John’s writings have been my favorite for many years and probably always will be. I have studied, listened to and watched his letters and Revelation more than any authors but, only recently have seen some unique contrasts.
It’s easy to take fore-granted that John’s writings were given near the end of his life; almost a generation after Jesus ascended to Heaven and gave the Holy Spirit! Matthew, Mark and Luke had all been given and some of Paul’s letters but, there is insight that they probably did not have until John declared what was given to him!
Jesus was the Word of God and God in the flesh. (John 1 and Rev.19:11)
Jesus was the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world
Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Jesus is the “First and the Last”…He is Yahweh, Jehovah
Jesus gave a New Commandment and a New Covenant
Jesus is the Morning Star
God loves the world
All of that is food for thought. My main point is that John describes how Jesus has ascended to the throne and is King of Kings. I have wrestled with this for a while because we hear “Jesus is at the right hand of God” and that is absolutely verifiable in Scripture but, is that where he remained? Stephen first saw this maybe about 3.5 years after Jesus ascension and he was the first recorded martyr (34AD?).
Let’s take a very brief walk through the “Heavenly tabernacle” as shown in the book of Revelation; which is not called “End times judgement” but “The Revelation of Jesus Christ!” as introduced by John in Rev.1:1.
The first Chapter shows a picture of Jesus in the Holy Place, the inner Court (not the Holy of Holies) where the 7-fold Lamp-stand and the Table of Showbread were. (Rev.1:12-18) Jesus is dressed as our High Priest and is about to take Himself; the perfect Sacrifice and present his body to the Father on the Throne.
Chapters 2 and 3 are warnings to the 7 churches in Asia almost 2,000 years ago and I will get back to significance of some of the symbolism described to them later…
In chapter 4:1 John is told ~ ““Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” and is shown the Father on the throne, all of the amazing beings around it and Jesus has not yet come. We know this because the very next chapter describes the Lamb that was slain approaching…
This is the first reference to the Lamb in Revelation and Jesus takes the Scroll (which I believe represents the New Covenant) from the Father’s right hand and finally receives Heavenly worship! (Rev.5:1-10)
Rev.6 begins the detail of the Scroll being opened by Jesus and the judgements that follow until chapter 8, which demonstrates a pause at the 7th seal (of the New Covenant?) and initiates the 7 Trumpet judgements until chapter 10.
Chapter 10 describes a “little scroll” being given to John and is told to seal up the little scroll and about the 7th Trumpet~7but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servantsa the prophets.“
Also, the prophecy may take a turn because now John is told ~ “And a voice said to me, “You must prophesy yet further concerning peoples, nations, languages, and many kings.”
This prophecy of the little scroll may be the remaining chapters of Revelation given to a much broader audience but, that may be speculation on my part.
Rev.11 describes the “Two Witnesses” (which are mysterious) but, my focus is what happens immediately after… 11:15 ~ “15Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
I believe that this event symbolizes Jesus taking the Throne of God. Jesus is Lord and He will reign forever and ever but, He cannot be King before He is given the throne! Consider verse 19 ~
Right or wrong; I believe this depicts Jesus (The true Ark of the Covenant) in the Holy of Holies! Jesus may have become one with the Throne (the Ark) and now reigns with all authority, power and dominion over everything in Heaven, on earth and under the earth! Although we do not yet see everything subjected to him; we see Jesus!
Rev.12 gives a symbolic picture and verse 5 details ~ “5She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,” The child was already caught up to the throne. This was fulfilled almost 2,000 years ago. 12:10 ~
10And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothersa has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God”
If Jesus is on the throne (which he is); the accuser/Satan cannot stay in the “Heavenly Temple”. He was cast down and therefore cannot accuse us before God! “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
Because we are literally joined to Jesus in the spirit (1 Cor.6:17) and seated with him (in the Spirit) ~ Rev.3:21The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”
He either sat with the Father on the throne or he didn’t! Just because we are never shown a picture of Jesus literally sitting on the throne doesn’t mean He hasn’t arrived. Jesus never literally called himself God with his own mouth when he walked the earth but, his disciples still recognized him as Lord and God!
