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THE BOOK OF REVELATION: FLOW OF THE ENTIRE BOOK OF REVELATION
The Book of Revelation (the last book in the Bible in the New Testament) is a book full of visions, images, symbols, strange sights, mixes of Old Testament allusions, and commentary on culture past, present, and future. We will do our best weekly to present 1 or 2 chapters for your blog reading to entice you to dig deeper into this book that tears away the veil on God, Jesus, the Gospel, and the interaction of the Kingdom of God and the powers and principalities of the World.
What will we find in the Book of Revelation?
We believe that when the overall Book of Revelation is surveyed, a chiastic structure of repetition and progression is revealed which describes the Gospel Message’s march into the nations of the earth and the conflict that the Kingdom of God endures. In the end, Jesus Christ will come for His People.
Jesus Christ, the LORD, is coming soon:
- Chapters 1-3 finds the Church commanded to repent and/or be faithful.
- Chapters 4-6 God’s Will is decreed via sentencing of humanity themed in terms of seals.
- Chapters 7-9 show ‘now and not yet’ implications of the decree at the time of writing and is themed in terms of the first 6 trumpets.
- Chapters 10-13 focus on the ‘not yet’ implications of the decree themed by the Seventh trumpet.
- Chapter 14 focuses on the implications pointing forward to the larger harvest of all nations.
- Chapters 15-16 review the ‘now and not yet’ depicted in the themes of bowls and plagues.
- Chapters 17-22 review the ‘now and not yet’ themed by two women and two cities. Overall, a division is made among all nations and people into two types: Christ-followers and the Devil’s followers. These two groups are mixed among the nations.
- Chapters 21-22 reveal the fate of faithful people and their future to be forever a part of the new Heaven and Earth united as one in the presence of the LORD.
REVELATION CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCING JESUS CHRIST
- The identification of Jesus is given as the Firstborn of the new creation, Lord over the kings of the earth, and the One Who holds keys to Death and Hades. He also claims the title of ‘Alpha and Omega’ which means Jesus is claiming to be the Almighty God. Of all of these, focus on the fact that He is the key holder. Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father and the only path to Heaven and the only source of eternal life because He has the keys. To put it another way, He is the “bread of life” (John 6:35) or He is “living water” (John 4:14, 7:38, Revelation 21:6).
- In verse 4, John seems to point to Exodus 3:14 in his description of Jesus. “I AM THAT I AM” is clearly in view with “Him Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come.” This is a reference to the Name of God (YHWH).
- In verse 4, we also have the “seven spirits.” Don’t let that throw you. Isaiah 11:2 speaks of the Spirit of God in this way. Revelation 3:1 states that Jesus has the “seven spirits.” Revelation 4:5 also states before the throne are “seven torches of fire which are the seven spirits of God.” This is a symbolic way of talking about the completeness of God. It is the same later in Revelation 5:6 which speaks of seven horns, seven eyes, etc. What we are seeing is a vision of the complete Godhead which includes the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Nothing is lacking. God the Father is Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit.
- Add verse 4 to verse 5, and this all points to God, the Holy Spirit and more clearly to Jesus Christ. Yes, still talking about Jesus. The whole book is about Jesus. We see God as individually Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but more importantly as One. That makes sense since this is a message from the Triune God.
- Verse 7 refers to Daniel 7:13
- Verse 9 shares that there is suffering and tribulation going on. He focuses on patient endurance for those that are in Jesus Christ. John says he is in tribulation at the time of the vision or writing of Revelation.
- Verse 11 shares with us that what the Apostle John sees is happening “now” (in his time) and also will happen “later” (after his time).
- Verses 13-16 are an awesome symbolic poetic description of Jesus Christ standing among the lampstands (church fellowships).
- Verse 19 is important because it repeats the phrase from verse 11 that what the Apostle John is seeing is happening “now” (in his time) and also will happen “later” (after his time). This will be important as we interpret the events of the rest of the book.
- Symbolism is thick in these verses towards the end of the chapter. Stars are symbols of angels. The lampstands are the churches organized into fellowships. There are other interpretations for the meaning of the ‘stars,’ since ‘angel’ is a job description (could be a human messenger of the Church) and not a category of being as we usually think.
COMMENTS TO HELP YOU STUDY:
John, the Apostle, greets believers and relates that he has been given a vision. More than anything in this chapter, Jesus is introduced and specifically identified. The whole book is about Jesus Christ revealing Himself.
Jesus Christ is presented as the ascended King of Creation with a resulting upgrowth and maturing of His kingdom. This is the direct result of His resurrection from His human death by His crucifixion on the cross. One of the major themes in the Book of Revelation is the call for believers to full faith in Jesus Christ because of His faithfulness. In Him, is God’s full intent and manifestation for humanity. Christ is both the source of the revelation and the topic because He is the King of the Kingdom of God in both of Heaven and Earth; He is the Holy of Holies and the Spirit indwelling the temple of God built of His people. He is the Second Adam (Humanity) to come in fullness at the second coming of Christ. He is the glory of God filling all creation forever. That sounds like a lot… because it is!
Jesus reveals (through John the son of Zebedee) He is the Beginning and the End (Alpha and Omega).
Verse 5 is quite significant in this chapter… so don’t miss it! Verse 5 specifically lines out Who Jesus is theologically and also specifically amongst humanity. Sin is overcome by the blood of Christ. Humanity is restored. We will see in the rest of the book that He will bring sentencing to the unrepentant and the openly rebellious.
The Church is praised and chastised to conform to Christ where lacking at time of the writing of the Book. Some of the points we will find are specific to those believers while other points are applicable throughout history and the future.
The Kingdom of God is always in focus in this book. It has come. It is coming. The Kingdom of God is the people and the people are being added to the Kingdom on a regular basis. Jesus is the focus even when entering into the Kingdom. Remember Jesus said “no one comes to the Father but through Me (John 14:6).” How is this so? He is the King (John 18:36-37). Remember Jesus said, “I am the beginning and the end” (Revelation 1:17, 21:6, 22:13). Whenever entering the Kingdom of God is talked about or we focus on Kingdom living… Jesus is part of that conversation.
REMINDER: Revelation is a particular type of literature. Symbols are “impressionistic” in their meaning. This gets established early in the book in chapter 1. For example, the lampstands are explained as the structured group of people of believers. Lampstands = church fellowship. When things are not explained, Jews would have picked up on the impressionistic meaning from the Old Testament. These things would have been a common reference for them and so are not always explained to us. The object (lampstand) is the object (lampstand)… but there are symbolic meanings.
Jesus Christ is saying Who He is and because of Who He is, He can call His Kingdom to conform to Him even to the point of death to be faithful.
Summary: Chapter 1 is about the identification of Jesus Christ and the results of Him being King of the Kingdom of Almighty God. It is important to note that Jesus Christ is also God… the Primary One being the beginning and end. He is the Almighty.
REVELATION CHAPTERS 2-3: THE SEVEN CHURCHES
- Ephesus: The Ephesians are praised for perseverance and knowing the right teachings of the Apostles. They can identify false teaching and reject it. The Ephesians are warned about departing from their first love… perhaps lack of deed or action in which they believed was right.
- Verse 7: Whoever has ears, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
- Smyrna: The Smyrnaeans are praised for enduring and suffering in name of Christ. He warns them that their faithfulness will soon be put to the test and they must endure even to the point of death. Verse 11 is an encouragement to them, but also to future believers. Everyone who hears the Word and conquers (put faith in Jesus as their Lord and overcome by His death) will not be harmed by the second death. The ‘second death’ is defined as the eternal punishment handed out by God Himself on the Last Day or the Day of the Lord. The parallel here is ‘life’ and ‘death’ just like Matthew 10:28. In Matthew 10:28, only God can destroy both body and soul… the ‘psyche’ which we take to mean ‘breath of life given to Adam (humans) at his creation.’
- Verse 11: Whoever has ears, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
- Pergamum: The Pergamites live in a city full of Satan and yet they have not denied the Name of Christ and their faith in Jesus. The Pergamites are warned about following the false teachings of Balaam (Numbers 22-24) and the Nicolaitans (form of gnostic teaching). Together this means some in the church fellowship were involved in eating food sacrificed to idols and sexual misconduct due to false teachings in the church.
- Verse 17: Whoever has ears, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
- Thyatira: The Thyatirans have a wonderful praise that focuses on deeds, love, faith, service, and steadfast endurance. All of those have improved over time. There is encouragement from Christ to continue with good deeds for the promised reward of reigning along with Christ over the nations. The Thyatirans are warned about the rot of the ‘teachings of Jezebel’ which center around sexual immorality among some in the church. Repent or disease. Repent or die.
- Verse 29: Whoever has ears, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
- Sardis: The Sardisians are pretty much dead and there is no praise for them. It is possible for a church fellowship to be completely dead and still be meeting. The warning to the Sardisians comes from the One Who holds the Seven Spirits and seven churches, Jesus. Thus, the One Who really knows what it is to be alive and complete in faith is doing the warning. He knows their reputation is false. He knows they are not alive and are near death.
- Verse 6: Whoever has ears, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
- Philadelphia: The Philadelphians are praised that they walked through the open door presented by Christ and they did not look back or shrink back. They are not called to repent, but to endure. Verse 10 points out a trial will be coming soon to the whole world. Verse 11 encourages them to hold on tight to Jesus so they do not lose their reward (Jesus). Verse 12 calls to mind 1 Peter 2:4-6 which brings together the Name of God, His People, His Spirit, and standing stones built into the Kingdom of God. Together, believers will dwell in the place of God.
