In this interlude of Tribulation events, Yochanan is shown more details about the ‘great whore’ and ‘the beast’ from Revelation 13. The Hebrew word for ‘whore’ is zanah and means to ‘commit adultery.’ This ‘whore’ or ‘adulteress’ is a spiritual adulteress. She is a harlot who has chosen to forsake the Creator, the God of Isra’el, and submit to false gods. Her global harlotry includes kings and people from every nation, tribe, and tongue.
Yochanan hears a loud voice from the heavenly sanctuary commanding seven messengers to pour out the seven bowls of Adonai’s fury onto the earth. The Hebrew word for ‘fury’ is chemah and means ‘heat’ or ‘burning anger.’ The earth will be judged by Adonai with bowls of wrath similar to how He judged Egypt and her gods with plagues.
Yeshua sends the second messenger to the community in Smyrna. He reveals himself as “the first and the last, who died and came alive again.” With the ‘first and last’ reference, this congregation would have immediately understood that Yeshua is the ‘alef tav’ –– את –– found between the words in the Hebrew Scriptures.
At the moment of Yeshua’s death when the Temple veil was torn, Matthew gives ‘witness’ to the holy people raised from the dead. These ‘firstfruits’ were called out of their graves to bear ‘witness’ to the reality of the resurrection of the dead. What happened to these resurrected people as there is no further mention of them? They could not die again because “it is appointed for man to die once” (Hebrews 9:27). Peter, James and John had already witnessed the ‘cloud’ of Adonai’s glory around Yeshua, Elijah and Moshe on the mountain. Could it be that Elijah and Moshe appeared as the same ‘cloud’ of witnesses as the holy ones?