OK, a few things: Any commentary is my opinion/thoughts only. Some of it has probably been influenced by the church - and I apologize for it. I'm still trying to root out the "wrong thinking". And...for some reason, I can't get past the Trumpet Judgements. I try - I usually read/study while eating breakfast, but for the past...oh, few weeks, *something* comes up when I try to dig into Revelation. I don't know why - but you know the old saying "Once is an accident, Twice is a coincidence, Three Times is enemy action"? Yeah...I don't think it's "Enemy" action....but there ya go. Also, I'm reading in the Complete Jewish Bible - the KJV is wonderful, but I get lost in the poetry of the language. Too much Shakespeare, I think - the CJB is more straight-forward, and plain-spoken. Onward:
I went into this with this thought firmly in mind: The Torah is the basis of it. The disciples - John especially - didn't ADD to it, so when in doubt, look to Torah to see if I could find something similar. Revelation is all prophecy....but it does quote the OT prophets a lot. This may be why I had a thought when reading the messages to the 7 Messianic Communities - I had been taught that the 7 letters were not only written TO those early groups, but also were written for the 7 church ages. OK...I can see that. BUT....it also fits the different stages a Believer goes thru.
When you first come to Believe (or as a child if you grew up in the church), everything is great - it's like you're in the beginning of a serious love-affair. Everything is all nice and shiny, and miracles seem to occur on a daily basis. It's heady stuff.....but then things *seem* to go a little sour. The miracles slow down or cease, and the Believer sort of draws away. Some go on to explore other religions, some stay but become dead wood, SOME stay, dig in, and try to recapture that early feeling. I can see that in the letters......the same sort of thing. (The miracles-thing was mentioned in a book by a Jewish Believer - he said that when he first realized Yeshua WAS Messiah, and accepted it, miracles were all over the place. After a few months, they stopped - he got discouraged and started to wonder if he'd been deceived. His housekeeper, a devout Christian, pointed out that if God kept the miracles up, your Faith wouldn't grow. THOSE are words to remember!)
Rev 1:5-6 - Believers are cohanim (Priests) for Yah. I never noticed that before...that *would* make it possible for the Rapture as believed by the church to occur (that all believers are whisked up into Heaven, do not pass go, do not stop for Judgement). Ok....but..
Rev 2:10 - says that some will be tested, put in prison 10 days. Does this mean that the Rapture as taught by the church, is wrong? That maybe the Trib is 10 years, and Believers will be there ( assuming that the "some" here = the "few" that find the gate and narrow path)? (This is why I stay confused. I can see both sides of almost any issue!)
Rev 3:10 - will be kept from the time of trial coming upon the whole world to put the people living on earth to the test. THIS is the verse most quoted as pointing to the Rapture. BUT.....it doesn't say Philadelphia is going to be supernaturally whisked away. It simply says "will be kept FROM". In Torah, no one was "whisked" away. Noah was here, but kept safe, the Israelites were in Egypt, but kept safe from the plagues.....so.....(more on this idea in a minute)
Rev 6:11 - this is the 5th Seal. Yeah, I skipped the first 4 - we're *living* them, so no need to discuss them. (For a good overview of this, go to Anna's and look on her sidebar for "The Six Month Suggestion". She's hit 5 out of 5, now, so yeah - we're THERE, baby!) It says "wait for brothers who *would* be killed". So.....other Believers WILL be killed for their Faith. During the Trib is my assumption, since Rev is TALKING about the Trib (and we're IN it now.)
Rev 7:1 - this is interesting. Angels are at each corner of the earth, holding back the winds. It does NOT say that they release them later - it looks like the winds are stopped for the duration. Might be poetic - it says later, when talking about the sealing of the 144,000 to not harm the land or sea or trees until the sealing is complete......IF the winds are stopped for good, wind-power wouldn't do any good (may be why I couldn't get a windmill? :silly grin:)
Rev 7:9 - AFTER the sealing, a huge crowd appears before John. This is the "Rapture", according to the church. (Which, if so, proves "Left Behind" is full of it, because this is AFTER the Seal Judgements. Shoots Pre-Trib in the foot, huh?) John says that they are those who have come out of the Great Persecution. OK.....this *could* prove the church correct, in the "whisked up to Heaven" mind. But I'm still not quite convinced........because Yah is a God of pattern and order, and this is new. Yes, He can certainly DO anything, so I can't say that the Rapture isn't what the church thinks it is....but the fact that the church teaches this makes me step back with a "prove it" attitude. :sigh:
Rev 8 - The 7th seal, and the 7 Trumpets. This is interesting - all the "bad" stuff that happens ONLY affects 1/3 of the planet. 1/3 is burned up, 1/3 of the water is made bad, 1/3 of the sun goes out (wonder if that filament has anything to do with this?)....This is wide-scale devastation. Worse if the 1/3 *isn't* the same 1/3 - if, for example, North America loses water, and Europe loses all vegetation, and 1/3 of the....Antarctic Sea turned to blood. EVERYONE would be affected. But....it could *also* mean that a total 1/3 is affected...but not the areas where Believers are. (This isn't stretching things - again, the Israelites were kept out of the plagues. This would just be a world-wide repeat of that.)
Rev 9:4 - this is interesting, and why I keep coming back to the Rapture NOT being what the church teaches. It says the angels were instructed to not harm "those with the seal of God on their foreheads", which is EXACTLY what it says in Rev 7:3. :confused again:
It also seems like the Trumpet Judgements are closer together than the Seals.....might just be the way it's written.
Rev 12:14 - mentions "wings of Eagles", just like in Exodus 19:4. Well, the Israelites weren't whisked out of Egypt on eagle's wings....so this has to be poetic language.
There's a lot of other mentions in the later chapters of Believers needing to hang on, not lose Faith. Since it says in Rev 9:21 that those not sealed do NOT turn from their sins, that means that Believers are STILL here during all this. I can't reconcile that to all the people John saw in the courtyard.....IF that is the Rapture. (I can't reconcile that even if it's not....:sigh:) I don't know that the 144,000 are the "True-bies", to quote Anna, but.....I don't know. There's a LOT I don't know. I know that once you accept Yeshua as Messiah, you become a Jew in Yah's eyes.....but I don't know how that fits in with only 12,000 being sealed from each Tribe. I thought that Messianics would be considered of the Tribe of Judah, since Yeshua was of that Tribe....but......:sigh: Maybe it has something to do with your ethnic background? (Just...thinking out loud.)
Also, the 2 Witnesses don't appear until AFTER the 6th Trumpet. IF they are here 42 months, then the Trib is longer than 7 years (since it started in 2007....we're at the 3 year point NOW. That would tie in with Rev 2:10 - 10 "days" = 10 years)
And.....a while back, there was a discussion in Anna's comments that the Seals looked "man-made", instead of miraculous acts. Yes....and if you look at the Egyptian plagues, THEY were thought to be man-made as well. Remember? Everything Moses and Aaron did the Pharoah's magicians copied. (Yah is a God of pattern and order, after all!)
That's all I've got so far. I'm going to keep trying to read...but it may be that I don't NEED to know what's coming (I've read Revelation before, and I *know* what we're in for.....so :shrug:) I don't know.....I just know that things are going to go bad, faster than anyone wants to know. And it's going to be *worse* than people are thinking. The Seals? Have been bad, but not devastating. The Judgements get worse....rapidly.