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The Apocalypse Explained

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#1    Bluefinger

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:26 AM

Hello UM,

So I've done a great deal of studying the book of Revelation for about 20 years now and have finally come across, what I think, is a very logical, exegetical interpretation of what the book's symbols actually meant.

So please, ask me about anything in the book and I will give you what I have discovered.  I will not go on a tangent about left behind stories and I will provide as much evidence as I can (and I've found plenty.)

Some topics for starters:

1.  What are the seven seals?
2.  Who are the two witnesses?
3.  Who are the 144,000 sealed?
4.  What does 666 mean?
5.  What is the beast?
6.  What are the seven trumpets?
7.  When was the book written?

I hope some actually engage me in this and that the discussion is fruitful.

It is not enough to have a good mind.  The main thing is to use it well.     - Descartes

#2    David-C

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:35 AM

I would like answers to questions 1 as well as 2,3,4,5,6 and 7.


#3    Bluefinger

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:53 AM

View PostDavid-C, on 12 January 2013 - 04:35 AM, said:

I would like answers to questions 1 as well as 2,3,4,5,6 and 7.

Haha.  Thanks David,

But can I get one to focus on at a time?

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#4    and then

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:00 AM

Excellent topic - thanks for starting the conversation!  I'm interested in number 3.  My understanding is that these will be a specific group.  All male and all virgins.  Do you see this as a literal interpretation?  Will they go abroad on the planet evangelizing? Will their activities be concurrent with the 42 months of the two witnesses or will they follow them?

  Imagination is the power in the turn of a phrase.

#5    Bluefinger

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:44 AM

View Postand then, on 12 January 2013 - 05:00 AM, said:

Excellent topic - thanks for starting the conversation!  I'm interested in number 3.  My understanding is that these will be a specific group.  All male and all virgins.  Do you see this as a literal interpretation?  Will they go abroad on the planet evangelizing? Will their activities be concurrent with the 42 months of the two witnesses or will they follow them?

Sure!

The 144,000, as Revelation 7 shows, are from the 12 tribes of Israel.  (Interesting note, these are not the original 12 tribes.  Dan and Ephraim are missing while Levi was only supposed to be a half tribe.  Either these names put together spell out a specific description about them or something occurred in their history that excluded Dan and Ephraim from the covenant.  I can't be sure.)

What I can say, though, is that this group's sealing is connected to the trumpets.  The four angels hold back the four winds so that nothing is harmed until the 144,000 are sealed.  This is the most important note about it:  It comes before a great tribulation (but not THE great tribulation.)

Scripture is pretty vocal about this group.  It is a very specific group.  Without further ado, the 144,000 are those who first heard the Gospel and those who first believed them.  They are, as Rev. 14:4 shows, the firstfruits redeemed from mankind.  This is the group that was called out of Jerusalem before God passed judgment on the city.  Now, there are several supporting passages about this group that I can post, but I want to explain my reasoning first.

Jesus preached to the Jews using parables, several times saying that the wicked generation that He was sent to would be destroyed at Jerusalem and scattered.  Before that would happen though, Jesus would call out the elect and shorten the tribulation of the Jews so that the elect would not be consumed.  These elect would then flee Judea and go to the Gentiles, where the Gospel of the kingdom would produce great amounts of fruit for the kingdom of God and would include the Gentiles in the Abrahamic Covenant.  This can explain why there is such a great multitude of Gentiles mentioned in Revelation 7, right after the 144,000 Israelites are sealed.

Supporting Scripture:  Mt. 20:23; Mt. 22:14; Jn 17:6; Mt. 24:15-18, 22; Mt. 28:19-20; Lk 16:16; Eph 1:12; Rom 11:5; Jam 1:18; Heb 12:23; Rom 8:23.

What can be easily deduced from Scripture is that the firstfruits, those chosen out of many by God, are those who first heard and believed.  It was predestined of them to believe, so that God could redeem out of Israel those whom He would preserve from destruction.  (Rom. 11:1-4)  These had the mission of bring the Gospel to the Gentiles.  If you follow Mt. 21:42-45, Jesus made it clear that the kingdom of God was going to be taken away from the Jews and given to the Gentiles.  So God predestined and reserved a remnant so that His promises to Abraham would endure, just as God had reserved a remnant of 7,000 during the days of Elijah whom would not worship Baal.  These would always worship God.

Now, 144,000 sounds like a lot, but it was really just a remnant of Jews in the entire Roman Empire.  Flavius Josephus recorded that approximately 1.1 million Jews died in Jerusalem alone in 70 CE, when the Romans destroyed the city and the temple.

