The Signs of Revelation – Part VIII: The New Heavens and New Earth

God’s language of prophesy is a challenge because it is a majestic and grand metaphor, a hugely poetical style.  The metaphors and poetry which He used were to provide the sovereign and supreme import, the full vision and implications of what became the actual or literal outcome.  The judgment was pronounced from heaven above in metaphors, given to His prophets, and then carried out with a literal consequence which was seen by those who were under God’s judgment.

For instance, many Old Testament scriptures testify to the fury of God, and compare it to fire.

Psa. 89:46,  How long, Lord? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?”  (KJV)

Is. 66:15-16,  For, lo, Jehovah in fire cometh, And as a hurricane His chariots, To refresh in fury His anger, And His rebuke in flames of fire.  16 For by fire and by His sword, Doth Jehovah do judgment with all flesh. And many have been Jehovah’s pierced ones.’”  (YLT)

Jer. 4:4,  Be circumcised to Jehovah, And turn aside the foreskins of your heart, O man of Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My fury go out as fire, and hath burned, And there is none quenching, Because of the evil of your doings.”  (YLT)

Lam. 2:4, “He hath bent his bow like an enemy: he stood with his right hand as an adversary, and slew all that were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion: he poured out his fury like fire.”  (KJV)

We can see from these scriptures the metaphor words “like” and “as” which compare God’s fury to fire.  Learning from these defined metaphors of the Old Testament, we then associate the prophetical word “fire” with God’s anger and judgment against the wicked people.

Ezek. 19:12, “But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.”  (KJV)

Ezek. 23:25, “And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire.”  (KJV)

As the metaphor of fire speaks of the anger and judgment of God, then the verses that use the word “fire” are immediately associated with the judgment that He carried out.  You can just as easily replace the word “fire” with “Lord’s judgment”.

The method of the actual, literal judgment sentence was not necessarily by a literal fire because he used both natural elements and foreign nations to achieve His judgment against the wicked ones He condemned.

God’s judgment upon the sinful and wicked Sodom and Gomorrah was literally fire and brimstone.

Gen 19:24, 28: 24Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;…..28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.”  (KJV)

The wicked people of Sodom and Gomorrah “saw” God in the fire and brimstone that rained down upon them.  But His judgment was not always executed by literal fire.  Sometimes it was carried out by bringing down a fierce warrior nation upon the condemned and wicked people.

Isa. 34:2-5, “For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.

Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.

And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.

For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.”

Isa. 66:16, “For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many.” 

Jer. 9:9, 16:  “9Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?… 16 I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.

So, when Christ told His disciples that there were some standing there that would see the Son of man coming in His kingdom (Matt. 16:28) and when He told Caiaphas that, “ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven,” (Matt 26:64), and when he told John, ” Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him” (Rev. 1:7), He meant that the people would see the outcome, the consequence and resulting action of the judgment.  They would “see” the resulting death and destruction.

We can only learn the full meanings of the prophetic language of God from within His own words.  We must study the original source, and delve through the Old Testament to see these same words as they are found in the New Testament.  I guarantee you that much of the New Testament language that many people believe to be literal is still God’s prophetic judgment language of the Old Testament.

Here is one that most people have wrenched and turned inside out.

2 Pet. 3:10, 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

This verse even tells us that it is speaking of the judgment of God; that “the day of the Lord” is the same meaning as in Zechariah 14:1-2.

“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”

A “day of the Lord” signified a time of judgment against a wicked people or nation. The first thing that should come to mind when we see these words is the judgment language of God that is found throughout all of the Old Testament.  The “elements shall melt with fervent heat” is the metaphor of the fire of God’s anger.

Ezek. 22:20, “As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you.

The prophesy of Ezekiel 22 that God would gather the people into Jerusalem and melt them is the same prophesy of 2 Peter 3 of the elements being melted with fervent heat!  Both prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the Mosaic sacrificial temple.

After God’s judgment was carried out, then a new and purified air for the people was set in place.  New “elements” or a new system was established, to refresh the order of living clean and pure to serve God without sin.  In the prophesy of bringing Israel out of the Babylonian captivity, Isaiah spoke of new elements… a new heaven and a new earth.

Isa. 65:17-19, “17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.  18 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.  19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.”

God brought Jerusalem back into being after the tribes of Joseph and Judah returned from the Babylonian captivity.  They rebuilt Jerusalem according to God’s instructions (see Ezra and Nehemiah), and recreated the city with new purpose to live before God according to His laws.

The creation of the new heavens and new earth in Isaiah chap. 65 was the contemporary historical recreation of Jerusalem (the earth) under the authority of the Levitical priesthood and hierarchy of the Judean political structure (heavens) decreed by God.

Isa. 65:21-22, 21 And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.

Did God destroy the literal world and recreate it again after the remnant of Israel came out of Babylon?  No.  No more did He do so after the destruction of Jerusalem.  Creating “new heavens and a new earth” was a metaphor for the restored condition of the people to live under God’s sovereignty.  It looked forward to the new heavens and new earth under the gospel of Christ.

2 Pet. 3:13, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Rev. 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.

The meaning is the same as found in the Old Testament prophesy of a new system restored to God, with the “heavens” of the world nations under the authority of God and the “earth” being the people, specifically those who have put on Christ in the new heavenly covenant.

Heb. 8:10-13,  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

What was meant by old and new?  If there was to be a new covenant, a new heaven and earth, then the previous one was old, right?

Rev. 21:2-3, And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  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.

The word “new” implied that the old covenant, and the old heaven and earth, and the old Jerusalem were gone.  They had vanished away.  The prophesy of Revelation foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, the destruction of the old heaven and earth covenant with Israel, the destruction of the old earthly tabernacle in that temple in Jerusalem.

They were replaced with the new covenant of the new heaven and earth gospel of Christ whereby the people of God would worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24), in a spiritual temple in a spiritual city of God (John 4:21), the new Jerusalem where His laws are written on our hearts for all those that are in Christ.

That the new replaced the old is seen in the parable of the wine skins.

Matt. 9:16-17, 16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.

17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

The meaning should be clear, that Christ told them a new covenant was to replace the old covenant.  It wasn’t going to be a patch job, nor a merging of the two, nor a mix of the old vintage with the new vintage.

No more sea” of Rev. 21:1 referred to the former distinction between the nation of the land and the nations of the sea.  The land, or earth in the Old Testament was most often Israel.  The opposite of land, “sea” was the metaphor for the idolatrous nations surrounding Israel, just as the sea or water surrounds the literal land.

After the battle of Rev. chap. 19, after the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the persecuting powers of the beast of Rome, the new heaven and earth covenant of the gospel of Christ meant that all nations could now come back to the Father through Christ.

Gal. 3:28-29, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Col. 3:11,  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”

So, no more sea!  It doesn’t matter now whether your flesh and blood lineage is of Israel, or Greece, or Britain, Russia, China, America, or Canada.  Every nation, every people of every land are invited, called through the gospel of Christ to come back to the Father, our Creator.  And, if we answer that call by being immersed in water for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16), then we are counted for the seed of Abraham, and we are the Israel which God established forever!  (Gal. 3:26 -28)

Isa. 45:17, “But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

Despite what many people believe, God was not speaking of restoring and reestablishing an earthly nation of Israel.  He was speaking of the new Israel, those faithful of Christ which are counted for the seed of Abraham, that are in His body, His church, and His New Jerusalem.  Those in Christ are the Israel which is saved “in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.”  (See also the post “God’s Definitions -Part I: The House of Israel.”)

Therefore, Revelation’s new heavens and new earth are not a literal restoration of a clean environment, nor a literal restoration of a clean atmosphere.  Nor is the New Jerusalem a literal restoration of an earthly city of Jerusalem.  They are metaphors for the new covenant under the gospel of Christ.  The New Jerusalem was prepared as a bride (“as a” means metaphor) for her husband (Rev. 21:2).  She was / is the bride of Christ, which is the church of Christ.

Therefore, the New Jerusalem is the same as the bride and the church of Christ.

Furthermore, it did not signify the end of the physical world, nor the end of all political national existence.  Notice that after the new heaven and new earth creation of Rev. 21:1, and after the new Jerusalem came down out of heaven to be with men (Rev. 21:2), that verses 10 – 25 describe the walls and gates of the city.

Walls separate those within from those without.  Those within are those that are in Christ.  Those without the city are those that are not in Christ.  Now you have the distinction that Paul made in both Galatians and Colossians, that the only difference God sees under the new heaven and earth covenant of the gospel of Christ is those that are in Christ and those that are not.

Rev. 21:27, “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.”

This verse signifies the continuation of life after that battle of Rev. chap. 13 – 19.  That nothing abominable outside of the city would enter into it meant that life continued on after Christ won the victory.   Sinners and evil doers still exist outside of Christ’s church.

Again, we can derive the conclusion.  Revelation is not a prophesy of the end of the physical cosmos, nor of the end of the physical earth, nor of a destruction of the physical realm.  It was the prophesy to the first century Christians of the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesy of Christ’s everlasting kingdom.  And, it came about during that generation in which Christ was made manifest on earth.

See Matt. 12:41, 42, 45; 23:36; 24:34; Mark 8:12, 38; 13:30; Luke 11:50, 51; 21:32; Acts 2:40; Heb. 1:1-3, 1 Pet 1:20 among many others.

We do not have to fear an end of the world scenario as so many false prophets are forecasting today.  We are to run our race against sin (1 Cor. 9:24), being conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29), teaching others of the hope that is within us (1 Pet. 3:15), and staying the course, and remaining faithful to the end of our earthly life (2 Tim. 4:7).  Then we have won with Christ and receive the crown of eternal life in heaven.

Be assured that Christ reigns now at the right hand of the Father, and He will continue to judge the nations in righteousness just as He has always done.

Psa. 2:7-11, ” I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

See the previous posts that bring forth the scriptures to prove that the judgment pronounced in Revelation was for that generation in which Christ was manifested on earth; all ten parts of “It’s Not The End of the World”, “The Beast of Revelation,” “The Whore of Babylon,” “The Latter Days Are Not Our Days,” “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel Chap. 9”, and others.

Sources: The KJV, and Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)  All bold emphasis is mine.

The Signs of Revelation – Part VII: The Plagues of Egypt

Psa. 46:8, “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.”  (KJV)

Looking at Revelation from the Old Testament (OT) is both enlightening and reaffirming.  God’s word is true and His judgments are righteous (Psa. 19:9; 33:5; 119:137, 160).  If sometimes in our study we do not understand why He did what He did, or said what He said, then the fault lies with us. He has given us everything in His word that we need to be able to know Him, but it takes study, time and effort to delve in and connect the dots.

We keep faith and assurance that He had a reason for His actions, knowing that His judgments are righteous, and we trust in Him all the while we are learning and studying His word.  In ignorance and great irreverence the world scoffs, scorns and jeers their Creator, and reason within themselves that He is not worthy of respect.  Even those who say that they love Him will substitute their own human reasoning for that of our Creator, and force a different meaning upon His word than what He said.

Isa. 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LordFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We must determine the meaning of His word from within His word.  The scriptures interpret themselves, because only God interprets.  As Daniel explained to King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:19-23:

19Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.  20Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 

21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.  23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.”

Therefore, if we want to know what Revelation is all about we have to find it within the Old Testament, because the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.

