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The Book of Revelation appears to be an account of things that take place beyond

the earth where Jesus of Nazareth lived and died as well as where John?s

community was living. It is a vision of events in the heavens or the sky. If we

do not assume that all the details about the sky and those who live in the sky

were immediately and supernaturally revealed to John, then John and his readers

could have become familiar with these details from two types of persons in the

Mediterranean society who devoted themselves to knowledge of the sky. One type

of person was those called ?the wise men, the learned, the scholars.? These

people were in awe of the sky and insisted that no one could really grasp the

greatness and magnificence of the celestial spheres. The best posture was to

stand in awe of the creator. They thought that as far as celestial phenomena

were concerned, one need only pay attention to traditional lore about weather,

farming, sailing, and the like. On the other hand there was the type that

believed one could surely get to understand what impact the sky and celestial

beings had on human societies. This group included Babylonian, Greek, Roman,

Egyptian, and Israelite astronomers, astrologers, prophets and or seers. This

group sought information about their human groups from and concerning those

living beings that controlled the skies. Of course their perception of the sky

and their descriptions of those perceptions followed from their ethnic stories

and ideologies. But for Israelites in the Hellenistic period, there would be God

and a whole range of living sky beings, good and evil, never labeled as deities

even if they performed the functions of deities. For the others, there were God,

gods, lesser deities, and demons. Everyone who read and experienced sky

phenomena perceived the various servants of God and the range of celestial

forces, as well as thunder lightning, earthquakes, sky rumblings, hail, rain,

sulfur rain. So John wasn?t the only one with all of these details about the

sky. There were other sources where you would be able to find such information

as just explained above. John and his readers would think that events in the sky

were significant for people on earth because they believed that the events or

sky beings were commonly believed to be in control of human social realties:

life and death, war and peace, climate and fertility, and the like. Therefore if

the sky was perceived to be all of the human social realties then obviously this

is why it would be so significant on earth. All of these events are important to

the every day way of living and if these events were coming from visions of the

sky then with out any doubt they would be extremely important on the earth and

to everyone one on the earth. They believed that the events in the sky were

significant for the people on earth also because only people of high ranking or

status were able to view these sights. So if a king, priest, princes, or Roman

senators say that they saw visions in the sky then people of lower elite?s

would believe what they say and if they said things that happened in their

visions the people on earth would follow because to them it is coming from a

higher position in life so they must be correct in what they are saying. People

today consider events in the sky that impact on the earth and its inhabitants as

atmospheric phenomena. Lightning, tornado thunder, sudden cloudbursts, and the

like are simply all part of the weather. However the ancient Mediterranean?s

perceived the sky and considered such events as signs and sought social meanings

in them. For the ancients, nothing could possibly happen in the sky that did not

in some way impact the earth and its inhabitants. For example the account of

Moses? meeting with God on Sinai is replete with the atmospheric phenomena.

Smoke is interpreted as indicating God?s presence (?because God came down

upon it in fire?); thunder is interpreted as God?s voice (? God replied to

him in thunder?). So the ancient Mediterranean?s perceived the sky as having

total power on earth and the people that were on it. The sky to them was the all

mighty everything that the sky did like lightning, thunder etc. they would right

away put it in relation to something. They would always think of a reason for

why it happened. They would never take anything for what it was meaning they

would not just say okay it is noise coming from the sky. They would

automatically start to make assumptions of what it could possibly be in

reference to. Many historians also figured out another way in how the ancients

perceived the whole sky and earth perspective. The model required to imagine the

scenes in the ancient Israelite creation story, the earth was flat and stable,

rooted in place by means of solid pillars, surrounded by water and containing

some underworld within. This flat earth was covered by the vault of the sky that

was stretched out something like half-circular tent. The vault of the sky

separates the waters above from the waters below. And the stars are affixed to

this vault, while sun and moon make their way across it. The sky was an immense

region, variously imagined by persons in antiquity. But no matter who described

the sky, there was one feature all agreed on: the universe was a closed system,

closed in by celestial vault of firmament. Yes, their cultural assumption that

favors lineal or hierarchical patterns of personal relationships influence the

interest in the sky and sky beings because back then they followed tradition. So

if their ancestors believed and followed sky beings and if they had an interest

it automatically was inherited so the next generation would follow the same

concepts. Their interests would be from lineal patterns because they wouldn?t

know any better. If their ancestors believed that there was great power in the

sky then so would they. They would be following custom. It is kind of like being

born into a religion. When you are born you automatically fall into the group

that your parents belong to so as you get older you follow your beliefs because

that is how you were brought up to think. So culture had a great impact on the

way people though back then. Their personal relationships with each other and

their surroundings played a huge part in their interest in the sky and sky

beings. Back then you followed what the majority of people were doing because

that is what you thought was the right thing to do.

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