Reading through Revelation – Chapter 8:7-13 and a great star called Wormwood


Welles Apocalypse - Royal 15 D II - First quarter of 14th century

Welles Apocalypse – Royal 15 D II – First quarter of 14th century


Revelation 8:7-13

NASB

The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea [f]and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.

10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. 11 The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.

12 The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.

13 Then I looked, and I heard [g]an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!

[f] Lit the ones having – [g] Lit one eagle


Thoughts

With this post I’m continuing to offer insights from classic commentaries and other sources. I have to limit what is presented here, so in this post I’m offering materials on the third trumpet and “wormwood”.

It is my hope that you’ll think about this with me, 

In every age Christians interpret events of the past, present, and future in light of God’s prophetic Word.


Wormwood

Wormwood is a plant from which bitter-tasting medicines and alcoholic drinks are made. “The English rendering ‘wormwood’ refers to the dark green oil produced by the plant.” (Wiki) Wormwood has been used to eliminate parasitic worms and to make absinthe, a drink with a high alcohol content that has been banned at times in various places.

Artemisia Absinthum - photo H. Zell

Artemisia Absinthum – photo H. Zell

Wormwood’s botanical name should jump off the page for students of God’s Word – artemisia absinthium.

Artemisia comes from Ancient Greek ἀρτεμισία, from Ἄρτεμις (Artemis). In Hellenistic culture, Artemis was a goddess. . . Absinthum comes from the Ancient Greek ἀψίνθιον, meaning the same.  ~ Wiki

The alcoholic “spirit” absinthe has been said to be extremely addictive; to be an hallucinogenic; to cause convulsions and madness – though all of this is disputed and said to be disproved. 

I’m not suggesting that the blazing star that poisons one-third of the rivers and springs of water, causing the death of many, is figurative language for drinking absinthe. However, I am highlighting a strange connection. Another connection, I feel, can be made to the catastrophic nuclear accident in the Ukraine at the plant at “Chernobyl” (“wormwood”). Because of this event “radioactive material precipitated onto parts of the western USSR and Europe” ~ Wiki.


Wormwood on WebMD 

“Wormwood | Absinth, Absinthe, Absinthe Suisse, Absinthii Herba, Absinthites, Absinthium, Afsantin, Ajenjo… is used for various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms. Wormwood is also used to treat fever, liver disease, depression, muscle pain, memory loss and worm infections. . . for Crohn’s disease and a kidney disorder called IgA nephropathy. . . Some people apply wormwood directly to the skin for osteoarthritis (OA), and healing wounds and insect bites. Wormwood oil is used as a counter-irritant to reduce pain. . .

“Thujone is a potentially poisonous chemical found in wormwood. Distilling wormwood in alcohol increases the thujone concentration.”

Absinthe is illegal in the U.S. but wormwood can get high billing as a “parasite-fighting, cancer-fighting super herb.” (Dr. Axe)


 Wormwood in the Bible

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Heb. la’anah, the Artemisia absinthium of botanists. It is noted for its intense bitterness (Deuteronomy 29:18Proverbs 5:4Jeremiah 9:15Amos 5:7). It is a type of [for] bitterness, affliction, remorse, punitive suffering. In Amos 6:12 this Hebrew word is rendered ‘hemlock’ (RSV, ‘wormwood’). In the symbolical language of the Apocalypse (Revelation 8:10Revelation 8:11) a star is represented as falling on the waters of the earth, causing the third part of the water to turn to wormwood.

“The name by which the Greeks designated it, absinthion, means ‘undrinkable.’ The absinthe of France is distilled from a species of this plant. The ‘southernwood’ or ‘old man,’ cultivated in cottage gardens on account of its fragrance, is another species of it.”


Related passages – Wormwood in the Old Testament

Jeremiah 23:15

15 “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets,

‘Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood
And make them drink poisonous water,
For from the prophets of Jerusalem
Pollution has gone forth into all the land.’”

Deuteronomy 29:14-21

14 “Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, 15 but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God and with those who are not with us here today 16 (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed; 17 moreover, you have seen their abominations and their idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which they had with them); 18 so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood. 19 It shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will [e]boast, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order [f]to destroy the watered land with the dry.’ 20 The Lord shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and His jealousy will [g]burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will [h]rest on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. 21 Then the Lord will single him out for [i]adversity from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant which are written in this book of the law.

“The word wormwood appears several times in the Old Testament, translated from the Hebrew term לענה (la’anah, which means ‘curse’ in Hebrew).” ~ Wiki


A 17th – 18th Century Expositor

Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on The Revelation

Matthew Henry (1662 – 1714) was a nonconformist minister and author, born in Wales but spending much of his life in England. He is best known for the six-volume biblical commentary Exposition of the Old and New Testaments. ~ Wiki

The Biblical commentaries written by Matthew Henry, credit - Pete unseth, Wikimedia

Biblical commentaries written by Matthew Henry, credit – Pete unseth.

“Most expositors agree that the seven seals represent the interval between the apostle’s time and the reign of Constantine, but that the seven trumpets are designed to represent the rise of antichrist, some time after the empire became Christian. . .

