05
May
17

My Birthday Post! Revelation 12, Astrology, and Christ’s Birth

 

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years….

-Genesis 1:14

If one believes the story of the magi visiting the baby Jesus, then one cannot entirely discount the idea of astrology.  The word magi refers to a class of people who were, among other things, astrologers, and the magi who worshiped Christ learned of him by means of a star.

Revelation 12:1-5 describes what many scholars believe is an astronomical event associated with the birth of Christ.  Above is a fascinating video by Dr. Michael Heiser illustrating the event.  Heiser believes that it represents Christ’s birth.  Below is a link to the Bethlehem Star website of Rick Larson, who believes it marks Christ’s conception.

 

Larry Hunt Bible Commentary

I favor Larson’s interpretation because, as he points out HERE, nine months after this event Jupiter and Venus conjoined, each contributing “its full brightness to what became the most brilliant star our man [the magus] had ever seen. Jupiter completed this step of the starry dance as it was setting in the west. That evening, our Babylonian magus would have seen the spectacle of his career while facing toward Judea.  No one alive had ever seen such a conjunction.”

This very same conjunction happened again in July of 2015 and moved me to write the following poem while watching it.  The picture is my attempt to photograph it.

 

13
Apr
17

Notes on the Book of Revelation: Chapter 11, Part 3

The Wailing Wall Jerusalem // Larry Hunt Bible Commentary

“The Wailing Wall” in Jerusalem,

formally a retaining wall for the temple during Jesus’s lifetime

v. 8: The city “where also their Lord was crucified” is Jerusalem.  So it is Jerusalem that is metaphorically (i.e., “prophetically”) referred to as Sodom and Egypt.  Sodom and Egypt are themselves metaphors for wickedness and tyranny (enslavement), respectively.  But Jerusalem is the holy city (Revelation 21:2).  So what does it mean to say that the most part of it (all save the immediate temple grounds) will be known for wickedness and tyranny?  There are three divisions of place used here as symbols:  1) The immediate area of the temple, 2) the outer court of the temple and Jerusalem itself, and 3) the rest of the earth, i.e., “the nations.”  The immediate area of the temple (as well as those that worship there) is the true kingdom of God.  The nations are the faithless.  But the outer court of the temple and Jerusalem itself seem to be a hybrid of these other two.  Some part of it must be associated with the kingdom of God because it is Jerusalem, and some part of it must refer to those who are faithless, because it is called Sodom and Egypt and because it is “given over to the nations,” who will trample it for 3 ½ years.  Perhaps the 3 ½ years during which Jerusalem itself (minus the immediate area of the temple) can be called Sodom and Egypt represent a period of time when the majority of those who call themselves Christians will be indistinguishable from those who are the overt enemies of Christ.  Such false Christians would be Christian in name only, as Jerusalem is the holy city in name only in this analogy.  In actuality, it is the very city “where also their Lord was crucified,” making it a fit emblem of the most wicked city in history.

v. 15: This is the last trumpet.  It is fascinating to me that Paul, speaking of Christ’s return, says, “We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1st Corinthians 15:51-52).  I am not saying that Paul’s last trumpet is the seventh trumpet here, but it is tempting.[5]

 

[5] There are problems with this.  See notes on the 1,000 year reign in Revelation 20.

30
Mar
17

Notes on the Book of Revelation: Chapter 11, Part 2

TWO OLIVE TREES // Larry Hunt Bible Commentary

Two Olive Trees (Thassos Greece)

v. 4: Who or what are the two olive trees?  Zechariah asks an angel a similar question in Zechariah 4:11:  “What are these two olive trees?”  I have no doubt that the two olive trees here and in Zechariah are linked somehow.  In Zechariah they seem to represent Joshua, the high priest (Zechariah 3:9) and Zerubbabel, the Jewish leader who rebuilt the temple after the Babylonian Captivity.  But in Zechariah, there is one lampstand between the two olive trees, and the lampstand is God.  Here, the trees themselves are also the lampstands.[2] I suspect the immediate people whom these two trees in Revelation represent are Elijah and Moses.  Here are my reasons:

1) Moses and Elijah are frequently treated as a pair.[3]

2) These two trees “pour fire from their mouth and consume their foes” (v.5), which might be a reference to Elijah in 1st Kings 18:36-40.