- Verse 13: Whoever has ears, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
- Laodicea: The Laodiceans have no praise from the Lord. The Lord, the One worthy of making the statements and giving advice (verse 14) and the One who knows them intimately (verse 15) is going to vomit them out of the Kingdom (verse 16). Why? The Laodiceans are warned in verse 17 that they are lukewarm and are wretched, pitiful, blind and naked.
- Verse 22: Whoever has ears, hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
COMMENTS TO HELP YOU STUDY:
It may be that the Seven Churches of chapters 2-3 are a symbolic representation of the whole Church. Each church ends with the “whoever has ears to hear” phrase meaning “whoever needs to hear this, hear it.” We need to repent of whatever we find if it matches what is described in the passage. All Scripture is for the whole Church and we must hear the Spirit and take note of the praises and the warnings. The warnings? Get rid of those things. The praises? Do those things. These items are for them (the original recipients in those church fellowships) but is also for the whole Church.
Why these 7 particular churches? We don’t know and we want to try our best to stay away from speculation in these studies and to rely only on what is presented in the Scriptures. The Apostle John is the receiver and writer and so perhaps he has influence in these churches and could get the message to them without the message being lost. It is also true that from the Island of Patmos, the 7 churches mentioned are those on a route north following the Roman roads of the day.
REMINDER: Make sure to keep in mind that Revelation interprets Revelation. Scripture interprets Scripture. As we look at passages in Revelation, we will see how other passages (some before the passage and some after the passage) are interpretive lenses by which we have meaning in the verses. By looking at Revelation as a whole, we will understand its parts and passages.
In these two chapters, Jesus calls His Bride to fullness by praise and warning. The Kingdom of God is always in focus in this book… always. The Kingdom of God is the Church full of those who believe in Christ. The Church is the Bride of Christ. The Bride of Christ is the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ has full authority over them because He is the King, the Head of the Church, and the Bridegroom. Pick a term for they are all true. Jesus knows His teachings and how He wants followers to follow Him. He knows His witness. He also knows when the people in His Kingdom are not following Him. He can tell them to shape up. He can tell them where they do well and where they are failing. He can do that.
Over and over in these two chapters the Spirit speaks to the churches and they are to listen. We find what was specific for these churches is also for the Church as a whole. It is clear that the Church should seek to get praise in the ways Jesus applauded: not denying the name of Jesus, good deeds in love, testing teachers, and calling out false teaching. It is clear that the Church should repent of those things Jesus condemns: following false teaching, not loving people, being lukewarm, and trusting in riches.
REVELATION CHAPTER 4: THE THRONE ROOM
- Verse 1: “after this” means after Jesus addresses His 7 churches which were present and living and suffering at the time of writing. Those things took place in dealing with the Church of that day. See also 1 Peter 4:16-18. This (chapter 4) is the next vision John saw. Chapter 4 is also an extension of 1:19.
- Verse 3: Ezekiel 1:28 comes into play as we look at this verse as well as Revelation 21 and also Genesis 9 (the rainbow) as everything shares the same look and qualities.
- Verse 4: What is an ‘elder’ in the Bible? These 24 are a representation of those that reign with Christ in Heaven (Revelation 1:21, 2:10, 3:21, 20:4) for God is the God of the living and not the dead (see Mark 12:27).
- Verse 5: As we noted before in chapter 1 (1:4), do not be thrown off by the mention of 7 when describing God. This is simply a way of describing the complete awesome God using language like that found in Zechariah 4:2.
- The Four Living Creatures: These beings are a representation of all chief things that God has created. See also Ezekiel 1;5, 1:10, and 10:14. These living beings represent (or are impressionistic) of all God has created and they surround Him at the throne of power. They are in service to God. Lion = ruler of the wild animals. Ox = chief of all domesticated land animals. Eagle = chief of the birds. Man = the great intellect. These beings are spiritual forces that are foot soldiers declaring God’s glory as all the heavenly beings do. They obey God in heavenly places. It is these beings’ whole job to give glory and honor and thank Jesus for what He has done (verse 9).
- NOTE: Angels in 5:9 are listed as a separate group from the living creatures. We should not interpret these 4 as cherubim and/or seraphim and/or archangels because they are known separate heavenly beings with heavy symbolism.
- Verse 10: The elders seem to give witness continually (with fear of Christ) proclaiming what is revealed of Christ in these visions is True. They themselves are the result of His worthiness. They themselves are the fruit.
COMMENTS TO HELP YOU STUDY:
In this chapter, we see a door opening in Heaven which is the beginning of Heaven coming to Earth by way of the invitation of Jesus Christ. The words “after this” are present meaning John turns his attention to the rest of the world that does not believe in Jesus. John sees some things happening, but what is revealed is the “yet to come” (mentioned in chapter 1:19). Jesus has already said that those who don’t follow Him will be judged. God hands people over to not accepting Him and this is what happens.
NOTE: In Revelation, we have symbols that are combinations of biblical events and concepts coupled by spiritual and terrestrial creatures which together God brings about His will. This goes on throughout the book from the start, but we highlight this now to point out a good example. The four living beings around the throne of God as you see in this chapter (when taken symbolic) features this use of language and is easier to recognize.
NOTE: The door opens and in the rest of the Revelation (chapter 11) we will see even more opening and little by little we see more progression of the vision. There is a progression with each series of visions marching all the way to the Last Day. Temple opens. Sky opens. Heaven opens. This is not necessarily a linear chronological progression, but an establishment of what is presented in chapters 1-3.
‘Now’ and ‘Not Yet’ is hard to pin down, but begins to make itself known as a theme in this chapter. Revelation is filled with visions and ‘snap shots’ that describe what happens then, what happens soon, and what happens in the future. We see a sentencing being declared against Israel and the world, but the actual sentence has not yet come. These chapters show how some of this will happen.
Jesus Christ is not just the God of Israel, but He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and is the King of the whole world. His covenant extends to the whole world and those that reject Him are judged. What is happening is the full judgement of God on apostate Israel and it extends to the end of time. This vision is the beginning of all that. A person can always come to Jesus in faith because God is all about making a new creation… look for this as we continue in Revelation!
REVELATION CHAPTER 5
We have in the background Daniel 7:13 as Jesus Christ is the One Who comes in as the One worthy. It is almost like Acts 1 occurs as Jesus ascends into Heaven and He steps into this passage. Jesus comes in and takes control. His kingdom is established with Christ as its King. Jesus is like David… the anointed one. And yet, there is still resistance to Him. Jesus is still the focus.
REMEMBER: Revelation is not always linear.
Focus on the Worthiness of the Lamb. Jesus Christ is what the prophet Daniel says was coming. The Kingdom is starting. This will be the Kingdom that is forever and Jesus Christ is the King taking the throne. This is true, but we don’t see it fully yet. This One taking the throne is worthy. Judgment will follow because of the price He paid.
NOTE: The elder (already in Heaven) looks at Jesus and sees a lion. John looks at Jesus and sees a lamb. Jesus is both depending on your heavenly or earthly perspective.
Do not get caught up in trying to identify everything. What is most important is to see the transition to a worldwide spread of the Gospel and the judgment that is needed for that to happen. The same thing that happens to Israel will eventually happen to the world. All the symbols point to Jesus being Who is needed and being God. He is what the prophets said would come. This fulfillment is paramount to understand how things are fulfilled.
Verse 1: This is similar to Ezekiel 2:9-10. The scroll comes from the One on the throne thus it is a royal seal… seven… speaking to the complete authority that they are sealed with. See also Isaiah 29:11 and Daniel 12:4.
Verse 3: All humans have fallen short of the glory of God (see Romans 3:23).
Verse 5: It is an elder who speaks to John rather than an angel because elders (human figures) have the responsibility of being a witness and pointing to Who Jesus (the Lamb) is to us.
Verses 6-7: Scripture in light of scripture is always a basic hermeneutic. See Colossians 1:19 which tells us the fullness of God dwelled bodily in Jesus.
REVELATION CHAPTER 6:
As this vision unfolds, keep in mind that we see literal fulfillment at the same time as spiritual fulfillment. This chapter lays out the sentencing that happens (for Israel and then eventually the world). It can be seen that this chapter shows the pattern of death and hurt that happens all throughout history as the Gospel spreads, people reject it, and God sends judgement. This entire chapter outlines the spread of the Gospel message and the ‘fallout’ from that spread.
See the Wrath of the Lamb. As God deals with the disobedience of human beings, the ‘wrath of the lamb’ (verse 16) becomes more and more evident. Yes, Jesus came to bring life and peace and forgiveness, but sometimes salvation walks through the path of correction, judgement, and discipline.
In this passage we see the same type of hyperbolic language as in Isaiah 34 which was a divine pronouncement of God’s judgment on Edom. This was a nation devoted to destruction.
Verse 1: “Come” is spoken by one of the living creatures. Some may think these creatures are an expression of some attributes of God, but it is more likely the creature is seen as a chief over the directive of the command to unseal the scroll. There is a pattern of “come.”
#1 White horse conquering: I take this to be the Gospel of Jesus going out over the face of the earth via the Church which is represented by the 1st horse and rider.
#2 The second horse takes peace away. See Matthew 10:34, 23:37, and 24:34. Peace is removed by means of the Gospel and many divisions develop in Jerusalem. Jesus Himself states peace is taken from Jerusalem and is a prediction of 70AD.
#3 The third horse is famine and we should look to Leviticus 26:26.
#4 The fourth rider is death. We should note that really all 4 horses are different forms of death. This vision shows the sentencing while later visions we will see the actual events.
Verses 9-11: God speaks to martyrs letting them know that patience (they will have to wait) is needed until things will be made right for them. Others will be killed as they have been.
Verse 11: The white robe is a wonderful symbol of the deposit of the coming reward for being faithful to Christ. Judgement will happen, but some who belong to the Lamb will be rewarded for faithfulness with a long white robe. This reward is now and also not yet fully fulfilled.
