When you come to the book of Revelation, there are three categories to how most people interpret it:
1. Preterism is the school of thought where everything was talking about the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70
2. Historicism makes Revelation about events throughout history.
3. Futurism makes everything about Christ’s second coming. Herb is convinced that the most damage is done here with misinterpretations of the book of Revelation.
Everyone here probably fits into one of these three schools of thought. However, Herb says that the book of Revelation doesn’t fully fit into any of those schools of thought. Instead, we must start with the ethical teachings of Jesus and the first audience and see how they would have interpreted the book of Revelation and that it was about whatever comes down the pike follow the Lamb.
Here’s a simple outline starting with Revelation 1:1-8
Revelation 1.1-8—The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw— that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who READS ALOUD the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who HEAR IT and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near . . .
The “time is near” produces problems for us but for those people at the time it inspires hope. The way it would have been communicated is through oral reading of one person to an audience. Revelation was not written as something people would read and study but rather as something to be listened to–this brings out different meanings in the text with auditory cues.
Revelation 22.6-21—The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” “Look, I am com- ing soon! Blessed are those who keep the words of the prophecy in this scroll.” I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things . . .
Two things repeated in the epilogue that is also in the prologue “his angle” and “things which must shortly come to pass.” Let’s use these two anchor points Rev 1:1-8 and Revelation 22:6-21 as reason to interpret these things
Revelation 1.9-11—I, John, your brother and companion in the SUF- FERING and KINGDOM and PATIENT ENDURANCE that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was IN THE SPIRIT, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
Suffering, being part of the kingdom, and patient endurance are all included in the present and are all associated with following Jesus. There are three audio transitions of “in the spirit” the first one in Rev 1:9-11. Try picking one of those churches and pretending you are listening to it from their perspective. The second here
Revelation 4.2—At once I was IN THE SPIRIT, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.
There are two branches in the book of Revelation:
1. The defeat of a Harlot:
Revelation 17.3—Then the angel carried me away IN THE SPIRIT into a wilderness . . .
2. The victory of a bride:
Revelation 21.10—And he carried me away IN THE SPIRIT to a moun- tain great and high . . .
There’s a repetition or parallel between Rev 17 and Rev 21
Revelation 17.1-3—One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. With her the kings of the earth com- mitted adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.” Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.
Between these parallels you have the whole book of Revelation. You have 7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 plagues. You have the “in the spirit” in chapter 4, the next time is in Rev 17 and again in Rev 21. Not only are Rev 17 and 21 similar but look at Rev 19:9-10:
Revelation 19.9-10—Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to Jesus’ testimony. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.”
You’ll see Rev 22 is different than Rev 19 because this also serves as a repetition of the prologue with “that must soon take place”
Revelation 22.6-9—The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” “Look, I am com- ing soon! Blessed are those who keep the words of the prophecy in this scroll.” I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”
The end of the bride section is the end harlot section but John also throws in a parallel to the prologue “that must soon take place.” Don’t take Revelation chronologically, the vision actually starts in chapter 4. Right before the harlot section in Revelation 16 John hears “it is done” which is parallel with 21:
Revelation 16.17—The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “IT IS DONE!”
Revelation 21.6—He said to me: “IT IS DONE. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.
It ends the same way where John tries to worship the angel. These were parallels that his audience would have heard.
Three Series of Sevens
Revelation 4.5—From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder.
Seven Seals 6:1-8:5
Revelation 8.5—Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rum-blings, flashes of lightning and an EARTHQUAKE.
Seven Trumpets: 8.6-11.19
Earthquake is taken for granted and a “a great hailstorm” is added:
Revelation 11.19—Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and A GREAT HAILSTORM.
Seven Bowls: 15:1-16:21
When we end the seven bowls there is nothing added but they are elaborated:
Revelation 16.18-21—Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since the human race has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, ell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
Revelation 8.1-6—When he opened the SEVENTH SEAL, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and SEVEN TRUMPETS were given to them. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them
The three series of 7 end in parallel fashion. He takes the seven trumpets and interlocks them in the 7th seal. 7th seal introduces the 7 trumpets and at the 7 trumpets you would expect him to introduce the 7 plagues–but he doesn’t.
Revelation 11.19—Then God’s TEMPLE in heaven was OPENED, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
However, when he picks back up the plagues. He repeats here what he said under the seventh trumpet and adds the seven angels. 12,13,14 are an intermission and 15 snaps back in with the 7 plagues with the 7th trumpet.
Revelation 15.5-6—After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the TEMPLE— that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law—and it was OPENED. Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues
He actually does lock in the 7 plagues with the 7th trumpet. This has been an exercise of seeing parallels. The first half of the next presentation is the most important presentation (part 3) the first part of (part 4) is the second most important presentation. We will go into the ethical teachings of Jesus and how they relate to Revelation which will be key to unlocking the book.
There has been significant damage done using this book. Herb’s particular knee-jerk response hearing something about Revelation is for his eyes to roll. The book of Revelation Herb argues is not about winning people to following theLamb but to current followers of the Lamb to enable them to be more faithful.
The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw . . . John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: (Rev 1:1-4)
Hence, Herb notes that this was written to God’s “servants.”
The chronology of transmission is God gave the revelation to his angle who gave it to John. Did Christ give this to John to predict the future or did Christ give this in order to encourage people who already believe? Herb argues the latter. Christianity in this time period meant to give up your life and face persecution. Nero was the first persecutor of Christianity with others to follow.
Today Christianity is presented as a way to improve your life. However, this was not how it was in the first century. If making a decision to follow Jesus meant giving up your life, would that make things different for you? Andrew gave a powerful testimony of what it means to follow Jesus, it was such a powerful argument that when he went to the chopping block where he would be executed a Roman soldier saw his faith and the Roman soldier said to the judge something like: “if you are going to execute him for following Jesus execute me too because I have become a follower of Jesus.”
There are several options when attacked with persecution 1 to fight 2 to flee or 3 to follow the lamb. Revelation was written to encourage the third option.
The book of revelation was not given to make wild predictions about the future. The book of Revelation was given to help those who heard its words to become more faithful followers of Jesus.
What did it mean to follow Jesus? To follow his example and teachings.
Matthew 4.23—Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their syna-gogues, proclaiming the good news [euangelion] of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
What does “the good news” mean? In society at that time it had a different meaning than for us today. A messenger would carry “the good news” or the eungaleon which meant that a new kingdom was victorious. It is a military term but be careful because the warfare of the lamb is not of this world but is spiritual.
John 18:36 New Revised Standard Version 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”
STRONGS NT 3340: μετανοέω “repent” is also a military term in that day–when an officer yelled “repent” they would change direction. “repent” did not mean to “feel sorry” for the direction they were walking to begin with but to change directions.
Luke 4.43—But he said, “I must pro- claim the good news [euangelion] of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
This means “a new kingdom has come to town” you were walking in one direction now walk in another. This is a new way of doing life. And what you are going to find is this new way of doing life is based on a radically different way of seeing God. Jesus hung out with sinners–which meant something different in that day. Today everyone is a sinner but that makes it lose its strength. However, the term “sinner” had been coined by the religious people of that day for people who were living in opposition to the Torah–they were excommunicated or disfellowshipped from the covenant community. Jesus was accused of being friends with the tax collectors and other sinners who were in cohorts with Rome.
Jesus was living radically differently by hanging out with these people. This is what Jesus gives to us–a radical way of seeing God and ourselves through mercy. This idea threatened the religious leaders so much that they ended up crucifying him.
We have a more housebroken Jesus in a our churches today that is more comfortable to us–but this is not what we find in the first century.
Matthew 10.7-8—As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The KINGDOM OF HEAVEN has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have re- ceived, freely give.
The kingdom of heaven is not a kingdom in heaven but rather a kingdom of heaven to earth through Jesus and his followers. We do not see Jesus going around getting people to say a special prayer so that they can go to heaven when they die. He is not trying to promote a plan of getting people to heaven, rather he was bringing heaven to earth. There was not a lot of time spent on talking about people’s eternal destiny but rather he spent time with people making a difference in their lives.
Luke 10.9—Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
Luke 9.6—So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news [euangelion] and healing people everywhere.
I am convinced that Jesus has given us a way to heal the world around us. If Jesus went out telling people to heal the sick there is an emphasis difference between that and many churches today. If we got back to the ethical teachings of Jesus we might have an empowerment to proclaim those ethics. Many people do not feel it is important to get involved in matters of social justice. However, this is different than Jesus who said to go out and bring healing. Jesus used the metaphors of watching seeds sprout and doe rise. The kingdom conquering will not be exciting–it comes gradually.
Matthew 13.31-32—He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the small- est of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
It is something that would remain underground until it surfaces and gradually takes over. How Jesus said to heal our world was through coming under people not through going over people or trying to overpower people but by coming under and doing things subversively–not through force or compulsion but through humble servant love. Kind of like a yeast that causes a lump of doe to gradually rise.
Acts 8.12—But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of THE KINGDOM OF GOD and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Acts 19.8—Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, argu- ing persuasively about THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Acts 20.25— Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching THE KINGDOM will ever see me again.
Practically overnight during the time of constantine, Christianity went from a persecuted minority to a persecuting majority. We eventually found those bearing the name of Jesus executing heretics, Muslims, Jews, and witches.
Augustine has a lot of good in it but Herb is not a fan. What is in Augustine that is wrong is wrong to such a degree that it radically changed the course of Christianity. Who became marginalized during this? Jesus. The heroes of the church during the fourth century were warriors and there was such a difference that some secular historians like Rodney Stark say that the pre-Constantine and post-Constantine Christianity is a totally different religion.
Emphasis in Christianity changed from the ethical teachings of Jesus to belief in the virgin birth or Resurrection and other doctrines. In the apostles creed it goes from “born of a virgin” to “crucified by Pontius Pilate” with a comma. Is there anything that they skipped over?–The entire life of Jesus and his teachings. Out of the four versions of the Jesus story that we have only two of them mention the virgin birth. What does that say to you? Two of the authors of the Jesus story we have say that you could be a follower of Jesus and not even know about the virgin birth.
People never attack the teachings of Jesus when they attack Christianity–they attack doctrines like the Resurrection because you can’t just have these unique teachings come out of first century without there being a teacher. Herb does not care about the details but about the transformative power of these teachings, the wisdom of them, and that these are the way that the world will be healed. Rather than coming about believing in Jesus through doctrines Herb believes in Jesus through an affinity for his teachings–following Jesus means following his teachings not believing the doctrines. This is context that we will be looking at the book of Revelation in.
Luke 6.20-26—Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
Blessed are those who weep now–not in general–because you will laugh. This is about a radical rearrangement. It is taking society and turning it on its head. Those who would receive the blessing of what Jesus was coming to accomplish are what we would call the underdogs. The people who are benefiting from society at this time–Jesus is saying “woe” to them–not a cry a condemnation–but a cry of lament.
Luke 6.27-36—But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
The reason Herb believes that most people grossly misunderstand the book of Revelation is because they come from the post Constantine school of Christianity. However, if we actually return to the ethical teachings of Jesus as a backdrop to the book of Revelation and what it says you get a radical new understanding of the book and a flavor of what it meant to the very first audience who heard the book.
We have to start with this question: How did the very first audience take the message of John and how did it inspire them to be more faithful followers of Christ and his kingdom? After that other theories will be able to be made of double meanings and allusion to future events–but you have to first understand Revelation in its original context to know how to build off of it.
The lamb is mentioned 28 times in the book of revelation which is a significant number that we will learn about soon. However, for now know that the Lamb is the centerpiece of this book.
Introduction: The Modern Concept of Hell in the Old Testament doesn’t exist
Verses are in the KJV unless otherwise stated. Hell is never mentioned in the Hebrew Old Testament, but only “the grave” (“sheol” in Hebrew). Some translations will translate sheol as “hell,” but it is without basis. For example in the KJV here Sheol is the inevitable destiny of all mankind and in Job 14:13 and Amos 9:2 a place where one would hide from God’s wrath” (if that were possible) Gen 37:35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave H7585 unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? H7585 Selah.
O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, H7585 that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!
Though they dig into hell, H7585 thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:
The Old Testament and the New Testament do not contradict, so it’s hard to believe that the foreign concept of eternal torment would be introduced into the NT without any precedent in the OT. However, the OT goes further and contradicts this concept. Take these verses for example that say God’s wrath is only temporary:
Psalm 30:5 NKJV For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.
Isaiah 54:8 NKJV 8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” Says the Lord, your Redeemer.
Lamentation 3 NKJV 31 For the Lord will not cast off forever. 32 Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies. 33 For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men.
And these verses show that the wicked will be destroyed or consumed, not tormented:
Psalms 37 NKJV 10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. … 20 But the wicked shall perish; And the enemies of the Lord, Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away.
Psalm 68:2 NKJV As smoke is driven away, So drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, So let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
Psalm 104:35 NKJV May sinners be consumed from the earth, And the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!
Malachi 4 NKJV 4 “For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves. 3 You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this,” Says the Lord of hosts.
Isaiah 1:16 NKJV “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,
Ezekiel 28 NKJV 18 “You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever.”
The New Testament Does Not Change from the Old Testament
We must keep this in mind when we investigate the NT. As Yeshua (Jesus) states KJV:
Luke 24 44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled,G4137 which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.G4137 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break G3089 one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
The same greek word G3089 for “break” is used here when talking about making rules in the church and makes the undeniable connection that the rules it says not to “break” or “loose” are the rules in the old testament.
Mat 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose G3089 on earth shall be loosed G3089 in heaven.
Mat 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose G3089 on earth shall be loosed G3089 in heaven.
Hence we see the word “fulfilled” as meaning the accomplishment of something, but not the passing away of something. The Law of Moses, and The Prophets, and The Psalms, remain after they have been fulfilled in Christ, for example:
Mat 8:17 KJV That it might be fulfilled G4137 which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
This is just to point out that everything remains unchanged by their fulfillment. (they are indeed not destroyed as Yeshua says) My point is that if the OT speaks against the concept of eternal torment, then that cannot change in the NT. However, let us examine some of the verses commonly used to argue for the modern concept of hell in the NT anyway. It is not my intent here to provide a full proof argument for an alternate interpretation but just give evidence for and provide a possibility for an alternate interpretation. This will be sufficient to resolve the contradiction and provide people with options for interpreting the Bible that are not contradictory.
New Testament Words Translated As “Hell”
The words that are translated into english in the NT as “hell” are “Hadēs,” “Tartarus,” and “Gehenna.” Hadēs is the mythological Greek underworld and is also the greek word which is used for “sheol” in the new testament e.g.
Act 2:27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.
Psa 16:10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
Probably the closest word in the Greek language to what we think of as hell is Tartarus (the reason I say closest, is because it is the bad part of Hadēs where people were punished) Hadēs is a more neutral concept but Tartarrus is only used once in the new testament here:
2 Pe 2:4 KJV For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, G5020 and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
And notice it isn’t even used as a place of judgement but a place to be stored until judgement.
