Reasons You Should Read Revelation & Armageddon Thematically

A Thematic Approach to Interpreting Revelation

By Dr. Douglas Hamp

Introduction

The book of Revelation is an exhilarating prophesy that comes with a blessing to those who read it. Nevertheless, it is far from being easy to understand. Part of the challenge is due to a tendency to interpret the book chronologically rather than thematically. Though the book of Revelation presents a general sequence of events, it is primarily arranged thematically.

The thematic approach inherently searches for multiple witnesses to establish sound doctrine. In Scripture, matters are established by two or three witnesses (Deut 19:15). In other words, we are on solid ground when our dogma and scriptural understanding are supported multiple places in Scripture. Using a thematic interpretation of Revelation, and in particular, the judgments found in the seals, trumpets, and bowls, reveals multiple witnesses to a handful of events. In court, when there are several eyewitnesses to an event, each describes the scene with a unique perspective and with emphasis on varying details. Here, the biblical witnesses give us a description of end time events from each of their distinct vantage points. When we recognize the similarities in the thematic descriptions of the same events, the information reported in the book of Revelation becomes clear.

And the opposite is true. If we read the judgments of the seals, trumpets, and bowls with a chronological-sequential method, we see an extremely long sequence of events. In fact, taking each event separately would represent nineteen different judgments occurring consecutively during the tribulation. That is, the seal judgments would all play out, then the trumpets would[KS1]  begin and after the last trumpet judgment, the bowls would follow. As unlikely as this scenario appears, it is the majority opinion of scholars. It would look like this:

Graph showing how many people read Revelation in a linear / chronological fashion

In contrast, the thematic approach groups information about like events and compiles a story from the fragments. Within the seals, trumpets, and bowls, are recurring, interrelated themes with various levels of detail, perspective, and intensity. This means John laid out the series of visions in the order that they were communicated to him and acted as the special correspondent on-the-scene describing off the cuff, the unfolding events. John did not predict nineteen different, sequential judgments. When John viewed an event, it was as if he was looking at it inside a diamond with many facets yet seeing one event.

Similarly, it was as if John was given a tour of a television control room where before him were dozens of screens. For the sake of illustration, let us imagine that the show has seven distinct scenes. Each scene is complex and requires varying camera angles to appreciate the complexity. Some cameras are placed above the set to get a wide angel, top-down approach, some zoom in on the faces of the characters, while other pan to show the landscape.  In this example, John merely sees the video feed and reports what is on the screens before him.

http://markandwalt.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/tv-control-room.jpg

So too, the seals, trumpets and bowls are related events described from different vantage points, or if you will, camera angles, so the readers get a more detailed understanding. With the thematic understanding, think of it like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich: we take a bite of the whole sandwich with the stacked ingredients as one would normally eat a PB&J. Whereas, with the chronological approach, we would first eat a piece of bread, then the peanut butter, then the jelly, and finally the other slice of bread. When we stack the information from one part of Revelation with matching information from another section, we begin to see one event described in different ways.  In other words, the seals in Revelation 6 relate information that directly correlates with information revealed in the bowls in chapter 16.

Recapitulation

Revelation can be better understood by interpreting the seals, trumpets, and bowls as a series of recapitulations. A specific judgment is described in many reiterations (stacked layers) because John was initially given a grand, bird’s eye view and described what he saw. Then he sees closeups, and in subsequent chapters goes into supporting details of an event that has already been revealed. Using the idea of layers as employed in an animated movie, helps us picture how Revelation is organized.

Layering example from Monsters Inc. Story reel

Layering is illustrated nicely in modern animation techniques, like Monsters Inc. They start with a basic story reel sketch which lays out the events. Why don’t they just stop there? Because the subsequent layers will add depth, color, detail, lighting, and animation to create a composite image which is part of the story.

The narrative of the seals is like the story reel giving us the basic story overview. While lacking depth, color and detail, the seals take us from the beginning of the story to its finish. The trumpets and bowls add the texturing, color, and fine details so we have a rich composite image.

We see repeating themes and recapitulations in many books of the Bible. For example, Genesis chapters one and two are often accused of being different accounts. Yet we see in chapter one an overview of the entire creation week, and chapter two pulls in on the focus to give a close-up of day six and the creation of man. Hence, we can conclude that chapter two is thematically related to chapter one. Sure, chapter one comes first in the book, but the content of both chapters is thematically related and is the same story. If read sequentially, the reader gets confused, but when read thematically, chapter two fits within the framework of chapter one just giving the details of day six. We see the same literary device in Exodus 14 and 15. The events happen in Ch. 14, and then Moses and Miriam recount the events in Ch. 15. Thematically, the events described are the same; they are simply told in different ways.

