Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter 4, part 6

Having laid the groundwork for the outright brigandage of Calvin, let us turn to his more pervasive corruption of the Cross. In the wake of the revolt against the Papacy, Europeans were frightened, endangered, and even worse, unsure. The lethal weapon at Luther’s command-the printing press-had spread a dangerous outbreak of ideas, against which tyrants have always cursed and abjured. As a result, people were left with a void of security, which is the most primal of all human needs. Thus, a time of uncertainty created a prefect soil for a dark harvester to sow. And sow he did.

Calvin was a prolific writer, so it would be manifestly unfair to cherry pick him lop-sidedly. Some of his commentary was valid, even sagacious at times. But we must review the effects of his work, to see what he left behind for us, and little that was mundane survived him. After all, Luther and other Reformers were better exegetes than himself. What did survive his works was his deadly, deranged doctrine of double predestination.

Free will vs pre-destination: preachers and clerics hate this adversity, for it truly has no resolution before the discovery of particle physics. Arminius, the Dutch Reformer, made effective argument against Calvin’s position, but the truth of the matter is that free will is not mentioned in the Bible, and predestination is. That conflict still drives theology today, what little remains. To boil it down, Arminius claimed that Calvin was making God the author of sin, if He predestined a soul to sin against Him and fall. Without a choice, there is no justice in condemning a sinner, since it was God who wrote his life. A normal person would consider that a problem.

Calvin, on the other hand, had no problem with that at all. That was subsidiary to the Depravity of Man-that men were born into sin, and were damned until saved from it, which Augustine declared from times past. This terrible estate drove the ancient church to practice infant baptisms, to shield a baby from going to hell. This practice was rejected, however, by Protestants, including some Calvinists who made it their flagship issue, who became the Baptists. Baptism had to be chosen, as a sign of accepting the Gospel: and the hard core still maintain that in must be a dunk, not a sprinkle.

Yet, Calvin’s double predestination made it clear that you were not in control of salvation. That was decided by Christ, and Christ alone. This made people even more nervous, since the comfort of salvation was now utterly beyond their reach. Why do anything, then, if your are damned or saved before you were even born? Calvin at least knew that this had to be countered ahead of time, lest he be painted into a corner. So he added another impossible dimension to the axiom.

You cannot control you fate, but, you can show that you are amongst the elect, by working very hard, and adhering to all the rules. A life unstained by indolence, sluggardly repose, and waste was the one way you could know that you were likely a saint in the making. This of course meant that if you were not doing this- keeping perfect piety, working hard, with industry, never wasting time on frivolities (Weber concentrates heavily on the ‘time is money’ that made America and its’ ethic)-then you were not a saint. You still might go to hell, even if you did everything right: but, you could find comfort in being able to believe that you at least had a chance, if you adhered to absolute ardor.

This ethic, of never wasting a moment or a coin, was the security that replace the old Catholic model. Thus, Weber identifies it as the ‘Protestant Work Ethic’: it is not to imply that Catholics are lazy. It was a specifically Protestant, Calvinist response to not having the assurance of the Roman Catholic paradigm. This idea was horrific; I doubt Calvin even knew what he was unleashing. But is was here that the malice associated with Christianity began in full. The Inquisitions, the barbarity in New Spain-these were atrocious . But they died out, having been rejected over time as evil. Calvin’s idea, was only beginning.

The terror of hell, of never being certain-without diligence-created a growing coterie of followers who took to the idea fervently. They developed fanatical strength of will, and extraordinary intellect through discipline. This was, in a sense, a ‘super soldier’ program: it refined the genetic limits of the practicioner. This became its’ own curse, however, and a source of great malice to boot. First, it created the idea that if you were doing well in life, God is blessing you. That it to say, if you are successful-as industrious, focused, pennurious people mostly tend to be-it is a sign of God’s favor. This begins the trend to see unsuccessful people as not favored, and therefore, damned.

Here, we see the beginning of the division of the world into the chosen few, and the great unwashed. There is no pity for the weak or wretched; if they failed, then God did not want them. If their piety was impure, they failed. Such sinful lapses revealed a weak will, and that was only made right through the rectification of the flesh, usually through flagellation. And should the weak be unable to rectify himself-well, the whip hand was always at the ready to drive some righteousness in to their hide.

Since the program of double predestination elicited the very best efforts from people, they tended to be extremely genetically fit, and this eventually became, over time, the basis for not only the superiority of white men over all others, but of the physically adroit of the weak and puny, as a sign of divine affirmation. The Greeks called this idea Charisma: that the beautiful were anointed by the Gods, and the deformed rejected by them. There was no physical defect but spiritual light. You had both or neither. Thus, by the mid 19th century, Calvinism had become the basis for Muscular Christianity, the promotion of fitness as a sign of racial and spiritual signs of the blessing of God. This idea transformed into Eugenics, the elimination of the weak and fallow, to preserve the race-which itself was borrowed by a failed artist in Germany.

The survivors of the terror program of Calvinism lost all compassion, all sympathy, and all pity for those who were defective. As a group, they were traumatized into psychotic behavior, and this, in turn, transferred to any who were deemed unworthy. These are the people who gave us witch hunts, hangings for breach of Biblical code, and the genocide of a people in the Americas, who were assigned to hell as ‘red devils’, and wiped out wholesale where possible. The Puritans were miserable, angry, and repressed, which finally led to the collapse of their societies. By the dawn of the 18th century, The disciples of Calvin were largely divested into new traditions, that excised the madness of Calvin in different measures, creating new denominations like Baptists and Presbyterians.

Unfortunately, the dismissal of Puritan power did not erase the impact of Calvinism. The seeds had already been sown. The dawning New World was febrile with hope and energy, with the possibilities of a vast horizon, ripe for a ‘manifest destiny’. Colonial trade with Europe was thriving, and an age of invention was afoot. A man could own his labor, his freedom, for just a few years indentured servitude to pay for passage across the Atlantic. Then, there were some who could not ever do either, who paid with their very humanity to make across the waves.

Slavery in America is a grotesquely complicated, intricate affair, that cannot be cut like the Gordian Knot. You could fill the credit requirements for a History Major with the classes needed to comprehend the elaborate nuances involved in a mastery of all the data involved. I will address the matter spiritually, which is am inversion of the terrestrial examination of the affair. The making of slave-the commodification of a person-is perpendicular to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This rests on on one commandment:

“Do unto others, as you would have done unto you”

No one wants to be vulgarized beneath humanity, robbed of their freedom and dignity, and converted into property for chattel. You cannot out-argue this position. It has a primacy that cannot be eroded, obviated, or ablated. Accordingly, I can say that the Bible does not condone chattel slavery, or the making of free men into slaves. The estates permitted in the Torah were applicable only to Canaan, and only under extreme strictures.

But we know how history went. Slaves were profitable short term-indentured people as well-as the growing economy was hungry for the production of goods. Profits were there to be made-and if that required indentured serfs, African slaves, or Indian genocide, well-they were obviously not elect. Profit was king, because in advancing in wealth, you were one step closer to God. And God loved you, because you were successful.

I will conclude this unhappy affair in the next post, as it becomes a morbid thing to dwell upon too greatly. When I have shown why the Cross is so despised today, I will put the negative behind us, and return to the voyage of the Kalak, which does have, at least, a happy ending. It should have been a spotless vessel, the tiny boat made to reach all men, all places, all times. It should have been a joy to see, as it brang the tidings of the Good News. What would the world look like today, if it had run the Tigris as it was meant? We will see a window on this ahead, as we examine what it looks like now.

The Kingdom of Heaven and the Lost Tribes

Verses are in YLT unless otherwise noted.

I see references to communal living in the Bible, the church of Acts for example, and where John (who came to prepare the way forYeshua and the kingdom of heaven) said that if you have two cloaks to give one to the person who has none:

and he answering saith to them, `He having two coats — let him impart to him having none, and he having victuals — in like manner let him do.’” (Luke 3:11)

John also came to strengthen the family unit:

“And he hath turned back the heart of fathers to sons, And the heart of sons to their fathers, Before I come and have utterly smitten the land!” (Malachi 4:6)

“and he shall go before Him, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn hearts of fathers unto children, and disobedient ones to the wisdom of righteous ones, to make ready for the Lord, a people prepared.’” (Luke 1:17)

Part of John’s purpose was to strengthen the family unit while Jesus seems to have expanded the family unit:


46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12)

I also see the kingdom or reign of God (or kingdom of heaven, which is the same, but was maybe used to avoid offending people who didn’t want to overuse God’s holy name) as something here on earth that we can be part of; basically, it is the movement that Yeshua started.

“and Jesus having seen, was much displeased, and he said to them, ‘Suffer the children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the reign of God;” (Mark 10:14 NKJV) (NKJV and KJV agree with the “of such” in YLT)

The reign of God does not “belong” to anyone (as it says in some other translations) but is a movement that we can be part of.