Gehenna is a real place: gehinom
And the lake of fire is also probably a real place on earth. (see: http://www.askelm.com/secrets/sec106.htm and see: https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/questions/lake-of-fire/ ) Rico Cortes argues that the lake of fire symbolically corresponds to ancient legal devices to determine innocence or guilt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2V-Uf3v0aE )
With these three concepts, none on their own charactize eternal torment.
“Hell” Didn’t Mean Hell Originally
In fact even the english translation of hell may have meant something different in older meaning of the word:
Another interesting thing to note is that webster’s 1806 dictionary:
Hell, n. the place of the damned, the grave, prison
Here hell has the meaning of Sheol included. In addition from the Watchtower online library, they quote another version of webster’s dictionary:
“It is, in fact, because of the way that the word “hell” is understood today that it is such an unsatisfactory translation of these original Bible words. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, unabridged, under “Hell” says: “fr[om] . . . helan to conceal.” The word “hell” thus originally conveyed no thought of heat or torment but simply of a ‘covered over or concealed place.’ In the old English dialect the expression “helling potatoes” meant, not to roast them, but simply to place the potatoes in the ground or in a cellar.”
Interestingly enough both the Online Etymology Dictionary, and Google Entymology backs up part of their assertions:
“Old English hel, hell, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hel and German Hölle, from an Indo-European root meaning ‘to cover or hide.’”
Old English hel, helle, “nether world, abode of the dead, infernal regions,” from Proto-Germanic *haljo “the underworld” (cognates: f. Old Frisian helle, Dutch hel, Old Norse hel, German Hölle, Gothic halja “hell”) “the underworld,” literally “concealed place” (compare Old Norse hellir “cave, cavern”), from PIE *kel- (2) “to cover, conceal” (see cell).
The English word may be in part from Old Norse Hel (from Proto-Germanic *halija “one who covers up or hides something”), in Norse mythology the name of Loki’s daughter, who rules over the evil dead in Niflheim, the lowest of all worlds (nifl “mist”). Transfer of a pagan concept and word to a Christian idiom. In Middle English, also of the Limbus Patrum, place where the Patriarchs, Prophets, etc. awaited the Atonement. Used in the KJV for Old Testament Hebrew Sheol and New Testament Greek Hades, Gehenna. Used figuratively for “state of misery, any bad experience” since at least late 14c. As an expression of disgust, etc., first recorded 1670s.”
“cell (n.) Look up cell at Dictionary.com
early 12c., “small monastery, subordinate monastery” (from Medieval Latin in this sense), later “small room for a monk or a nun in a monastic establishment; a hermit’s dwelling” (c.1300), from Latin cella “small room, store room, hut,” related to Latin celare “to hide, conceal.”
The Latin word represents PIE root *kel- (2) “to cover, conceal” (cognates: Sanskrit cala “hut, house, hall;” Greek kalia “hut, nest,” kalyptein “to cover,” koleon “sheath,” kelyphos “shell, husk;” Latin clam “secret;” Old Irish cuile “cellar,” celim “hide,” Middle Irish cul “defense, shelter;” Gothic hulistr “covering,” Old English heolstor “lurking-hole, cave, covering,” Gothic huljan “cover over,” hulundi “hole,” hilms “helmet,” halja “hell,” Old English hol “cave,” holu “husk, pod”)…”
So we see that hell, is related to cell, which is in turn related to cellar: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=cellar which is an interesting connection to the fact that helling potatoes could mean just putting them in a place like a cellar.
Verses Used to Argue for Hell
If we don’t get any of this stuff about hell from the words themselves, where do we get it? Well we probably get it from the Greeks and their teaching that the human soul is nessesarilly immortal. (Judaism was quite Hellenized at the time of Jesus, no pun intended) The Bible specifies no such thing universally (you can get the idea that if some people have eternal life, then their souls must be immortal, however this is not true by nessesarilly for everyone)
Now let’s look at some common verses used to argue for the modern Christian concept of “hell.”
Matthew 25:41 (NKJV) 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: … 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Notice we have an immediate problem with the modern christian reading. Eternal life is contrasted with everlasting punishment, but that would mean the wicked would also attain eternal life. If you search for the word used for “punishment” “κόλασιν” in the septuagint you come up with these results:
Search result: κόλασιν
I John 4:18
The corrosponding hebrew words used in Jeremiah 18:20 is H2534 which means “wrath”.
for all but one of the passeages in Ezekiel it is H4383 which means “stumbling stone” http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H4383&t=KJV
for Ezekiel 43:11 it is H3637 which means “ashamed” http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3637&t=KJV
So we see the majority usage in the septuagint is the Hebrew for “stumbling stone.” This might even remind us of the word used in Romans 9:32 where christ is refered to as a stumbling stone. The words are however different.
In addition Liddle and Scott bring out a different possiblity for the meaning in the greek, which is:
“kol-a^sis, eôs, hê, checking the growth of trees, esp. almond-trees, Thphr.CP3.18.2 (pl.).”
So thus far, we have an implication of not nessesarilly torment or punishment but prunning, shame, stumbling, but what about the eternal part? Even if we take the fire literally here (which I don’t) that just means the fire here is said to be eternal but not the time people are in the fire. Also This passage from Daniel needs also to be considered:
Daniel 12 NKJV 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.
So yet another punishment is mentioned, that of contempt. The only other time this word is used is in this passage.
Isa 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring H1860 unto all flesh.
Now here we have two types of consuming forces mentioned. “Fire” and “worm.” One should notice that both of these things together are not possible: worms cannot survive in fire. When we have incompatible statements we can resolve the statements by taking them metaphorically and see what is common between them. The thing in common seems to be consumption, both worm and fire consume and destroy. The shame can be read as eternally shamed or that their memory is looked on with contempt, so this can coincide with their consumption. Although I find it quite interesting that the Bible would even bother mentioning shame and not mention eternal torment, since the latter is of so much more import than the former. I see a tension there that can be resolved by a metaphorical reading.
Anouther example of these coinciding metaphors appears in the passages where Isaiah is quoted:
Mk. 9:43-48 NKJV
43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 44 where
‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’
45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 46 where
‘Their worm does not die,
And the fire is not quenched.’
47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— 48 where
‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’
I mention these passages so we can kill two birds with one stone: If Isaiah is not talking about the afterlife, then neither are the passages that quote it. Keil and Deilitzch comment on Isiah 66:24 passage thusly:
“The prophet had predicted in Isaiah 66:18, that in the last times the whole multitude of the enemies of Jerusalem would be crowded together against it, in the hope of getting possession of it. This accounts for the fact that the neighbourhood of Jerusalem becomes such a scene of divine judgment. בּ ראה always denotes a fixed, lingering look directed to any object; here it is connected with the grateful feeling of satisfaction at the righteous acts of God and their own gracious deliverance. דראון, which only occurs again in Daniel 12:2, is the strongest word for “abomination.” It is very difficult to imagine the picture which floated before the prophet’s mind. How is it possible that all flesh, i.e., all men of all nations, should find room in Jerusalem and the temple? Even if the city and temple should be enlarged, as Ezekiel and Zechariah predict, the thing itself still remains inconceivable. And again, how can corpses be eaten by worms at the same time as they are being burned, or how can they be the endless prey of worms and fire without disappearing altogether from the sight of man? It is perfectly obvious, that the thing itself, as here described, must appear monstrous and inconceivable, however we may suppose it to be realized.”
Keil and Delitzsch don’t suppose instead that the passage could be metaphorical but say that it must be realized. And they imply (correctly in my view) that the passage has to do with the battle for Jerusalem also known as armegeddon in revelation.
John Gill also observers:
“… these are not the carcasses of the camp of Gog and Magog, the Jews so call, as Kimchi interprets it; though it may have reference to the carcasses of Gog’s army, the Turks, that will be slain in their attempt to recover Judea, Ezekiel 38:1 or else the carcasses of those that will be slain at the battle at Armageddon, Revelation 16:16 or the army of Gog and Magog, at the end of the thousand years, Revelation 20:8.”
So whichever way you take it (casualties of Armegeddon or the army of Gog and Magog) it is a reference to something happening on earth in the future, which makes the worm and fire almost certainly incompatible.
Rashi comments here:
“their worm: The worm that consumes their flesh.
and their fire: in Gehinnom.
and abhorring: Heb. דֵרָאוֹן, an expression of contempt. Jonathan, however, renders it as two words: enough (דֵּי) seeing (רְאִיָה), until the righteous say about them, We have seen enough.”
A Look at Revelation:
Revelation 14 NKJV 9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
While their torment is continual here, it does not specify how long a duration it is. The smoke rises forever, but that is metaphorical language also used elsewhere. See for example the parallel description in Revelation 18:18 and Revelation 19:3, the smoke of Babylon is described in both places to be rising forever even though Babylon is ultimately destroyed, and doesn’t burn forever. The smoke be a hyperbole that the destruction was very great or that it symbolizes an eternal remembrance of the destruction by the smoke being an eternal memorial. The lake of fire (which this may refer to) is probably a real place. (as we’ve seen before) In addition the fire here is used metaphorically. Look at:
Revelation 21 (YLT) 4 and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and the death shall not be any more, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor shall there be any more pain, because the first things did go away.’ 5 And He who is sitting upon the throne said, Lo, new I make all things; and He saith to me,Write, because these words are true and stedfast;’
Since the fire is on earth and he is making all things new it makes no sense for it to last forever.
In fact Revelation 14 is a quote from Isaiah 34:9-10 about the judgement of Edom, in NKJV:
Isaiah 34 NKJV 9Its streams shall be turned into pitch, And its dust into brimstone; Its land shall become burning pitch. 10 It shall not be quenched night or day; Its smoke shall ascend forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; No one shall pass through it forever and ever.
And this verse relates this future Judgement of Edom to the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorah in NKJV:
Jeremiah 49 NKJV 17 “Edom also shall be an astonishment; Everyone who goes by it will be astonished And will hiss at all its plagues. 18 As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah And their neighbors,” says the Lord, “No one shall remain there, Nor shall a son of man dwell in it.
Deuteronomy 29 NKJV 23 ‘The whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning; it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and His wrath.’
Genesis 19 NKJV 24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
The reason I point this out, is that Sodom and Gomorah is said to be destroyed by eternal fire:
Jude 1 NKJV 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
One way to resolve this problem of “why aren’t the fires of Sodom still burning?” is to say that the fire is not actually eternal, but infact a metaphor for eternal consumption. Sodom and Gomorah were destroyed, and that destruction was eternal (the people never came back or were revived), it was consumed, and that consumption wasn’t reversed (eternal consumption). That is why I think it is said to be destroyed by eternal metaphorical fire or… eternal consumption.
There are other examples of hyperbolic or metaphorical language in scripture such as this. When the word “hated” is used in the old testament it often means “loved less.”
Genesis 29 KJV 30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. 31 And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
This is to show that hyperbolic language is often used. Eternal fire could be the same way. Now for Revelation 20:
Revelation 20 NKJV 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
At first glance, you may see a problem for my argument especially when paired with the previously mentioned Matthew 25
Matthew 25:41 NKJV 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: … 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
However, observe that the devil and his angles aren’t nessesarilly made of the same stuff as others. Hence, they may indeed be tormented forever but others may be consumed instantly. In addition this is an expounding upon revelation 14:9-11 and not describing something new so we can’t read something contradictory to Revelation 14 here. (read Revelation 19:17-20:10 to see the parallel) This is similar to how Revelation 18:1-19:3 expounds upon Revelation 14:8. Also it says the beast, the false prophet, and the devil are tormented, and the beast is probably an abstract concept such as an empire, or a world system. (using the metaphors of beasts in the book of Daniel) So the implication here is that the torment may be abstract as well. The devil and his angels also seem to be treated differently by the lake of fire than humanity is, consider these verses:
Rev 20 NKJV “12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
When it says this is the “second death” we have to include this verse in our analysis:
Mat 10:28 KJV
And fear not them which kill G615 the body, but are not able to kill G615 the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
This indeed sounds like a second death: destruction of the soul, not eternal life with torment. Again we have the concepts of Death and the Hades (read “grave”) thrown into some physical place like Gehenna or The Dead Sea, this has to be metaphorical (probably for destruction) especially since the word second death is used. Hebrew words used for death here in the septuagint are: H01698, H04194, H06913, H01565, H04191
They all mean death or destruction. The first one H1698 which may be a little different is often translated as pestilence or plagues, but it is used to mean destruction as well. For example:
Hos 13:14 NKJV I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; H1698 O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
1Pe 1:7 NKJV That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, G4442 might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
One also needs to recall the material we have already reviewed regarding Isaiah 34 noticing that the terms “day” and “night” are again used and notice that with regards to Matthew 25. In addition to all this, the word for torment here may imply to test for quality or to destroy as well.
Taking the greek definition:
G928 βασανίζω – Strong’s Greek Lexicon Number
Derivation: from G931;
KJV Usage: pain, toil, torment, toss, vex.
1) to test (metals) by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal
2) to question by applying torture
3) to torture
4) to vex with grievous pains (of body or mind), to torment
5) to be harassed, distressed
5a) of those who at sea are struggling with a head wind
Encyclopedia Britannica: Alternate titles: Lydian stone; Lydite
Alternate titles: Lydian stone; Lydite
Touchstone, black siliceous stone used to ascertain the purity of gold and silver. Assaying by “touch” was one of the earliest methods employed to assess the quality of precious metals. The metal to be assayed is rubbed on the touchstone, adjacent to the rubbing on the touchstone of a sample of a metal of known purity. The streaks of metal left behind on the touchstone are then treated with nitric acid, which dissolves impurities, and thus, when the streaks are compared, the contrast between pure and impure metal is heightened. Because other metals, such as copper, can be alloyed to silver without significantly changing its colour, the touchstone method is not usually employed now to assay silver. It is still used, however, to assay gold and provides a reasonably accurate guide to quality.”
Or taking the corrosponding Hebrew definition that is often translated to mean “make desolate” or “destroy.”
G928 appears in the old testament:
But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed H8074 them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.
So whichever definition we take, either from the Greek or the hebrew, both have alternate definitions to torment. However, I must admit the way the word is used in this verse adds some difficulty to this possibility:
Revelation 9 NKJV
5 And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment G928 them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. 6 In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.
However, revelation is a highly metaphorical book in general. The rider of the horse that has the sword his mouth may be a symbol of the word of God going out to convert people. Hence revelation may use a militaristic metaphor to talk about spiritual warfare. See the previous series on Herb Montgomery Knowing this, it is interesting that a good number of the verses used to argue for the modern concept of hell (with eternal torment) come from revelation.
Check out the usage of fire in revelation 19 in NKJV:
Rev 19 NKJV 19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire G4442 burning with brimstone 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
http://studybible.info/search-interlinear/strongs/G4442 Here are a couple corrosponding hebrew words to this greek one:
With the first you will notice the usage in KJV: Exo 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire H784 out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, H784 and the bush was not consumed. Exo 12:10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. H784
What fire does is consume things, if it doesn’t, it is a miracle like the burning bush.
Also the word Brimstone Rev 19:20 is most often used to describe destruction, here in NKJV:
Job 18 NKJV 15 They dwell in his tent who are none of his; Brimstone is scattered on his dwelling. 16 His roots are dried out below, And his branch withers above. 17 The memory of him perishes from the earth, And he has no name among the renowned.
