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God's Word in Revelation

For those who wish to digest the "strong [solid] meat,"
not just "the milk or meat," of the Word of God. ~ Hebrews 5:12-14

The entirety of the Old Testament is about the person and work of Jesus Christ (Luke 24:25-27; John 5:39-47).  And the New Testament, continuing from the Old — with “the Word” (the Old Testament Scriptures) becoming “flesh” (John 1:1-2, 14) — must be viewed in exactly the same light.

The New is an opening up and unveiling of the Old; and the Book of Revelation, forming the capstone to all previous revelation (both the Old and New Testaments), completes the unveiling.  The Book of Revelation, by its own introductory statement — an introductory statement peculiar to this book alone — forms the one book in Scripture which brings all previous revelation to its proper climax.

The Time of the End
A Study About the Book of Revelation
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

TOPIC INDEX LINKS:

Foreword

The Apostle John wrote five of the twenty-seven books comprising the New Testament. He wrote one of the four gospels, which is quite different than the other three. And this gospel should be the opening book in the New Testament, not Matthew, for John’s gospel, unlike any one of the other three, parallels Genesis in every respect. John wrote three short epistles, which are quite different than any of the other epistles; and he wrote the closing book in Scripture, the Book of Revelation, which, of course, is quite different than any other book in the New Testament as well.

The Old Testament begins with Genesis, revealing what God’s revelation in the Old Testament is about; and, if John’s gospel occupied its proper place as the opening book of the New Testament, exactly the same thing would be revealed at the beginning of the New Testament that Genesis reveals at the beginning of the Old Testament. John’s gospel would relate, at the beginning, what the New Testament is about; and the subject matter would be exactly the same as previously related in Genesis about 1,500 years earlier, revealing, at the beginning, what the Old Testament is about.

(Both Genesis and John begin at the same point, “In the beginning,” both have the same septenary structure in the opening two chapters [where Creation, Ruin, Restoration and Rest are seen in each (Moses deals with the restoration of the ruined material creation occurring over six days time, with a day of rest following; and John deals with the restoration of a subsequent ruined creation, ruined man, occurring over six days time, with a day of rest following)]; and the subject matter throughout each, in keeping with the introductory septenary structure in each, is the same — Moses using types and John using signs to convey this subject matter. Ref. Moses and John by Arlen Chitwood.)

Thus, it is only natural that God would choose John to write the closing book of Scripture, which, as his gospel, has been written in a manner connected with signs and has to do centrally with the Jewish people.

Then, inseparably connected with the preceding, the Book of Revelation is actually the sequel to John’s gospel, for this book deals with how God brings to pass the purpose for the eight signs in this gospel.  And this occurs through Israel being brought to the place of repentance during the fulfillment of Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Daniel 9:24-27), seen beginning in Revelation chapter six and continuing through the first part of chapter nineteen (Revelation 6-19).

(“Signified” in Revelation 1:1, revealing how this book has been transmitted and structured, is a translation of the Greek word semaino [say-mah'ee-no], which is the verb form of the word for “sign” [semeion] in John’s gospel, showing the manner in which this book has been transmitted and structured as well).

And beyond this, the Book of Revelation opens up and further reveals that which began to be opened up in John’s gospel, at the beginning of the New Testament, which is the same as that which began to be opened up in Genesis, at the beginning of the Old Testament.

There is nothing in later revelation (the New Testament) that is not seen in former revelation (the Old Testament). And the Book of Revelation draws from all previous Scripture. This book is simply an opening up of previous Scripture, beginning in Genesis. It is about the unveiling of Jesus Christ, which is how the text of the book begins.

This book is about an opening up of the Old Testament Scriptures which became flesh in the person of the Son (John 1:1-2, 14; cf. Luke 24:25-27; John 5:46). In this respect, this last book in Scripture, as well, is about the mystery of God being finished (Revelation 10:7), which is another way of saying the same thing as the unveiling of Jesus Christ.

(A “mystery” in Scripture has to do with something made known in the Old Testament but not fully opened up and revealed until the matter had been dealt with at a later time in the New Testament. And the Word, which was/is/always will be God, becoming flesh in the person of the Son, allows both the unveiling of the Son and the finishing of the mystery of God to be viewed in a synonymous sense in this book.)

A Synopsis

Following introductory remarks concerning Christ, the book begins at a time very near the end of Man’s Day (a 6,000-year day), progressing from that point into the Lord’s Day (the 1,000-year Messianic Era), and ending in the Day of God (the eternal ages beyond the Messianic Era).

Events seen in this book beyond the introductory remarks concerning Christ (Revelation 1:1-9) begin with the removal of the Church into the heavens at the end of the present dispensation and the subsequent appearance of the Church before Christ’s judgment seat (Revelation 1:10-3:22). As well, chapters two and three (Revelation 2-3) also present a history of the Church throughout the dispensation, beginning with Ephesus which had left its “first love” and ending with Laodicea which is described as “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 2:4, 3:17).

But, though a history of the Church is also shown in chapters two and three, the emphasis in these two chapters is not on the historical aspect of the chapters. Rather, from the way matters are introduced in chapter one (Revelation 1:10-20), the emphasis in these two chapters must be seen as judgmental.

Chapter four (Revelation 4) begins the same way chapter one began beyond the introductory remarks concerning Christ — depicting, once again, the removal of the Church into the heavens (Revelation 4:1-2; cf. Revelation 1:10). But, though beginning with this same scene from chapter one again, matters in chapter four then immediately move to the outcome and purpose for the previous judgment of Christians (Revelation 1; 2; 3 [1b]), which is regal.

God, on the throne (Revelation 4:3), is the One Who appoints and removes rulers in His kingdom (Dan. 4:17, 25-26; Matt. 20:23). And in this chapter, twenty-four crowned elders are seen relinquishing their regal positions in God’s kingdom (as it would relate to the earth), with a view to others ruling in their stead (Rev. 4:10-11). Crowns are cast before God’s throne (which, at this place in the book, could only be a relinquishment of crowns by angels who, in time past, ruled with Satan in his kingdom), with a view to others (Christians, having previously been shown qualified to rule through decisions and determinations rendered at the judgment seat) wearing these crowns in the coming kingdom of Christ (Heb. 2:5).

Chapter five (Revelation 5) has to do with the seven-sealed scroll — the title deed to the earth — containing the terms for the redemption of the inheritance (the territory presently in Satan’s possession and under his control, which, following redemption, will pass into Christ’s possession and be under His control). And the redemption of the inheritance, taking place through Christ breaking the seals of the seven-sealed scroll (Rev. 6:1ff) — bringing judgments to pass of such a severe nature that no parallel exists in man’s 6,000-year history — is the central subject of succeeding chapters, all the way into the opening part of chapter nineteen.

The harlot woman, Israel, seen in this condition numerous places in the Old Testament (e.g., Isa. 1:21; Jer. 3:1ff; Hosea 2:2), is seen in the Book of Revelation at the apex of her harlotry, at the end of the Times of the Gentiles (Rev. 17:1-19:6). And during this time, through the process of these judgments coming to pass, the Jewish people will find themselves in such dire straits that they will have nowhere to turn other than to the God of their fathers.

The nation will be brought to the place of repentance, with Israel’s harlotry being put away (Rev. 17:16; 18:8-10, 18-21; 19:1-3). Then, in accordance with His promise, God will send the Deliverer (cf. Ex. 2:23-3:10; Lev. 26:40-42; 2 Chron. 7:12-14); and the Jewish people, looking upon and receiving their Deliverer, their rejected Messiah, will apply the blood of the Lamb which they slew 2,000 years ago (Zech. 12:10-14; 13:6).

Israel’s Deliverer will return with His angels (2 Thess. 1:7), sending them out worldwide to regather the Jewish people from the nations of the earth (Matt. 24:30-31). And the Old Testament saints will be raised from the dead at this time in order that those who died out of the land can return back to the land with the living (Ex. 12:41; 13:19; Dan. 12:1-2).

The Jewish people will then be dealt with in a place called “the wilderness of the people” (Ezek. 20:34ff). A new covenant will be made with the house of Israel at this time (Jer. 31:31-33); and the nation will then be placed back in their own land, never to be uprooted again (Ezek. 36:24-38; 37:21-28; 39:25-29).

After Israel’s repentance, the Times of the Gentiles, following 2,600 years of Gentile control and dominance, will end. Gentile world power will be destroyed, the theocracy will be restored to Israel, Satan will be bound and cast into the abyss, and the long-awaited Messianic Era will be ushered in. These things are seen in the latter part of chapter nineteen (Rev. 19) and the first part of chapter twenty (Rev. 20).

Then, events from the middle of chapter twenty (Rev. 20) to the end of the book deal with that which will be brought to pass following the Millennium, leading into the eternal ages which follow.

Satan will be loosed from the abyss, go out to deceive an innumerable multitude from the nations of the earth, and lead those whom he will have deceived against the King in Jerusalem and against His people, the Jewish people. Those coming against Christ and the Jewish people in that day will be destroyed by fire from heaven, with Satan then being cast into the lake of fire where he will reside throughout the endless ages of eternity (Rev. 20:7-10).

The Great White Throne Judgment will follow (Rev. 20:11-15). The unsaved dead throughout time dating all the way back to man’s creation will be judged at this time. And these individuals, following judgment, will be cast into the same lake of fire where Satan had previously been cast, where they will reside throughout the same endless ages of eternity.

Beyond this, in chapters twenty-one and twenty-two (Rev. 21; 22), material in the book moves into the eternal ages.

Christ, with His co-heirs, will reign over the earth from Christ’s throne during the Millennium (Rev. 3:21). But during the ages beyond the Millennium, Christ will be seated on a throne with His Father, in the new Jerusalem on the new earth, referred to in Rev. 22:1, 3 as “the throne of God and of the Lamb.” And from this throne, God will continue His rule over the whole of His kingdom, extending throughout the multiplied billions of provinces scattered throughout the multiplied billions of galaxies comprising the physical universe. Christ will sit on this throne with His Father; and from this throne, redeemed man will exercise regal power out in the universe.

This is what lies in store for redeemed man throughout the unending ages following the Millennium, comprising eternity.

A Paradox

Paradoxically though, it is mainly unredeemed man, not redeemed man, who is interested in and talks about going out into the heavens today. Man, in NASA’s Apollo missions, has been to the moon and back nine times (’68-’72). But man’s dream is to go far beyond, out to the planets.

Redeemed man is interested in and does talk about going to heaven, but that’s not the same thing at all. And when the Millennium or the eternal ages are in view, it’s not even Biblical to talk about going to heaven in a manner of this nature.

The Biblical picture has to do with redeemed man exercising regality in relation to this earth, followed by regality in relation to the universe itself. Man’s creation, his fall, and the purpose surrounding his salvation all center around regality. And this regality will be realized in Christ’s kingdom over the present earth during the Millennium and from the new earth out into the heavens in the whole of the universe during the eternal ages which follow.

Thus, though unredeemed man may talk about going out into the heavens, he’s not going. It is redeemed man — who seems to know very little about it today — who is one day going out into the heavens.

But man moving out into the heavens in this manner will occur only following the Millennium. The next event in God’s ordered program is Christ’s rule over the earth for 1,000 years. And that is where redeemed man should focus his attention during the present dispensation, though not to the exclusion of the ages beyond.

The entire program of God has, from the beginning, been moving toward the coming Sabbath of rest, paralleling the seventh day in Gen. 2:2-3 and John 2:1. The great prophecies of Scripture speak of this day; Christians are exhorted to fix their attention upon this day; and the judgment seat of Christ precedes and has to do with this day.

To ignore the Millennium, one must ignore the central teaching of Scripture, beginning with the Book of Genesis and ending with the Book of Revelation. And such can ultimately lead to only one thing: disaster in the Christian life.

A trained runner fixes his attention upon the goal; and a trained Christian, in the present race of the faith, will likewise fix his attention upon the goal.

Chapter 1

The Revelation of Jesus Christ (1)

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things that must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,

who bore witness to the Word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Revelation 1:1-3)

The title of this book, “The Time of the End,” is an expression taken from Daniel 8:17; 11:35, 40; 12:4, 9, referring, in this book, specifically to a future time that the Jewish people will pass through at the end of Man’s Day, immediately before and at the time when “the Sun of righteousness” arises “with healing in His wings” (cf. Daniel 12:1-13; Malachi 4:1-2). This time is shown in the book of Daniel to encompass events during the last seven years of Man’s Day (the final seven years in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy) and events at the time of Christ’s return that lead into the Messianic Era, the Lord’s Day (cf. Daniel 2:40-45; 7:7-14, 23-28; 8:9-14, 23-25; 9:24-27; 11:21-45).

The book of Revelation, paralleling the book of Daniel in this respect, deals centrally with events during this same future time, ending, as well, in the Messianic Era. The book of Revelation though deals not only with Israel (covering the same time and a number of the same events seen in parts of the book of Daniel [occurring during “the time of the end”]) but this book also includes God’s end-time dealings with the Church as well.

In this respect, matters surrounding the Church are introduced and dealt with first in the book of Revelation
(Revelation 1; 2; 3; 4). And in the chronological sequence through which events in the book move, God deals with the Church first, for a revealed reason:

The bride must be removed from the body (which will occur following decisions and determinations at the judgment seat) prior to events surrounding two things:

(1) the redemption of the inheritance, and

(2) the bride becoming Christ’s wife (Revelation 5-19).

And these two events will occur simultaneously through God’s judgment upon the earth-dwellers (Israel and the nations, following the removal of the Church) during and at the conclusion of the final seven years of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy (Revelation 6-19).

(For additional information on the preceding — the redemption of the inheritance and the revealed bride [revealed at the judgment seat] becoming Christ’s wife — refer to the author’s book Ruth by Arlen Chitwood, chapters 8-10.)

Then, at the end of the book of Revelation, matters are projected out into the ages beyond the Messianic Era
(Revelation 21; 22). Scripture has very little to say about that which occurred prior to Man’s Day, and it has very little to say about that which will occur following the Messianic Era. But Scripture does reveal enough about events that occurred preceding Man’s Day and events that will occur following the Messianic Era to allow man to piece the whole of the matter together.

God has revealed the necessary information that will allow man to know and understand why he was created in God’s image, after His likeness, at a particular time in history. And, by this revelation, man can know and understand why the fall occurred and why God provided redemption following the fall (which, as the reason for man’s creation, centers on regalityhaving to do with the government of the earthto be realized during the seventh day, the seventh millennium, the Messianic Era).

And man can also know and understand that God has far-reaching plans for the individual created in His image, after His likeness. Man’s destiny beyond the Messianic Era, clearly revealed at the end of the book of Revelation, is to have a part in the government of the universe itself.

(For information on the government of the earth and the universe, past, present, and future — which includes angels and man — refer to the author’s book, The Most High Ruleth by Arlen Chitwood.)

An Unveiling

The word “Revelation” (Revelation 1:1) is a translation of the Greek word apokalupsis, which means to “disclose,” “reveal,” “uncover.” And this word, along with its verb form (apokalupto), are together used forty-five times in the New Testament in passages such as Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:3, 5; 1 Peter 1:7, 13; 4:13.

The book of Revelation, the Apokalupsis, the “Apocalypse,” is about a disclosure, an uncovering, an unveiling of that which the Father had previously given to and would accomplish through His Son (cf. John 3:34-35; 5:20-22; 7:16; 8:28). And that which the Father had previously given to and would accomplish through His Son is seen in both Old and New Testament Scripture as “all things” (cf. Genesis 24:36; 25:5; John 16:15; Colossians 1:16-18; Hebrews 1:2-13).

Then, more directly, and in the words of the book itself, that which is being made known pertains to a revelation of the Son Himself. This book is an opening up of that which relates all that the Father has given to and would accomplish through the Son, revealed through a revelation of the Son Himself.

And the revelation of the Son, according to this opening verse, is going to be accomplished through a specific, revealed means — through revealing “things which must shortly [Greek: tachos, ‘quickly,’ “speedily’] take place.” That is to say, once this revelation of the Son begins through an unfolding of future events, the revelation will occur in a quick or speedy fashion — actually over time covering little more than seven years.

(On the translation of tachos in the opening verse as “quickly” or “speedily,” refer to a cognate word, tachu, used seven times in this book, translated “quickly” each time [Revelation 2:5, 16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:7, 12, 20].)

According to John 1:1, 14, the incarnation was simply the Word (the Old Testament Scriptures) becoming flesh. There is the written Word (which is living [Hebrews 4:12]), and there is the living Word (which is the written Word, inseparably connected with the Father, made flesh).

The book of Revelation is thus an opening up of the Old Testament Scriptures through a Person, through the Word that became flesh. And the thought of an opening up of the Old Testament Scriptures extending to and including an opening up of the New Testament Scriptures as well is unnecessary, for there is nothing in the New that cannot be found, after some fashion, in the Old. If there were, there could not be the necessary corresponding completeness between the written Word and the living Word at a time before the New Testament even began to be penned.

The New Testament, at any point, of necessity, can only have to do with revelation that can be seen as having an Old Testament base. Revelation in the New Testament must bear the same inseparable connection with the Word made flesh as revelation in the Old Testament bears.

Thus, the existence of the Word made flesh preceding the existence of the New Testament clearly relates the truth of the matter concerning the content of the New Testament. The New can only be an opening up and revealing of that previously seen in the Old. To state or think otherwise is to connect the Word made flesh with one Testament and disconnect Him from the other — an impossibility.

In short, the Old Testament is complete in and of itself; the Word made flesh incorporates this same completeness, and the New Testament adds nothing per se to this completeness. Any supposed subsequent addition would be impossible, for this would be adding to that which God had already deemed complete through the incarnation, the Word being made flesh.

The preceding is why Christ, shortly after His resurrection, began at “Moses and all the prophets” (an expression covering the whole of the Old Testament) when He appeared to and began making Himself known to two disciples traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31). The living Word, using the written Word, began putting together different facets of a word picture pertaining to Himself. And He could have gone to any part of the Old Testament to accomplish the matter, for the whole of the Old Testament was about Him.

Through this means, those being addressed would be able to see one (the word picture) alongside the other (the Word made flesh). And, comparing the two, they would be able to come to an understanding of not only the identity of the One in their midst but an understanding of that which had occurred in Jerusalem during the past several days as well.

This is the manner in which God has put matters together in His Word, making Himself, His plans, and His purposes known to man. And this is why the Son — God manifest in the flesh, the Word made flesh — undertook matters after exactly the same fashion when making Himself, His plans, and His purposes known to two disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day of His resurrection. Then the same thing is seen when He appeared to ten of the eleven remaining disciples (with Thomas absent) in Jerusalem a short time later (Luke 24:36-45; John 20:19-29).

And this is the manner in which the book of Revelation must be studied. Since it is an unveiling of the living Word, it is equally an unveiling of the inseparable Old Testament Scriptures. Thus, there is really only one way a person can come into a proper and correct understanding of the various things opened up and revealed in this book, which, of course, would be equally true of any other portion of Scripture.

(For a more comprehensive study of the preceding, refer to chapter 4, “The Word Made Flesh,” in the author’s book, Signs in John's Gospel by Arlen Chitwood and/or Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Signs in John's Gospel, Ch. 4Also see Signs in John's Gospel Link and The Eight Signs in John's Gospel in this site.)

1) Sent and Signified…

The word “signified” is a translation of the Greek word semaino, which is the verb form of the word for “sign” (semeion). The apostle John introduced, opened up, and developed matters in his gospel account through signs. And in the book of Revelation, matters are introduced, opened up, and developed in a similar manner.

God, throughout His revelation to man, shows an affinity for the use of types, numbers, signs, and metaphors to make Himself, His plans, and His purposes known. And this must be recognized; else man will find himself failing to go beyond the simple letter of Scripture (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:6-4:6).

(Editor’s note: A metaphor is a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote, in order to suggest a similarity.)

Man, for example, will find himself understanding Biblical history but failing to understand the God-designed typical significance of that history. Or if numbers, signs, or metaphors are used — which they often are — he will fail to understand the God-designed significance of these as well.

At the very outset, God makes it clear that the book of Revelation has been structured in a particular manner, closely related to the manner in which John was led by the Spirit to structure his gospel.

The gospel of John was built around eight signs that Jesus had previously performed during His earthly ministry, and these signs were recorded and directed to the Jewish people during the time of the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel (which occurred between 33 AD and about 62 AD).

And the book of Revelation — dealing largely with the Jewish people once again (exclusively, along with God’s dealings with the nations through Israel, in Revelation 6-19, covering time and events in Daniel’s Seventieth Week) — uses the verb form of the word for “sign” at the very outset in order to reveal the manner in which this book has been structured.

To understand how the word semaino, translated “signified,” is used introducing the book of Revelation, note how John uses this same word three times in his gospel, in John 12:33; 18:32; 21:19. The context leading into each verse provides an illustrative statement that allows that which is stated in the verse to be understood. Note the first of these three usages, within context:

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.
This He said, signifying
[from semaino] by what death He would die. (John 12:32-33)

Aside from Revelation 1:1 and the three verses in John’s gospel, the only other usages of the word semaino in the New Testament are in Acts 11:28 KJV and Acts 25:27 KJV. And the same thought is set forth by the use of the word in these two passages, though the illustrative statement is inferred in the first usage.

Thus, “signified,” a translation of semaino, has to do with making something known by a manner that carries the reader from a somewhat indirect means to a direct means, from an illustrative statement as a means of explaining a matter. And this is seen accomplished in the book of Revelation centrally by the use of numerous numbers and metaphors, though other illustrative means are used as well. And all illustrative means of this nature in the book are, they would have to be, in line with the meaning of the word semaino and the manner in which this word is used elsewhere in the New Testament.

2) Through His Angel to His Servant John

God’s use of angels and angelic ministry comprises another major facet of the book of Revelation, forming another key to coming to a proper understanding of the book. God uses angels in all facets of His activities as He governs a universe from a place that Scripture locates by direction and through the use of a superlative — “the uttermost parts of the north” (Isaiah 14:13 ASV).

This place is located at a northern-most point, north of the earth. And this place in relation to the earth would be located more specifically north of Jerusalem; and more specifically yet, this place would be located north of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem; and even more specifically yet, this place would be located north of the brazen altar in the courtyard of the Temple located on the Temple Mount.

The brazen altar is where the sacrifices took place — “on the side of the altar northward before the Lord.” And sacrifices occurring at this brazen altar occupied center-stage in Scripture in exactly the same respect that Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary occupies center-stage in Scripture, for the former foreshadows the latter, with God requiring death and shed blood throughout (Leviticus 1:11; cf. Job 26:7; Psalm 75:6-7; Hebrews 9:22).

(Note in this respect that the place Christ was crucified, outside the city [John 19:20; Hebrews 13:12], would have had to be located directly north of the place where the brazen altar once stood — two unknown locations today [though the approximate, but not exact, location of the brazen altar on the Temple Mount could be known].

Regardless of claims, no one can go to Bethlehem or Jerusalem today and be directed to the exact places where Christ was born, died, or was buried and raised from the dead. There are traditional sites, but matters cannot move beyond tradition. And the reason for that would be evident.

First, man doesn’t need to go to these sites. The written Word, which provides all of the God-designed word pictures about the living Word, is complete and sufficient in and of itself; and, second, if man could go to and be assured that he was at one of these three locations, he would undoubtedly do exactly the same thing (and possibly more) that he has already done with the traditional sites, detracting from that which God deems important, that which is complete and sufficient in and of itself.)

All angels in God’s universal kingdom either rule provinces in the kingdom (e.g., the earth is one such province) or have some other type of connection with the rulership of the different provinces. That is to say, all activity of angels within the kingdom of God would have to be activity somehow connected with God’s universal rule within this kingdom.

In this respect, all angels would have some part in this rule, whether directly or indirectly. Some angels would rule as heads of state (ruling over provinces, as Satan presently rules over the earth); other angels would rule under these angels (as angels presently rule under Satan); others would hold positions as watchers and holy ones (as seen in Daniel 4);  others would occupy positions surrounding God’s throne  (as seen in Revelation 4; 5 and Revelation 7); and others would comprise the armies of heaven (as seen in the camp of Israel in the Old Testament, or as seen among those who will accompany Christ when He returns to the earth [cf. 2 Kings 6:17; Matthew 24:31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Revelation 19:14]).

Though God appeared in Moses’ presence and acted directly, God used angels when giving the Law
(Acts 7:53; cf. Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 68:17; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2). And something very similar occurred when John “was on the island called Patmos for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9b). The Son acted directly in the revelation of Himself to John, as the Father had previously acted directly in that which was made known to Moses at Sinai (cf. Exodus 19:3ff; Revelation 1:10ff).

But, though direct intervention occurred by both the Father and the Son at these different times, angelic ministry was also involved. And in both instances a kingdom was in view — the Old Testament theocracy and the theocracy yet to exist.

Blessed Is He . . .

The book of Revelation is the only book in Scripture containing a specific statement at the beginning of the book relative to blessings awaiting the one hearing, reading, and keeping the things stated in the book (Revelation 1:3). However, though this is the only book that opens with a statement of this nature, the same thing would have to be true of any portion of Scripture. Such a thought could not be confined to just the book of Revelation but would have to be true concerning Scripture as a whole, for the whole of Scripture presents one complete picture, by and through numerous word pictures, of all facets of the person and work of Jesus Christ. And one part cannot really be placed above another part in this respect. The book of Revelation simply cannot be separated in this manner from the whole of Scripture, for this book is about the whole of Scripture (cf. Psalm 12:6; 138:2; 2 Timothy 3:15-17).

The book of Revelation brings all previous revelation together in an apex, with the “mystery of God” being brought to a completed state in this book (Revelation 10:7). And that would possibly account for this statement being found in the book of Revelation alone, though not really restricted in application to this book alone.

(Numerous things in the New Testament are referred to through the use of the word “mystery.” For example, there is the “mystery” of the kingdom [Mark 4:11; ‘mysteries’ in Matthew 13:11; Luke 8:10], the “mystery” of Israel’s blindness [Romans 11:25], the “mystery” of the rapture of the Church [1 Corinthians 15:51], the “mystery” revealed to Paul [Ephesians 3:3], the “mystery” of Christ [Ephesians 3:4], the “mystery” of Christ and the Church [Ephesians 5:32], the “mystery” of God [Colossians 2:2], the “mystery” of iniquity [2 Thessalonians 2:7], the “mystery” of the faith [1 Timothy 3:9], the “mystery” of godliness [1 Timothy 3:16], and the “mystery” of the woman and the beast [Revelation 17:7].

The word “mystery” is a translation [more of an Anglicized form] of the Greek word musterion. The word, as it is used in Scripture, has to do with that which cannot be explained by man, requiring an opening up by divine means. The word has to do with something revealed in the Old Testament, which is later more fully opened up and developed in the New Testament. Apart from divine revelation in the Old Testament, man couldn’t know about the mystery in the first place; then, apart from divine revelation in the New Testament, the mystery would not be opened up and further revealed.

In the preceding respect, a mystery, contrary to common teaching and thought in certain circles, cannot be something completely new, separate from and unknown in the Old Testament. The fallacy behind that type of reasoning has previously been discussed in this chapter. There is nothing in the New that is not in the Old; else, as previously stated, the Word made flesh before the New was penned would have to be separated from the New — an impossibility.)

The “mystery of God” in Revelation 10:7 —  the revelation of God, which began with Genesis 1:1 — has, at this point in the book, been opened up and fully revealed through a revelation of the Son (Revelation 1:1ff;
cf. Colossians 2:2 ASV, “. . . the mystery of God, even Christ”). And the completion of God’s revelation surrounding this mystery can occur at this mid-point in the book for the same reason that “the kingdom of the world” can become that “of our Lord, and of His Christ” in Revelation 11:15 ASV, at this mid-point in the book as well.

In both instances (Revelation 10:7; 11:15) the seventh trumpet has sounded, signaling a completion of God’s judgments upon the earth-dwellers. And a completion of these judgments can be seen at this point in the book (depicted by both verses) because, as the seven trumpets form the judgments of the seventh seal of the seven-sealed scroll seen in chapters five, six, eight, and nine, the seven bowls (KJV: vials) of wrath about to be poured out are seen when the seventh trumpet sounds (Revelation 10:1-11; 15:1-16:17). Thus, these seven bowls, as well, form revealed judgments occurring when the seventh and last seal of the scroll is broken. They, as the seven trumpets, form the judgments of the seventh seal.

This is why, in Revelation 5, a search is made only for One who would be worthy to take the seven-sealed scroll from God’s right hand and open the seven seals, with nothing stated about a sounding of the seven trumpets or a pouring out of the seven bowls. Since the seven trumpets form the judgments of the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1-2), and the seven bowls are seen when the seventh trumpet sounds, the whole of God’s judgments in chapters six through eighteen are encompassed within the breaking of the seven seals of the scroll. Thus, the search in chapter five is only for One who would be worthy to take the scroll that God held in His right hand and to open the seals of this scroll.

(The structure of the book of Revelation in the preceding respect [e.g., how the end can be seen in the middle of the book, in Revelation 10; 11 {11b}], along with the relationship of the trumpet and bowl judgments to one another, is dealt with at length in subsequent chapters in this book [particularly in Revelation 8; 9; 10; 11 and Revelation 13-19, which deal with the seven-sealed scroll and the breaking of the seals on the scroll].)

It is within a book where everything is brought to an apex — where Old Testament Scripture concerning God, Israel, and Gentile world power during the Times of the Gentiles is opened up and fully revealed — that the Spirit, through John, began the book by calling attention to the blessings reserved for those reading, hearing, and keeping those things contained in the book.

The thought of reading and hearing would need no clarification, but the thought of keeping would. For example, how is a person to keep parts of the book relating to judgment, etc.? The word translated “keep,” tereo in the Greek text, does normally mean “to keep.” However, as in any language, context will often determine and govern different ways that a word is used and is to be understood. And such would be the case with tereo in Revelation 1:3.

The word, for example, is used in Matthew 23:3; 28:20 more in the sense of “observe,” as translated in the KJV and NASB. And the word, contextually, is used in a similar sense in Revelation 1:3 NASB — “observe” or “give heed” ( NASB). In this apex of revelation, where Old Testament Scripture is opened up and revealed, blessings have been promised for those who read, hear, and observe or give heed to the things being made known to and recorded by John.

And the text goes on to provide a reason, stating, “for the time is near” (“at hand” in the KJV [Revelation 1:3 KJV]).

The expression “at hand” (KJV) is the same expression used in Matthew 3:2; 4:17 when John and Jesus announced the kingdom of the heavens as being “at hand.” The Messianic King was present in Israel’s midst, with an offer of the kingdom, contingent on the nation’s repentance. Thus, the announcement of the kingdom could be made in this manner.

And something very similar is seen in Revelation 1:3. The full revelation of the Son, from the Old Testament Scriptures, is about to occur. God will complete His dealing with both Israel and the Church during Man’s Day, bringing these dealings to a full end; and this will be for purposes having to do with the Messianic Era. Then God’s Son, with Israel and the Church occupying their proper positions in the kingdom, will take the scepter and reign.

Thus, the same expression, “at hand,” as seen when Christ was on earth the first time, with the kingdom in the offing at that time, could only aptly describe the circumstances, conditions, and time seen in this closing book in Scripture.

Chapter 2

The Revelation of Jesus Christ (2)

John, to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the Ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:4-8)

The opening three verses of the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:1-3) relate both the subject matter of the book and the means that God used to convey His Word as the Spirit of God moved John to pen the things that he had both seen and heard.

The announced subject matter of the book is an unveiling, a revealing of Jesus Christ. It is an opening up and a making known of Old Testament Scripture through the Word that became flesh, through God’s Son (cf. Luke 24:25-27, 44-45).

The means of conveying the written Word through the living Word in this book was accomplished through angelic ministry, with John being removed from Man’s Day and placed, at a future time, in the Lord’s Day. And at this future time in the Lord’s Day, John was allowed to see and hear that which the Spirit moved him to record.

The next five verses (Revelation 1:4-8) then carry the reader through a description of God’s Son, as God would have man to see and understand specific things about His Son. And this would be with a view to that which is about to subsequently be made known through an opening up and unveiling of the living Word.

The whole of the matter surrounding God’s description of His Son throughout these verses centers on regality. And, reflecting back on the Old Testament, from which material in the book of Revelation is drawn, the whole of the Old Testament moves toward a future day that is being revealed through God’s Son in this book.

The One whose right it is to rule is about to take the scepter and reign over the earth, as seen in Psalm 2, Psalm 110, and numerous other Old Testament passages. And it is these passages — the written Word, the Old Testament Scriptures — which are being opened up and revealed in the book of Revelation through the living Word.

The One Who Is, Who Was, and Who Is to Come

The words “who is and who was,” referring to God the Father in Revelation 1:4, are used in this same sense in four other verses in this book (Revelation 1:8; 4:8; 11:17 and Revelation 16:5 NASB). The words “and is to come” can be found in the first two references, the presence of these words is open to question in the third reference (some Greek manuscripts have the words, some don’t), but the words are not found in the Greek text of the fourth reference. A word referring to holiness is used in the fourth reference instead — “the One existing, and the One who was, the Holy [or ‘righteous’] One.”

The same things are said about both the Father and the Son by the statement appearing in Revelation 1:4 and then repeated in Revelation 1:8. The first reference (Revelation 1:4) has to do with the Father, and the second reference (Revelation 1:8) has to do with the Son. Thus, both the Father and His Son are seen as the One “who is and who was and who is to come.”

The first two expressions (“who is,” and “who was”) are timeless. Both are translations of the same Greek word (eimi), which would not include any thought of a beginning or an ending (like the English words “to be” or “being”).

In the Greek text, the first (translated, “who is”) is a present participle, and the second (translated, “who was”) is a verb in the imperfect tense. Both together show continuous, timeless action existing throughout all of the past, into the present, without any thought of ending.

Thus, as seen in these two verses (Revelation 1:4, 8), both the Father and the Son exist in a co-equal sense throughout all time, without reference to a beginning or an ending. And the coming of the Father (Revelation 1:4) occurs through a coming in the person of His Son (Revelation 1:8).

According to John 1:1, 14a:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . .

And the Word [became] flesh . . . . (John 1:1, 14a)

In John 1:1, eimi, the same verb used in Revelation 1:4, 8, is used in the imperfect tense three times in the Greek text (same tense as used in Revelation 1:4, 8; 4:8; 11:17; 16:5). “God” and ”the Word” are seen as one and the same; and continuous existence, without reference to a beginning or an ending, is seen occurring during past time through the use of this imperfect tense. Also, there is no definite article before “beginning” in the Greek text, for God, His Son, and His Word have no beginning, as they have no ending.

Then, in the first part of Revelation 1:14, the Word from verse one, which was identified as God and seen to have existed throughout all past time, “was made [became] flesh and dwelt among us . . . .” The verb used in this verse (“was made” in KJV), though translated the same as eimi in verse one (in the KJV), is from an entirely different word in the Greek text — ginomai. And ginomai in verse fourteen, unlike eimi in verse one, is not used in the same timeless sense.

Ginomai calls attention to a definite beginning point, which occurred at the time of the incarnation (which is shown by an aorist tense in the Greek text [rather than an imperfect tense as seen with eimi in John 1:1], with the aorist tense calling attention to a past action that has been attained, completed). The Word, inseparably identified with both the Old Testament Scriptures and with God, became flesh at a point in time in the person of the Son.

The incarnation is nothing more and nothing less than God becoming “flesh” in the person of His Son (cf. John 10:30; 14:9). And, in turn, the incarnation is nothing more and nothing less than the Old Testament Scriptures (which are inseparably identified with God and are, in their entirety, about His Son) being set forth in a manner other than in written form. The incarnation has to do with the written Word, being revealed through “flesh,” in the person of the Man Christ Jesus.

In the preceding respect, as seen in John chapter one, the Father, the Son, and the Word are inseparable. Yet the Word is in man’s possession on earth today, with both the Father and Son in heaven. And in heaven, the Son is seated on the right hand of His Father (Psalm 110:1; Revelation 3:21).

Explain the matter? Impossible! Finite, fallen man, relative to the discussion at hand, cannot go beyond simply reading and believing that which Scripture reveals. Man is not called upon to explain an inseparable, yet separable, Father, the living Word, and the written Word. Rather, he is called upon to believe that which God has stated about the matter.

Thus, as seen in the text and in corresponding Scripture, the book of Revelation, being an opening up and an unveiling of God’s Son, is simply an opening up and unveiling of the Old Testament Scriptures in the form of “flesh.” And, as well, this book is an opening up and unveiling of God, who is “spirit” (John 4:24 NASB [not “a Spirit,” as in the KJV, but simply “spirit,” i.e., “God is spirit”; ref. NASB, NIV, Weymouth, Wuest]).

(The inclusion of an indefinite article in John 4:24 in the English translation completely changes the meaning of the verse and does away with the anarthrous use of the word seen in the Greek text. The Greek text, unlike English, does not contain indefinite articles, only definite. And there are reasons why the definite article is either used or not used before words. The inclusion of the article emphasizes identity; and when the article is not used, character is emphasized instead.

For example, 1 John 4:8b states, “God is love.” There is no article, and character is centrally in view. God, as to His essence, His being, is love. And the same thing is in view through the use of the word “spirit” in John 4:24. Character is centrally in view. God, as to His essence, His being, is spirit.

Note what the inclusion of an indefinite article in the translation of John 4:24 does to the meaning of the text. Reading “God is a Spirit” not only completely does away with the correct meaning of the verse but it moves the thought into the physical realm [where it doesn’t belong at all], leaving the reader with a completely erroneous view of God.)

Understanding that the book of Revelation is a revealing, an unveiling of the Son, the inseparable connection between God, the Son, and the Word can, as well, be seen in the statement in Revelation 10:7:

but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished [brought to an end, completed, fully opened up and revealed], as He declared to His servants the prophets (cf. Amos 3:7).

“A mystery” in the New Testament has to do with Old Testament revelation further opened up and revealed in the New. And since the book of Revelation is about an opening up and revealing of the Old Testament through the One who became “flesh,” inseparably identified with God, the things surrounding God would, as well, be opened up and revealed at the same time, through this same means.

Things about God in the Old Testament, not fully opened up and revealed in the Old Testament (referred to as a mystery in Revelation 10:7), is seen as fully opened up and revealed in the person of the Son in the book of Revelation.

That’s what the book is declared to be about. The book is simply an opening up and a revealing of those things from the Old Testament Scriptures that yet remain a mystery, yet remain to be opened up and revealed about God and His Son. And this is accomplished by means of God, through His Son, opening up and revealing Himself, as seen in this book.

(The mystery of God can be fully opened up and revealed when the seventh trumpet has sounded — at a mid-point in the book — because, as the seven trumpets are contained in the seventh seal of the seven-sealed scroll [Revelation 8:1ff], the seven bowls of wrath [about to be poured out] are seen when the seventh trumpet sounds [Revelation 10:1ff].

Thus, the judgments revealed through the sounding of the seven trumpets include judgments seen in the seven bowls. And when the seventh trumpet has sounded, the whole of God’s judgments upon the earth-dwellers can be looked upon as having occurred, for, the seven bowls, as the seven trumpets, reveal judgments occurring when the seventh seal is broken as well.

This is why in Revelation 11:15 ASV, with the sounding of the seventh trumpet, it can be stated:

The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ: and He shall reign forever and ever [ASV].)

The Ruler of the Kings of the Earth

The description of Christ is that of a King with His co-heirs (Revelation 1:5-6). Israel and the nations are brought into the picture immediately following (Revelation 1:7). Then there is the picture of His eternality, with no beginning or ending (Revelation 1:8). And throughout these four verses (Revelation 1:5-8), the coming intervention of this Individual into the affairs of man once again can be seen.

Things are not going to go on and on, uninterrupted, in man’s affairs as they occur during Man’s Day. God works with set times (known only to Him) in connection with circumstances (usually brought about by man’s failures). In history, God has always stepped into man’s affairs when the time and circumstances were right. And He will do the same thing again yet future.

The current Middle East situation, for example, is not only about to tumble completely out of control but it will tumble completely out of control. God will allow this to occur for a revealed purpose. And, because the problem is of a spiritual nature that man has no control over, man can’t do anything about the inevitable.

The whole of the matter lies in God’s hands, under His sovereign, providential control of all things. And when the time and circumstances are right — when God’s purpose for allowing conditions in the Middle East to become so completely out of control that “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:22) — God will once again step into the affairs of man and straighten the whole of the matter out.

That’s really what the book of Revelation is about. It is about “the time of the end,” when God once again steps into man’s affairs — a time not only dealt with extensively by the Old Testament prophets but a time that the world is rapidly approaching. And the book has to do with more than God just stepping in once again. The book details a final intervention in order to bring 6,000 years of redemptive work to a close and usher in the Messianic Era.

(For additional information on the Middle East situation, as it exists today, refer to Arlen Chitwood's The Intractable Middle East Problem.)

1) Seven Spirits, Faithful Witness

The “seven spirits” before God’s throne (Revelation 1:4) are seen in connection with “the faithful witness” of the Son (Revelation 1:5). These seven spirits are referred to in Revelation 3:1; 4:5; 5:6, and the faithful witness of the Son can be seen in Revelation 1:2, 9; 3:14; 22:20 (cf. John 18:37).

There is an inseparable connection between the two. “Seven” is a number showing the completeness of that which is in view. The unveiling of the Son, “which God gave to Him,” is in view (Revelation 1:1). And the seven spirits emanating from God’s throne, in connection with the faithful witness of the Son (contextually, the unveiling seen in this book), would show the manner in which all things surrounding the introductory statement in verse one is brought to pass.

The Father, through His Son, brings the whole of that which is in view to completion. And parts of verses four and five form additional commentary on verse one (Revelation 1:4-5, 1), providing the reader with more of an understanding of the means that God uses to bring to pass that which is about to be opened up and revealed in this book.

2) First Begotten, Prince

The word “firstborn” (KJV: “first begotten”) is a translation of the compound Greek word prototokos. This word is made up of protos, meaning “first” and tikto, meaning “to beget,” “to bring forth.” This is the word used in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) in Exodus 4:22, which states, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn.’”

The word is used relative to Christ in Revelation 1:5 in exactly the same sense that it is used relative to Israel in Exodus 4:22. In both instances God’s firstborn Sons are in view; and in both instances, death, burial, resurrection, and ultimately regality, are inseparably in view as well.

Note how all of this is set forth in the Exodus account under Moses.

God’s firstborn son, Israel, by/through a vicarious death, is seen as dead in Exodus (both national Israel and individual Israelites are seen in this respect, for a lamb dies “for an house [both for the house of Israel and individual families in the nation]” (cf. Exodus 4:22; 11:4-5; 12:1ff). Then there is a subsequent burial in the Red Sea and a rising up out of the place of death on the eastern banks of the Sea, removed from both Egypt and the Sea (Revelation 14; 15). And all of this is with a view to one goal — realizing an inheritance in another land and exercising the rights of the firstborn therein.

This is something set forth symbolically through baptism, relating to Christians, today.

Exactly as in the type in Exodus, baptism pictures a burial after the firstborn has died, vicariously (in this case, through appropriating the shed blood of Christ, available because of and through His finished work at Calvary). And, also as in the type, resurrection is to occur following burial, which is pictured through a rising up out of the baptismal waters, exactly as a rising up out of the Sea in the type.

Then, having come up out of the waters, out of the place of death, the Christian is to “walk in newness of life,” setting his mind on “those things which are above . . . not on things on the earth [exactly as the Israelites under Moses were not to look back to Egypt but out ahead]” (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; 3:1-2). And the end or goal of the matter for Christians under Christ is exactly the same as seen for the Israelites under Moses — realizing an inheritance in another land and exercising the rights of the firstborn therein.

This is the manner in which Christ is presented in Revelation 1:5, when seen as “the firstborn [KJV: ‘first begotten’] of the dead.” And because Christ occupies this position, when “the revealing [KJV: ‘manifestation’] of the sons of God” occurs, when God brings “many sons to glory,” God’s Son will then occupy the position of “the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:19, 29; Hebrews 2:10).

Note Colossians 3:3-4 in this respect. The third verse has to do with Christians during present time, and the fourth verse has to do with Christians during future time (cf. John 12:23-25):

For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
(Colossians 3:3-4)

Christ being referred to as “the firstborn of the dead” in Revelation 1:5 is in connection with Christ also, immediately following, being referred to as “the ruler over [KJV: ‘prince of’] the kings of the earth.” The word translated “ruler” [KJV: “prince”] in verse five is archon in the Greek text, referring to a “ruler.” And this is in connection with the whole of the matter — the immediate context, the book as a whole, and related Scripture.

3) Loved Us, Loosed Us

Based on manuscript evidence and contextual usage, “loosed,” rather than “washed,” would appear to be the preferred translation in Revelation 1:5 NASB.

In the Greek text, the word for “loose” is luo, and the word for “wash” is louo. There is not only a close spelling of these two words but a similar-sense etymological use as well. Some manuscripts have luo, and some have louo. A letter has either been dropped or added to the word. And, considering the context, which is regal (a king frees by issuing a royal decree), evidently the latter has occurred, making the KJV text incorrectly read “washed” instead of “loosed.”

The whole of the matter begins with redemption, a “loosing” from sin, which is with a view to ultimately bringing fallen man back into the position where he can realize the purpose for his creation in the beginning — “. . . let them have dominion [‘let them rule’]” (Genesis 1:26-28). And God’s love surrounding the matter is seen in God’s character. God, as to His essence, His being, is “love” (1 John 4:8). This is why John 3:16 begins, “For God so loved . . . .” As seen in this verse and elsewhere, God will not manifest Himself apart from His revealed character.

(Note something often misunderstood relative to God revealing Himself through love — God’s harsh treatment of individuals and nations during and at the end of the coming Tribulation, along with His treatment of the unsaved following the Millennium.

On the former, God’s love for His son, Israel, is so great that He has decreed that blessings or curses are contingent on man’s treatment of His son [e.g., Matthew 25:31-46].

On the latter, God’s love for His Son, Jesus, is so great that He has decreed that man’s eternal destiny will rest on man’s acceptance or rejection of His Son. [e.g., John 3:18; Revelation 20:11-15].)

God’s redemptive work, emanating from His love, began in Eden following man’s sin. God slew one or more animals, took the skin, and clothed Adam and Eve. Death and shed blood occurred, which set an unchangeable pattern for God’s continued redemptive work.

The matter is seen in a two-fold sense in the story of the Israelites under Moses in the type in Exodus.

First, a redemptive work resulted in the death of the firstborn in Egypt; then, a continuing redemptive work (for a people already redeemed) subsequently occurred through Aaron’s high priestly ministry after the Israelites had been removed from Egypt. And both were based on death and shed blood and were with a view to that which lay out ahead — an inheritance as God’s firstborn son, to be realized in another land.

The matter, as well, is seen in a two-fold sense with respect to Christians under Christ in the antitype today.

First, a redemptive work has resulted in the death of the Firstborn in the world (exactly as it occurred in connection with the death of the firstborn in Egypt over 3,500 years ago); then, a continuing redemptive work subsequently occurs through Christ’s present high priestly ministry for Christians, who are in the world but not of the world (exactly as is seen through Aaron’s ministry in the camp of Israel [John 15:19; 17:14-16;
cf. John 18:36]). And, exactly as in the type, both are based on death and shed blood and are with a view to that which lies out ahead — an inheritance as God’s firstborn son, to be realized in another land.

4) Made Us a Kingdom, Priests

The expression, “kings and priests,” in Revelation 1:6; 5:10 could be better translated, “a kingdom, priests.” The expression is similar to and in keeping with the one in 1 Peter 2:9, “a royal [‘kingly’] priesthood [referring to a body of priests in a kingdom].” And the Septuagint translators used the identical wording seen in 1 Peter 2:9 (relative to Christians) in God’s description of Israel in Exodus 19:6 — “a kingdom of priests.”

The picture is that of one kingdom with a body of priests, whether in a past or future theocracy, and whether relative to Israel or Christians.

In the past theocracy, “God,” in the nation’s midst, was the King. “Israel,” because of God’s presence as King, formed a kingdom; and the Israelites in the kingdom were looked upon as priests, with the nations to be ruled by and blessed through Israel, “a kingdom of priests.”

This is the position that Israel will occupy yet future when the theocracy has been restored, with Christians occupying exactly the same position from a heavenly sphere under Christ. And Christians can occupy such a position only because, “in Christ,” they are “Abraham’s seed [the only seed through which all spiritual blessings flow], and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29). 

Chapter 3

The Revelation of Jesus Christ (3)

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

That part of the apokalupsis dealt with in the book of Revelation — an unveiling of Jesus Christ, seen through an unfolding of events in the book of Revelation — has to do with end-time events occurring immediately preceding, at the time of, and following the Son’s return to the earth.  And verse seven (Revelation 1:7) of the eight introductory verses (Revelation 1:1-8 NASB) brings this facet of the book into full focus.

That which is encompassed in Revelation 1:7 has to do with more than just Christ’s return immediately following the Tribulation.  It also covers events immediately preceding the Tribulation, having to do with His return as well.  And the whole of the matter surrounding Christ’s return is to be looked upon as one coming or one return, not two comings or two returns as is often taught.

That is to say, Christ’s coming, His return, encompasses not only events surrounding the removal of the Church preceding the Tribulation but also events surrounding Israel and the nations following the Tribulation.  This is simply the way in which the matter is dealt with in Scripture, which can be clearly seen in the book of Revelation.

Immediately after the statement in Revelation 1:7, connecting the unveiling from Revelation 1:1 with Christ’s coming, is a statement having to do not only with the Son’s eternality and deity but also with the Son’s coming from the previous verses (cf. Revelation 1:4, 8).  Christ’s coming, with attendant events, then immediately begins to be developed in the book (Revelation 1:9-4:11), with much of the remainder of the book given over to events anticipating the completion of His return at the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 5-20 [20a]).

(Individuals failing to understand the singular sense of Christ’s return as presented in Scripture are sometimes led into a false teaching surrounding the timing of the removal of the Church.  Some erroneously teach that there are two returns, one before the Tribulation for the Church and the other after the Tribulation to deal with Israel and the nations.  Others correctly see that Scripture deals with Christ’s return in a singular sense, but they often erroneously see this return occurring only at the end of the Tribulation.  And viewing matters after this fashion, they sometimes seek to bring the removal of the Church into this singular sense of Christ’s return by moving the timing of this removal to the end of the Tribulation, where it doesn’t belong at all.

Thus, one error has fostered another, which is often the case when error in biblical interpretation begins to surface.  Remaining with biblical terminology and understanding matters after the manner in which they are presented in Scripture is of vital importance.  It is not necessary to understand all of the details in order to simply accept the matter as Scripture presents it.  Details surrounding a matter can be progressively learned over time.  The important thing is to stay with truth and not be led into error.)

Behold, He is Coming with Clouds

When Christ returns, whether at the time of the removal of Christians preceding the Tribulation or at the time when He deals with Israel and the nations following the Tribulation, He will be accompanied by angels.  In Scripture, God is seen using angels in all facets of His activity.  God is seen acting directly in all matters, but such actions are invariably brought to pass through angelic activity.

God has established fixed laws, and angels act under these fixed laws.  And, with angels acting under these fixed laws, their actions become God’s actions.

There are a number of classic examples in Scripture, but two will suffice — the destruction of the cities of the plain in Genesis 18; 19 and the giving of the Law through Moses, beginning in Exodus 22.

In the destruction of the cities of the plain, in Genesis 19:13, two angels revealed that they would destroy these cities; for the Lord had sent them to destroy the cities (referring to Sodom alone in the passage, though four cities were destroyed [Deuteronomy 29:23]).  Then in Genesis 19:24 it is recorded that the Lord destroyed these cities.  And it is a simple matter to understand exactly what occurred if one understands how God uses angels in all facets of His activities.

The two angels, acting under fixed laws established by God, destroyed the cities.  And their actions, because of the manner in which they were performed, were viewed as the Lord’s actions as well.

The giving of the Law occurred in the same manner.  Though God is seen giving the Law in a direct manner — “written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18) — it was, as well, given “by the direction of angels” (Acts 7:53; cf. Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 68:17; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2).

Exactly the same type of interchange between God and angels is seen at the time of Christ’s return.  Though Christ will be directly involved with Christians, Israel, and the nations at this time, angelic activity is seen throughout.

