BRI/IMCF International Internet Yeshiva Lectures On
Les Aron Gosling, Messianic Rebbe
Extracts from Yeshiva Forum Notes, May 19, 2007
CAUTION: BRI Yeshiva notes are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI/IMCF Yeshiva lecture.
Copyright © BRI/IMCF 2007, 2015 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling, Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)
We have finally arrived at the concluding scroll of the Messianic Scriptures, and the final prophetic scroll of the prophets of Israel and Judah – the capstone of the prophetic Word – the Apocalypse
is a Greek word meaning “revelation” or “unveiling” or “disclosure.” In no way does it mean to hide, or cover.
In contrast, Daniel's prophetic volume was to have been sealed until the End of Days (Dan 12.4,9
). But John was told in Revelation 22.10
: “Seal not the words of the prophecy of this scroll: for the time is at hand.” Revelation
was never intended to keep God's people “in the dark.” Its purpose was to reveal. There are, admittedly, sections which are coded in symbolic language which are intended to confuse the enemies of the Messianic Assemblies – that is quite true. But for those who believe in Yeshua and who accept him as their Messiah it was not to be a volume of secrecy. It was intended to be understood!
But today there is gross confusion over the scroll! To understand the Apocalypse as it was intended to be understood, it must be uprooted from its Christian pigeon-hole and placed back where it has always belonged, in an entirely Jewish milieu
was written by a Jew, with a Jewish background, who thought like a Jew, and acted like a Jew. He was not only a Jew, but a Messianic Jew who believed in Yeshua the Jewish Messiah. The temperament is utterly Jewish, and the style and contents of the volume are filled with Jewish sentiment and Jewish symbolism. We cannot divorce the author of this scroll from his Jewish roots, nor can we afford to jettison his creation from Jewish thoughtform. To do so is to invite spiritual disaster in interpretation, and theological perversion of its basic biblical presentation... in other words to also become guilty of the gross misrepresentation that has beset this book while in Gentile Christian hands over the past 1800 or so years.
In a word, the Apocalypse
is the consummation and climax of God's revelation to humankind through the agency of a priestly Jewish Emissary of Yeshua the Messiah and the Government of Almighty God.
It is within this scroll that heaven reveals the activities of the prostitute and the Reptoid and the Virgin and the Lamb. Herein are pictured the horrors of the Lake of Fire and the glories of the Sea of Glass; the desolation's of the bottomless pit and the matchless beauties of the eternal otherworldly City of God.
According to Jack MacArthur, “as many as 80% of the pastors who preach in the pulpits of churches have never seriously studied Revelation... there are myriads of churches that have never heard one single sermon from the book of Revelation” (Jack MacArthur, Expositional Commentary on Revelation
, 1973, Intro, 22).
There are a number of ways we could approach John's mystical experience on the Isle of Patmos, and there are many methods we could employ, in attempting to grasp the contents and meaning of the Apocalypse
. I have determined to approach the Scroll of Revelation
from the following perspectives:
We will approach the scroll first of all with an overall introduction which would appreciate the layout and design of Revelation
as a foremost requirement.
We will analyse the identity of the author, to gain an appreciation of his background and education in order to recognise that these traits would be certain to show themselves in his own design and content of the prophetic volume.
We shall attempt to see the scroll as it presented itself in the culture and historic milieu of the age in which it was penned. This overall perspective is termed the Praeteristic approach. Praeterist
comes from a Latin word meaning “past.” Praeterists believe (and not without reason) that the greater part of the prophetic volume was fulfilled in the historic Roman conquest of Jerusalem in 70 CE.
We will take the time necessary to undertake a Futuristic perspective, especially in the light of the fact that John refers textually on innumerable occasions to the prophets – both “major” and “minor.” While there is not a single formal quotation from the Hebrew Scriptures anywhere in Revelation
, there are approximately 400 allusions from the prophets and 278 actual references to Hebrew Scriptures. Indeed, biblical scholars are well aware that John refers to Zechariah
more times than any other book of the Bible.
