Blogging through Beale (Rev. 8-13)

Revelation 8:6-12

The trumpets “portray judgment on unbelievers” (472).

Burning mountain: probably a wicked kingdom.  Mountains often symbolize kingdoms in the OT.

Star: Babylon’s representative angel (479).

9:5. This is where “spiritual readings” tend to break down.  If these judgments happen in the interadvental age, then it is not clear why the “two months” means anything.  If the two months are not literal, as Beale suggests, then how do they apply to an age that spans the whole church age? One could reply that they refer to a limited time at the end of this church age. That could work, but it does not seem that Beale takes that option.

9:18.  Do the plagues kill people in a spiritual or literal manner? Beale says they are literal.  The people actually die, but the duration of the plagues is not literal.  It is spiritually stretched out.  Presumably it is also for the entire church age, but this makes the time limit given by John unnecessary.

Chapters 10-11

The parenthesis refers to the entire church age (521).

11:1-2.  The temple is spiritual, or better, eschatological.  It corresponds to Ezekiel’s temple in 40-48. It is the body of Christ (562). This could work.  To be honest, any discussion of the temple is problematic.

Likewise, the Holy City is also figurative. This gets problematic in the application, though.  The whole city on Beale’s reading is trampled, yet the whole church is not trampled today (574).  While we are one, and we share in one another’s sufferings, it is simply not the case that the whole church is trampled.

11:5. The two witnesses are the two lampstands, the church.  This is hard to square with the earlier comments of the church being trampled.  If the witnesses are protected from harm, then at the same time they can’t be trampled. Moreover, these witnesses are decisively killed, but the church is never decisively killed.

The witnesses’ resurrection means God vindicates them over the world system at the end of time.  The problem, though, is that in the text they are vindicated before the end of time.

11:15.  Beale does not make much of it here, but this passage could be problematic for those who think Christ is reigning now.  If Christ is reigning now, then why is he said to become king at this moment?  

Place of Refuge in the Desert

Beale says topos is always a synonym in the NT for “temple” (648).  I guess that is true.  At first glance it does not seem likely.

Excellent section on the Beast language.  Rightly points to Leviathan and Behemoth in Job.  The Beast will be a Roman-like system reaching its zenith in an individual.  I can go with that.

Mark of the Beast

The mark is figurative (716)..  This does not seem right.  Even though the seal on believers is spiritual, the mark is recognizable in that you cannot buy or sell without it. That is evidence of a physical mark. Moreover, once one takes the mark, there is no going back. If the mark were simply the values of the world-system, then repentance for a wayward Christian is impossible. That does not seem right.


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