Hence, the seals, trumpets, bowls, and in fact Revelation chapters 6-19 are a series of visions with many layers which form composite images. This means that there are repeating themes in the seals, trumpets, and bowls. Seals 1-7 are a template of the overall great tribulation. The subsequent trumpets and bowls are looking at those events in either greater detail or from different angles and with increasing intensity of events (from effecting 1/3 and increasing to effect everything). The seventh seal, trumpet and bowl judgments all end with the return of Jesus. The accounts are stacked one upon another (like our PB&J sandwich) or stair steps, where they keep getting more intense, and the timeframe keeps getting shortened, until they all culminate at the same moment with the return of Jesus.

We see the thematic arrangement throughout Revelation. Indeed, in the middle of the book, the angel told John: “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings” (Rev 10:11). We will consider the recapitulations in depth in two themes: the greatest of all earthquakes and the opening of the heavens.

Earthquakes in Revelation Six and Sixteen are the Same

First, we will consider how the earthquakes from chapters six and sixteen are one and the same event. In Ch. 16, there is an earthquake in the seventh and last bowl which is described as:

“a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth” (Rev 16:18).

The language is of paramount significance because it states that this earthquake will be the greatest of all time. John adds, “every island fled away, and the mountains were not found” (Rev 16:20). This language is identical to the many biblical descriptions of the ultimate shaking that will take place on planet Earth.

The mini apocalypse in Isaiah 24 describes how “the earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly” (Isa 24:19). In this event, the Earth will be so utterly moved that it “shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again. (Isa 24:20). The phrase, “to fall and not rise again,” is parallel language to the passage in Revelation 16—this describes the unequivocal worst, eradicative earthquake, never to be duplicated.

Habakkuk spoke of Jesus’ return, “He stood and measured the earth; He looked and startled the nations” and of an earthquake that destroys mountains, “the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills bowed” (Hab 3:6). The Psalmist expressed how “the mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD” (Ps 97:5). Many other passages describe a shaking of such magnitude that the hills and mountains are flattened. Isaiah 2 explains how:

the day of the LORD of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up– And it shall be brought low– Upon all the high mountains, And upon all the hills that are lifted up (Isa 2:12, 14);

That passage goes on to say in the Day of the Lord when the mountains fall:

They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily. (Isa 2:19).

In chapter thirteen, Isaiah says:

Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the LORD of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger (Isa 13:13).

The description is identical to what we find in Revelation 6 in the sixth seal: “every mountain and island was moved out of its place” (Rev 6:14). Isaiah 2 merely says “they” whereas Revelation says:

“the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hidthemselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains” (Rev 6:15).

Thus, we have multiple witnesses reporting an unprecedented earthquake in which every mountain and island moves and then everyone hides in caves. Just like in Isaiah 2, they hide because it is the Day of the Lord.

and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! (Rev 6:16) “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev 6:17).

Utilizing the thematic method, we have seen multiple sketches picturing the psychological and geological effects of the Day of the Lord.  We reviewed many descriptions giving witness to one event. If we read the descriptions in Revelation as being presented on a timeline, we miss the 3-D effect that layers into a realistic depiction of each event. Are we to believe that the kings of the earth are throwing in the towel in Revelation 6 while fully admitting that the day of Jesus’ wrath has come, only to continue reading in chapter 16 that “the kings of the earth” and “the whole world” assemble for “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Rev 16:14)? It is illogical to believe there is life-as-usual after the earth-flattening earthquake or that the day of wrath comes and is followed in time by an assembling of people for that battle.   

Interpretating scripture with the thematic method allows us to see parallel language and themes as witnesses of the same event, but merely from different perspectives and with varying details. Revelation 6 and 16, Isaiah 2 and 24, Habakkuk 3, and others speak of the kings of the earth gathered to the battle of the great Day of the Lord. This is the Day of the Lord and the time of the mother of all earthquakes that will utterly shake the entire Earth so that every mountain and island is moved out of its place and the Earth will fall and not rise again. This day is so scary that the kings, commanders, and all involved in the battle run into the caves for protection. Although the event is described in many places with emphasis on different aspects, the Day of the Lord is a singular event.

Consider how the 2011 Fukushima 9.1 earthquake caused phenomenal damage to buildings and great loss of life. Now imagine the kind of destruction planet Earth will experience when every island is falling into the sea and every mountain is crumbling! The word “every” precludes the event from happening twice; that means it happens once and there will be no repeat. Therefore, Revelation 6 is the same event as Revelation 16 and Isaiah 24. Such an event will happen only once, never to be repeated. The Earth will fall and not rise again. The language in all the passages speak of the singular “Day” of the Lord when this will happen.