Verses 12-17: This is what comes with the horses from the previous verses. We should take note of Ezekiel 5:17 where similar language is used when God is speaking to Israel. These verses and description appear to be the same as in Matthew 24:29-30 which would also make it a time and place indicator. These events are taking place in Israel/Jerusalem and Matt 24 was fulfilled in 70AD. The idea is that these first 5 seals brought the tribulation of those days which Jesus spoke of in Matt 24. They have a beginning then… and full fulfillment later.
NOTE: These verses show the beginning of the judgement. Revelation Chapter 19 (One riding on a white horse) speaks of these same events, but in more final terms as the sentence is acted upon. Chapter 14 (One coming on a white cloud) is part of this as well. When the judgement and harvest come, sometimes the ‘good side’ perspective is seen and sometimes the ‘bad side’ is seen. All people will endure this, but some will be judged while others are rewarded. All of it is under the Messianic fulfillment found in Christ.
NOTE: We should take note of parallels in Zechariah 6:11 when Joshua (son of the high priest) is crowned. This is a prophetic vision of Jesus who then reaches out to the whole world. We also find passages such as Joel 2:31 and Malachi 4:5 also play a part.
Verse 16: The Lamb’s wrath is highlighted here as a time indicator. I think the language refers to Israel’s rejection of the king and then later the rejection of Jesus Christ. There is a harvest of believers and a release at judgment… hence the statement “soon to take place” of chapter 1.
REVELATION CHAPTER 7:
We are seeing God’s covenants fulfilled and the sealing and care for His own who have their faith in Him. We also see the sealing of the tribes of Israel before judgement comes. The whole picture is at the same time immediate and far-reaching (which is the nature of the whole book). It starts with 4 winds and the effect on the earth. We see a completion of the Church as Jews are brought into the Kingdom because of their faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
The multitude… where do they come from? The Angel states they come out of the Great Tribulation and are all those with faith in the God of Israel. The multitude is also from all peoples. Salvation is extended to all who have faith in Jesus Christ which in this vision is the extension of salvation to the 144,000 (primarily Jewish believers). Salvation comes to Israel (through Christ) and also to others (through Christ). The harvest is extremely important.
The sealing by God shows that there are limits for destruction. God is in complete control and there is nothing that happens outside His vision or outside His hand. The ‘Name’ is very important. The 144,000 and the multitude are sealed by the Name of God because the Gospel is still going out.
Verses 1-2: The mark is clearly those who are exempt from later judgements. God is always mindful of those who are His own.
Verse 3: No harm comes until the sealing of the servants of God happens. This means either God’s people are present at the place of war and must first be removed from the land or in some way spiritually (or another way) provided for and are safe.
Verses 4-10: ‘Sealing’ means they are the Church, and they are the first fruits of the Gospel. Many see Jewish people as grafted into the Church which is not correct. This is the first harvest, and they are being sealed. The language we see of Jewish Israel is the first of Christ church.
POINT OF INTEREST: The “first fruits” correspond to Jesus’ prophecy that the Gospel would go out to the nations (see Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:27, 24:31) and that He would send out His angels. “Angels” means His “messengers of the good news” that gather His elect. This is what is translated “angel.” This is also referred to in Isaiah 66:18-21 and in Joel 2:30-32. There are survivors/remnant among those who He calls. They are depicted here symbolically as 144,000. See also James 1:18 (and Revelation 14:4) where we see a great multitude in the Kingdom of God thereafter. Jews first… then the rest of humanity.
Verses 11-13: Those who come out of the great tribulation seem to be those that came to salvation under the Name of the Lamb (Jesus). There does not seem to be any reference to a particular time in history because it says, “all those.” However, it does seem that the “first fruits” are linked to the first generation of Christians.
Harm comes to those who are not sealed as a group…harm is now allowed. God gives every opportunity for people to take His Name and then He brings judgement. In these verses we should note the angel speaking and controlling it. We also see the “morning star” (rising sun) is mentioned which here is referring to Jesus.
NOTE: Blood always stains, but not this blood, it purifies.
REVELATION CHAPTER 8:
There was silence in heaven for a half an hour then the judgment released on land/earth. We should note the language in Ezekiel 5:2 which speaks of ‘partial judgement’ and uses one-third language that we also see in this passage. This is not the end of all things in this passage, but only a partial judgement to allow more to have time to come to Christ.
What of the silence in Heaven? Like a calm before a storm. but in this case God himself pausing before releasing angels bringing judgement. For, the seven seals are opened and there before God are seven angels given trumpets.
The People of God (Israel) are sealed. The Trumpets historically run through 70 AD and then the last trumpet is the end of the world which comes in chapter 11. Again, note the ‘1/3’ language like in Ezra and Ezekiel. This is judgement on Israel like the exile. In 70 AD, we historically see starvation, cannibalism, destruction, death and piles of dead bodies. These real-world things happened (see Josephus war of the Jews for historical background) and this is a symbolic representation of that war.
We must remember that John is using Old Testament prophetic language in to describe his visions. See Exodus 10:21-23 and Isaiah 13:9-11 (for example) to see prophetic language talking about governing powers.
1st ))) hail + fire + blood = war. Many are killed and ‘a third’ meaning destruction alluding likely to Sodom and Gomorrah. All of this is symbolic of Sodom and Gomorrah.
2nd ))) fire again = war. A great nation ( I take it Israel) is thrown into sea and again ’a third’ are killed including those in ships.
NOTE: Matthew 21:21-22 says, “Truly I tell you”, Jesus replied, ‘if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to the mountain , ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea ,’ it will happen. 22 If you believe you will receive what you ask for in prayer.” In context, this passage comes as Jesus cursed the fig tree and commented on judging Israel.
3r d ))) blazing star = judgement from sky/heaven (result being war). As a result of the war, the river and springs become bitter waters with the result being dysentery or sickness. Death comes because of the polluted waters. We also see this as a reverse of polluted water being purified in the Exodus from Egypt. Israel fell and is judged (see Deuteronomy 29:18, Jeremiah 23:15).
4th ))) Sun, Moon, and Stars do not give ‘a third of their light.’ There is spiritual darkness on the land. The eagle in the sky is a symbol of bringing a message and the message is… Woe, Woe, Woe. The dark sky means God has removed His hand of protection over the land. He has removed His light. The following trumpet then will open the door to what comes out in the dark.
NOTE: The eagle is communicating the Gospel Message. It is a message of “woe” because the ones to whom the message is given have rejected the Gospel.
REVELATION CHAPTER 9:
Trumpets at this point sound the release of spiritual consequences to rejecting God. The frame of reference is 70 AD. 70 AD is the key point of interpretation and must be understood. This event in Jerusalem is type and shadow for the future but is not necessarily literal. Israel fell. Jesus said it would fall.
These are more major judgements and are three woeful. We need to see Matthew 24 in this passage and realize this is in the past. This passage describes the transition from the way it was to the Messianic Age. God is moving on with His agenda and He wiped away Israel to move forward into the whole world with His message. 70 AD is key in this transition. Israel does not repent until a future time.
Trumpets are extended to the end of the world and the last trumpet is the actual final end of the world. God hands Israel over to Satan and evil just invades the land. God uses Rome to discipline His people. God is after the soul of Israel and handed over to demons to make that happen.
5th star that had fallen = angel/host fallen from Heaven may (see Revelation 9:11) suggest a rebellious spiritual being that is fallen in nature. He has the key to the shaft of the abyss and opens the shaft which as a result shakes up of the order of the earth which means governmental changes.
Indicators of their nature:
Verse 3: Locusts with power like scorpions. A symbolic indicator that they are spiritual in nature (Luke 10:19). This is the army of the devil.
Verses 4-5: The armies can’t kill or damage earth or green plant which gives the impression they are spiritual in nature not physical. They can only terrorize and torment humans without the seal of God on their foreheads. It is most likely they are unclean spirits that come out of the abyss (Luke 8:31) and are also those ruled by Abaddon/Apollyon in Rev 9:11.
Verse 7: They look like a horse equipped for battle. There is a military feel to them with a crown like gold. They hold fake authority coming in a permitted force. The face like men shows us intelligence.
Verse 8: “Hair like women” is symbolic of the seducing in nature of these beings and the “teeth like lion’s teeth” are symbolic of the devouring nature of the beings.
Verses 9-10: “breastplates like iron” + “sound of wings like noise of horse-drawn chariots charging into battle” shows that this is a united army. In verse 10, the stinger brings people pain and torment to the point that they long for death.
Verse 11: The leader/king of this army is Hebrew Abaddon/Greek Apollyon.
NOTE: We should reference Luke 11:24-26 and the implication of Jesus’ words. Because of Jesus, we see Israel had been cleansed with the coming of Messiah, but they who rejected Him where left worse off (spiritually) than before He arrived.
6th God tells an angel to set free the four angels bound at the River Euphrates. The earth should be prepared for the day and hour that they are set free to kill with unstoppable force because it is decreed by God. This speaks of the future. This is also alluded later in Rev 16:12 in the image of “the drying up of river Euphrates” when the Persian army conquering Babylon in the prophet Daniel’s day.
6th trumpet is 70 AD… when Israel is crushed and the church age fully begins.
Verse 17: Horses and riders. Breastplates of fiery red, dark blue, and sulfurous yellow in color parallel the plagues they bring and are the color of burning fire which points to their spiritual nature. The horses’ heads are like lions and have fire, smoke, and sulfur which shows the destruction from their mouths.
Verses 19-20: Those that survived the three plagues of fire smoke and sulfur did not repent. Forgiveness through repentance was available at least on an individual level, but also points to the fact there is only one trumpet left. One more trumpet will complete the Trumpet Judgements.