“nor shall they say, Lo, here; or lo, there; for lo, the reign of God is within you.’ 22And he said unto his disciples, ‘Days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and ye shall not behold [it];” (Luke 17:21)

And there are references to sharing and equity in context of this kingdom:

1‘For the reign of the heavens is like to a man, a householder, who went forth with the morning to hire workmen for his vineyard,… 12that These, the last, wrought one hour, and thou didst make them equal to us, who were bearing the burden of the day — and the heat. … 16So the last shall be first, and the first last, for many are called, and few chosen.’ (Matthew 20)

When it says “seek first the kingdom of heaven” and you won’t want for what you will wear or what you will eat (basic needs) I think it is talking about first seeking a community that will take care of you in your time of need:

24‘None is able to serve two lords, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to the one, and despise the other; ye are not able to serve God and Mammon. . . . 31therefore ye may not be anxious, saying, What may we eat? or, What may we drink? or, What may we put round? 32for all these do the nations seek for, for your heavenly Father doth know that ye have need of all these; 33but seek ye first the reign of God and His righteousness, and all these shall be added to you. (Matt 6)

32 `Fear not, little flock, because your Father did delight to give you the reign; 33 sell your goods, and give alms, make to yourselves bags that become not old, a treasure unfailing in the heavens, where thief doth not come near, nor moth destroy; 34 for where your treasure is, there also your heart will be. (Luke 12:32-34)

I think these verses in Luke 18 as well talk of the sharing, where you are guaranteed to acquire many times more houses after leaving one “in this present time” by joining the kingdom of heaven movement because you are joining a community that shares their houses: (this is right after he talked about the rich man going through the eye of the needle and his disciples exclaimed “who then can be saved?” and Peter says that they had left all to follow him)

29and he said to them, ‘Verily I say to you, that there is not one who left house, or parents, or brothers, or wife, or children, for the sake of the reign of God, 30who may not receive back manifold more in this time, and in the coming age, life age-during.’ (Luke 18)

The parallel in Mark 10 makes this even more clear:

29And Jesus answering said, ‘Verily I say to you, there is no one who left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or fields, for my sake, and for the good news’, 30who may not receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and fields, with persecutions, and in the age that is coming, life age-during; 31and many first shall be last, and the last first.’ (Mark 10)

This is also why I think Yeshua says of the rich:

‘But wo to you — the rich, because ye have got your comfort. (Luke 6: 24)
and again I say to you, it is easier for a camel through the eye of a needle to go, than for a rich man to enter into the reign of God. (Matt 19:24)

Not because the rich are worse than regular people or that it will be more difficult for them to have eternal life–I don’t think it is talking about eternal life at all. It is just saying that it will be psychologically much more difficult for them to join a community where you share your wealth.

I think the Kingdom of heaven is a precursor to the return of the lost tribes. It’s interesting that right after Matt 19:24 the disciples say “then who can be saved?” when the word saved can mean “made whole” (like “all israel shall be saved”) The Greek word used in the Septuagint can mean “returned” instead of “saved.” Compare Romans 9:27 with Isaiah 10:22 (in the YLT) “And Isaiah doth cry concerning Israel, `If the number of the sons of Israel may be as the sand of the sea, the remnant shall be saved; G4982”
(Romans 9:27) “For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, A remnant doth return H7725 (LXX G4982) of it, A consumption determined, Overflowing [with] righteousness.” (Isaiah 10:22)

In addition, the quote “whoever calls on the name of the lord shall be saved” used in Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21 is from Joel 2:32


32And it hath come to pass, Every one who calleth in the name of Jehovah is delivered, For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there is an escape, As Jehovah hath said, And among the remnants whom Jehovah is calling! (Joel 2:23)

The next verse in Joel is Joel 3:1 which has a parallel in Hosea 6:11

Also, O Judah, appointed is a harvest to thee, In My turning back [to] the captivity of My people (Hosea 6:11)
For lo, in those days, and in that time, When I turn back [to] the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, (Joel 3:1)

Keil and Delitzsch connect this to the return of the lost tribes:


“The train of thought is the following: When the day of the Lord comes, there will be deliverance upon Zion only for those who call upon the name of the Lord; for then will all the heathen nations that have displayed hostility to Jehovah’s inheritance be judged in the valley of Jehoshaphat. By hinnēh, the fact to be announced is held up as something new and important. The notice as to the time points back to the “afterward” in Joel 2:28 : “in those days,” viz., the days of the outpouring of the Spirit of God. This time is still further described by the apposition, “at that time, when I shall turn the captivity of Judah,” as the time of the redemption of the people of God out of their prostrate condition, and out of every kind of distress. שׁוּב את שׁבוּת is not used here in the sense of “to bring back the prisoners,” but, as in Hosea 6:11, in the more comprehensive sense of restitutio in integrum, which does indeed include the gathering together of those who were dispersed, and the return of the captives, as one element, though it is not exhausted by this one element, but also embraces their elevation into a new and higher state of glory, transcending their earlier state of grace.”

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/joel/3.htm

The prophesies in Isaiah about John and what he was preparing the way for seem to tell of this as well in my opinion (especially in Isaiah 40 where it talks of John then talks of the regathering of Israel), also the same imagery of sheep is used when talking about the kingdom of heaven and the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Here in Acts the ones who are “afar off” are the lost tribes, and right after they talk of the promise given to Abraham and ask “what shall we do?” they are given instructions and told to be “saved” (same word) then they end up sharing everything in common, while signs and wonders are done.


36assuredly, therefore, let all the house of Israel know, that both Lord and Christ did God make him — this Jesus whom ye did crucify.’ 37And having heard, they were pricked to the heart; they say also to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles, ‘What shall we do, men, brethren?’ 38and Peter said unto them, ‘Reform, and be baptized each of you on the name of Jesus Christ, to remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, 39for to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all those afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call.’ 40Also with many more other words he was testifying and exhorting, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation;’
. . .
42and they were continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles, and the fellowship, and the breaking of the bread, and the prayers. 43And fear came on every soul, many wonders also and signs were being done through the apostles, 44and all those believing were at the same place, and had all things common, 45and the possessions and the goods they were selling, and were parting them to all, according as any one had need. (Acts 2)


We also have the fact that the coming of kingdom may be connected with the Pentecost since it associates it with the coming of “power:”

“And he said to them, ‘Verily I say to you, That there are certain of those standing here, who may not taste of death till they see the reign of God having come in power.’” (Mark 9:1)

but ye shall receive power at the coming of the Holy Spirit upon you, and ye shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and unto the end of the earth.’ (Acts 1:8)

The holy spirit did come in the same way that Jesus left (from heaven)

11 who also said, `Men, Galileans, why do ye stand gazing into the heaven? this Jesus who was received up from you into the heaven, shall so come in what manner ye saw him going on to the heaven.’ (Acts 1)

2 and there came suddenly out of the heaven a sound as of a bearing violent breath, and it filled all the house where they were sitting,3 and there appeared to them divided tongues, as it were of fire; it sat also upon each one of them, (Acts 2)

Observe these parallels:

25 For whosoever will save his life, shall loose it. And whosoever shall loose his life for my sake, shall find it. 26 What shall it profit a man, if he should win all the whole world: so he loose his own soul? Or else what shall a man give to redeem his soul again withall? 27 For the son of man shall come in the glory of his father, with his angels, and then shall he reward every man according to his deeds. 28 Verily I say unto you, some there be among them that here stand, which shall not taste of death, till they shall have seen the son of man come in his kingdom. (Acts 2)

38 for whoever may be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also shall be ashamed of him, when he may come in the glory of his Father, with the holy messengers.’
9 And he said to them, `Verily I say to you, That there are certain of those standing here, who may not taste of death till they see the reign of God having come in power.’ (Mark 8:38-9:1)

26 `For whoever may be ashamed of me, and of my words, of this one shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he may come in his glory, and the Father’s, and the holy messengers’;
27 and I say to you, truly, there are certain of those here standing, who shall not taste of death till they may see the reign of God.’ (Luke 9:26-27)

“Joseph of Arimathea, an honourable counsellor, who also himself was waiting G4327 for the reign of God, came, boldly entered in unto Pilate, and asked the body of Jesus.” (Mark 15:43) (Parallel in Luke 23:51)

“And lo, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name [is] Simeon, and this man is righteous and devout, looking for the comforting G3874 of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him,” (Luke 2:25)

Acts 9:31 uses the same word G3874 to describe the work of the holy spirit.

“Then, indeed, the assemblies throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, had peace, being built up, and, going on in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort G3874 of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” (Acts 9:31)

Ruach in Hebrew means “breath,” “wind,” and “spirit.” When God gave Adam breath he brought him to life giving him movement where before Adam was just lifeless (motionless) body. When the wind blows it moves things but it is hard to get a hold of, it has motion but not much form. Spirit describes the actions or character of someone, just as God’s word describes his character. We can see here that Yeshua needs to leave to send the comforter (the holy spirit) according to John 16:7 and the waiting on the Messiah is associated with waiting on the comforter and the kingdom of heaven.

In the great commission Yeshua says “teaching them to observe all, whatever I did command you,) and lo, I am with you all the days — till the full end of the age.'” (Matthew 28:10) This seems to connect with the following: “in this know ye the Spirit of God; every spirit that doth confess Jesus Christ in the flesh having come, of God it is,” (1 John 4:2) “having come” is in the perfect active voice which emphasizes the ongoing result of a completed action implying that Christ is still here after having come. Now, since we know that in Hebrew the spirit and the body make a living soul then it becomes apparent the holy spirit is the same spirit that Christ has. So when the Holy Spirit comes it is Yeshua as well.

