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Revelation

Contents

Revelation Bible Study Notes

Overview of the Book of Revelation

No scriptural book has been less understood and produced more speculation than The Revelation of Saint John the Devine (as it is entitled in the King James Version of the Bible) more commonly called the Book of Revelation or Revelation. The title is taken from the Greek Apocalysis, meaning an uncovering. Over time various interpretations of the Book of Revelation have arisen. The Futurists regard the book as dealing with the events that will immediately precede the end of the world. To them most of what John saw is yet to occur. The Preterits (from the Latin, praeter, meaning past) interpret Revelation as dealing with events surrounding the time in which it was written, involving the clash between the Church and Roman Empire. The Historicists view the Book of Revelation as a summary of the Church’s history from the day of Pentecost until the Day of Judgment. In general, they try to match symbols in the Book of Revelation with historical events. They might identify the locusts emerging from the bottomless pit with the Islamic conquest of the Middle East and invasion of Europe in the Middle Ages. The Historicists identify most of John’s symbols with events that have already occurred. The Idealists (or Allegoricists) see the book as dealing with symbolic representations of problems faced by mankind in all eras, which must be spiritually understood. For example, they might see the New Jerusalem as the spiritual union of the faithful with God, while the beasts and great whore are, to them, merely representations of evil.

I am one to those that sees the Book of Revelation as a summary of events, past and future, that must be endured by God’s people. Their view is that John was given a vision of the history of the world, and that he writes from the perspective of a person at the end of the world who looks back over the entire history of mortality and summarizes all that has transpired.

Understanding the political and historical events surrounding Biblical books is critical in discerning their meaning. This is especially true of apocalyptic literature, such as the Book of Revelation. Apocalyptic literature by its nature is written so that its message is understood by its intended audience and hidden from those for whom the message was not intended.

John wrote to strengthen and give hope to the Christians living in his day during a time of intense persecution. Among his purposes was to assure the Christians that righteousness will ultimately triumph, the just will be rewarded, that evil will be destroyed, and that evildoers will be punished. John wanted the Christians to understand that events were unfolding according to God’s eternal plan and that evil would not triumph over righteousness. John clearly saw the Roman Empire and its emperors as evil. Those in power would consider his writings to be seditious. Consequently John used very strange and colorful symbolism, an odd vocabulary, and perhaps a numerological puzzle to ensure that only his intended audience, the faithful saints of his era, understood his message. If the Book of Revelation had to be summarized in a single sentence it would be that by using apocalyptic language it tells of the conflict—past, present, and future—between the forces of righteousness (those obedient to Christ) and the forces of evil (the Anti-Christ).

On the Ides of March in 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was assassinated. However, contrary to the wishes of his assassins, Rome did not return to a Republican form of government. Instead, the Republic ended and was replaced with a monarchy. Gaius Octavius (63 B.C.-A.D. 14) better known as Caesar Augustus was its first emperor. Octavian ended the Roman civil wars and initiated Rome’s golden age of peace and prosperity. Christ was born during the reign of Augustus Caesar, who died shortly after Jesus visited the temple when he was twelve years old. It was during the reign of Tiberius that Jesus performed his mortal ministry. The following table lists those who ruled the Roman Empire from the time of Christ’s birth until the Book of Revelation was written.

Seven Heads and Four Horns

EmperorReignComments
Augustus27 BC – 14 ADChrist born
Tiberius14 – 37 ADChrist’s ministry
Caligula37 – 41 AD
Claudius41 – 54 AD
Nero54- 68 ADChristians persecutedNero Redivivus myth
Galba68 AD (6 months)General, ruled for 6 months
Otho69 AD (4 months)General, ruled for 4 months
Vitellius69 AD (8 months)General, ruled for 8 months
Vespasian69 – 79 AD
Titus79 – 81 AD
Domitian81 – 96 ADChristians persecutedBook of Revelation written
Nerva96-98 ADJohn freed from banishment
Trajan98-117 ADChristian persecution resumed

 

Note that from John’s call to the apostleship (during Tiberius’s reign) until the time the Book of Revelation was written that the Roman Empire was ruled by ten men—seven emperors and three generals, with each general only ruling for a few months. Knowledge of this history is needed to understand John’s symbolism in Revelation chapter 13 of seven heads and ten crowns.

An understanding of the events during the rule of two emperors, Nero and Domitian, is also necessary to understand the Book of Revelation. Nero became emperor when he was only 16 years old. Agrippina, Nero’s mother and the fourth wife of the Emperor Claudius, poisoned Claudius to obtain the accession of Nero at an age when he was young enough to be controlled and molded by her will. During the first eight years of Nero’s reign his mother, the philosopher Seneca, and Burrus, the prefect of the Pretorian Guard, controlled the empire. Later Nero assumed control of the government, and the whole moral climate of the empire declined under his rule. He forced his mother into exile and later had her murdered. His only policy seems to have been the gratification of his greed and base desires. He exhausted the treasury and consequently imposed heavy taxations. Any person of wealth could expect to be accused of some crime based upon fabricated charges and to have his wealth confiscated. Hatred of Nero was so great that a group of Roman notables plotted to assassinate him; however, the plot was discovered and various nobles together with Seneca and the poet Lucian were sentenced to death.

On A.D. July 19, 64 an immense fire broke out in Rome, which burned for six days and destroyed the greater part of the city. Many parts of the city that burned were those in which Nero had proposed a grandiose rebuilding program. Many Romans, including influential leaders, felt that Nero started the fire to further his rebuilding plans.

To escape blame, Nero successfully accused the Christians of setting the fire. The Christians were a despised and distrusted group, which made them a natural scapegoat for Nero to use in evading blame for starting the fire. (Ultimately the Christians were persecuted fully as much because they were hated by the Roman people as for the actual belief of the people that they were responsible for the fire. Both Peter and Paul were martyred, while Nero was emperor, during the persecution that followed the fire.) Nero carried his cruelties towards the Christians so far that eventually they received a degree of public sympathy. This partially explains why at Nero’s death the intense persecution of Christians ceased until Dominican’s rule.

Nero was so cruel and so great a tyrant that there was immense rejoicing in the streets of Rome when he died by committing suicide. However, so great was the fear of Nero that many of the people were simply unable to believe that he was actually dead. (There have been similar occurrences throughout history—such as following the death of Hitler—when people seem unable to believe that an evil leader is truly dead.) There were Romans who believed Nero would return to inflict even greater atrocities upon them. Many people in Rome decorated his tomb with flowers, erected statues of him, and performed similar acts in the hope of gaining favor when Nero returned. Christian scholars often refer to this belief—that Nero would return—as the “Nero Redivivus” myth. It is highly doubtful that John or his readers believed that Nero would literally return. However, it is easy to see how John and his fellow Christians might have believed that figuratively Nero could live again in the actions of a successor. In the Book of Revelation John makes use of the “Nero Redivivus” myth.

Domitian succeeded his brother, Titus, as emperor in A.D. 81. From the beginning of his rule he followed the same path as Nero. His reign was so similar to the reign of Nero that it is easy to see how figuratively it might be said that Nero had returned when Domitian became emperor. Like Nero, the rule of Domitian was autocratic. Like Nero, he was cruel and greedy. Like Nero, he arranged the death of family members and potential rivals. Like Nero, after the first years of his reign, he displayed a cruel, greedy, and depraved nature. Like Nero, he depleted the treasury and then confiscated the wealth of the rich to replenish it. Like Nero, Domitian asserted he was divine.

Domitian surpassed Nero in his belief that he was divine by becoming the first emperor to command that he be worshiped as a god. To enforce emperor worship, Domitian re-established the old Roman priestcraft and cults, and the Imperial priesthood was used by Domitian to vigorously enforce emperor worship.

The persecution of Christians resumed under Domitian, with Christians suffering greatly under his rule. Christian belief in an invisible god and their refusal to worship the emperor made them vulnerable to charges of atheism and treason. John was probably in his eighties when, during Domitian’s reign, he was banished to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. (Thus it is easy to see how John would view the Roman Empire and it emperors as the embodiment of evil.)

It is important to understand that John wrote the Book of Revelation at a time when Christians were suffering unbearable persecution. John received a vision in which he saw how the righteous had survived from Adam’s time until his own day. He saw that in the future God would ultimately triumph over Satan, evil would be destroyed, the righteous would be rewarded, and the wicked punished. John’s purpose in writing the Book of Revelation was to provide Christians with hope and encouragement during their tribulations, as well as to share with them the vision he had received showing that ultimately righteousness would prevail over the forces of evil. Understanding why John wrote the Book of Revelation is one of the keys to understanding his message.

Upon reflection, it is easy to understand the fear that must have existed among the Christians in John’s era. While Israel had endured great persecutions and tribulation in the past, never before had the gospel been taken completely from the earth. Between the twin onslaughts of external persecution and internal apostasy the Church was being destroyed. It is easy to see how devoted, orthodox Christians could feel that Satan was winning, that God’s plan had been thwarted, and that Satan would ultimately prevail. A major theme of the Book of Revelation is that God knows the beginning and the end, and that he and his plan will ultimately triumph.

John wrote Revelation during Domitian’s reign while banished to the isle of Patmos (Revelation 1:9Revelation 1:9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.  

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), which was as a Roman penal colony. According to tradition, he worked there in the marble quarries. Patmos is a rocky island, about four by eight miles in size, in the Aegean Sea, about 50 miles southwest of Ephesus, off the coast of modern Turkey. It was a very inhospitable place and the inhabitants were entirely dependant on rain for water.

Some scholars think John wrote the Book of Revelation during the reign of Nero, at the same time that Peter and Paul were martyred. They point to the head of the beast that was wounded and came alive again in Revelation 13:3Revelation 13:3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. wounded: Gr. slain  

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for support of their view. They do not seem to realize this verse better supports banishment during Domitian’s rule because of the “Nero Redivivus” myth. Early Christian writers all spoke of John being banished during the reign of Domitian. Eusebius (A.D. 260-340), the “father” of Christian historian and Bishop of Caesarea, states that John was released from Patmos during the reign of the Emperor Nerva (A.D. 96-98.) The Book of Revelation was probably written between A.D 92 and 96. (The Book of Revelation was written before the Gospel of John, which was written about A.D. 98 at Ephesus after John had been released from his banishment to Patmos.)

Under Roman law there were two types of banishment: deportatio and relegatio. Deportatio was permanent, could only be imposed by the Roman Emperor, and included the forfeiture of rights and property. Relegatio was for a period of up to ten years; it could be imposed by lesser Roman officials such as the Roman Senate, a Roman Governor, or a City Perfect, and did not include the forfeiture of rights or property. We do not know for sure who ordered John banished (although some evidence points to Domitian himself) but we do know his banishment was of the lesser or relegatio type. We also know that following Domitian’s death (he was assassinated by highly trusted advisors and companions) John was allowed to leave Patmos. Following his release John went to Ephesus, where in his old age his mortal life ended.

An understanding of the literary style used by John is helpful when reading the Book of Revelation, as he uses several literary devices and a style that are at times illogical by 20th Century Western European standards. Like many authors John uses repetition to state his core messages. Look for his basic themes to be repeated again and again. At times John interrupts his narrative to provide additional information. Sometimes these interruptions occur within short passages and sometimes they constitute an entire chapter. Thus at places John’s account is not chronological, and care must be taken to understand when John is discussing events out of their chronological sequence. John often adds prefaces before discussing a vision or scene. He uses symbolism throughout, and the reader needs to guard against trying to interpret his symbols too literally. For example, John speaks of a blood red horse when we all know that blood red horses do not exist. (But it is an excellent symbol for war.) Furthermore, the Western mind has a tendency to seek a literal interpretation for symbols that were never intended to have a literal meaning.

It should be remembered that the Hebrews were a people in whom the right hemisphere of the brain was dominate. The left hemisphere of the brain is associated with the logical thought processes and is dominate in today’s Western European world. In contrast, the right hemisphere reasons and functions through imagery.

Our culture is more comfortable with the left hemispheric processes, whereas the ancient Hebrew people were more comfortable with right hemispheric processes. When one contemplates the difference between reading a descriptive passage in a novel and seeing the same event portrayed in cinema, then one realizes the power of right hemispheric thought and teaching. When reading the Book of Revelation try forming mental images that correspond to what John describes (however illogical the symbols may be). This may help in analyzing the meaning behind the symbol.

When interpreting symbols it is vital to have the proper perspective. John’s symbols were drawn from his cultural and historical period. John was given a vision that began before the world was created and concluded with the end of the world. The truths he is trying to convey, consequently, are universal throughout time and cultures—only his symbols are derived from his historical and cultural background. John saw what the Lord considered important. This means his focus was spiritual—not political, economic, or cultural. When trying to understand symbols, avoid interpretations that are specific to a particular nation or historical period. For example, John sees the forces of evil being led by Satan from the War in Heaven until the establishment of the New Jerusalem. Also John sees Satan–not a particular person, church, nation, etc. –as being the foundation of evil in the world. Seek interpretations that are universal and timeless instead of applications that are limited to a particular person, nation, or historical period. Remember that John’s vision covers the beginning of the world until the end of time and seek broad-based explanations that teach universal truths.

When reading the Book of Revelation an understanding of the symbolic meaning of numbers is helpful. Three is the number of holiness. The number seven (the number of days it took God to create the world and rest from his labors) is the number for completion, wholeness, and perfection. Thus, seven churches mean the entire Church and dividing history into seven periods (seals) implies everything from the beginning until the end of time. John makes extensive use of this literary device. Notice there are seven churches (chapters 2-3), seven seals (chapters 4-8), seven trumpets (chapters 8-11), seven images/people (chapters 12-14), seven vials (chapters 15-16), seven dooms (chapters 17-20), and seven new things (chapters 21-22). The number 3½, which is halfway to seven, indicates something incomplete or something interrupted before it was finished. Note that in seven years there 84 months; therefore, 42 months has the same meaning as 3½. The number 8 indicates superabundance. (If John wrote that a harvest filled seven barns he would mean that the harvest was that of full and prosperous year. If he wrote that a harvest filled eight barns he would mean the harvest is a bumper crop, far in excess of what was harvested in normal years. John would use the number seven to mean a just and righteous man, whereas he would use the number eight for Christ—the most just, most righteous, and holiest of all men.) The number 1000 is used as a superlative. (Its use is somewhat similar to the English phrase, “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times…”) The number six means imperfection, as it falls short of seven. The number twelve (because of the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles) represents priesthood, God’s authority, and perfection in his organizations, such as the Church or New Jerusalem. Squaring a number is also used as a superlative. If twelve represents the priesthood, then the number 144 (the square of twelve) indicates the priesthood in all its power, majesty and fullness. Adding a thousand to a squared number intensives the superlative intent of the author. Thus, 144,000 high priests is more likely to mean the entire priesthood functioning in total righteousness and complete obedience to the will of Lord, than it is to be a literal count of priesthood holders. In the scriptures Babylon (the birthplace of astrology) is often used as a symbol for wickedness, whereas Tyre (a center of commerce) symbolizes materialism, and Egypt (where the Israelites were slaves) represents tyranny.

Before trying to interpret the Book of Revelation, I should state that while scholars agree on some points there are others on which there is no agreement. What follows should be seen as what John might have intended his readers to understand instead of being the only possible interpretation of the Book of Revelation consistent with sound Christian doctrine. The following notes are intended to be a starting point for personal study, not a definitive commentary.

Revelation Bible Study Tool: Outline of the Book of Revelation

I. Introduction and Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia.

A. Revelation 1. Introduction and Vision of Christ Risen.

B. Revelation 2-3. Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia.
1. Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7Revelation 2:1-7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

2 1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.  

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). Commended and censured. Promised the tree of life.

2. Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11Revelation 2:8-11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.  

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). Commended. Will be under trial.

3. Pergamos (Revelation 2:12-17Revelation 2:12-17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.  

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). Approved, warned and promised a new name.

4. Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-27Revelation 2:18-27
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. 20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.  

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). Commended, reproved, and promised the Morning Star.

5. Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6Revelation 3:1-6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  

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). The dead church. (Now a pile of ruins.)

6. Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13Revelation 3:7-13
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  

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). To be sustained in the hour of temptation.

7. Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-21Revelation 3:14-21
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; of the Laodiceans: or, in Laodicea 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  

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). The lukewarm church. (Now a pile of ruins.)

