PMW 2019-080 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I have been giving a brief survey of Revelation beginning in Rev. 4. Now we must note that as the wrath of the Lamb against the Jews builds, we will witness a surprising pause in the horrifying drama. Four angels hold back the wind from “the land,” i.e., Israel (Rev. 7:1-3). This act is symbolic imagery, relating what Robert Thomas calls (at another place) “picturesque apocalyptic.” The angels are not holding back literal winds, but the winds of destruction (cp. Jer. 49:36-37; 51:1-2). The first six seals represent the early stage of the Jewish War wherein Vespasian fights his way through Galilee toward Jerusalem. But before he has an opportunity to besiege Jerusalem the action pauses as these angels seal the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:3).
The number 144,000, as most commentators agree, is surely symbolic. In fact, in Revelation perfectly rounded thousands all appear to be symbolic. Ten is the number of quantitative perfection, and one thousand is the cube of ten. Frequently Scripture uses 1000 as a symbolic value, not expressing a literal enumeration (e.g., Ex. 20:6; Deut. 1:11; 7:9; 32:30; Josh. 23:10; Job 9:3; Ps. 50:10; 84:10; 90:4; 105:8; Eccl. 7:28; Isa. 7:23; 30:17; 60:22; 2 Pet. 3:8). Continue reading
PMW 2019-064 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Some readers of Revelation are perplexed as to why 12 squared times 1000 is significant to the original readers in the 144,000? What is at about that number that would lead the original readers to think, ‘Oh that’s a number signifying a perfect amount of Jewish converts?’”
1. The Nature of Revelation
In the first place, no one would suggest Revelation is an easy book whose images leap out at you. John himself is left wondering about things within it from time to time (Rev 7:13, 14; 17:6-7). Continue reading
PMT 2014-001 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In my latest blogs I have been focusing on Revelation 6 and the seven-sealed scroll. John separates the seventh seal from the preceding six by inserting an interlude. At Revelation 7:1 a gracious interlude interrupts the seal judgments (Rev 7:1–8) before presenting the seventh seal, which will finally be opened a Rev 8:1.
In this interlude we find “four angels” temporarily hold back the “winds” (of destruction; cp. Jer 49:36, 37; 51:1, 2; Da 7:2; Mt 7:24ff), countering the four destroying horsemen (Rev 6:1–8). Then another angel appears (Rev 7:2) and commands: “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads” (Rev 7:3). Continue reading