“and the helmet of the salvation receive, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the saying of God,” (Ephesians 6:17)

We want to clear up some possible confusion and refer readers to an article that distinguishes the son of man “coming in his reign” from the “coming of the son of man” https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/668-what-is-the-meaning-of-matthew-10-23

In addition “waiting” G4327 (from Mark 15:43 above) is referenced in another messianic passage:


For with gladness you shall go forth, and in joy you shall be led. For the mountains and the hills shall leap out favorably receiving G4327 you in joy, and all the trees of the field shall clap with their tender branches.(Isaiah 55:12 Apostolic Polyglot Bible)

http://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/4327

There are other uses of this word in the old testament and may refer to the holy spirit indirectly but are certainly referencing messiah:
http://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/G3874

G3874 is derived from G3870
http://studybible.info/strongs/G3874

‘That you should nurse and be filled up from the breast of her comfort; G3874 that sucking out you should indulge at the introduction of her glory. For thus says the LORD, Behold, I turn aside to them as a river of peace, and as a rushing stream inundating the glory of the nations. Their children [2upon 3shoulders 1shall be carried], and [2upon 3knees 1shall be comforted G3870]. As if any mother shall comfort, G3870 so also I shall comfort G3870 you; and in Jerusalem you shall be comforted. G3870 As if any mother shall comfort, so also I shall comfort you; and in Jerusalem you shall be comforted. G3870′ (Isaiah 66:11-13 Apostolic Polyglot Bible)

Now lets look at this verse:

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12 NKJV)

Some scholars have argued for other translations to this verse. Brad
H. Young for instance says:

“….To sum up the results of our linguistic and historical study of this difficult saying of Jesus, “From the days of john the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force,” a better translation of the text view within its original Jewish context make the message of Jesus concerting John the Baptist and the kingdom of heaven so much clearer. According to Lindsey, linguistically the a much better translation would be, “From the days of John the baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven breaks forth and everyone breaks forth with it” (Matt 11:12a and Luke 16:16b).

In keeping more closely with Matthew’s version, the verse is best translated, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven breaks forth and those breaking forth are pursuing [seeking] it. (Matt 11:12)”

“The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. (Luke 16:16 NKJV)

To quote from the book “Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus”

“This saying is certainly difficult to understand. It is not just ordinary Christians who have been stumped by it. There seems to be no satisfactory explanation of this verse even in scholarly literature. Apparently, a great deal of violence is connected with the Kingdom of Heaven. However, that does not agree very well with the rest of the teachings of Jesus. Many and varied have been the attempts on the part of ministers and scholars alike to explain this passage.

“The key to its understanding turns out to be an old rabbinic interpretation (midrash) of Micah 2:13 discovered by Professor David Flusser. Micah 2:12-13. reads

12 I will gather all of you, Jacob;

I will collect the remnant of israel.

I will put them all together like sheep in a fold like a flock inside its pen.

It will be noisy and crowded with people.

13 The breach-maker (poretz) goes through before them.

Then they break out.

Passing through the gate,

they leave by it.

Their king passes through before them,

their Lord at their head.

“These verses are full of rich imagery. It is the picture of a shepherd penning up his sheep for the night. He quickly builds a fold by throwing up a makeshift rock fence against the side of a hill. The next morning, to let the sheep out, he makes a hole or a breach in the fence by tossing some of the stones aside. He steps through his “gate” with the sheep following close behind. They have been penned up all night and can hardly wait to get out of their cramped quarters. …in the rabbinic interpretation discovered by Professor Flusser, they are two different persons: the “breach-maker” is interpreted as being Elijah, and “their king” as the Messiah, the Branch of the Son of David.

“Now we can begin to understand what Jesus is saying. He is not only hinting at Micah 2:13, but also a well-known rabbinc interpretation of it. “The Kingdom of Heaven,” he says, “is breaking forth [not “suffering violence”], and every person in it is breaking forth [literally, “those who are breaking out break out in it, or by means of it,” not “the violent take it by force”]” (Compare Luke 16:16, the parallel to Matthew 11:12.) Two tremendous things are now happening simultaneously: the Kingdom is bursting forth into the world (like water from a broken dam), and individuals within the Kingdom are finding liberty and freedom.

“In Matthew 11:12, as in the midrash, Elijah, or John the Baptist, is the breach-maker, the Poretz. He makes the breach in the rock fence and goes through first. He has opened the way. He is the Elijah of Malachi 3:1 and 4:5-6, who goes before the Lord to prepare His way. As in the midrash, Jesus, the King, follows John. Jesus is the Lord himself, who leads the sheep through the gate. It is a powerful image.

“Jesus is again teaching his disciples about the Kingdom of Heaven, his movement. It started when Jesus began calling disciples, during John’s active ministry, “the days of John the Baptist.” Since then, the Kingdom of Heaven has been “breaking out.” Notice that this is further proof that the Kingdom is not futuristic. The Kingdom is something that has been in existence since the time of John the Baptist.

“The Kingdom is breaking out, and members of the Kingdom are breaking out. In Micah and also in the midrash, it is the Lord and his sheep who are breaking out. Jesus alters that figure slightly so that it is the Kingdom and its sheep who are breaking out. Though Jesus does not refer directly to his own role as the shepherd leading the sheep out, no listener could possibly misunderstand Jesus’ stunning assertion–I am the Lord.

“Elijah had come and opened the way, and the Lord himself was leading a noisy multitude out to freedom. “

This may connect with the verse in Ephesians that also talks about an enclosure being broken out of. See also Tim Hegg’s article: http://messianicpublications.com/tim-hegg/the-dividing-wall-in-ephesians-214/


11Wherefore, remember, that ye [were] once the nations in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands, 12that ye were at that time apart from Christ, having been alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope, and without God, in the world; 13and now, in Christ Jesus, ye being once afar off became nigh in the blood of the Christ, 14for he is our peace, who did make both one, and the middle wall of the enclosure did break down, 15the enmity in his flesh, the law of the commands in ordinances having done away, that the two he might create in himself into one new man, making peace, (Ephesians 2)

There also seems to be a thematic connection between the Micah passage and what happened in the church in Acts 4. The same word for “gathered” is used as well. (although that word is relatively common for being gathered together)

​12 In being gathered G4863 Jacob shall be brought together G4863 with all. In looking out I shall look out for the remnant of Israel. Together I will establish their return, as sheep in affliction; as a flock in the midst of their fold, they leap out because of men. (Micah 2:12)

And in their beseeching [7was shaken 1the 2place 3in 4which 5they were 6being gathered together G4863], and they were [2filled 1all 4spirit 3of holy], and they spoke the word of God with confidence. (Acts 4:31)

This possibly is related also with Micah 5:

Now gather thyself together, O daughter of troops, A siege he hath laid against us, With a rod they smite on the cheek the judge of Israel. 2 And thou, Beth-Lehem Ephratah, Little to be among the chiefs of Judah! From thee to Me he cometh forth — to be ruler in Israel, And his comings forth [are] of old, From the days of antiquity. 3 Therefore he doth give them out till the time She who bringeth forth hath brought forth, And the remnant of his brethren return to the sons of Israel. (Micah 5)

As Keil and Delitzsch note:

“. . . Bath-gegūd, daughter of the troop, might mean: thou nation accustomed or trained to form troops, thou warlike Zion. But this does not apply to what follows, in which a siege alone is mentioned. This turn is given to the expression, rather “for the purpose of suggesting the thought of a crowd of people pressing anxiously together, as distinguished from gedūd, an invading troop.” The verb hithgōdēd does not mean here to scratch one’s self or make incisions (Deuteronomy 14:1, etc.), but, as in Jeremiah 5:7, to press or crowd together; and the thought is this: Now crowd together with fear in a troop, for he (sc., the enemy) sets, or prepares, a siege against us. . .”

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/micah/5.htm

In addition the quote “whoever calls on the name of the lord shall be saved” used in Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21 is from :

32 And it hath come to pass, Everyone who calleth in the name of Jehovah is delivered, For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there is an escape, As Jehovah hath said, And among the remnants whom Jehovah is calling! (Joel 2)

The next verse in Joel is Joel 3:1 which has a parallel in Hosea 6:11

Also, O Judah, appointed is a harvest to thee, In My turning back [to] the captivity of My people (Hosea 6:11)

For lo, in those days, and in that time, When I turn back [to] the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, (Joel 3:1)

Keil and Delitzsch connect this to the return of the lost tribes but with more meaning than that as well:

“The train of thought is the following: When the day of the Lord comes, there will be deliverance upon Zion only for those who call upon the name of the Lord; for then will all the heathen nations that have displayed hostility to Jehovah’s inheritance be judged in the valley of Jehoshaphat. By hinnēh, the fact to be announced is held up as something new and important. The notice as to the time points back to the “afterward” in Joel 2:28 : “in those days,” viz., the days of the outpouring of the Spirit of God. This time is still further described by the apposition, “at that time, when I shall turn the captivity of Judah,” as the time of the redemption of the people of God out of their prostrate condition, and out of every kind of distress. שׁוּב את שׁבוּת is not used here in the sense of “to bring back the prisoners,” but, as in Hosea 6:11, in the more comprehensive sense of restitutio in integrum, which does indeed include the gathering together of those who were dispersed, and the return of the captives, as one element, though it is not exhausted by this one element, but also embraces their elevation into a new and higher state of glory, transcending their earlier state of grace.”

https://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/joel/3.htm

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter Four, Part Two

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter four, part two

     So, we have discovered the basic state of play for mankind in the time of Jesus.  It was to this broken, fallen world that He came, draped in human flesh, Emmanuel, God with us.  He ministered to the Hebrews, to the tribes of Abraham, to the Great barge, because only they could
know who He was.  No one else would have understood His miracles, His sermons, His sacrifice.  Having ministered for three years, He established His church, and prepared her to got out into the rest of the world, to make disciples of all men, in preparation for the day when the rivers merge again.