Adherents of the historicist view – the view that interprets Revelation
as the unfolding of world history as seen in events of the past 2000 years – often claim that the Jesuit priest Ribera was the man responsible for introducing the futurist view of the Apocalypse
into the Christian Church at large (R. Coad, A History of the Brethren Movement, Its Origins, Its Worldwide Development & Its Significance for the Present Day
, 1968, 129). Some popular authors point with measured disdain to George Eldon Ladd's negative admissions concerning Ribera, as Ladd is essentially known as a “futurist” in his views of Revelation
(Ladd, The Blessed Hope
, 1956, 37-40). What they fail to admit, however, is the fact that Ladd openly acknowledges “the presence of the future” and they conveniently pass over his emphasis that Ribera had returned to the patristic
view of the Scriptures, that is, the views held by the primitive Messianic community in its evolution which was dominated by the early “Fathers” (See Ladd, op.cit.,37).
I am certainly ignoring with contempt the historicist approach to Revelation
and I will give my reasons for this decision as we progress in these lectures. I will say this, though.
There are some authorities who seem to feel that there is only one historic view of the contents of the Apocalypse
, the real truth is that as many as fifty historicist interpretations have actually evolved down through the centuries with as many conflicting theories (J.F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ,
Few realise that it was a Roman Catholic scholar called Joachim, who was very largely responsible for originating the entire historicist theory of the Apocalypse
in his development of a postmillennial theology. His dull concepts found ready and welcome acceptance by the Reformers who saw in his presentation and scheme ample proof that the Antichrist of Revelation
was the Papacy and the Roman Pontiff, both clearly identified with the Beasts of Revelation
13 (Henry C. Thiessen, Introduction to the New Testament
, 1943, 325).
Along with my outright rejection of the historicist view, I will also ignore the idealist position (the object of this latter view is to see a poetic pictorial unfolding of the great principles of judgment conquering evil through all ages until God's final rule is established and the eternal state is ushered in by the Church). In my opinion both the historicist school of interpretation and idealist views are entirely bankrupt.
Recognising that the apostle John was a mystical Kabbalist, we would also zero in on the content-inclusions of the scroll from a Kabbalistic perspective.DIVINE OUTLINE
To begin with, the scroll of the Apocalypse
opens with a Prologue
) including a Superscription
) and Salutation
). I shall return to these important classifications at a later time when we examine them verse by verse. This lecture, of course, is occupied only with an introductory overview of the design and layout of the scroll and its authorship.
In Rev 1.19
there is given to the reader of the scroll a divine outline. We see from it that the scroll is divided up into two large sections: 
those things that John has already witnessed in reality, and this of necessity includes the present state in his day of the Messianic Assemblies (Rev 2,3
) and 
the things – events – that immediately follow (Rev 4-22
). There are those “things that are” (Rev 1-3
) and “the things that shall be hereafter” (Rev 4-22
). Indeed, Rev 4.1
initiates the final section of the scroll and, while there is little consensus regarding other factors concerning Revelation
, all scholars are agreed on this particular fact.SEGMENTS
“The things which you have witnessed” (1.9-20
Circumstances of the vision of Yeshua (1.9-11
The content of the vision (1.12-16
The consequences of the vision (1.17-20
“The things which are” (2.1-3.22
The messages to the seven Messianic assemblies.
“The things that are to take place after these things” (4.1-22.5
The Tribulation period (4.1-19.21
The Throne in heaven (4.1-11
The scroll in heaven (5.1-14
The six seal judgments (6.1-17
: The redeemed Jews and Gentiles out of the tribulation (7.1-17
The six trumpet judgments and the opening of the seventh seal (8.1-9.21
The little scroll (10.1-11
The advent of the Two Witnesses and the sounding of the seventh trumpet (11.1-19
The outbreak of the Final Great War (12.1-17
Focus on the Antichrist and his Prophet (13.1-18
Various announcements (14.1-20
PRELUDE to the bowl judgments (15.1-5
The seven bowl judgments (16.1-21
Announcement on secret Babylon (17.1-18
Announcement on commercial Babylon (18.1-24
The Second advent of Yeshua the Messiah (19.1-21).B.
