The Tall Man Cometh: The Phantasm of Herb Montgomery

During the last convocation, when we listened to Herb’s latest exposition, a lively round of discussions broke out on Revelation, which led to me employing my time honored idiom of making movie references to explain my points. In fact, one of the brethren remarked, jovially, “to understand Dave, you have to have seen every movie ever made”.  While technically untrue, since I would never willingly see a rom-com without sexual enticement, it is symbolic of my totem and tribe.  I do frequently use film to express a deeper, metaphorical idea, as I am about to now.  In this post, I will referencing a movie long buried in past, whose villain, The Tall Man, must arise from his slumber and serve as a simulacrum for our good Mr Montgomery.  The movie in question is Phantasm.

The eponymous character was not a person, in the traditional sense.  Rather, it was flying weapon, whose role, like Nemesis of old, was to hunt down and punish the wicked-or the teenaged.  Phantasm was semi-sentient, able to, upon being sent my the Tall Man, seek out a victim-and, upon finding one, exude a sharp metal blade from its’ frame.  The silvery sphere would then fly straightway into the victim’s forehead, causing the death of the mark.  What fortune, to be felled so quickly.

I, on the other hand, was pursued by far more agonizing a hunter than this. My Tall Man, Mr Montgomery, unleashed an argentine assassin all his own, a Phantasm to run me down without mercy.  It came when he tried to explain that El was not violent, but was only violent when humans made Him be.  Just like the film, I could not escape: the dreaded harbinger hunted me down, and slammed its’ wicked blade in my skull.

Or, at least, it felt that way.  I have no better way of describing my dumb-founded shock at hearing the lecturer say something so utterly ludicrous that I was stunned that no one called him on it.  Perhaps they, too, had a Phantasm all their own, burrowing vigorously into their now-disjointed mind.  Whatever the case, I was utterly unable to believe that he really meant it.  But the presenter of the material confirmed that this was a position that Montgomery held not only consistently, but with fervor. El was really a Lamb; only man made Him get destructive.

The Bible is a rampage of violence, some of which is very definitely sponsored by El.  6 chapters into the book, Yahweh drowns a planet.  The whole planet.  Wherever Noah was from, that world’s entire bio-matrix was abluted in sum toto.  Later, He would obliterate the 5 cities of the plains, including the headliners, Sodom and Gamorrah.  Then, when Israel is called into the desert, they make an idol, which gets 3000 of them killed by the sword.

Shortly, the ground opened up and swallowed 3000 more. 14000 are killed in a plague from Yah.  Finally, they are showed the Promised Land-which must be purified by genocide.  Now, people will respond ‘see, He was just passing right judgment’. Ok, but the animals of Noah’s world were judged for the sins of man.  The chabbabs, or bosom-nursers, of Amalek were ordered slain. When Sennacherib threatened Judah, his army was destroyed. not him. By the blast of the trumpet, 185,000 men died on the spot.

Which leads then to the howler of the night: Jesus didn’t actually threaten anyone in the Temple.  Rather, He chased the animals out, in a display of non-violent resistance (Herb’s penchant for revisionism is flush and vivid indeed).  Here, the lightning orb slams full into my skull, and from it shall not depart.  I have been Phantasmed, with no escape possible.  His attempts to turn an I shudder absolute monarch into a hippie revolutionary are febrile, but useless. Equally so is this Ghandi Jesus.

I have to have some pity for the Tall Man, even though his assertions lodge metal fury into my brain-for he, too, is a victim.  He was Phantasmed, the same as I: only in his case, the object smacking him in the cranium was reality.  Living in absolute denial of the collision between his assertions and the Bible, he refuses to give up.  I guess I have to respect that.  But Herb;s talents are being wasted in this enterprise.  His creative genius would be well-rewarded in Hollywood, where they are down to making movies about board games.

I certainly don’t want to hurt Mr Montgomery as a person.  But I also don’t want to have to run screaming down the hall, when I hear the signature whine of the Phantasm.  I shudder to think of what might lie ahead: for in the sequel, the Tall  Man captures the teen heroes, even when they thought it was all over. It remains to be see if he will part the curtain, at the end, and declare “No: it’s not!”

 

Countries for Communes

This post is more of an inventory than a post and may be used in the future as a page to collect legal and logistical information. The question: “what country is the best place to found a commune?” is dependent on several variables:

1. Ethics

Ethics asks where we could found the commune so as to love God and our fellow man most effectively? Could we morally follow all the laws of the country in which it is situated? Could we have a good impact on the environment?

Give Unto Ceasar

There’s a possiblity Yeshua was against paying taxes in his day. We will present evidence here but this does not mean that Yeshua would have been against paying taxes today. Herod was looked at less favorable by God than our leaders today since he was divinely executed for starting to accept that we was God (an anti-Christ) in Acts 12:22-23.

The Herodians were the political party of Herod the king and favored submitting to Rome, hence it is interesting that they brought that group in order to trap him and tried to flatter him so that he would disregard considering “men” in his answer (possibly danger from men or opinions from men?)

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men.
(Matthew 22 NKJV)

Luke’s version is even more clear:

20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” (Luke 20:20-22)

An unorthodox reading of Christ’s responses can be made in light of Deuteronomy 10:14 which says “Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it.” and Genesis 1:27 which states “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Now consider Yeshua’s response in this light:

“And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” . . . “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”” (Matthew 22:20-21)

Yeshua mentions an inscription which this may shed some light on:

“But what did the inscription say? On the front, the coin said “Tiberius Caesar, son of the divine Augustus.” The reverse side of the coin read “Greatest Priest.” But that is how it was inscribed in Latin. In Greek, Tiberius coins and inscriptions read theou huios (“son of the god”). Note with special emphasis that Tiberius put the word “god” before the word “son” in his inscriptions and coins.”
http://christianmonthlystandard.com/index.php/son-of-god-in-roman-world/

Note: “son of” can mean “in the nature of”, or “in the image of” e.g. Colossians 1:15

Add on to this that Jesus had charges of opposing the payment of taxes: Luke 23:2 and that he says to shun tax collectors: Matthew 18:17 and you can see why you might read Jesus as saying cryptically not to pay taxes. (cryptically because the Herodians were there and he didn’t want to get killed just yet) However, this must not be used to negate: 1 Peter 2:13-25 for those rulers who “punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” We must ask ourselves which governments this holds for.

To sum up we must consider several things when choosing the country to found a commune:

1 Does it have a government we can morally pay taxes to?

2 Does it uphold 1 Peter 2:13-25 in general?

2. Viability

Viability is the likelihood that a commune would not go bankrupt. This would be dependent on the country’s economy and member’s experience with running businesses or services related to the economy and their ability to navigate the social, cultural and linguistic environment.

3. Legality

Legality asks: how would we have to structure the commune to make it operate legally in the country?

United States

 

7.25.23 Religious and Apostolic Associations
7.25.23.1 (02-23-1999)
Requirements for Exemption

1. IRC 501(d) and 501(a) provide exemption for a religious or apostolic association or corporation if:

a. it has a common or community treasury, even if it engages in business for the common benefit of its members; and

b. the members include in their gross income their entire pro rata shares, whether distributed or not, of the taxable income of the association or corporation for the year.

2. Any amount included in the gross income of a member is to be treated as a dividend received.
https://www.irs.gov/irm/part7/irm_07-025-023

Hutterite colonies are formed voluntarily by adult males who agree upon certain rights and obligations among themselves and on behalf of their families. The main purpose of the colonies is to live a communal life following the tenets of the Hutterische Church society. The colonies, while religious, engage in agricultural activities (farming, raising stock, dairying, etc.).

In the Denver Region, two types of colonies have been identified. The most common type is a nonprofit corporation with corporate officers and a board of directors. Generally, the officers do not draw a salary and the colonies do not issue stock certificates. The corporations are tax exempt under Section 501(d) of the Internal Revenue Code and are required to file a United States partnership income tax return (Form 1065). Individual members may or may not file individual tax returns.

The other type of Hutterite colony found in the Denver Region is an unincorporated religious association. Like the incorporated colonies, they are nonprofit and tax-exempt under Section 501(d). Instead of officers or directors, they have a board of trustees. They also file partnership tax returns. There are very few such associations. The majority of colonies are incorporated.
https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500501010DEN

There is an unverified quote from Wikipedia that states that this structure, although officially “for-profit” generally results in no income taxes:

The group operates as a 501 (d) – “for-profit organization with a religious purpose and a common treasury.” The community pays property taxes, but the 501d structure tends to result in no income tax liability.[3][13]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Tribes_communities

 

If this is true, incorporating as this or another entity that results in no income taxes like a 501(c)3 may seem desirable but brings up two questions: 1 is this ethical? 2 What reaction would a growing network of communes get from the country and its citizens if that network was paying no income tax? A more extreme example to consider is: what would be the reaction if that network was labeled as an entity exempt from income taxes such as a 501(c)3?

Seasteading

We are also looking into Seasteading as a way to have more freedom for how to run the commune. However, it looks like it would be initially more expensive and it is unsure if this is needed but we thought we would leave it here just in case: https://www.seasteading.org

The Seasteading institute previously signed an agreement with the government of French Polynesia:  Memorandum of Understanding Although the agreement now is apparently void: Radio New Zealand

4. Profitability

Profitability is how profitable the commune would be and therefore how many resources could be dedicated to further expansion.

5. Leading of the Holy Spirit

We put this last not because we believe this is unimportant, on the contrary, we believe this is the most important aspect if it can be proven and tested. We just have not had any leading with regards to this thus far. This may or may not be normal. Regarding this we quote:

40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. (Acts 2 NKJV)

David Bentley Hart has come to the conclusion that the word translated “fellowship” in verse 42 refers to the practice of common ownership and communalism. [1] Even if Dr. Hart is incorrect verses 44 and 45 make that statement anyway. The signs and wonders done by the apostles are mentioned together with them following their doctrine and giving up all their possessions. Therefore, it may be possible that we won’t have miraculous intervention by the Holy Spirit until we start practicing as the Apostles of old.

