Revelation -- Villains
This blog continues a series from Revelation. This time we look at the introduction and then we move forward across context and then on to the first villain list. This continues to unpack the book.
Revelation 1 (BRB)
The link here is to Revelation chapter 1 in the BRB. If you want to follow along in the text with this blog you can start there.
Revelation is a very difficult book. As I discussed some in the previous blog, we have been restoring parts to the TT as we have been finding parts of Revelation that follow known grids.
Most stories in other parts of the text are following known internal grids. The primary grids are the kings, the tribes and the annual calendar holidays. There are secondary grids, say 4 creatures, or 9 beatitudes.
The main grid for unpacking Revelation is the historical timeline. This makes Revelation unusual. Additionally, Revelation is not going to follow the timeline in order, but for about half the book it will follow the timeline backwards. It eventually turns around and then moves forward and finishes in the future.
There is also an introduction at the front which stands outside of time. Once the introduction and literary purposes are established, then it turns to history.
We also have the problem that Revelation, like the rest of the New Testament, has been edited by Hananiah and his underlings. So wading into Revelation is hard. It is something like a riddle inside a riddle inside a riddle.
The content of Revelation was extremely threatening to Hananiah. So Hananiah bulked it up, deflecting the narrative of Revelation from its intended purposes.
We have only recently learned enough to be able to work Revelation with any confidence. We may or may not fully understand specific details, this is especially true with details of Noah, the Garden of Eden and the heavenly city.
If you survey the first chapter of Revelation looking for structural elements you can find that there are 3 distinct introductions. There is an introductory paragraph starting at verse 1. There is another introduction starting at verse 4. There is yet another introduction starting at verse 9.
This sort of stammering structure is a sign of multiple editing passes on what was likely a single, narrow, introduction. We think that in inspired epistles the inspired writer got down to business very quickly. Extended introductions, especially those espousing theology, are a sign of tampering.
Remember that the editor here must be Hananiah, and he sent certain men from Jerusalem to interfere with the operation of the assembly at Antioch. This action is indicative of how he works. He wanted to turn all of the early faith communities into branches of his own religion. We call that merged thing the judeo-christian tradition. For reasons related to the content in the end of the book it would be proper to call it the masonic-judeo-christian tradition.
So the first question we need to ask is which of these introductions is likely the real introduction?
High priests want preeminence, so added introductions are likely to come ahead of a real introduction. You see this with priests running houses of worship now. Guest speakers with their own introductions are usually introduced by the person running the house.
Hananiah wants to bias the reader to not notice the work done at John's real hand, under Joshua's real inspiration. He wants the book to look and feel like his other edited writings.
As we will see in a future blog, the book condemns Hananiah calling him out personally as the false prophet. Hananiah would not have wanted that condemnation of him to be noticed by casual readers.
So we are fundamentally biased to believe the real introduction to the book begins at verse 9. It is the last and most simple introduction. At that point John states his name as the author and he then gives the context for why he wrote, beginning with where he was located when his encounter with Joshua began.
John also tells the time of the vision. It happened on the first day of the week. Alternatively this can be read in Aramaic/Paleo as the first day of the Sabbath.
Normal Greek translations treat this as a reference to a Sunday. But Sabbath has a strange double meaning. Sabbath can be treated as a synonym for a week long holiday. There are 2 such week long holidays, Tabernacles and Unleavened Bread.
One of those holidays happens in the 7th, or Sabbath, month. So as a riddle he is indicating that this began at the opening assembly of Tabernacles. This is an example of the level of riddling needed to crack the entire book.
Tabernacles is the holiday for understanding the systems that prove inspiration. The models were first known to be built by Moses and filled the Tabernacle/Tent of Time. We think that later prophets, especially Elisha, were hosting Sabbath and New Month meetings. Their meeting rooms were likely decorated with copies of the Tabernacle artifacts.
So John's reference to the holiday is indicating why he had the vision. The sealed small scroll that comes later is evidence that the topics in this book are related to the manuscript and the way it was sealed for much of history.
You can see why there would be strong bias in the fight to break up the community of faith that Joshua had built starting in Capernaum. By pushing this reference to Sunday, they push it to the normal Roman 8th day Sunday Sabbath.
The editors will also animate the static displays of the Tabernacle and animate the text, making these important things speak and sing. Animated movies do the same these days.
Finally, let me plot spoil a little bit of Revelation here. The book is telling the history of the fight between the inspired text and the false religions of earth. By reference to certain historical events it picks off key points in history that add details of the text's inspired systems. Along with the Tabernacle items, these other details are needed for textual recovery.
