Revelation -- Little Writing
This blog continues a series from Revelation. This time we back up to the king carrying the little writing. Before that, we start with the broad works of each Villain.
In previous blogs we have covered how the text uses quoted letters to identify the Bible's 6 villainous editors. This should not be news to regular readers here.
Let me pose a related question about the editors. Did they define themselves with specific writings that we can ascribe to each editor?
Asked a little differently, are there pieces of writing in standard Bibles that were written mostly by the editor's own hand? Accepting, of course, that early editors could have been edited later. If there are unique or special writings by each editor, then can we get a general sense of what they cared about specifically?
There are 4 possible OT books that come to mind immediately as candidates for being completely written by individual editors. These are Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. None of these books appear to carry anything actually inspired. In addition we have the Book of Ezra which is named after one of the editors. The bulk of this book is likely not inspired.
We can work this problem through a process of elimination. We can take the easiest matches first. We start with Ezra, then look at the others.
The book of Ezra is likely uninspired. But it does tell the account of Ezra returning to Jerusalem and booting up a new false religion there. The same religion will crucify Joshua later. Ezra brings with him a set of writings from Babylon. He carries the authority from the king to do whatever is needed to build his new religion.
Ezra is the last OT editor and likely canonized the OT as we know it now. Much of the bulk of the OT may be by his hand.
Think of Isaiah, for example. That book today has 66 chapters. There is a tone break between chapters 39 and the remaining 27. This tone break matches the tone break in our modern Bibles between the OT and NT. This break splits the Bible as we know it into 39 OT books and 27 more NT books. The structure of the 2 is a match.
Ryan's original book order work involved Isaiah. His hunch was that each chapter in Isaiah might map to a book of the Bible. This works easily for the first 5 books/chapters. Then it gets tricky. In the end this does solve for the OT, but only by using the Babylonian Talmud's book order.
We have gone on to other work, but the BRB app has a 'canon' option so you can select standard named canons which cover both book sets and book order. This is useful for anyone wanting to think about this sort of problem.
In history, Isaiah lived at the time of the Assyrian invasion. This was long before Ezra. The inspired parts of Isaiah appear to be few compared to the current length. So a smaller inspired core got bulked up. This happened in Ezra's day either at Ezra's direction or by Ezra's hand.
Jeremiah is similarly bulked up, and much of that writing is so late that 2 different versions of Jeremiah are known to history. Again, this could have been done by Ezra.
But for a specific book that gives us insight to Ezra himself, the Book of Ezra is the most likely. He has various problems, especially foreign women. There are a bunch of examples, but Solomon's wives and Jezebel are 2 good examples.
Song of Songs
The book of Song of Songs is most likely written by a woman. This is the hint that will point at the editor/author.
Sometimes the book is called 'Song of Solomon.' When we were learning principles of grammar, that title is technically 'Song to Solomon.' The woman in question has a bunch to say, but a good example is waiting for her lover to return from his journeys. The book is full of sexual symbols and modern translators usually tone down English translations for a Protestant audience.
So Song of Songs would most likely be the book written by Jezebel. Perhaps a later editor changes the male subject from Ahab to Solomon to clean it up a little. Though a likely addition, Revelation has a reference that says Jezebel taught Jacob how to fornicate. This would be how.
Ecclesiastes is also thought to be written by Solomon. In this case there is evidence that would support this idea. A major theme is how life is all vanity, and that readers should just settle down and enjoy the smaller things in life.
Imagine Solomon conscripting most of the country. Nobody worked for themselves any more. Most had become serfs. They no longer owned their land. Most people had no voice in the community. The king was the boss and ruled by decree.
Solomon is calling interference in his rule as vanity. So ascribing Solomon to Ecclesiastes is reasonable.
The middle of the book of proverbs is a long list of couplets. They may have originally been rhymes. They structure in a 'this vs. that' pattern.
Nebuchadnezzar was building an empire, and we believe collecting the writings of his new subjects. Daniel was selected in part because he knew his own literature and could also learn the language of Babylon. Those 1 or 2 line proverbs could be a collection of sayings from conquered subjects.
A keyword for Nebuchadnezzar's work is 'principalities' or just 'principles.' He also ate grass for 7 years, so no solid food. Proverbs, of course, are like principles, they are like grass. They do not teach anything particularly deep, if at all.
So ascribing Nebuchadnezzar is reasonable for at least the middle of Proverbs. Ezra most likely added material to the front and back of Proverbs. In those parts of Proverbs the focus is on a virtuous woman, a theme from Ezra.
Psalms has a theme of enemies. Over 1/3 of all the Psalms includes the word 'enemies' directly. Often they are wishing disaster on enemies. Features like this have caused many to have trouble with the book because it is so out of character to godly principles.
