of the holy angels of the revelation, those carrying out the merciful judgments of God, but is itself a fallen angel.  This angel had already fallen to the earth when the vision coming from the blowing of the fifth trumpet begins.  The vision begins with this fallen angel being given the key to the bottomless pit.

This is the first time when it is made known that the letting loose of fallen angels upon the earth is an element of the final judgment upon the world.  From the beginning of history, right up to this time of the final judgment in the world, which is the time of the end of history, the world had knowingly or unknowingly worshipped and served fallen angels.  The world had been greatly deluded about the nature of these powers.  Never did they fully believe that they were fallen powers.  In later times, many peoples came to believe that these powers were actually powers of their own minds.

Now, in the process of the revelation of the Messiah of Israel, it is the judgment of God Almighty that the world should see the true nature of the fallen angels. The fallen angels from the sky do not love the human beings.  Rather, like the demons that are created from below, they seek to torment them and would kill all humans if they were allowed.  In this way, God will bring the world to face the truth that the powers and abilities of these fallen angels and demons that humans covet and sometimes have gained through science or sorcery are not good powers at all, but being powers stolen from being under the authority of God have become evil powers, capable only of producing evil.]

It opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and smoke came out of the shaft like the smoke from a large furnace. The sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.

[It is necessary to understand clearly how the authority of the opened seals was granted progressively and in a cumulative manner.  As each seal of the scroll of authority for the judgments of Israel's redemption and her Messiah's revelation were removed, the authority granted under each seal remained in force as the next seal was opened.

As we now see the judgments being enacted, we need to see how each one requires the various forms of authority granted through the opening of the different seals.  Here, the smoke from the shaft into Sheol could not have been allowed to rise except for the authority of the opening of the fourth seal, the seal over the authority of Death itself, to bring the supernatural powers of Death and Sheol upon the earth.

There are powers of evil in the sky and there are powers of evil on the earth and beneath the earth.  When the evil among the rulers of the nations rises they call evil good and good evil.   This is the very source of their magic, their sorcery. Therefore just as God brought plagues through miracles upon the Egyptians that measure for measure overpowered the magic of the Egyptian sorcerers, so He now in the end of time turns the evil of the fallen angels in the sky and the demonic evil in the underworld against the evil of the rulers of the earth and their followers, that evil might be known as evil and good as good.]

Locusts came out of the smoke onto the earth, and they were given power like that of earthly scorpions.

[In Egypt the locusts were natural but the spirit by which they gathered and came upon Egypt was not natural.  Then in the beginning of Israel's redemption, as now at the end of Israel's redemption, locusts gather to devour the power of those who held Israel captive.  Both now and before they gather at the command of God but in a spirit of demonic force.

Before in Egypt, the all consuming hunger of the locusts was unleashed to create the image of the utter devastation caused by the evil of rebellion against God.  Now that image of consuming hunger has become the thing itself.  It is not just hunger but supernatural demonic hunger to destroy and cause devastation in the earth, to torture and kill with ferocity.  Its poison is like the scorpion striking with its tail and its target which it strikes is the human conscience.]

They were told not to harm the grass on the earth, any green plant, or any tree. They could harm only the people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

They were not allowed to kill them, but were only allowed to torture them for five months. Their torture was like the pain of a scorpion when it stings someone.

[The natural locusts in Egypt, though they came in supernatural swarms, came only to harm the crops of Egypt.  Now the locusts that come are supernatural locusts of hunger to destroy and consume all life.  But they are harnessed and restrained from consuming all life for the sake of the children of the tribes of Israel and those who are united with them in one faith, sealed in their foreheads with the seal of God, (in accordance with the authority granted in the opening of the sixth seal).

Though these demons released from the bottomless pit are spirits of devouring locusts, they are controlled by the power of this very revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) from devouring the life force of either crops or trees or any wild vegetation.  They are not even allowed to utterly devour and consume the souls of the human beings, who are their true prey upon the earth.
They are only allowed to demonize and afflict their bodies and souls with supernatural pain.  It is in the measure of 1/3, the measure of warning.  Not 1/2 of the year, that is, for 6 months, not 1/4, that is for 3 months, not precisely for 1/3, that is for 4 months, but for 1/3 extended toward but cut short of 1/2, that is for 5 months.

And this period of time only, in order to declare to those who fear that it is the power of the demons in control that it is not them but the Almighty One who sits upon the throne in heaven and the Lamb who stands before Him, who unleashes them and leashes them, to warn the inhabitants of the earth that they will receive measure for measure for their evil deeds.  And more, this judgment, like all the judgments, will be shown to the nations to be a measured judgment for the sake of the children of the tribes of Israel, that the world might know that it is for their sakes that God shows mercy to Humankind.

How shall those tormented by the demonic locusts know that it is the One who sits upon the throne in heaven and the Lamb who stands before him who is the one who unleashes and who leashes the demonic locusts?  The nations shall know because they will see that the locusts cannot harm the children of the tribes of Israel nor those who stand in the faith of Israel with them, who are sealed in their foreheads with the seal of God.  Yet all others are struck as with a scorpion's tale in their minds and are tormented, being unable to know right from wrong on any level, being unable to discern what is true, being unable to keep from following liars and idolizing them, being unable to escape the torments of addiction to immorality.]

In those days people will seek death, but never find it. They will long to die, but death will escape them.

[Again, as said above, this comes through the authority of the opening of the sixth seal, (Rev. 6:16).  First and foremost this applies to Israel for the final purging of Israel.  This is that final purging of Israel of those in Israel who are fallen away from God and His covenant, His Messianic Torah claim upon them, (as spoken of in Luke 23:30 Hos. 10:8).

Yet, because God already provided redemption for corporate Israel in heavenly places by the death and resurrection of the Lamb, Yehoshua HaMashiach, in the time of the Edomite rule over Jerusalem, through this purging all Israel will be saved.  All the children of Israel, together with all members of all families of the earth who will stand with them in faith will, in the end, be found sealed in their foreheads with the seal of God.   And because of this salvation of Israel which now is and which is to come, God now commands all people everywhere to repent and believe the Good News of Israel and Her Messiah, (see Acts 17), and accordingly this prophecy of the last judgement is extended to all peoples and nations,  (Isa. 2:19).