More than half the book is not inspired. It took a great deal of additional content to hide what John wrote. So let me move forward across the book. At key places I will point out what is going on.
The first introduction, starting at verse 1, would be Hananiah. Note in the BRB the difference in color. The coloring here is indicating 3rd person voice in this introduction. Someone else is introducing John's own work. This 3rd person voice is not attributed to anyone and is a sign of an editor.
This is like the master of a house introducing his guest speaker. It is not the real introduction to John's letter.
The other introduction begins at verse 4. Here the voice is correct, so this has better odds at being inspired. But there are details here that are signs of trouble. The 7 spirits reference immediately calls us to find the grid system of 7. We will find more grids of 7 as we read down.
Briefly, though, grids of 7 are built upon the grid of 6 villains and then add Joshua and his writing prophets as the 7 in the list. Usually Joshua and his writers are the 7th item, just as Sabbath is the last day in a week.
In inspired lists of 7, the 7th item is always distinctly different. Just like a Sabbath day is different from the 6 regular days of the week. We will see later examples of how the 7th stands apart from the 6.
In verse 4 we see 7 spirits all before Joshua's throne. I can now say with some confidence that the 6 villains will not make it there. They might in some future life, but not as villains. They are not going to stand before Joshua's throne. They are trapped on earth until they are qualified to leave.
The other problem here is with the address to the 7 assemblies in Asia. As I am about to show, there is much trouble with those letters supposedly sent to those assemblies.
So this 2nd introduction is also likely not inspired. There is more trouble in this introduction, but you can think about it for yourself.
So if we move back down to verse 9 and continue, we see the place and time of the vision. John then explains that a voice called to him. By vs. 11, that voice told him to write. So far this makes sense. But likely the 7 letters to the 7 churches was added when those letters were added.
So verse 12 looks OK. John was startled by a voice, so he turns around to see who it is and he describes who he saw. We can explain the robe, and perhaps the sash. But the rest turns Joshua into something besides himself. Abraham had a similar face-to-face and there is no record of strange appearance. Ditto Joshua son of Nun before the Jericho campaign, ditto Paul on the road to Damascus.
Encounters with Joshua are mostly normal. The person having the encounter suffers emotion not because of what they saw, but because of who they are with. Joshua son of Nun fell down, so does John in this passage. Paul is blinded, but he is reaping in the natural his spiritual condition at the time.
At verse 17 John is now given a full and longer introduction. He is told no to be afraid. He is told again to write. He is told to write what he will be shown. So this is to be his own personal testimony of this encounter. Passages that follow where John is in his own voice and recording what he sees are also more likely to be inspired. 3rd person, or narrator voice, or long quoted discourses are all suspect for this reason.
One of the most important early rules for spotting additions is to watch for statements that are immediately interpreted. The inspired text is not written this way.
As readers we are supposed to interpret using other inspired authors from other books. The grid in play usually tells us where to find the interpretation.
Editors want to force their interpretation so readers do not try and figure out the inspired interpretation.
So Rev. 1:20 is actually stating that it is interpreting earlier statements in the book. The 7 lamps are said to be the 7 assemblies. This is a gross edit, of which there are many more later.
Revelation chapters 2 and 3 give the content of 7 letters sent to 7 churches throughout the ancient region.
Normally places in the text where there are quoted letters are used to identify the villainous editors. Perhaps the well known exception is the letter Jeremiah sends to the exiles to settle down and raise families.
Because there are 7 such letters here in Revelation, we want to run this against a grid of 7. Grids of 7 are rare. Indeed finding a definitive use of 7 in a grid only happens clearly later in the Book of Revelation itself.
Let me define a list of 7 more formally. Grids of 7, when they are found, are of 6 villainous editors with the 7th inspired writer in juxtaposition. Later we will see seal 7 apart from the 6 earlier seals and that will define the pattern. Joshua is that 7th writer. Joshua used writing prophets to carry out his writing task.
So this list of 7 letters might be interpreted by the 6 letters that mark editors, plus a reference to Joshua from some other place. Or Hananiah might be flooding the channel with more letters to reduce the odds of finding the purposes for the other letters at all.
We think Hananiah is indeed just flooding the book of Revelation with letters to distract readers from the inspired message.
But, to give this set of letters a chance, we need to look closely. Within the 7 letters are references to Jezebel and to Balaam. These pin in known ways to the Villains, so if this is a valid villain list they will reinforce what we already know.
