Dec 022017
 

The Book of Revelation – Introduction Pt. 1

This revelation is about Jesus from the Father. At the same time, it is also the revelation by Jesus for us.

 

 

We know the writer had the name John – which John? There are many options and word count is short and everyone can Google. My take is that it is the Apostle John. St. Irenaeus, who was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John, says that John wrote in the 1st century during the time of the emperor Domitian – in the 90s while John was exiled to the prison island of Patmos. I go along with the teaching that John left Patmos at the death of Domitian and returned to Ephesus and to pastor and plant churches until the reign of Emperor Trajan where he probably died.

I lean toward the position the Revelation was written before John’s Gospel. The three Synoptic Gospels were already written 25 years earlier and after his release from prison, John was pressed to write his own account of Jesus while he walked the earth. Was Revelation actually John’s first Gospel? (I will discuss this more in Introduction Pt. 2.)

We also need to study the role of the Caesars. At this time there was a tremendous amount of Caesar / Emperor worship and much of Revelation is to proclaim to the churches that no matter what their eyes see, no matter what they are told, no matter what they may be experiencing, Jesus, the slain lamb is in charge. We will discuss this later, but often it is missed that the book tells us the terrible things happening on earth and then flashes back to a heavenly scene to assure the churches what is actually happening. This was the cause of the Roman persecution against the church – Emperor worship and the refusal by Christians to participate. The Book of Revelation is loaded with the words the angels are singing, things like ‘you are above all Lord’ and that is precisely the language the Caesars wanted for themselves. Because the Christians would not worship the Caesars, they were charged with various serious crimes such as being atheists – refusing to worship the ‘true’ god. John, preaching this message of Jesus is Lord and not Caesar is probably what got him exiled to the prison on Patmos.

We will see that Roman persecution is the concern of the visions, and we will see that chapters 4 & 5 are the ones on which the whole book turns. God reveals himself to us on the cross as the Lamb slain. This book is solely about Jesus Christ and his Church – it is not about Israel, it is not about anti Christ, it is not about a 1,000 year earthly millennial kingdom – it is about Jesus Christ.

Below are some lists and charts of what you must be familiar with if you wish to really understand this book. I know it looks like a lot, but do the work – read, study and compare the passages listed.

Numbers in Revelation: (a partial sample)

1 = Unity, primacy, sovereignty, divine completeness: Christians saw this number as symbolic of God the Father

3= The number three always signifies some important event in Salvation History: Jesus’ ministry lasted three years – He arose from the dead on the third day – the earth was separated from the waters on the 3rd day. It is one of the four “perfect” numbers. Christians see this number as symbolic of the Trinity

4= This number signifies God’s creative works in association with the earth –the four seasons, the four winds, etc.

6. = Symbolic of man who was created on the 6th day; a symbol of man in rebellion against God (especially in multiples of six – “666”).

7 = This is the second “perfect” number signifying perfection and fullness, particularly spiritual perfection. It is the number of the Holy Spirit and the number of covenant.

8 = The number symbolizing salvation, rebirth, resurrection and regeneration – eight people were saved in the Ark, an Israelite child was reborn into the covenant on the 8th day of life, and Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the 8th day.

10. = This is the third perfect number which signifies perfection of divine order – the Ten Commandments.

12. = The fourth perfect number signifying divine government – the Covenant people/ the Church. It is the number of Israel (descendants of the 12 physical sons of Jacob) as well as the number of the New Covenant Church (spiritual descendants of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles).

40. = The number signifying trial and/ or consecration – the series of 40 days in the Flood narrative, Moses’ 40 days on Mt. Sinai, and Jesus 40 days of testing in the wilderness.

50. = The number symbolizing divine deliverance/ mercy -the celebration of the Jubilee Year every 50th year.

And what about numbers such as 144,000 & 1,000 or 3 ½ and 666?

Sevens in Revelation:

Churches 1:4; 2:1-3:22
Letters 2:1- 3:22
Spirits 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6
Golden lamp-stands 1:12, 20; 2:1; 4:5
Stars 1:16, 20; 2:1; 3:1
Lamps of fire 4:5
Seals 5:1; 5:5; 6:1
Horns 5:6
Eyes 5:6
Angels 8:2, 6; 15:1, 6, 7; 15:8; 16:1; 17:1; 21:9
Trumpets 8:2, 6
Thunders 10:3, 4
Thousand people 11:13
Heads 12:3; 13:1; 17:3, 7, 9
Crowns 12:3
Plagues 15:1, 6, 8; 21:9
Golden bowls 15:7; 16:1; 17:1; 21:9
Hills 17:9
Kings 17:10, 11
Last seven visions Chapters 20-21