What is the true meaning of this prophecy?  It is that at that time of the last judgment of history people will rather face in shame the Angel of Death in person, face to face, than to face in shame the Lamb of God in person, face to face.  But they will not escape their role in humanity, they will not escape the great tribulation, the great correction of the human race upon the earth, in this way.  They will not be able to escape into the arms of Death.]

The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were victor's crowns that looked like gold, and their faces were like human faces.

[While these entities are called locusts because they serve in the role of locusts and because they have as their core characteristics the characteristics of locusts. There spirit is arrogance, greed and the devouring hunger of Sheol.  And now their arrogance is filled with triumph because they have escaped the confinement of Sheol and they feel their spirit has free reign upon the earth.  But unlike true locusts they are not natural.  They are aliens, demonic beings, created in the underworld for no other purpose than this judgment at the end of human history.  And when God's purpose in the judgment is accomplished they will be gone.]

They had hair like women's hair and teeth like lions' teeth.

[Were their physical attributes purely metaphorical expressions describing psychological states the metaphors would be representative of spiritual forces even more terrifying than the physical entities. But these are truly evil spirits.  Are these descriptions of entities that are demonic and technological mixes that will be seen in the near future?  Certainly, if Yochanan had set about to describe a vision of some of the flying war machines of today those descriptions might have seemed to have similar properties of appearance as these entities.  However, unlike the angelic horses and riders of the next trumpet vision, it seems that these demonic entities afflict their victims without using any physical medium other than the minds of their victims themselves.

In the last analysis it can be seen that these entities, and those to come after these, are not themselves simply futuristic machines, even animate machines.  Even though they may or may not be visible to human sight, these are demonic entities that are able to affect not only the body of their prey but also their spirit, their soul, their mind.  While these spirits are indeed like tech armoured warrior-like, cyborg-like demons, they are in fact only demons.

What is most revealing is that they also resemble women.   Just as fallen angels from the beginning coveted the qualities of human women,  so here they have imitated human women and have turned those imitated qualities to evil use.  Their is an evil seductiveness to these locusts.  They gain entry and access for their poison through the forehead, through the eyes, through the mind, of those who are not sealed by the seal of God.  They are invited through an open door, opened with fascination to a human face and the hair of a woman and to golden crowns and to a mouth having lion's teeth into the mind. There they dominate and bring torment for five months with a sting of poison like that of a scorpion's tale.]

They had breastplates like iron, and the noise of their wings was like the roar of chariots with many horses rushing into battle.

[A resistance will be found in those whose minds the locusts seduce and torment, at least in some.  But the locusts will be built with a defense against this resistance, and they will come in giant swarms.]

They had tails and stingers like scorpions, and they had the power to hurt people with their tails for five months.

[Once again it is repeated that this judgment is a measured judgment.  Even the form of poison is intended not to be a fatal form of poison.  Although it is a form of poison that could be fatal,  it is decreed by God in the Revelation of Israel's Redeemer, that it not be fatal, or that its power last for too long.]

They had the angel of the bottomless pit ruling over them as king. In Hebrew he is called Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.

These locusts demons had golden crowns of victory on their heads because their god is the god of this world, and though he has free reign upon the earth his time is short.  Therefore the wrath of his arrogance is great.  The revelation is first in the Hebrew language for the children of Israel, but as I began explaining above is also extended to the nations, and is therefore also in the Greek. Here the greatest fallen angel, the present god of this world, manifests himself as Abaddon, the ruler of death itself, though he is only the con artist who deceived the world into serving sin and to becoming enslaved to sin and the realm of death; in the end he will be proven to not be the true ruler over death at all, although he is the god of all unholy destruction.]

The first catastrophic woe is over. After these things there are still two more catastrophic woes to come.

[By this narrative in the revelation we continue to keep track of the place where we are in the vision of the blowing of the seven trumpets.  We have now seen the vision coming with the blowing of the fifth trumpet.  Next we will see the visions coming with the blowing of the sixth trumpet.  This will take us into and through chapter 10, where we will come to the seven thunders.  It will then take us half way through chapter 11, where we will learn of the two witnesses.  After this (the second woe), we will come to the blowing of the seventh trumpet (which is the the third and final woe).  The visions coming with the blowing of the seventh trumpet will include all remaining judgments of the revelation, including the seven bowel judgments, the defeat of the Beast, the destruction of Mystery Babylon, the appearing of the Mashiach of Israel and his wedding and his millennial reign upon the earth.]

When the sixth angel blew his trumpet, I heard a voice from the four horns of the gold altar in front of God.

[The voice is coming directly from the authority of the prayers of the martyrs.]

It told the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are held at the great Euphrates River."

[These are from the four quadrants of the empire of Alexander the Great.  Had they not been imprisoned at the Euphrates River at that time the world would have completely united under the Hellenistic empire.  At this time of the end of history they will be released in order that there will soon be one world government united against the God who chose Israel and Jerusalem.  For this is the purpose of God in order that He might reveal the will of the children of Adam and put an end to their rebellion.]

So the four angels who were ready for that hour, day, month, and year were released to kill one-third of humanity.

[These four powers over the four military principalities of the earth which were removed from their place by God's decree for Jerusalem's sake.  They were to be imprisoned only until atonement had been provided for Jerusalem's unfaithfulness and until she was ready to be brought to repentance.  Then, when she was prepared to stand with her Redeemer against the world these angels would be released.

Therefore it was  at this well planned hour that these angels were being released back to rule from their heights over the nations. When the four principle angels are released the armies of angels that serve them are released with them.]

The number of cavalry troops was 200,000,000. I heard how many there were.

[While this number may also represent in a symbolic manner the number of human soldiers who will be animated by these angelic forces, its direct reference is to the number of angelic forces themselves, as we will see.  That Yochanan hears the number but we are not told how means that it has a certain symbolic meaning in reference to what is concealed from the world but will be revealed through those who are sealed in their foreheads by the seal of God.]

This was how I saw the horses in my vision: The riders wore breastplates that had the colour of fire, sapphire, and sulphur. The heads of the horses were like lions' heads, and fire, smoke, and sulphur came out of their mouths.

[These horses are spirits, just as the demons from the bottomless pit of Sheol were spirits, just as the angels, the military forces that ride these horses are spirits. But these horses are a species of angels who come to animate the armies of the nations to build a world empire by their military might. Because this involves a kind of reproduction on the kingdom of Alexander it means the final resolution of the wars between the king of the north and the king of the south that have been going on all through the centuries.

