Israel in Prophecy
The goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. (Dan 8:8–11)
The little horn that grew great, “even to the host of heaven,” was able to throw down to the ground some of the host of heaven and some of the stars … this little horn isn’t a human person; cannot be a human person if “stars” are angelic sons of God:
The LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:1–7) Indented lines are spiritual portion of couplets.
The little horn that can cast “some of the host” and “some of the stars” down to the ground can really have but one referent, with John’s red dragon being this one:
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. (Rev 12:1–4 emphasis added)
In Daniel’s vision, a horn is a king, a demonic king.
Traditionally, the Women in Revelation chapter twelve is read as Israel, and the child she bore is read as Christ Jesus … how would that red dragon devour the man Jesus of Nazareth? Not by actually “eating” Jesus, but by causing Jesus to sin; to transgress the Law. If Jesus were to have sinned—He didn’t—Jesus’ death could then only pay for His own transgression, not for the transgressions of Israel, past, present, and future. And humanity would be without hope; for every person has come short of the glory of God. Every person has sinned, with “sin” being unbelief of God that leads to disobedience.
Matthew’s Gospel is structured after the model of Mark’s Gospel, with these two gospels [apparently the first two written] functioning together as left and right hand enantiomers. For when closely read by endtime auditors, Matthew’s Gospel is seen to be the biography of the indwelling Christ Jesus that is in every born-of-spirit son of God … Matthew’s Gospel would be in the right hand or spiritual position; hence written in “Hebrew” style that has the first presentation of a concept in a thought-couplet [in this case, of a biography] being physical or of darkness, and the second presentation of the same concept being spiritual or of light.
Being able to “read” Matthew’s Gospel is essential, especially after the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel, when every Christian is filled with spirit and has the Law written on hearts and placed inside the Christian so that sin will no longer be remembered (Heb 8:12) … transgressions of the Law [“sin” from 1 John 3:4] won’t matter. Whether the Christian believes God; believes Christ Jesus—has faith—will matter [“sin” according to Paul in Romans 14:23].
Having doubts about God, His existence, the Christian’s salvation, will be unbelief; therefore, what the author of Matthew’s Gospel has his Jesus say on the cross becomes individually important for every Christian: “About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matt 27:46) … the exclamation is from Psalm 22:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest. … (Ps 22:1–2)
Indented lines are spiritual portions of couplets.
The psalmist David was experiencing doubts about whether the Lord would deliver him from the dire situation … in the Affliction, every Christian will involuntarily experience doubts about the Christian’s salvation—and borrowing an analogy from Amos, who is the person who cannot inwardly tremble when a lion roars nearby:
For the Lord GOD does nothing
without revealing his secret
to his servants the prophets.
The lion has roared;
who will not fear?
The Lord GOD has spoken;
who can but prophesy?" (Amos 3:7–8)
Even when filled with spirit, Christians in the Affliction, the first 1260 days of the seven endtime years, will have doubts about keeping the Law; will feel more comfortable worshiping the “Jesus” their ancestors worshiped, the “Christ” invented by mid and late 1st-Century Greek converts to the Jesus Movement, the Christ that is spiritually analogous to the gold calf the people of Israel had Aaron cast for them.
Following the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel, Christians will be as the people of Israel were at Mount Sinai: when they do not know what happened to Christ Jesus, obviously responsible for the death of a third part of humanity, all uncovered firstborns, they will make for themselves a “Christ” like the so-called Christian deity they have been worshiping for centuries just as the people of Israel at Sinai made for themselves a Bull El like the deity they worshiped before they entered Egypt, and worshiped all the while they were in Egypt.
Question, why didn’t the Lord prevent them from worshiping this idol while they were in Egypt … because Israel in Egypt forms the non time-linked (but spiritually linked) shadow of greater Christendom in the Affliction. If Christians were to be faithful in the Affliction, ancient Israel wouldn’t have worshiped idols in this early nation’s trek through the wilderness. If Christians, when filled with spirit, would believe God in the Affliction, the ancient nation of Israel that left Egypt would have entered the Promised Land. But because Christians will rebel against God en masse in the Affliction, their shadow in the days of Moses must necessarily have rebelled against the Lord in the wilderness.