SIDE NOTE: 7 Signs in Eusebius and Josephus before 70 AD
The Little Book
This segment is written in its own chiastic structure, minored, and creating a center priced for the book of Revelation as a whole.
REVELATION CHAPTER 10:
A powerful angel descends from heaven wrapped in a cloud. Remember in prophetic language, judgment often ‘comes on a cloud.’ There is also a rainbow. We are meant to think of God’s promise to Noah and therefore we are to think of ‘grace.’ This powerful being has the authority of judgment and grace. He stands on land and sea which I think refers to his territorial responsibility over mankind. The shout with a loud voice is like a lion and the 7 thunders voice God’s final word signaling the Second coming of Jesus.
The Angel has a little scroll. It is open (it does not say he opened the scroll). The scroll here is little, therefore not the same scroll from chapter 4 which the Lamb opened. The angel swears to God there will be no more delay. The 7th Angel is about to blow his trumpet and the Mystery of God is to be completed.
The Mystery of God is that Jew and Gentile in Christ are God’s people. This is the Israel of God that the Apostle Paul describes in Galatians 6:15-16. Being one in Christ will come about (Galatians 3:27-29). What we are seeing is the Church Age where the Gospel goes out to all the nations. All nations should repent and follow the King of Kings.
The little book is to be eaten because more prophecy (proclaiming the Gospel) is to take place after the judgment John has seen. This is similar to Matthew 24 where judgment is said to come on Jerusalem, the Temple, and then the Gospel goes out to the nations.
Verse 1: Whoever this angel is, He emits the brightness of the glory of God. Symbolically this being uses the same words and symbols as God Himself and perhaps the least speculative identification of this Being is Jesus the Son of God (see Ezekiel 1:28-29, Revelation 1:16, Matthew 17:2). It is not just verse 1, but there is more to link Him as Jesus in the following verses.
Verse 2: The little scroll was in His right hand which indicates ownership of its contents. His right foot placed on the sea and left foot on the land identifies His authority and stewardship like Father God. We should note that ‘land’ in the Old Testament is what the Jewish people call God’s portion (Israel) and the ‘sea’ is the nations. The sea is the unstable people without the Law of God… the Gentile nations.
Examples: Jeremiah 47:1-2, 51:55-56; Isaiah 17:12, 43:16; Habakkuk 3:15; Ezekiel 26:3; Psalm 2. All of these speak to the depicted imagery. God is sovereign over both sea and land and gives it to whom He wills.
Verse 3: The Being shouts like a roaring lion (Isaiah 31:4, Hosea 11:10) and has authority over the 7 thunders (7 meaning complete = thunders mean Judgment = Judge of land and sea = all nation or the earth in totality).
Verse 4: See Matthew 24:36, 25:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 where God speaks about the day and hour of the end. God says the end would not take place until the Gospel goes out to the nations (Acts 1:6-8). We should rightly see this verse with the prior imagery declaring this Being has authority (earth and sea) and the capacity (thunder speaking judgment) to judge the earth but is also under the Voice’s (Father God’s) command.
Verses 5-7: It is Father God Who created heaven and earth and has the authority to give the commands the reveal the mystery of God in completion (not just what it is). The trumpet is sounded by an Angel/Messenger and the mystery of God is revealed. The mystery of God is… what? Paul speaks that the Mystery of Gods is the new creation bringing together humanity in Christ (See 1 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 2:1-3).
Verses 8-11: The little scroll is open meaning it is ‘already active.’ John eats it as instructed and it is sweet, but bitter on the stomach. This is the same as the Gospel Truth. The Gospel is sweet if you receive it, but also bitter as it brings understanding to the results of denying Jesus as Lord.
NOTE: Please read this note slowly and carefully. ‘Angel’ is a job description of a spiritual being and not the spiritual being itself. Biblically and theologically, in chapter 10, this Being symbolically looks just like God. The same imagery is used. It is worthy to consider the ‘angel’ here in question… that looks symbolically like God… should be seen as Jesus. In addition, in the Old Testament, ‘the angel of the Lord’ who had ‘the Name of God in Him’ is similar to how the glory of God in this chapter is described. The angel’s face is wrapped in a cloud and crowned with a rainbow. This is God-level description for a Being having the job of bringing a message. The point: There is a solid Biblical reason symbolically to call Jesus… an angel… especially when the term is used as a job description. What we want to be careful of is false teaching claiming Jesus is an ‘angel; (lower being) like Michael. That is not even hinted at in this note.
REVELATION CHAPTER 11:
Keeping 70 AD in view, this event is the final point at which the Church Age has begun. 70 AD ushers in the death of Temple worship and the beginning of the Gospel outreach to the whole planet. As we will see, in verse 19, the Temple in Heaven is opened, and the covenant is visible.
Trustworthy witness in the Scriptures is established by two or three witnesses. Chapter 11 summarizes what the ‘good guys’ will do during the Church Age. We should note that in a few chapters we will see 2 beasts (what the ‘bad guys’ will be do in resisting the Gospel). The trustworthy witness of the Church grows over time as does the resistance to the Gospel.
KEEP IN MIND: Throughout the little scroll chapters, there are some abstract expressions and a ‘now but not yet’ concept brings to light what is being proclaimed. This passage has more than a linear point of view. Sometimes it is difficult to come to a definite conclusion because of the ‘now but not yet’ nature of the Book of Revelation and even of the Kingdom of God.
Verses 1-2: The word for ‘the temple measured’ is ‘nah-os.’ The words used for Holy Place and Holy of Holies (the rest of the Temple) is not included. In verse 2, it is the city not the Holy of Holies that is trampled upon. This points out that the old temple is to be brought down.
When Rome attacked in 70 AD, that is the beginning of the ‘time of the Gentles’ when Israel is underfoot (See Psalm 79; Luke 21:14). 70 AD is the beginning of Christ’s reign over the nations. The old covenant was officially over and this is the beginning of the time of the witness. When the two witnesses (Church) are killed, this is a symbol that their witness is not what it was. Something has overcome their witness for a time… just like Christ seemed to have been overcome for a time. Christ is the pattern.
Verses 3-6: A new temple is built as a spiritual one as the two witnesses clothed in sackcloth are preaching repentance. See Zechariah 4:3-14 which mentions two live trees and two anointed ones with similar language. The witnesses preach with both authority of law and prophets (Matthew 17:1-5). It is with authority that the witnesses give testimony. The numbers/time in this passage are symbols of Jesus’ ministry, ongoing ministry, and connects to Daniel’s prophecy about the 70 weeks. Symbols are all of the Church Age… just showing different perspectives. The Church Age follows the same pattern as the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ lives and so His ministry continues and indeed has sent out His witnesses (the Church) which was commanded at the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20. Jesus is building a new temple for God to dwell through the Church. The Church (or rather the people) is the persevering Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. This is why the Church is called “His Body.” Jesus even calls His own body (John 2:19) a ‘temple’ and it would be destroyed and rebuilt in 3 days. God through Christ builds His Temple in the heart of humanity and calls all people to submit to His Kingship.
Verse 4: Olive trees and two lampstands (see Zechariah 4:3)
Verses 5-6: No harm. God is looking after His Church (See Luke 10:19)
Verse 7: Psalm 79:2-3 speaks of the dishonor of God’s people. The two witnesses are highly symbolic of the Church. The two witnesses’ ministry is likened to that of Jesus who was put to death, but then like Him ascended to God. The witness continues.
This is the beginning of a new covenant with the total removal of old covenant trappings. John is speaking to the people reading then… and us now… at the same time. There is a ‘now and not yet’ quality to all this. If there is some level of chronological order with the little scroll, we will see the Gospel breaking out to the rest of the world (the Church’s destiny). There is a priority of the Jew, first, then the Gentile world. Christ is at the right hand of Father God in Heaven who sends the Holy Spirit to direct His will to send out the Gospel into the world.
This passage describes the witness of the Church up to the Second Coming of Christ. 70 AD is Israel falling… the witness of the Jew falling… it would appear that even Christian witness was destroyed. And yet, from the ashes of 70 AD… the Church… the true witness and the faithful rose from the ashes as a greater witness than ever before. Rome thought ‘we dealt with the Jews for the last time,’ and yet the Church rose up as a continuing witness.
Verses 11-15: The blow of the last trumpet happens low after a time of witness for God that goes out. Along with this testimony comes in the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah and He shall reign forever and ever. 7th trumpet is the end of the world after the witness of the Church is finished.
This is the Second Coming of Christ. The people of God are of no more consequence or influence in the world and their job/witness is finished. The world is given over to itself like in the time of the Gentiles (see Luke 21:14) and the time is fulfilled. Two witnesses (Church) will be killed like Christ only to rise 3 days later like Christ. This may also indicate the period of bringing about the Messianic Age since verse 17 says He has begun to reign. His reign includes a Jesus Who reigns by reflecting Father God’s will, bringing reward, and bringing destruction.
Verse 15: This would be a movement that would take the Kingdom of God from “at hand” to “now” in the “now and not yet concept” we have been thinking about and studying.
Verse 18: God will shatter kings on the Day of His Wrath (see Psalm 2:5 and Psalm 110:5).
Verses 17-19: Jesus Christ begins to reign over the nations because Jesus has overcome. All the kingdoms belong to Him. His covenant is the means by which He keeps His people. All barriers and veils have been lifted and glory includes all the people.
REVELATION CHAPTER 12:
This is the halfway point of Revelation. It is also a summary of what has happened and a look forward to what is to come. We must remember that the Book of Revelation is all about revealing Jesus Christ.
There is much symbolism in these verses. The woman in birth pains is very similar to Matthew 24 where Jesus describes the signs in heaven and on earth events. The basic symbols involve a woman, a dragon, stars, and Heaven.
