The First Angel and the Fourth Commandment (Fourteen 7)

The message of the first angel contains a direct allusion to the fourth commandment of the Decalogue. This is evident for three major reasons. 1) There is a strong verbal parallel between Rev. 14:7 and Exod. 20:11. Both passages contain the words “made,” “heaven,” “earth,” and “sea.” They also contain a reference to the one who created. While similar language can be found in Psalm 146, that Psalm does not play a consistent role in Revelation the way that the Ten Commandments do. It is likely that Psalm 146 and Revelation 14 both allude to Exodus 20, Revelation is not primarily referencing Psalm 146.

2) Rev. 14:6-7 contain references to salvation (14:6), judgment and creation (14:7). All three themes echo the First Table of the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:2, 5-6, 11). While thematic parallels by themselves are the weakest evidence for an intentional allusion, this triple collection of thematic references is quite remarkable and in conjunction with other evidences makes the allusion to the fourth commandment almost certain for Revelation 14:7.

3) There are multiple references to the Ten Commandments throughout this section of Revelation. There are direct references to the commandments as a whole at the beginning and end of the section (Rev 12:17; 14:12. We have earlier noted the counterfeits of the first four commandments in Revelation 13. In addition there are the verbal parallels in 14:7 and the thematic parallels cited above. It seems clear that there is a strong structural parallel to the Ten Commandments in Revelation 12-14. There is little question that the final call of God to the world is in the context of the fourth commandment.

In conclusion, note the narrowing of focus as you read through Revelation 12-14. First, there is a reference to the commandments as a whole in Revelation 12:17. Then in chapter thirteen the focus zeros in on the first table of the commandments, as the beast counters each of the first four commandments. Then in Revelation 14:6-7 the multiple references to the first table of the law focus in on the fourth commandment alone. It is a powerful literary way to focus the readers attention on the fourth commandment and its role in the final crisis over worship.

One thought on “The First Angel and the Fourth Commandment (Fourteen 7)

  1. Adam Ferguson

    Amen

    Something else about the first angels message that has been hitting me recently is the parallels between

    made/heaven/earth/sea

    and the outer court of the sanctuary, which was made, and where was the only place in the sabctuary where one could view heaven, and earth, and a sea (the lavar). Another devotional thought perhaps. Consequently the second and third angels’ messages’ symbols correspond with the first and second apartments of the sanctuary as well (and linear to the sanctuary furniture); but that is from my own personal study and has not been vetted scholarly yet.

    But I hear you RE the sabbath, I expect it will be a central topic of contention and a point requiring resolve for God’s faithful.

    Reply

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