Wednesday, September 1, 2010

361: Down the Rabbit Hole

Revelation 4-8
"In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.' " - Revelation 4:6-8

This vision goes from moderately unreasonable (in biblical terms) to simply crazy. I realize that most people think this is "metaphor", but the bible gives no indication that that's how we're supposed to interpret it.

Jesus finishes dictating the letters, and John sees an open door to heaven. He hears a voice that says "come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this". Immediately John is swept up into heaven. When he arrives, he sees a man that looks like "jasper and carnelian" sitting on a throne with an emerald colored rainbow (what?) encircling him.

Around this throne are twenty-four other thrones. On these thrones are twenty-four "elders". In front of the main throne are seven blazing lamps, holding the seven "spirits of God". God is kept in seven pieces in lamps now?

Also around the main throne are four creatures, covered in eyes. Each of these creatures has six wings. One has the face of a man, one of an ox, one of a lion, and one of an eagle. These creatures seem like a weird amalgamation of Isaiah's seraphs (who have six wings) and Ezekiel's wheels filled with fire (covered in eyeballs). These creatures' only job is to sit around all day chanting "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come".

John then sees at the right hand of the person (thing?) on the main throne, a scroll. This scroll is sealed with seven seals. An angel asks if anyone can break the seals on the scroll, but nobody responds. John starts crying because nobody can break the seals. What does he care?

The angel tells him not to fear because the lamb of God has come to open the seals. John then sees a lamb, "looking like it's been slain". I'm going to presume this is Jesus, even though the bible says that it actually looked like a lamb. Is Jesus a shape shifter now?

We haven't gotten to the weird part yet (seriously). John describes this "lamb" (Jesus?) as having "seven horns and seven eyes". Even if this isn't Jesus, it's still the weirdest shit ever. Anyway, this seven-horned seven-eyed lamb-Jesus takes the scroll from the right hand of the jasper-man. After lamb-Jesus takes the scroll the entire cast of characters (eye-covered angels, elders, and jasper-man) bows down and sings songs about how awesome lamb-Jesus is (they just call him "the Lamb", capital L).

Lamb-Jesus then starts opening the seals. When he breaks the first seal the eye-covered angels yell "Come!" and a man rides in on a white horse carrying a bow. The bible refers to him as the "conquerer".

Jesus then breaks the second seal and the angels again yell "Come!". This time a man rides in on a red horse. This horseman is given the power to bring peace, or make people kill each other. He is also given a large sword.

The next seal is broken, and this time a black horse rides in carrying scales. One of the angel-creatures says "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!". What the hell does that mean? I don't think this is the right time to set the minimum wage.

The fourth seal is broken and the final horse rides in. This horse is pale, and it's rider is none other than Death himself. Followed closely behind this horse is "Hades". Hades? Is this someone different than Satan? I was under the impression that Hades was only followed in Greek mythology. Death and Hades are given a fourth of the earth to kill by the sword, plague, famine, or with wild animals.

When the fifth seal is broken, John sees, "under the altar", the souls of those who have been slain because of the word of God. They seem eager to have others suffer their fate, and ask God when the rest of humanity will be judged. They are all given white robes, and someone (God?) tells them to wait a little longer. Again we see indications that the end of the world is supposed to be only a little further in the future.

When the sixth seal is opened, there is an earthquake, the sun turns black, and the moon turns red. The bible also says that the "stars in the sky fell to the earth". Excuse me? How can the stars fall to the earth? Someone obviously doesn't understand that stars are thousands, if not millions of times larger than earth. Then the sky recedes like a scroll, and all the mountains and islands are removed from their place.

Lamb-Jesus then takes a break on the seal breaking. John says he sees four angels standing at the four "corners" of the earth. Right, because the earth is flat and has corners. These four angels are holding back the "four winds". Whatever that means. An angel then comes out of the east with the official "seal" of God. He then goes around putting God's seal on people's foreheads (144,000 in all). These 144,000 seals are distributed among the 12 tribes of Israel (12,000 each).