“III. The third angel sounded, and the alarm had the like effects as before: There fell a great star from heaven, etc., v. 10. Some take this to be a political star, some eminent governor, and they apply it to Augustulus, who was forced to resign the empire to Odoacer, in the year 480. Others take it to be an ecclesiastical star, some eminent person in the church, compared to a burning lamp, and they fix it upon Pelagius, who proved about this time a falling star, and greatly corrupted the churches of Christ. Observe,

“1. Where this star fell: Upon a third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters.

“2. What effect it had upon them; it turned those springs and streams into wormwood, made them very bitter, that men were poisoned by them; either the laws, which are springs of civil liberty, and property, and safety, were poisoned by arbitrary power, or the doctrines of the gospel, the springs of spiritual life, refreshment, and vigour to the souls of men, were so corrupted and embittered by a mixture of dangerous errors that the souls of men found their ruin where they sought for their refreshment.


A 19th Century Historicist Explains the Third Trumpet

Horae Apocalypticae

Horae Apocalypticae on WordPress.com ©

E. B. Elliott (1793 – 1875)

Recently I shared that I’d bought a copy of Edward Bishop Elliott’s Horae Apocalypticae in a pdf file format for a reasonable price at Puritan Downloads. This week I found this work at WordPress as an ongoing project with Volume I completed (it’s under copyright). So take a look at an amazing 19th century interpretation of the third trumpet! Even if you cannot agree with Elliott, this is a really interesting. 

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Elliott believed that in the first four trumpets the Apostle John was given a vision of the fall of the Western Roman Empire, that the trumpets describe its extinction. Like others he believed that the fall of this “christianized” empire happened because of its sins, including the idolatrous practice of petitioning saints and martyrs for protection. The fall began in this way,

It was in 395, as I said, after the pious Theodosius, just like King Josiah, had been taken away from the coming evil, that the empire was shaken, as by an earthquake, with this Gothic revolt.

Vesuvius From Portici by Joseph Wright of Derby -

Vesuvius From Portici by Joseph Wright of Derby

“3rd Trumpet. . . The Historical Fulfillment. . .

“. . . yet another plague was commissioned against the devoted empire; I mean ‘the scourge of God,’ the king of the Huns, Attila. Alone of conquerors, ancient or modern, he united at this time under his sway the two mighty kingdoms of Germany and Scythia. For the Huns had advanced their course and their conquests, since the time when the Goths fled before them some 70 years earlier, in the days of Valens, to the furthest limits, West and North, of Germany. The kings of the Ostrogoth and Gepidae were among Attila’s subject princes; and a crowd of vulgar kings watched his nod. Superstitious awe concerning him added to his power. He was deemed something greater than human.

The barbaric princes could not presume to gaze with steady eye on [what they deemed] his divine majesty.’[44] How much less his enemies! He was in their eyes like the baleful meteor that even then blazed in the heavens, boding ruin and war.[45] For the first eight years from his accession (which was in AD. 433) he had been occupied with other wars in Germany, Persia, Scythia. Then, descending on the Danube, he fixed the royal village near where it takes its great bend to the southward, not far from the modern Buda:[46] crossed it to attack the Eastern empire; and, after ravaging the provinces of Thrace and Maesia, and tracing the river course downwards in blood as far as the Euxine, retired not until the Eastern emperor (AD. 446) had purchased peace by surrendering to him a slip of territory south of the Danube, from Belgrade to Novae. ‘The Huns’ says Gibbon,[47] ‘were acknowledged masters (of this part of the lower half) of the great river.’— But it is specially the river frontier of the same Western third of the empire to which the other Trumpets refer, that I suppose to be chiefly intended in the present. Accordingly, about AD. 450, in fulfillment of a treaty with Genseric, he moved against the Western provinces along the Danube: reached and crossed the Rhine at Basle; and thence, tracing the same great frontier stream of the West down to Belgium, made its valley one scene of desolation and woe; burning the cities, (of which Strasburg, Spires, Worms, Mentz, Andernach, Treves, Tongres, and Maestricht, are specially particularized), massacring the inhabitants, and laying the country waste:— until, at length, having left that valley, which had been marked out as one destined scene of his ravaging, and advanced farther into the interior, his course was arrested, and he was repulsed in the tremendous battle of Chalons.— And whither then, when thus forced to retrace his steps, did he direct them? Whither but to fall on another destined scene of ravage, ‘the European fountains of waters,’ in the Alpine heights and Alpine valleys of Italy. Then Aquileia, Padua, Verona, Mantua, Milan, Pavia, and Turin, felt his vengeance.

