“I turned around to see who was talking to me, and I saw seven gold lampstands, and among them there was what looked like a human being, wearing a robe that reached to his feet, and a gold band around his chest.” (Revelation 1:12-13) “Here is the secret meaning of the seven stars that you see in my right hand, and of the seven gold lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” (Revelation 1:20)
7 churches in the Roman province of Asia Minor? 7 churches through 2,000 years of history? A timeless representation of positive and negative attributes of all God’s friends (“the church”) since the Cross. “Well then, the Lord himself will give you a sign: a young woman who is pregnant will have a son and will name him ‘Immanuel.’” (Isaiah 7:14)
“You say, 'I am rich and well off; I have all I need.' But you do not know how miserable and pitiful you are! You are poor, naked, and blind.” (Revelation 3:17)
“Among the various garments woven in Laodicea was a tunic called the trimita. So widely know was this tunic that the council of Chalcedon AD 451 was called Trimitaria.” (Ramsay, Letters, 416) “Laocidea arose from the ruins by the strength of her own resources (after the 60 A.D. earthquake), and with no help from us.” (Tacitus, Annals xiv. 27) The Annals by Roman historian and senator Tacitus is a history of the Roman Empire from AD 14-68
“Laodicea was widely known for its medical school.” “Two of the most famous were an ointment from spice nard for the ears, and an eye-salve made from ‘Phrygian powder’ mixed with oil.” Robert Mounce, The Book of Revelation, pg. 123.
“Buy also some ointment to put on your eyes, so that you may see.” (Revelation 3:18)
“This is the message from the one who is holy and true. He has the key that belonged to David, and when he opens a door, no one can close it, and when he closes it, no one can open it. I know what you do; I know that you have a little power; you have followed my teaching and have been faithful to me. I have opened a door in front of you, which no one can close.” (Revelation 3:7-8)
“Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if any hear my voice and open the door, I will come into their house and eat with them, and they will eat with me.” (Revelation 3:20-21)
“At this point I had another vision and saw an open door in heaven. And the voice that sounded like a trumpet, which I had heard speaking to me before, said, ‘Come up here…’ There in heaven was a throne with someone sitting on it. His face gleamed like such precious stones as jasper and carnelian, and all around the throne there was a rainbow the color of an emerald.” (Revelation 4:1-3)
“Each one of the four living creatures had six wings, and they were covered with eyes, inside and out. Day and night they never stop singing: ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come.’” (Revelation 4:8)
“The four living creatures sing songs of glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever. When they do so, the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They throw their crowns down in front of the throne and say, ‘Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory, honor, and power. For you created all things, and by your will they were given existence and life.’” (Revelation 4:9-11)
Who are the four living creatures? Who are the twenty-four elders?
“Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: ‘Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?’” (Revelation 5:1-2)
“No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it. Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it.” (Revelation 5:3-4)
“The first four verses of chapter 5 imply that the heavenly council is faced with a serious problem” “In the context of the Apocalypse as a whole it is clear that the problem facing the heavenly council is the rebellion of Satan which is paralleled by rebellion on earth. Chapter five presupposes the old story of Satan’s rebellion against God which leads to the fall of creation.” Adela Yarbo Collins, The Apocalypse, pg. 39
“But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered (the violently slaughtered Lamb), but it was now standing in the center (in the middle) of the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty- four elders…He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the One sitting on the throne.” (Revelation 5:5-7)
“They sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to break open its seals. For you were killed, and by your death you bought for God people from every tribe, language, nation, and race...’ Again I looked, and I heard angels, thousands and millions of them! They stood around the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders, and sang in a loud voice: ‘The Lamb who was killed is worthy to receive power, wealth, wisdom, and strength, honor, glory, and praise!’ And I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, in the world below, and in the sea---all living beings in the universe---and they were singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise and honor, glory and might, forever and ever!’” (Revelation 5:9-13)
God (powerful, Creator) on the throne holds a scroll. Surrounded by: 4 living creatures 24 elders No one is worthy to open the scroll; there is a challenge to God’s worthiness The violently slaughtered Lamb on the throne is worthy A “new song”: “Again I looked, and I heard angels, thousands and millions of them! They stood around the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders, and sang in a loud voice…And I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, in the world below, and in the sea- --all living beings in the universe---and they were singing…”
“According to the war-in-heaven theme, the throne of God is contested territory…John’s vision of the throne and of the One who sits on the throne recalls the initiation of the conflict and the ambition expressed [by the adversary].” – Sigve Tonstad “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the uttermost height of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” (Isaiah 14:13,14 NIV)
“I ordained and appointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among (or, “in the middle of”) the stones of fire” (Ezekiel 28:14 NLT).
Daniel: the satanic power as growing “strong enough to attack the army of heaven, the stars themselves, and it threw some of them to the ground and trampled on them. It even defied the Prince of the heavenly army” (Dan 8:10,11) John: “the whole world is under the rule of the Evil One” (1 John 4:9) Paul: “the Wicked One...will oppose every so-called god or object of worship and will put himself above them all. He will even go in and sit down in God's Temple and claim to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4) Revelation: “Everyone worshiped the dragon” (Revelation 13:4)
“The Lamb, who is in the center (the middle) of the throne, will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to the springs of life-giving water” (Rev 7:17) “The slaughtered Lamb reveals the character of God in the context of the cosmic conflict.” Saving God’s Reputation, Sigve Tonstad, pg 141
“You are the children of your father, the Devil, and you want to follow your father's desires. From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies.” (John 8:44)
“The dragon gave the beast his own power, his throne, and his vast authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have been fatally wounded (“wounded to death”, “violently slaughtered”), but the wound had healed. The whole earth was amazed and followed the beast. Everyone worshiped the dragon because he had given his authority to the beast. They worshiped the beast also, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who can fight against it?’” (Revelation 13:2-4)
sphazo ̄ A primary verb; to butcher (especially an animal for food or in sacrifice) or (generally) to slaughter, or (specifically) to maim (violently): - kill, slay, wound.
Christ: “The slaughtered Lamb reveals the character of God in the context of the cosmic conflict.” - Sigve Tonstad Satan: Post-Constantinian church Persecution and torture of enemies Methods: power, force and coercion Blending of nationalism & patriotism with the Cross
“…I happened to visit a July Fourth worship service at a certain megachurch. At center stage in this auditorium stood a large cross next to an equally large American flag. The congregation sang some praise choruses mixed with such patriotic hymns as “God Bless America.” The climax of the service centered on a video of a well-known Christian military general giving a patriotic speech about how God had blessed America and blessed its military troops…
“Triumphant military music played in the background as he spoke. The video closed with a scene of a silhouette of three crosses on a hill with an American flag waving in the background. Majestic, patriotic music now thundered. Suddenly, four fighter jets appeared on the horizon, flew over the crosses, and then split apart. As they roared over the camera, the words, “God Bless America” appeared on the screen in front of the crosses. The congregation responded with roaring applause, catcalls, and
A standing ovation. I saw several people wiping tears from their eyes. Indeed, as I remained frozen in my seat, I grew teary-eyed as well – but for entirely different reasons. I was struck with horrified grief. Thoughts raced through my mind: How could the cross and the sword have been so thoroughly fused without anyone seeming to notice? How could Calvary be associated with bombs and missiles?...How could the kingdom of God be reduced to this sort of violent, nationalistic tribalism? Has the church progressed at all since the Crusades?” – The Myth of a Christian Nation, Greg Boyd