 

[1]

I came to the conclusion that koinonia often refers to a precise set of practices within the early Christian communities, a special social arrangement — the very one described in Acts — that was integral to the new life in Christ. When, for instance, the Letter to the Hebrews instructs believers not to neglect koinonia, or the First Letter to Timothy exhorts them to become koinonikoi, this is no mere recommendation of personal generosity, but an invocation of a very specific form of communal life.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/04/opinion/sunday/christianity-communism.html

Follow The Lamb, Part 14: The Kings of the East

http://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb I’m paraphrasing (and analyzing in part) this series of lectures on Revelation by Herb Montgomery because it relates to the kingdom of God. My Bible study is discussing this series and I just now decided to start posting about it so I will be following along with them for the rest of the series on parts 12-17. I will post a summary during the week before we have Bible study Friday night and will update it after Bible study to account for anything else learned there. I will finish parts 1-11 on my own after 12-17. Hopefully I will be able to get the others to comment on those as well. Herb argues that there is a change in teaching in the new testament to pacifism–from the Tanahk (or Old Testament)–and argues that Revelation fits with this. This also interests me because our paper “Unless He Gives up All His Possessions” argues for a change in teaching in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) with regards to possessions but only due to a different situation arising after Christ. The TNIV translation is used unless otherwise noted. Links to the paraphrased material, lecture:  https://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb?msds_pif_cat=abeastanditsfalseprophet
handout: https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/outlines/14thekingsoftheeast.pdf

Herb starts with the handout from last lecture: https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/outlines/13anewexodus.pdf

. . .

Herb begins by stating that his burden is to give you a foundation to help you learn to interpret the book of Revelation for yourself without taking it at face value like the early church fathers were afraid Christians would.

Revelation 16.17-21–The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the
air,and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “IT IS DONE!” Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No EARTHQUAKE like it has ever
occurred since the human race has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The GREAT CITY split into THREE PARTS, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered BABYLON THE GREAT and gave HER the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his WRATH. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge HAILSTONES, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they CURSED GOD ON ACCOUNT OF THE PLAGUE OF HAIL, because the plague was so terrible.

Revelation 11.13–At that moment there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the  earthquake, and the rest feared the God of Heaven and gave glory to Him.

In Revelation 11:13 it says that at that moment there was a great earthquake and not a third but a tenth of the city fell. This is odd because you have two descriptions of the fall of Babylon that are very different and result in different things:  “CURSED GOD ON ACCOUNT OF THE PLAGUE OF HAIL” verses “feared the God of heaven and gave him glory.” Remember this progression at the end of the seals: peals of thunder, lighting, rumblings and an earthquake, at trumpets you have peals of thunder lightning, rumbling, an earthquake and hail. Here you don’t see anything added you see the hail and earthquake expounded. What’s the third thing we are looking for, John is just saying that the story isn’t finished.

Revelation 16.9–They were scorched by the fierce heat, but they
CURSED THE NAME OF GOD, who had authority over these plagues,
and THEY DID NOT REPENT AND GIVE HIM GLORY.

Revelation 16.11–And CURSED THE GOD OF HEAVEN because
of their pains and sores, and THEY DID NOT REPENT OF THEIR
DEEDS.

Revelation 16.21–And huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, dropped from heaven on people, until THEY CURSED GOD FOR THE PLAGUE OF THE HAIL, SO TERRIBLE WAS THAT PLAGUE.

Is what God wants accomplished here? The plagues accomplish hardening, while God wants to accomplish the conversion of the nations. Herb uses this as a contrast between the methods of the Tanahk and the Brit Chadasha (i.e. old and new testaments) that while these plagues must happen John is contrasting the death and Resurrection of Christ and his followers with the might and power and punishment God uses against Pharaoh in the first exodus in the Tanahk.

Zechariah 4.6–He said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: . . .

Remember the battle cry of the Lamb:

Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the LORD of hosts.

John 19.28– . . . in order that what is written in Scripture might happen
. . .

The plagues were given that the wrath of God might happen.

Luke 1.45– . . . happy is the one who believes that what has been spoken to her by the Lord will be made to happen . . .

The plagues were given that the wrath of God might happen. It is the same Greek phrase in Rev 15:21 where he says these plagues are poured out and they are called last because through them the wrath of God will happen. The wrath of God is the wrath of a Lamb like the wrath of Ghandi. How does non-violence need to work? Starting in South Africa the Indians had to burn their passports in order to provoke a violent response from the government so they could be killed in protest. Ghandi also protested in India by making salt. Herb suggests the documentary: “A Force More Powerful” about non-violence. In order for Martin Luther King’s non-violent army to be able to respond they needed to provoke a violence.  What is the salt march, the sit in, or the freedom-ride in the Jesus story? It is when he walks into the Jerusalem Temple and flips over the tables and the Temple police finally arrest him in Gethsemani: “18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.”” (Matt 20:18-29) He says this before he turns over tables in the temple in Matthew 21:12 What subject are we talking about in Revelation 15 and 16? These are the seven last plagues. What God is setting out to accomplish is not accomplished through the plagues however like Ghandi and King and the cleansing of the temple it provoked a violent response that Christians could use to their advantage by responding with non-violence. They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and their testimony and they did not love their lives till death as it says. (implying a non-violent response) God and his followers allow themselves to be slain by their enemies. Two witnesses are talked of by the people: “these ones who have tormented us we have killed” again torment is mentioned by not killing.

The sixth plague is the drying up of the river Euphrates so that the kings of the east can come and the seventh plague is the fall of Babylon. The parallel is that Revelation 17 is an expounding of the 6th plague while Rev 18 is about the fall of Babylon or Rome. Revelation 17 expounds on the 6th plague Revelation 18 is expounding on 7th plague.

Revelation 17.1-6–One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls
came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a SCARLET beast . . .

This is a different beast than Rev 13. It is still the legend of Nero returning just a different legend.

. . . that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. SHE HELD A GOLDEN CUP in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES, AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw that the woman was DRUNK WITH THE BLOOD OF GOD’S PEOPLE, THE BLOOD OF THOSE WHO BORE TESTIMONY TO JESUS

Revelation 17.6—When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. Then the
angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the
mystery of THE WOMAN and of THE BEAST she rides, which has the even heads and ten horns. THE BEAST, which you saw, once WAS, now IS NOT, and WILL COME up out of the ABYSS and go to its destruction.

This beast is Nero having returned but this time it is the East’s version of the Parthians conquering Rome.

. . . The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be ASTONISHED WHEN THEY SEE THE BEAST, because it once WAS, now IS NOT, and yet WILL COME. HERE IS THE INTELLEGENCE WHICH HAS WISDOM. The SEVEN HEADS are SEVEN HILLS on which the WOMAN sits. They are also SEVEN KINGS. Five have fallen [Galba,  Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus. | Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero], one is [Domitian | Current], the other has not yet come [Next]; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once WAS, and now IS NOT, is an EIGHTH king. He BELONGS TO THE SEVEN and is going to his destruction. The ten horns you saw are TEN KINGS WHO HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED A KINGDOM, but who for one hour will receive authority AS KINGS ALONG WITH THE BEAST.

Quoting from Nero legend of the east where the kings of Pathia come and rule with Nero. “Was now is not and will come” is a quote from Rev 4:8, 1:4, 1:8

Revelation 4.8– . . . Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who WAS, and IS, and is TO COME.

Revelation 1.4–John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who WAS, and who IS, and who is TO COME . . .

Revelation 1.8 –“I am the Alpha and the
Omega,” says the Lord God, “who IS, and
who WAS, and who is TO COME, the Almighty.”

John is now showing that Nero is a counterfeit of the Lamb in the legend of the east just like he did for the west. In the west’s legend he is showing Nero is a counterfeit of the one who was slain and resurrected. In the east’s Nero legend he uses it to show Nero is a counterfeit of him who is coming back. So regardless of which legend you use the legend isn’t true.

HERE IS THE INTELLEGENCE WHICH HAS WISDOM.

He uses the same phrase here:

Revelation 13.8–HERE IS WISDOM.
LET HIM WHO HAS INTELLIGENCE
calculate the number of the beast, for it is
the number of a person. Its number is six
hundred sixty-six.

He is referencing “Neron Ceasar” (alternate title of Nero) and “beast” which both add up to 666 in both places. (616 is “Nero Ceasar”) He’s quoting that and saying he’s talking about the same person, different legend but same person:

The SEVEN HEADS are SEVEN HILLS on which the WOMAN sits.

The woman they would have seen as the Roman empire. Were these kings in this return of Nero coming to overtake and bring the downfall of Rome.

They are also SEVEN KINGS. Five have fallen

Now you have one of two options: there had been 5 kings really 6 starting from Nero: [ Galba,  Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus. ] one is [Domitian], or it is: [Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero] one is [Nero or Vespasian?] Herb says that there is evidence for both dates Vespasian’s/Nero’s? or Domitian’s reign. I put a question mark by Vespasian because I have usually heard Nero’s reign talked about as a possible date and since in that case Herb is saying he was part of the fallen King’s. However, I also see a mention on Wikipedia of Vespasian’s reign as being a possibility. It is possible that the current emperor mention is Nero and he is listed with the five fallen kings if the legends of his return had already started at that time. (people didn’t believe he was really dead and that he was the rightful emperor)

the other has not yet come [Next]; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once WAS, and now IS NOT, is an EIGHTH king. He BELONGS TO THE SEVEN and is going to his destruction. The ten horns you saw are TEN KINGS WHO HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED A KINGDOM, but who for one hour will receive authority AS KINGS ALONG WITH THE BEAST. They have one purpose and will GIVE THEIR POWER AND AUTHORITY TO THE BEAST. They will make WAR AGAINST THE LAMB, BUT THE LAMB WILL TRIUMPH OVER THEM BECAUSE HE IS LORD OF LORDS AND KING OF KINGS–AND WITH HIM WILL BE HIS CALLED, CHOSEN AND FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS.”

This is when the kings of the east come. In the legend the king’s of the east have one purpose: to give their authority and power to Nero (the beast). John’s message is not to put your hope in Nero (or empire). Your hope is not in the success of America. America will have to die to for God’s kingdom win eventually. Herb says we should be pledging allegiance to the Lamb’s kingdom first. As beautiful as America is you are not to put your hope in America. This was the point for the early church with Nero and as you can see this still applies today. Preterists say that Revelation was all fulfilled but this doesn’t make it irrelevant to us: it is really about not following empire. Herb says we Christians are acting more like the lamb-like beast who is in cohorts with the empire rather than standing with the lamb. Jesus carries no flag and belongs to no kingdom.

Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, ARE PEOPLES, MULTITUDES, NATIONS AND LANGUAGES. The beast and the ten horns you saw will HATE THE PROSTITUTE.  [they will attack Rome] 

Do not fear even if the Pathians attack Rome, even if Rome is ransacked your last great hope is not Rome or the Parthians because the Lamb will triumph in the end. John is saying “try your best, choose the legend of the east or choose the legend of the west it doesn’t matter your last great hope is not Nero.”

They will bring HER TO RUIN AND LEAVE HER NAKED; they will  eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled. The woman you saw is THE GREAT CITY that rules over THE KINGS OF THE EARTH.”

This is Babylon, they would have seen this as being ancient Rome. Herb says he will cover Revelation 18 tomorrow morning. Rev 18 is one of the most relevant chapters in Revelation for American Christians. Rev 18 does stand alone which is good because everyone will be here tomorrow. Tomorrow night, bring back the handout on the rider on the white horse which is the most violent imagery used in the book of Revelation. However, what you are going to see is that John flips it on it’s head showing that it is actually a lamb not breaking the nations but ruling or shepherding the nations. We will cover 19 tomorrow night and 20, and 21 is the new Jerusalem, and 22 which is the closing of the book. Then you will have been through a crash course on the book of Revelation and will see how it would have motivated the early church to continue following the Lamb and the non-violent teachings of Jesus.

 

Follow The Lamb, Part 13: The Beginning of the End

http://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb I’m paraphrasing (and analyzing in part) this series of lectures on Revelation by Herb Montgomery because it relates to the kingdom of God. My Bible study is discussing this series and I just now decided to start posting about it so I will be following along with them for the rest of the series on parts 12-17. I will post a summary during the week before we have Bible study friday night and will update it after Bible study to account for anything else learned there. I will finish parts 1-11 on my own after 12-17. Hopefully I will be able to get the others to comment on those as well. Herb argues that there is a change in teaching in the new testament to pacifism–from the Tanahk (or Old Testament)–and argues that Revelation fits with this. This also interests me because our paper “Unless He Gives up All His Possessions” argues for a change in teaching in the Christian writings (New Testament) with regards to possessions but only due to a different situation arising after Christ. The TNIV translation is used unless otherwise noted. Links to the paraphrased material, lecture:  https://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb?msds_pif_cat=abeastanditsfalseprophet
handout: https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/outlines/13anewexodus.pdf

UPDATE 2018-09-18: Added section on why the book of Revelation’s canonicity was argued against by some early Christians.

. . .

Herb defends his statement, paraphrased: “God truly looks like a lamb and is non-violent.” He says the reason people object to this is that we don’t believe that the ethical non-violent teachings of Jesus will work. Note, Herb has an interesting take on the Tanahk: that God basically met people where they were and didn’t reveal his true character through the prophets and that only Christ reveals God’s true character. (see Hebrews 1) He states that Revelation doesn’t give you more than a non-violent character for God and that even with Rev 19 and the white rider imagery John is flipping it on its head by taking violent passages from the Tanahk but when John actually looks he sees a lamb instead of the violent context we think he’s implying. I have some disagreements here that I’ll have to summarize later but I should state that I love Herb’s lectures and this is my absolute favorite interpretation of the book of Revelation done by anyone I’ve heard.

He does not think the first Christians saw the first beast as Nero as he was because Nero was dead. However, it is Nero’s return which John is referencing. John’s argument is that no matter which legend of Nero is true: returning to restore Rome or returning with the Parthians to fight against it, the last great hope of the world is the Lamb not Nero. The book of revelation is an attack against Christian support for empire. America is being touted as the last great hope for this world but for followers of the Lamb to buy into that rhetoric is unacceptable. America is not the kingdom of God. Empire is seductive and can suck you in in ways you are not even aware of.

There were three messages with three angels. The first is: “fear god and give him glory because his just and equitous reign has come,” second one is “Babylon has fallen” the third is “anyone who worships the beast or receives the mark will be tormented in the presence of the Lamb.” We pick up with harvest of the earth:

The Harvest of the Earth:
Revelation 14.14-16– I looked, and there before me was a white CLOUD, and seated on the CLOUD was one like a SON OF MAN with a CROWN of gold on his head and a sharp SICKLE in his hand. Then  another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your SICKLE and REAP, because the TIME TO REAP HAS COME, for the HARVEST OF THE EARTH is RIPE.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

The first fruits were 144,000 but here we are seeing the actual harvesting which is going to be much more than the first fruits. Notice the language and imagery that John is using from Daniel:

Daniel 7.13-14–“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a SON OF MAN, coming with the CLOUDS of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and SOVEREIGN power; ALL PEOPLES, NATIONS, AND LANGUAGES WORSHIPED HIM. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

The angle having charge of the fire is from the fifth seal where there was an altar and underneath that altar there were souls crying “how long?” Later we see in the 7th seal where the angel comes to that altar, offers incense with their prayers, heaven is silent to hear those prayers, and the angel takes fire from off the alter, puts it in a censer, and throws it to the earth causing a great earthquake:

The Vintage of the Earth
Revelation 14.17-20–Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had CHARGE OF THE FIRE, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because the VINTAGE OF THE EARTH is RIPE.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of
GOD’S WRATH [the WRATH of the LAMB]. They were trampled in the wine-press outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.

Does the wrath of a lamb sound like a contradiction? Yes, but Britain would have feared to the awaken the wrath of non-violent Gandhi during their occupation. John likens the harvest to the harvest of the earth which the 144,000 are the first fruits.

Joel 3.13–Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine press is full . . .

John takes the language of the who comes in vindication from Isaiah 63. At first the one who treads the wine-press has no helper but that changes in Revelation 19. This is violent imagery but John will flip it on its head later like he does with other passages from the Tanahk:

Isaiah 63.1-6–Who is this that comes from Edom, from Bozrah in garments Nonviolent Noncooperation of His Army stained crimson? Who is this so splendidly robed, marching in his great might?” “It is I, announcing vindication, mighty to save.” “Why are your robes red, and your garments like theirs who tread the wine press?” “I have trodden the wine press ALONE, and from the peoples NO ONE WAS WITH ME; I trod them in my wrath and trampled them in my wrath; their juice spattered on my garments, and stained all my robes. For the day of VENGEANCE was in my heart, and the year for my REDEEMING WORK had come. I looked, but there was NO HELPER; I stared, but there was NO ONE TO SUSTAIN ME; so my own arm brought me VICTORY, and my wrath sustained me. I trampled down peoples in my wrath, I crushed them in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

The book of Revelation almost didn’t make it in the canon and the objection to including the book of revelation was that future generations would read the violent language of Revelation and take it literally. The authorship and the validity of the book was not in doubt. Note: I was not able to find anything backing up exactly what Herb said here, the closest thing I could find is the following description from Eusebius:

1. Afterward he speaks in this manner of the Apocalypse of John.

“Some before us have set aside and rejected the book altogether, criticising it chapter by chapter, and pronouncing it without sense or argument, and maintaining that the title is fraudulent.

2. For they say that it is not the work of John, nor is it a revelation, because it is covered thickly and densely by a vail of obscurity. And they affirm that none of the apostles, and none of the saints, nor any one in the Church is its author, but that Cerinthus, who founded the sect which was called after him the Cerinthian, desiring reputable authority for his fiction, prefixed the name.

3. For the doctrine which he taught was this: that the kingdom of Christ will be an earthly one. And as he was himself devoted to the pleasures of the body and altogether sensual in his nature, he dreamed that that kingdom would consist in those things which he desired, namely, in the delights of the belly and of sexual passion; that is to say, in eating and drinking and marrying, and in festivals and sacrifices and the slaying of victims, under the guise of which he thought he could indulge his appetites with a better grace. 2341
http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/201/2010243.htm

However, I am not sure if “the slaying of victims” refers to sacrificial victims, hence animals, or human victims in battle. It is possible that this does not back up what Herb is saying at all and even if it did Herb appears to have left out many things: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Revelation#Canonical_history It is true, however, that many earlier Christians didn’t know how to interpret Revelation as Eusebius mentioned and continues:

4. “But I could not venture to reject the book, as many brethren hold it in high esteem. But I suppose that it is beyond my comprehension, and that there is a certain concealed and more wonderful meaning in every part. For if I do not understand I suspect that a deeper sense lies beneath the words.

5. I do not measure and judge them by my own reason, but leaving the more to faith I regard them as too high for me to grasp. And I do not reject what I cannot comprehend, but rather wonder because I do not understand it.”
http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/201/2010243.htm

This backs up Herb’s program of interpreting the book allegorically. More specifically I’ve noticed many scholars support him on a variety of points. For example:

John sees the Beast from the Sea as a symbol for the Roman Empire: “Who is like the Beast? Who can make war against him?” (13:4). Satan “leads the whole world astray” (12:9; see also 20:3). The Greek word translated here as “world” (oikoumenê) is often used to refer to the inhabited world and, in the 1st century, the Roman Empire. “[The Beast] was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation” (13:7). And especially in Asia Minor, the deified Rome (Dea Roma) was worshipped for bringing peace and prosperity. John warns that “all the inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast” (13:8) rather than God, the One-Sitting-on-the-Throne. . . .

Despite John’s pessimism, his visions end not in destruction but in hope and transformation for the entire world. John sees that all the nations and even their leaders will recognize God as the One-Sitting-on-the-Throne and live by the light of the Lamb:

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of earth will bring their glory into it ( 21:23–24).

http://global.oup.com/obso/focus/focus_on_revelation/

Continuing on with Herb’s presentation:

Revelation 6.16-17– . . . Hide us from . . your garments like theirs who tread the wine press?” “I have trodden the wine. the wrath of the Lamb; for the great dayof [his] wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Revelation 14.10– . . .Tormented . . . the presence of the Lamb . . .

The conversion of the nations  . . . every chapter in Revelation has been riddled with it.

Antecedent of the Grain Harvest:
Revelation 14.4–They [the 144,00] have been redeemed from humankind as FIRST FRUITS for God and the Lamb . . .

What we see in the vintage harvest is not something different than the first-fruits of the conversion all nations. The vintage harvest mirrors the grain harvest used by John:

Antecedent of the Vintage Harvest:
Exodus 22.29–You shall not delay to make offerings [firstfruits] from the fullness of your harvest AND from the outflow of your presses.