“‘From the Alps to the Apennines,’ says Sigonius, ‘all was flight, depopulation, slaughter, slavery, burning, and despair.’ Many fled to the low and marshy islands at the mouth of the Adige, Po, and Brenta, as their only safe refuge. And he who has seen the fair Venice, may do well to remember that he has seen in it a memorial of the terrors and ravages of that scourge of God, the Hun Attila[48]— But what further of his course of devastation? Surely, with all Italy defenseless before him, one might have expected that, like his predecessor Alaric, he would have continued it on to Rome and the far coast of Bruttium. Instead of this, behold, an embassy from the Western emperor Valentinian, accompanied by the venerable Romish bishop Leo the First, was successful at this point in deprecating his wrath: and, having granted them peace, he passed the Alps, and retired; leaving bands only of Heruli and Ostrogoths in the Tyrolese country intermediate.— Wherefore a result, humanly speaking, so unlikely? The prediction had expressly marked the term of Attila’s desolating progress;—’the third of the rivers, and the fountains of waters.’ Already Attila had made bitter, besides the surplus age of more Eastern scenes,[49] the river line of the upper Danube and Rhine, and the Alpine fountains of waters. Many had died, and still continued to die, that drank of the waters, through famine, disease, and pestilence. This being done, his course was to end. ‘Thus far thou shalt go, and no further.’ Returned from Italy, he recrossed the Danube; reached the royal village between it and the Teiss; and there, the very next year, was suddenly cut off by apoplexy. This occurred AD. 453. So the meteor was extinct; the empire and power of the Huns broken. The woe of the third Trumpet had past away.”

View with Tisa River (Tisza) confluence with Danube - photo by Marek Ślusarczyk (Tupungato)

View with Tisa River (Tisza) confluence with Danube – photo by Marek Ślusarczyk (Tupungato)

 


A little Greek for some of you from a 19th/20th Century Teacher

Robertson’s Word Pictures

A.T. Robertson

A.T. Robertson from ccel.orgVerse 10 

“Burning as a torch (kaiomeno w lampa). See Zephaniah 4:5; Matthew 2:2, perhaps a meteor, striking at the fresh-water supply (rivers potamwn, springs phga) as in the first Egyptian plague also..

Verse 11

“Wormwood (o Apsinqo). Absinthe. Usually feminine (h), but masculine here probably because asthr is masculine. Only here in N.T. and not in LXX (pikria, bitterness, colh, gall, etc.) except by Aquila in Proverbs 5:4Jeremiah 9:15Jeremiah 23:15. There are several varieties of the plant in Palestine. Became wormwood (egeneto ei apsinqon). This use of ei in the predicate with ginomai is common in the LXX and the N.T. ( Jeremiah 16:19John 16:20Acts 5:36). Of the waters (ek twn udatwn). As a result of (ek) the use of the poisoned waters. Were made bitter (epikranqhsan). First aorist passive indicative of pikrainw. Old verb (from pikro, bitter), as in Acts 10:9. In a metaphorical sense to embitter in Colossians 3:19.”


A 20th Century Handbook

Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 716

“’Great Burning Star,’ Third Trumpet, fell upon the Rivers (8:10,11). Attila the Hun, from the depth of Central Asia, appeared (A.D. 440), on the banks of the Danube, at the head of 800,000 fighting men. Pushing westward, he met the Roman armies, and defeated them with awful slaughter, successively, on the River Marne, the River Rhone, and the River Po, so that these rivers actually ran with Blood. Loaded with spoil, he returned to the Danube. When he died, the River was turned aside, and his body buried beneath its bed. The waters still flow over his grave. He was indeed a scourge of the rivers.”

Attila “not only made the Huns the most effective fighting force of the time, but he also built a vast empire from virtually nothing in less than ten years. At its height, this empire stretched from central Asia across to modern-day France and down through the Danube Valley.” ~ Encyclopedia of Ancient History

 


 

Reading through Revelation – Chapter 8:1-5, the Seventh Seal and Silence in Heaven


A Bible study


Revelation 8:1-6

NASB
The Seventh Seal—the Trumpets

1 When the Lamb broke 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 came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might [a]add it to the prayers of all the [b]saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, [c]with the prayers of the [d]saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel [e]took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.

[a] Lit give – [b] Or holy ones – [c] Or for – [d] V 3, note 2 – [e] Lit has taken


Thoughts

With this post I hope to continue to present expositions from Church History. Many of these excerpts are historicist and premillennial. Sadly, I will have to stop posting excerpts from modern book authors whose works are still under copyright, such as, the beautiful amillennialist commentary by William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors. The posts that I’ve finished which include Hendriksen and the historicist Oral Edmond Colins will have to be edited. 

I hope there is something here that is truly helpful to you! I’m trying to find the best things available to me.


Related passages

Habakkuk 2:20

“But the Lord is in His holy temple.
[u]Let all the earth be silent before Him.”

[u] Lit Hush before Him, all the earth

Zechariah 2:13

[a] Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.”

[a] Lit Hush

Zephaniah 1:7

[a] Be silent before the Lord [b]God!
For the day of the Lord is near,
For the Lord has prepared a sacrifice,
He has consecrated His guests.

[a] Lit Hush – [b] Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord


The 17th Century

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible – Revelation 8

John Gill was a premillennialist and historicist.

Verse 1
.
there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour; . . this is to be understood of that peace and rest which the church enjoyed upon Constantine’s having defeated all his enemies, when he brought the church into a state of profound tranquillity and ease; and this lasted but for a little while, which is here expressed by about, or almost half an hour, as the Syriac version renders it; for in a short time the Arian heresy broke out, which introduced great troubles in the church, and at last violent persecutions. . .”

 


A 19th Century Explanation of the 3rd Century Expositor Victorinus

Horae Apocalypticae

Appendix to Vol. IV.  Part I. A Sketch of the History of Apocalyptic Interpretation.