The voice of the archangel will be heard at the time of Christ’s shout surrounding the resurrection and removal of Christians from the earth.  And multiplied thousands, possibly millions of angels will accompany Christ, not only at this time but in connection with judgment to follow — a judgment dealt with in the opening three chapters of the book of Revelation (cf. Matthew 16:27; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Jude 1:14-15).

Then, in connection with that facet of Christ’s return when He deals with Israel and the nations, again innumerable angels will accompany Him (Revelation 19:14; cf. Deuteronomy 33:2; 2 Kings 6:17; 19:35).  It is specifically stated that the God of Israel, following Israel’s repentance, will personally “gather you [the Jewish people] again from all the nations” where He had scattered them (Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Ezekiel 34:13; 36:24ff; 37:12-14; 39:25ff).  But it is also specifically stated that God will accomplish this task through angelic activity in connection with His Son’s return (Matthew 24:29-31).

The preceding should shed light on something extensively seen throughout most of the book of Revelation.  This book deals far more extensively with angelic activity in connection with God’s activity than any other book in Scripture.  Though such activity exists throughout these other books and is, at times, mentioned or dealt with, the book of Revelation stands alone in fully opening up and revealing this activity for all to see.  And this would be in complete keeping with the fact that this book completes the full revelation, from the Old Testament, of not only the Son but the Father as well (Revelation 1:1; 10:7).

The Son seen returning “with clouds” in Revelation 1:7 may very well be a dual metaphorical reference to both deity and angels.  “Clouds” are sometimes used in Scripture in connection with deity (e.g., Exodus 13:21-22; 14:19, 24; 19:9; Psalm 104:3; Isaiah 14:14; 19:1; Daniel 7:13; Matthew 17:5; 26:64; Acts 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:1-2).  And the reference to “clouds” could very well include the myriads of angels (i.e., clouds of angels, connected with deity, with their actions being the Lord’s actions).

The former (deity) is undoubtedly referenced through the use of the word “clouds,” and the latter (a possible reference to accompanying angels) may be included as well.  But to contend for the latter as also being referenced is unnecessary, for other scriptures provide this type of information.

(It is often taught and, consequently, understood by many that Christians will return back to the earth with Christ at the end of the Tribulation.  The basis for this type of teaching is taken mainly from a statement in Revelation 19:14:

And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. [Revelation 19:14]

Some expositors seek to limit this reference to Christians alone, and others seek to see a reference to not only Christians but to angels as well.  The matter, either way it is viewed in the preceding respect, presents a twofold problem:

1.  Any time those returning with Christ are identified, they are always identified as angels, sometimes referred to as “holy ones” [Hebrew: kodesh; Greek: hagios; cf. Deuteronomy 33:2; Matthew 16:27; Jude 1:14].  The translators of the Septuagint [Greek version of the Old Testament] rendered the word kodesh in Deuteronomy 33:2 as aggeloi [angels] rather than a plural form of hagios, “holy ones.”  Thus, they provided commentary rather than a translation of the word, knowing that the use of “holy ones” was a reference to angels in this text.

2.  Biblical typology would show the fallacy of the teaching that Christians [still Christ’s bride at this time, about to become His wife] will return to the earth with Christ.  For example, when Joseph dealt with his brethren, his wife was in another part of the palace.  And Moses’ wife only went part way with him when he returned to Egypt to deal with His brethren [Genesis 45:1ff; Exodus 4:20-31; 18:2].

[As developed later (Chapters 8, The Seven Sealed Scroll, and 9, Redemption, Marriage, Regality), Christ’s bride, having previously been revealed by decisions and determinations at the judgment seat (Revelation 1-3 [1b]), will not become His wife until the completion of all the judgments revealed by the breaking of the seals on the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 5.  And these judgments will not be complete until Christ returns and overthrows Gentile world power, seen in Revelation 19:11-21.  The marriage of Christ and His bride are part and parcel with these judgments.]

As in Biblical typology, Christ’s bride [about to become His wife] will not be with Him when He returns to the earth to deal with His brethren in the antitype of that which is seen in the accounts of Joseph and Moses.  Moses’ wife returning part way with him may show Christ’s bride also returning part way with Him, but remaining in the New Jerusalem above the earth while Christ, accompanied by angels, returns on to the earth to deal with Israel and the nations.

Aside from the preceding, Christ’s wife in that day would not be described as “the armies in heaven,” as seen in Revelation 19:14.  This is a description used of angels, not of a bride or wife [2 Kings 6:17; Joel 2:11].)

1)  Every Eye Shall See Him

Christians will see Christ following the removal of the Church, preceding the Tribulation; and those surviving the judgments of the Tribulation, among the nations of the earth, will see Him at the completion of His return following the Tribulation.

Sometimes the words “every” or “all” are used in Scripture in a sense that is not necessarily all-inclusive.  For example, Matthew 3:5-6 states that “Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around Jordan” not only went out to hear John but “were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.”  But in the very next verse (Matthew 3:7), that which is stated about the Pharisees and Sadducees clearly excludes them from what would appear to be an all-inclusive statement in the previous two verses.  Thus, it is evident from the context how the word “all” is being used.

Something similar is seen through that which is stated about the signs being manifested in Israel's presence in Matthew 4:23-25.  “All” is used several times in these verses, and, again, it is evident from the context that the word is not used in an all-inclusive sense.  Rather, the word is used in a more exclusive sense, having to do with activity where Christ was ministering or where word concerning His ministry had spread, not necessarily as a reference to every single part of the region or to every sick person in that region.

And the same could only be true concerning Christ’s return, with “every eye” seeing Him.  People seek to envision how this will occur, seeing it perhaps occurring on TV or other means.  But all the speculation is unnecessary.  “Every eye” may not necessarily see Christ as some may think of this at the exact time of His return at the end of the Tribulation.  He will return to a point in the Middle East (to the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem), and individuals at that time will be residing at various places worldwide.

Activity will be centered in the Middle East, and those there will see Him in a very personal manner, particularly those present when He treads the winepress (Isaiah 63:1-6).  The Gentile nations coming against Israel and Israel’s Messiah in that day will be brought into complete disarray, followed by the complete and utter destruction of Gentile world power (Psalm 2:1-5; Ezekiel 38:18-23; 39:1-8, 21-23; Daniel 2:44-45; 7:8-14; Joel 2:1ff; 3:1ff).

If the reference in Revelation 1:7 is thought of in the sense of “every eye” seeing Christ at the exact time of His return, the matter should undoubtedly be thought of in more of a relative rather than absolute sense.  But, if “every eye” seeing Christ is thought of in a larger context (over ensuing time), then the matter could only be understood in an absolute or all-inclusive sense.

Christians throughout the present dispensation (both those raised from the dead and those removed without dying) will, individually, stand before Christ as He sits upon His judgment seat, with every Christian seeing Him.  Then, after numerous individuals in the Middle East have personally seen Christ, He will reign for 1,000 years both on and over the earth, where every individual living during that time would be able to personally see the One who, at long last, will have brought peace to a troubled earth.  And then all of the unsaved dead will one day see Him at the Great White Throne judgment following the Messianic Era.

Thus, if the statement is not to be understood as all-inclusive surrounding events at the time of Christ’s return, it can only be understood as all-inclusive if viewed in a broader sense.

2)  They Who Pierced Him

Then Israel is specifically singled out from among the nations of the earth, from among those on the earth who will see Him in that day.  And if every single Jew still alive and on the earth does not see Him at the exact time of His return, such is immaterial, for they will see Him at later points in time.

Something often overlooked in connection with Israel and the nations seeing Christ at the time of His return is the fact that Israel will be re-gathered from a worldwide dispersion before Gentile world power is destroyed.

To set the stage for the preceding, in the middle of the Tribulation the Jews in the land of Israel, forming the present nation of Israel, are going to be uprooted and driven out among the Gentile nations once again.  An Israeli nation, as it exists in the Middle East today, will not exist during the last half of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:15-22; Luke 21:20-24; cf. Joel 3:1-8; Revelation 11:2).

Israel’s future removal from the land and dispersal among the nations once again will occur, if for no other reason, because God has decreed that He will deal with His disobedient son, His adulterous wife, out among the nations, not in the land.

Once all of the Jewish people have been dispersed out among the Gentile nations again, occupying the position depicted by the harlot in Revelation 17; 18, along with the first six verses in chapter nineteen (Revelation 19:1-6), God will then deal with the nation in such a manner that Israel’s harlotry will be done away with (Revelation 17:16; 18:8-10, 21, 19:2-3).  And to accomplish this, God will use Gentile persecution of such an extreme nature that “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved”; but “for the elect’s sake [for Israel’s sake, for whom this type of Gentile activity will exist in that day], those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).

(For a detailed discussion of the harlot in Revelation 17; 18 in the preceding respect, refer to the author’s book, The Time of Jacob's Trouble by Arlen Chitwood.)

Israel, through Gentile persecution of this nature, will be brought to the place of repentance.  Then God, in accord with His promise (2 Chronicles 7:14-22; cf. Exodus 2:23-3:12; Leviticus 26:40-42), will send the Deliverer, who will not only remove His people from the nations but will then destroy Gentile world power.

Ezekiel 43-48 present a somewhat complete picture of the whole of the matter — from the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles during the days of Nebuchadnezzar to that future time when the Messianic Kingdom has been established.  The material throughout Ezekiel 33-39 presents different facets of Israel’s past disobedience and Israel’s future deliverance.  Then Ezekiel 40-48 present different things pertaining to Israel during the Messianic Era.

The timing of events depicted in Ezekiel 38; 39 is often misunderstood, mainly because of a misunderstanding of the nature of the existing Israeli nation in the Middle East today (often incorrectly understood as God re-gathering his people in accord with the prophecies seen in the preceding chapters of Ezekiel [Ezekiel 33-37]).

In short, there is nothing in Ezekiel 33-39 that has to do with the existence of the present Israeli nation in the Middle East or with the return of millions of Jews from the Gentile nations of the earth, comprising this present Israeli nation.  The re-gathering in these chapters in Ezekiel’s prophecy has to do, not with any type of present return of the Jews, but with the Jewish people removed from the nations after Israel’s repentance and after God has sent His Deliverer back to a repentant nation.

(The only relationship between the existence of an Israeli nation in the Middle East and end-time events is the fact that a nation [of a nature that presently exists] must exist in that part of the world for events during Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week to be fulfilled.

But, to associate the present return of a remnant under a Zionistic movement with God’s promise to one day restore His people to their land is a mistake in biblical interpretation of major proportions, resulting from a complete misunderstanding of the purpose for the Times of the Gentiles as it relates to Israel [ref. Appendix 2,  The Death of the High Priest].)

The setting for events in Ezekiel 38-39, both textually and contextually, has to do with a repentant and converted nation back in the land following Messiah’s return, not with an unrepentant and unconverted remnant in the land today.  Thus, the timing of events in these chapters can only be after Messiah’s return, after Israel has been re-gathered from the nations, and at the time of the destruction of Gentile world power —   something repeatedly seen, not only in these chapters but in previous chapters leading into these two chapters (cf. Ezekiel 38:8, 14-16; 39:4-8, 21-29).

Then the natural flow of events is on into Ezekiel 40-48, depicting Israel in the Messianic Era following their re-gathering and the destruction of Gentile world power.

The sole reason for the Times of the Gentiles, wherein Gentile world power is exhibited, is Israeli disobedience.  Not only is the existence of Gentile world power the result of Israeli disobedience but the matter has been designed to bring Israel to the place of repentance in order that Israel’s calling relative to the nations might ultimately be realized.

And this is something not being realized at all by the remnant presently in the land.  In fact, with the scepter still in the hands of the Gentile nations, the existence of a remnant in the land today (a remnant that has returned before it is time for the nation to return) is only making matters worse (actually, much, much worse) in an already troubled world.

(For more information on the preceding, refer to “The Intractable Middle East Problem, Appendix 1 )

Once Israel has been brought to the place of repentance, there will no longer be a need for Gentile world power.  In fact, Gentile power of a nature that exists today will have to be done away with, for, during the Messianic Era Israel is to hold the scepter, with the nations being both subservient to and blessed through Israel.  And this cannot occur as long as the Gentiles hold the scepter, as they have done for over 2,600 years, since the days of Nebuchadnezzar.

All upon the Earth Shall Wail

When Christ returns to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, He will return to the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, to a land that will then be inhabited and controlled by the Gentiles, not to a land inhabited and controlled by the Jews.  But He will not immediately overthrow Gentile world power.  Instead, His actions will be directed first and foremost toward His brethren, the Jewish people.

In accord with the order of that which is foreshadowed by three of the seven Jewish festivals in Leviticus 23 (Passover [Leviticus 23:4-5], First fruits [Leviticus 23:9-14], and Pentecost [Leviticus 23:15-22]), the national conversion, resurrection, and re-gathering of the Jewish people will then occur.  Israel has slain the Lamb, but the nation has yet to apply the blood, which they will do in that day; the resurrection of multiplied millions of Old Testament saints will then occur, followed by the re-gathering of the Jewish people back to the land, with the resurrected dead returning with the dispersed living (cf. Genesis 50:24-26; Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32).

Then, once the Jewish people have been re-gathered back to their land, Christ will deal with the Gentile nations.  Gentile world power will be completely destroyed, and the scepter will be given to the one nation — God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22-23) — whom God recognizes as the only nation, among all the nations, possessing the rights of the firstborn (possessing kingly, priestly and double portion rights).  Then, the Gentile nations will not only be subservient to Israel but will be blessed through Israel.

1)  The Jews

The Jewish people, in that coming day, when they see their Messiah at the time of His return and realize what the nation did at the time of Messiah’s first appearance (rejected and crucified their Messiah), are going to be troubled beyond a degree that words can really express.  They are going to be as Joseph’s brethren at the time Joseph revealed himself to them (Genesis 45:1-3), or as Paul when Christ revealed Himself to him as he traveled from Jerusalem to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6).

Note Zechariah’s description of their reaction to Christ’s presence in that day:

In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem [a reference to the Jewish people] . . . And the land [again, a reference to the Jewish people] shall mourn, every family by itself . . . . (Zechariah 11; 12:[11a, 12a]; cf. Zechariah 12:10)

Matters will then continue exactly as seen in the types.  As Joseph brought his brethren into a state where they went forth proclaiming “Joseph is still alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 45:26), Christ is going to bring His brethren into a state where they will go forth proclaiming “Jesus is still alive, and He is governor over the entire earth.”  Or, as seen in Paul’s conversion and his carrying of this message throughout the Gentile world of that day, Israel will do exactly the same thing in that coming day.

2)  The Gentile

But before Israel goes forth with this message, Gentile world power will, of necessity, be destroyed.  And the Gentile nations, having held the scepter for over 2,600 years, are not going down without a fight (actions to be exhibited by Satan as well, having held the scepter since time immemorial).  And, under satanic leadership, the nations’ actions will be directed against God’s two firstborn Sons, Christ and Israel.

But the battle will be completely one-sided as the nations come against Christ and His brethren.  That which will occur in that day is revealed in a succinct manner in Revelation 19:17-21, though dealt with in more detail in numerous places throughout the Old Testament (e.g., Psalm 2:1-6; Isaiah 63:1-4; Ezekiel 38-39; Daniel 2:44-45; Joel 3:9-17).

And though the Gentile nations will have no knowledge of the fact at that time, all of this will occur, not to their detriment, but for their ultimate good.  Major changes will be necessary, allowing all things to be aligned with God’s designed plan for mankind.  Only then can blessings flow forth through Israel to the nations of the earth.

Chapter 4

In the Lord’s Day (1)

I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,

saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,

and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man . . . .  (Revelation 1:9-13a).

John was on the island of Patmos, in the Aegean Sea (a northern branch of the Mediterranean Sea lying between Greece and Turkey), for a specifically stated purpose:  “for [because of] the Word of God, and for [because of] the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9; cf. Revelation 1:2).  John was the one whom God had chosen to receive and record “the Revelation [‘the unveiling’] of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1), further described in Revelation 1:2, 9 as “the Word of God” and “the testimony of Jesus Christ.”  And John had been taken to the island of Patmos for this specific purpose.

The island of Patmos was about ten miles long and six miles wide, and there was a penal colony on this island in John’s day.  The existence of this penal colony has given rise to a widely-held teaching that John had been imprisoned and exiled to this island by a Roman ruler because of his proclamation of the Word of God (usually understood as Domitian [who ruled from 81 A.D. to 96 A.D.]; and this Roman ruler is cited because of the widely accepted late date for the writing of the book of Revelation).

The beginning of this teaching that John had been imprisoned and exiled to the island of Patmos can be traced back to at least the latter part of the second century, extending into the third century, a century or more after the Book of Revelation had been written.  This was taught by several of the early Church fathers during this time (Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Eusebius all taught this).  And this same teaching has been passed down, taught through the centuries, and carried into modern times.

The teaching that John had been imprisoned and exiled to this island in the Aegean Sea though has no basis in fact.  It is strictly tradition, and this teaching undoubtedly arose and has continued to be accepted down through the centuries because of a misunderstanding of the stated purpose for John being on this island, given in Revelation 1:9 of the opening chapter.  It is specifically stated that he was on this island for one purpose:  “for [because of] the Word of God, and for [because of] the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

John, being on this island because of the Word, takes one back to that which is previously stated concerning the content of the book, in Revelation 1:1-2.  John was on the island of Patmos for a purpose that he himself provides, as the Spirit moved him to write.  He was there “because of” the Revelation (the unveiling) of Jesus Christ (the manner in which the book opens, introducing the subject matter of the book), which is declared to be “the Word of God” and “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:2; cf. John 1:1, 14; Revelation 19:10, 13 [10b]).  And the thought behind “because of,” contextually, would have to be understood in the sense of John being there to receive and record God bringing to completion all that He desires man to know and understand concerning His Son — “the Revelation [‘the unveiling’] of Jesus Christ.”

God seems to have an affinity for taking individuals whom He has chosen to isolated or out-of-the-way places to receive His revelation.  Moses wrote the Pentateuch while in the desert; David wrote a number of the Psalms while out in the hills being pursued by Saul; Ezekiel wrote from a place of exile, from Babylon; and Paul was seemingly taken to a place in Arabia to receive the revelation of the mystery, while later writing epistles from prisons.

Thus, it should not be thought strange at all to see God removing John from surroundings that the outside world offered and taking him to the remote island of Patmos to receive the capstone for all Scripture.  In fact, something of this nature should be thought of far more as expected rather than strange.

But why this particular island?  The answer is probably in its location.  The island of Patmos, along with being a place removed from the outside world, was located out in a part of the Mediterranean Sea, with the “sea” being used in Scripture to depict the Gentile nations.

The book of Revelation is first of all about the Church, as it presently exists among the nations and as it will exist once the Church has been removed from the nations (Revelation 1; 2; 3; 4; 5, Revelation 19; 20a [19a]); and the book is also about Israel out among the nations and about that which will occur once Israel has been brought to the place of repentance (Revelation 5-20a).

Thus, to see John removed from his surroundings and taken to an isolated, out-of-the-way place located out in the sea can only be seen as quite appropriate for the subject matter at hand.  It can be seen as one of the many ways significance always surrounds acts of a triune God.

I Became in Spirit

Revelation 1:10 should literally read, “I became in spirit in the Lord’s day . . . .”  And John was not only removed in this manner from the island of Patmos into heaven but he was also moved forward in time as well.  John was moved forward to a time at the end of the present dispensation.

(John’s removal from the island of Patmos into heaven is simply stated to have been “in spirit.”  Revelation 4:1-2, depicting the same scene again, adds information.  And whether this was an actual bodily removal or a removal by means of visions is unrevealed and immaterial to the literality of and teachings drawn from the subject matter at hand [cf. Daniel 7:1-2; 8:1-2; 10:1].)

John, once removed from the island of Patmos into heaven, was shown things that would occur relative to the Church (judgment, with a view to the impending Messianic Era) and corresponding things relative to the transfer of the government of the earth from angels to man (Revelation 1; 2; 3; 4 [1b]; cf. Hebrews 2:5).  And he was then shown things preparatory to the redemption of the inheritance, which had to do with both heavenly and earthly spheres of the kingdom about to exist under Christ, His co-heirs, Israel, and the nations (Revelation 5).

John was then moved farther forward in time, into and through seven subsequent years (Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week, the Tribulation).  And he was shown things that would transpire on earth relative to Israel and the nations during and immediately following these seven years (Revelation 6-19).

And during this time, not only would “the inheritance” be redeemed through judgment (the judgments of the Tribulation) but “the bride” previously shown forth at the judgment seat would become the Son’s wife, allowing the Son to be in a position to reign (cf. Genesis 2:18).

(According to the manner in which God established matters in the beginning relative to man holding the scepter in the stead of Satan and his angels, a sovereign cannot reign apart from possessing a consort queen [Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-24].  The man and woman must reign together, seated on the throne as one complete being.

Thus, God’s Son today is not in a position to assume the scepter and reign.  He must have a wife to ascend the throne with Him, a wife that, in the antitype of Eve in Genesis 2, is not only part of His body but will complete Him [cf. Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23, 30; Hebrews 2:10].  And the Son will not possess a wife in the manner seen in the type until the end of the coming Tribulation [cf. Ruth 3; 4].

Knowledge of this fact will address, resolve, and put to rest widely-held false teachings concerning a present existence of some type of mystery form of the kingdom in which the Son is presently reigning; or, others become more specific and see the Son already seated on David’s throne within this purported mystery form of the kingdom.

The preceding may sound strange to those properly instructed in things pertaining to the kingdom [cf. Matthew 13:52].  And so it should.  Strange though or not, all of the preceding is widely held in Christian circles today, even taught in numerous Bible schools and seminaries.  But the one biblical fact concerning the necessity of the man and the woman ascending the throne together will, alone, show the fallacy of such teachings, for Christ does not presently have a wife to ascend the throne with Him.

Aside from the preceding, though there are two anointed Kings in relation to the earth today [Christ and Satan], as there were two anointed kings in Israel during the days of David and Saul, only One can hold the scepter at any given time.

In the type, Saul held the scepter until he was put down and his crown taken and given to David.  Only then did David and his faithful men take the scepter and reign in Israel [cf. 1 Samuel 31:1-6; 2 Samuel 1:4-10; 5:3].

And matters can only be exactly the same in the antitype.  Satan will hold the scepter until he is put down and his crown taken and given to Christ.  Only then will Christ and His faithful co-heirs take the scepter and reign over the earth.)

Then, beyond events of the Tribulation, John was moved even farther forward in time.  He was moved through events immediately following the Tribulation, extending into the Messianic Era itself (Revelation 20a).  After that, revelation continues with John being shown events that will occur at the end of the Messianic Era relative to Satan, his angels, and his followers among men on earth, along with the judgment of the unsaved dead (Revelation 20a).

And that which John was shown doesn’t stop with events at the end of the Messianic Era.  Rather, John was carried even farther forward in time and shown things having to do with the eternal ages beyond the Messianic Era, when man will hold the scepter relative to a rule extending beyond this earth, out into the universe itself (Revelation 21; 22).

And a person being moved into another time and place and being shown events occurring during this future time, in this place, is not something new in Scripture.  Ezekiel, in Babylonian captivity, was moved not only to another location (to Jerusalem) but was moved both back in time and forward in time.

Ezekiel, through visions, was removed from Babylon, placed in Jerusalem, and shown things that had occurred both before the captivity and that were yet to occur (Ezekiel 8; 9; 10; 11).  The captivity took place in stages, beginning about 605 B.C., but the Glory did not depart until almost twenty years later, about 586 B.C.  Ezekiel had been among the early captives transported to Babylon, and it was around the middle of this period (about 595 B.C.) when the Spirit entered into Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:2), began showing him things (Ezekiel 2:3ff), “lifted” him “up between earth and heaven,” and carried him “in the visions of God to Jerusalem” (Ezekiel 8:3).

Ezekiel, at first, was moved back in time, allowing him to see the abominations existing among the Jewish people that had resulted in the captivity.  Then he was moved forward in time, allowing him to see the end result — the Jewish people not only in captivity but the resulting departure of the Glory (Ezekiel 8; 9; 10; 11).

“Time,” rather than being a constant, is relative.  Not only is this revealed in Scripture but man has been allowed to discover and see this even in his secular science.  This is part of the theory of relativity that Albert Einstein (a Jew) was allowed to discover and demonstrate through the science of mathematics (showing a small part of that which God had previously established through His unchangeable laws in physics and mathematics).

And, if God so chooses (which He has done at times), He can take a man, place him in another location, and move him either back in time or forward in time in that location.  Man can’t operate in this sphere, but the One who designed and created all of this can.

Then, within the scope of God doing this, one thing that guarantees the future occurrence of that which is seen throughout the book of Revelation is the fact that, in one respect, all of that which is seen in this book has already occurred.  And changes can’t take place in that which has already occurred.

Time and Place into which John was Taken

John was removed from the island of Patmos and was not only transported into the Lord’s Day but was moved forward in time as well.  John was removed from Man’s Day on earth and transported into the Lord’s Day in heaven (or, the Day of the Lord, as it is referred to in numerous other places in Scripture).  And he was moved forward in time to the end of the present dispensation, to the time of the removal of the Church preceding the Tribulation.

In relation to the earth, Man’s Day will last for 6,000 years — extending from the creation of man to the end of the Tribulation.  Then, when Man’s Day has been brought to a close, the Lord’s Day will begin.

But this has to do with Man’s Day and the Lord’s Day in relation to the earth.  Moving outside the earth, a person would move outside the bounds of Man’s Day and move into a day that has always existed — the Lord’s Day.  Christ, for example, while on earth said, “Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56; cf. Mark 12:27).  Abraham, removed from Man’s Day on earth, found himself in a place separate from Man’s Day.  He found himself in the Lord’s Day.  And exactly the same thing is seen concerning the removal of the Church at the end of the present dispensation in both 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:4 and Revelation 1:10-20.

If man is removed from the earth at any time during Man’s Day he finds himself in the Lord’s Day.  This is why Abraham found himself in the Lord’s Day in time past, and this is why the Church, once removed from the earth at the time of the rapture, will find itself in the Lord’s Day as well.

Man’s Day and the Lord’s Day cannot run concurrently on earth.  Man’s Day, in this respect, has to run its course and be brought to a close before the Lord’s Day can begin on earth.

(Any thought that the expression, “the Lord’s day,” in Revelation 1:10 is referencing a time other than the Day of the Lord is really not open for discussion.  Such a thought is completely out of line with both the context and related Scripture.

The widely-held teaching that “the Lord’s day” in this verse is a reference to the first day of the week, to Sunday, finds no support anyplace in Scripture.  “Sunday” is never referred to as the Lord’s Day in Scripture [unless this verse is the exception, which it evidently isn’t].

As will later be shown, this section of the book of Revelation parallels 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:4, where the expression “the day of the Lord” is used.

In this same respect, also note Psalm 118:24:

This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

This verse is often quoted out of context and applied to a day during the present time, during Man’s Day.  This verse though is set within a Messianic passage and has to do with the future Messianic Era when the Lord’s Day will replace Man’s Day on earth.  And any application to present time would have to involve a secondary application of the verse.)

It is commonly taught that either all or part of the coming Tribulation (Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week [Daniel 9:24-27], the last seven years of Man’s Day) forms the beginning of the Lord’s Day.  Such a teaching has Man’s Day and the Lord’s Day existing at the same time on earth during the last seven years of Man’s Day.

Not only is this not possible, and not only is this not taught anyplace in Scripture, but Scripture teaches just the opposite relative to the timing of the beginning of the Lord’s Day on earth.

In the book of Joel, following the Day of the Lord being introduced in connection with judgment befalling the nations (Joel 1:15; 2:1), the timing of the beginning of the Day of the Lord is seen.  In Joel 2:27-3:21, the beginning of Day of the Lord on earth is clearly seen to be following Christ’s return to the earth at the end of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, after Man’s Day has run its course.  Joel’s prophecy, in actuality, cannot be understood after any other fashion.

(A place where many go seeking to show that the last seven years of Man’s Day, Daniel’s Seventieth Week, is referred to in scripture as the Day of the Lord, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4. They seek to make these verses relate to the unsaved remaining on earth following the removal of the Church, seen at the end of the preceding chapter [1 Thessalonians 4:13-18].  But, understanding these verses both contextually and in the light of other Scripture [e.g. Joel’s prophecy], it is quite evident that this cannot be the case.  These verses, continuing from the previous chapter, have to do with Christians removed from Man’s Day and placed in the Lord’s Day at the end of the present dispensation.

Also, many seek to do this same thing with Revelation 1:10, saying that John was removed into heaven and shown events of the Tribulation, which they relate to the mention of the Lord’s Day in this verse.  Such individuals seek to teach that the Lord’s Day in chapter one relates to events of the Tribulation, beginning in Revelation 6.

But exactly the same thing can be said here that was said about the incorrect understanding of 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4.  Contextually, and in the light of other Scripture [again ref. Joel’s prophecy], neither can be understood as they are often taught.

Revelation 1:10, contextually, has to do with Christians removed from the earth at the end of the present dispensation and placed in the Lord’s Day, for this is the scene presented in the verses immediately following [Revelation 1:11-20].  Events of the Tribulation seen beginning in Revelation 6 do not occur during the Lord’s Day.  Rather, they occur during the last seven years of Man’s Day.

That “the Lord’s day” couldn’t refer to time on earth during the Tribulation is shown another way in the book.  John was removed into the Lord’s Day before the Tribulation began on earth; and, if the Lord’s Day is understood correctly, John would have remained in the Lord’s Day, in heaven, not only when moved through time covering the Tribulation but also when moved through time beyond the Tribulation into the Millennium.)

That Which John Saw

John being removed from the earth into heaven foreshadows the removal of the Church at the end of the dispensation.  Not only was he removed from Man’s Day into the Lord’s Day but a trumpet is seen connected with this removal in both Revelation 1:10, 4:1, where the same scene is repeated (for reasons that are discussed in Ch. 7, Crowns Cast Before God’s Throne).  And this is in complete keeping with 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:9, where Christians are removed from the earth in connection with a trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:16), being removed from Man’s Day into the Lord’s Day (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4).

John, through his experiences, depicting the Church being removed into heaven at the end of the dispensation, then relates things about the appearance of the Church in Christ’s presence in that day.  John sees “seven golden lampstands,” and in the midst of the seven lampstands he sees Christ in all His Glory, described as One whose “countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Revelation 1:16); or, as previously described by Paul when He saw Christ enswathed in this same covering of Glory, as he traveled from Jerusalem to Damascus:  “brighter than the [midday] sun” (Acts 26:13).

The “seven lampstands” are stated to be the seven churches (named in Revelation 1:11, with details provided about each in Revelation 2-3).  The number “seven” is one of five numbers used in Scripture to show completeness in one form or another (the others are three, ten, twelve, and forty).  The number “seven” shows the completeness of that which is in view, and this is a number used particularly concerning the judgments seen occurring throughout a large part of the book beginning in Revelation 6.  There are seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls (KJV: vials), showing God’s complete judgment upon Israel and the nations during this period.  This is what it will take (God’s complete judgment, occurring in the manner presented in this book) to bring Israel to the place of repentance, which will, in turn, allow numerous necessary events to occur prior to the ushering in of the Messianic Era.

All seven churches seen in Christ’s presence at this time depict the complete Church being removed from the earth at the time of the rapture.  The church in Philadelphia (which had kept the word of Christ’s patience) and the church in Laodicea (which is described as wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked) are seen in Christ’s presence together following the rapture, both awaiting the same thing — judgment, with a view to the Messianic Era.

It is widely but erroneously taught that only part of the Church (the faithful) will be removed at the time of the rapture (an event that those teaching along these lines usually see occurring before the Tribulation), with the remaining Christians left behind to go through either part or all of the Tribulation (as to whether it is part or all depends on who is doing the teaching; this false teaching takes numerous forms).

As any corruption of biblical doctrine, erroneous teachings concerning the rapture emanate from a failure to begin with the Old Testament types and properly understanding these types in the light of their New Testament antitypes.  Beginning with the types and progressing in a correct manner from that point, it would not be possible to teach a selective-type rapture from Scripture.

And the preceding would be true of any biblical doctrine.  One has to begin with the Old Testament types, properly understanding these types, and then move on into the New Testament antitypes and see the proper relationship between the types and the antitypes.  If Christians would do this, there would be far more uniformity of interpretation of Scripture throughout Christendom.

God has interwoven types throughout biblical history for an evident reason.  They are there to help man properly understand the antitypes.  And any Christian ignoring the types is not only failing to study Scripture after the manner in which God structured His Word but he is doing this to his own peril and to the peril of any to whom he might minister.

The importance of correctly studying Scripture after the fashion in which it has been structured cannot be overemphasized.

Chapter 5

In the Lord’s Day (2)

Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,

and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.

His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;

His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;

He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.

I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:12-18)

Everything about the revealed identity and description of Christ in Revelation 1:12-18 is both Messianic and judgmental in nature.  God’s dispensational work relative to the Church is presented as complete at this time.  The Spirit will have completed His 2,000-year search for a bride for God’s Son; and the complete Church (shown by the seven lampstands) — all Christians, both the resurrected and the ones living at that time — will have been removed from Man’s Day on earth and placed in the Lord’s Day in heaven.

Everything, from this point forward, not only moves beyond the Spirit’s work of procuring a bride for the Son but it also moves beyond Christ’s work as High Priest on behalf of Christians — a work being performed solely for Christians during the present dispensation alone.  And since Christ’s high priestly work on behalf of Christians cannot exist beyond the present dispensation — beyond the time Christians are removed into the heavens (as seen in Revelation 1), bringing the dispensation to a close — the popular view that depicts Christ as High Priest in Revelation 1:12-18, rather than Judge, cannot possibly be correct.  Rather, matters at this point can only have to do with Christ’s future work as Judge, which will occur after the dispensation has been completed but preceding the Messianic Era.

And this is exactly how matters are clearly presented in the latter part of this first chapter — the complete Church in Christ’s presence, awaiting judgment, with a view to the Messianic Era.

The Son of Man

With the Church in Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Day, Christ is introduced in Revelation 1:13a by the title, “Son of Man.”  That which follows this introductory title in Revelation 1:13-16 [13b] is a description of the “Son of Man” as He will appear in that coming day after the Church has been removed from Man’s Day on earth and placed in Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Day in heaven.

“Son of Man” is a Messianic title, first seen in Scripture in Psalm 8:4, then in Daniel 7:13.  Both of these Old Testament verses are set within Messianic passages and establish, in an unchangeable fashion, exactly how the title must be understood throughout the eighty-eight times it appears in the New Testament.

The title must be understood in the New Testament after the exact manner in which it was previously introduced in the Old Testament.  That is to say, after being introduced as a Messianic title in the Old Testament, “Son of Man” must be understood as a Messianic title throughout its usage in the New Testament.  This is simply one of the many ways in which God has structured His Word, allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture.

The title appears eighty-four times throughout the gospel accounts, where Christ used the title numerous times referring to Himself.  Then outside the gospel accounts in the New Testament the title is only used four times — Acts 7:56; Hebrew 2:6 (a quotation from Psalm 8:4); Revelation 1:13; 14:14.

Christ used the title in Luke 19:10 to describe His mission at the time of His first coming — “to seek and to save that which was lost” (a Messianic title associated, contextually, with salvation for the Jewish people in relation to the proffered kingdom).  The title is used in connection with Christ’s betrayal, death, and resurrection in Matthew 12:40; 20:18; 26:2 (note that salvation provided through Christ’s finished work at Calvary is for a purpose; salvation has to do with man ultimately being placed back in the position for which he was created, which will be realized in the Messianic Era).  It is used pertaining to events surrounding Christ’s second advent in Matthew 24:27-44; Luke 12:40 (events surrounding Christ’s return, with a view to the Messianic Era).  And it is used relative to the Father having committed all judgment to the Son in John 5:22-27 (judgment such as that of Christians at Christ’s judgment seat, with a view to the Messianic Era).

The broad use of the title, “Son of Man,” throughout Christ’s earthly ministry at the time of His first coming would serve to illustrate a little-appreciated fact.  Everything surrounding His first coming — His birth, His ministry to Israel, His death, burial, resurrection, and His ascension — had Messianic ramifications.

John 1:11 would serve to illustrate the point in one fashion:

He came to his own [neuter in the Greek text, His own things], and His own [masculine in the Greek text, His own people, the Jewish people] did not receive Him. (John 1:11)

His own things had to do with those things associated with the title, “Son of Man.”  It had to do with His being born “King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2);  it had to do with the message proclaimed throughout His earthly ministry, a message to the Jewish people pertaining to the kingdom (Matthew 4:17-25; 10:5-8; Luke 10:1ff); it had to do with the throne of David (Luke 1:31-33; cf. 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Zechariah 6:12-13); it had to do with the title placed over His head at the time of His crucifixion (Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19); and it had to do with the message that He proclaimed following His resurrection, preceding His ascension (Luke 24:25-27, 44; Acts 1:3).

Then note Christ’s question and the disciples’ response in this same respect in Matthew 16:13-16:

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13-16)

The reference to “Christ” in Peter’s response had to do with acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah, the One who would rule and reign; and the reference to “Son” had to do with His firstborn status.  He was God’s firstborn Son, the One who would exercise the rights of primogeniture (kingly, priestly, and double portion rights), all carrying Messianic ramifications in complete keeping with the titles “Messiah” and “Son of Man.”

Peter had acknowledged the Son of Man’s true identity — the One who would rule and reign as the great King-Priest over the double portion of the Father’s goods, in both heavenly and earthly spheres of the kingdom.  And Peter’s statement prompted Christ to respond by saying,

". . . Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 16:17b)

In Revelation 1, the Spirit moved John to introduce Christ as Judge by calling attention to His Messianic title.  Then the Spirit moved John to describe the “Son of Man” as He will appear in that coming day.  And this is the person that all Christians will one day see, to be introduced by this same Messianic title, who will be seen exactly as described in the account.

(Events of that coming day cannot possibly occur after any other fashion than seen in Revelation 1, for John, having been moved forward into that future day and time, has already seen these things occur.  And no change can take place in that which has already occurred.)

And the “Son of Man,” as well, is the Person who will subsequently return to the earth at the complete end of Man’s Day in order to bring all things portended by this title to pass, concluded by the ushering in of the Messianic Era (cf. Revelation 19; 20 [19b, 20a]).

1)  Manner in Which Clothed

Christ, as “Son of Man,” is seen “clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest [‘breasts’] with a golden band” (Revelation 1:13b).

This garment could describe the type of clothing worn by either a priest or a judge.  And the introductory title, “Son of Man,” could easily relate to either, for there is really no realm of Christ’s ministry at any point in time that does not, after some fashion, have for its goal the Messianic Era.

It matters not whether events during past, present, or future time are being dealt with (future time preceding the Messianic Era), all of God’s work from the very beginning in Genesis 1 has one goal in view.  All work (restorative work) throughout the six days in this chapter — which foreshadows all work (restorative work) throughout the six days, the 6,000 years of Man’s Day — has one goal in view.  And that is clearly set forth in this opening section of Scripture, establishing a foundation upon which all subsequent Scripture rests.

The seventh day, the Sabbath, a day of rest, followed six days of restorative work in the opening thirty-four verses of Scripture.  And, in that which this opening section of Scripture foreshadows, a seventh day, a seventh 1,000-year period — the Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God (Hebrew 4:4-9), the Messianic Era — will follow six days of restorative work, 6,000 years of restorative work.

Thus, the title “Son of Man” could be used of Christ relative to His ministry either as High Priest or as Judge, allowing this title to be used of Christ relative to work both present and future.

As High Priest, performing a work solely for Christians, Christ is providing a present cleansing for the “many sons” whom He is about to bring “to glory” (Hebrew 2:10).  He is providing a cleansing for all Christians who avail themselves of that which is being provided, which would be seen particularly in matters surrounding His bride, for whom the Spirit is presently searching (cf. Genesis 24:1ff; John 13:8-11; 1 John 1:5-10).  And this is a work that, as is all His works preceding the Messianic Era, has the Messianic Era in view.

As Judge in a future day, all Christians will stand in His presence to render an account.  And the Spirit’s work during the present dispensation, exactly as is seen in the type in Genesis 24, will be shown to have been successful.

The works of Christians will be tried “by [‘in’] fire.”  And by decisions and determinations at the judgment seat, numerous Christians will be shown qualified to be among those comprising that part of Christ’s body that will not only be revealed as His bride but will complete the Son, allowing Him to reign (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11; Hebrew 2:10).

(Exactly as in the type, the second Man, the last Adam will have a bride taken from His body that, when presented back to Him will provide a completeness not heretofore existing, allowing Him to ascend the throne — the man and the woman together — as one complete being.)

Though both the title “Son of Man” and the description of Christ in “a garment down to the feet” could relate to or describe Christ as either High Priest or Judge, two things in the text show that only the latter can possibly be in view.

First, note the timing of the scene.  Events depicted, contextually, can only occur beyond the present dispensation.  And as previously shown, Christ’s ministry as High Priest is for Christians at a particular time, during time covered by the present dispensation, not beyond.  Thus, the scene cannot possibly have to do with Christ’s high priestly work.

Second, the girdle is seen about Christ’s breasts, which is the position of the girdle on the dress of a judge, not a priest.  A priest wore the girdle about his waist, and would often use the girdle to tuck things into (e.g., a towel, parts of his priestly robe) as he went about his work.  This is the apparent scene when Christ girded himself with a towel and washed His disciples’ feet in John 13, foreshadowing His future priestly work on behalf of Christians.

(Note in Revelation 15:6 that the seven angels having the seven last plagues [the concluding judgments during the Tribulation] are each clothed in “pure and white linen” and are girded with “golden bands” about their breasts.  The scene is one of judgment, and the girdles are seen in their proper place for this type of activity.)

2)  Descriptive Characteristics

The description of the One seen in the midst of the seven golden lampstands, following His identifying title (“Son of Man”) and the description of His dress, begins with a statement that can only refer to both His longevity and holiness — “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow” (Revelation 1:14a).  The One who has always existed and always will exist, the One without beginning or ending (John 1:1-2, 14), the One without sin who judged sin at Calvary (2 Corinthians 5:21), is about to judge Christians relative to works
(1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11).

It is common in Scripture to introduce a member of the Godhead by the means seen here, by stating something characteristic of the person.

Note, for example, how the prayer often referred to as “the Lord’s prayer” in Matthew 6:9-13 begins: “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9b).  The Father is addressed, and a characterizing statement about the Father follows.  Then the subject of the prayer begins:  “Your kingdom come . . . .”
(Matthew 6:10a).

Or, note how each of the seven letters to the churches begins in Revelation 2; 3.  Each begins with a descriptive statement concerning Christ, taken either directly from Revelation 1 or from that which are portended by the things stated in this chapter. Only then does the subject matter of each epistle begin.

And, as in Matthew 6:9-13, after one statement concerning a member of the Godhead in Revelation 1:14 (“His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow”), the text then goes immediately into the subject matter at hand — judgment.  The One in the midst of the seven lampstands is seen having eyes “like a flame of fire,” feet “like fine brass,” a voice “as the sound of many waters,” a sharp two-edged sword coming from “His mouth,” and a countenance described as “the sun shining in its strength.”

“Fire,” “brass,” and “a sword” all speak of different aspects of judgment.  “Fire” and “brass” are seen relative to a judgment for sin in the tabernacle ministry in Israel.  Fire burned on the altar in the courtyard in connection with sacrifices, and both the altar and the laver (also in the courtyard) were constructed of brass.  This is where sin was judged through sacrifices and washings.  Then note the use of “a sharp sword” in a judgmental scene at the time of Christ’s return in Revelation 19:15.

During Christ’s earthly ministry, on one occasion the Pharisees and chief priests sent men to take Him and bring Him into their presence.  But the men returned empty-handed, saying, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:32, 45-46).  On a subsequent occasion, when Judas led a band of men to take Christ, the men were caused to fall backward to the ground at the sound of His voice when He identified Himself by saying, “I am He [lit., ‘I Am’]” (John 18:3-8).

(The correct translation of Jesus’ response in John 18:5-6, 8 is “I Am,” not “I am He,” identifying Himself with the God of the Old Testament in Exodus 3:14.  And there is a repeated emphasis on the pronoun, “I.”  Brought over into English, the response would be similar to saying, “I Myself, I Am.”)

And Peter experienced Christ’s piercing eyes after he had, three times, denied the One whom, only a short time earlier, he had emphatically declared that he would never deny (Matthew 26:35; Luke 22:33).

It is recorded in Luke 22:61, following this triad of denials, “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter . . . .”  And it is evident from the text that Peter fully observed and experienced the Lord’s actions.

The word for “look” in the Greek text is not just the regular word for “look” (blepo).  Rather, it is an intensified form of this word (emblepo).  Christ didn’t just look at Peter.  He looked into Peter’s eyes in a manner that penetrated his very being.  And Peter knew it, he experienced it, which caused him to go out and weep bitterly.

Every Christian in that coming day will stand before Christ as Judge, with His piercing eyes, “like a flame of fire,” and His voice, “as the sound of many waters.”  And Peter’s reaction to Christ’s piercing and penetrating look in a past day will be the experience of numerous disobedient Christians in a future day, causing them to do exactly the same thing that Peter did — go out and weep bitterly.

Then, as if that will not be enough, His countenance, with a body enswathed in a covering of glory, will be as “the sun shining in its strength” (Revelation 1:16); and judgment meted out will consist of completely righteous decisions and determinations by the One who has existed from eternity, identified with the God of the Old Testament.

Seven Stars, Seven Lampstands

Christ is seen holding seven stars in His right hand as He stands in the midst of seven lampstands (KJV: candlesticks).  He holds one and walks in the midst of the other.  And that which the metaphors are used to represent is clearly stated in the closing words of Revelation 1 (Revelation 1:20), immediately prior to the seven short epistles to the seven churches in Revelation 2; 3:

The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands that you saw are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:20)

The book of Revelation is filled with angelic activity, and there is no reason to think that these seven angels represent anything other than angels.  They are specifically stated to be angels of churches, and in Revelation 2; 3, each epistle is addressed to the angel of a particular church.

This would be in perfect keeping with the reference to angels in Hebrew 1:14:

Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation [literally: . . . “to minister for the sake of the ones about to inherit salvation”]?

And note something about the seven epistles in Revelation 2; 3.  The things in these two chapters form a continuation from chapter one.  And though it is evident that a history of Christendom is shown by activity in seven churches existing in the first century at the time John wrote, the epistles, in their contextual setting, can only show more particularly things future — things about the judgment seat, continuing from chapter one.

Each epistle is structured exactly the same way:

1)  I know your works.

2)  A call to repentance, or to heed the Lord’s command.

3)  Then, an overcomer’s promise.

That which is dealt with at the judgment seat will be:

1) works, which will show whether those being judged

2) did or did not repent or obey the Lord’s command.  And this will be with

3) a view to realizing or not realizing the overcomer’s promises, which have to do with realizing or not realizing an inheritance with Christ during the coming age.

Angelic activity seen in Hebrew 1:14 is with a view to exactly the same thing seen in Revelation 1; 2; 3 relative to Christians.  And an angel occupying an appointed position in relation to each of the seven churches would be in perfect keeping with this thought.  In that respect, there would be an angel placed over each church, and there would be other angels ministering to Christians within each church, with the ministry of all the angels having one goal in view — Christians overcoming during Man’s Day in order that they might realize an inheritance during the Lord’s Day (cf. Hebrew 2:5).

(A popular interpretation of the seven angels seeks to identify them as the pastors of the seven churches.  This would be somewhat based on the fact that the Greek word translated “angel” [aggelos] means “messenger” and is used of men in that respect a few times in Scripture [Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:24, 27; 9:52; James 2:25].  However, this type understanding of aggelos occurs in only a scattering of the numerous times that the word appears in the New Testament, referring mainly to “angels,” not men.

In the book of Revelation, the word aggelos appears sixty-six times beyond chapters one through three, and the word is not used a single time throughout this remaining part of the book referring to men.  Also, to say that the word aggelos in chapters one through three refers to the pastors of the seven churches would be out of line with the manner in which the New Testament presents pastors in the churches.  In the New Testament, when pastors are spoken of in connection with churches, there is no such thing as a church with one pastor.  Churches in the New Testament are always seen having more than one pastor, or elder [cf. Acts 20:17; Titus 1:5; James 5:14].)

Thus, that which is depicted in Revelation 1; 2; 3 evidently has to do with angelic activity in the churches, angelic activity among Christians during the present dispensation.  And this activity has to do with a ministry among Christians, with a view to Christians overcoming and realizing an inheritance with Christ during the coming age.

A history of the Church throughout the dispensation is presented by the manner in which Revelation 2; 3 are structured; but, more particularly and contextually, the two chapters simply present a continuation from Revelation 1 and have to do with details surrounding the coming judgment of Christians, with material in the chapters dropping back and including the necessity of present preparation.

Write . . .

After John had seen the complete Church in heaven, appearing before Christ in judgment, he was told to “Write . . . .”  And that which he was told to write provides both a twofold and threefold outline of the book.

Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this [lit., ‘after these things’]. (Revelation 1:19)

The “things which you have seen” could only refer to the things in chapter one, preceding verse nineteen, for that is all John had seen thus far.

Then, “the things which are,” will have to be understood two ways, in keeping with the two ways Revelation 2; 3 are to be understood:

1)  The “things which are” would, first of all, have to be understood as the things that John was witnessing at that time, in the future, in the Lord’s Day (which would be the things that he had seen in the previous verses, i.e., in this respect, “the things which are” would be the same as “the things which you have seen”).

John had seen the complete Church in heaven appearing before Christ in judgment.  And this, of necessity, would have to extend into and include that which are seen in chapters two and three — the seven epistles to the seven churches.

2) Then, “the things which are,” as well, would have to do with the secondary manner in which Revelation 2; 3 are to be understood — showing a history of Christendom relative to the proclamation of the Word of the Kingdom during the present dispensation.  This history would begin with Ephesus, which had left its first love, and end with Laodicea, which was “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 2:4; 3:17).

In this respect, “the things which are,” from John’s perspective, though at a future time, would reach back into the present dispensation.

(Refer to the next two chapters, Ch. 6, The Judgment Seat of Christ, and Ch. 7, Crowns Cast Before God’s Throne, for additional information on the preceding.)

Then, “the things which will take place after this [Greek: meta tauta, ‘after these things’]” could only refer to events beginning in Revelation 4 where this expression (meta tauta) is used twice in the first verse.  The “things which will take place after this [‘after these things’]” would refer to events occurring after the present dispensation, after subsequent events surrounding the judgment seat (Revelation 1; 2; 3); and these following events would encompass that which are seen throughout the remainder of the book (Revelation 4-22).

Chapter 6

The Judgment Seat of Christ

To the angel of the church of Ephesus . . . Smyrna . . . Pergamos . . . Thyatira . . . Sardis . . . Philadelphia . . . the Laodiceans write . . . .  (Revelation 2:1a, 8a, 12a, 18a; 3:1a, 7a, 14a).

The seven epistles directed to seven churches in Asia in Revelation 2; 3 form a continuation from introductory, foundational material in Revelation 1.  And if this connection between Revelation 1 and Revelation 2; 3 is not understood, the main thrust of that which is presented in these seven short epistles will be missed.

In Revelation 1, the seven churches are seen in heaven in Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Day, not here on earth separated from Christ’s presence (a personal, bodily presence, as seen in this chapter) during Man’s Day (Revelation 1:10).  And these seven churches are further seen in Christ’s presence when He is exercising a position as Judge (a future role that Christ will enter at the conclusion of the present dispensation), not a position as High Priest (Christ’s office and work throughout the present dispensation in the heavenly sanctuary, on behalf of Christians).

Thus, the entire scene is not only future and judicial but removed from the earth and in the heavens.  Since the complete Church, shown by the number of the churches (“seven,” showing the completeness of that which is in view), is seen in heaven, this can only have to do with events following the removal of the Church from the earth at the end of the dispensation; and since the complete Church is seen in Christ’s presence at this time, with Christ occupying a judicial role, this can only have to do with the future appearance of all Christians before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10-11).

