Friday, April 10, 2020

Apocalyptic? #3: The Mirror Image of the Week

I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

 (Revelation 22:13—See also Revelation 1:8 and 11 and 21:10)


What a week!  As I begin writing this post, it is Friday, April 10, 2020—one of the most sobering Good Fridays in our lifetime, perhaps in Church History. 
This week began on Palm Sunday, with the world-wide church worshiping and celebrating at their homes, due to the lockout of churches.  We in Florida, cut down palm branches and celebrated in our garden.  The entire world is now on lockdown.  Many are experiencing extreme Confusion Stress
(see my book The 7 Cs of Stress), as we find ourselves confused and lost—not knowing if the Pandemic will soon (or ever) end or if the US and world economies will be able to withstand the extreme shock to our economic system that has resulted from our response to the virus. 
Just as the Israelites in Egypt hunkered down in their homes, awaiting the Passing Over of the Death Angel, before the great Exodus, we are hunkered down in our homes, awaiting the Passing Over of the Coronavirus.  Jesus’ disciples were scattered and in hiding, from Good Friday through the Sabbath, as they waited to see if they would be the next to be crucified.  
John’s audience in Revelation faced great Confusion Stress, as well, as they waited, in 69 A.D., to see what would happen next in the Roman War against the Jews that had begun in 66 A.D. (and would last for SEVEN years—until 73 A.D.), as Nero’s Roman army swarmed toward Jerusalem.  Even though John’s audience lived in Asia Minor (the location of modern-day Turkey), they were mostly Jewish Christians who had left the Land of Israel before the War began, but their families and countrymen were still in the Great City of Jerusalem that would soon be destroyed (next year, in 70 A.D.) by Rome.  Five years earlier, in 64 A.D., the Emperor Nero had started the Great Roman Fire, and blamed the event on the Christians, so that nowhere in the Empire was it safe for Christians and Jews to reside, including Asia Minor. 
John makes much of the fact that, in 69 A.D., they were living in the MIDDLE of the last WEEK of years, prophesied by Daniel:  “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of ABOMINATIONS he shall make
it DESOLATE, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the DESOLATE”  (Daniel 9:27).  (Daniel’s prophecy of the ceasing of the sacrifice was fulfilled in 70 A.D., as the Romans destroyed the Jerusalem Temple.)  Jesus had prophesied that this predicted “ABOMINATION” of “DESOLATION” would occur before his then-current generation passed away (Matthew 24:34).  And, there, in 69 A.D.—a little less than a “generation”—from the time Jesus spoke the prophecy, John was predicting its fulfillment.  (The standard length of a generation for Jews was 40 years, as in the generation that died in the Wilderness).  John and Daniel express the three and one-half-years—first half (and second half) of this WEEK OF YEARS—in several ways, besides the “midst of the week”:  

time (=1 year+), times (=2 years+) and half a time (=6 months=3 ½ years)” (Daniel 7:25, 12:7 and Revelation 12: 14)

twelve hundred sixty days (divided by 3 ½ [years]=360 days, one year)” (Revelation 11:3, 12: 6)

“thousand three hundred five and 30 days (divided by 3 ½ [years]=381.4 days, one year)” (Daniel 12:12)

forty-two months (divided by 3 ½ [years]=12 months, one year)” (Revelation 11:2, 13:5)

three and half days (translate ‘days’ into ‘years’)” (Revelation 11:9, 11)

My observation:  From the perspective of THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK, this WEEK OF YEARS is MIRROR-IMAGED. 
It is chiastic. 
Think of the 7 Golden Lampstands of the Menorah in Revelation.  A visual mirror image.  The first lampstand could represent Sunday; the last lampstand, Saturday.  John saw three and one-half years on either side.  John was helping his audience see history THROUGH THE MIRROR.  We could say that in the analogy of the WEEK OF YEARS, John was writing on Wednesday (hump-day) of that WEEK OF YEARS.  The SABBATH (or 7th day) will be a day of rest for the Christians, just as in the CREATION WEEK, the SABBATH (or 7th day) was a day of rest for God.  After the excruciating Friday Jesus experienced prior to Easter, Jesus rested before his resurrection on Sunday, to begin a brand new era.  Fridays are extremely significant.  What happened on Friday in Creation Week?  God made man in His image.  What happened on Friday before the first Easter?  Jesus was crucified to save mankind. 
I do not know if we are now experiencing another Friday.  As I discussed with my sister Marilyn, I have thought (as she did) of the poignancy of the whole world being in our homes, for this season.  I'm not a big fan of modern-day prophets, but I certainly appreciate the fact that Jesus told us:  "You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why don't you know how to interpret this present time?" (Luke 12:56).  In the next few posts, I will extend the discussion of the “seven” form beyond the Menorah, the week, and the week of years.  John thinks consistently about the number seven entelechy:  seven churches, seven letters, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven plagues, seven heads on the Dragon and the Beast, etc.  We’ll dive more deeply into the seven entelechy of Revelation in the next post.

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