E. B. Elliott – (1793 – 1875)

Good news: I found Edward Bishop Elliott’s Horae Apocalypticae in a download pdf file format on Puritan Downloads at a very fair price (it is four volumes). The full title is Horae Apocalypticae; or, A Commentary on the Apocalypse, Critical and Historical; Including Also An Examination of the Chief Prophecies of Daniel (1862, 4 Volume Set) by E. B. Elliott. Thank you, Lord!

The Last Prophecy - Abridged version of Edward Bishop Elliott's Horae Apocalypticae - Abridged Version 2015

Abridged version by Elliott himself – Amazon Kindle link

According to Reformed Books Online, Edward Elliott was an “historicist premillennial.” Charles Spurgeon considered Elliott’s work the standard on the subject (Wikipedia). 

Victorinus (d. A.D. 303 or 304) wrote the earliest professed and continuous Apocalyptic Commentary now extant. He died a martyr for the Faith during the Emperor Diocletian’s persecution.

Elliott on Victorinus: “In Apoc. viii. the half-hour’s silence figured the beginning of eternal rest; one half-hour only being mentioned, to signify the subject’s then breaking off. For chronological order is not followed in the Apocalypse:[78] but the Holy Spirit, when he has come to the chronological end, returns often, and repeats, by the way of supplement. . .

“Next comes the vision of the incense-offering Angel. Victorinus supposes this incense-offering to depict the prayers of saints: (specially, on Antichrist’s reign approaching, the prayer that they may not enter into temptation:) the Angel being figured, because Angels offer the prayers of the Church, as well as pour out wrath on Antichrist’s kingdom; which wrath was signified alike in the seven trumpets and seven vials, the one set of symbolizations supplying what was omitted in the other.[79]”


A little Greek for some of you from a 19th and 20th Century Teacher

Robertson’s Word Pictures

A.T. Robertson

A.T. Robertson from ccel.orgVerse 1 

And when he opened (kai otan hnoixen). Here modal an is used with ote (used about the opening of the preceding six seals), but otan is not here rendered more indefinite, as is sometimes true ( Mark 3:11 ; Revelation 4:9 ), but here and possibly (can be repetition) in Mark 11:19 it is a particular instance, not a general rule (Robertson, Grammar, p. 973). There followed a silence (egeneto sigh). Second aorist middle of ginomai. “There came silence.” Dramatic effect by this profound stillness with no elder or angel speaking, no chorus of praise nor cry of adoration, no thunder from the throne (Swete), but a temporary cessation in the revelations. See Mark 10:4About the space of half an hour (w hmiwron). Late and rare word (hmi, half, wra, hour), here only in N.T. Accusative of extent of time.


A 20th Century Handbook

Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 714

Chapter 8:1-6 The Seventh Seal

“Out of the Seventh Seal came the Seven Trumpets. The Double Seven is thought to emphasize the idea of Totality. Thus in the Two Sevens, chapters 6 to 11, are outlined the Struggle, and the Complete, Final, Everlasting Victory of Christ over the ‘Kingdoms of the World’ (11:15).

“‘Prayers of the Saints’ (8:3,4). God about to Answer the Cries of the Martyrs of 6:9,10. Answer, the Awful Judgments of the Seven Trumpets. It seems to indicate the Prayer has some influence with God in shaping the course of history.

“‘The Half Hour’s Silence’ and ‘Thunders, Lightnings, Earthquake’ (8:1,5), may imply Momentous Events in the making.”


 

Reading through Revelation – Chapter 7:9-17, “a great multitude” and “the great tribulation”

 


 


Thoughts

Greta with specsStarting here and now, my focus in this series will be to present interpretations of Revelation from Church History – a subject I love. Please think of me as your little old librarian lady with specs on and pray I don’t stumble in the stacks. My hope is that you will be edified by something taken down from the shelves.

Presenting interpretations on Revelation is no longer a simple thing for me. I’m a little afraid of rejection for not believing in what many of my brothers and sisters believe in: a seven-year tribulation before, and a literal Millennium after, Jesus’ return. Though I’m willing to discuss whatever you find here, I’m not interested in debate. Also, please know that I don’t want to discourage you about how you’ve come to understand these things after studying long and prayerfully. I’ve learned that genuine Christians can and do hold different views about them, and that this is fine as long as we are not talking about heresy such as Full Preterism.

May the Lord Jesus be glorified in all that each one of us attempts to do for His Name and eternal Kingdom! 


Revelation 7:9-17

NASB
A Multitude from the Tribulation

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;  10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying,

“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. 16 They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”


Related passages

 John 16:33

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Hebrews  11:35-38

35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy),  wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

Revelation 21:1-4

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be  any death; there will no longer be any  mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

Glorious, brethren!


