The First Rule of Revelation: Be a Re-Reader

Sabbath school commentary for discussion alongside the Adult Bible Study Guide for April 8, 2023.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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Didn’t read past this novel, but utterly unenforceable rule.

Another perfectly acceptable approach to Revelation is to a remain an obstinate non-reader who assumes the book was written by, and for, a very small, extremely specific segment of earth’s 2nd century population.

In this way, the anti-reader obviates the risk of becoming an eisegete who reads himself into every whiff of the the book’s phantasmagorical miasma or a deluded dilettante who thinks that John (whomever he may have been) Nightmares are not only decipherable by, but are also somehow relevant to, 21st century humans.

After which, and having avoided those apocalyptic pitfalls, one can turn his inattention to the OT and the task off non- or even un-reading The Book of Daniel!


So I have a question for Sigve Tonsdat - Why does the Adventist reading of Revelation ignore Ezekiel? On the way to Rev. 12, the HUB, you have to pass 10 and 11; and fast forward to Rev. 21. The wording is stunning, (as is the focus of the two books - judgement) when compared to Ezekiel 3 and 40, making the “little book” Ezekiel, rather than Daniel. Or are we so focused on Daniel we don’t see any other connections…

Revelation 10:9-11
So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the “little book”. And he said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make you stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” … And they said to me, ‘You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.’

Revelation 11:1 ff.
"There was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, 'Get up and measure the temple of God and the alter, and those who worship in it.

Revelation 21:10 ff.
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. …It had a great high wall, with twelve gates… The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city and it gates and its wall.

Ezekiel 2-3
Then I looked, and behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. When He spread it out, written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe. Then He said to me, Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and GO SPEAK TO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL. So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. … Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.

Ezekiel 40

In the visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, and on it to the south there was a structure like a city. … and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand. Declare to the house of Israel all that you see. …

I think there might something to learn here.


i wonder to what extent this allusion is meant to be literal…in the world of music, symphonic perception isn’t accidental, or a chosen state of mind…it is the product of a lot of work that doesn’t necessarily seem like work because it’s enjoyable, but that’s real work nonetheless…and it isn’t something that happens quickly, or that can even be defined in terms of a perceivable end-point…the ability to recognize and understand the generation and interplay between principle and secondary themes in a symphony; to identify the imagery and emotions they represent and infer; to know how they fit into and compare with the larger output of the composer and other composers of his time; to perceive how treatment of these themes are influenced by preceding styles, and what things like key, meter and instrumentation imply - not to mention immediate impact augmented by performing experience - is an unending, unendable quest…and this is before personal perceptive ability, including pitch and rhythmic sensitivity, and the effect of variables like time of life are factored in…

there’s also the not so small issue of whether Revelation is really the painstaking product of a disciplined scholarly mind, or whether it is the simple recording of a vision, or series of visions, as it was (they were) presented and received, to the extent it was (they were) recalled afterwards, and by what is traditionally believed to be a fisherman disciple apostle towards the end of his life…if a scholar finds evidence of structure - chapter 12 influencing chapters 4-11 and 13-20, or the perfect number seven plus one bookending both sides - is this accidental, or is it the considered contribution of the writer, or is it the reflection of the divine component of its inspiration (and does this recall Matthew’s genealogy of 14 generations between Abraham and David; 14 generations between David and the Babylonian Captivity; and 14 generations between the Babylonian Captivity and Christ, or the much more complicated numerology in Luke’s genealogy)…

or is the evidence of structure an editorial decision and contribution…for instance, we know that chapter designations for the bible came more than a thousand yrs later, through the judgement of presumably Stephen Langton, who later became Archbishop of Canterbury…that is, would we see this same structure in Revelation if the vision or visions are read as a linear, chapterless unit (is the book symphonic simply because it’s chaptered version can be perceived this way)…and if not, is a symphonic designation perhaps a bit convenient…

but perhaps the real question to consider is whether an easily understood interpretation that galvanizes and inspires an entire denomination matters, at all, or is it the case that an interpretation can only be valid if it reflects the minute musings of scholars, whether these can be appreciated or even understood by anyone else…who decides…and why should his, her, or their decisions matter, or prevail…