The shadow of greater Christendom isn’t like a prophecy that can fail, but is the visible and faithful record of what will happen (and from the perspective of God, of what has already happened) in the heavenly realm.
Again, doubts about God come from involuntary unbelief creeping into a disciple’s conscious thoughts—and when a Christian is intellectually aware that unbelief, like a roaring lion, will cause the Christian to involuntarily question what the Christian “knows” is right, the Christian can overcome the Adversary for the doubts are from this roaring lion.
When Matthew’s Jesus is understood to be the indwelling Christ, and when Matthew’s Jesus on the cross quotes David when he was having doubts, it is reasonable to say that every person, regardless of how solid the person thinks his or her faith is, will when facing death have to deal with a feeling of utter loneliness; the feeling of being abandoned by God. And if the Christian knows this in advance, the Christian can suppress the human urge to prolong physical life for as long as possible, even to the point of selling out Christ Jesus. And if the Christian sells out Christ the Adversary will have “devoured” the Christian.
Again, John’s great red dragon is commonly read by Christian apologists as the Adversary, that old serpent Satan the devil, who himself will be cast down when the Child the Woman bore receives dominion over the single kingdom of this world:
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!" (Rev 12:7–12)
John’s vision—with John being the endtime reader’s brother and partner in the Affliction and Kingdom [no definite article, but shares the definite article for the Affliction] and Endurance in Jesus [again, no definite article] (Rev 1:9)—is written from the perspective of John being inside his vision, not outside his vision and writing from his recollection about what he saw in the vision … as an aside, the intensity of a vision from God doesn’t easily permit the person who received the vision to forget what he or she saw and/or heard in the vision. But unlike Daniel who writes a summation of what he saw and heard in his vision of Belshazzar’s first year (Dan 7:1), in his salutation John places himself inside his vision and writes what he sees in figurative “real time.” Again, unlike Daniel who has himself outside his long vision, having fasted for twenty-one days, when the angel appears to him, John is inside his vision when Christ Jesus appears to him.
When readers first encounter John—he is in spirit on the Lord’s Day (Rev 1:10) on the Isle of Patmos, a “rock” in the Aegean Sea—he is inside his vision although he introduces his vision at the customary place and in a traditional manner, his initial lines justifying the creation of the narrative [lines that modern authors use to teach readers how to read their narratives]. John immediately establishes that he is not as Paul was, unsure of whether he was in the flesh [in the body] or in spirit [out of the body] (2 Cor 12:2–3): John is in spirit and inside the vision. He establishes that the narrative is revelation that God gave to Christ Jesus to show to his servants, but of itself, this revealed knowledge is problematic.
If God wanted to communicate this revelation to His sons, He could have done so via the Parakletos, the spirit that reveals what has been concealed; the spirit of truth. So by the vision’s salutation, knowledge is revealed to John’s brothers and partners in the Affliction: the vision was not for 1st-Century sons of God from whom John was separated by being exiled to Patmos, but for endtime disciples. However, if the vision, transcribed as text, were to survive from when John receives this word of knowledge to when endtime disciples exist, the vision must be valued by 1st-Centuries disciples, preserved by these disciples, and embellished with the significance of canonized Scripture between when Rome forgets about John on Patmos and John returns to the mainland and when disciples receive this “prophecy” at the end of the age.
If the revelation were knowledge God wanted to convey to His 1st-Century sons, He wouldn’t have used the vehicle of a vision. He didn’t need to use a vision. Again, He could have conveyed this knowledge via the groaning of the spirit already in His sons. Plus, He could have given this prophecy to Christ Jesus to give to John before John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos, physically separated from the seven churches on the Roman mail route through Asia Minor.