Isaiah 30 NKJV 27 Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar, Burning with His anger, And His burden is heavy; His lips are full of indignation, And His tongue like a devouring fire. 28 His breath is like an overflowing stream, Which reaches up to the neck, To sift the nations with the sieve of futility; And there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, Causing them to err. 29 You shall have a song As in the night when a holy festival is kept, And gladness of heart as when one goes with a flute, To come into the mountain of the Lord, To the Mighty One of Israel. 30 The Lord will cause His glorious voice to be heard, And show the descent of His arm, With the indignation of His anger And the flame of a devouring fire, With scattering, tempest, and hailstones. 31 For through the voice of the Lord Assyria will be beaten down, As He strikes with the rod. 32 And in every place where the staff of punishment passes, Which the Lord lays on him, It will be with tambourines and harps; And in battles of brandishing He will fight with it. 33 For Tophet was established of old, Yes, for the king it is prepared. He has made it deep and large; Its pyre is fire with much wood; The breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, Kindles it.
Ezekiel 38:22 And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
To summarize some of what is said here and in http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/eq/2001-1_021.pdf Revelation describes destructions:
Revelation 6:12-17, 11:15-18, 14:6-20, 16:17-21, 17:1-19:5, 19:6-20:21
There are many mappings from short to long descriptions of things:
Revelation 14 is the Judgement of Babylon (14:8) and expanded in 18:1-19:3
14:9-11 is expanded in 19:17-20:10.
14:12-13, is expanded in 20:11-21:8.
18 and 19 is of destruction and the expanded form in 14:6-11 cannot contradict this.
You will notice that the order in the Isaiah 34 is:
1 burning and brimstone
2 not quenched (no rest) day and night
3 ascending forever
Some argue that since 2 and 3 are reversed in revelation John is switching the emphasis to them having no rest day and night. However, there is another reason why John would modify the order and that is to preserve a certain structure. To quote Ralph G. Bowles:
“To see how John has structured this description of judgement
against the worshippers of the Beast, it is necessary to examine the
whole unit, Revelation 14:9-11. It can be set out in its inversion as follows:
(A) If anyone worships the beast and its image, and receives a
mark on his forehead or on his hand, (9)
(B) he also shall drink the wine of God's wrath, poured
unmixed into the cup of his anger, (lOa)
(C) he shall be tormented with fire and sulphur in the
presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the
(Ci) And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and
(Bi) and they have no rest, day or night, (l1b)
(Ai) these worshippers of the beast and its image, and whoever
receives the mark of its name. (l1c).
This pattern conforms to the recognised structure of introverted
parallelisms in the Bible. This structure has been described thus:
‘There are stanzas so constructed that, whatever be the number of
lines, the first line shall be parallel with the last; the second with the
penultimate; and so throughout, in an order that looks inward, or to
borrow a military phrase, from flanks to centre.’21 Using the marks of
this figure listed by K. Bailey, it is possible to trace the structure of
Revelation 14:9-11. The climax ofthe unit is found in the centre (the
tormenting destructive judgement by God’s fire)…”
Now lets look at Matthew 18
Matthew 18 NKJV 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
This one is in fact a parable, which cannot at all be read literally, hence the argument for hell here is especially weak, and one should note that hell is not portrayed as a torment that motivates you to pay back any sort of debt. However, even more prominent is the observation that this torment may not be in the afterlife at all but a consquence of the human conscience.
There are in fact just 4 texts that are used mainly for these types of arguments: Matthew 18:34-35; Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 14:10-11 and Revelation 20:10
The last thing we should deal with is the parable of lazarus. It is indeed a parable but some still use it to argue for a literal interpretation.
Luke 16:19-31 New King James Version (NKJV)
19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
I contend that this parable is directed at the hellenized Jews using their worldview to get a message across. Other problems that this parable brings up if taken literally is that there you will literally be able to see your relatives tormented while you are relaxing in heaven or “Abraham’s bosom.” Also why wasn’t this place called “Abraham’s bosom” mentioned before in the Bible?
Citation taken from Herb montgomory “Do I have to Believe in Hell?” https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/2015jesusdialogue/outlines/12doihavetobeleiveinhell.pdf Concentric Circles - Free to Think and ask Questions “In order to understand the parable in detail and as a whole, it is essential to recognize the first part derives from a well-known folk- material . . . This is the Egyptian folk-tale of the journey of Osiris, the son of Setme Chamois to the under-world . . . Alexandrian Jews brought this story to Palestine, where it became very popular as the story of the poor scholar and the rich publican Bar Ma’Jan.” - J.Jeremias, Parables p. 183
From what I know this was common in early hellenized Jewish literature:
Other early Jewish works adapt the Greek mythical picture of Hades to identify the righteous dead as being separated from unrighteous in the fires by a river or chasm. In the pseudo- epigraphical Apocalypse of Zephaniah the river has a ferryman equivalent to Charon in Greek myth, but replaced by an angel. On the other side in the Bosom of Abraham: “You have escaped from the Abyss and Hades, now you will cross over the crossing place… to all the righteous ones, namely Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Enoch, Elijah and David”
Herb Montgomery makes the connection that since God is an all consuming fire, and in the Song of Songs it says love is a fire
Song of Songs 8 (NKJV) 6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as [am]cruel as [an]the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame.
Since it says that God is love that being in the presence of God is the real fire that is spoken of. For instance Isaiah 33 talks about the everlasting burnings being the destination of all, but that only the righteous survive: (NKJV)
14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” 15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, He who despises the gain of oppressions, Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from seeing evil:
Isaiah 43 says something similar about the fire being for all and in this life:
1 But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
Here is the link to Herb Montgomery’s series. The ones I have drawn from are “Do I Have To Believe In Hell? Part 1″ and Do I Have To Believe In Hell? Part 2”
http://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb I’m paraphrasing (and analyzing in part) this series of lectures on Revelation by Herb Montgomery because it relates to the kingdom of God. My Bible study is discussing this series and I just now decided to start posting about it so I will be following along with them for the rest of the series on parts 12-17. I will post a summary during the week before we have Bible study Friday night and will update it after Bible study to account for anything else learned there. I will finish parts 1-11 on my own after 12-17. Hopefully I will be able to get the others to comment on those as well. Herb argues that there is a change in teaching in the new testament to pacifism–from the Tanahk (or Old Testament)–and argues that Revelation fits with this. This also interests me because our paper “Unless He Gives up All His Possessions” argues for a change in teaching in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) with regards to possessions but only due to a different situation arising after Christ. The TNIV translation is used unless otherwise noted. Links to the paraphrased material, lecture: https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/16alambonawhitehorse.mp3
Tonight Herb says he will cover four chapters that each need their own presentation but he will condense it to two presentations.
Revelation 19.11-21–Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a WHITE HORSE! Its RIDER is called Faithful and True, and in RIGHTEOUSNESS HE JUDGES and makes WAR.
This sounds not like a contradiction to the Lamb, the sermon on the mount, and a contradiction to . The promise the angels made when Jesus ascended in Acts 1 is that this same Jesus would come back as he ascended.
Revelation 2.13–I know where you are
living, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you are
holding fast to my name, and you did not
deny your faith in me even in the days of
Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who
was killed among you, where Satan lives.
The characteristic of someone who is faithful in Revelation is “Faithful unto death” This type of death is not passive, it holds the same action the imagery of the rider on the white horse. We choose non-violence because it is an active way of winning the war and of winning our enemies and winning that victory.
Psalms 45.3-6–Gird your SWORD on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty RIDE FORTH VICTORIOUSLY in the cause of TRUTH, HUMILITY and JUSTICE; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. Let your sharp arrows PIERCE THE HEARTS OF THE KING’S ENEMIES; let the NATIONS FALL BENEATH YOUR FEET. Your throne, O God, will last FOR EVER AND EVER; a scepter of JUSTICE will be the scepter of your KINGDOM.
Revelation 19.11-21. . . , and in RIGHTEOUSNESS HE JUDGES and makes WAR. . .
Psalms 98.9– [New Song]He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.
This is not retributive justice but restorative justice.
Psalms 96.10– [New Song] Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.
Psalms 58.1–Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge people with equity? No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out VIOLENCE on the earth.
The implication is that if you deal in justice and equity your hands will not mete out violence.
2 Corinthians 10.4–The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
Ephesians 6.12–For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but
against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
In other-words, the enemies that we are fighting against are not genuinely our enemies. If it has flesh and blood even if it’s attacking you it is just a conduit of the real enemy.
Let’s say there’s a tussle with someone breaking into my home and intending to do my family harm but when the mask is ripped off it’s my sixteen year old daughter. Every person is like the sixteen year old son or daughter of God. It’s active warfare.
Revelation 12.7-9–And there was WAR in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
The root word used for “war” here is πόλεμος (polemos) and is where we get our word “politics.” Herb saying John is essentially saying: “remember the war being fought here is not a literal war.”
Revelation 19.11-21 . . .His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems [crowns]; and he has a name inscribed that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in A ROBE DIPPED IN BLOOD, and his name is called The Word of God. And the ARMIES OF HEAVEN, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. FROM HIS MOUTH comes a sharp SWORD with which to STRIKE DOWN THE NATIONS, and he will REIGN OVER THEM with iron SCEPTER [rather than rod] ; he will TREAD THE WINE PRESS OF THE FURY OF THE WRATH OF GOD THE ALMIGHTY. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly in mid-heaven, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of the mighty, the flesh of horses and their riders–flesh of all, both free and slave, both small and great.” Then I saw the BEAST and THE KINGS OF THE EARTH with THEIR ARMIES gathered to make WAR against THE RIDER ON THE HORSE and against HIS ARMY. And the BEAST was captured, and with it the false PROPHET who had performed in its presence the signs by which he deceived those who had received the MARK of the BEAST and those who WORSHIPED its IMAGE. These two were thrown ALIVE into the LAKE OF FIRE that burns with sulfur. And the rest were KILLED by the SWORD of the rider on the horse, THE SWORD THAT CAME FROM HIS MOUTH; and ALL THE BIRDS WERE GORGED WITH THEIR FLESH.
Herb says don’t jump to conclusions yet. He asks what it means to be slain by a sword coming out of someone’s mouth?
Isaiah 11.4–But with righteousness he will JUDGE the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the ROD of his MOUTH; with the breath of his LIPS he will slay the wicked.
God’s justice here is not retributive it’s restorative. God is not punishing the needy for being needy.
Revelation 2.16–Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you
and will fight against them with the SWORD of my MOUTH.
This is what God says he will do with his Church if they do not repent.
Psalms 2.1-9–Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will BREAK them with a ROD of iron ; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
When John quotes this he doesn’t use the work “break” we will see why in just a moment.
Isaiah 63.1-6–Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.”Why are your garments red,like those of one treading the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress ALONE; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. It was for me the day of vengeance; the year for me to redeem had come. I looked, but
there was NO ONE TO HELP, I was appalled that no one gave support;
so my own arm achieved salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me.
John takes this violent imagery of blood coming up to the horses bridal for 16,000 stadia and changes it subtly. Notice he is not using the one treading the winepress alone in Revelation he is there with his army.
Ezekiel 39.17-20–As for you, mortal, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every kind and to all the wild animals: Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth–of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. You shall eat fat until you are filled, and drink blood until you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with warriors and all kinds of soldiers, says the Lord GOD.
This shows the rider destroys all of God’s enemies but the question is how does he destroy them?
Psalms 59.7–See what they spew from their mouths–the words from their LIPS are SHARP AS SWORDS, and they think, “Who can hear us?”
Job 5.15–He saves the needy from the SWORD IN THEIR MOUTH; he
saves them from the clutches of the powerful.
Isaiah 49.2-5–He made MY MOUTH LIKE A SHARPENED SWORD,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver . . . to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him
Notice the sharpened sword that came out of the mouth of Isaiah was not to physically kill Israel but to turn Israel back to their God.
Hebrews 4.12–For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Psalms 149.6–May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword IN THEIR HANDS,
Revelation 2.16–Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you
and will fight against them with THE SWORD OF MY MOUTH.
Revelation 1.16–In his right hand he held seven stars, and COMING
OUT OF HIS MOUTH WAS A SHARP, DOUBLE EDGED SWORD.
His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
Revelation 19.15–Coming out of HIS MOUTH is a sharp sword with
which to strike down the nations. “He will REIGN OVER THEM with an
iron SCEPTER.” He treads the WINEPRESS of the fury of the wrath of
Psalms 2.7-9–I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You
are my son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make THE
NATIONS YOUR HERITAGE, and the ends of the earth your POS-
SESSION. You shall BREAK them with a rod of iron, and dash them in
pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Luke 17.7–Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or TENDING sheep in the field, `Come here at once and take your place at the table’?
1 Corinthians 9.7–Who at any time pays the expenses for doing military service? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its fruit? Or who TENDS a flock and does not get any of its milk?
Matthew 2.6–And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a RULER who is to SHEPHERD my people Israel.
John 21.16–A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you
love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus
said to him, “TEND my sheep.”
Revelation 2.26,27–To everyone who is victorious and continues to
do my works to the end, I will give authority over THE NATIONS; to
REIGN OVER [shepherd] them with an iron SCEPTER . . .
Revelation 3.21–To the one who victorious I will give a place WITH
ME on MY throne, just as I myself was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
He can’t wipe out the nations and then rule them. Herb argues that the word in Psalms can be translated as “rod,” “scepter,” and “staff.”
Revelation 20.1-3–And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the ABYSS and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the DRAGON, that ancient SERPENT, who is the DEVIL, or SATAN, and bound him for a THOUSAND YEARS. He threw him into the ABYSS, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from DECEIVING THE NATIONS anymore UNTIL the thousand years were ENDED. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
Each one of the schools of thought we talked about post-Constantine has a way of interpreting the millennium. Of all the teachers in the new testament the millennium is only mentioned by one. John does not give us enough information to solve the questions surrounding this.
Exodus 20.4-6–You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATION of those who hate me, but showing love to A THOUSAND GENERATIONS of those who love me and keep my commandments.
John is contrasting God’s judgement with his restorative justice. The devil is allowed to reign for 3.5 years (Rev 11 and 13) but the church is allowed to reign for a thousand. However, in Rev 20 the promise in Ex 20 is fulfilled.
Revelation 20.4-6–I saw THRONES on which were seated those who
had been given authority to JUDGE [Reign, see Psalms 96 & 98]. And I saw the SOULS of those who had been beheaded because of their TESTIMONY about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had NOT worshiped the BEAST or his IMAGE and had not received his MARK on their foreheads or their hands. THEY CAME TO LIFE and REIGNED with Christ A THOUSAND YEARS. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. THE SECOND DEATH HAS NO CLAIM OVER THEM, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign WITH him for A THOUSAND YEARS.
Some people in the early church took the millennium metaphorically and some took it literally. Herb says that he thinks John doesn’t give us enough information to decide. We need to be careful about making definitive statements about the millennium just from this passage. This is directed to a specific group (martyrs).