The 17th Century

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible – Revelation 7

John Gill was “an English Baptist pastor,  biblical scholar, and theologian who held to a firm Calvinistic soteriology. Born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, he attended Kettering Grammar School where he mastered the Latin classics and learned Greek by age 11. He continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew, his love for the latter remaining throughout his life.” ~ Wikipedia

Gill was a premillennialist and historicist

Portrait of John Gill by George Vertue 1684Verse 14

and he said to me, these are they which came out of great tribulation: seeing this company designs all the elect of God, that ever were, are, or shall be in the world; ‘the great tribulation’, out of which they came, is not to be restrained to any particular time of trouble, but includes all that has been, is, or shall be; as all the afflictions of the saints under the Old Testament; from righteous Abel to Zechariah; and all the troubles of the people of God in the times of the Maccabees, Hebrews 11:35; all the persecutions of the Christians by the Jews, at the first publication of the Gospel; and the persecutions under the Roman emperors, both Pagan and Arian; and the cruelties and barbarities of the Romish antichrist, during the whole time of the apostasy; and particularly the last struggle of the beast, which will be the hour of temptation, that will come upon all the world; and in general all the afflictions, reproaches, persecutions, and many tribulations of all the saints, and every member of Christ in this world. . .”

The brief article on Pastor Gill at Wikipedia is very interesting!


A 19th Century Explanation of a 2nd and 3rd Century Expositor

Horae Apocalypticae

APPENDIX TO VOL. IV.  PART I. A SKETCH OF THE HISTORY OF APOCALYPTIC INTERPRETATION.

E. B. Elliott – (1793 – 1875)

Edward B. Elliott “wrote here the most exhaustive historicist defense and exposition of the Book of Revelation, building upon all the commentators before him. The last volume includes a critique of all of the other main interpretations of Revelation. He was a historicist premillennial (as was Charles Spurgeon who has commended it). ‘Horae Apocalypticae’ in the title means ‘of the hours of the Apocalypse’.”

Reformed Books Online: The Best, Free, Biblical, Reformed Books and Articles Online

On Tertullian’s understanding of Revelation, Elliott wrote: “But by far the most interesting to my mind of his passing comments here are those on the 5th Seal’s vision of the souls under the altar, and that of the palm-bearing company, figured before the opening of the seventh Seal.[30] The martyrs of the former vision, he explains as martyrs then in course of being slain under Pagan Rome for the testimony of Christ: thereby distinctly assigning to the then passing æra [era] that particular place in the Apocalyptic prefigurative drama.[31] The palm-bearers of the latter vision, that had to come out of the great tribulation, he identifies as that same second set of martyrs that had been predicted to the souls under the altar; – those that were to make up the martyr-complement by suffering under Antichrist, and so suffering to become triumphant, and attain Paradise. And hence chiefly he formed to himself an Apocalyptic plan, and “ordo temporum” in the prophecy: – how that before the judgment and vindication promised to the souls under the altar, the imperial harlot-city Rome was to be destroyed by the ten kings, (mark, not the ten kings and Antichrist,) after the vial-plagues had first been poured out on its empire: then the Beast Antichrist to rise, make war conjunctively with his False Prophet on the Church, and add an innumerable multitude of sufferers, during the tribulation of his tyranny, to the martyrs previously slain under Pagan Rome, Christ’s two Witnesses, Enoch and Elijah, specially inclusive:[32]. . .”

You can purchase Horae Apocalypticae at Amazon and elsewhere in volumes but it’s expensive. 


A little Greek for some of you from the 19th and 20th Century

Robertson’s Word Pictures

A.T. Robertson

A.T. Robertson from ccel.org

Revelation 7:14

I say (eirhka). Perfect active indicative of eipon, “I have said.” “To the Seer’s mind the whole scene was still fresh and vivid” (Swete) like kekragen in John 1:15 and eilhpen in Revelation 5:7, not the so-called “aoristic perfect” which even Moulton (Prol. p. 145) is disposed to admit. My lord (Kurie mou). “An address of reverence to a heavenly being” (Vincent), not an act of worship on John’s part. Thou knowest (su oida). “At once a confession of ignorance, and an appeal for information” (Swete), not of full confidence like su oida in John 21:15They which come out of the great tribulation (oi ercomenoi ek th qlipsew th megalh). Present middle participle with the idea of continued repetition. “The martyrs are still arriving from the scene of the great tribulation” (Charles). Apparently some great crisis is contemplated ( Matthew 13:19 ; Matthew 24:21 ; Mark 13:10 ), though the whole series may be in mind and so may anticipate final judgment. And they washed (kai eplunan). First aorist active indicative of plunw, old verb, to wash, in N.T. only Luke 5:2Revelation 7:14Revelation 22:14. This change of construction after oi ercomenoi from oi plunhsante to kai eplunan is common in the Apocalypse, one of Charles’s Hebraisms, like kai epoihsen in Revelation 1:6 and kai planai in Revelation 2:20Made them white (eleukanan). First aorist active indicative of leukainw, to whiten, old verb from leuko (verse Revelation 13 ), in N.T. only here and Mark 9:3. “Milligan remarks that robes are the expression of character and compares the word habit used of dress” (Vincent). The language here comes partly from Genesis 49:11 and partly from Exodus 19:10 Exodus 19:14. For the cleansing power of Christ’s blood see als (Romans 3:25Romans 5:9Colossians 1:20Ephesians 1:71 Peter 1:2; Hebrews 9:141 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5Revelation 5:9Revelation 22:14. “The aorists look back to the life on earth when the cleansing was effected” (Swete). See Philippians 2:12 for both divine and human aspects of salvation. In the blood of the Lamb (en twi aimati tou arniou). There is power alone in the blood of Christ to cleanse from sin ( 1 John 1:7 ), not in the blood of the martyrs themselves. The result is “white,” not “red,” as one might imagine.”