To finally justify my statement, Jesus gave several examples that an elect group would be called out:  Mt. 24:15-28 clearly showed that Jerusalem's high priesthood was to be desecrated, showing itself to be a sign to the disciples to flee Judea.  This occured after the war in Judea occured, when John of Gischala fled his city and brought his thugs to Jerusalem.  Assuming that John and his crew were fighting for the Jewish cause, they didn't question their motives.  The seditious lot overthrew the highpriesthood and did away with its traditions, placing a man in the position that had no clue what it was.  A sign to them made it evident when the temple doors flung open on their own accord, as Josephus recorded.  

Luke 21:10-19 gives armies surrounding Jerusalem as the disciples' sign to flee Judea.  This occured, according to Josephus, when Cestius was initially sent to put down the revolt.  When he got to Jerusalem, Cestius surrounded the city.  The inhabitants opened up the gates to let him in, but he turned and fled for some reason.  This was another sign for the elect to flee.  

Jesus made it clear:  Jerusalem was being destroyed because of their unrepentance that led them to reject their Messiah and kill his disciples.  That explains the salt of the earth parable in Matthew 5:13.  The righeous were the salt of the earth.  If the earth lost its saltiness, like Jerusalem lost its righteous, then it was good for nothing but to be trampled underfoot.  Consider also Luke 17:28-29.  Abraham had prayed that God would spare Jerusalem if it had even 10 righteous people.  God only found Lot and his family.  So He sent angels to protect them and guide them out of the city.  Once Lot and his family escaped, Sodom was utterly destroyed.  Jesus was using this to explain what would happen to Jerusalem.  The rightoeus would be called out so that God could pass judgment on the city.  Therefore, the 144,000 sealed are those who are chosen to always follow Christ and not participate in the Jerusalem's destruction.

So there we have it.  I think I have provided a good enough explanation as to who the 144,000 sealed are.  They were called out of Jerusalem and Judea before Christ gathered all the Jews in the area to Jerusalem to pass judgment on the city.  Lest anyone think I am antiSemitic, I want to clarify that I follow Romans 11:11, 25, which states that the Jews were only blinded so that the Gentiles would be accepted into God's promises (saving them) and that blindness was only temporary.  When it is healed, All of Israel will be saved.

Edited by Bluefinger, 12 January 2013 - 05:45 AM.

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#6    Catz

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:23 AM

Who will the two witnessess be?  Will it be Elijah and Moses?

Also, where in Revelations do we find ourselves now?  I mean, have any of the trumphets been blown or seals broken?  Then there's also the 4 horses.  Have any of that taken place already?

:tsu:

#7    Rlyeh

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:41 AM

When will it happen? Or has it already happened?


#8    Time Traveler

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:04 AM

View PostBluefinger, on 12 January 2013 - 05:44 AM, said:

.....
Consider also Luke 17:28-29.  Abraham had prayed that God would spare Jerusalem if it had even 10 righteous people.  God only found Lot and his family.  So He sent angels to protect them and guide them out of the city.  Once Lot and his family escaped, Sodom was utterly destroyed.  Jesus was using this to explain what would happen to Jerusalem.  The rightoeus would be called out so that God could pass judgment on the city.  Therefore, the 144,000 sealed are those who are chosen to always follow Christ and not participate in the Jerusalem's destruction.

Luke 17:28-29 > It wasn't Jerusalem to be spared if God could find 10 righteous people - it was Sodom.

One problem I have with the whole Bible story is how God distinguishes between righteous people and "non-righteous" people.  Take your example of Lot, for instance.  Sodom was destroyed because the people were sinners and had turned to homosexuality.  What kind of man was Lot?  Well, lets see... he offered his virgin daughters to the men of Sodom to rape them.  He was a drunk.  Had incest with his daughters and had "b_stard" children by them (excuse the language but illegitimate children were called that.)  Oh yes, and the sons became the father of the Moabites and the Ammons.  Evidently incest is better than homosexuality.

Edited by Time Traveler, 12 January 2013 - 07:08 AM.


#9    Rlyeh

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:08 AM

View PostTime Traveler, on 12 January 2013 - 07:04 AM, said:

Sodom was destroyed because the people were sinners and had turned to homosexuality.
I thought the story was how they treated outsiders.


