Some interpret the book of Revelation as containing a strictly chronological account of yet-future events. I see no reason to interpret it this way and doing so leads to the most impossible of interpretations. I consider this book to be a collection of unrelated visions about a variety of topics in similar format as the book of Zechariah.
Key words and topics...
|mark of the beast||7 seals||sea||Babylon|
|first beast||7 trumpets||death||great city|
|false prophet||7 bowls||hell||cataclysms|
|third beast||bottomless pit|
(Revelation 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:
Notice the sequence of events: God the Father gave the Revelation to Jesus Christ, who gave it to an angel, who gave it to the apostle John, who wrote it down for us. Angels seem to be in the middle of nearly every interaction between God and his creation.
The audience of this book is the servants of God; Christians at large and their leaders.
The things described in this book would shortly come to pass, from the time John wrote it in 96 A.D. Many prophetic passages of both Old and New Testaments use words such as "soon", "quickly", "at hand" to describe the urgency of the message and to indicate that judgment occurs at death for each of us — and death does come soon; for some sooner than for others.
Shortly come to pass: Many of the images in this book occurred previous to its writing or would occur within the subsequent several hundred years with persecution and martyrdom of Christians. The yet-future images concern the events relating to the phases of the 2nd coming of Christ;there is no Antichrist,no Great Tribulation,no 1,000 year utopian millennium,certainly no rapture.There will yet be ecological disaster with anarchy, brutality, and terrorist wars. Finally, just as Christ begins to manifest his 2nd coming, there will be war directed against Israel (and other places having Christians).
The time is at hand: The prophecies regarding persecution and martyrdom of Christians would occur soon, in the next few hundred years.
(Revelation 1:4) 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;
(Revelation 1:5) 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,
How is it possible for Jesus to come back to this world in such a way that every one will see him and he will come out of the clouds? It's not possible if we imagine it similar to an airplane coming out of the clouds when landing.
What I think will happen is Jesus will appear with global apparitions over the period of perhaps months. The clouds will not be physical clouds at all (yes, there will be clouds and lightning and such) but a hazy gauzy unfocused light as the spiritual realm opens up as a window into this world. As the souls of the viewers become more attuned to the spiritual realm with the senses following, they will perceive spiritual phenomena with spiritual eyes, having a physical corresponding interaction with the senses experienced by the soul attached to the body, much as when John the Apostle saw the visions of the book of Revelation, or any Old Testament or New Testament prophet. The prophets really saw them with a spiritual component as with all apparitions. The ascension of Jesus into heaven was similar but localized, quicker, much less pervasive.
(Revelation 1:9) 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.
I believe John is saying he is a prisoner on Patmos. Whether he has complete freedom or whether he is working at hard labor, a certain death sentence, is the question.
John knows about the persecution of Christians first hand.
(Revelation 1:11) Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
John was to write down his visions and send it to the 7 Churches of the Roman province of Asia. This implies several things...
Notice in this vision of Jesus, he is described as like the "son of man", in other words, he had a human form. Jesus often used this phrase to refer to himself. The Old Testament uses this phrase to refer to a human, a person. This phrase is not always used to refer to Jesusbut when it does it indicates that, as deity, he took on human nature as part of the divine nature; he "deified" human nature.In this sense, us redeemed humans will someday have some of the same attributes as deity; we will be "deified." This idea stems from eastern theology; I mean from the eastern half of the catholic church, not from Asia or India.
I admit the idea of "deification" of humanity is a horrifying idea to most Protestants but it should not be. It doesn't mean humans are deity. It does mean that the resurrected glorified body of Jesus is in some way imbued with deity — after all, Jesus, as deity, has this body, it is part of his nature, part of who he is.When we take on a resurrected glorified body in the new heavens and new earthwe will also take on this aspect of "deified" human nature. (Protestants seem to often jump to wrong conclusions about such subtleties and castigate those discussing such things, usually brashly denouncing them as teaching such-and-such when, in reality, they teach no such thing. This is somewhat rude and uncultured. To prove I am correct in my assessment — Protestants insist the Catholic Church teaches you are saved by works. It simply does not teach this.)
A similar description as the transfiguration of Jesus. Apparitions are often accompanied by light and sounds. The New Testament describes many cases of angels appearing and people would fall to the ground terrified. When we see into the spiritual realm our physical senses are overwhelmed. The senses of our spiritual body can tolerate these kinds of inputs.
Why should we interpret part of this vision literally but other parts figuratively? It is all literal.There literally was a two-edged sword coming from Jesus' mouth. We want to interpret this sword as symbolic, and yes, it is symbolic. The image means the words coming from Jesus cut away error. But John literally sees the sword, it is not a mere symbol. He is seeing a vision from the spiritual realm; in the spiritual realm, symbols are real, they have a tangible substance.Thus, we should expect to see unicorns in the spiritual realm.
Jesus has 7 stars in his right hand; these are identified as the angels of the 7 churches,of the 7 specific churches of John's oversight. It does not say the stars are symbols of the churches; that Jesus is carrying symbols in his hand. And how can anyone carry around a symbol? You can have a statue of a crucifix which represents the event of the crucifixion; but the crucifix is an actual object having symbolic meaning; the crucifix itself is not a symbol. Thus, the number 7 is not a symbol, it is a number. It has symbolic meaning, but meaning resides in the spiritual realm whereas some objects having symbolic meaning, such as a crucifix, reside in the physical realm.
Anyway, the point of the 7 stars in Jesus' hand: even though these 7 churches in the Roman provence of Asia are under the care of the apostle John, Jesus has them in his hand. Jesus is the ruler of the Church. Church leaders are merely caretakers, stewards of something belonging to Jesus.