Jezebel and Balaam
The first name given is Balaam (Rev. 2:14) in the letter to Pergamum and then Jezebel (Rev. 2:20) is referenced in the letter to Thyatira.
Jezebel is one of the named Villains. We pair her with Ahab, and they together are the 2nd editing team to have attacked the book.
So we would hope that Jezebel is landing in her normal place in the villain list. Together with Ahab she sits in the villain list in slot number 2.
Notice something here. The Thyatira letter is letter number 4. The writer here, an editor, is not putting Jezebel in her rightful place.
Note the same point with Balaam. Balaam is a keyword that goes with Ezra. Ezra is editor #5, and sits in slot #5 when we grid the list of Editors.
Remember, Balaam and Ezra are both hired by the king to bless and/or curse the king's enemies. Both put on religious performances. Ezra is the 5th editor yet the Balaam reference is in Pergamum, letter number 3. These do not align like an inspired list of villains should align.
Something else important to note is that Jezebel in the villain list in slot number 2, is 3 away from Ezra (Balaam) in slot number 5. There are 2 other editors between. In this list of letters there are no letters between Pergamum with Balaam and Thyatira with Jezebel.
So these letters are not just a reversal of the villain list. They are not following the structure used by inspired writers when they are running the villains.
Hananiah, who either penned, or at least commissioned, these letters is showing how he has command over assemblies from a distance.
This is what Hananiah was doing when he sent certain men to Antioch to disrupt the assembly there. You can study these letters more carefully to see if you find the villain pattern.
If this was inspired there would be keywords that map to the villains, in order, so any reader versed in the text could fully unpack these 7 letters. We do not see any use of such key words. Instead we see all sorts of anti-patterns which show these 7 letters to be uninspired.
We also do not see a 7th letter that is distinctly different from the other 6 letters. It should be set apart, not just in order but by a shift in topical content.
Come Up Here
In Revelation 4 John is caught up. He is going to see a throne, and we normally describe that room as a throne room. Remember, though, this is during tabernacles week. Tabernacles is at a tent, or place, that is filled with museum pieces. Those pieces are models of things from the throne room where John is now visiting.
I have found myself working on these as models because they contribute to the problem of manuscript recovery. Let me mention those items that I understand.
Rev. 4:2 is a throne. This is the throne were Joshua sits. On earth, the teacher has a special seat that he is going to use to teach his students.
Rev. 4:3 is a rainbow that is encircling. In other visions this is called a crown. Like a real rainbow, there are various colored bands. On earth this is the room sized timeline charts where historical time is tracked. Because of the problems of real rooms, these charts are only reasonably located where crown molding is normally placed in rooms. Thus the use of the term crown. This item could be a perfect circle and not tight against the actual wall. So placed it would be a circle inscribing the irregular shape of a real room. Time should be thought of as circular.
Rev. 4:4 are 24 thrones, or fancy chairs. In the sky this is where the kings sit when they make plans. On earth this is the seating for students. A throne is often lifted on a platform, and on earth this might be tables with chairs.
Rev. 4:6a is a sea of glass, resembling crystal. We know these devices as light boards. This is the penultimate form of a white board, or chalk board. This is an important component of any class room. I saw one of these in use by Joshua in the vision that originally caused me to quit my job and do this work full time 25 years ago. At the time I had no name for what I saw and no idea that they could be easily fabricated here on earth. Beach sand is an alternative that Joshua used at times.
Rev. 4:6b-8a there are 4 creatures full of eyes. These are the 4 main alphabet model cases. They are full of eyes because they are full of things to look at and study.
This is all that John is describing here. There are a few details filled in elsewhere. I suspect the room has a perpetual calendar and perhaps a wall clock. These functions are perhaps captured in the crown.
The main throne is likely on a stage or similar. When I was in Jr. High, most classrooms had a raised stage, maybe 2 steps up. These were located in the corners of rooms. Most of the teachers put their desks on these platforms. I had a speech teacher who wanted to use that space as a small stage, so she had us move her desk to another corner. Something like that is going on in the Tabernacle too.
Finally, there is a large decorative canvas behind that stage following the design of Joseph's robe. That robe's design is important for many things. There might be maps on some of the other walls. Say an Eden map and perhaps a map of Earth. I don't know if I have the entire list, but I do have a good start.
By Rev. 5 the subject now turns to the real problem. I dealt with language problems in this chapter in the last blog. Now, step back and think about the flow of the story.