Be careful that we do not read into this passage traditions or fiction or what we “think” happened. “The cosmic battle before time when Satan fell” is how some take this passage but is not anywhere else in Scripture. There is a pattern of rebellion (Garden, Babel, etc) but one before time began is not in Scripture.
Verses 1-6 are at the center of the whole Revelation with the birth and ascension of Jesus.
Verse 1: Signs are seen in Heaven: a woman and a dragon. The way the woman is described as “clothed with sun + moon under feet + crown of twelve stars” is symbolic that “she” is “Israel” (see Genesis 37:9-10 where Joseph’s dream has similar language). John is mixing his metaphors and is speaking of the past of Israel and also Heavenly events.
Verse 2: Birth pains are mentioned which is similar to Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:8 (see also Micah 4:10 and Isaiah 66:7-10). Israel is at the beginning of birth pains. Jesus speaks of all these signs about the fight going on amongst the powers in Heaven.
Verses 3-4: The dragon is “great + red + seven heads + ten horns + seven diadems + third of heaven stars” is symbolic of a complete world power ready to devour baby Jesus when He arrives (in verse 5). Satan has control over the rulers of this world power. There is the Spirit of Christ against the Spirit of the antichrist as a pattern over and over again… Especially during the life of Jesus. Refer to God slaying beast in the sea Isaiah 27:1 because Leviathan (chaos) is also the Dragon (Satan) and the Son destroys them.
Verse 5: The birth of Christ represents the birth of His Kingdom since He is Messiah.
“She gave birth to a male child” = Birth of Jesus
“One Who is to rule all the nations” = Jesus the Messiah
“but her child was caught up to God and His throne” = Ascension of Jesus
These verses are at the highest point of the chiastic structure of Revelation and is all about revealing Jesus which is symbolic of His birth and then ascension.
Verse 6: In terms of the big picture, the Woman (Israel) flees into the wilderness and is protected after the events of 70 AD. The symbolic imagery alludes to God’s provision in the desert after deliverance from Pharaoh during the exodus from Egypt. The 1,260 days is the time of Jesus’ ministry which ushers in the Church Age and the time when the Gospel goes out to the world.
Jesus is Born.
Satan gathers all His spiritual forces and influences people (“all evil hands on deck”).
Satan does not win, but Jesus escapes.
Jesus prevails and Ascends to the Father.
Verse 7: Here begins a repeat of the events of verses 1-6 along with some additional details and some progression.
Satan is defeated after all that he has done (remember the Garden of Eden).
Everything that is tied to Satan is defeated (people, angels, influence, lies, efforts, etc).
Verses 10-11: Reminds us of the 7th trumpet sound in chapter 11:15–18. Christ’s kingdom was legally and spiritually established in Heaven’s order under glorified Jesus at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus has begun to rule. This is similar to the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:9 about the “heavenly bodies will be shaken.” (See also Isaiah 13:10).
Verse 11: Jesus’ victory over sin and the powers is the means of salvation. We see a focus now on the opposition to the Witnesses and the ‘bad guys.’ This is a mirror of what was explained previously, but shifts focus to those powers that lose in the end.
Verses 12-17: Here is a repetition of information from chapters 10, 11, and the first passage of 12… the Dragon rising and trying to flood the two witnesses with lies. The witnesses are those who bow the Jesus as the Messiah. We are seeing a mirror of the chapter with the two witnesses and here it is presented from a different point of view. There is a progression of days in which the Dragon targets any of those who go to Christ and accept Christ because he failed to destroy God’s people previously. Ultimately, he will fail.
Here is an example from Scripture of not bowing to the Beast: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (in the Book of Daniel) would not worship worldly authority, yet they lived in civility with others.
Another Beast arises to exercise the same authority as the first Beast and this chapter likely has Daniel 7 in mind. The second Beast is like a king/kingdom but differs from the rest exercising the same type of authority over the whole scope of the entire world system.
SPECIAL PREPARATORY NOTE: ON PROPHECY, HISTORICAL CONTEXT, AND THE BIBLICAL PATTERN
In Genesis 3:14-15, God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the cattle and all the living creatures of the field! On your belly you will crawl and dust you will eat all the days of your life. And I will put hostility between you and the and between your offspring and her Offspring; He will strike your head, and you will strike His heel.” (NET)
A lot has unfolded since God’s statement above, but not everything. To try and show the pattern of what will happen, let’s look to the Book of Daniel and try and connect some dots because John, in Revelation, refers to events in the future by referencing events of the past.
Daniel Chapter 2 tells us of a statue of a man that embodies the totality of the kingdoms that rule at the time and will in the future. In the midst of these man-centered kingdoms, an everlasting kingdom will rise up during the time of a strong and weak people. As the everlasting kingdom rises, the last kingdom falls. We are talking about man-systems and governments.
In Daniel chapter 7, we read an overview picture of the all-dominant coming kingdom rule. We have a one like a ‘son of man’ who is a human that brings forth rule from heaven by God’s will over all the kingdoms of the nations. The kingdoms of the world still operate according to humankind’s will because they are differentiated from the Anointed One’s people. The last to be conquered is headed by a ‘little horn’ that rises up out of the fourth of beast’s kingdoms as thrones are set up.
Within the time of the fourth beast, Daniel 8 explains that a ‘little horn’ (a man) will rise to power and desolate the temple thus stopping the sacrifices and thereby God’s established means to be present with His people (the Jews). That the people would fight back against the oppression and win back their independence (the Hanukkah Story) which lasts about 100 years. Then Rome returned in force to govern the nation.
Daniel 9 then tells of the coming of the Anointed One (Jesus Christ). He, Jesus, will put an end to sacrifices of offering (once and for all as the author of Hebrew explains). This is the time of Daniel 7’s fourth kingdom.
REVELATION CHAPTER 13
Jesus Christ has overcome the world which changes the way the beast is understood and functions. The beast is rising out of the sea and is not a completed action, but this ‘rising’ takes place on to Judgment Day. It is a continual ongoing rising. This continual rising is juxtaposed with the Angel from Chapter 10 which stands on both the land and the sea and is overseeing the Mystery of God which we know is the Church (see Ephesians 1:8-10). The Church is made of both Jews and Gentiles IN CHRIST. The beast continually challenges Church and thereby there is the need for the endurance of Saints.
Verses 1-2: In making war with the Children of God (the Church), the dragon first calls up the beast from the sea (the gentile nations) and the beast has the appearance of all previous beasts (nations) combined. We should note Daniel 7 where we see a representation of Babylon, the Medo-Persians, Greece, and Rome. The beast points to an ongoing world system carrying forward with power, but without legal grounds. “Legal” means there is “no authority” because at the Cross Jesus disarms the principalities and powers. There is ongoing rebellion in the face of Christ’s victory over sin and death and all such powers.
The dragon makes war with Israel’s children (those who would accept Jesus Christ). They are the target because they reign with Christ and when the sharing of the Gospel over the whole world is complete… his destruction comes. The dragon makes war to stop the great commission of the children of God which is the communication of Christ’s victory and the teaching of the nations to obey King Jesus. The command is taught to forgive as He has forgiven and to love as He has loved.
Verse 3: Power is drawn from all the powers limping along… including Rome. Keeping the time in mind that this was written, at a point in the future, the beast is wounded and is healed. Historically, Nero is killed and then the beast rises back up Roman Empire is healed. Spiritually, Satan still has a system on the earth that he can manipulate and control, but they all have been disarmed, but continue (healed).
As we look at this, we should contrast the breath to the image of the beast with the breath of life of the two witnesses in previous chapters.
Verse 6: A mouth full of lies tells a false message meant to tear down the Gospel since the text says the second beast “blasphemes.”
Verse 7: These verses state that the beast was “given authority” … by whom? The verses do not directly state God.
Verses 8-10: All inhabitants of the earth worship the beast so perhaps it is they who permit his authority over them. Those whose names are written in the book of life don’t worship the beast which is why verse 10 indicates suffering on the part of believers. In verse 10, endurance is needed because the world system will try to overthrow the Gospel as it has done in the past. This is a continual ongoing effort and the dragon understands that his time is short thus he is ruthless and furious and very controlling with what is permitted on the earth. The dragon is limited, for example, without any access to heaven as (apparently) he had before Christ’s victory and ascension. Endurance is needed by God’s people as the Gospel goes into the whole world and it is resisted with all opposition to God.
Verse 11: A second beast comes from the earth. This beast has power and influence that looks like innocence and good but is really deceit.
Verse 12: The second beast exercises the authority and influence of the first beast and dupes immature men and creates fear in order to have submission.
Verses 13-14: There are lies and deceptions which are fueled by false signs which bring about worship of the first beast. People worship the image of the beast that was wounded by the sword, but still lived.
Note: We are in a period of time in this passage where Jesus is on the offense and Satan is on the defense because worldly powers have been disarmed, but still gather power from those who allow them to rule. Eventually, all worldly powers will be utterly destroyed, but this is not yet at that point.
The endurance of the Saints also indicates that the Saints are to persevere and endure evil and persecution until the Gospel reaches its full end result. In this passage, the believers in the Gospel must tolerate the push-back from Satan and his cohorts.
Verses 15-18: See John 8:42-45. This is the end of the Little Book.
In chapter 14, we see a vision looking back to Jerusalem’s Judgement around 70 AD forward to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is a broad vision. Think in terms of “harvest” of the Gospel Message.” We find in the beginning of this chapter a transition to repeat or associate the vision with the seal and trumpet judgments.
Verse 1: This vision takes place on Mount Zion (see Hebrews 12:22) where we have the “firstfruits” or “the 144,000.” They are those with Father’s Name written on their forehead to indicate to Whom they belong. As the “firstfruit,” they alone know the new song.
