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Review. Revelation 8 - 11

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Posted on CCPC's website 2022

"No educated man can afford to be ignorant of the Bible."
Theodore Roosevelt

     With chapter 8 we wade right into one of the most epic sequences in the Bible: The Seven Trumpets.

     First we see an angel that burns some incense upon the altar, the smoke of which is something special.
     And now may be the time to state that this is the ONLY time we see the angelic brass section in the Bible.
     If you pay attention to the angels in various Christmas displays which have angels blowing trumpets, they are NOT proclaiming the birth of the Savior, they are announcing the End of the World. The angels that sang to the shepherds in Luke 2 apparently did so a cappella, others have harps/lyres.
     The first four angels blow their horns in quick succession and as they do a series of natural calamities occur across the planet to a great loss of life. Not only of humans, but, as in verse 9, animals, and oddly, ships at sea.

     It is also in chapter 8 that we notice an odd series of uses of the fraction "a third", which comes up in other places in Revelation, such as 9: 15.
     "A third" is seen in the Old Testament in several places, one of them is in terms of the measurement of oil and wine in the offering. In Numbers 15: 6 and 7 it calls for a third of a hin of each (a hin was about 1.5 gallons / 5.7 liters). Another use of the fraction is seen in 2 Kings 11 with the division of the people when Joash ascends to the throne after a bit of royal drama, and more than a few royal deaths. We see it again early in Ezekiel 5 when the prophet does a bit of barbering, then later when he says a third of the people will die in a plague and another third fall by the sword... And then there is an interesting link to another third in Zechariah 13: 7 - 9.
     It is the last two references is the same sort of use we see in the Apocalypse. One out of three will have a bad time of it, or in Zechariah, one in three survives.
     Then we have a famous sequence of "woe", which comes up again later.

     Chapter 9 opens with the fifth trumpet and we arrive at the Bottomless Pit and meet some rather nasty monsters and their master. And there is still two more woes to come!
     The sixth trumpet introduces a mystery that is not mentioned anywhere else in Scripture, or in the Apocropha, but instead comes from the Book of Enoch, chapter 56: 1 - 3

"And I saw there the hosts of the angels of punishment going, and they held scourges and chains of iron and bronze. And I asked the angel of peace who went with me, saying: ' To whom are these who hold the scourges going? ' And he said unto me: ' To their elect and beloved ones, that they may be cast into the chasm of the abyss of the valley."
     Later in the chapter it talks about when those angels will return and go out as lions from their lairs and hungry wolves among the flocks. The language in this section of Enoch is definitely Apocalyptic in style, including mentioning that the corpses will be beyond count when the angels get finished with their slaughter.

     Back to Revelation 9, and more monsters, and more death. Let's go to 10.

     Chapter ten has the scene we mentioned in the study that is a revisit of something that happens in Exekiel 3 and a confirmation that what the prophets of old said was now coming true. But nothing else that moves the drama forward happens in 10. Remember, John didn't write in ‚Äúchapters and verses‚Ä?, those come much later, but that's a topic for another time.

     Chapter 11. John does some surveying, but doesn't list his measurements. Then we meet the Two Witnesses. We do not know the identity of the two, they may be from the Old Testament (such as Elijah), or somebody new, the text does not say.
     The witnesses have a bad day, are revived, are then taken up to heaven. And then more bad things happen to those on Earth. And the Third Woe is on its way.
     The Seventh Trumpet is a scene of worship in heaven, and a return of several of the plagues

     And with the end of 11 the style of the vision changes.
     Until now, we've had things most people can relate to, or at least can envision. Angels and trumpets, scrolls with seals. Even the 'monsters' are relatable.
     With 12, that all changes.

     Stay tuned. It will NOT be dull!

Selected resources:

Book of Enoch, section 2 Christian Classics Ethereal Library

The study Index page.

NOTE: The Bible Study Lesson presented above is posted as a reference document to begin a conversation of the topic. And that's it. Please accept it at such.

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