Heavens open

Another prevalent theme in Revelation and other scriptures is the opening of the heavens. Much like the Day of the Lord, the opening of the heavens is an end of the world event that will only happen once. We first see it described in the sixth seal.

Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place (Rev 6:14).

This event is explained in Revelation 19 and pictures the time when Jesus will make war against the Beast and the world’s armies.

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True… And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army (Rev 19:11, 19).

This same battle (Armageddon) is described in Revelation 16 and other passages where the Beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies are ready to fight against Jesus:

the beast…the kings of the earth and of the whole world…to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty (Rev 16:13, 14).

In the seventh bowl, at the time of the that battle, we are told:

Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” (Rev 16:17). And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth (Rev 16:18) and great hail from heaven fell upon men… (Rev 16:21).

We see the imagery in Revelation 11, after the sounding of the seventh angel, where voices state that: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev 11:15). The time of the kings of the earth is over. The voices continue: “The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged…” (Rev 11:18). The time of wrath and judgment, including the dead has arrived. The texts describe the wrap-up event of this age.  If read sequentially, Rev. 16 describes the gathering and preparations for the Day that has already occurred in Rev. 6 and 11.  If read thematically, all of the details accumulate to picture one day that comes more into focus as each witness’ account is examined.

Lastly in the period of the seventh trumpet we see the same theme in the phrase: “noises and thunderings and lightnings” and hail falling just like in Revelation 16: Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail (Rev 11:19).

The opening of the heavenly temple happens in chapter fifteen as well: “the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened” (Rev 15:5). After the opening of the temple of God in heaven, the final judgments commence on the Earth because, as we saw in chapter nineteen, that is when Jesus comes back to engage in the great battle of the Day of the Lord.

The opening of the heavens is found in many other places in Scripture, as well. Peter describes the Day of the Lord and the opening of the heavens:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).

Isaiah 34:4 is identical to Revelation 6:13-14 where stars fall like figs and the sky recedes like a scroll:

the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as [fruit] falling from a fig tree (Isa 34:4).

Isaiah speaks of this moment repeatedly, saying “the heavens will vanish away like smoke… (Isa 51:6) and then “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down!” He gives the important detail “That the mountains might shake at Your presence” (Isa 64:1), which provides us with the same details as we have seen in the other passages. Jesus then reiterates this moment concerning His return.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken (Matt 24:29). “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matt 24:30).

Jesus simply summarizes Joel’s report about the sun, moon, and stars, and then reiterates Isaiah regarding the falling of the stars. He then tells us how people will mourn and be distressed when they see Him, just like Isaiah said in chapter two. Paul also spoke of this same event by mentioning the uncovering / unveiling / revelation of Jesus where apokalupsi, apo = “away from,” kalupsis = veil to the Thessalonians: “when the Lord Jesus is revealed (apokalupsi)  from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance…” (2 Thess 1:7-8). Paul’s language of “revealing” is parallel to Isaiah: “the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isa 40:5). Paul then combines this message of the revealing with that of Jesus’ coming with fire in vengeance, just like Isaiah said:

  • For behold, the LORD comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity (Isa 26:21).
  • For behold, the LORD will come with fire And with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire (Isa 66:15).

The opening of the heavens is an event that only happens once, at the return of Jesus, on the Day of the Lord, which will cause the elements to melt, mountains to shake and the greatest of all earthquakes the world has ever known. The event will be accompanied with “noises and thunderings and lightnings”, which is first mentioned in the seventh seal.

Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake (Rev 8:5).

Hence, the noises, thunderings, lightnings, and earthquake of the seventh seal are an aspect of the opening of the heavens—a theme we have found repeatedly in Revelation and in a host of other Scriptures.

The seventh seal, seventh trumpet and seventh bowl all include the theme of the opening of the heavens. The thematic approach resolves the burden of trying to explain how each judgment is a different judgment from a chronological perspective. Rather, the thematic interpretation says if one verse quacks and walks like a duck and another passage quacks and walks like a duck, then they are the same event, but from different perspectives. The thematic approach also satisfies the requirement for multiple witnesses to establish doctrine.

The Seven Seals as a Template of the Tribulation

By viewing the text through the lens of the thematic method, we recognize the seven seals as an independent template for the entire tribulation. Moreover, we see that the other judgments are parallel, meaning they fit inside the seals. Our goal in this section is identify the repeating themes. I have outlined the texts and highlighted and underlined keywords so you can see the recurring thematic ideas. I explain the background when necessary and point out the original language to aid in spotting and tracking with the theme. I have indicated a progressive intensification of a theme with these arrows: >>. 