This, in turn, provides the basis for the continuation of the same subject matter in Revelation 2; 3, where specific information is provided relative to each of the seven churches previously introduced in Revelation 1.  And though it is evident that a history of Christendom is shown by activity in these seven churches existing in the first century at the time John penned these two chapters, the epistles, in their contextual setting, can only show more particularly things future — things surrounding the judgment seat, continuing from chapter one.

Each epistle is structured exactly the same way, following a brief, descriptive depiction of the Son:

1) Beginning with Christ’s statement, “I know your works.”

2) Then, a call to repentance, or to heed the Lord’s command.

3) Then, an overcomer’s promise.

(Note also in chapters two and three that Christ speaks to the churches as Judge
[e.g., cf. Revelation 1:13-16, 20; 2:1, 12, 18], a role that He will not occupy until the present dispensation has drawn to a close.)

And this is in perfect keeping with the judicial scene presented in Revelation 1, introducing Revelation 2; 3, with Revelation 1 providing necessary foundational material that would allow an individual to properly understand Christ’s words to the seven churches within their contextual setting.  That which is dealt with at the judgment seat will be

1) works, which will show whether those being judged

2) did or did not repent, or obey the Lord’s command.  And this will be with

3) a view to realizing or not realizing the overcomer’s promises, which have to do with realizing or not realizing an inheritance with Christ during the coming age.

I Know Your Works

The basis for all judgment in Scripture is works.  God judged sin at Calvary on the basis of His Son’s finished work (John 19:30); Christians will be judged at the end of the present dispensation on the basis of works (1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11); Israel will be judged following the Tribulation on the basis of works (Ezekiel 20:34-38; 44:9-16); Gentiles coming out of the Tribulation will be judged on the basis of works (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:4-6); and even the unsaved will be judged following the Millennium on the basis of works (Revelation 20:11-15).

Faith though cannot be separated from works in the preceding respect (except for the unsaved, who are in no position to exercise faith), for “without faith it is impossible to please Him [God]” (Hebrews 11:6a). 

But, in relation to judgment, God looks at the final analysis of the matter.  Works emanate out of faith, with works forming that which results from faith (James 2:14-26).  And it is these resulting works that are at the forefront when judgment is in view.

A saved person can either exercise faithfulness or unfaithfulness, with works emanating from both.  In 1 Corinthians 3:12, this is set forth in the two types of works presented.  One type is depicted by the words “gold, silver, precious stones,” and the other type is depicted by the words “wood, hay, straw.”  Works will be tried by fire at the judgment seat (1 Corinthians 3:13).  That which is depicted by “gold, silver, precious stones,” emanating out of faithfulness, will pass through the fire unscathed; but that which is depicted by “wood, hay, straw,” resulting from unfaithfulness, will be consumed by the fire.

Those individuals shown to have possessed works described by the former (“gold, silver, precious stones”) will experience the end result of the salvation of their souls, which will allow them to have a part in activities attendant the bride and Christ’s coming reign.  But those individuals shown to have possessed works described by the latter (“wood, hay, straw”) will, instead, “suffer loss” (the loss of their souls), though they themselves will be “saved [their eternal salvation unaffected]; yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).

Relative to the unsaved, “faith” is not in the picture.  But, still, even though “faith” is absent, all that can remain to come under judgment are works.  Thus, the unsaved, as the saved, are judged on the basis of works, for there is nothing else upon which they could be judged.

The unsaved can’t be judged on the basis of prior unbelief in Christ, no more so than can the saved be judged on the basis of prior belief in Christ.  According to John 3:18, the unsaved have already been judged (as the matter pertains to Christ and His finished work at Calvary, for they have not believed), and no judgment awaits the saved (also as the matter pertains to Christ and His finished work at Calvary, for they have believed).

This remains true of both the saved and the unsaved because God has already judged sin in the person of His Son.  Thus, this is a completed and closed matter, for God has already been satisfied.  And, resultantly, there can be no further judgment on this issue:

He who believes in Him is not condemned [is not judged]; but he who does not believe is condemned already [has already been judged], because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)

The second word “condemned [‘judged’]” and the subsequent word “believed” (both used relative to the unsaved) are both in the perfect tense in the Greek text, pointing to action completed in past time with the results of this action existing during present time in a finished state.  Consequently, for the unsaved, this will never be an issue in future time.  It can’t be an issue in future time.  Such would be impossible.  Relative to their eternal destiny, the unsaved have already been judged (past) because of unbelief (past).  Nothing surrounding judgment, as it pertains to this matter, can be carried beyond this point in past time.

And exactly the same non-judgmental situation exists for the saved relative to their eternal destiny, for the same reason.  The saved, exactly as the unsaved, have already been judged.  But in their case, belief, not unbelief, enters into the matter.  And, exactly as in the case of the unsaved, nothing surrounding judgment as it pertains to this entire matter can be carried beyond this point in past time.

For the saved though, unlike the unsaved, judgment has taken place through a Substitute who has paid sin’s penalty (death) on their behalf.  And everything surrounding the matter has been taken care of in past time, by Another, with God being satisfied.

(In the preceding respect, as seen in John 3:18, because judgment has taken place for the saved through a Substitute, there can be no past judgment for the individual per se.  But, for the unsaved, since a Substitute is not in view, this past judgment would have to pertain to the individual himself.  And this is why this same verse refers to a past judgment for the unsaved alone.)

Because the basis for all “judgment” in Scripture is works, and because judgment is centrally in view in Revelation 2; 3 (contextually, continuing from Revelation 1), Christ’s words in each of the seven epistles begins with the statement, “I know your works.”  With judgment centrally in view — not judgment relative to their eternal salvation (an impossibility) but judgment relative to that which lies out ahead, relative to the Messianic Era — these epistles could begin no other way.

(Refer to Appendix 3, Faith and Works, for more information on the preceding.)

Repent…Heed the Lord’s Command

God’s Son, described in Revelation 1, whose eyes were as “a flame of fire,” knew exactly what had been and was presently occurring in each of the seven churches.  The Son, with exactly the same full knowledge (omniscience [Audio]) possessed by the Father — for He was, is, and always will be the Father manifested in the flesh — knew all there was to know about everyone and everything in each of the seven churches.  And after He states to each, “I know your works,” He makes their works known, dealing with those in each church on the basis of their works.

Exactly the same thing will occur yet future relative to that which this section of the book deals with.  All Christians will stand before Christ in judgment, exactly as the matter is revealed in Revelation 1.  They will stand before the One whose eyes are as “a flame of fire,” eyes that can and apparently will penetrate into the very soul of each individual (cf. Luke 22:61-62).

In fact, the material in Revelation 1 could be made even more specific, for that which is stated in this chapter concerning the Church in Christ’s presence is not just a statement concerning how things will be in that future day.  Rather, this is the actual scene surrounding the future appearance of all Christians in Christ’s presence, before His judgment seat.

John was moved from the present time into a future time, in the Lord’s Day.  And in this future time, in the Lord’s Day, he was allowed to see different things occurring before they actually occurred.  But that can be turned around, saying, the things that John was allowed to see, yet to occur, will have to occur for the simple reason that they have already occurred.  And one can no more change these things set in the future (which have already occurred) than he can change things set in the past (which, as well, have already occurred).

The first thing that John saw in this respect was Christians appearing before Christ in judgment.  In other words, that which is seen in the latter part of Revelation 1 is not just something similar to or like that which will occur.  Rather, this is that which will occur!  And John was shown that which will occur — recording that which will occur, to be made available to all Christians during the opening years of the present dispensation (directed to “seven churches,” showing completeness) — in order that all Christians throughout the dispensation might have an eye-witness account of that which they will one day experience, leaving them even further without excuse at the judgment seat.

This introductory material then allows the seven epistles to seven churches in Asia, which immediately follow, to each be structured after a manner that continues the thought of judgment from Revelation 1.  And not only is this structure seen in each of these seven epistles, but at least two other things can be seen in these epistles as well, which reflect on events during present time, preceding events surrounding the judgment seat:

1)  The order in which these epistles appear depicts a history of the Church throughout the dispensation (from Ephesus, which left its “first love,” to Laodicea, described as “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”).

2)  Dealing with these seven existing churches in the manner seen not only allowed the Lord to deal directly with all the churches during the time in which John lived but also to provide vital information for all the churches that would exist throughout subsequent time during the complete dispensation.  And, as both the text and context clearly show, this would be with a view to future judgment and the Messianic Era.

Everything about these epistles — their structure, that which is stated about each, the order in which they were given,  the reason for the call to repent, the reason for the exhortation and commands — points out ahead to the judgment seat and then to the Messianic Era beyond.  The deterioration seen within the existing churches and also seen in the order of their arrangement in Revelation 2; 3 necessitates the call to repentance, the exhortations, and the commands.  Then, this call for repentance, the exhortations, and the commands look ahead to the judgment seat; and all of the overcomer’s promises are Messianic within their scope of fulfillment.

Everything at the end of Scripture remains in complete keeping with that which is seen at the beginning of Scripture — a seventh day of rest following six days of restorative work.  And there is nothing within these seven epistles that moves beyond that point within the scope of their fulfillment (i.e., there is nothing in these epistles that moves beyond the seventh day, the Messianic Era).  There is nothing in these epistles about eternal life, the ages beyond the Messianic Era, etc.  All of the material in these epistles is about events occurring during time within that which is foreshadowed by work during the six days in Genesis 1, progressing to that which is foreshadowed by rest during the seventh day in Genesis 2, not about things which will occur during the eternal ages beyond this time.

(For a correct and proper interpretation throughout Scripture in the preceding respect, one must remain within the time-frame set forth in the first thirty-four verses in Scripture, in Genesis 1:1-2:3 [six and seven days foreshadowing six and seven thousand years].  A septenary structure is set forth in these opening verses, establishing at the very outset a foundation upon which all subsequent Scripture rests [ref. chapters 1-4, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (1)  The Revelation of Jesus Christ (2), The Revelation of Jesus Christ (3)In the Lord’s Day (1), in this site, or The Study of Scripture by Arlen Chitwood; also see the remarks on John’s Gospel in the Foreword of this book ].

There are a few places in Scripture that deal with events outside the scope of the septenary structure in Genesis 1:1-2:3 [i.e., events both preceding Man’s Day and events following the Messianic Era].  But when Scripture does move outside the septenary structure set forth at the beginning
[e.g., Ezekiel 28:14-19; Revelation 21; 22], it is always quite evident that this is being done.  And this has apparently been done at times so that man can better tie the whole of the matter together, understanding why things existed as they did preceding Man’s Day on the one hand, and understanding the goal toward which everything moves following the Messianic Era on the other hand, when the Son delivers the kingdom up to His Father [1 Corinthians 15:24-28].)

To Him Who Overcomes

The manner in which most interpret the seven overcomer’s promises, one to each of the seven churches in Revelation 2; 3, centers on these promises relating to one’s eternal salvation.  Most erroneously interpret these promises as either

(1) a call to unsaved individuals within the seven churches to be saved and realize these different promises, or

(2) as statements to saved individuals in these churches, showing that they will realize these different promises simply on the basis of the fact that they have been saved.  And 1 John 5:1-5 forms verses usually referenced in an effort to substantiate the second part of the preceding.

This line of erroneous teaching emanates mainly from man’s failure to see anything in Scripture except salvation by grace, i.e., saved-unsaved issues.  Practically everything is made to relate to this one subject.  And this type of teaching, brought over into the seven epistles in Revelation 2; 3, results in not only the Church often being viewed from an incorrect perspective (usually seeing the Church comprised of both saved and unsaved individuals) but it also leaves little room for the overcomer’s promises to be viewed from a correct perspective.

However, contrariwise, within the New Testament usage of the word “Church,” as it is used relating to the one new man “in Christ,” there is no such thing as a Church comprised of both saved and unsaved individuals.  A person is either within or without the Church, depending on his saved or unsaved state.  He is either a Jew, a Gentile (both without the Church), or a Christian (within the Church [1 Corinthians 10:32]).

Nor can unsaved individuals be thought of as professors instead of possessors and find themselves within the Church after the manner in which the word “Church” is used in the New Testament.  Scripture knows nothing about professors as opposed to possessors.  Scripture knows only possessors (the saved) and non-possessors (the unsaved).

The overcomer’s promises, in the preceding respect, would, thus, relate to Christians alone.  Further, these promises are worded after a fashion that clearly reveals that Christians can go in either of two directions relative to the promises.  They can either overcome and realize the promises or they can be overcome [by the world, the flesh, and/or the Devil] and fail to realize the promises.

(The word “church” is a translation of the Greek word ekklesia, a compound word that means “called out” [ek, meaning “out”; and klesis, meaning “to call”].  The word is used 115 times in the New Testament, and in all except five instances it is used of Christians.  It is used of the nation of Israel or those in Israel three times [Matthew 18:17; Acts 7:38], and it is used of a gathering of mainly unsaved Gentiles twice [some Jews present (Acts 19:32, 39)].  And in the five instances where the word is not used of Christians it could be better translated “assembly,” understanding that “the assembly” was a called out group [Israel called out of the nations (Acts 7:38), or individuals called out of this nation (Matthew 18:17), or individuals called out from a Gentile nation (Acts 19:32, 39)].

The Hebrew text of the Old Testament uses a corresponding word, qehal, which the Septuagint [Greek version of the Old Testament] usually translates by using ekklesiaQehal is found 112 times in the Old Testament, almost an equal number of times that the corresponding word, ekklesia, is found in the New Testament.  Qehal is usually translated in the English text as “assembly” [Deuteronomy 9:10; 18:16] or “congregation” [Deuteronomy 23:1-3; 1 Kings 8:14], and sometimes as “company” [1 Samuel 19:20].  The word is used mainly of Israel or those in Israel, though a few times it is used of groups from among Gentile nations [Genesis 35:11; Ezekiel 23:46-47; 26:7; 38:4, 7, 13, 15].

Thus, when the Greek text of the New Testament uses the word ekklesia, where Christians are involved [110 of the 115 times that the word appears], it is dealing with the saved alone [the saved of the present dispensation, those comprising the one new man “in Christ”].  The word “church” [ekklesia] is never used in the New Testament referring to an assembly of both Christians and Jews [including saved Jews comprising the nation during the time of the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel (from 33 AD to about 62 AD)] or to an assembly of both Christians and Gentiles.  Rather, the word is always used only as a reference to those forming the one new man “in Christ,” which is neither Jew nor Gentile [Galatians 3:26-29; Colossians 3:10-11].

In this respect, the Church [the ekklesia] of the New Testament, having to do with Christians alone, is one thing; and the usage of a corresponding word in the Old Testament [qehal (usually translated ekklesia in the Septuagint)], and the usage of ekklesia having to do with Israel or those in Israel three times in the New Testament, is another thing entirely.  The word Church in the New Testament, when referring to the saved who are taken from among both the Jews and the Gentiles during the present dispensation [110 of the 115 times the word is used], began on the day of Pentecost in 33 AD and will be removed at the end of the dispensation.

And any type of teaching to the contrary is no more or no less than man’s flawed ideology brought over into his understanding of Scripture, seeking to interpret, through natural means, that which is spiritually discerned.  Scripture though is to be interpreted solely from the spiritual side of matters, never from the natural.  Scripture is to be interpreted in the light of Scripture, comparing that which is spiritual with that which is spiritual [1 Corinthians 2:10-13], with man’s thoughts and ideas on the matter of no moment whatsoever.)

As previously stated, 1 John 5:1-5 is often erroneously referenced by those seeking to show that the thought of overcoming in Revelation 2; 3 relates to eternal salvation.  And the thought of a bringing forth from above, used three times in these verses, is the key to show how the verses should correctly be understood.

The expression, “born of God” or “begotten of Him,” referring to a bringing forth from above, is used ten times in 1 John (1 John 2:29; 3:9 [twice]; 1 John 4:7; 5:1 [three times], 1 John 5:4, 18 [twice]).  The expression also appears in two other New Testament books — four times in John’s gospel (John 1:13; 3:3, 5, 7), and two times in 1 Peter 1:3, 23).  And every time the expression is used in John, 1 Peter, and 1 John, both textually and contextually, the saved, not the unsaved, are in view.

(Refer to the author’s book, Brought Forth from Above, in this site, for a comprehensive treatment of this subject in all three New Testament books.)

1 John 5:1-5 is actually a companion passage to John 20:30-31.  These two verses in the gospel of John have to do solely with Israel during the time of the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel, providing the reason for the eight signs in the gospel of John.  And 1 John 5:1-5 (apparently written at or about the same time as the gospel of John) would seemingly have to do with Israel during this time as well.  But, unlike John 20:30-31, it would also have to do with Christians throughout the dispensation since the epistle was written centrally to Christians and signs are not in view in the passage (ref. the author’s book, Signs in John's Gospel by Arlen Chitwoodplus The Eight Signs in John's Gospel in this site).

In this respect, 1 John 5:1-5 has to do with instructions concerning how Christians can overcome the world — “by faith” (1 John 5:4), with instructions given elsewhere concerning how Christians can overcome the flesh by mortification (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5) and the Devil by resistance (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9).  And, as in all of the other passages pertaining to being brought forth from above, the unsaved are not in view at all in any of these passages having to do with overcoming.

(For a more comprehensive discussion of the seven churches in Revelation 2; 3, refer to the author’s book, Judgment Seat of Christ by Arlen Chitwood [Revised Edition], chapters 5-11.)

Chapter 7

Crowns Cast Before God’s Throne

After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice that I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things that must take place after this.”

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.

And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.

Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. . . .

the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne . . . .  (Revelation 4:1-4, 10).

(Chapters 7, Crowns Cast Before God’s Throne, and 8, The Seven Sealed Scroll, will deal with material in Revelation 4; 5  [Chapter 7 with material in Revelation 4,  and Chapters 8-9,  Ch.8, The Seven Sealed Scroll and Ch. 9, Redemption, Marriage, Regality, with material in Revelation 5].  Properly understanding certain things in both Revelation 4; 5, within context [following that which is seen in Revelation 1; 2; 3 but preceding that which is dealt with in Revelation 6 ff, is crucial to a proper understanding of the book of Revelation as a whole.  The importance of this cannot be overemphasized.)

Immediately following events seen in Revelation 2; 3, attention is again called to that which is previously seen in Revelation 1 — John being removed from Man’s Day and placed in the Lord’s Day (cf. Revelation 1:10; 4:1-2a).  Scripture in its structure has a way of repeating things at times in order to provide a base for supplying additional details on a subject.  And repeating that which is seen in Revelation 1 at this later time in the book, in Revelation 4 (following events seen in Revelation 1; 2; 3), would have to do with Scripture providing additional details relating to the Church following events surrounding the judgment seat.

In Revelation 1 — immediately after John had been removed from Man’s Day and placed in the Lord’s Day, along with being moved forward in time — John was shown the complete Church in Christ’s presence, with Christ presented in His future judicial role, not in His present high priestly role.  And since this is clearly a judicial scene following the rapture, that which is dealt with in these verses can only refer to one thing.  These verses in Revelation 1 can only refer to:

1)  The complete Church, all Christians throughout the dispensation (shown by the number of the churches [seven, showing the completeness of that which is in view]), being removed from the earth at the end of the dispensation (shown by John’s removal).

2)  The complete Church appearing in Christ’s presence to be judged (shown by Christ appearing as Judge, with the seven lampstands [the seven churches] appearing in His presence).

Then, simply continuing from Revelation 1, the central subject of the subsequent two chapters has been established.  This central subject, continuing into Revelation 2; 3, clearly has to do with Christians before the judgment seat.  But the manner in which the churches are set forth in these two chapters — beginning with Ephesus that had left its “first love” (Revelation 2:4) and ending with Laodicea that is described as “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17) — it is also evident that a history of the Church throughout the dispensation is shown in these chapters as well.

And, with these things in mind, the Spirit of God leading John to begin Revelation 4 at the same point as is seen in Revelation 1,  would not only provide a base for additional revelation surrounding Christians following the judgment seat, but it would also provide a means for setting forth the same thing clearly taught in a number of other places in Scripture — the removal of the complete Church at the end of the dispensation.

That is, viewing Revelation 2; 3 from a historical perspective (depicting a history of the Church throughout the dispensation), Revelation 4, beginning at the same point as seen in Revelation 1, shows the removal of the complete Church at the end of the dispensation.  And this is something that can be seen in a clearer respect in Revelation 4 than it can in Revelation 1 because, from a historical perspective, the complete dispensation is seen immediately preceding, in Revelation 2; 3.  Then, the removal of the Church at this point in time would also show the removal of the Church before the beginning of the Tribulation (seen beginning in Revelation 6).  And this, as well, would be in complete accord with that which is seen elsewhere in Scripture

The Heavenly Scene

Immediately after attention has been called to the same event seen in Revelation 1:10 (in Revelation 4:1-2a), John, rather than seeing a judicial scene (as in Revelation 1), now sees a rainbow encircled throne, with God seated on the throne (Revelation 4:2-3 [2b]).  And surrounding this throne, John sees twenty-four other thrones and twenty-four crowned “elders” seated on these thrones (Revelation 4:4).

(The significance of attention called to a rainbow encircling God’s throne at this point in the book can be seen in the first mention of a rainbow in Scripture [Genesis 9:13-17].  The rainbow appeared in Genesis following the completion of God’s judgment [the Flood], and the same thing is seen in Revelation 4:3 relative to the completion of the judgment of Christians in Revelation 1 [1b] and Revelation 3.)

At this point in the book, events pertaining to the dispensation in which the Spirit spent 2,000 years searching for a bride for God’s Son are complete (Revelation 2; 3, viewed from a historical perspective).  As well, events surrounding the judgment seat are also complete (Revelation 1; 2; 3 [1b], viewed from the manner in which Revelation 2; 3 are introduced in Revelation 1 [1b] ).  And, because of the reason for the dispensation and the judgment seat, and because of the point toward which all Scripture moves, the logical place where one would expect activity to now be centered at this point in the book would be concerning bringing about the realization of that which is stated in Hebrews 2:5:

For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.

And events having to do with bringing to pass that which is stated in this verse is exactly what can be found in Revelation 4; 5.

In the latter part of Revelation 4:2, immediately following the repetition from Revelation 1 concerning the removal of the Church (Revelation 4:1-2a), John begins to describe various things about God’s throne, which he both sees and hears — “lightnings,” “thunderings,” and “voices” coming out of the throne, and “lamps of fire were burning before the throne” (Revelation 4:5).  And “in the midst of the throne, and around the throne” John sees four living creatures who “do not rest day or night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come”; and these living creatures “give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever” (Revelation 4:6-9).

Then the scene returns to the twenty-four elders, who rise from their thrones, fall down before God, worship Him, relinquish their crowns to the One who originally placed them in regal positions, and express adoration to the One worthy “to receive glory and honor and power” (Revelation 4:11).

If an apex is to be found in the book of Revelation, aside from the actions of the mighty angel in Revelation 10 and events surrounding Christ’s return in Revelation 19 (ref. Ch. 19,  The Opened Scroll and Ch. 31, Christ’s Return), the action of these twenty-four elders would have to be considered.  The action of these angels in Revelation 4 is significant beyond degree in relation to the central message of this book.

Crowns, Regality, Government

“Crowns” have to do with regality, and the government of the earth is in view throughout the book of Revelation.  At this point in the book, the judgment of Christians, with a view to regality, will have just occurred; and, with a view to this same regality, Christ, following this, is seen as the One about to redeem the forfeited inheritance by taking the seven-sealed scroll from God’s right hand and breaking the seals (Revelation 5 [ff]).

Angels have ruled over the earth since time immemorial — since that time when God established the government of the earth in the beginning.  Angels will still be exercising rulership over the earth at this point in the book, following the judgment of Christians.  And angels will continue ruling until Christ and His co-heirs (forming His bride) take the kingdom, following Christ’s return to the earth.

Accordingly, neither Christ nor Christians will receive the crowns that they are to wear during the Messianic Era until after Christ returns to the earth at the end of the Tribulation.  The crown that Christ will wear during the Messianic Era is presently being worn by Satan, as he continues to exercise power over the earth.  And the crowns that Christians will wear in that day are presently being worn by two segments of angels — the angels presently ruling with Satan and the angels who refused to follow Satan when he sought to exalt his throne.

When Satan sought to exalt his throne — following his being placed over the earth, with a large contingent of angels ruling the earth with him — only one-third of these ruling angels followed Satan and fell with him, with the other two-thirds refusing to follow him (cf. Isaiah 14:12-14; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:3-4).

(Note the way Revelation 12:4a is worded:  “His [the dragon’s, Satan’s] tail drew a third of the stars of heaven [referring to angels (cf. Job 38:7; Revelation 1:20)] and threw them to the earth . . .   This “third,” after millennia of time and separation [separation of one-third from the other two-thirds], is still recognized at this future time as only part of a larger group, only part of all the angels originally ruling with Satan.)

And though the angels not following Satan didn’t continue ruling with him, they could not immediately relinquish their appointed positions.  Rather, they had to retain their positions for a time, remaining crowned.

A principle of biblical government necessitates that an incumbent ruler retain his crown until the one replacing him is not only on the scene but ready to ascend the throne.  Only then can an incumbent ruler relinquish his crown.

(For example, note the account of Saul and David, forming a type of Satan and Christ.

Saul, though disqualified, retained his crown and continued to reign until David was not only present but ready to ascend the throne.  Then, Saul’s crown was taken, given to David; and David, along with certain faithful men, ascended the throne and reigned in the stead of Saul and those who had ruled with him [1, 2 Samuel].

And it will be exactly the same in the antitype.  Satan, though disqualified, will retain his crown and continue to reign until Christ is not only present but ready to ascend the throne.  Then, Satan’s crown will be taken, given to Christ; and Christ, along with certain faithful individuals, will ascend the throne and reign in the stead of Satan and those who had ruled with him, both before and after his fall
[Revelation 19:11-20:6].)

This same established principle must prevail relative to both the angels refusing to follow Satan in his attempt to exalt his throne and those who did follow him.  This entire contingent of angels (both fallen and unfallen) must retain their crowns until those who are to replace them, those who are to wear these crowns, are not only on the scene but ready to ascend the throne.

These relinquished crowns though will be worn only after Christ returns to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, overthrows Satan and his angels, and forcibly takes their crowns.  Only then will Christ be in possession of all the crowns that He and His bride are destined to wear as they ascend the throne and rule the earth.

This entire scenario of events, as it pertains to the government of the earth, is introduced in Revelation 4.  It is introduced immediately following events surrounding the judgment seat when, for the first time in the history of the earth, those who are to ascend the throne with God’s Son will have been called out of the larger body of Christians and revealed. Those shown worthy to take the crowns worn by Satan and his angels up to this point in time will now be on the scene, ready to ascend the throne.  And for the first time in the history of the earth, angels can now relinquish their crowns.

This is the first order of activity seen in the book of Revelation occurring immediately following issues and determinations at the judgment seat.  And so it should be, for, according to Romans 8:19-23, the entire creation (as it pertains to the earth, both the material creation and redeemed man) presently groans and travails, waiting for “the revealing [KJV: ‘manifestation’] of the sons of God” (a new order of sons — taken from among redeemed man, not angels).

Revelation 4 is the point in the book where this revealing of a new order of sons has its beginning.  It begins here by the relinquishment of crowns (for those comprising this new order of sons will have been revealed), making possible a later full manifestation of regal activity by man at the time of Christ’s return.

Thus, with the introduction of crowns cast before God’s throne in Revelation 4:10-11, only one group of individuals could possibly be in view (if one remains within context and keeps in mind the earth’s government in both history and prophecy).  These twenty-four elders can only represent angelic rulers (cf. Hebrews 2:5).  Angels alone will possess crowns in relation to the government of the earth at this time (as they do during the present time).

(Some Bible students, on the basis of the pronouns used in Revelation 5:9-10 — “us” and “we” [KJV] — have understood the twenty-four elders to represent redeemed men, not angels.  However, the majority of the better Greek manuscripts render the pronouns in Revelation 5:10 as “them” and “they” [ref. Revelation 5:10 ASV, Revelation 5:10 NASB, Revelation 5:10 NIV, Wuest, Weymouth], giving rise to the thought that the pronoun “us” in Revelation 5:9 is probably a scribal insertion, being spurious [ref. Alford, Lenski].

But the matter is really not left to manuscript evidence alone.  That the pronouns “them” and “they” are correct is evident from the context.  Note that the song in Revelation 5:9-10 is apparently sung not only by the “twenty-four elders” but also by the “four living creatures” as well.  Then, other angels join them in Revelation 5:11ff, with all of the angels together voicing additional, related statements.

Aside from the preceding, it would make absolutely no sense whatsoever to understand these twenty-four elders as referring to a segment of redeemed man.  Man couldn’t possibly be crowned at the time of events in Revelation 4; 5, else he would be crowned before Christ is crowned [note that Christ is to wear the crown that Satan presently wears, which Satan will still be wearing at this time].  Also, man is to wear the crown he receives, not relinquish it before God’s throne as seen being done by the twenty-four elders.

Also, the Greek word translated “elders” in Revelation chapter four is presbuteroi, the same word used for “elders” in the Church in the New Testament epistles. The word refers to older ones [relative to that being dealt with]. In the Church, the reference is to older ones in the faith; in Revelation chapter four, the reference is to older ones in the governmental structure of the earth [evident since they are crowned, seated on thrones, with the government of the earth being the only government which could possibly be in view].

The preceding alone would prevent the twenty-four elders from being viewed as men, necessitating that they be viewed as angels. Man, at this point in the book, has yet to even come into such a position; angels, on the other hand, have held positions of this nature since time immemorial.)

And at this point in the book, by the action of the twenty-four elders casting their crowns before God’s throne, the way will be opened for God to transfer the scepter from the hands of angels to the hands of man.

In this respect, these crowns cast before God’s throne can only have to do with the government of the earth.  And, at this point in the book, crowns can be worn by angels alone.  The Son will not yet have taken the kingdom, though the Father is about to take the sceptre from Satan’s hand and place it in His Son’s hand
(cf. Daniel 7:13-14; Luke 19:12, 15; Revelation 11:15; 19:11ff).

These crowns are relinquished to God (cast before God’s throne) — with a view to man ruling in the kingdom — so that God can appoint those who had previously been shown qualified through decisions and determinations at the judgment seat (Revelation 1; 2; 3 [1b]) to positions of power and authority with His Son; and those whom the Father appoints will wear these crowns in His Son’s kingdom.

These crowns are cast before God’s throne (cf. Revelation 4:1-4; 5:1-7) because the Father alone is the One who places and/or removes rulers in His kingdom (Daniel 4:17-37; 5:18-21).  He alone is the One who placed those represented by the twenty-four elders in the positions that they occupied;  and He alone is the One who will remove those represented by these elders from the positions in which He originally placed them and assign other individuals to positions in the kingdom, in their stead (Matthew 20:20-23).

The transfer of the government of the earth, from the hands of angels into the hands of man, in reality, is what the first nineteen chapters of the book of Revelation are about; and, as well, this is what the whole of Scripture preceding these nineteen chapters is also about.  In this respect, these twenty-four elders casting their crowns before God’s throne forms a key event that one must grasp if he would properly understand the book of Revelation and Scripture as a whole.

Christ and His bride, in that coming day, will rule the earth in the stead of Satan and his angels.  And, in the process of ruling in this manner, they will wear all the crowns worn by Satan and his angels prior to his fall — both angels who did not follow Satan and those who did follow him.

Action of the Elders

Thus, that which is depicted through the action of the twenty-four elders in Revelation 4:10-11 is, contextually, self-explanatory.  This has to do with the government of the earth, it occurs at a time following events surrounding the judgment seat but preceding Christ breaking the seals of the seven-sealed scroll, and it occurs at a time when Satan’s reign is about to be brought to a close.

After events in Revelation 1; 2; 3 have come to pass, for the first time in man’s history, the person (the bride) who is to rule with the One to replace Satan (Christ) will have been made known and shown forth.  And events in Revelation 4 reflect that fact.

Only one thing could possibly be in view at this point in the book, for the bride will not only have been made known but will be in a position for events surrounding the transfer of power to begin.  The twenty-four elders casting their crowns before God’s throne can only depict the angels who did not go along with Satan in his rebellion relinquishing their crowns, with a view to those comprising the bride wearing these crowns during the Messianic Era.

But the crowns worn by Satan and those angels presently ruling with him are another matter.  These crowns will have to be taken from Satan and his angels by force when Christ returns to overthrow Gentile world power at the end of the Tribulation (a power exercised during Man’s Day under Satan and his angels [Daniel 10:13-20]).

(The fact that angels represented by the twenty-four elders are not presently ruling with Satan can be shown not only by their present position — in God’s presence, in heaven — but also by the Greek word that is used for the type of crown that they are seen wearing.

There are two words in the Greek text for “crown” — stephanos, and diadema.  Comparing Scripture with Scripture, with regality in view, one major distinction stands out concerning how these two words are used.  Diadema refers to the type of crown worn by a monarch, one presently exercising regal power.  Stephanos, on the other hand, is used in an opposite sense.  It is used to show someone crowned but not presently exercising regal power.

For example, the crown seen on Christ’s head in Revelation 14:14, preceding His reign, is referred to by the word stephanos in the Greek text.  A crown on Christ’s head at this time could only anticipate His impending reign [a similar thought is set forth by the crown resting on Antichrist’s head at the beginning of the Tribulation in Revelation 6:2, referred to by the use of the word stephanos (ref. Ch. 13, The Four Horsemen)]. Then, when Christ returns to the earth to take the kingdom, He will have many crowns upon His head; and the Greek text uses diadema rather than stephanos to refer to these crowns, for Christ will be returning as “King of kings, and Lord of lords” [Revelation 19:12, 16].

The twenty-four elders in Revelation 4 cast crowns referred to as stephanos before the throne, indicating that, though crowned, these elders were not exercising regal power at this time [though the fact that they were seated on thrones and crowned portends regal power at some point in time [in past time, as shown by their present positions and subsequent actions].  And the many crowns that Christ will have on His head at the time of His return are undoubtedly these same crowns [Revelation 19:12].  But, anticipating that day when Christ reigns, the book of Revelation uses the word diadema to refer to these crowns, for Christ will be exercising regal power at the time, with Satan about to be overthrown.

The crowns [diadems] on Christ’s head in Revelation 19:12  though will not be worn by Christ when He rules the earth, for He is to wear the crown presently worn by Satan [the incumbent ruler] in that day.  Rather, these crowns are undoubtedly reserved for those forming the bride [whom the Father will previously have appointed to various positions of power and authority with His Son]; and the Son will give these crowns to His co-heirs following that time when the remainder of the crowns having to do with the earth’s government are forcibly taken from Satan and his angels.)

Twenty-Four, Thirty-Six

The identity of the twenty-four elders is shown not only by their actions and the place in which this occurs in the book but also by their number.  Comparing Revelation 4 and Revelation 12 (Revelation 4:4, 10-11; 12:3-4), it appears evident that the original government of the earth — originally established by God prior to Satan’s fall — was representatively shown by three sets of twelve, thirty-six crowned rulers.  “Three” is the number of Divine perfection, and “twelve” is the number of governmental perfection.

Those angels who did not follow Satan in his attempt to exalt his throne would be represented by the twenty-four elders — two sets of twelve, showing two-thirds of the original contingent of angels ruling with Satan.  And the angels who did go along with Satan, presently ruling with him, would be represented by a third set of twelve, showing the other one-third of the original contingent of angels ruling with Satan (Revelation 12:3-4).

In this respect, these three representative sets of twelve would show Divine perfection in the earth’s government.  And also in this respect, this same perfection in the structure of the earth’s government has not existed since Satan’s attempt to exalt his throne.

But, this structured perfection will one day again exist in the earth’s government.  When Christ and His bride ascend the throne, crowns worn by those represented by all three sets of twelve will be brought together again.  Then, Divine perfection will once again exist in the government of the one province in God’s universe where imperfection has existed for millenniums (cf. Colossians 1:16-20).

(For additional and other type information on the twenty-four elders in Revelation 4, refer to the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's So Great Salvation, Ch. 2 [Revised Edition], “Because of the Angels” or Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Judgment Seat of Christ, Ch. 12 [Revised Edition], "Crowned Rulers.")

Chapter 8

The Seven Sealed Scroll

And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”

And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.

So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.

But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.  (Revelation 5:1-7)

(All of Revelation 5 is taken up with events surrounding the introduction of a seven-sealed scroll, with the seals of this scroll beginning to be broken in the next chapter, Ch. 9, Redemption, Marriage, Regality. Properly understanding that which is in view by the introduction of this seven-sealed scroll and the breaking of the seals on the scroll is a major key to understanding all that follows in this book.  The importance of understanding and grasping the significance of this scroll at this introductory point in the book cannot be overemphasized.)

Attention is often called to the importance of understanding the book of Daniel when studying the book of Revelation, or conversely.  And this would be a correct way to view matters, for these are companion books, and both cover the same material, with one book shedding light upon the other when Scripture is compared with Scripture. 

That which is often overlooked though is the fact that the book of Daniel is only one of a number of books in the Old Testament holding this type of connection with the book of Revelation.  Parts of books other than Daniel from the section of Scripture referred to as the Prophets (Isaiah through Malachi) would hold this same type of connection with the book of Revelation as well.  And in this chapter, particular attention will be called to a section from one of these books, the book of Jeremiah, which forms a major key to properly understanding Revelation 5.

Then, beginning in Genesis and continuing to the Prophets, one finds that section of Scripture often referred to as Historic (Genesis through Esther), followed by the section referred to as Poetic (Job through the Song of Solomon).  And the same thing can be said about these two sections of Scripture that was said about the Prophets.  Numerous parts of both sections reflect on material in the book of Revelation.

In the first of these two sections, note particularly three books where this can be clearly seen — Exodus, Ruth, and Esther.  These three books have been singled out because almost the complete contents of each foreshadow that which is seen in different parts of the book of Revelation, with a section in one of the books particularly foreshadowing events seen in Revelation 5.

Exodus, in this manner (historic events typically foreshadowing future events), deals centrally with Israel during the Tribulation, with Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation, with the overthrow of Gentile world power following Christ’s return, and with the subsequent establishment of the Messianic Kingdom (paralleling events seen in Revelation 6-20 [20a]).

Esther, as well, deals with the same thing as Exodus — centrally with Israel during and immediately following the Tribulation.  And Esther, by the same means and in the same manner as seen in Exodus, parallels the same part of the book of Revelation as Exodus, showing other facets of the matter.

Ruth though is different.  Rather than dealing with Israel, Ruth, by the same means and in the same manner as seen in both Exodus and Esther, foreshadows God’s dealings with the Church.  And the time covered by this book deals with the Church throughout not only the present dispensation but with the Church at the judgment seat, with the Church following the judgment seat, and with Christ and His bride in the Messianic Kingdom.

And, though Ruth deals with the Church rather than Israel, Ruth is the one book among the three mentioned that deals with events foreshadowing that which is seen in Revelation 5.  And if one would rightly understand that which is seen in this chapter, one must first understand that which God revealed to an unknown author some twelve hundred or more years before these things were shown to John.  One must let Scripture interpret Scripture, allowing God Himself to explain the matter by and through other revelation that He has provided on the subject.

With all of the preceding in mind, two sections of Scripture from two Old Testament books will comprise most of the material in this chapter.

The first will be a section from the book of Jeremiah (from Jeremiah 30; 31; 32; 33, but particularly from Jeremiah 32), which, through an Old Testament account of circumstances and events of a similar nature to that seen in Revelation 5, shows exactly what is transpiring in this chapter in the book of Revelation.

And the second will be a section from the book of Ruth (from all four chapters of the book, but particularly from Ruth 4), which, as seen in Jeremiah, will illustrate the working out of that introduced in Revelation 5, showing different but corresponding facets of the matter.

There are two aspects to that which occurs by the breaking of the seals on the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 5 — redemption of land, and a corresponding marriage.  Jeremiah, in his book, seemingly only deals with one aspect (redemption of land), but the other aspect (marriage) is clearly seen in the context.  And the writer of Ruth deals with both aspects together, at the same time.

Then, beginning in Revelation 5 and viewing that which is seen in this book in the light of that which is seen in both of these Old Testament books, the whole of the matter is opened up and dealt with in this closing book of Scripture.

And this is exactly as interpretation in the book of Revelation, or anywhere else in Scripture, must exist.  Scripture must be interpreted in the light of Scripture — the New Testament in the light of the Old Testament, the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament, parts of the Old Testament in the light of other parts of the Old Testament, parts of the New Testament in the light of other parts of the New Testament.

(Note that a division of the Old Testament into three parts — Historic, Poetic, and the Prophets — refers to form, not to content.  Prophecy, via typology, is dealt with throughout the Historic section, with other means, along with typology, used in the Poetic section and in the Prophets.  And this is why Christ, in Luke 24:25-27 and Luke 24:44 could refer to Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets together, in the sense that different things surrounding the same Subject are dealt with throughout

All wrote about Christ, His first coming, His second coming — Moses through one means, the writers of the Psalms through another means, and the Prophets through yet another means.)

As evident from Ruth 4 (in the light of the larger context, Ruth 1; 2; 3), along with comparing that which is seen in Jeremiah 32 (in the light of the larger context, Jeremiah 30; 31; 32; 33), the seven-sealed scroll that the Son took from His Father’s right hand in Revelation 5 (the New Testament parallel) could only be identified as one thing and could only have to do with one thing.  As will be shown, this scroll could only be identified as the title deed to the earth, and it could only contain the redemptive terms for the earth — the inheritance awaiting the Sons of God (Christ, Israel, and the Church [following the adoption]).

Beyond the preceding, this redemption of the inheritance is inseparably tied to marriage — the marriage of God to Israel, and the marriage of Christ to His bride.  There can be no future reign of Christ over the earth apart from God again taking Israel as His wife and the Son, as well, taking a wife.  And both are inseparably tied to the breaking of the seals on this scroll.

John’s apparent knowledge of these things, as they pertained to that which the Father held in His right hand in Revelation 5:1, would account for his actions in Revelation 5:4 — much weeping — when no one “in heaven or on the earth or under the earth” (Revelation 5:3) was found worthy to break the seals on the scroll.  John evidently knew exactly what this scroll had to do with, along with the implications of the seals either being broken or not being broken — which could only have come from his familiarity with the Old Testament and the corresponding Mosaic Economy.

(To illustrate that this scroll contains the redemptive terms of the earth, before seeing this from two Old Testament books, note Revelation 10:2.  In this verse, an angel is seen holding the scroll from Revelation 5 after all of the seals had been broken, leaving the scroll open; and, in a display of power, filled with symbolism — with “his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land” — this angel claims the redeemed inheritance, the earth, for the One whose right it is to rule.

For more information on the preceding, refer to Ch. 19, The Opened Scroll.  Also see Opening the Seventh Seal in this site.)

The earth in a forfeited and unredeemed state was the same earth which, in the distant past, preceding man’s creation, had been reduced to a ruin because of Satan’s attempt to exalt his throne above that of his God-appointed position over the earth; this was the earth that, 6,000 years ago, had been restored for man, whom God created to replace the incumbent ruler; and this was the earth that had been reduced to a ruined state once again because of man’s subsequent fall (cf. Genesis 3:6-7, 17-18).  And Revelation 5 takes one to the point where the inheritance (the earth) is about to be redeemed (cf. Psalm 2:8), allowing the earth to be “delivered from the bondage of corruption,” with a new order of Sons then holding the scepter (Roman 8:18-23).

Not only must man be redeemed, but the earth must be redeemed as well.  That which God requires for both man and the earth must be brought to pass in each instance.

Man’s redemption is wrought by and through Christ’s finished work at Calvary; and the earth’s redemption is wrought by through subsequent actions of the only One qualified to act in the realm of redemption (cf. Acts 3:21; Colossians 1:16, 20), by His breaking the seals of the seven-sealed scroll that He is seen taking from His Father’s right hand in Revelation 5:7 (Revelation 6:1ff).

The Books of Jeremiah and Revelation

(The accounts in the books of Ruth and Jeremiah form the only two places in the Old Testament where the matter that is seen in Revelation 5 is dealt with in the sense of being carried out, showing exactly what is in view in this closing book of Scripture.

The account from Jeremiah will be dealt with first, for this account provides details concerning how matters were handled as they pertained to the scroll itself.  Then, the account in Ruth provides other details not seen in Jeremiah.  And both together, within their contextual settings, provide the necessary Old Testament word picture to properly understand that which is seen in Revelation 5.)

In the Old Testament, redemption (a purchasing, a buying back) existed for both individuals and sections of land.

Other than redemption necessary for all mankind by and through death and shed blood, because of Adam’s sin, other forms of redemption were dealt with in the Mosaic Economy.  Provision of this nature existed for the redemption of two types of individuals — for a wife who had lost her husband, and for a person who found himself in a position of servitude or slavery.  Then, provision existed for the redemption of sections of land that had been sold.  And there were laws governing both the redemption of individuals and land (Leviticus 25:1-55; 27:16-25; Deuteronomy 25:5-9).

A scroll (or two scrolls) was prepared for the redemption of land, but there is no indication that scrolls were used for the redemption of individuals (something that, of course, would be completely out of place for the redemption of a wife).

Scrolls of this nature had to do with title deeds to sections of land and contained the redemptive terms for these sections, which could be quite different in each scroll.  And there is a classic example of how this was carried out in Jeremiah 32 by events occurring in Jeremiah’s life shortly before the final part of the Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C.

Zedekiah, the king of Judah at this time, had imprisoned Jeremiah because of his prophecies concerning the Babylonian captivity.

Jeremiah had prophesied that the city of Jerusalem, along with the Jewish king (Zedekiah), would be given “into the hand of the king of Babylon” (Nebuchadnezzar).  This didn’t set well with Zedekiah; and, as a result, he imprisoned Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32:1-5).

Then, while imprisoned, the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, relating that his cousin would approach him about redeeming a piece of property that had been sold to someone else; and the Lord instructed Jeremiah, who possessed “the right of redemption” (a blood relative) to redeem the property, to act in this capacity
(Jeremiah 32:7-8).

This act would leave Jeremiah owning the property (possessing “the right of inheritance” [Jeremiah 32:8]) — someone who knew that the property would shortly be in enemy hands, rendering it worthless.  But Jeremiah had prophesied that the Babylonian captivity would only last seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11-12); and following these seventy years there would be a return to the land, something that he had also previously prophesied (Jeremiah 29:10-14; Jeremiah 30-33 [by a return of all the Jewish people that was later revealed to be seven times longer, 490 years, in Daniel 9:24-27; cf. Daniel 9:2; see Ch. 12, Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, for a discussion of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy]).

Then, aside from the property being in enemy hands for the next seventy years, a year of Jubilee
(Leviticus 25:8ff) — which occurred every fiftieth year — would occur while the Jewish people were in Babylonian captivity.  And, during this year, unredeemed property would automatically revert back to its original owner, apart from any redemptive action.  In this respect, it would seem almost out of place for Jeremiah to redeem the property before the captivity.

But God had a reason for instructing Jeremiah to redeem the property before the captivity (though it would have reverted back to its original owner during the time of the captivity).

Note that this account appears in the midst of a section in Jeremiah which, though Gentile captivity was at hand, has to do with the Jewish people one day being restored to their land, along with the things that God would do for His people in that day (ref. Jeremiah 30; 31; 32; 33).  And God, by having Jeremiah redeem this section of land, was using another means to make this fact known to His people.

The preceding is made clear by that which God stated at the completion of Jeremiah’s purchase.  His purchase is seen in Jeremiah 32:9-14.  Then note what the Lord stated in Jeremiah 32:15, immediately following this purchase:

For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.”

This same thing — a promise, by this means, concerning a future restoration of the Jewish people — is reiterated again in Jeremiah 32:42-44 in this same chapter (see also Jeremiah 33:7-17):

For thus says the Lord: “Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.

And fields shall be bought in this land of which you say, ‘It is desolate, without man or beast; it has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’

Men will buy fields for money, sign deeds and seal them, and take witnesses, in the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the South; for I will cause their captives to return,” says the Lord.
(Jeremiah 32:42-44)

(As well, contextually, Jeremiah’s purchase of a field moves beyond God reiterating, by another means, His promise concerning a restoration of the Jewish people.  The larger picture that is seen in Jeremiah — in Jeremiah 30; 31; 32; 33 — has to do with God remarrying Israel and a restoration of the kingdom, with God taking Israel as His wife once again in a restored theocracy.

Refer to the next chapter, Ch. 9, Redemption, Marriage, Regality, for details concerning the preceding.)

In the account of the transaction during Jeremiah’s day, two pieces of paper were brought out, one sealed and the other remaining open (both having to do with the unredeemed title-deed to the property).  Both pieces of paper contained the same thing — the redemptive terms for the section of land in question.  The redemptive terms could be read on the open piece of paper.  Then, once the redemptive terms had been met, the sealed piece of paper (forming a sealed scroll) could be opened.

Jeremiah purchased the field, allowing him to open the sealed scroll.  He then either made notations on this scroll or a new piece of paper, along with the unsealed scroll or a new piece of paper.  In turn, one of these was rolled up and sealed, with the other left open (both having to do with the redeemed title-deed to the property).  Then both scrolls (with notations on both, indicating Jeremiah’s purchase), for preservation purposes, were placed in “an earthen vessel [clay jar], that they may last many days [which could only have been with a view, at that time, to the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity]” (Jeremiah 32:7-14).

In later years, only one piece of paper was used for redemptive scrolls (titles to property) of this nature, with the redemptive terms appearing on both sides.  One side, forming the inside of the scroll, would be hidden from view once the scroll had been rolled up and sealed.  And the other side, forming the outside of the scroll, would have the redemptive terms written in a place where they could be read without unsealing the scroll.

With all of the preceding in mind, note the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 5.

First, in Jeremiah, there were two scrolls — one sealed, the other remaining open.  In the book of Revelation, in keeping with this practice seen in later Jewish history, the redemptive terms of the scroll are seen written on both sides of one scroll (Revelation 5:1).  One side was sealed, and the other side was open where the redemptive terms could be read.  And the Father handing the scroll to His Son clearly implies a recognition and an acknowledgement of the Son’s full qualification to act in this capacity — as Redeemer — having previously paid the price to take the scroll, break the seals, and redeem the inheritance (Revelation 5:5ff).

Second, this scroll in the book of Revelation can only have to do with land and land rights, for, within the realm of redemption, scrolls were not used for individuals (a widowed woman, or a servant or slave).  They were used for the only other thing that could be redeemed — land.

Third, in the account in Jeremiah, a field was being redeemed (Jeremiah 32:7-9).  In the account in the book of Revelation, it is the same — a field, with the field being “the world” (Matthew 13:38).

And that which is seen in the book of Revelation — redemption in relation to the title-deed to the earth — will form the outworking of that which is foreshadowed in Jeremiah when the Jewish people return from their dispersion among the Gentiles, not at the end of Jeremiah’s seventy-year prophecy but at the end of Daniel’s four-hundred-ninety-year prophecy (cf. Jeremiah 33:7-26).

Books of Ruth and Revelation

The book of Ruth begins with a Jewish family in Moab, driven from their own land because of a famine in the land (Ruth 1:4, where two Moabite women become members of this Jewish family in Moab, brought to pass through their marriage to the two sons in the family (cf. Romans 11:15-25).

This book though, rather than having to do with God’s dealings with Israel, foreshadows, through typical means, His future dealings with the Church.  And God’s dealings with the Church after this fashion begin specifically in Ruth 1:4, where two Moabite women become members of this Jewish family in Moab, brought to pass through their marriage to the two sons in the family (cf. Romans 11:15-25).  Then, from this point forward, events in the book foreshadow God’s dealings with the Church during a time that would not even begin until well over a millennium later.

(Note that events such as those that occurred in the book of Ruth took place under God’s sovereign control of all things.  And events as we have them in this book were later recorded by an unknown author as he was borne along by the Holy Spirit [1 Peter 1:21], allowing the same Spirit to have these events to draw upon at later points in time in order to lead Christians into an understanding of the deep things of God [cf. Isaiah 40:21; Acts 15:18].)

Ruth 1, in that which is foreshadowed by events seen in the chapter, deals with two types of Christians — one faithful, the other unfaithful (typified by the actions of Ruth and Orpah).   And these two women can, alone, portray all Christians, for there is no third class of Christians.  A Christian is either faithful or unfaithful, never partly one or the other.  There is no middle ground between the two.  Scripture is clear that if a person is not for Christ he is against Christ; if he does not gather with Christ, he scatters abroad (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23; Romans 14:23).

