Back in John’s day paganism was the world view, so John didn’t have to explain the basic concepts in Revelation. But ever since humanism took front and center, this situation no longer holds true. In order to understand the mindset of the pagan gods, we need to read up on them.
The theme of the story is the Old Gods’ deterioration in status and influence over Americans. Like aging movie stars, the Old God’s powers have waned as their believers transferred their worship to the New Gods – manifestations of modern life and technology, such as the Internet.
The conflict in the story is that Odin / Wedn (from which we get Wednesday) is recruiting American manifestations of the Old Gods to participate in a battle against the New American Gods.
- Loki set up the battle between the New and Old Gods
- as a sacrifice to Odin,
- restoring Odin’s power,
- while also allowing Loki to feed on the chaos of the battle.
- Odin and Loki are the only winners in this battle. All the rest of the New and Old gods were suckered into transferring their energy during the battle.
Believe it or not, we find the same plot in Revelation.
YHVH’s power is weakening with the rise of the new gods of higher standards of living, humanism and technology. He calls for a sacrifice from his followers to
- prove and strengthen believers’ faith in him,
- by trusting in his promises for the future
- and relying solely on him for life.
This is exactly the sacrifice made in marriage:
“Will you have this woman/man to be your wife/husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor, and keep her/him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?”
This template allows us to clearly recognize the players in a war where visibility is rapidly lost in clouds of smoke. When we overlay this smoke motif on Revelation’s actions we find that what is confusing to many people falls into a consistent pattern.
- Action! God calls for a sacrificial way of life from his followers.
- He called Abraham to sacrifice his son – the extension of himself after his own death – through faith in YHVH’s promises to resurrect him.
- Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
- “preset your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service [since he gave life to us]. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)
- Reaction! The Adversary slaughters Abraham’s Hebrew nation in Canaan and Egypt to diminish his resources and absorb their life energy into his followers.
- Incarnation 1: the king of the north shall come…and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed…but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found. Darn! Failed!
- Try again: Incarnation 2: Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory [warmongering] of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed. Curses! Foiled again!
- Try again: Incarnation 3: And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour [glory of battle] of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries…and his heart [secretly, deceptively] shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall…have indignation against the holy covenant…and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant…
- the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many:
- “thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” (II Corinthians 2:14)
- Reaction:yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days…to try them, and to purge, and to make them white because it is yet for a time appointed….
- [Mimicking YHVH] He shall stretch forth his hand…he shall have power…therefore he shall go forth with great furyto destroy, and utterly to make away many.
- And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain;
- And at that time…there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.
- a woman…brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne…I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, NOW is come salvation!, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. (Revelation 12 flashback)
- And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, AND have the testimony of Jesus Christ…
- the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days:
- be thou faithful unto death…Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. (Daniel 11, Revelation 2)
- Action! And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals…Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? [i.e. powerful enough to win the battles that will result from releasing the challenging words?]…
- behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed [already won the battle to bring about the end of Satan’s rule] for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. (Revelation 5)
- Reaction! Destruction of as many humans as possible. While this has been ongoing over the last 2,000 years, we’ve hit degrees of death and destruction that can’t keep increasing without burning itself out. (Revelation 6)
- the first seal…conquer. In our time, America’s functional hegemony over the earth fits into this.
- the second seal…they should kill one another.Certainly America has perpetuated this with the War on Terror.
- the third seal…famine. “The world is facing a food crisis of unprecedented proportions…As many as 828 million people go to bed hungry every night. The number of those facing acute food insecurity has soared – from 135 million to 345 million – since 2019.
- the fourth seal…to kill
- with sword / weapons, and
- with hunger, and
- with death [from loss of access to all restorative life sources], and
- with the beasts / infectious microorganisms of the earth. This fits the historically unprecedented number of refugee camps.
- the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: “the persecution of Christians has reached the highest levels since the World Watch List began nearly 30 years ago. “Across 76 countries, more than 360 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith…”One in every seven Christians live under at least high levels of persecution or discrimination for their faith.
- the sixth seal…the[1st] heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together from some tremendous atmospheric event. (Revelation 6)
- Action! the seventh seal – the suspense is literally killing – angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
The motif of smoke-carried odors rising up to God is present throughout history. Mixed in with smoke is a specific scent, like a pheromone, relaying its “smoke signal” message to God. We can understand this as perfume setting the mood inviting union, or a feast of roasted meat transferring the life of the flesh.
The odor of the righteous sacrifices pleasing to God are not just the right type of incense or sacrificed animals, they are the personal sacrifices made in every aspect of daily life to more effectively serve God.
“present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God…For we are unto God a sweet savour…of life unto life.” (Romans 12:1-2, II Corinthians 2:15-16)
There are also disgusting odors.
“I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts…Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.” (Isaiah 65:2-5)
“And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” (Revelation 8)