John is watching the room in action. Joshua is bringing up the problem that they will work on in this session. He is holding the problem in his hand. There is a writing that cannot be opened. No one knows how to do it.
John wept exceedingly because he seems to know his own writings, all the writings of the NT, and all the recovered writings for the OT that Joshua dug out of the ground, would become lost again to history. This is why he wept. As a generation, they would not succeed in carrying it forward.
John has been brought up to show that this will not be forever. It will be recovered again.
Rev. 5:5 has a disputable answer as to how. Either the 'lion of the tribe of Judah' can do this or else the 'root of David' can do this.
The root of David implies upstream or backwards in time from David. This is likely a reference to the Tabernacle that was lost in David's day. So it means the Tabernacle/Tent of Time can be used to unravel the text.
Note how the alternative answer, the 'lion of Judah' is out of place. Joseph was the holder of Shechem the place for Tabernacles, not Judah. We need Joseph's robe, not Judah's. Hananiah's hand can be seen in this reference to Judah.
Notice that chapter 4 already described the Tabernacle/Tent of Time. The systems taught there are explaining how inspired text actually works. So the answer to the question of how will the text be opened has already been given in a general sense.
Let me say this again. The answer to the problem posed about opening the writings has already been given BEFORE the question is asked. This is an important pattern that appears unique to the Book of Revelation. We will see it again later.
The text then shifts to the 'sayings that were slain' as I described in last week's blog. If anything dealing with lamb is inspired it is in the concept space of the sayings that have been edited and are hidden in the writings of Rev. 5:2.
At a conceptual level the text may be making a distinction between the canvas that text is written on and the sayings that are written there. As I am slowly learning, there is a big difference between these 2 ideas.
Revelation 6: Opening 7 Seals
At Revelation 6 we get to the opening of the 7 seals. In the BRB we are currently rendering this as markings.
In our modern culture we do not use seals very often. We usually use signatures instead.
Seals were stamped in wax on legal documents. People had their own stamps, sometimes rings called signet rings, or signing rings. When someone agreed to a document, then wax would be dropped hot onto the paper and then it would be stamped with their ring. Everyone carved, or had carved, their own signing rings.
This could also be carved in the end of a staff, say, or it could be on the end of a small handle, perhaps worn around someone's neck under their clothes.
Signing of documents is generally done by someone who has written or has commissioned some sort of writing. They sign the document to indicate they either wrote it or at least agreed with it.
The 7 seals that are unfolded here mean that there is a document that has been signed by 7 different people. As we will see those are the 6 villains, who contributed their text to the document, and then the 7th signer, Joshua, who inspired others to write down his inspired words.
At Revelation 6:1 we will find the opening of the first seal.
As a villain list we would normally be looking for the first editor, Solomon, but in this unique case. Compared to all others that we know of, this villain list is reversed.
This is VERY special. The root of David comes before David, so the story is running backwards even back there.
Let me review the seal list with you, taking each in turn.
Hananiah, Seal 1, Rev. 6:1-2
This seal involves a white horse, a bow, crown, and going forth conquering and to conquer.
Remember, Hananiah sent certain people from Jerusalem to Antioch to interfere with the fellowship going on there. The Apostles had to travel back and discuss what to do, and issued the Acts 15 letter against Hananiah. Perhaps, at that same time, they also wrote the NT, though not as we know it now.
This seal is adding a key vocabulary word to Hananiah and his work. Hananiah wants to conquer. He wanted to take over the early movement of belief that had started after Joshua's ascension.
The keyword, 'conquer' explains the edits we saw at the start of this book. Hananiah was conquering John's writing. His 7 letters to the assemblies is at his hand and is showing his control over them. These letters are in Hananiah's nature.
Ezra, Seal 2, Rev. 6:3-4
This seal involves another horse, this time red. It explains how power is used to take peace away from the land. Also, how people should kill one another. It also involves a great sword.
This is citing Ezra's commissioning letter. Ezra was given the power to kill on behalf of the king. The religion of Ezra takes away peace, another addition to our grid for him. His great sword is the bulked up OT we know now.
Mordecai, Seal 3, Rev. 6:5-6
This seal involves a black horse and balances. As an example it gives the price for wheat and barley. It says the oil and wine are preserved.
Mordecai is perhaps the hardest editor to get a good understanding of. He oversees the battle between the Jews and their enemies. There is a struggle between Mordecai and Haman that a balance is probably a good model to understand. Those men were fighting over control of the king's purse and thus the right to buy and sell on the king's behalf. The 2 days of Mordecai's Purim is another pair to match the balance.