These descriptions show that these angelic horses are not just military spirits but that they are, as it were, military industrial spirits, able to inspire military intelligence and technology, as well as to animate military force.  Just as these spirits appear as natural horses in supernatural form with supernatural abilities, so the will inspire industry and technology that rises to a virtually supernatural level in the human armies that they animate.]

By these three plagues—the fire, the smoke, and the sulphur that came out of their mouths—one-third of humanity was killed.

[We see a scenario represented in which it is almost as if military vehicles are each equipped with weapons producing nuclear firepower with nuclear radiation.   These visions of the Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach were to be accessible not only to us at the end of time but also to those who lived at the time it was received.  Although at that time it was already known where gunpowder was to come from, gunpowder was not yet itself invented as such.  On one level, therefore, the vision reveals the overwhelmingly frightful reality that we already see everyday in our own age, that sulphur based fire and smoke should contain projectiles of death coming out of the mouths of all military vehicles.  But a hint is given in the description of the angelic military horses that, with their riders, represent and animate these earthly forces.

The description informs us that each of the three elements are to be understood as plagues.  While this can be read as saying that it is the three elements working together that have the power to kill 1/3 of the earth's population, the hint is that these elements in the end will represent a form of destructive power where each of these elements acting also individually have the power to kill.  We see this now in the case of nuclear power.  The sulphur, that is to say the chemical element, the exploding radioactive material, as well as the fire, the blast-wave, and the smoke, the radiation, all separately have the power to kill.  From this vision of the military technology of these horses, then, one could envision anti-God angelically inspired human-made drone military vehicles each equipped with small nuclear warhead mounted rocket launchers at their mouth.

But again, the word of God puts a limit on the amount of destruction these armies can do to Humanity. It is the same measure.  1/3 of the human race will be destroyed in the wars that lay the foundation for creating one world government in opposition to the government In the heavens of the One who sits upon the throne and against the Lamb, and on the earth in opposition to a Torah governed Israel and therefore in opposition to the Jewish city of Jerusalem.]

For the power of these horses is in their mouths and their tails. Their tails have heads like snakes, which they use to inflict pain.

[The opposition to God of these four angels and their armies that is here being allowed is itself the judgment that comes with the blowing of this trumpet.  Before now this level of opposition to God was not allowed.  At this point, at this appointed day and hour and year, it will be allowed.  Not only are 1/3 of all people killed but this warfare, which appears to be taking place throughout the world, is actually directed mostly at the Jews and those who stand with them in one faith. These are the martyrs the victims of the four heads of these horses and their riders.

Together with God's martyrs there are multitudes more of the citizens of the earth who are killed at this time.   But there are many more people who are wounded and afflicted with pain. These are the victims of the serpent tails. Primarily, the serpent tails are the agents of the military propaganda and ideology of these armies. They do not kill outright, but like the serpent in the garden, target the soul and seek to destroy it from within.  This is to say the one world government is, here, still restrained and not completed.  It is still coming to power.]

The rest of the people who survived these plagues did not repent from their evil actions or stop worshiping demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which cannot see, hear, or walk.

[It is still primarily the Jewish people as a whole who God is judging, in order to bring them to repentance.  But it is also, with them, all the people of every family and nation, (see Acts 17).]

They did not repent from their murders, their witchcraft, their sexual immorality, or their thefts.

[There is virtually a complete correspondence to the seven Noahide Laws listed here.  1). Idolatry (see the verse above).  2).  Murder.  3). Witchcraft is listed in the place of blasphemy.  The basis of sorcery is calling good evil and evil good.  The application of this for the sake of power is in using the name of God blasphemously to accomplish one's own will.  4). Immorality.  5). Theft.

This is exactly the list of sins prohibited by the Seven Noahide Laws based on Talmudic exegesis. The Talmudic exegesis, (which was only written down many years after this revelation was given), is of each of the words of the universal commandment given to Adam in the Garden of Eden by Hashem God, to eat freely of all the fruit of the trees that God provided for them, (Genesis 2:16).

The exception, the one prohibition left of this list here, is the prohibition not to eat of the limb torn from an animal, which was made explicit at the time of Noah.  This sin would involve the eating of blood.  It would also imply the sin of any form of cruelty to animals in the procurement of food.  That the Revelation is here saying that the citizens of the world also did not repent of this sin can be gathered from the fact that this list is a reference to the complete list of the Noahide laws.  The apostles expected repentance in regard to the list of sins above on the part of any gentiles who desired to attach themselves to the community of Israel in the name of Yehoshua HaMashiach, referring to the list comprehensively by naming the sin of immorality.  In the case of these believers they also added the prohibition of eating blood, (see Acts 15).

In regard to the other Noahide law that is not listed here, to create courts of justice, it is the message of the whole Book of the Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach, (Jesus Christ), that the nations will never create courts of true justice on their own but will do so only when Mashiach rules over them for one thousand years.

This verdict being stated here marks the end of this chapter of judgment.   This is so even though there is one more trumpet to be sounded.  Nevertheless, this verdict being given here is telling us that everything that could be done to warn the world to repent before judgment upon the earth comes in full has been done.  Judgment must now come in full measure.   Since until now the judgment has been mitigated for the sake of the children of Israel, and since the full measure of judgment will come in accordance with the word of their testimony, the revelation will now come to show a vision in which is concealed and revealed the power of the testimony of those sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads.  This vision comes with seven thunders in chapter 10.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Revelation 8 with inline interpretive notes

Revelation 7

The Seventh Seal 

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 

[The removal of the sixth seal has allowed all that was written on the front side of the scroll to be read.  But there was still another seal to be opened.

The opening of the seventh seal allowed the scroll to be unrolled completely.  Although there was nothing written on the last section of the front side of the scroll, this seal being broken allowed the scroll to be turned over, so that it could be read on the other side and re-rolled again as it was read.

 Accordingly, there was silence in heaven for about a half hour while the scroll was being turned over and the empty section at the end of the one side and the beginning of the other side was passed over.  As soon as what was written on the backside of the scroll began to appear the visions resumed.

This silence in heaven in the midst of the revelation, while the scroll is being turned over, is like the calm in the eye of the storm.  It is representative of the absolute power and sovereignty behind the revelation, which comes from the One who is beyond, the One who is seated upon the throne, who wrote the scroll on the front side and the back and sealed it with seven seals on the top of the scroll, and who handed it to the Lamb to be opened.