Normally we think of a key as unlocking a door. In Isaiah chapter 22we see the key of the house of David locking or unlocking the doors of political rulership. In the spiritual realmthese are literal keys literallylocking and unlocking spiritual doors, but I shall not belabor the point.
So how do hell and death have associated keys? Do they have doors which can't be opened until unlocked? Usually people assume the image of the keys in this verse means: (1) Jesus controls who will enter hell, and (2) he will finally abolish death; but this verse doesn't actually say this. In chapter 20 we see the great white throne judgment: those in hell and death are delivered up for judgment;death and hell are both cast into the lake of fire.Doesn't match the usual teaching of the verse at hand.
Other examples of keys:
I conclude from all of this: the spiritual realm, the realm of life and living, has various compartments having doors with keys. Someone (a spirit being, meaning, an angel, or a person having a soul in the spiritual realm), someone has the keys, and only they can allow others to enter or exit. Every person and every angel, good and bad, can be locked in or out of somewhere; can have keys to something.
Considering all this, it would appear that death and hell are two compartments, two places in the spiritual realm; the wicked when they die end up in the place named hell, the righteous when they die end up in the place named death. At the great white throne judgment Jesus lets all these souls loose for final judgment. Nothing is ever destroyed in the spiritual realm, so, once the places named hell and death are no longer needed, they are cast into the lake of fire — the lake of fire seems to be another place in the spiritual realm containing eternally damned souls and, apparently, other spiritual realms such as hell and death.
There is a verse in Matthew where Jesus hints at this understanding of the word "death"as a place in the spiritual realm,a place influenced by Satan, his kingdom of darkness. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, everyone has lived there, in this place named "death", in the realm of death.
This place named "death" in the spiritual realm is a bubble sealed off from the direct presence of God. God can't look upon sinso he interacts only indirectly with those inside this bubble (all of humanity and all the wicked spirits.) Jesus invaded this bubble and made his presence, the presence of God, felt more directly. How could Jesus enter this realm of evil without violating God's repulsion of sin? Only by receiving on his person the judgment for sin, by creating a safe zone inside the kingdom of darkness, a bubble within a bubble. A verse in Johnmentions that the redeemed don't see death, in other words, they reside in the kingdom of God, this bubble within a bubble.
Satan once had direct accessto God from this place named "death" but has since been constrained as he fell from heaven.How could Satan ever have access to God since he is so sinful and evil and wicked? God is repulsed by all this. I suppose this will be part of Satan's judgment, that he had access to God while hating him, that he insulted God's mercy.
(Revelation 1:20) The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
Some claim the word "angel" refers to the pastor of the church. It could mean several things...
Only option 1 makes sense since the letters are exhorting change from everyone in the church, not merely the leader.
They form a clockwise flattened circle standing on its point from Ephesus or from Patmos. Probably these were the Churches the apostle John had charge over, each having a bishop (a star in Jesus' hand). He probably made the journey between these Churches in the exact sequence many times before; it's about 400 miles to make the whole loop. Maybe it would take a couple months by foot if he stopped for a couple of days in each Church, but he was likely 85 years old; maybe that's why he wrote letters instead (ignoring he was banished on the Island of Patmos.)
A summary of the various images used as greetings from above included in the letters to the 7 Churches...
|7 stars in right hand||Yes||Ephesus, Sardis|
|walks among golden candlesticks||Yes||Ephesus|
|the first and the last||Yes||Smyrna|
|was dead, and is alive||Yes||Smyrna|
|sharp two-edged sword||Yes||Pergamum|
|eyes like a flame of fire||Yes||Thyatira|
|feet like fine brass||Yes||Thyatira|
|7 Spirits of God||Yes||Sardis|
|holy and true||No||Philadelphia|
|has the key of David||No||Philadelphia|
|opens and no one shuts; shuts and no one opens||No||Philadelphia|
|the faithful and true witness||Yes||Laodicea|
|the beginning of the creation||Yes||Laodicea|
Additional images included as conclusion of each of the letters to the 7 Churches, for those who overcome...
|eat of the tree of life in paradise||Ephesus|
|not be hurt by the 2nd death||Smyrna|
|eat the hidden manna||Pergamum|
|a white stone with a new name written on it; only the one receiving it can read it||Pergamum|
|power over the nations and etc.||Thyatira|
|the morning star||Thyatira|
|wear white clothes||Sardis|
|not blot out his name from the book of life||Sardis|
|will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels||Sardis|
|make him a pillar in the temple of God||Philadelphia|
|he will go out no more||Philadelphia|
|will write the name of God upon him, and the name of the city of God (new Jerusalem which comes down from heaven)||Philadelphia|
|will write upon him my new name||Philadelphia|
|to sit with me in my throne, even as I sit with my Father in his throne||Laodicea|
(Revelation 2:2) 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:
(Revelation 2:5) 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.
(Revelation 2:7) 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.
John mentions the tree of lifein the new heavens and new earthbefore he mentions the new heavens and new earth. Perhaps his audience had already learned about this topic and he assumed they knew about it already?
Perhaps in the new heavens and new earth we will have a new celebration with which we worship God: eating of the tree of life. Perhaps it will be like communion in which we each go up and partake. Imagine when Adam and Eve finally partake of it.
(Revelation 2:10) 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.
The word "death" refers to physically dying; the soul leaves the body and the body stops functioning as a result.
The phrase "some of you" indicates that the word "angel" refers to the whole body of Christians at that local church, not just the pastor.