II. Vision of Things That Must Come to Pass.

A. Revelation 4-5. The vision of celestial glory.
1. Revelation 4. The vision of the glory of God [Eloheim].
A. The 24 Elders.
B. The 4 beasts.
2. Revelation 5. The vision of the glory of the Christ.
A. The book that only the Lamb can open.

B. Revelation 6-7. The vision of the seven seals.
1. 1st Seal, white horse: Adamic period. Man to be victorious.
2. 2nd Seal, red horse. Satan wars against the righteous.
3. 3rd Seal, black horse. Famine and pestilence following the flood.
4. 4th Seal, pale horse. Warfare and suffering of Israel at the hands of gentile nations.
5. 5th Seal, John’ era. Persecution of the saints under the Roman Empire.
6. 6th Seal, Per-Millennial Events. Earthquakes, darkening sun, heavens roll up, etc.
7. Interlude (Revelation 7.) The 144,000he 144,000
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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. Encouragement given the saints.

8. 7th Seal, Millennial Reign. Silence for ½ hour. The righteous rewarded and wicked punished.

C. Revelation 8-11. Seven Angels Sound Trumpet Blasts.
1. 1st Trumpet. Hail and fire.
2. 2nd Trumpet. Mountain falls, sea becomes blood.
3. 3rd Trumpet. Star (Wormwood) falls.
4. 4th Trumpet. Sun is smitten.
5. 5th Trumpet. Satan loosed from the bottomless pit. Locusts.
6. 6th Trumpet. War. Destructive angels loosed.
7. Interlude. (Revelation 11) John to measure the temple. The two witnesses in Jerusalem.
8. 7th Trumpet. Christ is victorious.

D. Revelation 12-14. The Woman and Man-Child Who Shall Rule the World Persecuted.
1. The dragon (Satan) seeks to destroy the woman (the church) and her man-child.
2. The child caught up to heaven. The woman flees into the wilderness.
3. The war in heaven. Satan, the dragon, is cast out. (Flashback. Pre-mortal vision.)
4. First beast with seven heads and ten horns given power by the dragon.
5. The second beast (a false prophet) like a lamb speaks for the dragon. Its number is 666.
6. The 144,000he 144,000
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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who accompany the Lamb of God.

7. Coming judgments and fall of Babylon announced.

E. Revelation 15-16. The Seven Vials (Bowls) of Plagues Poured Out Upon the Earth.
1. 1st Bowl. Noiseome and grievous sores.
2. 2nd Bowl poured out upon the sea. None by the righteous can travel by sea.
3. 3rd Bowl poured out on the rivers and streams. Water turns to blood.
4. 4th Bowl poured out on the sun and the earth suffers scorching heat.
5. 5th Bowl poured out on the throne of the beast bringing darkness to his kingdom.
6. 6th Bowl poured out on the Euphrates River unleashing Armageddon.
7. 7th Bowl poured into the air. It is done. The Millennial reign commences.

F. Revelation 17—19:10. The Fall of Babylon and Final Judgment.

G. Revelation 19:12Revelation 19:12
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  

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—22. The Final Vision and Ultimate Triumph of God’s Plan.

1. The coming of Christ and the saints caught up to meet him.
2. Destruction of the beast and false prophet (second beast).
3. The binding of Satan for one thousand years.
4. The Millennial Reign.
5. Satan loosed for a season.
6. The second resurrection and judgment.
7. New heaven, new earth, New Jerusalem.
8. Prayer for the coming of Christ.

 

Revelation Bible Study Commentary

Revelation 1 – Revelation of Jesus Christ

Revelation chapter 1 speaks about things that will come to pass. The revelation comes from Jesus Christ, although we learn later that an angel delivers it. It seems others (such as Enoch) were given the same vision; however, only John was allowed to record and pass on what he saw.

Revelation 1:1Revelation 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The Revelation of St. John the Divine 1 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:  

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The revelation of Jesus Christ.
The first verse contains one of the keys needed to understand this book when it says, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.” The word revelation or apocalypse indicates an unveiling or disclosure of Jesus Christ. The things which John saw had no allusion to the scenes of the days of Adam, Enoch, Abraham or Jesus, only so far as is plainly represented by John, and clearly set forth by him. John saw only that which was lying in futurity and which was shortly to come to pass. It appears safe to conclude that the purpose of Book of Revelation was to explain to the Christians of John’s day what they would soon experience. (Thus I believe the interpretations of the many schools of thought—such as the Futurists and Symbolists—should be treated with caution.) It should be noted the source of this revelation is Jesus Christ, acting according to the will of the Father. The source of the revelation, however, is different than the messenger, who is an angel, as we see towards the end of Revelation.

Revelation 1:4-8Revelation 1:4-8
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. 8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.  

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Seven Churches.
These churches were located about 50 miles apart, which moving clockwise formed a circle beginning with Ephesus and ending with Laodicea. Ephesus was numerically the largest church and Laodicea, which was located inland and east of Ephesus, was spiritually the weakest of the churches named. There are various theories as to why this revelation was only give to seven churches in Asia. One credible theory is these churches were among the few that had not yet fallen into apostasy. Their faithfulness is implied in the phrase “hath made us kings and priests.” Elsewhere the idea that these cities were chosen because they were postal centers is discussed. It is obvious that for symbolic purposes only seven churches were selected from among many that John could have named.

Revelation 1:8Revelation 1:8
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.  

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Alpha and Omega.
Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, hence the meaning is the rough equivalent of “the first and the last.” The concept being taught is one of timelessness and that the Lord is eternal. Throughout man’s mortality Christ has been the intermediary with the Father. Jesus performed a vital role during the creation of the world just as he will be at the end of the world, making this a fitting description of his eternal nature. The Greek term Alpha and Omega is a subtle way of referring to Jehovah, the Eternal One, or the Great I AM.

Revelation 1:1Revelation 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The Revelation of St. John the Divine 1 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:  

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0 Lord’s Day.
The clear implication of this verse is that the early Christians worshiped on Sunday, and not on the Jewish Sabbath. There are still some who refuse to accept Jesus as the “Lord of the Sabbath” by maintaining that the day of worship is unchangeable. This verse shows the error of that position (as does Acts 20:7Acts 20:7
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7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.  

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and 1 Corinthians 16:21 Corinthians 16:2
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.  

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). The phrase “in the spirit” indicates John received a vision, not a dream.

Revelation 1:1Revelation 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The Revelation of St. John the Divine 1 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:  

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2 Candlesticks.
Candlesticks carry light. The implication is that the seven churches in Asia (and the entire Church) should carry the light of Christ to the world. As stated in the Sermon on the Mount:

14. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a
candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16Matthew 5:14-16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. a bushel: the word in the original signifieth a measure containing about a pint less than a peck 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  

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Revelation 1:1Revelation 1:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

The Revelation of St. John the Divine 1 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:  

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3-15 White as Wool.
The Son of Man refers to Christ. The Levitical priests wore long robes; the wearing of such a robe indicates power in the priesthood. The golden girdle (belt or sash) is an indication the he is the high priest. “Hair white as wool” is a reference to a hoary head representing wisdom and dignity. (See Leviticus 19:32Leviticus 19:32
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32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.  

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and Proverbs 16:31Proverbs 16:31
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31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.  

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.) “Eyes like blazing fire” indicate penetrating, insightful vision.

Revelation 1:1Revelation 1:1
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The Revelation of St. John the Divine 1 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:  

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6 Sharp Two-Edged Sword.
The sharp two-edged sword is the gospel or word of Christ and also indicates divine judgment. This symbol will be repeatedly throughout the Book of Revelation. The origin of this symbol is probably Isaiah 11:4Isaiah 11:4
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4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. reprove: or, argue  

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and 49:2. The word of God pierces the soul as a sword. (Hebrews 4:12-13Hebrews 4:12-13
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12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.  

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.) Additionally, the sword is a symbol of power, indicating the Lord is all-powerful.

Revelation 1:1Revelation 1:1
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The Revelation of St. John the Divine 1 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:  

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3-16 Hair Like Wool, Blazing Eyes, Word Like a Sword.
The cumulative meaning of these metaphors is the Lord is all-wise, all-seeing, and all-powerful.

Revelation 1:1Revelation 1:1
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The Revelation of St. John the Divine 1 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:  

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6 Living One.
This phrase probably has its origin the Old Testament term “living God.” It also contrasts the true nature of Christ to that of the dead idols worshiped by the Romans and other peoples in John’s time.

 

Revelation 2 – Letters to the Churches

Revelation chapter 2 and Revelation chapter 3 contain messages for the seven churches in Asia. It seems likely that the problems faced by these churches were common to the entire church membership and that seven churches were chosen because the number seven indicates wholeness. Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea were all postal cities. Possibly they were selected because of their ability to help spread John’s message to the entire church. It should be noted, however, that there were other postal cities that were not selected, such as Troas, Adramyttium, and Colossae.

Part of the reason John wrote was to combat the apostasy and false doctrines that were entering the Church. He uses a general format that begins with a compliment, “I know thy works,” followed by a rebuke ushered in with “I have something against thee,” and ending with a promise “to him that overcometh.” (Exceptions are Sardis and Laodicea, which do not receive a compliment, and Smyrna and Philadelphia, which do not receive a rebuke.) The problems John seeks to correct are:

• Willingness to compromise with paganism (probably a practice that began as a way of escaping persecution and martyrdom).
• Denial of Christianity and a return to Judaism because of Jewish persecution.
• Acceptance of unauthorized leaders, teachers, and false prophets.
• Acceptance of false doctrine from false prophets, teachers, and leaders.
• Loss of, or diminishment of, devotion to Christ.

Two hundred years after John wrote the Book of Revelation his fears about the decline of the Church and its members were realized. The change in both the Church and its members can be seen by comparing the lives of Polycarp (A.D. 69-155) and Eusebius (A.D. 260-341). Polycarp, John’s follower and the bishop of Smyrna, suffered martyrdom in defense of his beliefs. In contrast, Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea and “father of church history,” practiced a policy of compromise and appeasement as advocated by the Nicolaitanes, and adamantly opposed by John in the Book of Revelation. Eusebius was a man of great prestige within the church. At the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325), Eusebius was seated in the place of honor, immediately to the right of the Emperor Constantine, and was selected to give the inaugural address. His support for the Nicene Creed was lukewarm, and was given reluctantly toward the end of the meeting. He later wrote to his congregation about the “non-natural sense” in which he accepted the Nicene Creed, speaking of it as a creed drawn up by the council of the bishops. Eustathias, bishop of Antioch, later accused Eusebius (with cause) of failing to support the Nicene Creed. Vigorous opposition by Eusebius to the Nicene Creed probably would have resulted in the council reaching a different conclusion or in his elimination by Constantine. Whether his support came because he desired the position of preeminence he received at the Council of Nicea, out of fear of Constantine, or from some other motive, it is clear that he compromised his beliefs by supporting the adoption of the Nicene Creed. Polycarp’s martyrdom shows he would have strongly opposed any creed in which he did not believe, even if it meant placing his life in peril. Two hundred years later it appears most church leaders and members were no longer willing to jeopardize their lives in support of their beliefs. Instead, both church leaders and members practiced the policy of appeasement and compromise that John condemned in his messages to the churches in Ephesus and Tyhatira. The teachings of Christ and his apostles were altered. Doctrine no longer resulted from revelation given by the Lord. Priesthood leaders were no longer called of God by prophets and apostles Instead, doctrine was now be established by councils of men, and leaders were chosen by emperors and kings. The New Testament prophecies of a coming apostasy were fulfilled.

John gives great encouragement to the individual members that through their own personal righteousness and faithfulness they can be exalted in the presence of God. However, he does not provide any assurances that the Church of his day as an institution can be saved from the persecution and apostasy that it is encountering.

 

Revelation 2:1-7Revelation 2:1-7
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2 1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.  

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— The Church in Ephesus

Ephesus was commended and told that judgment could be averted by repentance. If faithful, the church was promised eternal life. Following his banishment John lived in Ephesus. Ephesus, in western Turkey, contained the temple of Artemis, which was considered one of the ancient wonders of the world. This was perhaps the greatest of the Christian cities in Asia. After the destruction of Jerusalem it was Ephesus, not Rome, which became the de facto capitol of the entire Church. Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians was written from Rome around A.D. 60. The third ecumenical council (in A.D. 431) was held in Ephesus. The council was summoned to resolve the heresy known as Nestorianim. Named after the patriarch of Constantinople, this doctrine taught that Mary was only the mother of the human Jesus. The council denounced the patriarch and gave Mary the title of “Mother of God.” Ephesus was a port city on the coast of modern Turkey. The harbor (now silted up) was connected to Aegean Sea by the Cayster River, with the city located about three miles inland. It ranked with Rome, Alexandria, Corinth, and Antioch as one of the major commercial centers of the ancient world.

Revelation 2:14-16Revelation 2:14-16
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14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.  

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. Glory of the Lord.
These verses are intended to describe Christ’s glory in the after world.

Seven Stars. The seven stars are the presiding authority in the seven churches in Asia. (They are at times also referred to as angels and servants.)

Revelation 2:6Revelation 2:6
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6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  

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Nicolaitanes
. Nicolaitanes were members of the Church who were trying to maintain their good standing in the Church while at the same time living after the manner of the world. It is probably safe to assume that in some manner they had twisted the scriptures to justify their actions. Christian tradition is that they were followers of Nicolas, who is often thought to have been was one of the seven that assisted the apostles with temporal affairs (an associated of Stephen, who was martyred for his beliefs).

Revelation 2:7Revelation 2:7
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7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.  

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Eat of the Tree of Life.
This passage is figurative for receiving eternal life and exaltation in the celestial kingdom, where God the Father dwells.

 

Revelation 2:8-11Revelation 2:8-11
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8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.  

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— The Church in Smyrna

Smyrna, about forty miles north of Ephesus, was commended. If faithful they were promised they would not suffer the second death. It was to be under trial and was promised a crown. Smyrna, modern Izmir, was a beautiful city closely aligned with Rome. The city was eager to fulfill the demands of emperor worship and had a large Jewish population that was hostile to Christians. This combination made life difficult for the saints living within the city. Polycarp (A.D. 69?-155?), a student of the Apostle John and bishop of Smyrna, was burned at the stake as part of the persecution of the Christians. Some scholars think that Polycarp had been ordained bishop before John was banished to Patmos. If so, he was very young when he was ordained bishop or, as is also possible, his birth and death occurred earlier than the dates generally assigned to his life. It is more likely that Polycarp became bishop of Smyrna following the release of John from Patmos. There seems to be no doubt, however, that he was a faithful follower of John, and a very righteous man. Whoever the ecclesiastical leader of Smyrna was, he was not rebuked by John in the Book of Revelation. Both the leader of the church in Smyrna and the church members in that city appear to have been more righteous than most.

Revelation 2:8Revelation 2:8
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8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;  

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Angel of the Church.
Various terms—angel, servant, etc—are used to refer to the presiding authority of the congregations (churches) specified.

Revelation 2:10Revelation 2:10
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10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  

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Tribulation Ten Days.
The saints are to suffer as the result of persecution. However, the suffering of this life is short when compared to the eternal peace and reward received for enduring to the end. Ten is also used as part of the whole (twelve). Thus suffering ten days indicates suffering will not be eternal.

 

Revelation 2:12-17Revelation 2:12-17
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12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.  

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— The Church in Pergamum

Pergamos, located fifty miles north of Smyrna, was famous for its library. It was warned and promised a new crown, meaning an inheritance in the Kingdom of God. Peragamum, modern Bergama, was the ancient capitol of Asia. It was built on a cone-shaped hill about 1000 feet above the surrounding valley. Its Greek name means “citadel,” and Pergamos is the origin of our word parchment. It was the official center of emperor worship in Asia; hence John states it is “where Satan has his throne.”

Revelation 2:12-14Revelation 2:12-14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.  

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Doctrine of Balaam, Antipas, Balac.
Under Agustus Ceasar in 29 B.C. a Roman temple was built in Pergamos [Pergamum] that became a center of the Roman state religion. Under Domitian the Romans compelled emperor worship by the sword thus the Roman temple in Pergamos was seen as Satan’s temple and where Satan dwelt. (In like manner, Satan dwells wherever there is sin and wherever there is organized opposition to those that follow God.) Balaam was the prophet that King Balak of Moab hired to curse the Israelites. (See Numbers 22-24.) The Doctrine of Balaam is to preach and pervert the word of God for fame or monetary gain. Since the Lord forbid Balaam to curse Israel, he advised the Moabite women to lead the Israelites astray through sexual immorality so they would no longer receive divine protection. (See Numbers 25:1-2, 31:16Numbers 25:1-2, 31:16
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, and Jude 11.) Antipas, like James the brother of the Lord, was one of the early Christian martyrs. Tradition holds that Antipas was the first martyr in Asia, and was slowly roasted alive in a bronze kettle during Domitian’s reign.