The opening of the seals is the schematic progression that culminates in Jesus’ reclamation of absolute authority and the restoration of the world. As Jesus begins reclaiming dominion of the cosmos, Satan makes counter moves to ensure he retains control. At the heart of Satan’s scheme is the Beast who was, is not, and ascends out of the abyss—who was Ninurta / Nimrod, a hybrid of Satan. Please consult Corrupting the Image 2 for the many interesting details of that relationship. In this outline, we will continue to consider how the seals are a template for the tribulation and how their themes are repeated throughout Revelation and prophecy. Let us examine the details of each seal and consider additional thematic parallels in other prophetic verses:   

1st Seal: Rider on white horse with bow, crown, goes out conquering (Rev 6:2)

  • The rider on the white horse with a bow is an iconic picture of the beast who was, and is known in the ancient world as Ninurta, son of Enlil. He held the power, throne, and authority of Satan, and essentially merged with him. And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer (Rev 6:2).
    • Rev 13:1-4: Beast w/ characteristics of former empires & 7 heads & 10 horns, receives dragon’s power, throne, authority
    • Rev 17:3 Beast with 7 heads & 10 horns carries the woman
    • And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them (Dan 8:10). He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down (Dan 8:11).
    • “And in the latter time of their kingdom, When the transgressors have reached their fullness, A king shall arise, Having fierce features, Who understands sinister schemes (Dan 8:23). His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; He shall destroy fearfully, And shall prosper and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people (Dan 8:24). “Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; But he shall be broken without human means (Dan 8:25).
    • “Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them? (Ezek 38:17).

2nd Seal: Rider on red horse takes away relative peace, men kill each other (Rev 6:4)

  • Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword (Rev 6:4).
    • According to the New York Times, “Of the past 3,400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them, or just 8 percent of recorded history.”[1] Hence, the Red Rider takes away a Pax Romana peace where the world is mostly prospering as opposed to the global conflicts of World Wars I and II.
  • Jesus spoke of men killing each other:
    • For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (Matt 24:7).
  • Rev 11:5-6: 2 Two (Elijah & Moses?) witnesses begin their ministry and will torment “those who dwell on the earth” (Rev 11:10).
    • “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments (Mal4:4). Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD (Mal 4:5). And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Mal 4:6).
    • “Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness (Deut 17:6).
  • Other Scriptures of relative peace transitioning to fear, destruction, and no peace overtaking the inhabitants of the Earth:
    • The city of confusion is broken down; Every house is shut up, so that none may go in (Isa 24:10). There is a cry for wine in the streets, All joy is darkened, The mirth of the land is gone (Isa 24:11) In the city desolation is left, And the gate is stricken with destruction (Isa 24:12). …Fear and the pit and the snare Are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth (Isa 24:17).
    • Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity” (Dan 8:25).
    • Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart (Dan 9:27a).

3rd Seal: The black rider brings starvation on a global scale which affects wheat, barley, plus oil and wine (increasing intensity until Jesus’ return) (Rev 6:5-6)

  • Behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand (Rev 6:5). And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm[2] the oil and the wine” (Rev 6:6).
    • A day’s wage for a quart of wheat. One bushel of wheat costs roughly $5 in 2021. There are about 37 quarts in one bushel: one quart of wheat costs about $0.14. A day laborer makes about $100. Therefore, a quart of wheat would cost $100. That is approximately a 57,000% increase—starvation-level-crisis.
  • The Two Witnesses strike Earth w/ plague of no rain leads to 1st trumpet with vegetation burned!
    • If anyone tries to harm them, fire flashes from the mouths of the prophets and consumes their enemies. This is how anyone who tries to harm them must die. (Rev11:5) They have power to shut the skies so that no rain will fall for as long as they prophesy [1st trump] (Rev11:6a).
  • 1st trump: 1/3 trees and grass burned up >> 4th bowl: sun scorches with heat (Rev 16:8-9).
    • The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass (chortos χόρτος) was burned up (Rev 8:7).
      • “Grass is pastureland, hay, or herbs in a general sense. Wheat and barley are variations of “grass” (chortos χορτος). Trees and grass are susceptible to the drought and fires brought on by the two witnesses
  • Joel mentions, with almost identical language to the first trumpet, the field is wasted, grain ruined, wine dried up, oil fails, and the food is cut off. Also, trees of the field, (fruit bearing trees: fig, pomegranate, palm, and apple) that mankind cultivates are burned sending food prices skyrocketing.
    • The field is wasted, The land mourns; For the grain is ruined, The new wine is dried up, The oil fails (Joel 1:10). For the wheat and the barley…the harvest of the field has perished (Joel 1:11). The vine has dried up, And the fig tree has withered; The pomegranate tree, The palm tree also, And the apple tree– All the trees of the field are withered… (Joel 1:12) the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as destruction from the Almighty (Joel 1:15). Is not the food cut off before our eyes (Joel 1:16), for fire has devoured the open pastures, and a flame has burned all the trees of the field (Joel 1:19). The beasts of the field also cry out to You, for the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the open pastures (Joel 1:20).
  • Isaiah likewise predicted the burning of the earth, the lack of wine and other food with destruction across all socio-economic ranges:
    • “Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste, Distorts its surface And scatters abroad its inhabitants” (Isa 24:1). As with the servant, so with his master…As with the lender, so with the borrower; As with the creditor, so with the debtor (Isa 24:2). “The earth mourns and fades away, The world languishes and fades away; The haughty people of the earth languish” (Isa 24:4). The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, Because they have transgressed the laws, Changed the ordinance, Broken the everlasting covenant (Isa 24:5). Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, And those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left (Isa 24:6). The new wine fails, the vine languishes, All the merry-hearted sigh (Isa 24:7).
  • The Two Witnesses, acting as God’s agents, “have the power to turn the rivers and oceans into blood [2nd trump], and to send every kind of plague upon the earth as often as they wish” (Rev11:6) because mankind transgressed the laws (Isa 24:5-6)
    • 2nd trump: 1/3 of seas become blood, 1/3 die >> 2nd bowl: All seas blood and every creature dies (Rev 16:3).
      • 2nd trumpet: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood (Rev 8:8). And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed (Rev 8:9).
        • >> 2nd bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died (Rev 16:3).

