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Salvation and judgment in history from the throne of god and of the little lamb

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35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 83, 109, 137, 139)...Wishes or prayers for divine vengeance also occur with some frequency in other contexts...2 Samuel 3:28-29; 2 Kings 1:10, 12...; Nehemiah 4:4-5; Jeremiah 11:20; 15:15; 18:21-23; 20:12; Amos 7:17.” (P. 407)
The second person singular, present indicative active verb ἐκδικεÃς, ekdikeis means "you are avenging someone," "you are procuring justice for someone," "you are taking vengeance for something," "you are punishing something." It fits directly in line with the biblical motif of spilled blood, or injustice, or withheld wages, that "cry out" to YHWH, demanding justice. God cannot be the God of justice, unless He hears every such cry, and responds to such cries with His powerful judgment in history. It is one of the fundamental themes of the Jewish Bible that the Lord of history hears all such cries, and comes in
history (on His "day") to render judgment, delivering those whose cries have been heard, and punishing those who have caused the cries.
This prayer has been rejected as "sub-Christian," in the light of the prayer of Jesus on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing" (found only in Luke 23:34, and there not in the earliest manuscripts, but only in later copies). But such a rejection makes far too much of this statement attributed to Jesus, neglecting the fact that Jesus foretold divine vengeance on Jerusalem and its religious leaders in no uncertain terms--see, for example, Mark 13, Matthew 23-24, and Luke 21.
We might conclude that while Jesus may have prayed for the forgiveness of sins done in ignorance, He at the same time proclaimed divine vengeance for willful opposition to the will of God! The biblical teaching concerning the God of justice and vengeance upon evil doers is a powerful corrective to many modern views of a non-historical, "namby-pamby" God who is little more than the projection of our wishes and sentimentalities!

723 The preposition ἐκ, ek, “out of,” is changed to read avpo,, apo, “from,” by the Majority Text (A). We agree with this change, but admit that because of its ease in reading, it is clearly secondary to the original text. It is obvious that at an early time, the preposition ἐκ, ek was used with the meaning “from.”

724 The meaning of the question raised in this prayer is, "How can God be the Lord of history, the God of justice, if He does not come to deliver His oppressed, suffering people, and avenge their life-blood that has been spilled upon the earth?"
Hough comments that "They cry with a loud voice that the world cannot be left merely a place of the martyrdom of the faithful. It must be a place of the punishment of their murderers...The cry for vengeance is a cry for a world where justice is not defeated and injustice does not sit upon the throne." (P. 568)
When the voice of the martyrs cries out concerning "those who live upon the earth," there seems to be a contrast involved between those whose entire life is "out of the earth," and the followers of the Little Lamb, whose lives are lived "in heavenly places," who receive all of their inspiration and hope and courage "out of heaven," and then, who in death, go to their heavenly dwelling-place "beneath the altar" near the divine Throne.
For the phrase, "those who live upon the earth," see Revelation 3:10; 6:10 (here); 8:13; 11:10, 10; 13:8, 12, 14, 14; 17:2, and 8.

725 For the "white robe" or clothing of the faithful people of God, see Revelation 3:4, 5, 18; 4:4; 6:11 (here); 7:9, 13, and 19:14. Also, see footnote 665 for the use of the color "white" in Revelation.

726 The phrase αὐτοÃς ἑκάστῳ, autois hekasto, “to them, to each one,” is changed to read only αὐτοÃς, “to them,” by Uncial Manuscript 046, Minuscules 1854, 2351, and some other Greek manuscripts. It is changed to read only ἑκάστῳ, to each one,” by the Majority Text (K). The original text is awkward, and both variants are evidently attempts by later copyists to eliminate that awkwardness. However, the variants do not change the meaning of Revelation.

