The message of Revelation : I saw heaven opened by Michael Wilcock

By Michael Wilcock

Ebook via Wilcock, Michael

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By Michael Wilcock

Ebook via Wilcock, Michael

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Additional resources for The message of Revelation : I saw heaven opened

Sample text

Moreover, they had in their own time known the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius; and it is not perhaps too fanciful to suggest that that disaster must have struck many of John’s readers as a remarkable example of the teaching of this scene. For in AD 70 Jews all over the world, Jewish Christians included, had heard with stunned disbelief how Roman armies had sacked God’s holy city. The smoke that went up from Jerusalem symbolized the prayer of the people of God: ‘They set thy sanctuary on fire; to the ground they desecrated the dwelling place of thy name … How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?

The prophet Ezekiel is given a similar experience (Ezk. 2:8–3:3). And every Christian will agree with their testimony that the first taste of the gospel is, to them, one of great sweetness: saints of all ages have found it so (Pss. 19:10; 119:103). But there is bitterness in it when they proclaim it to the unbelieving world, for it speaks of estrangement from God, and wrath and hell for those who will not repent. Whatever the message may be in detail, verse 11 makes clear that it has universal meaning.

If, however, the temple and city of verses 1 and 2 are symbolic, and the message of 10:11 is universal, it seems a great deal more likely that this passage also carries a non-literal meaning, especially as the length of the witnesses’ career ties in with the symbolism of the last section (verse 3 with verse 2), and their title of ‘lampstand’ with the symbolism of Scene 1 (verse 4 with 1:20). Accordingly, the following suggestions are offered. The witnesses, declaring God’s truth to the inhabitants of the earth, are the church in the world, God’s people among the heathen nations, those to whom the gospel is sweet among those to whom it is bitter, the sanctuary which remains God’s own when not only the city but even the outer temple is profaned.

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