God blessed the nation of Israel for Abraham’s sake (Gen. 26:26), using his faithful descendants to bring forth the Messiah, the Savior of all the people of the world (Matt. chap. 1).  He gave them the blessings for keeping His covenant law and the curses if they failed.

Deu.28:15, “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:”  (KJV)

The curses detailed in Deu. 28:16-68 were all carried out in the trumpet warnings and the vials of wrath poured out upon the land and the sea and the rivers in Rev. chapters 8 through 16.

Deu. 28:62, “And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God.”

The “stars of heaven” in Deu. chap. 28 were the Israelites of the Old Covenant (Gen. 37:9-10).  They were supposed to be a holy nation to be an example to all other nations of earth, to show how to be acceptable to God (Ex. 19:6).  They were not to bow down and worship images of wood and stone (Deu.28:36) as the other nations around them, which nations became the enemies of God for their idolatrous habits.

God told the Israelites of their destruction over and over through the prophets He sent to warn them.  Ezekiel chap. 5 lists these calamities again.

Ez. 5:2, “Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them.

Ez. 5:9, “And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations.

Ez. 5:12, “A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.

Ez. 5:14, “Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by.

Compare this with Rev. chap. 8:7-12:

7The 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.

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;

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.

10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;

11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

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.

So, we can know the curses poured out upon the land of Jerusalem, Judea and Palestine in their destruction during the Judean/Roman war of A.D. 66-70 were all foretold in the Old Testament, and we can then clearly connect them with those same curses that came upon Jerusalem and all of Palestine during the first century A.D. when Christ told them that all the law and the prophets prophesied until John (Matt. 11:13, Luke 16:16).

Deu. 28:60-61, “Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.  61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.”

God promised to bring the plagues of Egypt upon the Israelites for their disobedience and idolatry, for their delight in unrighteousness.  Let’s see if we can find the symbols of the plagues of Egypt in Revelation.  Remember that Revelation was a picture that was shown to John; symbolic of the actual events about to unfold while he yet lived.

The parallel verses of the first angel:  (upon the land)

Rev. 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.

Rev. 16:2,  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.

The Old Testament promises:

Ex. 9:9-10, “And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.  1And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.”   (the sixth plague of Egypt)

Ex. 9:23-24, “And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.  24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.”  (the seventh plague of Egypt)

Deu. 28:35,The Lord shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.

See also Ezek. 5:2 above.

The parallel verses of the second angel:  (upon the sea)

Rev. 8:8-9,  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;  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.

Rev. 16:3, ” 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.

The Old Testament promises:

Ex. 7:20, ” And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.”  (the first plague of Egypt)

While the sea becoming blood is a symbolic picture, there are records of certain instances during the Judean war with Rome when the blood spilled was so great it even sickened the Romans who chased down and killed the Jews trying to escape the massacre of Tarichaeae into the Sea of Galilee.

“One could see the whole lake stained with blood and crammed with corpses, for not a man escaped. During the days that followed a horrible stench hung over the  region, and it presented an equally horrifying spectacle. The beaches were strewn with wrecks and swollen bodies, which, hot and clammy with decay, made the air so foul that the catastrophe that plunged the Jews in mourning revolted even those who had brought it about.” Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, iii.x.9

The parallel verses of the third angel:  (upon the rivers and springs)

Rev. 8:10-11, “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;  11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

Rev. 16:4-6, “And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.  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.  For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.”

The Old Testament promises:

Again, the first plague of Egypt, but with more emphasis upon the drinking water (Ex. 7:17-21)

Deu. 29:18,  Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;”

Jer. 9:15, “Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.

Christ told the Jews that all of the righteous blood they had shed from Abel to Zacharias would fall upon that generation (Matt. 23:35)  Josephus recorded that the Jews resorted to cannibalism during the siege of Jerusalem, eating their own children, and thereby drinking the blood.

Deu 28:55, ” So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates.

Deu. 28:57, “And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.

Ezek. 5:10, ” Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds.

The parallel verses of the fourth angel:  (sun, moon, and stars)

Rev. 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.

Rev. 16:8-9, “And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.  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.”

The Old Testament promises:

Ex. 10:22, “And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:”   (the ninth plague of Egypt)

Deu. 28:28-29, “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.

Joel 2:10, ” The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

The “stars of heaven” in Revelation were the remnant of the tribes of Israel in Judea, just as the “stars of heaven” in Deuteronomy were the Israelites.  The fourth trumpet angel sounded the darkening of the lights of “heaven,” or removing the political authority over the land held by the Sanhedrin and priesthood.  The fourth angel with the vials reversed the darkening into a curse of scorching heat to burn up the evil ones, symbolizing the removal of the protection of God (Ex. 13:21-22; Psa. 91:1; Isa. 49:10; Rev. 7:15-17)

The scorching sun recalls the fire and brimstone of the seventh plague in Ex. 9:23-24.

Ezek. 22:19-20, Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem.  20 As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you.

Joel 1:19-20, “O Lord, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.  20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

The parallels of the fifth angel:  (the locust army of the beast)

Rev. 9:1-3, 5, 7 “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.  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.  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…. 5And 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….  7And 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.

Rev. 16:10-11,  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.

The Old Testament promises:

Ex. 10:13, “And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.”  (the eighth plague of Egypt)

Deu. 28:33, ” The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway:

Deu. 28:38, “Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.

Deu. 28:42, All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.

Joel 1:6-7, “For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.  He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.”

The parallel of the sixth angel:  (the calling trump of the battle of Armageddon)

Rev. 9:14-16, 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.  16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.”

Rev. 16: 12-13,  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.

The Old Testament promises:

Ex. 8:2-4, “And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs:  And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs:  And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.”   (the second plague)

Deu. 28:49-50, “The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;  50 A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:

Jer. 6:22-23, “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth.  23 They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion.

The parallel of the seventh angel:  (the completion of the battle)

Rev 10:7, ” But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

Rev. 11:15, 19  “ 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. 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.”

Rev 16:17, 21, ” 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.…. 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.”

The Old Testament promises:

See again the seventh plague of Egypt at Ex. 9:23-24.

Ezek. 38:16-23, “And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.

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?

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.

21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man’s sword shall be against his brother.

22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.”

John wasn’t looking at events to come 2,000 years into our future.  He was being shown events that had been foretold 1400 years and more in the past, and which were about to happen in his lifetime.

Revelation was the culmination of all Old Testament prophesies of the destruction of Jerusalem, and all of Judea.

The latter days were always the last days of the tribes of Israel (Gen 49:1-10).  The army of Gog and Magog that came against Israel in their latter days, during the last days of the old covenant, was that of Rome during the Judean / Roman war which destroyed their temple in A.D. 70.

The remnant of Israel, Judah and Jerusalem, had become as Egypt (Rev. 11:8).  They had hardened their hearts against God, and were unrepentant.  All the prophets had told them of their destruction for sinning against God, turning away from His law and commandments to seek after the nations around them.  God had told them that He would visit them with the plagues of Egypt for their sins (Lev. 26:21; Deu 28:60; Jer. 19:8; Rev 15:1)

As He foretold by all the prophets, God knew that they would turn from Him, that Christ was going to have to pay the price and become the sacrifice for all the world, the Redeemer of His people (Job 19:25; Is 54:5; 59:20; John 1:29).  That is why the earthly temple was replaced with a spiritual temple that would never be shaken (Heb. 9:11; 12:27), and would never be destroyed.  That is why the earthly city of old Jerusalem became the spiritual city of New Jerusalem which would never turn away from God (Rev 3:12; 21:2).

After the destruction of that physical temple and the removal of the carnal, animal sacrificial system, the only temple of the Lord now is in Christ (Matt. 26:61; Mark 14:58; John 2:19).

The battle is over.  Christ won the battle at the destruction of that temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70!  All those who are in Christ share in that victory and are already in His temple. (Gal. 3:26-29)

Source: KJV.  All bold emphasis is mine.

Recommended readings:

The Days of Vengeance by David Chilton, pp. 161 – 166

The Book of Revelation by Foy E. Wallace, Jr.  pp 325 – 343

Symbolism of Prophesy

Angels of the Bottomless Pit

The Signs of Revelation – Part VI: The Judgment Day, Chapter 20

The first five parts of this series have discussed in some detail the signs and symbols found within the prophesy of John, the Revelation of Christ.  All of the signs and symbols of Revelation are based upon Old Testament (OT) prophesies, and can be determined from the scriptures within the OT.  The OT is the code for Revelation, indeed for all of the New Testament (NT).  If you have not yet read Parts I – V, you should take the time to do so before reading this Part VI.

A major consideration when reading Revelation Chap. 20 is that it is bound between the time markers, the front and ending bookmarks of Chapters 1 and 22.

Rev. 1:1-3, “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:  Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”  (KJV)

The beginning verses of the prophesy state the time, and told the people of the first century A.D. that all of the things shown to John were about to happen to them.

Rev. 22:6, “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.”  (KJV)

Rev. 22:10,  And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.”  (KJV)

Just as in the first chapter, the last chapter of the book reaffirmed that all of the things shown to John in the book were shortly to be done. Then, three more times in v. 7, 12, and 20 John was told that Christ was coming quickly.  Remember that Christ had told his disciples that John would live to see His coming! (John 21:22)

That means that the signs and events prophesied in Chap. 20 were included in “the things which must shortly be done,” which were all to happen in that generation of the first century A.D.  (See Part I for the time of the prophesy.) 

We cannot lift chapter 20 away from the first century A.D. any more than we can lift the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem and all Judea away from the first century A.D.

Therefore ALL of the things in Chapter 20, including v.10- 15 where the devil, the beast, the false prophet, and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire happened during the first century A.D.  We must keep that in mind so that we do not become tempted to misapply these symbols and events to our generation, or another future generation.

It is hard for people to remove the blinders that the futurists have placed upon these scriptures, but if we look analytically and carefully we can determine the meanings of this prophesy.

First, let’s paint a picture, as all prophesy of God is a picture for His children.  (See previous post “The Valley of Dry Bones, A Picture for the Children of God.”)

Hades (the grave, Strong’s G86), was the place of the departed souls, all those which had died under the old covenants of the Patriarchs and Moses before Christ’s gospel message was preached by John the baptizer.  It had two parts as pictured in Luke 16:20-31:  Abraham’s bosom, or Paradise for the saved; and hell, or that part of Hades called Tartarus, the deepest abyss of Hades (2 Pet. 2:4, Strong’s G5020); also called the bottomless pit.

The picture painted in Luke 16 is that of the beggar being comforted in Abraham’s bosom which was separated by a huge gulf from the realm of the tormented souls of the damned in the bottomless pit, or abyss.  No one from either side could cross that gulf (Luke 16:26).

The sting of Hadean death was that all of the departed souls had to wait for Christ’s atoning sacrifice before they could be released from that realm.  None of the saved could enter into heaven before Christ ascended to the Father.

From Abel to Zacharias (Matt. 23:35), and all the rest of the departed, they had to wait for Christ’s victory to release them.  His manifestation in the first century A.D. marked the fullness of the time, and the generation for which they had been waiting (Matt. 11:13, 16; 12:41, 42, 45; 23:36; 24:34).