John's language implies that not one individual among those who have faithfully witnessed to and suffered for their faith will be left out in the divine provisions for their future. They have a beautiful white robe to wear--each one of them! In terms of 2 Corin-thians 5:2-3, they will not be found "naked," but will be given beautiful heavenly clothing to wear, marked by its purity!

R. H. Charles has a lengthy note on the "white robes," and concludes that "The present life of faith has within it the promise and the potency of a blessed immortality of the soul endowed with an organism (symbolized in our author by stolh. leukh,, stole leuke or i`ma,tion leuko,n, himation leukon [white robe or white garment] adapted to its spiritual environment. Every true Christian has potentially and actually this spiritual body, which he can defile (3:4) or cleanse (7:14; 22:14) and make white (7:14), or destroy wholly (3:18; 16:15). Every act of the present life is thus linked up inexorably with the future. Moreover, while it is true on the one hand that God bestows on us the spiritual body (3:18; 6:11), it is equally true on the other that we have our share in the creation of this body (3:4; 16:15), through the fellowship of our spirit with that of Christ, and can destroy alike its possibilities and itself by unfaithfulness to Christ (3:18; 16:15)." (P. 188)

727 The phrase ἵνα ἀναπαύσονται, hina anapausontai, “so that they will rest,” is read by Alexandrinus, P, Uncial Manuscript 046, the first writer of Minuscule 2053, 2329, and some other Greek manuscripts. It is changed to read i`,na avnapau,swntai, hina anapausontai, “so that they might (or ‘should,’ aorist subjunctive) rest,” by Sinaiticus, Ephraemi Rescrip-tus and the Majority Text. It is changed to read i`,na avnapau,sasqe, hina anapausasthe, “so that you rest! (2nd aorist middle imperative),” by Minuscules 1854, 2351 (see; this Minus-cule uses the aorist infinitive avnapau,sqai, anapausthai). The variant readings do not change the overall meaning of Revelation, but only have to do with the time of the divinely promised rest, which in biblical theology is spoken of in the three tenses–past, present, and future. See Hebrews 3:1-4:11.
Sometimes this verb ἀναπαύσονται, anapausontai means "they will desist," or "they will quit." That is, the voice may mean that they are to "desist from their cries for veng-eance," or to be patient, and wait for the proper time. But the more usual meaning of the verb is simply "to rest." Compare Revelation 14:13, "Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest (or “will rest”) from their labors." This later text also has similar variant readings. In this last sense, the blessed "rest" from all earthly labors is being enjoyed by the martyrs who are safe within the confines of the divine throne of the universe.

728 The phrase ἔτι χρόνον, eti chronon, “yet a while,” is changed to read χρόνον ἔτι, “a while yet,” by Alexandrinus, Minuscules 1006, 1841, 2344, a few other Greek manuscripts and the Harclean Syriac. It is changed to read ti,na cro,non, tina chronon, ‘a certain while,” by Minuscule 2329. The phrase is omitted by Minuscule 2351. The variant readings do not change the meaning of Revelation.

729 The adjective μικρόν, mikron, “a little,” is omitted by the Majority Text (K). Its omission does not significantly change the meaning of Revelation.
The time of continued suffering of their fellow-servants and brothers upon the earth is only "a little while," for that is the time that the innermost beings of the martyred beneath the altar have to wait or rest. Compare the words to the Church at Smyrna, "...You will suffer persecution for ten days" (Revelation 2:10) over against the promise given in Revel-ation 20:4, "They came to life and reigned with the Anointed King for a thousand years." Ten days is a long time, when each of those days is filled with anguish and pain; but ten days compared to a thousand years (365,000 days!) is almost insignificant! We should understand this to be one of the primary teachings of Revelation!

730 Immediately following the conjunction ἕως, heos, “until,” the relative adverb ou-, hou, i.e., “(until) when,” is interpolated into the original text by the majority Text (A). The particle av,n, an, meaning something very similar, is interpolated by Minuscule 2329. The interpola-tions are attempts by later copyists to enhance the original text, and do not change its meaning.