Revelation 2:14Revelation 2:14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.  

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Eat things sacrificed unto idols, Commit Fornication.
Eating meat that has been sacrificed to idols is not in and of itself a sin so long as the person attaches no significance to the sacrifice. However, as appears to be the case in this passage, if the individual eats the meat as part of a religious ceremony or attaches importance to the sacrifice, then eating the meat that comes from a sacrifice becomes a sin. The references to fornication are both literal, and symbolic of idolatry.

Revelation 2:17Revelation 2:17
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17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.  

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Hidden Manna, White Stone, New Name.
Christ, the bread of life, is the hidden manna. When the earth becomes celestialized it will be like an Urim and Thummim , which were associated with the Hoshen (High Priest’s) breastplate, divination in general, and cleromancy in particular. Most scholars suspect that the phrase refers to specific holy objects involved in the divination. (See Revelation 21:9-27Revelation 21:9-27
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.  

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.) A new name is given to those who enter the celestial kingdom.

 

Revelation 2:18-27Revelation 2:18-27
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18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. 20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.  

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— The Church in Thyatira

Thyatira was about ninety miles northeast of Ephesus. It was reproved and also promised the morning star, that it would rule many kingdoms. Thyatira, modern Akhisar, was founded by Seleucus I (311-280 B.C.) as a military outpost. Militarism was stressed. Tyrimnos, a sun-god and chief deity of the city, was pictured in military garb representing military prowess. It was known for its many trade guilds, including the dying of wool. Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth mentioned in Acts 16:14Acts 16:14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.  

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, was from Thyatira.

Revelation 2:20Revelation 2:20
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20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.  

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Jezebel.
Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab, encouraged the worship of Baal in ancient Israel, and was opposed by the prophet Elijah. Apparently one of the female church members in Thyatira was promoting either outright idolatry or tolerance of pagan practices. Throughout the Old Testament idolatry is compared to adultery. People who are unfaithful to Jehovah by worshiping idols are like a wife who is unfaithful to her husband in marriage. John uses this symbolism, which would be readily understood by Christian Jews, in his condemnation of idolatry. When reading these passages one might meditate on what John would say about those today who teach tolerance of immoral conduct (such as cohabitation outside the bonds of marriage or homosexuality).

Revelation 2:23Revelation 2:23
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.  

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Search reigns and hearts.
The word reigns literally means kidneys, which to the Hebrews symbolized strength and vigor. The phrase is idiomatic, meaning God knows all things about the inner man, his strengths and weaknesses, character and emotions. Thus he is able to “give unto every one of your according to your works.”

Revelation 2:26-28Revelation 2:26-28
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star.  

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Overcome the World.
These verses contain the promise of exaltation for the righteous, plus a description of their future labors.

 

Revelation 3 – Letters to the Churches (con’t)

Revelation 3:1-6Revelation 3:1-6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  

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— The Church in Sardis

Sardis, modern Sart, was the capitol of the ancient kingdom of Lydia and is famous for its connection with Croesus, of legendary wealth. It was located at the crossroads of five major trade routes. Like Crosus, Sardis was a city of great wealth. It was also known for corruption and easy living, which may have promoted the Lord to say “I know thy works, that thou hast a name [reputation] that thou livest, and art [spiritually] dead.” It was called the dead church and it was promised a white raiment, that it would remain in the book of life.

Revelation 3:1Revelation 3:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.  

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Livest and art dead.
The leader of the church in Sardis was considered to be a very spiritual man (a name that livest) but in fact he was spiritually dead. The same condition applied to other members of the church in Sardis. (See verse two.)

Revelation 3:5Revelation 3:5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.  

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Book of Life.
To have ones name removed from the Book is Life indicates a loss of citizenship or membership. (See Exodus 32:32-33Exodus 32:32-33
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32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. 33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.  

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and Psalm 69:28Psalm 69:28
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28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.  

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, and Daniel 12:1Daniel 12:1
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12 1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.  

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.) Those who have their name removed from the Book of Life have no inheritance or place in the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

Revelation 3:7-13Revelation 3:7-13
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  

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— The Church in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, modern Alashehir, was the second leading city of Lydia. The city was to be kept “from the hour of temptation.” It was the gateway to the high, central plateau of Asia Minor. Philadelphia, “the city of brotherly love” was named in commemoration of the loyalty of Attalus II (220-130 B.C.) to his brother, Eumenes II. Because of its many vineyards, Bacchus, god of vine, was the chief deity. The church in Philadelphia, like Smyrna, was not rebuked. If faithful the church was promised it would gain godhood. After Thyatira it was the smallest and least important city addressed by John.

Revelation 3:7Revelation 3:7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;  

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Key of David.
King David was seen as the archetypical all-powerful ruler. His name is used metaphorically to refer to the all-powerful (see Isaiah 22:22Isaiah 22:22
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22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.  

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) and here is used meaning Christ. The Father has given all judgment to the Son. As the Messiah he holds the keys of David, and determines who is admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven. (See Isaiah 22:22Isaiah 22:22
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22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.  

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and Matthew 16:19Matthew 16:19
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19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  

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.) The key of David (or house of David) is the right, temporally and spiritually, to rule and reign, which ultimately belongs to Christ.

Revelation 3:9Revelation 3:9
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9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.  

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Synagogue of Satan.
The Jewish synagogue in Philadelphia had rejected Christ and fought against the saints. Hence it was part of the Church of the Devil. (Compare to Revelation 17:1-18Revelation 17:1-18
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17 1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: decked: Gr. gilded 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. harlots: or, fornications 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. 7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. 9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. 12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. 14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. 15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. 17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. 18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.  

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.)

Revelation 3:1Revelation 3:1
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3 1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.  

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0 Keep from you.
The Greek means “keep you from undergoing.” The reference is to a period of testing.

Revelation 3:1Revelation 3:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.  

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2 Write Upon him the name of God.
God’s name is God. To have God’s name written upon a person means that person is able to dwell with God in the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

Revelation 3:14-21Revelation 3:14-21
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; of the Laodiceans: or, in Laodicea 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  

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— The Church in Laodicea

Laodicea, near modern Denizli, was capital of greater Phygia. During the Roman era it was the wealthiest city in Phrygia and a city of great splendor, located at the junction of two prosperous valleys and the crossroads of three trade routes. Nearby Hierapolis (which today we would probably call a suburb of Laodicea) was famous for its medicinal, hot mineral baths. Water flowing from Hierapolis to Laodicea was lukewarm when it entered Laodicea. The city was known as a banking center, for its textile industry (especially a black wool unique to the city), and for its school of medicine. Which was especially known for its eye salve made from the Phrygian store. (See Revelation 3:1Revelation 3:1
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3 1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.  

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8.) The decline of Laodicea was due to an inadequate water supply and today only ruins remain. Laodicea was known as the city of compromise, the problem that John addresses in his message. The church in Laodicea is often termed the lukewarm church. If faithful the church was promised it would sit on the throne of God.

Revelation 3:1Revelation 3:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.  

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6 Christ as the Amen.
Amen in English is derived from a Hebrew verb, which means to make firm. It was used to signify acclamation of truthfulness in prayer, doctrine, or a vow. Through Christ acts are given a stamp of truth and validity, thus he is the Great Amen. (In contrast to the lack of commitment shown by the Laodiceans.)

Revelation 3:1Revelation 3:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.  

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6 Lukewarm.
The Laodiceans were told that because they were lukewarm, instead of being either hot or cold, the Lord would spew them out of his mouth. We generally hear this scripture interpreted as the Lord wishing they were either good or bad, with hot being good and cold being bad. This is not the case; the Lord does not want anyone to be bad. Laodicea was famous for its mineral baths. People seeking to be healed would first soak in hot water from the natural hot springs and then plunge themselves into pools of cold water. Both the hot and cold water were viewed as therapeutic, and consequently good, but lukewarm water was of no use in the healing baths. The Lord wanted the Laodiceans to be of use or service (like the hot and cold baths) but because he was unable to use them for his work he would “spew them out of his mouth.”

 

Revelation 4 – The Throne in Heaven

Revelation chapter 4 addresses the question of what constitutes the forces of God. Another question answered is what is the supreme power, with the answer being God and Christ. Chapter four is a vision of God’s (Eloheim’s) majesty, and chapter five of Christ’s majesty. The twenty-four elders are faithful saints in Paradise. When John’s vision shifts to the heavens he sees God’s harmony and power everywhere, and deservedly is impressed by the comparison to earthly life.

Revelation 4:1Revelation 4:1
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4 1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.  

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Door Was Opened.
In describing his vision of heaven, John makes used of Ezekiel’s writings. Compare this chapter to Ezekiel chapter one.

Revelation 4:4Revelation 4:4
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4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.  

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Twenty-four Elders.
The twenty-four elders were members of the seven churches in Asia (now in Paradise) who had been faithful during their mortality. They were sitting with God, symbolizing the eternal life and exaltation that is the reward of the faithful. Various suggestions have been made for the origin of the number 24, which is symbolic of those whose who have been exalted and are seated on thrones on high. One suggestion is that the number 24 is derived by adding the 12 sons of Jacob heading the twelve tribes of Israel to the 12 apostles. Another theory is that the number 24 comes from the 24 members of the chorus in a Greek drama. It was the role of the chorus to make moral pronouncements and assist the audience in understanding the drama. Certainly there are places in the Book of Revelation where the 24 elders function as a Greek chorus. (See Revelation 5:5, 7:11-17, 8:8-9, 11:16-17Revelation 5:5, 7:11-17, 8:8-9, 11:16-17
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5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. 7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.  

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, etc.)

Revelation 4:6Revelation 4:6
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6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.  

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Sea of Glass
. The sea of glass is the earth in its sanctified, eternal state when it has received its paradisiacal glory as described in this verse.

Revelation 4:7-8Revelation 4:7-8
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7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. rest...: Gr. have no rest  

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Beasts
. Again John borrows heavily from Ezekiel. The beasts described are representative of the glory of the different classes of beasts. Eyes represent light and knowledge, wings the power to act, move, etc.

Revelation 4:7Revelation 4:7
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7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.  

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and Ezekiel 1:5-10Ezekiel 1:5-10
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5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. 6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. 7 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. straight...: Heb. a straight foot 8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. 9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.  

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Four creatures with four faces.
Ezekiel saw four creatures with the faces of a man, lion, ox, and eagle; whereas in his vision John saw a lion, calf, man, and flying eagle. In The New Bible Commentary, Revised (Guthrie and Motyer editors) the following midrash is used to explain the vision which Ezekiel received:

Man is exalted among creatures; the eagle is exalted among birds, the ox is exalted among domestic animals; the lion is exalted among wild beasts; and all of them have received dominion, and greatness has been given them, yet they are stationed below the chariot of the Holy One.” God’s throne was above these creatures to show he had dominion over all living things, though he provided for both men and beasts to enter into eternal glory in their appropriate order.

Although this explanation was given to Ezekiel’s vision, it also seems applicable to what John saw.

Wings. The creatures’ wings represent the power to move, act, etc.

Feet Burnished Like Brass. In some translations the word amber is used instead of brass. Few things have a greater luster than highly polished brass. Luster is used to indicate beauty and glory. The word straight indicates standing upright, not bent bend as when sitting or kneeling. Thus the creature did not ambulate, as does a man when walking.

Wings Joined Together. The wings joined together indicate harmony and unity, the total unity of all living things that submit to God’s will.

 

Revelation 5 – The Scroll and the Lamb

In Revelation 5, the Lamb is able to do what no one else is capable of accomplishing, which is to execute the will of the Father. The reason is that the Lamb was slain as a sacrifice for all mankind. Victory grows out of his death, and redemption from his blood. Hymns of praise are sung in appreciation for that sacrifice.

Revelation5:1 Seven Seals. The book, divided into the seven periods, that John saw in Revelation 5:1Revelation 5:1
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5 1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.  

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represents the will, mysteries, and the works of God throughout the earth’s mortality. The first seal represents the first period (or 1000 years) of man’s history on earth, the second seal the second period, and so forth. Note that the use of 1000 years is more likely figurative than literal as 1000 is the superlative for completion. John writes little of what occurred during past dispensations and records only significant events that impact the overall struggle of good against evil. The first seal is the Adamic period spanning creation until the flood. The second seal is the flood and Noah’s dispensation. The third seal is that of the Abraham and the House of Israel, and the fourth seal is the era when pagan nations dominated the world. The fifth seal represents John’s own era, the persecutions that the saints have suffered and will suffer. The sixth seal is the dispensation of the fullness of times, the great day of the Lord (in which we now live). The seventh seal is the millennium and events associated with the end of the world.

Revelation 5:5Revelation 5:5
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5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.  

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Lion of the tribe of Judah and Root of David.
Both these expressions refer to Christ. Only Christ is worthy and capable of opening the seals of the book.

Revelation 5:6Revelation 5:6
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6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.  

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Lamb Slain, Seven horns, Eyes, etc.
The passage refers in particular to the twelve apostles and in general to all the faithful who serve God. The number seven symbolizes completeness, perfection, and righteousness just as the number six symbolizes imperfection and evil. When John states the Lamb was alive, but had the marks “as it had been slain” he used the Greek sphazo meaning slaughtered, probably a reference to Christ being the Pascal lamb. Reference to a lamb as a victorious military leader can by found in apocryphal writings. (See 1 Enoch 90:9 and Testament of Joseph 19:8eph 19:8
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Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja!

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.) Eyes are symbols of knowledge or wisdom and seven eyes indicate omniscience. (This reference seems influenced by Zechariah 4:10Zechariah 4:10
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10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth. for they...: or, since the seven eyes of the LORD shall rejoice plummet: Heb. stone of tin  

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.) Horns are the Old Testament symbols of power and/or kingship with seven horns indicating that the Lamb is omnipotent. (See Numbers 23:22Numbers 23:22
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22 God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.  

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; Deuteronomy 33:17; 1Deuteronomy 33:17; 1
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17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh. unicorns: Heb. an unicorn The Fifth Book of Moses, Called Deuteronomy 1 1 These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab. the Red...: or, Zuph 2 3 And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them; 4 After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth in Edrei: 5 On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying, 6 The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount: 7 Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates. all...: Heb. all his neighbours 8 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them. set: Heb. given 9 And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone: 10 The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude. 11 12 How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife? 13 Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. Take: Heb. Give 14 And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do. 15 So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes. made: Heb. gave 16 And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. 17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it. respect...: Heb. acknowledge faces 18 And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do. 19 And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us; and we came to Kadeshbarnea. 20 And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us. 21 Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged. 22 And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come. 23 And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe: 24 And they turned and went up into the mountain, and came unto the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out. 25 And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us. 26 Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God: 27 And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. 28 Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there. discouraged: Heb. melted 29 Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them. 30 The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes; 31 And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place. 32 Yet in this thing ye did not believe the LORD your God, 33 Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day. 34 And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying, 35 Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers, 36 Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD. wholly...: Heb. fulfilled to go after 37 Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. 39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it. 40 But as for you, turn you, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea. 41 Then ye answered and said unto me, We have sinned against the LORD, we will go up and fight, according to all that the LORD our God commanded us. And when ye had girded on every man his weapons of war, ye were ready to go up into the hill. 42 And the LORD said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies. 43 So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and went presumptuously up into the hill. went...: Heb. ye were presumptuous, and went up 44 And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah. 45 And ye returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD would not hearken to your voice, nor give ear unto you. 46 So ye abode in Kadesh many days, according unto the days that ye abode there.  

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Samuel 2:1; 1 Kings 22:111 Kings 22:11
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11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.  

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; Zechariah 1:18Zechariah 1:18
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18 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns.  

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; and Daniel 7:7, 20; 8:3Daniel 7:7, 20; 8:3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. 20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. 3 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. the other: Heb. the second  

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.) The seven Spirits of God is an indication of full administrative authority, which Christ will exercise when he rules and reigns during the millennium. Eyes and horns also symbolize servants of God sent forth to do his work.

