Thursday, July 25, 2013

Revelation's "chronology"

A question from

Hello Pearl
Just a quick question regarding the 24 elders and how you understand the sequence of events in Rev i.e. before the seals are opened we see as per your quote the 24 elders:
...And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”...

Now my question is, since this statement appears to have been made before even the 1st seal is opened, who are these 24 elders and who and where are the souls spoken of as being seen beneath the altar that are not manifest until the opening of the 5th seal?

...and when he opened the fifth seal I saw underneath the altar the souls of those slaughtered because of the word of God and because of the witness work they used to have...(Rev 6:9)


Hello LRW,
"Sequence of events" is a very risky premise when dealing with the scroll of Revelation.

I will try to explain the nature of such visions....

Divine vision is designed to translate spirit realities into symbolic physical images.
Only God can accomplish this translation perfectly, and only God can connect a human consciousness to the meaning of what is seen, or what is described in a written record of what was seen (such as Bible prophecy based upon divine visions).

Understanding such complex descriptions are accomplished piecemeal, in portions which our mind can conceive, assimilate, and integrate into the whole overall picture of truth.

When I applied the means by which my own vision experiences became understood, to John's vision experiences....that's when the mysteries of this scroll started to emerge into a recognizable, congealed image.

Perhaps if I share what I am referring to, I may make myself clearer.
I was shown one vision after another. Each seemed unrelated. Now I know for a certainty, that each vision was a repetition of the others...but each vision complimented the others, like the variety of facets to the same gem. Only when all the information from all the visions is combined into a whole, does the full "3-D" reality appear.

To illustrate,
When we write a sentence to fully describe a loaf of bread,
we can not fully do so in one word. Our first descriptive word may be "fresh", then "crusty", then "warm", then "nutty", then "aromatic". Each of those words seem unrelated to the others when viewed individually, until the full sentence joins them into one reality. The full description is not established, until we read and connectall the words.
In the same way, each word, can compare to each vision.

Each one of John's visions conveys different aspects of the same repeating series of subjects (events that "will soon take place" and identities that will emerge -Rev.1:1). One vision can not contain all the information about these events, identities, and how they emerge. Only by means of Holy Spirit, can these visions be interpreted, and assembled in order, within the minds of God's final prophets. This can only occur at the time in which God wills it to take place (Amos3:7; Rev.10:7; Eze.29:21; Dan.9:22; Gen.40:8). Previous to that time, no one will "open the seals" of that scroll (Isa.29:11; Dan.12:4).
Although chapters 1-3 also contain symbolism; it is within these chapters that Jesus lays the groundwork of who and what the subsequent chapters are discussing.

Remembering that this scroll is entirely symbolic, and the realities it "signifies" have been translated into vision; we must see beyond the images into the meaning being conveyed. That totally depends upon divine help.

For example,
when we are told that the 24 elders "say" something (realize, understand, determine, declare, herald),
or "sing" something (believe/love/feel/appreciate/value/praise, with all their heart);
we are being told of a spiritual requirement of faith that these have attained,
previous to their being granted the reward, which comes by fulfilling that requirement.
It does not literally mean that the 24 gather together at the same time and place to recite these words.

Remembering that Jesus has requirements for those who are "given much" (first be faithful with "least" -Matt.25:23; Luke16:10); so too, the 24 elders must have a pleasing heart condition to God, previous to their being granted insight into God's mysteries (Matt.13:11; John14:17; 16:13).
By stating that all 24 elders "declare" this in unison, it teaches us that all those who become this group, have met that requirement of attitude, devotion to righteousness, and a demonstrated faith, as expressed in the meaning behind the words they "declare".

THIS is the essential meaning....NOT the portrayal of a time-frame. Before and after scenarios in Revelation's prophecies are not literal timing, but can rather help us understand particular requirements and rewards...errors and consequences...the background justice behind divine decrees...what must come before a desired result, according to divine justice.
If we follow our natural disposition, and apply physical meaning (time sequence, space, restrictive physical Laws) to the symbolic descriptions of Revelation, we will be blocked from understanding the spiritual meaning behind them. (1Cor.2:13,14)

If you can consider that the seals being opened, are a symbol for growing understanding and recognition within the mind of Christ (Matt.24:36; Dan.7:13; Rev.5:2,5,7; John15:15; Rev.10:7; 11:3; 1:1),
 and subsequently, the minds of his prophets,
even about events that may have already existed before insight was given into the meaning of those events,
growing recognition of many individual facets and how these belong to one situation...
a circumstance that results from a culmination of many contributory events (each described separately),
a list of events and deeds which justify God's judgments,
a list of divine requirements...
or a list of divine warnings...
or the gamut required to attain to spiritual maturity and sealing...

then you will have a better grasp on how to understand Revelation's many descriptions,
which speak of a spiritual progression, not of literal chronology.
[2Tim.3:13 (Rev.2:2; 3:9); 2Tim.2:16; Eph.5:15,16,17; Isa.43:19; Rev.22:11]

In order to see behind the written words of Rev.5:9, you may well ask yourself,
why is the "song" of the "24" "elders", "new"?