731 Literally, "until they should be made complete..."

732 The aorist passive subjunctive verb πληρωθäσιν, plerothosin, “should be fulfilled,” is read by Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Minuscule 2344, a few other Greek manus-cripts, the entire Latin tradition, the Philoxenian Syriac and the Coptic tradition. It is changed to the form plhrw/sin, plerososin, “may be fulfilled” by Sinaiticus and the Majority Text. It is changed to the form plhrw,swsin, plerosousin, “they may be fulfilled” by Minus-cules 1611, 2329 and a few other Greek manuscripts. We quickly become confused by this plethora of differing subjunctive forms, none of which change the meaning of the original text, but are matters of Greek grammar.

The implication of this statement is that there is a definite number of people who belong to the Kingdom, the Family of God; and until they have been called into that

Kingdom, and done their time of service upon earth, even going so far as to die for their faith, God’s vengeance upon their adversaries cannot come. God is working out his purposes in human history, in the lives of countless multitutdes--and until those purposes are fulfilled, the order of the day is “patience.” Compare 2 Esdras 4:36.

733 Following the words “their brothers,” the conjunction kai,, kai, “and” is interpolated into the original text by Minuscule 2351, the Majority Text (K), and Cyprian (who died 258 A.D.). This interpolation slightly changes the meaning of Revelation, causing John to describe three groups of people instead of only two. But the overall meaning is unchanged.

The language here is tantalizingly like that of Revelation 1:9, where John describes himself as "your brother and fellow participant..." Here, the innermost-beings of those beneath the altar are reminded of their "fellow-servants and their brothers," who are still going through their earthly trials and suffering, bringing their course to fulfillment. Those who have been martyred are not the only ones running the race!