The third seal / Black Rider reveals a starvation-level-crisis brought on by the plagues of the two witnesses who cause it not to rain, which leads to drought and then massive fires destroying farmland and orchards, and also waters turning to blood.

4th Seal: Death and Sheol gain authority over all humans (around the middle of Daniel’s 70th week) allowed to kill (Rev 6:8)

  • Behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades [Sheol] followed with him. And power [exousia = authority] was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth (Rev 6:8).
  • 3rd trumpet: 1/3 of rivers bitter (wormwood) >> 3rd bowl: all rivers blood
    • 3rd Trumpet: a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water (Rev 8:10). The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter (Rev 8:11).
      • [The dragon’s] tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth (Rev 12:4).
      • So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Rev 12:9).
        • 5th trumpet: star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit (Rev 9:1). – he opens the bottomless pit with a key. Satan and his angels are called stars and one falls to earth in the third trumpet.
    • When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them (Rev 11:7).
      • “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition (Rev 17:8).
      • they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit (Hades / Sheol), whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon [destruction / death] (Rev 9:11).
        • You have said, “We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol [Hades] we are in agreement” (Isa 28:15).
        • It was granted to him [the beast] to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation (Rev 13:7).
        • He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand [hence authority] (Dan 7:25).
          • 6th trump: “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates” (Rev 9:14). …were released to kill a third of mankind (Rev 9:15).
            • >> 6th bowl Rev 16:12: Euphrates runs dry & nations gather (preparation) for the battle / day of the Lord.
    • “Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule [hence authority] (Dan 8:25).
    • Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week” (Dan 9:27).

5th Seal: Martyred souls under altar given white garment (Rev 6:9-11)

  • I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held (Rev 6:9). they cried…“How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev 6:10) Then a white robe was given to each of them (Rev 6:11).
    • a great multitude… of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes… (Rev 7:9) “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14).
    • the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony [μαρτυριαν] of Jesus Christ (Rev 12:17).
      • I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness [μαρτυριαν testimony] to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image… (Rev 20:4)
        • the image of the beast should…cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed (Rev 13:15).
  • Other martyr Scriptures:
    • Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction (Isa 48:10).
    • “some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end (Dan 11:35).
    • “when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished (Dan 12:7). “Many shall be purified, made white, and refined… (Dan 12:10)
    • I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God’ ” (Zech 13:9).
    • They will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me” (Hos 5:15).
    • He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver (Mal 3:3).

6th Seal: Sun, moon, stars darkened, sky recedes, mountains & islands move, battle-day of Lord, world armies hide from Jesus (Rev 6:12-17)