The second death refers to eternal damnation in the lake of fire.
(Revelation 2:13) 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.
(Revelation 2:14) 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.
(Revelation 2:17) 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.
(Revelation 2:20) Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest [tolerate] 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.
I favor option 2. Perhaps she thought it was OK to be a pagan and a Christian at the same time, similar to liberal Christians who think all religions lead to the same place. In the early days of the Church, prophets and prophetesseswere very active; only later the bishops usurp all Church leadership authority. Notice that Jesus doesn't here object to women teaching or being prophetesses.
The question is what the word "fornicate" means. I prefer a strictly literalinterpretation but notice that eating food sacrificed to idols as part of a pagan religious celebration is associated with the word "fornicate". From the Old Testament we see that the word "fornicate" literally means to turn from God and participate in pagan religious practices.
The question is what the word "adultery" means. I prefer a strictly literalinterpretation but even so this doesn't necessarily mean the word here refers to violating the marriage covenant. From the Old Testament we see that the words "adultery" and "harlot" literally mean unfaithfulness to the Lord.
Some interpret the word "fornicate" in verse 20as referring to sexual activity, but this verse refutes that: it is unlikely that the problem at this Church was that many members of the congregation were having relations outside of marriage with Jezebel. That would make her a prostitute rather than a prophetess.
I suppose you could say the phrase "with her" means they were all having adulterous relationships as Jezebel was, but not necessarily with Jezebel. This implies they were all married and found willing partners; maybe among each other? Anyway, the whole idea is rather farfetched in my opinion.
The word "bed" probably refers to sickness.
(Revelation 2:23) 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.
(Revelation 2:24) 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.
Notice from the previous verse, it is the redeemed who are referred to as ruling with a rod of iron. The image of "rod of iron" refers to rulership, not judgment.
(Revelation 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.
(Revelation 3:3) 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.
(Revelation 3:5) 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.
(Revelation 3:7) 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;
(Revelation 3:9) 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.
(Revelation 3:12) 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.
(Revelation 3:18) 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.
Jesus calls everyone to salvation, but not all receive him. He continually knocks but we must answer. Some don't hear the knocking because their lives are so full of materialistic and self-centered pursuits. Sin makes us hard of hearing.
Jesus stands at a literal door, literally knocking — this image is not figurative but strictly literal.In the spiritual realm, our spiritual body is in a room with a door and Jesus knocks on it continually. This spiritual body corresponds to our physical body and is able to experience multiple realities at once, just as our dream body can. (in fact, our dream body is just one facet of our spiritual body.) In the spiritual realm there are many interactions, such as the door, going on at once; each is highly symbolic but, nonetheless, real. I reject the philosophical notion of forms;philosophical constructs such as these are, in reality, real and tangible aspects of the spiritual realm.
In eating with Jesus we are saved. This is one of the many kinds of interactions we can have with Jesus. This is the importance of the Eucharist in Church. In fact, it is the only way in which the presence of Christ, in fact the very body and blood of Christ, becomes truly present in this world.
John's soul, his spirit, was transported to a higher realm of heaven, of the spiritual realm. In this realm, God was visible in the form of various symbols, as were the angels.In the new heavens and new earthwe will have access to this realm of heaven.
God in his essence can never be seen by humans (or angels) but we can see various manifested forms of his in the various spiritual realms. I think these provide the basis for various images of God in the various world religions. (Note: I am not claiming that all these religions validly express the truth about God — salvation comes through no other name than Jesus Christ.)
(Revelation 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.
(Revelation 4:8) 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.
This scroll has something very significant written inside. All 7 seals must first be removed by someone authorized to do so before the contents can be read.
The 7 seals are the various kinds of struggles built-in to this world. Seals 1–5 have been occurring since the fall; seals 6 and 7 are yet-future...
|1st Seal||Power-crazed generals such as Nimrod, Alexander the Great, and Hitler conquer everybody they can leading to war, death, and calamity.|
|2nd Seal||Civil wars by various factions within a nation forcing people to choose sides and fight their own families.|
|3rd Seal||Economic hard times affecting primarily the poor and disadvantaged.|
|4th Seal||Death to all creatures.|
|5th Seal||Persecution and martyrdom for those of all eras seeking God.|
|6th Seal||The final global destruction, the grand finale including the phases of Christ's 2nd coming,the disintegration of the world as Christ returns, the great white throne judgment. The 7 Trumpets and 7 Bowls all occur during the 6th Seal.|
|7th Seal||And finally, peace. The noise and cacophony finally ends. The new heavens and new earth.|
The question is, "when do we get to read what is contained in the scroll?" The purpose of seals on a scroll is to ensure unauthorized people don't read it and to certify who is the author. Only when all 7 seals are removed can the scroll be opened and read. This occurs after the second coming of Christ (the events of most of the book of Revelation occur before the 7th seal is removed.)
(Revelation 5:6) 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.
(Revelation 5:8) And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials [bowls] full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
(Revelation 5:9) And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
(Revelation 5:11) And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
(Revelation 5:13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
The implicit understanding of this verse (and much of the book of Revelation) by many moderns is that it is totally a work of fiction, a fabrication, an inspiring movie, but that the plot and characters are inventions; that there are no 24 elders or 4 beasts; that certainly every living creature doesn't sing songs. And that yes, there really are angels and they do the kind of thing described here, but these particular angels are only fictional. I reject this view preferring, instead, based on my system of philosophy,that every experienced event, including those of dreams and imaginations, actually occur in the spiritual realm. Thus, Toonland and Wile E. Coyote and Darth Vadar really do exist.
So where and when do the actions of this verse occur? All we can know about it is...