     He explained by parable, that He wanted His hall filled, for the great day of His marriage, and that the disciples were to go and preach, ‘whosoever will’.  From Matthew 22:

Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with [e]dinner guests.

     This stands in stark contrast to the first journey on the Euphrates.  The requirements were harsh, terrifying and immutable.  There was no grey area for behavior under the Law.  This seemed like a bum deal to the Hebrews; after all, they bore the Torah through the desert, and suffered greatly for it.  We see the mind of Judah in the parable of the Prodigal: the older brother, the one who remained, was angry that the profligate was received.  And in the parable of the vineyard, those who worked all day were angry that the wage was the same for those who worked an hour.  To be honest, they kind of have a point.

     It seems grossly unfair that the gentiles would be treated as family by El Shaddai.  What was the point of separating out from the nations, if those nations are welcomed in anyway?  I sympathize with the Hebrews in this: like Jonah, I have to call BS on what must be called as such.  The Ninth commandment compels it.  I can understand the older brother: why did he remain and work, if the younger could party and come back like nothing happened?

     Well, as the story goes, the older brother, Judah, did not get shorted after all.  The Father comforts him, and says, clearly in Luke 15

29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never [k]neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your [l]wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you [m]have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

     Yahweh has never left Judah, not even in the worst of times.  He cannot, for Judah is His inheritance.  While the Gentiles were welcomed in, to be loved, restored, and uplifted, he has no portion on the farm.  It is, in fact, Judah’s farm.  Now, please pay close attention to the following words:

     This not about the love of God: this is about the proprietorship of the farm.  Jesus loves all mankind, no exceptions.  He paid for the sins of all people, no exceptions.  He sent His disciples to all the world, no exceptions. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is supernumerary to all barriers, all thoughts, all constructs of matter or will than do or can exist.  There is no power, in hard or limitless reality, that can interpose between the soul reaching to be saved, and mighty hand Yahweh to do so, as he attests in Isaiah 59. 

     That love belongs to all His progeny, no exceptions.  However, the administrative functions of the farm-those are not handed out to the wedding guests.  Those belong to Judah.  This will rankle a few people-and let me state that I am a gentile by birth-but the facts are intransigent.  The older brother has, as his portion, all the Father has.  This is established by the leadership team of the next reality, the final one, immortal, impervious to darkness.  Eternity is going to be run by thirteen Jewish men.  One Messiah, Yeshua, and His twelve friends, the Apostles.

    If you think that is incidental, try this.  Flip a coin thirteen times in a row, and try to get all heads.  Unless you have an Altered Carbon download, you will die of old age before that happens.  A permutation of 2 to the 13th power is pretty huge; it’s a series circuit that fails the first time you flip tails-and that just represents that they are are males.  That they are all Hebrew males-the chance of that event occurring is so  astronomical that I can’t calculate it.  It would be a theta value, which in Trigonometry is a number so small, it can be said to be 0, even though it is not.

     So let’s face the facts: Judah has not been subjected to ‘replacement theology’.  El may add to that number-after all, there were Ger who followed the Law, and were counted as native born, with an inheritance (ezek 47).  But Judah is given reign over the estate.  When all things come to an end, when the Millenium is over, and this world obliterated, the leadership team of New Jerusalem, which has a gate for each Tribe of Israel, will be Hebrews, and those who joined them on the Great Barge. 

     If this chaffs you, please remember that if you attending the wedding of the Lamb, you are not on fire.  That is a benny worth-well, anything.  If you are on fire, that is your job.  Not being on fire is an amazingly  good deal, especially when we earned it.  So, I am alright if I say ‘Sir’ to a Hebrew-considering that I could be saying “AHHHHHHHHH!” as I run around perpetually immolated.  Perspective, at times, is a virtue worth pursuing.

     This segue will lead us right to where Paul discusses the Jew and the Gentile, in Romans 3, where he explains that Hebrews have lost nothing.  Rather, the goyim have gained life, and the love of God, which can be spread around to as many as will receive them.  Now, we have returned to Romans 4 again, where the circumcised and uncircumcised children of Abraham are being brought in their vessels.  We will discuss the Kalak one more time, so that we can envision the day when all the vessels of faith join up in that happy armada, the Marriage of the Lamb.

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter Four, Part One

So, what then is the purpose of having a Tigris?  El gave a Law to His people, to govern their existence.  Why then does the Tigris branch off at all?  After all, it would seem that He had a plan in place for the superintendence of His people.  But that proved to be the very reason the Tigris run was needed.  There were people living in this world that had grown up under the aegis of inquiry.  These had never heard of the written Torah, and did not know how the universe worked.

The civilized world was built on power, brutality, and avarice, all of which stemmed from one source: the fear of death.  From the mighty to the small, death plagued the soul of fallen men.  It was the spectre on the moors, a dread banshee that could not be repelled.  In fact, the more power and largess an empire acquired, the more the feared death.  The race of power makes one aware of the danger of power; thus, as one gains power, one fears losing it even more.  This was true for civilizations as well as people; the savagery and cruelty needed to make civilization (as Nietzsche detailed in Genealogy of Morals) always leaves a haunting whisper in the mind of the victor, as he surveys the dead he slaughtered to become a king: one day, this will be you.

Death, the constant northern star of fallen man’s literature and art; Death, the motor that drives his quest for first medicine, then immortality; Death, the hand and their throat, waking them in the night, waiting silently just beyond the door, silently, patiently.  Death, the cessation of anima, obsessed fallen man.  Death is the progenitor of all the gifts of civilization, either through the arts, philosophy, medicine and logic, or through mathematics and science, through which power may be gained.  It’s invincibility, omnipresence, and inevitability made it a god to men, literally.  Every ancient pantheistic religion had a god of death, who generally had to be appeased to stave him off.

If you think I am overstating this, pick up some Camus, or give Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal a watch.  For an abridged version of existentialist angst, watch What if Ingmar Bergman directed the Flash? on youtube.

Ultimately, we can go back to the man that the Greeks and Romans revered as the great sage: Homer.  It was he that penned the verse by which all of them lived:

“Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”

This diatribe is of overwhelming importance, because you can now see how the minds of men were formed by history.  It was to this verse that Paul referred when he wrote “13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope”.  (1 thess 4).

Now, I must be thorough, which requires a quick statement.  The Greeks were investigating the possibility of the immortality of spirit as early as 400 bc, in what were called the Eleusinian mysteries.  So the idea of escaping Death was not totally unheard of.  These cults were highly guarded and secretive, probably because they were sexual rites.  For the majority of mankind, however, it seemed that life was a cruel joke,  in which Camus said it was absurd to assign meaning.  It is perhaps summed up best by T.S. Elliiot:

“I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

It was to this world, a world without hope, a world of fear and terror, ruled by empires of fear and terror, that the Great Barge brought the sacred scroll, Torah.  Alexander of Macedon introduced the Hebrews to the world, and they moved to his eponymous city, Alexandria.  There, the Greek would work with them to translate the Torah into the Septuagint work that survives today.  Things were looking good, until the Hebrews revolted against the Seleucid Greeks (Seleucus  being a general of Alexander that inherited part of his master’s empire upon Alexander’s death).  Antiochus IV placed a statue of Zeus in the Temple, prefiguring the Abomination that causes Desolation in the End Times, when the Antichrist sits in the 3rd temple’s holiest seat, and declares himself God.  This led to the Maccabean revolt, which plunged Judea into constant turmoil and violence, until the Diaspora in 70 ad.

It was to Judea that Yeshua ben David, known also as Jesus, came with His ministry.  His work was strictly limited to the people of Israel;  not that He was a racist, but His focus was on the Hebrews, not the Goyim.  This was intended, for the Hebrews were versed in the Torah: they were educated and instructed by the Law, and moreover, knew of the prophesies that accompanied the arrival of the Messiah.  Jesus performed His miracles to show the Hebrews that He was the Anointed One, of whom the prophets had spoken.

In short order, the power elites of Judea worked to kill Jesus.  Like the empires of men, they feared death, and the loss of power.  That should have been the end of it.  But then, the world changed in three days (note: for a Hebrew, three days means “one whole day, with part or all of a day on either side of it’).  The impossible, if the reports of this man Jesus could be believed, had occurred.  Mankind’s ancient enemy, his tormentor, his god-like foe, had been thrown down.  As lunatic as it was fervent, the cries rang through the streets of Jerusalem, tearing down walls between Greek and Jew, and giving mankind the hope that they had never known:

“HE IS ALIVE!”