 

Visions in Revelation – Ezekiel:

Parallels between the visions in the Book of Revelation and the visions of the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel Ezekiel Revelation
1. The throne vision Chapter 1 Chapter 4
2. The book opened and eaten Chapters 2:9-3:3 Chapter 5:7-10; 10:8-9
3. The four plagues Chapter 5 Chapter 6:1-8
4. Those slain under the altar Chapter.6 Chapter 6:9-11
5. The wrath of God Chapter 7 Chapter 6:12-17
6. The seal on the Saint’s foreheads Chapter 9 Chapter 7
7. The coals from the altar Chapter.10 Chapter 8
8. The 1/3 destruction Chapter 5:1-4 &12 Chapter 8:6-12
9. No more delay Chapter 12 Chapter 10:1-7
10. The eating of the book Chapter 2 Chapter 10:8-11
11. Prophecy against the Nations Chapters 25-32 Chapter 10:11
12. The measuring of the Temple Chapters 40-43 Chapter 11:1-2
13. Comparing Jerusalem to Sodom Chapter 16 Chapter 11:8
14. The cup of wrath Chapter 23 Chapter 14
15. The vine of the land Chapter 15 Chapter 14:18-20
16. The great harlot Chapters 16, 23 Chapters 17-18
17. The lament sung over the city Chapter 27 Chapter 18
18. The scavenger’s feast Chapter 39 Chapter 19
19. The resurrection Chapter 37 Chapter 20:4-6
20. The Battle of Gog and Magog Chapter 38-39 Chapter 20:7-9
21. The New Jerusalem Chapters 40-48 Chapter 21
22. The River of Life Chapter 47 Chapter 22

 

Visions in Revelation – Daniel

Parallels between the visions in the Book of Revelation and the visions of the Prophet Daniel Daniel Revelation
1. Three and a half time period (a time, 2 times and ½ a time) Chapter 12:7 Chapter 11:9, 11
2. The 10 horns Chapter 7:8 Chapters 12:3; 13:1; 17:3, 8
3. The Leopard, the Bear, and the Lion Chapter 7:4-6 Chapter 13:2
4. The Beast mouthing boasting and blasphemies Chapter 7:8,11 Chapter 13:5
5. The war against the Saints Chapter 7:21 Chapter 13:7
6. The worship of the Beast’s statue Chapter 3:5-7, 15 Chapter 13:15
7. The Son of Man coming on the Glory-Cloud Chapter 7:13 Chapter 1:7 & 14:14

 

Introduction Pt. 2 – Next Week

  31 Responses to “The Weekend Word”

  1. Thank you. The comparison verse charts are great. … Appreciate the summaries… printed this up to tuck in my Bible. Thank you.

  2. Good to find the comparison lists – God is consistent and thorough
    Page’s idea is worth doing … IMNSHO

    even if our conclusions/interpretations differ, facts are still facts

  3. This is a very good intro. thank you MLD!

  4. 5, 6, 7, seem to be off am I reading it wrong? should it be 6,7,8? or 5,6,7,?

  5. Good thing you provided some charts, MLD.

    Could use some more color and dragons and beasts, though. 😉

  6. Kevin H, that’s funny… but just wait until you see MLD’s timelines 🙂

  7. MLD, I appreciate the scholarship. Thank you.

    Please double check the first set of numbers. They (or I) seem to be off.

  8. Interesting – I will need to see if the formatting failed.

  9. Tomorrow – I want to see how some of the conversation goes. Maybe I will invite Steve Wright.

  10. They look fine on my screen.
    Anybody else with an issue?

  11. Michael,

    5, 6 and 7 in the first list of numbers looks off.

    Here’s an example:

    “7 = The number symbolizing salvation, rebirth, resurrection and regeneration – eight people were saved in the Ark, an Israelite child was reborn into the covenant on the 8th day of life, and Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the 8th day.”

  12. The dragon and beast pictures are missing from the charts on my screen. 🙂

  13. Jean,

    I finally saw that and I think I fixed it.
    Word added in a five because it thought it was a list of bullet points.

  14. KevinH,

    I’m in charge of graphics…and I have some doozys… 🙂

  15. I will also say that this is an excellent beginning to this series…

  16. Michael,

    “I will also say that this is an excellent beginning to this series…”

    I agree. But MLD knows I will hold his feet to the fire. I sincerely want to learn this book and all its symbolism, and very much look forward to the coming weeks and months. But I am going to approach this study as a Berean.

  17. Kevin H mentioned colors – I do have a chart showing that 27 colors are mentioned in Revelation – which I think shows ( this will sound funny) the visual importance of the visions.God is speaking in visions, visuals and symbolic images… and they are all revisits of previous God communications.