A separation is made in Ruth 1 (Orpah who turns back, and Ruth who goes on).  And the remainder of the book deals with Ruth alone, showing not only the manner in which faithful Christians conduct themselves during the dispensation but, as well, that which awaits faithful Christians following the dispensation.

Ruth 2 deals with faithful Christians during the present dispensation, laboring in the field; Ruth 3 and Ruth 4 then deal with faithful Christians beyond the present dispensation.

Ruth 3 has to do with prepared Christians appearing before Christ at His judgment seat, seen in Revelation 1; 2; 3 (though Revelation 1; 2; 3 presents matters surrounding unprepared Christians as well).  Then, the first part of Ruth 4 has to do with the subject at hand in Revelation 5.  And both of these sections in the books of Ruth and Revelation have to do with that which is seen in Revelation 6-19.  Then, the latter part of Ruth 4 has to do with that which is seen in the first part of Revelation 20 — with Christ’s 1,000-year reign, as the Son of David, during the long awaited Messianic Era.

Events surrounding Ruth’s appearance before Boaz, on his threshing floor in Ruth 3 move beyond events surrounding a separation of the wheat from the chaff.  And these subsequent events have to do with three things:  redemption, marriage, and regality.

Once on the threshing floor at this time, Ruth, by her words and actions, made known a dual request — a request for both the redemption of a forfeited inheritance and for marriage (cf. Deuteronomy 25:5-6; 27:20; Ruth 3:8-13; Ezekiel 16:8).  And, as seen at the end of the book of Ruth, with the lineage of Boaz and Ruth traced to King David (their great grandson), regality is brought into the picture (Ruth 4:13-22).

(The thought of redemption, marriage, and regality [from the book of Ruth, or from the book of Jeremiah, as well as from the opening chapters of Genesis] — foreshadowing that which is seen in the breaking of the seals of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 5 — is developed more fully in the next chapter, Ch. 9, Redemption, Marriage, Regality.)

Boaz was to redeem the forfeited inheritance and, in the process, take Ruth as his wife.  And, because of Ruth’s prior actions (proper preparation, allowing her to now be in a position to make this request), Boaz, in keeping with laws governing the Jewish people, was required to honor Ruth’s request.

In the type, once the prepared bride was revealed on the threshing floor and the request was made, Boaz was seen honoring the request.  And exactly the same thing is seen in the antitype in the book of Revelation, with the antitype providing more detail and covering a broader scope of events than this one type covers (though without understanding the type, it is difficult to properly understand this in the antitype).

(Note that Orpah [typifying unfaithful Christians] is not seen beyond the chapter one in the book, for she could have no part in that awaiting Ruth [typifying faithful Christians] — which had to do with the redeemed inheritance, marriage, and regality.)

The antitype begins with events surrounding “the Revelation of Jesus Christ,” as introduced in Revelation 1:1-8, with this revelation occurring during time covering numerous events within a period lasting slightly over seven years.  And, as seen in this book, events surrounding “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” begin with the removal of all Christians from the earth to appear before Christ in judgment (Revelation 1:10ff) and end at least seven years later with Christ’s return to the earth and subsequent events connected with His return, leading into the Messianic Kingdom (Revelation 19:11ff).

The type in the book of Ruth doesn’t deal with the removal of Christians from the earth, with the unfaithful at the judgment seat, or with an actual judgment per se (though reference is made to judgment through a separation of the wheat from the chaff, along with the time when Ruth appeared [midnight]); nor does the type deal with that which is seen in Revelation 4 (the twenty-four elders arising from their thrones and casting their crowns before God’s throne).

(For a discussion of the significance of that which is seen by the twenty-four elders arising from their thrones and casting their crowns before God’s throne, refer to Ch.  7, Crowns Cast Before God’s Throne.)

Rather than dealing with all of the things seen in the antitype in the opening chapters of the book of Revelation, the type in the book of Ruth deals only with the things emanating out of findings and determinations at the judgment seat, as these things have to do with faithful Christians.  The type deals with prepared Christians at the judgment seat (which necessitates their prior removal from the earth) and that which will result from the dual request that they, following the separation of the wheat from the chaff, will make in Christ’s presence — a prepared bride, by her presence, requesting both a redemption of the inheritance (lost through Adam’s sin and subsequent death) and marriage (seen in Revelation 5-19 [19a]). 

And, beyond this dual request being made, the type, in this same respect, deals only with that which Christ will do in that coming day when this request is made (based on His death and shed blood [Revelation 5:6, 9, 12-13]) — honor the request by redeeming the inheritance and by taking the revealed bride as His wife.

Christ will honor this dual request in that coming day, in fulfillment of that which is foreshadowed by the type, for exactly the same reasons as seen in the type.  A prepared, revealed bride will be present; and, the Son, to remain true to His Word and fulfill the many promises in this Word to the bride (e.g., the overcomer’s promises in Revelation 2; 3), will act accordingly.

Thus, the redemption of the inheritance in Ruth 4 has to do with exactly the same thing introduced in Revelation 5.  Matters begin in Revelation 5, are worked out in Revelation 6-19 (through judgment), and Revelation 20 brings events to exactly the same regal place events in the book of Ruth are seen being brought following the redemption of the inheritance in the type (ref. Ruth 4:13-22).

(Many things in the preceding will become more evident later in this chapter and in the next chapter of this book.  For a more detailed discussion, refer to the author’s book, Ruth by Arlen Chitwood.)

1)  Redemption of the Inheritance

Comparing the type and the antitype, the order of events within the scope of “the Revelation of Jesus Christ,” as presented in the book of Revelation, can clearly be seen.  The “Revelation of Jesus Christ” follows the time of the harvest (present dispensation, seen in Ruth 2), begins with the removal of all Christians from the earth to appear before the judgment seat (Revelation 1:10ff), and continues with the revelation of the bride following this judgment (seen in Ruth 3).  And this revelation of the bride must precede the redemption of the inheritance (seen in Ruth 4), for it is the bride who, by her presence, requests both a redemption of the inheritance and marriage.

Ruth 3; 4 center on the revelation of the bride and the redemption of the inheritance, with the bride becoming the wife of the redeemer by and through this redemptive process.  And the first nineteen chapters of the book of Revelation are seen centering on exactly the same thing, with everything occurring within the scope of time covered by “the Revelation of Jesus Christ.”

In the book of Revelation, an entire chapter is given over to presenting Christ as the One both able and willing to redeem the inheritance and, in the process, take the previously revealed bride as His wife. 

Following events surrounding the judgment seat (Revelation 1; 2; 3) and the casting of crowns before God’s throne (Revelation 4), the search is conducted for one “worthy” to redeem the inheritance (Revelation 5).  And, the only One found throughout the whole of God’s creation — “in heaven or on the earth or under the earth” (Revelation 5:3) — was “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” though revealed in relation to the redemptive process about to occur as “the Lamb as though it had been slain” (Revelation 5:4-12).

(Within the course of the subject matter of the book of Revelation — “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” — two things are seen at the forefront:  judgment, and redemption.  In connection with the first [judgment], Christ is seen as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah”; and, in connection with the second [redemption], Christ is seen as “the Lamb as though it had been slain.”

This is why Christ is referred to in this two-fold manner in Revelation 5, for the redemption of the inheritance will occur through judgment.  And the One who breaks the seals must be seen acting in both capacities — in a judicial capacity [as the Lion], but also in a redemptive capacity [as the Lamb].

However, within Christ’s work at this time the emphasis, by far, is on the redemptive rather than the judicial nature of the events.  Revelation 5:5 is the only place in the entire book where Christ is referred to as the Lion, but He is referred to twenty-eight times in this book as the Lamb.  Thus, the emphasis in the book is not on judgment per se, but on redemption emanating out of judgment.)

The future marriage of Christ and His bride will occur exactly in accord with the type that is set forth in Ruth 4, not in accord with the way things are done in the modern world, whether in the East or in the West.  As Boaz purchased Ruth by the process of redeeming a forfeited inheritance, so will Christ purchase His bride by the process of redeeming a forfeited inheritance (forfeited by the first Adam in Genesis 3 [cf. Romans 8:20-22]).  And, as Ruth became Boaz’s wife by this redemptive process, so will it be with Christ and His bride.  The bride (having previously been revealed at the judgment seat) will automatically become Christ’s wife by and through His redemption of the forfeited inheritance.

The redemption of the forfeited inheritance is seen occurring in Revelation 5-19.  The seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 5 contains the redemptive terms of the forfeited inheritance (the earth), and Revelation 6-19 reveal judgments and events during the time when the seals are being broken and these terms are being carried out.

Then, near the end of this time, the wedding festivities of the Lamb are seen occurring (Revelation 19:7-9), with a view to the redeemed bride becoming Christ’s wife once the work surrounding the redemption of the inheritance has been completed (Revelation 19:11-21).

(That the redemption of the inheritance cannot be completed until Christ returns and overthrows Gentile world power [Revelation 19:11-21] is made plain from judgments seen when the seventh seal is opened.  Some of these judgments have to do with events surrounding the overthrow of Gentile world power following Christ’s return.  This matter is dealt with in Chapters 16-18, Silence in Heaven (1),  Silence in Heaven (2), Silence in Heaven (3).  And since the bride becoming Christ’s wife is part and parcel with the redemption of the inheritance, the bride cannot appear as Christ’s wife until following His return and the overthrow of Gentile world power, as seen at the end of Revelation 19.)

Thus, though God completes His dealings with Israel within the scope of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy in Revelation 6 through the first part of Revelation 19, judgmental matters on earth at this time also pertain to the Church as well, though the Church will be in heaven.  This book begins with the Church removed into heaven and judged, followed by the twenty-four elders casting their crowns before God’s throne (Revelation 1; 2; 3; 4).  Then this book continues with the search for One worthy to loose the seals of the seven-sealed scroll — containing the redemptive terms of the forfeited inheritance (Revelation 5).  And, in succeeding chapters, covering Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week, the book deals with the redemption of the inheritance and with the bride being revealed as Christ’s wife once this redemptive process has been completed.

The redemption of the inheritance in Revelation 6-19 has to do with the domain over which Christ and His wife, His consort queen (Revelation 19), will rule during the succeeding Messianic Era (Revelation 20).  And it is in the preceding respect that events in these chapters have to do with the Church as well as with Israel, though the Church will be in heaven when these events unfold on earth.

Also note that when Scripture deals with the “marriage” of Christ and His bride, as in Revelation 19:7-9, the reference is always to the festivities surrounding the marriage, not to the marriage itself.  There will be no marriage ceremony per se, as we think of marriage in our modern-day culture.  There wasn’t one in the type, and there won’t be one in the antitype either.  And this is an easy matter to see in both the type (Ruth 4) and the antitype (Revelation 5-19).

The wedding festivities surrounding the marriage of God’s Son — which portend, and in this case necessitate, a marriage — will occur in heaven very near the end of the redemption of the forfeited inheritance.  But, as previously seen, the entire redemptive process must be carried out before the bride can become Christ’s wife.  In this passage, the marriage festivities are seen occurring immediately preceding the completion of the redemption of the forfeited inheritance (Revelation 6-19).  Christ’s return and the subsequent overthrow of Gentile world power, as seen in Revelation 19:11-21, completes the redemption of the inheritance; and this will be followed by the long-awaited Messianic Era, during which time Christ will reign as King and His wife as consort queen (Revelation 20:1ff).

(Note that when the type in the book of Ruth and the antitype in the book of Revelation are viewed together, the chronology of events in connection with “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” is easy to follow. 

The rapture, the removal of Christians from Man's Day into the Lord's Day, from earth into heaven, occurs first.

[The timing of the rapture, as it relates to the Tribulation, has, over the years, come under question by some Bible students.  Suffice it to say, a person simply cannot take the complete word picture in the Old Testament (seen by viewing all of the various types on the subject together), set it alongside the New Testament antitype, and come to any conclusion other than seeing the complete Church (all Christians) being removed preceding the Tribulation.

A person must understand that the rapture is the first of the revealed events in “the Revelation of Jesus Christ,” else he will fail to properly understand numerous things about the succeeding revealed events.  If one goes wrong with the timing of this beginning event in “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” — the rapture, in relation to the Tribulation (which has to do with the redemption of the inheritance and marriage, necessitating a prior removal of the Church from the earth and a revelation of the bride at the judgment seat) — he will find himself being forced into other erroneous interpretations numerous places throughout the events that follow.]

The rapture  is followed by the judgment of Christians [all Christians (2 Corinthians 5:10; cf. Revelation 1:10-20)], the revelation of the bride at the judgment seat [with resulting events (e.g., crowns cast before God’s throne)], the redemption of the inheritance [being concluded and brought into full realization at the time of Christ’s return and the overthrow of Gentile world power], and the bride becoming Christ’s wife [with marriage part and parcel with the redemption of the inheritance].

Then the Messianic Era can be ushered in, with God’s firstborn Sons — Christ, Israel, and the Church [which will have been adopted into a firstborn status at this time] — occupying their proper regal positions on and over the earth.)

2)  Result of the Redemption

The result of the redemption of the inheritance — type or antitype — is regal in nature.  In the type, Ruth became Boaz’s wife, and Boaz’s lineage is traced to King David (Ruth 4:13-22).  In the antitype, the bride will become the wife of the Lamb, who, with His consort queen, will reign as the greater Son of David (2 Samuel 7:12-13; cf. Matthew 9:27; 12:23; Luke 1:31-33).

The result of the redemption of the inheritance, as seen in the antitype, will be reverential awe and excitement in heaven, undoubtedly of a nature not heretofore seen.

John first heard “a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!  For true and righteous are His judgments . . . .’” (Revelation 19:1-3).  Then John saw the twenty-four elders, along with the four living creatures, as they “fell down and worshipped God who sat on the throne, saying, ‘Amen! Alleluia!’” (Revelation 19:4).  Then John heard a voice coming out of the throne that said, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” (Revelation 19:5).  This was then followed by John hearing a voice that he described as that of “a great multitude . . . many waters . . . mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!’” (Revelation 19:6).

Then, for the first time since the inheritance began to be redeemed, the bride comes back into view.  But, the one previously seen as the bride is now seen as one about to become the wife of the Lamb — the one about to become the wife of the One who will shortly complete the redemption of the inheritance, the One who through judgments at the time of His return will take the bride as His wife.

Note how all this is anticipated in Revelation 19:7-9:

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage [marriage festivities] of the Lamb has come, and His wife [Greek: gune, meaning “woman,” (marital status unknown by the use of this word); but here, contextually, still Christ’s bride, not yet His wife (ref. NASB, NIV)] has made herself ready.

And to her it was granted to be arrayed [lit., “array herself”] in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. [lit., “righteousnesses of the saints,” or “righteous acts of the saints”].

Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper [or “marriage banquet, festivities”] of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”
(Revelation 19:7-9).

And John, having previously been shown all the various things surrounding “the Revelation of Jesus Christ,” beginning with the removal of Christians from the earth, now finds himself at this climactic point.  The completion of the redemption of the inheritance is about to occur, the previously revealed bride is about to become the Lamb’s wife, and the marriage festivities (with a view to ensuing events) can at last begin.  And John, having been shown these things and finding himself at this climactic point, could do no more than fall at the feet of the one who revealed these things to him (Revelation 19:10).

Thus, the entire sequence of unfolding events in the book of Revelation — foreshadowed by unfolding events in the book of Ruth — can only be seen as regal in nature, in complete keeping with the way man was introduced at the time of his creation.

God’s first statement relative to man — an entirely new creation in God’s universe, one created in His own “image” and “likeness” — was, “let them [the man and the woman together] have dominion [Hebrew: radah, ‘rule’]” (Genesis 1:26).  The first man, the first Adam, was to reign as king, with his wife reigning at his side as consort queen.  And, though the fall ensued, with the domain remaining under Satan’s control, God’s purpose for man’s creation in the beginning remained unchanged.

And this purpose is seen being brought to fruition 6,000 years later in the book of Revelation.  Following events seen in the first nineteen chapters of this book, the second Man, the last Adam, will reign as King, with His wife reigning at His side as consort queen (Revelation 20 [a]).

The Spirit is in the world today searching for a bride for God’s Son.  Once the bride has been procured, all Christians will be removed from the earth.  And the bride will then be singled out and revealed at the judgment seat (Revelation 1; 2; 3).  Crowns will then be relinquished by one group of angels, with a view to man, after 6,000 years of sin and death, at last finding himself in a position to realize the purpose for his creation in the beginning (Revelation 4).

The inheritance will then be redeemed — the domain over which Satan and his angels presently rule, but the domain over which Christ and His consort queen will be about to rule (Revelation 5-19 [19a]).  Then, once the inheritance has been redeemed, the bride will be revealed as Christ’s wife.  And ensuing events (which will include crowns forcibly taken from Satan and his angels at the time of their overthrow) will lead into the Messianic Era, when the King with His consort queen, at long last, will hold the scepter (Revelation 20 [a]). 

Chapter 9

Redemption, Marriage, Regality

And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”

And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.

So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.

But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. (Revelation 5:1-7)

(Background material for this chapter can be found in the preceding chapter, The Seven Sealed Scroll.)

“Redemption” in the title of this chapter has to do with the earth, not with man.  It has to do with that which occurs through the breaking of the seals on the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 5, which has to do with the redemption of an inheritance belonging to man, though not presently in man’s possession.

And, in connection with the redemption of this inheritance, the redemption of the earth, two marriages are seen — one between God and Israel (which will follow Israel’s repentance, resulting from judgments associated with the redemption of the inheritance), and the other between Christ and His bride (which will follow a revelation of the bride at the judgment seat).  Both are part and parcel with the redemption of the inheritance.  Both are inseparably tied to this redemption, with both occurring in an automatic sense in connection with this redemption.

That is to say, with the redemption of the inheritance occurring, two marriages will also occur.  One (redemption) cannot occur without the other (marriage), as seen in the account of Boaz redeeming the inheritance (a field, belonging to the family) and taking Ruth as his wife in the process in Ruth 4:1-10 (foreshadowing, in type, one of the two marriages — Christ and His bride).

Then, redemption (of the inheritance, the earth) and marriage (God and Israel, Christ and His bride) lead into the realm where everything has been moving since man’s creation and fall almost 6,000 years ago, as seen in the opening three chapters of Genesis (Genesis1; 2; 3).  Both redemption and marriage lead into regality, with man, at long last, realizing the purpose for his creation in the beginning — ruling the earth, the redeemed inheritance, in the stead of Satan and his angels.

In this respect, redemption, marriage, and regality form the subject at hand in Revelation 5-20 [20a], or in the four chapters of the book of Ruth (Ruth 1; 2; 3; 4), or in Jeremiah 30; 31; 32; 33.  Redemption has to do with the domain which is to be ruled, the earth; then, marriage and regality have to do with those who will rule the redeemed domain — Christ in the midst of Israel (His Father’s restored wife) on earth, seated on David’s throne; and Christ with His wife in the heavens, seated on His own throne (Joel 2:27; Luke 1:31-33; Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21).

Beginning in the Book of Genesis

The whole of the matter — redemption, marriage, and regality — has its foundation in the opening chapters of Genesis, where that which is seen in later Scripture is introduced after exactly the same fashion that it is later seen.  It must be this way, for the foundation is set forth in a perfect, unchangeable manner at the beginning; and the remainder is simply detail and commentary that progressively builds upon the previously laid foundation.

Beginning in the opening verses of Genesis, after God created the earth and subsequently brought it into a ruined state because of Satan’s sin (Genesis 1:1-2a), He then restored the earth for man immediately prior to man’s creation (Genesis 1:2-28 [2b]; cf. Isaiah 45:18).  That would be to say, He redeemed the earth, with a view to man (with his wife), ruling the restored domain.  Thus, redemption (restoring the ruined earth), marriage (Adam and Eve together), and regality (ruling the restored domain) are seen at the beginning of Scripture, providing the central focus for the remainder of Scripture.

But Satan, the incumbent ruler of the domain, stepped in and brought about man’s fall.  And because of man’s fall, man became a ruined creation; and, as occurred when Satan had previously fallen, the material creation once again found itself in a ruined state (Genesis 3:1-19).  And, for man to realize the purpose for his creation, this necessitated redemption, not only for himself but also for the material creation over which he was to rule.

And this is what God then set about to do.  God stepped in and began to act in the first realm, relative to man’s redemption.  God clothed Adam’s and Eve’s naked bodies (they had lost the covering of Glory previously enswathing their bodies) with coats of skin from one or more animals, requiring death and shed blood (Genesis 3:21).

And God’s judgment upon sin in this manner, on man’s behalf — requiring death and shed blood for redemption —  is not only seen immediately following man’s fall in Eden but also throughout the next 4,000 years, culminating in the Son’s finished work at Calvary.

(E.g., note the very next chapter, Genesis 4, with events foreshadowing that which would occur 4,000 years later — Cain slaying Abel, Israel slaying Christ; the blood of Abel crying out from the ground [an unredeemed ground, under a curse], and the blood of Christ speaking better things than that of Abel’s [which would allow the One who died and shed His blood to redeem not only man but also to ultimately effect redemption for the ground from which Abel’s blood had cried; cf. Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 12:24; Revelation 5:6, 9, 12-13; 6:1].)

But any action toward redeeming the earth would not occur for 6,000 years (i.e., action other than God’s immediate judgment upon sin at the beginning by once again bringing the material creation into a ruin).  Redemption for the material creation, by and through the judgment that God now required, rendered by the only One whom God recognized as qualified to act in this realm, would not occur until the end of Man’s Day.  And it would occur by and through the act of the second man, the last Adam, the One who died and shed His blood.

This is what Revelation 5-19 are about.  They are about effecting a redemption of the creation subjected by man’s fall to “the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:20-21), bringing to pass “the times of restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21).  And this, among other related things, will allow the Son to reign at the end of the redemptive process, as seen in Revelation 20.

(Relative to man’s redemption, no difference exists today from that which existed in Eden almost 6,000 years ago.  The whole panorama of salvation, past, present, and future — spirit, soul, and body — requires death and shed blood throughout.  God’s requirements were set at the beginning, they were set perfect, and, accordingly, no change can ever occur.

In the past aspect of salvation, the salvation that we presently possess [having to do with man’s spirit], the death of God’s Son and His shed blood are required [Christ’s finished work at Calvary].

In the continuing aspect of salvation [present, to be realized in the future], the salvation of the soul, death and shed blood are, as well, required.  But now it is death in relation to the individual.  Now it is the death of the old man [cf. Romans 6:1-13; Colossians 2:12; 3:1-10]; and, as well, it is also Christ’s shed blood as before, but not His blood relating to His finished work at Calvary;  now it is His blood on the mercy seat in heaven; now His work as High Priest is in view [cf. John 13:4-12; Hebrews 4:14-16; 9:11-12; 1 John 1:6-2:2] — a work on behalf of those presently being saved [a present divine work, which has to do with the saving of the soul].  And this present work can occur only because those presently being saved have “passed from death to life” [past aspect of salvation] and can now be dealt with in the spiritual realm.

And the redemption of the body, as seen in Romans 8:23 [not to be confused with the resurrection of the body], has to do with the future adoption into a firstborn status and is part and parcel with the salvation of the soul.

All is based on and requires death and shed blood.

[Ref. the author’s books, Salvation of the Soul by Arlen Chitwood and God's Firstborn Sons by Arlen Chitwood (the Appendix)  or Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's God's Firstborn Sons, Appendix for more information on the preceding.]

Relative to the redemption of the earth, as well, no difference exists today from that which existed in Eden.  This is evident from comparing the past redemption/restoration of the pre-Adamic earth with the future redemption/restoration of the post-Adamic earth.

When God brought about a judgment upon and a subsequent restoration of the pre-Adamic earth, man did not yet exist.  His creation occurred following the redemption/restoration of the earth.  Thus, man did not fit into the equation, and God could redeem/restore the earth simply on the basis of His past judgment of sin by reducing the earth to a ruin, as occurred before man’s creation.

Once man appeared on the scene though, reducing the earth to a ruin once again [judgment, allowing for redemption] was no longer sufficient in and of itself, as before.  Judgment now must not only befall the earth but man upon the earth as well.  And, as with man’s present redemption, death and shed blood must be involved in the future redemption of the earth in this respect, for not only is man now inseparably involved but this future judgment will befall man, not the earth.

“Judgment” upon the earth itself is past.  This judgment occurred almost 6,000 years ago, in Genesis 3:17-19 [with the absence of death and shed blood, as also seen in the previous judgment of the earth in Genesis 1:2a].  But judgment upon those dwelling on the earth, now inseparably connected with a redemption of the earth, by and through judgment, is still future [and this part of the earth’s judgment, resulting in redemption, will necessitate death and shed blood (for death and shed blood must exist where man is involved, else there can be no redemption)].

Note how this is set forth in Revelation 5 following a search for One worthy to take the scroll and break the seals on the scroll.  Christ was the only One found worthy — in heaven, on earth, or under the earth — to take the scroll from His Father’s right hand, break the seals of the scroll, and bring about the earth’s redemption by and  through judgment upon the earth-dwellers [Revelation 5:1ff].  And doing this, He is seen acting in two realms [providing the reason why He was the only One found worthy, for He was the only One who could act in these two realms] — as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” effecting judgment [Revelation 5:5] and as “the Lamb that was slain,” effecting redemption/restoration [Revelation 5:6, 9, 12-13; 6:1], which will occur through judgment.

This redemption/restoration of the earth will occur at the end of the 6,000 years.  And this is what is so vividly described in Revelation 6-19, which results from the breaking of the seals of the seven-sealed scroll introduced in Revelation 5.

Redemption of the domain — the earth — was provided for the first man, the first Adam, prior to the time that he was to reign; and redemption of the same domain will be provided for the second Man, the last Adam, prior to the time that He is to reign.)

With the preceding in mind, attention can now be directed to how this whole panorama of events is dealt with in the books of Ruth, Jeremiah, and Revelation.  That which is seen in the books of Ruth and Jeremiah draws from that which is seen in Genesis and, with Genesis, provides the necessary information for one to understand that which is seen in the book of Revelation.  And the book of Revelation, in turn, draws from all three books in this same respect.

Continuing with this type-understanding of the matter, note everything in a larger context in both the books of Ruth and Jeremiah, as this material reflects on that which is seen being carried out in the book of Revelation.  Ruth deals with one aspect of the matter — with Christians in relation to the redemption of the inheritance and marriage, followed by regality; Jeremiah deals with the other aspect of the matter — with Israel in relation to the redemption of the inheritance and marriage, followed by regality; and Revelation brings both of these Old Testament accounts together and deals with both Christians and Israel in relation to the redemption of the inheritance and marriage, followed by regality.  And the whole of the matter rests upon and provides detail and commentary for that which began to be revealed in the opening chapters of Genesis.

Continuing in the Book of Ruth

Everything in the book of Ruth moves toward a goal, seen in Ruth 4.  Thus, in a larger sense, the entire book deals with that which is realized at the end of the book — Boaz redeeming the inheritance (a field belonging to Elimelech’s family [which had to do with a family property inheritance; cf. Joshua 19:1-51]), Ruth becoming Boaz’s wife through the process of this redemption, and with regality brought into the picture.  The book, from beginning to end, moves toward or deals directly with redemption (of a forfeited family inheritance), marriage (of the prospective bride [Ruth] to the redeemer of the inheritance [Boaz]), and regality (the redeemer and Ruth together, with regality seen through their great grandson, King David).

Ruth and Orpah, by marriage, became members of Elimelech and Naomi’s family in the first chapter of the book.  But, because of the deaths of all three male members of the family, all three women lost any access that they might have had to an inheritance, a field, belonging to the family (which was now in another person’s possession, requiring redemption if ownership was to revert back to the family).

(It is evident from comparing Scripture with Scripture that redemptive work of this nature required headship, which could be exercised only by a male member of the family.

Taking this back to the beginning in order to lay a proper foundation, it wasn’t Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit that brought about the fall [though indirectly it did, for this left Adam without a choice other than to also partake of the fruit (e.g., cf. Genesis 2:15-17, 21-24; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Timothy 2:13-14)].  Adam, as the federal head of the human race, had to partake of this fruit to bring about the fall
[Romans 5:12-14].

In this respect, the fall occurred at the time Adam partook of the fruit, not at the time Eve had previously partaken of the fruit.  It was at the time Adam partook of the fruit that both Adam and Eve lost the covering of Glory that had previously enswathed their bodies, which they tried to replace with fig leaves
[Genesis 3:6-7].

The fall occurred by one man’s “disobedience” [partaking of the forbidden fruit] as redemption subsequently occurred through one Man’s “obedience” [culminating in His finished work at Calvary].  As in the fall, so must it be in redemption.  Headship, as it would be seen in the Man alone, must be seen throughout [Romans 5:15-19].

And this would not only be true as it pertained to the fall and subsequent redemption of man, as seen in Romans 5, but in the redemption of individuals [a slave or a widowed woman] or land in the Mosaic Economy.  Only males are spoken of in connection with these types of redemption in Leviticus 25; 27 and Deuteronomy 25 [e.g., “One of his brothers; or his uncle, or his uncle’s son may redeem him .   .   .   .” (Leviticus 25:48-49a [48b])].

Generic thoughts or terms are not being used in these passages when referring to individuals.  Rather, from the way that the whole of the matter surrounding redemption is handled in Scripture, beginning in Genesis, these passages can only have to do with redemption, requiring headship [which can be exercised only by a male].

And understanding this fact is a major key to understanding the redemption of the inheritance and Ruth’s widowhood in the book of Ruth — not only in the text at hand but throughout the book as different facets of the matter are seen and dealt with.)

Following Elimelech’s death, the family rights to the field (as these rights had to do with redemption, resulting in a change of ownership) passed to his wife, Naomi, evident from that which is stated in Ruth 4:1-5.  But, as is also evident, neither Naomi nor her daughters-in-law could redeem the property (with Ruth later revealed to be the only daughter-in-law that could have anything to do with the property in this respect [Orpah had previously turned back to the things of the world and, though still a member of the family, was no longer in view relative to the property, the family inheritance; thus, the book does not deal with her beyond the first chapter]).

As previously shown, a male member of the family (exercising headship) was required if the inheritance was to be redeemed.  This is why Naomi immediately showed such an interest in Boaz when Ruth, at the end of the day, told Naomi in whose field she had been gleaning.  Naomi knew that Boaz, a near kinsman, could not only redeem the field but could redeem Ruth’s widowhood as well (Ruth 2:19ff).

Christians in like manner, though members of the family (God’s family), have lost access to their inheritance — the earth, over which the new creation “in Christ” was brought into existence to rule as co-heir with the One who would redeem the inheritance.  And this access was lost in time past, long before the new creation “in Christ” had been brought into existence.  It was lost through the first man, the first Adam’s fall.  The earth (the forfeited inheritance) is now in another’s possession.  It is now in Satan’s possession, in possession of the incumbent ruler of the earth.

God had restored the earth for man.  The earth, in a chaotic and ruined state, resulting from Satan’s sin, had been removed from this state, which could only be viewed as an act of redemption (which is the idea behind restoration, whether pertaining to man or the earth).

Man had been created to rule this restored domain.  And, though man found himself in a position to wear regal garments and reign, the fall occurred before he wore these garments and held the scepter.

(Note that any vestiges of “sin,” which would necessitate ruin [death as well where man is concerned] could not have existed in connection with the material creation at the time of man’s creation.  Bringing conditions of this nature to pass would have necessitated a redemption/restoration so complete that nothing would then exist relative to the ruin of the pre-Adamic earth.  Nothing associated with the pre-Adamic ruin could have been brought over into a post-Adamic world [e.g., the entire fossil record existing today, which has to do with dead things (which is associated with sin, decay) could not be dated back farther than man’s creation and subsequent sin].  The preceding would have had to be the case for several reasons.

First, God created man from the ground, and He would not have created sinless man from that which was still connected, in any way, with the earth’s previous ruined state.  Further, man, who knew no sin, was to rule the restored domain; and man, who knew no sin, would not be placed on an earth that still retained some past connection with sin, which would be the case with an unredeemed earth. Things of this nature would be the reason why God did not create man until after He had restored the earth.

And this same type of removal of the earth from  that connected with sin, as well, can be seen in that which will occur yet future.  The earth will be redeemed/restored — it must be redeemed/restored — before man, once again, finds himself enswathed in Glory and in a position to wear regal garments and reign.)

But once Satan had brought about man’s fall, things relative to both man and the earth changed completely.  Sin and death entered into the picture, and man found himself in a ruined state, separated from God;  and, as a result, the earth became in a ruined state once again, exactly as had previously occurred following Satan’s fall (Genesis 1:2a; 3:6-10, 17-19; Romans 8:20-21).

Now, both man and the earth needed redemption, restoration.  Man now not only found himself separated from God but he, because of that which had occurred, forfeited the domain over which he was to rule; and he was completely incapable of acting relative to redemption/restoration in either realm.

As previously shown, God began to act almost immediately relative to man’s redemption (Genesis 3:21), but the redemption of the earth was another matter.  Aside from the immediate judgment upon the earth in Genesis 3:17-19, redemptive work for the earth (which would be brought to pass by and through subsequent judgmental activity) was put on hold for 6,000 years.

In the type from the book of Ruth, during the interval of time between access to the inheritance being lost beyond retrieval in Ruth 1 and the inheritance being redeemed in Ruth 4, certain events are seen.  These events, from a typical standpoint, have to do with Christians and cover time during the present dispensation and at the end of the dispensation (slightly over 2,000 years).

These events have to do with Ruth gleaning in Boaz’s field, foreshadowing Christians gleaning in Christ’s field, the world; these events have to do with Boaz, at the end of the harvest, redeeming the inheritance (a field) and taking Ruth as his wife, foreshadowing Christ, at the end of the harvest, redeeming  the inheritance (a field, the earth) and taking the bride (comprised of Christians) as His wife; and these events have to do with regality, seen at the end of Ruth 4 in the type and seen in Revelation 20 in the antitype.

Continuing in the Book of Jeremiah

The account in Jeremiah deals with Israel in relation to the forfeited inheritance.  But because of Israel’s actions at the time of Christ’s first coming (rejecting the offer of the kingdom of the heavens, with resulting consequences), the account contains a reference to Christians as well (as the account in the book of Ruth, through “Naomi,” contains a reference to Israel as well).

(Through God’s promises to Abraham and his seed through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons, Israel in the Old Testament was made the repository for both heavenly and earthly promises and blessings, which were to be realized in both heavenly and earthly spheres of the kingdom [cf. Genesis 22:17-18; 26:3-4; 28:12-14; Hebrews 11:8-16].

An earthly theocracy existed for about eight hundred years in the Old Testament, from Moses’ day to the time of the Babylonian captivity seen in the Jeremiah text under discussion.  This kingdom existed from the time that the Glory indwelt the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle at Mount Sinai during Moses’ day to the time that the Glory left the Temple and ascended back into the heavens from the Mount of Olives at the time of the Babylonian captivity [Exodus 40:33-38; Ezekiel 8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 18; 11:22-23].

At Christ first coming, He offered the other sphere of the kingdom to the Jewish people, the heavenly sphere, the kingdom of the heavens [Matthew 3:1-2; 4:17; 10:5-7].  This is what they rejected, and this is what was taken from the nation [Matthew 21:33-45], not the earthly sphere, the kingdom covenanted to David.  And this heavenly sphere of the kingdom is presently being offered to the new creation in Christ — Christians — a creation that God called into existence [following Israel’s rejection] to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected [cf. Ephesians 2:11-15; 3:1-11; 6:10-18; 1 Peter 2:9-10].

And, with the preceding in mind, one can easily see how the Church is mentioned in Jeremiah’s prophecy dealing with Israel.  In Jeremiah 33:22, both spheres of the kingdom are seen.  And though both spheres would have pertained to Israel alone at the time this was written, a different situation exists following the heavenly sphere of the kingdom being taken from Israel.)

The account of Jeremiah’s redemption of the inheritance in the first part of Jeremiah 32:6-14 is set in the middle of a larger section having to do with Israel’s future restoration and that which God will do for the nation in that coming day, following Israel’s repentance (Jeremiah 30; 31; 32; 33).

God will re-gather His people, provide cleansing from all their iniquities, make a new covenant with them, and place them in their own land.  All four chapters are filled with God’s promises in this respect.

Then, once a cleansed nation has been restored to the land under a new covenant, the nation will realize a redeemed inheritance, as the restored wife of Jehovah, within a restored theocracy.

The Jewish people realizing a redeemed inheritance in that day is shown by God instructing Jeremiah to redeem a piece of property immediately prior to the Babylonian captivity being completed, with a view to redeemed inheritances of this nature being realized when the people returned from captivity (Jeremiah 32:15, 42-44).  That’s what Jeremiah’s redemption of the inheritance is about.

Jeremiah’s redemption of the inheritance simply showed another part of that which God would one day do for His people.  Not only would a cleansed people be restored to the land under a new covenant, but God would redeem the inheritance (in this instance, the earth, over which Israel would rule in a restored theocracy); and God would again take Israel as His wife (a necessity for a restored theocracy to exist).

In that coming day, Jeremiah describes God’s attitude toward and the actions of His restored people in these words:

'It [a restored nation in a restored land] will be to Me a name of joy, praise and glory before all the nations of the earth which will hear of all the good that I do for them, and they will fear and tremble because of all the good and all the peace that I make for it.'

"Thus says the LORD, 'Yet again there will be heard in this place, of which you say, "It is a waste, without man and without beast," that is, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast,

the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say, "Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, For the LORD is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting"; and of those who bring a thank offering into the house of the LORD. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first,' says the LORD.  (Jeremiah 33:9-11)

Thus, Jeremiah’s prophecy follows the same order as that which is seen beginning in Genesis and continuing in Ruth.  Jeremiah presents the redemption of a field (with “the field,” as in Ruth, pointing to and foreshadowing the world, the earth [Matthew 13:38]).  And this redemption is set within a larger context having to do with Israel during the Messianic Era.

The larger context presents Israel as the restored wife of Jehovah (Jeremiah 33:11).  And occupying this position, in connection with a redeemed inheritance (a field, foreshadowing the redemption of the earth yet future, by which God will again take Israel as His wife), Israel will exercise regality in relation to the redeemed inheritance in a restored kingdom.
 
Ending in the Book of Revelation

All of the preceding is brought together in the book of Revelation, where the outworking of the matter is seen.  And the redemption of the inheritance, taking possession of a clear title deed to the earth, occupies a large part of this book — from Revelation 5-19.

In a direct manner, the redemption of the inheritance — seen by the breaking of the seals on the seven-sealed scroll, and that which ensues — occupies all of Revelation 5; 6, Revelation 8; 9; 10, the latter part of Revelation 11, and Revelation 15; 16.  In an indirect manner, the redemption of the inheritance is seen in all of the remaining material, beginning with Revelation 7 and ending with Revelation 19.

The redemption of the inheritance, allowing the Son to hold the title deed to the earth, is the crux of what this last book in Scripture is about.  By and through this means, not only will the inheritance be redeemed but the Father will have taken to Himself a wife once again (restored Israel);  and the Son, as well, will have taken to Himself a wife (the one being acquired by the Spirit during the present dispensation).  And because of all this, the Son, in that day, will be able to take the kingdom and reign.

The wife of Jehovah, as “a kingdom of priests and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6), will occupy the earthly sphere of the kingdom, in a restored theocracy, realizing earthly promises and blessings.  And the wife of the Son, as co-heirs with Christ, as “a royal priesthood [lit., ‘a kingly priesthood’], a holy nation” (1 Peter. 2:9;
cf. Revelation 5:10), will occupy the heavenly sphere of the kingdom, in a restored theocracy, realizing heavenly promises and blessings.

(The Septuagint rendering [Greek version of the Old Testament] of  the quoted part of Exodus 19:6 is identical to the Greek wording in the quoted part of 1 Peter 2:9.  The former relates to the earthly seed of Abraham [Israel], and the latter relates to the heavenly seed of Abraham [the Church] — two of God’s three firstborn Sons who will ascend the throne, hold the scepter, and reign in the kingdom.)

That which was lost by Adam in the book of Genesis is seen regained by Christ in the book of Revelation.  And between these two times — separated by 6,000 years — man has the accounts in Ruth and Jeremiah to help him better understand not only that which happened in Genesis but also that which is about to happen when the Son takes the seven-sealed scroll from His Father’s right hand, as seen in the book of Revelation.

Chapter 10

Taking the Scroll, Breaking the Seals

Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.”

And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.  (Revelation 6:1-2)

Revelation 1; 2; 3 present the complete Church in heaven following the present dispensation.  Events of the judgment seat are depicted; and when that which is depicted is one day realized, the overcomers, those found worthy to rule the nations with Christ, will be made known.  And the scene which follows in Revelation 4 is the only one which a person could expect (Revelation 4:2ff).  There is a relinquishment of crowns by angelic rulers (Revelation 4:10-11), with a view to a new order of rulers — Christians having previously been shown qualified through decisions and determinations rendered at the judgment seat (Revelation 1; 2; 3) — taking these crowns and ruling the earth in the stead of the present order of rulers, in the stead of angels (Romans 8:18-19).

“There exists a government of the universe conducted by great angels and their subordinates.  Many of these have fallen from their original allegiance to God and prostitute their offices and powers to corrupt His realms.  It is therefore inevitable that a re-arrangement shall come in that heavenly government.  This will be effected by Christ and His glorified followers being invested with the whole of that heavenly authority.  For it is written that ‘not unto angels hath God subjected the inhabited earth to come’
(Hebrews 2:5).” ~ G. H. Lang, World Chaos by G. H. Lang 

Then, immediately after Christians and a segment of the angelic rulers have been dealt with (Revelation 1; 2; 3; 4), Revelation 5 opens with God seated on His throne, holding a seven-sealed scroll in His right hand.  And a powerful angel proclaims with a loud voice,

Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals? (Revelation 5:2b)

And no man, in heaven, on earth, or beneath the earth, was found worthy to take the scroll from the hand of the One seated on the throne, break the seals, and look upon the contents (Revelation 5:1-3).

Then John began to weep deeply (Revelation 5:4), for he could only have known, from the Old Testament and the corresponding Mosaic Economy, the entirety of that which was involved.  The entire program of God, as outlined in His Word regarding His Son, Israel, the Church, and the Nations, could not be brought to pass apart from someone stepping forth to function in this capacity.

Then the scene abruptly changes.  Christ is seen as One worthy to take the scroll out of His Father’s right hand, break the seals, and look upon the contents.  And, within the sphere of Christ acting in this capacity He is seen functioning in two realms — as both a Lion and a Lamb.

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not [‘Stop weeping’]: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed [Gk., nikao, ‘to conquer,’ ‘to be victorious’ (Christ has proved victorious in such a manner as to be deemed worthy)] to open the book [‘scroll’], and to loose the seven seals thereof” (Revelation 5:5).

But Christ does not take the scroll from His Father’s right hand as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Rather, He appears as and acts in the capacity of the Lamb which had been slain.

And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures [beasts], and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne (Revelation 5:6-7).

Revelation 5:5 is the only place in the New Testament where Christ is referred to as a Lion.  And reference to the tribe of Judah simply continues the thought of regality from the previous chapter.  Judah was the kingly tribe, the tribe which possessed the regal part of the birthright, which goes back to that which had resulted millenniums before from the action of Jacob’s firstborn, Reuben.

(Through sexual impropriety, Jacob’s firstborn, Reuben, forfeited the rights of the firstborn.  And these rights [priestly, regal, and a double portion of the father’s goods] were divided among three of his brothers.  The priestly rights were given to “Levi,” the regal rights were given to “Judah,” and the rights to a double portion of the father’s goods were given to “Joseph” [realized through his two sons, “Ephraim” and “Manasseh”].  And this has never changed throughout Israel’s history; nor will it ever change at any time in the future.)

Christ, of the lineage of Judah through David, was about to take the throne and rule the earth.  Thus, being introduced, He is first seen as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5; cf. Genesis 49:10).  He was about to exercise the regal rights inherent in that seen through His lineage.  But first He must redeem the forfeited inheritance.  And to do this He must act in the capacity of “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (cf. Revelation 5:6; 13:8).

With respect to redemption, Christ is referred to as “a Lamb” twenty-eight times in the book of Revelation.  That which is seen within the seven-sealed scroll has to do with redemption and the earth.  This scroll contains God’s redemptive terms surrounding the earth, and Christ is seen breaking the seals of the scroll as a slain Lamb, not as the Lion from the tribe of Judah.  Exercising that which is depicted by the latter could only occur following the breaking of the seals and carrying out the redemptive terms contained in the scroll.

That Which Is Involved

Revelation 6-19 relate events having to do with the breaking of the seven seals, along with related events occurring on earth during this time.  These chapters relate events having to do with God’s end-time dealings with Israel, lasting seven years, fulfilling the seventieth and final week of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27).  This seven-year period is dealt with time after time in Old Testament prophecy.  And that should be understandable, for judgments during this period bring events to pass which, in turn, bring that toward which God has been working for 6,000 years to a conclusion.

Judgments during this period not only result in redemption of the forfeited inheritance but they also bring Israel to the place of repentance.  And bringing Israel to the place of repentance during these final seven years will allow everything else to fall into placeEverything is contingent upon Israel’s repentance.  Thus, is it any wonder that both events and the timing of these events designed to bring this to pass not only form a major subject of Old Testament prophecy but also occupy a major section of the final book of Scripture as well?

(All of the work having to do with the redemption of the inheritance though will not be finished until after Christ returns at the completion of Daniel’s Seventieth Week and overthrows Gentile world power
[Revelation 19:11, 21], preceding the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom [ref. Ch. 8,  
The Seven Sealed Scroll and  Ch. 9, Redemption, Marriage, Regality, also dealt with in subsequent chapters].

Daniel, in the last three verses in his prophecy [Daniel 12:11-13], reveals a seventy-five-day period between the time of Christ’s return and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.  And it is apparent from related Scripture dealing with events at the time of Christ’s return that the completion of the redemption of the inheritance will occur toward the end of this seventy-five-day period [for, when Christ returns, He will deal with Israel first (cf. 1 Peter 4:17), then with the Gentile nations].)

Then, the bride for whom the Spirit is searching during the present dispensation, who will be revealed through the decisions and determinations rendered at the judgment seat (Revelation 1; 2; 3; 4), will, through the process of the judgments during the subsequent seven-year Tribulation, automatically become Christ’s wife at the completion of the redemption of the inheritance.  In Old Testament typology this is seen through Ruth being revealed as the bride on Boaz’s threshing floor (Ruth 3) and then automatically becoming Boaz’s wife through the process of Boaz subsequently redeeming the inheritance (Ruth 4; ref. Ch. 8,  The Seven Sealed Scroll and  Ch. 9, Redemption, Marriage, Regality).

Not only must Christ redeem the inheritance in the antitype but two things must occur in connection with this redemption:

1)  Israel must be restored as the wife of Jehovah.

2)  And, those Christians removed from the body of Christ, forming the bride (brought to pass through and based on decisions and determinations rendered at the judgment seat), must be wed to Christ.

The necessity of both being brought to pass preceeding the Messianic Era is seen in God’s creation of and dealings with man in relation to the government of the earth in the opening chapters of Genesis.  God restored the ruined domain (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]).  Then God created man to rule the restored domain (Genesis 1:26-28).  And God created man “male and female,” with the female seen as being a part of the male (created within the male and later removed and formed into a helpmate for the male [Genesis 2:18-24]).  Consequently, together, the man and the woman formed one complete being.

Man was created in the image and likeness of God to rule the earth (Genesis 1:26), he was created male and female (Genesis 1:27), and it was to the complete man (comprised of both the man and the woman) that God said:

. . . Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion [Hebrew: radah, “to rule”; also Genesis 1:26] over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. (Genesis 1:28)

The overall account of man’s creation forms an unchangeable type, showing the manner in which man was/is to ascend the throne.  The man and the woman in the type were to ascend the throne together, as one complete being, and rule the restored earth.  And so must it be in the antitype.

(The original type in the opening chapters of Genesis has to do with Christ and His wife rather than with God and Israel.  It has to do with the first man, the first Adam, and with the second Man, the last Adam, and with their wives, respectively.  But though the type foreshadows Christ and His wife, the principles regarding how God set forth rulership in the kingdom of men at the beginning of His Word would hold true in both spheres under discussion — God ruling in the kingdom of men, or God’s Son ruling in the kingdom of men.

Where man is directly involved — whether in the past theocracy or in the future theocracy — God simply cannot and will not rule in the kingdom of men apart from the manner in which He Himself has established matters, apart from a husband-wife relationship.)

Thus, when it comes to God ruling in past time in the Old Testament theocracy, or in a future restored theocracy, or to Christ ruling the earth, this principle established in the opening chapters of Genesis cannot be violated.  Rulership in the kingdom of men, by God and man, can be accomplished in God’s eyes through one means alone.  It can be accomplished only through the means in which it was originally established in the beginning, in Genesis.  It can be accomplished only through a husband-wife relationship, the man and the woman ascending the throne together.

This is why Israel is seen as the wife of Jehovah in the Old Testament theocracy.  And this is why Israel will be seen as the restored wife of Jehovah in the future restoration of the theocracy.

This is also why the Spirit is in the world today searching for a bride for God’s Son, in fulfillment of that which is seen in Genesis 24.  The Son can no more reign apart from possessing a wife than God could have reigned in the Old Testament theocracy, or the future theocracy, apart from possessing a wife.  To have done so in the past or to do so in the future, by either the Father or the Son, would violate that which God established in an unchangeable fashion at the beginning.

In the opening chapter of Genesis there is the restoration of a ruined domain and the creation of man (male and female) to rule the restored domain.  Then in the book of Revelation there is redemption of this same domain, with a view to man, as God originally intended, ruling this redeemed domain.  And through bringing all of this to pass, two marriages have to occur — a marriage between God and Israel, and a marriage between God’s Son and the bride whom the Spirit will have previously procured.  Both are inseparably connected with the redemption of the inheritance, in the same manner that the creation of man was inseparably connected with the restoration of the ruined creation in Genesis 1.

Both marriages will occur.  They will have to occur.  This is the way matters have been set forth in the types, and this is the manner in which that which is foreshadowed in the types must and will be brought to pass in the fulfillment of the complete overall antitype — God and His wife exercising dominion together, and Christ and His wife exercising dominion together.

Understanding certain things about the manner in which God originally established rulership over the earth at the time of man’s creation will put to rest all of the false ideology prevalent in Christendom today concerning how rulership in the kingdom of God in relation to the earth is often viewed.  And, in reality, understanding biblical principles drawn from this overall teaching is the only thing which will put these matters to rest.

For example, there is both the thought of a kingdom now (“Dominion Theology,” as it is sometimes called) and the thought that some type mystery form of the kingdom exists within Christendom today.  Neither, of course, can be the case, for, where man is involved, a husband-wife relationship between God and Israel or between Christ and the bride for whom the Spirit is presently searching must exist for a kingdom of either nature to exist.

A Husband-wife relationship between God and Israel can’t presently exist, for Israel remains unrepentant.  Consequently, there can be no present marriage between God and Israel.  A divorce decree, instead, is still binding.

And a Husband-wife relationship between Christ and the Church can’t presently exist, for not only is the Spirit’s search for the bride incomplete, but the time for the bride to be removed from the body and be revealed is yet future.  Consequently, there can be no present marriage between Christ and His prospective bride.

There is, however, a present existing kingdom in which “the heavens do rule” and in which “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men” (Daniel 4:17-35).  But this is not a form of the rule that existed within the Old Testament theocracy.  Nor is it a form of the rule within the theocracy as it will one day exist.  The manner in which “the heavens do rule” today is quite different.

God ruled in the Old Testament theocracy in conjunction with His wife.  Israel was to be placed at the head of the nations, with the nations being blessed through Israel (Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 4:22-23; 19:5-6).  But Israel formed unholy alliances with the nations, and God eventually divorced Israel (Isaiah 50:1; Jeremiah 3:1-8; Hosea 2:2).  Once this had occurred, a husband-wife relationship, necessary for God to rule in this manner in the kingdom of men, ceased to exist.  Accordingly, the theocracy could no longer exist, and God took the kingdom from Israel (Ezekiel 1:15-16, 26-28; 8:3-9; 10:4, 18; 11:22-23; cf. Ezekiel 43:1-5).

