Silence in Heaven — for about Half an Hour

I am guilty of writing longer submissions than I ought to or planned. This time I will make it shorter (somewhat). Since it is impossible to capture the resolution to the crisis in the heavenly council in prose, I have tried to do it in poetry. My attempt falls short, I know, but it is better than prose. For the prose part in this submission, please consider the following:

1. The problem of the sealed scroll is not that its content is unknown but that it is not understood. The best background text is found in Ezekiel. The content of that scroll is known.

I looked, and a hand was stretched out to me, and a written scroll was in it. He spread it before me; it had writing on the front and on the back, and written on it were words of lamentation and mourning and woe (Ezekiel 2:9–10).

2. “Unsealing” as a process of understanding is described several places in the Old Testament, as in Isaiah.

For the LORD has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep; he has closed your eyes, you prophets, and covered your heads, you seers. The vision of all this has become for you like the words of a sealed document. If it is given to those who can read, with the command, “Read this,” they say, “We cannot, for it is sealed” (Isaiah 29:10-11).

The “sealed document” in this text is sealed at the level of comprehension. The information is there, but comprehension is lacking.

3. The breaking of the seals must be understood symbolically, not allegorically. In a symbolic reading, there is good and reproducible correlation between the symbol and the referent. G. B. Caird was rightly unimpressed at the lack of novelty in the parade of war, famine, and death that accompanies the breaking of the seals (6:1–8). “Then on to the stage of history come only four horsemen representing disasters as old as the human race,” he wrote. “Is this all that we are to receive from the regnant Christ?”

4. “God is not the only one who is at work in the world.” This ought to be said often in our lives, but it cannot be said too often when we are reading Revelation. Do we get to see “the other side” in the sequence of the seventh seal? If the answer is yes, it is ill advised to read the scenes accompanying the breaking of the seals as “covenant curses.” If we see the other side at work, the scroll that is sealed with seven seals is a Book of Revelation, a revelation acted out within Revelation. Another word for this type of revelation is exposé.

5. When the martyrs cry out in connection with the fifth seal, they put words to the problem already evident in the heavenly council: there is a discrepancy between reality and expectations.

How long, Great Majesty,

upright and trustworthy,

will it be

before you decide to act justly [krineis]

and vindicate [ekdikeis] our blood

(shed) by those

who dwell on the earth? (6:9–10, translation mine)

“How long?” is the quintessential theodicy question in the Bible. While many readers think that God delivers a swift response to the outcry in the form of punishment, I agree only that the response is swift, and the response is this: “They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed” (Revelation 6:11). The killing does not stop; the stream of victims does not let up, but the victims have hope.

6. It has long been recognized that the seals in Revelation are parallel to the calamities described in “the Synoptic Apocalypse” in Matthew 24. The dominant element in the Synoptic Apocalypse is identity theft and deception: “Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah.’” (Matthew 24:5). Is this element left out in the seven seals? If it is not left out, where is it?

7. It is wise to pay attention to the sealing in the intermission between the sixth and the seventh seals. This is one place where re-readers have a huge advantage. Conversely, the scenes of Revelation 7 are indispensable to understanding the drama in Revelation 13 and 14. The last few decades have witnessed the publication of huge and amazing commentaries on Revelation by David Aune (1998), Greg Beale (1999), and Craig Koester (2014). I recommend them all. But none of these commentaries matches the conceptual and rhetorical verve of a commentary that is now one hundred years old, written by R. H. Charles (1855-1931). He was an expert on apocalyptic literature to a degree that is matched by few today. Charles did not miss that there is a cosmic conflict going on. Listen to his view of the sealing:

The sealing is to secure the servants of God against the attacks of demonic powers coming into the open manifestation. The Satanic host is about to make its final struggle for the mastery of the world. In the past their efforts had been restricted to attacks on man’s spiritual being, and had therefore been hidden, invisible, and mysterious, but now at the end of time they are to come forth from their mysterious background to make open war with God and His hosts for the possession of the earth and of mankind. The hidden mystery of wickedness, the secret source of all the haunting horrors, and crimes, and failures, and sins of the past was about to reveal itself — the Antichrist was to become incarnate and appear armed, as it were, with all but almighty power. With such foes the faithful felt wholly unfit to do battle. With the rage and hostility of man they could cope, but with their ghostly enemy and his myrmidons about to manifest themselves with soul- and body-compelling powers they dared not engage. And so just on the eve of this epiphany of Satan, God seals His servants on their foreheads to show that they are His own possession, and that no embodied (or disembodied) spirit of the wicked one can do them hurt.