The editor who most views the world in terms of enemies is Mordecai. His family was hauled to Babylon. They were captives in Babylon. Babylon was their enemy. He frames his world in terms of his chosen clan and everyone else. Instead of conquering them from without, he instead decides to conquer from within. He does that by getting his wife crowned queen.
Though Psalms was likely bulked up later by Ezra, we can ascribe the core of Psalms to Mordecai.
What About The NT?
So our last editor is high priest Hananiah. Did he contribute some specific writing in the NT? Either directly written or at least composited at his own hand?
Our current hunch, driven in part by this blog series, is that Hananiah's own writing would most likely be the bulk of the content in Revelation.
This is especially true in the introduction and 7 letters to the churches. Also, anything deeper in Revelation that does not grid would be by his hand too.
It helps to see this by understanding' Hananiah's place in the list of editors.
Normally, the editors show up as grids of 6. This is the inspired writing speaking about the other 6 who piled on. Discussing them is an inspired topic. This is so even if their writing is not inspired.
In total there are 7 different sources of writings. Joshua is the first, who inspired prophetic hands to write what he wanted. When Joshua inspires writers to discuss the villains, they are called out as 6 others. Lists of 6 just about everywhere are parables about these 6. They are of the same character and distinct from Joshua and his writing prophets.
But, if we start counting Joshua at 1, then Hananiah is the 7th. This is not the inspired way to count villains. But it may be a hallmark of Hananiah's hand. From his perspective he may see himself as the 7th writer.
Since much of Revelation is broken up with sets of 7, we should ascribe most of it to Hananiah.
Silence For 1/2 Hour
Last blog I covered stories in Revelation down through chapter 7. This week we pick up at the top of Revelation 8. At Rev. 8:1 is a reference to 'silence in the skies for about 1/2 hour.'
An 'hour' as we know them, is 1/12th of the daylight day, or is 1/24th of the calendar day. So far, so good.
An hour also breaks down into 7 parts. Beyond our scope today, but Joshua's life was running prophetically at 1 historical year to 1 day in his life. Across his ministry year he was running prophetically at 30 historical years to 1 day. Across passion week he was running 210 historical years to the hour. Note the ratio in passion week of 210/30 = 7. He stepped up and was running a ratio of 7 to 1 in his prophetic use of hours.
So anywhere we see 'hour' in the text we should think something dealing with 7 units of time, at some prophetic ratio. Of course this specific reference is to 1/2 of an hour or 3.5 units of time at some prophetic scale.
You can play with this reference in Rev. 8:1, but the units implied look to be 1000 historical years for each sub division of the hour. So the math works out to 3.5 * 1000 = 3,500 years. This is quite a jump in historical time, but of course the Exodus was about 3,500 years ago already.
As we are running backwards, and we are starting with Egypt, or Joseph and his brothers, we are going backwards about 3,500 years. The story of Revelation is going back, deep into history, for its next inspired point.
Because we are supposed to have a crown in our tent that shows the historical timeline, we can easily see this shifts us backwards from the era of the Exodus to the era of Noah's flood.
When we starting scanning down from the top of Rev. 8, we find a clear Noah reference at the top of Rev. 10.
Noah In Rev. 10 (BRB)
Noah is famous for building an ark and traveling from the pre-flood world to the post-flood world. I've covered this in previous blogs. In brief, the detailed story is given in parable form starting in Judges 9:8. The battle over who would rule happened between 3 different trees and a bramble. Everything was burned down in the process.
When Noah got to Earth he stepped out of the ark on dry ground. This is referenced directly in Rev. 10:2. Right foot on the sea, left foot on dry ground.
After getting off the ark, Noah was given what is called the 'rainbow covenant' first referenced in Gen. 9:13. That covenant is also referenced in Rev. 10:1. This is the second reference to Noah in Revelation.
Just as we needed to know the Joseph back story with the robes, here we need to read the Noah backstory dealing with the rainbow. It is a sign, up in the clouds, that there will not be another flood.
As always, the Revelation passages are matching history, but then using that historical reference to add something important to the literary purpose of Revelation itself.
Last week I mentioned how there is an audit row of dots above all runs of letters in inspired text. I gave a partial list of parables about that row of dots. David and Goliath is perhaps the easiest to remember. David's 5 stones in his shepherd's bag, for example, are the 5 working dots above each square.
Here, in this Rev. 10 passage, we are to look up to see the rainbow. Rainbows are normally in the sky. But the literary purpose of Revelation is to show how to recover the text. So what are we looking at when we look up from the letters in the text?
When we look up from any row of text we are to see the audit row that runs across the top of all inspired text. So Rev. 10 is calling them out as functioning, or colored, like a rainbow. So now those dots have color.