But God is sovereign.  He rules over all.  And removing the theocracy from Israel didn’t do away with God’s rule in the kingdom of men.  Rather, it changed that rule back to the manner in which it had existed prior to the Old Testament theocracy, or the manner in which it exists today.  It changed God’s governmental structure to a rule solely through the incumbent ruler, Satan.

(God’s rule through Satan is something that could never have completely ceased, even during the time of the Old Testament theocracy.  A rule through Israel — another ruling “son,” separate from Satan and his rule [Exodus 4:22-23] — allowed God to deal with the Gentile nations in a manner separate from the disqualified ruler whom He had originally placed over the earth, who was still in power and remains in power today.  It allowed God to have a ruling entity through whom His message could effectively be carried to the nations and through whom the nations could, in turn, be blessed [Exodus 19:5-6; Numbers 23:9; Isaiah 43:10, 21; 60:5-6].)

God is never seen ruling provinces in His universe in a direct manner.  Rather, He is seen ruling through or in conjunction with others (angels and man).  In the case of angels placed over provinces, such as Satan placed over the earth, He rules through these angels; in the case of Israel, His wife in the Old Testament theocracy, He ruled in conjunction with man.

And since a theocracy has not existed in the camp of Israel for over two and one-half millennia, there was only one possible means for God to carry out His regal activities in relation to the earth during this time.  God could only have ruled in the kingdom of men through the one whom He had originally placed in the position of ruler over the earth — through Satan, though a rebel ruler, but still God’s anointed ruler (Ezekiel 28:14), whom God has yet to remove and replace.

And, of course, any thought of principles surrounding a husband-wife relationship within the government, as seen in the opening chapters of Genesis, could not exist in the present government of the earth.  Marriage exists in the human realm alone.  Completely different principles regarding the government of the earth in this respect would exist regarding the present government under angels, principles set forth and existing at a time prior to man’s creation and even prior to the time of Satan’s fall.

Then the thought of the existence or non-existence of any type of kingdom of Christ on earth during the present time — a mystery form, or any other form — should be simple enough to understand.  Christ, as His Father, could not rule in a kingdom apart from exercising power in the same manner that His Father exercises power — through or in conjunction with others, whether angels or men.  And since Christ does not presently possess a wife, the only type of present rule of Christ in the kingdom of men, which could possibly be considered, is the same type of rule that His Father presently possesses (note that the Son is presently seated on the throne with His Father in the heavens [Psalm 110:1; Revelation 3:21]).

(Principles pertaining to marriage in the human realm and non-marriage in the angelic realm in relation to the government of the earth presents an interesting thought surrounding the co-habitation of the sons of God with the daughters of men in Genesis 6:1-4 [angels in the kingdom of Satan taking wives from the female lineage of Adam and his progeny, something that apparently began very early in man’s history (Genesis 6:1-2)].  A corruption of the human race could only have been Satan’s goal, with probably more than one facet of corruption in view.  And these facets of corruption would have a single purpose — to prevent man from ascending the throne and fulfilling the reason for his creation in the beginning.

Not only would there have been an effort to prevent the appearance of the Seed of the woman promised at the time of man’s fall [Genesis 3:15] but there would have been an effort to corrupt and destroy that which God had established in the beginning concerning the manner in which man was to conduct appointed regal activities, through a husband-wife relationship.  And an effort to prevent the latter would have been brought to pass through a corruption of the husband-wife relationship by the recorded co-habitation between fallen incumbent rulers and fallen female members of God’s new entity that had been created to rule.

This same thing can subsequently be seen occurring in a homosexual manner among those in the land covenanted to Abraham and his seed during the days of Abraham and Lot [Genesis 18; 19; Jude 1:6-7], along with a heterosexual manner once again among those in this same land during the days of Moses [Numbers 13:31-33].

Is it any wonder that God eventually stepped in during Noah’s day, bringing about a worldwide flood [Genesis 6:11ff]?  or during Abraham and Lot’s day, utterly destroying the cities of the plain [Genesis 19:24ff]?  or during Moses’ day by telling His people to go into the land and, “with a mighty destruction,” do away with all of the nations therein [Deuteronomy 7:1-2, 16, 22-24]?

And, with the rapidly changing mores of man concerning homosexuality during the present day and time, is it any wonder that God is about to once again step into the affairs of the human race, bringing about a climactic end to the whole of the matter, ultimately placing man in the position for which he was created in the beginning?

As it was in the days of Noah . . .

Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot. . .

Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. [Luke 17:26a, 28a, 30].

Note an ironic situation existing in the world today regarding the preceding.  The United States and Russia are currently recognized as the world’s two superpowers.  The former has a history associated with God and Christianity, the latter with atheism.

But it is not the nation associated with atheism that is pushing Satan’s homosexual agenda; rather it is the nation associated with God and Christianity.

The latter is the nation picking up and seemingly leading the way where the cities of the plain during Abraham's day left off, not the former [in fact, homosexuality is unlawful in Russia (a nation associated with atheism is the one following biblical guidelines in this realm, not the nation associated with God and Christianity)].  The latter, not the former, is the nation today following one of the sure paths to national suicide [not only from a biblical standpoint but seen throughout man’s secular history as well].  And the latter, not the former, is the nation whose actions run completely contrary to the reason God established marriage between a man and a woman in the beginning.

When and how will all of this end?  That’s the simplest question in the world to answer:

All of this will end when and how Scripture states that it will end.  And Scripture is quite plain about one thing.  That day when God will once again step into the affairs of the human race and bring about these changes is almost upon us.)

Promises to Israel and the Church

Israel possesses a promise that is regal in fulfillment, which is in complete keeping with both man’s creation in the beginning and the nation’s subsequent calling.  This promise can be seen numerous places in the Old Testament (e.g., in type through God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt under Moses in the opening chapters of Exodus, through God’s deliverance of the Israelites numerous times during the days of the judges in the book of Judges, or through God’s promise to Solomon at the time of the dedication of the Temple in 2 Chronicles 7:12ff).

Note the way this promise is worded in Leviticus 26:

But if they [the Israelites] confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers . . .

then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land. (Leviticus 26:40a, 42)

This is the promise to which attention was called in the offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel in the gospel accounts at the time of Christ’s first coming:

Repent [a plural command, the entire nation] for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand. (Matthew 3:2)

This is also the promise to which attention was again called in the reoffer of the kingdom following Christ’s ascension, seen during the Acts period:

. . . Repent, and let every one of you [the entire nation] in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins . . . . (Acts 2:38a; cf. Acts 3:19-26)

This is the promise that Israel presently possesses.  And this is the promise that Israel will one day realize, when the Jewish people are brought to the end of themselves by and through the judgments of the Tribulation, causing them to act on this promise.

Christians likewise possess a promise, which, as well, is regal in fulfillment (e.g., seen in numerous Old Testament types, numerous New Testament parables, the epistles, and other places in both Testaments).

Note how this promise is worded in Revelation 3:21, which would, as well, also encompass the preceding six overcomer’s promises in Revelation 2; 3:

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

The future for both Israel and the Church is as bright as the promises of God — which, when fulfilled, will be inseparably associated with blessings for the nations on a redeemed earth. 

Chapter 11

Seals, Trumpets, Bowls

Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.”

And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Revelation 6:1-2)

The seven-sealed scroll that Christ took from His Father’s right hand in Revelation 5, which He began to open in Revelation 6, contained God’s redemptive terms for the forfeited inheritance, the domain that Christ and His co-heirs were about to rule (cf. Psalm 2:6-9; Revelation 2:26-28).  And this scroll contained the entirety of these redemptive terms, for this scroll was the only thing that the Father held in His hand.  God required nothing in addition to that which was contained in this scroll.  But, conversely, God required everything that the breaking of the seals would reveal.

These redemptive terms, different judgments, are seen being brought to pass in a triad of sevens:

1.  The opening of the seven-sealed scroll (Revelation 6:1-17; 8:1).

2.  The sounding of seven trumpets (Revelation 8:2-10:11; 11:15-19).

3.  The pouring out of seven bowls (Revelation 15:1-16:21).

Revelation 6 reveals that which occurs when the first six seals have been broken.  Then, following an aside in Revelation 7 — providing information about 144,000 Jews being sealed (Revelation 7:1-8;
cf. Revelation 14:1-5), along with information concerning saved individuals who had been slain during the Tribulation (Revelation 7:9-17) — the seventh seal is broken (Revelation 8:1).  And judgments being brought to pass when this final seal is broken must complete all that God requires for the redemption of the inheritance.

The breaking of this seventh and final seal produces “silence in heaven for about half an hour.”  The reason for this silence is not given in the text, though seemingly evident.  This is the final seal on the scroll, judgments under this seal will bring the whole of the matter to a conclusion, and these judgments are shown to be of a severity unparalleled in man’s 6,000-year history (cf. Jeremiah 30:6-7; Matthew 24:21-22).

Following the silence after the seventh seal has been broken, John sees seven angels standing before God.  Each angel is given a trumpet, and these seven angels then sound the trumpets in a successive manner, with judgments occurring in connection with each (Revelation 8:2-10:11; 11:15-19).

The sounding of the seven trumpets forms the judgments revealed when the seventh seal on the scroll is broken.  These are the judgments under the seventh seal, and the sounding of these seven trumpets brings to pass all of the judgments seen when this final seal is broken.

Then, it is plain from comparing certain things in Revelation 10; 11; 15; 16; that the judgments revealed when the seventh trumpet sounds are referred to later in the book as “the seven last plagues” or “the bowls of the wrath of God” (Revelation 15:1; 16:1 [possibly referred to by the “seven thunders” in Revelation 10:3-4, with Revelation 10:11 being fulfilled through events seen in Revelation 15; 16]).

Seven angels are each given a bowl (KJV: vial), and these angels pour out their bowls in successive order (Revelation 16:2-17).  The pouring out of these bowls forms the judgments seemingly introduced when the seventh trumpet has sounded, and they complete all that God requires for the redemption of the inheritance.

Through the manner in which all of this is structured in the book of Revelation, completeness is shown by the breaking of the seven seals on the scroll, completeness is again shown by the sounding of the seven trumpets, and completeness is again shown by the pouring out of the seven bowls.

Completeness would have to be shown by the breaking of the seals on the scroll, for this scroll is all that the Father held in His right hand in Revelation 5.  Then, completeness would again have to be shown by the sounding of the trumpets, for these trumpets comprise all of the judgments under the seventh seal.  And completeness would again have to be shown by the pouring out of the bowls, for these bowls comprise all of the judgments revealed when the seventh trumpet has sounded.

(God has an affinity for the use of numbers in His Word, with numbers carrying specific meanings and used to depict spiritual truths.  “Three” is a number showing divine perfection; and “seven” is God’s number, a number that He uses to show the completeness of that which is in view.  This triad of sevens [seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls], used relative to a future redemptive work, shows divine perfection in God’s complete work [a triad of sevens] relating to the redemption of the inheritance.)

Relative to completeness seen in the seven trumpets and again in the seven bowls, note that which is stated in Revelation 10; 11 in connection with the sounding of the seventh trumpet and that which is stated in Revelation 16 in connection with the pouring out of the seventh bowl:

but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:7).

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms [lit., “The kingdom of this world is become that”] of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Revelation 11:15).

Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” (Revelation 16:17).

By and through the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 10:7; 11:15), the revelation of God, which began in a progressive manner in Genesis 1:1, is seen to be fully opened up and made known.  And this will have been accomplished through the revelation, the unveiling, of God’s Son, the subject matter of the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:1).  The inseparable nature of the Father and the Son (John 1:1-2, 14) necessitates that a complete revelation of One would, as well, be a complete revelation of the Other.

Then, by and through the sounding of this seventh trumpet, matters as they relate to the redemption of the inheritance are also seen to be complete, with the kingdom of this world (one world kingdom that had heretofore been under Satan’s rule) becoming that “of our Lord and of His Christ” (Revelation 11:15).

The scepter being removed from Satan’s hand and placed in Christ’s hand is also seen occurring when the seven bowls of wrath have been poured out.  When the seventh trumpet sounds, Scripture views the matter in the sense that these seven bowls have already been poured out, for, as will be seen in subsequent chapters in this site (Chapters 16-18, Silence in Heaven (1), Silence in Heaven (2), Silence in Heaven (3)), these seven bowl judgments simply form further descriptions of the seven trumpet judgments, providing additional detail and commentary.

This is why attention can be called to the Father being fully revealed in the person of His Son and why the transfer of power in the kingdom can be viewed as occurring at the time an angel sounds the seventh trumpet
(Revelation 10:7; 11:15).

This same thing is also seen immediately after the seventh bowl has been poured out, shown by the words “It is done” (Revelation 16:17).  Matters at this point are brought to exactly the same final state as previously seen at the time an angel sounds the seventh trumpet in Revelation 10:7; 11:15.  Both simply form descriptions of the same thing.

The words “It is done” in Revelation 16:17 are revealed to come directly from God’s throne.  These words — one word in the Greek text in the perfect tense (ginomai) — form a climactic statement, proclaimed in a loud voice.  And, by and through the perfect tense which was used, this statement refers to a work (a redemptive work) completed in past time, with the results of this work existing during present time in a finished state.  A more literal rendering would be, “It has been completed,” or “It has come to pass.”

(Note, for example, how the perfect tense is used relative to Christ’s redemptive work when He cried out from the Cross, “It is finished” [also one word in the Greek text (teleō), proclaimed in a loud voice
(cf. Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30)].  A more literal rendering would be “It has been finished [‘completed’].”  Everything relating to Christ’s work at Calvary had been finished at this point in time, and this work would exist forever in this finished state.  Nothing could be added or taken from that which Christ had done.  Thus, He could now willingly relinquish His life, committing His spirit to the Father, which is what occurred.

And exactly this same type of completed work is seen in connection with God’s work surrounding the redemption of the inheritance after the seventh bowl has been poured out.  This act completes all work in connection with the redemption of the inheritance, all of this work will have occurred in past time, this work will then exist in a finished state, and this work will exist forever in this finished state.)

Viewing the complete scope of the matter, the seven-sealed scroll contains all that God requires for the redemption of the inheritance.  Judgments that are seen through the sounding of the seven trumpets come to pass when the seventh seal is broken.  Then the subsequently revealed seven bowls of wrath are judgments that, as previously seen, provide further detail and commentary for the seven trumpet judgments.  Thus, this places both the judgments shown through the sounding of the seven trumpets and the corresponding judgments shown through the pouring out of the seven bowls all under the seventh seal.  All of these judgments are inseparably tied together in this manner.

In this respect, once the seventh seal has been broken (Revelation 8:1), identical conditions would have to exist as later are seen when the seventh trumpet sounds (Revelation 10:7; 11:15) or when the seventh bowl is poured out (Revelation 16:17).  Matters can be viewed as having reached the same final state from any one of these three vantage points.

(Relative to the thought of finality in the preceding, note comments in Ch. 19, The Opened Scroll, concerning the actions of the angel sounding the seventh trumpet [Revelation 10:1ff], particularly his concluding statement in connection with these actions in Revelation 10:6 concerning “time” no longer existing.)

A Chronology of Events

The opening of the seven seals, the sounding of the seven trumpets, and the corresponding pouring out of the seven bowls occur in the book of Revelation in a chronological sequence.  However, two things need to be kept in mind:

1)  These judgments — which seemingly form separate judgments, following closely on the heels of one another — are not all separate judgments, as might first appear.  In fact, most are not.  Most provide further information on one or more preceding judgments.  This is the place many go wrong when studying the book of Revelation, resulting in confusion.

That is to say, some revealed events stand alone, forming separate judgments.  But others hold the same relationship to one another as seen in the relationship between the seven trumpets and the seven bowls (with later revealed judgments being further descriptions of former revealed judgments, providing additional information).

(All of this will become evident in subsequent chapters, particularly in Chapters 14-18, Souls Under the Altar, The Great Seismos, Silence in Heaven (1), Silence in Heaven (2), Silence in Heaven (3), The Opened Scroll, The Two Witnesses.)

2)  Then, judgments beginning with the breaking of one seal (e.g., the second seal) do not necessarily have to be completed before judgments in connection with a subsequent seal can begin (e.g., the third seal).  Many of these judgments will undoubtedly overlap succeeding judgments (e.g., judgments seen when the second seal is broken may continue throughout judgments revealed when the remaining five seals are broken [and if so, they would, of necessity, continue through judgments revealed by the sounding of the seven trumpets and the corresponding pouring out of the seven bowls]).

Many of these judgments, because of their very nature, would have to overlap one another (e.g., note the judgments coming to pass when the second, third, and fourth seals are broken [Revelation 6:3-8]).

And this, of course, would shed light on Christ’s words to His disciples about conditions on earth during that future time:

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake [Israel’s sake] those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:21-22)

Thus, by and though the breaking of the seven seals of the scroll (Revelation 6; 8), the sounding of the seven trumpets (Revelation 8; 9; 11 [11b]), and the pouring out of the seven bowls (Revelation 15; 16), are seen occurring in a successive order, judgments revealed through this sequence do not necessarily refer to a succession of judgments.  As previously seen, at times (actually, more often than not), subsequently revealed judgments form further descriptions of previously revealed judgments.

And the same thing is seen by and through revealed events in Revelation 7; 11-14; 17-19.  These chapters depict different events occurring during the same time that the seals on the scroll are being broken
(Revelation 6; 8), as well as depicting events that overlap one another or events occurring at the same time.  A chronological sequence of events can be seen within a chapter or part of a chapter, but this same chronological sequence of events cannot necessarily be seen as one moves from chapter to chapter.

For example, the first part of Revelation 7 provides information about the sealing of 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each tribe (with the tribe of Manasseh, descendants of Joseph‘s firstborn, replacing the tribe of Dan).  It is clear from related Scripture that this will occur near the middle of the Tribulation, and it is evident that most of the events seen in the previous chapter, Revelation 6, (depicted by the breaking of the first of the six seals) occur during the last half of the Tribulation (the breaking of the second seal allows events that undoubtedly begin to occur in the middle of the Tribulation to be shown; and the breaking of the remaining five seals allows events that occur during the last half of the Tribulation to be shown).

Or note the ministry of the two witnesses in Revelation 11.  They, of necessity, will prophesy during the first part of the Tribulation.  Thus, they will appear on the scene about the same time that the first seal on the scroll is broken in Revelation 6.  And Revelation 11 goes on to relate events that will occur during the last half of the Tribulation as well, covering the complete seven years.  Events in this chapter carry one forward to the same point in time seen in the previous chapter — to the time when an angel sounds the seventh trumpet
(cf. Revelation 10:7; 11:15).

Then note events in Revelation 12.  These events occur during time covering at least most of the Tribulation, particularly the last half.  Events in Revelation 13 begin in about the middle of the Tribulation and occur during the last half, and events in Revelation 14 appear to cover in about the same time.  Or note Revelation 17; 18.  These chapters sequentially or chronologically follow the pouring out of the seventh bowl (Revelation 16:17).  But events in these chapters, of necessity, will have to occur before this seventh bowl is poured out (some long before), during the same time that some of the events in previous chapters are seen occurring.

All of these chapters (Revelation 7; 11-14; 17-19 [11a, 19a]) cover different related subjects, with numerous events in these chapters occurring at the same time.  These events may or may not begin at the same time, but they all move toward or end at the same time — with events surrounding Christ’s return at the end of Man’s Day, with the Lord’s Day to follow.

Actually, Scripture as a whole, along with numerous parts of Scripture, is structured in this manner.  Scripture will often go over a complete sequence, then drop back and go over either part or all of this sequence again, in a different manner, adding detail.

And the end or goal is always the same.  It is always the same as seen in the way Genesis begins, or as seen in the way John began his gospel — moving beyond six days into the seventh day, moving beyond Man’s Day into the Lord’s Day — which is exactly the way matters are seen moving in the book of Revelation.

As It Was, So Shall It Be

Slightly over thirteen of the twenty-two chapters in the book of Revelation (Revelation 6-19) have to do with events that will occur during the coming seven-year Tribulation or at the time of Christ’s return immediately following.  And Revelation 5 could be added, for this entire chapter has to do with the seven-sealed scroll, which began to be opened in Revelation 6.

Thus, things having to do with this seven-year period (the final seven years of Man’s Day), or with events immediately following, at the time of Christ’s return, form the subject matter making up about two-thirds of the content in this closing book of Scripture.

This future time is not only a major subject in this closing book of Scripture but also a major subject of Old Testament prophecy.  And this could only be expected, for there is nothing in the New that does not have its roots in the Old.  The New is simply the Old opened up and revealed, and a major subject of one could only be a major subject of the other as well (cf. Luke 17:26-30; 24:25-27, 44).

1)  Moses

The future Tribulation period is seen time after time in the types, particularly in the opening two books of Scripture.

This future time, along with events immediately following, is dealt with at length in the first eleven chapters of Genesis, covering the first 2,000 years of human history.  And matters that concern the last seven years of Man’s Day, along with immediately following events, occupy major sections of these eleven chapters.

These things are seen in events occurring during Noah’s day (Genesis 6; 7; 8; 9), along with succeeding events occurring during Nimrod’s day (Genesis 10; 11 [11a]).

Following a man being removed from the earth alive (Enoch in Genesis 5:21-24, typifying the removal of Christians at the rapture), Noah and his family, typifying Israel, were protected in an ark during a time of worldwide destruction, typifying the Tribulation (Genesis 6; 8).  And a new beginning followed this destruction
(Genesis 9; 10; 11 [11a]).

Noah’s son, Shem, of the lineage through which Abraham would come, was the only son revealed to have a God (Genesis 9:26-27).  Thus, in this new beginning, he was the designated son through whom spiritual blessings for the other two sons would flow, producing a foundational, unchangeable type. 

Then, the type is continued in the next two chapters, with details provided.  Nimrod was the first king of Babylon (Genesis 10:8-10), as Antichrist will be the last king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:4; Daniel 2:40-43; 7:17, 23-25).  The Lord stepped in and put a stop to matters as they existed in Nimrod’s kingdom (Genesis 11:1-9), as He will do yet future during the days of Babylon’s last king (Isaiah 14:24-27; Daniel 2:44-45; 8:9, 23-25).

Additional information on the type is then seen beginning in the latter part of Genesis 11.  Abraham, a descendant of Shem, is called to go into a particular land, realize an inheritance therein, and be the channel through whom God would bless the nations (descendants of Ham and Japheth, along with non-Hebrew descendants of Shem [e.g., later in time, the Arabic nations]).

Then, the subsequent destruction of Gentile power, paralleling that which is previously seen in Genesis 10; 11, is seen in the battle of the kings in Genesis 14, followed by Melchizedek (a king-priest in Jerusalem) appearing with bread and wine to bless Abraham.

And the fulfillment of this in the antitype will be exactly the same.  Following the Tribulation, the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob will be removed from a worldwide dispersion to realize an inheritance in the same land to which Abraham was called, and in this land they will be the channel through which God will bless the nations (Genesis 12:1-3).

Then, the subsequent destruction of Gentile world power (foreshadowed in Genesis 14) is seen in sections of Scripture such as Ezekiel 38:8-23; 39:1ff; Joel 2:1-11, 20; 3:1-16, followed by Christ appearing as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek (a King-Priest in Jerusalem) to bless the descendants of Abraham, the nation of Israel (cf. Matthew 26:29).

And there are other types in Genesis dealing with different facets of this coming time of trouble and that which follows (e.g., the destruction of the cities of the plain, followed by Abraham’s position on the mount [Genesis 18; 19]; or the time of famine following a time of plenty during Joseph’s day, followed by Joseph making himself known to his brothers [Genesis 41; 42; 43; 44; 45], with his brothers then going forth with a dual message:  “Joseph is still alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt.” [Genesis 45:26]).

Then Exodus begins with a type having to do with the coming Tribulation — the Israelites being persecuted in Egypt (a type of the world) by an Assyrian Pharaoh, typifying Antichrist who is referred to as an Assyrian, for he will arise from within the borders of the ancient Assyrian kingdom (cf. Isaiah 10:5; 14:25; Daniel 8:8-9; Micah 5:5).  And the book of Exodus continues from that point, showing that which will occur when the Israelites — scattered throughout the world and persecuted by the Assyrian — are brought to the end of themselves and cry out to the God of their fathers, exactly as seen in the type.

All of these types, among many other types, present different parts of the same word picture, with the complete picture being seen only from all of its different parts (e.g., almost the entire book of Esther deals with this subject, depicting the actions of Haman as he sought to destroy the Jewish people).  And, once an individual begins to clearly see this Old Testament word picture, as it is presented in many different parts, he will then be in a much better position to understand the New Testament counterpart in the book of Revelation.

2)  The Psalms

This future period is dealt with time after time in the Psalms as well, though usually within a broader scope of God’s manifested wrath than just the final seven years.  A structure seen in many of the Psalms is deliverance by Israel’s God following persecution at the hands of Israel’s enemies, with the final and worst of the persecutors typified by men such as the Assyrian Pharaoh in Exodus or Haman in Esther.

Psalm 2 would be characteristic of the broad scope of Gentile persecution often in view, with the matter carried to the very end.  The first three verses introduce a Messianic Psalm.  Contextually, these verses would have to do with Gentile world power at the time of Christ’s return, with that seen in this Psalm occurring immediately following the seven-year Tribulation.  But these verses are used in Acts 4:25ff relative to Gentile powers at the time of Christ’s first coming as well.  And many of the Psalms would lend themselves to this type latitude when mention is made of Gentile powers, with the end of the matter always in view and often placed at the forefront, as in the Psalm 2.

Psalm 83 would be of particular interest in the preceding respect.  This Psalm has to do with ten nations which have “consulted together with one consent.”  These nations are seen to be “confederate against” Israel
(Psalm 83:5-8).  And, together, they have said,

. . . Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more. (Psalm 83:4)

The nations mentioned in this Psalm are all Middle East nations.  This Psalm, as Psalm 2, has to do with Antichrist’s ten-kingdom federation of nations immediately following the Tribulation, which, as in this Psalm, will be Middle East nations, not European as is often erroneously thought.  But, though the Psalm has to do centrally with a future alliance of nations, a present-day application of the Psalm (similar to that seen in Psalm 2) is too obvious to miss.

Over the past half century, from Nasser, to Arafat, to Ahmadinejad the cry from certain leaders in nations surrounding Israel has been the same as in Psalm 83:4.  But what will be the end of the matter?  This same Psalm goes on to relate that which will occur.  God will take care of the matter in His Own time and way, as He always does (Psalm 83:13-18).

3)  The Prophets

It would be pointless to even attempt to begin listing places in the prophets which deal with this future time, particularly the conclusion of God’s plans and purposes when the Jewish people have been brought to the end of themselves, crying out to the God of their fathers.

The main message of the prophets centers on God’s call to a disobedient people to repent, showing conditions both preceding and following repentance.  And the main purpose for God’s wrath befalling His people, as seen in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, is to bring to pass His call through the prophets.

God desires to possess an obedient people through whom He can bless the Gentile nations of the earth.

(See Breaking of Seals plus Trumpet and Vial Judgments LINK in this website.)

Chapter 12

Daniel’s Seventy Weeks

Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.”

And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Revelation 6:1-2)

Time during which the inheritance is redeemed (time covering the breaking of the seven seals on the scroll, resulting in ensuing judgments) [Revelation 6; 8; 9; 10; 11; 15; 16 {11b} ]) and time covered by corresponding events (depicted in Revelation 7; 11; 12; 13; 14; 17; 18; 19  [11a, 19a] ) is often referred to as Daniel’s Seventieth Week.  In Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9:24-27), sixty-nine have been fulfilled, and one remains to be fulfilled.  This last week, a period of time covering seven years (the complete prophecy covers 490 years), forms the time during which events in Revelation 6-19 will occur.

Times of the Gentiles

Daniel, in the overall scope of his book, deals with the Jewish people in relation to the Times of the Gentiles, with a particular emphasis on that which will occur during the final seven years of this time.  And the book also goes on to relate that which will occur once the Times of the Gentiles has run its course.

The final seven years of the Times of the Gentiles, where Daniel places the emphasis, are singled out in Daniel’s prophecy as the final week of the Seventy-Week prophecy.  Then, immediately following the end of this time would be events leading into the Messianic Era or events within the Messianic Era.

The Times of the Gentiles, succinctly defined, is that period of time when Israel finds the scepter removed from her hand and placed in the hands of the Gentile nations.

The Times of the Gentiles began with the Babylonian captivity about 605 B.C., when the southern two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) began to be uprooted from their land and transported captive to Babylon (the Jewish people being uprooted from their land and being taken captive to Babylon in this manner occurred in three stages, lasting about nineteen years, until 586 B.C.).

The northern ten tribes had previously been carried away captive by the Assyrians, over one hundred years before (beginning abt. 722 B.C.).  And an uprooting of the southern two tribes completed the dispersion of the Jewish people, bringing an end to the theocracy. 

The Times of the Gentiles will end following the Jewish people being brought to the place of repentance.  And this will occur by the Jewish people being brought to the end of themselves through judgments during the coming Tribulation, during Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week, during the time covered by Revelation 6-19 [19a].

The Jewish people, following their repentance and acceptance of the nation’s Messiah, will be gathered out of the nations and be restored to a healed land.  Then, Gentile world power will be destroyed, the scepter will be taken from the hands of the nations, and it will be given back to Israel, within a restored theocracy.

Daniel deals with the Times of the Gentiles solely in relation to Babylon.  Gentile world power is seen centered in Babylon at the beginning, for several subsequent centuries during, and at the end of this time.

The Times of the Gentiles is introduced in Daniel by and through a dream.  God had placed the dream in Nebuchadnezzar’s mind, and God then revealed the dream and the interpretation to Daniel, who made both known to the king.

The dream is given in Daniel 2:31-35, and the interpretation follows in Daniel 2:37-45.  The dream has to do with “a great image” that is seen standing in Babylon, consisting of four parts, representing four periods of the Babylonian kingdom during the “times of the Gentiles”:

1)  Head of gold, representing the kingdom under Nebuchadnezzar and any immediate successors prior to its conquest by the Medo-Persian Empire (about 605-538 B.C.).

2)  Breast and arms of silver, representing the kingdom under the Medes and the Persians prior to its conquest by the Grecian Empire (about 538-330 B.C.).

3)  Belly and thighs of brass, representing the kingdom under Greece (about 330-323 B.C.;  then, following Alexander the Great’s death in 323 B.C. and a four-way division of the kingdom, the kingdom of Babylon gradually faded from view as a world power).

4)  Legs of iron and feet part of iron and part of clay, representing the kingdom under Antichrist (Daniel’s Seventieth Week, yet future, with Babylon re-emerging as the center of world power).

The dream involved God’s revelation to man concerning the Times of the Gentiles, from beginning to end, with a particular emphasis on the end, the last seven years (e.g., more space is give to the fourth part of the image in Daniel 2 than to all the other three parts combined; and the same thing is seen in other parts of the book when the whole of the kingdom is in view [cf. Daniel 7-8, 11]).

God gave the dream about the “great image” by and through the Gentile world ruler of that day (Daniel 2:1ff).  God then revealed both the dream and the interpretation to a Hebrew prophet (Daniel 2:19-23), in complete accord with a principle that He had previously laid down:

He declares His Word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel.

He has not dealt thus with any nation [Gentile]; and as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 147:19-20)

Or note Romans 3:1-2 in this same respect:

What advantage then hath the Jew . . . ?

Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.

God simply does not reveal His Word through Gentiles.  Though God had caused a Gentile king to dream, it took a Jewish prophet to make the dream known and to reveal the interpretation.

There is no such thing as God, in past time, using a Gentile to author a book in Scripture (note, for example, the fallacious teaching that Luke was a Gentile, which would have had God revealing His Word in the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts to a Gentile).  That would be out of line with God’s clear statement from the Psalms or from Romans.

Gentile world power is seen existing in Babylon for almost three hundred years at the beginning, but it is seen existing in Babylon for only seven years at the end.  Nebuchadnezzar was the king in Babylon at the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles, and Antichrist will be the king in Babylon at the end of this time.

Babylon was the world power when the southern two tribes were carried away captive, and the Israelites were, accordingly, taken to Babylon.  Assyria had been the world power when the northern ten tribes had previously been carried away captive, and those removed from the land at this time had, accordingly, been taken to Assyria.  But, following this time, Babylon had conquered the Assyrian empire.

Thus, it is only natural that the Times of the Gentiles in Scripture would have a peculiar relationship to Babylon.  This period of time began with a world kingdom in Babylon, it continued for almost three hundred years with a world kingdom in Babylon, and it will end with a world kingdom in Babylon.  This is how Daniel presents matters in his book.

(The preceding is further developed in Ch. 28, Judgment of the Great Harlot.)

This is also why Israel in her harlotry is seen associated with Babylon so much in the book of Revelation.  This book, as it has to do with Israel (Revelation 6-19 [19a]), relates God’s dealings with this nation during the last seven years of the Times of the Gentiles, when Babylon reappears as the main power among the Gentile nations.  And Israel, scattered among the nations, will find herself in the same position as seen at the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles — dwelling within a Babylonian kingdom and committing harlotry in relation to this kingdom, which is exactly the way Revelation chapters seventeen through the opening verses of chapter nineteen (Revelation 17-19 [19a]) present matters.

(For a more detailed exposition of Daniel’s image, refer to Ch. 24,  The Beast — In the Book of Daniel, and to the author’s book, The Time of Jacob's Trouble by Arlen Chitwood, pp. 28ff.  Also, concerning Israel’s harlotry, particularly in relation to Babylon, refer to this same book [the book in general, for Israel’s harlotry forms the central subject matter of this book].  Another is Daniel Chapters Two, Seven, and Nine in this site.

Also, note that Daniel’s image presents matters as if the Babylonian power represented by the fourth part of the image [the future kingdom under Antichrist] immediately follows, in time, that which is seen represented by the third part of the image [the kingdom under Greece].  However, there is a gap of over two millennia between these two parts of the kingdom, which is not seen in the prophecy.

This may seem strange to the Western way of viewing material of this nature, but not so with those in the East.  Those in the East are interested in the next important event, not in the time which might intervene between two events.  And Scripture, humanly speaking, is an Eastern book.

Franz Delitzsch, a Hebrew scholar from past years, put the matter in these words:

“Prophecy sees together what history unrolls as separate.”

This same thing can be seen in Daniel’s vision of the “four great beasts” in Daniel 7 and the interpretation of the vision in Daniel 8.  These four great beasts simply present another picture of the four parts of the image in Daniel 2, with added details provided in the interpretation.  And, as in Daniel 2, the complete prophecy presents matters as if there were no break in time between any of the four parts, though the same break in time exists between the third and fourth parts as exists between the third and fourth parts of the image.

Examples of this same thing can be seen in other parts of Scripture as well.  This is simply a peculiarity of the way Scripture is structured, which is seen at the very beginning, in the opening two verses of Scripture.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. [Genesis 1:1-2]

Scripture presents all of the events in these two verses together, as if no break in time exists.  But, in reality, two breaks in time exist, a break between the two verses, and another break between the first two sentences and the third sentence in Genesis 1:2.

Note another similar example in Isaiah 9:6.  Over two millennia lie between the first sentence and the remainder of the verse, though Scripture places all of these events together, as if no break in time exists:

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 Or, another example would be Isaiah 61:1-2:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.

Christ, in the synagogue in Nazareth, read most of this passage from a scroll; but He stopped with the words, “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”  Then, after rolling the scroll up and handing it to the minister, He sat down.  And the eyes of all those in the synagogue were fastened upon Him when He said,

Today this Scripture is fulfilled [lit., ‘This day this Scripture has been fulfilled’ (Greek: perfect tense, pointing to a fulfillment in past time, with the matter existing during present time in that finished state)] in your hearing” [Luke 4:16-21].

Christ stopped reading at this point in the passage because the remainder had to do with events that would occur at the time of His second coming.  But note how the whole of the matter has been placed together in the two verses.

And understanding the manner in which Scripture is structured in this respect is vitally necessary when studying Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy.  The complete prophecy, covering 490 years, appears to be fulfilled without a break in time throughout any part of the prophecy.  But a break in time between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks has to be recognized [for evident reasons that will be shown].  And this break has already lasted almost two millennia.)

Seventy Sevens

Seventy weeks [seventy sevens] are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there shall be seven weeks [seven sevens], and sixty-two weeks [threescore and two sevens]; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.

And after the sixty-two weeks [threescore and two sevens] Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself [lit., “and shall have nothing”]; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined [lit., “and to the end war and desolations are determined”].

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week [‘one seven’]; but in the middle of the week [the seven] he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate (Daniel 9:24-27).

The word “week” or “weeks” in the prophecy is the English rendering of the Hebrew word, shabua, which is a septenary number and could be better rendered “seven” or “sevens.”  Therefore, for the remainder of this chapter, this is the terminology that will be used.

The word Shabua is used two places in the book of Daniel — in Daniel 9:24-27 NIV and a couple of verses later in Daniel 10:2-3 NIV.  The word itself does not designate the length of the seven.  The length (days, years, etc.) must be determined from the text and/or context.

In Daniel 9 NIV, the prophecy consisting of seventy sevens is an end result of Daniel’s prayer concerning Israel’s captivity in Babylon.  Daniel had understood from Jeremiah’s prophecy that the captivity in Babylon would last seventy years (Daniel 9:2; cf. Jeremiah 25:11-12); he knew that this time was about up and he had sought the Lord’s face through “prayer and supplication, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.”

He had confessed over and over the sins of the people, which had resulted in their captivity (Daniel 9:3-19;
cf. Leviticus 26:33-35, 40-42; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Jeremiah 29:10-14).  And while Daniel was presenting himself before the Lord in this manner, the angel Gabriel (who had been sent at the very beginning of his prayer and supplication) appeared to him, making known to Daniel that he was there to provide more “skill to understand” surrounding the matter Daniel had been praying about (Daniel 9:20-23).  Then, to bring this to pass, Gabriel made known to Daniel the prophecy of the Seventy Sevens (Daniel 9:24-27 NIV).

“Years” are in view in the context of the prophecy — the seventy-year captivity in Babylon from Jeremiah’s prophecy that Daniel had been praying about.  Thus, it would only be natural to continue this thought and understand the prophecy of the Seventy Sevens as sevens of years.

This would be in contrast to the only other place in the book of Daniel where the Hebrew word shabua appears, in Daniel 10:2-3.  In these two verses, the shabua is specifically stated to be sevens of days.  The Hebrew text has the word for “days” (yom) following the word shabua, letting the reader know that the sevens in view here are different than the sevens in the immediately preceding section (Daniel 9:24-27 NIV).

(Most English translations [e.g., KJV, ASV, NASB] use “weeks” to translate shabua in both places in Daniel, probably causing an element of confusion, for the context in one shows that sevens of years are in view, and the text in the other shows that sevens of days are in view.  The NIV translators took a different approach, using “sevens” in Daniel 9 NIV but “weeks” in Daniel 10 NIV.)

In short, the angel Gabriel made known to Daniel that it was not just ten sevens (70 years) but seventy sevens (490 years) that the Jewish people would have to remain in Gentile lands before being reestablished in their own land, with that which is seen introduced at the beginning of the prophecy then brought to pass — “to finish the transgression . . . .” (Daniel 9:24b).

(The seventy years spent in Babylon, in one respect, foreshadow a much longer period of time during which the land from which the Jewish people had been uprooted would, of necessity, lie fallow and realize her Sabbaths.  The land would need to lie fallow for seventy Sabbath years, something necessary to fulfill the requirements of the Law [Leviticus 25:3-5; 26:33-35; cf. 2 Chronicles 36:20-21].  And, with a Sabbath year occurring only once every seven years, this would require seven times seventy years — four hundred ninety years.

This is what the angel Gabriel made known to Daniel through the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27.  A remnant would be allowed to return at the end of seventy years.  But the return of the entire nation and the restoration of the theocracy would have to await the complete fulfillment of the four hundred ninety years.

Then, in another respect, according to Jeremiah’s prophecy, the Israelites had spent the complete time removed from their land, in Gentile lands, which God had specified [seventy years — a complete period of time (7X10, both numbers showing completeness)].  Also, according to Jeremiah’s prophecy
[Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10-14], concerning God visiting and restoring the Jewish people at the end of these seventy years, the entire nation could have returned at this time had national repentance occurred.

But the nation, by large, at the end of these seventy years had settled down in Babylon and remained unrepentant.  Thus, any continued restoration of the nation beyond a returning remnant — with repentance shown by a remnant of the people [e.g., Daniel 9:1-19] — did not occur at this time.  And another period of time during which Israel would have to remain in Gentile lands was revealed — not just seventy years this time but intensified by SEVEN [7X70], four hundred ninety years.  The time during which the Jewish people would remain dispersed among the nations was increased in exact accordance with God’s warning previously revealed through Moses [Leviticus 26:14-21].

Something very similar to the seemingly paradoxical overall scope of the preceding was seen almost six hundred years later.  This occurred in connection with the Jewish people very near the end of the four hundred ninety years, during the offer and re-offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel, contingent on national repentance [as seen in the gospel accounts and the book of Acts].

In one respect, had national repentance occurred, the kingdom would have been restored to Israel at the full end of Daniel’s prophecy [with time in the last “seven” (seventieth week) of the prophecy being brought to completion].  But, in another respect, the kingdom could not have been restored to Israel at this time; time in the prophecy, of necessity, had to stop one “seven” short of completion [e.g., only 4,000 of the 6,000 years in the septenary arrangement of time during Man’s Day, introduced in Genesis 1:1-2:3, had expired; and the 2,000-year dispensation in which God would deal with the Church, seen, for example, in Genesis 24, must yet occur].)

Also, between the end of the seventy years of Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the Israelites in Babylon and the beginning of Daniel’s prophecy of the four hundred ninety years, bringing matters surrounding the dispersion of the Jewish people to a close, there is another break in time.  Jeremiah’s prophecy of the seventy years ended about 535 B.C., but Daniel’s prophecy concerning the four hundred ninety years did not begin until about 444 B.C.

The prophecy of the Seventy Sevens begins with “the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem” (Daniel 9:25a), and that command, according to Nehemiah 1; 2 was issued by the Persian king, Artaxerxes, in the twentieth year of his reign, which, according to secular history, was 445 or 444 B.C.

(There are earlier decrees in Ezra, issued by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes [Ezra 1:1-2; 4:1-5, 11-24; 6:1-5, 14-15; 7:11, 20, 27], which had to do with the Temple.  But the decree by Artaxerxes in Nehemiah is the only decree issued that had to do with the city itself, which the prophecy in Daniel specifically singles out [Daniel 2:1ff].  And this is the only decree that fits the chronology of the prophecy in Daniel; and it fits this chronology exactly, to the day.)

From the issuing of the decree by Artaxerxes “to restore and build Jerusalem” until the time Israel’s Messiah appeared (cf. Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1ff) would be sixty-nine sevens (483 years), and at the end of this time Israel’s Messiah would be “cut off” (Daniel 9:25-26a).

(The Hebrew word translated “cut off,” karath, is used many times in the Old Testament referring to the death of individuals [e.g., Leviticus 7:20, 25, 27; Numbers 19:13, 20].  And it is apparent that this is the manner in which the word is used relative to Israel’s Messiah in Daniel 9:26a.

To see and understand how the time from Artaxerxes’ decree to Christ’s crucifixion is exactly 483 years [using 444 B.C. and 33 A.D. respectively], note these figures:  444 + 33 = 477 years.  But these are years of 365 days per year, and Scripture uses a 360-day year [cf. Genesis 7:11, 24; 8:3-4; Daniel 7:25; Revelation 11:2-3; 12:14; 13:5].  To convert, the total number of days is needed.  Thus, 477 X 365.25 [.25 added for leap years] = 174,224 days.  Then, divide 174,224 by 360, which gives 483.96 years.  But bear in mind that only parts of the first and last years are to be used, which would leave exactly 483 years if the correct beginning and ending dates within their corresponding years were used [444 B.C. and 33 A.D.].

Thus, the Jewish people at the time of Christ’s first appearance could have looked at Daniel’s prophecy and Artaxerxes’ decree and not only have known that their Messiah would be in their midst in 33 A.D. but also that they would slay their Messiah that year.  Christ was the Paschal Lamb, this Lamb was given to Israel, only Israel could slay this Lamb, and knowledgeable Jews would have known that.  In fact, a knowledgeable Jew could have known the exact day and time Israel would slay their Messiah in 33 A.D., for he would have known the exact day and time when Israel would slay the paschal lambs.)

Then, according to Daniel’s prophecy, the Messianic Era would be ushered in seven years following Messiah’s death [cf. Daniel 9:24, 26].  But, of course, this didn’t happen.  Instead, God stopped the clock, so to speak, at the time Israel crucified her Messiah; and the last seven years await a future fulfillment.

The break in time occurs in the middle of verse twenty-six (Daniel 9:26), between Messiah’s death and “the people of the prince that shall come,” who will destroy “the city [Jerusalem] and the sanctuary [the rebuilt Temple on the Temple Mount].”  The “people of the prince that shall come” is a Hebrew idiom referring to the prince himself (cf. Daniel 7:18, 27 where this same expression is used).

(Note that this destruction of Jerusalem and the sanctuary can only refer to a future destruction, not to the past destruction in 70 A.D., as often taught [cf. Matthew 24:15-23; Luke 21:20-24; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 11:1-2]  Events in the prophecy must occur during time covered by the prophecy itself.)

This destroying prince is the man who will have made the seven-year covenant “with many” in Israel, marking the beginning of the last seven years of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:27).  This is the man seen riding forth on a white horse in the book of Revelation when the first seal is broken, “conquering, and to conquer” (Revelation 6:1-2).).  And, as the ratifying of this covenant will mark the beginning of the seventieth seven in the book of Daniel, the breaking of the first seal of the scroll will mark the beginning of this period in the book of Revelation.

(Some have sought to see the antecedent of the pronoun “he” in Daniel 9:27 [the one who makes the covenant with many in Israel] referring back to the Messiah who was to be slain rather than to the prince that would come in Daniel 9:26.  Grammatically, either could conceivably be the antecedent.  However, “the prince” is the nearer antecedent, and the rules of grammar always favor the nearer as the antecedent in cases of this nature, unless, of course, something in the passage clearly shows that it isn’t.

In this case though, such doesn’t exist.  In fact, the passage clearly shows just the opposite, that “Messiah” couldn’t possibly be the antecedent [e.g., Israel’s Messiah didn’t make a covenant with His people at the time of His first coming; and the Jewish sacrifices didn’t stop until the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.].)

When this future prince appears and makes his covenant “with many” in Israel, the Jewish people, in accordance with time in the prophecy, will be placed in the position of having just crucified their Messiah.  The crucifixion occurred at the very end of and closed out the sixty-ninth seven.  The Jewish people, time-wise in relation to the prophecy, will then be living at the very beginning of the seventieth and last seven.  Time for them will be exactly as if Christ were still on the Cross, or had just been placed in the tomb, awaiting resurrection.  And God will deal with the Jewish people accordingly (cf. Matthew 23:37-39).

But Daniel’s prophecy is about to be fulfilled, with the third day, referenced through events at the beginning of the prophecy, about to dawn.  And on this day, the opposite of Christ occupying space on a cross or in a tomb will be in view.  On this day, all of God’s firstborn Sons — Christ, Israel, and the Church — will be raised up to live in His sight.

Chapter 13

The Four Horsemen

(The breaking of the first four seals of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 6:1-8 provides a skeletal account of Antichrist and his kingdom, from beginning to end.  The breaking of the remaining three seals and all of the asides seen from this point to the end of Revelation 19 provide all of the sinews, flesh, and skin to cover the skeletal framework set forth by the breaking of the first four seals [cf. Ezekiel 37:1-10], providing a complete word picture of the last seven years of Man’s Day.  And this has been done in complete keeping with the manner in which the book has been structured, revealed at the beginning in Revelation 1:1.

“Four” is a number having to do with the earth, particularly in relation to mankind on the earth [e.g., the material restoration of the earth was finished on the fourth day in Genesis 1:14-19, there are four divisions of mankind on the earth in Genesis 10:5, 20, 31 (lands, tongues, families, nations), and there are four points of the compass in Revelation 7:1.  And a breaking of the first four seals of the scroll, having to do with the earth and with mankind on the earth, covering the whole of the matter, would be in complete keeping with the way numbers are used in the book of Revelation and with the manner in which Scripture is structured elsewhere, particularly evident in Genesis and in the gospel of John.

The relationship between the breaking of the first four seals to the breaking of the remaining three, along with other scripture extending to and including Revelation 19, will be discussed in different places in subsequent chapters.)

Christ’s future work surrounding the redemption of the inheritance will begin to occur through judgments seen when the first seal on the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 6 is broken.  And this redemptive work will continue from that point until all of the remaining six seals have been broken and all of the judgments connected with the breaking of all seven seals have been brought to pass.

This redemption of the inheritance will occur during the last seven years of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy (Daniel’s Seventy-Seven prophecy, often referred to as the Tribulation), which will be the concluding seven years of the previous dispensation, the 2,000-year dispensation in which God dealt/will deal with Israel (ref. Ch. 12, Daniel’s Seventy Weeks).  Then, this redemption will be completed through judgments occurring immediately following Christ’s return, preceding the ushering in of the Messianic Era.

Prior to that time, the 2,000-year dispensation in which God deals with the Church will have been completed (a period unseen in Daniel’s prophecy but occurring between the sixty-ninth and seventieth sevens, when “time” fulfilling Daniel’s prophecy has not been transpiring [God has, so to speak, stopped the chronometer in relation to “time” in Daniel’s prophecy]).  And the Church will have been removed from the earth into the heavens before God allows “time” in the prophecy to resume (before God allows the chronometer to, once again, begin marking off time in the prophecy), fulfilling the final seven years (Revelation 1:10-13; 4:1-2).

However, the event marking the beginning of Daniel’s Seventieth Seven is not the removal of the Church.  Rather, this event is marked by the ratifying of a covenant between “the prince who is to come [Antichrist]” and “many” in Israel (Daniel 9:26-27).  Or, another way of marking the beginning, viewing the matter from a different vantage point, would be to see this period beginning with the breaking of the first seal in Revelation 6:1-2.  Daniel, in his prophecy, presents matters one way; John, in the book of Revelation, presents matters another way.

The sequential breaking of the first four seals of the seven-sealed scroll depicts four horsemen — a rider on a white horse, a rider on a red horse, a rider on a black horse, and a rider on a pale horse.  And as each rides forth, certain things are stated about their separate activities, which have a correspondence with the different things signified by the different colors of the four horses (Revelation 6:1-8).

All of that being depicted is dealt with in imagery, figures of speech, figurative language.  And even the world when referring to “the four horsemen of the Apocalypse” has, over the years, dealt with the matter in a similar figurative fashion.

Though there are four different horses, the rider on each horse should not be thought of as a different person.  To capsulate the matter and then deal with it in different places later in this chapter, it becomes evident when reading and studying the text that the rider on the first horse is seen riding forth at a later time on a second horse, then a third, then a fourth.

That which is depicted when this man rides forth on the second horse at a later time is contingent on and results from his actions when he previously rode forth on the first horse.  Then, that which is depicted when he rides forth on the third horse at a still later time is contingent on and results from his actions when he previously rode forth on the first and second horses.  And, likewise, that which is depicted when he rides forth on the fourth horse at a later time yet is contingent on and results from his actions when he previously rode forth on the first, second, and third horses.

All four are inseparably connected, in this manner.  And seeing that wrought through the actions of one man, occurring at different times, depicted in the imagery used (four horses, each of a different color), appears evident from the way Scripture depicts and handles the whole of the matter.

The Rider on a White Horse

Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.”

And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Revelation 6:1-2)

This is undoubtedly a reference to the actions of Antichrist as seen at the beginning of the Tribulation and continuing for at least the first three and one-half years of this time.  He is seen at the beginning wearing a crown (Greek: stephanos [a victor’s crown], not diadema [a monarch’s crown]).  And this man will go forth “conquering, and to conquer.”  In the imagery used, he will possess only a bow in his hand as he goes forth, with there being no mention of arrows for the bow.