This quality represented by the silence in the midst of the revelation signifies the concealment which is found in the midst of the revelation.  This concealment is first and foremost the concealment of the Lamb himself, how he could not at first be found, but was only found after a search was made for him through all the heavens and earth.

This silence in heaven for about an half an hour is not an intermission, as some would imagine.  It is itself the heart of the revelation.  It is signifying that the power of the revelation comes always, at every point, from the One who is beyond, and this is the key to understanding.  This silence is the key to hearing the seven thunders, which will remain silent to us, unless we learn the meaning of this silence, to hear and understand it.  This silence, this turning over of the scroll of revelation, teaches us that the knowledge of the revelation cannot be received or attained by human will or effort or accomplishment.  It is the test of faith, which is the source of faith.

It is this silence in heaven, for the sake of the turning over of the scroll, in order that what is written on the reverse side to be read and the scroll to be rolled up again as it is read, which signifies the concealment of the Messiah of Israel, his death in this world and resurrection in a new creation and his ascension into heaven, where he and all that he is and brings is concealed from this world for about the space of an half an hour of heavenly time.  This is the source of all concealment in the revelation of the Messiah of Israel, the concealment of the brilliance of his light, so that it does not utterly and forever blind the children of Adam.

Through this silence, this suspended breath in heaven, in the midst of the revelation of eternal life, the grace of God is made possible toward the world.  This is the secret in the revelation of God, which can be received only by faith in the Lamb which was slain for the redemption of Israel.

The secret of the divine silence will now progressively come to an end with the revelation that comes through the opening of the seventh seal and the rolling of the scroll to the beginning of all that will be read there on the other side of the scroll — which is all the remainder of our book.

Though the words and force of the Book of the Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ), the judgments of his coming are made known to the world, and because of the meaning of the silence, which is the secret of the concealed words of the seven thunders, within it, the revelation is actually given only to the servants of God.  What is revealed to the world serves as a warning to repent, a warning given by the servants of God, those who will serve as witnesses before God against those who in the end do not repent, though they were warned.

The six necessary measures of authority for bringing the final judgment to the earth have been given to the angels of God.  This was done with the opening of the first six seals of the scroll.  The seventh measure of authority, that to bring about the final end of judgment and revelation in the earth, by the sovereign grace of God, through mitigated judgment, has now also been given through the opening of the seventh seal of the scroll that was handed by the One who sits upon the throne to the Lamb who had been slain.

During the authority of the sixth seal, which was the authority to immediately commence with the action bringing final judgment upon the earth, the action was interrupted for the sake of sealing the minds of the servants of God with understanding.  We will see now that this act of sealing the servants of God, as formed in the perfect representation of corporate Israel redeemed by the blood of the Lamb,  had the effect of being an act of mercy toward the whole world.  For it is this that mitigated the judgment that would come by the agency of the angels endowed with the authority of judgment upon the world.

The scroll has now been fully unsealed and turned over.  We begin to see what is revealed by what is written on the reverse side.]

Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, [in the place where the seven lamps, the seven spirits of the Shechinah, and the Lamb stood], and seven trumpets [announcing the final redemption of Israel, the end of history, and calling for the repentance of the world] were given to them. 

And another angel came and stood at the altar [with all the martyrs of God and of the Lamb beneath it] with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, [lest the judgment that was now coming not have an assurance, for those who would look for it, of mercy and salvation] and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. 

Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings  flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.  

[Multiple peals of thunder are explicitly mentioned here in association with the opened seventh seal. This highlights for us, upon the conclusion of the great half hour silence in heaven, how thunderous the silence of mystery was that was associated with the opening of the sixth seal.  For at no time was any loud and thunderous sound said to be heard with the opening of the sixth seal, as it was with the opening of all other seals.  When he heard the children of Israel and all people on the earth calling for the rocks to fall upon them, it would have been all the more pronounced to Yochanan, because there was no thunder echoing and rumbling in the background, only silence.  All the visions that took place after the opening of the sixth seal, all dialogue heard during those visions, took place against a background of silence.

We can understand then that it might have seemed to Yochanan, (and so, perhaps, should seem to us who receive the revelation through him), that the accompanying silence, the absence of any thunderous sound, during the visions of the opening of the sixth seal were that much more profound because the visions showed a time of great fear upon the earth as well as a time of introduction to the greatest secrets of God.  Indeed, that silence, that lack of accompanying thunder during the opening of the sixth seal might have seemed so profound in the experience of Yochanan that it may have seemed itself to simply culminate in the complete silence in heaven for the half hour.

Now all that silence, all that mystery, begins to be broken with multiple thunderings and the rumblings of the heavenly voice following the opening of the seventh seal and the beginning of the multiple visions that will come with the reading of all that is written on the backside of the scroll.

We see also that it is out of the censer, (carried by the angel of the censer of the incense of the prayers of the holy people beneath the altar), that the multiple thunders come.  And these multiple thunders are an allusion to the seven thunders of chapter 10, as we will see.

It is when coals of the altar are added to this incense and thrown down upon the earth, that the thunderous sounds now come, with lightning and earthquakes warning of the tribulations of judgment.  All that follows, in the blowing of the seven trumpets and what follows from them, will be like coals of fire mixed with the prayers of the incense of the holy people under the altar, the vengeance of God mitigated by grace, strict justice mixed with mercy.]


The Seven Trumpets

Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.

[All seven angels now stand in line before the throne of the One who sits upon the thrown.  As said above, this is the place of the seven spirits of the Shechinah and the place of the Lamb.  All seven angels have their horns raised to their lips and are ready to blow them, one after the other.  Therefore all these seven judgments are to be understood as together being one progressive judgment, and heard as one warning to the world.]

The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these [hailstones of ice, fire and blood.] were thrown upon the earth.  And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

[Supernatural Hail comes as the first judgment because the judgment of hail in Egypt was the turning point judgment in Egypt, where the pride and will of Pharaoh began to be broken.  As we will see later, the judgment of hail is representative of all the specific judgments that result in the redemption of Israel from captivity to the nations.