To the Greek, the Roman, the fallen, this simply could not be.  Death could not be defeated. And yet, here they were, the tribe of Christians (as Josephus called them), willing to face the very power at which all men and empires quailed, to proclaim the name of Jesus to Rome and the rest of the world.  Here, the Tigris Run, the Gospel of the Risen Christ, would burst forth from the water table made flush by the mighty Euphrates, to bring the light of the Torah to all mankind, borne on the modest Kalak that bears the joyous refrain:

He is Alive.

Abraham, river of faith: interlude on bifurcation

This is a short rest on our journey, a place to cool our heels. In the old West, cowpokes would use these reprieves to tell stories, and pass around some grub or coffee.  In keeping with the traditions of the land where men were free, I too want to spin a yarn-not a tall tale of epic daring-do, but, rather, about a thematic element in the writing of Yahweh.  This element is bifurcation.

Some will beef with me on this.  How can I, a mere man, critique the words of the Almighty God?  Well, I am made in His image, Regenerate in His royal blood-and I have a university education.  Image, by the way, should be rendered likeness, or similarity.  Yahweh doesn’t have a body-He is supernumerary to the conventions He created (time, space, matter).  Our likeness to Him is our reason (or wisdom, in Psalms 8).  His mind works like ours, because ours works like His.

His writing can be deconstructed, just like any literary form.  El has themes, a plot, symbolism, and a conflict.  He has styles which He favors, that flavor His work, like any human writer does.  Accordingly, we can examine one of His primary thematic elements, which is bifurcation, the splitting of something into two parts.  This works in tandem with His consistent use of the symbolism of two in His work.

From the beginning, Yah divides the universe.  He makes water and land; earth and heaven; sun and moon; and, when HE makes His children, He makes them ‘male and female’.  This particular bifurcation, along with providing fodder for most music and writing, is considered by some cultures to be the fundamental substance of existence itself (Yin and Yang, Shiva/Shakti).  This is a curious situation, since El reveals Himself in the masculine primarily.  There does not appear to be a feminine aspect of Elohim (a fact which the Babylonians derided, as their religion was based on gods and goddesses having sex).

The theme of two repeats itself throughout the Bible.  Proverbs are phrased in couplets, for instance.  Some of the major overtures of the Bible come from two brothers in conflict: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ismael, Jacob and Esau, and even Judah and Israel.  If we examine history, we can see that Jew and Greek are not just terms of Paul’s day, but, rather, represent the perpendicular patterns of life between the Hebrew pattern-superintendence- and the Greek, which is inquiry.  The latter would build civilization to answer the great questions, and the former would come from the wilderness to bring them the sacred scroll, Torah.

Paul refers to this continually in his missives.  As we saw in Romans, he discusses the two sons of Abraham: the Circumcised, and the Uncircumcised.  This pattern is consistent with flow of the Bible.  Although the Shmei tells us ‘El is one’, he often has two sons that He loves equally.  Even when He separates out the Hebrews, and the Prosyltos with them, to make Israel, He also provides hope that He will one day tear down the walls, and bring the Gentiles home to Him.

In the end, there is only one.  When all is settled, there will be divisions no more.  This is the power of a well written story: when the end almost entirely resembles the beginning.  The circle completed is a hallmark of masterful writing.  In the Bible, we see this.  All was one, then divisions occurred.  But when the final second of the clock of this reality is struck, we will reunite forever in El.

Now that we have chewed the fat, and sat a spell, I will pick up my tack and head back out on the range.  The theme of two will recur often in this work, so I wanted to hash out the details before we hit the trail.  Let us take our kalak, now, into the swift, roaring waters of the Tigris.  The Great barge is still rumbling along, chugging inexorably to the end.  Let us see, then, what the trip on the Tigris entails.

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter 3, Part 4

Now, let us turn to the narrative of the Scriptures on the the tribes of Israel.  The origin, the Exodus, immediately shows a faultline in the Hebrew peoples, that will manifest time and time again.  Stephen died pointing out this flaw: ‘you received the law as by Elohim, and you did not keep it.”  Without regard to the miracles done to show them that, as Yul Brenner said, ‘Moses’ God IS God’, they still ran the other way every chance they got.  It is irony of the first order that the Egyptians were willing, at the very last, to accept that this was so, and the People of Yah would reject it time and time again.

The first generation was condemned to die in the desert, because of their apostasy.  They were nearly obliterated from existence, by the wrath of Yahovah.  Only Moses saved the Godly line from ablution, a man who was a prince of Egypt, who murdered an overseer, and fled his country to the wilderness.  This man learned righteousness, and his character was testified to, not by men, but by El Himself.

“Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision.
I shall speak with him in a dream.
“Not so, with My servant Moses,
He is faithful in all My household;
With him I speak mouth to mouth,
Even openly, and not in dark sayings,
And he beholds the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant, against Moses?  (num 12)

Yet the people did not.  Even as the Promised Land came into sight, the people were struck with terror, for the dreaded Annakim were amongst them.  Having forgot that El cowed the army of Pharoah, an army that won a pyrrhic victory against the mighty Hittites, and drowned that army, they still feared the giants.  It was the courage of Joshua, for whom Jesus was named (Yahoshua, God saves His people) that led them forward, in the promise of El for the land.  Yet it was not long before the troubles came.

Aachan scarred the victory at Jericho, causing the Holy Camp to obliterate him, and his family.  This would scar most people, watching the children die with him, as rocks cascaded over their frames, until at last, the stony rain washed away the last of their vitae, whose remains were then purged by holy fire.  Then, for  a time, things ran well. Joshua oversaw what seemed to be the Promise that they had been given, of a land of milk and honey.  This, unfortunately, was the calm before the storm.

In the accounts of Judges, we see the development of a dreaded cycle: Israel chases after other gods, is chastised by El through the scourge of the Nations, and then when they have been purified by anguish, they are delivered back to the Land.  There,  they promptly abandoned their vows to be holy, and went into ‘rinse and repeat’ mode.  Time  and time again, they put of the Asherahs, the Baals, Chemosh-then were punished for it, and thence delivered again.  It became a vaudeville, like the old Benny Hill show, where the whole world ends up chasing him to the burlesque music, but he ends up back home, safe.  On next weeks show, you know it will happen again; after a while, you get to expect it.

Finally, a Judge named Samson ends the parody-with the greatest life that was ever lived.  Samson was not the holy men of the past; he was a drunken fornicator, who had some character flaws (animal cruelty, and excessive egotism).  He also killed-not murdered- tons of people, which leaves some people in an ethical quandary, since these homicides occurred under the auspices of the holy Spirit.  Eventually, he committed suicide, to escape his nagging broad.  But even as death came for him, ‘them which he killed in his death, were more than those killed in his life’.

Then comes Samuel, who watched as Israel divorced Yahweh, to have a King like the nations around them.  They clamored for political power and intrigue, and they got it in spades.  The first king turned against El, and tried to murder his successor.  Then the righteous David murdered his loyal friend Uriah out of covetousness.  His son Solomon brought idolatry back to Israel, where it was consistently a problem until the Assyrians and Babylonians resolved it for them.

When the Hebrews got back to the land, they revolted against the Seluccid Greek rulers, were free a while, and then got a sweetheart deal with Marc Anthony that irritated Rome until they diaspora.  It was this special status, against bowing before the Paterfamilias, that the Pharisees and rulers wished to protect in the time of Jesus.  The men responsible to bless the one comes in the name of El instead wanted Him gone, to protect their privilege in the kingdom of the Gentiles (note: this is not Jew blaming, it is Sanhedren blaming).

This is how the journey progressed.  Though the Law was given as by Elohim, a Law declared not be beyond reach (deut 30), a Law that revealed the light of God, the chosen people not only did not keep it-they did not want it.  Yahovah called Israel His bride; and like most spoiled women, she only wanted what she didn’t, or couldn’t have.  Like Aphrodite in Baron Munchausen, as many diamonds as Vulcan fused from his bare hands, the same were tossed over her shoulder as she complained ‘ANOTHER diamond’.

Finally, the Temple is smashed by the Romans, the Hebrews scattered, and the veil torn by Christ, ending the priesthood of Aaron.  It would seem, then, that the river had dried up, the journey ended.  But the Euphrates is the Great River; it is history.  It has one final appearance to make, in the end of days, when the run of the Tigris is complete.  No, the Euphrates was not ended, or abolished.  It was suppressed, as per Eph 2:15; Paul uses the word Katagero there, to explain that the dividing wall was pushed down, deflated, so that those who were far could be brought near.  This was to bring in Abraham’s other children, those of the Uncircumcision, whose river we will now explore.

Follow The Lamb, Part 16: A Lamb on a White Horse

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/sermons/followthelamb/16alambonawhitehorse.mp3
handout: https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/outlines/16thelambonawhitehorse.pdf

Tonight Herb says he will cover four chapters that each need their own presentation but he will condense it to two presentations.