Verses 6-7: Angel #1 proclaims the Gospel over the Earth.
Verse 8: Angel #2 proclaims Babylon is fallen. This is symbolic for apostate Israel or if you prefer the part of Israel… that became like Babylon. This fall is the reason for the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Israel had become far from God and rejected the Messiah.
NOTE: Rest is important. Rest, in the Old Testament, is reserved for those in God’s Land (Israel). There is unfinished work and toil outside God’s Land. In the New Testament, rest is reserved for those in Christ. All those in Christ who accept His finished work are no longer under the curse proclaimed after the sin in the Garden of Eden outside of God’s Land. One can now never enter into God’s Land to rest without Christ.
There is torment for those outside of Christ as God’s enemies because Christ begins His kingdom reign worldwide through His holy (set apart) people. The ‘angels’ in this passage are human ‘messengers’ of the Gospel. ‘Angel’ and ‘messenger’ are the same word and denote a job description, not the type of being.
Christ has authority in heaven and earth, but it is by human agency that the New Covenant is proclaimed to the world. In time, His holy people are to teach the nations to follow all Christ’s commands. As a rule, this means: to love as He loves us. When people accept Christ, they enter God’s rest.
Verses 9-11: Angel #3 proclaims the message of warning “what is about to happen will happen to you in the age to follow if you worship the beast or take the mark of the beast when final judgment comes.” This will happen at the end of the beast permitted time frame.
This vision speaks to the ultimate demise of beast worshipers. Allusions are made to Sodom and Gomorrah (fire and brimstone and smoke going up forever). Abraham saw this after that judgment in Genesis which is the example of final judgment.
NOTE: The verses include the circumstance of lives without rest because they are resistant to Christ.
The “holy” ones are holy because the LORD is holy (see Leviticus 19:2) and presents them as 1 Peter 1:13-16 teaches. They are bringing God’s holy messages which Christ speaks of in Mark 13:27. He sends them out to harvest the land/earth with the Gospel. This is a torment for some in the nations since they reject the Gospel. Remember, Revelation 11:10 tells us it is the witnesses (followers) of Christ that cause torment. This witness ultimately purifies and destroys Christ’s opposition in the nations. This identification with torment will justify the desolation that will be eternal destruction when Christ comes with His mighty angels in the power of flaming fire.
The message going out through human beings (His saints) and the “heavenly angels” are combined in Revelation because they are both “holy ones.” The scope of time being when the Gospel is presented to the world. The presence of Christ and His angels torment them.
Therefore, holy human messengers bring the Gospel to the world, and the harvest is concluded by angles enforcing judgment with fire from heaven on those who worship the beast and carry his image. This is the teaching of the New Testament about this period of time found in Mark 13:27. Also, in Matthew and Luke, parallel passages to Mark, talk about this same period of time as the “Gospel going out.” Then ultimately Christ coming with his mighty angel is flaming fire (see 2 Thess. 1:7) to render justice to the unrepentant. The effort of both Christ’s earthly and heaven angels combined here symbolically.
Verse 11: This verse alludes to the destruction of Edom, stated in this same type of language in the book of Isaiah 34:9-10 stating, “its streams will be turned into pitch, And its loose earth into brimstone and its land will become burning pitch. It will not be quenched night nor day its smoke will go up forever from generation to generation it will be desolate none will pass through it forever and ever.” (NASB)
This is referring to a judgment that will not be quenched… not the means of the judgment. (see Isaiah 34::9-10 the context being, Edom ceased to be a nation. Therefore, in verse 11 we are told those who take the mark will suffer a judgment that has no recovery. “Edom” in Hebrew means “human” in terms of Gentiles as in Amos 9:11-12 or as James uses the parallel word in Greek in Acts 15.
LINK: “Isn’t It Interesting”
Verse 12: The vision again calls for endurance for Christ’s purifying agents on earth. They are to endure wickedness in order to love enemies who mistreat them. It is like those who do good works toward their enemies (as in Proverbs 25:21) or as the Apostle Paul teaches in Romans 12:20, “If your enemy is hungry feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Thus, those that endure are rewarded to enter the Lord’s rest, because, like their Lord, they finish the good fight faithfully (see Luke 21:19).
Verse 13: These are those who die in the Lord like the two witnesses who ascended to heaven (chapter 11). Everyone who is in Christ will participate with Christ in His Kingdom. The world will be against the faithful, but they look forward to the restoration of all things.
.Verse 14: This is judgment on apostate Israel in 70 A.D. They are the nation first harvested of faithful people to God for Christ’s eternal Kingdom.
Verses 15-16: The One seated on the cloud (the language of judgment) like the Son of Man is Jesus seeing how in the symbolism He has a golden crown and harvests the land. So then, the first believers in Jesus are reaped. These are the first fruits from Israel/Jews.
Verses 17-19: These verses emphasize that God’s vineyard is harvested. This is an Old Testament way from the prophets to talk about God’s Land.
Verse 20: “From Dan to Beersheba” is a phrase meaning “the length of Israel’s land.”
1600 stadia is said to be the length of Palestine (from George Ladd, a commentary of Revelation of John Grand Rapids: Eerdman, 1972) indicating the place of Judgment.
Chapter 15 focuses on the time of the Gospel being declared from the nation of Israel (primarily) to the entire world. This declaration of the Gospel is coupled with the wrath of God towards the disrespectfully unrepentant. Contained in this chapter are angels with 7 bowls with the last plagues. This is the same as the ‘7 thunders’ which was sealed up for “the end” in chapter 10. We also see spirits that are before the throne (see Revelation chapter 4) which seem to be interrelated or even the same as the ones in Chapter 4. As the Gospel goes out, so the torment goes out hand-in-hand.
This chapter shows a scene in heaven that appears to be dealing with the transition of the Gospel going out and Israel handed over to the Gentiles. This was also mentioned in Revelation 7:9 and of which I think the 3rd angel gave it warning about taking the mark of the beast starting at verse 9 in chapter 14. This chapter describes the period after the Ascension of Christ as the Gospel goes out where people can receive or reject Christ as Lord.
The mix of glass and fire in the Sea of Glass is the judgment brought by the expansion of the Gospel into all nations.
NOTE: We also see the fulfillment of Jesus’ words against Jerusalem that “your house is left to you desolate” (Luke 13:35) until they turn to Him.
Verse 1: This sign in heaven shows the finishing out of God’s wrath.
Verses 2-4: KEY POINT: The Sea of Glass mingled with fire is very symbolic of the purification that is happening in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. In Revelation 4:6, the Sea of Glass around God’s throne is there, but there is no fire. In this verse, we have sea mixed with fire (purifying the sea) and the martyrs are surrounding/standing on the Sea. People and the Creation are being purified by God as Heaven and Earth are brought together in the plan of God. What goes on in Heaven affects Earth.
Interesting that in Revelation 1, John is given a measuring rod and told the measure the temple of God which includes the altar and the ones who worship there, but not the outer court because it has been given to the Gentiles who will trample on the holy city for four-two months.
The outer court on earth is parallel to the sea mixed with fire in heaven. It is on fire because it is given over the Gentiles on earth that by way of the gospel many will be purified during the bowls and plagues period (time of the gentile). Christ is redeeming and purifying Creation. The measure of things is already established in Heaven… Earth is now following.
Verse 5: The sanctuary of the tent of witness in heaven is opened to pour out wrath.
Verse 7: A being gives bowls full of wrath to the angels. The handing of the bowls to the other angels is for the purpose of being poured out.
Verse 8: The burning consuming glory fills the sanctuary until God’s wrath is satisfied or finished.
In chapter 16, we have a mirroring of the trumpets of previous chapters, but with a progression and emphasis on things to come (in the now but not yet). We see a progression because the trumpets were sounded before in partial judgment and the bowls are the end of God’s judgment on the Earth. The throne, the authority, the Beast, and the Devil are all progressively overcome by the Gospel.
Verse 1: A voice is heard from the like the command of the LORD. The chapter uses symbolism and phrases and themes related to Egypt’s plagues (Exodus) and Babylon’s fall (Daniel, Isaiah). The focus is the finalization of judgment so all of Creation will be cleansed by blood. Note: The Blood of Christ purifies Creation which sets Christ’s own people free (Exodus theme). 7 speaks to completion.
Verse 2: The first angel has a bowl of wrath inflicting harmful painful sores on people with a mark that defines them as worshipping the Beast. The context speaks of torment or painful sores (symbol for the Gospel’s effect on them) for people with this mark.
Verse 3: The second angel has a bowl of wrath poured into the sea and it is filled with blood and the corpses of every living thing. Much death. Note the parallel from Revelation 8:9 where the judgment was only a third… here… all die. This indicates the fullness and completeness of the judgment. We also see a parallel symbol from Exodus of the Nile turning to blood.
The third angel brings more of the same death to the living who are under the plague’s (blood’s) power.
Verse 8: The sun harms those who are judged. We should note the promise of Psalm 121:6 where we are told ‘the sun nor moon will not harm who the LORD keeps.’ We see an example of this with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace and Jesus walks through the crowd unharmed because it wasn’t His time. Also, see Isaiah 49:10 where the reverse happens to the unrepentant.
Verse 12: Frogs are present and may link with chapter 13 as the Dragon calls beasts out of the sea. The Dragon’s earthly kingdom is overcome with God’s wrath poured out on the Beast’s throne and yet it carries on. There appears to be a period of time after the 5th bowl is poured out on the throne of Beast which allows demonic forces to have sway in the world. We also see darkness and frogs in these verses (parallel to the Exodus story).
The dried-up Euphrates River is likely symbolic of dried-up protective barriers. Historically, the kings of Persia overcame Babylon by drying up the river Euphrates which is being used here as a symbol. The Old Covenant needs to be dried up for the New Covenant to come in and conquer.