Revelation5:8-14 The New Song. The new song is necessary because the death of the Lamb establishes a new covenant. It begins as the Lamb takes the scroll, indicating he will execute the will of the Father. The new song brings the visions of God and Christ (Revelation chapters 4-5) to an end, with singing beginning with the elders and continuing until all those who are exalted join in singing hymns of praise and gratitude.

 

Revelation 6 – The Seals

In Revelation chapter 6, as the hymns of praise cease, the Lamb of God begins the task (which only he can perform) of breaking the seals and executing the will of the Father. A Roman will was bound with a string and seven seals. Only a person authorized by the state (such as a probate judge in our era) could break the seals of a will and execute its contents. Note that the scroll cannot be read until all the seals are broken and that the audience remains ignorant of the contents of the will until all the seals have been broken and the scroll is read. The symbolic teaching is that we do not know the will of the Father until the final judgment occurs following the breaking of the seals representing mans mortal existence. (John’s use of horses and riders is an adaptation the vision of four horsemen in Zechariah 1:8-11Zechariah 1:8-11
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8 I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. speckled: or, bay 9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. 10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. 11 And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.  

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and four chariots in Zechariah 6:1-8Zechariah 6:1-8
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6 1 And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. 2 In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; 3 And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. bay: or, strong 4 Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? 5 And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. spirits: or, winds 6 The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country. 7 And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth. 8 Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.  

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.)

Revelation 6:1-2Revelation 6:1-2
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6 1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.  

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— First Seal.
The first seal represents the Adamic period. A conquering hero usually rode a white horse, which is used here as a symbol of victory. The bow is symbolic of war, the war of good against evil. Crowns are worn by conquering heroes. The Greek stephanos means a crown of victory, such as the laurel wreath; whereas, the Greek diadema is a crown worn by kings. Some feel these verses are especially descriptive of Enoch and his city that was so successful is conquering evil that they were taken into heaven. Another view of these verses is that they were intended to strengthen the people of John’s day by reminding them that the world was created in such a manner that all who faithfully and fearlessly follow God’s plan will ultimately triumph and be exalted. The use of the passive voice provides a subtle message that the unseen power of God was aiding the rider of the white horse. Thus the rider is seen by some as Adam, others as Christ, others as Enoch, as still others as mankind proceeding forth from God’s presence armed with all the tools necessary to return in victory to God’s presence when mortal life ends. (Adam, the first man, is often a symbol for mankind.)

Revelation 6:3-4Revelation 6:3-4
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3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.  

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— Second Seal.
The second seal concerns the period of time generally associated with Noah’s era. The fiery red horse is symbolic of war and bloodshed. The person riding the red horse is probably Satan leading the forces of evil to battle against righteousness. During Noah’s time the earth became so wicked that ultimately all but eight of its inhabitants were destroyed by the flood; therefore, this period is usually associated with Noah’s era.

Revelation 6:5-6Revelation 6:5-6
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5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. A measure: the word choenix signifieth a measure containing one wine quart, and the twelfth part of a quart  

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— Third Seal.
In Abraham’s dispensation famine was a constant companion of mankind. We read in the scriptures that Haran, the brother of Abraham and father of Lot, starved to death and how Jacob and his sons left the land of Canaan for Egypt due to famine. Generations later the House of Israel still experienced famine. An example is recorded when the poor widow miraculously fed the prophet Elijah. The black horse is symbolic of death. The scales used for measuring food symbolize famine. (It is thought by some that famine was a byproduct of the destruction brought by the flood during Noah’s time.) The pair of balances symbolizes rationing of food. A measure of wheat was about a quart, and a penny was a day’s wages for a common laborer. In normal times a penny would buy between ten and sixteen quarts of wheat. Barley, a less nutritious grain, was bought by those who could not afford wheat. “Hurt not the oil and the wine,” means that limits (unseen by man) existed so that mankind would not be totally destroyed by famine and pestilence.

Revelation 6:7-8Revelation 6:7-8
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7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. unto them: or, to him  

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— Fourth Seal.
The fourth seal recounts the tribulations suffered by the House of Israel due to war and conquest by other nations. One of the reasons the people of Israel rejected rule by the judges, and proclaimed Saul their king, was to strengthen their nation militarily. For years they had suffered from the incursions of the Philistines and other enemies. A monarchy, however, did not protect them from the ravages of war. Besides the wars between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, there was the Assyrian conquest of the ten tribes, the Babylonian captivity, the conquest by Alexander the Great, the desolation brought about by Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria, and conquest by Rome. In addition, there were numerous smaller wars with their neighbors; Moab, Edom, Syria, Egypt, etc. This was also the era of great world empires and a time that warfare spanned the known world; the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar, the Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great, the Greek Empire of Alexander, and the Roman Empire. The ashen or pale horse represents death. Hell is used in this verse as the abode of the dead. The Hebrew word Sheol has the same meaning as the Greek Hades, which is the dwelling place of the dead. (Again limits—unseen by man—were operative, as the impact was limited to one-fourth of the people.)

Revelation 6:9-11Revelation 6:9-11
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9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.  

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— Fifth Seal.
The fifth seal was the period in which John lived. Of all the events of his day, the birth of Jesus, the establishment of the Church, the atonement, etc., John selected the martyrdom of the early saints to symbolize the fifth seal. (John already knew the saints would be persecuted and slain and that the Church would be destroyed.) White robes (exaltation) were the reward of the faithful and they were instructed to be patient as the roster of martyrs was not yet complete.

Revelation 6:12-17Revelation 6:12-17
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12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. untimely figs: or, green figs 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?  

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— Sixth Seal.
The sixth seal contains pre-millennial events usually thought of as either having occurred or as being about to occur in our age. The following seven events are specified:

  1. Earthquake
  2. Darkened Sun
  3. Reddening of the moon
  4. Stars falling
  5. Heavens rolling up
  6. Mountains and islands moving out of their place
  7. Consternation of mankind

The following classes of men are to be impacted:

  1. Kings
  2. Great men
  3. Rich men
  4. Chief Captains
  5. Mighty men
  6. Bondsmen
  7. Free men

It seems both from the number seven and the overall list that all men everywhere will be impacted by these events. The greater question is how literally should we interpret the list of pre-millennial events that are to occur in the sixth seal. The ancient Jews thought that cosmic order depended upon mankind being obedient to God, and that if man became sufficiently disobedient the universe would begin to disintegrate. Such a figurative interpretation of these verses means that during the sixth seal mankind will become so wicked that the natural harmony of the universe is distributed.

If these verses are to be interpreted literally then many noteworthy geological and cosmic events are to occur prior to the Millennium.

 

Revelation 7 – The Four Angels and the 144,000he 144,000
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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At the end of Revelation 6 the reader is prepared for the events that are to occur during the seventh seal, which appears to be the judgments of God. Chapter six concludes with the question: “For the great day of his wrath has come and who shall be able to stand?” Instead of proceeding to enumerate the events of the day of the Lord’s wrath, John digresses by answering the question “who shall be able to stand?” in Revelation chapter 7. In answer to this question John sees four angels standing at the four corners of the earth (indicating the entire world) holding in check the wind so it does not destroy the world. John probably pictured the sirocco, which burnt vegetation and left the land dusty and dry. In ancient Israel storm winds had almost hurricane force bring scorching heat and were often accompanied by insects and plague. Ancient Israel viewed such winds as signs of divine anger. (See Hosea 3:15Hosea 3:15
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.)

Revelation 7:1Revelation 7:1
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7 1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.  

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Four Angels.
The purpose of these angels is also to bring the gospel to the world, which is their primary labor in the sixth seal. After preaching the gospel they are to unloose the winds of destruction.

Revelation 7:2Revelation 7:2
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2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,  

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Angel of the East.
This angel of the east (an Elias) holds the four destroying angels in check until he completes his commission to gather the tribes of Israel and seal those who accept the gospel. John borrows from Ezekiel 43:4Ezekiel 43:4
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4 And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.  

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where the glory of the Lord comes out of the east and Ezekiel 9:4Ezekiel 9:4
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4 And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. set a mark: Heb. mark a mark  

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where a mark on the forehead protects the righteous from destruction when Jerusalem falls.

 

The 144,000he 144,000
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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Revelation 7:4-8Revelation 7:4-8
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4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.  

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The 144,000he 144,000
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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.
Twelve is the number of the apostles representing the priesthood. Both twelve squared (144) and the number one thousand are superlatives, hence the number 144,000 is probably not a literal number. The number 144,000 is probably intended to represent all the faithful holders of the priesthood acting in obedience to God. Note that the tribe of Dan is omitted. (The two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manassas, are listed as heading tribes to produce 12 tribes.) While the reason is not given it is generally thought this is a punishment because the tribe of Dan was the first of the tribes to openly worship idols when, following the death of Solomon, Israel split into northern and southern kingdoms. The tribe of Dan was also less numerous and powerful than the other tribes. In addition, the tribe of Dan failed to conquer the land of the Philistines, which was to be its inheritance, so it was necessary to assign it other territory. (There is a church that teaches that 144,000 is the number of those allowed to enter heaven. Verse nine disproves such a doctrine stating, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.”) Many people interpret verse fifteen to mean that exactly 144,000 high priests will assist the Lord during the millennium. However, as stated above, it is very possible that this number should be interpreted figuratively, not literally, as meaning that priesthood in total righteousness and in full obedience to the will of the Lord will further the work of the Kingdom of God on earth during the millennium.

Revelation 7:9-17Revelation 7:9-17
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9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.  

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Countless Multitude Saved
. In these verses we read of a multitude too great to number that shall be saved because “they have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Having palms in their hands is associated with the acceptance of Christ as king of the Jews on Palm Sunday, just prior to his crucifixion. This contradicts the doctrine of the church that teaches only 144,000 souls shall be saved.

Chapter 7 Summary. Chapter six ended with the question, “Who shall be able to stand?” Chapter seven answers this question when we learn that those who are faithful and “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” shall be able to aide the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

 

Revelation 8 -The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer

After John’s digression in chapter seven he returns to the opening of the seals. In Revelation chapter 8 the seventh seal is opened. The world will be judged and receive it just compensation. The Lord will not come at the opening of the seventh seal and his coming shall be preceded by plagues and destruction.

Revelation 8:1Revelation 8:1
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8 1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.  

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Silence in Heaven.
One would expect some great event to accompany the opening of the seventh seal. However, the event that heralds the opening of the seventh seal is silence in heaven for the space of about half an hour. (If the metaphor of a day with God is like 1,000 years with man is taken literally then one-half hour is about twenty years.) The silence probably indicates that none on earth will be aware that the seventh seal has been opened. (The concept of silence in heaven is found in the Old Testament. See Habakkuk 2:20Habakkuk 2:20
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20 But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him. let...: Heb. be silent all the earth before him  

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, Zechariah 2:13Zechariah 2:13
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13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation. his...: Heb. the habitation of his holiness  

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, and Zephaniah 1:7Zephaniah 1:7
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7 Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. bid: Heb. sanctified, or, prepared  

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.) During this “half-hour” the people of the earth receive a final opportunity—which they reject—to repent and avoid the judgments of God for their wickedness. It is at the end of this “half-hour” that Christ is revealed to the inhabitants of the world. Thus the millennial period (seventh seal) begins not with the Second Coming of Christ but rather with great tribulations.

The scripture teaches that the millennial period will begin with great trials and suffering, not with the Second Coming of Christ. It is after the “half-hour” of silence that Christ will come, righteousness shall triumph, and the great and abdominal church be destroyed. We tend to misunderstand the great and abominable church by looking for a monolithic, hierarchical organization, that is an evil mirror image of the Church founded by Christ. The concept of the great and abominable church is better understood by applying the Old Testament concept of the assembly of the wicked to the term great and abominable church. The great and abominable church lacks a single creed and organizational structure. Instead it is composed of those within multiple organizations (civil and religious) who espouse numerous ideologies and theologies that are in opposition to God’s truth and hinder his work. It is worth repeating that the great and abominable church is better understood by viewing it as all those who have their hearts set on the riches of the world and seek to obtain them through unrighteous means, instead of viewing it as a monolithic organization.

Revelation 8:2-6Revelation 8:2-6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. offer...: or, add it to the prayers 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. 5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. into: or, upon 6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.  

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Another Angel. John sees seven angels with seven trumpets; he also sees another angel with a golden censer. (A vessel in which incense is burned.) Due to apocryphal scripture many think this angel is Raphael. (See Tobit 12:15Tobit 12:15
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

15 I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One.  

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.) Before the prayers of saints—for the Second Coming—are answered the earth will be visited with thunder, lightening, and an earthquake. The hot coals seen falling to earth are probably symbolic of the judgment of God descending upon the wicked.

 

The Trumpet Blasts

Revelation 8:7Revelation 8:7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.  

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First Trumpet Blast. Hail and fire follow the trumpet blast of the first angel. The third-part means that limitations are placed on the destruction the angel can bring.

Revelation 8:8-9Revelation 8:8-9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.  

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Second Trumpet Blast.
A great mountain falls into the sea, part of which becomes blood following the trumpet blast of the second angel. In the first plague of Egypt water was turned to blood. Limits again are placed on the angel’s destruction.

Revelation 8:1Revelation 8:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.  

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0-11 Third Trumpet Blast.
A star, named Wormwood, falls and many men die following the trumpet blast of the third angel. Wormwood is a non-poisonous plant with a strong, bitter taste, which is used to symbolize pain and sorrow. The waters becoming bitter is the opposite of the miracle performed by Moses when the Israelites lacked drinking water. Moses, by throwing a piece of wood in the waters of Marah, made them sweet and fit to drink. (See Exodus 15:25Exodus 15:25
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,  

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.) Once more limits are placed on the destruction the angel can produce.

Revelation 8:1Revelation 8:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.  

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2-13 Fourth Trumpet Blast.
Following the trumpet blast of the fourth angel the sun is smitten, as are parts of the moon and stars. In the ninth plague of Egypt, just before the exodus, darkness covered the land for three days. Some see this, as symbolizing that God’s people will soon be freed from the bondage of a world controlled by Satan’s agents. Again, note there are limits on the destruction the angel can bring.

 

Meaning of the First Four Trumpet Blasts and Angels.

The four angels are probably selected to show geographic completeness and, that the whole earth is to be impacted (the four corners of the earth). It should be noted that the seventh seal has not yet been opened, so we are unable to turn to history (as we did with the seals associated with the horseman) for an explanation of these verses. We are left to speculate on their exact meaning. Many interpretations exist for the calamities that will occur during these trumpet blasts. (A popular theory, for example, is these calamities could result from atomic warfare.) However, since any interpretation of these verses is highly speculative, I lack confidence in all of them. All that can be said with certainty is that this will be a time of great destruction and tribulation throughout the entire world.

 

Revelation 9 -The Fifth and Sixth Trumpet & The Locusts

In Revelation chapter 9 John portrays the horror that Satan will unleash upon mankind when his power is greatest. Most surprising is that there will still be people who will refuse to repent in the midst of all this tribulation, the first two woes.

Revelation 9:1-2Revelation 9:1-2
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.  

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Fifth Trumpet, First Woe, Bottomless Pit.
After the fifth angel sounds his trumpet a key is given to the star that falls from heaven. (In Greek the perfect tense is used which would be more accurately translated “fallen” indicating a past, not future, event.) The bottomless pit represents the abode of Satan following his expulsion from the Garden of Eden. This is a translation of the Hebrew concept of the primeval deep, where became the abode of the demonic followers of Satan after they were cast out. John’s description of Satan falling from heaven appears to have been derived from Isaiah, who wrote:

12.  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13.  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14.  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15.  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
Isaiah 14:12-15Isaiah 14:12-15
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! O Lucifer: or, O day star 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.  

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It is noteworthy that Satan must have the key given to him in order to escape the pit. The implication is that his power is limited, and God is still ultimately in control of all that transpires. As the pit is opened John sees smoke escape, which darkens the sun. This is symbolic of evil being unloosed with Satan coming out of the pit so that darkness (false theology and philosophy) reigns over truth. Thus the first woe occurs when the false doctrines and philosophies sponsored by Satan hide the truth from mankind.