The question is whether the creatures in heaven are the angels or birds. Since the angels were already referred to in verse 11, this verse probably refers to the birds that fly in the sky, also known as the heavens.
How is it possible that animals worship God yet their souls are annihilated at death? And how is it possible for mountains and rocks to worship God unless they have souls? In my system of philosophy, all created things have a soul.Not all souls are alike; the soul of a human is different than the soul of a sea gull or a mountain.
This occurs in the spiritual realm, but note that this spiritual event has a centuries-long effect in the physical world.
(Revelation 6:4) 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.
(Revelation 6:8) 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.
This occurs in the spiritual realm. The souls of the martyrs are under the altar.
(Revelation 6:11) 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.
The 6th seal encompasses all the tribulations before and during the second coming of Christ as well as the great white throne judgment. It is the grand finale including the phases of Christ's 2nd coming,the disintegration of the world as Christ returns, the great white throne judgment. The 7 trumpets and 7 bowls all occur within the 6th seal.
This is the final destruction of this world before the great white throne judgment.
(Revelation 6:15) 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;
The events of preceeding verses occur over an extended time period. The people living at the time respond in various ways.
(Revelation 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.
This occurs just before the events of the preceeding verses; these events are prerequisites for the preceeding. God won't start the devastation beginning with the phases of Christ's 2nd coming until he has sealed the 144,000.
A new scene. John has probably spent several days in the quarry since his visions of chapter 6. The book of Revelation is not a strictly chronological narrative but is, rather, a series of unrelated visions as are the visions of Zechariah. There is no need to try to fit each subsequent vision into ever smaller and smaller timeframes — John narrates the end of the world and the second coming of Christ multiple times throughout the book.
John mention 4 things of the earth, of the physical realm: (1) earth, (2) sea, (3) trees, (4) wind. As we learn from the next 2 verses, holding back the winds in some way harms earth, sea, and trees.
The phrase "4 corners of the earth" is an idiom. The earth doesn't have corners and John didn't think it does. There are 4 directions, forming a square; squares have corners. These angels were probably standing in 90 degree angles with each other; this is why John referred to them as being at the corners.
John is seeing these visions in the spiritual realm so these images all reside in the spiritual realm. But even though the earth, sea, trees, and wind he sees are all in the spiritual realm, they correspond to the actual earth, sea, trees, and wind in the physical world. Just as we have a (real) dream body and a real physical body, so also everything in the physical realm has a corresponding copy in the spiritual realm. When things happen with the spiritual copy, there is some sort of corresponding manifestation in the physical world, with the physical body.So when the wind stops blowing, something bad is going to happen here on earth.
(Revelation 7:2) 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,
This is the great white throne judgment from the perspective of the redeemed.
(Revelation 7:9) 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;
(Revelation 7:14) 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.
The new heavens and the new earth.It is mentioned only briefly here; later near the end of the book there are several chapters about the topic. It is so stunning in comparison to the nonsense that just occurred, everyone sits there in dumbfounded amazement. The 7 seals are now all removed but the scroll is not yet opened.
The remainder of the tribulations in the book of Revelation are all part of the 6th seal.
The 7 Trumpets are all the tribulations before and during the second coming of Christ and the great white throne judgment. It is the grand finale including the phases of Christ's 2nd coming,the disintegration of the world as Christ returns, the great white throne judgment. The 7 Trumpets are the same events as the 7 Bowls.
(Revelation 8:3) 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.
Satan (formerly named Lucifer, renamed to Satan at his fall) has power over the earth. Before the fall of Lucifer, God gave him creative power and he participated with God in designing and creating the universe.After his fall, Satan corrupted the universe and the spiritual realm associated with it such that it would be a place of suffering and pain. The animals eat each other and die as a result of Satan's influence. In the new heavens and new earththere will be no more pain, suffering, or death.
The 7 trumpet judgments are those caused by Satan's influence on the world and includes physical hardship, spiritual blindness, and, ultimately, eternal damnation.
The first 4 trumpet judgments are those physical hardships resulting in famine, disease, etc. due to bad weather, political unjustice and oppression, etc.
These judgments of thirds are based on Ezekiel;the first third is the judgment, the second third is the death of many, the final third is the scattering of the survivors. In the trumpet judgments it appears that the first third is what is in mind; the judgment itself, ignoring its impact on the people judged.
(Revelation 8:7) 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.
1/3 trees, all the grass.
1/3 sea. The mountain and sea referred to here are in the spiritual realm.
1/3 fish, 1/3 ships. The creatures in the sea are fish and other creatures that live in the ocean. The ships were destroyed by the tsunamis and falling lava caused by this event. These ships were probably close to shore since the lava from the mountains were on land. The ships of those days probably remained close to shore.
1/3 rivers, springs
1/3 drinking water
(Revelation 8:12) And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.
1/3 sun, 1/3 moon, 1/3 stars
The 3 woes concern the spiritual condition of humans; their interaction of their souls with the demonic spiritual realm.
(Revelation 8:13) And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
The 1st woe concerns God's judgment throughout history on those who have rejected God.
Heaven and the bottomless pitare both in the spiritual realm, therefore the word "earth" also refers to a place in the spiritual realm. This means there is a physical earth and a spiritual earth.All these events are occurring in the various spiritual realms and having a corresponding influence in the physical realm. But really, all of life exists in the spiritual ream anyway.
People usually imagine a shaft down to the center of the earth or something like that. A better image would be a wormhole in the spiritual realm connecting a hell-like realm of pure wickedness with the realm of human souls, this realm having an earth and sun and air.