The very next chapter details the beast and his kingdom, his rule. Why? Because the King took the throne in Heaven, Satan was evicted and cast down and attempting to establish rule on earth…but he fails. He did not fail to persecute and even martyr much of the early church (not to neglect the continuing persecution) but, the atrocities that Josephus recorded Nero (whose name does number 666) performing for (arguably) a literal 3.5 years are unparalleled.
It is well-known to Historians that Nero was called a beast and before he died in 68 AD (2 years before Jerusalem was destroyed) he burned Rome (64AD), blamed the Christians and in the next few years gathered Christians in his colosseums to be burned, crucified, tortured, eaten alive and worse! It was recorded almost 2,000 years ago that he personally covered himself in animal skins and attacked Christians; who had been hung naked on crosses and he devoured their genitals.
The man was seriously a “beast” until he killed himself with a sword blow and finally died at 30 years old. Apparently the worst of the persecution of Christians died with him but, the carnage in Jerusalem was just beginning!
Rev.14 brings another shift because I believe Jesus is shown leaving the throne with all power and authority represented by having received the Name of the Father, which is now given to his followers! ~ “1Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
He returns with fire and fulfillment of God’s righteous judgements and also reaps His harvest ~ Rev.14: ~14Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand.”
I believe there was a point in early church history where Jesus was at the right Hand of the Father’s Throne and as He opened the scroll of the New Covenant; the old was passing away and the new was being fully released! Hebrews details a lot of this symbolism and is believed to have been written after “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” because it so casually refers to the insight John had.
We can all know that Hebrews was written before the New Covenant was fully unveiled before 70 AD because of many mysteries disclosed within the symbolism but especially Hebrews 9:8-10 ~
“8the Holy Spirit this evidencing that not yet hath been manifested the way of the holy [places], the first tabernacle having yet a standing; 9which [is] a simile in regard to the present time, in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered, which are not able, in regard to conscience, to make perfect him who is serving, 10only in victuals, and drinks, and different baptisms, and fleshly ordinances — till the time of reformation imposed upon [them].
Jesus HAD to finish his work in the “Heavenly Tabernacle” and take the throne in the TRUE Tabernacle before the old shadow could be destroyed and the way to the “Holy of Holies” was made open to us! The physical elements and all the requirements that went along with them were abolished at the time of reformation (70 AD?)
Because much of Hebrews but, especially chapter 8 is contrasting the Old things with the (then currently increasing New) and says ~13in the saying ‘new,’ He hath made the first old, and what doth become obsolete and is old [is] nigh disappearing.“
At that time it had not fully disappeared! Remember 9:8,9 said that the current time (before 70 AD) and the Temple still standing were preventing the way into the Holiest place for us! The old was near disappearing because it had become obsolete when Jesus fulfilled it all but, it took time for the unveiling of the New in all it’s glory!
He stayed at the right hand of the Father to receive the New Covenant “scroll” which he opened and as he did the Old Covenant (by necessity) began to pass away until it was fully abolished! The reason it brought judgement on Jerusalem is because He had sprinkled almost everything in the “Heavenly Tabernacle” with his own perfect blood (Heb.9:20-24)
The Jews and their leaders had all sworn a legal oath (according to their Old Covenant) requiring the blood of Jesus to be avenged on them and their children!
“24When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” 25And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:24-25)
The blood of Jesus required the most severe righteous judgements ever to have been or will be and it was on that generation of Jews and their children…which is why merciful God waited until the last minute…40 years (one generation according to common understanding of the Law) because God is not willing that any should perish.
God is good and all He does is good. The Old Covenant curse had to come on that generation because they were guilty of his blood. They were judged under the Law because they rejected the One who gave them the Law and His New Covenant; which is Love. That’s why Jesus was so passionate towards “This Generation” in all of his warnings!