The fifth angel brings pain caused by the rejection of the blood of Christ. Blood is the symbol of the power of the cross and Christ’s authority is seen overcoming the Beast’s authority even though the Beast still lives a great power and authority has entered the world. Forgiveness is power and shakes the authorities of the earthly realm.
Verses 12-16: We see that there have been many years of the Gospel going into the world. In verse 15, Jesus says He is coming like a thief… His Second Coming. Like in the Gospels, Jesus predicts the fall of Jerusalem and of the temple and warns believers not to follow false Christs so as to not be prepared for His coming. It will indeed take time for the Good News of His complete victory over evil to be told to the whole world. All nations must be taught to follow Jesus’ way of living.
Verse 16: Before the seventh angel, the kings of the earth gather for battle. This is and begins at the fall of Jerusalem and of the temple up to the Second Coming as everyone during the Gospel Age is either marked with Christ or marked by the Beast.
The sixth angel speaks to removing barriers to overcome Babylon therefore there is the removal of all old covenant entrapments (see Hebrews Ch.8) standing between the Nations from hearing the Gospel. A reference to the river Euphrates being dried as mentioned above. To open the way to the fall of Babylon which here is likened to Israel. Israel was first to have the offer of eternal life (as the Messiah came from them) and then the message went out to the Gentile nations.
The seventh angel is parallel to the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11. Both speak to finality. Nations and cities all fall worldwide as the last plague finishes. It is done. Very similar to the words of Christ on the cross; ‘it is finished.’ In addition, the large hailstone is like a Sodom and Gomorrah judgment, but bigger. Remember: the fullest extent of God’s wrath is poured out with these plagues and leads to ultimate destruction. All who follow the Beast and fight for him are destroyed.
Verse 17: ‘It is done.’ Remember: the task to be completed is the Gospel message going into the world. That mystery of God is fulfilled and that is what is ‘done.’ See Colossians 2:1-3 and Ephesians 3:1-6 which describes for us the mystery of new humanity in Christ that accepts the Gospel.
PREVIEW: CHAPTERS 17-22
Keep in mind as we move forward that we have one focused vision with two contrasting views. First, we see the downfall of ‘bad guys’ in chapters 17, 18, and 19 and then the victory of the ‘good guys’ in 20, 21, and 22. The two visions overlap. The visions conclude with the destruction of Babylon by way of Christ’s Word. This victory is followed by a retelling summary of how Christ and His people overcome the enemy. There is a picture of the Bride. There is a picture of New Jerusalem who also has shared identity with Christ and is embraced into a New Heaven and the New Earth. These chapters are a symbolic vision of two people groups and of two cities with only one who will find continuance of life with God.
Referring to sinfulness in terms of prostitution (Hosea) and in terms of Babylon (1 Peter) because of its role in Biblical history (Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Micah) is a common occurrence in the Scriptures. Unfaithfulness or trading God in for another is a big deal. In 17, we have a repetition of 14-16 under a new theme and reveal more fully what happens.
Keep in Mind: “Remnant” thoughts and themes
Keep in Mind: Not all Israel are of True Israel
Keep in Mind: At the time of writing (pre-70AD), the Temple still stood and has not been trampled
Keep in Mind: The visions in Revelation repeat with some progression
Keep in Mind: Babylon began in Genesis in opposition to God and has continued
Keep in Mind: Matthew 24’s timeline progression
Verses 1-2: In Nahum 3:4, Nineveh is called a prostitute, as is Tyre (see Isaiah 23:17). Israel when unfaithful (Hosea) is called a harlot or whore because she is likened to an unfaithful wife. All such idolatrous behavior is called ‘whoring,’ but there is a relational distinction of Israel to the other nations. Israel not only lustfully chases after other gods, but breaks her covenant bonds (equated to marriage) with God. The other nations have no such covenant bond with God (He is not their God). In any case, the other nations are selling or yielding themselves for gain/riches, but it is not as His covenant wife.
“She who sits on many waters” is a direct word from Jeremiah 51:13 prophesying from God to ancient Babylon. That prophecy has been fulfilled and becomes symbolic for the world and similar behavior patterns. This symbol is for the world and not the remnant of Israel or the Church. Such an institution, regardless of what they call themselves, are not of God, or as 1 John 2:15 puts it, “the love of Father (God) is not in them.” Old covenant Israel can be called an unfaithful wife. New covenant Israel can act the same, but to live unfaithfully under the new covenant is to “deny Christ.”
We should note that those who cling to the old covenant at this future point in history (not accepting Jesus Christ) will be lumped in by God with the other unfaithful nations. We see this symbolically in the fact that she (the Prostitute) is seated on the Beast and called to account for killing God’s prophets and saints which does link apostate old covenant Israel with sinful Babylon. That is to say, God will not suffer her idolatrous behavior anymore because, of course, He has given His Son as the Way. In Matthew 23:35, Jesus Christ states that just such a destruction would come upon the generation of His day… old covenant Israel is fixed to the Beast and both will come to the same end.
Verses 3-4: The “wilderness” is likely an allusion to the rebellion of Israel from going into the promised land to fight (see Deuteronomy 1:28 and Hebrews 3:8). Israel is the desert on the Beast’s back aligning herself with the Beast (Rome). We see this in Jesus’ day in that the High Priest, elders, and all of Israel saw to it that Jesus was crucified. In Matthew 27:25, all the people foolishly answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”
Verses 5-6: Note on Babylon: These people/nations are called ‘Babylon’ because of how they behave. Thus, “Mystery Babylon” is made up of both Israelites and Gentiles that deny Christ. She on the back of the Beast is drunk with the blood of saints and martyrs of Jesus. This “mystery” is in contrast with the Mystery of God which is new in Christ.
Verses 7-10: In context, the Beast is likely Nero since he is the 5th Caesar and preceding Caesar only ruled a little while (months). This would also mean that Nero was present at the time Revelation was written and near his death (suicide).
Verses 11-14: The eighth king is himself the Beast and his system. There is a contrast between the two raised witnesses of God and of a Beast that appears wounded and dying, but he rises healed to carry on the Devil-inspired system of governing power. In John’s day, this was the Roman system that stood in opposition to Christ’s rule. Such opposition continues until judgment day. The opposition has different authority in that Christ’s Kingdom is established and is superior in Heaven. Christ’s established Kingdom is revealed by the passing away of the old covenant system and temple in Jerusalem in 70AD. This was a sign that a new order is in effect though not yet come into fullness.
NOTE: This has been fulfilled by the destruction of the temple and Jewish nation in 70AD, but there is also a continuing pattern of conduct as the Gospel is proclaimed and opposed by the powers that be.
Verses 15-18: “The waters” are multitudes of nations, people, and languages. The prostitute sits on them in control and we are told what she takes part in (sits on) hates her because of her own vile behavior.
Furthermore, in verse 18, “the city” is said to be a woman with sovereignty. This means cities ruled by a system not-of-God and share that system can all be called symbolically Babylon. They are or have become like those who seek to make a name for themselves rather than reflect God’s name (Genesis). Verse 18 tells us in this case the woman is apostate Israel who is said to be a prostitute in earlier verses but is now called both a woman and the city. They are one and the same Babylon.
For contrast and to help with this symbolic impression, later in chapter 21 we are told of a Bride and New Jerusalem that are one and the same.
We see in this chapter where “Babylon” is destroyed. The entity we have identified as “Apostate Israel” consumed in the World is burned up because they rejected Christ. What moves forward in opposition to God is the Beasts (governing system), Death, and the Satan (dragon).
Verses 1-4: We have a proclamation for a need for Judgement to come on the city.
Verses 4-5: The phrase “come out of her my people” speaks to the fact that Jerusalem is about the be punished. Similar to the story of Lot being told to leave Sodom (Book of Genesis), so Judgement is coming and the Genesis story alludes to the type of judgment.
Verses 6-7: Sin is listed, discussed, and given a reason for the severity of the punishment.
Verses 9-19: We find the kings and merchants weeping and wailing, not for the loss of the city, but for their own losses. There is much fear as the merchants watch the city burn. The city is completely gone (like Northern Israel tribes) and other complete judgments.
Verse 20: God’s people rejoice in the justice God renders to those who have rejected Christ. We must keep in mind that Judgement comes to those who do not believe in Christ and have fully rejected Him. Faithful people… faithful Israel… are not included in the Judgement.
Verse 21: An angel takes up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea.
This is symbolic and recalls Jeremiah 51:62-64: “O LORD, You have said concerning this place that You will cut it off so that nothing shall dwell in it, neither man nor beast, and it shall be desolate forever.’ When you finish reading this book, tie a stone to it and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates, and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disaster that I am bringing upon her, band they shall become exhausted.’”
We also see a reference to Matthew 17:20 where Jesus said with the faith of a mustard seed you can move a mountain (paraphrased) and toss it into the sea. By faith, the remnant will hold onto faith and be able to withstand the judgment. Faith is the key here and those who are of God’s people will be seen through these trying times and can overcome.
Verses 23-24: The chapter concludes with more allusions and reasons for the destruction of she who is called Babylon.
The main point of this chapter is to point out that Heaven is opened and that the Great Commission will be fulfilled.
Verse 1: We find a great multitude like in Revelation 7:9 representing God’s people from all nations. We notice the 144,000 are not mentioned specifically. We should understand that all God’s people from all nations are grafted together as a faithful remnant full of Jews in Christ and Gentiles in Christ. In Christ, is the key for this multitude.
Verse 2: In reflection of what happened in chapters 17-18, “corruption” means she had behaved immorally with her beneficial status.
