Friday, August 25, 2017

Observations on sequence markers in the Book of Revelation


Something I’ve noticed about the Book of Revelation over the number of times I’ve read through it is how startlingly sequential it has begun to seem to me.

The seven seals are opened.
Then seven angels blow their trumpets.
Then seven angels pour out plagues of the wrath of God upon the earth.

I think it is very helpful to mark where these things are in the text because it makes the events associated with each of these things stick out better. This is useful because those events don’t necessarily occur in the same chapter; they straddle chapters, even multiple chapters.

When you mark the sequence and you read it as a sequence, suddenly you start to see something very cool—there is a contrast set up between the world and the kingdom of God.

Before noticing the sequence markers, I was only aware of the seven seals. I thought all the scary things (like wars and plagues) were the only things that happened. I thought all the sections that showed Saints praising God in front of the throne were mere interludes showing some kind of vision of what Saints can expect to enjoy in heaven. I didn’t associate that lovely stuff with events down on earth.

But once I highlighted the sequence markers and started mentally tying everything together, I started to see that contrast between the condition of the righteous and the wicked. The contrast tells us, “While the wicked are doing this, the righteous over hear are doing this other thing.”

While the wicked are scared, the righteous rejoice and anticipate salvation.
While the wicked are tormented, the righteous are sealed in their foreheads.
While the wicked are deceived, the righteous know the truth.
While the wicked try to squelch the light, the righteous are bringing and sharing light.
While the wicked are at war, the righteous are at peace.

The wicked suffer so many things—they fear, they worship the beast, they are in captivity and are deceived and suffer all the plagues and mourn the loss of Babylon.

But the righteous will rejoice even through tribulation, even through severe tests. They will praise God and be sealed in their foreheads and keep their purity and obey the voice of the La and keep separate from the beast and warn others to fear God and preach the gospel, etc.  They will escape the plagues poured out on those who worship the beast.

I’d encourage everybody to highlight in their scriptures those little sequence markers of the seven seals, the seven angels sounding their trumpets, and the seven plagues poured out.