Revelation 9:3-11Revelation 9:3-11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. 6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. 7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. 8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. 10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. 11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. Apollyon: that is to say, A destroyer  

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The Locusts.
John’s symbolism in heavily influenced by the plague of locusts in Joel 1-2. Also, in the Septuagint (Ezekiel 37-38, Amos 7:1Amos 7:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 1 Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings. grasshoppers: or, green worms  

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) a plague of locusts is associated with Gog and Magog. The locusts are seen emerging from the darkness and smoke of the pit. In nature, a plague of locust is often so dense that it darkness the sky. (The locusts are seen coming from the north, whereas in ancient Israel plagues of locusts usually came from the south or southeast. Militarily ancient Israel’s most powerful enemies came from the north.) The locusts seen by John are men blind to the light of truth due to sin and corruption, having human faces probably indicates they will use cunning and guile to achieve their aims. They are ruled by the fallen angel of the pit whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek, Apollyon. Abbadon and Apollyon both mean “the destroyer.” In the beginning the locusts do not kill, rather they torment man. (The Greek basanishthesontai is used, which means to inflect mental and spiritual suffering.) Their gold crowns are stephanos, the crown of achievement, not the diadema of monarchs. The tail of the scorpion is symbolic of their power to hurt and torment. The breastplates of iron indicate their indestructibility in battle, their lion’s teeth also show their ability to overcome and maul their prey, while wings indicate mobility. Their long hair may refer to the ability to seduce and corrupt mankind or it may be symbolic of fierceness in battle. (Parthian warriors—noted for their fierceness—had long hair.) Note that they attack men, but there are limits placed on them. They are to torment mankind for five months; the symbolism of five months is unclear. (The normal life span of the locust is five months. Also, spring to summer, the season when locusts are most feared, lasts about five months. Thus we do not know if five months indicates a short period of time, a generation, or has another meaning.) The locusts are part of the fifth trumpet blast and first woe. (Today we do not realize how devastating a plague of locusts can be. In 1866 over 200,000 Algerians died of starvation following a plague of locusts.)

Revelation 9:12-19Revelation 9:12-19
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. 13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. for an hour: or, at an hour 16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. 19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.  

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Sixth Trumpet Blast and Second Woe.
When the sixth angel sounds his trumpet blast, John hears a voice coming from the altar in heaven. The horns of the altar are symbolic of blessings and intercession received by the faithful, especially through sacrifice. (On the Day of Atonement, the priest sprinkled the horns of the altar with the blood of the sacrifice indicating that reconciliation with God had been obtained by sacrifice. Also, asylum was obtained from the king by clinging to the horns of the altar—symbolizing the mercy, protection, and forgiveness that can be obtained from God by the repentant.) Instead of hearing the voice proclaim mercy, it commands the angel to release the four destructive angels. These angels were kept in check while the saints of God were being sealed. Their destructive power is directed towards men, but limits (the third-part) are placed upon their power. The number of the army (armies in some translations) in the King James Version is two hundred thousand, thousands, which is 200,000,000is 200,000,000
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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. However, the Greek reads two myriads of myriads so the number should not be taken literally. A myriad is a very large, indefinite number, or an innumerable quantity, as in the myriad fish in the sea. (Thus in concept two myriads of myriads is something like infinity squared—a very large number without a literal meaning.) Horses with tails like snakes represents the satanic origin of the power of the horses.

Revelation 9:20-21Revelation 9:20-21
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.  

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The Unrepentant.
In the midst of all this destruction there are still those who refuse to repent and turn to God. The worship of idols of gold, silver, etc. probably reflects the materialism (and secular humanism) seen in the modern world. Sins of theft, murder, and fornication are easily understood by modern readers. The sin of sorcery is not as easily understood. John uses the Greek word pharmakeia (from which comes our word pharmacy) that indicates the use of drugs, elixirs, potions, etc. In Revelation chapter eighteen we find the use of drugs is one of the methods by which the Mother of Abominations is able to deceive the nations of the world. Sorcery is sometimes translated magic arts. The Book of Acts records that the saints at Ephesus publicly burned their books of magic valued at 50,000 pieces of silver or drachmas (see Acts 19:19Acts 19:19
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.  

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) indicating how commonplace sorcery was in John’s time.

 

Revelation 10 -Then Angel and the Little Scroll

In Revelation chapter nine John completes his narration of the sixth blast of the trumpets and the first two woes. The reader is left expecting an account of the third woe and seventh blast of the trumpet. Rather than proceeding as expected John digresses from his expected path. (He uses a similar literary device before the opening of the seventh seal where he poses and answers the question of who can abide the day of the Lord.) Instead of speaking of the third woe, a new vision opens and John sees another angel descending from heaven holding a little book. John is forbidden to record much of what the angel imparts. The angel stands in contrast to Satan. Satan is associated with smoke and darkness coming from the pit while the angel is associated with light and glory coming from the heaven. The rainbow is the symbol that God will preserve man and the earth. Pillars of fire guided the Israelites at night during the exodus. The visit of the angel foreshadows the millennial peace that Christ will bring. The book that John eats is his mission as an Elias (messenger) to gather the Ten Tribes for the Second Coming. The book is sweet in his mouth because he is preaching the word of God while it is bitter in his belly because of the suffering that the people of Christ have to endure. (The eating of the book is borrowed from Ezekiel 3:1-3Ezekiel 3:1-3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 1 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. 2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.  

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.) Eating the book is symbolic of internalizing the message he received and preparing for the mission he receives in the part of the message (the seven thunders) that he is prohibited from recording. This digression in Revelation chapter 10 explains why John received the vision we know as the Book of Revelation.

 

Revelation 11 -The Two Witnesses

Revelation chapter 10 explains the reason John received this revelation on the Isle of Patmos. From Revelation chapter 11 onward John becomes a participant in, not just an observer of, of these events. The seventh trumpet has still not sounded. Before it sounds John is to perform a commission he received from the Lord.

Revelation 11:1-2Revelation 11:1-2
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. leave out: Gr. cast out  

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— Measuring the Temple.
The “reed like a rod” that John was given represents a surveyor’s rod. (Anciently reeds, which could reach twenty feet in length, were used for this purpose. They grew in abundance on the banks of the river Jordan.) Solomon’s temple, like the tabernacle before it, had an inner and outer court. The inner court, known as the sanctuary, contained the temple altar. (Herod’s temple had four outer courts and does not seem to be the temple that fits John’s symbolism.) Again John borrows symbolism from the Old Testament. In Ezekiel 40-42 the temple is measured with care. In Zechariah 1:6Zechariah 1:6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us. take...: or, overtake  

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a measuring line is connected with the salvation of Israel. The sanctuary is symbolic of God’s people—who will be spared—as the Spirit dwells in them just as it does in the temple sanctuary. John is told not to measure the outer court because those without the Spirit (the gentiles) will not be saved. Note that proximity to the sanctuary (as is the case with “lukewarm” saints) is not enough to obtain salvation.

Revelation 11:3-14Revelation 11:3-14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. I will give...: or, I will give unto my two witnesses that they may prophesy 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. of men: Gr. names of men 14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.  

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— The Two Witnesses.
These verses make it clear that the righteous will be afforded some degree of protection, which God will provide through his servants. These prophets combine the power of Moses (who commanded that Egypt be afflicted with plagues and parted the Red Sea) and Elijah (who called down fire from heaven to protect himself from King Ahaziah’s troops (see 2 Kings 1:10-122 Kings 1:10-12
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. 11 Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly. 12 And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.  

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) and sealed the heavens so they gave no rain). John uses symbolism from Zechariah 4:12-14Zechariah 4:12-14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? through: Heb. by the hand of the golden oil: Heb. the gold empty...: or, empty out of themselves oil into the gold 13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. anointed...: Heb. sons of oil  

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by describing them as two olive trees and lampstands—meaning they stand next to the Lord. They are to preach for 1260 days, which when divided by the lunar month of 30 days yields 42 months or 3½ years. (“A time, times and half a time” also means 1260 days and has the same meaning as 3½ years or 42 months.) These numbers are full of symbolism. The number seven is means perfection and completion, the number six means falling short of perfection, while the number eight indicates superabundance. Six times seven is forty-two, which also indicates falling short of the mark or a task ended without being completed. In like manner, the number 3½ (the distance half way to seven) indicates a task interrupted before completion. In these verses 42 months is the time evil is allowed to flourish, thus indicating that it will not be allowed to continue until its task is completed. The death of the witnesses causes rejoicing when they are slain. (Their bodies are made to lie in the streets for three days. In the Middle East failing to bury a body is a sign of great disrespect.) The rejoicing is replaced with despair when the slain witnesses return to life. Since Cain slew Abel, murder has been the ultimate weapon of the wicked. When the wicked are deprived of this weapon it is easy to see how they will lose heart. The raising of the witnesses from the deed ends the second woe ushered in by the trumpet blast of the sixth angel.

Revelation 11:15-19Revelation 11:15-19
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. destroy the earth: or, corrupt the earth 19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.  

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— Seventh Trumpet Blast and Third Woe.
Shortly after the two prophets ascend into heaven the blast of the seventh trumpet is heard with the announcement that the kingdoms of the world will now be ruled by Christ. The third woe, the destruction of the wicked that survived the second woe and the ending of Satan’s power, is now at hand. The Ark of the Covenant is used as a symbol of God’s covenant with Israel. (It symbolizes the throne and presence of God among his people.) John provides little detail about the third woe at this point. He does not say how Christ will finally overcome the wicked and Satan, or what judgments will be visited on the earth and its inhabitants. John’s account of the vision of the seven seals is now finished.

 

Revelation 12 -The Woman and the Dragon

Revelation chapter 11 ends with the announcement that Christ will now reign personally. Details, such as how Satan and the wicked will finally be vanquished are deferred until later and are not answered in chapter twelve. The vision of the seven seals has ended and John begins his account of another series of visions with his vision of the dragon, the woman, and the child. Christians in John’s era were suffering unbelievable persecution from the Roman Empire; in this new series of visions that begin in Revelation chapter 12 John explains the true origin of this persecution.

The Woman and man child

Revelation 12:1-2Revelation 12:1-2
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: wonder: or, sign 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.  

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and Revelation 12:5-6Revelation 12:5-6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.  

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— The Woman and Man Child.
Numerous interpretations of the woman and child exist. Two of the most widely accepted are: first, the woman is ancient Israel and the child is restored Israel; and second, the woman is the church and the man-child the priesthood. Neither of these fit. It would be more accurate to say the priesthood founded the church than the church gives birth to the priesthood. Ancient Israel rejected the New Covenant so it can hardly be said that it is responsible for the restoration. A clue perhaps is embedded in the vision of the first seal where man is seen as victorious and no calamity is recorded. The priesthood establishes the Church. The role of the Church is to bring forth a righteous people (sometimes called a Zion people) and establish the kingdom of God on earth. (A full definition of Zion is not appropriate at this time; however, some benchmarks should be noted. First, because of the righteousness of the people, spiritual gifts and manifestations of the Lord abound—such as his appearance to 500 saints as recorded in the Book of Acts. Second, a Zion people live the law of consecration, thus they have all things in common, as recorded in the Book of Acts. Third, a Zion people seek to be governed by the Lord and his law, consequently when circumstances permit they have a theocratic form of government. Therefore, in time Zion tends to become a political kingdom ultimately ruled by the Lord.) Zion was established anciently when the City of Enoch became so righteous that it was taken into heaven. (Thus it is easy to see why the first seal is pictured as an era of victory.) During the period following Christ’s mortal ministry the Church came very close to replicating the City of Enoch—a very rare accomplishment in man’s mortal existence. The Book of Acts tells how the Church practiced the law of consecration and how spiritual gifts abounded during the time of the Apostles. During the millennium the earth will be governed by Christ. In Revelation 12:5Revelation 12:5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.  

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the man-child is the political kingdom of God on earth. The crown of twelve stars represents the apostles while the clothing worn by the woman symbolizes the power of heaven. The woman’s travail comes from bringing forth the New Jerusalem. (J. Massyngberde Ford has pointed out that the woman is the antithesis of the harlot discussed in chapter eighteen.) Had the early apostles fully succeeded in establishing the kingdom of God on earth Satan’s power would have been destroyed. It is no wonder he instigated such violent persecution of the early saints and that the next image John sees involves Satan’s work.

 

The dragon

Revelation 12:3-6Revelation 12:3-6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. wonder: or, sign 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.  

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— The Dragon.
John sees a red dragon and uses the Greek drakon, which can also be translated as serpent, the Biblical symbol for Satan (the adversary) in the Garden of Eden. The dragon is also called the devil (the slanderer) who is seen as a liar from the beginning. As explained earlier, the seven heads and ten horns form a fitting reference to the Roman Empire at the time of John’s banishment to the Isle of Patmos during Domitian’s reign. It is easy to see how John would view the Roman Empire as the embodiment of Satan. Horns are symbols of power. The stars in the dragon’s tail refer to the spirits that followed Satan in the War in Heaven and are active in opposing the work of God. John also describes how Satan drives the woman into the wilderness, and prevents the establishment of Zion in the meridian of time. Thus Christians are told the real power responsible for their persecution is Satan.

Revelation 12:7-12Revelation 12:7-12
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.  

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— The War in Heaven.
Just as John went back to the beginning of time in his vision of the seven seals, John now returns to a time before the creation of the earth and describes the War in Heaven. The purpose of this flashback is to remind the saints that Satan and his agents began opposing the work of God before the earth was even formed. Victory in the heavens came at a price, which is the suffering that Satan causes the righteous during their mortal existence. (With his expulsion from heaven Satan lost all power and influence in his former abode and only has power on earth.) The saints are reminded that persecution by Satan and his agents has existed since Satan attempted to usurp God’s position during the War in Heaven.

Revelation 12:13-17Revelation 12:13-17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  

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— Dragon and the Woman.
John continues his account of Satan’s war against the Church as symbolized by the woman. Various interpretations of these symbols have been proposed, some more plausible than others. One of the most plausible is the child represents a righteous people (Zion); another is that the child is the political kingdom of God on earth. Others views are that the woman represents Israel and the child is the Church or that the woman is the Church and the child is the priesthood. (I favor the view that the child is a righteous people (Zion), which is what the church brings forth when its members fully live the gospel; furthermore, I discount the view that the child is the priesthood because the priesthood is needed to organize the church, not the church to create priesthood.) Whatever the child symbolizes, the child is taken to heaven to wait the second coming (similar to the City of Enoch) beyond the reach of Satan. Thus, the woman, who represents the Church, is left alone to face Satan’s wrath and she is driven into the wilderness. The eagle’s wings, given the woman to fly into the wilderness, symbolize both the power of movement and action plus divine protection and deliverance. (The Old Testament uses the symbol of eagle’s wings and the eagle for divine protection in various places. See Deuteronomy 32:10-11Deuteronomy 32:10-11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. led: or, compassed 11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:  

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and Isaiah 40:31Isaiah 40:31
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31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. renew: Heb. change  

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. During the exodus the wilderness was a place of safety and refuge for Israel.) Thus the woman is seen as being hidden or protect until the time (of restoration) arrives when she is to leave the wilderness and reenter the world. Another view is that the wilderness represents not a place of refuge, but rather apostasy. The water spewing out of the mouth of the dragon probably refers to Satan’s lies and deception. It is also possible the floodwaters coming out of the mouth of the dragon represent persecution and evil. With the man-child taken up to heaven and the woman seeking refuge in the wilderness, for a time Satan is able to rule the earth without apparent opposition. This message (the destruction of the Church and temporary ascendancy of Satan) must have been a bitter one for the Christians of John’s day to receive.

 

Revelation 13 -The Beasts

In Revelation chapter 12 John tells the Christians that Satan is the source of the persecution they are facing. In Revelation chapter 13 he expands upon the theme by speaking of the means and agents being used by Satan to destroy the Church.

Revelation 13:1-17Revelation 13:1-17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

13 1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. name: or, names 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. wounded: Gr. slain 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. to continue: or, to make war 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. 11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. life: Gr. breath 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: to receive: Gr. to give them 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  

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— The First Beast.
The thirteenth chapter of Revelation describes two beasts, with the second beast assisting the first. Care needs to be taken so as not to confuse information provided about one beast with the other beast. The first beast out of the sea is the Roman Empire, with all its parts. The leopard is Babylon, the bear is Medea, and the lion is Persia. (See Daniel 7 for the origin of these symbols. They would be understood by those familiar with Jewish writings, but incomprehensible to Roman authorities.) They show the kingdoms of the world that were under Roman dominion. It seems likely we can use Revelation 17:15Revelation 17:15
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15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.  