This man’s aspirations — worldwide dominion — evident from both related Scripture and the type crown which he is seen wearing at the very beginning (a crown depicted by the word stephanos), will be achieved by the middle of the Tribulation (after three and one-half years).  Only after he has achieved this dominion can he be seen wearing a crown depicted by the word diadema (a monarch’s crown, a crown worn by one actually seated on the throne and ruling over a domain).  And this man is ultimately seen wearing such a crown later in the book (Revelation 13:1; cf. Revelation 12:3).

And, as previously seen, this man will achieve worldwide dominion through a means that Scripture depicts as a rider on a white horse with a bow in his hand, but no arrows for the bow.  To understand how this man will accomplish his objective through this means, one need only turn to commentary on Revelation 6:2 in Daniel 11:21 (comparing Scripture with Scripture), written over five hundred years before John wrote and over two and one-half millennia before the corresponding prophecies are to be fulfilled.  And one can know that Daniel 11:21 is dealing with the rider on the white horse in Revelation 6:2 for the person in Daniel is said to be “the prince of the covenant” (Daniel 11:22; cf. Daniel 11:28, 30-32), who can only be “the prince who is to come” from Daniel 9:26-27, where this covenant is first mentioned in Daniel’s prophecy.

"And in his place shall arise a vile person [paralleling Daniel 8:8-9], to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably [depicted by the rider on the white horse], and seize the kingdom by intrigue [depicted by the rider possessing a bow, but no arrows]." (Daniel 11:21 KJV )

The first part of the verse describes the person in God’s eyes — “a vile [‘a despicable’] person”;  the second part of the verse — “to whom they will not give the honor of royalty” — has to do with this man obtaining his power through a means other than honorable.  And the remainder of the verse deals with the means through which he will obtain this position of power — “by intrigue” (KJV: “flatteries”).

The word “flatteries” in the KJV in this verse (also Daniel 11:32-34 KJV), in the Hebrew text, has to do with being smooth or slippery in a beguiling or scheming manner (cf. Jeremiah 23:12).  And it is apparent from corresponding Scripture (Daniel 7:25; 11:36) that much of this will occur through his eloquence.  This man will possess oratory capabilities that he will use to deceive the masses.  He will deceive “many” in Israel and evidently throughout the whole Middle East and the world at large.

And due to the manner in which things are progressing in the world today, particularly in the Middle East, it is evident that the world is rapidly being prepared for the reception of a man of the nature described in Scripture; and the world, as well, will receive him in the manner described in Scripture.

He will appear as a man of peace (Daniel 11:21, 24), one who seemingly has the answers for Middle East peace, a peace that has eluded man over the years; and, as previously seen, he will deceive the masses by and through his eloquence.  And it is this type of setting that will allow him to make a covenant with “many” in Israel.

For three and one-half years this man will continue his conquest in this manner (seen in Daniel 11:22ff), until the day arrives when his true colors are seen by and through that which is depicted by the same man sequentially riding forth on the red, black, and pale horses.

(Many expositors relate Daniel 11:21-35 to Antiochus IV Epiphanes [a Syrian ruler who reigned from 175 to 164 B.C.], seeing these verses as already fulfilled.  Though there may be an allusion to this Syrian ruler, the prophecy, of necessity, looks beyond this man [similar to the manner in which the prophecy in Ezekiel 28:12ff looks beyond the King of Tyrus to Satan].

Seeing this prophecy fulfilled in history would be out of line with the manner in which earlier revelation surrounding the kingdom of Babylon in Daniel is structured — from the days of Nebuchadnezzar to the days of Antichrist [particularly noting that when the kingdom was divided following Alexander the Great’s death (323 B.C.), earlier revelation moves immediately to the future kingdom of Antichrist; and in Daniel 11 this same move from the past to the future occurs in Daniel 11:4].

And when the covenant in Daniel 9:27 is taken into consideration, it becomes even more evident that Daniel, in this part of Daniel 11, continues with revelation concerning “the prince who is to come” from Daniel 9, here calling him “the prince of the covenant” [Daniel 9:22], providing additional information about this individual and the covenant.)

The Rider on a Red Horse

When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature [second beast] saying, “Come and see.”

Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4)

Israel and the covenant — the covenant that “many” in the nation will make with the man seen riding forth on the white horse, and ultimately seen riding forth on the red, black, and pale horses — is the key to understanding both this man’s rise to power and eventual fall from power.

This man, appearing as a man of peace (Daniel 11:21, 24), will apparently possess the answers necessary to defuse the Middle East situation (at least seemingly, in man’s eyes, for only Christ’s return can effect true, lasting peace in the Middle East and the world at large).  And, because of the place that Israel occupies in God’s economy, Israel must be recognized as the nation lying at the center of the entire matter.  A stable and secure situation surrounding Israel must exist first if the same thing is to exist in the Middle East and the Gentile world at large.  And the rider on the white horse, making the seven-year covenant with Israel, will apparently recognize and know at least that much about the overall matter.

God has placed Israel in the midst of the nations (Ezekiel 5:5); and God looks upon and deals with the nations, not just in the Middle East but worldwide, through Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8-10; Zechariah 2:8; cf. Genesis 12:1-3).  Thus, the place that Israel occupies in the Middle East — whether at “peace,” or at “war” — has direct ramifications affecting all of the Gentile nations, beginning in the Middle East and extending worldwide.

(For additional information on the preceding, refer to The Intractable Middle East Problem, Appendix 1.)

It is evident from things that are stated in Daniel’s prophecy that the covenant that “the prince who is to come” will make with “many” in Israel will have to do, at least in part, with a restoration of the Mosaic Economy, apparently guaranteed by this man.  Israel will be allowed to rebuild her Temple on the Temple Mount and reinstitute the Old Testament priesthood and sacrifices (evident from things seen in Daniel, Matthew, Luke, 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation).

For the Jewish people to attempt something of this nature today, under present conditions and circumstances, would present insurmountable problems.  In fact, if they tried to do this today, the Moslem world surrounding Israel on three sides would undoubtedly erupt, for a Moslem mosque (reputed to be the third most holy place in the world for Moslems) presently occupies the spot on the Temple Mount where many believe that the Temple will have to be erected.  And even if the Jews sought to build a Temple any other place on the Temple Mount today, similar insurmountable problems would exist.

But in that coming day things will be quite different.  They will have to be different.  And this man will apparently possess the ability to bring about the necessary changes to make possible that which man would find impossible today.

In Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Sevens, where this man and the covenant are first introduced, things related to both his making and then breaking the covenant occupy center-stage.  In reality, things surrounding the two together (his making and then breaking the covenant) comprise all that is revealed about this man in the prophecy of the Seventy Sevens.

Then, following the reference to “the prince who is to come” (Daniel 9:27) as “the prince of the covenant” (Daniel 11:22).  Scripture again refers to this covenant several times during things that are revealed concerning his reign (Daniel 11:28, 30-32).  And the things that are revealed about this man and the covenant in these subsequent verses have to do with exactly the same things that are introduced in Daniel 9:27, when he breaks the covenant.

When this man does break his covenant, after three and one-half years, in the middle of the Tribulation, things will begin to change rapidly.  He will break the covenant by and through causing “an end to sacrifice and offering” (Daniel 9:27) and entering into and desecrating the Holy of Holies of the rebuilt Temple (the dwelling place of God in the Old Testament theocracy).  He will sit “in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).  And when this occurs, the Jewish people in Judea are told to run for their lives, to flee into the mountains or into a place in the desert which God will have prepared for their protection
(Matthew 24:15-16; Luke 21:20-21; Revelation 12:6, 14-16).

Once this man turns upon the Jewish people by stopping the sacrifices and desecrating the Holy of Holies, events will then occur so rapidly that the Jewish people are told to not even take time to gather any of their belongings but to flee for their lives with only the clothes that they will have on their backs at that time.  And the Jewish people are further told to pray that this day does not occur in the wintertime (leaving them at the mercy of the elements) or on the Sabbath (the nation will be keeping the Sabbath, with travel of this nature prohibited on this day [Matthew 24:17-20; cf. Exodus 16:29]).

The reason given for such haste is then succinctly explained:

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:21-22)

At this time, as well, this man with his armed forces (those who will be affiliated with him against the Jewish people and the covenant [Daniel 11:30-31]) will destroy both the Temple and the city of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:26).  The Jewish people who do not escape into the mountains or into the desert will then “be led away captive into all nations” (Luke 21:24a).  And the nation of Israel, as we know it today — a recognized nation in the Middle East — will cease to exist.

The cry which began in the early days of the existence of the nation — a cry for the utter destruction of Israel, echoed by Nasser and others down through the years — will seemingly have been realized (cf. Psalm 83:4).  A destroyed Jerusalem will then “be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24b; Revelation 11:2).

(Note that “Jerusalem” is often used in Scripture as a reference to the Jewish people, the people of the city, rather than to the actual city [Lamentations 1:7-9; Matthew 23:37-39; Luke 13:33-35; 19:41-44; Revelation 17:18].  Thus, Luke 21:24b and Revelation 11:2 could be viewed in a larger sense as a reference to not only Israel’s capital city but to the Jewish people themselves, scattered among the nations.)

That is the setting for and the why of that which will occur when the second seal on the seven-sealed scroll has been broken.  Peace, effected through the rider on the white horse, will be taken from the earth.  The man who rode out with only “a bow” in his hand (Revelation 6:2), effecting peace through his eloquence and through making a covenant with Israel, is now seen as one having “a great sword” in his hand (Revelation 6:4).

He now rides forth in a different manner entirely.  Note how Daniel describes the man in those days:

Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.

He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all.

But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things.

Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land [the land of Israel] for gain. (Daniel 11:36-39)

With this man’s treatment of the Jewish people (seeking to slay or enslave them), along with his bringing about the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and a division of the land (which God calls “my land” and warns against anyone dividing this land [Joel 3:2]), is it any wonder that peace is taken from the earth at this time?

Again, Israel has been set in the midst of the nations (Ezekiel 5:5), and God views the surrounding Gentile nations through Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8-10; Zechariah 2:8).  And the ill treatment which this man will accord the Jewish people, along with the destruction of that belonging to the Jewish people, can only reflect negatively upon the welfare of the surrounding nations under his control and sway.

Positive and negative ramifications surrounding the treatment of the descendants of Abraham through Isaac, Jacob, and his twelve sons are given in Genesis 12:3 and remain just as true today as ever.  Individuals and nations that befriend Israel realize blessings from God.  And the converse of that is equally true.  A nation today, seeking the destruction of Israel, is doing little more than seeking their own destruction.  They are doing little more than committing national suicide.

That is why when this man accords Israel the type ill-treatment which he will accord this nation in the middle of the Tribulation he will be according like ill-treatment to himself.  And since he will be the world ruler at that time, with all the Gentile nations under him, with God viewing these nations through Israel, this man will be doing little more than committing national suicide on behalf of the nations of the earth — a sentence which will be carried out at the end of the Tribulation, when Christ returns (Isaiah 63:1-6; Daniel 2:34-35, 40-45; Revelation 19:17-21).

(To illustrate the point, note the Third Reich in Germany, from Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 to its utter destruction in 1945.  The Third Reich was to last for 1,000 years, but lasted for only twelve years.

Germany lost WWII before even entering the war.  Why?  Anti-Semitism!  Hitler began turning his hand against the Jewish people only weeks following his rise to power [reaching a peak during the fall of 1938, resulting in that which ultimately occurred — the death camps and the death of 6,000,000 Jews].  Thus, the unchangeable destiny of the Third Reich was set during its early years, and Germany lay in ruins at the end of WWII.

So will it be with the rider on the white and red horses.  Once this man turns against the Jewish people, his unchangeable destiny will be set, and his world will lie in ruins three and one-half years later.)

The Rider on a Black Horse

When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature [third beast] say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.

And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures [four beasts] saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine."
(Revelation 6:5-6)

The man who had previously ridden forth on a red horse is now seen riding forth on a black horse, depicting the result of his previous ride.  That depicted is famine, which follows in the aftermath of war.

The greatest famine in the history of the earth will grip the world for the simple reason that the greatest persecution in the history of the Jewish people will have befallen the nation.  And this famine will be in complete keeping with the persecution and the God-established laws of the harvest, for man does not violate that which God has established and decreed without suffering the consequences.

(A person always reaps what he sows, and he always reaps more than he sows, with a period of time lying between the sowing and the reaping.  A sown grain of wheat, over time, produces a stalk of wheat with many grains; a sown apple seed, over time, produces an apple tree with many apples, etc.  Everything, over time, reproduces “after his kind,” with that reproduced always more than that which was sown [Genesis 1:11-12; Galatians 6:7].  These are God-established laws which cannot change.

The man depicted by a rider on a white horse, then a red horse, then a black horse, and then a pale horse will not be able to circumnavigate the laws of the harvest which God has established.  This man will sow the wind, and he will reap the whirlwind [Hosea 8:7].)

The man riding the black horse is seen with a pair of balances in his hand, and the price is given for a specified amount of food.  A “denarius (KJV: ‘penny,’ a day’s wage when this was written)” would purchase “a measure quart of wheat” or “three quarts of barley.”  That is to say, in that coming day, it will cost a day’s wage for a minimal amount of food.  The thought appears to be that life will be reduced to the barest of necessities — food to sustain life, and a fight for survival.

From the remaining statement in Revelation 6:6 — “do not harm the oil and the wine” — food, though evidently scarce, will apparently be available for a price.  The expression “oil and the wine” could only refer to the wealthy, those able to spend far more than a day’s wage for food (cf. Proverbs 21:17; Jeremiah 31:12).

But, the general populace will be another matter.  What will be the end result of war, followed by famine, for the remainder of mankind?  This is seen when the man responsible for the things which will have already come to pass rides forth on a pale horse.

The Rider on a Pale Horse

When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature [beast] saying, “Come and see.”

So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:7-8)

Because of that previously brought to pass (depicted by the rider on the red and black horses), the rider on the pale horse, whose name is “Death,” was given power over “a fourth part of the earth.”  The end result of peace being taken from the earth, in the manner in which this peace will be removed — resulting directly from the ill treatment accorded the Jewish people — will be “Death,” with “Hades [the place of the dead]” following fast on the heels of death.

One-fourth of the population of the earth will die in that day — a figure that can only be above one billion people, even when allowing for the absence of all Christians (previously removed from the earth).  One out of every four individuals on the earth will die as a result of war, hunger, and apparent resulting disease (with probably very limited health care).  And “beasts” (Revelation 6:8) is used in this book as a metaphor for Godless rulers wreaking havoc (i.e., those ruling with and under the “Beast” [Revelation 13; cf. Daniel 7:1ff]), resulting from existing circumstances or any number of causes.

That, according to Scripture, is what will occur in that coming day because of and through the outworking of the principles in Genesis 12:3.

Chapter 14

Souls Under the Altar

When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for the testimony that they held.

And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. (Revelation 6:9-11)

The breaking of the first four seals of the seven-sealed scroll, revealing four horsemen riding forth, provides a general description of a sequence of events that will occur and conditions that will exist during the Tribulation and immediately following Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation — events covering the entire seven years of the Tribulation, plus events evidently occurring during the seventy-five days that will exist between the end of the Tribulation and the beginning of the Messianic Era (cf. Daniel 12:11-13).  One might view the breaking of these first four seals as a skeletal framework for the Tribulation, with subsequent revelation beginning in the latter part of Revelation 6 and continuing through Revelation 19 providing the necessary commentary — the sinews, flesh, and skin, as it were — to properly cover the skeletal framework (cf. Ezekiel 37:1-10).

God opened His Word in this respect by providing a skeletal framework for the whole of His revelation to man in the first thirty-four verses of Genesis (Genesis 1:1-34), with all subsequent Scripture then providing the necessary commentary — the sinews, flesh, and skin — to properly cover the skeletal framework. And, if the relationship between events surrounding the four horsemen in chapter six and events covering the Tribulation in the remainder of the book are to be viewed in the apparent same respect, God, as well, is seen closing His revelation to man in a very similar respect to the way He opened this revelation.

After the first four seals had been broken (Revelation 6:1-8), the breaking of the fifth seal revealed souls under the altar. This scene results from that which was previously brought to pass when the first four seals had been broken. Then, additional revelation is given in the book to fill in the details, providing commentary, for that which is revealed when the fifth seal is broken (e.g., all of Revelation 7 and parts of Revelation 11; 12; 14).

Who are these souls under the altar? They couldn’t be Christians, for all Christians — comprising all of the saved at the time of the rapture — will have previously been removed. And, since all saved individuals will have previously been removed, where had the souls under the altar heard the salvation message?

Also, note the faith possessed by those seen under the altar. These are individuals possessing faith of a nature for which they had relinquished their lives. They had been “slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony that they held” (Revelation 6:9). They were martyrs.

Then, Revelation 7, providing subsequent commentary, describes these individuals as “a great multitude that no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues . . . .” (Revelation 7:9a). And, so that there could be no mistake, they are specifically said to have come “out of the great tribulation [lit., ‘out of the Great Tribulation’]” (Revelation 7:14).

(In the Greek text, the adjective [‘great’] follows the noun [‘tribulation’], and both words are preceded by 'the' definite article. Thus, one could translate, “the Tribulation, the Great one.” That in view is not just any tribulation or affliction, but a specific one; and, in addition, it is further singled out and identified as “the Great one.”

E.g., compare this with the same noun and adjective [used in the same order] in Revelation 2:22, without an article preceding either word. In this verse, great affliction, unrelated to the Great Tribulation, is in view.

Added by editor: Note 'article' is defined as a determiner that may indicate the specificity of reference of a noun phrase.

The Great Tribulation is the time of which Daniel spoke, following “the prince who is to come” breaking his covenant with “many” in Israel; and it is that time of which Jesus spoke in the Olivet Discourse, after the Jewish people will have seen “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” [Matthew 24:15ff; cf. Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11].)

Thus, those seen under the altar when the fifth seal is broken are saved individuals who had been slain for their faith during the latter part of the Tribulation, during that time that Scripture refers to as “the Tribulation, the Great one,” or simply “the Great Tribulation.” The scene though does not picture all of the martyrs of the Tribulation. Reference is made to “fellow servants” and “brethren” who were still alive, in the Tribulation, who would ultimately be slain as well (Revelation 6:11b).

(The scene in Revelation 6:9-11 pictures a sacrifice of individuals, with their blood having been poured out beneath the altar. “The altar” is an allusion to the brazen altar in the courtyard of the Temple. This altar was the place where the sacrifice occurred, and the blood of the sacrifice was poured out beneath the altar [Leviticus 1:11; 4:4-7]. These individuals, as many Christians prior to that time, had presented their bodies “a living sacrifice” [Romans 12:1], and they had been “faithful until death” [Revelation 2:10].)

As previously seen, that which is revealed when the fifth seal is broken results from events brought to pass by and through the breaking of the previous four seals (cf. Revelation 20:4).

With the breaking of the first seal, a man is seen riding forth on a white horse, with a view to worldwide conquest (Revelation 6:1-2); with the breaking of the second seal, a man is seen riding forth on a red horse, holding “a great sword” and possessing power “to take peace from the earth,” resulting in men killing “one another” (Revelation 6:3-4); with the breaking of the third seal, a man is seen riding forth on a black horse, depicting famine (Revelation 6:5-6); then, with the breaking of the fourth seal, a man is seen riding forth on a pale horse, depicting death (Revelation 6:7-8).

All of these things set the stage for the breaking of the fifth seal. And the next chapter (Revelation 7) provides explanatory commentary for a number of things that are seen when this seal is broken, with further explanation given additional places later in the book. The book of Revelation is self-interpreting in this respect, with passages of Scripture in numerous other places that shed additional light on different things throughout the book.

Two Witnesses, 144,000 Evangels

Commentary in Revelation 7 on that seen when the fifth seal is broken does not begin with the souls under the altar but with a lengthy reference to the sealing of 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel (Revelation 7:1-8). And the reason for this is obvious when related Scripture on the subject is studied.

In short, as will be shown, these 144,000 will be the evangels who will carry God’s message to the nations of the earth, to the Gentiles worldwide, during the last half of the Tribulation. And the souls under the altar, revealed through the opening of the fifth seal, are individuals who will have been saved as a result of their ministry.

Apart from these evangels, that which is seen when the fifth seal is broken would not exist. Apart from these evangels there would not be “a great multitude that no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” who had been “slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony that they held” (Revelation 6:9; 7:9).

Thus, all of Revelation 7 deals with one central subject. The first eight verses deal with the 144,000, the evangels during the last half of the Tribulation. Then the remainder of the chapter (Revelation 7:9-17) deals with the results of their ministry. These 144,000 Jews will, in a respect, do in three and one-half years that which neither their forefathers had done (from Abraham to Calvary) nor the Church will have done (from Pentecost to the rapture) in two previous, successive 2,000-year periods.

These 144,000 Jews will, collectively, be “a first fruit [Greek: singular]” of the entire nation (Revelation 14:4). They will do that which God called the nation of Israel into existence to accomplish. They will be God’s witnesses to the nations (Isaiah 43:1, 9-12). And, viewing the results of their ministry over the short period of three and one-half years, think what an entire converted Jewish nation will be able to accomplish in 1,000 years when they go forth as God’s witnesses to the Gentile nations of the earth during the Millennium.

1) Bringing Forth the 144,000

How will these 144,000 Jews themselves be saved? How will they hear the message? No Christians will be on earth to proclaim the good news; they will have been removed at the time of the rapture. And, if the 144,000 had been saved before the rapture, they would have been part of the one new man “in Christ” and would have been removed with the rest of the Church.

It is, of course, possible that some of those numbered among the 144,000 will have heard the message before the rapture and then reacted to the message following the rapture. But, if so, these would seemingly form only a small part of the group, for Scripture deals with the matter after another fashion.

The 144,000 are mentioned several subsequent places in the book, one place by the use of the number 144,000 (Revelation 14:1-5) and at least two other places by the use of other designations (Revelation 11; 12).

Part of chapter eleven (Revelation 11:3-12) is taken up with the ministry of two witnesses whom God will send to the earth after the removal of the Church. And these two witnesses will make their appearance either at or about the time when “the prince who is to come” makes his seven-year covenant with “many” in Israel. These two witnesses will bear a testimony to the Jewish people, apparently in and around Jerusalem; and they will bear this testimony throughout the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation.

Nothing will be able to stop these two witnesses until “they finish their testimony.” But after they finish their testimony, Antichrist will be allowed to slay them, something that will evidently occur at or about the time this man breaks his covenant with “many” in Israel. But after three and one-half days (a day for a year of their ministry), with their bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem during this time, the Spirit of God will breathe life into their dead bodies. They will stand upon their feet, great fear will fall upon many, God will then remove them from the earth, and their enemies will watch as they ascend “up to heaven in a cloud” (Revelation 11:5-12; cf. Acts 1:9-11).

It is apparent that the ministry of these two witnesses will occur during the first half of the Tribulation rather than the last half, for the Jewish people will not be in and around Jerusalem during the last half. When “the prince of the covenant” breaks his covenant in the middle of the Tribulation, the Jewish people in Judea are told to flee for their lives.

And those who do not escape to a specially prepared place in the mountainous or desert terrain of the land will either be killed, driven throughout the nations of the earth, or sold as slaves to the Gentiles. Jerusalem and the Temple will then be destroyed, and Jerusalem will be “trodden down of the Gentiles” throughout the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation, “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (cf. Daniel 9:26-27; 11:22, 28-32; Joel 3:1-8; Matthew 24:15ff; Mark 13:14ff; Luke 21:20-24; 2 Thessalonians 2:3ff; Revelation 11:1-2).

It is also apparent that the 144,000 will hear and respond to the salvation message from and through the testimony of these two witnesses, whether directly or indirectly. There is a connection between the ministry of the two witnesses and the bringing into existence of the 144,000, seen when one compares events in Revelation 11 with events in Revelation 12.

Possibly more than just 144,000 will hear and respond to the message. But, regardless of the number, God will see to it that at least 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel hear and respond. God will then take these 12,000 from each tribe and seal them, as seen at the beginning of Revelation 7.

In Revelation 12, three main metaphors are used — one to describe “Israel” (a woman), one to describe “Satan” (a dragon), and one to describe “the 144,000” (a male child, that the woman brings forth near the middle of the Tribulation). All three metaphors are identified in the chapter, and the manner in which the male child is identified not only connects this metaphor with the 144,000 but it also provides the connection that the 144,000 have with the two witnesses in the previous chapter, in Revelation 11.

(The male child, in commentaries and other studies on the book of Revelation, is usually identified as “Christ.” But this identification is not possible. Note that Israel brings forth the male child in Revelation 12 after all seven heads of the beast in Revelation 13 have been crowned, with diadems, which cannot occur until near the middle of the Tribulation [Revelation 12:3-5]; Israel brings forth the male child shortly after Satan and his angels have been cast out of the heavens onto the earth, which, contextually, will occur near the middle of the Tribulation [Revelation 12:4-5]; and Israel brings forth the male child shortly before Antichrist breaks his covenant with the nation and the Jewish people flee for their lives [Revelation 12:5-6, 13ff].)

The identities of all three metaphors in Revelation 12 are easily seen. The woman can be identified with “Israel” several ways. One way would be through statements made about her fleeing into the wilderness (Revelation 12:6, 14; cf. Matthew 24:16ff). And the dragon is specifically stated to be “Satan” (Revelation 12:9).

(Note that Satan and the kingdom of Antichrist are spoken of in an inseparable manner in this chapter
[Revelation 12:3-4], which is easy to understand from that which is revealed about Satan and Antichrist in the next chapter. After Antichrist comes into the power that he sought by riding out on a white horse in Revelation 6, Satan gives to this man “his power, his throne [giving him regal power over the earth], and great authority” [Revelation 13:2b; cf. Luke 4:5-6].)

But how is “the male child” identified as the 144,000 in this chapter? Note Revelation 12:17 where mention is made of a remnant of the woman’s seed, “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” This remnant, specifically said to be a saved part of the Jewish nation, can only be identified with the male child, whom Israel brought forth back in Revelation 12:5.

Then note mention of a remnant in the previous chapter (Revelation 11:13 KJV) — after the two witnesses finish their testimony, are killed, are raised from the dead, and ascend to heaven (Revelation 11:7-12) — providing a connection between the remnant (the male child) in Revelation 12 and the two witnesses in Revelation 11.

One can really come to only one conclusion. The ministry of the two witnesses during the first half of the Tribulation can only be inseparably connected with the conversion of the 144,000. How else could they have heard the message? There is really no other way. And, beyond that, proclaiming the message to 144,000 Jews who would respond, who would be sealed by God, and then who would minister to the nations of the earth during the last half of the Tribulation will probably be the central purpose for the ministry of the two witnesses during the first half of the Tribulation.

In this respect, the two witnesses would be seen finishing their testimony when the last of the 144,000 respond to the message. And, at this time, the woman, Israel, would be full-term in her gestation period, giving birth to the male child, the 144,000.

2) Sealing, Ministry of the 144,000

There are three places in the New Testament, with a basis in the Old Testament, where there is a birth in connection with Israel, resulting in a worldwide ministry. And these places have to do with the 144,000 during the Tribulation.

A more specific Old Testament basis for that which is seen in the New Testament is Isaiah 66:7-8:

Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child.

Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children.

Three places where this subject is dealt with after this same fashion in the New Testament can be found in the Olivet Discourse accounts of Matthew and Mark (Matthew 24; Mark 13) and in the section under discussion in the book of Revelation. In all three of these sections of Scripture, Israel is seen as a woman experiencing birth pangs, there is then a birth, and there is subsequently a worldwide proclamation of the gospel message.

The Isaiah passage previously quoted (Isaiah 66:7-8) refers to future times when Israel will both give birth and experience birth. Israel will first deliver a “male child”; then, the nation itself will be “born at once.” The “labor” and “pain” associated with birth in these verses in Isaiah though are connected only with the birth of the nation itself, not with the birth of the male child. “Before she [Israel] was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child” (Isaiah 66:7). The emphasis in these verses is upon the birth of the nation rather than the male child (anticipating the Messianic Era), with the “labor” and “pain” so associated.

As in Isaiah 66:7-8, the Olivet Discourse accounts in both Matthew and Mark present Israel in labor (KJV: travail). However, unlike the Isaiah passage, Israel’s labor in these two gospel accounts is seen connected with a bringing forth of the male child, the 144,000. Both gospel accounts deal with the Jewish people during the Tribulation, with an emphasis on events beginning near or at the mid-point of the Tribulation and continuing throughout the last half (which is the emphasis seen in the book of Revelation as well). And both gospel accounts lead into Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation, as does the book of Revelation. Thus, Israel’s labor from Isaiah 66:7, having to do with the entire nation, would be alluded to in all three books, though not dealt with directly.

In the two gospel accounts, the word in the Greek text translated “sorrows” (Matthew 24:8; Mark 13:8) is the word having to do with travail or birth pangs. The word “sorrows” is a translation of the Greek word odin, and it is really not a good translation as we understand words today. Odin has to do with the “travail” which a woman undergoes as she endures a time of labor immediately preceding the birth of a child; and the word “sorrows” carries too broad of a meaning in this respect. Odin could be better translated “birth pangs” or “travail.” The reference is to Israel in this condition during the first part of the Tribulation.

Then, Revelation 12:1-5 presents the same picture concerning Israel in travail (the word “travailing” [KJV] in Revelation 12:2 KJV is a translation of the Greek word odino, a cognate form of odin, meaning the same thing). In these verses, as in the gospel accounts, the birth in view is that of the “male child.” And Israel is seen crying out while travailing in pain, awaiting the birth of this child.

And the worldwide proclamation of the gospel message during the Tribulation is seen in all three New Testament books that depict Israel in travail.

In Matthew and Mark this message is referred to following the verses having to do with Israel in travail. In Luke’s account of the Olivet Discourse, neither Israel’s travail nor the message is mentioned. The two are inseparably tied together, and the inclusion or absence of one demands the inclusion or absence of the other.

Note the accounts in Matthew and Mark:

All these are the beginning of sorrows [‘birth pangs, labor, travail’] . . .

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:8, 14)

. . . These are the beginnings of sorrows [‘birth pangs, labor, travail’]. . . .

And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. (Mark 13:8, 10 [8b])

Then in the book of Revelation this same thing is seen in connection with the 144,000, in Revelation 14:1-6. An angel appears, in possession of the gospel message (Revelation 14:6), immediately after certain things are stated about the 144,000 (Revelation 14:1-5).

Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth — to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people. (Revelation 14:6)

Angels are seen carrying out various tasks over and over in the book of Revelation, and an angel appearing in possession of the gospel message is one such occasion. But it is evident from the context and related Scripture that this angel is not the one who proclaims the message. Rather, this angel, in possession of the gospel message, makes an announcement to all that dwell on the earth (Revelation 14:7); and it is evident that this announcement is not the gospel message. This angel’s announcement is one of impending judgment (not good news, not the gospel), along with a call to recognize and give proper honor and reverence to the one true and living God.

The proclamation of the gospel is a task committed to man, not to angels. And it is evident from the context and related Scripture that the gospel message, in possession of this angel, will be carried worldwide, not by the angel in Revelation 14:6, but by the 144,000 in Revelation 14:1-5.

(Only a limited number of things that Scripture reveals about the 144,000 have been discussed in this chapter. Other things on the subject is dealt with in later chapters, particularly in chapters 20, 21 and 26, The Two WitnessesA Woman, a Dragon, a Male Child, and The One Hundred Forty-four Thousand.)

Souls Clothed, How Long…

A question often asked is addressed in a somewhat indirect manner by that which is revealed when the fifth seal is broken. Do those who have died possess bodies of some type prior to the future resurrection? Note that those who had been slain in this passage — the souls under the altar — were provided with “white robes” to wear (Revelation 6:11a; cf. Revelation 7:9), which would clearly indicate that they possessed a bodily form during the time between death and resurrection.

These individuals are seen crying out to the Lord in “a loud voice,” asking how much longer existing conditions upon the earth were going to be allowed to continue. And they were told to rest “a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed”
(Revelation 6:11b). Thus, the dead are seen in a conscious state.

God works at set times, with set patterns, in set ways, using set methods, etc. Often, things seemingly go unchecked until a particular set time arrives. But when God’s set time arrives, things change, often quite rapidly. This is something seen over and over in Scripture (e.g., Matthew 24:42-51; Luke 17:26-30; John 2:4; 12:23; Revelation 14:7, 15).

The people of God, relative to these matters, are to simply remain faithful, bide their time, and wait upon the Lord. He will take care of matters in due time, at an unchangeable previously set time.

Chapter 15

The Great Seismos

I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.

And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.

Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.

And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains,

and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!

For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17).

It is evident that the breaking of the first four seals of the seven-sealed scroll provides an overall word picture — presenting just the main, necessary facts — of the complete seven-year Tribulation, along with events immediately following Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation. That which is seen when the four horsemen ride forth, one after the other as each of the first four seals are broken, provides an overall description of an interrelated succession of events that will mark these few final years of Man’s Day. In this respect, the whole of that which is seen by and through the breaking of these first four seals (Revelation 6:1-8) could be viewed as a skeletal framework for that which is seen in the remainder of the book covering this period of time
(Revelation 6:9-19:21).

Everything beyond this point (that which is revealed when the remaining three seals are broken [which includes that which is revealed when the seven trumpets are sounded and the corresponding seven bowls are poured out, seen in Revelation 6; 8; 9; 10; 11; 15; 16 {6b and 11b}], along with all of the asides [events seen in Revelation 7; 11; 12; 13; 14; 17; 18; 19 {11a}]) provides the details and commentary for the complete skeletal picture seen by and through the breaking of the first four seals. This complete sequence of events provides the sinews, flesh, and skin to cover the initial skeletal framework.

In this respect, when an individual begins with the breaking of the first seal in Revelation 6 — with the completion of the judgment of the great whore, Christ’s subsequent return, and the destruction of Gentile world power (Revelation 6-19) — that individual has read a detailed word picture covering the overall scope of the coming seven-year Tribulation and events that immediately follow, leading into the Messianic Era. That individual has read the matter exactly as God gave it and exactly as God wants man to see and understand it in this closing book of Scripture.

God though would expect man to see and understand this part of His Word exactly as He would expect man to see and understand any other part of His Word — not only in the light of all that He has revealed but also in the light of the way in which He has revealed matters, beginning with Moses.

But, bear something in mind. As in any other part of Scripture, God, in this book, has structured His Word after a particular fashion. At the beginning of Scripture, God’s structural method, along with providing history, was centrally typical, in conjunction with numbers and metaphors. In the closing book of Scripture, in the book of Revelation, God’s structural method is clearly stated at the beginning of the book:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant  (Revelation 1:1).

And this revealed method (“signified”) is seen throughout the book, often in conjunction with numbers and metaphors (ref. Ch. 1, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (1)).

The preceding is what many expositors and Bible students have overlooked and have not taken into account when trying to understand that which is revealed in this book, particularly when the sixth seal is broken. They have overlooked and not taken into account the word “signified” in the opening verse of the book, which has to do with using indirect or illustrative language in order to bring out that which is direct or explanatory. And attempting to understand and interpret this book after a manner other than how God gave this part of His Word not only leads to all types of problems but it closes the door to the true picture of the matter, to that which God has revealed through the means that He has used.

The whole of that which is revealed when the sixth seal is broken is set forth in illustrative language (which was used extensively in that which is revealed by and through the breaking of the first five seals), and it is quite evident that metaphors are being used throughout. And, viewing the matter both textually and contextually, it is a simple matter to see and understand the exact nature of the subject matter being dealt with by and through this means.

First, to understand that which is illustrative language is being used in this part of Scripture, begin with the word “earthquake” (Revelation 6:12), which is the first thing mentioned when this sixth seal is broken. This word in the Greek text is seismos, which means “to shake,” “to agitate,” “to stir up.”

The word “earth” is not associated with the word seismos. That would have to be derived from the text or context. And, in this case, the entire passage has to do with things in heaven, heaven itself, and things on earth. There is a great shaking of things in heaven (“the sun,” “the moon,” and “the stars”, heaven itself, and things on earth (“every mountain and island”).

(Our English words “seismic,” “seismology,” “seismograph” and other forms of the same word are all derived [in all or in part] from the Greek word, seismos. Most words in this family of words in the English language are associated with earthquakes; but the words, in and of themselves, as in the Greek, have no relation to the earth per se [note a cognate form of seismos in Revelation 6:13 (seio), translated “shaken”]. The earth is something added to the shaking or agitation, completely apart from the actual meaning of the different words derived from seismos [e.g., “earth” prefixed to “quake,” earth-seismic, “earthquake”].)

Then note that which occurs by and through this great shaking of things in heaven, heaven itself, and things on earth. The sun becomes “black as sackcloth of hair,” the moon becomes “as blood,” the stars fall from heaven “to the earth,” the heaven departs (is removed, in the sense of being rolled up [cf. Isaiah 34:4]), “as a scroll when it is rolled up,” and every mountain and island are ”moved out of its place.”

Attempting to see this as literal, apart from illustrative means and metaphors, would present major problems at every turn. Note possibly the greatest of the problems — “the stars” falling from heaven to the earth. The size of stars, the heat generated by stars, and their distance from the earth would prohibit even the thought of such literally occurring.

Stars are much larger than the earth. Our sun, for example, is a medium-sized star, and the diameter of the sun is over one hundred times that of the earth. If a literal star ever “fell to the earth,” the earth would be burned to a cinder long before the star ever reached the earth.

Aside from the preceding, the nearest star to the earth (other than the sun) is Alpha Centauri, and this star is over four light years removed from the earth (about twenty-five trillion miles away); but most stars are thousands of light years removed, and there are multiplied billions of them in our galaxy (an estimated two to four hundred billion).

In fact, the distance from the earth to stars in the galaxy, for the most part, is so great that what man sees when he gazes into the heavens at night is light from distant stars that began traveling toward earth before man was even created, possibly even before Satan fell, at a speed slightly over 186,000 miles per second. And that light is just now reaching the earth. In fact, a scattering of these stars have likely not even existed for centuries or millennia, with their nova yet to be seen (possibly not being seen until sometime during the Millennium, or the ages following).

And similar things, though in a different sense, could be said about that which happens to the sun, the moon, the heaven itself, and the mountains and islands when the sixth seal is broken. All is illustrative and metaphorical, and the whole of the passage must be understood after this fashion, in keeping with the way God has not only designed His Word in this book but also in keeping with the way God views these different objects when using them as metaphors.

The Great Shaking

This great disarray of that which is being referenced, described by and through the use of heavenly bodies, heaven itself, and geographical places on earth, covers the complete spectrum of the matter. And that which is seen by and through this means when the sixth seal is broken provides further information, commentary, for that which is seen when the first four seals were broken.

That which is seen when these four seals were broken presented a man gaining governmental control over the earth (first seal). This was then followed by a progressive deterioration of conditions on earth unparalleled in the history of man (second, third, and fourth seals), which is seen directly connected with the government of the earth from the first seal.

And that which is seen when the sixth seal is broken brings the whole matter to a time near and at its climax (near the end of the Tribulation and immediately following Christ’s return after the Tribulation [ref. subsequent material in this chapter]). Graphically described, that which is seen when this seal is broken has to do with a complete disarray and collapse of the government of the earth — the government in existence after the rider on the white horse had become world ruler and had been instrumental in bringing to pass that which is seen after the second, third, and fourth seals had been broken.

Then, viewing the matter from the standpoint of that which is seen when the fifth seal was broken (souls under the altar), that brought to pass when the sixth seal is subsequently broken addresses the cry of the martyrs seen under the altar:

How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?  (Revelation 6:10b; cf. Genesis 9:6).

There is also considerable commentary numerous places in the Old Testament that bears directly upon that which is brought to pass when the sixth seal is broken (numerous types, that which are seen in Daniel, etc.).

(E.g., parts of the Old Testament that deal with that which is seen when the sixth seal is broken would be sections such as events leading to the power of Egypt being brought to naught during Moses’ Day, events leading to Haman and his ten sons being impaled on a gallows during Esther’s day, or events leading to “the little horn,” “the prince of the covenant,” being brought to his end in Daniel’s prophecy.)

In short, as previously seen, that which is brought to pass by and through the imagery used when the sixth seal is broken depicts the complete breakdown of the final form of Gentile world power, immediately prior to its destruction. The destruction of the final form of Gentile world power is seen later in the book (Revelation 8; 9; 14; 19 [14b and 19b), and that which occurs when the sixth seal is broken sets the stage for this subsequent destruction.

1) The Powers of Nature

There is a great shaking of natural things connected with the earth, both in heaven and on earth — the sun, moon, and stars in heaven, heaven itself, and the mountains and islands on earth.

a) The Sun

The sun, the first thing mentioned among this array of things in heaven and on earth, can only be depicting the supreme governing authority — “the heavens do rule” (Genesis 37:9; Daniel 4:26; Revelation 12:1). All (the moon, stars [in the sense used here], and the mountains and islands) are dependent on light from the sun. And the sun is darkened. The sun becomes “black as sackcloth of hair.”

Sackcloth was a coarse-textured cloth, often made from goat’s hair or black hair from camels. Being clothed in sackcloth was a symbol of despair or calamity (Genesis 37:34; Esther 4:1-4; Isaiah 50:3; Ezekiel 7:18). In the imagery used, Revelation 6:12 depicts the sun, as it were, being clothed with this black, coarse-textured cloth, blotting out all light, with the added thought of despair or calamity.

And this is not seen as a passing eclipse. Rather, this portrays conditions at a terminal point. This portrays the way that the government of the earth will exist at the end of Man’s Day. The “prince of the covenant,” seated on Satan’s throne and possessing “power . . . and great authority” (Revelation 13:2), will have carried the government, in a downward spiral, to this point (cf. Joel 2:2, 10, 30-31).

b) The Moon

The “moon,” the next thing mentioned, is a secondary heavenly body in relation to the sun. The moon derives its light from the sun; and in the sense of depicting governing authority, this secondary authority, dependent on the supreme authority, would be darkened as well, with this darkness described through another means — the moon becoming “as blood.”

“Blood,” in Scripture, has to do with both life and death. In Leviticus 17:11, life is said to be in “the blood.” But, in Exodus 12:7, viewing the other side of the matter, blood from a slain lamb placed on the doorposts and lintel of an Israeli home showed death (though this resulted in life because of that which is stated in Leviticus 17:11).

The blood on the doorposts and lintel showed that death had occurred inside that Israeli home. The blood showed that the firstborn had already died, though vicariously. When the Lord passed through the land of Egypt at midnight and saw the blood, He was satisfied; and, consequently, He passed over that house.

Thus, the thought of “blood” could be used either way — life, or death.

But the manner in which “blood” is used in Revelation 6:12, where the moon becomes “as blood” in connection with the sun becoming “black as sackcloth of hair,” the thought could only have to do with death. The moon, dependent on the sun, is seen being blackened as well, though the matter is expressed a different way. Where there had previously been “light,” now there was darkness; where there had previously been “life,” now there was death.

c) The Stars

The “stars” of heaven, the remaining heavenly bodies mentioned, could only depict secondary powers connected with the primary and secondary authority, the sun and the moon (cf. Job 38:7; Isaiah 14:13; Revelation 12:4). And the sun being darkened would affect the stars (in the sense that they are used here) exactly as it had affected the moon.

And a different way of stating that which has happened is used again. First, to describe matters at hand, there was a calamitous blackness, and then death. Now, continuing the description, “the stars” are seen falling from heaven to the earth.

d) The Mountains and Islands

Then “mountains and islands” are the last objects used in this depiction of a complete breakdown of powers and authorities. A “mountain” in Scripture, when used in the sense seen here, depicts a kingdom (Isaiah 2:1-5; Jeremiah 51:25; Daniel 2:44-45; Matthew 17:1-5); and, contextually, an “island” would be connected with the government but more in the sense of a center of trade and commerce (Isaiah 23:2; Ezekiel 27:3ff;
cf. Revelation 18:11ff).

They (all of the mountains and islands) are seen being “moved out of their places.” Not only is there a calamitous blackness, death, and a falling, but there is also a removal, dislodging, and displacement of everything.

“. . . I will shake heaven and earth.

I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms. . . .”   (Haggai 2:21, 22a [21b]).

2) The End Result of Going Forth “Conquering and to Conquer” (Revelation 6:2)

The government of the earth at the end of Man’s Day is vividly described when the sixth seal is opened. Then those having some type of connection with the government are seen (which, in the text, includes everyone).

That which is seen when the sixth seal is broken depicts a complete breakdown of the whole matter — the government of the earth and that which is connected with the government. The fabric holding the system together unravels, apparently quite rapidly. Disorder, in that day, will reign supreme.

When everything unravels and disorder reigns supreme, the attitude of those on the earth comes into view. All — “the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man” (Revelation 6:15a) — will be affected by this total collapse of the government and all the things that appertain thereunto, resulting in utter chaos.

And these same individuals will seek help through one means. They will hide themselves “in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains” (Revelation 6:15b), saying to “the mountains and rocks,”

. . . Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!

For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand? (Revelation 6:16-17 [16b])

The “caves” and “rocks of the mountains,” as in that which precedes, are used in metaphorical senses. Hiding themselves in the places described and looking to these places as possibly some type of sanctuary or shield from that which is occurring could only have to do with seeking some type help or aid from a government in complete disarray (“caves” and “rocks” [safe places] “of the mountains” [of the world kingdoms]). And, of course, no help or aid will be found.

But the matter in that day will be as it has always been — under the complete control of the God of heaven. He has stayed His hand for a time, allowing man’s cup of iniquity to become “complete” (cf. Genesis 15:16). He has allowed Satan to continue exercising control, and He will allow the coming Antichrist, under Satan, to bring mankind to the brink of annihilation (Matthew 24:21-22). Then things will begin to change rapidly. “The great day of His [God’s] wrath” (Revelation 6:17) will be at hand.

In that day God will no longer stay his hand. God will, again, step into man’s affairs during Man’s Day; and man, when that day arrives, will be unable to do anything whatsoever about the matter (cf. Revelation 9:6).

Men on the earth in that day will seek to distance themselves from that which is happening. But they will be unable to do so.  There will be no escape.

3) The Time during Which the Preceding Will Occur

The complete breakdown, disarray, and collapse of the earth’s government under Satan, his angels, and the nations will be followed by a complete change in the government of the earth. And man can’t do anything to either hasten that day or move that day far into the future.

God works with set times that He Himself has established; and, “It is written . . . .”

The judgments of the sixth seal are seen in connection with the heavens being opened, with regality, and with the great day of God’s wrath (Revelation 6:14-17). The great day of God’s wrath, contextually, can only refer to “the great and the terrible day of the Lord” seen over and over in Joel, which, contextually in Joel, occurs in connection with judgments at the end of the Tribulation following Christ’s return (cf. Joel 1:15; 2:1-2, 11, 31; 3:1-16; Revelation 11:18; 19:15).

Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation to effect a change in the government by and through these judgments is seen in three different places in that section of the book covering the Tribulation and the time immediately beyond (Revelation 6-19). It is seen in Revelation 6:14-17, in Revelation 14:14-20, and in Revelation 19:11-21.

(As explained and dealt with in different places in this book, The Time of the End by Arlen Chitwood; ref. also the author’s books, Coming in His Kingdom by Arlen Chitwood and Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Moses and John, Ch. 2, and  “Exodus and Revelation by Arlen Chitwood”], the book of Revelation, rather than being written in a strict chronological order, is structured like the rest of Scripture. A complete panorama of events is given, followed by commentary. And this structure is repeated time after time throughout the book.

Scripture begins this way in Genesis, and it ends this way in Revelation. Thus, it would only be natural to see Christ’s return dealt with more than one place in the book, followed by commentary each time.

The same thing was previously seen regarding the removal of Christians at the end of the dispensation [i.e., the rapture]. This same removal was seen in both chapter one and chapter four [Revelation 1:10-11; 4:1-2], with commentary following in each instance [ref. Ch.  4,  In the Lord’s Day (1), and Ch.  7,  Crowns Cast Before God’s Throne].)

Christ will return in connection with judgments occurring at the time of or immediately following the breaking of the sixth seal of the seven-sealed scroll. And in line with the preceding, judgments occurring after the seventh seal has been broken will occur following Christ’s return but preceding the Messianic Era.

Thus, all of the judgments seen when the seven trumpets sound and the seven bowls are poured out will occur following the Tribulation after Christ returns to the earth, for these are the judgments seen occurring when the seventh seal is broken. And these judgments will bring all the judgments of the seven-sealed scroll to an end, effecting the redemption of the inheritance.

Structure of the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls

The judgments revealed when the seventh seal is broken (the trumpet and bowl judgments) fit into and form commentary, providing additional information, for that which is previously seen when the first six seals of the scroll were broken.

They would reflect back on that seen when the sixth seal was broken, which answers the cry of the martyrs when the fifth seal was broken. In this respect, these judgments, along with the judgments that are seen when the fifth and sixth seals were broken, form part of the sinews, flesh, and skin to cloth the skeletal framework originally set forth by and through that which is revealed by the four horsemen riding forth when the first four seals of the scroll were broken.

And when the seventh seal is broken, the matter, as previously stated, is brought to a full end with the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the corresponding pouring out of the seventh bowl.

Note how this is seen in that stated about the angel with the seventh trumpet:

The angel [the angel with the seventh trumpet] whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand [lit., “right hand”] to heaven

and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer,

but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.  (Revelation 10:5-7)

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ [lit., ‘The kingdom of this world is become that of our Lord, and of His Christ’], and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15)

Then note how this is seen in that stated about the angel with the seventh vial:

Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done [lit., ‘It has been completed,’ ‘It has come to pass’]!”
(Revelation 16:17)

(Ref. Ch. 19, The Opened Scroll, for comments on “time” in relation to finality in Revelation 10:6. Also, see Ch. 11, Seals, Trumpets, Bowls, for comments on “the mystery of God” being finished in Revelation 10:7, along with the statement having to do with completion in Revelation 16:17.)

Though the seals, trumpets, and bowls are presented in a separate sense in the book of Revelation, forming three triads of sevens — showing divine perfection [three] within God’s complete judgment [seven] surrounding the redemption of the inheritance — as previously seen, an inseparable relationship exists between all of the judgments. And everything moves toward revealed goals, ultimately allowing God’s Son to take the kingdom and to reign.

These revealed goals would encompass:

1) Bringing about the redemption of the inheritance, allowing God’s Son to take the kingdom.

2) Bringing to pass the marriage of Christ to His previously revealed bride, allowing the Son to possess a wife — a requirement for reigning in the kingdom of men, for man cannot reign alone; he must reign as a complete being.

3) Bringing Israel to the place of repentance, resulting in the restoration of the nation (spiritually, and to the land), God again taking Israel as His wife, and the restoration of the theocracy to the nation.

4) Bringing Gentile world power to naught, resulting in an end to the Times of the Gentiles.

5) Bringing about that which is seen in Psalm 2:6 — “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.”

Chapter 16

Silence in Heaven (1)

When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. . . .

The first angel sounded . . . . (Revelation 8:1-2, 7a)

(Note that the breaking of the seventh seal, revealing the trumpet and bowl judgments — dealt with in Revelation 16; 17; 18 in this book — takes place after Christ returns to the earth, with the judgments occurring while Christ is on the earth following the Tribulation but preceding the Millennium.

This may also account for the separation of the breaking of the seventh seal [Revelation 8:1ff] from the preceding six [Revelation 6:1ff] by events revealed in Revelation 7 — the sealing of the 144,000 Jewish evangels and the results of their ministry [ref. Revelation 14]. Then there is the scene in heaven when this final seal is broken [Revelation 8:1-6], anticipating the scenes in Revelation 10; 11b after all the judgments under this seal have been brought to pass.

For additional information on the preceding, refer back to Ch. 15, The Great Seismos. Also refer to the author’s pamphlet, The Son of Man Coming in His Kingdom,  Part I and Part IV, plus Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Moses and John, Ch. 2.)

That which is seen when the first four seals of the seven-sealed scroll had been broken (Revelation 6:1-8) — four horsemen sequentially riding forth on different colored horses, along with that occurring as each rode forth — covers, in an overall capsulated manner, the complete seven years of the Tribulation, along with events immediately following at the time of Christ’s return.