  18. #9 – I think there will be much to learn in this study and while I am convinced that it is the Church that is the parenthetical in God’s dealing with man from the time of Abraham until Jesus’ return to reign -a very important parenthetical without which the plan of redemption could not have been carried out … I’m not going to argue for my views
    Therefore, since the removal of the Church well before the described ending scenario plays out won’t fit into what MLD will posit. So? … so God giving me the necessary forbearance, I’ll keep out of this study for two reasons, one Im not qualified to teach and two, this will be a good study that doesn’t need the distractions of the argument … IMNSHO … again 😇

  19. Em,

    Your input is valuable…and if MLD brings along Steve Wright, you’ll have some help.

  20. It takes more than being a Berean to understand this book.
    Most of the context through which we understand the early chapters are extra biblical and historical.

  21. Thank you, Michael.. even tho I have chosen where I stand on the book with some thot, I’m not not qualified to debate the views out there … to tell the truth, with the exception of some very off the wall absurdities, I think most speculation will have to wait for events to transpire to be certain…
    Revelation well may be there to pick up where Ezekiel and Daniel have left the Jew suspended… Dunno

  22. Em, you have a sly way of debating your point of view by feigning lack of debating ability.
    If you were going to preempt out of a study, I would have thought it would be Matthew which is much more controversial.
    You have made the standard Rapture theology case for the Rapture (you called it the removal) – that the Church is Plan B in God’s work (you called it the parenthetical in God’s dealing with man) and you made the case for the continual 2 peoples theory (Revelation well may be there to pick up where Ezekiel and Daniel have left the Jew suspended… )

    Now these may all be true, but you will not find any of it in Revelation. What will we find? 😉

  23. I mentioned aboe in the article chapters 4 & 5, and I will make a case in next week’s part 2 for the introduction that these 2 chapters are the lynchpin for understanding the entire book. At the same time couple of things when looking over the charts, especially the Ezekiel / Revelation one – – – misconceptions out of Ezekiel that have made Revelation difficult in it’s natural flow.
    Many have interpreted Ezekiel 37 as the reestablishment of the modern day nation Israel, where I think the proper understanding is the resurrection of the people of God (in a normal resurrection sense.
    Also Ezekiel 38-39 should not be read as a new end times temple to be built in Jerusalem – either now or in the millennium. If the normal sense is that Ezekiel is describing the place where God dwells – if he is talking ‘heavenly’ talk then it flows. My contention (I probably should have covered Ezekiel before Revelation as I did in my class) is when Ezekiel tries to describe this, he knows that the people understand only that God dwells in the temple – so he uses that imagery.
    So, that is my purpose in beginning with the prophetic comparisons.

  24. Time to run off to church. Does anyone have thoughts on Revelation being written before John’s gospel?

  25. ahh, MLD, i am sly? no one has accused me of having that attribute before – maybe you’re onto something … 🙂

    i read some of Thieme’s material on dispensations this morning… Matthew is a very dispensational book
    BTW my referring to the Church as parenthetical was meant to say that it has been inserted in the stream of Jewish history… in no way did I want to imply that we are “plan B” – God has one plan with many parts comprising the whole of the plan

    when Satan issued his challenge to God waaay back there, i think God told Satan, “No, you’re incapable of reaching equality with Me as you will find out. I’ll defeat you with one hand tied behind My back.” Then He created man… THE plan of God …
    dunno, tho do i? just pondering … folks who don’t ponder Scripture are missing rich food for thought…

  26. #24 MLD

    The dating issue is complicated. It has a relationship with Qumran, which takes it early, I tend to take it somewhere between the persecution of Nero and shortly after the destruction of the Temple. Now, there may have been an added “hand”, but we have no textual evidence. So, somewhere between 64 and 132…. A wide spread, but I’m not sure one can bring it closer in. It’s not referenced in the Fathers until the later second century, which is not a help…

  27. This is a very good start MLD. Well done.

  28. Duane thanks for your input. Questions of authorship and dating abound. This is why I offered the Irenaeus thought and also pointed to Google 🙂
    I think that the Gospel of John is so different from the synoptics that there may have been an intervening ‘happening’ – such as the Patmos experience. But who knows?

  29. Josh, thanks for your comment.

  30. Outstanding research! Reading through it makes me want to spend more time in these books. Thanks Michael!

  31. Thank you, MLD for starting this study. I like how you are setting it up as an amillennial witness to Jesus Christ.

    The Book of Revelation is not too hard to understand. The problem is that we don’t like its message once we understand it. And yet, it is a treasure trove of comfort for troubled or dying Christians.

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