On 1 Apr 2008 at 13:21, Cox, David R wrote:
Bob, Often times, the meaning of a prophecy may contain both a literal and a figurative meaning simultaneously. Most of Revelation cannot be taken literally, as it is almost all symbolism.
You are right, Dave, and maybe not, at the same time.
Let me give a couple examples. A burglar with a mask to HIDE his identity, is he real and literal or not? Does the mask make him somehow unreal?
In Chinese thinking the word NOTHING is as real and as solid as SOMETHING. And, they are right. NOTHING is real, and without that understanding, some things cannot and will not be understood.
All things written in Revelation are real. However, most of them are “cloked” to hide its reality from the casual reader. Thus, to them, the book is not real, is only symbolism, and can’t be trusted, understood or be worthwhile.
Just a thought.
If you look at Apokalypsis for what it really is, then the use of “symbolism” stands out even greater! And, becomes extremely important.
Have you ever seen a stage play? Ever noticed how the stage costumes, furnishings, scenery is constantly being changed to “represent” the “real” world? Well, that is exactly what Apokalypsis is, it is a stage play acted out for the audience in ways to help them VISUALIZE the real which the play is striving to convey.
Apokalypsis is also what we would call a “rhapsody”.
We’ll discuss this more as we get there.
Bob, In the vision that John has recorded in 1:4, he is addressing the ekklesias in Asia. There is one thing that strikes me about what he records. The seven spirits (angels) that are standing before the throne are facing the Father. If they are “before Him”, they cannot have their backs to Him. So, in John’s view, the spirits would have their backs to the ekklesias on earth. If the spirits over these seven ekklesias have their backs to their people, this explains why/how the people in these cities are not yet able to have their spiritual awakening. The spirits haven’t been given instructions to do so yet. Their backs still remain to the people on earth. Question–Are these the same spirits that will be poured out on earth, lifting the veil from the world’s eyes? Or, is that describing the spirit that comes directly from YHWH, separate from these “7 spirits” over the ekklesias? Or, are they one-and-the-same? I’m probably reading things into this that aren’t there. I seem to have a habit of doing that…. (But, at least I’m looking.) Dave
Well put. Let’s discuss this in a preliminary way for now.
These letters to the seven Assemblies are very interesting. First, because they aren’t letters to seven Assemblies at all. It is the whole book of Apokalypsis that is written to them. The INSERT seven letters are written to WHOM? Anyone care to answer that one?
Now, as to the seven angels of the Assemblies. Who are they? Simple. They are MEN, not spirits, and they are the Elders in charge of the seven Assemblies. This is extremely important to understand when reading those letters. It is also important to remember that we are watching a “stage play” when we read those letters, not even considering the rest of the book.
How do I know they are men? Simple. Because the Bible tells me so. (Corny, huh?) But, it’s true.
No one wants to believe what they read, especially in Rev. because it is all symbolism which can’t be understood, right?
What is SAID in the Book about this question? To know what is said, one must look closely and one must understand that Rev. was written first, and that other books expand on the book, not the other way round.
“The mystery of the seven angels which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven STARS are the ANGELS [messengers] of the seven Assemblies: AND the seven candlesticks which thou sawest ARE the seven Assemblies.” 1:20
What are STARS in this context? Are they spirit “angels”, stars in the sky, or what? Can we know?
If you read various teachers you will find over time that some say they are men, pastors, etc., and others say, no, they are the spirit guides or angels over the seven Assemblies and that each and every assembly has its own spirit angel, these are not men, they say. Neither side that I have read give any proof one way or the other. Yet, there is proof of who these stars are. That is, what the word “stars” here represent. Remember, this is a “stageplay”. So, to theorize a moment, if you were sitting in the audience you would see, perhaps, seven actors on stage with masks on, or over their faces. What would the masks look like? Like stars with eye openings in them, and probably even a mouth, so they could move about and speak if the script called for it.
Who are these actors?
1. “Attend to yourself and to the teaching. Be persisting in them, for in doing this YOU WILL SAVE YOURSELF as well as THOSE HEARING YOU.” I Tim. 4:16 CLNT 2.
“Now the fruit of RIGHTEOUSNESS is BEING SOWN in peace for those making peace.” Jas. 3:18 3.
“My brethren, if anyone among you should be led astray from the way of the truth, and someone should be turning him back, let him know that he who turns back a sinner OUT OF DECEPTION of his way will be saving his soul from death and will be covering a multitude of sins.” Jas. 5:20 4.
“but becoming models for the flocklet, and, when the Chief Shepherd is manifested, you shall be requited with an UNFADING wreath of GLORY.” I Pet. 5:4 i.e. something that shines? like a star?
What does, then, the pastor, minister, etc. do for the Assembly and others? Do they not lead others to righteousness?
5. “And they that be [margin TEACHERS] wise shall SHINE as the brightness of the firmament; and THEY that TURN MANY to RIGHTEOUSNESS as the [notice closely!!!!] S T A R S for olam to olam.” Daniel 12:4
The STARS in this comment in Revelation are the men in charge of, or leaders of, the assemblies. And, this is extremely important in understanding the letters, as you will see when we get to the letters.
By the way, the comment in each letter which says let him who hears…. hear what is said to the assemblies, plural. What is said to the assemblies? The whole book. The letters are NOT to the assemblies but to the pastors of each assembly. It is they who have the problems mentioned in the letters and shows what is to happen to them, not the members per se, of each assembly.