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I love reading Revelation - it’s like sci-fi on steroids; it joins some of my old end-of-the-world favorites. That said, I’ve never understood why SDA’s are so stuck on only three angels of Rev. 14, skipping those 4 or 5 other angels in Rev. 14. Surely they had things to say too…


Being in the center of the book, it holds some prominence and a bit easier to interpret. This is my favorite book too and conjures up some personal and exciting speculations I don’t share. I have reread it many times and also read books about it like Tonstad and Jan Paulien and also Doukan of AU. I learn from all of them.

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When I want a horror story, I stick with Steven King, cause he doesn’t claim that his nightmares will come true…oh, except for that time he got hit by a car!



Franz Schmidt, Viennese Catholic, 1874 - 1939, in 1938 had composed “Das Buch mit sieben Siegel” , in rather lte Romantic music, for this ortorio using the Luther ( ! ) text. - An impression , a view, something moving !

The Adventist reading also seems to avoid the Book of Enoch and the realization that there was other “apocalyptic” literature. We should seek to understand the genre and context of apocalyptic Jewish imagery & literature if we are to get anywhere with “The Apocalyptic Revelation.”
Furthermore we must from verse 1 keep the focus on the book as “a revelation of Jesus” - wandering too far into minutiae defocuses Jesus.
By not understanding it’s context we have disregarded it’s other big instruction passed to John and to us: “do not be afraid” (1:17) - but fear sells, and that’s what used-car evangelists seem to be good at, much to our long term detriment.


Because, it provides a proof-text solution for their delusion: The formation of Investigative Judgment; The fall of Babylon represented by the Roman Catholic Church; The Sabbath and the dreaded Sunday laws, all founded upon the three angels’ messages. There will be no SDA church without these!


If Sunday laws are a precursor to Jesus return, then why are they feared? Seems Adventists should be actively trying to pass more of them so they could feel more persecuted and howl even louder about how the world is going to end.


A true Christian will not fear the threats of the enemy


I used to wonder that myself, Tim. Some news event would trigger SDA’s into thinking that Sunday Laws were right around the corner. The fear, hand-wringing and hoping that this wasn’t the case was wild. I really couldn’t relate to that, I thought it was suppose to be a good thing, at least that is what was taught, preached and supposedly looked forward to. All in the name, right? The reaction sure didn’t match “the message”. I never felt scared, or that I didn’t want it to happen. I didn’t grow up in it, so I guess I missed the fear, and lack of assurance that so many (most?) grew up with.


What you said is true. In 2015 when the members of our church in UK heard that pope was visiting US, they were terrified and started fasting and prayer for God to intervene by not allowing the Sunday laws to be imposed by pope in union with US president. The same was the reaction of Adventists in India. But, pope had nothing to discuss about what Adventists feared most! It was like Millerites wating for second coming!
They are experts in creating conspiracy theories from every move pope makes, of course, this is a part of their ‘three angels’ message!


But are those passing Sunday laws (should it happen, which it won’t) in order to persecute the Adventists really the enemy? Seems they are the vehicle, according to the prophecy, by which Jesus will return. Wouldn’t that make them in league with Jesus?

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Something quite odd about Sunday Laws : Yugoslavia had abolished all religioulsy motivated laws andregulations : So also Sunday was not a holiday any more, the shops together with business life in general were open on this day. With this state falling apart the Croatioans immediately restituted an order in use in Europe since milleniums : No more business on Sundays - - a politically based decision for Croatian patriotism and its orientation to Italy and Rome.

Immediately one GC representative from US approached the Croatian authorities - - about “Liberty” - -

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