Then, the breaking of the next two seals (Revelation 6:9-17) adds to the picture by presenting a summary view of that which is ultimately occurring because of that which is depicted by the four horsemen riding forth. The breaking of the fifth seal presents the matter from a heavenly perspective (Tribulation martyrs in heaven crying out), and the breaking of the sixth seal presents the matter from an earthly perspective (the ultimate and utter collapse of world government, along with its interrelated trade and commerce).

Then, the breaking of the seventh and last seal of the scroll (Revelation 8:1), revealing the seven trumpet judgments, and ultimately the seven bowl judgments, simply provides details and forms commentary for that which was previously seen (seen first in an overall capsulated manner [by and through the breaking of the first four seals]; then that which is seen in additional summary information relating to the end result of that which was previously depicted by the four horsemen riding forth [by and through the breaking of the fifth and sixth seals]). In this respect, that which occurs when the seven trumpets are sounded and the corresponding seven bowls of wrath are poured out do not depict judgments occurring in addition to that which was previously seen (that which was dealt with when the first six seals were broken). Rather, that which occurs when the seven trumpets are sounded and the corresponding seven bowls of wrath are poured out provides information on judgments occurring within that which was previously seen (detailed information concerning that which was previously dealt with when the first six seals of the scroll were broken).

(The preceding manner of viewing that which occurs when the seven seals of the scroll have sequentially been broken has been dealt with in different places in previous parts of this book, particularly in parts covering Revelation 5; 6 [ref. Revelation 8-15].

The relationship of that which is seen when the four horsemen ride forth [the breaking of the first four seals] to that which is seen in the remaining judgments [the breaking of the last three seals] could be likened to the relationship of Genesis 1:1-2:3 to the remainder of Scripture. In both instances the overall scope of the matter is presented first, in a skeletal form. Then subsequent Scripture provides details and forms commentary, supplying the sinews, flesh, and skin to cover the skeletal framework [cf. Ezekiel 37:1-10].

In the book of Revelation, judgments revealed by the seven-sealed scroll are arranged in three sets of seven — seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. “Three” is the number of divine perfection, and “seven” is God’s number, a number that He uses to show the completion of that which is in view. Three sets of seven, in relation to “judgment,” show divine perfection [three] within a complete judgment emanating from God [seven].

However, as previously seen, all judgment is actually contained within the seven-sealed scroll, with the breaking of the first four seals showing the whole of the matter, and the breaking of the last three seals providing details and forming commentary. “Four” is a number having to do with the earth [e.g., four points of the compass, four corners of the earth]; and, again, the remaining “three” would be associated with divine perfection. Thus, the two numbers show Divine perfection in relation to judgment having to do with the earth, with those dwelling on the earth.)

Contextual Setting for the Breaking of the Seventh Seal

The breaking of the seventh seal of the seven-sealed scroll, resulting in all of the remaining judgments connected with the scroll being revealed and brought to pass (those that are seen by and through the sounding of the seven trumpets and the pouring out of the seven bowls of wrath), completes the redemption of the inheritance.

The breaking of the seventh seal (Revelation 8) is separated from the breaking of the first six (Revelation 6) by an aside (related event [Revelation 7]), providing further revelation relating to the souls under the altar, seen in heaven, when the fifth seal was broken. And the breaking of the seventh seal itself provides further revelation relating to the complete collapse of world government, with its interrelated trade and commerce, seen on earth, when the sixth seal was broken. And the whole of the matter relates back to events within the scope of that which is seen as the four horsemen rode forth when the first four seals were broken.

Then the judgments revealed after the seventh seal had been broken — the seven trumpet judgments and the corresponding seven bowl judgments — are also separated by interrelated asides (related events in Revelation 11; 12; 13; 14 [11a]), which provide further light on the things seen in these judgments. And these asides have to do with both heavenly and earthly scenes, as set forth when the fifth and sixth seals were broken.

One thing above all else must be kept in mind when viewing the judgments revealed when the seventh seal is broken. These judgments have been recorded after the same fashion as the judgments seen when the first six seals were broken. They have been recorded in keeping with the manner in which the book is structured (“signified” [Revelation 1:1]), and the fact that metaphors are used extensively throughout the book (ref. Ch. 1, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (1), and Ch. 15, The Great Seismos).

When the seventh seal is broken, there is silence in heaven for “the space of half an hour.”

The reason for this silence is not given, though it appears evident. The various judgments that God has deemed necessary to complete the redemption of the inheritance are now seen — judgments that will bring Israel to the place of repentance, along with reducing Gentile world power to naught.

And apparently there is such awe over the whole (all) of the matter when this last seal is broken — not only because of the severity of the judgments but because of the things that will resultantly be brought to pass — that no one utters a word for “half an hour.” Whether or not this is a literal half an hour is immaterial. The point is made, and matters continue from there (Revelation 8:1).

Seven angels are then seen standing before God, and they are each given a trumpet (Revelation 8:2).

Then, prior to the sounding of the trumpets, another angel with a golden censer offers incense, in connection with the prayers of saints, on the golden altar before God’s throne. This is followed by the angel taking the censer, filling it with fire from the altar, and casting it upon the earth. Then there were “noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake [‘a shaking’]” (Revelation 8:3-5).

“Lightnings, thunderings, noises” were also seen in connection with God’s throne back in Revelation 4:5, immediately before the introduction of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 5. Then “lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake [‘a shaking’], and great hail” are also seen in connection with both the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15-19) and the pouring out of the seventh bowl (Revelation 16:17-21). And, as will be shown, these latter two are actually the same scene, with the pouring out of the seventh bowl providing additional information.

All is in connection with God’s throne and judgments that ensue when the seals of the seven-sealed scroll are broken. This is the way matters are presented in Revelation 5 when the scroll is introduced in the book, this is the way matters continue when the seventh seal of the scroll has been broken in Revelation 8, and this is the way matters conclude when judgments under the seventh seal have been brought to pass in Revelation 10; 11; 16.

Seven Trumpets, Seven Bowls

The sounding of the seven trumpets in Revelation 8; 9; 10; 11 and the pouring out of the seven bowls in Revelation 15; 16 — completing all of the judgments revealed in the seven-sealed scroll — parallel one another in every respect. As previously noted, “lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake [‘a shaking’], and great hail,” seen at the conclusion of both the sounding of the trumpets and the pouring out of the bowls of wrath, refer to the same scene, occurring at the same time. The latter provides additional details and commentary.

And not only is this true concerning the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet and the pouring out of the seventh and last bowl, but it is also true concerning the sounding of all the other six trumpets and the pouring out of all the other six bowls as well. All of the trumpet and bowl judgments parallel one another, with each providing different facets of information concerning the same thing (the first trumpet judgment parallels the first bowl judgment, the second trumpet judgment parallels the second bowl judgment, etc.). With that stated concerning the seven bowl judgments, they simply form further descriptions or depictions of that which is stated concerning the seven trumpet judgments.

The sounding of the first trumpet and the pouring out of the first bowl, for example, point to one series of events described in two different ways. Comparing that which is revealed by the sounding of the trumpets with that which is revealed by the pouring out of the bowls is much like comparing two Old Testament types dealing with the same thing.

One will provide details that the other doesn’t provide, adding to the complete word picture that all of the types on the subject, together, would set forth. And so it is with the sounding of the trumpets and the pouring out of the bowls.

And not only is the preceding true, but, as previously noted, that which is seen when the seventh seal is broken (the trumpet judgments, and ultimately the bowl judgments) provides details and forms commentary for that which is previously revealed when the first six seals were broken.

All of these judgments together present a complete word picture in relation to the seven-sealed scroll itself, with corresponding Scripture providing numerous other details that can be added to the word picture.

1) Paralleling the Trumpet and Bowl Judgments

The trumpet and bowl judgments can be seen having to do with the same thing by noting certain key parts in each. For example, the first trumpet and first bowl judgment have to do with the earth, the second with the sea, the third with the rivers and fountains of water, the fourth with heavenly bodies, the fifth with darkness throughout the kingdom of the beast, the sixth with the great river Euphrates, and the seventh with the thought that everything has been completed.

And the seventh, in each instance, would show conclusively that the trumpet and bowl judgments have to be understood in this manner by each showing a completion relating to all of the judgments.

It is evident from Revelation 10:5-7; 11:15-19, with the sounding of the seventh trumpet, that everything has been completed in this respect. And exactly the same thing is shown when the seventh bowl is poured out
(Revelation 16:17). Thus, the trumpet judgments and bowl judgments cannot possibly form separate judgments. They can only be seen as the same judgments, with the latter (the bowl judgments) simply providing additional information for the former (the trumpet judgments).

The different bowl judgments, referring to the same judgments seen in the previous trumpet judgments, at times appear to carry the matter to a greater degree of completion. And all of the bowl judgments appear to carry matters surrounding the judgments in view to a terminal point, with the same full end of all the judgments in the seven-sealed scroll seen at the completion of both the trumpet and bowl judgments.

a) First Trumpet, First Bowl (Revelation 8:7; 16:2): Both have to do with the earth.

When the first angel sounded his trumpet, “hail and fire followed, mingled with blood . . . were thrown to the earth”; and “a third” of the earth and trees was burned up, and “all” green grass was burned up.

An angel poured the first bowl out upon the earth. And, as a result, “a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.”

b) Second Trumpet, Second Bowl (Revelation 8:8-9; 16:3): Both have to do with the sea.

When the second angel sounded his trumpet, “a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea.” A third part of the sea became blood, a third part of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third part of the ships were destroyed.

An angel poured the second bowl out on the sea. And the sea “became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.”

c) Third Trumpet, Third Bowl (Revelation 8:10-11; 16:4-7): Both have to do with the rivers and fountains of waters.

When the third angel sounded his trumpet, “a great star” fell from heaven. And the star “fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water,” resulting in the waters becoming bitter and causing the death of numerous individuals.

An angel poured out the third bowl upon the rivers and fountains of waters; “and they became blood.” Then the angel calls attention to the righteous judgments of the Lord. Those on the earth “have shed the blood of saints and prophets,” and these same individuals have been given “blood to drink. For it is their just due.”

d) Fourth Trumpet, Fourth Bowl (Revelation 8:12-13; 16:8-9): Both have to do with heavenly bodies.

When the fourth angel sounded his trumpet, a third part of the sun, moon, and stars were smitten; and this resulted in darkness for “a third” of both the day and the night. Then an angel is seen flying through the midst of heaven proclaiming with a loud voice to those on the earth, “Woe, woe, woe.” And this proclamation of Woe is echoed because of the three angels that are yet to sound (which would include the angels pouring out the last three bowls as well).

An angel poured out the fourth bowl on the sun. And power was given to the sun “to scorch men with fire.” And those being scorched blasphemed the One having power over these plagues, repenting not (i.e., not changing their minds).

e) Fifth Trumpet, Fifth Bowl (Revelation 9:1-12; 16:10-11): Both have to do with darkness throughout the kingdom of the beast.

When the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, a star fell “from heaven to the earth.” And the key to “the bottomless pit [lit., ‘the shaft of the underworld,’ i.e. a shaft going down into the underworld]” was given to this star (an angel). This angel opened the shaft, smoke arose from the shaft as the smoke of a furnace, and this smoke was so thick that it blotted out the sun, resulting in darkness across the land.

Then locusts came out of the smoke, which had tails like scorpions; and these locusts were given power over those having received the mark of the beast, “to hurt men five months.” And, conditions will be such in those days that men will “seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.”

An angel poured out the fifth bowl “upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom became full of darkness.” Those in the kingdom of the beast in that day will gnaw their tongues for pain, blaspheme “the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores,” but will not repent of their deeds.

f) Sixth Trumpet, Sixth Bowl (Revelation 9:13-21; 16:12-16): Both have to do with the great river Euphrates.

When the sixth angel sounded his trumpet, the command went out, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” These four angels are said to have been “prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind.”

Then the four angels are seen in connection with an army of two hundred million, with this army seen as the entity actually responsible for slaying “a third of mankind.”

An angel poured out the sixth bowl upon the great River Euphrates. And the water of the Euphrates “was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.” Then three unclean spirits — demonic spirits which originate from Satan, the beast, and the false prophet — go forth to gather “the kings of the earth and of the whole world . . . to the battle of that great day of God Almighty,” to “Armageddon [meaning, ‘the Mount of Megiddo’].”

g) Seventh Trumpet, Seventh Bowl (Revelation 10:1-11; 11:15-19; 16:17-21): Both have to do with a full and complete end.

When the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, time in relation to Man’s Day had run its course, the mystery of God was brought to completion, the kingdom of this world became that “of our Lord and of His Christ,” and there were “lightnings, noices, thunderings, an earthquake [‘a shaking’], and great hail.”

An angel poured out the seventh bowl “into the air.” And a great voice came out of the temple in heaven, from God’s throne, saying, “It is done [a perfect tense in the Greek text indicating that everything had been finished in past time, with matters existing during present time in a finished state].” Then the same “noises, thunderings, lightnings” are seen, along with “a great earthquake [‘a great shaking‘]” and “great hail.”

2) A Counterpart in Old Testament History

Ten plagues fell upon the kingdom of the Assyrian in Egypt during Moses’ Day. This occurred immediately prior to Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, with a view to their realizing an inheritance in another land as God’s firstborn son.

(Note that these ten plagues occurred after Moses returned but before he led the Israelites out of Egypt. Thus, they can only foreshadow judgments occurring after Christ returns but before he leads the Israelites out from a worldwide dispersion. And it is evident that these are the judgments occurring when the seventh and last seal of the seven-sealed scroll is broken, revealing the trumpet and bowl judgments.

Again, for information on this subject, refer to the author’s books, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Coming in His Kingdom, Ch. 1 and Ch. 4, plus Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Moses and John, Ch. 2.)

Five of these ten plagues that fell upon the kingdom of the Assyrian in history are very similar to four of the seven plagues depicted by the trumpet and bowl judgments that will fall upon the kingdom of the Assyrian yet future. And these plagues falling upon the kingdom of the Assyrian yet future will occur while Christ is on earth, following His return, immediately prior to the One greater than Moses leading the Israelites out from a worldwide dispersion, with a view to their realizing an inheritance in another land as God’s firstborn son.

The first, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth plagues during Moses’ day noticeably parallel the first, third, fifth, and seventh trumpet and bowl judgments yet future, though not in that corresponding order.

a) First Plague in Egypt (Exodus 7:19-21); Third Trumpet and Bowl Judgment (Revelation 8:10-11; 16:4-7):

The first plague in Egypt resulted in “all the waters that were in the river [the Nile, the longest river in the world and the primary river of Egypt]” becoming “blood.”

The third trumpet and bowl judgment will result in the rivers and fountains of waters becoming “blood.”

b) Sixth Plague in Egypt (Exodus 9:8-12); First Trumpet and Bowl Judgment (Revelation 8:7; 16:2):

The sixth plague in Egypt resulted in “boils that break out in sores on man and beast,” throughout all the land of Egypt, throughout the kingdom of the Assyrian.

The first trumpet and bowl judgment will result in “a foul and loathsome sore” befalling those who had received the mark of the beast, the mark of the future Assyrian.

c) Seventh Plague in Egypt (Exodus 9:22-26); Seventh Trumpet and Bowl Judgment (Revelation 10:1-11; 11:15-19; 16:17-21):

The seventh plague in Egypt resulted in “thunder and hail,” fire mingled with the hail, and fire running along the ground. The hail in Egypt was so severe that it “struck . . . both man and beast . . . every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field.”

The seventh trumpet and bowl judgment will result in “noises, thunderings, lightnings…a great earthquake [‘a great shaking’],” and “great hail.”

d) Eighth and Ninth Plagues in Egypt (Exodus 10:12-15, 21-23); Fifth Trumpet and Bowl Judgment (Revelation 9:1-12; 16:10-11):

The eighth and ninth plagues in Egypt resulted in “locusts,” carried throughout all the land by an east wind (eighth plague), and “darkness” (eighth and ninth plagues) covering the land.

The fifth trumpet and bowl judgment will result in “locusts” coming out of smoke from the shaft going down into the underworld, and “darkness” covering the earth.

The plagues in Egypt ultimately brought the kingdom of the Assyrian to its knees. The Passover was the final and tenth plague. This plague decreed that death would befall the firstborn throughout the land of Egypt, in the camp of the Israelites and the Egyptians alike.

No distinction was made between the Israelites and the Egyptians in this respect. But, though death had been decreed upon the firstborn throughout the land, a distinction was made in the camp of Israel concerning how the firstborn could die.

An Israelite family could take a lamb from the sheep or a kid from the goats (both referred to as “a lamb” in Exodus 12:5), slay that lamb, catch the blood in a basin, and apply the blood according to the Lord’s instructions (with hyssop, on the two side posts and lintel of the door to the home [Exodus 12:22]). The Lord would then recognize a vicarious death of the firstborn. The firstborn would have died via a substitute.

When the Lord passed through the land of Egypt at midnight He looked for one thing. He looked for blood from a slain lamb, properly applied. If He saw the blood, He knew that the firstborn in that home had already died, and He passed over that home. If He didn’t see the blood, He knew the firstborn in that home had not yet died. And the firstborn then had to suffer death himself.

This death of the firstborn occurred throughout the entire land of Egypt, with only Israel possessing a means whereby the firstborn could die vicariously. And it was after this that the Assyrian let the Israelites go.

After the Israelites had begun their journey, the Assyrian changed his mind and pursued after the Israelites with his armed forces. But God delivered Israel from Egypt through the Red Sea and destroyed the Assyrian and his armed forces in the Sea.

These things form a type of that future day when the Israelites will have their national Passover (receive the Paschal Lamb whom the nation slew 2,000 years ago, properly applying the blood) while still scattered worldwide. Then they will be delivered from their worldwide dispersion. And the Assyrian of that day, with his armed forces — seeking to destroy Israel, exactly as his counterpart tried in history — will himself, with his armed forces, be destroyed.

Gentile world power will be brought to an end (Revelation 19:11-21), with a view to “Israel,” having been cleansed of her harlotry (Revelation 17; 18; 19 [19a]; cf. Judges 19:2, 23-30), taking the scepter and realizing the position of God’s firstborn son in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ezekiel 36:24-38; 37:21-28; 39:21-29).

(The trumpet and bowl judgments are continued in the next two chapters.)

Chapter 17

Silence in Heaven (2)

When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

And I saw the seven angels who stand before God and to them were given seven trumpets . . .

The first angel sounded . . . . (Revelation 8:1-2, 7a)

All of the judgments having to do with the redemptive terms of the inheritance are seen in the breaking of the seals of the seven-sealed scroll.  This scroll was the only thing seen in the Father’s right hand in Revelation 5, this scroll was the only thing in view when the Son took it from His Father’s hand, and this scroll was the only thing in view when the Son began to break the seals in Revelation 6 (breaking six seals in this chapter).

Judgments connected with the seven trumpets and seven bowls are introduced later in the book, when the seventh seal is broken (Revelation 8; 9; 10; 11; 15; 16 [11b]).  But these are not judgments in addition to those seen when the first six seals of the scroll were broken.  These are judgments providing a further explanation, revealing detail and forming commentary, concerning judgments previously introduced, or the results of these judgments, when the first six seals of the scroll were broken.

Comparing the Trumpet and Bowl Judgments

When the seventh seal is broken, seven trumpets are seen.  These seven trumpets are given to seven angels, and as each angel sounds, different judgments ensue.  And, when the seventh angel sounds, seven judgments are again seen (Revelation 10), which are apparently a reference to the seven bowls of wrath (Revelation 15; 16).

The seven bowls are then seen to parallel the seven trumpets.  Judgments seen when the seven bowls are poured out are not similar, subsequent judgments to those previously seen by the sounding of the seven trumpets, but, rather, they are the same judgments.  They are further descriptions of the same judgments, providing more information and detail (ref. Ch. 16, Silence in Heaven (1)).

And, beyond that, the trumpet and corresponding bowl judgments, though not seen until the seventh seal is broken, do not describe judgments in addition to those previously seen when the first six seals were broken.  Rather, they form further descriptions of the same judgments.  They reveal detail and form commentary for the judgments occurring when these previous seals were broken.

Putting matters together from the beginning, the breaking of the first four seals — that which is occurring when four horsemen rode forth, each on a different colored horse — describe, in an overall capsulated manner, events covering the whole of the Tribulation (Daniel’s Seventieth Week); along with events occurring immediately following, at the time of Christ’s return; that which is seen when the fifth seal was broken — Tribulation martyrs in heaven — resulted from that which occurred when the first four seals were broken; that which is seen when the sixth seal was broken — the complete disarray and collapse of world government, with its interrelated trade and commerce — described the end result of that previously depicted by the four horsemen riding forth; and the breaking of the seventh and last seal simply provides details for that which was previously seen, particularly that which was seen when the sixth seal was broken.

Thus, the whole of that which is revealed when the seventh seal is broken (seven trumpets, then seven bowls) must be looked upon and studied together, as a unit; and this must be done in the light of that which is previously revealed when the first six seals were broken.  The trumpet and bowl judgments actually describe different facets of one picture — the complete disarray and collapse of world government, with its interrelated trade and commerce, as previously seen in an overall scope when the sixth seal was broken.  Each corresponding trumpet and bowl judgment (the first with the first, the second with the second, etc.) simply presents a part of the same picture, and together they fill in all the details that God has deemed necessary.

The whole of the matter could be likened to an artist painting a picture.  First, by and through the breaking of the first four seals (activities which are seen when four horsemen rode forth), the artist would paint a somewhat overall, skeletal picture of events during the Tribulation.  Then, when the fifth and six seals were broken, the artist would add more detail (from both heavenly and earthly perspectives).  Then, when the seventh seal was broken, the artist could finish the picture by adding all the details that God deemed necessary for the picture presented by that which is seen by and through the breaking of the seven seals of the scroll.  Numerous other details, of course, could be added by and through the interrelated asides in the book (Revelation 7; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; 19 [11a]), plus that which is seen in all previous Scripture, beginning with Moses.

Seeing the Trumpet and Bowl Judgments Together

(The trumpet and bowl judgments set forth a divinely designed orderly progression in the ruin, utter collapse, and destruction of the end-time world system under Antichrist, who will occupy a position of worldwide power and authority, ruling from Satan’s throne.  These judgments provide detail and commentary, particularly on that which is seen when the sixth seal of the scroll was broken.  And the breaking of this sixth seal, in turn, answers a question asked when the previous seal was broken, along with providing detail and commentary for that which is seen when the first four seals of the scroll were broken.

This is the orderly arrangement, with all of the necessary information, in which matters surrounding the redemption of the inheritance are revealed by and through the breaking of the seals on the seven-sealed scroll.)

The trumpet and bowl judgments are to be understood in complete keeping with the manner in which the book is structured (“signified” [Revelation 1:1]), along with the extensive use of metaphors.  And this would simply be a continuation of and would be in complete keeping with that which is previously seen when the first six seals were broken (ref. Chapters 1 [The Revelation of Jesus Christ (1)], 13-15 [The Four Horsemen, Souls Under the Altar, The Great Seismos]).

Using metaphors or similes, a symbolic-type of language, can often convey a more forceful or vivid picture than a lengthy statement.  And this is perhaps the main reason we find the extensive use of this type of language throughout Scripture, particularly in this closing book.

1)  First Trumpet, First Bowl (Revelation 8:7; 16:2)

Both have to do with the earth.

The sounding of the first trumpet and the pouring out of the first bowl, describing the first judgment two different ways, provides beginning detail and commentary for that which is previously dealt with in an overall scope.  This first judgment provides beginning detail and commentary for that which is dealt with when the sixth seal was broken (showing the complete collapse and utter disarray of world government, along with its interrelated trade and commerce).  And this, in turn, provides detail and forms commentary for that which is dealt with when the first four seals were broken, particularly in relation to where the whole of the matter leads.

The first trumpet judgment presents “hail and fire mingled with blood,” which were “thrown to the earth.”  The “third” of the earth and trees was burned up, and “all” green grass was burned up.

Then, paralleling the preceding, by way of further explanation and comment when the first bowl was poured out, it is stated, “a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.”

The “hail and fire” from above, “thrown to the earth,” points to sudden judgment from God befalling the earth-dwellers.  “Hail” is used in this manner in Isaiah 28:2, 17, and “fire” is used in this manner more than any other symbol in Scripture (e.g., Genesis 3:24; Exodus 3:2; Revelation 1:14-15).  “Hail” and “fire” used together, as in the seventh plague in Egypt during Moses’ day, could only show intensity relative to this judgment.

Then, the “hail and fire” are seen “mingled with blood.”  “Blood” could point to either life or death.  But, in the manner seen here, it is death.  Thus, the end result of this judgment, as is characteristic of the judgments seen throughout the breaking of the seals on the scroll, is death (which would be mainly in relation to that which is in view — the government, trade and commerce [affecting man indirectly]).

The “third” of the earth and trees was burned up, and “all” green grass was burned up (the KJV and NKJV do not include “the earth,” but the better Greek manuscripts available today do include it).

The “earth” is simply the sphere of Satan’s domain as he rules the earth and the sphere of man’s domain as he rules under Satan and his angels.  And “trees” upon this sphere of Satan’s domain would apparently be used in a dual sense.

“Trees” are used in Scripture two ways.  They are used of man’s loftiness (Ezekiel 31:1ff) and of national powers in the kingdom of men (Judges 9:8-15; Luke 21:29-30).  Both symbolic usages appear to be combined in Nebuchadnezzar’s experiences seen in Daniel 4:4-37.

Then, “grass” is used in Scripture to reference those in the human race (Isaiah 40:6-7; 1 Peter 1:24).  And “green grass,” as seen in the text, could only point to a prosperous condition, or a lofty condition (in keeping with the symbolism of a “tree”), of those in the kingdom.

Thus, the picture is in complete keeping with that which is previously seen by and through the breaking of the first six seals, with detail added.  It is a picture of worldwide judgment in the kingdom of men, which here affects one-third of mankind within the kingdom of Antichrist but is enlarged to include the whole of mankind when the seven bowls are poured out.

Kingdoms are brought down, the loftiness of man is reduced to naught, and the final picture is one of utter chaos and desolation in the kingdom of Antichrist.

Now, that which is seen by and through the pouring out of the first bowl must be understood within this same framework, adding further information.  Seemingly, the parallel doesn’t appear to exist.  But bear in mind that symbolic language is being used.

The first bowl judgment refers to “a foul and loathsome sore [‘a painfully bad wound’]” befalling those “who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.”

To see that which occurs when the first bowl is poured out as a physical wound wouldn’t really fit within the parallel that must exist between the first trumpet and bowl judgments.  But, on the other hand, seeing this wound as mental rather than physical would be perfectly in line with that which is brought to pass when the first trumpet is sounded.

Something often overlooked is the fact that sickness and disease, which can result in death, can have to do with either the physical or the mental part of man.  And the two are so inseparably related that sickness or disease in one can often end up affecting the other as well.

In keeping with the first trumpet judgment, the painfully bad wound which is seen when the first bowl was poured out undoubtedly refers to a mental rather than to a physical condition.  Mental suffering is something that can, at times, far exceed the physical, which would account for the state in which individuals will find themselves because of that which is occurring when the first trumpet sounds.  The picture apparently shows the mental state of those in the kingdom of Antichrist when the whole of that which exists in the kingdom is collapsing all around them.

And unlike Nebuchadnezzar, the first king in Babylon during the Times of the Gentiles in Daniel 4:30-37
(cf. Daniel 5:18-21), whose understanding and kingdom were restored, neither will be restored to those in the kingdom of Antichrist in that coming day, those in the final form of the kingdom of Babylon during the Times of the Gentiles.  Only utter, complete destruction will await them.

2)  Second Trumpet, Second Bowl (Revelation 8:8-9; 16:3)

Both have to do with the sea.

When the second angel sounded his trumpet, “a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea.”  A third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

A “mountain” in Scripture signifies a kingdom (Isaiah 2:1-5; Daniel 2:35, 44-45; Matthew 16:28-17:5).  “Fire,” as previously seen, has to do with judgment.  And “the sea” is used several ways in Scripture — having to do with death (Exodus 14:21-28; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:2; Colossians 2:12), with the Gentiles (Daniel 7:2-3; Revelation 13:1), and with restlessness (Isaiah 57:20).

The “great mountain” would have to do with the kingdom of Antichrist, “burning with fire” would have to do with God’s judgment befalling the kingdom, and being cast into the sea could only include all three symbolic usages of the sea.  It will be a Gentile kingdom in its death throes, and only a state of restlessness could possibly exist in the kingdom at this time.

Isaiah 57:20-21 would be an apt description of the kingdom in that coming day:

But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

“There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

Then, the result of this great mountain burning with fire, cast into the sea, is seen to be death and the destruction of ships in the sea.  “Death” could have to do with individuals in the kingdom, but it is apparent, particularly as seen in the related bowl judgment, that this refers more specifically to that being dealt with — the government, along with its interrelated trade and commerce.  And the latter (trade and commerce) is specifically singled out by attention being called to the destruction of ships in the sea, for ships are used primarily to transport goods from one place to another (cf. Revelation 18:17-19).

And exactly the same thing is seen when the second bowl is poured out.  An angel poured out the second bowl on the sea.  And the sea “became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.”  The second trumpet judgment dealt with one-third of that which was affected, but the second bowl judgment dealt with the whole, carrying the matter to completion.  And it is evident from information given when this bowl is poured out that “death,” which is seen as all-inclusive, cannot be a reference to individuals in the kingdom but rather to the government, along with its interrelated trade and commerce.

Both the sounding of the second trumpet and pouring out of the second bowl show exactly the same thing as seen when the sixth seal was broken, with detail added.  Both together form a further description of the utter and complete collapse and destruction of the whole of Antichrist’s kingdom.

Each of the trumpet and bowl judgments shows a different facet of the matter.

3)  Third Trumpet, Third Bowl (Revelation 8:10-11; 16:4-7)

Both have to do with the rivers and fountains of waters.

When the third angel sounded his trumpet, “a great star” fell from heaven.  And the star fell upon the third of the rivers and on the springs of water, resulting in the waters becoming bitter and causing the deaths of numerous individuals.

When an angel poured out the third bowl upon the rivers and fountains of waters, “they became blood.”  Then attention is called to the righteous judgments of the Lord.  Those on the earth “have shed the blood of saints and prophets,” and these same individuals have been given “blood to drink. For it is their just due.” (cf. Genesis 9:6)

“Stars” are used in the book of Revelation to denote individuals (both angels and men) in positions of authority, spiritual and/or political (Revelation 1:16, 20; 6:13; 12:1, 4). “Waters” are used to denote “peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Isaiah 17:12-13; Revelation 17:1, 15).  “Waters” form the source of life (Exodus 17:3-6; Isaiah 55:1; John 4:6-14; 7:37-38), but in the text the waters not only become blood, but they become bitter.  Thus, the waters here are associated, not with life, but with death.  And they are actually associated with something beyond simply death itself.  They are associated with a bitterness in connection with death, which takes one beyond the normal thought of death.  And the whole of the matter is associated with both the kingdom of Antichrist and those in the kingdom.

The sources of all national life become associated with a death beyond the normal thought of death — the continuing collapse of the kingdom, trade and commerce, and the continuing deterioration of the mental state of those in the kingdom.

And the punishment — a drinking, a partaking of the whole of the matter — is as terrible on the one hand as it is righteous on the other.  It is here that the cry of the saints seen under the altar begins to be addressed:

When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held.

And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10).

And I heard the angel of the waters saying: “You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things.

For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.”  (Revelation 16:5-6).

The reference, of course, is not to a physical drinking, but to something far worse.  Those in the kingdom in that coming day will find themselves having to pass through something far worse than physical death, and they will fully know and experience its bitterness.

4)  Fourth Trumpet, Fourth Bowl (Revelation 8:12-13; 16:8-9)

Both have to do with heavenly bodies.

When the fourth angel sounded his trumpet, a third of the sun, moon, and stars were struck; and this resulted in darkness for “a third” of both the day and the night.

When an angel poured out the fourth bowl on the sun, power was given to the sun “to scorch men with fire.”

The sun, moon, and stars are used in a collective sense to reference the whole of the governing powers in Antichrist’s kingdom.  There is a universal crash in the government;  and where life and light once existed death and darkness begin to pervade the kingdom, and this continues until the whole is affected (cf. Matthew 13:33).

This is the same thing previously seen when the sixth seal was broken.  Also, the fourth trumpet and bowl judgments are similar to the succeeding fifth trumpet and bowl judgments and belong together in the sense of the former being continued and carried to completion in the latter.  Only one-third is affected in the fourth trumpet judgment, with nothing being stated along these lines in the fourth bowl judgment.  But the matter is carried to completion in both the fifth trumpet and bowl judgments, with the whole being affected.

The fourth bowl judgment has to do with one central thing — individuals being “scorched” by “great heat” from the stricten sun, as it is seen when the fourth trumpet sounds.  This, of course, is not a reference to the intensity of the sun itself being increased, for the “sun” is being used in a metaphorical sense, referring to the main governing authority in the kingdom.  And being scorched with great heat must be understood in line with the way that the “sun” is being used in the passage.

The reference is to the utter collapse of the government, seen at its center (the sun), being the cause of not just anguish but of intense anguish among those in the kingdom (note the painfully bad wound when the first bowl was poured out).  And this results, not in a change of mind (repentance), but in their blaspheming the name of the One in control of the entire matter (ref. to a corresponding and continuing scene in the fifth trumpet and bowl judgments).

5)  Fifth Trumpet, Fifth Bowl (Revelation 9:1-12; 16:10-11)

Both have to do with darkness throughout the kingdom of the beast.

When the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, a star fell “from heaven to the earth.”  This star, an angel, held the key to “the bottomless pit [lit., ‘the shaft of the underworld,’ i.e. a shaft going down into the underworld].”  He opened the shaft, and smoke so thick that it blotted out the sun came up from the shaft, producing darkness; and locusts came out of the smoke.

The locusts had tails like scorpions, and they were given power over those having received the mark of the beast to torment men “five months.”

When an angel poured out the fifth bowl “upon the throne of the beast . . . his kingdom was full of darkness.”  Those in the kingdom are then seen gnawing their tongues for pain and blaspheming “the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores.”

The fifth trumpet and bowl judgments simply form a continuation from the fourth trumpet and bowl judgments, bringing the kingdom of Antichrist into its final form immediately before it is destroyed.

As previously seen, an angel came down and opened a shaft going down into the underworld.  And smoke came up out of the shaft, with locusts coming out of the smoke.  The smoke was so thick that it blotted out the sun, producing darkness throughout the kingdom; and the locusts coming out of the smoke had tails like scorpions, and they were given power over men to torment them for “five months” (the normal life-span of locusts, which may or may not be a reference to literal time [note the five months of judgment in a type of the Tribulation during the Flood in Noah’s day, with torrential rain falling and subterranean water rising for one hundred fifty days — Genesis 7; 11; 12; 24 and Genesis 8:1-2]).

Again, the “sun” is a reference to the central governing authority in the kingdom, and the sun being darkened by smoke can only be a reference to the utter collapse and ruin of the central governing authority in the kingdom, wrought by and through judgment from God (smoke associated with fire).

The locusts have a “king over them,” the angel of the bottomless pit (underworld), whose name in the Hebrew is “Abaddon” and in the Greek “Apollyon” (Revelation 9:11).  Both words mean Destroyer.  “The underworld” in view (Greek: abussos, “abyss”) is seen in Scripture as an abode of demons and the place where Satan will be bound during the Millennium (Luke 8:31; Revelation 20:3; cf. Revelation 17:8).  In this respect, it appears evident that the locusts coming up in the smoke from the shaft going down into the underworld can only refer to a demonic plague (possibly a loosing of the angels in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6).

Thus, the picture is that of a kingdom in utter collapse and men who are already in unimaginable anguish being tormented by demonic spirits unleashed throughout the kingdom (cf. Luke 8:26-33; 9:38-39), with these individuals seen gnawing their tongues for pain (an expression found only here in Scripture [Revelation 16:10]).

Is it any wonder that Scripture reads:

In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. (Revelation 9:6)   

This is what Gentile world power under Antichrist will be reduced to immediately before it is destroyed.

(The last two trumpet and bowl judgments are different than the first five.  The first five describe different facets of how the kingdom of Antichrist will be brought into utter and complete disarray and ruin.  The last two then describe not only how the Lord will destroy that which previously had been brought into utter and complete disarray  and ruin [sixth trumpet and bowl judgments] but also how everything will be brought to a full and complete end [seventh trumpet and bowl judgments]. 

These last two trumpet and bowl judgments are dealt with in Ch. 18,  Silence in Heaven (3), with the last trumpet and vial judgment further dealt with in Ch. 19,  The Opened Scroll.)

Trumpet and Bowl Judgments Together in a SAFE to open document:


Chapter 18

Silence in Heaven (3)

When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

And I saw the seven angels who stand before God and to them were given seven trumpets . . .

The first angel sounded . . . . (Revelation 8:1-2, 7a)

(The previous chapter, Chapter 17Silence in Heaven (2), covered part of the judgments seen when the seventh seal of the scroll was broken [the first five trumpet and bowl judgments].  This chapter will carry the matter to completion [covering the sixth and seventh trumpet and bowl judgments].)

As previously seen, the sounding of the seven trumpets and the pouring out of the corresponding seven bowls describe conditions that will exist in the kingdom of Antichrist immediately following the completion of Daniel’s seventieth week, after Christ has returned.  That which is revealed by and through these trumpet and bowl judgments provides detail and commentary for that which is revealed when the preceding fifth and sixth seals were broken, particularly the sixth seal.  And that which is revealed when the fifth and sixth seals were broken, in turn, provides detail and commentary for that which is revealed when the preceding first four seals were broken (having to do particularly with the end result of the breaking of these four seals).

Thus, in a respect, that which is revealed when the seventh seal is broken — the trumpet judgments and the bowl judgments — provides detail and commentary for that which is revealed when all of the previous six seals were broken.

The preceding is the integrally related manner in which the judgments of the seven-sealed scroll are structured (ref. Chapters 13-17, The Four Horsemen, Souls Under the Altar, The Great Seismos, Silence in Heaven (1), and Silence in Heaven (2)).

At the point in the book of Revelation following the sounding of the fifth trumpet and the pouring out of the fifth bowl, the kingdom of Antichrist is seen in complete disarray, awaiting destruction.  And this destruction, seen in the sounding of the final two trumpets and the pouring out of the final two bowls, brings the whole matter surrounding judgments pertaining to the redemption of the inheritance to a close.  More specifically this destruction is seen in the sounding of the sixth trumpet and the pouring out of the sixth bowl, with the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the pouring out of the seventh bowl bringing matters to a complete end, announcing the finality of that which will have been accomplished.

Once all the judgments of the seven-sealed scroll have been brought to pass, matters will be exactly as described when the seventh trumpet sounds and the seventh bowl is poured out:

The angel [the angel with the seventh trumpet] whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand [lit. his right hand] to heaven

and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer,

but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:5-7)

And the seventh angel sounded; and there followed great [loud] voices in heaven, and they said, “The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ: and He shall reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15, ASV)

Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” (Revelation 16:17).

The thought in Revelation 10:5-7; 11:15 (cf. Revelation 10:1-6) is not that “the kingdom of the world” is about to become “the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.”  Rather, when the seventh trumpet sounds, “great [‘loud’] voices in heavenwill clearly state that the kingdom, ruled by Satan up to this point in time (Satan through his Christ — Antichrist — during the last half of the Tribulation), has become “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.”

It will all be over at this point in the book.  Not only will the kingdom have previously been delivered into the Son’s hands by the Father (Daniel 7:13-14), but a repentant and converted Israel will have been restored to the land, the Gentile armies of the earth will have been destroyed, Satan and his angels will have been put down, Satan will have been bound in the underworld, and Christ can now take the scepter and, with His co-heirs, reign over the earth for 1,000 years.

The scene presented when the seventh trumpet sounds takes one to the point in time following Revelation 20:3.

And this same thing is clearly stated another way in Revelation 16:17 by the words voiced in a loud manner by God Himself, from His throne in heaven, “It is done.”  These words are the translation of a perfect tense in the Greek text, indicating action completed in past time and existing during present time in a finished state.

(This is the same tense used when Christ cried out from the Cross, “It is finished” [John 19:30]; and it is the same tense used in Ephesians 2:8 relative to man’s eternal salvation, based on Christ’s finished work at Calvary — “. . . you have been saved . . . .”  A person having believed on the Lord Jesus Christ has been saved in past time, based on a finished work in past time.  Both man’s salvation and the finished work that makes this salvation possible exist during present time in a finished state.  And, since that is the case, man’s salvation is just as secure, complete, and unchangeable as the finished work upon which it rests.

This is the reason why that once a man has been saved, God never deals with him on the basis of his eternal salvation again.  To do so, God would have to go back and deal with His Son’s finished work — an impossibility.  At this point in time, everything has been finished, completed; and, accordingly, everything related to man’s eternal salvation can only continue to exist forever in that same finished state.  All of God’s dealings with saved man can only have to do with present and future aspects of salvation [with the Messianic Era in view], never with the past aspect of salvation [with eternal salvation in view].)

In the preceding respect, when God Himself one day proclaims, in a loud voice, “It is done,” matters surrounding the judgments of the seven-sealed scroll will be just as complete as His Son’s finished work at Calvary when the Son cried out, “It is finished.”  The work surrounding God’s redemption of the inheritance will, at that point in time, exist in the same finished state as His Son’s prior redemptive work at Calvary, the same finished state in which man’s salvation presently exists.

Sixth Trumpet, Sixth Bowl (Revelation 9:13-21; 16:12-16)

Both the sixth trumpet and sixth bowl judgments have to do with the great river Euphrates.

When the sixth angel sounded his trumpet, the command went out, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”  And these four angels are said to have been “prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind.”  Then the actual slaying is seen being carried out at the hands of an army of two hundred million.

When an angel poured out the sixth bowl upon the great river Euphrates, the waters were dried up to make way for the kings of the East.  Then three unclean spirits — demonic spirits — are seen going forth “to the kings of the earth and of the whole world . . . to the battle of that great day of God Almighty,” to “Armageddon [meaning, ‘the Mount of Megiddo’].”

The picture is that of the armies of the earth, the armies of a kingdom in complete disarray and collapse, being gathered to the Middle East, to the land of Israel.  And they are being gathered by demonic spirits, for a single purpose on Satan’s part, as well as a single purpose on the Lord’s part.

On Satan’s part, they will be gathered to the land of Israel in order to destroy a converted and re-gathered people (the Jewish people) and their King (the Lord Jesus Christ, who will be residing in their midst in that future day).

On the Lord’s part, they will be gathered to the land of Israel in order to themselves be destroyed, bringing an end to Gentile world power.

Through God’s sovereign control of all things, He will allow Satan to effect a gathering of the armies of the earth to the Middle East in order to, in turn, bring to pass that which He has decreed.  God will have brought the kingdom of Antichrist into complete disarray and collapse during the Tribulation.  Then, immediately following the Tribulation, following His Son’s return and the subsequent conversion and restoration of the Jewish people, the military leaders and armies of an already decimated kingdom will be brought into the land of Israel to be destroyed.

(Bible students viewing this end-time sequence of events often see the armies of the earth being gathered to the Middle East and coming against the Jewish people before the end of the Tribulation.  Once they are gathered, Christ then returns and destroys the armies of the earth in the land of Israel, delivering His people through this means.

However, that is not the biblical picture at all.  Such a sequence of events is completely out of line with anything seen in the Old Testament — in biblical typology or in the Prophets.

One thing that would preclude such a sequence of events is the fact that the Jewish people in the land during time covered by Daniel’s seventieth week will be uprooted from their land in the middle of the Tribulation and driven back out among the nations.  Aside from a possible small scattering of Jews, there will be no Jewish people in the land of Israel during the latter part of the Tribulation for Gentile armies under Antichrist to come against near the end of the Tribulation.  Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles throughout this time [Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2].

The correct sequence, as will be shown, is Christ returning before the armies are gathered to the Middle East, with an unconverted Jewish people still scattered throughout the Gentile nations.  The national conversion of Israel will occur following Christ’s return while they are still scattered among the nations [the order seen in Old Testament typology, the Prophets, and the Jewish festivals of Leviticus 23], and Christ will then send His angels out to re-gather His people back to the land [Matthew 24:30-31].

Then, the armies of the earth will be gathered into the Middle East.  And once they have been gathered, Christ, beginning His march into battle from the Mount of Olives, will go forth and destroy these invading armies, delivering His people [Zechariah 14:1-9].)

1) Symbolism Used in the Sixth Trumpet and Bowl Judgments

The angel sounding the sixth trumpet is commanded to “release” four angels that were “bound at the great river Euphrates.”  These angels were being held for a particular mission that was to occur at a previously set time — “an hour and day and month and year.”  And this would be in complete accord with the manner in which God acts — at set times that He Himself has previously established.

These angels are apparently synonymous with the three demonic spirits seen when the sixth bowl is poured out (two ways of describing the same angels), which are to go out into the entire world and gather the kings of the earth, with their armies, into the Middle East.

Four and three — referring to the angels, the demonic spirits — are evidently representative numbers; and meaning would be provided from the numbers referenced, like the twenty-four elders in Revelation 4.  And, as with the twenty-four elders, a much larger contingent of angels would undoubtedly be in view.

“Four” is a number having to do with the earth, and “three” is the number of divine perfection.  The former shows the extent of their mission (the four corners of the earth, the four points of the compass); and the latter, as seen in the text, has to do with a counterfeit divine perfection, coming “out of the mouth of the dragon” (Satan [Revelation 12:9], who sought, in time past, to be as God [Isaiah 14:13-14]), “out of the mouth of the beast” (who will declare himself to be God [2 Thessalonians 2:4]), and “out of the mouth of the false prophet” (who will direct all worship toward the beast [Revelation 13:12]).

The Euphrates River, where these angels are said to be bound, is the largest river in the Middle East (abt. 1,700 miles long), forms the northern boundary of the land in the Abrahamic covenant, and forms a natural divide between the land of Israel and the nations beyond.  It is apparent that the Euphrates is being used in a metaphorical sense in the preceding respect, and a literal river or a literal drying up of that river is evidently not what is in view at all.

The reason given in the text for the drying up of this natural divide is “that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared” (Revelation 16:12).  The way modern armies move, rivers wouldn’t stop them; nor would the drying up of rivers help them to any degree.  The reference is undoubtedly to the removal of anything that would prevent various Gentile armies worldwide from moving into the Middle East.

Numerous metaphors are also used to describe the armies making their way into the Middle East (“army,” KJV, NKJV [Revelation 9:16] is plural in the Greek text; ref. NASB).  These armies are seen as horsemen, wearing breastplates described by the words fire, brimstone, and blue smoke issuing forth from the brimstone (that which is referred to by the word translated “jacinth” [KJV] or “hyacinth” [NASB]).  And the horses that they ride have heads as lions, with fire, smoke, and brimstone issuing forth from their mouths.

A “lion” would portend qualities of majesty or courage.  The lion is the king of the beasts, and these individuals are being led forth in this majestic and courageous manner by an individual Scripture refers to as a “beast” himself (Daniel 7:7; Revelation 13:1).  Then, the description of the breastplates worn by the horsemen and that coming from the mouths of the horses — fire, smoke, brimstone, blue smoke from the brimstone — would all have to do with judgment.

The power of those being led forth into battle is said to be in the mouths of the horses; but the horses are also seen to have tails “like serpents,” with heads on their tails.  A “serpent” has to do with deceit and subtlety.  This was Satan’s chosen vehicle when he exhibited these qualities following man’s creation in Genesis.

Now in the book of Revelation, when the reason for man’s creation in the beginning is about to be realized, the matter comes full-circle.  By and through the armies that Satan leads — armies led by a beast described in a similar metaphorical way, a beast having seven heads and ten horns (Daniel 7:7-8; Revelation 13:1) — he will launch his final thrust in his vain efforts to destroy the King and His people in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

All of this is an apparent reference, by and through metaphorical means, to the modern-day methods of travel to the battlefield, the vast array of modern-day weapons of warfare, etc.  All-in-all, the multifaceted reference to that which will climactically occur can only be a horrific and unimaginable scene of judgment, bloodshed, and death.

2) The Order of Events in the Sixth Trumpet and Bowl Judgments

Armies numbering 200,000,000 are seen being led into the land of Israel, and they are seen being led to a particular place in the land referred to in the Hebrew tongue as “Armageddon,” a word derived from two Hebrew words (har Megiddo), meaning, “Mount of Megiddo.”

The number comprising the armies being led into the land — 200,000,000 — literally reads in the Greek text, “two myriads of myriads” (the Greek word murias, “myriad,” appears in the plural twice in the text, preceded by the number “two”).   Murias is used in the New Testament in seven different references, and it is used mainly, if not exclusively, referring to a large indefinite number (e.g., Luke 12:1; Hebrews 12:22; Jude 1:14).  And the number “two,” used in connection with the myriads of myriads is possibly a reference to the only two directions that land armies comprised of myriads of individuals can be brought into the land of Israel — from the north and from the south.  In other words, “two” could possibly refer to the myriads that will come from one direction and the myriads that will come from the other direction (cf. Ezekiel 21:19-27).

The reference to the Mount of Megiddo in Revelation 16:16 would call attention to more than just one mountain in the land of Israel.  The entire surrounding area, the valley of Megiddo, which would include the Plain of Esdraelon (the valley of Megiddo is in this plain), would have to form part of the area referenced.  The Plain of Esdraelon is about twenty miles long and fourteen miles wide, forming a natural battleground where opposing armies have met at different times over the centuries.

Because of the size of the invading armies, the central point for this battle could very well be the area surrounding Megiddo.  But vast areas beyond this would have to fit into the equation.  Note that blood from this battle is going to run “up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs [about 180 miles]”  (Revelation 14:20).  And this battle — God’s Son treading the winepress, “alone” — will extend all the way down into Edom (Isaiah 63:1-6).

Thus, is it any wonder that the Spirit of God has gone to great lengths to describe this climactic scene, through the use of numerous metaphors, when the sixth trumpet sounds and the sixth bowl is poured out?  Non-descriptive language simply would not do justice to the scene at hand.

(In the preceding respect, “Armageddon” in Revelation 16:16  is apparently used in a metaphorical sense, drawing from the type of battleground and the history of this battleground rather than to the actual geographical location of the battle itself.

The point toward which the invading armies will move is Jerusalem, located some fifty miles south of the Plain of Esdraelon.  And it is from Jerusalem, beginning from the Mount of Olives, that the Lord will go forth to tread the winepress [cf. Joel 3:1-2, 12-16; Zechariah 14:1-4].)

a)  The Battle in Biblical Typology

To see the proper timing and sequence of events in what is often referred to as “the Battle of Armageddon,” note two Old Testament types in the history of Israel, separated by a forty-year period — the leading of the Israelites out of Egypt under Moses, and the leading of the Israelites into the land under Joshua.

The death of the paschal lambs, the proper application of the blood, and the Lord passing through the land of Egypt the night of the Passover (executing the death of the firstborn if it had not already occurred vicariously by and through the death of a lamb from the flock) occurred while Israel was still in Egypt.  This occurred immediately before the Israelites began their march toward the Red Sea.

The Passover is the first of the seven Jewish festivals in Leviticus 23 and has yet to be fulfilled insofar as Israel is concerned.  The Jewish people have slain the Lamb, but they have yet to apply the blood.  And this application of the blood will occur while they are still in the land typified by Egypt, seen in Exodus 12.  This (a proper application of the blood by and through their believing on the Lord Jesus Christ) will occur while the Israelites are still dispersed throughout the Gentile nations, prior to their restoration.  The fifth festival, the feast of Trumpets, has to do with a removal from the nations and a restoration to the land; and that to which these festivals point will be fulfilled in the order of their occurrence.

Then note the sequence of events that followed in the Exodus under Moses.  The armed forces of the Assyrian of that day, the Pharaoh of Egypt, were destroyed in the Red Sea following the Israelites removal from Egypt by their passing safely through the Sea (Exodus 14:21-31).

And exactly the same thing is seen forty years later when the Israelites were led through the Jordan under Joshua.  They had been keeping the Passover year by year in the wilderness; and once they had been led into the land, Gentile power was then to be progressively destroyed, beginning with Jericho (Joshua 3 ff).