  • (6th seal) sun black as sackcloth, moon like blood. (Rev 6:12)
    • He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood (Rev 6:12).
    • 4th trumpet: a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night (Rev 8:12).
      • “I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke (Joel 2:30). The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD (Joel 2:31).
    • 5th trump: the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. (Rev 9:2) (increasing intensity) Pabilsags (Manticores emerge)
      • >> 5th bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness (Rev 16:10).
    • Other darkening Scriptures:
      • The day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it (Isa 13:9). For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine (Isa 13:10).
      • sun darkened; moon will not give its light (Matt 24:29)
    • (6th seal) stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree. (Rev 6:13)
      • the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones (Isa 24:21).
      • All their host shall fall down…as fruit falling from a fig tree (Isa 34:4).
      • the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken (Matt 24:29).
    • (6th seal) the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up (Rev 6:14)
      • Rev 11:19 the temple of God was opened in heaven
      • Rev 19:11 heaven opened…He judges and makes war
      • Other Scriptures: Isa 34:4, 64:1; 2 Pet 3:10
    • (6th seal) Every mountain & island moved (Rev 6:14)
      • 7th bowl Rev 16:18 largest ever earthquake – affects all mountains and islands (so they are not found Rev 16:20), hail,
      • Isa 2:13-15; 13:13; 24:19-20; 40:4; Jer 4:24; Hab 3:6; (Ezek 38:19-20 all shake, all mountains thrown down)
    • (6th seal) Battle w/ Jesus / kings, great men, commanders, hide in caves & in the mountains, “the great day of His wrath has come” (Rev 6:15, 17)
      • Rev 19:11-21 Jesus treads winepress, Battle / Day of the Lord
        • Rev 14:16-20 winepress, earth reaped, blood to horses’ bridles
        • they gathered them together to…Armageddon (Rev 16:16).
        • “I have trodden the winepress alone…And trampled them in My fury; Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments… (Isa 63:3)
          • Rev 19:17-18 Birds called to eat flesh of kings, commanders, etc., Ezek 39:4, 17-20
      • Isa 2:10, 19; 26:21; 63:3; 66:15-16; Joel 2; 2 Thess 1:7-8; Matt 24:30; Ezek 38:18 fury on my face

7th seal (Rev 8:1-5): (& trump & bowl): Lightning, thunders, noises, earthquake, It is finished, Babylon destroyed

  • Lightning, thunders, noises, earthquake
    • the seventh seal…silence in heaven for about half an hour (Rev 8:1). there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake (Rev 8:5).
    • the temple of God was opened in heaven…there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail (Rev 11:19).
    • there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake (Rev 16:18).
    • Ezek 38:22 hail, brimstone
  • It is finished!
    • in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel…the mystery of God would be finished (Rev 10:7).
    • 7th trumpet: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev 11:15) The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints…And should destroy those who destroy the earth” (Rev 11:18).
    • 7th Bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” (Rev 16:17)
      • Ezek 39:29 God hides his face no longer
  • Babylon judged
    • Rev 14:8 “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city
    • the great city was divided…the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered…(Rev 16:19)
    • Rev 18:2 Babylon is fallen
    • Rev 19:2 Jesus judged the harlot
    • Ezek 39:21 God sets glory among nations, Isa 48:1-8

Conclusion

We have seen that the thematic method, with its many recapitulations, is used frequently in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Revelation itself, first tells us the story from the beginning to the end, which is the Day of the Lord, and then tells the story again from many perspectives. The seals provide a template for the entirety of the tribulation. The seventh seal is the end of the tribulation. Although the trumpets and bowls come next in the sequence of the book, they are in fact a flashback to supply color, texture and describe the intensification of the judgments.

To interpret the book chronologically yields a problematic result where every mountain and island moves out of its place twice, which the text indicates is impossible. The thematic approach to understanding the book focuses on discerning parallel language and imagery. When we focus on identifying themes, we find an abundance of identical passages in the prophets and the words of Jesus. When these passages are read alongside John’s report of end time events in Revelation, we glean a colorful, multi-dimensional picture of a concise set of events that have often been misinterpreted to be a multitude of sequential events.   


[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/books/chapters/what-every-person-should-know-about-war.html

[2] One of the four creatures is not instructing the rider to not harm the oil and wine but rather, is just reporting: Wheat and barley go for this much; be careful concerning oil and wine, because what is stored is all you have.


 [KS1]I added a space between the rows of arrows so that the reader is not tempted to read it from top to bottom, like Seal 1, Trumpet 1 Bowl 1.

Genesis 4:26: Calling on or Profaning the name of YHWH?

Genesis 4:26: Calling on or Profaning the name of YHWH?

Genesis 4:26 is often interpreted as the first revival in the Bible. However, just the opposite is true.

And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD. (Gen 4:26)

In the fact the first profaning of the name YHWH would come in the days of Seth, when Adam was one hundred thirty years and would lead to the days of Noah and eventually the flood.

“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth [only 7x in Bible], and as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD, [az hukhal likro b’shem YHWH אז הוחל לקרא בשם יהוה] (Gen 4:25-26).”

The word “men” is crossed out because it does not appear in the Hebrew text. If you look in your Bible, you may see that it is italicized; The translators are supplying the word “men” order for it to make sense.