Dan. 9:24,  Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”  (KJV)

Gabriel had told Daniel that all of the things listed above were to occur within that 70 “weeks” (sevens).  That meant that none of those things would go past the 70th week, including sealing up of vision and prophesy and anointing the most Holy.  Gabriel told Daniel (c.12, v.7) that when the power of the holy people (the Jews) had been scattered then all of those things would be finished.

When was Christ anointed?  When was the power of the Jews and their temple destroyed?

Jesus told the people of the first century A.D. that the kingdom was at hand (Matt. 4:17).  Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that the judgment would occur at the wedding feast of the bridegroom in Matt. c. 22.  He told His disciples that the judgment would occur at His coming in His kingdom in glory in Matt. c. 25.

His coming in glory, the coming in His kingdom, the coming in judgment against those who crucified Him and persecuted His saints were all linked.  They were all going to happen in that generation in which He was manifested on earth.  (Dan. 7:10; Dan. 12:1-2; Heb. 1:1-3; 1 Pet. 1:20; Matt. 10:23, 24:34, etc.)  All of the New Testament declared the time… their generation in the first century A.D!

Jer. 23:5,  Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  (KJV)

Jer. 33:15,  In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.”  (KJV)

Psa. 9:7, “But the Lord shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. (KJV)

1 Pet. 4:17, For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”  (KJV)

Peter was telling those Christians living in the first century A.D. when this book was written that the time had come to them!

The judgment was going to begin with those in Jerusalem, at the house of God (Rev. 20:9).  After the destruction of Jerusalem and that earthly temple in A.D. 70, then all of those departed souls who had been waiting in Hades were separated left and right (Rev. 20:12), after which the sheep on His right hand were taken home to heaven, and the goats to the left were judged according to their works and condemned to the second death… cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15).

All the righteous that had waited in Paradise were not subject to the judgment.  The fact that they were in Paradise meant that their final resting place had already been determined at the time of their death.

John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”  (KJV)

And, this is where many people become confused, and many commentaries shift away from the proper time period.  If, after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 Christ has already judged the dead in Hades, then we missed it?

You bet we did!  That is the whole point.  We are now greatly blessed if we die in the Lord, just all who have died in the Lord since the first century A.D.  (Rev. 14:13)

Those that love the Lord, that are baptized into Christ, are covered by His blood (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27), and have His righteousness reckoned unto them.  Since those in Christ are covered by His righteousness, then our sins are forgiven, hidden and covered as we repent of them.  (Acts 5:31; 13:38; 26:18; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 1 John 1:9)

Just as in the last plague of Egypt (Ex. 12:12, 22-23) when the angel of death passed over those houses with the blood of the lamb over the lintels of their doors, the judgment passes over those of us who are covered by the blood of the lamb, and we go home when we depart this earthly realm to be with all the saved forever.

Ez. 18:21-22, “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.  22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.  (KJV)

Rev. 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.”  (KJV)

What is the one thing that we can do to be covered in righteousness?  The only thing that makes us righteous before God is to be in Christ! (Gal. 3:26-29)

See also Acts. 26:18; Rom. 4:7; 1 John 2:12, and Rev. 7:14; 12:11.

If you have repented and been baptized into Christ, immersed in His name for forgiveness of sins, do you believe you are forgiven?  If God has promised to forgive your sins, then why would you stand before His judgment seat and repeat to Him every sin you have committed that He has forgiven, forgotten and will not mention to you?

It was the Hadean realm, and the Hadean death that was ended in Rev. chap. 20, not all physical bodily death.  This is what throws off so many and makes them think c. 20 is some future event about the end of the world.  It is not speaking of the end of all death, just of the waiting period in Hades.  (1 Cor. 15:55).

Kurt Simmons defines this in his book Revelation Explained, pp.59-60:

“There are at least five “deaths” known to scripture.  These are 1) moral/spiritual; 2) legal/juridical; 3) bodily/physical; 4) Hadean; and 5) eternal.  The general resurrection consisted in raising from Hades all who had suffered physical death or, without experiencing death, had been translated there.  Thus, the last enemy was Hadean death. Hades was the last thing separating the saints from the immediate presence of God.  The blood of Christ purchased man’s acquittal and redemption and opened the way legally and juridically back into fellowship with God.  But Hades still remained to surrender up its inmates so that man could enter the presence of God actually and spatially.  The apostle Paul thus states: “O death, where is thy sting?  O Hades, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law” (I Cor. 15:55, 56).  Christ triumphed over the law of sin and death in his cross (Col. 2:13-15);[1] he vanquished death and Hades by the power of his resurrection.  Jesus told the churches “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen: and have the keys of Hades and of death” (Rev. 1:18).  The gates of Hades would not prevail against Christ’s church (Matt. 16:19).  At the general resurrection, Hadean death was cast into the lake of fire and forever destroyed (Rev. 20:14).”

Christ has been judging the departed souls, one by one, ever since Hades was thrown into the lake of fire in A.D. 70.  If you repent of your sins, and have been faithful unto death, then when you die in the Lord the judgment passes over you.  You are then resurrected, changed in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corr. 15:52), and are lifted into the air to meet all the saved in heaven (I Thess. 4:17).

Those who are not covered by the blood of Christ at their bodily death will stand in judgment before God for the sins they have committed and be cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. 21:8).

Therefore, Rev. Chap. 20 belongs to the same judgment events, the same prophesy time period as all of Revelation does… the first century A.D.  It is part of the most thrilling and joyful victory in Christ!  That is why we can rejoice even as we suffer the persecutions and trials we endure here on earth.

The futurists and their twisted perspective of Revelation strip all of Christ’s victory and joy away from the saints.  Their view removes the comfort and peace of Christ’s gospel message, that only in Him are we at rest.

Phil. 4:7,  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  (KJV)

All bold emphasis is mine.  Please read the previous five parts of this series, as well as the posts “The Thousand Year Reign of Revelation Chap. 20…”, “The Burning of Jerusalem and The Hadean Death”, and others at the right margin.

Further reading:  Which Death Was Destroyed in A.D. 70?

The Signs of Revelation – Part V: The Animal Symbols of the Battle

We have been decoding some of the signs and symbols of the prophesy of Revelation, so that we can better understand the meanings of the book.  The code is from the Old Testament (OT), and we are using scripture to interpret scripture, as only God can interpret His word.  (Dan. 2:18-22)

Once we recognize the use of the symbols then we can know the rules for applying them.  We have to follow the patterns of their use, and apply them consistently to be sure we are reading the prophesy in the same manner in which they were used in the OT.

Parts I – IV of this series have discussed the time symbols, the nature symbols, the color and number symbols, and the symbols of the throne scene in chapters 4 – 5.  In this Part V we will look at the animal symbols of the battle / war of chapters 6 – 19.

1. Horses – Rev. 6:2-8  –  symbols of war; war horses engaged in battle, armies

Joel 2:2, 4 “a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like…..The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.”

God’s anger with Jerusalem and all of Judea was pictured in this vision of the battle horses, just as it was in Isaiah 5:26-28:

“And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly:  27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:  28 Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind:” (KJV)

The “end of the earth” was a reference to the land under judgment,  Judea. The “ensign to the nations from far” were the pagan nations God used to destroy Judea.  The wheels spoke of their war chariots.

Jer. 6:23, “Bow and javelin they take hold of, Fierce it [is], and they have no mercy, Their voice as a sea doth sound, And on horses they ride, set in array as a man of war, Against thee, O daughter of Zion.”  (YLT)

In Revelation, the rider of the white horse is Christ:  Rev. 6:2 is a vision before the battle, of Christ leading the battle front; while 19:11-16 is a vision in the midst of the battle against the beast, and the false prophet, with the blood of war upon His garments, and leading His army against the enemies of God, Gog and Magog.

Rev. 6:2, and I saw, and lo, a white horse, and he who is sitting upon it is having a bow, and there was given to him a crown, and he went forth overcoming, and that he may overcome.”  (YLT)

This is an image from Zech 10:3-4 –

“Against the shepherds did Mine anger burn, And against the he-goats I lay a charge, For inspected hath Jehovah of Hosts His flock, the house of Judah, And set them as His beauteous horse in battleFrom him [is] a corner-stone, From him a nail, from him a battle-bow, From him goeth forth every exactor together.” (YLT)

The corner stone, the nail (tent peg), the battle bow is Christ, from the house of Judah.  The white horse, white for the righteous, pure and holy one of God can be no other than Christ.  “Every exactor” referred to taskmasters. or oppressors; those that would carry out His punishments / judgments.

That anyone could set the white horse as a symbol of the anti-Christ is wholly against all scripture.  Turning the symbol of white into an evil enemy of God, and stating that this horse and rider are a future anti-Christ is repugnant.  The futurist’s viewpoint and twisted use of this verse clearly indicate their irrational, and illogical portrayal of the book, and should be an indication that they are not rightly dividing the word of God.

The red horse with the sword is a war horse indicating blood,  and death from battle.  The black horse with the scales is one of death and hardship indicating famine and starvation.  The pale horse actually bears the name of Death and brings Hades with him, involving the sword, hunger and death of the previous three horses.

Both Foy Wallace, Jr. and David Chilton have good discussions of these four horses in their books (see notes 1, & 2 below), but their points are that the messengers riding the horses are agents of God, and God is sending out these judgments against Jerusalem and Judea.  They do not depict one individual or person upon those three horses.

They are symbolic of the same type of judgment God used against Israel and Judea in the Old Testament in Zech. 1:8-11; and Zech 6:2-5.

Zech. 6:5,  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.”

They represent the trouble and tribulation that God poured forth upon Jerusalem and all of Judea.

2. Locusts – Rev. 9:3, 7-10 – countless consuming army / soldiers of conquering nations; specifically, the Roman army which marched against Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

This parallels the Chaldean invasion of Judea under Nebuchadnezzar of 584 BC as described in Joel.

Joel 1:6, For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.

Joel 2:25,  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.” (KJV)

Isa. 33:4, “And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of the caterpiller: as the running to and fro of locusts shall he run upon them.”  (KJV)

Rev. 9:7-10, 7And the likenesses of the locusts [are] like to horses made ready to battle, and upon their heads as crowns like gold, and their faces as faces of men,  and they had hair as hair of women, and their teeth were as [those] of lionsand they had breastplates as breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings [is] as the noise of chariots of many horses running to battle10 and they have tails like to scorpions, and stings were in their tails; and their authority [is] to injure men five months;”  (YLT)

The locusts symbolized complete desolation of the land, that nothing would be left.  This is the fourth beast of Dan. 7:7 with the great iron teeth; the Roman empire.  The Roman legions were famous for completely destroying those cities and nations who rebelled against Rome.  They practiced scorched-earth warfare.

The scorpion tail symbolized the power to hurt and torment that would make men wish for death, but would deny them that release.  (Rev. 9:6)

3. Dragon – Rev. 12:3, 4, 7, 9, 13, 16, 17; 13:2, 4, 11; 16:13; 20:2 – the devil, Satan, the serpent of old from Genesis. chap. 3.

The word “dragon” is drakon in the Greek, and means a huge serpent.  It only appears in Revelation.  In the OT, it is the serpent in Ex. 7:9-10; the representation of Nebuchadnezzar as a dragon in Jer. 51:34; the representation of the idolatrous tribes of Israel in Deu. 32:33; the representation of Babylon in Isa. 27:1; 51:9; and the representation of Pharaoh, king of Egypt in Ez. 29:3.

