Unlocking Revelation (Week 9)
The need to understand the whole before you examine the details
When viewing a picture, you need to first zoom out not zoom in in order to understand what you are viewing.
Zooming in can distort what you are seeing.
A segment of a picture needs to be examined as part of the whole.
What picture was the Apostle John painting in the Book of Revelation?
The Book of Revelation is about the victory of King Jesus. Christians in John’s day were undergoing an intense persecution which was about to get worse.
John showed his audience that even though things were bad and about to get worse Jesus was the King of kings and ruling. The cosmic tectonic shifts of power that had resulted in Jesus’ victory on the Cross and his power being worked out.
The 7 Trumpets (Chapters 8: 6- 11:19)
The 7 Trumpets vision has been a passage where some of the greatest distortions of people who misunderstand the Book of Revelation have wrongly interpreted things in this passage.
- What the great mountain is that is thrown into the sea
- What the Star and wormwood are
- What the locust from the pit are
- Who the Two witnesses are
- 10,0000 x 2 x 10,0000
Last week we saw that the 7 Seals was the simultaneous playing out of the final dismantling of the Old Covenant and the full instigation of the New Covenant.
Whilst the Old Covenant ended on the Cross and the New began on the Cross it took 40 years for the full ending of the Old and the rollout of the New Covenants to happen.
The Zoomed out view of the 7 Trumpets
The Vision of the 7 Trumpets are another prophetic perspective on the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
Trumpets have a central role in another of Israel’s historical stories on judgment. This is the story of Jericho.
If you remember the story, Israel is invited into the Promised Land. In the Promised Land is an evil bastion city called Jericho.
How does Israel destroy Jericho?
2 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. 3 March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. 5 When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”
6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” 7 And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”
Joshua 6: 2-6
How is Jericho destroyed? Israel is to march around the city once for 6 days in a row. On the 7th day, 7 priests are to march around the city 7 times whilst they blow their trumpets.
In chapters 8: 6 we are told that John sees:
Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.
What would his original audience understand from this?
Jerusalem was being compared to the city of Jericho which had been marked for judgment because it stood against the things of God.
|7 Angels (8:6)||7 Priests (6:6)|
|7 Trumpets (8:6)||7 Trumpets (6:4)|
|The Ark of the Covenant goes before them (11:19)||The Ark of the Covenant goes before them (8:6)|
Trumpet 2: Mountain Thrown into the Sea
I want to zoom in on one particular detail in our study today and allow it to speak to us…
8 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, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
The mountain in these verses is the city of Jerusalem. How do we know this?
What’s the national emblem of Canada? The Maple Leaf.
When you see a Maple Leaf depicted you think Canada? Yes!
The “mountain” is the national emblem of Israel.
The nation of Israel was God’s “Holy Mountain,” the “mountain of God’s inheritance” (Ex. 15:17), Mount Zion with the Presence of God located on the Temple Mount.
Jesus had told His disciples about the forthcoming fiery destruction of Jerusalem, which we looked at in part last week when we looked at Matthew 24.
Well Jesus’ Matthew 24 pronouncement on the destruction of Jerusalem comes at the end of 3 chapters which is devoted to this coming judgment as Jesus duals it out with the Pharisees.
Towards the beginning of these three chapters, Jesus is in the Temple. And He drives out the money changers and traders. He turns their tables over.
He then has a healing meeting and the scribes and the Pharisees are like, “What the crazy does He think He is doing?”
Straight after this tense engagement with the local religious authorities Jesus is recorded the next day really early in the morning heading back into the city (Mat 23: 18).
Which city is He heading back into? Jerusalem.
Now it is so early that the local superstore is not open and so Matthew tells us that Jesus was hungry and went He goes looking for food.
And He comes across a fig tree along the roadside. Jesus finds nothing on the fig tree.
Now what is strange about this account is that it was not the season for figs. How do we know this, Mark in His Gospel tells us this detail.
Anyway, Jesus is ticked that He doesn’t find figs on it.
19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!”
Jesus curses the tree. After having cursed the tree Matthew tells us that:
Immediately the tree withered.
And Jesus’ disciples are like “Wow! How?”
Mark tells us that the next day as they pass the tree it was “withered from the roots.”
Jesus responds and tells his disciples,
“21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
An amazing story on the power of prayer, right?
Yes, but where does this story fall?
In the middle of Jesus’ battle with the religious authorities.
In fact, straight after this story, Matthew records Jesus battling out with the Pharisees in the Temple and then comes the Parable of the Prodigal with is actually a story about the parable of the religious son.
Perhaps the fig tree story is not just a fig tree story and it is a story about Israel?
Jesus had cursed the fig tree because He saw it as an image of Israel. Israel was meant to bear fruit in and out of season. It was not unreasonable. They had the life of God with them, whose Presence in Eden was the reason that the Garden was a wellspring of life.
So if there is a deeper meaning to the fig tree story, do you think there might be a deeper meaning to the mountain throwing itself into the sea from Jesus?
Jesus hadn’t changed the subject. Jesus was metaphorically referring to the mountain of Jerusalem.
And Jesus instructs His disciples to pray for Judgement to come on it and for them to expect the same results as Jesus had demonstrated happened when you pray.
What crazy power Jesus handed the Apostles!
Do you suppose any of them prayed?
You bet ya!
I want to propose that some 35 years after this incident John records in the Book of Revelation the Apostles prayer when He sees in Revelation the outworking of their prayer.
Can you imagine the Apostle John realizing that His prayer 35 years prior, was just about to come to pass.
Other Sermons In This Series
October 11, 2018
August 27, 2018
November 14, 2018