Revelation 6.9,10–When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the SOULS of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and vindicate our blood?”
It says that they will reign over the nations from Rev 19 so that king of muddies the waters.
Daniel 7.9-14–“As I looked, “THRONES were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of FIRE was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and THE BOOKS were opened. Then I continued to watch because of the BOASTFUL words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until THE BEAST was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.) In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a SON OF MAN, COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and SOVEREIGN power; ALL NATIONS AND PEOPLES OF EVERY LANGUAGE WORSHIPED HIM. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Revelation 11.11–But after the three and a half days the breath of life
from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.
The imagery revelation gives in a first century setting is that after they are raised they will reign with Christ for a thousand years.
Revelation 3.21–To those who are victorious, I will give the right to sit
with me on MY THRONE, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Daniel 7.18–But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the king-
dom and possess the kingdom forever–forever and ever.”
Daniel 7.21-22–I looked, this horn made war with the holy ones and was prevailing over them, until the Ancient One came; then judgment [reign, soveriegn power] was given to THE HOLY ONES of the Most High, and the time arrived when THE HOLY ONES gained possession of the king-dom.
Daniel 7.26-27–“`But the court will sit, and his [the beast’s] power will
be TAKEN AWAY, CONSUMED and completely DESTROYED forever.
Then the SOVEREIGNTY, power and greatness of all the kingdoms
under heaven will be handed over TO THE HOLY PEOPLE of the Most
High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and ALL RULERS
WILL WORSHIP AND OBEY HIM.’
Who’s going to rule for a thousand years? The holy people.
Daniel 7.14–He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; ALL NATIONS AND PEOPLES OF EVERY LANGUAGE WORSHIPED HIM.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Those who take part in the second resurrection it says death has no claim over them.
John 14.30–I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this
world is coming. He has no CLAIM over me
Hebrews 2.14,15–Since, therefore, the
children share flesh and blood, he himself
likewise shared the same things, so that
through death he might destroy THE
ONE WHO HAS THE POWER OF
DEATH, THAT IS, THE DEVIL, and
free those who all their lives were held in
slavery by the fear of death.
When the lamb dies it defeats the dragon frees all those who are being held captive by the dragon. Do you see a parallel in revelation 20.
Acts 2.24–But God RAISED HIM UP,
having freed him from death, because
it was IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO BE
HELD IN ITS POWER [CLAIM].
Those two witness for a metaphorical three and half years like Jesus did. They have the power to use the methods of Elijah and Moses but they choose to use the methods of the lamb. The beast will kill the two witnesses but that is good for the lamb. Jesus didn’t see his death as a failure but what must be done to overcome the enemy. Remember all the inhabitants of the earth are celebrating and after three and half days the breath of God comes into these two witnesses (the church) there’s a great earthquake a tenth of the city falls 7,000 perish and what happens to the survivors? They fear the God of heaven and give him glory.
What we are seeing in Revelation 20 is the first resurrection in Revelation 11. Herb says to get lost in the story and put aside different doctrinaire interpretations of Revelation. He specifically says of the historicist position “That’s not what John’s doing” This may contradict something he said earlier where he seems to leave on the possibility for a futurist/historicist interpretation of Revelation. However, he is probably emphasizing a matter of weight. John’s weight of importance is on the story not on giving us predictions of the future (if that is even what John is doing)
After this the white rider comes and kills all the enemies which is another way of describing the war of the lamb. (he dies to defeat his enemies) Herb says remember there is going to be another resurrection for those who were slain for not worshiping the beast and his image. (the martyrs) John is not concerned with giving you imagery that symbolizes the resurrection when Jesus comes back. He is trying to just tell a story with different metaphors and imagery that will inspire you to continue to follow the Lamb. This is why there is so much debate over how the millennium is really going to happen. Every time you try to apply the millennium to real history it produces more questions than answers.
http://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb I’m paraphrasing (and analyzing in part) this series of lectures on Revelation by Herb Montgomery because it relates to the kingdom of God. My Bible study is discussing this series and I just now decided to start posting about it so I will be following along with them for the rest of the series on parts 12-17. I will post a summary during the week before we have Bible study Friday night and will update it after Bible study to account for anything else learned there. I will finish parts 1-11 on my own after 12-17. Hopefully I will be able to get the others to comment on those as well. Herb argues that there is a change in teaching in the new testament to pacifism–from the Tanahk (or Old Testament)–and argues that Revelation fits with this. This also interests me because our paper “Unless He Gives up All His Possessions” argues for a change in teaching in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) with regards to possessions but only due to a different situation arising after Christ. The TNIV translation is used unless otherwise noted. Links to the paraphrased material, lecture: https://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb?msds_pif_cat=empireandthelamb
This building is not the church this is just a building the church meets in. Herb thanks everyone in the church and the Bliss family whom he stayed with. The Book of Revelation is not as many have taken it to be. It is not about an angry God come back to take vengence but a lamb. The Lamb takes vengeance but it is of a different nature. The way a lamb takes vengeance on it’s enemies is through the non-cooperative principles of non-violence but with the aim of destroying his enemies by making them his friends. The early church would have seen this violent imagery of the old testament that John turns on its head and gives it new meaning.
Revelation 18.1-8–After this I saw another angel coming down from
heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendor. He called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! . . .
This is imagery has been stolen from the Tanahk. In the same way that Israel was going to brought of captivity to Babylon we see in Revelation that every nation tribe and tongue will be brought out of captivity to Babylon. Likewise he is using the exodus imagery to talk about all nations being brought out of slavery to Babylon.
. . . It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird, a haunt of every foul and hateful beast. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxury.”
The Lamb of God is an itinerant teacher announcing that there is a new kingdom being established which is a radical new way of structuring society and life in general.
Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and so that you do not share in HER PLAGUES; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her as she herself has rendered, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed. As she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, so give her a like measure of torment and grief.
Ezekiel 16 The sins of Sodom were that they were overfed and unconcerned.
Since in her heart she says, `I rule as a queen; I am no widow, and I will never see grief,’ therefore HER PLAGUES will come in a single day–pestilence and mourning and famine– and she will be burned with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”
Revelation 18.9-10–And THE KINGS OF THE EARTH, . . .
This is who were are told in Rev 21 will leave Babylon and bring all their glory into the new Jerusalem.
. . . who committed fornication and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning; they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas, alas, the great city, Babylon, the mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.”
Response to the fall of Babylon is mourning because the kings of this earth are invested in the way of life. Luke 6 sermon on the plane, blessed are you who poor, mourn, are hungry, but What Jesus would accomplish would take the downtrodden and the marginalized of this world. Woe to you who are benefiting by their abuse. Those who are benefiting from creating poverty.
Merchants of the earth were benefiting from the luxury of Rome.
Revelation 18.11-16–And THE MERCHANTS OF THE EARTH weep
and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels and pearls, fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet, all kinds of scented wood, all articles of ivory, all articles of costly wood, bronze, iron, and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, choice flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, slaves–HUMAN LIVES. ” . . .
What John is doing here is not critiquing Rome or the killing of the Lamb’s followers. He is engaging in an economic critique that the luxury wealthy people live in perpetrates abuse on the rest of the world.
. . .The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your dainties and your splendor are lost to you, never to be found again!” The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, “Alas, alas, the great city, clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in one hour all this wealth has been laid waste!”
Herb reads from “Climax of Prophecy” by Richard Bauckham. Gold: Rome imported gold especially from Spain where most of the mines had become state property during the first century. Sometimes by highly dubious means of confiscation. The use of gold was one of the commonly noticed features of the growth of extravagant luxury among the wealthy families of Rome during the first century. In one of the periodic attempts to curb this they had a law against the use solid gold plates at private diner parties. Pliny complains that even the ceilings of private houses are covered in Gold . . . With the place of gold at the head of John’s list it is worth noting the Eumolpus. . . If there were any land that promised a yield of gold, that place was Rome’s enemy. Fate stood ready for the sorrows of war and the quest of wealth went on. Herb asks if there are parallels between that today.
The case of silver was similar to that of gold. Pliny associated silver with the luxury of the Roman rich remarking on the fashions of silver plated couches, baths made of pure silver, the common use of silver for serving food. . . Precious stones in John’s day came from India so people in Rome were pillaging so that they could live in extravagance. The emperor Tiberius in his letter to the senate about Roman extravagance in 22 AD referred to that special feature of Roman extravagance that transfer of currency for jewels to often hostile nations but Rome owed it to her empire that she could afford those expensive imports from beyond the empire.
Under the lamb we have to question is our pursuit of happiness coming at the price of human lives around the globe? Maybe John was more green than we thought, maybe John was more concerned economically than we thought. One thing in Rome was to dissolve a pearl in vinegar or alcohol and then drink it for the thrill of wasting so much money. The merchants of the earth will weep. This is John’s critique of empire in the first century. God hated the bricks of Egypt not because he’s against mortar but because he is against the cost of human lives. He hated the empire of Babylon and the stonework of Babylon not because he hates stone but because of the cost of human lives. There have been Christians in the last 100 years that have realized that every purchasing decision I make is a moral decision.
Revelation 18.17-19–And ALL SHIPMASTERS AND SEAFARERS,
SAILORS AND ALL WHOSE TRADE IS ON THE SEA, stood far off
and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the GREAT CITY?” And they threw dust on their heads, as they wept and mourned, crying out, “Alas, alas, the great city, where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in one hour she has been laid waste.
What is John doing here? Who are the mourners? The ship captains the ship owners and the kings of this earth. Remember they are invested in the way Babylon is doing life.
Revelation 18.20–Rejoice over her, O heaven, you saints and apostles
and prophets! For God has given judgment for you against her.” Then
a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into
the sea, saying, “With such violence Babylon THE GREAT CITY will be
thrown down, and will be found no more; and the sound of harpists and minstrels and of flutists and trumpeters will be heard in you no more; and an artisan of any trade will be found in you no more; and the sound of the millstone will be heard in you no more; and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more; and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more; for your MERCHANTS were the MAGNATES of the earth, and ALL NATIONS were deceived by your sorcery. And in you was found THE BLOOD OF PROPHETS AND OF SAINTS, and of ALL who have been slaughtered on earth.”
Revelation 19:1-10—After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power to our God, for his judgments are true and just; he has judged the GREAT WHORE who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has vindicated on her the blood of his servants.” Once more they said, “Hallelujah! The smoke goes up from her forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who is seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, and all who fear him, small and great.” Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of THE LAMB has come, and his bride has made her-
self ready; to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure”– for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of THE LAMB.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades who hold THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS. Worship God! For the testimony of JESUS is the spirit of prophecy.”
If your interpretation of the Book of Revelation gives you different picture of God than the one Jesus gives on the sermon on the mount: the God who causes the sun to shine on the wicked and the God, the God who sends rain on the unkind and the just. Who kind to the unthankful and seeks to win them not destroy them. . . I know some of you need to die somewhere, but what about the book of Jonah? Would you be ticked off if God did not decide to destroy them? Jonah didn’t want the Ninevites in the kingdom with him. Herb suggests that if you are like Jonah and see something very different in Revelation than in the teachings of Jesus that you are misinterpreting the metaphorical Revelation. Some did indeed view it as complex to interpret (suggesting an allegorical interpretation) http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/201/2010243.htm also see: http://global.oup.com/obso/focus/focus_on_revelation/ It’s interesting that the main debate among scholars is about whether the beast represents Rome or Israel and not about if there’s some literal future fulfillment of these things: https://blog.adw.org/2012/11/why-the-modern-view-of-the-book-of-revelation-may-be-flawed/
Herb Montgomery asserts that in the Psalms the word used in “break” for “break them with a rod of iron” while in Revelation it is “tend” or “shepherd.” It is true that the Greek word can have that meaning and the Hebrew is certainly translated as “break”
“Thou shalt break H7489 them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psa 2:9 KJV)
However, in the Septuagint the same word is used to translate the Hebrew as is used in Revelation:
“You shall tend G4165 them with a rod of iron; as vessels of a potter you shall break them.” (Psalms 2:9 ABP)
This shows that John is most likely not trying to modify the original meaning of the verse. He is either quoting the Septuagint or (if it was written in Hebrew) he is most likely quoting the same Hebrew word in Psalms which got translated the exact same way. I think Herb’s point still stands in that breaking the nations could simply not refer to the people but to the power structure they serve.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV)
Herb goes on to say “if your interpretation of the book of revelation gives you a different picture of God than the picture of God you see in Jesus then choose Jesus and allow Jesus to recast and reframe how the book of Revelation is interpreted.”
John purposely lists the mourning of those invested in a way of life that is coming to an end and he purposely contrasts that with the rejoicing of the following of the lamb. Herb asks us which side we would be on if a great empire supporting our luxurious way of life falls. For instance, for Americans, who would you sympathize with? the fall of America (which is ultimately necessary for the Lamb’s kingdom to reign in the end) or will you rejoice because the Lamb’s kingdom has come?
Herb says we’ve started saying that the exceptions are the rule and that it’s not possible for most Christians to care for the poor and be pacifists because the teachings of Jesus are too radical and it’s only those who are called that are required.
http://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb I’m paraphrasing (and analyzing in part) this series of lectures on Revelation by Herb Montgomery because it relates to the kingdom of God. My Bible study is discussing this series and I just now decided to start posting about it so I will be following along with them for the rest of the series on parts 12-17. I will post a summary during the week before we have Bible study Friday night and will update it after Bible study to account for anything else learned there. I will finish parts 1-11 on my own after 12-17. Hopefully I will be able to get the others to comment on those as well. Herb argues that there is a change in teaching in the new testament to pacifism–from the Tanahk (or Old Testament)–and argues that Revelation fits with this. This also interests me because our paper “Unless He Gives up All His Possessions” argues for a change in teaching in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) with regards to possessions but only due to a different situation arising after Christ. The TNIV translation is used unless otherwise noted. Links to the paraphrased material, lecture: https://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb?msds_pif_cat=abeastanditsfalseprophet
Herb begins by stating that his burden is to give you a foundation to help you learn to interpret the book of Revelation for yourself without taking it at face value like the early church fathers were afraid Christians would.
Revelation 16.17-21–The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the
air,and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “IT IS DONE!” Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No EARTHQUAKE like it has ever
occurred since the human race has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The GREAT CITY split into THREE PARTS, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered BABYLON THE GREAT and gave HER the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his WRATH. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge HAILSTONES, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they CURSED GOD ON ACCOUNT OF THE PLAGUE OF HAIL, because the plague was so terrible.
Revelation 11.13–At that moment there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest feared the God of Heaven and gave glory to Him.
In Revelation 11:13 it says that at that moment there was a great earthquake and not a third but a tenth of the city fell. This is odd because you have two descriptions of the fall of Babylon that are very different and result in different things: “CURSED GOD ON ACCOUNT OF THE PLAGUE OF HAIL” verses “feared the God of heaven and gave him glory.” Remember this progression at the end of the seals: peals of thunder, lighting, rumblings and an earthquake, at trumpets you have peals of thunder lightning, rumbling, an earthquake and hail. Here you don’t see anything added you see the hail and earthquake expounded. What’s the third thing we are looking for, John is just saying that the story isn’t finished.
