Episode 1: Book of Revelation Part 1 - Seven Churches, Seven Seals, and Seven Trumpets

This episode covers the first 11 chapters of the Book of Revelation from the New Testament. John of Patmos gets a crash course in Christian Eschatology and sees the opening on the seven seals and the blaring of the seven trumpets.

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Chapter 1

We start with John, who gets his vision on Patmos, an island off the west coast of Turkey. He was “In the spirit” that day i.e. in a state of “prophetic ecstasy” or “altered consciousness”. A loud trumpet voice sneaks up on him and tells him to share his trip with seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

John turns around, and there is the one and only Son of Man complete with a set of seven lampstands, seven stars in his right hand, a long robe, golden sash, hair and face white as white wool or snow, eyes like flames of fire, feet like burnished bronze, voice like many waters, a double edged sword out of his mouth, and a face shining like the sun.

According to John,

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead”

Jesus tried to calm him down, saying,

“Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last. Write what you have seen.”

Jesus then explains the seven stars are the angels of the churches, and the seven lampstands are the churches.

Chapter 2

At this point, Jesus starts his district manager of New Jerusalem act, and the angels of the churches are the store managers.

1st: Ephesus

The “Administrative and commercial hub of the Roman province of Asia.” “Asia” refers to present-day western Turkey.

Jesus says of Ephesus,

and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. You have abandoned the love you had at first

But thankfully they hate the Nicolaitans! It’s unclear who they are. They might have permitted “local religious practices”. In other words they were tolerant folks and Jesus ain’t having that.

Jesus continues,

I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove they candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches…

You get to eat from the tree of life apparently it goes on to say in the last part of this verse. The tree of life was I believe in the Garden of Eden now it’s in “the midst of the paradise of God.”

2nd: Smyrna

I know the slander on the part of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Beware, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

In verse 11 again if you are deaf you are off the hook here just skip ahead. The deaf unfortunately are missing a lot of crucial information. You will not be hurt in the 2nd death we are assured here. But what of the 3rd or 4th deaths?

3rd: Pergamum

Pergamum was “a noted center of Roman emperor worship ca. 60 mi (80 km) north of Smyrna.” They’re holding strong despite living next to “Satan’s throne” This could be a reference to Roman emperor worship. It is also the location of Zeus’s altar, so it’s doubly bad (2158). Apparently it is also where his good “martyr buddy” Antipas was murdered for no good reason. But he’s still not happy: “I have a few things against thee” (14a) 

Let me finish this quote and tell me this KJV version doesn’t sound like a redneck from Arkansas or some such place,

I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam.

If they don’t stop eating Zeus Food and banging outsiders, Jesus is going to “make war against them with the sword of [his] mouth” which is either badass or just a tongue lashing.

Again skip ahead deaf people. In verse 17 sword-mouth guy says if you overcome this bullshit you will be given some bread basically. Wow!!! What a deal! Oh it’s not over because you also will receive a white stone. But not just any old white stone but one that has a hidden name on it. Um. OK. Thanks??

4th: Thyatira

Thyatira was a “Commercial center renowned for its many trade guilds.”

Jesus says,

But I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice fornication and to eat food sacrificed to idols. Beware, I am throwing her on a bed, and those who commit adultery with her I am throwing into great distress, unless they repent of her doings. And I will kill her children with death…

Chapter 3

5th: Sardis

Sardis was “a prosperous city ca. 55 mi (85 km) northeast of Ephesus that had been the capital of the kingdom of Lydia.”

Jesus says,

Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Yet you have still a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes...they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels.

6th: Philadelphia

Jesus wants Philadelphia to do a lot of conquering. If they do, they get a random pillar with God’s name written on it in the New Jerusalem, which will come down from heaven to earth. 

“And I will write upon him my new name”

Deaf people can skip ahead again in verse 13.

7th: Laodicea

Jesus says,

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich. Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my father in his throne

And thus commences Jesus, District Manager of the New Jerusalem.

Chapter 4

After this I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven...and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me...