3) They “have authority to shut the sky, so that no rain may fall” (v.6), which seems like a reference to Elijah in 1st Kings 17:1.  Notice also that Christ says Elijah shut the heavens for 3 ½ years (Luke 4:25), which is the amount of time these two trees have power to do such things.

4)  They “have authority over the waters to turn them into blood” (v.6), which could very easily be a reference to Moses in Exodus 7:20-21.

5) They have authority “to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire” (v.6), which could easily be a reference to Moses and the plagues he unleashed upon Egypt.

Note how John continues to emphasize the number two here by referring to two actions associated with Elijah and two actions associated with Moses.  Now, whether or not Moses and Elijah themselves are meant to symbolize another pair of people (as Elijah was a type for John the Baptist[4]) I am not sure, but I suspect so.

 

[2] At least it seems so.  There are definitely only two witnesses.  I think the two witnesses are symbolized by two pairs of symbols: two olive trees and two lampstands.  Thus, if Moses and Elijah are the witnesses, then Moses and Elijah are in some ways like two olive trees and in some ways like two lampstands.

[3] See, for instance, John 1:25, and Matthew 17:3.

[4] See Matthew 17:10-13.

[5] There are problems with this.  See notes on the 1,000 year reign in Revelation 20.

25
Mar
17

Notes on the Book of Revelation: Chapter 11, Part 1

The Two Witnesses, Bamberg Apocalypse // Larry Hunt Bible Commentary

The Two Witnesses, Bamberg Apocalypse

vs. 2-3: 3 ½ (years), 42 (months), and 1,260 (days) all refer to the same length of time.[1] I will use 3 ½ for purposes of uniformity.  3 ½ is such a weird number; its main significance must be that it is half of 7.  Daniel makes use of similar numerology to describe two divisions of a week in Daniel 9:27, and I think John is alluding to that section of Daniel here, but I do not believe that he intends to say that Daniel’s week and his week symbolize the same events because the middle of Daniel’s week seems to fall between the years 26 A.D. and 46 A.D. (see notes there) whereas the middle of John’s week falls sometime after 81 A.D.  (see Order of Events supplement).  John, I think, is only making use of Daniel’s numerology and symbols.  Nevertheless, I think the two periods of 3 ½ years in Daniel 12:7 and 11 do describe the same period of time that John is speaking of here (see notes there).

Since the time period is a week, there are two of these 3 ½ periods: one during which the two witnesses prophesy with power over the unbelievers, and one during which these two witnesses are dead, having been killed by Beast I.  Here in verse 2, John says that  the court outside the temple will be given over to “the nations,” i.e., the unbelievers, for 3 ½ years.  I believe this period of time is the second of the two 3 ½ periods and corresponds to the 3 ½ days that follow the murder of the two witnesses by Beast I (11:7-10).  One might be inclined to interpret the 3 ½ days of vs. 9-11 as denoting a separate period of time since it says “days” rather than “years,” but I believe the days there symbolize years and that they represent the same period John refers to in v. 2, the period when the holy city “is given over to the nations.”

Notice that God tells John “[T]hey [the nations] will trample over the holy city,” and “I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophecy….”  Since God uses the future tense, I assume that these two periods of time fall in the future, relative to John.  In other words, I assume that they happen after John receives the Revelation, which would be after the mid-nineties A.D.  Of course, 11:6 uses the present tense and says that the two witnesses “have authority,” so I could also believe that the 3 ½ years in which they prophesy is taking place even as John receives the Revelation.