Revelation 16.9–They were scorched by the fierce heat, but they
CURSED THE NAME OF GOD, who had authority over these plagues,
and THEY DID NOT REPENT AND GIVE HIM GLORY.
Revelation 16.11–And CURSED THE GOD OF HEAVEN because
of their pains and sores, and THEY DID NOT REPENT OF THEIR
Revelation 16.21–And huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, dropped from heaven on people, until THEY CURSED GOD FOR THE PLAGUE OF THE HAIL, SO TERRIBLE WAS THAT PLAGUE.
Is what God wants accomplished here? The plagues accomplish hardening, while God wants to accomplish the conversion of the nations. Herb uses this as a contrast between the methods of the Tanahk and the Brit Chadasha (i.e. old and new testaments) that while these plagues must happen John is contrasting the death and Resurrection of Christ and his followers with the might and power and punishment God uses against Pharaoh in the first exodus in the Tanahk.
Zechariah 4.6–He said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: . . .
Remember the battle cry of the Lamb:
Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the LORD of hosts.
John 19.28– . . . in order that what is written in Scripture might happen
. . .
The plagues were given that the wrath of God might happen.
Luke 1.45– . . . happy is the one who believes that what has been spoken to her by the Lord will be made to happen . . .
The plagues were given that the wrath of God might happen. It is the same Greek phrase in Rev 15:21 where he says these plagues are poured out and they are called last because through them the wrath of God will happen. The wrath of God is the wrath of a Lamb like the wrath of Ghandi. How does non-violence need to work? Starting in South Africa the Indians had to burn their passports in order to provoke a violent response from the government so they could be killed in protest. Ghandi also protested in India by making salt. Herb suggests the documentary: “A Force More Powerful” about non-violence. In order for Martin Luther King’s non-violent army to be able to respond they needed to provoke a violence. What is the salt march, the sit in, or the freedom-ride in the Jesus story? It is when he walks into the Jerusalem Temple and flips over the tables and the Temple police finally arrest him in Gethsemani: “18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death,19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles tomock and toscourge and tocrucify. And the third day He willrise again.”” (Matt 20:18-29) He says this before he turns over tables in the temple in Matthew 21:12 What subject are we talking about in Revelation 15 and 16? These are the seven last plagues. What God is setting out to accomplish is not accomplished through the plagues however like Ghandi and King and the cleansing of the temple it provoked a violent response that Christians could use to their advantage by responding with non-violence. They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and their testimony and they did not love their lives till death as it says. (implying a non-violent response) God and his followers allow themselves to be slain by their enemies. Two witnesses are talked of by the people: “these ones who have tormented us we have killed” again torment is mentioned by not killing.
The sixth plague is the drying up of the river Euphrates so that the kings of the east can come and the seventh plague is the fall of Babylon. The parallel is that Revelation 17 is an expounding of the 6th plague while Rev 18 is about the fall of Babylon or Rome. Revelation 17 expounds on the 6th plague Revelation 18 is expounding on 7th plague.
Revelation 17.1-6–One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls
came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a SCARLET beast . . .
This is a different beast than Rev 13. It is still the legend of Nero returning just a different legend.
. . . that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. SHE HELD A GOLDEN CUP in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES, AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw that the woman was DRUNK WITH THE BLOOD OF GOD’S PEOPLE, THE BLOOD OF THOSE WHO BORE TESTIMONY TO JESUS
Revelation 17.6—When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. Then the
angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the
mystery of THE WOMAN and of THE BEAST she rides, which has the even heads and ten horns. THE BEAST, which you saw, once WAS, now IS NOT, and WILL COME up out of the ABYSS and go to its destruction.
This beast is Nero having returned but this time it is the East’s version of the Parthians conquering Rome.
. . . The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be ASTONISHED WHEN THEY SEE THE BEAST, because it once WAS, now IS NOT, and yet WILL COME. HERE IS THE INTELLEGENCE WHICH HAS WISDOM. The SEVEN HEADS are SEVEN HILLS on which the WOMAN sits. They are also SEVEN KINGS. Five have fallen [Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus. | Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero], one is [Domitian | Current], the other has not yet come [Next]; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once WAS, and now IS NOT, is an EIGHTH king. He BELONGS TO THE SEVEN and is going to his destruction. The ten horns you saw are TEN KINGS WHO HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED A KINGDOM, but who for one hour will receive authority AS KINGS ALONG WITH THE BEAST.
Quoting from Nero legend of the east where the kings of Pathia come and rule with Nero. “Was now is not and will come” is a quote from Rev 4:8, 1:4, 1:8
Revelation 4.8– . . . Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who WAS, and IS, and is TO COME.
Revelation 1.4–John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who WAS, and who IS, and who is TO COME . . .
Revelation 1.8 –“I am the Alpha and the
Omega,” says the Lord God, “who IS, and
who WAS, and who is TO COME, the Almighty.”
John is now showing that Nero is a counterfeit of the Lamb in the legend of the east just like he did for the west. In the west’s legend he is showing Nero is a counterfeit of the one who was slain and resurrected. In the east’s Nero legend he uses it to show Nero is a counterfeit of him who is coming back. So regardless of which legend you use the legend isn’t true.
HERE IS THE INTELLEGENCE WHICH HAS WISDOM.
He uses the same phrase here:
Revelation 13.8–HERE IS WISDOM.
LET HIM WHO HAS INTELLIGENCE
calculate the number of the beast, for it is
the number of a person. Its number is six
He is referencing “Neron Ceasar” (alternate title of Nero) and “beast” which both add up to 666 in both places. (616 is “Nero Ceasar”) He’s quoting that and saying he’s talking about the same person, different legend but same person:
The SEVEN HEADS are SEVEN HILLS on which the WOMAN sits.
The woman they would have seen as the Roman empire. Were these kings in this return of Nero coming to overtake and bring the downfall of Rome.
They are also SEVEN KINGS. Five have fallen
Now you have one of two options: there had been 5 kings really 6 starting from Nero: [ Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus. ] one is [Domitian], or it is: [Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero] one is [Nero or Vespasian?] Herb says that there is evidence for both dates Vespasian’s/Nero’s? or Domitian’s reign. I put a question mark by Vespasian because I have usually heard Nero’s reign talked about as a possible date and since in that case Herb is saying he was part of the fallen King’s. However, I also see a mention on Wikipedia of Vespasian’s reign as being a possibility. It is possible that the current emperor mention is Nero and he is listed with the five fallen kings if the legends of his return had already started at that time. (people didn’t believe he was really dead and that he was the rightful emperor)
the other has not yet come [Next]; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once WAS, and now IS NOT, is an EIGHTH king. He BELONGS TO THE SEVEN and is going to his destruction. The ten horns you saw are TEN KINGS WHO HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED A KINGDOM, but who for one hour will receive authority AS KINGS ALONG WITH THE BEAST. They have one purpose and will GIVE THEIR POWER AND AUTHORITY TO THE BEAST. They will make WAR AGAINST THE LAMB, BUT THE LAMB WILL TRIUMPH OVER THEM BECAUSE HE IS LORD OF LORDS AND KING OF KINGS–AND WITH HIM WILL BE HIS CALLED, CHOSEN AND FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS.”
This is when the kings of the east come. In the legend the king’s of the east have one purpose: to give their authority and power to Nero (the beast). John’s message is not to put your hope in Nero (or empire). Your hope is not in the success of America. America will have to die to for God’s kingdom win eventually. Herb says we should be pledging allegiance to the Lamb’s kingdom first. As beautiful as America is you are not to put your hope in America. This was the point for the early church with Nero and as you can see this still applies today. Preterists say that Revelation was all fulfilled but this doesn’t make it irrelevant to us: it is really about not following empire. Herb says we Christians are acting more like the lamb-like beast who is in cohorts with the empire rather than standing with the lamb. Jesus carries no flag and belongs to no kingdom.
Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, ARE PEOPLES, MULTITUDES, NATIONS AND LANGUAGES. The beast and the ten horns you saw will HATE THE PROSTITUTE. [they will attack Rome]
Do not fear even if the Pathians attack Rome, even if Rome is ransacked your last great hope is not Rome or the Parthians because the Lamb will triumph in the end. John is saying “try your best, choose the legend of the east or choose the legend of the west it doesn’t matter your last great hope is not Nero.”
They will bring HER TO RUIN AND LEAVE HER NAKED; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled. The woman you saw is THE GREAT CITY that rules over THE KINGS OF THE EARTH.”
This is Babylon, they would have seen this as being ancient Rome. Herb says he will cover Revelation 18 tomorrow morning. Rev 18 is one of the most relevant chapters in Revelation for American Christians. Rev 18 does stand alone which is good because everyone will be here tomorrow. Tomorrow night, bring back the handout on the rider on the white horse which is the most violent imagery used in the book of Revelation. However, what you are going to see is that John flips it on it’s head showing that it is actually a lamb not breaking the nations but ruling or shepherding the nations. We will cover 19 tomorrow night and 20, and 21 is the new Jerusalem, and 22 which is the closing of the book. Then you will have been through a crash course on the book of Revelation and will see how it would have motivated the early church to continue following the Lamb and the non-violent teachings of Jesus.
http://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb I’m paraphrasing (and analyzing in part) this series of lectures on Revelation by Herb Montgomery because it relates to the kingdom of God. My Bible study is discussing this series and I just now decided to start posting about it so I will be following along with them for the rest of the series on parts 12-17. I will post a summary during the week before we have Bible study friday night and will update it after Bible study to account for anything else learned there. I will finish parts 1-11 on my own after 12-17. Hopefully I will be able to get the others to comment on those as well. Herb argues that there is a change in teaching in the new testament to pacifism–from the Tanahk (or Old Testament)–and argues that Revelation fits with this. This also interests me because our paper “Unless He Gives up All His Possessions” argues for a change in teaching in the Christian writings (New Testament) with regards to possessions but only due to a different situation arising after Christ. The TNIV translation is used unless otherwise noted. Links to the paraphrased material, lecture: https://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb?msds_pif_cat=abeastanditsfalseprophet
UPDATE 2018-09-18: Added section on why the book of Revelation’s canonicity was argued against by some early Christians.
. . .
Herb defends his statement, paraphrased: “God truly looks like a lamb and is non-violent.” He says the reason people object to this is that we don’t believe that the ethical non-violent teachings of Jesus will work. Note, Herb has an interesting take on the Tanahk: that God basically met people where they were and didn’t reveal his true character through the prophets and that only Christ reveals God’s true character. (see Hebrews 1) He states that Revelation doesn’t give you more than a non-violent character for God and that even with Rev 19 and the white rider imagery John is flipping it on its head by taking violent passages from the Tanahk but when John actually looks he sees a lamb instead of the violent context we think he’s implying. I have some disagreements here that I’ll have to summarize later but I should state that I love Herb’s lectures and this is my absolute favorite interpretation of the book of Revelation done by anyone I’ve heard.
He does not think the first Christians saw the first beast as Nero as he was because Nero was dead. However, it is Nero’s return which John is referencing. John’s argument is that no matter which legend of Nero is true: returning to restore Rome or returning with the Parthians to fight against it, the last great hope of the world is the Lamb not Nero. The book of revelation is an attack against Christian support for empire. America is being touted as the last great hope for this world but for followers of the Lamb to buy into that rhetoric is unacceptable. America is not the kingdom of God. Empire is seductive and can suck you in in ways you are not even aware of.
There were three messages with three angels. The first is: “fear god and give him glory because his just and equitous reign has come,” second one is “Babylon has fallen” the third is “anyone who worships the beast or receives the mark will be tormented in the presence of the Lamb.” We pick up with harvest of the earth:
The Harvest of the Earth:
Revelation 14.14-16– I looked, and there before me was a white CLOUD, and seated on the CLOUD was one like a SON OF MAN with a CROWN of gold on his head and a sharp SICKLE in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your SICKLE and REAP, because the TIME TO REAP HAS COME, for the HARVEST OF THE EARTH is RIPE.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
The first fruits were 144,000 but here we are seeing the actual harvesting which is going to be much more than the first fruits. Notice the language and imagery that John isusing from Daniel:
Daniel 7.13-14–“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a SON OF MAN, coming with the CLOUDS of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and SOVEREIGN power; ALL PEOPLES, NATIONS, AND LANGUAGES WORSHIPED HIM. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
The angle having charge of the fire is from the fifth seal where there was an altar and underneath that altar there were souls crying “how long?” Later we see in the 7th seal where the angel comes to that altar, offers incense with their prayers, heaven is silent to hear those prayers, and the angel takes fire from off the alter, puts it in a censer, and throws it to the earth causing a great earthquake:
The Vintage of the Earth
Revelation 14.17-20–Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had CHARGE OF THE FIRE, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because the VINTAGE OF THE EARTH is RIPE.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of
GOD’S WRATH [the WRATH of the LAMB]. They were trampled in the wine-press outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.
Does the wrath of a lamb sound like a contradiction? Yes, but Britain would have feared to the awaken the wrath of non-violent Gandhi during their occupation. John likens the harvest to the harvest of the earth which the 144,000 are the first fruits.
Joel 3.13–Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine press is full . . .
John takes the language of the who comes in vindication from Isaiah 63. At first the one who treads the wine-press has no helper but that changes in Revelation 19. This is violent imagery but John will flip it on its head later like he does with other passages from the Tanahk:
Isaiah 63.1-6–Who is this that comes from Edom, from Bozrah in garments Nonviolent Noncooperation of His Army stained crimson? Who is this so splendidly robed, marching in his great might?” “It is I, announcing vindication, mighty to save.” “Why are your robes red, and your garments like theirs who tread the wine press?” “I have trodden the wine press ALONE, and from the peoples NO ONE WAS WITH ME; I trod them in my wrath and trampled them in my wrath; their juice spattered on my garments, and stained all my robes. For the day of VENGEANCE was in my heart, and the year for my REDEEMING WORK had come. I looked, but there was NO HELPER; I stared, but there was NO ONE TO SUSTAIN ME; so my own arm brought me VICTORY, and my wrath sustained me. I trampled down peoples in my wrath, I crushed them in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”
The book of Revelation almost didn’t make it in the canon and the objection to including the book of revelation was that future generations would read the violent language of Revelation and take it literally. The authorship and the validity of the book was not in doubt. Note: I was not able to find anything backing up exactly what Herb said here, the closest thing I could find is the following description from Eusebius:
1. Afterward he speaks in this manner of the Apocalypse of John.
“Some before us have set aside and rejected the book altogether, criticising it chapter by chapter, and pronouncing it without sense or argument, and maintaining that the title is fraudulent.
2. For they say that it is not the work of John, nor is it a revelation, because it is covered thickly and densely by a vail of obscurity. And they affirm that none of the apostles, and none of the saints, nor any one in the Church is its author, but that Cerinthus, who founded the sect which was called after him the Cerinthian, desiring reputable authority for his fiction, prefixed the name.