“The epiphany of Satan” — that is what Charles believed was on the horizon in Revelation — in the context of the seven seals. What a figure of speech! What prospect!

8. “The Root of Jesse” has what it takes to take the scroll and open its seals (Revelation 5:5). This — “the root of Jesse” — is an allusion to Isaiah 11:1-10. In my view, no Old Testament text is more important in Revelation or, for that matter, the rest of the New Testament. It is also a key text in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Scholars make too little of it, whether in Revelation or Romans (Romans 15:12). It pays off to ponder this text in the original context (Isaiah), as I have tried to do in The Letter to the Romans: Paul among the Ecologists (2017). Scholars today are aware that John alludes to the Old Testament, but few have the patience to listen in depth to the Old Testament voice. “The Root of Jesse” comes to the world not only as a kingly figure but as a Revealer. There is no way to exaggerate the importance of this discovery.

9. As with other phrases in Revelation, we should search the Old Testament for a clue to the meaning of the silence in heaven upon the breaking of the seventh seal. We should search — with drones, submarines, vacuum cleaners, MRI-scanners, Wikileaks, and Google — before we conclude. For this one, I made it sound harder than it is because the best background text waits for us in broad daylight. Unsurprisingly, this one is also in Isaiah.

Just as there were many

who were astonished at him,

so marred was his appearance,

beyond human semblance,

and his form beyond that of mortals,

so he shall startle many nations;

kings shall shut their mouths

because of him;

for that which had not been told them

they shall see,

and that which they had not heard

they shall contemplate (Isaiah 52:14–15).

And now to the poem, written Saturday, January 26, 2019.

Silence in Heaven

The sun was shining in heaven,

but there was that vexing scroll,

like a nuclear bomb in the middle,

exacting unbearable toll.

For long they’d tried to ignore it,

but this day the word was out.

’Twas time to face the music,

I heard it, the loudest shout.

The council was in assembly,

I saw that they all were there,

and the scroll was still in the middle

and the faces contorted in fear.

They called for one who could open,

they searched for one high and low,

but the search resulted in nothing,

and this was the heaviest blow.

John saw it, and he was weeping,

his weeping went on and on.

And the scroll was still in the middle

— you will find it on amazon.*

They call it a scroll of secrets,

they’ve sealed it with seven seals.

That’s what I saw in the throne room,

where wheels are within the wheels.

For “sealed” is not only “unheard-of,”

“unsealed” is to understand,

and this is the little-known secret,

for it is not told in the land.

Those horses running so wildly,

I’ve seen them all — all my life,

the red and the black and the ashen,

the famine, the sword, and the knife.

And the voices beneath the altar,

they’re shouting to God, “How long!”

The fifth seal already broken,

and heaven’s forgotten its song.

The scroll — it is nearly exploding,

a nuclear blast on the throne,

the angels are running for cover,

all stricken, and God is alone.

Just then this sight in the middle,

a victim of violence he,

the sprig from the stump of Jesse,

and I, I fell on my knee.

And then there was silence in heaven

when he broke the seventh seal,

now open were all the seven

in heaven’s art of the deal.

There was silence for half an hour,

I saw it on heaven’s clock.

I knew when I read their faces

that everyone was in shock.

The sun was shining in heaven,

and there was the Ancient of Days.

I looked and I looked till I saw it,

the smile on his wizened face.

*As in

Sigve K. Tonstad is Research Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Loma Linda University.

Photo by Michael D Beckwith on Unsplash

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Half an hour? using 1 day for a year, we have silence for 8 days?