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, “The water which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” as a definition of the sea. The sea, because it is in constant motion, represents chaos, and the world is chaotic because it is not being ruled by God. We learn (verse 1) the first beast had seven heads and ten horns wearing ten crowns (diadems). As mentioned before, this fits perfectly the seven emperors and three generals that ruled Rome from the time Christ organized the Church until Domitian banished John to the Isle of Patmos. Also (in verse 3) one of the beast’s heads was wounded unto death but was healed, and all the world wondered after the beast. This is a clear reference to the “Nero Redivivus” myth explained earlier. We still speak of the “glory that once was Rome,” thus is it any wonder that “the world wondered after the beast” or they said “who is able to make war with him?”—a clear reference to Rome’s military prowess. We learn (in verse 2) that the dragon (Satan) gave the beast his power. (Note that John’s attention to Rome is not due to political reasons but rather because it is the agent of Satan and his tool in fighting against the Church and the God’s plan.)

Revelation 13:11-18Revelation 13:11-18
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. life: Gr. breath 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: to receive: Gr. to give them 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.  

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— The Second Beast.
The second beast from the earth (Asia Minor) is the Imperial Cultus or Roman priesthood that enforces the worship of the beast. Although Nero was the first emperor to claim to be divine and direct that he be worshiped as a god, it Domitian who first used the Roman Priesthood to compel people to worship him, and put to death those (especially the Christians) who refused to worship him. As a general, Vespasian led the armies of Rome against the Jews and destroyed the city of Jerusalem. When Vespasian became emperor he left his son Titus in charge of the Roman armies in the eastern part of the Roman Empire. Titus succeeded his father as Emperor of Rome, but only ruled a few years. When Titus died his younger brother, Domitian, succeeded him as emperor. Domitian had also served as a military leader in the eastern part of the Roman Empire. As noted in the message to the church in Pergamos, Augustus Caesar built a temple in Pergamos, which became a center for Roman worship. For these reasons it is easy to see how the Imperial Cultus (state priesthood), which forced the people to worship the Emperor, is described as the second beast and is seen as coming out of the east or Asia Minor. Note how the second beast is described as a lamb with horns having the power of the dragon—a fitting description for false ideologies and theologies that maintain their dominance through compulsion. (Also note also that the second beast described in Revelation chapter 13 is described in Revelation 16:14Revelation 16:14
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14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.  

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as a false prophet.) Anciently, ventriloquism was often used to made idols speak, hence the reference to the beast speaking and being a false prophet.

Revelation 13:16Revelation 13:16
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16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: to receive: Gr. to give them  

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Mark of the Beast.
Before considering the mark of the beast it is better to first consider the number of the beast. Identifying the beast makes identifying the mark of the beast easier.

The Number 666

Revelation 13:18Revelation 13:18
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18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.  

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— The Number 666.
There are numerous interpretations of these passages, only a few of which I consider worth consideration. In some ways the number is 666 can be seen as referring to either the first beast or the second beast, which forces the people to worship the first beast. In many ancient languages letters were also used for numbers. (In Latin, for example, the letters MMIII represent 2003.) In Hebrew the phrase Nero Caesar has the value of 666. (Remember, Nero was the first emperor to claim to be divine and put to death Christians who refused to worship him.) In Hebrew, Nero Caesar—NRON KSR—produces the sum of 666 in following manner: N=50 + R=200 + O=6 + N=50 + K=100 + S=60 + R=200 = 666. The first beast refers to the political kingdoms (and other organizations) that Satan uses to further his purposes. The second beast represents the theologies, such as idolatry, atheism, and secular humanism, as well as the ideologies, such as hedonism and materialism, that Satan uses to further his purposes. Satan has always used man’s quest for the wealth of the world (materialism) to buy kings, armies, navies, etc., together with the philosophies of men mingled with scriptures (false beliefs) to lead Adam’s posterity away from righteousness. Nero was the first emperor to order that he be worshiped as a god, and thus makes a very fitting symbol for the philosophies and religions of men that are represented by the second beast, or false prophet as it termed in Revelation chapter sixteen. Numerology is the practice of using numbers for symbolic—instead of literal—meaning. (Seven for perfection, six for imperfection, twelve for the priesthood, forty years for an extended period of time, etc.) Gematria is the practice of using the numeric value of a name to add a hidden meaning to the author’s text (for example, the number 666 for Nero.). Numerology is used often in the scriptures (including by John in the Book of Revelation); however, gematria is not used elsewhere in scriptures including by John anywhere else in the Book of Revelation. Adding to the difficulty of understanding this verse is a question about its proper translation. The King James Version reads, “for it is the number of a man: and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” This is a literal, word for word translation of the Greek text, but it may not accurately express the thought John intended to convey. In some translations—including the translation of many scholars of this verse—man is considered to be a plural noun, making the correct translation read, “for it is the number of men” or “for it is the number of mankind”. If man is used as a plural noun then the retention of the article “a” is improper and changes the meaning of the verse. In Hebrew numerology the number seven represented perfection, the number eight indicates superabundance (the most perfect), while the number six represents imperfection. The value of Jesus in Greek is 888. Following this line of thought 888 represents Christ, the most perfect of all, while the number 777 would represent a righteous man, and the number 666 an imperfect man. This second interpretation also involves the use of gematria. As stated elsewhere, the Dragon, the beast, and the false prophet form an unholy trinity. The most widely held opinion of those studying the Book of Revelation that do not believe the answer to the meaning of 666 is found through gematria is that the number 666 comes by repeating the number six (for imperfection) three times: once for the dragon, once for the beast, and once for the false prophet. We call an imperfect man a natural man or a carnal man. The last of these possible meanings deserves much consideration, although it is the least glamorous of the interpretations given above.

It is perhaps prudent to digress and consider one of the interpretations for 666 that is frequently given: that the number 666 refers to the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. A close examination of these verses should convince the reader that such an interpretation is derived from the historical enmity between Protestants and Catholics, and not from the content of this passage. The beast existed in John’s day, the papacy did not. As a point of fact, centuries would pass before the papacy came into existence. The beast is seen as having universal dominion; although the papacy has had great influence in Europe it has never achieved universal dominion. Furthermore, the seven churches in Asia who received the Book of Revelation have never been under the control of the papacy. On the contrary, in time they would view the Pope’s rival, the Patriarch of Constantinople and head of the Eastern Orthodox Church, as the supreme ecclesiastical authority on earth. For these reasons the pope does not fit the beast that John describes in Revelation.

 

The Mark of the Beast.

The Mark of the Beast. Compare Revelation 13:16Revelation 13:16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: to receive: Gr. to give them  

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to Ezekiel 9:5-8Ezekiel 9:5-8
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5 And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: mine hearing: Heb. mine ears 6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. utterly: Heb. to destruction 7 And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city. 8 And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?  

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, where Ezekiel speaks of the protection of the Lord preserving those who were marked on their forehead. Roman soldiers and officials were often branded to show to whom they belonged. The followers of many Eastern religions wore marks indicating their religious affiliation. (For example, followers of Zeus would sometimes mark their forehead with a thunderbolt.) This custom continues today among Hindu woman who following marriage wear a mark on their foreheads as part of their religious covenants. Slavery was widespread throughout the Babylonian Empire and temple slaves performed much of the work of maintaining the temples of the various gods. While temple slaves could never become free of the service the owed the god of their temple, being a temple slave did not always correlate to being of low social status and many temple slaves obtained social positions of power, wealth, and honor. It was the practice in Babylonian society to brand either the forehead or the back of the hand of temple slaves with the phrase “belonging to…” followed by the name of the god they served. When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem many Jews fled to Egypt. We know they built a temple in 525 B.C. at Elephantine Island which was active for over a century; some scholars think a similar temple was built in Babylon during this historical period. Among the first Jews to return from the Babylonian captivity were a group of temple slaves called “the Nethinim” (see Ezra 2:58Ezra 2:58
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58 All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants, were three hundred ninety and two.  

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) and during Nehemiah’s tenure as governor the Nethinim included priests, Levities, gatekeepers, and singers. (See Nehemiah 10:28Nehemiah 10:28
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28 And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding;  

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.) In Babylon the Nethinim would have been branded on their hand or forehead with the expression, “I am the LORD’S.” (Isaiah 44:5Isaiah 44:5
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5 One shall say, I am the LORD'S; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the LORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel.  

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would have been understood by the Jews of that era as referring to this practice and understood his message that the Lord was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and hence “owned” Israel.) John, and the Jewish Christians of his day, would have understood those parts of Jewish history.

Many scholars have concluded the mark of the beast is false miracles. (From which I draw the conclusion they are unaware of the history surrounding the Nethinim.) My own opinion is that this is one of the times the reader should seek a spiritual—not literal—meaning to what John describes. Since the resurrection corrects all physical imperfections—as opposed to spiritual imperfections—a physical mark lacks eternal significance. A reference to this type of mark, however, serves as excellent metaphor for those who have spiritually and eternally allied themselves to the god of their choice. In Western thought the head is used to represent the thoughts of man, whereas in Hebrew culture the head represented the entire being. (In Hebrew literature the heart is the seat of thought, and the bowels are the home of emotion—as in “let thy bowels by full of charity towards all men.”) To Hebrews the hand represents the works or actions of man. Those who followed the beast have his mark on their heads or hands. This would be a fitting description of those who by character or action behave in a carnal, devilish, or sensual manner—the natural man.

As one reads the Book of Revelation—that contemplates the opportunities given for repentance and the fate of those who refuse to repent—it becomes clear that the natural man is a viable candidate for the meaning of 666. (Chapter nine also supports the belief that the number 666 refers to the natural man.) While many interpretations of this passage are possible, the idea the 666 refers to the imperfection of mankind or the natural man with the mark of the beast being a person who is carnal, sensual, devilish, knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil seems the most plausible of the various interpretations that have been proposed by many students of the Book of Revelation.

Revelation 13:17Revelation 13:17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  

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— Buy or Sell.
This verse states, “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” and has lead to much fanciful speculation. It should be remember that in the First Century the early Christians practiced the law of consecration (economic communism in which they consecrated all their property and wealth to the Lord’s church.). The scriptures state (Acts 4:32Acts 4:32
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32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.  

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) “neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” Having sufficient for one’s needs in the standard by which one lives under the law of consecration. In contrast the world at large was capitalistic in John’s era, just as it is today. The goal of those outside the primitive Church was the accumulation of wealth. The celestial goals of those living the law of consecration are in direct conflict with the world’s goal (inspired by Satan) of accumulating wealth. This must have created numerous conflicts and problems for the church members in John’s era. They would be unable to engage in commerce without descending into the gentile world. Hence John’s statement, “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” meaning, I believe, that commerce is the province of the natural or carnal man when the world is controlled by Satan through his agents (such as the beasts).

Comments on Revelation 13. Satan performs most, if not all, of his acts through mortal agents; the first beast represents the brawn (governments) and the second beast the brains (false beliefs) that he uses to further his aims. Note that Satan together with the first beast and second beast (the false prophet) form a sort of unholy trinity that stands in opposition to God’s plan of salvation for his spiritual children. Satan has used this approach from the beginning of time. With the treasures of the earth he buys kings, priests, armies, navies, etc., in short the governmental structure of society. To that he adds false teachings, the doctrine of men mingled with scripture. Using both he leads the posterity of Adam astray. One needs only to look at the recent history of communist countries to see how Satan uses governmental authority (as represented by the first beast) to suppress the worship of God. He also uses official ideology and/or theology (represented by the second beast) to oppose righteousness by using the power of the first beast to achieve his ideological goals. Americans like to think they live in a time and place of religious freedom. Consider, however, the following common practices within the United States: Zoning laws are used to prohibit the building churches—an act where theistic policy is established by the second beast, utilizing the power of the first beast. In like manner the power of government is used to suppress righteous teachings. Examples of the second beast using the power of the first beast to establish theistic policy include: forbidding prayer in schools and public gatherings; prohibiting the posting of the Ten Commandments in schools, courthouse, and other public places; prohibiting the singing of Christmas carols in schools or the placement of nativity scenes in public places; compelling landlords to rent to unmarried couples; and establishing policies that require the acceptance of homosexuality and abortion. (Policy based on atheism and secular humanism is still theistic policy.) Thus we see that today Satan is still able to advance his agenda through both governmental power and theological/ideological teachings—which constitute the first and second beast in the Book of Revelation.

 

Revelation 14 -The Lamb and the 144,000he 144,000
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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As Revelation 13 ends, John leaves the reader anticipating either additional information about the actions of the beasts or information about the final destruction of the beasts. Instead John digresses, as he did before the opening of the seventh seal (see chapter seven) and before the seventh trumpet blast (see chapter ten). In Revelation chapter 14, John pauses in his narrative to give a message of encouragement that falls between the persecutions of the followers of God by the two beasts and the destruction of the beasts coupled with the final victory of righteousness. John tries to encourage Christians to endure persecution by giving them a glimpse into the future. Thus, the events of chapter fourteen are outside the chronological order John has been following in presenting the visions he has received in the Book of Revelation. Within the fourteenth chapter of Revelation are three visions, which are not presented in the order they will occur in the future. Instead, John presents them as three faith-promoting events that will occur in the future. No doubt he believes they will help the saints of his day endure the persecution they are suffering at the hands of the Roman Empire. First he presents a vision of Christ triumphant. Then he presents the two events that will lead to the Lamb’s victory: the restoration of the gospel, which will be followed by the coming of Christ to rule and judge the world.

The 144,000he 144,000
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Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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Revelation 14:1-5Revelation 14:1-5
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14 1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. redeemed: Gr. bought 5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.  

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— The 144,000he 144,000
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Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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.
In chapter seven John introduces the 144,000he 144,000
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Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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that will accompany and assist Christ during his reign on earth. Here John sees them standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion—a reference to their earthly work. There is something worth pondering when one notes that when John sees Christ victorious it is not as a conquering hero or warrior-king that has defeated the adversary, but rather as a Lamb, which is symbolic of characteristics such as meekness and peacefulness. The adversary uses force and compulsion, and will be defeated with love, meekness, long-suffering, and gentle persuasion, which are the traits of Christ and his gospel as personified by the symbol of the Lamb. Song in general indicates peace, rejoicing, and harmony. The new song—which could not have been sung previously—indicates that Christ has triumphed and will now reign triumphantly upon the earth. The symbol of male virgins is somewhat confusing to modern readers and should not be seen as advocating celibacy. Soldiers in ancient Israel were expected to maintain ritual purity, which included sexual abstinence. (Recall how when David recalled Uriah from the battlefield he slept outside instead of going in his house to be with Bathsheba.) Thus the statement that the 144,000he 144,000
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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were virgins indicates purity and spirituality, not celibacy. The use of the word virgin when translating this passage is also questionable. Others translations of the Bible (such as the NIV) use the phrase “not defile themselves with woman” which better expresses the idea of spiritual purity (not celibacy) intended by John. In the mouth of the 144,000he 144,000
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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was no guile (falsehood or deceit) thus they are the antithesis of the dragon, the beast, and especially the false prophet. Contrast what comes out of the mouth of the 144,000he 144,000
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

Izbrano poglavje ne obstaja! Štetje svetopisemskih vrstic se za?ne z 1! Vrstica 0 ne obstaja!

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to the water, or lies and evil, which John saw in Revelation chapter twelve spewing forth from the mouth of the dragon.

Revelation 14:6-13Revelation 14:6-13
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6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. 12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. from henceforth...: or, from henceforth saith the Spirit, Yea  

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— Another Angel in the Midst of Heaven.
Within these verses John gives the Christians of his day a great message of hope. He has told them that the woman (representing the Church) would be driven into the wilderness (apostasy). Now he tells them in time God will send heavenly messengers to restore the gospel. Furthermore, he sees the time that Babylon (symbolic of Rome in particular and governments in general that advance Satan’s work) will be destroyed. Also, he sees the time when the beasts are destroyed and their supporters receive their just punishments. In short, in these verses, John reassures the saints that God—not Satan—will ultimately triumph and that evildoers will be punished. Not only does John reassure the saints that the gospel will be restored and God will triumph over Satan, he promises the saints that if they remain faithful their deeds will not be forgotten. He reminds them, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.”

Revelation 14:14-20Revelation 14:14-20
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14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. ripe: or, dried 16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. 17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. 19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.  

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Harvest of the World. John now contemplates both the first and second judgment. He sees a glorified figure of “one like unto the Son of Man” which refers to Christ and is borrowed from Daniel 7:13-14Daniel 7:13-14
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13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.  