This suggests his melding of the Jews to the apparatus of the secular government is what ultimately messes up the economy. (Think fiat currency, and bank loans.) Because the USD is the current expression of this, Americans don't usually have famine. But much of the rest of the world is in perpetual famine because of this alliance.
Nebuchadnezzar, Seal 4, Rev. 6:7-8
This seal involves a pale horse, with death and the grave following. Power is given over 1/4th of the land. Then there is killing by sword and famine and creatures of the land.
Nebuchadnezzar encircled Jerusalem. The narrative surrounding Jeremiah at the time shows how the bread in the city ran out. Nebuchadnezzar killed by famine. He was of course also carrying a sword to the city.
Ahab/Jezebel, Seal 5, Rev. 6:9-11
This seal involves those killed for the testimony of Joshua which they had. They then cry out, and ask how long before you avenge this blood.
Ahab and Jezebel killed Naboth. He was the keeper of the vineyard where ingredients were grown for making the ink for scrolls. He is considered righteous, while his murders were not.
There is more verbiage in this seal's passage that might mark an addition to the seal itself.
The prophet Jeremiah is told that Joshua knew him before he was formed in the womb. Likely we are seeing in Jeremiah that Naboth has come back for another life. Jeremiah then goes on to become a walk off and an occupant of the throne room.
There is more text describing this seal. But that text is in contraction to the story of Naboth and Jeremiah. Souls do not wait around for an end-of-the-age event. Joshua is god of the living, not the dead. Faithful souls are sent back soon so they can keep working to become walk offs and never die again.
Solomon, Seal 6, Rev. 6:12-14
This seal involves a great earthquake, signs in the skies, and stars falling to the land. Everyone then flees and hides.
The backstory on Solomon's temple is in view here. Both Solomon's temple and a northern kingdom temple were destroyed together in a massive earthquake. That quake is referenced in past tense in Amos 1:1. It is a long study to show that everything built by Solomon collapsed at that point, a story for another time.
Note how this seal includes references to the sun, black as sackcloth, moon as blood, and the stars all falling to the land. These are highly symbolic, and well known terms, even to this day, for pagan objects of worship. If you do not follow Joshua then you are turned over to the worship of the sun, moon and starry host. (See 2 Kings 23:5, Jer. 8:2)
The sun and moon from this Revelation passage are likely the places of worship of the sun, moon and starry hosts. Standard dictionaries of symbols make the sun male, the moon female and stars out to be their children.
So the sun in this Revelation passage is likely Solomon and Solomon's own palace, his house. The moon, female, is likely the temple he built, ultimately for his Egyptian wife. The stars are all the shrines Solomon built to his other wives and concubines. See 1 Kings 11 for some back story if this is unfamiliar to you.
There is commentary at Rev. 6:16-17 about how everyone went to hide from the wrath that had come. This seems to be how these types of structures are eventually removed. They are shaken and they fall down.
What Is Going On?
The real purpose of the book of Revelation is to show how to open the sealed writing that is in Joshua's hand. Starting with a vision of the Tabernacle, John shows us basic tools and then proceeds to give an outline of the problem.
By going backwards across the villainous editors, John's writing is showing that the first step to unseal the document is to identify the work of those editors. We have done that in the BRB by using filter tags.
We have had to get to know the editors well. We have learned what each editor cares most about. We have then marked the content that we suspect was added by each of those 6 villains.
We have learned a lot about Joshua along the way too. We did not know him very well because those editors misrepresent him.
We do not mark the 7th writer. That unmarked text is an approximation of the inspired text. It tells us where to start to recover the text. It gets us into the domain of the inspired text, but it does not get us the inspired text in a letter perfect form.
Now we fundamentally shift to a different problem. Like the others, Joshua signed, or sealed, or marked his writing as being by his hand.
How was it that Joshua signed his writing? The editors used their own personally hand crafted seals and sealing wax. If you are carving your own seal, you reflect your personality in that seal. They each reflected their personalities in their writings.
Joshua used something else. He designed the text and the writing systems and canvas to prove it was not written by human hands. But how, exactly, did Joshua prove his authorship?
Revelation answers this problem by continuing backwards in history. It picks off historical stories that also reflect aspects of his writings and the canvas it was drawn upon.
The next step backwards is to the generation who first carved the text in stone. They will tell us a bunch more about what we need to know to recover the text. They will be used to explain the cliff face, or canvas, Joshua's writing sits upon.
This is a long story, so we must cover it in a future blog.