The text in question says: “az hukhal likro b’shem YHWH.” The word hukhal (הוחל) is passive (hophal) from the root (חלל): “to profane, defile, pollute, desecrate, begin” according to BDB. “To begin” is a valid definition; however, so are “profane,”[i] “defile,” pollute,” “desecrate,” – with the latter usages being the most common. For us to know which meaning best fits our phrase, we first need to consider the subject of the phrase. The verb “hukhal” is in the passive voice. Consider some English sentences to understand the implications:

  1. “The man read the book.” – Standard English sentence (subject, verb, object).
  2. ‘The book was read.” A passive sentence: (Subject receives the action of the verb):
  3. “The reading of the book was interrupted.”

In sentence #3 the passive verb is “was interrupted.” What then is the subject? The book is not the subject; rather “the reading of the book” is the subject and “was interrupted” is the predicate.

The Hebrew phrase in question is analogous to sentence #3. The subject is “likro b’shem YHWH” “calling on the name YHWH.” Should hukhal (הוחּלַ) be translated as “was begun” or was “profaned?” Did men begin calling on the name of YHWH or was calling on the name of YHWH profaned?

Targum Onkelos Gen 4:26, one of the Targumim (ancient Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible) translates the word:

“…Then in his days the sons of men desisted [חלָוּ] (or forbore) from praying in the name of the Lord.”

According to that ancient witness, by the days of Seth, mankind was not having a revival and coming back to the true God. Rather, things had gone from perfection, to bad, to worse: God and man are in perfect harmony; then down a notch: Adam blew it. Then down another: Cain commits the first murder. Then down again and calling on the name of YHWH profaned. Then things would get even worse! Then the fallen angels would have relations with the daughters of Adam – something so bad that God would destroy the world.

 

[i] Brown Driver Briggs (BDB) Hebrew English Lexicon provides the following definition. “1. to profane, defile, pollute, desecrate, begin”. BDB then gives the various forms of how the root is used in each of the binyanim (verbal paradigms). (Niphal) it means to: 1. to profane oneself, defile oneself, pollute oneself; b. ritually; c. sexually; 1. to be polluted, be defiled; d. (Piel): 1. to profane, make common, defile, pollute; 2. to violate the honour of, dishonour; 3. to violate (a covenant); 4. to treat as common; e. (Pual) to profane (name of God); f. (Hiphil): 1. to let be profaned; 2. to begin; g. (Hophal) to be begun.”
The TWOT: “The Hiphil theme of the verb is only used twice; of the Name (“I will not let my holy Name be profaned any more,” Ezk 39:7) and of the need of man not to “break” his word (KJV “violate”) when it was a vow or pledge involving the Lord’s name (Num 30:3). For this reason, the frequent use of the Hiphil (106 times) as “to begin” is probably not to be derived from the same root (see ṭĕḥillâ below)…”

Who is Left Behind? Understanding the Order of the Final Gathering (Rapture)

Who is Left Behind? Understanding the Order of the Final Gathering (Rapture)

The 1970’s Christian movie “A Thief in the Night” portrayed a woman waking up to a news report of millions missing. She then discovered that her husband was one of those taken. This concept is taken from the words of Jesus:

“I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.” (Luke v17:34-36)

The question obviously is whether the people taken are taken to be the with the Lord or are they taken for judgment. Clearly, the movie “A Thief in the Night” interpreted those taken as Christians. Yet when the disciples asked Jesus where were those people taken he does not say to heaven or to His side.
And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” (Luke 17:37)

The disciples were asking where one of the people (in bed, grinding, in the field) would be taken and Jesus answered where the body is there the eagles will be gathered. The place where the eagles (Greek: “aetos” meaning “eagle”, “vulture” “bird of prey”) will be gathered is a reference to the invitation the birds to come and enjoy the feast of those slain in the battle of the great day of the Lord.

“And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field: “Assemble yourselves and come; Gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal Which I am sacrificing for you, A great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, That you may eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, Drink the blood of the princes of the earth, Of rams and lambs, Of goats and bulls, All of them fatlings of Bashan. You shall eat fat till you are full, And drink blood till you are drunk, At My sacrificial meal Which I am sacrificing for you. You shall be filled at My table With horses and riders, With mighty men And with all the men of war,” says the Lord GOD. (Ezek 39:17-20)

This same feast is mentioned in Rev 19:17-18

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, “that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”(Rev 19:17-18)

Thus, Jesus’ answer that they will be taken to where the eagles are tells us that they are not the righteous but rather the wicked and they are taken away for judgment. They are not taken to be with the Lord as the movie “A Thief in the Night” would have us believe.

