Tuesday, March 18, 2008

reading Rev.

I’m not an expert on Bible prophesy, but I recently decided to take a hard look at Revelation. A lot of it matches up with Daniel, and is old hat to most SDA’s. However, the seven churches, seals, trumpets, and bowls are not as clear. Here are a few of my initial conclusions. I may end up changing my mind on some of the following, but here is some food for thought.

The seven churches, seals, trumpets, and bowls all end at about the same time. Like Daniel’s dreams, they each tell the story with increasing focus on the events just prior to the second coming. Here is the proof: compare Rev. 4:5, 8:5, 11:19, and 16:18. These passages each come after one of the seven’s and all appear to be describing the same thing. Taken together, it is pretty clear that they are describing what happens in heaven and on earth right before Christ comes back.

The trumpets don’t happen until the sealing of the 144K. This should be pretty obvious, but somehow I hadn’t heard it before. Rev. 7:3-4 says the earth, sea, and trees won’t be hurt until the 144K are sealed. Rev. 8: 7-8 describes the first two trumpets as destroying 1/3 of the earth, sea, and trees, so they must be after the sealing of the 144K.

The people who have had a chance to learn about God will either be sealed or get the mark of the beast before the most of calamities depicted in Revelation take place. See 1 Peter 4:17, “judgment starts with the house of God.” These are the 144K who have not been defiled with women (Babylon), are first fruits, and seem to have Christ like perfected characters—Rev. 14:4.

After the 144K are sealed, the trumpets start happening, the angel’s messages in Rev. 14:8-9 and 18:4 are proclaimed, and the group described in Rev. 7:9 comes out and are sealed. These can’t be part of the 144K because they were defiled with Babylon. After they join the 144K, the seven bowls are poured out and the second coming happens. I have heard that the 144K are those who will be living at the second coming, but this can’t be right as the 144K are first fruits and we know that the dead, not the living, will rise first.

This is relevant to those who are part of God’s house, because they won’t get any warning before the sealing—hence the frequent thief in the night metaphor. God’s house doesn’t get a second bite at the apple after the trumpet’s start happening.

I may be wrong about much of the above, but I think these issues deserve our thought and prayer. After all, the hereafter may depend on it.


Jan Robert (Robby) Heiberg said...

Thanks for sharing Paul. Interesting matters you bring forth. I've decided to take a closer look at the Revelation now as well. It is a very important book, and I know way to little(!). In our church back in Norway, we've been going through the 7 churches once a week from mid-Jan to mid-March. It's been very interesting!

Caitlin said...

Interesting thoughts Paul,
I have a few questions though:

1. What is the prophetic significance of trumpets?
Do they not symbolize urgent warning before judgment? If the trumpets happen after God is finished sealing - what purpose do they serve?
Please consider:
1. The feast of trumpets preceded the day of atonement.
2. It was a 10 day warning before judgment.
3. The fraction 1/3 is a minor fraction, indicating limitation of judgment - which will not be the case at the coming of Christ.
3. The trumpets warn us that intercession is still going on - that we still have a chance to choose.

2. Many scholars of our church as well as the DARCOM Report agree that Revelation is divided into 2 sections; historical (Rev 1-14), and eschatological (15-22).

From personal study, I have found this to be logically accurate thus far. However I'm a bit wary of matching specific historical events with the trumpets (Islam, Ottoman Empire, ext.) as Maxwell teaches in his commentary "God Cares".

I find that there are many spiritual conclusions to be drawn from the trumpets, and simply advise caution and openmindedness of approach in this study.

3. In reference to the sealing:
1. Who comes out of the great tribulation? - the triumphant throng. everyone with a wedding garment.
2. Who will enter the temple?
Jesus said "only the 144,000 enter this place."
3. Who will make up the hallow square? "the unumbered host of the redeemed" (check out GC 645)

Sealing can only happen during ones lifetime.