The power these locusts have is the power to harm or kill humans, just as scorpions have this power. Events in the spiritual realm have impacts in the physical realm. I think when people take drugs that make them crazy or kill them, there is a spiritual component to the drug.
(Revelation 9:4) 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.
The wicked powers of darkness in the spiritual realm are powerless to spiritually harm those who are sealed by God; those who have given their lives over to God; who trust in God for their redemption. When a person does this, God seals them just as he seals a new Christian when they are baptized.
The word "death" refers to physically dying.
The spiritual influence of the wicked spirit beings leads men into wars. Men are compelled to follow political rulers into battle, even if they don't truly believe in the cause.
These wicked spirits took on the form of those they possessed over the millennia.
Men are persecuted by unscrupulous tyrants (lions.)These lions are strictly literal— notice that in Psalms 57:4 that the lions vex the author's soul, therefore, these lions are in the spiritual realm. Just as the bread and wine of the Eucharist literally become the body and blood of Christ, just so the souls of wicked men who persecute and vex others become lions.
The 2nd woe concerns God's judgment throughout history on unbelieving Israel culminating in the destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. When John wrote the book of Revelation in 96 A.D. this had all already occurred in the past.
1/3 men killed
(Revelation 9:17) 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.
1/3 men killed
(Revelation 9:20) 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:
The greek word pharmakeia is here translated witchcraft. Some interpret this word as referring to drug use and certainly the word can mean this, but it doesn't only mean this; none of the translations translate it this way. I think interpreting the greek word pharmakeia as drug use is improper; it would be like swapping the two opposite meanings of the word cleave: to split vs. to join.
Very bright and colorful. This angel comes down from heaven, meaning, he stands on the physical earth and sea.
This angel seems to be claiming the whole earth, both land and sea. The sea referred to here is the physical oceans.
(Revelation 10:4) And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
The message of the 7 thunders is for John only — I wonder why he even mentioned it? Perhaps to make us curious. Perhaps it was instructions about how to structure the book of Revelation, or some prophecy about how his time on the island of Patmos would turn out, or some instruction for when he was released from Patmos and returned to his archdiocese, or perhaps something to tell Mary who was living with him.
(Revelation 10:6) And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time [delay] no longer:
Since reference is made to the angel in verse 2standing on the physical earth and sea, we should assume the word "heavens" refers to the physical sky. The creatures referred to are the birds, fish, land animals, and humans.
We should look to the activities of the seventh angel to see the end.
(Revelation 10:8) And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
Back to the little book again. There is a strong emphasis of this angel standing on the sea and earth; it is mentioned three times.
(Revelation 10:9) And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
In the spiritual realm it makes perfect sense to eat a book instead of reading it to understand its message. In the spiritual realm symbols are real.In similar manner, Jesus is present in the Eucharist, and in eating and drinking his literal body and blood we are blessed by him and become united with him. Jesus attaches his spirit to the consecrated bread and wine as if it were a human body; thus we are literally consuming him just as he discusses in John chapter 6.This is why it would be hard for me to attend a church which considers communion to be merely symbolic.
God's word is sweet but delivering that word to those who will be judged by it is bitter.
I suppose the prophecies which follow are the contents of the little book.
Even though God had already destroyed the temple in 70 A.D., he wishes those who still consider themselves as Jews to be redeemed by recognizing that the kingdom of God has been given to Christ.
The purpose of measuring things to demonstrate they belong to God.
This was literally fulfilled in the Jewish war starting in 66 A.D. and leading to the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. This fits perfectly with the context.
Some say that the image of Gentiles occupying the court outside the temple refers to the current situation in which Islam occupies the temple mount of Jerusalem. The problem with this interpretation is that there is currently no temple at all. To "solve" this problem they assume that the nation of Israel will someday build a temple, perhaps with diplomatic assistance from the Antichrist. But this has a worse problem because there is no longer a covenant nation of Israel as God demonstrated in destroying the temple in 70 A.D. Certainly God does not wish the Jews to build a temple so they can begin animal sacrifices again — yet that is the purpose of an altar!
Preterists have plenty of explanations for the 2 witnesses before 70 A.D.
Some suggest that one of these witnesses speaks to the Gentiles and the other to the Jews, but there is no distinction in role between the two other than referring to one as priest and the other as king. They are both treated exactly the same in this passage and in the passage in Zechariah 4; priest and king are both leaders of the Old Testament nation of Israel. So there is no reason to assume that these two witnesses minister to Gentiles at all.
There is no change in context from the previous passage about the temple. Since the temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. the 2 witnessesappeared at or before the start of the Jewish War (66–70 A.D.) There was a Jewish king and a Jewish priest during this time that match the description rather well.
This calls attention to those who should have been the true spiritual leaders of Jerusalem and the Jews: the high priest and the king. But these had lost control and the Jewish messianic revolutionaries were in charge, even taking up residence in the temple and storing weapons there.
Some say that one of these two witnesses is Elijah because he called down fire, but note that both of them send down fire.
(Revelation 11:6) 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.
Some say that one of these two witnesses is Elijah because he stopped it from raining for three years, but note that both of them do this. No one suggests that one of the two witnesses is Moses even though this image of turning water into blood matches one of Moses' plagues. Also, both of them do this.
In the first woe, out of the bottomless pitcomes first smoke, then locusts, then the king over these, who is the beast mentioned here.The same beast who torments the unredeemed also persecutes and kills the two witnesses.
The city referred to is Jerusalem. It was spiritually like Sodom because the leaders of the city were wicked before it was destroyed in 70 A.D. It was spiritually like Egypt because the leaders of the city persecuted people just as the leaders of Egypt did to the Israelites.