You have one of two options here, either those who are slain for Jesus are calling out for vengeance or vindication. Vindication is what the Greek says but if you take it the other way you have a problem because the example of Christ and Stephen asking for the forgiveness of their killers. Instead the saints are asking when their martyrdom would produce the conversion of the nation which had been prophesied:

The Wrath of the Lamb:
Revelation 11.18–THE NATIONS raged, but your WRATH has come, and the time for VINDICATING the dead . . .

Although grapes being refined (into wine) is harder on the grapes than the grain John is using it the same way. There are people that go through struggles when being converted. The plagues and the wrath are not the same thing, one accomplished the other we will get to that in Revelation 15. Right after the wine-press the conversion of the nations is mentioned again proving this is not about killing but about conversion. Those who follow the beast’s image will be tormented in the Lamb’s presence but it will change them from grapes into grape juice which is a related but a very different substance symbolizing conversion:

Revelation 15.1-4–I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues–last, because with them GOD’S WRATH is completed [carried through to full operation]. And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been VICTORIOUS over the BEAST and its IMAGE and over the NUMBER of its NAME. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses
[the Exodus now applied to the Nations] and of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, KING OF THE NATIONS. Who will not FEAR you, Lord, and bring GLORY to your name? For you alone are holy. ALL NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Would this have motivated you to keep dying for the gospel? The refrain in Revelation is that it will work eventually. You have one of three options 1 fight back (not viable for the early Christians) 2 Jesus could fight them 3 Church could have fled persecution or gone underground. However, Christ says that the way we convert the nations is not through fighting back or running away but through taking up your cross and dying for the gospel. Jesus was their example and the joy that is set before the church is the eventual conversion of the nations:

Hebrews 12.2–Looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the JOY that was set before him ENDURED THE CROSS, disregarding its shame, and has taken his SEAT at the right hand of the THRONE OF GOD.

Revelation 3.21 — To those who are victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, JUST AS I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Revelation 13.10 &14.12–This calls for patient endurance of the saints . . .

As Martin Luther King said: “we will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering and we will win a double victory we will not only win our freedom but we will win you with it” (paraphrase) This Herb says was the hope of the early church.

The imagery that John is using is Exodus imagery but instead of bringing Isreal out of Egypt he is bringing every nation tongue tribe and people out of slavery to Babylon. It is prophetically called Sodom, it is the place where the lord was crucified, and it was also called Egypt, but we know that it is Babylon (covered in Revelation 11)

Last time this language was used “I saw in heaven” was with the woman and then when he saw a dragon attacking the woman. What was the purpose of the plagues in the Exodus? It was to bring suffering to Egypt so that they would let Israel go. John is going to take this Exodus imagery and apply it to Babylon with every nation being delivered from her:

Revelation 15.1-4–I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign:
seven angels with the seven last plagues–last, because by them God’s wrath is. And I saw what looked like a SEA OF GLASS glowing with fire and, . . .

Imagery of Exodus:

. . . standing BESIDE THE SEA, those who had been victorious over the BEAST and its IMAGE and over the NUMBER of its NAME. They held harps given them by God and sang the SONG OF GOD’S SERVANT MOSES and of the LAMB:

Song of Moses is in Exodus 15 and Revelation 15 is where John mentions it. Ironically, John never quotes from Exodus 15 but what he actually quotes from is another set of verses quoting Exodus 15 but saying other things as well. These are what he takes and turns into the song of Moses in Revelation 15.

Exodus 15.1–Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:

Song of Moses:

“Great and marvelous are your deeds, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. Just
and true are your ways, KING OF THE NATIONS.  . . .

The start of this is a reference to the first angel’s message. This shows the first angels message of “fear God and give him glory” is indeed heeded by all nations.

[continued] . . .WHO WILL NOT FEAR YOU, LORD, and BRING GLORY TO YOUR NAME? For YOU ALONE ARE HOLY. ALL NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, for your RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN
REVEALED.”

“Marvelous deeds” is only part of Exodus 15 that John quotes:

Exodus 15.11–Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you– majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, doing marvelous deeds?

Song of Moses said the nations will “come and worship before [God]” now John will take that to mean something totally different in the Book of Revelation. The grapes have to go through anguish to be turned into grape juice:

Exodus 15.14-16–THE NATIONS will hear and TREMBLE; ANGUISH
will grip the people of Philistia. The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people of Canaan will melt away; TERROR and DREAD will fall on them.

John takes all this anger and fear and trembling and translates it into the good kind of fear and the glory before God (this is explained in the homework when Herb sent the audience home with a reading assignment)

Exodus 15.13, 17–In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. . .

We see all the kings of the earth bringing their glory into the new Jerusalem in Revelation 21.

[continued]. . . You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance–the place, LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established.

Exodus 15.18–“The LORD reigns for ever and ever.”

What Herb has done is underlined the quotes from Exodus 15 while the part that is capitalized is from the song of Moses:

Jeremiah 10.6,7–No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your
name is mighty in power. WHO SHOULD NOT FEAR YOU, KING OF
THE NATIONS? This is your due. Among all the wise rulers of the na-
tions and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you.

Psalms 86.8-10–Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. ALL THE NATIONS you have made WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, Lord; they will BRING GLORY TO YOUR NAME. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; YOU ALONE ARE GOD.

John connects “righteous acts being revealed [to all nations]” with Psalms 98 which is about the conversion of the nations:

Psalms 98.1–Sing to the Lord A NEW SONG, for he has done marvelous deeds; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation [victory] known and REVEALED HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS TO THE NATIONS.

Revelation 14.6–Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth–to every NATION AND TRIBE AND LANGUAGE AND PEOPLE. He said in a
loud voice, “FEAR God and give him GLORY, for the hour of his just
and equitous reign has come; and WORSHIP him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Remember what the prophecy was–the war scroll–when it was unrolled in chapter 11. This is what this is an expounding of. Rev 11 is the center of the book of Revelation. The whole rest of Revelation is an expounding of what that war scroll reveals. Essentially it is about how the army of the Lamb will bring about the conversion of the nations:

Revelation 11.13– the survivors FEARED the GOD OF HEAVEN and gave GLORY to him

We are just looking at how this will be done:

Revelation 15.5-8–After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the temple–that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law–and IT WAS OPENED. Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the GLORY of God and from his POWER, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.

John starts this with the tabernacle (it was opened) he is repeating this from the end of the 7th trumpet. What he is doing is locking the 7 plagues into the 7th trumpet just like he is locking the 7 trumpets into the 7th seal:

Revelation 11.19–THEN GOD’S TEMPLE IN HEAVEN WAS
OPENED, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. AND THERE CAME FLASHES OF LIGHTNING, RUMBLINGS, PEALS OF THUNDER, AN EARTHQUAKE AND A GREAT HAILSTORM.

Notice that this is what they would have heard: you have seven seals and within the seventh seal you see the seven angels that have seven trumpets and you come down to the seventh trumpet and you see heaven is opened but you no seven plagues are mentioned (he doesn’t lock them in there) what you see is Re: 12, 13, 14 that Herb covered before. However, in Rev 15 when he picks up with the seven plagues he goes back to that language he used in the seventh trumpet and ties it back in. The seven trumpets are all mentioned in the seventh seal while the seven last plagues are all mentioned in the seventh trumpet by taking this language “I saw heaven opened:”

Revelation 8.1-5–When he opened the SEVENTH SEAL, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. AND I SAW THE SEVEN ANGELS WHO STAND BEFORE GOD, AND SEVEN TRUMPETS WERE GIVEN TO THEM. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came PEALS OF THUNDER, RUMBLINGS, FLASHES OF LIGHTNING AND AN EARTHQUAKE.

Revelation 15.1–Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for by them the wrath of God [of the Lamb] might be made to happen.

The wrath of God and the seven last plagues are connected but one happens so that the other might happen. The word here for “might be made to happen” in the Greek is ετελέσθη or simple form: τελέω (teleo) it is used in The Gospel of John:

John 19.28– . . . in order that what is written in Scripture might happen . . .

Luke 1.45– . . . happy is the one who  believes that what has been spoken to her  by the Lord will be made to happen . . .

Revelation 15.1–Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for by them the wrath of God [of the Lamb] might be made to happen.

Revelation 15-20 all of this is going to be a definition of the wrath of the lamb and how it produces the conversion of the nations, but notice it begins with the seven last plagues. This is where it starts and these happen so that the whole thing might happen:

The result of these plagues is not the conversion of the nations but what is needed for the conversion is accomplished by these plagues:

Revelation 16.1–Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls OF God’s wrath [of the Lamb] on the earth.”

Originally these plagues are on Egypt so that Israel might be delivered:

Revelation 16.2–The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the
LAND, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the
MARK of the BEAST and WORSHIPED its IMAGE.

Revelation 8.7–The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down ON THE EARTH. A THIRD of the earth was burned up, A THIRD of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

Remember when those trumpets sound they are announcing the army of the Lamb (see Joel 2) but when that army is announced not only do the trumpets sound in heaven but who goes to work?: the dragon. The dragon is furious going about like a roaring lion because he knows his time is short. He does anything to prevent the success of the army of the Lamb. A third of the land is burned, a third of the stars fall, but when God pours out something on the land that is effecting Babylon: all of it is burned up. Why is this significant? God is not the only one doing plagues in Exodus. The magicians in Egypt tried to match his plagues. This is the story John is borrowing from. John turns this on its head where the devil is performing plagues and they only effect one third but God matches it and does a plague that effects all. This shows that the Devil is not the real ruler of the earth. Compare:

Revelation 16.3–The second angel poured out his bowl on THE SEA,
and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and EVERY LIVING
THING [Sea Creatures] IN THE SEA DIED.

Revelation 8.8-9–The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into THE SEA. A THIRD of the sea turned into blood, A THIRD of the living creatures in the sea died, and A THIRD of the ships were destroyed.

Revelation 16.4-7–The third angel poured out his bowl on the RIVERS AND SPRINGS OF WATER, and they became blood. Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”

“You are just in these judgements” and what comes after is key here. The question is (look at Revelation 14:7) what territory is in contest between the trumpets and the plagues? the heavens, the earth, the sea . . . has anyone died in these plagues? They are tormented yes. Is it for their punishment or redemption? How does giving violent people blood to drink bring about their redemption?