#10    Time Traveler

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:31 AM

View PostRlyeh, on 12 January 2013 - 07:08 AM, said:

I thought the story was how they treated outsiders.
Genesis 19:5  and they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight?  Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them."  
You can interpret "relations" or "know them" (as in King James) as you wish, but Lot tells the men to take his daughters "who have not had relations" with man and do to them whatever you like" denoting sexual acts.  Both words are the same Hebrew word "Yada" [3045] Strongs.


#11    Bluefinger

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:49 AM

View PostCatz, on 12 January 2013 - 06:23 AM, said:

Who will the two witnessess be?  Will it be Elijah and Moses?


Good question Catz!  

For your first question, I think my answer might come to you as a surprise.

The Two Witnesses are the Gentile Church.  This can be a lengthy explanation so please bear with me.  I will describe it how in the order it is written.

Rev. 11 starts out with measuring the temple.  The obvious reason for this is because it is saying that the temple was going to be destroyed.  Therefore, the new measurements had to be laid out, like what Ezekiel 40 did.  The reason for this is because the Time of the Gentiles were beginning.  To get that, you'd have to go back to chapter 10 and see verse 17, where John is commissioned to begin a new prophecy about many peoples, languages, nations, and kings; the Gentiles.  

The prophecy of the Two Witnesses is inserted between the sixth and seventh trumpet blasts.  The sixth trumpet is the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple.  (I can explain the trumpets in another thread.  I just want to get through this one without getting off topic.)  From Jerusalem's destruction, the kingdom of God was given over to the Gentiles.  (See Mt. 21:42-45, Mt. 22:1-14, Lk. 21:24 for more detail.)  So, the Two Witnesses are not Jews, like the 144,000 sealed before Jerusalem's destruction.  They are Gentiles.

These Two Witnesses are commissioned AFTER Jerusalem is trampled underfoot by the Gentiles.  So, post-70 CE.  They are the two olive trees.  This is taken from Zech. 4, which was written about the rebuilding of the second temple by Zerubabbel the governor and Joshua the High Priest.  The lampstand in that chapter represented the second temple.  The two olive trees had branches that extended out and poured oil into the lampstand, signifying that Joshua and Zerubabbel would rebuild and reconsecrate the temple.  When Zechariah asked what the olive trees were, he was ignored by the angel.  When he asked what the branches were, he was told that these are the two that stand before The Lord of hosts.  That's our tip.  The two olive trees are priests, like Joshua, and kings, like Zerubabbel.  This is a repetitive theme in the book of Revelation to signify the saints.  (See Rev. 1:6, 5:10, 20:6)  

These are also two lampstands, which we already identified were temples.  But we know that the temple was destroyed.  So these two witnesses are the temples.  These are what many today call The Church.  (But so much more than that!)  They are built upon the prophets and apostles, with Christ being the chief cornerstone, into a glorious temple (Eph. 2:19-22.)  

Their prophecy is the witness of the Gospel to all nations.  (Mt. 22:10)  Their witness is like fire to wood, convicting of evil; like when the Christians stood up to the Romans at the Tribune, like what happened to Smyrna.  (Rev. 2:10)  They would receive words from the Spirit and those words would pierce the heart.  

Now you asked about Moses and Elijah:

They are like Moses and Elijah.  This can be hinted at by the plagues they cause, similar to those caused during Moses' and Eljiah's ministry.  But more than that, their goal is the same.  They keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus, like Philadelphia did.  (Rev. 3:8)  This is also a repetitive theme, as you can see.  Revelation 12:17 shows it in plain language.  The Gentile Church was to keep the teachings of Christ and hold to His testimony (Rev. 19:10.)  Like Moses, the Church kept God's commands (the teachings of Christ, the New Law).  And like Elijah, the Church preached to the pagans and unbelievers who the One True God was.  Not only that, these live out the blessings of God (Deut. 28:1-14) so as to inspire the Jews to jealousy, by which they would throw off the curse of the Law.  (Romans 11:11)

As Luke 21:24 and Romans 11:25 shows, the Times of the Gentiles would eventually come to an end, with Jerusalem receiving their Lord again.  When that happens, the temple that was measured will have been rebuilt in Jerusalem, fulfilling what Paul looked forward to in Romans 11:25; All of Israel will be saved.  The kingdom of God would finally produce fruit in Jerusalem and bless the name of the Lord.  Christ's would then cleanse the Jews and Jerusalem of all unrighteousness, allowing the Holy Spirit to enter the people and make them God's temple.  Then the Two Witnesses will have then finished their testimony.  