(Revelation 11:13) 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.
Notice that the events of the two witnesses are part of the second woe.
(Revelation 11:15) 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.
Christ now takes possession of all the kingdoms of the world; the powers of darkness are no longer ruling over us humans. When does this take place? Certainly not until Satan is destroyed just before the Great White Throne judgment.
Christ now takes possession of the world. This only happens at the end of the world so this event is yet-future.
(Revelation 11:18) 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.
Judgment day. The unredeemed are angry and God unleashes his eternal judgment upon them. The redeemed are given their eternal reward. Those wicked people and spirit beings which destroyed the earth are forever separated from the redeemed; this is how it will be in the new heavens and new earth.
This should be the start of a new chapter. The activities of the 7 trumpet angels are complete and we now turn to a new series of visions. These new visions do not chronologically follow after the previous visions but are completely independent.
(Revelation 11:19) 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.
The next set of visions come directly from God's presence, from his temple in heaven as evidenced by the mention of the ark of the covenant which is where God resides to bless his covenant people. Notice that God's presence is signalled with natural phenomena: thunder, lightening, and hail; and earthquakes. These all literally occurred when God revealed himself to John and gave these visions; these images are all strictly literal, but they occurred in the spiritual realm, not the physical realm (but they had some sort of physical manifestation perhaps lasting for centuries and into the modern age.)In the new heavens and new earthI suspect that God will manifest his presence with striking natural phenomenon which we will see and delight in. God will delight in manifesting his great power and glory to us and we will delight in experiencing it, and will worship him in response.
(Revelation 12:4) 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.
The word "heaven" here and verses following refers to the spiritual realm, the abode of the angels.
(Revelation 12:9) 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.
At the time of Christ's death and resurrection Satan was cast out of heaven, meaning, his activities in the spiritual realm were constrained to a smaller sphere of possible activities; his kingdom was reduced, meaning, he is more focused on this world. At this time he was also bound in the abyssfor 1,000 years;this ended about 1054 A.D. but he remains banished from heaven.
(Revelation 12:10) 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.
The word "death" refers to physically dying; the soul leaves the body and the body stops functioning as a result.
(Revelation 12:12) 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.
This verse refers to 2 realms...
Those on earth, humans and animals and birds and fish, must now endure increased harassment and annoyance. Satan is aware he is now in the final phase of his operations; after this, final judgment. (He is now building up his kingdom for the future eternity in the lake of fire — he has no other hope, although he does enjoy(?) the pain, suffering, and misery he causes.)
Those in the spiritual realm are those who have died (presumably including animals and birds and fish.) Those in heaven rejoice because they are no longer plagued by the wicked spirits once Christ came into hell (Abraham's bosom) to transport them to a happier location.
(Revelation 12:14) 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.
7 heads (1 deadly wounded from a sword then healed), 10 horns, 10 crowns upon horns, power from the dragon (Satan), they made an image of the beast, mark of the beast, number 666 of a man, the Great Harlot rides it but it carries her, scarlet colored.
The First Beast is the Antichristhaving 10 kings growing out of him and supporting him (this is not the European Union.) His 7 heads are from the legacy of the Roman empire at the time John wrote the book of Revelation. Domitian was the Roman emperor at the time John wrote this and there was a myth that Nero had not really died and would return.After this, there is a gap of centuries until the Antichrist appears on the scene, but the conditions are always rumbling under the surface: persecution of Christians, worship of emperors.
(Revelation 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.
The beast rises up out of the ocean, like a sea monster. The people of those days had probably heard many stories of encounters with murky unseen creatures doing great damage to their ships and killing people. Even today there is an eerie feeling when seeing the hazy outlines of dolphins or whales or sharks or jellyfish; you can't see them very well so you imagine the worst. Such is this beast; very scary and intimidating. But once it comes out of the water John can see it has heads and horns, like a familiar animal.
(Revelation 13:2) 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.
Satanprovides the spiritual power, direction, and motivation for the first beast. He also gave him great authority in the spiritual realm; this translates to great influence in the physical realm of humans.
In worshipping the beast they worship Satan and vice versa. We see that political rulership has a living existence in the spiritual realm; there is a spirit behind all institutions.
It seems that this person doesn't care much for the angels or for the Trinity.
Persecution of Christians, and age of martyrdom.
2 horns, spoke as a dragon (Satan).
There appears to be another person or institution involved, called the false prophet.
Some Old Testament prophets did this. The False Prophet mimics them. Apparently Satan has power to manifest miraculous events on the earth.
(Revelation 13:14) 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.
The False Prophet commands people to make some sort of miraculous image of the First Beast. The First Beast was killed with a sword but was resuscitated.
(Revelation 13:15) 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.
It appears that the False Prophet has the power behind this business, presumably powered by Satan.
We should wonder whether the 1st beast or the 2nd beast is referred to here. From v17 above it is clear that 666 is the number of the name of the 1st beast.
Nero's name adds up to 666 (or 616). However, not everyone is impressed with the ability to find names whose letters add up to 666.
(Revelation 14:3) 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.
(Revelation 14:4) 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.
These were unmarried.
Overview of the plan of redemption...
(Revelation 14:6) 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,
An angel teaches the gospel. Perhaps this is via apparitions.
(Revelation 14:7) 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.
John lists 4 aspects of the physical realm, all created by God...
(Revelation 14:10) 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:
(Revelation 14:11) 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.
(Revelation 14:13) 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.
(Revelation 14:15) 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.
(Revelation 14:18) 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.