General Appraisal of the Millennium (20.1-15
The Descent of the New Jerusalem (21.1-22.5
The author identifies himself simply as “John” (Rev 1.4,9; 22.8
) who was looked upon as a prophet (Rev 22.9
). The fact that he fails to clarify which “John” he is, is ample indication that he was well known – at least not to have the need to qualify authorship or grant further explanation.
Modern testimony speaks of another John called “the Elder” who presided over the primitive Messianic-Christian assemblies at the turn of the first century. They base this proposition on the words of Eusebius who was the first to draw a distinction between the two “John's.” Early witness, however, is that John the Emissary (apostle) – and first cousin of Yeshua the Mashiach – is the author. Many believers are unaware of the family connections that Yeshua had with some of the students in his school and that Paul and others also had in their own extended family connections that appear in the book of Acts
. While this is a lecture in itself, suffice to say at this point that John's father was Zebedee (Mt 4.21
) and his mother was Salome (Mt 27.56; Mk 15.40
). Salome was the sister of Miriam the Mother of Our Lord (Jn 19.25
As to John's authorship of Revelation
, Andreas of Cappadocia (6th century C.E.), in his Commentary on the Apocalypse
stated that Papias, Irenaeus, Methodius and Hippolytus had borne witness to the credibility of Revelation
(and thus to its author). Irenaeus declared that Papias had been a student (“hearer”) of John and a companion of Polycarp (Against Heresies
Justin Martyr (100-165 C.E.), designated Revelation
as the work of “John, one of the apostles of Christ” (Dialogue
Irenaeus (120-200 C.E.), repeatedly stated that this John who penned Revelation
had been a disciple of Messiah (Against Heresies
, II,22,5; III,3,4; IV,20,11; 30.4; V,26,1; 35.2; See Eusebius, Ecc.Hist
., II,23,3; IV,14,6; V,8,4; V.25,16);
Tertullian (155-220 C.E.), credits the scroll to John the apostle (Adv. Mar
Hippolytus (170-235 C.E.), penned a mighty commentary on the scroll. In 1551 a beautiful marble statue of Hippolytus was unearthed near Rome and is now situated in the Vatican. On this statue is a list of his many works, one of them inscribed as “On St. John's Gospel and Apocalypse
Clement of Alexandria (150-211 C.E.), quotes Revelation
several times and in one place speaks of the author as John the apostle (Stromata
, VI, 13).
Origen (185-254 C.E.), spoke of John as one who “leaned on the breast of Iesous” who “left us a Gospel” and “wrote likewise the Revelation
, though ordered to seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered” (Eusebius, Ecc
., VI, XXV, 9).
All the above fathers of the church state that John the apostle wrote Revelation
Moreover, Ignatius (30-108 C.E.), mentions that John the Apostle was exiled on Patmos (thus linking him to the authorship of Revelation
It is Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, who informs us that John was a priest (the “NT” also indicates that this is the case) “wearing the sacerdotal plate” which may well be an indication that he became the Messianic alternative High Priest after the assassination (62 CE) of James the brother of the Lord Yeshua.