Another interesting observation:  The Two Witnesses are resurrected in Jerusalem and the city praises God after that point.  Paul also notes that if the rejection of Israel mean salvation to all nations, then what would Israel's inclusion mean but resurrection of the dead?  And so we have it.  The Two Witnesses are the Gentiles, living out the promises of God in the kingdom of heaven.  They do this in an age called The Times of the Gentiles and will continue to do so until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Rom. 11:25.)  Then the eternal Gospel will have been preached to all nations.  (Rev. 14:6)

I hope you found this research helpful!

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#12    Bluefinger

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:57 AM

View PostCatz, on 12 January 2013 - 06:23 AM, said:


Also, where in Revelations do we find ourselves now?  I mean, have any of the trumphets been blown or seals broken?  Then there's also the 4 horses.  Have any of that taken place already?

I think we are at the sixth vial of God's wrath right now.  We are in the time of the Two Witnesses.  The Church plagues the nations of the earth because they are so blessed and God is with them.  America, for example, gets to do whatever it wants.  Nobody else enjoys that freedom (except for Israel now.)  Because of this, and past things such as crusades, inquisitions, etc.; there has been a growing resentment and animosity toward Christianity, just as shown in Rev. 11:10.  People will celebrate the day that the Church collapses.  We are nearing that day, I believe.

Concerning the trumpets and seals:  Yes.  The seven seals followed the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.  They were events leading to Jerusalem's destruction.  Wars and rumors of wars (first seal), nations rising against nations (second seal), famines (third seal) and pestilences (fourth seal) in various places.  Jesus' first listeners would be persecuted by the Jews and chased out of the synagogues.  Because they treated God's servants so shamefully, God was angry and set the Romans to declare war on Judea (sixth seal.)  When the seventh seal was opened, the vengeance of the saints began to pour out on the Jews and Jerusalem.  That is what the trumpets are about.

We are also in between the sixth and seventh trumpet.  That is, from the destruction of Jerusalem until the Gospel is received in Jerusalem.

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#13    Bluefinger

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:53 PM

View PostTime Traveler, on 12 January 2013 - 07:04 AM, said:



Luke 17:28-29 > It wasn't Jerusalem to be spared if God could find 10 righteous people - it was Sodom.
  Yes.  Sodom.  I'm glad you understood what I meant and thank you for pointing out the typo.

Quote

One problem I have with the whole Bible story is how God distinguishes between righteous people and "non-righteous" people.  Take your example of Lot, for instance.  Sodom was destroyed because the people were sinners and had turned to homosexuality.  What kind of man was Lot?  Well, lets see... he offered his virgin daughters to the men of Sodom to rape them.  He was a drunk.  Had incest with his daughters and had "b_stard" children by them (excuse the language but illegitimate children were called that.)  Oh yes, and the sons became the father of the Moabites and the Ammons.  Evidently incest is better than homosexuality.

Well, I think you misunderstood some parts of the story.  He didn't have incest with his daughters.  His daughters made him drunk and tricked him.  Likely, they took advantage of his grieving and got him stupid-drunk.  About him offering his daughters:  Yeah.  No bueno.  I suppose the author was trying to point out that the city had no concern for the daughters but rather wanted to show their strength to the angels.  Kinda like prison.  A lot of guys there don't rape men because they are gay.  They do it as a show of power.  

The real reason that Sodom was destroyed was because of the overflowing injustice in the city.  Sodom was prideful, had plenty of provisions and lived at ease, yet did not help the poor and the needy (Ezk. 16:49.)  The story of Noah seemed to say the same thing.  The people's minds were on evil at all times.  They used their power to oppress the poor rather than help them.  So Ezekiel made the communication that Jerusalem had become like Sodom (and worse.)

So when Jesus used the parable of Lot in Sodom to describe His disciples in Jerusalem, He wasn't calling them righteous.  Far from it.  Jesus' teachings emphasized justice to the poor because the powerful in Jerusalem gave them hardly any provision.  The apostles took His teachings and repeated them everywhere they went.  When Jerusalem was destroyed, its wickedness was laid out for all to see, as Josephus recorded.

Edited by Bluefinger, 12 January 2013 - 03:55 PM.

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#14    Rlyeh

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:59 PM

View PostTime Traveler, on 12 January 2013 - 07:31 AM, said:

Genesis 19:5  and they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight?  Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them."  
You can interpret "relations" or "know them" (as in King James) as you wish, but Lot tells the men to take his daughters "who have not had relations" with man and do to them whatever you like" denoting sexual acts.  Both words are the same Hebrew word "Yada" [3045] Strongs.
Raping guests perhaps isn't the best way to treat them.


#15    Crikey

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:44 PM

What does 666 "the number of the beast" mean?






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