Revelation 19.11-21–Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a WHITE HORSE! Its RIDER is called Faithful and True, and in RIGHTEOUSNESS HE JUDGES and makes WAR.

This sounds not like a contradiction to the Lamb, the sermon on the mount, and a contradiction to . The promise the angels made when Jesus ascended in Acts 1 is that this same Jesus would come back as he ascended.

Revelation 2.13–I know where you are
living, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you are
holding fast to my name, and you did not
deny your faith in me even in the days of
Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who
was killed among you, where Satan lives.

The characteristic of someone who is faithful in Revelation is “Faithful unto death” This type of death is not passive, it holds the same action the imagery of the rider on the white horse. We choose non-violence because it is an active way of winning the war and of winning our enemies and winning that victory.

Psalms 45.3-6–Gird your SWORD on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty RIDE FORTH VICTORIOUSLY in the cause of TRUTH, HUMILITY and JUSTICE; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. Let your sharp arrows PIERCE THE HEARTS OF THE KING’S ENEMIES; let the NATIONS FALL BENEATH YOUR FEET. Your throne, O God, will last FOR EVER AND EVER; a scepter of JUSTICE will be the scepter of your KINGDOM.

Revelation 19.11-21. . . , and in RIGHTEOUSNESS HE JUDGES and makes WAR. . .

Compare with:

Psalms 98.9– [New Song]He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.

This is not retributive justice but restorative justice.

Psalms 96.10– [New Song] Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.

Psalms 58.1–Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge people with equity? No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out VIOLENCE on the earth.

The implication is that if you deal in justice and equity your hands will not mete out violence.

2 Corinthians 10.4–The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

Ephesians 6.12–For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but
against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

In other-words, the enemies that we are fighting against are not genuinely our enemies. If it has flesh and blood even if it’s attacking you it is just a conduit of the real enemy.

Let’s say there’s a tussle with someone breaking into my home and intending to do my family harm but when the mask is ripped off it’s my sixteen year old daughter. Every person is like the sixteen year old son or daughter of God. It’s active warfare.

Revelation 12.7-9–And there was WAR in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

The root word used for “war” here is πόλεμος (polemos) and is where we get our word “politics.” Herb saying John is essentially saying: “remember the war being fought here is not a literal war.”

Revelation 19.11-21 . . .His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems [crowns]; and he has a name inscribed that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in A ROBE DIPPED IN BLOOD, and his name is called The Word of God. And the ARMIES OF HEAVEN, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. FROM HIS MOUTH comes a sharp SWORD with which to STRIKE DOWN THE NATIONS, and he will REIGN OVER THEM with iron SCEPTER [rather than rod] ; he will TREAD THE WINE PRESS OF THE FURY OF THE WRATH OF GOD THE ALMIGHTY. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly in mid-heaven, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of the mighty, the flesh of horses and their riders–flesh of all, both free and slave, both small and great.” Then I saw the BEAST and THE KINGS OF THE EARTH with THEIR ARMIES gathered to make WAR against THE RIDER ON THE HORSE and against HIS ARMY. And the BEAST was captured, and with it the false PROPHET who had performed in its presence the signs by which he deceived those who had received the MARK of the BEAST and those who WORSHIPED its IMAGE. These two were thrown ALIVE into the LAKE OF FIRE that burns with sulfur. And the rest were KILLED by the SWORD of the rider on the horse, THE SWORD THAT CAME FROM HIS MOUTH; and ALL THE BIRDS WERE GORGED WITH THEIR FLESH.

Herb says don’t jump to conclusions yet. He asks what it means to be slain by a sword coming out of someone’s mouth?

Isaiah 11.4–But with righteousness he will JUDGE the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the ROD of his MOUTH; with the breath of his LIPS he will slay the wicked.

God’s justice here is not retributive it’s restorative. God is not punishing the needy for being needy.

Revelation 2.16–Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you
and will fight against them with the SWORD of my MOUTH.

This is what God says he will do with his Church if they do not repent.

Psalms 2.1-9–Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will BREAK them with a ROD of iron ; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

When John quotes this he doesn’t use the work “break” we will see why in just a moment.

Isaiah 63.1-6–Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.”Why are your garments red,like those of one treading the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress ALONE; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. It was for me the day of vengeance; the year for me to redeem had come. I looked, but
there was NO ONE TO HELP, I was appalled that no one gave support;
so my own arm achieved salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me.

John takes this violent imagery of blood coming up to the horses bridal for 16,000 stadia and changes it subtly. Notice he is not using the one treading the winepress alone in Revelation he is there with his army.

Ezekiel 39.17-20–As for you, mortal, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every kind and to all the wild animals: Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth–of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. You shall eat fat until you are filled, and drink blood until you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with warriors and all kinds of soldiers, says the Lord GOD.

This shows the rider destroys all of God’s enemies but the question is how does he destroy them?

Psalms 59.7–See what they spew from their mouths–the words from their LIPS are SHARP AS SWORDS, and they think, “Who can hear us?”

Job 5.15–He saves the needy from the SWORD IN THEIR MOUTH; he
saves them from the clutches of the powerful.

Isaiah 49.2-5–He made MY MOUTH LIKE A SHARPENED SWORD,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver . . . to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him

Notice the sharpened sword that came out of the mouth of Isaiah was not to physically kill Israel but to turn Israel back to their God.

Hebrews 4.12–For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Psalms 149.6–May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword IN THEIR HANDS,

Revelation 2.16–Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you
and will fight against them with THE SWORD OF MY MOUTH.

Revelation 1.16–In his right hand he held seven stars, and COMING
OUT OF HIS MOUTH WAS A SHARP, DOUBLE EDGED SWORD.
His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

Revelation 19.15–Coming out of HIS MOUTH is a sharp sword with
which to strike down the nations. “He will REIGN OVER THEM with an
iron SCEPTER.” He treads the WINEPRESS of the fury of the wrath of
God Almighty.

Psalms 2.7-9–I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You
are my son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make THE
NATIONS YOUR HERITAGE, and the ends of the earth your POS-
SESSION. You shall BREAK them with a rod of iron, and dash them in
pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

REIGN OVER–Poimaino; to Shepherd

I’ve already described how Herb is incorrect about the John changing the meaning of the words used to describe the function of the iron scepter in Psalm 2:7-9. See: https://kingdomofgodcommunes.org/2018/10/07/follow-the-lamb-part-15-empire-and-the-lamb/

Luke 17.7–Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or TENDING sheep in the field, `Come here at once and take your place at the table’?

1 Corinthians 9.7–Who at any time pays the expenses for doing military service? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its fruit? Or who TENDS a flock and does not get any of its milk?

Matthew 2.6–And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a RULER who is to SHEPHERD my people Israel.

John 21.16–A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you
love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus
said to him, “TEND my sheep.”

Revelation 2.26,27–To everyone who is victorious and continues to
do my works to the end, I will give authority over THE NATIONS; to
REIGN OVER [shepherd] them with an iron SCEPTER . . .

Revelation 3.21–To the one who victorious I will give a place WITH
ME on MY throne, just as I myself was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

He can’t wipe out the nations and then rule them. Herb argues that the word in Psalms can be translated as “rod,” “scepter,” and “staff.”

Revelation 20.1-3–And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the ABYSS and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the DRAGON, that ancient SERPENT, who is the DEVIL, or SATAN, and bound him for a THOUSAND YEARS. He threw him into the ABYSS, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from DECEIVING THE NATIONS anymore UNTIL the thousand years were ENDED. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

Each one of the schools of thought we talked about post-Constantine has a way of interpreting the millennium. Of all the teachers in the new testament the millennium is only mentioned by one. John does not give us enough information to solve the questions surrounding this.

Exodus 20.4-6–You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATION of those who hate me, but showing love to A THOUSAND GENERATIONS of those who love me and keep my commandments.

John is contrasting God’s judgement with his restorative justice. The devil is allowed to reign for 3.5 years (Rev 11 and 13) but the church is allowed to reign for a thousand. However, in Rev 20 the promise in Ex 20 is fulfilled.

Revelation 20.4-6–I saw THRONES on which were seated those who
had been given authority to JUDGE [Reign, see Psalms 96 & 98]. And I saw the SOULS of those who had been beheaded because of their TESTIMONY about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had NOT worshiped the BEAST or his IMAGE and had not received his MARK on their foreheads or their hands. THEY CAME TO LIFE and REIGNED with Christ A THOUSAND YEARS. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. THE SECOND DEATH HAS NO CLAIM OVER THEM, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign WITH him for A THOUSAND YEARS.

Some people in the early church took the millennium metaphorically and some took it literally. Herb says that he thinks John doesn’t give us enough information to decide. We need to be careful about making definitive statements about the millennium just from this passage. This is directed to a specific group (martyrs).

Revelation 6.9,10–When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the SOULS of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and vindicate our blood?”

It says that they will reign over the nations from Rev 19 so that king of muddies the waters.

Daniel 7.9-14–“As I looked, “THRONES were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of FIRE was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and THE BOOKS were opened. Then I continued to watch because of the BOASTFUL words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until THE BEAST was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.) 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 NATIONS AND PEOPLES OF EVERY LANGUAGE WORSHIPED HIM. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Revelation 11.11–But after the three and a half days the breath of life
from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.