John is sucked up into heaven. There is a throne that “one” sat on. God “looks like jasper and carnelian.” There is a rainbow that looks like emerald over the throne. There are 24 thrones with dudes in white robes, probably the 12 apostles and 12 tribes of Israel. They wore white STAINLESS garments and crowns of gold. Lots of thunder, lightning, and random voices came out of the throne. 7 lamps represented the 7 spirits of God. In front of the throne was a sea of GLASS or crystals whatever. 

It is only at this point that John notices the four TERRIFYING creatures surrounding the throne. One with the face of a lion, ox, human, and an eagle. They are COVERED in eyes. On the front and back. AND INSIDE! They had six wings.

And here is the annoying part: They constantly sing, day and night, the following:

Holy, holy, holy

The lord god almighty

who was and is and is to come.

To make this even MORE annoying, everytime these creatures sing this song, the 24 elders bow to god, cast off their crowns, and sing:

You are worthy, our lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they existed and were created.

In other worlds, Heaven might not be a place on earth, but it’s definitely the LOUDEST place on Earth.

Chapter 5

This chapter starts where we left off with the “one” on the throne and in his right hand is a book with you guessed it SEVEN seals! And as if it was necessary , in verse 2 a strong angel starts yelling “who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals there of?”

And no man in heaven, nor IN earth neither under the earth was able to open the book neither to look thereon.

John gets really upset that no one can open the seals. Luckily, one of the elders, between his crown and bowing act, let John know that the “Lion of Judah” can open the scrolls. The lamb is “standing as if its been slaughtered”. It has (you guessed it!), seven horns and seven eyes. Soon as the Lamb takes the scroll, the creatures and the elders get to take a break from their regular song and dance routine. The only problem is they now have to do a NEW song and dance routine.

So the lamb comes over and grabs the book out of the right hand of “the one” on the throne. When the lamb does this the 24 elders (who, John just seemed to notice, have harps and vials of saint odors in their hands) and the four inward-eyed beasts fall down to worship the Jesus monster. 

You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.

And if this wasn’t LOUD ENOUGH, now enter the THOUSANDS of angels singing the following:

Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!

Oh, you thought it couldn’t get any louder? Four freaks, 24 elders, and literally THOUSANDS of angels singing goofy songs? THINK AGAIN! Now we need to bring in EVERY, that’s right, EVERY creature and human being on earth! Fuck ME!

To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!

So apparently the classic “holy holy holy !!!” song was just the opener for the beasts and now elders. The next song went a little something like this,

Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by the blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and … nation.

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

In verse 11 thousands of angels join the chorus for the finale and it crescendos into verse three:

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

Finally, after all this cacophony is over, the creatures say “Amen!”, the elders bow to worship, and, we can only hope, heaven is somewhat quiet for once. But as they say, this is just the calm before the storm. It’s time for shit to get NUTS. 

Chapter 6

1st Seal

The lamb opens the first seal, and thunder rolls. A creature says “Come!” A white horse comes out with a dude riding it that had a bow. He doesn’t come with a crown but has to be given one.

He came out conquering and to conquer.”

2nd Seal

The second beast says “hey, check this shit out!” (paraphrasing). 

Out of that seal comes a Bright Red Horse. A dude with a sword riding it that had the pleasant mission of taking peace from the earth so that everyone will kill each other.

Did he use the sword to take peace from the earth? It doesn’t seem like he needs to because he already got the people to slaughter each other. Also, my version said he was “permitted” to do all this. What’s up with that! So he could just go down there and eat a sandwich instead?

3rd Seal

3rd beast says LOOK! 

This time it’s a Black horse coming out with a Rider holding a pair of scales 

And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

A days pay is now a quart of wheat or three quarts of barley, which is apparently a lot. Luckily, though, God has a soft side; wine and olive oil are unaffected! Party! This is, by far, the nerdiest rider. He’s basically like a government bureaucrat in Michigan making sure minimum alcohol prices are enforced.