The symbolic use of “dragons” and “serpents” meant the pagan, heathen nations who worshipped and sacrificed to idols, the unclean things they made with their own hands.  Those pagan, idolatrous nations were always the enemies of the Most High.

Rev. Chap. 12 opens with a flash back to the birth of Christ and His church in the first part of the first century A.D, and is the fulfillment of Is. 26:17-21.  Remember that Revelation is not a chronological account, but rather a series of themes, spot-lighting the events, recounting the prophesy from different aspects much as an historian would recount a war from different battle fronts.

Chapters 4 – 11 were presented and originated from the throne of God with the ascension of Christ, His judgments, and His leadership of the battle to be fought against the enemies of God.  With Chapter 12 the prophesy turns to the battle that Satan and his agents / messengers brought against Christ and His church, His bride, the new Jerusalem.

The dragon in Revelation was a representation of the world power that was the enemy of Christ and His church.   It appeared in “heaven”, the sphere of the political world dominion and power of Rome, the empire which ruled over Palestine, the “earth.” (See Part II for the meanings of “earth,” and “heaven” as used in prophesy.)

Satan was personified in the Caesars of Rome, and in the Sanhedrin of Judah who persecuted the saints and Christ’s church.  This was the battle between heathendom, pagan idolatrous nations which was prophesied in Ez. chap. 38, with the enemies of God (Gog, the prince of the land of Magog) who were trying to obliterate Christianity.  See here for a good discussion of Gog and Magog.

The seven heads and ten horns of the dragon correspond to the seven heads and ten horns of the sea beast in Rev. 13.1 identifying them as the same world power.

Psa. 74:12-14, ” And God [is] my king of old, Working salvation in the midst of the earth.  13 Thou hast broken by Thy strength a sea-[monster], Thou hast shivered Heads of dragons by the waters14 Thou hast broken the heads of leviathan, Thou makest him food, For the people of the dry places.” (YLT)

Satan gave power to the beast to make war against the saints. (Rev. 13:4)  He knew his time was short. (Rev. 12:12)  His work and power accumulated through the pagan and idolatrous kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persian, and Greek empires and were culminating in that of the Roman empire.  If Satan could not stop Christianity then and there, he would never be able to do so.  Of course, he was never going to win. (Psa. 98:1; Is. 25:7-9; Dan. 12:1-3)

The dragon’s tail swept away a third of the “stars of heaven” in v. 4 and cast them down to “earth.”  Remember from Part II that the “stars of heaven” were the sons of Israel, or the Jews.  This is a reference back to Rev. 8:7-12 with the third parts harmed under the four angels.  It refers to the Jewish authorities, and apostate people of Judah and Jerusalem.

The symbolic vision in v. 4 of the dragon standing before the woman ready to devour her child as soon as it was born is the image of both the Virgin Mary and the birth of Christ (Is. 66:7), who then fled to avoid the slaughter of the innocents under Herod (Matt.2:13); and also stands for the mother church born on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38-41) which later fled into the wilderness mountains to survive and be sustained during the persecution and tribulation of the Roman/Judean war.  (See Matt. 24:16-20; Mark 13:14-18; Luke 21:20-22)

The Roman Caesars were claiming to be gods, and sons of gods.  Their claims were those of impostors, who forced the people to worship them through acts of terror.  Those that succumbed to the “mark of the beast” were those that worshiped the Caesars of Rome, and other pagan “gods.”

Satan’s desire was always to deceive the nations / people so that they would turn away from the one, true God. This was the war that was prophesied in Gen. 3:15 to be fought between the Seed of the woman (Christ) and the seed of the serpent.  This battle waged by Satan was present throughout all of the OT.  He desperately wanted to prevent Christ’s birth, and then to destroy Him.

The battle between the dragon and his “angels” – messengers / agents / followers – and Michael and His “angels” was fought in the “heaven” of the political, world-rule of the Roman empire.

Michael was the chief of the angels, and Daniel’s “prince” in Dan. 10:13, 21. Michael was the “great prince” who was prophesied to stand up for Daniel’s people in Dan. 12:1 during the time of tribulation, and the Archangel of Jude 9 who contended with the devil for Moses’ body.  The word “Archangel” is capitalized, therefore a specific angel, and means the ruler of the angels.  The only other time this word is used is in 1 Thess. 4:16 when Christ descends from heaven with the voice of the archangel.

Michael of the OT was the prefigured Christ, and the warrior, the Prince of princes (Dan. 8:25) who fought for His people, and is used again in Revelation as the symbol of Christ, the warrior on the white horse.  Christ and the apostles and the newly converted saints were the ones battling with Satan and his angels.  The battle was fought on the “earth” of Jerusalem, Judea, and Palestine. (Rev. 12:13-17)

There was no battle in the heaven where God sits on His throne.  There is no evil, nor apostasy in heaven above!   Therefore, this battle in Rev. 12:7-8 was symbolic of the spiritual struggle of principalities over the newly born church of Christ.

It took place during the time when the “woman,” the church fled into the wilderness in v. 6 where she hid for the 3-1/2 years (time, times, and a half / or 1260 days) which Christ told his disciples to do in Matt. 24:15-20.  This was the 42 months of the Judean / Roman war when the gentile nations trampled the “outer court” of the temple under their feet (Rev. 11:2), and which  ended with the destruction of that old Jewish temple in Sept. A.D. 70.

Thus, the dragon, Satan, and his emissaries / angels were defeated, and fell from their positions of power down to “earth.”  (Rev. 12:8-9)  Revelation chap. 12 is a preview of the battle that is portrayed in more detail throughout chapters 13 -19.

See here for more on the red dragon of Revelation 12.

4. The Beast of the sea – Rev. 13:1 – as discussed above, the old Roman empire of the first century A.D. The word “beast” here is “therion” and means a wild beast, a predator that devours the young and the weak. In general, it is a symbol of the pagan world power which was presented in the Roman empire of the first century A.D.

It rose up out of the sea.. that is the gentile nations across the great Mediterranean sea.  The seven heads were seven kings / Caesars.  The ten horns were the lesser ruling senatorial provinces that did not have the power or rule equal to Caesar.  The power to wage war for 42 months was the war against Judea beginning in A.D. 66-67 and culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Its target, or prey was the newly born, young church of Christ, and His saints.

The blasphemies spoken against God were from the mouth of the pretending Caesars who claimed to be God, and who vowed to destroy all other claimants, and all the seed of David.  Specifically, during the great tribulation, the persecution of the saints, it became centered in one man, Nero.  (Rev. 13:18)

The symbol of the beast of the sea switches back and forth between the collective pagan empire of Rome, and the representative of that empire, Caesar.

See previous post, “The Beast of Revelation”.

5. The Beast of the earth – Rev. 13:11 – the apostate, non-believing Jews who crucified Christ and persecuted His saints.

The word “earth” was a metaphor in the OT for Israel, and stood here for the land of Judea, the remnant of Israel.  The Jews enlisted the power of the Roman Caesars to both crucify Christ, and persecute the Christians.  This is referred to again in Chap. 17 as the woman (Jerusalem) who rode on the head of the Roman beast.

Together, the sea and land beasts were the persecuting powers who killed the newly converted Christians who were a threat to both their power and control of the people.

See previous post, “The Whore of Babylon” for more detail.

Psa. 2:6-11 prophesied the victory of Christ:

2 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.  I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.  11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”   (KJV)

Revelation was the prophesy and message to the first century Christians that the battle was coming upon them, and they were to shortly see their victorious Christ.  It stands as our record that Christ won that battle against the devil for all time!  Christ brought His kingdom into full power in A.D. 70 and has been ruling all the nations with a rod of iron ever since.

Sources:  KJV, and Young’s (YLT).  All bold emphasis is mine.

Recommended readings:

  1. The Book of Revelation by Foy Wallace, Jr. (pp. 141 – 149)
  2. The Days of Vengeance… by David Chilton, (pp. 82 – 86)

Signs of Revelation – Part IV: Symbols of the Throne Scene Chap. 4 – 5

This series on the book of Revelation is defining the prophesy by looking into the source code.  The source code for Revelation, and all of the New Testament (NT), is the Old Testament (OT).  The NT is the OT revealed!  By decoding the component pieces of the prophesy we can better understand and identify the intent of the prophesy, its time in history (as discussed in Part I), the subjects of the prophesy and the judgments pronounced against them.

Part II of this series decoded the nature symbols for “earth,” “sea,” “heaven,” “sun,” “moon,” “falling stars,” “trees,” “grass,” “earthquakes,” “thunder and lightning,” “air,” and “water.”  All of these are symbols which God used in prophetic language, and do not have the commonly understood definitions normally applied in our everyday life.

Part III decoded many of the colors and numbers of the book, and provided some insight into the events that occurred in the judgment of those who pierced our Lord and Savior.

In this Part IV we will rely upon OT scriptures for the source of the meanings of some of the visions surrounding the throne scene of Revelation chapters 4 and 5.  Remember that these are highly symbolic, and the temptation is to invest too much dependence upon a literal image.

1. Trumpet – Rev. 1:10; 4:1; 8:2, 6, 13; 9:14 – calling the people to assemble; announcements from God; sounding the battle cry; warning of approaching attack; triumph over enemies; victory cry

Num. 10:2, Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.”

Judges 7:20, And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.”

Neh. 4:20, In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.”

Psa. 47:5, God hath gone up with a shout, Jehovah with the sound of a trumpet.”

Isa. 18:3, “All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye.”

Ez. 33:3-5, “If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;  Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.”

Joel 2:1, Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand;”

1 Cor. 14:8, “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

The trumpet of God’s word, His warning had sounded from John the baptizer, from Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah; from the apostles and those of the believers throughout the intervening years following Christ’s crucifixion; to the Revelation of Jesus Christ sent to John preceding the “at hand” fall of Jerusalem.  The rebellious Jews did not heed the warnings, and the judgment God prophesied came upon them just as He said it would.

2. Throne of God – Rev. Chap. 4 & 5  – the judgment seat of God

When God is seated upon His throne, He is holding court, and pronouncing judgment. Represented in the tabernacle and temple as the mercy seat in the holy of holies where the high priest would meet with God to receive His commandments (Ex. 25:22).

Dan. 7:9, I was seeing till that thrones have been thrown down, and the Ancient of Days is seated, His garment as snow [is] white, and the hair of his head [is] as pure wool, His throne flames of fire, its wheels burning fire.”  (YLT)

These “wheels of burning fire” are the wheels of Ez. chap. 1 and 10.  This scene parallels Isa. Chap. 6 and Ezekiel Chap. 1 -2.

Isa. 6:1, In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.”

Ez. 1:26,  And above the expanse that [is] over their head, as an appearance of a sapphire stone, [is] the likeness of a throne, and on the likeness of the throne a likeness, as the appearance of man upon it from above.” (YLT)

It is the same appearance as in the mount with Moses, Aaron and his sons,  and the seventy elders:

Ex. 24:10, and they see the God of Israel, and under His feet [is] as the white work of the sapphire, and as the substance of the heavens for purity;” (YLT)

The descriptions of the throne, of the living creatures with the four faces, and four or six wings, the pronouncements of God in thunder and lightning, and the instruction to the prophet of what he is to tell the people are all repeated in these chapters of Revelation.