This vision coming with the blowing of the first trumpet is meant to speak to the judgment found at the beginning of chapter 7, in the midst of the opening of the sixth seal, of the four angels of the four winds of the earth, holding back those winds from blowing upon land, sea or trees.   There the judgment was to be absolute, the suffocating of all life upon the earth.  Here we see that judgment has been mitigated.  it is a judgment of the selective force of fire, and it is restrained to being 1/3 of the vegetation of the earth.  It should not just be that such a great portion of the earth is burnt by fire that brings fear of judgment and repentance.  It should be that it was the will of the wrath of God to end all life on the earth, as it was in the days of Noah.  But just as then, for the sake of the Righteous One to come, the Lamb, God spared Noah and his family, so now for the sake of Israel, the family given to the Lamb, represented by the 144,000 children of the tribes of Israel in the vision, and for the sake of their testimony, God's will is modified, so that He will spare all whom He can in the earth.  It is this truth, more than all else, knowing this to be the only source of God's mercy, that should bring the fear of God and repentance to those who dwell upon the earth.]

The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. 

[Because, for the sake of the children of Israel, the whole earth is not suffocated due to the wrath of God, but His wrath is eased and only 1/3 of the earth is burnt by fire instead, this results in the sea not being affected directly by that judgment.  The sea, then, because it was sparred for the sake of Israel, and the redemption of Israel, will be the place of the beginning of the testimony of the redemption of Israel.  As the Red Sea was split for the sake of the redemption of Israel, after that the judgments in Egypt began with the turning of the Nile River to blood, so now all the seas of the world, among all nations, will be turned to blood.  Yet again, this is for the sake of the testimony of the redemption of Israel.  Therefore, due to the prayers of the holy people beneath the altar in heaven, the testimony of the redemption of Israel from among the nations shall begin with 1/3 of the seas being turned to blood.]

A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

[By this it is signified that it is not only the life that the oceans are in themselves that shall be, in this measure, turned into death, but also the life that they represent to the commerce of the nations that shall be, in this measure, turned to death.]

The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on l the springs of water. 

The name of the star is Wormwood.  A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.

[There are two levels to the reason for the wrath of God toward the world.  One is the rebellion of Adam and the corruption of all goodness in which He made Adam.  This is the reason for the Flood that He sent upon the world in the time of Noah.  The second is that even when, out of His grace for the sake of the Righteous One whom He would send, He sparred the family of Noah and called Abraham and Sarah and chose Israel, to provide a way of redemption and repentance, the world rebelled even more, despising His purpose in setting Israel apart unto Himself.  Instead, in its rebellion, the world designed and built its societies, its cities and nations and empires, in accordance with the imagination of its pride, seeking for itself to sit in the place of God.  In its war against God the world sought to claim Israel as its own.  If it could not, then it was determined to destroy Israel.  And for this reason, God's wrath was kindled at the deepest level against the world.  Nevertheless, for the sake of the Lamb who was slain for Israel, to fulfill God's purpose in Israel, and for the sake of the prayers of the faithful of Israel, God determined to overcome the rebellion of the whole world not by destroying the world but by redeeming Israel from the love of the world and from subjection to its power.  Now, therefore, when this testimony began to be given through the blowing of the first two trumpets, the blowing of the third trumpet announced that the judgment of God in the earth would take the form very explicitly of the redemption of Israel.  Just as Israel had been redeemed out of Egypt, so Israel would be redeemed out of captivity to all the nations.  Just as the redemption of Israel from Egypt had begun with judgment upon the Nile River, by turning it to blood, so the redemption of Israel from among all the nations would immediately begin with judgment upon all the earth's rivers and sources of life-giving water, by turning them to blood.  But just as it was already signified that the judgments bringing about this redemption were not to condemn the world but to save the world, so in the turning of the rivers to blood also would be mitigated by the prayers of the holy witnesses and would begin in 1/3 measure.

What is more, before in Egypt it was not revealed openly before all the world that the poisoning of the Nile and turning its life-giving waters into waters of death was done through the power of the fallen angels worshipped in Egypt being destroyed and thrown into the river.  But now, openly before all the world, it would be revealed that it would be through the defeat of the very powers that the nations relied upon that their rivers and springs would be polluted with the wormwood of death.]

The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

[The judgments leading to the redemption of Israel from Egypt began with the Nile River being turned to blood and ended and ended with absolute darkness covering the land of Egypt.  There were those in Egypt who thought that the sun must be the greatest power, the greatest god.  Instead of longing for knowledge of the God of heaven and earth, the longed for knowledge of the sun, the power that they could see with the pride of their own minds.  When absolute darkness covered the land of Egypt the proud minds of the Egyptians could see nothing and could understand nothing.  There was no pride left to them except the pride of their hearts and with it the pride in their firstborn sons.  In this way the nations today have not changed from that long past nation of Egypt.  The thoughts of the nations today long to know the stars.  Their thoughts center all things on the sun and long to harness the power of the sun, both its power on the earth and its power to stand as one among the stars.  There are fallen angels who come from the realm of the stars who flatter the vain children of the earth and feed them knowledge through the illusions of light.  For the sake of the redemption of Israel from among the nations and the salvation of the world, God will cast down the powers and principle rulers of these high places, which rule this fallen world in the day and in the night.  He will cast them down at first by measure, in order that all the world might fear Him and repent.  He will overcome the pride of their minds.  In the end, nothing will be left to them but the pride of their hearts, for they will be prepared to die in failure, as the children of Adam before them, always thinking that they die leaving the legacy of their empire, their world to their children, to their firstborn. But God will yet overcome even this pride and will redeem Israel from it.]

Then I looked, and I heard an eagle [an emblem and agent of the Shechinah] crying with a loud voice [the coming seven thunders are hinted to] as it flew directly overhead “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”

[A significant aspect of the mystery of the Book of the Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) and of the Scroll opened by the Lamb, also, will be found in the arrangement of its composition.  This is especially true when it comes to the visions that arise with the blowing of the last three trumpets.  Unlike previous visions, the visions that come with branching visions and with amplified and nested visions.  This becomes progressively the case as we move from the fifth trumpet to the sixth and then to the seventh.  For example, the visions of the judgments of the seven bowls are all contained within the vision array that comes with the blowing of the seventh trumpet.  The three woes announced here by the angelic eagle is not meant to add to the multiplicity of visions.  It is intended to help us to see the larger design, which Yochanan saw.  It is meant to help prepare us for the severity and importance of the judgments and of the revelation that will come with the blowing of the last three trumpets.  It is also meant to help us retain the view of Yochanan who all through the time of the blowing of the seven trumpets saw all seven angels standing before the One who sits upon the throne, with their trumpets to their lips, showing that all were to be understood together as one, even the last three, where many, many visions and much revelation would occur, right up to the end of our book.]