Revelation14.7–“Fear God and give him
glory, because the hour of his just and eq-
uitous reign has come. Worship him who
made the HEAVENS, the EARTH, the
SEA and the SPRINGS OF WATER.”

Robert E Lee became a pacifist, saying “I have had enough of blood. ” He wanted to be remembered for starting a college and not what he did during the civil war. Another example of such sentiment is here:

“I smell myself daily and the smell
disgusts me. I have had enough of blood.
The gutters of the city are running with
blood, there are flecks of blood in the
loves of bread, bood feeds the roots of
the apple trees where stinking dead men
hang among the apples. You may not
believe me now, but a killer by trade who
has had enough of blood is a good found-
ing member for a community based on
kindness and freedom as yours is to be.
A.S. Byatt; Babel Tower p. 30.

Why is God giving them blood to drink? Is it to punish them? Herb says it is to bring about their redemption. Herb wants you to remember in Rev 8:12 when it talks about the trumpets. The fourth trumpet sounded and a third of the sun was struck. Now under this plague the sun is turned up and it shines brighter. Once again no loss of life but severe torment. Grapes must go through torment to be turned into juice:

Revelation 16.8-9–The fourth angel poured out his bowl on THE SUN,
and the sun was ALLOWED to SCORCH PEOPLE WITH FIRE. They
were seared by the intense heat and THEY CURSED THE NAME OF
GOD, WHO HAD CONTROL OVER THESE PLAGUES, BUT THEY
REFUSED TO REPENT AND GLORIFY HIM.

Revelation 8.12–The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and A THIRD of the SUN was struck, A THIRD of the MOON, and A THIRD of the STARS, so that A THIRD of them turned dark. A THIRD of the day was WITHOUT LIGHT, and also A THIRD of the NIGHT.

Revelation 16.10-11–The fifth angel poured out his bowl on THE
THRONE of the BEAST, and ITS KINGDOM was plunged into DARK-
NESS. PEOPLE GNAWED THEIR TONGUES IN AGONY AND
CURSED THE GOD OF HEAVEN BECAUSE OF THEIR PAINS
AND THEIR SORES, BUT THEY REFUSED TO REPENT OF WHAT
THEY HAD DONE.

Sending plagues on Egyptians to make them let go of Israel will work but will it make all of them follow God? Will the methods of the Tanahk work to produce followers of the lamb? No. However, they set up the scene, they enable it, but we do not see the conversion of the nations through the plagues instead what we have is greater obstinence at first:

Revelation 9.1-6–The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace . . . And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered
was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

Who had escaped across the Euphrates? Nero. Here you have the Euphrates drying up to prepare the way for the kings of the east. The battle is still future after the plagues, so the plagues have failed to bring about conversion of the nations. What’s interesting in the 6th trumpet the river Euphrates is mentioned as well. Why is he bringing up the Euphrates? One of the west: Nero would return across Euphrates and have vengence and become a Roman emperor again and rule the world. The east legend is that Nero had befriended the Parthian empire and lead the charge of the Parthians back and bring Rome’s fall and Parthia would rule the world. People depending on their loyalty like the first or the second language. John is using the legend of the east is Rev 16. From here on out until revelation 19 he is talking about the eastern legend. How did Babylon fall? Cyrus dried up the river Euphrates so they could come in. What we see is the fall of Babylon and the conversion of the nations away from Babylon to the Lamb:

Revelation 16.12-16–The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great
RIVER EUPHRATES, and its water was DRIED UP to prepare the
way for THE KINGS FROM THE EAST. Then I saw three evil spirits
that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of THE DRAGON,
out of the mouth of THE BEAST and out of the mouth of THE FALSE
PROPHET. They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go
out to THE KINGS OF THE WHOLE WORLD, to GATHER them for
THE BATTLE ON THE GREAT DAY OF GOD ALMIGHTY. “Look, I come like a THIEF! Blessed are those who STAY AWAKE and KEEP THEIR CLOTHES ON, so that they may not go naked and be shamefully  exposed.”Then they gathered THE KINGS together to the place that in Hebrew is called ARMAGEDDON.

Herb isn’t going to read much of Armageddon. He asks the audience to read the rest. Herb says the reason John uses that term is that the prophecy in the Tanahk about Armageddon is about a war where all the nations are involved and John will flip this on its head and turn it into all the nations being converted.

On Rev 13: Authority and Endurance

 

In reviewing Mr Montgomery’s exposition on Revelation–which reminds me, in an Impressionistic way, of the mad Dervishs of the sands, or Olympic gymnasts–I must oppose his rendition of these events with a patently perpendicular perspective.  I hold that the majority of the events described are future tense,  and, more significantly, less optimistic for humanity at large.  Much of my purview centers on the 13th chapter of the work.

The 13th chapter tells us of the rise of the Beast, which is certainly a spiritual creature.  This will not appear in our world as it is described; I will address this in another post, but for now, I must assert that the Antichrist must appear human, and ask that it be accepted as a given for this article.  Daniel makes use of such imagery when alluding to political engines; this Beast should be seen in the same vein.  What is important here are two words: exousia, and huponome.

Exousia, in Strongs (1849), is offered as ‘the liberty to do as one pleases’. Also, it conveys might, right, and state power.  We might refocus these delineations as ‘disposition’ to act. This word implies something else; formality of power, not just raw power (except in case 2: 1, 3, and 4 are linked to formal power).  This demands another attribute emerge, one which only modern men have evaluated, and that is legitimacy of power.  Legitimacy is the right of power to use Exousia. Paul speaks of this concept in Romans 13, that El authorized the governments.  Paul has a very narrow grasp of the idea, so I find it necessary to borrow from a modern source, President William Henry Harrison.

President Harrison, in his inaugural address, made this statement:

“The only legitimate government derives from a mandate by the governed.”

This, of course, is a democratic point of view. Jesus is a monarch, which renders the plebiscite quite invalid.  However, while Yeshua is not bound to a contract as existed for Mr Harrison, He does recognize the central thematic idea of his speech as correct.  To wield might, you must have right.  Abram asks Yeshua ‘Shall not the judge of all the Earth do rightly (strongs 4941, mishpat). In other words, while Jehovah can do what He pleases–exousia–He holds fast to legitimate use of that power. Mishpat means to judge a case or litigation, with justice.  This will come back to haunt us later.

The Beast of Rev 13 is given exousia many times; 4, in fact.  He is given authority over all the world, all tribes and tongues, and, lastly, over the Saints themselves.  Here, in verse 7, begins the war against the Saints, and the Beast is given authority over them, to kill them.  This word, given, is used in all the cases in this chapter.  This exousia was not purloined, or taken by force: it was bestowed.  And there was only one agency that could bestow it. Satan had acquired the authority of the Ten Kings–they swore allegiance to Lucifer for power.  That would give Satan the world; but for power over the Saints, it could only come from the Saints themselves.

Consider the dire warning of the end of the chapter: (as per Biblehub’s greek interlinear) “if anyone {is to go} into captivity, into captivity he must go: if anyone with [the] sword is to be killed,  it is necessary by [the] sword for him to be killed.”  Notice, there is no ‘karmic’ link here in the immediate.  Rather, the Saints are required to have patient endurance–huponome (strong 5281), or, as it is sometimes rendered, perseverance.  This means to endure what is not right, or to persist through what must be.

Now, if Satan was given authority over the Saints, which he loaned out to the Beast, what is the source of that acquisition?  All authority was given to Christ (Matt 28), who gave it to the Church (Matt 16).  Christ gave the Church the authority to bind in Heaven as on Earth–and said the Gates of Hell would not prevail against it.  Yet, here in the Revelation, that is happening.  How, then can this be?

Let’s look at Mr Montgomery’s take on the verse, of swords and captivity.  He has a good deal of support from translations that make it direct, Newtonian causality.  If you x,  then x happens to you.  This does not fit the connotative direction of the statement. If this is cause and effect, only people who have killed would be killed.  Only those who capture would be captured.  But that is not what is occurring.  This is a war against all the Saints, some of whom would surely not be individually involved in either of these.

Rather, this is a corporate action.  The whole Body of Christ–the Church, the Ecclesia–is being attacked.  This is not suffering as with an affliction.  Peter uses pascho (strong 3958) to warn against suffering ‘as a murderer’, and pathema (3804) for innocent suffering in 1 Peter 4.  But in Rev 13, the Church is told to hupomone, to endure.  Jesus uses this word in Luke 21, about the end times: He says: “By your endurance you will gain your lives.”  Again, in Matt 24, “He who endures to end will be saved.”

So, what is happening to the Church, that they must endure, with patience? It is not innocent suffering, nor guilty suffering.  Rather, it must be. It must be endured.  This act reverses what Yeshua said about the authority of the Church, and the subjectivity of the Kingdom of Hell.  This could only happen if the latter usurped the former.  What is happening to the Church had to be a right judgement against her, in a writ secured by the Prosecutor of the Brethren, which is, Satan.

The Church had to have committed an offense too egregious, that Yahweh had to allow His Church to be scourged.  They had to have used their authority to bind on Earth what was so depraved, that Satan was able to argue before El that they had forfeited their authority to him–and Jehovah had to agree.  He had to, as a right judgment, declare the case against the Church was valid, and surrender their authority to Satan.  What this was–or, will be–I will argue another time.

The mechanics are valid, even if the Alpha Event is nebulous.  Look at the verbiage.  The whole church is being afflicted, not just some transgressors.  If the warnings are just a system of karma, then they are meaningless to those who did not transgress.  Also, it would not be hupomone to suffer what you should for doing evil.  If you are being killed by the sword for using the sword, that is justice.  Satan is clearly not doing justice in Rev 13.  You would not need perseverance to endure what is lawful as a punishment.

You need endurance to go through what was not your crime as a person, but was a crime of your species.  If you were innocent a s a person, but belonged to a group that was judged, you would need to persevere.  Consider the Tanakh; how many tocsins did Yahweh levy against all of Israel, when but one or few sinned?  Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?  He has proscribed the whole before, when the sins of Israel needed to be scourged from them.  This is simply the final application of that justice.

