Peeling the Onion:

Week one, the introduction, the brown wrapper – and the first of the seven churches addressed.

Week two, completing the cycle of messages to seven churches – then setting the stage of a heavenly court: A throne, 4 beasts, 24 thrones, a glassy sea, myriads of angels,

Then the action begins – the lamb breaking the seals on a scroll, releasing 4 horsemen, hearing the martyrs, disaster breaking loose for the rich and powerful. The seventh seal is broken in silence,

Then the story shifts to 7 angels, with 7 trumpets, one more angel, standing by the altar (did you have an altar sketched in yet? You’ll need fire under that altar, like the Torah and Temple standard)

The altar angel holds a great golden censer, with a great quantity of incense, mixed with the prayers of the saints (including the martyrs hiding under the altar)

As each of 6 trumpets is blown, burning incense is thrown to earth, with different devastating effect, one destructive lethal crisis after another there’s a pause on Thursday, a change of scene, a little scroll offered to John, to eat, sweet in the mouth, and bitter in the stomach. John’s obliged to prophesy, to nations, languages, people, kings

Friday, the scene changes again, John with a measuring rod like a staff, told to take the measure of the temple and altar and people. In my head, that’s the earthly 2nd Temple of John’s time, however dreamlike his transport from Patmos to Jerusalem will it, and they, be measured and found wanting?

Will the outer court be abandoned to the Gentiles?

But as Friday continues, 2 ‘witnesses’ are placed at the gate – do you visualize angels or human figures in sackcloth?

How do you imagine them as olive trees, or lampstands, in the ‘real’ world or a vision of it prophesying, impervious to opposition, suffering and causing conflict and violence for a time: 1,260 days (divisible in many patterns of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Saturday The ‘woes’ continue to the end of the second woe: the 2 witnesses are killed, and lie dead in the streets for 3 and a half days (half of a perfect week of 7) before coming to life and ascending into a cloud leaving partial destruction behind. You’ll be ready for a next Lord’s Day Sabbath!

For all that we liberal moderns tend to scientific deism, aA clockmaker God who builds a mechanism, then backs off…we do pray for justice, beyond ours to offer, both reward to the good and punishment to the evil, ‘just deserts’ (the more I pray about that, God forbid I eve get what I deserve!)

Meanwhile, do you think everybody gets ‘just deserts’?

How about sub-Saharan, Sudanese babies in famine? A God of love and grace, who is not also a God of wrath and justice, is a peculiar kind of monster, if you can live long enough in this vision. we know this from popular culture, novels and movies and gaming, the appetite not only for dystopias, but also for retributive justice, come-uppance…Revelation Has a longer track record,

In what Dan Brown chose to call ‘symbology’ that defies moralistic reductionism despite occasional crazed interpreters.

But that’s my 500 word quota for today’s crazy comments!