There are a great many prophecy pundits saying this or that about the Book of Revelation; saying really dumb things about Daniel’s visions. These pundits are so certain they “correctly” understand biblical prophecy that they are not teachable by even Christ Jesus. But for the Christian laity that is perhaps teachable, it needs to here be said that the signifying phrase <the Lord’s Day> has a dark or night portion and a light or day portion. The signifier, the Lord’s Day, has dual referents, one being physical or of the darkness; the other being spiritual, or of the light. So the seven named churches actually existed on the Roman mail route through Asia Minor, with these seven churches coexisting with one another so that a letter sent to one could be passed on and read by the other assemblies—and these seven were of the night portion of the Lord’s Day. In the day or light portion of the Lord’s Day, the seven churches would/will exist at the end of the age, and will not be physical assemblies but will be theological assemblies of where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name (Matt 18:20). So the spiritual assemblies representing the seven named churches are not linked to time and space. They are not geographical assemblies.
So when John is first encountered in his vision, readers find that he is in the night portion of a single day that is like “day one” of the Genesis “P” creation account, with every day of the “P” creation account having its night portion being when the Creator is outside His creation, and the light or day portion being when the Creator is inside His creation. The days of the “P” creation account are not thousand year blocks of time, but are based on the presence or absence of the Creator in His creation; hence Paul wrote,
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 4:6)
The light of Day One of the “P” creation account was the entrance of the Beloved into His creation as the man Jesus of Nazareth. The dark portion of Day One began with the creation of the heaven and earth an undetermined length of time ago, and extended forward through the Lord filling [bara] the heavens and the earth, creating the first Adam after considerable time passed [analogous to Jesus’ thirty years of age before His ministry began by being baptized by John], then choosing Abraham as His human cultivar to be selectively bred for two additional generations before Jacob prevailed with the Lord and had his name changed to Israel. And this was still eighteen or so centuries before the Beloved of the Father entered His creation as His unique Son, the man Jesus of Nazareth, with the human birth of Jesus representing dawn of Day One.
Because the Lord’s Day can be likened to Day One—linguistically separated from the next six days, the second day, the third day, the fourth day, the fifth day, the sixth day, the seventh day by the numbering signifier used to designate the day—the dark or night portion of the Lord’s Day will seem excessively long: the night portion began at Calvary and continues until the Lord returns to earth to fight on a [indefinite article] day of battle, a day that has the Mount of Olives (a granite monolith) split in two (Zech 14:3–4), a stone not cut by human hands (Dan 2:34–35, 45).
The light or day portion of the Lord’s Day begins when dominion over the single kingdom of this world has been taken from the Adversary and given to the Son of Man (Dan 7:9–14; Rev 11:15–18; 12:7–12). This light portion never ends, but continues through the coming of the new heavens and new earth and new Jerusalem, a time reversal of Day One of the “P” creation account … as the dark portion of Day One began with the figurative “Big Bang” and extended forward in time when there was no mechanism in place to measure time, the light portion of the Lord’s Day begins with dominion over the single kingdom of this world being given to the Son of Man and extending forward in time and beyond time with the coming of the new heaven and new earth.
Day One of the “P” creation account (Gen 1:1–2:3) forms the left hand enantiomer of the spiritual right hand enantiomer, the Lord’s Day, with Day One and the Lord’s Day being enantiomorphs when seen in the polarized light of the Lord, the life and light of humanity (John 1:4).
Again, competent authors teach readers [auditors] how to read their texts in the opening lines of the texts, a practice consciously employed in this present era but a practice dating from antiquity. Therefore, when John writes, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it” (Rev 1:3), John uses a standard practice of oral cultures to introduce two referents for “readers,” the first being the one who reads aloud the words of the prophesy, and the second referent being those who hear and who keep what is written in the prophecy. For in oral cultures, it was common to have only a few people able to read—in analogy, the “few” are those drawn from this world by the Father and delivered to Christ Jesus to call, justify, and glorify—and to have “many” listening to the words read by the few, this many swelled beyond those that couldn’t read by those who couldn’t afford to own a book.
John addresses two auditors, these two based on reading practices common to oral cultures. And because there is both a dark portion to the Lord’s Day as well as a light portion, this will now have two auditors in the light portion, one able to read but few in number [narrowly, the two witnesses; more broadly, the Elect], the other not reading the prophecy for themselves but receiving the prophecy as it is read to them [the laity of greater Christendom].