4th Seal

This time we get a pale green horse and it was Death and hell followed him. This is the only rider with a name (“Death”) and a posse (“Hades”). Death only gets authority over a quarter of the earth. He could “kill with sword, famine, and pestilence, and by the wild animals of the earth.”

5th Seal

Now that we got the riders out of the way, a change of pace. The 5th seal opens and John sees under the altar all the dead people who have been killed so far for being good Christians. 

They’re raring to be judged because they know they’ll get the goods. Kind of like kids excited to get a report card.

They cried out with a loud voice, “Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?”

In verse 11 God gives them STAINLESS white robes and tells them to chill out.

6th Seal

By far, the coolest seal so far so it is worth quoting in full:

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and there came a great earthquake; the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree drops its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll rolling itself up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the magnates and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Chapter 7

Four angels, at the four corners of the earth, hold back the winds. These four angels stop all wind on the earth. So no wind. That would seem bad only if the earth didn’t have stars falling on it and no sunlight since the sun is now black.

One angel descends from the rising sun, and tells them to wait until all the Good Christians are marked with a seal on their forehead. 144,000 are sealed, 12,000 from each tribe of Israel: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. 2 tribes are missed: Dan and Ephraim. 

Then a “great multitude” appears before the throne. The multitude sings 

Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!

And of course, the creatures and elders and angels can’t be outdone, so they join in: 

Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.

Then an elder decides to ask John who all these jabronis are. John says that it’s the Elder who knows. Oh wait NOPE! He’s just trolling! He actually knows the answer to that question these are mother fuckers who went through some shit and have washed their robes white with the blood of the lamb. Ah yes! Lamb’s blood is indeed white.

The chapter ends with the perks of heaven. You get a white robe, you get to eat some food finally and drink some living water (with electrolytes hopefully) you don’t have to worry about the “sun lighting on you”, and god will wipe away the tears... since apparently people cry in heaven.

The multitudes won’t be hungry anymore, but they do have to praise god 24/7, so there’s always a trade off.

Chapter 8

7th Seal

There is a half an hour of silence in Heaven. But now there are (you guessed it) seven angels with (guess again!) seven Trumpets. Another angel with a golden censer (like those things they use in church to make smoke happen). The smoke and the prayers of the saints all ascend up to God out of this angel’s hand. But then he uses fire from the altar and THROWS IT AT EARTH! (Oh no!). More thunder, lightning, and earthquakes, as if Earth hasn’t had it bad enough. And now the angels start the Trumpet Routine.

1st Trumpet

Hail and fire, MIXED WITH BLOOD, rains on the earth. A third of the earth burned up, a third of the trees, and ALL of the grass.

2nd Trumpet

The 2nd angel sounded off and a random mountain on fire was cast into the sea. The 3rd part of the sea became blood. A third of all sea creatures died that weren’t already dead before. A third part of the ships were destroyed. 

3rd Trumpet

The 3rd angel sounded and yet another star (Comet) fell onto the earth like a lamp? It falls just on a third of the rivers and springs. The star was called Wormwood. Turned that third into wormwood, and people died from the bitterness.

4th trumpet

A third of the sun, the moon, and the stars go dark. A third of the day and night is struck. After the 4th trumpet, an eagle, or flying angel, cries, loudly of course, about how shitty the next three trumpets will be.

Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound.

Chapter 9

5th Trumpet (1st Woe)

Another star falls to earth. The star-angel gets a key to the bottomless pit. This asshole opens the shaft of the bottomless pit. Gee thanks.Smoke like a furnace starts rising out of this bottomless pit. This smoke is so intense the sun and the air were darkened. Locusts come out of the bottomless pit and are given the same authority as scorpions on the earth. 

And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth neither any green thing neither any tree but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

They torture people for 5 months, but this torture was as painful as a scorpion sting. Also, these folks want to die but can’t for some reason. 