3. Rainbow – Rev. 4:3 10:1 – it surrounds the throne of God, and it surrounds the head of the angel in chap. 10.

The rainbow is there for a reason, and it is significant.  This was the covenant promise God made with Noah that He would never again destroy all flesh off the face of the earth by the flood of the waters. (Gen. 9:9-17)  That it appears around the throne of God in Rev. 4:3, and again around the “strong messenger” (Christ) of Rev. 10:1 brings into mind God’s promise.

Specifically, it means that the judgment God prophesied was a limited judgment, not world-wide.  The prophesy was for a specific group of people in specific nations / territories, and was to come upon the enemies of God.  This judgment was pronounced upon those who had pierced Christ (Rev. 1:7) and persecuted His church.  (Deu. 30:7; 1 Thess. 2:14-15)

Ez. 1:26-28, “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.  27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.  28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.” (KJV)

Floods became a symbol of destruction, and were used by God in prophetic language to compare with invasions of foreign armies.  (See. Is. 28:2; 59:19; Jer. 46:7-8; 47:2; Dan. 9:26; 11:2; and many others.)

The rainbow surrounding the throne and Christ are meant to comfort those that are in Christ, in His church, the saints.  The promise extends to all of us who are covered by the blood of our Savior.  The judgment would not wipe out all man-kind.

Therefore, Revelation is not about the “end of the world” for which so many people of our time seem to hope.

4. Four living creatures – Rev. 4:6, 8, 9; 5:6, 8, 11, 14; 6:1, 6; 7:11; 14:3; 15:7; 19:4

The KJV translates these as “beasts,” which is a meaning given in Strong’s, but which is not the context of these scriptures.  These are of a completely different office and nature than of the predator beasts of chapters 13 – 20.  These are the living creatures who are the agents of God, with the characteristics of God as described in Ez. chap. 1, and are correctly translated so in Young’s Literal Translation of the above verses.

Rev. 4:6-7, ” and before the throne [is] a sea of glass like to crystal, and in the midst of the throne, and round the throne, [are] four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind;  and the first living creature [is] like a lion, and the second living creature [is] like a calf, and the third living creature hath the face as a man, and the fourth living creature [is] like an eagle flying.” (YLT)

Compare with Ezekiel’s description:

Ez. 1:5, 10;  And out of its midst [is] a likeness of four living creatures, and this [is] their appearance; a likeness of man [is] to them,”    ….. “10 As to the likeness of their faces, the face of a man, and the face of a lion, toward the right [are] to them four, and the face of an ox on the left [are] to them four, and the face of an eagle [are] to them four.” (YLT)

These are the same which Ezekiel identifies as the cherubim of Ez. 1:15, 20:

15And the cherubs are lifted up, it [is] the living creature that I saw by the river Chebar.“…..20It [is] the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar, and I know that they are cherubs.”

(A grammatical point: in the Hebrew the plural of cherub is cherubim, not cherubs.  You may see it either way.)

Isa. 6:2 calls them “seraphim:”

” Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.”  (KJV)

These are burning ones symbolizing judgment of God.  God’s fury is fire (Ex. 3:2; Psa 21:9; Nah.1:6; Heb 12:29), and these have a burning flame described in Ez. 1:13 as coals of fire, and burning lamps going up and down their bodies.  Isaiah sees them with six wings, whereas Ezekiel sees four wings and four faces.  They fly where God wills them to go (Ez. 1:12, 20).  They hand out coals of fire, which are the judgments from God (Is. 6:6; Ez. 10:2, 7)

See Ez. 10:2, And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city. And he went in in my sight.”  (KJV)

They are represented in the wilderness tabernacle over the mercy seat in the holy of holies (Ex. 25: 18-20), which is a representation of the throne of God.

Ex. 25:22, And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.” (KJV)

And we go back to Gen. 3:24,  So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

They are guardians, agents / angels of God, bearing his chariot in Ezekiel, and constantly doing the will of the Almighty.

Ezekiel saw them with each having four faces.  Faces are aspects, appearances, what they look like to others who see them.  These living creatures were beside God at His throne, and surrounded Christ.   They reflected the appearance and image of Christ.

Christ is the King of Kings (1 Tim. 6:15), the lion is a symbol of kingship.  Christ was the sacrifice for all who will call upon Him; the ox, or calf was one of the animals frequently sacrificed under the old law.  Christ became a man to be able to perfect all of us in Him, which is the representation of a man’s face on the living creatures.  Christ’s judgment is swift and certain; the aspect / face of the eagle; possibly also reflecting sovereignty and deity.

According to Hebrew tradition, their faces represented the tribes of Israel around the tabernacle; the lion that of Judah, with Issachar and Zabulon on the east of the camp; the ox / calf that of Ephraim on the west side, with Manasseh and Benjamin; the man was the emblem of Reuben, who was camped on the south with Gad and Simeon; and the eagle that of Dan, encamped on the north with Asher and Naphtali.

This view is secondary to the higher symbolism that reflects the nature of Christ.  However, it is interesting that the armies God usually used to bring judgment against Israel most often came from the north.  The eagle was the emblem of swift, swooping justice, and being on the north side of the camp might have indicated the direction of God’s judgment. (Isa. 14:31; Jer. 4:6; 6:22; Jer. 50:9; Ez. 1:4; 26:7; etc.).

Ez. 1:24 says that the noise of their wings is “as the voice of the Almighty.”  They appeared out of the midst of the glowing amber fire which was in the whirlwind cloud of the north in Ez. 1:4, and which is the same glowing amber fire if Ez. 1:27, and is described as the “appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord” in Ez.1:28.

The image of these all involve fire, and specifically the fire of God’s judgment.

That these creatures were full of eyes (Rev. 4:6, Ez. 1:18) symbolizes the omniscience of God, that He sees everything.  Nothing we do is hidden from Him.

5. The scroll sealed with seven seals –  Rev. Chap. 5.

The correct meaning is “scroll”, a rolled parchment with writing and engravings on both sides.  The English translation of the word “book” was unknown until the printing press was invented in the 15th century A.D.  Scrolls were typically kept in the king’s treasury, or a library.  They symbolized knowledge and wisdom.

This scroll was to be opened by the Lamb of God who came up before the throne.

Dan. 7:13-14, “I was seeing in the visions of the night, and lo, with the clouds of the heavens as a son of man was [one] coming, and unto the Ancient of Days he hath come, and before Him they have brought him near.  14 And to him is given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, and all peoples, nations, and languages do serve him, his dominion [is] a dominion age-during, that passeth not away, and his kingdom that which is not destroyed.” (YLT)

This is the depiction of Rev. 5:7-9, where Christ comes to the Ancient of Days to open the scroll and to reveal the prophesy…. the revelation of Jesus Christ!  He was in the midst of the throne scene as though just slain… a Lamb hath stood as it had been slain,”

The timing of this is important as it is the throne scene of Dan 7, and Rev. 4-5, which are both the same throne scene and which occurred after the crucifixion of Christ at His ascension.  That means that Daniel’s prophesy was speaking of the first century A.D. events of the Messiah and His church, the latter days of the old covenant.

6. The seven seals – Rev. 5:1 – seals are used to prove, and authenticate authorship, with a signet ring often set in wax.

Dan. 12:9, “And he saith, `Go, Daniel; for hidden and sealed [are] the things till the time of the end;” (YLT)

It was God who sealed the scroll, not Daniel.  Daniel was given a sneak peek (described in Dan 9:24-12:13) at the things that would happen to his people and his holy city -the Jews and Jerusalem in their latter days, but they were to be hidden / sealed away from the people till the time they were needed.

At His ascension, Christ received the scroll from God who had authored and sealed it.  He was opening them, revealing the information, showing John who would then tell the churches what was about to happen to them.

The very act of breaking the seals meant the time for the end had come!  As the seals were opened they brought forth seven judgments upon the land and people.  The breaking of the seventh seal brought seven more woes.

Remember Lev. 26:18, “ And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.” 

The first four seals revealed four horses with riders in different colors (see Part II for the color symbols), and all are bringing war and battle.  Horses were used by kings for battle, and the warriors had their shields, swords, and bows.  This imagery is used in Zech. 6:1-8 where war chariots full of war horses brought down judgments of God upon four empires.

The four chariots of Zech. chap. 6 were four kingdoms. The colors of the horses signified the different kingdoms and their armies which succeeded one after the other, and may very well parallel the four kingdoms of Dan. chap. 2 and 7.  The grisled, or mixed colored horses of Zech 6:3 compares with the mixed feet and toes of the fourth kingdom in Dan. 2:41-43, and again with the exceeding strong beast with teeth of iron in Dan. 7:7.   (See Clarke’s Commentary on Zech. Chap. 6)

The Roman empire was a mixed empire; part republican senate, and part dictatorial Caesar, all with mixed composition of all of the previous nations and peoples it had conquered.  It was both weak and strong.

It was in the days of this fourth kingdom, the Roman empire, when Christ’s kingdom was established.  (Dan. 2:44; 7:9-14, 18, 27; Is. 2:2, Micah 4:1-2)

It was during this Roman empire, the fourth kingdom of Dan. 2 that Christ appeared on earth, and during which Christ ascended to the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:13-14), during which the saints of the Most High took possession of the everlasting kingdom  (Dan. 7:22, 27), and during which judgment sat, that is began (Dan. 7:26).

All of which is the judgment that began at the house of God in Jerusalem (1 Pet. 4:17), and was carried out against Jerusalem in A.D. 70.  Christ has been ruling at the right hand of the Father, and judging the nations with a rod of iron ever since. (Psa. 2:9; John 5:22; Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15)

Remember the previous articles which have a great many more references from the Old Testament for the evidences of the fulfillment of the prophesies in the first century A.D., especially the ten parts of “It’s Not The End of The World”, and “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel Chap. 9”.

Sources: KJV and Young’s (YLT)    All bold emphasis is mine.

Further reading:  Understanding Prophetic Symbols

 

 

 

The Signs of Revelation – Part III: Codes of the Colors and Numbers

Remembering that the New Testament (NT) is the Old Testament (OT) revealed, we continue the theme from Parts I and II of this series, that we must look to the OT for the signs and original meanings in Revelation.  The code of Revelation is the OT.

Part II of this series discussed the nature symbols and signs of the “earth,” “sea,” “heaven,” “earthquakes,” etc.  Briefly, this Part III will explore the colors and numbers used in the book.

A. Colors

The characters of the drama of Revelation are clothed in colors that symbolize their assigned roles in the persecutions, tribulations, and judgment of Jerusalem, Judea, and Rome.

1. White – occurs 17 times in Revelation – stands for purity, cleanliness, and righteousness. Rev.  6:2 where Christ is seated on a white horse to go out to battle.

Is. 1:18, Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

See also Psa. 51:7;  Ecc. 9:8; Dan. 7:9; 12:10, Rev. 1:14; 2:17; 3:4-5, 18; etc.

2. Red – Rev. 6:4; 12:3 – bloodshed, sinful, sign of war and battle. Again, see Is. 1:18.

Is. 63:2-3, Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?  I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.”

The wine press is the symbol of war and battle.  See also 2 Kings 3:22; Nahum 2:3.

3. Scarlet – Rev. 17:3-4; 18:12, 16 – sign of royalty; also of sinfulness.

Lam. 4:5,  They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.”

