I won’t blame anybody if they are wondering how we could have covered the final judgment and eternity already, when we aren’t even half way through Revelation; fair question. You might remember that in the introductory posts I went to great pains to make the case that Revelation is neither literal nor chronological in nature; this is why. Remember, there are seven visions in this book, and we don’t have the “complete” picture until we see all seven of them. Remember also the significance of “seven”, it is the number of completeness or perfection.
In this vision, the third one so far, we will see essentially the same story as in the 4:1-8:1, but this vision will be seen from a different angle, thus it will reveal things the last did not reveal. Last time, the vision was structured around seven seals being opened from the scroll that the One seated on the throne held in His hand; this time, it is structured around seven trumpet blasts. Again, remember the significance of the number seven.
Like the last vision, we will see the period between John’s time and the final judgment and eternity. Thus the “present evil age” is shown from the first century forward in 8:2-9:21 (cf. 6:1-11). Next comes the final judgment and consummation in 11:15-19 (cf. 6:12-17; 8:1). Finally, as in the previous vision, there is an interlude in which John tells of the state of Christians in light of their ultimate salvation in 10:1-11:14 (cf. 7:1-17).
A really interesting feature of the vision in 8:2-11:19 is that it has a parallel structure in the story of the Exodus. In fact, the dominant image of this second vision of the future is set within the matrix of the Exodus story to show us the same basic elements of the vision we have just examined but in a different light. In our next post, I will set out that structural parallel for you with a few additional comments, and then after that, we’ll dive into the text.
See you next time!