What we need is the courage of faith to endure the desperate final attack of Lucifer as he knows his end is near. Death has no pain.Dying can. I have cared for victims of Japanese torture and of Japanese victims of relatiation. War is hell. But we can be on the winning side by faith in One Who is able.


Ever since I was a kid, this was always explained as the interval it takes for heaven
to come at the 2nd Coming and the leisurely trip in return.

This may simply mean that you have something worth saying.

DA 455, “The perception and appreciation of truth, He said, depends less upon the mind than upon the heart. Truth must be received into the soul; it claims the homage of the will. If truth could be submitted to the reason alone, pride would be no hindrance in the way of its reception. . . The Pharisees had not put their will on the side of God’s will. They were not seeking to know the truth, but to find some excuse for evading it; Christ showed that this was why they did not understand His teaching.”

Since the obstacle or ‘door’ blocking the entrance of the Lamb’s truth is ‘pride’, humility is the only way to ‘see’ and understand that truth, and no one has ever been more humiliated than the ‘Lamb’ described as opening the ‘seals’. ‘Seals’, being ‘sealed’ in a place corresponding ‘with’ (‘meta’ ) the eyes (‘ops’) with either the seal of the heart-character of the living God, or receiving and openly reflecting the ‘character’ or ‘mark’ of the beast. Such ‘seals’ – ‘settling into the truth’ about God, or into ‘lies’ about God – all have to do with the re-programming of that long-hidden ‘heart’ of the human brain that the Old Testament writers called various things, including ‘leb’, or ‘lebab’. The ‘seal of the living God’, then, is not upon (‘epi’) the forehead between the eyes, but upon the cortices of the heart of the right brain closely-connected ‘with eyes’ – ‘meta’-‘ops’ – via the ‘mirror neurons’ located there, which enable empathy and heart-character re-programming, simply ‘by beholding’, by ‘looking and living’. You become what your eyes ‘eat’ in.

Genesis 49:9-10 describes Judah as a ‘lion’s whelp’ proudly raising themselves up from the shredded flesh of their ‘prey’, which also happened to be ‘Shiloh’, the Lamb Whose ‘true coronation’ (EGW) as ‘King of the Appraisers’ occurred on the ‘shoot’ (cross tree’) sticking out of Mt. Moriah gray-matter at Golgotha. What did that ‘Lamb’ ‘appraise’ or ‘judge’ and ‘reveal’ ? (Besides, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”, that is.)

John 2:24-25 says,
“But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”

Luke 2:35 predicts the crucifixion scene: ( Simeon to Mary the mother of the baby Jesus)
“Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

In John 12:31-32 Jesus Himself describes the same ‘Golgotha’ scene of this same ‘krisis’ judgment, that ‘unseals’ or ‘reveals’ ‘many hearts’. “Now is the judgment (‘krisis’) of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

This is the same ‘Lord’ or Jesus who looked upon the heart of, and then chose, little, humble, ‘red’ David over his more presentable older brothers to be the King of Israel and Judah as a ‘man after His own heart’, saying to Samuel, (I Sam. 16:7) “Look not on his countenance, (not on his ‘forehead’, for instance) or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him (David’s older brother): for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

Later, in Psalm 51 – the post Bathsheba-Uriah psalm – King David acknowledges that what God really wants is ‘truth in the inward parts’, and prays that God will ‘create in me a clean heart (‘leb’), O God, and renew a right Spirit within me’ (This ‘heart’ has been described as ‘the seat of all human behavior’. So it is the perfect ‘driver’s seat’ upon which the Holy Spirit can be ‘enthroned’ in His Creator-intended ‘Living Temple’.) This ‘new creation’ occurs in the ‘heart’ of anyone who views and falls in admiration of the ‘Lamb of God’ on the rock at the foot of the cross:

“. . . As the sinner, drawn by the power of Christ, approaches the uplifted cross, and prostrates himself before it, there is a new creation. A new heart is given him. He becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus. Holiness finds that it has nothing more to require. God Himself is the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Romans 3:26. And whom He justified, them He also glorified. Romans 8:30. Great as is the shame and degradation through sin, even greater will be the honor and exaltation through redeeming love. To human beings striving for conformity to the divine image there is imparted an outlay of heaven’s treasure, an excellency of power, that will place them higher than even the angels who have never fallen.” COL 163