3. For the doctrine which he taught was this: that the kingdom of Christ will be an earthly one. And as he was himself devoted to the pleasures of the body and altogether sensual in his nature, he dreamed that that kingdom would consist in those things which he desired, namely, in the delights of the belly and of sexual passion; that is to say, in eating and drinking and marrying, and in festivals and sacrifices and the slaying of victims, under the guise of which he thought he could indulge his appetites with a better grace. 2341 http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/ecf/201/2010243.htm
However, I am not sure if “the slaying of victims” refers to sacrificial victims, hence animals, or human victims in battle. It is possible that this does not back up what Herb is saying at all and even if it did Herb appears to have left out many things: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Revelation#Canonical_history It is true, however, that many earlier Christians didn’t know how to interpret Revelation as Eusebius mentioned and continues:
4. “But I could not venture to reject the book, as many brethren hold it in high esteem. But I suppose that it is beyond my comprehension, and that there is a certain concealed and more wonderful meaning in every part. For if I do not understand I suspect that a deeper sense lies beneath the words.
5. I do not measure and judge them by my own reason, but leaving the more to faith I regard them as too high for me to grasp. And I do not reject what I cannot comprehend, but rather wonder because I do not understand it.”
This backs up Herb’s program of interpreting the book allegorically. More specifically I’ve noticed many scholars support him on a variety of points. For example:
John sees the Beast from the Sea as a symbol for the Roman Empire: “Who is like the Beast? Who can make war against him?” (13:4). Satan “leads the whole world astray” (12:9; see also 20:3). The Greek word translated here as “world” (oikoumenê) is often used to refer to the inhabited world and, in the 1st century, the Roman Empire. “[The Beast] was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation” (13:7). And especially in Asia Minor, the deified Rome (Dea Roma) was worshipped for bringing peace and prosperity. John warns that “all the inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast” (13:8) rather than God, the One-Sitting-on-the-Throne. . . .
Despite John’s pessimism, his visions end not in destruction but in hope and transformation for the entire world. John sees that all the nations and even their leaders will recognize God as the One-Sitting-on-the-Throne and live by the light of the Lamb:
And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of earth will bring their glory into it ( 21:23–24).
Revelation 6.16-17– . . . Hide us from . . your garments like theirs who tread the wine press?” “I have trodden the wine. the wrath of the Lamb; for the great dayof [his] wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
Revelation 14.10– . . .Tormented . . . the presence of the Lamb . . .
The conversion of the nations . . . every chapter in Revelation has been riddled with it.
Antecedent of the Grain Harvest: Revelation 14.4–They [the 144,00] have been redeemed from humankind as FIRST FRUITS for God and the Lamb . . .
What we see in the vintage harvest is not something different than the first-fruits of the conversion all nations. The vintage harvest mirrors the grain harvest used by John:
Antecedent of the Vintage Harvest:
Exodus 22.29–You shall not delay to make offerings [firstfruits] from the fullness of your harvest AND from the outflow of your presses.
You have one of two options here, either those who are slain for Jesus are calling out for vengeance or vindication. Vindication is what the Greek says but if you take it the other way you have a problem because the example of Christ and Stephen asking for the forgiveness of their killers. Instead the saints are asking when their martyrdom would produce the conversion of the nation which had been prophesied:
The Wrath of the Lamb:
Revelation 11.18–THE NATIONS raged, but your WRATH has come, and the time for VINDICATING the dead . . .
Although grapes being refined (into wine) is harder on the grapes than the grain John is using it the same way. There are people that go through struggles when being converted. The plagues and the wrath are not the same thing, one accomplished the other we will get to that in Revelation 15. Right after the wine-press the conversion of the nations is mentioned again proving this is not about killing but about conversion. Those who follow the beast’s image will be tormented in the Lamb’s presence but it will change them from grapes into grape juice which is a related but a very different substance symbolizing conversion:
Revelation 15.1-4–I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues–last, because with them GOD’S WRATH is completed [carried through to full operation]. And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been VICTORIOUS over the BEAST and its IMAGE and over the NUMBER of its NAME. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses
[the Exodus now applied to the Nations] and of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, KING OF THE NATIONS. Who will not FEAR you, Lord, and bring GLORY to your name? For you alone are holy. ALL NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
Would this have motivated you to keep dying for the gospel? The refrain in Revelation is that it will work eventually. You have one of three options 1 fight back (not viable for the early Christians) 2 Jesus could fight them 3 Church could have fled persecution or gone underground. However, Christ says that the way we convert the nations is not through fighting back or running away but through taking up your cross and dying for the gospel. Jesus was their example and the joy that is set before the church is the eventual conversion of the nations:
Hebrews 12.2–Looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the JOY that was set before him ENDURED THE CROSS, disregarding its shame, and has taken his SEAT at the right hand of the THRONE OF GOD.
Revelation 3.21 — To those who are victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, JUST AS I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Revelation 13.10 &14.12–This calls for patient endurance of the saints . . .
As Martin Luther King said: “we will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering and we will win a double victory we will not only win our freedom but we will win you with it” (paraphrase) This Herb says was the hope of the early church.
The imagery that John is using is Exodus imagery but instead of bringing Isreal out of Egypt he is bringing every nation tongue tribe and people out of slavery to Babylon. It is prophetically called Sodom, it is the place where the lord was crucified, and it was also called Egypt, but we know that it is Babylon (covered in Revelation 11)
Last time this language was used “I saw in heaven” was with the woman and then when he saw a dragon attacking the woman. What was the purpose of the plagues in the Exodus? It was to bring suffering to Egypt so that they would let Israel go. John is going to take this Exodus imagery and apply it to Babylon with every nation being delivered from her:
Revelation 15.1-4–I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign:
seven angels with the seven last plagues–last, because by them God’s wrath is. And I saw what looked like a SEA OF GLASS glowing with fire and, . . .
Imagery of Exodus:
. . . standing BESIDE THE SEA, those who had been victorious over the BEAST and its IMAGE and over the NUMBER of its NAME. They held harps given them by God and sang the SONG OF GOD’S SERVANT MOSES and of the LAMB:
Song of Moses is in Exodus 15 and Revelation 15 is where John mentions it. Ironically, John never quotes from Exodus 15 but what he actually quotes from is another set of verses quoting Exodus 15 but saying other things as well. These are what he takes and turns into the song of Moses in Revelation 15.
Exodus 15.1–Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:
Song of Moses:
“Great and marvelous are your deeds, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. Just
and true are your ways, KING OF THE NATIONS. . . .
The start of this is a reference to the first angel’s message. This shows the first angels message of “fear God and give him glory” is indeed heeded by all nations.
[continued] . . .WHO WILL NOT FEAR YOU, LORD, and BRING GLORY TO YOUR NAME? For YOU ALONE ARE HOLY. ALL NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, for your RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN
“Marvelous deeds” is only part of Exodus 15 that John quotes:
Exodus 15.11–Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you– majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, doing marvelous deeds?
Song of Moses said the nations will “come and worship before [God]” now John will take that to mean something totally different in the Book of Revelation. The grapes have to go through anguish to be turned into grape juice:
Exodus 15.14-16–THE NATIONS will hear and TREMBLE; ANGUISH
will grip the people of Philistia. The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people of Canaan will melt away; TERROR and DREAD will fall on them.
John takes all this anger and fear and trembling and translates it into the good kind of fear and the glory before God (this is explained in the homework when Herb sent the audience home with a reading assignment)
Exodus 15.13, 17–In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. . .
We see all the kings of the earth bringing their glory into the new Jerusalem in Revelation 21.
[continued]. . . You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance–the place, LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established.
Exodus 15.18–“The LORD reigns for ever and ever.”
What Herb has done is underlined the quotes from Exodus 15 while the part that is capitalized is from the song of Moses:
Jeremiah 10.6,7–No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your
name is mighty in power. WHO SHOULD NOT FEAR YOU, KING OF
THE NATIONS? This is your due. Among all the wise rulers of the na-
tions and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you.
Psalms 86.8-10–Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. ALL THE NATIONS you have made WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, Lord; they will BRING GLORY TO YOUR NAME. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; YOU ALONE ARE GOD.
John connects “righteous acts being revealed [to all nations]” with Psalms 98 which is about the conversion of the nations:
Psalms 98.1–Sing to the Lord A NEW SONG, for he has done marvelous deeds; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation [victory] known and REVEALED HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS TO THE NATIONS.
Revelation 14.6–Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth–to every NATION AND TRIBE AND LANGUAGE AND PEOPLE. He said in a
loud voice, “FEAR God and give him GLORY, for the hour of his just
and equitous reign has come; and WORSHIP him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Remember what the prophecy was–the war scroll–when it was unrolled in chapter 11. This is what this is an expounding of. Rev 11 is the center of the book of Revelation. The whole rest of Revelation is an expounding of what that war scroll reveals. Essentially it is about how the army of the Lamb will bring about the conversion of the nations:
Revelation 11.13– the survivors FEARED the GOD OF HEAVEN and gave GLORY to him
We are just looking at how this will be done:
Revelation 15.5-8–After this I looked, and I saw in heaven the temple–that is, the tabernacle of the covenant law–and IT WAS OPENED. Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the GLORY of God and from his POWER, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.
John starts this with the tabernacle (it was opened) he is repeating this from the end of the 7th trumpet. What he is doing is locking the 7 plagues into the 7th trumpet just like he is locking the 7 trumpets into the 7th seal:
Revelation 11.19–THEN GOD’S TEMPLE IN HEAVEN WAS
OPENED, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. AND THERE CAME FLASHES OF LIGHTNING, RUMBLINGS, PEALS OF THUNDER, AN EARTHQUAKE AND A GREAT HAILSTORM.
Notice that this is what they would have heard: you have seven seals and within the seventh seal you see the seven angels that have seven trumpets and you come down to the seventh trumpet and you see heaven is opened but you no seven plagues are mentioned (he doesn’t lock them in there) what you see is Re: 12, 13, 14 that Herb covered before. However, in Rev 15 when he picks up with the seven plagues he goes back to that language he used in the seventh trumpet and ties it back in. The seven trumpets are all mentioned in the seventh seal while the seven last plagues are all mentioned in the seventh trumpet by taking this language “I saw heaven opened:”
Revelation 8.1-5–When he opened the SEVENTH SEAL, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. AND I SAW THE SEVEN ANGELS WHO STAND BEFORE GOD, AND SEVEN TRUMPETS WERE GIVEN TO THEM. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came PEALS OF THUNDER, RUMBLINGS, FLASHES OF LIGHTNING AND AN EARTHQUAKE.
Revelation 15.1–Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for by them the wrath of God [of the Lamb] might be made to happen.
The wrath of God and the seven last plagues are connected but one happens so that the other might happen. The word here for “might be made to happen” in the Greek is ετελέσθη or simple form: τελέω (teleo) it is used in The Gospel of John:
John 19.28– . . . in order that what is written in Scripture might happen . . .
Luke 1.45– . . . happy is the one who believes that what has been spoken to her by the Lord will be made to happen . . .
Revelation 15.1–Then I saw another portent in heaven, great and amazing: seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for by them the wrath of God [of the Lamb] might be made to happen.
Revelation 15-20 all of this is going to be a definition of the wrath of the lamb and how it produces the conversion of the nations, but notice it begins with the seven last plagues. This is where it starts and these happen so that the whole thing might happen:
The result of these plagues is not the conversion of the nations but what is needed for the conversion is accomplished by these plagues:
Revelation 16.1–Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls OF God’s wrath [of the Lamb] on the earth.”
Originally these plagues are on Egypt so that Israel might be delivered:
Revelation 16.2–The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the
LAND, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the MARK of the BEAST and WORSHIPED its IMAGE.
Revelation 8.7–The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down ON THE EARTH. A THIRD of the earth was burned up, A THIRD of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
Remember when those trumpets sound they are announcing the army of the Lamb (see Joel 2) but when that army is announced not only do the trumpets sound in heaven but who goes to work?: the dragon. The dragon is furious going about like a roaring lion because he knows his time is short. He does anything to prevent the success of the army of the Lamb. A third of the land is burned, a third of the stars fall, but when God pours out something on the land that is effecting Babylon: all of it is burned up. Why is this significant? God is not the only one doing plagues in Exodus. The magicians in Egypt tried to match his plagues. This is the story John is borrowing from. John turns this on its head where the devil is performing plagues and they only effect one third but God matches it and does a plague that effects all. This shows that the Devil is not the real ruler of the earth. Compare:
Revelation 16.3–The second angel poured out his bowl on THE SEA,
and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and EVERY LIVING
THING [Sea Creatures] IN THE SEA DIED.
Revelation 8.8-9–The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into THE SEA. A THIRD of the sea turned into blood, A THIRD of the living creatures in the sea died, and A THIRD of the ships were destroyed.
Revelation 16.4-7–The third angel poured out his bowl on the RIVERS AND SPRINGS OF WATER, and they became blood. Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”
“You are just in these judgements” and what comes after is key here. The question is (look at Revelation 14:7) what territory is in contest between the trumpets and the plagues? the heavens, the earth, the sea . . . has anyone died in these plagues? They are tormented yes. Is it for their punishment or redemption? How does giving violent people blood to drink bring about their redemption?
Revelation14.7–“Fear God and give him
glory, because the hour of his just and eq-
uitous reign has come. Worship him who
made the HEAVENS, the EARTH, the
SEA and the SPRINGS OF WATER.”
Robert E Lee became a pacifist, saying “I have had enough of blood. ” He wanted to be remembered for starting a college and not what he did during the civil war. Another example of such sentiment is here:
“I smell myself daily and the smell
disgusts me. I have had enough of blood.
The gutters of the city are running with
blood, there are flecks of blood in the
loves of bread, bood feeds the roots of
the apple trees where stinking dead men
hang among the apples. You may not
believe me now, but a killer by trade who
has had enough of blood is a good found-
ing member for a community based on
kindness and freedom as yours is to be.
A.S. Byatt; Babel Tower p. 30.
Why is God giving them blood to drink? Is it to punish them? Herb says it is to bring about their redemption. Herb wants you to remember in Rev 8:12 when it talks about the trumpets. The fourth trumpet sounded and a third of the sun was struck. Now under this plague the sun is turned up and it shines brighter. Once again no loss of life but severe torment. Grapes must go through torment to be turned into juice:
Revelation 16.8-9–The fourth angel poured out his bowl on THE SUN,
and the sun was ALLOWED to SCORCH PEOPLE WITH FIRE. They
were seared by the intense heat and THEY CURSED THE NAME OF
GOD, WHO HAD CONTROL OVER THESE PLAGUES, BUT THEY
REFUSED TO REPENT AND GLORIFY HIM.
Revelation 8.12–The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and A THIRD of the SUN was struck, A THIRD of the MOON, and A THIRD of the STARS, so that A THIRD of them turned dark. A THIRD of the day was WITHOUT LIGHT, and also A THIRD of the NIGHT.
Revelation 16.10-11–The fifth angel poured out his bowl on THE THRONE of the BEAST, and ITS KINGDOM was plunged into DARK-
NESS. PEOPLE GNAWED THEIR TONGUES IN AGONY AND
CURSED THE GOD OF HEAVEN BECAUSE OF THEIR PAINS
AND THEIR SORES, BUT THEY REFUSED TO REPENT OF WHAT
THEY HAD DONE.