734 The divine voice speaking in John's vision says to the churches of Asia that their time of tribulation, suffering, and martyrdom is not yet ended. There are those who have died for their faith already; but there are many more upon the earth, who will have to go through that same ordeal of trial before the divine deliverance and judgment upon their adversaries comes. Compare Revelation 2:10 and 3:10.
There are very similar passages to Revelation 6:9-11 in two documents in the Pseudepigrapha, from the 1st century B.C. and 1st century A.D.:
“In those days, the prayers of the rightly-related ascended into heaven, and the blood of the rightly-related from the earth before the Lord of the Spirits. There shall be days when all the set-apart ones who dwell in the heavens above shall dwell (together), and with one voice, they shall supplicate and pray–glorifying, praising, and blessing the name of the Lord of the Spirits–on behalf of the blood of the rightly-related ones which has been shed. Their prayers shall not stop from exhaustion before the Lord of the Spirits– neither will they relax forever–(until) judgment is executed for them. In those days, I saw Him–the Antecedent of Time, while He was sitting upon the throne of His glorious radiance, and the books of the living ones were opened before Him. And all His power in heaven above and His escorts stood before Him. The hearts of the set-apart ones are filled with joy, because the number of the rightly-related ones has been offered, the prayers of the rightly-related ones have been heard, and the blood of the rightly-related ones has been admitted before the Lord of Spirits.” (1 Enoch 47:4-11, Charlesworth, Pseudepigra-pha of the Old Testament 1, p. 35; dated in the 1st century B.C.)
"Then I answered and said, 'How long and when will these things be? Why are our years few and evil?' He answered me and said, 'You do not hasten faster than the Most High, for your haste is for yourself, but the Highest hastens on behalf of many. Did not the souls of the rightly-related in their chambers ask about these matters, saying, ‘How long are we to remain here? And when will come the harvest of our reward?’ And Jeremiel the archangel answered them and said, ‘When the number of those like yourselves is complet-ed; for He has weighed the age in the balance, and measured the times by measure, and numbered the times by number; and He will not move or arouse them until that measure is fulfilled.’” (4 Ezra 4:33-37, Charlesworth, Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament 1, p. 531; dated in the late 1st century A.D.)
Once again, Gregg describes the different views taken of the meaning of this 5th seal:
Historicist: Most...take this to be the ordeal of the church under Diocletian, whose reign began in 284 but who did not begin to persecute Christians until 303...Barnes notes that ‘Docletian ascended the throne A.D. 284, and resigned the purple A.D. 304. It was during this period...that the tenth persecution occurred–the last under the Roman power.” (Pp. 118, 120)
Preterist: As the blood of sacrificial animals was poured out at the foot of the altar (Leviticus 4:7), so the souls of the martyrs (slain like animals by the Jewish priests) are seen under the altar [but this is a heavenly altar, not an earthly one, such as in Jerusalem!] (verse 9)...The fact that the martyrs are asking for the avenging of their blood upon those who dwell on the earth [or ‘land,’ i.e., Israel]...suggests that their persecutors were still alive on earth at the time John saw the vision. Prior to A.D. 70, the main persecutors of the righteous Jews and Christians were the leaders of the Jewish nation, headquartered in Jerusalem (Luke 13:33 [see Matthew 23:35-36])...The destruction of Jerusalem in that generation was the sentence of the divine judge in response to the cries of the blood...of the righteous ones slain by her leaders...This seal reminds us os the reasons that the judgments on Jerusalem are taking place.” (Pp. 118, 120)
Futurist: These souls under the altar...are persons martyred during the Tribulation period...To the dispensationalist, this scene applies to a time after the Rapture of the church, and the martyrs cannot, therefore, be identified with Christians of the church era...It seems that anyone converted after the Rapture must be martyred.” (P. 119)
Spiritual: This vision reveals to the suffering church the present state of those who have already died for their faith...The picture of the martyrs presented here emphasizes the sacrificial character of their deaths...Whether these martyrs ‘represent all who suffering in any way for Christ’s sake (Wilcock), or stand particularly for those slain by Domitian (as Hobbs thinks), the vision reminds us that the martyrs of Christ from every age live on before God. They anticipate eventual vindication, which is not complete until their murderers have brought to justice.” (P. 119)
What do you think? Do you see any real indications of a specific time when these martyrs suffered, or will suffer, other than the kind of suffering that was being endured in the seven churches of Asia? Is there any real reference to a later century in Roman history, or to the events of 70 A.D. in Jerusalem? Do you see any reference to the “Tribulation” or to the “Rapture” in this scene? Once again, we are much more inclined to

agree with the “Spiritual” interpretation, especially as it s seen to be rooted in the suffering being endured by John and his fellow Christians in Asia. How are you inclined?

735 Compare 6:1. Also compare the same opening phrase in 6:2.

736 The conjunction ὅτε, hote, “when,” is changed to read kai ote, kai hote, “and when,” by Minuscule 2344, the Majority Text (A), the first writer of the Old Latin manuscript a, the Sahidic Coptic and Primasius (who died about 567 A.D.). It is changed to the conjunction kai,, kai, “and,” by Minuscule 2329. The variant readings do not change the meaning of Revelation.

737 Swete comments on the sixth seal as follows: "The first five openings had revealed the condition of the world and of the Church; the sixth opening looks on to the troubles which were expected to precede the end. The sufferings of the nations and of the Church were but an avrch. wvdi,nwn, arche odinon [‘beginning of woes’] (Mark 13:8); with the opening of the sixth seal the cosmical disturbances of the last age begins." (P. 92)
We disagree with Swete at this point. We hold that with the opening of the sixth seal the cosmical disturbances of the “day of YHWH,” which is now “the day of the Little Lamb” as well, begin. That day is an "eternal day," which has come throughout past history, which occurs in the present, and which will certainly come in every future time!
See the notes that follow for the justification of this line of interpretation over against those views which make it entirely in the future, pointing to one final "day" at the "end of time."
Beasley-Murray states that, "The entire passage in every clause utilizes well known prophetic anticipations of the Day of the Lord, and by his use of these images John identi-fies the Day for his readers.” (P. 138) We think that is the truth, and will point out many of the sources of John’s imagery in the Jewish Bible’s passages relating to the day of
YHWH, and the divine judgment that is visited upon cities and nations in history in the footnotes that follow.

