31
Oct
17

Notes on the Book of Revelation: Chapter 12, Part 2

Below is a timeline of the emperors of Rome from the birth of Christ through the time John is believed to have written Revelation.

JULIO-CLAUDIAN EMPERORS

27 B.C.-14 A.D. : Augustus
14-37: Tiberius  (Christ ascends to heaven here)
37-41: Caligula
41-54: Claudius
54-68: Nero

68-69: Galba [3]
69: Otho
69: Vitellius

FLAVIAN EMPERORS

69-79: Vespasian (The temple is destroyed here-70 A.D.)
79-81: Titus
81-96: Domitian (John writes Revelation here)

96-98: Nerva
98-117: Trajan

 

The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun

by William Blake

 

v. 1: This woman gives birth to a son, “who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.”  This is a Messianic reference taken from Psalm 2:9 and clearly applied to Christ in 2:27 and 19:15.  The woman, therefore, can only be one of two candidates: Mary or an allegory of the kingdom of Israel.  Both of these gave birth to Christ.  Many of the early church fathers (including Oecumenius) believed she is Mary, but she may also be an allegory of the kingdom of Israel.  For one thing, the crown of twelve stars (representing the twelve tribes of Israel) seems more applicable to an allegory of Israel than to Mary.  Another reason for believing she is Israel is rooted in the fact that the events surrounding the woman later in the chapter are more easily applied to Israel (Spiritual Israel) than to Mary.  Perhaps Mary herself should be considered a type of Spiritual Israel.

v. 2: Israel gave birth to the Messiah.  The birth pangs here might be a reflection of the pain Israel felt under Roman occupation at the time of her deliverance.

v. 4: The second chapter of Matthew records at least one way that Satan tried to kill the baby Jesus.

v. 6: I do not think she fled to the wilderness before the war in heaven.  I think the narrative mentions her safe flight to the wilderness at this point to continue the theme of safety begun in v. 5, thus communicating the fact that both she and her son were given secure refuge from the Dragon.  For the actual order of events, see v. 13 where it says that the Dragon attacked the woman after he lost the war in heaven.

There is a logical sequence of events here:

1) Satan falls from heaven.

2) He attacks the Church in the hope of destroying it.

3) The woman (i.e., the Church) escapes to the wilderness.

4) Satan knows that he cannot destroy the Church as such, but he continues making war on Christians out of bitterness and wrath.

5)  To help him in this, he raises Beast I from the dead.[4]

Therefore, Beast I must come to power and reign at the beginning of the 3½ years that the Church is kept safe in the wilderness.

v. 7: This war is sparked by Christ’s victory on earth and his ascension into heaven to sit on his father’s throne.  It is this event that marks the beginning of the final age on earth; perhaps we should count time from it rather than Christ’s birth.

—————-

[3] The tenure of these three emperors was so short that they do not even come into some lists of the emperors, so perhaps one would be justified in ignoring them altogether in John’s count of emperors.  They all ruled within a single year during which Rome was enmeshed in civil war.  They established no dynasty.  The ruling dynasties of Rome began with the Julio-Claudians, followed by the Flavians

[4] Perhaps Beast I had been instrumental in Satan’s former persecutions (when he had had the hope of destroying the Church) but had been slain.

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23
Sep
17

Notes on the Book of Revelation: Chapter 12, Part 1, The Woman Clothed with the Sun

Sadeler, Larry Hunt Bible Commentary, Revelation 12

Jan Sadeler I (16th century) John’s vision of the pregnant woman clothed with the sun, with the moon at her feet, and pursued by the dragon.

Below is how I think the narrative of the allegory of this chapter should be read.

September 11, 3 B.C. Christ was conceived. The pregnant woman (v.2) is Mary and/or Israel. The Dragon is Satan (v.9), who tried and failed to destroy Christ from infancy (v.4) through the actions of Herod.

(June) 2 B.C. – 33 A.D.  Christ was born, fulfilled his purpose, and ascended to the throne of God in heaven, beyond the reach of the Dragon (v.5).

 33 A.D.  Upon the occasion of Christ’s ascension to the throne of God, war broke out in heaven, and Michael and his angels defeated Satan and his angels and cast them out of heaven, down to the earth (vs. 7-9).

33 A.D.-?  When Satan realizes he has lost, he is full of wrath “because he knows his time is short” (v. 12).  Therefore, he takes this wrath out on the woman and tries to destroy her, since he can no longer harm her child (v. 13).  Here the woman seems more likely to represent Israel (than Mary), or more precisely, Spiritual Israel, the Church. She is given two wings of the great eagle so that she can fly from Satan and be nourished safely “in the wilderness” for 3½ “times.”  However, before she can fly away, Satan tries to drown her with the river that he belches forth, but the earth swallows the river and she flies to safety.[1]  Once Satan realizes that the Church is now beyond his reach (just as her firstborn son is) he makes “war on the rest of her children, those who…hold the testimony of Jesus,” i.e., individual Christians[2] (v. 17).

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).




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.