So, when the Heavenly Court looks for some One qualified to investigate, reveal, judge worldly ‘hearts’ and recreate them in the character-image of the ‘seal of the living God’, Who better to chose than the Peace-loving Shiloh ‘Lamb’ and ‘King of Judah-Appraisers of God’s character’ like King David – in whose ‘heart’ was God’s law as it was in the ‘ark’, Psalm 40:8 ) Who was crowned as such at the Golgotha scene remembered and described as His ‘worthy’ credentials for revealing ‘sealed’ hidden hearts in Revelation 5.

That same Jesus is both the root and the branch or ‘scepter’ of David, having Himself, chosen humble David to be ‘King of the Jews’ before Him. But Jesus was the Shiloh-Lamb-‘shredded prey’ from which the leading ‘Lion’s whelp’-‘Jews’ – some Levites among them – lifted themselves up in pride, only to fall into humility be baptized and resurrected all the way into the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ at Pentecost. Who shredded the Lamb’s ‘flesh’ turning him very ‘ruddy’, indeed ? . . . 'He came to His own things, and His own people rejected Him."

Years ago when Florence Littauer’s 4 personality or ‘heart-character’ types were more in the public eye, I compared them to the 4 horsemen, and realized that just like the 4 seasons, all of these ‘4’-s are the result of ‘sin’. So, right after the ‘Lamb’ ‘unseals’ or ‘reveals’ the ‘heart-characters’ of the 4 horsemen to the 4 announcements of ‘come and see’ it is only fitting that the 5th seal would give open voice to the complaints of the ‘saints’ who have suffered under the oppressions of the 4 out-of-whack heart-character-types, just as we suffer under the seasonal tilts of the Earth.

Then the 6th seal revealed by the Lamb looks a lot like the beginning of the Great Advent Movement, when the people described in the first 5 seals were all frightened to think that the ‘Lamb’ was going to come and see them unprepared, so the 7th seal describes the heart-characters of those who choose to have something done about that fear by receiving the humble heart-character of the living God in the part of their ‘heads’ that goes ‘meta’ or ‘with’ the eyes – the mirror neurons located in the ‘inner man’ ‘heart’ of every human brain. Such ‘mirror neurons’ – that you won’t find studied at the SDA theological seminary, but in the nursing department at Andrews University (So much for ‘blending’ the health sciences ‘right arm’ with the ministerial work !) These ‘mirror neurons’ – first discovered in a lab in Parma, Italy in 1991 – enable sinful human characters to be ‘changed’ – to em-pathetic-ly ‘reflect’ – the ‘heart-character-image-seal’ of the living God simply ‘by beholding’ the ‘Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world’ from that ‘beholding heart’ that is not so hardened and dull with ‘fat’ that it won’t turn and be thus ‘healed’, but has humble eyes that see and humble ears that hear. ( ‘In All Humility’ true, ‘LGT’ – what Jesus described to Nicodemus as being ‘born again’, as also described in Isaiah 66:7-8 in the mysterious ‘birth’ of a ‘rememory’-‘zakar’ translated as a verb, not as a noun ‘man-child’, by ‘Jerusalem-Zion’. . . – can now be seen to be a living scientifically-proven reality, but only in the absence of all self-justifying, God-condemning, liberal or conservative, partisan SDA pride.)