738 Immediately following the conjunction kai,, kai, “and,” the word ivdou,, idou, “look,” is interpolated into the original text by Alexandrinus, a few other Greek manuscripts, the Clementine Latin Vulgate and Primasius (who died 567 A.D.; see). The interpolation does not change the meaning of Revelation.

739 In Isaiah 29:5b-6, the day of YHWH's coming against "Ariel" (which means “Lion of God”) or Jerusalem is described in the following terms: "Suddenly, in an instant, YHWH of Armies will come, with thunder and earthquake and a great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire..."
In Revelation, the noun σεισμὸς, seismos ("earthquake") occurs in the following passages: 6:12 (here); as a symbol for what happens when God acts in human history to avenge the blood of his martyrs (8:5), or to judge the wicked city that is like Sodom and Egypt (11:13), or when heaven's temple is opened (11:19), and the divine message from the throne is proclaimed (16:18–a passage very similar to 6:12).

740 The phrase ἐγένετο μέλας, egeneto melas, “it became black,” is read in the reverse order, μέλας ἐγένετο, “black it became” by Sinaiticus, Minuscule 1854 and the Majority Text (K). The change in word-order does not change the meaning of Revelation, but simply reflects the differing convictions held by copyists as to what constitutes proper word-order

in writing Greek. Obviously, these copyists did not feel themselves bound to a literal repetition of the word-order found in the original text.

It is a common theme in the Jewish Bible that when the day of YHWH comes upon cities, nations, and their rulers in destructive judgments in history, the sun is darkened.
R. H. Charles states that "The world and its well-being depend on the faithfulness with which the luminaries of heaven fulfill their parts. The unvarying order and loyalty with which they do so was a favorite theme with apocalyptic writers...When, then, the sun and moon and stars forsook this order, the end of the world was at hand." (Quoted by Beasley-Murray, p. 138) But this is not the case. Rather, it is the "day of YHWH" that is marked by these cosmic changes, not the final end of the world. See the following passages:
"And it will happen on that day"–it is saying of my Lord, YHWH--"and I will cause the sun to go down at noon; and I will darken the land in broad day-light!" (Amos 8:9, describing the soon coming “end” of Northern Israel, which came in 723 / 22 B.C.) It was not the end of planet earth, but only the end of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
"Look--the day of YHWH comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the earth a desolation and to destroy those missing-the-mark from it. When the stars of the heavens and their constellations do not give their light; the sun is dark at its rising and the moon does not shed its light..." (Isaiah 13:9-10, part of its description of the coming destruction of Babylon, which fell before Cyrus the Medo-Persian in 539 B.C.) Compare Isaiah 50:3, “I clothe the sky with darkness, and make sackcloth its covering.”
"I will make their widows more numerous than the sand of the sea. At midday I will bring a destroyer against the mothers of their young men; suddenly I will bring down on them anguish and terror. The mother of seven will grow faint and breathe her last. Her sun will set while it is still day; she will be disgraced and humiliated. I will put the survivors to the sword before their enemies, declares YHWH.” (Jeremiah 15:8-9; part of Jeremiah’s description of the soon-coming destruction of the Southern Kingdom of Judah by the Babylonians, which happened in 587 / 86 B.C.)
"The great day of YHWH is near--near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of YHWH will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers. I will bring distress on the people, and they will walk like blind people." (Zephaniah 1:14-17a, in a description of the soon-coming judgment on the Southern Kingdom of Judah by the Babylonians in 587 / 86 B.C.)
"When I snuff you out, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. All the shining lights in the heavens I

will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land, declares my Lord YHWH!"