The priests garments in Ex. 28: 5 had colors of gold, blue, purple and scarlet.  See Is. 1:18; Dan. 5:7, 16, 29, Nah. 2:3; Matt. 27:28.

4. Pale – Rev. 6:8 – ebbing life, lifeless, or an aura of death.

Jer. 30:6, Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?”

See also Isa. 29:22

5. Emerald – Rev. 4:3, 21:19 – transparent, precious stone, glowing – In Rev. 4:3, the rainbow around the throne of God, signifying the rainbow covenant and promise of God to Noah.

Also one of the stones designated for one of the tribes of Israel on the breastplate of judgment worn by the high priest in Ex. 28:16-21.  Also, one of the stones of the foundation of the city of new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:19).

6. Purple – Rev. 17:4; 18:12, 16 – usually of royalty; denotes pomp, richness, luxury.

Esther 8:15, And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.”

See Judges 8:26; Song of Solomon 7:5; Ez. 27:7, 16; Mark 15:17; Luke 16:19.

7. Sapphire – Rev. 21:19 – the appearance of the throne of God; symbolizing the beauty of the city of the new Jerusalem in heaven; beautiful splendor.

Ex. 24:10, 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.”

Another of the stones on the breastplate of judgment which stood for one of the tribes of Israel.  Ex. 28:18; 39:11. Again, another of the stones of the foundation of new Jerusalem.

Ez. 1:26, “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.”

See also Song of Solomon 5:14; Ez. 10:1; 28:13.

8. Black – Rev. 6:5, 12 – mourning, darkness, and judgment unto death.

Job 3:5,  Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.”

Is. 50:3, I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.”

Jer. 4:28,For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.”

See also Jer. 8:21; 14:2; Lam. 4:8; 5:10; Joel 2:6; Zech. 6:2; Jude 1:13.

Rev. 6:5, 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.

Balances are scales, symbols of weighing and judging.

9. Green – 8:7; 9:4 – newness, fresh growth, life, goodness, divine grace. Rev. 9:4 restrains the locust army of Rome from harming any green thing, but only those that are not sealed with God.  The inference is that the green refers to the spiritually living souls that are sealed of God.

Psa. 23:2, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”

Psa. 52:8, ” But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.”

Jer. 17:7-8, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.  For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”

2 Kings 19:26. Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the house tops, and as corn blasted before it be grown up.”

B. Numbers

The numbers in Revelation must be determined from context / subject matter of the scriptures, and from OT prophesy previously defined.  A few are literal, but most are symbolic and metaphorical.

10. Two – Rev. 11:3-4, 10.  Two witnesses, two olive trees, two candlesticks, two prophets

Many believe these may have been Peter and Paul, but if we are to stay with the rule that the OT is the key to Revelation, then I believe the origin of these two witnesses must be found there, and they are more likely to have been representative of the two witnesses of Zech. 4:14.

The two anointed ones that stood by the Lord at the return from Babylonian captivity were Joshua, the high priest, and Zerubbabel, the head of the tribe of Judah.  The two anointed ones corresponding in the new covenant of Revelation’s prophesy would be the High Priest of the new covenant church, that is Christ, and collectively His apostles/prophets who were the head of the new covenant church.  Both of whom testified of God’s word, and of the gospel of Christ. (See Rev. 20:4)

They were arrayed in sackcloth in v. 3, which meant they were mourning.  They had the authority to smite the land with every plague in v. 6, and they finished their testimony as the beast (Nero) came up out of the bottomless pit in v. 7.

This means that these two witnesses were operating during the same 42 months of the of the war with Rome ending with the siege of Jerusalem.  See discussion below, and Foy E Wallace’s Book of Revelation, pp 218-221 here.

Deu. 19:15, “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”

Heb 10:28, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses”:

Rev. 1:16; 2:12 – two edged sword – the word of God.

Psa. 149:6-7, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;  To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;”

Heb. 4:12, “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.”

11. Three and one-half days (3-1/2) – Rev. 11:9, 11 – the symbolic version of the literal 3-1/2 years of Daniel’s time, times, and a half.  It corresponds to the 1260 days, or the 42 months that the outer court would be trampled underfoot of the gentiles (Rome) (Rev.11:2-3).  The last half of the last week of Dan.9:24.

The determining scripture is from Daniel 12:7 where the angel answers Daniel’s question of what would be the end of “these wonders”:

“… that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.”

Daniel’s desire was to know what was going to happen to his peoplethe Jews. Gabriel told him in Daniel 9:24…

 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy”

No matter what other judgment God was going to bring upon the Romans, the seventy weeks (sevens) were specifically talking about Daniel’s people and Daniel’s holy city… the Jews and Jerusalem.   Rome was not the holy city, nor had the Roman’s been the holy people of God.  This prophesy only concerned Jerusalem and the Jews.

As the end of that prophesy was foretold to be when the power of the holy people (Jews) was scattered, then the end of that prophesy is bookmarked as the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.  And, all of the things listed in Dan. 9:24 were to happen within that 70 weeks, and no later than Sept. A.D. 70.

That included the reconciliation of the people to God through Christ, the everlasting righteousness of His kingdom and His church, sealing up vision and prophesy, and the anointing of Christ as the most Holy, and High Priest.  (See previous post “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9” at the right margin.)

Knowing the end mark was A.D. 70 we can count backwards to determine the 3-1/2 years, 42 months, or 1260 days of the prophesy.

The Judean war with Rome began in 66 AD and lasted until the destruction of the temple and the city in Sept 70 A.D;  3-1/2 years.  This war was the last of the final seven year period of the 70th week of Daniel; or symbolically the last 3-1/2 days of the last week.

While there are several overlapping 3-1/2 year (1260 day) periods of events before this war, the beginning of the 70th week has to be before the Messiah was cut off, and that corresponds to Christ’s 3-1/2 year ministry ending with His crucifixion.

So the interval between the cutting off of the Messiah and the scattering of the Jews in A.D. 70 was a testing period of 40 years in order to preach the gospel to “all the world”… their world of Jerusalem and the lost sheep of the house of Israel throughout those lands.

Paul said that the gospel had been preached to “every creature under heaven” when he wrote the letter to the Colossians in about 62 A.D. (Col. 1:23)

Keep in mind the symbolic use of “heaven” in prophesy… the ruling authority and powers of the governing nations under judgment… Judea and Rome, and the surrounding areas were the “heavens” where Paul and the apostles preached.  See Part II of this series, and the post at the right, “Heaven and Earth Have Passed Away.”

The 3-1/2 days symbolizes the period of the testimony of the two witnesses, lying dead in the street…. meaning their deaths continued to preach and testify to the people…and then were resurrected to ascend to the Father.  Ez. 37:9-11; Rev. 11:11.

12. Five months – Rev. 9:5, 10.  Literally 5 months…from 14 Nisan (Passover) to Tishri…. or 14 April to about 8 or 10 Sept. A.D. 70… the length of the siege of Jerusalem.

13. Seven – the perfect completeness of God’s creation, and God’s word. The number is used about 735 times in the Bible.

Rev. 1:4, 11, 12, 13; 16, 20.  The seven churches, seven spirits, seven angels, seven golden candlesticks, seven stars – all defined in verse 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.”

Rev. 4:5, “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”

The seven seals of Rev. 5:1, 5 are the seven judgments of wrath that were to be set loose upon the Jews and the world governments for crucifying Christ, and persecuting His church.

Ex. 15:26, “And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”

The implied threat was also present with the stated promise; that if they did not keep His commandments He would bring the plagues of Egypt against them.  See. Rev. 15:1-7.

Lev. 26:15-18,  And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: 16I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.  17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.  18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.” 

Rev. 8, and 10 have seven angels with seven trumpets and seven thunders; these were  messengers and agents of God that would announce and carry forth the judgments of God.

The number 7,000 in Rev.11:13 is a symbol of God’s completed judgment on those within the land, and not necessarily a literal 7,000 men.  Remember that “earthquakes” in God’s prophesy are symbolic for shaking the nations and mean the overthrow of nations and ruling powers.

The seven horns of the beast on Rev. 12:3, and 13:1 were the seven heads / kings of the Roman empire: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba and his successors who were eventually replaced by Vespasian.  The persecutions of the churches would begin under Nero (the sixth king) and continue throughout the war with Rome. More on this under “The Beast of Revelation” at the right margin.

14. Ten days – Rev. 2:10 – a number symbolizing / signifying completeness, fullness of time, perfection. Used in the OT to denote a small period of time, until something was complete or finished.  A small testing period.

Dan. 1:12, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.”

Also in Gen. 24:55; Num. 14:22; Job 19:3; Acts 25:6.

Used in Rev. 2:10 for a time of trial and tribulation – “that you may be tried” – for some of the church at Smyrna, signifying that they could endure it, even unto death.  It is possible that these ten days might have been literal days, but it is too speculative, and there is nothing to tell us for certain.  It is best thought of as a perfected but limited time of testing.

15. Twelve – Rev. 21:1, 14; 22:2 are references to the twelve apostles. Rev. 21:12, 16, and 21 refer to the twelve tribes of Israel. Both denoting entirety of the new church, and the new city Jerusalem in all of those sealed for God.

Ex. 24:4, And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.”

In the old Exodus church and assembly, the pillars were the twelve tribes of Israel.  Under Christ’s new covenant church and assembly, the foundations are the twelve apostles.

16. Twenty-four elders – Rev. 4:4, 10; 5:8, 14; 11:16; 19:4. Elders, presbyter; of the old covenant Sanhedrin council.  Under the heavenly new covenant,  the twelve patriarchs (twelve sons of Israel) of the old exodus church, and the twelve apostles who were the patriarchs of the new testament church of Christ; the complete joining of old and new in the new covenant church of the new Jerusalem, the heavenly Sanhedrin council of which Christ is the High Priest.  They are seated on twenty-four seats that surround the throne of God.

Also, possibly a reference to the twenty-four priestly courses serving in the house of God during the year.  (I Chron. 24:7-19)

1 Chron. 23:4, speaking of the priestly courses of the Levites serving God under Solomon’s reign:

Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the Lord; and six thousand were officers and judges:”

I Chron. 27:1, Now the children of Israel after their number, to wit, the chief fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers that served the king in any matter of the courses, which came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, of every course were twenty and four thousand.”

17. Forty-two months – Rev. 11:2; 13:5 – A literal 42 months!  Determined from Daniel  9:27 as the remainder of the last week, the last 3-1/2 years of the 70th week:

“… and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

The desolate, and to make desolate are references to cities and nations that were completely and utterly destroyed.  See Gen. 47:19; Ex. 23:29; Lev. 26:22, 33 -35; Job 15:28; Psa. 69:25; Isa. 1:7; 6:11 among many others.

Jerusalem was made desolate at her destruction at the hands of the Roman army in A.D. 70..

Matt. 23:37-38,  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!  38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”

Rev. 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.”

The great city of Revelation 11:8, 14:8; 16:19; Chapters 17 & 18 was Jerusalem, just as it was in Jer. 22:8, Lam. 1:1.  See the “Whore of Babylon” at the right margin.

18. One Hundred Forty-four Cubits – Rev. 21:17 – again 12 x 12 –  a squared number, it is symbolic of perfect completeness, meant to convey the majesty and greatness of God’s spiritual city for all of the saved.  It is not literal.