Verse 3: “Her smoke goes up forever” is a direct reference to Isaiah 34:10 as Edom was brought to an end with similar language showing complete destruction.
Verse 4: All those around the throne (we have seen them before) agree with the judgment, praise, and bow in worship.
Verse 6: “Multitude.” When the verse speaks about the multitude, the “many waters” are people from many nations. We see in earlier chapters, that the prostitute “sat on many waters” which meant she was over and had authority (queen) over many people. There is a contrast between the “sealed” and the multitude. There is a contrast between the “multitude” and the “many waters.” “Unsealed” and “those among the many waters” are those who do not belong to God.
Verses 7-9: We have the Bride of Christ ready to be united with Christ because of righteous deeds. Notice the contrast with the wicked. The Bride has received the invitation from her Lord, but is not yet fully ready, but will be soon and fully mature soon.
Verse 10: The word “blessed” is used. Those who are invited to the wedding of the Lamb are blessed much like those who “die in the Lord” (see Revelation 14:13). Looking forward, the blessedness extends to those who reign with Christ 1000 years (Revelation 20:6).
Verse 11: Heaven is opened, and a white horse is seen in direct contrast with the beast that prostitute sat upon. We see the symbolism of the spiritual warfare that occurs between the forces of good and forces of evil.
NOTE: There is a grand important progression when heaven opens. Heaven opens several times in Revelation and each one shows a growth in the Kingdom. We see a building built of the true temple of God… His people. We also see a maturing of its population through spiritual warfare. The Church grows up. It is fitting to the name of the book since we see a revealing of the fullness of God even as Christ is revealed to the world through the spreading of the Gospel. Christ is known by all whether surrender to His kingship in faith or by His destruction of them for rejecting His warnings in progressive judgments.
Verses 12-16: He alone knows His Name because He alone is without sin and is One as the Father God is One. He is holy.
Verses 17-21: The armies of righteousness have victory as Jesus leads. The Beast is captured and thrown alive into the lake of fire. “Alive” is a keyword showing this is not the final judgment / Judgement Day (see Daniel 7:11-12), but his fate is definitely sealed. He is as good as dead if you will (see also Revelation 8:12 and 16:10). The Gospel then has the opportunity to be shared with those under the Beast.
All others are conquered by the sword that comes out of His mouth. The “sword” is the Word of God. We see a process in action here in the imagery but is not yet completed (see Jeremiah 12:9 and Ezekiel 39:17).
Chapter 20 is a summary chapter recounting all that has happened in chapters 14-19 and is a summary of the full Revelation of Christ presented in this book. The chapter starts with the Cross and ends with the destruction of evil. In the middle, is a symbolic 1000 years of spiritual warfare with those who put faith in Christ and the expansion of the Gospel in opposition to worldly influences (sin, devil-controlled world powers, death) in opposition to the Gospel.
Dragon = the Satan = the Devil = power on earth with/behind the Beast = opposition to the Gospel = head of all rebellious spiritual powers
Verse 1: The pit mentioned in this verse is like the pit in Revelation 9:1. In chapter 9, a “fallen star” opens the Abyss and from it comes smoke and an army of locusts. In this passage, the Devil is bound with a chain. The chain is the Gospel Message being proclaimed.
Verses 2-3: Receiving the Gospel Message is the means of escape from the powers that have authority on the earth. The sin-deception does not work on those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord. There is a “little while” granted to the Devil to again deceive the nations at some period of the proclamation of the Gospel Message. This deception of the Devil follows the “was, is not, and is to come” pattern that has already been seen in Revelation. The Devil ends up going to destruction (see Revelation 17:8, 17:11; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Mark 3:27).
Verses 4-5: John sees believers reign with Christ for 1000 years. The 1000 years are meant to be taken as symbolic for the time between the First Coming of Christ and the Second Coming of Christ since it depicts those in Heaven as all who die being no-beast-mark-takers-faithful to the Lord by martyrdom. (see Rev 6:9-11: Rev 11: 1-13: !4: 12-14: Rev 19:11-16) The 1000 years to end at Judgement Day.
NOTE: Verse 5 indicates some not coming to life (most likely unbelievers in Christ) indicating not being in God’s presence until Judgement Day.
Verse 6: Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection (Jesus’ resurrection on Easter). This is almost the same wording as Revelation 14:13. Those who accept Christ participate in His resurrection and have died faithful to the Lord. And rest in Heaven as Rev 6:9-11 indicates. They share in Jesus Christ’s physical resurrection (the first resurrection) and dying faithfully are forever alive in relationship to him in his resurrection. They are reborn in Christ. The second death has no power over them and only those born again are free of that fate.
Verses 7-10: These verses recount the “deception” hinted at in verse 3 which then follows with destruction. So after 1000 years, Satan is released to deceive the nations. An indicator that the Gospel has run its course. He deceives the nations and gathers them around God’s city/people, now fire comes down and completely consumed them. And the Devil (this includes all spiritual forces in opposition to the Lord see Matt. 25:41) is cast into the lake of fire. Where beast and false prophet have been for the 1000 years already (keep in mind 9 14:11 said to be in torment in the presence of Christ and his angels and 19:20 said to be capered) and they are torment day and night forever. (meaning are brought to be no more, considering Isaiah 34:10 and Rev 21:4 amongst other passages. The judgment over the 1000 years to be completed with the destruction of Satan and Death and everything associated with them.
The emphasis is on purifying the space God will be present in forever. When speaking about the devil, beast, and false prophet in torment. There should be in our minds God is a life-giving spirit, and His fire and sulfur (thion) purifies.
The point is those in the lake of fire are burned up because of their complete opposition to God. (see also John 15 about those who don’t abide in Christ and Matthew 2541 which speaks to final Judgement))
Persons which do not aim to reflect God’s nature will have an end. Since the lifestyle in opposition to Christ’s nature is a denial of what is true. All that is stagnate is consumed in the presence of God’s unveiled truth. Where justice is present as all is transparent before the Almighty. In resistance to the source of life, theirs is loss of life lasting forever in accordance with their deeds. (see Romans ch.2:1-16) Because the payoff or wages, if you prefer, of sin is death. (see Romans 6::23 also John 3:16)
Verses 11-15: Judgement Day comes everyone faces the presence of God. Everyone and thing (even Death and Hades in these texts are personified) unworthy of the presence is cast into fire which is said to be the second death. (see Matthew 10:28; 2 Thess. 1:9, 1 Corinthians 3:13 and 5:10), which brings an end to suffering and death.
Verse 1: Thus begins the description of how all things are new because of the now total victory of Christ. It is centered on a New Jerusalem. These verses are similar to 2 Thessalonians 1:10.
Verse 2: Keeping Isaiah 61:10-11 in mind, we see a mixed metaphor imagery of New Jerusalem and a Bride being one and the same. We should remember the mixing of the Woman and the Great City of 17:18 and see a contrast here. This city comes out of Heaven from God just as Christ did.
Verse 3: God is with man on earth as it is in Heaven.
Verse 4: The result of the victory of Christ is no more death (Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 20:14; 1 Corinthians 15:26) mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 7:17; Isaiah 35:10, 51:11, 65:19).
Verses 5-6: “It is done” is repeated (much like Christ on the cross in John 19:30) from Revelation 10:6-7 and Revelation 16:17. Everything in-process is fulfilled. There has been a progression of terms in the “now but not yet” fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. In addition, this image shares the promise of free life forever offered by the One seated on the throne.
Verses 7-8: The offer of life continues, but with a warning that rejection means they will receive fire and sulfur in the Lake of Fire. This is “the second death” (see Romans 6:23 and also 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Hebrew 12:14).
Verses 9-21: The Bride-City. Here are mixed metaphors depicting the Bride as a City. The jewels are gates. Pearls measure a perfect cube because she is perfect and holy… like clear gold. The entire Bride-City is without any pollutants.
NOTE: Pearls come from suffering (the process of torment and stress). In Matthew 13:45-46, the ‘pearl of great price’ is received by giving all for it. Job makes a similar reference that through pressure in life God refines us (Job 23:10).
Verse 22: There is no need for a temple in the city since Jesus is there and will remain forever.
Verses 1-5: Here we have a contrast with the Lake of Fire. Those without and or absent relationship with God.
Here we are given the image of a river of the water of life representing life from God freely flowing from His throne making everything good. Nothing is accursed.
Notice those who reign forever. There are no time terms such as “three and a half years” or “1000 years” since the “now and not yet” period of the Kingdom is over. In the progression language of Revelation, this is the “not yet” of the coming Kingdom of God. This is the future fulfillment of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Verses 6-7: God says all this is true and will soon take place. This is a reminder of the “now but not yet” nature of Jesus’ statement “I am coming soon.” All that is stated in this book is about to unfold.
Verses 8-9: John claims to be a witness to the book. In addition, we also see not to worship angels as they are fellow servants and not YHWH.
Verse 10: Most of the visions John saw are not to be sealed (except those in Revelation 10:4) which speaks to the authorship of the book being written before 70 AD and the events of 70AD coming near.
Verse 12: “coming soon” speaks to the revelatory nature of Christ coming as the First and the Last.
Verses 14-15: These verses point out who is blessed and who is not. Those inside the Bride-City are blessed, but those outside are not. See Matthew 22:1-14 for the Parable of the Wedding Banquet which is parallel and quite clear.
Verse 16: Jesus again makes the claim of His identity… the Root and Descendant of David, the Bright Morning Star (see Numbers 24:17).
Verse 17: All are encouraged to say “come” extending the offer of life from the Spirit and Bride (Church).
Verse 18a: Warning not to change the book, or else!
Verse 20: “Soon” is repeated.
Verse 21: Grace is promoted and blessed over all the saints. ‘Amen’ means ‘so be it.’