(Ezekiel 32:7-8, in a description of the soon-coming destruction of Pharaoh and Egypt by the Babylonians)
"The earth quakes before [the assault of the locust-hordes], the heavens tremble--while sun and moon are darkened, the brightness of the stars is extinguished." (Joel 2:10, a part of Joel's description of the day of YHWH, which occurs through an invasion of locusts)
"Afterward I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will become spokespersons for God. Your old men will have dreams. Your young men will see visions. And even upon the menservants and upon the maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will place portents in the sky and on the earth, blood and fire and mushrooms of smoke. The sun becomes darkened, and the moon bloody, before the day of YHWH comes, the great and terrible one." (Joel 2:28-31, quoted by Peter on the Day of Pentecost in the early 1st century A.D. as having been fulfilled)
"'Tumult! Tumult!' in the valley of decision! For the day of YHWH is near in the valley of decision! The sun and the moon are darkened, the brightness of the stars is

extinguished, while YHWH roars from Zion and raises His voice from Jerusalem, so that the heavens and the earth quake..." (Joel 3:14-16a)

These passages in the Jewish Bible show that the "day of YHWH"--a "day" in which YHWH "comes" in history to bring deliverance to His suffering people, and to bring destruc-tion upon their oppressors--is a time when the sun is darkened, as well as the moon and the stars in the skies. This day, as depicted in the Bible, has come again and again in past history; it is imminent in every present time of injustice and oppression; and it will come in the future just as it has in the past.
Thus when Revelation depicts a time when the sun becomes black, it is not neces-sary or even reasonable, in the light of the Bible's teaching, to think of the final end of the world, or of some totally unusual time in history. We should think in terms of the day of YHWH, that great day of judgment and deliverance that comes again and again in human history, demonstrating the fact that God "comes with the clouds," that He is the Lord of history. It is this “day of YHWH” that Jesus foretold coming upon Jerusalem and its temple within the first century A.D. in Mark 13, Matthew 23-24 and Luke 21, a prediction that was fulfilled in 70 A.D., but that didn’t mean the literal end of either Jerusalem and the country of Israel, certainly not of the world!

741 Aune comments that sa,kkoj, sakkos, ‘sackcloth,’ is used here with the adjective tri,cinoj, trichinos, ‘made of hair’ (making the translation ‘haircloth’ appropriate), a combination attested in the papyri...referring to coarse cloth woven from the hair of goats and other domesticated animals, and usually very dark in color.” (P. 385)
John's vision pictures the sun itself darkened with mourning, wearing the dark hair-cloth of grief and penitence that accompanies the coming of the wrath of God in His visit-ation in human history. Can anyone think this is meant literally, not symbolically?
Compare the following passages in the Jewish Bible for the use of "sack-cloth": Isaiah 3:18-26 (in the coming destruction of Jerusalem and Judah, the women formerly dressed in such exquisite fashion, will wear sack-cloth; this happened when Babylon invaded and destroyed Jerusalem and its temple in 587 / 86 B. C.); 15:3 (when Moab is destroyed, the people will wear sack-cloth in the streets); 22:12 (sack-cloth as a sign of mourning); 32:11; 37:1-2; 50:3; Jeremiah 4:8; 6:26; 49:3; Lamentations 2:10; Ezekiel 7:18; 27:31; Joel 1:8, 13 and Amos 8:10.

742 The dative adjective ὅλη, hole, “entire,” or “whole,” is omitted by Minuscules 1611, 2329, 2344, the Majority Text (A), the first writer of the Old Latin manuscript a, the Sahidic Coptic, and by Primasius (who died 567 A.D.). The omission does not change the meaning of Revelation, but makes it a little less graphic.