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. When Christ comes he will wear a golden wreath or crown (stephanos) of victory. His coming will be accompanied by the first judgment. (See the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:30Matthew 13:30
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30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.  

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and that of the wheat and the chaff in Luke 3:17Luke 3:17
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17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.  

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.) The second judgment—the winepress of the wrath of God—will fall upon those who do not repent. (Chapters fifteen through nineteen describe this in greater detail.) John speaks of the second judgment through frightening symbolism. The slaughter will encompass blood flowing 1600 furlongs—about 184 miles—is the approximate length of Palestine. Thus John strengthens the Christians to endure persecution by focusing their attention on the final rewards of the righteous and punishment of the wicked.

 

Revelation 15 – Seven Angels with Seven Plagues

Revelation 13 ends with the dragon and the beast making war against the Church and its members. Revelation 14 is an interlude to strengthen Christians and help them endure the persecutions they would face; it ends with the terrifying description of the final judgment of the wicked. John now resumes his chorological account of the events he saw. Revelation chapter 15 contains a vision of seven angels having seven plagues, to punish the wicked. In this vision his focus narrows. He does not see how these plagues impact the earth (as he did in chapter eight) nor how they impact mankind (as was the case in chapter nine); rather he sees the impact of the plagues on the wicked. God is a god of mercy and he is patient and long-suffering in allowing his children to repent; however, starting with chapter fifteen we see that mercy cannot rob justice as the judgments of God are pronounced upon mankind, so that all are delivered or condemned according to God’s justice.

Revelation 15:1-4Revelation 15:1-4
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15 1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. 2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. saints: or, nations, or, ages 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.  

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The Condition of Christ’s People.
John begins by speaking of the saints he saw living on a heavenly world (the sea of glass). After the Israelites were delivered from Pharaoh they sang a new song. The saints are singing a new song, made possible by the collective victory of righteousness and their personal victory resulting in exaltation. (In some manuscripts the word saints in verse four is given as ages or nations.) It is a song of praise and victory, sung in recognition that nothing can stop God from achieving this plan. (This reference perhaps comes from the practice on the Sabbath evening of singing the song of Moses in the synagogues to celebrate Israel’s deliverance from Egypt.)

Revelation 15:5-8Revelation 15:5-8
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5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: 6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. 7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. 8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.  

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The Seven Vials
. The Greek phiale can be translated as either vial or bowl. In Revelation 11:19Revelation 11:19
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19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.  

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John again sees the heavenly temple. In chapter eleven he focuses on the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the mercy seat, whereas in chapter fifteen his focus is the tabernacle of testimony. (So named because it contained the two tablets of testimony that Moses brought to the Israelites when he descended from Mount Sinai.) The message is that the time for mercy is over and now God must fulfill his promises and execute judgment upon the wicked. The seven angels are to act as judges pronouncing sentence (plagues) upon the wicked. The angels are described as wearing a golden girdle, a garment Christ also wears, as an indication of their high station. In ancient Israel when the priest entered the temple he performed sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people. Stating that none can enter the temple is a way of stating that it is now too late to repent as the Day of Judgment has arrived. Compare and contrast the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. The seals tell of the will of God, the trumpets sound a voice of warning, and seven bowls depict the judgments of God. Note the similarities between the trumpets and bowls. The first four trumpets and bowls impact the earth, sea, rivers, fountains, and sun. To a lesser degree a correlation can be found between the fifth, sixth, and seventh trumpets and bowls. However, when the trumpets sound there are limits placed upon their scope (a third or fourth part) whereas the bowls (judgments) are all encompassing.

 

Revelation 16 -The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath

Revelation chapter 16 provides greater detail about the plagues (representing the judgment of God) that will be visited on the inhabitants of the earth. Chapter fifteen begins with a vision of the righteous in heaven and then proceeds to introduce the plagues. John reversed the order of these events to reassure the saints that the truly righteous (as opposed to those who feign righteousness) need not fear the coming plagues. Chapter fourteen ends with a description of the winepress, the final judgment. Chapter sixteen returns to the same message. This message is probably given twice to emphasize the unalterable nature of the final judgment. First, that there is no doubt that a final judgment will occur, and second that the judgment will be final and irreversible. It should be noted that chapter fourteen applies to all the earth, whereas chapter sixteen applies only to “the men which had the mark of the beast and…worshiped its image.” (Rev. 16:2Rev. 16:2
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2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.  

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.) As stated before, the Greek phiale, can be translated vial (as it appears in the King James Version) or bowl, with bowl being perhaps the more useful translation. Anciently bowls were used to collect the blood of the sacrifices. The imagery seems to be of bowls that will collect the wrath of God after the plagues are released. This imagery is in keeping with that of the winepress found in chapter fourteen. Some scholars see the plagues in chapter sixteen as the fulfillment of the final (seventh) trumpet blast of chapter nine. There are, however, problems with such an interpretation in that the trumpets are limited to the wicked with some surviving the blast of the trumpet, whereas the plagues are universal and none shall escape when they are released. Theses verses may have a symbolic meaning and refer to spiritually dead society. It should be noted that the plagues are not designed to destroy nature, but rather to use nature as a means by which the wicked are punished. (It is easy to see how a disease such as AIDS would punish those who do not keep God’s commandments and leave untouched the obedient. Our knowledge, however, is insufficient to state what will actually constitute the plagues seen by John. We should remember he saw a time still in the future, thus the exact form the plagues will take is probably unknowable at this time.)

the 7 vials

Revelation 16:1-2Revelation 16:1-2
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

16 1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. 2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.  

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— The First Vial.
The first angel pours out the first plague on the followers of the first beast, which is noisome and grievous sores. Noisome can also be translated evil while grievous suggests sores that are virulent. (A parallel can, of course, be found among the plagues of Egypt. See Exodus 9:81-2Exodus 9:81-2
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.)

Revelation 16:3Revelation 16:3
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3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.  

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— The Second Vial.
The second angel pours his plague upon the sea. The result is that the sea becomes as the blood of a man and every soul upon it dies.

Revelation 16:5-7Revelation 16:5-7
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5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. 7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.  

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— The Third Vial.
The third angel pours his plague on the rivers and waters. They become blood, which is a punishment for shedding the blood of the prophets. (Giving them blood to drink is symbolic of punishment fitting the crime, in this case murder.)

Revelation 16:8-9Revelation 16:8-9
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8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. scorched: or, burned  

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— Fourth Vial.
The fourth angel pours out his bowl upon the sun, and the earth suffers scorching heat. At this time we cannot know if this refers to a physical phenomena (such as global warming) or if this verse has a symbolic meaning, such as strife and turmoil. In either case the righteous are sealed so they “hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.” (See Revelation 7:1Revelation 7:1
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7 1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.  

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6. See also Deuteronomy 28:28-29Deuteronomy 28:28-29
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28 The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: 29 And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.  

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for comments about this event.) John notes there are people who will refuse to repent and instead will blaspheme against God.

Revelation 16:10-11Revelation 16:10-11
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10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.  

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— Fifth Vial.
The fifth angel pours his plague upon the seat of the beast. It becomes dark, and they gnaw their tongues in pain.

Revelation 16:12-16Revelation 16:12-16
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12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.  

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— The Sixth Vial.
The sixth angel pours out the plague of war. The drying up of the Euphrates is seen as removing the last obstacles to war. (Great rivers have often keep enemies apart. The Euphrates is about 1700 miles long, making it the longest river in Asia Minor. Anciently it separated Israel from her greatest enemies, the Assyrians and Babylonians.) The locusts that have been waiting to come out of the darkness may now proceed. All the conditions that make the world ripe for war are present: scorching heat and unusual weather, the drying up of rivers and shortage of water, famine, and plagues. The frogs also contribute to the climate of war. John identifies the frogs as false spirits that “come out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” Lies, deceit, strife, hatred, envy, etc. are among the causes of war. The battle of Armageddon, which the sixth plague will bring to fruition, (see Revelation 16:16Revelation 16:16
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16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.  

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) is not just another war, rather it ends the world as we know it. This event precedes the coming of Christ to save his people and usher in the millennium. The correct translation of Armageddon, “har-magedon,” is debated by scholars. It is often associated with Mount Megiddo, the site of other battles in the history of ancient Israel, such as where Gideon defeated the Midianites, where King Saul was killed, and where King Josiah was defeated by Pharaoh Necho. Some think John may be referring to the “marauding [destroying] mountain” described in Jeremiah 51:25Jeremiah 51:25
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25 Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.  

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. Others think he is referring to “the desirable city” or Jerusalem. Zechariah 12:10-11Zechariah 12:10-11
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10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. 11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.  

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connects Jerusalem and Megiddo with the final battle. It is more likely that John has a symbolic meaning in mind, which is the mountain of the House of the Lord. During Christ’s mortal life the people failed to understand that his “kingdom was not of this world.” It would be easy to make a similar error when interpreting this passage. It is more likely that the most important thing destroyed at the battle of Armageddon is the false teachings that have been used to deceive man and separate him from the true worship of God. For Christ to fulfill the prophecies made about the millennium it will be necessary that all false ideologies and theologies be destroyed. His reign will not be limited to political affairs, and the great promises made about the millennial period are spiritual, not political.

Revelation 16:17-21Revelation 16:17-21
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17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. 18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.  

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— The Seventh Vial.
The seventh vial pours out thunder, lightening, tumult, an earthquake, hail, etc. The phrase “it is done” suggest indicates that God is totally victorious and the inhabitants of earth shall no longer act in opposition to his will. The coming of the throne and temple indicate the total authority—political and religious—with which Christ shall reign thereafter. (See also Daniel 12:1Daniel 12:1
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12 1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.  

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.) The massive earthquake described in this chapter shall destroy all who oppose God. Chapter sixteen explains the fate of those who fail to repent. It also carries an implicit warning to the saints to prepare for the great and dreadful day of the Lord, so that they are able to abide his coming.

 

Revelation 17 -The Woman and the Beast

Revelation 17:1-3Revelation 17:1-3
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17 1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.  

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The Woman and the Beast.
In Revelation chapter 17 John seems to borrow heavily from Jeremiah (51:13) and others who use Babylon and harlotry as symbols of wickedness. In chapter thirteen John uses the symbol of seven heads and ten horns to refer to the Roman Empire that was persecuting the saints in his day. He again uses this symbol to represent the Roman Empire, but now the Roman Empire becomes a symbol for the kingdoms and organizations of the world that further Satan’s aims. Water has often been used to symbolize chaos. With the world rejecting rule by Christ—its creator and lawful sovereign—and instead being ruled by the usurper Satan, the world can properly be seen as exiting in a state of chaos. Note that the woman and the beast in chapter seventeen are a sort of reverse mirror image of the woman and man-child in chapter twelve. In chapter twelve the woman represents the Church who gives life to man-child representing the political kingdom of God on earth. In Revelation 17 the woman, a harlot, represents wickedness (the opposite of the Church). Instead of being able to give life the harlot in chapter seventeen is barren; a fitting symbol for all the bareness of Satan’s promises in contrast to the promise of eternal life given by Christ and his church. The offspring of the woman (the Church) in chapter twelve is Zion. In contrast, the harlot of chapter seventeen is the offspring of the Satan’s kingdom or the telestial world. John views this as a time in which the world lusts after the harlot in that it commits economic, political, and religious immoralities for pleasure and monetary gain. The scarlet color of the harlot’s clothing is a fitting symbol of immorality in contrast to the white worn by the woman who represents the Church. In ancient Israel a scarlet (or crimson) ribbon, representing the sins of the people, was tied around the neck of the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement before it was driven into the wilderness to die. (At the second coming Christ will wear a crimson robe indicating that he is our scapegoat and bears the burden of our sins.) Purple is the traditional color of kings, and is associated with the power of governments used by Satan to promote wickedness. Thus it is easy to see why scarlet and purple clothing was chosen by John to represent the sins and wickedness of the harlot. In chapter thirteen the focus was on the persecution of the saints by the beast; in chapter seventeen the focus is on the blasphemy of the beast.

Revelation 17:4-6Revelation 17:4-6
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4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: decked: Gr. gilded 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. harlots: or, fornications 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.  

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— Babylon, The Great Whore.
The golden cup filled with abominations is also a reverse image of the chalice used by the Levitical priesthood to make a wine offering. The High Priest wore robes of white and the blue—the colors of purity and heaven—and a plate was fastened to his headgear (a miter) that said “Holiness to the Lord.” In contrast, the whore can be seen as a counterfeit priestess, a reverse image of the Levitical High Priest. The first word on the brow of the harlot is “Mystery.” Mysteries are the most holy teachings and doctrines of God, which, to preserve their sacredness, are kept from the world at large. (Paul, in First Corinthians 4:1 speaks of the Apostles as “stewards of the mysteries of God.”) The mysteries of the harlot are counterfeit ordinances, covenants, etc. They form what Revelation 17:5Revelation 17:5
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5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. harlots: or, fornications  

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terms the “Abominations of the earth”; and are part of the third title on the brow of the harlot. Abominations are acts so wicked they defile not just the individual sinner but also the entire nation and call down the wrath of God on a nation that permits them. (Idolatry and homosexuality are abominations because of the changes they bring to the entire nation.) John also identifies the whore as Babylon. It was at Babel (Babylon) that the first organized religion was formed to contend against the true doctrine and ordinances of God. The tower of Babel was the temple of an apostate religion that taught that man could reach heaven without obeying God. (See Genesis 11:1-9Genesis 11:1-9
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11 1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. language: Heb. lip. speech: Heb. words 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. from...: or, eastward 3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. they said...: Heb. a man said to his neighbour burn...: Heb. burn them to a burning 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. Babel: that is, Confusion  

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.) A whore, of course, is a person who casts off righteousness in the search for wealth, a fitting metaphor for the methods and goals of Satan’s servants. The use of the symbol Babylon indicates kingdoms and organizations used by Satan to further his purposes.

Revelation 17:7-13Revelation 17:7-13
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7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. 9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. 12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.  

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— The Beast & Seven Heads and Ten Horns.
The 7 heads and 10 horns describe the seven emperors and three generals that ruled Rome from the organization of the Church until the Book of Revelation was written during John’s banishment on the isle of Patmos. The seven mountains on which the woman sits also describes Rome—the city built on seven hills. The seven kings, five of whom are fallen, with one that is and the other that is not yet refers to the “Nero Redivivus” myth with Domitian being Nero reborn. The beast that was and is not and is the eighth, together with kings that have received no kingdoms are the political kingdoms and organizations that succeeded the Roman Empire as tools of the Satan and have continued the work of the beast. That the Roman Empire would be followed by a series of such kingdoms and organization is seen in the phrase which states that they will have power one hour and shall give their strength unto the beast. In John’s time the Roman Empire did the work of the beast—which can perhaps best be described as the political kingdoms and organizations of the telestial world that further the work of Satan.

Revelation 17:14-18Revelation 17:14-18
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14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. 15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. 17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. 18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.  

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The Fall of the Harlot.
Little detail is given about the fall of the harlot; however, it appears that some these kings and the harlot shall be defeated by Christ—the Lord of lords and King of kings. Some interpret these verses as predicting civil war or war among the nations of the world. It is, however, just as likely the agents of Satan will be defeated in a spiritual war as they are fighting against the Lamb of God, whose kingdom is not of this world. This may be the time in which the frogs described in chapter sixteen who spread their propaganda and false teachings will perform their labors. If so, this supports the idea of spiritual warfare, as Christ’s kingdom is one of truth.

 

Revelation 18 -The Fall of Babylon

Revelation chapter 18 describes the destruction of Babylon by fire. Scriptural Babylon is used as a symbol of worldliness and of false worship. (Materialism is a form of false worship.) In ancient Israel the punishment for adultery was death by strangulation or stoning. However, harlotry or adultery by the daughter of a priest was considered a more serious offense, and was punished by burning. (Leviticus 21:9Leviticus 21:9
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9 And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.  

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.) John again borrows heavily from Ezekiel’s imagery. (Compare Revelation chapter 18 to Ezekiel chapter 43.)

Revelation 18:1-8Revelation 18:1-8
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18 1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. abundance: or, power 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. 7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. 8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.  

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Sins Reaching Unto Heaven.
Anciently Babylon was a city of great wealth: gold, silver, pearls, spices, fine linen, silks, etc. Babylon used her material wealth to seduce men away from the things of God. So great are the sins of Babylon, that figuratively they reach unto the heavens. John sees the judgment and destruction of Babylon by fire for promoting materialism.