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Revelation 7 with inline interpretive notes

< Revelation chapter 6

The 144,000 of Israel Sealed

After this,  [that is to say, after the first visions of the sixth seal more consequences of opening the sixth seal follow.  The chapter has changed, but we are still being shown the nature of the authority that is given to the angels of judgment through the opening of the sixth seal.  So far, we have seen that the authority under the sixth seal is to begin full scale judgment in the earth, which will bring about the end of natural history.  So now, "after this..." we see a vision of angels involved in the actual commencement of final judgment: ]

I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree.

[The sixth seal has been opened. Authority is given for the final judgment upon the earth to begin to take place.  All air currents, all winds, are about to be stopped.  As a result, the earth will be made to suffocate even while it is dying of thirst.  The four angels who control all of earth's weather are prepared to immediately bring about this judgment on the earth.*  It is a moment of great suspense in which it is to be understood with complete clarity that If this judgment goes forward there will be no air currents at all on the earth, therefore no moisture would be able to rise from the oceans to fall upon the continents and their would be no exchange of oxygen with other gases for  the maintaining of life.

Suddenly this this scene is interrupted. We remember that there is one more seal to be opened.  And for the sake of what is yet to be revealed through the opening of that seal, this total judgment which seems about to be let loose upon the world will be stopped at this point, and, as we will see, the exercise of this authority will be put into other hands.]

Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, [ in the midst of the opening of the seven seals of the scroll, at the time when the sixth seal has been opened, we hear of another seal, the seal of God], and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 

[We will see even more clearly later that there is a direct correlation of authority between this seal, the seal of God, which will now be placed upon, or in, the forehead of the servants of God, and the sixth and seventh seal of the scroll which is being unrolled, which is the scroll of the revelation of the world's judgment and Israel's final redemption — the scroll which the Lamb is in the midst of opening.

The relationship between these different seals, those on the scroll and that placed on or in the forehead of those named, is the relationship between what is revealed openly to the world in the Book of the Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) and what is concealed from the world within that book and mysteriously revealed through that same book only to the servants of God.  This principle will be understood clearly through the revelation of the seven thunders in chapter ten.

We need to be completely clear. All the visions of the sixth seal demonstrating its authority to initiate the final act of judgment, (which we read about in chapter six), are brought together and focused into this one action we are now reading about, (in the first verses of chapter seven),  the action of giving authority to the angels in control of the earth's winds to harm the sea by stopping all air currents.  While this judgment begins, and is comprehended by threatening to harm the oceans, we are told specifically that it will not only harm the oceans but will harm the whole earth.

Most emphatically, this authority is the authority for complete and absolute judgment.  If it is carried out in a way that is unmitigated, as threatened here, no further judgment would or could occur.  It does not just threaten to bring death to the oceans of the earth, it threatens to bring death to the whole earth, by bringing death to all the trees of the earth.  But suddenly this act of judgment is stopped for the sake of certain servants of God.  Who are these servants of God?  How and why are they involved in mitigating the judgment that is threatened to come upon the whole earth?]

And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:

[The first thing that is revealed about the servants of God being spoken of is the number of those servants of God who are sealed with the seal of God.  This number is 144,000, 72+72x1000.  Later, we will see that the number has a symbolic value that is related to the symbolic quality of the Lamb.  Immediately here we are told that the first aspect of this symbolic number is that it is a representative number.

The second thing is that this number is said to be representative of the tribes of the sons of Yaakov (whom God called Israel).  We are learning that this vision of this select number is representative of the corporate whole of Israel.  The corporate whole of Israel is not described as being composed of a simply homogenous collection of individuals but of a deliberately and precisely designed structure of twelve families forming one whole family nation in union with the revelation of the Lamb and of the One who sits upon the throne, as we will see.]

12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,

[These numbers emphatically highlight the importance that it is Israel as a family nation, precisely designed and described by the sovereign God, which is here being symbolically, representatively sealed with the seal of God.  What does it mean, then, that these are souls of Israel and of the twelve tribes of Israel in particular?  Are there not more than 12,000 souls in the family tribe of Judah, or the family tribe of Reuben, etc?  Yes, there are ultimately many more souls in each tribe than this.  But here it is this number that is sealed in order to represent the perfect whole, the corporate structure as chosen and designed by the God of Israel.

And what of those from among the nations which are grafted into the redeemed nation of Israel, as we read in Romans chapter eleven.  Are they represented in this vision also?  Yes.  As we will see, they are also represented.  What, then, is the nature of this symbolic representation?

Even though there is a great open revelation made known to us through this numbering and sealing of the tribes, the aspect of a remaining concealment within the revelation is also introduced to us here.  It is openly revealed that God sees Israel as a perfect formation of twelve perfectly formed tribes. It remains still concealed in this vision how all souls who will ultimately be saved through the redemption of the house of Israel are represented by this perfectly designed number.

As we continue, we will see more fully what is openly revealed to us by the sealing of the family tribes of Israel in these numbers.  But we will also see right away that the question is raised as to how it can be that an equal number from each tribe is sealed when, until now, in accordance with the judgment of the word of God upon Israel, none of the tribes except one has been preserved as a tribe.  This question is the first aspect of explicit concealment that remains in the revelation.  Other explicit aspects of concealment will also be revealed.

These aspects of concealment revealed in the Scroll (or Book) of The Revelation of Yehoshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ), which was given to Yochanan (John), ultimately lead to the seven thunders in chapter ten, which Yochanan hears but is forbidden to write down.  By reading and hearing the record of the revelation clearly, we will come to understand how that all that is revealed in concealment in the revelation is comprehended in those seven thunders, in what Yochanan heard them say, and in what those sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads, like Yochanan, can also hear them say.]

12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,

[All of the apparently lost tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel are listed.  They are shown to be essential to the wholeness of a redeemed Israel.  Again, as the readers and hearers of the revelation, at this point, it is not clearly revealed to us, how it can be, and what it means, that an equal number from each tribe is sealed, when only the tribe of Judah has openly been preserved as a tribe in history.