So, what Satan is doing in Rev 13 is a function of a justice corrupted by human hands.  The Church did something that caused her to lose her authority, and surrender it to Lucifer–and Jehovah had to agree that bringing them under the scourge was right, as a punishment for what they did.  So, in a sense, it is justice: but, Satan wars against the entire Church, in which are numbered the personally blameless, which El said He would not do, even against Sodom.  Therefore, it is not just.  Since this was bound in Heaven by the Church, it must be a dark mirror of what they did to be scourged–a group punishment against a few sinners, in which the innocent were abluted.

It would require much more space to address the imaginative speculations of Mr Montgomery’s theory.  He is to be credited for his wizardly command of arcane and diverse material; such conjurings are the work of the brilliant and artistic.  This is but one critique of his theory; if space and time permits, perhaps more can be deconstructed.  It would be an undertaking worth pursuing to unravel his elaborate musings, as it pays the dividend of watching the creative, dervish muse ply his craft.

Follow The Lamb, Part 12: A Beast and Its False Prophet

http://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb I’m paraphrasing (and analyzing in part) this series of lectures on Revelation by Herb Montgomery because it relates to the kingdom of God. My Bible study is discussing this series and I just now decided to start posting about it so I will be following along with them for the rest of the series on parts 12-17. I will post a summary during the week before we have Bible study friday night and will update it after Bible study to account for anything else learned there. However, this post (part 12) is just a summary after Bible study. I will finish parts 1-11 on my own after 12-17. Hopefully I will be able to get the others to comment on those as well. Herb argues that there is a change in teaching in the new testament to pacifism–from the Tanahk (or Old Testament)–and argues that Revelation fits with this. This also interests me because our paper “Unless He Gives up All His Possessions” argues for a change in teaching in the Christian writings (New Testament) with regards to possessions but only due to a different situation arising after Christ. Young’s literal translation is used except when otherwise noted. Herb is using the TNIV which I cannot find online.
Lecture: https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/12abeastanditsfalseprophet.mp3
Handout: https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/outlines/12unholytrinity.pdf

. . .

Herb Montgomery states that John (in Revelation) quotes from Daniel 7 more than any other chapter in the Tanahk because the hope of Daniel 7 is the same as the hope of the book of Revelation. This is he says is the climax and the point of Revelation and Daniel 7:

14 And to him is given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, and all peoples, nations, and languages do serve him, his dominion [is] a dominion age-during, that passeth not away, and his kingdom that which is not destroyed. (Daniel 7:14 YLT)

The dragon goes to make war with the rest of the woman’s offspring and the way he does this is that he calls forth a beast. Herb has made the text bold in the handout where it quotes the Nero legend. I am using a different translation so I have bolded the corresponding words:

1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and I saw out of the sea a beast coming up, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon its horns ten diadems, and upon its heads a name of evil speaking, 2 and the beast that I saw was like to a leopard, and its feet as of a bear, and its mouth as the mouth of a lion, and the dragon did give to it his power, and his throne, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of its heads as slain to death, and its deadly stroke was healed, and all the earth did wonder after the beast, 4 and they did bow before the dragon who did give authority to the beast, and they did bow before the beast, saying, `Who [is] like to the beast? who is able to war with it?’ 5 And there was given to it a mouth speaking great things, and evil-speakings, and there was given to it authority to make war forty-two months, 6 and it did open its mouth for evil-speaking toward God, to speak evil of His name, and of His tabernacle, and of those who in the heaven tabernacle, 7 and there was given to it to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and there was given to it authority over every tribe, and tongue, and nation. 8 And bow before it shall all who are dwelling upon the land, whose names have not been written in the scroll of the life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; 9 if any one hath an ear — let him hear: 10 if any one a captivity doth gather, into captivity he doth go away; if any one by sword doth kill, it behoveth him by sword to be killed; here is the endurance and the faith of the saints. (Revelation 13:1-10)

Like in Revelation the saints will be killed by the beast that comes out of the abyss. The beast is claiming to be their king but right now and they have to submit to the beast. In Rev 13:8 Herb connects the phrase “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world;” to the Ascension of Isaiah 4:2-14 which is about the Nero legends: [4]
“Beliar [Belial] will descend, the great angel, the king of this world, which he has ruled EVER SINCE IT EXISTED.” See: ‘Two “Nero” Legends’ for more of the parallels Herb has noticed: https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/outlines/12unholytrinity.pdf This part of the Ascension of Isaiah (AOI) is dated to the end of the first century. [1] If you combine this knowledge with the date of 96 AD [2] for Revelation it is uncertain that John could be quoting from AOI even more so if we take an earlier date for Revelation. However, a few scholars think that AOI already existed in the first century. [3] Herb says AOI is similar to the third Sibylline Oracle.

Devil is taking his authority and giving it to the beast (who is Nero). Compare:

“and the dragon did give to it his power, and his throne, and great authority” (Rev 13:2)

“they did bow before the dragon who did give authority to the beast” (Rev 13:4)

5 And the Devil having brought him up to an high mountain, shewed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,
6 and the Devil said to him, `To thee I will give all this authority, and their glory, because to me it hath been delivered, and to whomsoever I will, I do give it; (Luke 4:5-6)

John has people saying praises to the beast that are previously only applied to God. Compare the following: `Who [is] like to the beast? who is able to war with it?’ (Rev 13:4) Also Psalm 86:8-10 shows that the nations worshipping God  is what happens in the end:

11 Who [is] like Thee among the gods, O Jehovah? Who [is] like Thee — honourable in holiness — Fearful in praises — doing wonders? (Ex 15:11)

8 There is none like Thee among the gods, O Lord, And like Thy works there are none.
9 All nations that Thou hast made Come and bow themselves before Thee, O Lord, And give honour to Thy name.
10 For great [art] Thou, and doing wonders, Thou [art] God Thyself alone. (Psalms 86:8-10)

Herb says the end of the story is where it talks about the new Jerusalem in Revelation 21:4 (people worshipping the beast is not the end of the story)

“and the nations of the saved in its light shall walk, and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it,” (Rev 21:24)

What the beast is doing is blasphemy (“evil-speaking” in YLT) as it says in Rev 13. Compare:

And to him is given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, and all peoples, nations, and languages do serve him, his dominion [is] a dominion age-during, that passeth not away, and his kingdom that which is not destroyed. (Dan 7:14)

The Jews answered him, saying, `For a good work we do not stone thee, but for evil speaking, and because thou, being a man, dost make thyself God.’ (John 10:33)

These things are also reflected in the Nero legend [4]:

. . .“I AM THE LORD, AND BEFORE ME THERE WAS NO ONE.” And ALL men in the world will believe in him. They will sacrifice to him and will serve him, saying, “THIS IS THE LORD, AND BESIDES HIM THERE IS NO OTHER.” And the MAJORITY OF THOSE WHO HAVE ASSOCIATED TOGETHER TO RECEIVE THE BELOVED HE WILL TURN AFTER HIM. . . . Ascension of Isiah (4:2-14) taken from https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/outlines/12unholytrinity.pdf

They would have seen the Nero legend of the west in the first beast’s imagery. Who would they have seen in this imagery?

11 And I saw another beast coming up out of the land, and it had two horns, like a lamb, and it was speaking as a dragon, 12 and all the authority of the first beast doth it do before it, and it maketh the land and those dwelling in it that they shall bow before the first beast, whose deadly stroke was healed, 13 and it doth great signs, that fire also it may make to come down from the heaven to the earth before men, 14 and it leadeth astray those dwelling on the land, because of the signs that were given it to do before the beast, saying to those dwelling upon the land to make an image to the beast that hath the stroke of the sword and did live, 15 and there was given to it to give a spirit to the image of the beast, that also the image of the beast may speak, and [that] it may cause as many as shall not bow before the image of the beast, that they may be killed. 16 And it maketh all, the small, and the great, and the rich, and the poor, and the freemen, and the servants, that it may give to them a mark upon their right hand or upon their foreheads, 17 and that no one may be able to buy, or to sell, except he who is having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is the wisdom! He who is having the understanding, let him count the number of the beast, for the number of a man it is, and its number [is] 666. (Revelation 13:11-18)

“Fatal wound” is the same words: Rev 13:3 Rev 5:6 Rev 13:12,

“lived” is the same word: Rev 2:8 Rev 13:14 Rev 1:18

Essentially your hope is to be in the lamb who was slain and yet lives not in the similar myth of Nero. Herb reads the following to show that the Christians would have seen their own situation in the words of Revelation about the beast and the image:

An anonymous document was published containing the names of many persons. Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ–none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do–these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ.
http://faculty.georgetown.edu/jod/texts/pliny.html

Herb quotes “Even as I also received AUTHORITY from my FATHER” (Rev 2:28 TNIV) As a side-note if you can’t see a similar phrase in your translation look at the verse before. Translations differ greatly in verse numbering here, YLT has:

26 and he who is overcoming, and who is keeping unto the end my works, I will give to him authority over the nations,
27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron — as the vessels of the potter they shall be broken — as I also have received from my Father;
28 and I will give to him the morning star. (Rev 2:26-28)

Similar concepts appear elsewhere:

no one doth take it from me, but I lay it down of myself; authority I have to lay it down, and authority I have again to take it; this command I received from my Father.’ (John 10:8)

And having come near, Jesus spake to them, saying, ‘Given to me was all authority in heaven and on earth; (Matthew 28:18)

then — the end, when he may deliver up the reign to God, even the Father, when he may have made useless all rule, and all authority and power — (1 Corinthians 15:24)

Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (1 Cor 15:24)

Nero received authority from the dragon while Christ received authority from his father. The lamb-like beast is called the false prophet. The beast has a false prophet while the lamb has true prophets.

and the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who did the signs before him, in which he led astray those who did receive the mark of the beast, and those who did bow before his image; living they were cast — the two — to the lake of the fire, that is burning with brimstone; (Rev 19:20)

The church and its prophetic role as a witness to stand before the lord:

these are the two olive [trees], and the two lamp-stands that before the God of the earth do stand; (Rev 11:4)

and all the authority of the first beast doth it do before it, and it maketh the land and those dwelling in it that they shall bow before the first beast, whose deadly stroke was healed, (Rev 13:12)

Herb says it is a direct quote of 11:4 “before the” God of the earth I do see the same Greek word (Strong’s G1799) used in both and a similar word used right after. Revelation 13:14 does have the same two words. Compare:

https://studybible.info/interlinear/Revelation%2013:14
https://studybible.info/interlinear/Rev%2013:12
https://studybible.info/interlinear/Rev%2011:4

In Rev 11 the Lamb has a true prophet that stands in his presence while the false prophet stands in the presence of the beast. The witnesses in Revelation 11 have the power of Elijah (shut up the sky from rain etc . . .) but are never said to use it. Hence, Herb makes the parallel between the true prophets who have the power of Elijah but use non-violent methods (methods of the Lamb) and the false prophet who has the power of Elijah and chooses to fully use it (by calling down fire from heaven like Elijah did to the groups of 50 men sent to take him) The lamb-like beast looks like a lamb but speaks and acts like a dragon: “follow or be killed” see Rev 13:11 and Rev 13:15. The imagery is taken from Daniel 3 where Nebuchadnezzar sets up an image and whoever doesn’t worship the image will be thrown into a blazing furnace. John flips this upside-down: whoever worships the image of the beast will be thrown into the lake of fire.