So, the ‘seal of the living God’ involves the long-hidden coronation-crucifixion-scene involving the ark-‘heart’ of the ‘mow’ed’ sanctuary that ‘lower-educated’ Ron Wyatt finished painting for more humble human ‘eyes’ and ‘hearts’ to ‘behold’ at the right side of the ‘place of the skull’, ‘without the gate’ of Jerusalem in Mt. Moriah, and ‘without the camp’ of Israel at Mt, Sinai . ( This is the ‘holy’ ‘sanctuary’ at the ‘footstool’ end on Earth of God’s heavenly ‘throne’ sitting at the top of ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, that was set ‘right’ or ‘cleansed’ by the blood of Christ that reached the ‘place of at-one-ment’ by simple ‘gravity’ – Himself the Priest, Himself the Victim . . . just as EGW described. Ron found this ‘sanctuary scene’ right in time for the Desmond Ford challenge, but the SDA General Conference could not use Ron’s Information because they had already decided to humilate and marginalize the Wyatt Family, when he refused to lie and say that the SDA archaeologist with degrees had made his previous discoveries. Yet this scene was merely ‘typical’ of what that Golgotha scene accomplishes deep in the hidden ‘Mt of seeing Yahh’ in the right side of each ‘Living Temple’ human ‘heart’ where God’s ‘law’-character is reproduced in the ‘New Covenant’. . . simply ‘by beholding’ and ap-‘prais’-ing it as 'worth-y of ‘worth-ship’ . . . ) And Ron did this just as brain scientists were about to discover ‘mirror neurons’ located deep and deeper in the right side of every human skull in the cortexes of 2 areas that handle moral emotivations like ‘pride – humility’, trust – distrust, love – hate, guilt – at-one-ment, error recognition, indignation, physical and social pain . . . . Those 2 areas also work in harmony to change those emotivations into physical actions.

So, in comparing the ‘Golgotha’ discoveries of Ron Wyatt with the brain neuroscience discoveries regarding the moral-emotivational ‘heart’ of the brain, the close resemblances in arrangement, form and function are unmistakable, and present far too many correlations to be mere ‘coincidence’, leading at least me to conclude that unlocking the hidden scene at the right side of Golgotha also unlocks the functions of that hidden ‘heart’ ‘soul temple’ of the human brain that only the ‘Lamb of God’, as ‘Shiloh’-King of Judah-appraisers . . . can see, understand, judge and cleanse of insight-obscuring pride, thereby creating ‘new hearts’ and renewing ‘right Spirit-emotivations’ in the ‘inner man’, the ‘viscera’, which this ‘inner-brain’ also handles.

Words are not enough to paint this Rosetta Stone-like harmony of Scripture Word, Creation Word, and Archaeology which all describe the same event in their separate 3 languages. The Ron Wyatt family has been pilloried by their SDA ‘betters’ for decades. As the SDA GC was leaving me along the road last October, the Wyatt Family was ready and right on time in the world’s focus as they were busy making more videos about the Wyatt Family’s trip into Saudi Arabia in 1984, to find Mt. Sinai which is soon to be engulfed by the new ‘Neom’ city. (Ron and his 2 sons were betrayed by a jealous fellow SDA who reported them to the Saudi Embassy in the U.S. as being ‘Israeli spies’.)

Jamal Khashoggi was dissected by the Saudi Crown Prince’s men for criticizing his Neom plans, just 2 weeks before the SDA 2018 Annual Council that voted to enforce proud hypocrisy upon SDA ‘heart-characters’, therefore acting more like the ‘seasonal’, miserable 4 horsemen than like the saints under the altar. So, now the whole non-SDA world is embracing the truth of what Paul said in Galatians, about Mt. Sinai being in Arabia, while a perfect representative of SDA ‘higher-education’ has sadly gone publicly on record insisting that Mt. Sinai is in the Sinai Peninsula, instead, just to shame the Wyatt Family . . . oops ! Non-SDA PhDs are now insisting that Paul and the Wyatt Family were right about the location of Mt. Sinai in the ‘Midian’ area of the Arabian Peninsula.

Soon, the Wyatt Family will answer the requests of the non-SDA world to tell more about the what ?, how ?, who ?, when ? why ? . . . regarding Ron’s discoveries at Golgotha, but it will take new humble SDA ‘hearts’ and 'eyes that ‘come and see’ the hidden heart-characters of the out-of-whack ‘horsemen’, and ears that hear the cries of the saints beneath the altar to ‘get the picture’. Meanwhile, the SDA church leaders who have tried so hard to humiliate the Wyatt Family cannot attack them for answering the world’s eager questions without ‘unsealing’ their own hypocritical self-raising pride. That’s what happens when ‘lions’ attack ‘lambs’ – the ‘red’ blood from the shredded Lamb-King ‘prey’ of Judah’s Lion just shines all the brighter. . . again, mere words cannot paint the picture that needs to be seen by ‘all’. (At least not without pressing them all tangled together in stacks of metaphors all drawn like iron filings to a magnet at the completely-unsealed scene of the Cross of Christ, now available to those who chose to ‘see’ it.)