We are nevertheless told that it is the sealing of the equal number of 12,000 from each of these tribes that forestalls the judgment of the immediate absolute death of the planet by affixation.  In other words, the corporate wholeness of Israel as the family nation, designed by the God of Israel, is sealed with the seal of God in their foreheads, that is to say, in their understanding, and we are told that it is their being sealed in this way that brings this mitigation of the world's judgment.]

[Another element of concealment within revelation and revelation within concealment that is introduced here is the arrangement of the list of the tribes.  Not only does this arrangement have great significance in its overall structure in relation to the  different arrangement of the lists of the tribes given in the Torah, but also the equal inclusion of the family tribe of Levi in its ordered place in this list brings a strong illumination of mystery to this revelation.]

12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,

[The mystery of the design and structure of Israel, as the corporate portion of the family of Adam chosen by the Creator for the redemption of Adam, begins not only with Yaakov's (Jacob's) twelve sons, but with his blessing of his twelve sons just before his death.  Among the twelve distinct blessings describing the infrastructure of the house of Israel, Yaakov revealed three most pronounced blessings.  One had to do with the moving of the blessing of the firstborn from its place with Reuven (Rueben).  This led us to the mystery of the preservation only of the tribe of Yehudah (Judah), and ultimately to the Lion of the tribe of Yehudah, whom we have seen revealed above.

The second of those most pronounced of Yaakov's blessings, as will be seen, had to do with Yosef (Joseph).  And a third had to do with Shimon (Simon) and Levi.  Shimon and Levi were blessed with the chastisement of being scattered within Israel among the different tribes of Israel.  This was the first clear indication that there would be a problem with the preservation of the corporate wholeness of some, if not all, the twelve tribes of Israel.  In the case of Levi, it would turn out that this blessing of chastisement, of being scattered in Israel, would be formalized into an institutional form.

Levi was made into the priestly tribe of Israel, where the cohenim, the priests of Israel, could only be taken from the tribe of Levi.  Accordingly the Levites could not make their camp in the circle of the camps of the tribes of Israel, nor could they have a territory of their own, for they had to serve all tribes in the camp of the tabernacle, and they had to serve all the tribes in all the territories.  Now, how and why this came about was itself a great mystery.

It came about that the tribe of Levi was dispersed in this manner, in accordance with Yaakov's words, only because of the sin of the golden calf, in which the tribe of Levi was without guilt, which resulted in the disqualification of the the firstborn of all the other tribes for the priesthood.  Accordingly, the tribe of Levi was not counted, when the tribes were counted by the commandment of God, in the same way that the other tribes were counted.

That the tribe of Levi should here, in the revelation of judgment and the final redemption, be listed and counted in the same manner as the other tribes has great symbolic significance   It is a clear testimony to the glory of the Lamb who was slain and to his complete atonement for the sin of the golden calf and all other sins of Israel on a corporate level.  In this image of the 144,000 members of the twelve tribes we are seeing a picture of the fulfilled promise that God would make all Israel to be a kingdom of priests. This is entirely a testimony to the Lamb. In order for this glorious testimony to the Lamb, through both Shimon's and Levi's equal inclusion with the other tribes in the perfect corporate representation of Israel and her redemption, one of the other tribes had to  be concealed in the revelation.

It could not be that what Yaakov had done in making Yosef into two tribes could be undone.  One tribe still had to be "separated from his brothers" to hold, as it were the place of the mystery of Yosef (Joseph) that the tribe of Levi had held before.  It is the tribe of Dan that has this honor of holding the place of concealment within the great revelation at this point.  This is the first formal concealment in the revelation that we have come to and, as will be seen in due time, it is this that leads directly to the concealment of the seven thunders and what they say which Yochanan hears but is not permitted to write down.]

12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.

[We see that it is addressed by the use of the name Yosef (Joseph) instead of Ephraim in the list why it is that first the tribe of Levi and now the tribe of Dan is  set apart in a concealed manner from the other tribes. This is as follows:

Yaakov foresaw by prophetic spirit that one tribe would have to be concealed from among its fellow tribes due to sin, as Yosef was concealed from among his brothers.  This is also the reason for the descent into Egypt and the covenant of redemption. Consider the nature of this blemish! If from its foundation there were only eleven fully visible tribes of Israel, the nation of Israel, as a result, would not be sanctified as being corporately whole before the world. Israel's testimony to the name of the true God would be irrevocably, marred.  Therefore Yaakov designated the two sons of Yosef as full stature tribes of Israel ahead of time.

For it was certain that, measure for measure, the tribes of Israel, one by one, or all against one, would be separated from there brother tribes until complete repentance was accomplished. This is the mystery of the place and role of Yosef, which mystery Yaakov, by his prophetic authority formalized and instituted in Israel.  In the light of this, what is the significance of the tribe of Ephraim not bing referred to by name but as the tribe of Yosef in this list?

The tribe of Ephraim is not being dishonoured because its name is not used, as if Yaakov's action was not undone with regard to the tribe of Manasseh but was undone with regard to the tribe of Ephraim, so that his descendants could not be called by his name but only by the name of Yosef.  Rather. The tribe of Ephraim is being honored by being called the tribe of Yosef.  Likewise, the tribe of Levi and the tribe of Dan, each of which in their time were set apart from the other tribes for the sake of Yosef were also honoured in this role.

For why was Yosef made into two tribes, even when the full measure of corporate Israel had to be measured through twelve and only twelve tribes?  This mystery is at the very heart of the mystery of God which will be revealed in the revelation of the seven thunders, as promised by the oath of the angel in chapter 10 verse 7.  Once again, we will see that this is entirely to give a testimony to the glory of the Lamb who was slain.]

After this I looked, [after the 12,000 of each of the twelve tribes of Israel are sealed as one corporate nation another vision is given] and behold a great multitude that no one could number from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb [these surround the formation of the 144,000, which, we will see, are with the Lamb.  All who are in this multitude are] clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands [as upon the entrance of Mashiach into Jerusalem], and [they are heard] crying out with a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  

And all the angels, [not some but all], were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, 

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

[In the generation of the shlichim (apostles) of Yehoshua the Messiah it was known that the angels desired to look into the mysteries of Israel's salvation, (1 Peter 1:12).  In this vision of the sealing of the minds of the 144,000 of all the twelve tribes of Israel with understanding all the angels,  together with the martyrs of the Lamb, see and understand what they have for so long been seeking to understand.