Now, we’ve been talking about locusts. What do you imagine? Little flying bug guys, right? Well, not so fast. They look like “horses equipped for battle”. Golden crowns on their heads, which are HUMAN by the way. Their hair was like a woman's and their teeth like a lion’s. They had scales like iron breastplates, the noise of their wings (because of course they have wings) sounded like many chariots rushing into battle, and had tails like a scorpion. By the way, that 5 month thing is just ONE STING. One sting = 5 months of pain.

Don’t beleive us? Here is the full KJV passage,

And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were strings in their tails; and their power was to hurt men five months.

These locusts have a boss, the angel in charge of the bottomless pit, Abaddon in Hebrew or Apollyon in greek. 

6th Trumpet (2nd Woe)

Suddenly, that damn altar has horns THAT CAN TALK. Because we need more volume in heaven apparently. The horns tell the trumpeter to “Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.” The angels were “held ready for the hour, the day, the month, and the year.” The angels formed a 200 million strong cavalry.

I bet you thought these were just regular horses. YOU WOULD BE WRONG. The rider’s breastplates were the color of fire, sapphire, and sulfur. But of course the horses didn’t have horse heads, they had heads of lions. Fire like dragon’s, smoke, and sulfur came out of their mouths. It’s this mouth excrement that kills a third of humanity. These horses with lion heads also had tails like serpents also, “and had heads and with them they do hurt.” They kill a third of mankind. In verse 20 there are still some un-killed men left and they decided this shit is FUCKED UP! 

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk

Neither repented of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Chapter 10

Intermission Time. There are a lot of numbers. You better write them all down.

Another mighty angel comes down. He has a rainbow on his head, was wrapped in a cloud, had a face like the sun, legs like pillars of fire, a little scroll in hand, and a right foot on sea and left foot on land. He shouted (of course), and sounded the (you guessed it), the seven thunders. Apparently John can understand what these seven thunders are saying, but a voice above says not to write it down. This giant angel lifts his hand to heaven. He swears by pretty much everything ever that there “should be time no longer.” “the mystery of God should be finished” in the days of the seventh angel sounding off. 

The voice from heaven speaks to John again. The voice says, “Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.” John is told to EAT the scroll. The scroll was bitter in his stomach but sweet as honey in his mouth. The angel says to John after this, “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.”

Chapter 11

Now John gets some work to do. The angel gives him a measuring rod to measure the altar and temple. No need to measure the courtyard outside the temple, because the nations are going to trample all over that for 42 months. 

Two witnesses will prophecy for 1260 days, which is 42 months. They’ll be wearing sackcloths. These guys are the two olive trees and candlesticks standing before the god of the earth. Although they only have sackcloths, they do have a bunch of kick-ass powers: they can stop rain, make it rain blood, and send down plagues.

After the 42 months, the beast comes from the bottomless pit and kills these two assholes. The prophets lie dead in the city where Jesus was crucified or “the great city, which Is called Sodom and Egypt”. They lie in the street for 3.5 days, because they were being such shitheads.

The people are so happy! Hey you gotta look on the bright side right? Look past the locus-scorpion-horse-man-faced-lion-tooth stings and stars falling and blood oceans and no sun or a bloody moon and plagues! At least those fuckers died! They throw parties and send gifts to each other (this becomes a sort of holiday). 

Then, in full zombie mode, they come back to life and ascend to heaven. The spirit of God entered into the rotting bloated corpses of these two witnesses. They stood up and everyone that saw them freaked out.

And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud: and their enemies beheld them.

The same time this happened an earthquake happened and 1/10th part of that city fell. 7,000 died in the earthquake. So not too horrible compared to the history of earthquakes killing humans. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake that killing 280,000 was 40 times less than that earthquake so terribly high ranking in the casualty tolls via earthquakes. Those that remained gave glory to the one who literally caused the earthquake (God).

7th TRUMPET TIME

Some “great voices” in heaven start saying, 

The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power and hast reigned.

We’re back to the 24 elders in verse 16. They like clockwork fall on their faces yet again before God, worshiping the dear leader. They continue that nations were angry, God is pissed off, it’s time for the dead to be judged and for fuck sake give rewards to saints and prophets and ass kissers alike.

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