19. Six Hundred and Sixty-Six (666) – Rev. 13:18; the anti-Christ. A specific man – “for it is the number of a man – one that came up out of the beast… “of the beast”.  The beast was Rome,  the seven heads were seven kings (Rev. 17: 10), and the sixth one was ruling when Revelation was written.  The seven kings were Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula (Caius), Claudius, then Nero (#6), followed by Galba who would reign no more than 6 months.

The number of the man – Nero Caesar in Hebrew was “nrwn qsr” and has the value, in order of the letters of 50 + 200 + 6 + 50 + 100 + 60 + 200 = 666.

Eventually, after the year of four Caesars in A.D. 69, Vespasian of the Flavian line would become the 10th “king”, and could also be viewed as the 7th head since the reign of the three rebel Caesars were so short and so quickly ended.

20. A Thousand Years – Rev. 20:2, 4 – the number 1,000 symbolizes perfectness, completeness, fullness of time.  But, context of the scripture determines when it is literal, and when it is symbolic.  For instance:

Ex. 38:25, And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:”     Here it was used literally for a counting of the people’s silver.

Deu. 7:9, “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;”…..  but, here symbolically noting complete, and perfect fulfillment, always, never ceasing.

Except for Rev. 11:3, 12:6, the number “thousand” is used symbolically in Revelation.

There are two periods of a thousand years in Rev. 20.  The dragon was bound for a thousand years in v.2.  Then the martyrs reigned in heaven with Christ for a different thousand years in v.4.  Both represent a period of time that was fully perfected, which God considered complete.   They are not a literal thousand years!

We know they are a different period of time because the dragon was loosed in v.3 to begin his persecution of the saints. The martyrs became martyrs because of the persecuting dragon, so their reign with Christ was a result of the dragon’s loosening.

The martyrs, being martyrs, by definition had been killed, and were therefore not living on earth.  Their reign with Christ was in heaven, and was not simultaneous with the dragon’s binding period.  Never does v. 4 speak of a reign of Christ on earth.  See previous post, “The Thousand Year Reign of Rev. 20 -….” for more information.

Rev. 11:3, and 12:6 are the 1260 days, the same as 42 months, and the same as 3-1/2 years as discussed above and next.

21. One Thousand Two hundred and three score days (1260) – Rev. 11:3, 12:6; Literally 1260 days. The same period as the 42 months, and 3-1/2 years determined from Dan. 9:24-27. See discussion under those two numbers above.

Also the period of time that the first century church, depicted as the woman of Rev. 12:6  would be sheltered by God.  Claudius was most helpful to the first century Christians, allowing the practice of the religio lecita, the protection of the Roman law to the church, to keep them from harm thereby withholding the persecution which Nero would unleash.

Claudius was most probably the angel of Rev. 7:2 who instructed the four angels at the corners of the “earth” – possibly the Roman procurators of Judea – to hold back the winds until the 144,000 of God were sealed.

Paul indicated this checking behavior in II Thess. 2:7.  Claudius was poisoned by his wife Agrippina, Nero’s mother, in Oct. of AD 54.  This cleared the path for her son Nero to take the throne and become the man of iniquity and “that Wicked” that would be revealed in II Thess. 2:7-8.

22. One Thousand Six Hundred Furlongs – Rev. 14:20 – approx. 200 miles –

“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.”

Remember Is. 63:2-3 discussed under the color “red” above.  The blood of the war (the winepress) waged by the Roman army was carried out all around the province of Judea, and in all of Palestine outside the city of Jerusalem before they even laid siege to Jerusalem.  The war raged for 3-1/2 years, while the final siege of Jerusalem was the last 5 months of the war.

So, the blood of the wine press, the war extended beyond Jerusalem for the entire length of Palestine.  The vision conveys the horror of this slaughter, a symbolic picture of the Roman horses wading through the blood up to their bridles.

23. Twelve Thousand – 7, the sealed of God, those baptized into Christ. those protected and armed of God. Twelve for all of the tribes of Israel, and a thousand for completeness, perfectness.

Num. 31:5, So there were delivered out of the thousands of Israel, a thousand of every tribe, twelve thousand armed for war.”

Jud. 21:10, ” And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.”

Rev. 21: 16…Twelve thousand furlongs,  the measure of the perfectly complete city of God, the new Jerusalem, the new church.  Approx. 1500 cubic miles, but it is not meant to be literal. The vision is symbolic for the perfection of the spiritual church, meant to fill the entire earth, with room for all of God’s people; it wants for nothing.

All those that are in Christ are in the new covenant house of Israel.  See previous post for “God’s Definitions – Part I: The House of Israel.”

24. The 144,000 – 7:4; 14:1, 3. Twelve squared is a symbol of completeness, multiplied further by the other symbol of complete fullness – 1,000.  A very strong symbol of completeness and perfection.

The twelve thousand of each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  The complete remnant of the tribes of Israel sealed and devoted to Christ in the new covenant church… the virgins of the bridegroom, who obeyed the gospel call to be baptized into Christ.. those sealed for God.

Rev. 7:4-8. (Gal. 3:27, Mark 16:16, )  These were faced with the persecution, the great tribulation prophesied by Dan. 12:1-2, and Matt. 24:6-22.  Many would become the martyrs depicted under the altar in Rev. 6:10, and again raised to reign with Christ in heaven in Rev. 20:4.

This Part III of The Signs of Revelation has covered much by just discussing the symbols and signs of the colors and numbers.  By identifying as many of the symbols as possible from the OT, the hope is that we may more surely understand the meaning of the visions as they occur in Revelation.  There are so many overlapping and parallel visions in this prophesy that we may never know for certain all of them.

There are more OT scriptures that could be referenced.  But, there are enough listed here to define the indicators and signs.  We can know, therefore, the time period of the prophesy’s fulfillment was the first century A.D; the subjects of the judgments were the persecuting and unbelieving Jews and their gentile agents in Rome; that the judgment of God was carried out, and that Christ is the victor.

Part IV of the Signs of Revelation will begin to discuss some of the events and people.

Source: KJV.  All bold emphasis is mine.  See more posts at the right for deeper discussion on some of these topics.

More reading:

Titus’ Siege of Jerusalem

Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation by David Chilton

The Signs of Revelation – Part II: Codes and Symbols of Nature

Part I of this series established the background and time period of Revelation as the first century A.D., the generation which Christ said would not pass until all was fulfilled. (Matt. 22:36, 24:34) Therefore, the events of Revelation “which must shortly come to pass” and which were “at hand” all occurred in that same century and generation in which the book was written.

(See also Parts I – X of It’s Not The End of The World series at the right margin for the overwhelming scriptural evidences of the time of His coming.)

Revelation 1:1 tells us that it was “signified.”  The definition in Strong’s is indicated, or to give a sign; or to communicate, or to make known.  Revelation is a book of prophesy of judgment with visions of glory and destruction, and we must expect to encounter the signs and visions of judgment language as was previously used by God in the Old Testament (OT).

When we recognize these words and phrases from the OT, we will find that the entire book is straight out of the OT, and parallels Ezekiel. The subject of Ezekiel was the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem. (See more details about the judgment language of God in the previous posts Parts II & III of “It’s Not The End of The World.”)

Rev. 1:1-3, ” 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:  Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (KJV)

The first three verses identify the author / source of the book, the line of authority / chain of command from God to the angel / messenger and then to John.  It establishes the time frame for the events, and that the apostle John, a servant of Christ was to send it the seven churches.  So, John wrote it in signs and symbols, and either sent it to the seven churches, or took it himself as Rev.10:11 may imply.

If it was not John himself, then whichever messenger read it to the assemblies still would have had the gift of the Holy Spirit as had been poured out on the day of Pentecost, and was still in effect for that generation.  They were able to show the churches / assemblies what the signs and visions meant.

The seven churches were located in and surrounded the capital city of Asia Minor, the “seat of Satan” in Pergamos (var. Pergamum) (Rev. 2:13.)  The “seat of Satan” was a reference to the center of idolatry, as Pergamos practiced sun worship,  which originated from Babylonian idolatry, and their priestsused the same vestments and title of “pontiff.”

Their people were called “The Temple-keepers of Asia.”  They had several gods, the chief of which was Zeus. The last leader of Pergamum gifted his title of Pontifex Maximus to Rome in 133 BC.  The rulers and emperors of Rome used the title until 382 AD, when Emperor Gratian refused it as being un-Christian.  But, it is interesting to note that it is still used today by the Pope.

The seven churches of Asia had to be strong, and fight to resist temptation, to remain faithful to Christ, and not mix with pagan idolatry.  That was one of the reasons for the constant encouragement in all of the letters of the apostles / disciples for the people to continue in their belief in the Lord and the gospel of Christ.

Today, most Christians are told that they do not have to study the OT; some say that as we are under the New Testament (NT) of Christ, then the OT is not necessary for us to know.  This is sheer nonsense as the NT is from the OT.  The NT is the OT revealed.

Because of this, many do not have the background knowledge of the OT, nor of the daily life of the people of the first century A.D. They try to read Revelation, and are at a disadvantage, and unable to correctly associate the visions and signs of the prophesy.

Revelation was coded in the sense that if the reader did not understand the Hebrew OT, then they would not be able to understand Revelation.  So, we need to study the OT in order to define and decode some of the terms with which the first century Christians were very familiar.  Let’s start with the natural or inanimate symbols first.

1. Earth – in Revelation it is the land of Judah, or the Jews who lived there. In the Old Testament, it was the land or people under judgment, which often was the land of Israel and Judah.    God formed man from the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7). The prophets spoke to Israel of old calling them “earth.”  (Deu. 32:1; Jer. 6:19; Jer. 17:13; Jer. 22:29; Jer. 33:15)

Rev. 1:7 the “tribes of the land” refers to the tribes of Israel.  Rev. 6:4, 6, and 8 again refers to the people of the land under judgment… those were the Jews.  Rev. 13:11-12, the land beast is the Jewish persecutors, the people of the land were those of Judah, the Jews.

The earth and the land in the prophesy is not just any earth or land, nor is it representing the whole of the earth. It is specifically directed to those that were under judgment, which were those who were in Jerusalem and Judah.

See the previous post “Heaven and Earth Have Passed Away” for more scriptural evidence of the symbolic use of the words “heaven” and “earth.”

Rev. 17:18 refers to the woman and great city that reigns over the kings of the earth / land.  This “earth” then is restricted to a particular reign and a specific region… that of the Sanhedrin of Jerusalem and Judah.  The woman and the great city were the same – Jerusalem.  See the previous post, “The Whore of Babylon.”

2. Sea – as used in much of Revelation represented the ruling powers outside of Jerusalem, and the nations of the world outside of Judah and Palestine. Rome, which governed Judah, was across the Mediterranean sea from Jerusalem.  The sea symbolized the Gentile governing states and the ruling powers, as opposed to the “earth” which represented Judah and Jerusalem.

As the subject matter of Revelation was the destruction of Jerusalem, the ruling power associated with that time was the Roman empire and the king of the Romans, or Caesar.  So, Rev. 13:1 has the beast rising up out of the sea which represents the power of the Roman empire coming across the Mediterranean against Judah.