Compare the following:

`And ye have placed these my words on your heart, and on your soul, and have bound them for a sign on your hand, and they have been for frontlets between your eyes; (Deut 11:18)

And I saw, and lo, a Lamb having stood upon the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty-four thousands, having the name of his Father written upon their foreheads; (Rev 14:1)

Father gives authority to the lamb who has a prophet or a witness in Rev 11. The dragon gives authority to the beast. This was the warning of Revelation 13: don’t be like the majority and follow after Rome or empire in general. In the 16th century this imagery was seen as referring to Papal Rome. Herb goes through some light numerology mostly on how many times things are mentioned in Revelation, for example to quote from the handout:

Seven ~ Totality or Completeness
Four ~ World (corners/winds; heaven, earth, sea, rivers; nation, people, language and tribe.)
Babylon has 28 products of the whole world.
“the one who lives forever and ever” ~ Four times
Lord God Almighty  ~ Seven times
The One Who Sits on the Throne ~ Seven times
Alpha and Omega (or equivalent) ~ Seven times
Christ ~ Seven times
Jesus ~  Fourteen times (two being the number of the witnesses)
Lamb ~ Twenty Eight times (4 x 7)
Nations, Languages, Tribe and People ~ Seven times (but a fourfold
phrase)
Twelve ~ God’s people
144,000 ~ 12 squared and multiplied by 1000 (largest number)
Too many to be accidental

Gematria
“I love the girl whose number is 545” ~ Graffito found in Pompeii
Isopsephism
Greek form of Nero =1005
“Killed his own mother” in Greek = 1005
https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/outlines/12unholytrinity.pdf 

The Greek word for “angle” translated into Hebrew is 144 (see Rev 21:17)

Greek word “beast” translated into Hebrew equals 666 (see Rev 13:17-18) “Neron Ceasar” (a variation of Nero’s title) as spelled in some historical document(s) equals 666 while “Nero Ceasar” equals 616. This detail is from the author’s memory not from Herb’s lecture. Also see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_the_Beast#Nero Herb argues this means the early Christians would have seen this beast as Nero and John’s meaning here is that they should not hope for the return of Nero but the return of the Lamb.

Herb suggests as further reading on numerology in Revelation: “Climax of Prophecy” by Professor Richard Bauckham and to look up the chapter on Nero.

Compare the following. Note “name” means “character” in Hebrew thought:

1 And I saw, and lo, a Lamb having stood upon the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty-four thousands, having the name of his Father written upon their foreheads; 2 and I heard a voice out of the heaven, as a voice of many waters, and as a voice of great thunder, and a voice I heard of harpers harping with their harps, 3 and they sing, as it were, a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures, and the elders, and no one was able to learn the song except the hundred forty-four thousands, who have been bought from the earth; 4 these are they who with women were not defiled, for they are virgin; these are they who are following the Lamb whithersoever he may go; these were bought from among men — a first-fruit to God and to the Lamb — 5 and in their mouth there was not found guile, for unblemished are they before the throne of God. (Rev 14:1-5)

27 `Now hath my soul been troubled, and what? shall I say — Father, save me from this hour? — but because of this I came to this hour; 28 Father, glorify Thy name.’ There came, therefore, a voice out of the heaven, `I both glorified, and again I will glorify [it];’ (John 12:27-28)

9 Jesus saith to him, `So long time am I with you, and thou hast not known me, Philip? he who hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how dost thou say, Shew to us the Father? (John 14:9)

Herb uses the following verse to argue that in the past God has spoken in many different ways to his people. He states “different from what looks like a lamb” and later that Christ “strips away all accommodations of God having to meet people where they are at . . . if God is allowed to be just himself . . .” implying before there was violence commanded in the Tanakh that departed from God’s true character but that now we have the exact representation of what God is like in Christ. I don’t quite agree here but I won’t get into the disagreement:

1 In many parts, and many ways, God of old having spoken to the fathers in the prophets, 2 in these last days did speak to us in a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He did make the ages; 3 who being the brightness of the glory, and the impress of His subsistence, bearing up also the all things by the saying of his might — through himself having made a cleansing of our sins, sat down at the right hand of the greatness in the highest, (Hebrews 1:1-3)

So Rev 14:1 Herb says are people who understand God’s true character as communicated by Christ (those who have his name written on their foreheads) He connects the “new song” in Rev 1:3 they sing to Psalms 96 and 98 which are about the conversion of the nation, Herb writes in the handout “A call to The Nation to submit to the just and equitous reign of the Lamb”. Hence more evidence for that view to be applied to Revelation.

He states that the 144,000 in Revelation are “virgins” and have kept themselves from women because they are symbolizing an army because keeping from women was a requirement for when soldiers went to war.  My thoughts are that if keeping from women traditionally makes you pure for battle then keeping away from women your whole life (being a virgin) means you are ready for battle your whole life. Obviously, this is using militaristic imagery and symbolic and Herb argues this is a non-violent army.

4 And the priest answereth David, and saith, `There is no common bread under my hand, but there is holy bread; if the youths have been kept only from women.’ 5 And David answereth the priest, and saith to him, `Surely, if women have been restrained from us as heretofore in my going out, then the vessels of the young men are holy, and it [is] a common way: and also, surely to-day it is sanctified in the vessel.’ (1 Samuel 21:4-5)

9 `When a camp goeth out against thine enemies, then thou hast kept from every evil thing. 10 `When there is in thee a man who is not clean, from an accident at night — then he hath gone out unto the outside of the camp — he doth not come in unto the midst of the camp — (Deuteronomy 23:9-10)

The 144,000 being first fruits of every nation, tongue, tribe, and people (also see Revelation 7:9 and context) means that they are “first” of many. There is much evidence for this from the sacrifices and other passages in the Bible. Hence, Herb again is arguing that all nations will be saved:

9 and they sing a new song, saying, `Worthy art thou to take the scroll, and to open the seals of it, because thou wast slain, and didst redeem us to God in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, (Rev 5:9)

On first fruits see the following:

9 And Jehovah speaketh unto Moses, saying, 10 `Speak unto the sons of Israel, and thou hast said unto them, When ye come in unto the land which I am giving to you, and have reaped its harvest, and have brought in the sheaf, the beginning of your harvest unto the priest, 11 then he hath waved the sheaf before Jehovah for your acceptance; on the morrow of the sabbath doth the priest wave it. 12 `And ye have prepared in the day of your waving the sheaf a lamb, a perfect one, a son of a year, for a burnt-offering to Jehovah, 13 and its present two tenth deals of flour mixed with oil, a fire-offering to Jehovah, a sweet fragrance, and its drink-offering, wine, a fourth of the hin. 14 `And bread and roasted corn and full ears ye do not eat until this self-same day, until your bringing in the offering of your God — a statute age-during to your generations, in all your dwellings. (Lev 23:9-14)

5 and the assembly at their house; salute Epaenetus, my beloved, who is first-fruit of Achaia to Christ. (Romans 16:5)

15 And I entreat you, brethren, ye have known the household of Stephanas, that it is the first-fruit of Achaia, and to the ministration to the saints they did set themselves — (1 Corinthians 16:5)

20 And now, Christ hath risen out of the dead — the first-fruits of those sleeping he became, (1 Cor 15:20)

16 and if the first-fruit [is] holy, the lump also; and if the root [is] holy, the branches also. (Rom 11:16)

Herb also references Joel 2 for the lamb’s army being an army like none other possible meaning it is non-violent. I’ll need to look back at the previous lectures at some point to see how this connection is made. Most people see Nero’s return according to the legend and follow him:

3 And I saw one of its heads as slain to death, and its deadly stroke was healed, and all the earth did wonder after the beast, (Revelation 13:3)

However, in Revelation 14 the Lamb has followers too and they are just the first fruits what is to come.

Herb then I think makes the point that the “speaking as a dragon” is connected to blaspheming the character of God. God is a non-violent lamb and the Devil represents himself as the Lamb but speaks like a dragon:

11 And I saw another beast coming up out of the land, and it had two horns, like a lamb, and it was speaking as a dragon, (Rev 13:11)

This is a lie about God’s character:

`Ye are of a father — the devil, and the desires of your father ye will to do; he was a man-slayer from the beginning, and in the truth he hath not stood, because there is no truth in him; when one may speak the falsehood, of his own he speaketh, because he is a liar — also his father. (John 8:44)

He makes the point that whoever denies the Lamb is denying the father also (as mentioned that Hebrews 1 implies)

Who is the liar, except he who is denying that Jesus is the Christ? this one is the antichrist who is denying the Father and the Son; (1 John 2:22)

Herb sees part of the Lamb as being God’s character of non-violence hence he sees non-violence as true witness of Jesus and an opposite of the violent dragon:

14 `And to the messenger of the assembly of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the witness — the faithful and true — the chief of the creation of God; (Rev 3:14)

37 Pilate, therefore, said to him, `Art thou then a king?’ Jesus answered, `Thou dost say [it]; because a king I am, I for this have been born, and for this I have come to the world, that I may testify to the truth; every one who is of the truth, doth hear my voice.’ (John 18:37)

Herb asks: how do the Lamb’s followers bear witness to the truth?

19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and unspotted — Christ’s —
(1 Peter 1:19)

Herb makes the point that early Christians did not see Jesus as sacrificing himself instead of them rather they saw Jesus as someone they should imitate. Herb quotes Revelation 12:11 in support of this corollary: “for they loved not their lives even unto death.”