“. . . Lucifer had been the covering cherub. He had stood in the light of God’s presence. He had been the highest of all created beings, and had been foremost in revealing God’s purposes to the universe. After he had sinned, his power to deceive was the more deceptive, and the unveiling of his character was the more difficult, because of the exalted position he had held with the Father.” DA 758

“. . . From the desert to Calvary, the storm of Satan’s wrath beat upon Him, but the more mercilessly it fell, the more firmly did the Son of God cling to the hand of His Father, and press on in the bloodstained path. All the efforts of Satan to oppress and overcome Him only brought out in a purer light His spotless character.” DA 759

“Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings. Henceforth his work was restricted. Whatever attitude he might assume, he could no longer await the angels as they came from the heavenly courts, and before them accuse Christ’s brethren of being clothed with the garments of blackness and the defilement of sin. The last link of sympathy between Satan and the heavenly world was broken.” DA 761

The Revelation of Jesus Christ also reveals the hidden hearts of His enemies and His Friends to the Courts of Heaven filled with questions regarding both. In this way, Revelation’s stories of the ‘unsealing’ of such ‘sealed’ information, confirms the idea of the ‘Investigative Judgment’, for the benefit of Heavenly beings, not yet of Earthly ones. Who are we to deny them their Q&A ? Especially when that unsealing is led by the ‘Lord’ who ‘looks upon the heart’ that is ‘with eyes’, not merely upon the outward ‘forehead’.

Strangely, Nietzsche was right about the reflective nature of such ‘investigative judgments’. When we look into the abyss, the abyss looks into us in a sort of ‘brain-computer’ internet-surfing ‘cookie’ transaction. But in Heaven’s case, the hidden ‘sealed’ hearts of us sinners are judged as to how we judge the revealed ‘unsealed’ Heart of our all-seeing, heart-reading ‘Judge’.

That’s it. I’m tired and hungry. And I’m tired of watching SDAs rip each other apart in partisan battles based upon the heresy of ‘sola scriptura’, when Jesus Himself refused to study Scriptures without the scientific study of Creations that harmonized with Scripture.

You’re the artist, Mr. Tonstad. You are also the Bible scholar and scientist. Please do better than I have done in painting a picture of the 3-witness ‘Rosetta Stone’ now available to help SDAs better understand Paul’s Gospel to the Galatians, instead of denying that ‘Mt. Sinai’ is in Arabia, instead of denying that 'in Christ, there is neither male nor female DNA ‘birth’ that matters, but reconceived and ‘reborn’ ‘rememories’ ‘reflective’ of the ‘character’ of the ‘heart’ of the ‘mind of Christ’. That ‘Chosen Lamb’ that humbled Himself at the right side of His ‘place of the skull’, in order that He could qualify to ‘unseal’ all secrets so that we all might see the true character of the heart of God, and of His enemies – both – and most clearly make an informed choice as to whom is worth-y of the worth-ship of our ‘mirror neurons’ located in the ‘Jerusalem’ ‘one place of worth-ship’ God has chosen to be His own ‘Living Temple’.

“In the cleansing of the temple, Jesus was announcing His mission as the Messiah, and entering upon His work. That temple, erected for the abode of the divine Presence, was designed to be an object lesson for Israel and for the world. From eternal ages it was God’s purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator.” ~ DA 161

This ‘sanctuary’ to be ‘cleansed’ was not Herod’s Temple, where there was no ark, but was located ‘without the gate’ and ‘camp’ of Hebrews 13:12-13, just as Ron Wyatt confirmed at the time of the Desmond Ford challenge.