The 20th Century

Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 714

Chapter 7:9-17. The Great Multitude in Heaven

“The ‘144,000,’ of verse 4, and the ‘Great Multitude,’ of verse 9, seem to be two separate groups. One is the Elect of Israel. The other is from All Nations. With one group the scene was on Earth. With the other the scene is in Heaven. One group was sealed against a Coming Tribulation. With the other group, the Tribulation is Past. Yet they may be One and the Same group, under different aspects.

“One relates to the Call, or ‘Sealing’ period, on Earth; the other to the period of Victorious Blessedness in Heaven: the 144,000 of the Elect of Israel, turning out, in full fruition, to be the Great Multitude from Every Nation.

“The blood-washed throng, safe at last in the Father’s Home, as against the Day of Wrath on Earth (6:16), is the Answer to the Martyrs’ Cry (6:10). Arrayed in white Robes, Palms in their hands, Songs on their lips. They hunger no more. All tears wiped away. In the Land where Fountains are Forever flowing with Living Waters.”

This makes sense when we realize that “the Israel or God” is made up of believers, both Jews and Gentiles:

Galatians 6:12-16

12 Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Meme Hendriksen Dutch quoteMore than Conquerors, William Hendriksen, Baker Book House, 1962, pp. 113-114

The explanation given by the elder, in a most sublime and beautiful manner, closes this section, chapters 4-7. Constantly bear in mind that this section has as its theme, the Church in tribulation. We have seen the red horse of slaughter, the black horse of poverty and injustice, the livid horse of Death. We have heard the cries of the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held. It has become clear that all these trials are controlled by the One who is sitting upon the throne. Now, in addition, it is made clear to us that the Church does not remain in the tribulation. The countless multitude is composed of individuals who come ‘out of’ the great tribulation. We read ‘And he said to me: “These are the ones coming out of the tribulation, the great one, and they have washed their flowing robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and they worship him by day and by night in his sanctuary, and the One sitting on the throne will spread his tabernacle over them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more: neither shall the sun fall upon them nor any heat, for the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall be their shepherd and shall lead them to life’s springs of waters and God shall wipe away every tear out of their eyes.”‘

“The elder tells John that these people who are clothed around with the white flowing robes come out of ‘the tribulation, the great one’. This one tribulation is great because it is all-inclusive: all the persecutions and trials of God’s people, symbolized by the seals, are included in it. That gives unity to this entire section, chapters 4-7. The point is that the saints come out of their trials. The Dutch have a term for ‘dying’ which literally means ‘to get over (or beyond) suffering’. It expresses the truth whenever a believer dies.”

Hendriksen is a heart-felt commentator and I’m looking forward to reading more of his book.


 

Reading through Revelation – Chapter 4, From earth to Heaven!


Tyndale Bible

A Tyndale Bible, Bodleian Library, Steve Bennett (stevage)


Revelation 4 

GNV

4 1 Another vision containing the glory of God’s Majesty:  3 which is magnified of the four beasts, 10 and the four and twenty Elders.

After this I looked, and behold, a door was open in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, saying, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be done hereafter.

And immediately I was ravished in the spirit, and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat upon the throne.

And he that sat, was to look upon, like unto a Jasper stone, and a sardine, and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like to an emerald.

And round about the throne were  four and twenty seats, and upon the seats I saw four and twenty Elders sitting, clothed in white raiment, and had on their heads crowns of gold.

And out of the throne proceeded lightnings, and thunderings and voices, and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.

And before the throne there was a Sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne were four beasts, full of eyes before and behind.

And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying Eagle.

And the four beasts had each one of them six wings about him, and they were full of eyes within, and they ceased not day nor night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Which was, and which is, and which is to come.

And when those beasts gave glory, and honor, and thanks to him that sat on the throne, which liveth forever and ever,

10 The four and twenty Elders fell down before him that sat on the throne, and worshipped him that liveth for evermore, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy will’s sake they are, and have been created.


Thoughts

Worthy are You, O Lord!


Commentary

Matthew Henry’s Commentary

4:1-8 After the Lord Jesus had instructed the apostle to write to the churches the things that are, there was another vision. The apostle saw a throne set in heaven, an emblem of the universal dominion of Jehovah. He saw a glorious One upon the throne, not described by human features, so as to be represented by a likeness or image, but only by his surpassing brightness. These seem emblems of the excellence of the Divine nature, and of God’s awful justice. The rainbow is a fit emblem of that covenant of promise which God has made with Christ, as the Head of the church, and with all his people in him. The prevailing colour was a pleasant green, showing the reviving and refreshing nature of the new covenant. Four-and-twenty seats around the throne, were filled with four-and-twenty elders, representing, probably, the whole church of God. Their sitting denotes honour, rest, and satisfaction; their sitting about the throne signifies nearness to God, the sight and enjoyment they have of him. They were clothed in white raiment; the imputed righteousness of the saints and their holiness: they had on their heads crowns of gold, signifying the glory they have with him. Lightnings and voices came from the throne; the awful declarations God makes to his church, of his sovereign will and pleasure. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne; the gifts, graces, and operations of the Spirit of God in the churches of Christ, dispensed according to the will and pleasure of Him who sits upon the throne. In the gospel church, the laver for purification is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which cleanses from all sin. In this all must be washed, to be admitted into the gracious presence of God on earth, and his glorious presence in heaven. The apostle saw four living creatures, between the throne and the circle of the elders, standing between God and the people. These seem to signify the true ministers of the gospel, because of their place between God and the people. This also is shown by the description given, denoting wisdom, courage, diligence, and discretion, and the affections by which they mount up toward heaven.