Revelation 18:9-19Revelation 18:9-19
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9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, 10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. 11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: 12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, thyine: or, sweet 13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. slaves: or, bodies 14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. 15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! 17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, 18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! 19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.  

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The Lament.
These verses describe the lament from the merchants—those who profited from the materialism of Babylon—for all that they lose when Babylon is destroyed. These merchants are all those who derive power, influence, prestige, or wealth from the false teachings and materialistic practices of Babylon. They are seen by John as lamenting their loss when the telestial world or Babylon is destroyed. The lament expressed in these verses seems modeled after the Ezekiel’s lament over Tyre. (See Ezekiel 27.)

Revelation 18:20-24Revelation 18:20-24
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20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. 22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; 23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.  

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The Rejoicing. In contrast to those who are of the world and lament the destruction of Babylon the righteous are seen rejoicing.

 

Revelation 19 – A Great Multitude in Heaven Shouting Hallelujah

In Revelation chapter 19 the rejoicing over the fall of Babylon, described at the end of chapter eighteen, continues. John hears the multitude of heaven praising God for his victory over Babylon. In former visions John saw the saints suffering. Now they suffer no more.

Revelation 19:1-5Revelation 19:1-5
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19 1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. 5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.  

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Alleluia and Praises to God.
“Much people in heaven” join the twenty-four elders and the four beasts in praising God. He is victorious. (Alleluia means “praise the Lord.”)

Revelation 19:6-10Revelation 19:6-10
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6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. white: or, bright 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.  

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Marriage of the Lamb.
The rejoicing in heaven is not solely because of God’s victory. The marriage of the Lamb—Christ with the Church—is also a cause for celebration. Three Old Testaments themes, which reappear in the New Testament, are interwoven in the cause for rejoicing. The first is the symbol of the reign of God as a feast. (See Isaiah 25:6Isaiah 25:6
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6 And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.  

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, Mark 2:19Mark 2:19
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19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.  

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, Matthew 22:1-14, 25:1-13Matthew 22:1-14, 25:1-13
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, and Luke 14:15-24Luke 14:15-24
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15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. 16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.  

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.) The second symbol is that of Israel as the bride of Jehovah. (See Hosea 2:5Hosea 2:5
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5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink. drink: Heb. drinks  

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, Isaiah 1:21Isaiah 1:21
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21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.  

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, Jeremiah 2:2Jeremiah 2:2
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2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. thee: or, for thy sake  

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, and Ephesians 5:32Ephesians 5:32
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32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  

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.) The third symbol that John uses is that of clean clothing to represent purity or holiness. (See Genesis 35:2Genesis 35:2
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2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:  

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; Isaiah 52:1, 61:10Isaiah 52:1, 61:10
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52 1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.  

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; Zechariah 3:4Zechariah 3:4
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4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.  

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; and Revelation 3:4, 6:11, 7:14Revelation 3:4, 6:11, 7:14
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4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  

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.) To be sure the reader understands this symbol John states, “the linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” Only the recipients of the grace of the Lord are invited. John suddenly is overcome and begins to worship the angel who by divine investiture of authority has been representing the Lord. At this point the angel steps out of his role and commands John not to worship him. The angel goes on to explain worship is reserved for God and Christ; that servants of God are not to be worshiped. (See Revelation 19:10Revelation 19:10
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10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.  

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. This important instruction is sometimes not followed today.)

Revelation 19:11-16Revelation 19:11-16
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11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.  

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The Rider on the White Horse.
The rider depicted in these verses is Christ, who above all else is faithful and true to the will of the Father. Christ makes war on evil. Like all who are exalted the rider has a new name. He also has a name—“The Word of God”—by which he is known to mortal man. (See John 1:1-3John 1:1-3
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The Gospel According to St. John 1 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  

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.) Both the sharp sword and rod of iron are references to the gospel of Christ. The Lord is seen at the moment he has overcome all wickedness or “treaded the winepress.”

Revelation 19:17-21Revelation 19:17-21
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17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.  

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The Warrior-King.
The vision now shifts, and John sees fowls (perhaps a reference to carrion birds) feasting on the beast, the false prophet, and their followers. (The image is similar to that of Ezekiel 38:17-20Ezekiel 38:17-20
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17 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them? by: Heb. by the hand of 18 And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. 19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; 20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. steep...: or, towers, or, stairs  

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.) Although this vision is given before the battle, John sees that the outcome is fixed and Christ will be victorious. It will be through the word of Christ that the beast and false prophet are defeated. This feast of the birds stands in contrast to the marriage feast of Christ with his faithful Church. Who a person worships determines which feast he will attend. In Middle-Eastern cultural a pact or covenant is sealed with a meal, and breaking bread with another person is the sign of an indestructible friendship. Note that in 1979 following the signing of the Camp David Peace Accord between Israel and Egypt that Menachem Begin and Anwar al-Sadat flew to Beersheba (which is approximately mid-way between Jerusalem and Cairo) where the joined together in a feast honoring the peace accord and their newly found friendship. In Exodus 24:9-11Exodus 24:9-11
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9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: 10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. 11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.  

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we read regarding Moses, Aaron, and seventy of the elders of Israel, “they saw God, and did eat and drink.” This meal spoken of in Exodus established the acceptance of the covenant by the Lord and his people contained in the Law of Moses. The two feasts contained in Revelations chapter 19 are seen as finalizing man’s eternal destiny in that he will either dwell with God or Satan henceforth and forever.

 

Revelation 20 -The Millennial Reign

After the defeat of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet by Christ, whose right it is to rule, the millennial reign begins. Revelation chapter 20 explains some of the events that will occur during this period.

Revelation 20:1-3Revelation 20:1-3
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20 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.  

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— Satan Bound.
To bind Satan it was first necessary to defeat his supporters, the beast, and the false prophet. Satan is now bound for a thousand years. The father of lies will not be able to deceive the nations of the world until the time comes (preceding the final judgment) that he is again loosed for “a little season.” The angel John sees binding Satan is generally considered to be Michael, who commanded the armies of God during the war in heaven, when Satan was cast out. (He is the Ancient of Days in the Book of Daniel.) The binding is not punitive; rather it is a protection to nations of the earth. It should be noted that not all the nations of the earth will be destroyed, only those who were loyal to Satan.

Revelation 20:4-6Revelation 20:4-6
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4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.  

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— The First Resurrection.
We know from Old Testament prophets (see Isaiah 11:6-9, 65:17-25Isaiah 11:6-9, 65:17-25
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, Ezekiel 4:24-31Ezekiel 4:24-31
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) that the Millennium will be a period of peace and righteousness. John adds that those who shall dwell with Christ during this time are those who were not deceived by Satan, and did not follow the beast. All those living and dead who are Christ’s shall take part in the first resurrection. By speaking of the blessing of the first resurrection, John encourages and strengthens the saints of his day in the face of the great persecution they had to endure.

Revelation 20:7-10Revelation 20:7-10
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7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.  

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— Gog and Magog.
While the Millennium will endure for a thousand years it will not last forever. Eventually Satan will again be loosed, and the world will again know wickedness. The battle of Gog and Magog (which would probably be better phrased as Gog of Magog) is often confused with the battle of Armageddon; however, they are not interchangeable terms. The battle of Armageddon will occur prior to the Millennium, whereas the final battle of Gog and Magog, spoken of by John, is after the Millennium.

It is likely the millennium will end in a similar manner with Satan, after being released, will gather his forces, but in the ensuing battle he will be finally and eternally defeated.

Revelation 20:11-15Revelation 20:11-15
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11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. hell: or, the grave 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  

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The Second Judgment.
It is after Michael again defeats Satan and his followers that the second resurrection and final judgment occur. John sees the sea, death, and hell giving up their dead for judgment. The sea is a reference to the chaos and misery of mortality; hell is the dwelling place of the dead. Thus all those—living and dead—who have not had part in the first resurrection will now be judged and resurrected—the righteous unto eternal life and the wicked unto condemnation. (Those entering the punishment like a lake of fire or Gehenna have become demons like those who followed Satan when he was cast out in the war in heaven.) They suffer the second death, as they are still filthy. With this passage John again helps strengthen the Christians of his day to endure persecution that they might enter into eternal life.

 

Revelation 21 -The New Jerusalem

In Revelation chapter 21, the battle of Gog and Magog has ended as have the first and second resurrection. Satan and his followers have been cast into the lake of fire, and the second death has claimed those who were a law unto themselves and who altogether abode in sin.

Revelation 21:1-4Revelation 21:1-4
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

21 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  

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New Heaven and Earth.
John now sees the earth as it will be after Satan and his followers have been cast into the lake of fire where the second death has hold on them. Everything now dwells in celestial glory; the heavens and earth, man, and creatures of the earth. Gone are the problems of mortality, thus there is no more sorrow, crying, pain, etc. The New Jerusalem is more than just a figurative vision. John does in fact see the heavenly city in which the exalted dwell. The biggest difference that John notes is that there is no more sea. The sea was the source of chaos, and it gave birth to the beast and the materialism of Babylon. All that composed the telestial world is now gone. The Old Testament vision of the New Jerusalem as a center of celestial rule (see Zechariah 9:9-10Zechariah 9:9-10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. having...: or, saving himself 10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.  

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, Isaiah 54:11-14, 60:10-14Isaiah 54:11-14, 60:10-14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

 

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, Haggai 2:7-9Haggai 2:7-9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. 9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.  

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, and Zechariah 2:1-5Zechariah 2:1-5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

2 1 I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. 3 And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, 4 And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: 5 For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.  

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) is fulfilled.

Revelation 21:5-7Revelation 21:5-7
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5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. all things: or, these things  

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The Throne.
Christ now rules and freely communicates—giving to those who thirst from the fountain of water—with those who in dwell in the New Jerusalem. Note the shift from the passive voice to the active voice. This indicates the direct contact those who dwell in the New Jerusalem will have with the Lord in contrast with the indirect contact, through prophets, that we have today with Christ.

Revelation 21:8Revelation 21:8
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.  

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The Second Death.
The idyllic conditions of the new heaven and earth are contrasted to the condition of those who suffered the second death. The murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers (performers of Satan’s work), idolaters, liars, etc. are forever separated from God. Their suffering will be as intense as somebody who had literally been cast into a lake of fire and brimstone. This verse probably was intended to help Christians of John’s day endure the terrible persecution they faced.

Revelation 21:9-11Revelation 21:9-11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;  

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The New Jerusalem.
The New Jerusalem—the virgin bride of the Lamb—stands in contrast to the harlot described in chapter seventeen. John again uses the active voice while discussing the New Jerusalem, which will be the focus of the remainder of this chapter as well as the next chapter. Like John, Old Testament prophets marveled at the glory of the New Jerusalem; a jeweled city with streets of gold. (See Isaiah 54:11-14Isaiah 54:11-14
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11 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. 12 And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. 13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. 14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.  

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and Ezekiel 28:11-17Ezekiel 28:11-17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. sardius: or, ruby beryl: or, chrysolite emerald: or, chrysoprase 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.  

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.)

Revelation 21:12-27Revelation 21:12-27
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.  

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Walls and Gates of the New Jerusalem.
John strives to give the impression of the glory and power of God that shines on the city giving it light, life, and law. The city has twelve gates, three to a side, named for the twelve tribes of Israel. (Compare and contrast John’s vision to Ezekiel’s vision of the temple as recorded in Ezekiel 48:31-15Ezekiel 48:31-15
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.) At each gate an angel stands as sentinel.

In his vision Ezekiel did not see the city and the sentinels guarding it. Ezekiel only saw the temple. In contrast, John saw the entire city as the sanctuary of the Lord. John saw the city as built upon twelve foundation stones, one for each of the twelve apostles; Ezekiel does not record this detail in his vision. The twelve gates and twelve foundations are reminders of the power of the priesthood, which governs and has made possible the city. An angel measures the city, as was the case in Ezekiel’s vision (see Ezekiel 40:3-5Ezekiel 40:3-5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate. 4 And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel. 5 And behold a wall on the outside of the house round about, and in the man's hand a measuring reed of six cubits long by the cubit and an hand breadth: so he measured the breadth of the building, one reed; and the height, one reed.  

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.) using a golden rod, a symbol of purity. Twelve thousand furlongs is just short of 1,400 miles. (In the King James Version a furlong—220 yards—is usually substituted for the Greek stadion, a distance of 202.3 yards.) However, 12,000 furlongs is likely obtained by adding the superlative number of 1000 to the number 12, the number of the priesthood, to give emphasis to the importance of the priesthood within the city. The walls are 144 cubits. A cubit is the distance from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow—usually 17 to 22 inches. The size of an angle’s cubit is unknown. Again, the number has great symbolic meaning as it is the number of the priesthood squared, another form of the superlative. The beauty of the city is, in part, described by the precious stones that were in the foundation wall. Various scholars have noted a connection between the stones and the Zodiac. Anciently Middle-Eastern beliefs held that the destiny of man was controlled by the stars and assigned gems (as well as constellations) to represent the various signs of the Zodiac. John uses these gems in his description of the foundation walls. However, he lists the gems in the reverse order in which the sun would pass through the signs of the Zodiac. This is perhaps a subtle gibe at erroneous beliefs based on astrology. John then notes that he saw no temple. This is in stark contrast to a number of visions given to Old Testament prophets, which focused on the temple. The reason is that John is inside the temple, with the entire city of New Jerusalem constituting the temple. Eternal life is to know and dwell with God, the temple is the House of the Lord, and thus those in the New Jerusalem are dwelling in the abode of the Lord, which is his temple. The New Jerusalem is the holy of holies, the place from which God rules and where he dwells.

 

Revelation 22 -The River of Life

Revelation chapter 22 continues the description of the New Jerusalem begun in chapter twenty-one. The blessed and glorious nature of the city, and by extension the life of its inhabitants, is expounded upon.

Revelation 22:1-5Revelation 22:1-5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

22 1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.  

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The River of Life.
The image of the river of pure water is found in the Old Testament. (See Ezekiel 47:1-12Ezekiel 47:1-12
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

47 1 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. 2 Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. 3 And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. the waters were...: Heb. waters of the ankles 4 Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. 5 Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. waters to...: Heb. waters of swimming 6 And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. 7 Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. bank: Heb. lip 8 Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. desert: or, plain 9 And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. rivers: Heb. two rivers 10 And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. 11 But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. shall not...: or, and that which shall not be healed 12 And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine. shall grow: Heb. shall come up new: or, principal for medicine: or, for bruises and sores  

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and Zechariah 14:8Zechariah 14:8
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8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. former: or, eastern  

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.) For a desert people this must be a marvelous site and was used by the Lord as a teaching tool where he connects the Spirit and living water. One is reminded of Christ’s teaching, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14John 4:14
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14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.  

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.) John also sees the Tree of Life “where all may partake of its fruit.” Appropriately he does not see the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as all who dwell in the New Jerusalem know good from evil, and have forsaken evil. John sees that each month the tree produces a different fruit. (Compare this passage to Ezekiel 47:12Ezekiel 47:12
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12 And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine. shall grow: Heb. shall come up new: or, principal for medicine: or, for bruises and sores  

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.) The tree represents the love of God. Again, this is a fitting explanation of the symbolism of the tree. The city is filled with light and love. John states, “there shall be no candle, neither light of sun; for the lord God giveth them light.” (Revelation 22:5Revelation 22:5
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5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.  

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.) Of his vision Isaiah wrote, “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.” (Isaiah 60:19Isaiah 60:19
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19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.  

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.) All who dwell therein are one with the Lord.

Revelation 22:7Revelation 22:7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.  

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I come quickly.
This verse is often read as meaning that Christ will come soon. However, quickly probably does not mean soon, rather it means suddenly.

Revelation 22:6-21Revelation 22:6-21
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. 8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. 10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. out of the book...: or, from the tree of life 20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.  

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. Epilogue.
John bears testimony to the vision he has recorded. He assures the Cnristians of his day—and all who follow them—that because of the Lamb of God those who are faithful can be exalted and dwell in glory with the God in a celestial world.

 

Book of Revelation Summary

Many details in the Book of Revelation are either unclear or subject to multiple interpretations. However, the overall message is very clear: God will triumph over Satan, the righteous shall be rewarded, and the wicked punished. Christ’s message to the seven churches was, “I know thy works.” It is a message that applies to all of us.

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