Sending plagues on Egyptians to make them let go of Israel will work but will it make all of them follow God? Will the methods of the Tanahk work to produce followers of the lamb? No. However, they set up the scene, they enable it, but we do not see the conversion of the nations through the plagues instead what we have is greater obstinence at first:
Revelation 9.1-6–The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace . . . And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered
was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
Who had escaped across the Euphrates? Nero. Here you have the Euphrates drying up to prepare the way for the kings of the east. The battle is still future after the plagues, so the plagues have failed to bring about conversion of the nations. What’s interesting in the 6th trumpet the river Euphrates is mentioned as well. Why is he bringing up the Euphrates? One of the west: Nero would return across Euphrates and have vengence and become a Roman emperor again and rule the world. The east legend is that Nero had befriended the Parthian empire and lead the charge of the Parthians back and bring Rome’s fall and Parthia would rule the world. People depending on their loyalty like the first or the second language. John is using the legend of the east is Rev 16. From here on out until revelation 19 he is talking about the eastern legend. How did Babylon fall? Cyrus dried up the river Euphrates so they could come in. What we see is the fall of Babylon and the conversion of the nations away from Babylon to the Lamb:
Revelation 16.12-16–The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great
RIVER EUPHRATES, and its water was DRIED UP to prepare the
way for THE KINGS FROM THE EAST. Then I saw three evil spirits
that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of THE DRAGON,
out of the mouth of THE BEAST and out of the mouth of THE FALSE
PROPHET. They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go
out to THE KINGS OF THE WHOLE WORLD, to GATHER them for
THE BATTLE ON THE GREAT DAY OF GOD ALMIGHTY. “Look, I come like a THIEF! Blessed are those who STAY AWAKE and KEEP THEIR CLOTHES ON, so that they may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”Then they gathered THE KINGS together to the place that in Hebrew is called ARMAGEDDON.
Herb isn’t going to read much of Armageddon. He asks the audience to read the rest. Herb says the reason John uses that term is that the prophecy in the Tanahk about Armageddon is about a war where all the nations are involved and John will flip this on its head and turn it into all the nations being converted.
http://renewedheartministries.com/presentation/Follow-the-Lamb I’m paraphrasing (and analyzing in part) this series of lectures on Revelation by Herb Montgomery because it relates to the kingdom of God. My Bible study is discussing this series and I just now decided to start posting about it so I will be following along with them for the rest of the series on parts 12-17. I will post a summary during the week before we have Bible study friday night and will update it after Bible study to account for anything else learned there. However, this post (part 12) is just a summary after Bible study. I will finish parts 1-11 on my own after 12-17. Hopefully I will be able to get the others to comment on those as well. Herb argues that there is a change in teaching in the new testament to pacifism–from the Tanahk (or Old Testament)–and argues that Revelation fits with this. This also interests me because our paper “Unless He Gives up All His Possessions” argues for a change in teaching in the Christian writings (New Testament) with regards to possessions but only due to a different situation arising after Christ. Young’s literal translation is used except when otherwise noted. Herb is using the TNIV which I cannot find online.
Lecture: https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/12abeastanditsfalseprophet.mp3 Handout: https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/outlines/12unholytrinity.pdf
. . .
Herb Montgomery states that John (in Revelation) quotes from Daniel 7 more than any other chapter in the Tanahk because the hope of Daniel 7 is the same as the hope of the book of Revelation. This is he says is the climax and the point of Revelation and Daniel 7:
14 And to him is given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, and all peoples, nations, and languages do serve him, his dominion [is] a dominion age-during, that passeth not away, and his kingdom that which is not destroyed. (Daniel 7:14 YLT)
The dragon goes to make war with the rest of the woman’s offspring and the way he does this is that he calls forth a beast. Herb has made the text bold in the handout where it quotes the Nero legend. I am using a different translation so I have bolded the corresponding words:
1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and I saw out of the sea a beast coming up, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon its horns ten diadems, and upon its heads a name of evil speaking, 2 and the beast that I saw was like to a leopard, and its feet as of a bear, and its mouth as the mouth of a lion, and the dragon did give to it his power, and his throne, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of its heads as slain to death, and its deadly stroke was healed, and all the earth did wonder after the beast, 4 and they did bow before the dragon who did give authority to the beast, and they did bow before the beast, saying, `Who [is] like to the beast? who is able to war with it?’ 5 And there was given to it a mouth speaking great things, and evil-speakings, and there was given to it authority to make war forty-two months, 6 and it did open its mouth for evil-speaking toward God, to speak evil of His name, and of His tabernacle, and of those who in the heaven tabernacle, 7 and there was given to it to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and there was given to it authority over every tribe, and tongue, and nation. 8 And bow before it shall all who are dwelling upon the land, whose names have not been written in the scroll of the life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; 9 if any one hath an ear — let him hear: 10 if any one a captivity doth gather, into captivity he doth go away; if any one by sword doth kill, it behoveth him by sword to be killed; here is the endurance and the faith of the saints. (Revelation 13:1-10)
Like in Revelation the saints will be killed by the beast that comes out of the abyss. The beast is claiming to be their king but right now and they have to submit to the beast. In Rev 13:8 Herb connects the phrase “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world;” to the Ascension of Isaiah 4:2-14 which is about the Nero legends: 
“Beliar [Belial] will descend, the great angel, the king of this world, which he has ruled EVER SINCE IT EXISTED.” See: ‘Two “Nero” Legends’ for more of the parallels Herb has noticed: https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/outlines/12unholytrinity.pdf This part of the Ascension of Isaiah (AOI) is dated to the end of the first century.  If you combine this knowledge with the date of 96 AD  for Revelation it is uncertain that John could be quoting from AOI even more so if we take an earlier date for Revelation. However, a few scholars think that AOI already existed in the first century.  Herb says AOI is similar to the third Sibylline Oracle.
Devil is taking his authority and giving it to the beast (who is Nero). Compare:
“and the dragon did give to it his power, and his throne, and great authority” (Rev 13:2)
“they did bow before the dragon who did give authority to the beast” (Rev 13:4)
5 And the Devil having brought him up to an high mountain, shewed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,
6 and the Devil said to him, `To thee I will give all this authority, and their glory, because to me it hath been delivered, and to whomsoever I will, I do give it; (Luke 4:5-6)
John has people saying praises to the beast that are previously only applied to God. Compare the following: `Who [is] like to the beast? who is able to war with it?’ (Rev 13:4) Also Psalm 86:8-10 shows that the nations worshipping God is what happens in the end:
11 Who [is] like Thee among the gods, O Jehovah? Who [is] like Thee — honourable in holiness — Fearful in praises — doing wonders? (Ex 15:11)
8 There is none like Thee among the gods, O Lord, And like Thy works there are none.
9 All nations that Thou hast made Come and bow themselves before Thee, O Lord, And give honour to Thy name.
10 For great [art] Thou, and doing wonders, Thou [art] God Thyself alone. (Psalms 86:8-10)
Herb says the end of the story is where it talks about the new Jerusalem in Revelation 21:4 (people worshipping the beast is not the end of the story)
“and the nations of the saved in its light shall walk, and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it,” (Rev 21:24)
What the beast is doing is blasphemy (“evil-speaking” in YLT) as it says in Rev 13. Compare:
And to him is given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, and all peoples, nations, and languages do serve him, his dominion [is] a dominion age-during, that passeth not away, and his kingdom that which is not destroyed. (Dan 7:14)
The Jews answered him, saying, `For a good work we do not stone thee, but for evil speaking, and because thou, being a man, dost make thyself God.’ (John 10:33)
These things are also reflected in the Nero legend :
. . .“I AM THE LORD, AND BEFORE ME THERE WAS NO ONE.” And ALL men in the world will believe in him. They will sacrifice to him and will serve him, saying, “THIS IS THE LORD, AND BESIDES HIM THERE IS NO OTHER.” And the MAJORITY OF THOSE WHO HAVE ASSOCIATED TOGETHER TO RECEIVE THE BELOVED HE WILL TURN AFTER HIM. . . . Ascension of Isiah (4:2-14) taken from https://renewedheartministries.com/sermons/followthelamb/outlines/12unholytrinity.pdf
They would have seen the Nero legend of the west in the first beast’s imagery. Who would they have seen in this imagery?
11 And I saw another beast coming up out of the land, and it had two horns, like a lamb, and it was speaking as a dragon, 12 and all the authority of the first beast doth it do before it, and it maketh the land and those dwelling in it that they shall bow before the first beast, whose deadly stroke was healed, 13 and it doth great signs, that fire also it may make to come down from the heaven to the earth before men, 14 and it leadeth astray those dwelling on the land, because of the signs that were given it to do before the beast, saying to those dwelling upon the land to make an image to the beast that hath the stroke of the sword and did live, 15 and there was given to it to give a spirit to the image of the beast, that also the image of the beast may speak, and [that] it may cause as many as shall not bow before the image of the beast, that they may be killed. 16 And it maketh all, the small, and the great, and the rich, and the poor, and the freemen, and the servants, that it may give to them a mark upon their right hand or upon their foreheads, 17 and that no one may be able to buy, or to sell, except he who is having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is the wisdom! He who is having the understanding, let him count the number of the beast, for the number of a man it is, and its number [is] 666. (Revelation 13:11-18)
“Fatal wound” is the same words: Rev 13:3 Rev 5:6 Rev 13:12,
“lived” is the same word: Rev 2:8 Rev 13:14 Rev 1:18
Essentially your hope is to be in the lamb who was slain and yet lives not in the similar myth of Nero. Herb reads the following to show that the Christians would have seen their own situation in the words of Revelation about the beast and the image:
An anonymous document was published containing the names of many persons. Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ–none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do–these I thought should be discharged. Others named by the informer declared that they were Christians, but then denied it, asserting that they had been but had ceased to be, some three years before, others many years, some as much as twenty-five years. They all worshipped your image and the statues of the gods, and cursed Christ. http://faculty.georgetown.edu/jod/texts/pliny.html
Herb quotes “Even as I also received AUTHORITY from my FATHER” (Rev 2:28 TNIV) As a side-note if you can’t see a similar phrase in your translation look at the verse before. Translations differ greatly in verse numbering here, YLT has:
26 and he who is overcoming, and who is keeping unto the end my works, I will give to him authority over the nations,
27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron — as the vessels of the potter they shall be broken — as I also have received from my Father; 28 and I will give to him the morning star. (Rev 2:26-28)
Similar concepts appear elsewhere:
no one doth take it from me, but I lay it down of myself; authority I have to lay it down, and authority I have again to take it; this command I received from my Father.’ (John 10:8)
And having come near, Jesus spake to them, saying, ‘Given to me was all authority in heaven and on earth; (Matthew 28:18)
then — the end, when he may deliver up the reign to God, even the Father, when he may have made useless all rule, and all authority and power — (1 Corinthians 15:24)
Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (1 Cor 15:24)
Nero received authority from the dragon while Christ received authority from his father. The lamb-like beast is called the false prophet. The beast has a false prophet while the lamb has true prophets.
and the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who did the signs before him, in which he led astray those who did receive the mark of the beast, and those who did bow before his image; living they were cast — the two — to the lake of the fire, that is burning with brimstone; (Rev 19:20)
The church and its prophetic role as a witness to stand before the lord:
these are the two olive [trees], and the two lamp-stands that before the God of the earth do stand; (Rev 11:4)
and all the authority of the first beast doth it do before it, and it maketh the land and those dwelling in it that they shall bow before the first beast, whose deadly stroke was healed, (Rev 13:12)
Herb says it is a direct quote of 11:4 “before the” God of the earth I do see the same Greek word (Strong’s G1799) used in both and a similar word used right after. Revelation 13:14 does have the same two words. Compare:
In Rev 11 the Lamb has a true prophet that stands in his presence while the false prophet stands in the presence of the beast. The witnesses in Revelation 11 have the power of Elijah (shut up the sky from rain etc . . .) but are never said to use it. Hence, Herb makes the parallel between the true prophets who have the power of Elijah but use non-violent methods (methods of the Lamb) and the false prophet who has the power of Elijah and chooses to fully use it (by calling down fire from heaven like Elijah did to the groups of 50 men sent to take him) The lamb-like beast looks like a lamb but speaks and acts like a dragon: “follow or be killed” see Rev 13:11 and Rev 13:15. The imagery is taken from Daniel 3 where Nebuchadnezzar sets up an image and whoever doesn’t worship the image will be thrown into a blazing furnace. John flips this upside-down: whoever worships the image of the beast will be thrown into the lake of fire.
Compare the following:
`And ye have placed these my words on your heart, and on your soul, and have bound them for a sign on your hand, and they have been for frontlets between your eyes; (Deut 11:18)
And I saw, and lo, a Lamb having stood upon the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty-four thousands, having the name of his Father written upon their foreheads; (Rev 14:1)
Father gives authority to the lamb who has a prophet or a witness in Rev 11. The dragon gives authority to the beast. This was the warning of Revelation 13: don’t be like the majority and follow after Rome or empire in general. In the 16th century this imagery was seen as referring to Papal Rome. Herb goes through some light numerology mostly on how many times things are mentioned in Revelation, for example to quote from the handout:
Seven ~ Totality or Completeness
Four ~ World (corners/winds; heaven, earth, sea, rivers; nation, people, language and tribe.)
Babylon has 28 products of the whole world.
“the one who lives forever and ever” ~ Four times
Lord God Almighty ~ Seven times
The One Who Sits on the Throne ~ Seven times
Alpha and Omega (or equivalent) ~ Seven times
Christ ~ Seven times
Jesus ~ Fourteen times (two being the number of the witnesses)
Lamb ~ Twenty Eight times (4 x 7)
Nations, Languages, Tribe and People ~ Seven times (but a fourfold
Twelve ~ God’s people
144,000 ~ 12 squared and multiplied by 1000 (largest number)
Too many to be accidental
The Greek word for “angle” translated into Hebrew is 144 (see Rev 21:17)
Greek word “beast” translated into Hebrew equals 666 (see Rev 13:17-18) “Neron Ceasar” (a variation of Nero’s title) as spelled in some historical document(s) equals 666 while “Nero Ceasar” equals 616. This detail is from the author’s memory not from Herb’s lecture. Also see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_the_Beast#Nero Herb argues this means the early Christians would have seen this beast as Nero and John’s meaning here is that they should not hope for the return of Nero but the return of the Lamb.
Herb suggests as further reading on numerology in Revelation: “Climax of Prophecy” by Professor Richard Bauckham and to look up the chapter on Nero.