The imagery revelation gives in a first century setting is that after they are raised they will reign with Christ for a thousand years.

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.

Daniel 7.18–But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the king-
dom and possess the kingdom forever–forever and ever.”

Daniel 7.21-22–I looked, this horn made war with the holy ones and was prevailing over them, until the Ancient One came; then judgment [reign, soveriegn power] was given to THE HOLY ONES of the Most High, and the time arrived when THE HOLY ONES gained possession of the king-dom.

Daniel 7.26-27–“`But the court will sit, and his [the beast’s] power will
be TAKEN AWAY, CONSUMED and completely DESTROYED forever.
Then the SOVEREIGNTY, power and greatness of all the kingdoms
under heaven will be handed over TO THE HOLY PEOPLE of the Most
High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and ALL RULERS
WILL WORSHIP AND OBEY HIM.’

Who’s going to rule for a thousand years? The holy people.

Daniel 7.14–He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; ALL NATIONS AND PEOPLES OF EVERY LANGUAGE WORSHIPED HIM.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Those who take part in the second resurrection it says death has no claim over them.

John 14.30–I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this
world is coming. He has no CLAIM over me

Hebrews 2.14,15–Since, therefore, the
children share flesh and blood, he himself
likewise shared the same things, so that
through death he might destroy THE
ONE WHO HAS THE POWER OF
DEATH, THAT IS, THE DEVIL, and
free those who all their lives were held in
slavery by the fear of death.

When the lamb dies it defeats the dragon frees all those who are being held captive by the dragon. Do you see a parallel in revelation 20.

Acts 2.24–But God RAISED HIM UP,
having freed him from death, because
it was IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO BE
HELD IN ITS POWER [CLAIM].

Those two witness for a metaphorical three and half years like Jesus did. They have the power to use the methods of Elijah and Moses but they choose to use the methods of the lamb. The beast will kill the two witnesses but that is good for the lamb. Jesus didn’t see his death as a failure but what must be done to overcome the enemy. Remember all the inhabitants of the earth are celebrating and after three and half days the breath of God comes into these two witnesses (the church) there’s a great earthquake a tenth of the city falls 7,000 perish and what happens to the survivors? They fear the God of heaven and give him glory.

What we are seeing in Revelation 20 is the first resurrection in Revelation 11. Herb says to get lost in the story and put aside different doctrinaire interpretations of Revelation. He specifically says of the historicist position “That’s not what John’s doing” This may contradict something he said earlier where he seems to leave on the possibility for a futurist/historicist interpretation of Revelation. However, he is probably emphasizing a matter of weight. John’s weight of importance is on the story not on giving us predictions of the future (if that is even what John is doing)

After this the white rider comes and kills all the enemies which is another way of describing the war of the lamb. (he dies to defeat his enemies) Herb says remember there is going to be another resurrection for those who were slain for not worshiping the beast and his image. (the martyrs) John is not concerned with giving you imagery that symbolizes the resurrection when Jesus comes back. He is trying to just tell a story with different metaphors and imagery that will inspire you to continue to follow the Lamb. This is why there is so much debate over how the millennium is really going to happen. Every time you try to apply the millennium to real history it produces more questions than answers.

Herb Montgomery, Malkav reborn

As my variegated existence has unfolded here, for more than half a century, I have on occasions sampled some of the cultural offerings available to me as a dividend of my American citizenship.  Many of these Hors de ouvre have been the plethora of films that have been proffered generously by Tinseltown and others; a good deal of apertifs have come from the music industry. The dish that provided some of my most intense pleasures, however, was the RPG, or Role Playing Game, the grand-daddy of which was D&D. A good amount of my creative energy went into the boundless adventures it provided, which were limited only by the mind.

The success of Dungeons and Dragons opened a plethora  of avenues for new formats to emerge, ranging from space, old west, and superhero games.  All of them had a common characteristic: you would generate a character using the rules, and enter him into the imaginary world created by the Referee, who acted as the arbiter of decisions in the game.  Along with these games, I brushed up against a rather unique experiment: Vampire the Masquerade.  In this genre, you made an actual Vampire to play, complete with powers to use, and disadvantages to overcome.

 

This introduction, while arcane, is necessary to explain our good Mr Montgomery, for he strikes me as one of the main orders, or bloodlines, of Vampires, the Malkavians, who bear the name of their sire, Malkav.  This breed has a power available only to them: dementation.  This investment allows them to use madness itself, to see what no one else can.  And that is what I experience frequently when listening to Herb.

I am sure he means no harm; he seems like a good soul.  But his theories possess a quality of frenetic circumambulation that I have only seen Peter Parker perform while exerting his famed acrobatics.  Herb pulls verse after verse from the Scriptures, darting like a mamba from point to point, charged with obsessive dynamics that were once labeled ‘religious ecstasy’.  All the while, he is drawing you in, mesmerized by the sheer magnitude both of his passion, and his detachment from reality.

At times, he goes into raw madness, uttering the patently absurd, that cannot survive a cursory examination of the whole Bible.  Many are the times I have been struck by the Dementation of Malkav, unable to comprehend how he could transcend mere factuality with so little effort.  Then, just as I am scoffing (scoff, I tell you! harumph!), he detonates in a quasar of sheer brilliance, effulgent in its’ superlativity to mere intellect.  Bathed in the scintillation of the infant star, I stand diffused from comprehension, as I rasp from my throat “Hey-that was actually right”.

This does not occur on regular points: it emerges on complex, machinated hypotheses and theories, that require massive cogitation to master.  Ideas born of years of study, deliberation, and scrutiny by the Scientific and Socratic methods suddenly strike forth, from a mouth that had only a moment before committed sophomoric inaccuracy.  Thus, my quandary: how can this be?  How can they proceed from the same mind?  The answer, I have concluded, lies with Malkav.

Herb has reached genius conclusions at times: he is absolutely correct in decrying empire, in the age of Constantine dooming the Church, and in the rotten behavior of the Church making the Gospel anathema to mankind.  In fact, it is right to say that anyone touched by John Calvin actually helped Satan destroy the world.  His observations on the dark side of the American super system, based on the Swift system domination of Earth, are quite accurate.  His compulsion to follow Jesus, even against cultural norms, is Biblically accurate.  These are not trivial achievements: these conclusions are the product of massive sums of data being studied intently over long periods of time.

So, when he utters the incongruities so prevalent in his theory-such as Yahweh not being violent-I cannot explain the disparity in modality, except as a side effect of his  Malkavian dementation, which is both a power and a curse to his line.  In some cases, like this one, Herb is utterly wrong in reality, but his theory absolutely correct.  El would never be violent, in a world where humans never fell.  It is El’s desire to withhold judgment and destruction.  But humans have a nasty streak that, on occasions, require Yeshua to get ugly with them.  I am using the divine terms interchangeably, since we know Yahweh is One.

Mr Montgomery’s primary notion-that the Book of Revelation is a missive designed to convince Christians not to long for Nero, or the resurrection of his Rome, is just to baffling to contemplate.  Further, he suggests that many of the phrases refer to events already gone by.  This simply cannot make sense.  For Herb’s theory to be correct, the following must be so.

One, Jesus called John to write down a history lesson.  This is ruinous to consider.  Why would the Messiah appear, in glory, to tell John to write and exhaustive drama, when it would been simpler to reiterate the actual of recent history? Half the book disappears if John writes ‘Nero was a bad guy, but he’s gone.  Since we know the history of Rome, we know what happened.” Okay, but Herb says that the legend of Nero might be frightening people.  That might, actually, have been true.

Even so, John could excise the other half of the book by saying “If Nero returns, follow the Lamb. Nero is a man, so he cannot return from the dead.  So stay steadfast in what you have been taught.  The Kingdom of the Lamb will prevail.”  Other than the letters to the churches, his entire ‘revelation’ can be summed in a paragraph or two.  Also, no one in the upper class was impressed by Nero.  He was a drooling imbecile, noted for his corruption, ineptitude, and lack of redeeming character.  He might have impressed the plebians, but the power set regarded him as an embarrassment to Rome and Romanism alike.

Herb says that the ‘revelation’ is a passion play for the Christians, using the Scriptures to create a high drama of sorts.  That condemns Christianity to oblivion.  If the Revelation is not, if it is bunk, a sham, a conceit, then the men of Nicaea made an erroneous testament.  They warped the Word of God, and threw mankind into darkness.  Without an accurate product emerging from the councils, over seven decades of study and review yielded a lie.  We simply, at this point, cannot know God, if His Word is corrupt.

My heart goes out to Herb.  He is passionate, driven, obsessed with an ideal, and these help him to spin wildly through the Scriptures to create his grand illusion.  What he teaches people is ethical and upright, without regard to his accuracy or sanity.  Therefore, I am content to let great Malkav peer into the darkness, and in his madness, forge genius.  His labyrinthine convocations are as vivid as what he claims John’s ‘revelation’ was; they have dizzied and subjected to vertigo my mere Greek reasoning, many, many times.  But I have also learned much in his presentations, and therefore do not hold them valueless.  So, as Malkav peers into the beyond, I will listen still, for that moment of apotheosis that makes the madness worth enduring.