Scholars claim that because both the personal style of the author, and form of Greek of Revelation
, is markedly different to that of the polished Gospel of John the authorship is at variance. While it is true that the style of Revelation
is decidedly different from that of the Gospel of John, there are reasons why this may be the case. Firstly
, it is my contention that Revelation
was written, not at the turn of the first century during the reign of Domitian, but much earlier – prior to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of God. Conjecture aside, there is ample internal support from the scroll itself that lends itself to this position. It is the case that Irenaeus did refer to John receiving his vision in the reign of Domitian, but in my scholarly opinion (which I have held for decades) this was nothing more than a rewriting (or, editing if you will) of Revelation
– and I certainly shared this belief with the late Dr Ernest L. Martin who later “majored” on this input in his volume Restoring the Original Bible
which is a major rewriting of his The Original Bible Restored
. He did so, because he could see that the information was correct.Secondly
, it being the case that Revelation
was written originally in the days of Nero, a much younger, fiery and abrupt temperament would be more likely evidenced in John's personality (Lk 9.54
). It will be recalled that the Lord Yeshua referred to him (and his brother James) as “sons of thunder” (Mk 3.17
). The Gospel of John written much later in life would allow for a more mature mellowing of his rash and tempestuous nature. (See my Teaching Examination No's 85, 86, and 87
which concentrate on John's excessively hostile personality and temperament. Dr Ernest Martin also exposed John's temperament as essentially Mediterranean as compared with that of an Anglo-Saxon-Celtic disposition.)Thirdly
, even allowing for personality changes as he matured in age, John's exile and imprisonment as a young man at the hands of the Romans on Patmos (modern Patino) – a small volcanic island among the present Dodecanese in the Aegean, 6x10 miles in size, totally treeless and rocky with one mountain with a height of 800 feet – to slave in the mines could easily account for all kinds of differences in style. Incidentally, “Patmos” means “to tread under foot” or “to suffer.” Suffer, John most certainly did. He reflected in his ministry that which the Messianic Assemblies were undergoing in the cruel persecution of Nero (and later under Domitian). This will be discussed when we consider the seven Assemblies of Asia Minor.
Of course, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the opinion of one of the great biblical scholars, Henry Swete, on the topic of Revelation's
crude Greek grammatical construction. After acknowledging that “the Apocalypse
of John stands alone among Greek literary writings in its disregard of the ordinary rules of syntax,” he continues that it does so, “without loss of perspicuity or even of literary power. The book seems openly and deliberately to defy the grammarian, and yet even as literature it is in its own field unsurpassed” (Swete, The Apocalypse of St John
, n.d., cxx). Notes Walvoord, “It is important to note... that some of the supposedly bad grammar in Revelation
was used in contemporary Koine literature” (John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ
, 1966, 11).
Certainly, an important negative event occurred in the last quarter century of John's life. Scholars have wondered why the fathers of the early 2nd century church are silent on John. The fact of the matter is that he (and his office as the last remaining apostle of the Lord Yeshua) was rejected outright by the Messianic Assemblies, immediately subsequent to the destruction of Jerusalem, and held in abject contempt by the early church fathers. Most of those fathers who passed over his presence in glaring silence in their letters to the various assemblies, including those in his own provinces, considered him with scorn.
The reason (as we shall see as we progress) is that in their view he was a false apostle, and his office was repudiated due to the failure of his prophecies – in the scroll of Revelation
– to experience an event culminating in the Advent of Yeshua back to this earth to rule it with a shepherd's rod of iron. Instead of the coming of Mashiach as anticipated in 70 C.E., the Romans came and destroyed the Jewish State.
It is for this principal reason that the churches in the East regarded Revelation
with cynicism and skepticism, the Greek and Syrian schools rejecting it completely. Another factor which combined with that of John's rejection was the departure of the eastern faith – at the conclusion of the second century – from the biblical belief of a literal millennial reign of the Messiah over the earth, by the Alexandrian Fathers. The fact that the millennium is plainly, patently and palpably taught in Revelation 20
was enough to reject the book outright.
To this day the Apocalypse
is rejected from the Syriac Bible and it is absent from the earliest forms of the Egyptian and Armenian versions of the “NT.”
Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 380 C.E.), refused to include it in his list of canonical books, and it is also omitted by Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Theodoret of the Antioch school.
It is a little known fact that John's prophetic failure made the way available for a new and second reinterpretation and revision of the entire prophetic view in the Apocalypse
during the reign of Domitian.
