Book Recommendation – Worthy is the Lamb by Ray Summers: notes taken from that book.
This section begins with the opening of the 7th seal. What a dramatic scene as the 7th seal is opened and a brief prelude takes place before each of the 7 trumpets are blown. Trumpets are calls to war, calls to repentance, warnings of judgments. The first 4 trumpets represent the woes upon nature. These are not final judgments as only ⅓ of the earth is touched. Horrific events are meant to remind us of God’s judgments and lead us to repentance. Thus, God is saying I have the means of destroying your enemies. The next 2 trumpets are woes upon mankind. The apocalyptic language causes many to look for symbolism that isn’t there and take the book out of the context of a church that is under severe persecution by the Roman Empire and specifically emperor Domitian. The 5th trumpet is symbolism for the internal corruption of the empire. The name destruction is another way of saying the devil, also written as Abaddon, and Apollyon. The sixth trumpet symbolizes the external invasion of the Empire. It is worth noting that this even lines up nicely with Gibbons’ description of the rise and fall of the empire as the 3 reasons for the fall: Natural calamities, Internal Corruption, and External invasion. This vision is given as a means of reassurance to the Christians to help them see that Rome will never triumph over Christianity. When you don’t repent upon God’s punishment you bring heavier judgments upon you. 10:1-11:13 is parenthetical, it pictures swift retribution in 4 illustrations before the 7th trumpet is blown in 11:14. The victorious outcome is pronounced before the conflict even begins. In the remainder of the book Judgment on the Empire is followed by judgment on evil. The dragon in chapter 12 is the devil, the radiant woman and her children is either the persecuted church or Israel. V.17 “the rest of her seed” must be a reference to Christians. The first beast in chapter 13 is the Roman Emperor Domitian who demanded to be worshipped. The second beast who compels people on earth to worship the first beast is a reference to the “Concilia” or “Commune” which was the entity created by the emperor to enforce emperor worship. Chapter 13 ends with “The one who has understanding must calculate the number of the beast because it is the number of a man. His number is 666” This is a reference to the first beast in chapter 13, the Roman Emperor Domitian. There are many cases of numerical gymnastics done to translate names to numbers but they don’t fit the setting for the book which was written most definitely during the time of Domitian. The number is significant, not the name. The number 6 was an evil number in ancient Hebrew society as it fell short of 7 the perfect number. Raise it to a series as in 666, and you have a representation of a potent evil or an evil which there can be no greater. It’s like saying evil rasied to it’s highest power. The picture starting in chapter 12 is of the devil (Dragon) Domitian (first beast), Concilia (second Beast). Worshipping the emperor was a test of every facet of life for the Christian during this time period.
Revelation 8.7 “The first angel blew his trumpet and hail and fire, mixed with blood, were hurled to the earth. So a third of the earth was burned up, and all the green grass was burned up”
I chose this passage because it is an example of God’s judgment being pronounced
How does this help/change my view of God?
It reinforces my trust in God as the perfect judge who knows how to save his children while punishing those who reject him.
How does this verse help/change my vision of others?
It helps me to remember to be patient with people who struggle with God’s judgments in the bible. I often can take for granted a faithful view that trusts in God’s judgments, while others can struggle with how to interpret them. For some God does not look like a safe place or person to draw near to when they look at the judgments he enacts.
How will you go with God from this reading?
I will be more gentle with others who don’t know how to handle God’s judgments. I will take their struggle more seriously. I will also look for ways the world tries to get me to “worship the beast” those with power who exalt themselves.
Where did you see Jesus in these chapters?
In chapter 8.3-5 I believe it is the conquering Jesus who is hurled to Earth in the prelude to the 7 trumpets. The victorious Jesus is all throughout the book.