When they say,
"You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals",
who else might they be aware of, who had tried to take the scroll and open the seals, and are now considered by the 24, as unworthy?

When the 24 say,
"For You were slain", can you see this as possibly meaning that they now perceive the model before them, or that conquering Satan to the limit is required before being granted full understanding, or that they are owned only by one Master...the only one who paid for them with his blood (Eph.5:25)?
Do you recall 1Cor.1:12,13? What do the 24 finally realize, regarding loyalty to men, or their previous falling short and need for repentance and redemption? (1Cor.7:23; Gal.1:10)

When they say,
"And have redeemed us to God by Your blood",
what might these 24 realize?
If the Bride is to share with Christ, in the rest of Creation being redeemed;
what will also be required of it's members? (Rev.6:9; 20:4; 12:11; 11:7; Rom.6:5; Phil.3:10) (Rom.8:19; Prov.11:30; Ps.92:12,13,14; Rev.22:2,17)

To be "redeemed" "out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation" resonates with the prophecies as being gathered from the four winds, from one extremity of the earth to the other...the gathering of God's captive sons and daughters who were driven from their own land (Mark13:27; Deut.30:4; Zech.2:6; 2Thess.2:1; Eze.11:17; Isa.63:18),
"From every nation" also confirms that this group are no longer chosen upon the basis of a physical or National identity (physical Jews). These become, rather, spiritual Jews (Rom.2:28,29).
"What is a 'Jew'? What is a 'Gentile'?"

When the "24" say
 "And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”...
this reflects the realization that they are not to be slaves of men, because Christ has chosen them to be otherwise. It also reflects the realization that the future is the time to rule within God's kingdom...NOT the present reign of Christ during which the faithful chosen are appointed over "a little" (1Cor.4:8; 1Cor.15:24,25,26,27,28; Matt.25:23; 13:12);
as well as dispelling the lie that the 144000 never return to earth.

 All these realizations of the 24, are the previous requirements needed to allow the opening of the 7 seals to the "24" elders. They must first realize that their spiritual food comes from Christ he shares with them the scroll/insight he has received from his Father. When Christ sends that spirit to his final prophets (Rev.11:3; John15:15; 16:13; Rev.22:6; Rom.16:25,26), it is a parallel to the Master's/bridegroom's arrival (Matt.25:6; Mark13:35; Luke12:37) (Rev.2:28; 22:16; 2Pet.1:19; 1Cor.14:15 (Rev.5:9,10); Dan.12:1; Acts3:20) and his sharing the feast his Father has prepared for him and his bride / 5 faithful virgins. "Good as well as bad" will be invited to this feast (Matt.22:8,9,10; Rev.19:9; 1Cor.13:9,10; Matt.17:11).

So you see, it is not necessarily that the 24 elders chant these words at the same time, while Jesus stands by waiting for them to finish before he can open/understand and unveil the interpretation of Revelation's symbolism.
It may also help to remember, that the order in which John sees these visions, is not likely reflecting the order in which they occur. This I am sure of, due to my own vision experience.

Just as Jesus gave a variety of illustrations, all repeatedly describing aspects of the same theme (the "kingdom of the heavens will become like")...
(and those illustrations will not be chronologically fulfilled in the order in which these illustrations were spoken by him),
so too,
the visions of Revelation are a description of an extremely complex circumstance...dissected into manageable individual concepts that need to merge in our perception, outside the constraints of literal time and space.
A "seal" is simply a hidden understanding, previous to it being "opened up".
As these symbolic seals are opened, it is a symbol of a progression of understandings, within the minds and hearts of those chosen to understand.
Because the faithful who do gain understanding, then preach it;
those seals open for the world,
but only those gathered to those preaching that understanding,
will find it. (Luke17:35,37,24,30; 10:16; Dan.12:3,2,10; Matt.7:14)

All these principles and possibilities also apply to Rev.6:9; which verse guides the perception and priorities of the remnant in the time of the end. All faithful anointed arrive at the place described at Rev.6:9,10,11, regardless of what years they lived and died. Those verses are a call to those not yet killed for wake up, and accept the trials of Christ (Luke22:28,29), including the baptism into his death (Rom.6:3; Matt.20:22,23; Rev.6:10,11) (Matt.25:6; Heb.13:13).

Simply put...even the concept of timing in the scroll of Revelation, is symbolic.
I will tell you that I have begun a book which examines each verse of the entire scroll of Revelation. I hope to finish it as soon as I possibly can, and perhaps you will find that work helpful regarding your Revelation questions. I will give it my very best, and have others edit it for clarity, related relevance, and brevity (all of which I struggle with). Please pray that the Father continue to bless this effort.

I do know that expressing things clearly is always a challenge for me. My husband helps me sometimes, by reading what I write, and often he points out where I need to clarify and simplify, and he is always right. My mental exhaustion and age are showing. He cannot edit everything immediately, so if my reply is ever unclear or incomplete, please let me know your specific need, and I'll do my best in response.
Love in Christ,


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share below, your thoughts about this post.

Additional Pages for Study (coming soon)