Herb quotes the following as evidence that at least some of those following the beast are going to be converted because the angel preaches the good news to them:

6 And I saw another messenger flying in mid-heaven, having good news age-during to proclaim to those dwelling upon the earth, and to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people, 7 saying in a great voice, `Fear ye God, and give to Him glory, because come did the hour of His judgment, and bow ye before Him who did make the heaven, and the land, and sea, and fountains of waters.’ (Rev 14:6-7)

Similarly Herb says Jesus is quoting (I see probably a reference) from Psalms chapter 2 about the conversion of the nations:

14 and this good news of the reign shall be proclaimed in all the world, for a testimony to all the nations; and then shall the end arrive. (Matt 24:14)

8 Ask of Me and I give nations — thy inheritance, And thy possession — the ends of earth. 9 Thou dost rule them with a sceptre of iron, As a vessel of a potter Thou dost crush them.’ 10 And now, O kings, act wisely, Be instructed, O judges of earth, 11 Serve ye Jehovah with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Chosen One, lest He be angry, And ye lose the way, When His anger burneth but a little, O the happiness of all trusting in Him! (Psalm 2)

Herb says we have to ask ourselves what is “the end” in Matthew 24:14? Is it the conversion of the nations or the destruction of the nations? How does a lamb win against his enemies?

Herb argues that the phrases in Revelation like e.g.  “nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues” (Rev 7:9) put those elements in a different order each time and that the word it says first is the one he is calling attention to and that you should search for that word in the Tanakh to see what connections he is making. Herb connects “having good news age-during [i.e. forever] to proclaim to those dwelling upon the earth, and to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people,” (Rev 14:6) with the following “from day to day” being eternity:

1 Sing to Jehovah a new song, Sing to Jehovah all the earth. 2 Sing to Jehovah, bless His name, Proclaim from day to day His salvation. 3 Declare among nations His honour, Among all the peoples His wonders. (Psalms 96:1-3)

He also uses this parallel between Rev 14:6 and Psalms 96:7 which though YLT uses “peoples” in Psalms and “nations” in Revelation the word in the Greek is the same “ethnos.” Compare:

https://studybible.info/interlinear/rev%2014:6
https://studybible.info/interlinear/Psalm%2096:7

Ascribe to Jehovah, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to Jehovah honour and strength. (Psalm 96:7)

Herb also makes note parallel of fearing God and giving God glory in both passages. Oddly enough YLT fails again to show this but it remains in the Greek:

https://studybible.info/interlinear/Revelation%2014:7
https://studybible.info/interlinear/Psalm%2096:7

Herb uses the TNIV and that and the NIV preserves the similarities in English: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rev+14%3A6-7%2C+psalms+96%3A1-3&version=NIV

For all the gods of the peoples [“ethnos” i.e. nations] [are] nought, And Jehovah made the heavens. (Psalms 96:5)

Another parallel is mentioned as well as the fact that “judging” can have a positive connotation and in Revelation he has elsewhere argued it does i.e. restorative justice as opposed to retributive justice:

10 Say among nations, `Jehovah hath reigned, Also — established is the world, unmoved, He judgeth the peoples in uprightness.’ 11 The heavens joy, and the earth is joyful, The sea and its fulness roar. 12 The field exulteth, and all that [is] in it, Then sing do all trees of the forest, 13 Before Jehovah, for He hath come, For He hath come to judge the earth. He judgeth the world in righteousness, And the peoples in His faithfulness! (Psalm 96:10-13)

I think from now on I’ll just use his TNIV translation that is on his handout to make things easier for me. These verses are used to show that before God’s restorative message was always proclaimed to Israel. Luke 4 is quoted to explain why the message of Christ was offensive to the Jews because he was to proclaim that message to all nations:

You who bring good news to Zion . . . You who bring good
news to Jerusalem . (Isaiah 40:9 TNIV)

I was the first to tell Zion . . . I gave to Jerusalem a messenger
of good news. (Isaiah 41:27 TNIV)

. . . those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who
bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7 TNIV)

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent  me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and
release from darkness for the prisoners . . . (Isaiah 61:1 TNIV)

All the people in the synagogue were furious when they
heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. (Luke 4:28,29 TNIV)

Herb asks what we should do with the universal language in Revelation e.g. every nation, tribe and people etc. . . ? He hasn’t gotten to explaining it yet (he isn’t an universalist) but asks the audience to let the universal language of Revelation change the way they see the people who don’t know God yet. If you view people as being destined for hell that is bound to affect the way you treat them.

He states victory for the lamb is the lamb converting the nations not destroying them violently like the dragon:

And they [the 144,000] cried out in a loud voice: “Sal-
vation [victory] belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the
Lamb.” (Revelation 7.10 TNIV)

Whole message of the book of revelation is outlined in these Psalms:

Psalms 96-100–Thematic Grouping of songs displaying Yahweh’s universal Lord ship, his coming to reign, and the call to the nations to worship him.

More universal language is noted here and is connected with the passages of fearing God and giving him glory:

–Who will not FEAR you, Lord, and bring GLORY to your name? For you alone are holy. ALL NATIONS will come and WORSHIP before you, for your righteous acts have been REVEALED.” (Revelation 15:4)

The part about Babylon falling and the second angel’s message Herb will cover in the next lecture . . .

A second angel followed and said, “`Fallen! Fallen is BABYLON the Great,’ which made ALL THE NATIONS drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone WORSHIPS the BEAST and its IMAGE and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, TOO, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. . . .

Herb notes here that there is no loss of life just torment. The same language is used in Isaiah 34:9-10 for Edom and Edom is not still burning hence Herb states that this is not literal and that the only torment may be because of the dislike for the Lamb’s kingdom which wins in the end:

. . . They will be TORMENTED with burning sulfur in the PRES-
ENCE OF THE LAMB and of the holy angels. And the smoke of their
torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the BEAST and its IMAGE, or for anyone who receives the MARK of its NAME.” This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of GOD WHO KEEP HIS COMMANDS and the FAITH OF JESUS. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who DIE in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for THEIR DEEDS WILL FOLLOW ON AFTER THEM.” (Revelation 14.8-13 TNIV)

He notes that there is a risk of the audience forgetting the army of the lamb and the three angels and their proclamations so he asks that they remember these concepts for the next lecture so he can tie them into Revelation 15. This is where he ends.

[1]
M. A. Knibb writes (op. cit., pp. 149-150):

There are a number of indications which point to the view that 3:13-4:22 was copmosed at about the end of the first century A.D. This section of the Ascension is clearly later than the death of Nero in A.D. 68 because it refers to the expectation that Nero would come again as the “Antichrist” (see 4:2b-4a); presumably a little time would have been needed for this belief to develop, and this suggests a date at the earliest toward the end of the first century. On the other hand, the picture of the corruption of the Church which is given in 3:21-23 invites comparison with the descriptions of the Church given in 1 and 2 Timothy, 2 Peter, and 1 Clement 3; the similarities with these writings likewise suggest that 3:13-4:22 dates from about the end of the first century. Two other pieces of evidence also point towards this date. First, the author of 4 Baruch 9:18, 20, a work attributed to the early second century, betrays a knowledge of chapters 1-5 of the Ascension in their Christian form and may even have known the complete book; he gives in 9:18 what appears to be a loose quotation of 3:17 of the Ascension. Second, this same passage of the Ascension (3:17) provides a description of the emergence of the Beloved (Jesus) from the tomb which is similar to the description given in the Gospel of Peter 39f., a work which dates from the middle of the second century. Taken together, these indications suggest a date for the composition of 3:13-4:22 at about the end of the first century.
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ascension.html

[2]
In view of the foregoing evidence, a very strong case can be made for dating Revelation at about A.D. 96.
https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1552-when-was-the-book-of-revelation-written

There are two dates that are commonly mentioned for the writing of the Book of Revelation: (a) an early date – still during the lifetime of Caesar Nero, about the middle of the 60ies AD; and (b) a late date – about 95/96 AD furing the time of Caesar Domitian.
http://www.biblecenter.de/bibel/studien/e-std310.php

[3]
James Charlesworth writes: “The Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah, like many pseudepigrapha (especially 1 Enoch) is composite, comprising three separate sections: the Martyrdom of Isaiah (basically chs. 1-5, except for THez); the Testament of Hezekiah (3:13-4:18); and the Vision of Isaiah (chps. 6-11). Some specialists see only two sections, chapters 1-5 and 6-11, but argue for the existence of extraneous material in each section (viz. Flemming and Duensing, no. 920, pp. 642f.; A. Vaillant, no. 943). Two or three of the writings originally may have circulated independently (see Box in Charles’ The Ascension of Isaiah, p. vii; M. Philonenko, no. 231, p. 2; contrast C. C. Torrey, Apoc. Lit., esp. pp. 133-35). The first writing is Jewish, dating from around the second century B.C., and the other two are Christian, having been composed around the end of the second century A.D. A few scholars think that all three compositions already existed in the first century (Charles in APOT 2, pp. 157f.; Box in Charles’ The Ascension of Isaiah, pp. x, xiii; E. Hammershaimb, no. 914, p. 19), and it is conceivable that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews knew the Martyrdom of Isaiah (see Heb 11:37), but it should not be forgotten that Isaiah’s martyrdom is also recorded in the Lives of the Prophets (see below).
http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/ascensionisaiah.html

[4]
Those gathering to receive the beloved but turning after Nero is the meaning of the passage in the Ascension of Isaiah:  “MAJORITY OF THOSE WHO HAVE ASSOCIATED TOGETHER TO RECEIVE THE BELOVED HE WILL TURN ASIDE
AFTER HIM.”
https://books.google.com/books?id=F1avAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA48&lpg=PA48&dq=nero+the+majority+of+those+who+have+associated+together+to+receive+the+beloved+he+will+turn+after+him&source=bl&ots=F3y7JL80CL&sig=sdd94UTHs6jk7aOCrJ6Kw2tPECo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwio_qXQyrPdAhXQFogKHZGGCzIQ6AEwAHoECDMQAQ#v=onepage&q=nero%20the%20majority%20of%20those%20who%20have%20associated%20together%20to%20receive%20the%20beloved%20he%20will%20turn%20after%20him&f=false