John’s physical separation on Patmos and time separation by John writing from within his vision, writing from the perspective that the things he sees and hears in the vision are “soon” to occur, prevented understanding the vision in the 1st-Century; prevented the seven named churches on the Roman mail route from even receiving this word of knowledge in a timely manner, something modern scholarship addresses by moving Revelation’s date of composition from mid 9th decade into the 7th or early 8th decade of the 1st-Century.
Again, because there are 1st-Century referents that seem to satisfy the words of John’s vision, modern scholarship—coming from the mind and nature of the Adversary as portrayed by the serpent in the Garden of Eden [you shall not surely die for God knows that when you eat your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil]—doesn’t embrace John’s vision as reliable prophecy, but “compares” John’s vision to Alice in Wonderland, readable political commentary understood by all except children.
When the prescriptive introduction of a piece of Classical writing remains with the narrative as it does for the book of Revelation, the introduction needs to be read, and we find that the things “revealed” must soon take place … has the single kingdom of this world become the kingdom of God and His Christ? No it hasn’t; for from the perspective of this world, Gott ist tot, Friedrich Nietzsche’s observation from more than a century ago. So in no application of “soon” can the things John saw in vision be said to be near in time in the 1st-Century CE. Therefore, in John’s salutation in which he “teaches” his readers how to read his narrative—the transcribed record of what he saw while he was in spirit on the Lord’s Day (again Rev 1:9)—John said that blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophesy, and blessed are those who hear and keep what is written in it (v. 3).
Again, for pedagogical redundancy, in an era when there was no general literacy, “to read a book” was to hear a book read by the rare person who could read. The 1st-Century CE was such an era; so John uses the common practice of texts being read aloud to uneducated members of society to openly conceal dual auditors of the narrative, the first being the one who reads the narrative aloud, the second being those who hear the words of the text, not necessarily those who hear words read aloud. Thus in John’s salutation is the basis for reading Revelation as a word of knowledge given to the seven named churches on that Asia Minor mail route, how carnally minded scholars read these letters, as well as knowledge given to endtime disciples that are also John’s brothers and partners in the Affliction and Kingdom and Endurance in Jesus—the seven endtime years of tribulation.
Also, for the same pedagogical reasons, it must be understood that the signifying phrase <the Lord’s Day> isn’t the first day of the work week, but is a spiritual signifier like the “days” of the Genesis “P” creation account, days that have a night or dark portion as well as a light or hot portion, with the Creator of all things physical being the life and light of this world (John 1:3–4), this Creator entering His creation as His unique Son (John 3:16), the man Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:14). … Biblical scholars who insist that Revelation was only a 1st-Century message to a 1st-Century audience reveal how little understanding these persons have. And one more time, if God the Father wanted to convey knowledge to 1st-Century sons, He didn’t need to involve Christ Jesus, who doesn’t communicate with His younger siblings via the Parakletos but through the indwelling of His spirit in the spirit of the person that gives to the person the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) … the Parakletos enables the person with the indwelling mind of Christ to understand what the Parakletos reveals about things and knowledge that had previously been concealed from humankind. And it is here where the Father giving to Jesus revelation that He then revealed to John for John to give to His disciples becomes interesting; for the revelation that Jesus gives to John contains knowledge not previously known, in particular, knowledge of the great White Throne Judgment; knowledge providing context for Paul’s gospel (Rem 2:11–16) and to what Matthew’s Jesus said about goats and sheep (Matt 25:31–46). But if John’s vision could only be read darkly in the 1st-Century, then the revelation given lays the basis for the production of an endtime text, a figurative hypertext, that reveals what has been concealed by two literary tropes.
Returning now to Daniel’s little horn: when Daniel’s little horn in his vision of Belshazzar’s first year is laid atop the little horn of Daniel’s vision of Behshazzar’s third year, and one horn is pinned through the other, and both pinned through John’s red dragon so that these three referents cannot slither away before they are examined, endtime disciples are able to read both Daniel’s previously sealed visions as well as the outside of the sealed Scroll that only the Lamb of God can open.
There are fewer words thus far in this installment of the Israel in Prophecy, but the concepts advanced need to be considered before the next installment is read.
(to be continued)
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."