Compare the following. Note “name” means “character” in Hebrew thought:
1 And I saw, and lo, a Lamb having stood upon the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty-four thousands, having the name of his Father written upon their foreheads; 2 and I heard a voice out of the heaven, as a voice of many waters, and as a voice of great thunder, and a voice I heard of harpers harping with their harps, 3 and they sing, as it were, a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures, and the elders, and no one was able to learn the song except the hundred forty-four thousands, who have been bought from the earth; 4 these are they who with women were not defiled, for they are virgin; these are they who are following the Lamb whithersoever he may go; these were bought from among men — a first-fruit to God and to the Lamb — 5 and in their mouth there was not found guile, for unblemished are they before the throne of God. (Rev 14:1-5)
27 `Now hath my soul been troubled, and what? shall I say — Father, save me from this hour? — but because of this I came to this hour; 28 Father, glorify Thy name.’ There came, therefore, a voice out of the heaven, `I both glorified, and again I will glorify [it];’ (John 12:27-28)
9 Jesus saith to him, `So long time am I with you, and thou hast not known me, Philip? he who hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how dost thou say, Shew to us the Father? (John 14:9)
Herb uses the following verse to argue that in the past God has spoken in many different ways to his people. He states “different from what looks like a lamb” and later that Christ “strips away all accommodations of God having to meet people where they are at . . . if God is allowed to be just himself . . .” implying before there was violence commanded in the Tanakh that departed from God’s true character but that now we have the exact representation of what God is like in Christ. I don’t quite agree here but I won’t get into the disagreement:
1 In many parts, and many ways, God of old having spoken to the fathers in the prophets, 2 in these last days did speak to us in a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He did make the ages; 3 who being the brightness of the glory, and the impress of His subsistence, bearing up also the all things by the saying of his might — through himself having made a cleansing of our sins, sat down at the right hand of the greatness in the highest, (Hebrews 1:1-3)
So Rev 14:1 Herb says are people who understand God’s true character as communicated by Christ (those who have his name written on their foreheads) He connects the “new song” in Rev 1:3 they sing to Psalms 96 and 98 which are about the conversion of the nation, Herb writes in the handout “A call to The Nation to submit to the just and equitous reign of the Lamb”. Hence more evidence for that view to be applied to Revelation.
He states that the 144,000 in Revelation are “virgins” and have kept themselves from women because they are symbolizing an army because keeping from women was a requirement for when soldiers went to war. My thoughts are that if keeping from women traditionally makes you pure for battle then keeping away from women your whole life (being a virgin) means you are ready for battle your whole life. Obviously, this is using militaristic imagery and symbolic and Herb argues this is a non-violent army.
4 And the priest answereth David, and saith, `There is no common bread under my hand, but there is holy bread; if the youths have been kept only from women.’ 5 And David answereth the priest, and saith to him, `Surely, if women have been restrained from us as heretofore in my going out, then the vessels of the young men are holy, and it [is] a common way: and also, surely to-day it is sanctified in the vessel.’ (1 Samuel 21:4-5)
9 `When a camp goeth out against thine enemies, then thou hast kept from every evil thing. 10 `When there is in thee a man who is not clean, from an accident at night — then he hath gone out unto the outside of the camp — he doth not come in unto the midst of the camp — (Deuteronomy 23:9-10)
The 144,000 being first fruits of every nation, tongue, tribe, and people (also see Revelation 7:9 and context) means that they are “first” of many. There is much evidence for this from the sacrifices and other passages in the Bible. Hence, Herb again is arguing that all nations will be saved:
9 and they sing a new song, saying, `Worthy art thou to take the scroll, and to open the seals of it, because thou wast slain, and didst redeem us to God in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, (Rev 5:9)
On first fruits see the following:
9 And Jehovah speaketh unto Moses, saying, 10 `Speak unto the sons of Israel, and thou hast said unto them, When ye come in unto the land which I am giving to you, and have reaped its harvest, and have brought in the sheaf, the beginning of your harvest unto the priest, 11 then he hath waved the sheaf before Jehovah for your acceptance; on the morrow of the sabbath doth the priest wave it. 12 `And ye have prepared in the day of your waving the sheaf a lamb, a perfect one, a son of a year, for a burnt-offering to Jehovah, 13 and its present two tenth deals of flour mixed with oil, a fire-offering to Jehovah, a sweet fragrance, and its drink-offering, wine, a fourth of the hin. 14 `And bread and roasted corn and full ears ye do not eat until this self-same day, until your bringing in the offering of your God — a statute age-during to your generations, in all your dwellings. (Lev 23:9-14)
5 and the assembly at their house; salute Epaenetus, my beloved, who is first-fruit of Achaia to Christ. (Romans 16:5)
15 And I entreat you, brethren, ye have known the household of Stephanas, that it is the first-fruit of Achaia, and to the ministration to the saints they did set themselves — (1 Corinthians 16:5)
20 And now, Christ hath risen out of the dead — the first-fruits of those sleeping he became, (1 Cor 15:20)
16 and if the first-fruit [is] holy, the lump also; and if the root [is] holy, the branches also. (Rom 11:16)
Herb also references Joel 2 for the lamb’s army being an army like none other possible meaning it is non-violent. I’ll need to look back at the previous lectures at some point to see how this connection is made. Most people see Nero’s return according to the legend and follow him:
3 And I saw one of its heads as slain to death, and its deadly stroke was healed, and all the earth did wonder after the beast, (Revelation 13:3)
However, in Revelation 14 the Lamb has followers too and they are just the first fruits what is to come.
Herb then I think makes the point that the “speaking as a dragon” is connected to blaspheming the character of God. God is a non-violent lamb and the Devil represents himself as the Lamb but speaks like a dragon:
11 And I saw another beast coming up out of the land, and it had two horns, like a lamb, and it was speaking as a dragon, (Rev 13:11)
This is a lie about God’s character:
`Ye are of a father — the devil, and the desires of your father ye will to do; he was a man-slayer from the beginning, and in the truth he hath not stood, because there is no truth in him; when one may speak the falsehood, of his own he speaketh, because he is a liar — also his father. (John 8:44)
He makes the point that whoever denies the Lamb is denying the father also (as mentioned that Hebrews 1 implies)
Who is the liar, except he who is denying that Jesus is the Christ? this one is the antichrist who is denying the Father and the Son; (1 John 2:22)
Herb sees part of the Lamb as being God’s character of non-violence hence he sees non-violence as true witness of Jesus and an opposite of the violent dragon:
14 `And to the messenger of the assembly of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the witness — the faithful and true — the chief of the creation of God; (Rev 3:14)
37 Pilate, therefore, said to him, `Art thou then a king?’ Jesus answered, `Thou dost say [it]; because a king I am, I for this have been born, and for this I have come to the world, that I may testify to the truth; every one who is of the truth, doth hear my voice.’ (John 18:37)
Herb asks: how do the Lamb’s followers bear witness to the truth?
19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and unspotted — Christ’s —
(1 Peter 1:19)
Herb makes the point that early Christians did not see Jesus as sacrificing himself instead of them rather they saw Jesus as someone they should imitate. Herb quotes Revelation 12:11 in support of this corollary: “for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
Herb quotes the following as evidence that at least some of those following the beast are going to be converted because the angel preaches the good news to them:
6 And I saw another messenger flying in mid-heaven, having good news age-during to proclaim to those dwelling upon the earth, and to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people, 7 saying in a great voice, `Fear ye God, and give to Him glory, because come did the hour of His judgment, and bow ye before Him who did make the heaven, and the land, and sea, and fountains of waters.’ (Rev 14:6-7)
Similarly Herb says Jesus is quoting (I see probably a reference) from Psalms chapter 2 about the conversion of the nations:
14 and this good news of the reign shall be proclaimed in all the world, for a testimony to all the nations; and then shall the end arrive. (Matt 24:14)
8 Ask of Me and I give nations — thy inheritance, And thy possession — the ends of earth. 9 Thou dost rule them with a sceptre of iron, As a vessel of a potter Thou dost crush them.’ 10 And now, O kings, act wisely, Be instructed, O judges of earth, 11 Serve ye Jehovah with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Chosen One, lest He be angry, And ye lose the way, When His anger burneth but a little, O the happiness of all trusting in Him! (Psalm 2)
Herb says we have to ask ourselves what is “the end” in Matthew 24:14? Is it the conversion of the nations or the destruction of the nations? How does a lamb win against his enemies?
Herb argues that the phrases in Revelation like e.g. “nations, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues” (Rev 7:9) put those elements in a different order each time and that the word it says first is the one he is calling attention to and that you should search for that word in the Tanakh to see what connections he is making. Herb connects “having good news age-during [i.e. forever] to proclaim to those dwelling upon the earth, and to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people,” (Rev 14:6) with the following “from day to day” being eternity:
1 Sing to Jehovah a new song, Sing to Jehovah all the earth. 2 Sing to Jehovah, bless His name, Proclaim from day to day His salvation. 3 Declare among nations His honour, Among all the peoples His wonders. (Psalms 96:1-3)
He also uses this parallel between Rev 14:6 and Psalms 96:7 which though YLT uses “peoples” in Psalms and “nations” in Revelation the word in the Greek is the same “ethnos.” Compare:
For all the gods of the peoples [“ethnos” i.e. nations] [are] nought, And Jehovah made the heavens. (Psalms 96:5)
Another parallel is mentioned as well as the fact that “judging” can have a positive connotation and in Revelation he has elsewhere argued it does i.e. restorative justice as opposed to retributive justice:
10 Say among nations, `Jehovah hath reigned, Also — established is the world, unmoved, He judgeth the peoples in uprightness.’ 11 The heavens joy, and the earth is joyful, The sea and its fulness roar. 12 The field exulteth, and all that [is] in it, Then sing do all trees of the forest, 13 Before Jehovah, for He hath come, For He hath come to judge the earth. He judgeth the world in righteousness, And the peoples in His faithfulness! (Psalm 96:10-13)
I think from now on I’ll just use his TNIV translation that is on his handout to make things easier for me. These verses are used to show that before God’s restorative message was always proclaimed to Israel. Luke 4 is quoted to explain why the message of Christ was offensive to the Jews because he was to proclaim that message to all nations:
You who bring good news to Zion . . . You who bring good
news to Jerusalem . (Isaiah 40:9 TNIV)
I was the first to tell Zion . . . I gave to Jerusalem a messenger
of good news. (Isaiah 41:27 TNIV)
. . . those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who
bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7 TNIV)
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and
release from darkness for the prisoners . . . (Isaiah 61:1 TNIV)
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they
heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. (Luke 4:28,29 TNIV)
Herb asks what we should do with the universal language in Revelation e.g. every nation, tribe and people etc. . . ? He hasn’t gotten to explaining it yet (he isn’t an universalist) but asks the audience to let the universal language of Revelation change the way they see the people who don’t know God yet. If you view people as being destined for hell that is bound to affect the way you treat them.
He states victory for the lamb is the lamb converting the nations not destroying them violently like the dragon:
And they [the 144,000] cried out in a loud voice: “Sal-
vation [victory] belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the
Lamb.” (Revelation 7.10 TNIV)
Whole message of the book of revelation is outlined in these Psalms:
Psalms 96-100–Thematic Grouping of songs displaying Yahweh’s universal Lord ship, his coming to reign, and the call to the nations to worship him.
More universal language is noted here and is connected with the passages of fearing God and giving him glory:
–Who will not FEAR you, Lord, and bring GLORY to your name? For you alone are holy. ALL NATIONS will come and WORSHIP before you, for your righteous acts have been REVEALED.” (Revelation 15:4)
The part about Babylon falling and the second angel’s message Herb will cover in the next lecture . . .
A second angel followed and said, “`Fallen! Fallen is BABYLON the Great,’ which made ALL THE NATIONS drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone WORSHIPS the BEAST and its IMAGE and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, TOO, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. . . .
Herb notes here that there is no loss of life just torment. The same language is used in Isaiah 34:9-10 for Edom and Edom is not still burning hence Herb states that this is not literal and that the only torment may be because of the dislike for the Lamb’s kingdom which wins in the end:
. . . They will be TORMENTED with burning sulfur in the PRES-
ENCE OF THE LAMB and of the holy angels. And the smoke of their
torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the BEAST and its IMAGE, or for anyone who receives the MARK of its NAME.” This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of GOD WHO KEEP HIS COMMANDS and the FAITH OF JESUS. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who DIE in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for THEIR DEEDS WILL FOLLOW ON AFTER THEM.” (Revelation 14.8-13 TNIV)
He notes that there is a risk of the audience forgetting the army of the lamb and the three angels and their proclamations so he asks that they remember these concepts for the next lecture so he can tie them into Revelation 15. This is where he ends.
 M. A. Knibb writes (op. cit., pp. 149-150):
There are a number of indications which point to the view that 3:13-4:22 was copmosed at about the end of the first century A.D. This section of the Ascension is clearly later than the death of Nero in A.D. 68 because it refers to the expectation that Nero would come again as the “Antichrist” (see 4:2b-4a); presumably a little time would have been needed for this belief to develop, and this suggests a date at the earliest toward the end of the first century. On the other hand, the picture of the corruption of the Church which is given in 3:21-23 invites comparison with the descriptions of the Church given in 1 and 2 Timothy, 2 Peter, and 1 Clement 3; the similarities with these writings likewise suggest that 3:13-4:22 dates from about the end of the first century. Two other pieces of evidence also point towards this date. First, the author of 4 Baruch 9:18, 20, a work attributed to the early second century, betrays a knowledge of chapters 1-5 of the Ascension in their Christian form and may even have known the complete book; he gives in 9:18 what appears to be a loose quotation of 3:17 of the Ascension. Second, this same passage of the Ascension (3:17) provides a description of the emergence of the Beloved (Jesus) from the tomb which is similar to the description given in the Gospel of Peter 39f., a work which dates from the middle of the second century. Taken together, these indications suggest a date for the composition of 3:13-4:22 at about the end of the first century. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ascension.html
 In view of the foregoing evidence, a very strong case can be made for dating Revelation at about A.D. 96. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1552-when-was-the-book-of-revelation-written
There are two dates that are commonly mentioned for the writing of the Book of Revelation: (a) an early date – still during the lifetime of Caesar Nero, about the middle of the 60ies AD; and (b) a late date – about 95/96 AD furing the time of Caesar Domitian. http://www.biblecenter.de/bibel/studien/e-std310.php
James Charlesworth writes: “The Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah, like many pseudepigrapha (especially 1 Enoch) is composite, comprising three separate sections: the Martyrdom of Isaiah (basically chs. 1-5, except for THez); the Testament of Hezekiah (3:13-4:18); and the Vision of Isaiah (chps. 6-11). Some specialists see only two sections, chapters 1-5 and 6-11, but argue for the existence of extraneous material in each section (viz. Flemming and Duensing, no. 920, pp. 642f.; A. Vaillant, no. 943). Two or three of the writings originally may have circulated independently (see Box in Charles’ The Ascension of Isaiah, p. vii; M. Philonenko, no. 231, p. 2; contrast C. C. Torrey, Apoc. Lit., esp. pp. 133-35). The first writing is Jewish, dating from around the second century B.C., and the other two are Christian, having been composed around the end of the second century A.D. A few scholars think that all three compositions already existed in the first century (Charles in APOT 2, pp. 157f.; Box in Charles’ The Ascension of Isaiah, pp. x, xiii; E. Hammershaimb, no. 914, p. 19), and it is conceivable that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews knew the Martyrdom of Isaiah (see Heb 11:37), but it should not be forgotten that Isaiah’s martyrdom is also recorded in the Lives of the Prophets (see below). http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/ascensionisaiah.html