And, in Rev. 21:1 after the war is over, and the new heavens and new earth covenant are in place, there is no more sea.  This is possibly referring to the rule of Christ over all nations on earth, the fulfillment of both Is. 2:2 and Micah 4:1-2 where all nations now flow into the spiritual temple of God.  So no more sea, no more gentile or foreign nations.  All nations are called and are welcome to come to God.  (See previous post, “Micah’s Prophesy – No More War?”)

In other verses, the sea is a sea of glass in Chapter 4 where the four living creatures stand before God before the seals are opened.  In Chapt.5, v.13 “sea” is part of the creation under all of God’s rule. Again in Rev. 15: 2-3, the sea of glass is mingled with fire.  Moses saw it as a clear, sapphire pavement. (Ex. 24:10)  Ezekiel saw it as the firmament (Ez. 1:22)  The throne scene of Rev. 4 mirrors Ezekiel 1:22-28. The crystal sea is reflecting God’s glorious light, and the light of His Son.  A study of the “sapphire pavement” is most interesting.

In Rev. 20:13 the sea, or Gentile nations gave up the dead which were in them.

3. Heaven(s) – in judgment language it speaks of the governing dominion, palaces and abodes of the world rulers. In speaking of the judgment against Israel and Judah, Isaiah refers to the light of their heavens becoming dark. (Is. 5:30)  Their heavens were their ruling authorities, and the land / kingdom over which they ruled.

Is. 13:1-5 told of God bringing a kingdom against Babylon “from a far country, from the end of heaven…to destroy the whole land.”  Here, “the end of heaven” referred to the border ends of the kingdom of Babylon.  Babylon’s rule and kingdom was a heaven that was going to be thrown down and destroyed.

Is. 13:10, “the stars of heaven” meant the princes and ruling authorities of Babylon.  Is. 13:13 said that God was going to “shake the heavens” and remove the “earth” that is Babylon out of her place.

Is. 14:12 still speaking of the king of Babylon – possibly Nebuchadnezzar, but most probably his grandson, Belshazzar – “fallen from heaven” means he was removed from power and no longer ruled.  The name “Lucifer, son of the morning” was referring to the king of Babylon.

Ez. 32:7, in speaking in judgment of the Pharaoh of Egypt:

And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.”

Egypt’s rule and kingdom would be hidden, overturned, and destroyed.

Jer. 4:28, telling the judgment to come upon Jerusalem:

For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.”

The earth was the land, and the people of the land; the heavens were the men who ruled, the Jewish hierarchy, the Sanhedrin Council and priests, their palaces and abodes.

The rulers of a nation lived in higher authority, power, and luxury over the people of the land.  Their palaces and their kingdoms were referred to as heavenly places.  This is the same reference meant in Eph. 3:10:

 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,”

The earthly kings and kingdoms were also called heavenly because it was God who raised them up, allowed them their power and rule.  See Ex. 9:16; Judges 2:16, 18; 2 Sam. 23:1; Is. 41:2, 25; Is. 45:13; Jer. 51:11, and many others.

Rev. 12:1 use of  “the great wonder in heaven” referred to the Jewish authority and rule of Judah.  The woman clothed with the sun was the Israel of old who was pregnant with Christ and His church, born in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, with the “moon at her feet” (that is the old Mosaic assembly of Israel), and the twelve stars in her crown (the apostles of the newly born church of Christ)

But, we have to be careful to stay with the context of the scripture to know which heaven is referenced.  We see in Rev. 12:7, “there was war in heaven” with Michael and his angels fighting the dragon and his angels… this depicts the war between Rome and Judah… and both rulers / authorities were occupying “heavens” in their sphere of power.  (We will discuss Michael and the dragon more in a future part of this series.)

4. Sun – a king or most powerful ruler of a world government. Again, we must use the context / subject matter of the scripture to determine which king is meant.

The shining sun is used to describe Christ in Rev. 1:16; 10:1; 12:1; 19:17.  The sun going down, darkened or failing to shine is loss of power and / or removal of an earthly king: Rev. 6:12; 7:16; 8:12; 9:2, Matt. 24:29, etc.  Refer again to Is. 13:10; Ez. 32:7; Joel  3:15; Mark 13:24;

5.  Moon – a lesser ruling power, a queen, prince or governor. Shining showed a position of power; darkened or not giving its light was a symbol of removal from power and government.  24:29; Rev. 6:12; 8:12.

The moon was made on the fourth day of creation (Gen. 1:17-18) as the lesser light to rule the night, for signs and for seasons.   The Israelites counted days and months by the moon, which the priests determined from the new moon.  The feasts of the Lord were seasonal, and determined from the new moon.   The moon at the feet of the woman in Rev. 8:12 also denotes the waning of old Israel, the old Mosaic system, and the old heaven and earth covenant.

We recall again Joseph’s dream where the moon represented his mother, Rachel (Gen 37:9-11).  Israel was often represented in the OT as a woman / wife, therefore of the moon’s lesser light. (Is. 54:1-6; Jer. 3:20; Ez. 16:8-14; Hos. 2:19-20).

6. Falling Stars – of Rev. 6:13; 8:12, 12:4 represented the Israelites/ Jews.

Many believe the stars always refer to angels, and they might well do in the couplet of Job 38:7.  But, they were more often used as a metaphor for the lesser ruling powers under a king or queen, such as princes.

They were used more definitely as Joseph’s brothers in his dream of Gen. 37:9, who were all the sons of Israel.  In his dream, the stars were the children of the sun (his father) and the moon (his mother). So, in prophesy the stars many times stood for the sons of, the tribes of Israel.

We can see this in Is. 14:13 where the king of Babylon was trying to reach unto heaven, that is trying to be king of the world, and God’s equal, he aspired to rise above the favored children of Israel calling them the “stars of God.”

Stars may also at times refer to lesser states or provinces of a worldly kingdom as in Ez. 32:7 where Ezekiel prophesied the fall of Egypt (from YLT):

And in quenching thee I have covered the heavens,” – the fall of the empire

“And have made black their stars,”  – removed the power of her independent states

The sun with a cloud I do cover,”  –  the sun was the king, removed from power / rule

 “And the moon causeth not its light to shine.” –  the queen or a prince no longer rules

In Dan. 8:9-10 the “little horn” was attacking the “pleasant land,” Judah, and caused the fall of the “host of heaven”  which was the Jewish hierarchy, and trampled the “stars” by which was meant the lesser powers of the priests and Levites.

This directly relates to Jesus’ warning in Matt. 24:29 where told His disciples:

“`And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken;”  (YLT)

Again the sun, moon, and stars represented the entire Jewish hierarchy, the Chief Priest, and the Sanhedrin, and all the people of Israel / Judah.  Shaking the heavens meant the overturn of their national existence, and destruction of their power.

Daniel 12:7, “…`After a time, times, and a half, and at the completion of the scattering of the power of the holy people, finished are all these.’  (YLT)

Daniel was told that the end of the “wonders”, the end of the prophesy was when the power of the holy people – the Jews – had been scattered.  Their power was scattered at the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Therefore, in Rev. 6:13, 8:12, and 12:4 the stars that fell to earth were the Jews, and it meant the removal of their position as God’s chosen people, and destruction of their entire nation / government.

7.  Trees – the chiefs of the nation of Judah, or their nobles.

Dan. 4:10-11 the tree that grows in the midst of the earth was King Nebuchadnezzar and represented the power he had over the land of his kingdom.  In that instance, the “earth” represented the land over which Nebuchadnezzar ruled.

Trees were used in the OT to represent mighty men, men of power, or those established in His law. (Ez. 17:22-24; Ez. 31:3;  Jer. 17:7-8; Psa. 1:3, etc)

Hewing down a tree was cutting off the king, or a downfall of a nation.  Jesus told the Jews in Matt. 3:10 that the axe was already laid to the root of the tree, specifically meaning the fall and destruction of Jerusalem.

Is. 61:3, “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

Rev. 22:2, the tree of life possibly alludes to Gen. 2:9.  Also, Christ, the gospel of Christ, and the twelve apostles. Wisdom and understanding is the “tree of life” in Prov. 3:18.  See also Prov. 11:30; 13:12; 15:4; .

8. Grass – the common folk, the ordinary people. 1 Pet. 1:24, because all flesh [is] as grass, and all glory of man as flower of grass; wither did the grass, and the flower of it fell away,” (YLT)  Also Psa. 37:1-2; Psa. 103:15; 129:6.

9. Earthquakes – a shaking of the earthly powers and nations. Mountains and hills being moved out of their place was a change in the nation rule and government.  When God shakes the earth He is causing a change in, and overturning the world governments.  Rev. 8:5; 11:13; 11:19; 16:18; Is. 2:19; 29:6; Job 38:13;  Psa 18:7; Is. 13:13, etc.

10. Thunder, and Lightning – the voice of God; pronouncements from God.

Psa. 29:3-5, “The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters.  The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majestyThe voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars; yea, the Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.” (KJV)

The throne scene of Rev. 4:5 recalls the image of the people trembling in fear at the base of Mt. Sinai in Ex. 19:16, 20:18-19 while witnessing the sound effects of God’s voice.

1 Sam. 2:10, The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them:…” (KJV)

2 Sam. 22:14, “The Lord thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.”

See also Job 37:4-5; 40:9; Psa. 18:13; 77:18; 104:7; Is. 29:6; Rev. 14:2; 16:18; 19:6.

11.  Air – the sphere of life and influence of worldly rulers and powers. Eph. 2:1-2; 3:10; 6:12. See more complete discussion in the previous post “The God of This World, and The Prince of The Power of The Air.”.

Rev. 9:2 speaks of the air being darkened by the smoke of the bottomless pit, while  16:17 shows the seventh angel pouring his vial out into the air.  The meaning is the coming of evil from the sphere of the worldly powers who were working with Satan against Christ and his saints. .

12.  Rivers, Fountains of Waters – life giving; the lifeline of the commercial activity of the kingdoms of Rome, and their connection to Judah / Jerusalem. Where the third angel of Rev. 8:10, and 16:4 are despoiling the rivers and waters, he is cutting off the life of the people and their commerce. Also an allusion to the plague of Egypt in Ex. 7:19.

Rev. 7:17, The Lamb, Christ provides the living fountains of waters.  He is the source.

John 7:38, He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

No living thing can exist without water. Christ and His gospel provides our living water.  That Jerusalem and Judea was cut off from the waters meant they had rejected the gospel of Christ, they had rejected the Messiah and were facing the judgment of death and destruction.  See Is. 50:2; Ez. 29:10; 30:12; Joel 1:20; 3:18; Nah. 1:4, etc.

There are many more signs and symbols of the visions in Revelation, and much more is inferred and connected to Old Testament prophesy than I have shown here.  But, I hope to have shown enough to identify with some certainty their origin from the Old Testament and their intended meaning within the scriptures.

Part III will discuss some of the symbols of the colors and numbers.

Recommend reading, if you have not already done so, the previous posts for “The Whore of Babylon”, “The Beast of Revelation”, “The Thousand Year Reign of Rev. 20…”, “The Seventy Weeks of Dan. Chap. 9” and others at the right margin.

Also The Book of Revelation by Foy E. Wallace, Jr. –  here.

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on both Daniel and Revelation –  here.

The Symbolism in the Book of Revelation by Mike Blume – here.

The Background of Pergamos – here

Sources:  The KJV and Young’s Literal Translation (YLT).  All bold emphasis is mine.