What is it that the number 144,000, as representative of Israel, reveals to them?  The number is itself derived from the 12 tribes of Israel.  As there are two houses of Israel, there are two mothers of Israel, Leah and Rachel.

In a perfectly symmetrical balance 6 tribes would be apportioned to each house.  Each of these symmetrically apportioned tribes would contribute their divinely received gifts and attributes to all 12 tribes, in order to magnify the testimony of the 12 tribes to the Lamb and to the One seated upon the throne.  This is represented by (6x12)x2, which is 72+72, with is 144.  The magnification of this number by 1000 represents its completely redeemed corporate wholeness, as in, "as the stars of heaven, so shall your seed be," that is, multiplied in radiance of light through the perfect corporate wholeness of divine redemption.

The received tradition of the rabbis points to the 72 letters found in each of the three verses of Exodus 14:19-21.  These verses read as follows:

14:19 Then the angel of God, who had been going in front of the Israelite camp, moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved away from in front of them and stood behind them.

יטוַיִּסַּע מַלְאַךְ הָאֱלֹהִים הַהֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵי מַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּלֶךְ מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶם וַיִּסַּע עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן מִפְּנֵיהֶם וַיַּעֲמֹד מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶם:
72 Hebrew letters

20 And he came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel, and there were the cloud and the darkness, and it illuminated the night, and one did not draw near the other all night long.

כוַיָּבֹא בֵּין | מַחֲנֵה מִצְרַיִם וּבֵין מַחֲנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיְהִי הֶעָנָן וְהַחשֶׁךְ וַיָּאֶר אֶת הַלָּיְלָה וְלֹא קָרַב זֶה אֶל זֶה כָּל הַלָּיְלָה:
72 Hebrew letters

21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord led the sea with the strong east wind all night, and He made the sea into dry land and the waters split.

כאוַיֵּט משֶׁה אֶת יָדוֹ עַל הַיָּם וַיּוֹלֶךְ יְהֹוָה | אֶת הַיָּם בְּרוּחַ קָדִים עַזָּה כָּל הַלַּיְלָה וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת הַיָּם לֶחָרָבָה וַיִּבָּקְעוּ הַמָּיִם:
72 Hebrew letters

Not only do these three verses speak about the mercy (verse 19) and judgment (verse 20) of the One who sits upon the throne, (his mercy as expressed toward Israel and his judgment as expressed toward Egypt), they also speak (verse 21) of these two opposing attributes working in complimentary opposition with one another to produce the redemption that ultimately reveals the glory of the one true God.

These three verses as a whole can be described in terms of  3 camps of the children of Israel, each camp composed of 4 tribes, (24+24+24, or 72), representing a testimony to these three attributes, the attribute of mercy, the attribute of judgment and the attribute of beauty or divine spiritual balance between mercy and judgment, or, in other words, the divine spiritual symmetry producing rectification.  As both Yaakov and Moshe represented the distinct individual attributes of the the sons of Yaakov (Jacob) when they blessed them, so it is to be understood that each tribe, according to these attributes give their testimony to the Lamb and to the One seated upon the throne.

144,000, then, is a number which symbolically represents the redemption of the world in a very precise and specific way.  It is through the atonement for Israel, and this is in the exact form that it was designed corporately by God, in judgment and mercy, provided by the Lamb of God, with two or three witnesses (camps of the children of Israel) to give witness to each divine attribute.  As a result, for this complete great testimony, 12 tribes are required, and the perfect magnification of that number is 144,000.

Now that the foundation of the revelation has been laid out in this way, we will go on in the opening of the seventh seal to see in full clarity the fullness of the revelation of Yehoshua the Messiah of Israel.

In order that the readers and hearers of this revelation take what has here been revealed to heart, so that they might be truly be counted among the servants of God and go on to hear, with Yochanan, what the seven thunders say, one of the elders steps up to address Yochanan (John).]

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, 

“Who are these clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 

[Yochanan is addressed in this way because it is time that the servants of God, those to whom this revelation was sent, were beginning to understand it's concealed as well as its revealed meaning.]

I said to him, “Sir, you know.” 

[Yochanan responds in this way because, even if he is beginning to understand, he knows that the revelation comes from above and the authority of its interpretation must come from above.]

And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.  They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

[All who keep their faith into the end and do not deny the name of the Lamb and his testimony to the name of the One who sits upon the throne are represented here. Specifically, according to the words that the Mashiach of Israel spoke to those in his gathering at Philadelphia, (Revelation 3), they are represented by the martyrs who come out of a great tribulation, "that will try all the earth" at a certain time at the end of history.]

“Therefore [because they are faithful martyrs] they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence [from all efforts of the prosecutor to prosecute them for any of their sins].

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, [he will guide them through the great tribulation because through their faith they already stand with him, protected by his shed blood] before the throne [of the One whose wrath has been poured out, as in the day of the Passover lamb,] and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

_______________________
*Footnote on the four winds
How could it be possible for the four angels of the four winds to literally stop all the winds on the earth?  Since winds are created by the relationship of high pressure points and low pressure points in the atmosphere it would seem that it would be necessary for the angels to be able to somehow average the highs and lows of pressure in the atmosphere.  Is this something that could even be atmospherically possible?  Hurricanes and hurricane winds are the classical example of high and low pressure differences.  

We see a threat of more and greater hurricanes coming with global warming.  Is it possible that global warming could reach a stage where the opposite effect occurred?  Instead of stirring up the atmosphere, could a truly greenhouse effect occur that averaged out temperatures and pressures at a higher level to such an extent that winds more or less ceased? Or some could some scientific/technological experimental attempt to control global warming by seeding the atmosphere with some chemical or other backfire and produce this result?  

We don't really need the answers to these questions.  It is enough to look at the carbon dioxide levels in our present atmosphere, arising from changes from the time of the Industrial Revolution until now, to realize that it is possible for our atmosphere to be either over-balanced or imbalanced in a way that could "suffocate" all life on the planet.  By the use of the word, "suffocate", I do not simply mean literally affixiate, "deprive of oxygen, or destroy the oxygen/CO2 ratio. I intend to use the word, "suffocate" in a more general, symbolically generic way to mean "death by choking out the life of the earth," in one way or another.