This ‘Rosetta Stone’ perspective adds healing information to all of the Great Rifts among SDAs that began when Waggoner’s and Jones’ message of the Righteousness of Christ was marginalized beginning in 1886, reached through the time of EGW’s exile in Australia after she revealed her Salamanca vision to the SDA leaders, continued through Dr, Kellogg’s ‘Omega of Apostasy’, 1957’s ‘QOD’, Desmond Ford’s challenge circa 1978, ‘Spiritual Formation’ in the 2,000s, and the Women’s Ordination debate now bringing on the SDA Inquisition that has left me behind. Somehow it is always Paul’s Gospel of Galatians that SDAs as a whole never seem to fully comprehend, and so they listen to ‘another gospel’ which is no gospel, and quarrel over it, instead, while somehow thinking that they are fulfilling the Gospel Commission in such a proud, Laodicean state of hypocrisy. The humility of Christ is the eyesalve, pride in partisan error is the blinding ‘sealed’ door. God’s truth is what actually works, not a quarrel or a ‘majority vote’ that disenfranchises any ‘minority vote’, simply because it is ‘weaker’, and perhaps more ‘Lamb-like’.

A poem with rhyme. Refreshing.

I have to teach an adult class tomorrow, and the thing that comes to me is that the lesson author’s portrayal of the opening of the scrolls as the spread of the gospel is like having your jeans on inside-out. It’s still the same piece of cloth, but it doesn’t fit right, look right, and it’s hard to get the zipper up.

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Sorry, but R.H. Charles was wrong in his interpretation of what the sealing means. but he was welcome to his interpretation as I and others are to ours.

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I agree. Where does one get that from the text?

However, if Rev.19 is paralleled with the first seal, both picture a rider going out on a white horse. In Chapter 19, it is the image of Christ, going out to conquer in judgement over all evil powers, and how he would judge the nations/Gentiles who have persecuted and pressured his people. In Chapter 6, the first seal pictures the rider on the white horse, with the subsequent images filling out the picture of what seems like covenant curses…IOW the focus of the judgement here is on unfaithful Israel. Pulling both together would reveal that judgement is rendered against all who oppose the kingdom of God and his king, through oppression, injustice, violence, idolatry, etc., whether Jew or Gentile.

This thought is also reflected in Romans 2:9: There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew; then for the Gentile, but glory honor and peace for everyone who does good, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

This seems more textually and biblically based than imposing the idea of gospel preaching on the first seal, with the rest as the apostacy through history of the church. While a case can be made for that in Christian history, I don’t think that this is what John intended to communicate to the recipients of his prophecy. They were under pressure from Rome and Judaism, as alluded to in the messages to the seven churches. This would have addressed the issues they were facing in real time.

This reading can also be applied to the pressures on our individual faith and faith communities today.




We wrestle not against flesh and blood, One must have a firm grip on Paul before one attempts to read Revelation.


The way the lessons are put together prevents us from knowing what the author wrote and what part was inserted by the editors. Difficult to know who should be blamed…


It’s interesting that the English translations use the word “revelation” for a book that is obscure and lacks revelation. I don’t know about other languages, but at least in Portuguese it is called “Apocalipse.”

What kind of “revelation” is that if it cannot be fully understood, and most of the so called “understanding” is nothing but mere interpretation? Millions of different interpretations since almost everyone reaches a different conclusion at some point.

You are right, it’s better to stay with Paul …

And isn’t the 3 angels message spread by angels not a church group? That seems quite clear yet that is what Adventists believe their role is.

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Oh dear…I did not imagine that my cryptic remark would elicit an intellectual response, requiring me to come back with something cogent…but here goes.

In my research, I could not find any justification for what the lesson author says (and Dr. Tichy, if I understand properly, the text of this week’s lesson is in fact the lesson author’s).

He would have us believe that after the beautiful and loving way Jesus’ care for his church is described in Rev. 1, that opening the 6 seals in chapter 6 (or at least the first 5) will simply give an account of the spread of the gospel, with Jesus shown as a warrior, whipping the church into compliance with a series of OT curses in order to save us in the end. Sorry, but that makes no sense to me and it seems highly contradictory with chapter 1. And…by the way, that is pretty much the accepted SDA position, per the Commentary, although they allow that there are different interpretations.