The 7 bowls are all events occurring within the 6th seal. All the tribulations before and during the second coming of Christ and the great white throne judgment. It is the grand finale including the phases of Christ's 2nd coming,the disintegration of the world as Christ returns, the great white throne judgment. The 7 Bowls are the same events as the 7 Trumpets.
(Revelation 15:2) 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.
(Revelation 15:3) 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.
(Revelation 15:8) 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.
(Revelation 16:2) And the first went, and poured out his vial [bowl] 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.
The sea referred to here is the ocean. The living souls referred to are those creatures living in the ocean; notice that they have souls. The men in the previous verse are physical so we should assume this passage occurs in the physical realm.
The seat of the First Beast's kingdom is judged. I assume this means the rulers of this kingdom. If the first beast is the Antichrist, this verse doesn't fit at all.
(Revelation 16:14) 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.
(Revelation 16:19) 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.
(Revelation 16:21) 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.
(Revelation 17:1) And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials [bowls], 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:
We learn that she is to be judged before we are even introduced to her.
(Revelation 17:4) 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:
This woman persecuted Christians.
Only people can kill other people, therefore, the woman represents the spirit influencing people.
(Revelation 17:8) The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition [destruction]: 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.
It appears the Third Beast is a line of rulers, the "culture" of an empire or civilization, or I should say, the spiritual powers behind these, energizing them.
Rome is the city of 7 hills. Perhaps each hill corresponds to each king in the next verse, or these could refer to the 7 hills of Rome but that doesn't make much sense either.
Presumably the time period is when John wrote the book of Revelation. The "king that is" refers to Domitian. We are tempted to think that the 7 kings are the 7 heads of the First Beast, but one of these was wounded to deaththen miraculously healed; perhaps this refers to Nero who, it was believed, would return after his death.
The Third Beast is the 8th king who has not yet come from the perspective of the 7 kings. The First Beast appears to be the Antichrist, a world emperor just as the Roman emperors were world emperors (from the perspective of the Romans).
In persecuting Christians these actually war with Christ because the Spirit of Christ resides within Christians.
Which city is referred to? Note that it reigns over the kings of the earth. Some possibilities...
(Revelation 18:2) 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.
(Revelation 18:3) 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.
We see from the verses following that merchants are the ones affected, especially those shipping merchandise by sea.
(Revelation 18:12) 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,
(Revelation 18:13) 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.
The word "sea" refers to the physical ocean.
(Revelation 18:19) 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.
(Revelation 18:21) 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.
(Revelation 18:22) 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;
(Revelation 18:23) 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.
The greek word pharmakeia is here translated witchcraft. Some interpret this word as referring to drug use and certainly the word can mean this, but it doesn't only mean this; none of the translations translate it this way. I think interpreting the greek word pharmakeia as drug use is improper; it would be like swapping the two opposite meanings of the word cleave: to split vs. to join.
(Revelation 19:2) 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.
(Revelation 19:6) 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.
(Revelation 19:10) 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.
(Revelation 19:15) 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.
(Revelation 19:17) 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;
(Revelation 19:18) 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.
(Revelation 19:20) 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.
In my view, the 1,000 yearsis strictly literalbeginning with Christ's first coming and ending with events heralding the great schism of 1054 A.D.The Churchhad 1,000 years to develop Christian dogma (while Satan was bound and could not deceive the nations); then he was loosed. Now he can't destroy Christianity because it is too entrenched — the gates of hell will never prevail against it. But in 1054 A.D. Satan ascended out of the bottomless pitand continues his evil mischief.
Historical events occurring while Satan was bound...
After Satan was loosed in 1054 A.D.he has since been trying to unite the world as anti-Christian so when Christ returns, Satan can fight against himto destroy him. It is utter madness for Satan to think he can destroy Jesus when he returns; such is the folly of a depraved mind.
Premillennialists claim the yet-future 1,000 years when Satan will be bound, that this will be a utopian millennium. But they must resort to instantaneous evolution to explain how it is animals survive without eating each other and how humans can live much longer lifespans. All these utopian aspects belong properly in the new heavens and new earth.
(Revelation 20:3) 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 [short time].
Musing on the King James Version translation of the word "time" as "season": to God 1,000 years is as a day;a season is longer than a day — about 90 days. Thus, we should expect this little season to end within 89,000 years and the second coming of Christ to occur after that.
(Revelation 20:4) 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.
I assume that the souls mentioned are the ones sitting on the thrones in the first part of this verse; that there is only one group of people, not two.
The Christian martyrs during the early age of the Church are in the spiritual realm with Christ, ruling and reigning with him. He hears their prayers (they are under the altar).They are helping to get the doctrines of the Church established correctly through their intercessions.
(Revelation 20:6) 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.
The second death refers to eternal damnation in the lake of fire.
Verse 5 and verse 6 appear to directly contradict; resolving the contradiction refutes the usual evangelical fundamentalist Protestant understanding of the 1,000 yearsas referring to a yet-future fantastically utopian millennium. Verse 5 says the first resurrection is after the 1,000 years. Verse 6 says the first resurrection is during the 1,000 years and those who have enjoyed the first resurrection reign with Christ during the 1,000 years.
Here's the solution to the difficulty: those in verse 6 who have part in the first resurrection and who reign with Christ for 1,000 yearsare those of verse 4, those martyrs during the 1,000 years. This includes, of course, all those early readers of the book of Revelation who would begin to be martyred with Domitian and would continue to be martyred for several hundred years until Constantine. Those in verse 5 are those living during the 1,000 years who were not martyred with those of verse 4, but nevertheless they were true believers and, therefore, participated in the first resurrection. The first resurrection is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that seals believers so that they ultimately end up in the new heavens and new earth.The ushering-in of the new heavens and new earth would not occur during the 1,000 years but yet believers would enjoy its benefits when it finally occurs; this time is yet-future.
