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By James Scott Trimm
1997 All Rights Reserved, Reprinted with permission
The Society for the Advancement of Nazarene Judaism:
P.O. Box 471, Hurst, Texas 76053

In Hebrews 8 through 10, Paul gives a midrash involving The Messiah and the Yom Kippur ceremony (described in Lev. 16). We can be certain that the subject is Yom Kippur because it is only on this day that the golden censor is placed in the holy of holies (Heb. 9:4 & Lev. 16:12), and that the High Priest enters the holy of holies. Now, Hebrews tells us that the earthly holy of holies is a shadow of the heavenly holy of holies (see Heb.8:2, 5). In the earthly holy of holies is the ark of the Covenant, Book of the Covenant and Tablets of the Covenant. These are symbols of the Old/Mosaic Covenant. In the heavenly holy of holies then, is kept the New Covenant (see Heb. 8:2, 5-6; 9:11-15,also Heb. 8:8-11 quotes Jer. 31:31-34 on the New Covenant).

Now, there is an important parallel between Lev. 16; Heb. 8-9 and Rev. 5. In Heb. 8 and Rev 5, the Messiah is at the right hand of the throne in the heavenly holy of holies. In both Hebrews 8-9 and Rev. 5, the Messiah is also able to do something because of his death and blood. In Rev. 5, he opens the 7 sealed book, in Heb. 8, he becomes mediator of the New Covenant (compare Rev. 5 & 6 with Heb. 8:3, 6; 9:12, 15). Moreover, in Lev. 16:14, blood is sprinkled on the mercy seat 7 times, while in Rev. 5 & 6, Messiah opens seals 7 times because of his blood. It would seem then that the opening of the sealed book in Rev. 5 is synonymous with becoming mediator of the New Covenant in Heb. 8-9 and the fulfillment of the meaning of the Yom Kippur ceremony of Lev. 16.

Now, let us look in more detail at the sealed book in Rev. 5. The Book of Revelation often draws material from the prophets of the Tenakh. In this case the "sealed book" seems to be a reference to a book mentioned in Is. 29:

  • For YHWH has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep...
  • The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed...
  • therefore, behold I will again do a marvelous work among this people, a marvelous work and a wonder...
  • In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.

    (Is. 29:10, 11, 14, 18)

Thus, with the revealing of this sealed book, the apostasy ends. This parallels what we learn in the olive tree parable (Rom. 11:16-27).This parable speaks of the apostasy of Israel as a "deep sleep" (Rom 11:8 = Is. 29:10). This olive tree parable goes on to say that this apostasy will end at a time called THE FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES (Hebrew MILO HAGOYIM = "a multitude of nations" (Gen. 48:19) referring to Joseph's seed ). This is the time of the making of the New Covenant (compare Jer. 31:31, 34 & Rom. 11:27).

In Rev. 5& 6 we learn that the book is sealed with seven seals. These are seven things which must happen before the book can be opened. These 7 seals correspond to the curses which Israel is to go through for not having kept the Law (Deut 28-29; Lev. 26). These seven seals also parallel the material in Mt. 24 as follows:

Seal: Mt. 24 Deut. 28 Lev. 26
1 Rev 6:1-2 Mt. 24:5    
2 Rev. 6:3-4 Mt. 24:6-7a Deut. 28:49 Lev. 26:17-25
3 Rev. 6:5-6 Mt. 24:7b Deut. 28:18,38,51 Lev. 26:16,20,26
4 Rev. 6:7-8 Mt. 24:7c Deut. 28:21-22,26-27,
Lev. 26:16, 21,22,25,31
5 Rev. 6:9-11 Mt. 24:8-24    
6 Rev. 6:12-17 Mt. 24:29-31 Deut. 28:23-24,62, 64 Lev. 26:19
7 Rev. 7      

Now, just as the Yom Kippur ceremony of Lev. 16 makes atonement for the sins of the children of Israel (Lev. 16:16-21), the Messiah in Rev. 5, passes judgement on Israel for having violated Torah. These judgements are the seals. Once the judgements of Dt. 28-29 are made, then we can come to Dt. 30:1-4

Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where YHWH your G-d drives you, and you return to YHWH your G-d and obey his voice, according to all that I have commanded you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, And YHWH your G-d will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where YHWH your G-d has scattered you.

Then we reach a parallel to Mt. 24:31=Mk 13:27 (remember Mt. 24 parallels the seven seals):

If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there YHWH your G-d will gather you, and from there he will bring you. (Dt. 30:4)

Then the text goes on to parallel Jer. 31:31-34 (which speaks of the New Covenant):

Then YHWH your G-d will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And YHWH your G-d will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love YHWH your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. (Dt. 30:5-6)

All of this is further demonstrated in Rev. 10:1-11 where the sealed book is revealed. Here the voice of the seventh angel points to the seventh trumpet and the beginning of the Kingdom of the L-rd (Rev. 10:7 & 11:15) just as in Rev. 22:12 Messiah comes with his reward... i.e. the sealed book he was worthy of in Rev. 5, also the New Covenant.