23
Mar
17

Notes on the Book of Revelation: Chapter 10

St John the Theologian writing the Book of Revelation (Byzantine museum) // Larry Hunt Bible Commentary

St John the Theologian writing the Book of Revelation

v. 4: Since John writes, “I was about to write” I wonder if he recorded these visions in his dream state, as he was having the visions?  Was the paper he wrote on while in heaven physical paper?  Was he writing only in the dream or was he having a waking vision where he thought he was writing in the dream but really writing on Patmos at the same time, like when sounds from the physical world enter our dreams as we sleep (except in this case something from his dreams entered his active, physical life while he was awake).

22
Mar
17

Notes on the Book of Revelation: Chapter 9

The Angel with the Key to the Bottomless Pit by Albrecht Dürer // Larry Hunt Bible Commentary

The Angel with the Key to the Bottomless Pit by Albrecht Dürer

v. 1: I believe this star is Satan.  My primary reason for believing this is that it “had fallen from heaven to earth,” an action which seems to parallel what happens to Satan in 12:9.[1] Another reason for believing that this is Satan is the fact that he was given the key to the bottomless pit, without which he would not have been able to raise Beast I from the dead (13:1,3; 11:7, and 17:8).

Notice that Satan had fallen before the blowing of this 5th trumpet; therefore, if the falling of this star parallels the events of 12:9, then the events of 12:9 must happen before the blowing of the 5th trumpet.[2] According to my chronology, they happen before the blowing of any of the trumpets.

v. 12: This type of statement makes me think that perhaps the historical events that the trumpet visions signify should be understood to follow one another in time.[3] If the trumpet visions parallel the bowl visions, then I suppose the same is true of the events signified by them.


[1] See also note on 20:1

[2] The verse would make a neater fit with my chronological theory if John had written that the star “had been given the key…” rather than it “was given the key” because then the grammar would indicate that the star was in possession of the key before the blowing of the fifth trumpet.  As it is, since the tense is simple past rather than past perfect, one could interpret the verse to mean that the star was given the key after the blowing of the fifth trumpet, which would mess up my chronology.

[3] See also note on 7:1.

16
Mar
17

Notes on the Book of Revelation: Chapter 8, Part 3

144,000 Sealed and Trumpets Schnorr von Carolsfeld Bibel in Bildern 1860 // Larry Hunt Bible Commentary

144,000 Sealed and Trumpets 

Schnorr von Carolsfeld Bibel in Bildern 1860

 

v. 6: While some of the events symbolized by the visions of the seven seals may be arranged chronologically in the order that the seals are opened, I do not believe that all of the events symbolized by the seals can be thus arranged.  In other words, I do not believe that the events symbolized by the visions of one seal necessarily precede those symbolized by the visions of the next.[6] My reasons for this are in chapter seven.  For example, 7:3 describes the visions of the 6th seal.  In that verse, an angel tells four other angels that they are not to damage the earth until the 144,000 have been marked with the seal of God on their foreheads.  However, since these four angels are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (whose damaging effects are described in the first four seals) then this event (the marking of the 144,000) in the sixth seal must have happened before the events of the first four seals.  See also notes on 7:9-17, which describe how another vision in the sixth seal seems to symbolize events after those symbolized in the seventh seal.   Thus, although the seven trumpets (and seven bowls) appear with the opening of the seventh seal, I believe that the events of these trumpets and bowls are described in earlier seals.

[6] As it turns out, I do actually believe that the events of the first four seals are a unit and  follow one another, but those of the last three do not.




OTHER BOOKS BY LARRY HUNT

THE GLORY OF KINGS - A proposal for why God will always be the best explanation for the existence of the universe.

SWEET RIVER FOOL - Alcoholic, homeless, and alone, Snody despaired of life until a seemingly chance encounter with Saint Francis of Assisi led him to the joys of Christ and the redemption of his soul…

ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD - Enoch had a beautiful soul and walked with God in many ways. This book invites children to imagine what some of those ways might have been while presenting them with a wonderful model for their own lives.