Could it really be true that God intends to snatch His people out of this earth just before the whole thing blows up, or is that just wishful thinking? This is something Don Merritt addresses in his recent post, “Revelation 8-11 as a New Exodus”. Don’s blog, The Life Project: Finding Clear and Simple Faith, is a straightforward examination of what Scripture says about how the disciples of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) should live. His approach is Christian rather than Hebrew Roots or Messianic, so there are some points where we do not exactly agree. Even so, I have found his commentary insightful and instructive.
In the midst of this very busy summer the best I have been able to do is file away the email notifications of Don’s posts on Revelation in hope that I will be able to read the entire series. The notice of this particular post, however, got my attention immediately, and I had to read it immediately. I was not disappointed. This is the first time I can recall seeing a Christian commentator make the connection between the First Exodus and the coming Second Exodus that will restore all of YHVH’s people to the land He promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – both the natural descendants and those who are “grafted in” to the nation of Israel through faith in Messiah and His redemptive work. Don’s post is a starting point for further investigation. After you read it, check out “True Confessions of a Former Premillennialist”, another Life Project post in which Don explains the spiritual journey that brought him to his current understanding of the end of this present age.
Posted on The Life Project, July 23, 2015
I mentioned earlier that there is a parallel structure between the story of the Exodus and John’s vision in Revelation 8-11 that might help us to understand this section better or more easily. To show you what I mean I have set out the parallel below. Take a look, and let’s see what you think…
|Exodus Story||Revelation 8:2-11:19|
|1. Israel, the people of God, suffer oppression in Egypt (EX 1-6)||1. The Church, the people of God suffer the oppression of evil in this world. (Rev. 8:2-11:14)|
|2. God sends the 10 plagues to Egypt to force Pharaoh to let the people go (EX 7-12)||2. John describes the “present evil age” in ways that remind us of the ten plagues in trumpets 1-6 (Rev. 8:2-9:21)|
|3. God’s people are spared from the plagues; they aren’t affected. (EX 8:22-23; 9:4-7, 26; 10:23; 12:13, 23, 27)||3. God shows us that there is a sense in which His people are spared the “plagues” of this present age, in the meaning of the temple in Rev. 11:1 and the resurrection of the two witnesses in 11:11.|
|4. In the face of the ten plagues, Pharaoh hardens his heart and refuses to let the people go (EX 7:22-23; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 12, 34-35; 10:10-11, 20, 27-28). Even when Pharaoh relents, he soon changes his mind and pursues the people to the Red Sea (EX 14:5-23)||4. John shows that even in the face of the struggles of this age, many harden their hearts and refuse to repent of their sin and turn away from their false gods. (Rev. 9:20-21)|
|5. God destroys Pharaoh and his armies in the Red Sea, and the people respond with songs of praise and declare “The Lord will reign for ever and ever” (EX 14:29-15:21)||5. John describes the final judgment and consummation of the Kingdom of God, which frees His people from their slavery to the ways of this world. (Second Exodus) The people respond in a song of praise in which they declare that God will rule for ever. This is the seventh trumpet. (Rev. 11:15-19)|
|6. God commands His people to build a tabernacle containing the ark of the covenant, where God will be present with His covenant people. (EX 25-40)||6. After the final judgment and consummation of the church, God’s people are given access to His temple and the ark of the covenant, signifying the Lord’s presence with His covenant people. (Rev. 11:19)|
It may be helpful if I mention here that in apocalyptic passages, “Egypt” represents “the world” and “Pharaoh” represents “the king of this world”.
I am quite confident that many of you dear readers, who read through this post, this section of Revelation… and this whole study of Revelation, are reading some things that you haven’t come across before. Here, let’s just go ahead and name names: If you are more familiar with a Premillennial view of Revelation, then what I am saying here is not what you are used to. It should have been obvious to any fan of Premillennialism from the very beginning of this study that I wasn’t approaching Revelation from that point of view, for early on I pointed out that Revelation is neither literal nor chronological in nature. Literalism is the very fundamental premise of Premillennialism.
If you are a fan of the premillennial approach, that’s perfectly fine by me; my purpose is not to say I’m right and you’re wrong; far from it! I hope very sincerely that everyone will be willing to consider the possibility that Revelation contains a great deal of insight about the world around us through the entire history of the church age from John’s time to ours, in the present day, and on to the future until Jesus returns… by whatever process that entails.
Can we do that?
By the way, if you are a premillennial fan and you wonder how I could have missed the mark as I have, you might be interested in a very old post of mine: True Confessions of a Former Premillennialist. Enjoy!