There is no need in any of this for the end of the 1,000 years to coincide with the beginning of the new heavens and new earth; there can be centuries or even millions of years intervening. In fact, even millennialists must have a gap after the 1,000 years;my gap is longer (much longer) but a gap is a gap no matter how long.
Satan again begins to deceive the nations starting in 1054 A.D.It is he who provokes humans to war with one another, but there were wars during this 1,000 yearperiod, in fact, Islam invaded large tracts of the Roman Empire and other areas during this period. His deceiving the nations was primarily about his corrupting the message of the gospel. Gog and Magog were Christian regions and Christians fought with Christians.
One of Satan's tactics today is to set up the political scene in the world so that when Christ returns he can easily pursuade all the nations to attack him with their modern weapons of war. This, of course, is futile.
This is the final phase of the 2nd Coming Christ; the resurrection occurs afterwards.
Notice that not everyone is cast into the lake of fire at the same time; there are phases to it. Here is the sequence...
The physical realm flees away from the presence of God the Father. Such things can exist in Christ's presence because he took on human nature in the incarnation. But God the Father remains forever pure Spirit.
(Revelation 20:12) 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.
Everyone is judged by their works.The New Testament directly states this so many times it is hard to understand how so many Christians deny it claiming that works have no role in salvation. If you are judged for your works I would say works have a role in redemption. Notice it states "every man" was judged this way, not merely the wicked.
We find that the souls of the dead were kept in two places: (1) death and hell, and (2) the sea. Perhaps death and hell contain only the souls of the unredeemed and the place referred to with the word "sea" is where the souls of the redeemed are kept waiting for the white throne judgment. Maybe this sea is the "sea of glass" in 4:6which is before the throne of God. I would expect the place in the spiritual realm where the souls of the redeemed go after death to be close to God's presence and protected from the wicked spirits. Certainly, this sea of glass meets these conditions.
The question is whether the dead associated with the sea are sea creatures, such as fish, or humans who died in the ocean and who were not given a proper burial. Certainly there were many people killed in this manner during Noah's flood. The other question is whether this verse neglects to mention the fate of the redeemed and, therefore, refers only to the damned; those who died in the ocean, or who ended up in hell.
This verse implies that both the righteous and the wicked were judged at the great white throne judgment.
The final goal of redeemed humans is the new heavens and new earth.In fact, the Bible nowhere states we will end up in heaven, yet Christians often say things such as, "Will you go to heaven?" I should note, that based on my system of interpretation, most the glorious conditions mentioned by the prophets concern the new heavens and new earth — not a yet-future 1,000 yearearthly millennium.
The reference to "no more sea" probably refers to 20:13in which the sea gave up the dead that were in it. Once this occurred, this sea was no longer in the picture. John does not describe much about the new heavens and new earth and I doubt if he is saying it has no oceans. The way some describe it, the new heavens and new earth is a lifeless rock, like the planet mars, with only one walled city on the surface. Probably he mentions the sea because he mentions heaven and earth. The old heavens (universe) and earth passed away; so also did the sea. But just as the old heavens and earth are replaced with the new heavens and new earth, so also, the old sea is replaced with the new sea. I think to the people living at the time the ocean was pretty forbidding and daunting and warranted a separate mention.
It doesn't make sense that the new heavens and new earth would not have oceans. This would imply there are no planets or galaxies.
(Revelation 21:3) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle [tent] 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.
(Revelation 21:4) 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.
The verse describes conditions in the new heavens and new earth.There will be no more death, pain, sorrow, or suffering. Therefore, these things are all caused by Satan and are part of his kingdom. Since animals did not start eating each other at the fall, Satan's kingdom on earth existed before the fall, before the universe was created. In fact, Satan helped design and create the universe so he could use it to inflict pain and suffering on sentient creatures. This could only happen because God made some sort of covenant with Lucifer and gave Lucifer the power to participate in creating this universe the way it is.But in the new heavens and new earth God will use the same universe as a place of goodness and peace and blessing.
It a tender reflection on God's intimate love for us that he would himself personally wipe away our tears. This is no mere figure of speech but is, rather, strictly literal.At the great white throne judgment and upon entering the new heavens and new earth, Jesus himself will wipe away the tears of each of us. He can do this because he has a resurrected human body, the same as we will have.
(Revelation 21:8) 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.
The second death refers to eternal damnation in the lake of fire.
(Revelation 21:9) And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials [bowls] full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
This is the new Jerusalem.contrasting with the current Jerusalemwhich had been destroyed 26 years before John wrote the book of Revelation. It will be a focal point for worship of everyone in the world. It will fulfill the role that the Jerusalem of the Old Testament covenant was intended to.
The new Jerusalem is part of the new heavens and new earth.
(Revelation 21:16) 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.
(Revelation 21:19) 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;
(Revelation 21:20) The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
(Revelation 22:2) 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.
(Revelation 22:11) 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.
Jesus will reward us according to our works. The reward is to spend eternity in the new heavens and new earth.This verse is used by those teaching of the bema seat judgment of Christ, a notion I reject, in which believers are given rewards based on their good works.
Notice we are redeemed by performing the commandments of Christ. We are judged by our works. We are saved through faith in Jesus having good works. We are not saved by works only.
(Revelation 22:18) 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:
(Revelation 22:19) 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.
King James Version