John then sees a hoard of people wearing white robes. John describes the number of people as too many to count. One of the elders asks John who all these people are. What? Aren't people in heaven supposed to have the knowledge of the universe, or something? John, who somehow knows, tells the elder that these people have come out of the great tribulation.

Lamb-Jesus then breaks the seventh seal. There is then silence in heaven for a half hour. Well that was massively anticlimactic. Then the "seven angels who stand before God" are given seven trumpets. Yes, we have yet another group of characters.

Yet another angel takes a golden censer and fills it up with fire from the altar. He then takes the fire and throws it onto the earth. What an ass hole.

The seven angels then sound their trumpets one by one. The first trumpet brings a hail of fire mixed with blood upon the earth. A third of everything on the earth is burned up with this fire-blood. The next trumpet brings a huge mountain that is thrown into the sea. A third of the sea is turned to blood, and a third of the sea creatures die.

The third trumpet brings down the star named Wormwood (I thought all the stars had already fallen). This "star" turns the water bitter and kills many people from drinking it. Right, because all the people aren't already dead from the mountain being thrown into the ocean or global fire-hail.

The fourth trumpet blocks a third of the sun. Wait, I thought the sun was already blotted out by the breaking of the seals. A third of the stars are also "struck". The stars have now fallen out of the sky from the breaking of the seals and been blotted out.

The cherry on top of this pile of bullshit is a magic talking eagle flying by. This eagle says "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels". That's the most articulate eagle I've ever heard. The chapter ends there, you'll have to come back tomorrow to see the atrocities the other three trumpets bring.

tl;dr A seven-eyed, seven-horned lamb-Jesus broke seven seals, while six-winged animal-headed eyeball-covered creatures shouted "come" to four horses with magical powers. Sounds legit to me.

It just had to be today when someone tried to argue how wonderful the bible is:
I wonder why it is that Christianity and its tenets are so troublesome.

Is it because the Bible, above all other books, holds us more accountable for our actions and to a single God? Is it because we become threatened by the truth of our own lives when measured by such guidelines as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “love your neighbor as yourself”?
No, it's because the Bible, above all other books, is unadulterated bullshit. Seven eyed goats? You really believe this shit? Anyway, *pissed off mode, deactivated*. Some people judge their lives on "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" without the bible. That's not even an original Christian idea (a quick wiki search of "The Golden Rule" is revealing).

The writer seems to forget that there are other Christian tenants besides the golden rule. Namely, the oppression of women and the acceptance of slavery. If all of Christianity was the golden rule, I don't see myself having a problem with it.
As a nation, we need to come back to what was fought for in 1776, and that was freedom.

Our forefathers fought for our right to express our beliefs without condemnation from others.

Our country was founded on Christian principles that should not be pushed aside just because another culture protests. Keeping America on its Christian foundations will let freedom reign.
Sorry, incorrect answer. The forefathers did not fight for the right to express beliefs without condemnation. In fact, the first amendment guarantees the right to express your condemnation of any religion you'd like. What is protected is your right to express your beliefs without government prohibition or endorsement.

Keeping America on it's foundation of creating a "wall of separation between church and state" (as Thomas Jefferson put it) is the only way of truly letting freedom reign.


  1. Even as a metaphor this is pretty insane. Why doesn't God just come right out and say what he wants - why make people have to interpret this? If there is some important message buried under here, why does God want to hide it from everyone but a few? Didn't one of the other authors recently say that God wanted everyone to be saved?

  2. Bryan, the 4 beasts are reminiscent of not only Ezekiel and Isaiah, but especially Daniel (e.g., Dan 7:3-6) as well. These 3 books, along with Zech and 1 & 2 Kings, are the source of many of these ideas.

    Rev 4:3. Why are there "elders" in heaven? Do people age there?

    Rev 5:3. No one, even in heaven, can break the seals? Even Jesus can't? Nor God?

    Rev 5:6. How did the Lamb look "as if it had been slain" while simultaneously standing? Was it covered in blood? Have a gaping hole in its chest? And why does it only look "as if" it were slain? Is John saying Jesus wasn't really killed, but only appeared to be? Is this docetism?



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