The prophetic failure of John's Revelation
“pulled the plug” on the Zealot Revolution which based its hopes largely on John's prophetic insight (and as based upon Isaiah's mysterious 65 year prophecy) as to the outcome, in Jewish favour, of the final eschatological “War of the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness.” I include the Apocalypse
as one of the “oracles” of “deception” mentioned by Josephus as triggers for the Jewish Messianic War against Rome.
For a further study into the mysterious Isaiatic “65 year” scenario please refer to the posted lectures on the prophet Isaiah especially “Born of a Virgin
” Parts 4 & 5.
Now I wish to comment in this first introductory lecture on what is oftentimes included in the Jewish idea of “vision” when one is “in the spirit.” In Rev 1.10
it is written: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day....” Being “in the Spirit” is perceived to be a state of spiritual ecstasy – and so it is! But in Jewish thoughtform it means so much more than this.
Let me explain.
When Ezekiel was “enraptured” by the river Khebar and saw the “vision” of the huge manned spacecraft controlled by beings which he termed “living creatures” he was physically seized against his will by “the spirit” and literally taken on a series of journeys. Whatever else was involved, his case was very definitely one of abduction and he became a target for an interspersed series of abductions. It is the Chancellor of Exeter Cathedral, John Thurmer, who recognises that this “vision” likened God “with startling modernity” to a “machine” (Thurmer, A Detection of the Trinity
, 1984, 37).
Ezekiel writes, “I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing. So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit [Heb “in the anger of my spirit I resisted”]; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me” (Ezek 3.13,14
The Jewish prophet had a natural resistance to the fleet of angels in the UFO. And the sacred Scripture is candidly clear in its report that they took him against his will.
It took the prophet a full seven days to regain his normal composure. “Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days” (Ezek 3.15
The second abduction occurred “in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell there upon me. Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber. And he put forth the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looks toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provokes [God] to jealousy” (Ezek 8.1-3
Ezekiel was taken by “the lock of his head.” He did not go with the “Lord” of the ship by his own free will, not by any means!
Furthermore, in Ezek 11.1,24
we read: “Moreover the spirit lifted me up, and brought me unto the east gate of the LORD's house, which looks eastward: and behold at the door of the gate five and twenty men; among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azur, and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, the princes of the people... Afterwards the spirit took me up and brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to them of the captivity. So the vision that I had seen went up from me... So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house.”
The prophet experienced repeated abductions and some of these abductions involved crossing the Spacetime continuum. He calls these encounters “visions” but they clearly involved his active (negative) participation!
Philip also underwent a similar experience of crossing the spacetime continuum (Acts 8.39,40
In a word, John went on a trip through a wormhole into the “Day of the Lord” (Rev 1.10
). The fact is John returned and recorded his journey as the Revelation
but the sacred Scripture is emphatic that John made a second trip into the Day of the Lord and his arrival will occur sometime in the near future. The “Day of the Lord” for us has not occurred yet, so John is still traveling here 2000 years later although in his own experience it may take just a few “moments.” We have discussed the mystery of “time” in other lectures so we will not digress at this juncture to sidetrack ourselves on the subject. Whatever the case, in Jewish thoughtform “to be in the spirit” and to receive a “vision” of the future is oftentimes a way of explaining an actual physical transferral from one geographical location to another.
In the mid 1800s Professor Seiss understood that the phrase “in the Spirit on the Lord's Day” meant that the apostle was carried into the terrible Day of the Lord. John was taken out of his present “time” and “stationed like a spectator amid the events and circumstances of the ages that lay before him” (MacArthur, op.cit., 21).
