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  • Writer's pictureKathy Berry

"Divine Judgment" in the Book of Revelation and Other Jewish Sources



“And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” (Revelation 12:4 KJV)





This digital drawing by Emma C. Berry captures the serpentine creature depicted throughout Scripture but predominantly in eschatological text. Notably, this creature shows up at the birth of the Messiah, a third rebellion swept through the Land in a bloodlust to eradicate the holy child destined to deliver humanity and dethrone rulers of darkness upon the Earth. It happened before. Twice the seed of the serpent, the devil’s spawn, tried to corrupt the seed of the women. Then, the Dark Lord—that old serpent—instigated a brutal measure. Herod the Great worked at Satan’s behest, as would many leaders thereafter. Trying to wipe out the prophesied king, Herod slaughtered every male child aged two and under (Matt. 2:13-23). A lament went throughout the Land.


In time and according to God’s plan, the seed of the women became humanity’s salvation. But the serpent’s humiliation was short-lived. He would revisit that old whim, which secured his renown as the Adversary when the sons of God cohabited with the daughters of men. Again, the corruption of humanity’s DNA is in order, using technology as the means and convenience as the motive. With veiled arrogance, Satan speedily works to eradicate God’s image in humanity, unaware of the coming divine judgment. Nonetheless, it will be swift, just, and final.


Intertestamental Jewish texts, the Book of Revelation, and other New Testament texts share visions of the divine judgment coming upon Satan and his hoards, the chained angels and their offspring, and those who contended against God and his people throughout human history. Jewish scholar David Flusser sums up the intent of this writing better than I could hope: “The New Testament has preserved for us Jewish conceptions from the period of the Second Temple.”[1] Today’s subject: Divine Judgment Language in Second Temple Jewish Literature!


For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword—piercing right through to a separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb 4:12–13 TLV, emphasis added).
Speaking of the Son of Man: “And the Lord of Spirits seated him on the throne of his glory, and a spirit of justice was poured out upon him. And the word of his mouth slays all the sinners, and all the unjust are destroyed from before his face” (1 Enoch 62:2, emphasis added).
“And in that very hour, (Archangel) Michael departed, and the doors were closed. And there was a sound as thunder. And I asked the angel, What is the sound? And he said to me, Michael is even now presenting the merits of men to God” (3 Baruch 14:1, emphasis added).
“At that time, Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has never occurred since the beginning of the nation until then. But at that time, your people—everyone who is found written in the book—will be delivered (Dan. 12:1 TLV).
“After seven days, I dreamed a dream in the night. And lo, a wind arose from the sea and stirred up all its waves. As I kept looking, the wind made something like the figure of a man come up out of the heart of the sea. And I saw that this man flew with the clouds of heaven; and wherever he turned his face to look, everything under his gaze trembled, and whatever his voice issued from his mouth, all who heard his voice melted as wax melts when it feels the fire” (4 Ezra 13: 1-4, emphasis added).

The last two posts taught us that 1 Enoch extends the biblical creation narrative and envisions the divine realm, like Isaiah and Ezekiel. The Ancient of Days authorizes the Son of Man with the power to judge.


“In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came forth a sharp, two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at full strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. But He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the One who lives. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever! Moreover, I hold the keys of death and Sheol” Rev. 1:16-18, emphasis added, TLV).
Speaking of the man who flies with the clouds: “But I saw only how he sent forth from his mouth something like a stream of fire, and from his lips a flaming breath, and from his tongue he shot forth a storm of sparks” (4 Ezra 13:10, emphasis added).
Then Jesus came to them and said: “And Yeshua (Jesus) came up to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” (Matt. 28:18 TLV).
Speaking to High Priest: “As you have said,” replied Yeshua. “Besides that, I tell you, soon after, you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64 TLV).

Ancient Backdrop:

Before Christ’s departure, he metaphorically placed the keys of the kingdom in Peter’s charge. Keys represent “authority” in the Ancient Near East. Likewise, the risen Lord, speaking from a great luminescence, commissioned Paul to minister to the Gentiles. These two apostles formed God’s two-pronged approach to worldwide salvation, also represented in the olive tree (cf. Romans 11). Where are those divine keys now?


If the Church seems vulnerable, and it is; if it lacks authority, and it does, it is because we are not whole. In a way, the DNA within the Body of Messiah has been corrupted. A kind of “genetic engineering” has occurred. Its divinely ordained genetic sequence of Jew and Gentile—one new man—has been manipulated (Eph. 2:15). The adages: “God is done with Israel. Gentiles are God’s people now” and “This is the time of the Gentiles while Israel will reemerge in some future season” are anti-biblical and antithetical to God’s plan.


Creation of Eve, Genesis bas relief-Portal on Saint Petronius Basilica in Bologna, Italy


I listened to a wonderful teaching on the verse, “It is not good that man should be alone,” by guest speaker Chad Holland, from King of Kings Ministry of Jerusalem (cf. Gen. 2:18). He highlighted this principle throughout Scripture:


Adam and Eve


Noah’s Ark (2x2)


Tower of Babble (unity for negative motives)


Amos 3:3 (two walk together in agreement)


Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1— the disciples went out by two’s


Peter to the Jews, Paul to the Gentiles


Romans 11—Olive Tree Theology (the crux of my teachings)


If two agree on Earth about anything…(Matt. 18:19)


I am sure there are other texts where the “principle of two’s” applies. God himself said that when we are unified, nothing is impossible for us (Gen. 11:6). So, consider this principle in the early church.


The early church, established in the Jewish community, grafted more and more Gentiles as the Word spread from Jerusalem. The book of Acts describes the power and authority manifested by miracles of healing and deliverance. Ultimately, however, we cut ourselves from the olive tree and decided in the fourth century under Emperor Constantine to “go it alone.” We scratched our not-so-collective heads in amazement when we suffered for want of textual understanding and application. In truth, how can we function in the fullness of the Holy Spirit when we are alone and severed from our Jewish context and brethren? The Jewish and Gentile branches continually need each other to operate in the full power of the Holy Spirit, or we shall be like the Jewish sons of Sceva in Acts 19:13-17 (TLV):

But some traveling Jewish exorcists also tried to invoke the name of the Lord Yeshua, saying, “I charge you by the Yeshua whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of a Jewish ruling kohen named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “I know Yeshua and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit sprang at them, subduing and overpowering all of them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jewish and Greek people. Fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Yeshua was being magnified.

These Substack teachings propose unity and the ongoing relevance of Jew and Gentile brotherhood—of Israel and the Nations—the two olive branches. Furthermore, our hermeneutic is the first-century Jewish culture and situation. When Constantine proposed/enforced that we (the Church) should “have nothing to do with those detestable Jews,” he essentially decreed “Adam’s Desolation.” How can the Church “be fruitful and multiple” any more than Adam without his Eve or Gentiles without their Jewish brethren?


 

“It is not good that man should be alone.”


God—


 

[1] David Flusser, Jewish Sources in Early Christianity (New York: Adama Books, 1987), 60.

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