Just as a rainbow has color in a fixed sequence, so too must those dots have color in fixed sequence. Assigning them colors does not depend on the text telling us those colors. Colors are assigned by physical reality known to everyone on earth.
Now, imagine purchasing a printed copy of the inspired Testimony. As a buyer you are NEVER to trust even a printer with the accuracy of the text. Imagine on your first read that you filled in those empty dots with colored pencil.
Only when each square passes the audit is the matched dot filled in. If a reader can look up and see that rainbow then the text passes. A flood is not going to come.
By implication, if a community is using the text that passes this audit, then events like Noah's flood will not happen to them again.
Using texts which do not pass the rainbow audit is why Noah's flood repeats again and again throughout history. It is why the world is headed into another replay of Noah in 2029. The promise to not repeat Noah is conditional on the rainbow.
This story in Revelation is not done with textual references. Rev 10:2 speaks to a little writing. First question to ask is this: Did Noah have a little writing?
There is no direct reference to writing in the accounts we have about Noah's flood. But maybe we can deduce that Noah must have had a little writing.
Assume for a moment that all writing is done by inspired writers who are detailing things they know about. Normally this means things that happened in their life.
But in the case of Enoch, the first man of faith, he wrote about the events in the Garden of Eden. Though not a personal witness, he was the first who could write it down.
The main genealogies of Gen. 5 and Gen. 11 are family lines. This particular line is important because they know their heritage back to the garden and they are the keepers of inspired text.
They will remain the documented keepers of inspired text down to Moses, at least.
We don't have genealogies from Moses through to Job, but the strength of the text in the earlier generations would suggest all the writers were closely related. Joshua himself was named after Joshua son of Nun, who himself had his name changed by Moses to set him up for his future descendant.
So all the throne room kings are related and from a single family. Presumably their family had more faith sooner than any other family line in the human race. This is what qualified them to become kings.
So that family carried the inspired texts forward as they were adding to the story. That heritage would be the family heirloom. Carrying it forward, for generation after generation would be a remarkable testimony of their faith generally.
So Noah had to have been carrying the writing of his distant ancestor Enoch. We could not have received it any other way.
Is Enoch's writing a little writing? Compared to later versions, yes. Enoch's writing is a quite small writing.
So is the little writing in Rev. 10:2 a reference to the inspired book of Enoch? The same text now edited and buried in Genesis? Looks like it.
Does it pass the rainbow audit? Yes, this is in part why Noah found favor with Joshua. Just as Joshua defended Jerusalem from the Assyrians because there was a copy of the inspired text hidden in the wall of the Temple, so too, did Noah survive the flood.
Eat This Writing
At Rev. 10:8, the voice that has been talking, now says to eat that scroll. That text would be bitter in the belly, but sweet in the mouth.
This is another reference to another story. Ezekiel, in Eze. 3:3 is told to do the same. Eat the scroll, sweet like honey in the mouth. This reference now wants us to think about Ezekiel too.
We think Ezekiel's main contribution are visions of Tabernacles items. They have strange names, creatures, and so on, but given the limits of language that would survive across history, he probably did as good as he could.
The valley of dry bones is Ezekiel's vision of the recovery of the alphabet shapes. Those bones assemble into human forms. In those forms they make up the exhibit of one of the big Tabernacle items. All of the letters pair off, 2 by 2, into vowel pairs. Those pairs are also paired, so from the 24 letters there are only 6 different vowel shapes and colors. The animals on the ark are similarly paired off.
In the case of Revelation, the text is seen as sweet, but bitter in the stomach. This is a reversal of Samson, who had sweet honey from a bitter carcass of a lion. In the case of Samson, his bitter/sweet story is referencing the possibility of the recovery process.
So at this point in Revelation, it is time to eat the scroll. It tastes good and sweet, but when the text is digested, there are troubles.
The rainbow represented the audit. So eating is like processing the text and checking the audit. Some parts will be sweet and inspired. They will have a rainbow overhead. Some parts will be bitter and uninspired. The rainbow will be missing.
After John has eaten, he is told to prophesy again. This may be a reference to how the book can be used to generate more text, more writing, than we have now. I am beginning to think the 'living waters' referenced in several places is an aspect of the text that makes it generate more documents.
What About Chapters 8 and 9?
As we traveled back from Joseph's era to Noah's era we skipped over the better part of Rev. 8 and Rev. 9. What are they doing there?
Chapter 8 introduces 7 kings with 7 trumpets. This material has the signature of Hananiah in that it uses a grid of 7. The grid is not complete by the end of chapter 9, but he seems to have picked up the Noah related stories and incorporated them at this point.
We will continue on with this trip through Revelation in a future blog. If you want to read ahead, go find Revelation's reference to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.