Lighting Up the Apocalypse 20: The Seventh Trumpet and the Unending Reign

Rev 11:15-19; Psalm 2, 2 Sam 6, Luke 1:42-45.  Our last two sessions on the Apocalypse presented a new story embedded within and placed around the sounding of the last three trumpets.  Up until chapter 10, we had been watching in sequence as the sounding of the trumpets heralds tribulation cast on earth—hail, a mountain, an evil figure being cast to earth, and other disasters. The seven trumpets themselves were enfolded within…

Lighting Up the Apocalypse 19: On Measuring, Not Measuring, Witnessing, and Woes

Revelation 11:1-14; Ezekiel 40; Zechariah 4 We finished the last session by hearing that the scroll eaten by St. John would be digested, so that he would prophesy concerning many things—including concerning the fate of the nations.  Chapter 11 begins those prophecies catalyzed by the eating of this little scroll, a scroll described by the angel as “bitter-sweet.”  And the next few chapters will indeed be both bitter, and sweet. John is…

Lighting Up the Apocalypse 18: The Bitter-Sweet Scroll

Revelation 10; Ezekiel 3:1-3; Daniel 9-12 We have come in chapter 10 to the point in John’s vision when we expect that we will finally hear the seventh trumpet sounded, and reach a conclusion of sorts.  Instead, for the next few chapters John will tell us about important signs, keeping us in suspense for that final trumpet call.  The voice of the angel in this chapter says that “there will be no…

Lighting Up the Apocalypse 17: Fallen Star, Bound Angels, and Hardened Hearts

Revelation 9, Job, Ezekiel 9:3-8, Luke 21:18 The second part of the seven-trumpet series does not make for pleasant reading.   Chapter 9 is prefaced with the cry of “Woe! Woe! Woe!”  As trumpets five and six are blown, we infer from the commentary that these  trumpets comprise two of these three woes (9:12).  The first of the woes, heralded by the fifth trumpet, features a fallen “star” who is allowed to unlock…

Lighting Up the Apocalypse 16: Silence, Trumpets, and Suspense

Lighting Up the Apocalypse 16:  Silence, Trumpets, and Suspense Revelation 8;  Exodus 7-12; Ex 19; Ezekiel 33; Isaiah 19; Zech 9; Zech 13:8-9; Eccl 3:7 In Revelation 7, we witnessed the opening of the first six seals, beginning with the White Rider, and capped by a twin vision of the people of God, first numbered particularly, and then depicted as an innumerable host, clad in white, and made clean by the “blood…

Lighting Up the Apocalypse 15: God’s Sealing and Going Beyond

Chapter 7 of the Apocalypse presents us with a divinely orchestrated interruption of the sequence of the seven seals that slows down the inevitable action of judgement.  In this moment of calm, we are reminded that, in the center of tribulation, God is with His people. John sees a double vision, in which the people of God are actually sealed, or protected from harm. Then, sheltered by the very presence of God,…

Lighting Up the Apocalypse 14: Wrath and Deliverance

Revelation 6; Zechariah 1, 6; Isaiah 64; Psalm 84 (85) Chapters 4 and 5 of the Apocalypse are awe-inspiring, but also lift up our spirits. There we hear of God’s loving sovereignty over creation, and give thanks for this along with the heavenly hosts.  There we hear also of God’s faithful sovereignty over history, and give praise, along with the hosts, for the redemption brought by the Lamb.  We have seen this…