Continued from Part 4, Gentile and Numerical Themes.


In this section, for narrative convenience, I do not use "I think" and "perhaps" as often as my actual level of certainty calls for. As a result, I shall sound much more certain of my interpretation than I am.

The book of Revelation gives a catalog of God's judgements at three ascending levels: immediate, historical, and ultimate.

The middle four suites are interlocked: the seventh seal is the Suite of Trumps; the seventh trump is the Suite of Signs; the seventh sign is the Suite of Cups. This joins them together into a larger unit, excluding the Suites of Lamps and Visions. It also makes it difficult to interrupt chronological sequence within these four suites, as for example in that interpretation that takes the Seals, Trumps, and Cups to be three different views of the same events.

I take this set of four suites to be a spiritual history of the world from the Fall of Man to the Fall of Rome.

The Suite of Visions, structurally unconnected to the preceeding four, is a vision of the end of secular history and the beginning of the New Creation.

I arrange the dating of the four central suites around the birth of the manchild to the Woman of God in 12:5. If this is the birth of Christ and all four suites are a monotonic narrative sequence, then events before this point must be dated in the BCs and events after this point must be dated in the ADs (assuming they can be assigned dates at all and are not eternal or perennial).

The next clue is the other woman, the Scarlet Woman of chapter 17, identified as a city on seven hills, ruling over many nations. This is clearly Rome, so Rome is Babylon is the Scarlet Woman. If the Beast is a king or set of kings (17:10-12), it follows that the Beast is a Roman emperor or at least overlaps with the imperium.

(The Scarlet Woman and the Beast could, formally, be some future powers centered on Rome, or even on some other city with seven hills, but there is no reason to suppose this unless you have cause to believe the vision concerns only the remote future and not at all the pressing problems of John and his first audience. It is also formally possible that this vision refers to both ancient Rome and some other power, but there is no need to suppose this unless you have cause to believe the vision must have some future fulfillment.)

So I take the birth of the manchild in 12:5 as the birth of Christ and the fall of Babylon in chapter 18 as the fall of Rome. Here, then, is my interpretation of Revelation:

For the last 1500 years, we have been between the Suite of Cups and the Suite of Visions.

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Copyright © Earl Wajenberg, 2011