4:9-11 All true believers wholly ascribe their redemption and conversion, their present privileges and future hopes, to the eternal and most holy God. Thus rise the for-ever harmonious, thankful songs of the redeemed in heaven. Would we on earth do like them, let our praises be constant, not interrupted; united, not divided; thankful, not cold and formal; humble, not self-confident.


Greek

Robertson’s Word Pictures

Verse 3 

To look upon (ορασειhorasei). Locative case of ορασιςhorasis old word (from οραωhoraō to see) for appearance (in appearance) as in Ezekiel 1:5, Ezekiel 1:26.

Like a jasper stone (ομοιος ιασπιδιhomoios iaspidi). Associative-instrumental case of ιασπιςiaspis old word (Persian), used for stones of different colors, one opaque like opal, one translucent (Revelation 21:11, Revelation 21:18, possibly here, only N.T. examples), one a red or yellow stone (Isaiah 54:12). Some even take it for the diamond. Certainly not our cheap modern jasper. A sardius (σαρδιωιsardiōi). Old word, in N.T. only here and Revelation 21:20. The carnelian or other red stone, derived from Sardis (Pliny). Rainbow (ιριςiris). Old word, in N.T. only here and Revelation 10:1. From Ezekiel 1:28. An emerald (σμαραγδινωιsmaragdinōi). Adjective (from σμαραγδοςsmaragdos Revelation 21:19), of emerald (supply λιτωιlithōi), in associative instrumental case after ομοιοςhomoios John sees no form for God (Exodus 24:10), but only the brilliant flashing gems. “In the vision the flashing lustre of the ιασπιςiaspis and the fiery red of the σαρδsard are relieved by the halo (ιριςiris) of emerald which encircled the Throne” (Swete). A complete circle.


Historic NWS Collection - Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Image ID wea00133 - Photo credit: Ralph F. Kresge

Historic NWS Collection – Fort Lauderdale – Image ID wea00133 – Ralph F. Kresge

File:Emerald.png

Uncut emerald showing hexagonal structu

Jasper pebble – notice the tiny  rainbow in the spot of reflected light!

File:Picture Jasper.jpg

Picture jasper from Bruneau, ID, held in the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum, photo by Chris857

 

Sardine

“The Hebrew odem (also translated sardius), the first stone in the High Priest’s breastplate, was a red stone, probably sard but perhaps red jasper.” (Wikipedia, Carnelian)

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Staccoto Lightning near New Boston TX by Griffinstorm

Staccoto Lightning near New Boston TX by Griffinstorm

Sultan the Barbary Lion, New York Zoo.

Sultan the Barbary Lion, New York Zoo.

Heck cattle – photo: Eva Hejda

See the source image

Face of a man
Jim Elliot, missionary to the Auca people in Ecuador, 1927-1956

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Captive Golden Eagle in flight in the UK – Tony Hisgett


 

 

 

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Reading through Revelation – Chapter 3:14-22, Laodicea


Mark 4:24

Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.


A Bible study


Revelation 3:14-22

gnv

14 And unto the Angel of the Church of the Laodiceans write, These things saith Amen, the faithful and true witness, that beginning [origin, source]∗ of the creatures of God.

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou werest cold or hot.

16 Therefore because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, it will come to pass, that I shall spew thee out of my mouth.

17 For thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not how thou art wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried by the fire, that thou mayest be made rich: and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that thy filthy nakedness do not appear: and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and amend.

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock, If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in unto him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

21 To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame, and sit with my Father in his throne.

22 Let him that hath an ear, hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.

*The beginning of the creation of God (η αρχη της κτισεως του τεουhē archē tēs ktiseōs tou theou). Not the first of creatures as the Arians held and Unitarians do now, but the originating source of creation through whom God works (Colossians 1:15, Colossians 1:18, a passage probably known to the Laodiceans, John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2, as is made clear by Revelation 1:18; Revelation 2:8; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:13). 

Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament


Thoughts

May the Lord not count us in their number, but among the noble-minded Bereans and faithful Philadelphians!


History

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Laodicea

“The city of this name mentioned in Scripture lay on the confines of Phrygia and Lydia, about 40 miles east of Ephesus (Revelation 3:14), on the banks of the Lycus. It was originally called Diospolis and then Rhoas, but afterwards Laodicea, from Laodice, the wife of Antiochus II, [Seleucid] king of Syria, who rebuilt it. It was one of the most important and flourishing cities of Asia Minor. At a very early period it became one of the chief seats of Christianity (Colossians 2:1; 4:15; Revelation 1:11, etc.). It is now a deserted place, called by the Turks Eski-hissar or ‘old castle.'”