What Dr Seiss noted, comes very close to the truth of the matter. He stated (and recall that he wrote this in the mid 19th century):
“The word rendered signified [in Rev 1.1
], taken in connection with the fact that the things signified were matters of contemplation by means of the eyes, can denote nothing else than an actual picturing of those scenes – a making of them pass before the view the same as if they were really transpiring. The office of the angel, then, as I take it, was, to form the connection between John's senses or imagination and the things which he was to describe, making to pass in review before him what was only afterwards to take place in fact. How this was done, I cannot say...” (J.A. Seiss, The Apocalypse. Lectures on the Book of Revelation
, 1900 edition, 20). In another place he adds, “He was caught... out of his proper place and time, and stationed amid the stupendous scenes of the great day of God, and made to see the actors in them, and to look upon them transpiring before his eyes, that he might write what he saw, and give it to the [assemblies]” (ibid., 18).
Today, with the advent of scientific progress especially in the field of quantum mechanics, we can now know for certain what John in fact experienced. The far-sighted Seiss came very close to explaining what John underwent.
This mind-travel (ALL experience – our so-called “subjective” and our so-called “objective” experience – occurs in the mind: THAT
is where all that we term “our reality” registers) has actually occurred in fairly recent times (and is heavily documented) in the case of a Catholic nun, Sister Mary who was resident in a convent in Agreda. Between “1620 and 1631 she persisted in telling her superiors about her 'flights' to central America where she set about converting the Jumano Indians to Christianity. She was strongly criticised for what were felt to be hysterical tales, particularly as she described seeing the world as being round and revolving on its poles – then a heretical theory.
“But in the 1630s her story was conclusively confirmed – indeed, it is one of the strongest pieces of historical evidence for the phenomenon [of vanishing people] that we have. The official task of converting the Mexican Indians had been given to Father Alonzo de Benavides and in 1622 he wrote to the Pope and to Philip IV of Spain complaining that his work had been preempted. A mysterious nun, called by the Indians the 'lady in blue' had been there before him distributing crosses, rosaries and a chalice with which they celebrated mass. Who was she?
“No such person was known, but on his return to Spain in 1630 Father Benavides heard of Sister Mary's extraordinary claims. Over a period of time he interviewed her minutely, discovering that she gave details of Indian lore and custom and of the villages where they lived, known only to handful of travelers, none of whom she had ever met. He also obtained signed statements from her superiors... more astonishingly, they recognised the chalice used by the Indians as having come from their own convent.
“James A. Carrico's authorised Life of the Venerable Mary of Agreda
concludes that she made some 500 missionary visits: 'That Mary really visited America many times is attested to by the logs of the Spanish conquistadors, the French explorers, the identical accounts by different tribes of Indians a thousand miles apart. Every authentic history of the United States records this mystic phenomenon unparalleled in the entire history of the world'" (Francis Hitching, The World Atlas of Mysteries
, 1978, 222).
In our next lecture, as a continuation of our Introduction to the Apocalypse
, we shall consider the date of the writing of this scroll and discuss the time period involved pertaining to the Day of the Lord. The issue is complex, but exciting.FOR FURTHER STUDY
: There are 18 usage's of apocalypsis
in the Messianic Scriptures. The word is translated as follows:
” 14 times Rom 2.5; 16.25; 1 Cor 14.6,26; 2 Cor 12.1,7; Gal 1.12; 2.2; Eph 1.17; 3.3; 2 Thes 1.7; 1 Pet 1.13; 4.13; Rev 1.1
” 1 time Lk 2.32
(This ought to be better translated, for revelation.)
” 1 time 1 Cor 1.7
” 1 time Rom 8.19
” 1 time 1 Pet 1.7TEXTUAL ADJUSTMENTS:
“servants” should be “slaves” (bond-servants)Rev 1.2
“bear record” should be “bear witness.”Rev 1.2
“and of all things that he saw”... omit “and”Rev 1.2
“all things that he saw” better, “as many things as he saw.”Rev 1.5
“and from Yeshua the Messiah”... omit “from”Rev 1.5
“the first-begotten of the dead” better, “first-born of the dead”Rev 1.5
“the Prince of the kings of the earth” – replace “Prince” with “Ruler”Rev 1.5
“unto him that loved us”… omit “loved” replace with “loves”Rev 1.5
“washed us from our sins” should be “loosed [or, released, freed] us from our sins”
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