Follow The Lamb, Part 15: Empire and the Lamb

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=empireandthelamb
handout: https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/outlines/15empireandthelamb.pdf

This building is not the church this is just a building the church meets in. Herb thanks everyone in the church and the Bliss family whom he stayed with. The Book of Revelation is not as many have taken it to be. It is not about an angry God come back to take vengence but a lamb. The Lamb takes vengeance but it is of a different nature. The way a lamb takes vengeance on it’s enemies is through the non-cooperative principles of non-violence but with the aim of destroying his enemies by making them his friends. The early church would have seen this violent imagery of the old testament that John turns on its head and gives it new meaning.

Revelation 18.1-8–After this I saw another angel coming down from
heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendor. He called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! . . .

This is imagery has been stolen from the Tanahk. In the same way that Israel was going to brought of captivity to Babylon we see in Revelation that every nation tribe and tongue will be brought out of captivity to Babylon. Likewise he is using the exodus imagery to talk about all nations being brought out of slavery to Babylon.

. . . It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird, a haunt of every foul and hateful beast. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxury.”

The Lamb of God is an itinerant teacher announcing that there is a new kingdom being established which is a radical new way of structuring society and life in general.

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and so that you do not share in HER PLAGUES; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her as she herself has rendered, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed. As she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, so give her a like measure of torment and grief.

Ezekiel 16 The sins of Sodom were that they were overfed and unconcerned.

Since in her heart she says, `I rule as a queen; I am no widow, and I will never see grief,’ therefore HER PLAGUES will come in a single day–pestilence and mourning and famine– and she will be burned with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”

Revelation 18.9-10–And THE KINGS OF THE EARTH, . . .

This is who were are told in Rev 21 will leave Babylon and bring all their glory into the new Jerusalem.

. . . who committed fornication and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning; they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas, alas, the great city, Babylon, the mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.”

Response to the fall of Babylon is mourning because the kings of this earth are invested in the way of life. Luke 6 sermon on the plane, blessed are you who poor, mourn, are hungry, but What Jesus would accomplish would take the downtrodden and the marginalized of this world. Woe to you who are benefiting by their abuse. Those who are benefiting from creating poverty.

Merchants of the earth were benefiting from the luxury of Rome.

Revelation 18.11-16–And THE MERCHANTS OF THE EARTH weep
and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels and pearls, fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet, all kinds of scented wood, all articles of ivory, all articles of costly wood, bronze, iron, and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, choice flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, slaves–HUMAN LIVES. ” . . .

What John is doing here is not critiquing Rome or the killing of the Lamb’s followers. He is engaging in an economic critique that the luxury wealthy people live in perpetrates abuse on the rest of the world.

. . .The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your dainties and your splendor are lost to you, never to be found again!” The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, “Alas, alas, the great city, clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in one hour all this wealth has been laid waste!”

Herb reads from “Climax of Prophecy” by Richard Bauckham. Gold: Rome imported gold especially from Spain where most of the mines had become state property during the first century. Sometimes by highly dubious means of confiscation. The use of gold was one of the commonly noticed features of the growth of extravagant luxury among the wealthy families of Rome during the first century. In one of the periodic attempts to curb this they had a law against the use solid gold plates at private diner parties. Pliny complains that even the ceilings of private houses are covered in Gold . . . With the place of gold at the head of John’s list it is worth noting the Eumolpus. . . If there were any land that promised a yield of gold, that place was Rome’s enemy. Fate stood ready for the sorrows of war and the quest of wealth went on. Herb asks if there are parallels between that today.

The case of silver was similar to that of gold. Pliny associated silver with the luxury of the Roman rich remarking on the fashions of silver plated couches, baths made of pure silver, the common use of silver for serving food. . .  Precious stones in John’s day came from India so people in Rome were pillaging so that they could live in extravagance. The emperor Tiberius in his letter to the senate about Roman extravagance in 22 AD referred to that special feature of Roman extravagance that transfer of currency for jewels to often hostile nations but Rome owed it to her empire that she could afford those expensive imports from beyond the empire.

Under the lamb we have to question is our pursuit of happiness coming at the price of human lives around the globe? Maybe John was more green than we thought, maybe John was more concerned economically than we thought. One thing in Rome was to dissolve a pearl in vinegar or alcohol and then drink it for the thrill of wasting so much money. The merchants of the earth will weep. This is John’s critique of empire in the first century. God hated the bricks of Egypt not because he’s against mortar but because he is against the cost of human lives. He hated the empire of Babylon and the stonework of Babylon not because he hates stone but because of the cost of human lives. There have been Christians in the last 100 years that have realized that every purchasing decision I make is a moral decision.

Revelation 18.17-19–And ALL SHIPMASTERS AND SEAFARERS,
SAILORS AND ALL WHOSE TRADE IS ON THE SEA, stood far off
and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the GREAT CITY?” And they threw dust on their heads, as they wept and mourned, crying out, “Alas, alas, the great city, where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in one hour she has been laid waste.

What is John doing here? Who are the mourners? The ship captains the ship owners and the kings of this earth. Remember they are invested in the way Babylon is doing life.

Revelation 18.20–Rejoice over her, O heaven, you saints and apostles
and prophets! For God has given judgment for you against her.” Then
a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into
the sea, saying, “With such violence Babylon THE GREAT CITY will be
thrown down, and will be found no more; and the sound of harpists and minstrels and of flutists and trumpeters will be heard in you no more; and an artisan of any trade will be found in you no more; and the sound of the millstone will be heard in you no more; and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more; and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more; for your MERCHANTS were the MAGNATES of the earth, and ALL NATIONS were deceived by your sorcery. And in you was found THE BLOOD OF PROPHETS AND OF SAINTS, and of ALL who have been slaughtered on earth.”

Revelation 19:1-10—After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power to our God, for his judgments are true and just; he has judged the GREAT WHORE who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has vindicated on her the blood of his servants.” Once more they said, “Hallelujah! The smoke goes up from her forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who is seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, and all who fear him, small and great.” Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of THE LAMB has come, and his bride has made her-
self ready; to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure”– for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of THE LAMB.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades who hold THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS. Worship God! For the testimony of JESUS is the spirit of prophecy.”

If your interpretation of the Book of Revelation gives you different picture of God than the one Jesus gives on the sermon on the mount: the God who causes the sun to shine on the wicked and the God, the God who sends rain on the unkind and the just. Who kind to the unthankful and seeks to win them not destroy them. . . I know some of you need to die somewhere, but what about the book of Jonah? Would you be ticked off if God did not decide to destroy them? Jonah didn’t want the Ninevites in the kingdom with him. Herb suggests that if you are like Jonah and see something very different in Revelation than in the teachings of Jesus that you are misinterpreting the metaphorical Revelation. Some did indeed view it as complex to interpret (suggesting an allegorical interpretation) http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/201/2010243.htm  also see: http://global.oup.com/obso/focus/focus_on_revelation/ It’s interesting that the main debate among scholars is about whether the beast represents Rome or Israel and not about if there’s some literal future fulfillment of these things: https://blog.adw.org/2012/11/why-the-modern-view-of-the-book-of-revelation-may-be-flawed/

Herb Montgomery asserts that in the Psalms the word used in “break” for “break them with a rod of iron” while in Revelation it is “tend” or “shepherd.” It is true that the Greek word can have that meaning and the Hebrew is certainly translated as “break”

“Thou shalt break H7489 them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psa 2:9 KJV)

However, in the Septuagint the same word is used to translate the Hebrew as is used in Revelation:

“You shall tend G4165 them with a rod of iron; as vessels of a potter you shall break them.” (Psalms 2:9 ABP)

https://studybible.info/interlinear/Psalm%202:9
https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=AB

Rev 2:27 And he shall tend G4165 them with a rod of iron, as the vessels made of clay shall be broken; as I also have received from my father; (Rev 2:27 ABP)

https://studybible.info/interlinear/Revelation%202:27
https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=ABP|reference=Rev.2.27&options=VNHUG

This shows that John is most likely not trying to modify the original meaning of the verse. He is either quoting the Septuagint or (if it was written in Hebrew) he is most likely quoting the same Hebrew word in Psalms which got translated the exact same way. I think Herb’s point  still stands in that breaking the nations could simply not refer to the people but to the power structure they serve.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV)

Herb goes on to say “if your interpretation of the book of revelation gives you a different picture of God than the picture of God you see in Jesus then choose Jesus and allow Jesus to recast and reframe how the book of Revelation is interpreted.”

John purposely lists the mourning of those invested in a way of life that is coming to an end and he purposely contrasts that with the rejoicing of the following of the lamb. Herb asks us which side we would be on if a great empire supporting our luxurious way of life falls. For instance, for Americans, who would you sympathize with? the fall of America (which is ultimately necessary for the Lamb’s kingdom to reign in the end) or will you rejoice because the Lamb’s kingdom has come?

Herb says we’ve started saying that the exceptions are the rule and that it’s not possible for most Christians to care for the poor and be pacifists because the teachings of Jesus are too radical and it’s only those who are called that are required.

 

 

 

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!”

 

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