This agrees with what Jesus said in Matthew 24:39 concerning the evil people who were taken in the flood: “and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matt 24:39) Noah and his family were hidden away safely whereas the wicked, outside the ark, were carried away by the flood to destruction.

The idea of the wicked taken away and the righteous left is also taught in the Hebrew Bible where the righteous are not removed from the land but the wicked are removed.

The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever. (Ps 37:29)
The righteous will never be removed, But the wicked will not inhabit the earth. (Prov 10:30)

The challenge of putting all of this together lies in the statement that Jesus will return on the clouds and then send out his angels to gather his elect and then if two are in the field and one is taken, it would seem the one taken must the good guy. However, if we understand there to be three classes of people, then things line up better. Those individuals are:

  1. The elect (Commonwealth Israel = followers of Christ)
  2. Those who took the mark of the beast (Hybrids/Rephaim cf. Isaiah 26:19, Rev 14:9-10)
  3. Those who were righteous but didn’t know it – they don’t take the mark or follow beast but they don’t necessarily seem to be followers of Christ either. (Matthew 25:37)

With these elements in mind, we can construct a likely outline for Jesus’ return and the gathering of the wheat and tares.

Rapture / Gathering Scenario

  1. Jesus returns in flame and fire
  2. Resurrection: Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, (Isaiah 26:19)
  3. Mark of the Beast Recipients Rephaim Hybrids fall – “And the earth shall cast out [tapil תַּפִּֽיל] the dead [rephaim רְפָאִ֥ים]” (Isa 26:19)
  4. Jesus sends his angels to gather his elect who will receive new bodies (I Cor 15:51-52)
  5. Resurrected and gathered believers are hidden away for a brief period (Isaiah 26:20)
  6. The tares (Rephaim/hybrids/mark of the beast recipients) are gathered (Matt 13:41)
  7. Two will be grinding, one taken – where? (Luke 17:34-36)
  8. To where the eagles/vultures are – great feast of the Lord, Mat 24:37, Rev 19:17, Ezek 39:17-20
  9. The non-elect righteous are left to inherit the earth as mortals (Matt 25:34; Ps 37:29; Pr 10:30)
    a. To have children, build houses, etc. (Isaiah 65:20-23)

In conclusion, we see that the ones taken from the bed, mill, and field, are not the righteous, but the wicked who have taken the mark of the beast. They are removed to destruction where the birds will eat their flesh. The righteous who didn’t know it will inherit the earth as flesh and blood and have children. The elect (commonwealth of Israel) are gathered by the angels and are transformed in a flash into their new bodies and become rulers with Christ during the thousand-year rule.

Breaking: Immortality Rising: Has Man Found Fountain of Youth?

Purging the body of ‘retired’ cells could reverse ageing, study shows. Purging retired cells from the body has been shown to undo the ravages of old age in a study that raises the prospect of new life-extending treatments. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/mar/23/purging-the-body-of-retired-cells-could-reverse-ageing-study-showshttps://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/mar/23/purging-the-body-of-retired-cells-could-reverse-ageing-study-shows

Messianic Age Millennium & Beyond Class Lectures

Much of our eschatology rightly deals with the events that lead up to the Second Coming of Jesus. However, little attention is given to looking at the events that happen thereafter. This class explores from a very Bible-centric perspective the Messianic Age / Millennium. We begin by understanding how taking God’s Word literally reveals many exciting details of our glorious future. We also look at: the centrality of Israel, our future bodies, aspects of daily life, the size of the City, the decorations of the city, God’s dwelling with mankind, the role of the river of life and trees of life, what the Rabbis and Church Fathers thought about the Millennium, when the creation of the New Heavens and New Earth occurs. This 2 credit class was taught at Calvary Chapel bible College.

Corrupting the Image Audio Book Series

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According to the prophecy of Genesis 3:15, the serpent will one day mix his seed as a counterfeit of the incarnation. Jesus told us that the last days will be like the days of Noah during which, according to Genesis, fallen angels mixed their seed with humanity. According to the Book of Daniel, we know that “they” will attempt to mingle with the seed of Men. The day of fulfillment for those prophecies is now! Corrupting the Image: Angels, Aliens, And the AntiChrist Revealed by Douglas Hamp copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved Republishing of this audio segment is not permitted.

Reclaiming the Rapture (There are Dozens of Verses for the Gathering of Israel)

According to pretrib rapture teachers, there isn’t even a single verse that supports the rapture. They claim that it is all over the Bible in the form of types and shadows. However, the Bible clearly and “unmysteriously” speaks of the gathering of God’s people after the time of tribulation. Teacher Doug Hamp, a former pretrib teacher, takes you on a jouney through the entire Bible showing verse after clear verse detailing the timing of rapture.