743 Aune comments that “The phrase h` selh,nh o[lh, he selene hole, has been construed to mean either ‘the whole moon’ (New International Version...) or ‘the full moon” (Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version)...The construction emphasizes not that the full moon became blood but that the entire moon turned to blood.” (P. 385)

744 See Joel 2:10, 31 (3:4 in Hebrew; the moon will be turned to blood, before the coming of YHWH’s day; quoted by Peter as having been fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2); 3:14-16a; Isaiah 13:10 (the moon will not give its light when the day of YHWH comes on Babylon); 24:23 (the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed) and Ezekiel 32:7-8 (the moon will not give its light when YHWH snuffs out Pharaoh of Egypt). Also see Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:25; Acts 2:20 (quoting Joel 2:31) and Revelation 8:12 (a third of the moon turned black). Here again it seems obvious that such descriptive language is meant symbolically, not literally. What do you think?

745 The word οὐρανοØ, ouranou, “of heaven,” is changed to read qeou/, theou, “of God,” by Alexandrinus. This is a strange change of the text, and we consider it a “pious” altera-tion of the original text by a later copyist.

746 The preposition εἰς, eis, “into,” is changed to read evpi,, epi, “upon,” by Sinaiticus, Minuscules 1854, 2329, 2344, and a few other Greek manuscripts. The variant is an improvement of the original text, and thereby shows its secondary status.
Both statements can easily be judged “impossible” by modern scientific understanding, since the coming of one star within millions of miles to the earth would mean the earth’s immediate destruction–let alone the possibility of heaven’s stars (plural) falling upon or into the planet earth!
Here again, the necessity for understanding John’s language as graphic symbolism, rooted in the “day of YHWH” symbolism of the Hebrew Bible, becomes obvious, as also does the impossibility for modern understanding in a literal way.

747 See Joel 2:10 (Hebrew, 3:4); 3:15 (Hebrew, 4:15); Isaiah 13:10 (when the day of YHWH comes on Babylon); 34:4 and Ezekiel 32:7-8. Also see Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:35 and Luke 21:25.
Aune comments that “Falling stars are mentioned several times in Revelation (8:10; 9:1; 12:4). Falling stars, or meteors, do not necessarily involve the destruction of the heavens but may be considered a prodigy or an omen needing interpretation...or they may

be an anticipation of the judgment of God...Such cosmic disturbances are a commonplace in apocalyptic literature.” (P. 415)

748 The present tense verb βάλλει, ballei, “it casts,” is read by Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Uncial Manuscript 046, Minuscules 1006, 1841, and the Majority Text (A).

It is changed to the present active feminine present participle ba,llousa, ballousa, “is casting,” by Sinaiticus, Minuscules 1611, 1854, 2053, 2329 (see), 2351, and some other Greek manuscripts. It is changed to the aorist form of the participle balou/sa, balousa, i.e., “was casting,” by the Majority Text (K). The variant readings do not change the meaning of Revelation, but only demonstrate the differing ways that copyists felt the statement should be expressed in Greek.


The accusative plural noun tou.j ovlu,nqouj, tous olunthous, means “the late summer figs.” Aune comments that it refers to “figs produced late in the summer, which often fall off the tree before ripening, and so can be translated ‘unripe figs.’” (P. 385)
For the background of this statement in the Jewish Bible, see Isaiah 34:4: “All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree.” This passage is talking about the destruction of Edom in YHWH’s day of vengeance.

750 The phrase ἀνέμου μεγάλου, anemou megalou, literally “of a wind, a great one,” is changed to read μεγάλου ἀνέμου, “of a great wind,” by the Majority Text (A). The change in word-order does not change the meaning of Revelation, but is simply a matter of “taste” in writing by later Greek copyists.
We think of the wind that blew all night, parting the waters of the Sea of Reeds, and that cooperated in the destruction of Pharaoh’s army, as mentioned in Exodus 15:10, “You blew with Your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.”
Also see 1 Kings 19:11 (a great and powerful wind that tore the mountain apart, but YHWH was not in it, as Elijah stood on Mount Horeb;
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