Also try comparing what John saw what he heard when he was shown the vision of the 144,000.

...I've run out of time - and this is plenty of stuff to chew! But I'm curious to see where this study continues!

Paul said...


Thank you for taking the time to comment on this blog. I appreciate your insights.

I realize that my blog doesn't fit with the mainstream interpretation of revelation. I may be wrong, and I am willing to admit as much if shown to be so.
However, I think that my ideas have some Biblical foundation. We need to remember EGW's words: "We have much to learn and unlearn about the book of Revelation." She also said that truth should keep on advancing. The SDA church hasn't advanced truth much since 1900. I have yet to hear a watertight interpretation of Daniel 11 and most of Revelation. Perhaps you and I (with God's help) will find one.

I agree that the trumpets symbolize warning. However, I think that this (very loud) warning may come after God's people are sealed. The warning is for the folks who haven't heard the Sabbath/Come out of Babylon message. It wouldn't be fair for SDA's and other people in the know to get two bits at the apple.

I don't understand what you mean by the 1/3 minor fraction. Would you mind explaining things for this poor tired student?

With all due respect, I think that splitting Rev into historical and eschatological sections doesn't make sense. Rev. 17 9-13 seems historical. Rev. 7 1-17 seems eschatological, as does Rev. 6: 14-17, Rev. 8:7-13, and all of Rev 9.

Like you, I could write more, but that is enough for now.

Caitlin said...

:) I do love good discussion!

And I completely agree that we all have much to learn, and that truth must continually be searched for at deeper levels. Thanks for asking these questions because it is challenging me to dig - and I love it!

... Christy has a quote on her desk that says something like - 'It's a good thing to hang a question mark on the things one has always taken for granted.'

As far as the minor fraction - I meant that it is less then 1/2, a relatively small portion is effected in comparison to the descriptions of nearly complete destruction just before and at the 2nd coming of Christ.

hmm... I just did a little research on fractions in the bible, because I believe that the writings of the OT prophets hold many undiscovered clues to understanding Rev.

Try a search on 1/4, 1/2, and 1/3s, it is really interesting to see where they are used!

One third seems to be specifically associated with judgment.
There are three types of people; those who love and follow God completely, those who hate Him and are working against Him, and those in the middle who just go with the flow.

1. We know that 1/3 of the angels were cast out of heaven with Satan. And that some were convinced that God was right, and that others were unsure.

2. Also, in Ezekiel God warns of judgment against idolatrous Israel, and He uses the 1/3 fraction to describe what will happen to those judged. (Ezekiel 5:1-3, 11, 12)

3. In Zachariah 13:8, 9 God says
"That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them..."

... please explain the 2 bites of the apple - I'm a bit confused!
If someone can yet come out of Babylon they will be part of God's people, and therefore the sealing would be necessary for them, and could not have ended already...
Do you see what I mean?

Paul said...

I love a good discussion too.

I see what you mean about the 1/3. I'd never thought of it before. Thanks for sharing.
I agree that there are three types of people. I guess what I'm arguing is that group 1 is sealed before group 2. Those who are not part of Babylon (the "house of God" mentioned by Peter) get judged first. Their judgment is like a thief in the night--no warning as they have already had an understanding of God's word. Those who come out of Babylon do so once the trumpets start. They are sealed when they come out. This group can't be part of the 144K because they are defiled with women. (The only defiled women in Revelation is Babylon). The two bites at the apple comment was in reference to the fact that it would be unfair for those of us who have had the Bible all our lives to wait until the trumpets sound to make up our minds to follow God. If we could do so, we would get two warnings, while those who came out of Babylon would only get one.

Lev. 16 discusses the day of atonement at some length. There are two separate sprinklings of blood--one for the priests and one for the rest of the folks. The 144K seem connected to the priests (see Rev. 7:15)

Caitlin said...

Many thoughts, continued ponderings, and no time to write...
Blessings to you :)