Here are the reasons I have a hard time with the interpretation stated above:

  1. While it might seem petty, in the furtherance of John’s vision, Jesus is very clearly shown as the ‘worthy’ Lamb, who Himself is opening the seals in a sequence. I’ve seen Dick Van Dyke play two roles in a single sitcom, but this seems counter intuitive for Jesus, whose second coming follows the opening of the seals. (See Early Writings, p. 41)

  2. The Gospel Commission and the growth of the Christian church is not something which was ‘sealed’. They are important, but not apocalyptic…which is why I compared this to having your jeans on inside-out. The church is involved in what happens in the opening of the seals, but not the main player.

  3. Jesus is not the member of the Godhead consigned to the spread and growth of the Gospel. That was assigned to the Holy Spirit, while Jesus was (and is) to serve as our High Priest. It sounds nice, maybe to think of him on a big white horse like the Lone Ranger, but that interpretation does not fit here, and the description is very different that that of the triumphant Jesus in Rev. 19:11-12.

  4. Remember that Rev. 4:1c says that ‘these are things which Must take place’ (emphasis mine). Sounds more like something being entered as evidence…part of a bigger picture, rather than the organic growth of a fledgling church.

  5. While the bad things happening when the seals are opened sound a lot like the ‘curses’ part of the covenant God made with Israel, there is no scriptural evidence in OT prophecy that the same curses would be levied on the Christian church. We are not the historical Israelite nation and our covenant is not the same…unlike Israel, we know we cannot obey, and therefore, accept Christ’s righteousness. However, the bad things happening when the seals are opened sound a lot like what Jesus spoke about as signs of the time of the end in Matt. 24, Mark 13 and Luke .21.

  6. One more thing…the rider of the white horse is described as having ‘a crown given to him’, suggesting that authority comes from elsewhere…and this bestowing or permitting of authority is also suggested in seals 2 and 4. Jesus has His own power, so it cannot be Him.

Without wishing to sound even more cryptic, it seems to me that as SDA’s, we always make things about us…sort of a self-centered religiosity. But I believe that the true purpose of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is to vindicate God as just and righteous, while showing Satan to be what he truly is…it’s all in the ‘revealing’, that is, the apocalypse!

And thank you, Frank, for your very thoughtful reply.

I always enjoy your comments,



Thanks for your response, Linda.

I agree.


Totally agree with you. I would just say that the covenant curses, which the language of the seals echoes, applies to the Judaism of the 1st c. that not only rejected Christ, but was also actively engaged in opposition to and persecution of the fledgling Christian movement. Revelation does include the theme of judgement, which for the harried and the oppressed believers was and still is good news. God will come to their aid and set things right.

Jesus himself speaks of authority being given to him, in the great commission in Mt. 28. “All authority has been given to me…” This is also touched upon in the opening of Romans, Paul saying that Jesus was “…appointed as the powerful reigning Son of God through the Spirit, by his resurrection from the dead.” There is some sense in which Jesus received authority through what he accomplished on behalf of humanity, the resurrection being the sign of this, that led to his subsequent enthronement as Lord. His own statement in Mt. 28 makes no sense if one sees him as never receiving authority from any other source than himself. Who, then, is he referring to that gave it to him in this statement?

With that said, this would not disqualify him from fitting the picture of the rider of the horse in the first seal. He stands in judgement over Jew and Gentile, and will see his people through it. The call is for them to hold fast to their faithfulness to God through Christ himself.



Kingdom Coronation.
We are told that Adam [doesn’t say Eve] gave the Keys to the Kingdom to Lucifer[Satan].
We are told that Jesus as man took Adam’s place, and on the Cross won the victory over
sin, and at Resurrection won the Victory over Death. Christ is the person who came out
of the tomb.
When He ascended to heaven after speaking to Mary, He was welcomed as the King of
Glory. bringing with Him the Keys lost to Adam and the Keys to Death and Hell.
That was Jesus Christ’s coronation event.

I always appreciate your contributions, George. On this point, it could be noted that a revelation need not be easy to understand. Think of a young married couple beginning to face the reality that men and women are more different than they imagined at first. As they reveal themselves to each other, the mystery only deepens…

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