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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

LAODICEA

“. . . Little is known of the early history of Christianity there; Timothy, Mark and Epaphras (Colossians 1:7) seem to have been the first to introduce it. However, Laodicea was early the chief bishopric of Phrygia, and about 166 A.D. Sagaris, its bishop, was martyred. In 1071 the city was taken by the Seljuks; in 1119 it was recovered to the Christians by [Byzantine Emperor] John Comnenus, and in the 13th century it fell finally into the hands of the Turks. . .”

E.J. Banks

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Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, Zondervan, p. 699

“. . .  The city lay on one of the great Asian trade routes, and this ensured its great commercial prosperity. Laodicea was a leading banking center. In 51 B.C. Cicero, en route for his Cilician province, cashed drafts there. It was no doubt the rich banking firms which, in A.D. 60, financed the reconstruction of the city after the great earthquake which prostrated it. Laodicea refused the Senate’s earthquake relief. She was ‘rich and increased with goods’ and had ‘need of nothing’ (Revelation 3:17). The Lycus valley produced a glossy black wool, the source of black cloaks and carpets, for which the city was famous. Laodicea was also the home of a medical school, and the manufacturer of collyrium, a famous eye-salve. The scornful imagery of the apocalyptic letter to Laodicea is obviously based on these activities. It also has reference to the emetic qualities of the soda-laden warm water from nearby Hierapolis, whose thermal springs ran into the Meander. Laodicea’s water supply also came from Hierapolis, and Sir William Ramsay suggests that its vulnerability, together with the city’s exposed position, and its easy wealth caused the growth in the community of that spirit of compromise and worldly-mindedness castigated in the Revelation. Under Diocletian [Roman Emperor, A.D. 284-305], Laodicea, still prosperous, was made the chief city of Phrygia – Wikipedia. (The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary)”

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Smith’s Bible Dictionary

Laodice’a

“. . . We have good reason for believing that when, in writing from Rome to the Christians of Colossae, he [Paul] sent a greeting to those of Laodicea, he had not personally visited either place. But the preaching of the gospel at Ephesus (Acts 18:19; Acts 19:41) must inevitably have resulted in the formation of churches in the neighboring cities, especially where Jews were settled; and there were Jews in Laodicea. In subsequent times it became a Christian city of eminence, the see of bishop and a meeting-place of councils. The Mohammedan invaders destroyed it, and it is now a scene of utter desolation, as was prophesied in (Revelation 3:14-22) and the extensive ruins near Denislu justify all that we read of Laodicea in Greek and Roman writers. Another biblical subject of interest is connected with Laodicea. From (Colossians 4:16) it appears that St. Paul wrote a letter to this place when he wrote the letter to Colossae. Ussher’s view is that it was the same as the Epistle to the Ephesians, which was a circular letter sent to Laodicea among other places. The apocryphal Epistola ad Laodicenses is a late and clumsy forgery.


Commentary

The Final Prophecy of Jesus: An Introduction, Analysis, and Commentary on the Book of Revelation, Oral Edmond Collins, pp. 96-97

15. The Laodiceans were spiritually neither cold nor hot. 16. Because you are . . . neither hot nor cold—am about to spit you out. The analogy of hot and cold is best understood of the medicinal hot springs at Hieropolis and the cold, pure water of Colossae. The point is not that the ‘spiritual temperature’ of the Laodiceans is medium. Though they excelled in the material arts and commerce, spiritually they lacked any utilitarian value. Their works were barren. . .”

 


Interesting!

Private Tour – Laodicea

Laodicea today

“The present-day visitor to Laodicea finds a large area littered with broken marble, tops of stone masonry walls, and here and there public buildings: two theaters, a large stadium, nearby it a water tower, an odeon, and the nymphaeum which was excavated in 1961-1963. In the side of the hill just as one approaches Laodicea one can also see the truncated conduits that were part of the water supply system for the city. Much, much more is obviously right under foot.”

Ancient medicines

“One of the principles of medicine at that time was that compound diseases required compound medicines. One of the compounds used for strengthening the ears was made from the spice nard (spikenard? an aromatic plant). Galen says that it was originally made only In Laodicea. . . Galen also described a medicine for the eyes made of Phrygian stone. Aristotle spoke of it as a Phrygian powder. Ramsay tries to explain what kind of medicine it was by saying it was not an ointment but a cylindrical collyrium that could be powdered and then spread on the part affected. The term used by John in Revelation is the same that Galen uses to describe the preparation of the Phrygian stone.  Would not these medicinal concoctions be a reason why John cautions the Laodiceans to buy ‘ointment for your eyes so that you may see’ (Rev. 3:18)?”

[Bausch and Lomb makes collyrium eyewash for personal use. Collyrium is also used in an emergency to flush foreign bodies and chemicals from the eye.]


Roman province of Lydia circa 50 AD - English legend, Photo - Caliniuc. Sardis was its capitol.

Roman province of Lydia circa 50 AD – English legend, Photo – Caliniuc. Laodicea is in the neighboring province of Phrygia, spelled LAODIKEIA. 


Laodicea temple: Rjdeadly


Hieraoplis. Hot thermal springs have medicinal value. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.