Viewing these two types together, it is an easy matter to see that the Jewish people, yet future, must not only apply the blood of the slain Lamb but be removed from the nations and be placed back in the land before Gentile world power under the latter-day Assyrian is destroyed.

b)  The Battle in the Prophets

The matter is presented the same way in the Prophets — national conversion, removal from the nations, and the destruction of Gentile world power, in that order.  Some of the Prophets present the whole of the sequence, some just part.

Ezekiel 36; 37; 38; 39 would suffice to illustrate the whole of the matter from one of the Prophets.  The latter part of Ezekiel 36:17-38) deals with the reason for the dispersion of the Jewish people, their national conversion, and their restoration to the land.  All of Ezekiel 37 then provides more information concerning their national conversion and restoration to the land.  Then Ezekiel 38; 39 have to do with the destruction of Gentile world power once they have been restored to the land, with these two chapters ending at the same place as the previous two chapters — Israel in the Messianic Era, as seen more in detail in Ezekiel 40-48.

That events in Ezekiel 38; 39 can occur only after Israel has been restored to the land, following the Tribulation, is evident from things stated in these chapters.  For example, conditions seen in Ezekiel 38:8, 11-12; 39:12    (cf. Ezekiel 38:23; 39:21-23) cannot possibly exist before that time.  These conditions don’t exist today; nor can they exist any time before or during the Tribulation.

(For additional information on the correct understanding and interpretation of Ezekiel 38; 39, refer to Ch. 32, The Great Supper of God, and Ch. 34Following the Millennial, or pp. 409-411 in The Time of the End by Arlen Chitwood.)

And the slaying of “a third of mankind” at the hands of the two myriads of myriads (Revelation 9:15-18) would undoubtedly have to do with the armies themselves rather with mankind in general (ref. Ezekiel 38:21;
cf. Judges 7:22; 1 Samuel 14:20).

Then note the same sequence of events in the book of Joel, having to do with the Jewish people re-gathered to the land and Messiah in their midst before Gentile world power is destroyed (Joel 3:1-21).  Further, in Joel, these events are seen occurring beyond Man’s Day, in the Lord’s Day (Joel 1:15; 2:1-2; 3:14).

And this same sequence of events can be seen in Prophet after Prophet in the Old Testament.

Seventh Trumpet, Seventh Bowl (Revelation 10:1-11; 11:15-19; 16:17-21)

Both the seventh trumpet and seventh bowl judgments, as previously seen, have to do with a full and complete end.

When the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, time in relation to Man’s Day no longer existed, the mystery of God was brought to completion, the kingdom of this world became that “of our Lord and of His Christ,” and there were “lightnings and voices and thunderings and an earthquake [‘a shaking’] and great hail.”

When an angel poured out the seventh bowl “into the air,” a loud voice came out of the temple in heaven, saying, “It is done.”  Then, the same thing is seen that followed the announcement concerning the transfer of regal power after the seventh trumpet sounded. There were “noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake [‘a great shaking,’ unlike anything seen since man’s creation]” and “great hail.”

The full measure of God’s judgment will have fallen upon the final form of the kingdom of Babylon; and the full revelation of God (Revelation 10:7), made known through a full revelation of the Son (Revelation 1:1), will be realized at this point.

Israel will have been brought to the place of repentance and belief, the inheritance will have been fully redeemed, and the kingdom will have become that “of our Lord and of His Christ.”

A rainbow is seen two times in the book of Revelation (Revelation 4:3; 10:1).  The rainbow, as first seen in Genesis 9:13-16, appeared following the storm.  And the rainbow is used after a similar manner, in relation to judgment, in the book of Revelation.  It is seen surrounding God’s throne in Revelation 4 in connection with a past judgment of Christians (Revelation 1; 2; 3), and it is seen in Revelation 10 on the head of the “mighty angel” who sounds the seventh trumpet, in connection with a past judgment of Israel and the nations.

In both instances, judgment will be over.  By and through the first judgment, the bride will have been made known (Revelation 1; 2; 3); and, by and through the second judgment, Israel will have been brought to the place of repentance, the inheritance will have been redeemed, and the bride will have become the Lamb’s wife (Revelation 6-19).

(The next chapter, The Opened Scroll, — from the perspective of things seen in the book of Revelation — deals more fully with events occurring at the time that the seventh trumpet sounds and the corresponding seventh bowl is poured out.)

Trumpet and Bowl Judgments Together in a SAFE to open document:

Chapter 19

The Opened Scroll

I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.

He had a little book [scroll] open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land,

and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices.

Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.”

The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand [right hand] to heaven

and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer,

but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:1-7)

A seven-sealed scroll, the title deed to the earth, was introduced in Revelation 5.  And the results of the breaking of the seals on this scroll — ensuing judgments that God required for the redemption of the inheritance, the earth — were seen throughout events depicted in Revelation 6; 8; 9, with events in Revelation 7 forming an aside (dealing with 144,000 Jewish evangels and the results of their ministry [ref. Revelation 14]).

Then, the end result of these seals being broken and the scroll being opened up is seen in events covering all of Revelation 10 and the latter part of Revelation 11 (Revelation 11:15-19).  The entire matter surrounding this scroll being opened and everything being brought to pass within the confines of that which is seen by the breaking of the seals on the scroll occurred between the time that the Son took the sealed scroll from His Father’s right hand in Revelation 5 and a mighty angel appeared in Revelation 10 holding the opened scroll.

This mighty angel, the seventh and last of the angels to whom seven trumpets were given when the seventh and last seal of the scroll was broken (cf. Revelation 8:2; 10:7; 11:15), brings the entire matter to a close.

The seven-year Tribulation, along with immediately following events that usher in the Messianic Kingdom, will be over at this point in the book.  The earth, by and through the depicted judgments, will have been redeemed.  And events in succeeding chapters (Revelation 11; 12-19 [11a]), along with events back in Revelation 11, simply form detail and commentary concerning events occurring during the time of the judgments seen in Revelation 6; 8; 9 when the seals on the scroll were being broken.

(As seen in previous chapters in this book [ref. Chapters 16-18Silence in Heaven (1)Silence in Heaven (2), Silence in Heaven (3)], events in Revelation 11; 15; 16 [11b] have to do with the judgments of the seven-sealed scroll.)

Thus, the actions of the seventh angel with the opened scroll in Revelation 10 brings matters to a close.  And events in conjunction with his sounding of the seventh and last trumpet (with the corresponding seventh and last bowl being poured out as well) — could only form what would have to be understood as the apex of this closing book in Scripture.

And there is a state of grandeur to the scene at hand that one needs to simply step back from and allow Scripture to depict.  That which is seen in Revelation 10  is the manner that God has chosen to announce the completion of 6,000 years of redemptive work.  And this is the manner that God has chosen to “declare the decree” seen in Psalm 2:7.

Note Psalm 2 in this respect:

Then He shall speak to them in His wrath [speak to the Gentile nations coming against restored Israel and Israel’s King, in Jerusalem in Psalm 2:1-3], and distress them in His deep displeasure:

Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.

I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. [brought His Son forth in the sense seen in the text, placing Him on the throne in Jerusalem]. (Psalm 2:5-7)

(On the Father begetting, bringing forth His Son, in Psalm 2:7, refer to the author’s book, Brought Forth from Above by Arlen Chitwood, for a past similar divine work relative to Israel and a present similar divine work relative to Christians.

Then for a future divine work relative to all three of God’s firstborn Sons in this same respect — Christ, Israel, and the Church [following the adoption into a firstborn status] — refer to the author’s book, God's Firstborn Sons by Arlen Chitwood.

All of God’s firstborn Sons will be brought forth on the third day, the third 1,000-year period dating from the events of Calvary.  Psalm 2 tells about one firstborn Son [with Christ’s resurrection on the third day foreshadowing His being raised up on the third 1,000-year period in Psalm 2:6-7
(Acts 13:30-34)].  Other parts of Scripture provide information pertaining to God’s two other firstborn sons being raised up on this same 1,000-year day, in this same manner.)

All of the Seals Broken

The seven-sealed scroll from Revelation 5 — the title deed to the earth — seen with all the seals broken in Revelation 10, contained the complete redemptive terms for the inheritance, the earth.  There were no terms outside of this scroll, and the terms of the scroll had to do with judgment.

Within the scope of these redemptive terms, these judgments, there were three sets of sevens — seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls.  The seven trumpets formed the judgments of the seventh seal, and the seven bowls were seen when the seventh trumpet was sounded.  Thus, both the seven trumpets and the seven bowls formed the judgments of the seventh seal.  Once these judgments had occurred — once the seven trumpets had sounded, and the seven bowls had been poured out — the complete redemptive terms of the scroll had been fulfilled.

(As previously shown in this book [ref. Revelation 16; 17; 18], the judgments occurring when the seven trumpets sounded and the seven bowls were poured out formed different descriptions of the same judgments.  That which is occurring when the first trumpet was sounded and the first bowl was poured out had to do with the same judgment.  And so it was with the sounding of the other trumpets and the pouring out of the other bowls.  That which is occurring when the bowls were poured out simply provided additional information concerning that which is occurring when the trumpets were sounded.

Thus, the sounding of the seven trumpets and the pouring out of the seven bowls deal with the same thing and must be studied in the light of one another.  And that is especially true when viewing how the entire matter is brought to a terminal point, depicted by both the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the pouring out of the seventh bowl.  Both bring matters to the same terminal point [cf. Revelation 10:5-7; 11:15; 16:17].)

Note that the judgments associated with the sounding of the seven trumpets were not seen until the seventh seal had been broken, though they formed further descriptions of the same judgments occurring when previous seals were broken.

The same would be true for judgments not seen until the previous fifth and sixth seals of the scroll had been broken, for these judgments formed further descriptions of the progression of judgments seen occurring when the first four seals were broken, depicting four horsemen riding forth.

And the breaking of the seventh seal of the scroll provides exactly the same type of information that the breaking of the fifth and sixth seals had previously provided.  That which is occurring when this seventh seal is broken, again, provides additional detail and commentary on that which is occurring particularly when the sixth seal was broken, reflecting back on terminal events which are seen following the four horsemen riding forth when the first four seals were broken.

The complete story, covering the entire redemption of the inheritance (all seven years of the Tribulation, along with events following Christ’s return that lead into the Messianic Kingdom), was told in capsulated form when the four horsemen rode forth.  And that which is occurring when the remaining three seals were broken simply provided additional detail and commentary already seen by and through the breaking of the first four seals, particularly on the end result of that which is seen by and through the breaking of these first four seals.

Then the trumpet and bowl judgments carry this same type of relationship to one another.  Though the bowl judgments are not seen until the sounding of the seventh trumpet — with the pouring out of these bowls not seen in the book until Revelation 15; 16 — the latter (the bowl judgments) simply provide additional detail and commentary for the former (the trumpet judgments).  And both together provide additional detail and commentary for that which is previously seen during the breaking of the first six seals of the scroll.

Beyond that, the trumpet and bowl judgments have to do with events brought to pass at the time of Christ’s return, immediately following the Tribulation.  These judgments will occur at a time when the government of the earth will have already been brought into complete disarray and collapse, with society at large faring little better.

The trumpet and bowl judgments, in this respect, would reflect back particularly on events seen when the sixth seal was broken, along with corresponding events occurring near the terminus following the breaking of the first four seals.

(Revelation 6-19 of this last book in Scripture is structured the same way that the first book in Scripture is structured [along with numerous other books in the Old Testament].

The first thirty-four verses of Genesis [Genesis 1:1-2:3] relate the complete story of Scripture in capsulated form.  Then, the remainder of Scripture is simply commentary — filling in all the details, by and through numerous ways and means — of that which is dealt with and foreshadowed in these opening thirty-four verses.

A skeletal framework is set forth at the beginning [Genesis 1:1-2:3].  Then, the subsequent commentary [Genesis 2:4ff] forms all the sinews, flesh, and skin to cover the skeletal framework [cf. Ezekiel 37:1-10].  And this commentary is often repetitious, showing the same thing or different things occurring during the same period of time, but all from different vantage points, providing all the different facets of information on the subject that God has deemed necessary.

Beginning immediately following the introductory thirty-four verses in Genesis [with details surrounding man’s creation in Genesis 2:7 (cf. Genesis 1:26-28)] and continuing into Genesis 9, the overall scope of the same thing that is seen in the preceding thirty-four verses is seen again [creation, ruin, restoration, and rest], but from a different vantage point, with added detail.

Then, beginning with Nimrod’s kingdom in Genesis 10 and continuing into subsequent chapters, the end of that which is previously seen and dealt with in previous chapters is seen again [covering the same time as seen in Revelation 6-20a].

Then, Genesis 22; 23; 24; 25 again covers part of the events previously seen — beginning with events surrounding Calvary and continuing to the Messianic Kingdom 2,000 years later — but from a different vantage point yet, adding more detail.

And matters continue in this manner as one moves through the remainder of Genesis and through other parts of the Old Testament, with the whole of the Old Testament providing a complete word picture of that which is introduced at the beginning.

Then, in the last book of Scripture, in Revelation 6-19, the text is structured in exactly the same way that is previously seen in the first book of Scripture and elsewhere in the Old Testament.

The entire matter [the complete time covering the redemption of the inheritance, from the time that the first horseman rode forth in Revelation 6 to the battle at the end of Revelation 19] is seen in time covered by events occurring as a result of the breaking of the first four seals, when all four horsemen sequentially rode forth [Revelation 6:1-8].

Then the remainder forms commentary, drawing extensively from the Old Testament, providing the sinews, flesh, and skin to cover the skeletal framework established when the first four seals were broken.  And this commentary, as in Genesis, is often repetitious, showing the same thing or different things occurring during the same period of time, but all from different vantage points, providing all the different facets of information that God has deemed necessary.

Some things about the preceding have been dealt with in past chapters in this book and, of necessity, will be dealt with in future chapters as well.  Attention is called to this structure somewhat at length at this point in the book because of the subject matter in Revelation 10 — taking the reader to the same point as seen in the opening verses of Revelation 20.)

Thus, understanding how the book of Revelation is structured in this respect is crucial for a correct understanding of this closing book of Scripture.  Understanding this structure will explain how the judgments depicted by the pouring out of the seven bowls, though not seen until the seventh trumpet sounds (Revelation 10; 11), and not seen being poured out until later chapters in the book (Revelation 15; 16), can have to do with the judgments occurring when each of the seven trumpets sounds (Revelation 8-11).

The bowl judgments simply form additional commentary for the trumpet judgments.  And both together form additional commentary for that which is already seen when the previous six seals of the scroll were broken.

Action of the Mighty Angel

The action of the seventh angel is expressed in Revelation 10 in connection with the sounding of the seventh trumpet, which brings the mystery of God to a completed or finished state — a full disclosure of that which is seen as a mystery up to this point in time.  And this is brought to pass by and through a full revelation (a full disclosure) of God’s Son (Revelation 1:1), fully revealing the Father (Revelation 10:7; cf. John 14:8-9), which necessitates a completion of everything seen in the book of Revelation up to and including events occurring at the time of Christ’s return in the latter part of Revelation 19

Then, the same thing is seen in Revelation 16, though from a different perspective, by a seventh angel pouring out the seventh bowl of wrath (Revelation 16:17).  This act is expressed in the chapter by a great voice coming out of the temple in heaven saying, “It is done [lit., ‘It has been finished’].”  This is the translation of a perfect tense in the Greek text, indicating action completed in past time, which exists during present time in a finished state.

Everything will have been completed at this point in time.  The inheritance will have been redeemed, the bride will have become the Lamb’s wife, and the scepter will have changed hands.  Satan will have been bound and cast into the abyss, and the Messianic Era can now be ushered in.

At this point in time, for the first time in the history of the earth, that which is seen in Revelation 10 can occur.

1) The Transfer of Power

The matter concerning the kingdom of this world (a kingdom that has been under Satan’s dominion and control since time preceding man’s creation) becoming thatof our Lord and of His Christ” is clearly stated in a symbolic manner in Revelation 10:1-7); then it is clearly stated again in so many words in the next chapter, when the sounding of the seventh trumpet (with the corresponding pouring out of the seventh bowl) is repeated (Revelation 11:15-19).

In Revelation 10, at the completion of all the judgments connected with the breaking of the seven seals on the scroll from Revelation 5, a “mighty angel” comes down from heaven (an angel clothed with “a cloud,” “a rainbow” on his head, his face shining “as it were the sun,” and his feet appearing as “pillars of fire”).  This angel is then seen holding this scroll, in an opened manner, outstretched toward heaven.

At this point in the book, Christ will have broken all of the seals; and all of the judgments connected with the breaking of these seals will have come to pass.  The entire matter will be over when this “mighty angel,” holding the opened scroll, has come down from heaven and has placed “his right foot upon the sea and his left foot on the land [indicating complete dominance and control of the redeemed inheritance, the redeemed possession]” (cf. Daniel 7:13-14).

(A rainbow is seen two times in the book of Revelation [Revelation 4:3; 10:1].  The rainbow, as first seen in Scripture in Genesis 9:13-16, appeared following the storm.  And the rainbow is used after a similar manner, in relation to judgment, in the book of Revelation.  It is seen surrounding God’s throne in Revelation 4 in connection with a past judgment of Christians [Revelation 1; 2; 3]; and it is seen in Revelation 10 on the head of the “mighty angel” who sounds the seventh trumpet, in connection with a past judgment of Israel and the nations.

In both instances, judgment will be over.  Through the first judgment, the bride will have been made known [Revelation 1; 2; 3]; and, through the second judgment, Israel will have been brought to the place of repentance, the inheritance will have been redeemed, the bride will have become the Lamb’s wife, and a saved and converted Israel will have been restored as the wife of Jehovah [Revelation 6-19].)

This “mighty angel,” holding the opened scroll with all of the seals broken, standing upon the sea and the land, cried with “a loud voice, as when a lion roars” (cf. Revelation 5:5), resulting in “seven thunders” being heard (a possible reference to the seven bowl judgments [Revelation 15; 16], which will have also been fulfilled at this time).

Then this angel “raised up his hand [lit., ‘his right hand’] to heaven” (evidently the hand holding the opened scroll — the title deed to the earth — with all of the seals broken [cf. Revelation 5:1, 7], showing the One in heaven that the entire matter surrounding the redemption of the inheritance has been finished [cf. Revelation 5:2, 5-7]).  The Son is now in possession of the redeemed inheritance, the earth.  He now possesses a completely clear title deed to the earth [cf. Psalm 2:8].  And the angel holding this title deed swore by the One who lives throughout all of the ages, who had created all things, that there should be “delay [KJV: time] no longer” (Psalm 2:6b).

(“Time” [Greek: chronos] in this verse is translated “delay” in most English versions [ref. NASB, NIV].  However, chronos means “time,” not “delay” [e.g., chronos prefixed to “meter,” forming chronometer (a means to measure time, a timepiece)].   Translating chronos as “delay” is an interpretation, not a translation.  And it is really not a correct interpretation.

The reality of the matter is that there are no delays in God’s plans and purposes.  Everything occurs at predetermined times, which renders any thought of “delay” in Revelation 5:2, 5-7]).  The Son is now in possession of the redeemed inheritance, the earth.  He now possesses a completely clear title deed to the earth [cf. Revelation 10:6 an impossibility.  This angel’s statement has to do with time in relation to Man’s 6,000-year Day, plus the seventy-five subsequent days seen in Daniel 12:11-13.  At the time seen in Revelation 10:6, ALL of this previous time will be over.  Now the Messianic Era can be ushered in.)

This statement about “time” by the angel with the seventh trumpet in Revelation 10:6 is essentially the same as the statement by the angel pouring out the seventh bowl in Revelation 16:17 when announcing the completion of the matter at hand, using the perfect tense — “It is done [lit., ‘It has been completed’].”  These two statements by these two angels with the seventh and final trumpet and bowl are simply two ways of saying the same thingEverything, in both instances, is past — an announcement concerning a terminal point in time, having to do with the completion of the judgments of the seven-sealed scroll (Revelation 10:6); and an announcement concerning a terminal point in events, which, as well, has to do with the completion the judgments of the seven-sealed scroll (Revelation 16:17).

(A similar scene at the time of Christ’s return, as it pertains to the transfer of governmental power and control, is depicted in Revelation 19:17 — “an angel standing in the sun.”  Refer to Ch. 32, The Great Supper of God, for comments on the action of this angel.

Some expositors and Bible students have understood the “mighty angel” with the seventh trumpet in Revelation 10 [seen again in Revelation 11:15] to be Christ Himself — because of his description [Revelation 11: 1], the fact that he is the one holding the opened scroll with all of the seals broken [Revelation 11:2a], and his resultant action [Revelation 11:2-6 (2b)].

Contextually though, this does not appear to be the case.  Note in Revelation 8:1-2 that Christ [Revelation 8:1] is seen occupying a separate position from any of the seven angels to whom God gives the seven trumpets [Revelation 8:2].  This angel [the seventh angel], if he is to be identified, is probably the “strong [or, ‘mighty’] angel” introducing the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 8:1-2 that Christ [Revelation 8:1] is seen occupying a separate position from any of the seven angels to whom God gives the seven trumpets [Revelation 5:2, now providing an open show of the Deity on behalf of Another, as he stands upon the sea and the land, holds the scroll with the seven broken seals up toward the heavens, and claims the redeemed inheritance — the kingdom — for Christ.

Note that angels acting under fixed laws are so closely connected with the Deity that their actions become those of the Lord.

For example, in Genesis 18; 19, the Lord, accompanied by two angels, came down to earth and appeared to Abraham “in the plains of Mamre” [Genesis 18:1ff].  The Lord had come down to see for Himself if that which He had heard about things occurring in Sodom and Gomorrah was correct [though, in His omniscience, the Lord could only have already known; this is simply the manner in which matters of this nature are sometimes presented in Scripture].

But, though the Lord said, “I will go down, and see . . . .” [with Sodom and Gomorrah mentioned], the two angels accompanying the Lord are the only ones who went on down into the plain to view that which was occurring in these cities, which they did by entering into Sodom.  The Lord, throughout this time, remained out in the high country with Abraham. [Genesis 18:20-22].

Then there is the matter of the destruction of the cities of the plain.  The two angels told Lot, “For we will destroy this place . . . the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”  But Scripture goes on to state, “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven” [Genesis 19:13, 24].

How did the Lord go down into Sodom, as He said that He would, if He remained in the high country with Abraham?  As well, how did the Lord destroy the cities of the plain [four cities (Deuteronomy 29:23)] — something clearly stated — when the angels, at a prior time, had also clearly stated that the Lord had sent them to perform this destruction?

The answers to both questions are the same and are quite simple.  The actions of angels acting under fixed laws become the actions of the Lord.  By the angels going down in this manner, the Lord went down;  by the angels destroying the cities of the plain in this manner, the Lord destroyed these cities [cf. Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 68:17; Acts 7:53].

This is the manner in which the Lord, through angels, presently governs the whole of the universe.  This is also the manner in which the Lord, through man, will govern this earth during the Millennium and rule beyond this earth out in the universe during the ages following the Millennium.  The Lord, throughout this time, will continue to govern the whole of the universe, in an unchanged manner [Genesis 1:26-28; Job 1:6-7; 2:1-2; Revelation 3:21 (man’s rule beyond the Millennium is dealt with in Ch. 36,  The Eternal Ages)].

Thus, since the actions of angels acting under fixed laws become the actions of the Lord as well, in one respect it is immaterial whether the angel which is seen in Revelation 10 is viewed as an angel or as the Lord.  The end result would be the same.  Either way, these actions would be no more or no less the Lord’s actions; i.e., either way, these actions would be those of the Lord.)

2)  The Scroll, Bitter and Sweet

Then, the end of the matter — John taking the scroll out of the angel’s hand and eating it (Revelation 10:8-10) — is explained by both the context and that which is seen in the counterpart to this passage in Ezekiel 2:8-3:4.  A scroll is taken and eaten in both passages (though not a redemptive scroll in Ezekiel), with sweetness resulting in both instances.  And, contextually, in both passages, this can only have to do with Israel ultimately being brought to the place of repentance (cf. Ezekiel 36; 37; 38; 39; Revelation 12; 17; 18; 19 [19a]).

The bitterness seen in Revelation 10:9-10 is seen in Ezekiel by continuous references to Israel’s unrepentant condition.  Then, both books end the same way — with the nation’s repentance, referred to as sweetness; and with the Messianic Era ushered in.

a)  Unrepentance, Repentance

The complete story of Israel — in the nation’s unrepentant state, followed by the nation’s repentance — is seen time after time in the Old Testament, beginning with Moses, continuing in the Psalms, and ending in the Prophets.

The book of Revelation, in this respect, doesn’t present anything new at all.  Rather, the book is simply an opening up and unveiling of that which is previously seen throughout numerous parts of the Old Testament.

Isaiah begins his prophecy in this manner, presenting Israel in this unrepentant state (Isaiah 1:4ff); but he then calls attention to a future day when repentance will occur, with the Messianic Kingdom being ushered in (Isaiah 1:25-2:5).  And, at the outset, this tells the reader what Isaiah’s prophecy is about.

Jeremiah’s prophecy is structured after a similar fashion.  The first part of the prophecy has to do centrally with Israel’s condition in the nation’s unrepentant state (Jeremiah 1-29).  But then matters change, and the Lord begins to tell His people what He will one day do following their repentance (Jeremiah 30; 31; 32; 33).

Ezekiel’s prophecy, as has been shown, is also structured the same way, which is characteristic of all the Prophets.

And one could only expect the book of Revelation to be structured the same way, which is exactly what is seen in this book.

b)  The Rainbow

There is a rainbow in connection with God’s throne and Glory in Ezekiel 1:26-28 that depicts exactly the same thing as the rainbow on the angel’s head in Revelation 10:1.

This rainbow, in both places, anticipates the sweetness seen in both passages, not the bitterness.  This rainbow anticipates that which is seen in Ezekiel 3:3 and Revelation 10:9-10.  And that which is depicted by the rainbow in both passages, in turn, is seen realized at the end of both books (cf. Ezekiel 40-48; Revelation 20 [a]).

Chapter 20

The Two Witnesses

Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.

But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.

And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”

 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. (Revelation 11:1-4)

Revelation 11 opens with introductory remarks concerning the Temple which will be constructed by the Jewish people during the first year of the Tribulation.  Daniel 8:11-14 reveals that sacrifices in a rebuilt Temple will commence seven months and ten days (220 days) following the beginning of the Tribulation, following the man of sin ratifying a seven-year covenant with “many” in Israel.  Then, sacrifices in accord with the Mosaic economy will continue for two years ten months and twenty days (1,040 days) before the man of sin breaks his covenant and stops the sacrifices by and through a desecration and subsequent destruction of the Temple cf. Daniel 9:26-27; 11:31; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

(To arrive at the preceding figures, subtract the 2,300 days in Daniel 8:14 from 2,520 days [the total number of days in the seven-year Tribulation, using thirty-day months].  This will leave 220 days, or seven months and ten days, the time that it will take to rebuild the Temple, establish the priesthood, and begin offering sacrifices.  The 2,300 subsequent days, the days in Daniel 8:14, form the total time from that point to the end of the Tribulation, which is divided into two parts referred to by “the daily sacrifices” [first part] and “the transgression of desolation” [second part] in the previous verse [Daniel 8:13].

The words “the daily sacrifices” has to do with that part of the 2,300 days during which sacrifices in a rebuilt Temple will be offered [from the time they begin until the middle of the Tribulation, for two years ten months and twenty days, or 1,040 days].

Then, “the transgression of desolation” has to do with the time following the man of sin breaking his covenant, causing the sacrifices to cease, and not only desecrating but destroying the rebuilt Temple.  This will occur exactly in the middle of the Tribulation [after three and one-half years, after 1,260 days, with three and one-half years left, with 1,260 days left].

Thus, the 1,040 days, during which sacrifices will be offered, comprise the first part of the 2,300 days; and the 1,260 days [or, as in the text, “forty-two months”], during which there will no longer be sacrifices, for the Temple will have been destroyed and the Jewish people dispersed, comprise the last part of this period.

And the cleansing of the sanctuary [Daniel 8:14] will occur at the full end of the 2,300 days, which is synonymous with the time Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy in the next chapter ends [Daniel 8:24-27].  This cleansing of the sanctuary will occur at the same time and be inseparably related to the things enumerated in Daniel 8:24 of this subsequent Seventy-Week prophecy.)

Following introductory remarks concerning the rebuilt Temple, Revelation 11 leads into events during each of the three-and-one-half-year parts of the Tribulation.  That which occurs during the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation is mentioned first (Revelation 11:2).  This is then immediately followed by a number of verses detailing that which occurs during the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation (Revelation 11:3-14).  Thus, though this part of the chapter begins by briefly mentioning that which occurs during the last half of the Tribulation, the chapter is centrally about that which occurs during the first half.

Mentioning or dealing with the last first, and the first last (cf. Matthew 20:16) is seen in different ways, at different times, in Scripture.  One way is by and through God rejecting the first and establishing the second (e.g., rejecting the earth’s first ruler and establishing the second, rejecting the first man and establishing the second, rejecting the first birth and establishing the second, etc.).  But the text concerns itself more with the manner in which things are listed, which can be seen in the manner in which individuals and undoubtedly other things are listed at the beginning of Scripture (e.g., the order in which the birth of sons listed in Genesis 5:32; 11:26 occurred, or the order in which cities listed in Genesis 10:10 were apparently built).

Note that the three sons of Noah in Genesis 5:32; 6:10 and the three sons of Terah in Genesis 11:26-27 are listed in the reverse order of their birth.  The first (oldest son) is listed last and the last (youngest son) is listed first.  This can easily be shown through that stated in other verses about one or more of these sons
(cf. Genesis 5:32; 7:6; 10:21; 11:10 for Noah and Genesis 11:26, 32; 12:4 for Terah).

And this same reverse order would apparently hold true as well for such things as the order in which the four cities listed in Genesis 10:10 were built.  All four cities are said to form the beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom, with the last city listed (Calneh) probably being the first of the four built and the first city listed (Babel) probably being the last of the four built.

(To illustrate how knowing the preceding can sometimes help in biblical interpretation, note that this reverse order would exist as well for the order of the birth of the four sons of Ham listed in Genesis 10:6.  “Canaan” is mentioned last.  Thus, Canaan would be Ham’s oldest son, his firstborn.  And this fact is quite evident from Noah’s curse concerning “a servant of servants [i.e., ‘the lowest of servants’]” pronounced upon Canaan, resulting from an act committed by Ham, Canaan’s father [Genesis 9:20-25].

Noah didn’t look down a line of four sons [the way they are listed in Genesis 10:6] and curse the youngest son.  No!  It appears evident that Canaan was the only son that Ham had at this time, which would apparently have been no more than several years following the Flood [giving Noah time to plant a vineyard and grow grapes, and giving Ham time to begat one son].  And knowing that Canaan was Ham’s firstborn [probably born during the Flood (cf. Genesis 7:13; 9:18)] and evidently the only son Ham had at this time is vital to a correct, contextual, understanding of the passage.

Why didn’t Noah curse Ham since he was the one who had committed the act?  The reason is given in the context. God had previously blessed Noah and his three sons [Genesis 9:1], and Noah couldn’t curse the one whom God had blessed.  Thus, Noah did the only thing that he could do.  Noah cursed Ham’s son, Canaan.  And it is evident from the context that this was a curse upon Ham’s entire seed, not just upon his firstborn.

Three inseparably related prophecies are seen in that which Noah stated about each of his sons in Genesis 9:25-27.  These prophecies, as evident from their contextual setting and content — dealing with a new beginning in the human race, necessitating all-inclusiveness — have to do with federal headship and the prophetic destinies of races comprising nations, with the prophecies in this respect not limited to the three individuals in the prophecies but to their descendants as well.

And to understand how God has worked out the preceding in these prophecies, note the prophecies in Genesis 9:26-27 concerning both Shem and Japheth.  Shem is seen as the only son with a God [Genesis 9:26], and Japheth is to be enlarged [Genesis 9:27].  This is seen today in and through a nation descending from Shem [the Jewish people] being the only nation with a God [Exodus 3:6; Psalm 72:18; 96:5; Ephesians 2:11-12], and in and through Japheth’s descendants populating a large part of the globe.

For more information on the preceding, refer to the author’s two pamphlets, Sons of Noah by Arlen Chitwood, Part I and Part II.)

Forty-Two Months
Twelve Hundred Sixty Days

As previously seen, the expression “forty-two months” is used first in Revelation 11 relative to events during the last half of the Tribulation (Revelation 11:2).  Then the expression “a thousand two hundred and sixty days” is used last relative to events during the first half of the Tribulation (Revelation 11:3).  These are just two ways of expressing the same length of time, and they should not necessarily be thought of as ways that the Spirit used to show that events having to do with one belongs in a different half of the Tribulation than events having to do with the other.  This is determined and made plain by the events themselves, not by two different ways of saying the same thing.

Remaining within the order seen in verses two and three (the last first, and the first last), Jerusalem is to be trodden under foot by the Gentiles for forty-two months, 1,260 days.  At the beginning of this period (beginning in the middle of the Tribulation), following the man of sin breaking his covenant with “many” in Israel and desecrating the Temple, both the Temple and the city of Jerusalem will be destroyed (Daniel 9:26; ref. Ch. 12, Daniel’s Seventy Weeks).

Matthew’s and Mark’s Olivet Discourse accounts surrounding events during this time center on the Temple and the people in Judaea (Matthew 24:15ff; Mark 13:14ff).  Luke’s account though is different.  Luke’s Olivet Discourse account centers on the city of Jerusalem, the people of Judaea, and provides information surrounding Jerusalem being trodden under foot by the Gentiles in Revelation 11:2.  Note the way Luke’s account reads:

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.

Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.

For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.

And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:20-24).

The preceding verses are not dealing with events in 70 A.D. (the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and his Roman legions), as advanced by many commentators. These verses in Luke’s Olivet Discourse account parallel the referenced verses in Matthew’s and Mark’s Olivet Discourse accounts, which have to do with events during the future Tribulation.

Aside from the preceding, these verses in Luke have to do with a time when “all things which are written may be fulfilled,” something that didn’t occur through the events of 70 A.D.

And, beyond that, these verses have to do with a time when Jerusalem is going to be “trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” This perfectly parallels Revelation 11:2, which has to do with the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation, with the Times of the Gentiles ending with the end of the Tribulation and the corresponding end of Man’s Day.

One need only look at conditions in Jerusalem today to know that Luke 21:20-24 cannot have to do with events of 70 A.D.  From the beginning to the end of events depicted in these verses, Jerusalem is to be trodden down by the Gentiles until the Times of the Gentiles is brought to an end.

Man is still living during the Times of the Gentiles today, and Jerusalem is not presently being trodden down of the Gentiles.  Thus, all that is stated in these verses has to be placed at a future time, in line with that which is seen in corresponding Scripture.

On the other hand, the ministry of the two witnesses can’t occur during the last half of the Tribulation.  There would be no Jews in Jerusalem or the surrounding area to which they could minister during this time.  Their ministry can only occur during the first half of the Tribulation, for their ministry will be to the Jewish people, and it will be centered in the capital of Jewry, in Jerusalem.

This is evident, if for no other reason, by how they are first described in Revelation 11:

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. (Revelation 11:4)

This is a reference drawn from the fifth of eight visions recorded in the opening part of the book of Zechariah (Zechariah 4:1-14).  These are visions revealed to and recorded by Zechariah following the return of a remnant from the Babylonian captivity.  And the subject matter of the eight visions (Zechariah 1:7-6:8) is governed by the manner in which they are introduced (Zechariah 1:1-6), which, in turn, governs the subject matter of the book itself.

These eight visions are introduced by the Lord’s statement surrounding Israel’s past disobedience, the result of this disobedience, the call for repentance, and that which will occur following Israel’s repentance.

Disobedience resulted in the Times of the Gentiles, and repentance would ultimately be effected by and through Gentile persecution during this period.

Then, the visions begin immediately following this and continue uninterrupted until all eight visions have been completed.

These visions have to be understood in the light of the manner in which they are introduced.  They have to be understood in the light of Israel’s past disobedience, which has resulted in the Times of the Gentiles; and they have to be understood in the light of the reason for the Times of the Gentiles — Israel not only reaping the consequences of her actions, but the nation ultimately being brought to the place of repentance — and that which will occur once God’s purpose for this period is realized.  These visions, understood contextually, must be looked upon as having to do with Israel and the nations during and at the end of the Times of the Gentiles.

Though God drove His people out among the nations, to effect repentance, the principles set forth in Genesis 12:3 remain.  God will use Gentile persecution to bring about repentance, but He will also subsequently judge the Gentiles because of this persecution.

Summarily, these visions bridge the centuries of time between the first and last kings of Babylon during the Times of the Gentiles.  They have to do with different facets of Israeli persecution at the hands of the Gentiles, with the principles set forth in Genesis 12:3 ultimately being worked out and realized.  They have to do with Israel ultimately being brought to the place of repentance, the Times of the Gentiles being brought to an end, and Gentile persecution of Israel being fully dealt with.

Only then will Israel occupy her proper place at the head of the nations in a restored theocracy, with the nations being blessed through Israel.

That, in short, is how the eight visions in Zechariah must be understood.  Each presents a different facet of the matter, and all of the visions together form a composite picture of that which God revealed through Zechariah concerning Israel and the nations.

Thus, knowing that the ministry of the two witnesses will be the fulfillment of Zechariah’s fifth vision, and understanding the subject matter of these visions, one can know that their ministry will have to do with the same people and subject matter as seen in all eight visions.  It will have to do with the Jewish people, their past disobedience and the result, a call to repentance, and that which awaits both Israel and the nations following Israel’s repentance.

Furthermore, the two witnesses appear textually to be the ones directly responsible for the conversion of the 144,000 Jews who will minister worldwide to the Gentiles during the last half of the Tribulation.  And bringing about the conversion of this remnant might very well be the central focus of their ministry.  Note that there is a point when the two witnesses will have finished their testimony (Revelation 11:7), which may very well have to do with the last of the 144,000 being saved and sealed (Revelation 7:1-8).

(Two subsequent chapters in this book [Chapters 21, A Woman, a Dragon, a Male Child and 26, The One Hundred Forty-four Thousand ], dealing with material in Revelation 12; 14, center on the ministry of the 144,000 and show an inseparable connection with Revelation 11.  In one sense of the word, chapter eleven provides introductory material for that seen in these two following chapters.)

Ministry of the Two Witnesses

Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.

And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:4-6)

Different, though similar, expressions are used in Scripture to depict all of Scripture e.g., “To the law and to the testimony” (Isaiah 8:20); “Moses and all the prophets,” “the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms” (Luke 24:27, 44); or “Moses and the prophets” (Luke 16:29, 31).

By placing Moses and Elijah together in the last three verses in the Old Testament, all of Scripture is once again in view.  The Law was given through Moses, and Elijah was one of the prophets.

Then there are a series of events of equal significance concerning these two men that will occur yet future, at two different periods of time.

One has to do with a manifestation of signs by two prophets (the two witnesses) during the Tribulation, along with an evident counter manifestation of signs by the false prophet (Revelation 11; 13).  And, comparing Scripture with Scripture, these two prophets could only be identified as Moses and Elijah.

(These two prophets are “the two anointed ones” in Zechariah’s fifth vision [Zechariah 4:1-14].

Because of the importance of Elijah’s future ministry to Israel, as seen in Malachi 4:5-6, it would appear strange indeed if he were not mentioned someplace in Revelation 6-19a [that section of the book covering the Tribulation].  And, in the light of other Scripture, it would appear equally strange if Elijah appeared unaccompanied by Moses.

And Revelation 11:3-12 is the only place throughout these fourteen chapters of the book where we have two men of this nature appearing to Israel during this time.  Also, signs associated with their ministry reflect back on signs performed by Moses and Elijah [Revelation 11:6].)

Also, inseparably connected with the preceding and inseparably connecting these two men for all time in relation to Israel and the theocracy, there are only two instances in all of the Old Testament (in Moses and the Prophets) where God empowered individuals to perform supernatural “signs.”  The first occurred under Moses and his successor Joshua, and the second occurred under Elijah and his successor Elisha.

The first occurred in connection with the Jewish people and the theocracy — the Jewish people leaving Egypt with a view to realizing an inheritance in a theocracy in another land.  Thus, a first-mention principle was established at this point in Scripture regarding signs, which can never change.  Accordingly, any future manifestation of signs, through individuals empowered to perform these signs, could only have to do with the Jewish people, with the theocracy in view.

Remove either (the Jewish people or the theocracy), and signs of the nature seen in Scripture cannot exist.  Both Israel and the kingdom must be in view together for these supernatural signs to exist.

This is why exactly the same thing is seen by and through a manifestation of signs during Elijah’s and Elisha’s ministries.  This was one of the darkest days in Israeli history.  Ahab and his wife Jezebel had led the people completely away from God, into Baal worship.  The theocracy was in existence, though in a divided kingdom.  And the manifested signs had to do with Israel and the kingdom (a call for the people to return to the God of their fathers).

The same thing was seen in the gospel accounts and the book of Acts during the offer and reoffer of the kingdom to Israel — an unparalleled manifestation of signs.

And the same thing will again be seen during the first half of the Tribulation, by and through the ministry of the two witnesses, by and through the ministry of Moses and Elijah to Israel during this period.  And the signs will, they must, have to do with Israel and the kingdom during this future time.  The kingdom will be in the offing.  The time will be at hand when the kingdom will be restored to a repentant and converted nation.

1)  John and Elijah

Many Bible students have trouble understanding that John only came “in the spirit and power of Elijah” and did not fulfill any of the Old Testament prophecies pertaining to Elijah.

John clearly stated that he wasn’t Elijah (John 1:21).  Jesus, on the other hand, said that he was Elijah
(Matthew 11:10-14; 17:10-13).  But there was an “if” in connection with John being identified as Elijah by Christ in Matthew 11:14 — “if you will receive . . . .”

Elijah is to be Christ’s forerunner at the time Israel receives her Messiah.  God, in His foreknowledge, knew what the nation would do at Christ’s first coming.  Thus, John was sent “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” but not in fulfillment of any prophecies about Elijah.

(Scripture sometimes has near and far fulfillments of events in the preceding respect.  Note Hosea 11:1 and Matthew 2:15 for example — “Out of Egypt have I called my Son.”  The prophecy in Hosea is clearly about Israel, God’s firstborn son, at the time of the Exodus.  In Matthew though, the prophecy was fulfilled by God’s other firstborn Son, at the time He was removed from Egypt as a child.)

The fulfillment of that which is seen in Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6 can only occur at a time when the Jewish people receive their Messiah.  Note the context of Isaiah 40:3; it is millennial.  Also, note that which Elijah will do in Malachi 4:6, which John didn’t do in his ministry.

Elijah, exactly as he did with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18:25ff, will turn “the heart” of the Jewish people back to their fathers (back to believing the prophets), and “the heart” of their fathers (the prophets) back to the Jewish people.  Note the direct statement regarding this in the historical account following the fire falling from heaven on Mount Carmel (cf. 1 Kings 18:37-39; Malachi 4:5-6).

John, as Christ’s forerunner at His first coming, aside from a near fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3, failed to fulfill any of the prophecies pertaining to Elijah.  Thus, through any sound system of biblical interpretation, John cannot possibly be seen fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies concerning Elijah.

 Elijah will come yet future, fulfilling Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6.  And, once again, he will be instrumental in turning the people from unbelief to belief in Israel, possibly in a similar manner to the way he accomplished this on Mount Carmel over 2,800 years ago (1 Kings 18:25-39).

2) Moses and Elijah, During the Tribulation

When Elijah returns to minister to the Jewish people before “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” he will be accompanied by Moses, both during the Tribulation and with Christ following the Tribulation.  And his fulfilling the passages in Isaiah and Malachi may very well occur both during and following the Tribulation when both he and Moses return with Christ, for events throughout this period will occur prior to “the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

(For information concerning when the Day of the Lord begins, which will follow the Tribulation and Christ’s return, refer to Chapters 4, In the Lord’s Day (1), and 5, In the Lord’s Day (2).
 
The great and dreadful day of the Lord” would refer more specifically to that time when Gentile world power is destroyed following Christ’s return.  See Ch. 15, The Great Seismos,, in this site, or page 188 in my book, The Time of the End by Arlen Chitwood.)

During the Tribulation (first half), Moses and Elijah will minister to Israel.  They will evidently be instrumental in the conversion of the 144,000 Jews who are to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the Gentiles worldwide during the last half of the Tribulation (Revelation 7; 12; 14).  As well, they will evidently confront Antichrist and his false prophet, through supernatural powers, signs (cf. Revelation 11:3-6; 13:13-15).

But the entire nation being brought to the place which Elijah brought them in history on Mount Carmel will await Moses and Elijah’s return with Christ at the end of the Tribulation.

At the end of their ministry during the Tribulation, Moses and Elijah will be slain.  And this may very well be the time when Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel and turns against the Jewish people in all his fury, as seen in Matthew 24:15ff (cf. Revelation 11:13).

Three and one-half days following their death, Moses and Elijah will be raised from the dead and be removed into the heavens, waiting for Christ’s return three and one-half years later.

(For additional information pertaining to Moses and Elijah returning with Christ at the end of the Tribulation, refer to the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Coming in His Kingdom, Ch. 1 and Ch. 4 or in this site The Son of Man Coming in His Kingdom.)

Biblical prophecy places Israel’s repentance near the end of the Tribulation and the birth of a nation following Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation.

Moses and Elijah’s ministry to Israel during the first half of the Tribulation may very well be of such a nature that over three years following their ministry, near the end of the Tribulation, in Israel’s darkest hour, their prior ministry will play a part in the entire nation turning to and calling upon the God of their fathers (exactly as seen in the type in Exodus 2:23).  And, exactly as seen in the type, when the Jewish people do this, God will hear, remember His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and send the One greater than Moses back to His people (Exodus 2:24ff; cf. Zechariah 12:10ff).


Chapter 21

A Woman, a Dragon, a Male Child

Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.

His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her child as soon as it was born.

She bore a male child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her child was caught up to God and His throne.

Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. (Revelation 12:1-6).

Revelation 11; 12 must be studied together.  The former chapter introduces the latter chapter, and the latter chapter provides additional details and commentary for the former chapter.

Revelation 11 began by calling attention to the whole of the seven-year Tribulation, divided into two equal parts, two equal periods of three and one-half years.  Events during the latter half of the Tribulation were briefly mentioned first — the Gentiles treading the city of Jerusalem under foot (Revelation 11:2).  Then, a single series of events was singled out to cover the first three and one-half years — the ministry of two individuals sent from heaven to earth to bear witness to the Jewish people immediately before they entered into their darkest hour (Revelation 11:3).  And part of the chapter was then given over to providing details concerning the ministry of these two witnesses (Revelation 11:4-12).

Then Revelation 12 picks up where Revelation 11 left off and provides details and commentary concerning events surrounding Israel and the nations immediately before and during the time referenced in Revelation 11:2 — during that time when Jerusalem would be trodden under foot by the Gentiles for three and one-half years, the last half of the Tribulation.

As well, Revelation 12 is also integrally arranged in a similar manner.  The first six verses provide the complete story, with the remainder of the chapter forming commentary.  The first three verses (Revelation 12:1-3), forming a continuation from the previous chapter, lead into and form the background for the three verses that follow (Revelation 12:4-6).  Then the commentary which is seen in the remainder of the chapter has to do with these latter three verses.

Revelation 12:7-12 provide commentary for Revelation 12:4; Revelation 12:13 provides commentary for Revelation 12:4-5; Revelation 12:14-16 provide commentary for Revelation 12:6; and Revelation 12:17 somewhat covers the whole of the matter and provides commentary for all three of these verses.

Then subsequent chapters, particularly Revelation 13; 14; 17;  through the first part of Revelation 19, continue this commentary.  All of these chapters (Revelation 11; 12; 13; 14; 17; 18; 19 [19a]) are inseparably tied together in this respect and must be studied as a unit, with any one part being incomplete when separated from the other parts.

Identity of the Woman, Dragon, and Male Child

Metaphors are used extensively throughout Revelation 12, which is something seen throughout the book of Revelation and throughout Scripture in general.  That is to say, the “woman” is not a literal woman but is descriptive of someone or something else; and so it is with the “dragon” and the “male child.”  All three have to do with things that are literal, which, in themselves, are descriptive of that which they are referencing.  And that being depicted by all three metaphors is clearly made known in the chapter itself, by comparing Scripture with Scripture.

Metaphors are used in Scripture in a completely consistent manner, and man is never left to his own imagination as to that which God is depicting by and through the use of metaphors.  The texts, contexts, and/or related Scripture elsewhere will always shed light on the matter, revealing how the metaphors are being used.

1)  The Woman

The “woman” can easily be identified as Israel by and through a number of means.

The “woman” — in association with the sun, the moon, and the stars — is presented within the scope of Joseph’s second dream in Genesis 37:9.  The typology and the symbolism in this verse in Genesis have to do with Christ and Israel (cf. Genesis 37:10) — Christ ruling over Israel during the Messianic Era, with regality also shown relative to Israel.

In Revelation 12:1, the woman and the symbolism have to do with Israel and the nations (cf. Revelation 6:12-17; 12:3) — Israel ruling over the nations during the Messianic Era, with regality also shown relative to the nations.

Israel in Revelation 12:1, unlike in Genesis 37:9, is seen clothed with the sun (symbolizing the main governing power), the moon under her feet (symbolizing Gentile powers subject to Israel [cf. Psalm 110:1-2; Revelation 6:12-17]), and a crown of twelve stars upon her head (further showing regality by and through the use of a “crown” and ”twelve stars” [the number of governmental perfection, with the stars also showing governing powers, regality]).

(There are two words for “crown” in the Greek text of the New Testament — stephanos and diadema.  The former word [stephanos] would be used of an individual not actually seated on the throne and holding the scepter, not reigning at the present time, though in a position to reign; the latter word [diadema] would be used of one actually seated on the throne and holding the scepter, one presently reigning.

The word used for crown in the text of Revelation 12:1 is stephanos, indicating a present non-reigning position for the woman, for Israel, but also indicating that this woman is in a position to hold the scepter and reign at a future time [cf. Revelation 17:18].  And at that future time the “crown of twelve stars” would no longer be described by the use of the word stephanos but, rather, by the use of the word diadema.

For additional information on the two Greek words for “crown,” along with additional information on the symbolism used with the woman in Revelation 12:1, refer to Ch. 7, Crowns Cast Before God’s Throne and Ch. 29, God's Firstborn Son.)

The woman is further seen with child, “in labor and in pain,” awaiting deliverance (Revelation 12:2).  This, of course, has to do with the woman in labor, about to give birth, about to bring forth the male child
(Revelation 12:4).

Then the woman, following the birth of the male child (Revelation 12:5), is seen fleeing into the wilderness where she has “a place prepared by God”; and she would be divinely cared for and protected in this place during the last three and one-half years of the tribulation (Revelation 12:6, 14).  This has its parallel in Matthew 24:16-22; Mark 13:15-19; Luke 21:21-24, which, as well, has to do with Israel during the last half of the Tribulation.

Thus, in complete keeping with what this part of the book of Revelation is about — Israel and the nations, as Satan continues his rule through the nations — the identity of the woman is seen at every turn.

2)  The Dragon

The identity of the “dragon” in Revelation 12:3-4 is seen in the subsequent commentary part of the text itself.  The “dragon” is identified as the devil, Satan (Revelation 12:9).  He is the one seen back in Revelation 12:3, ruling through the nations in the kingdom of the beast when this man rises to power as world ruler near the middle of the Tribulation.

In Revelation 6 the beast was seen riding forth on a white horse, “conquering and to conqueror.”  In this opening part of the Tribulation, he was seen wearing a “crown,” described through the use of the word stephanos.  This man’s aspirations at the time were worldwide dominion.  But achieving his goal and wearing a crown described by the word diadema waited for a future date.  It waited for conquest after conquest.

Then, in Revelation 12, this man is brought to the forefront again and is now seen wearing the diadem that he had sought.  Note in Revelation 12:3 that all seven heads of the beast are crowned (cf. Revelation 17:9-12), and the word used for “crown” in the Greek text is diadema, not stephanos as used relative to Israel in Revelation 17:1.  Further, the “ten horns,” depicting this man’s ten-kingdom federation, are seen crowned with diadems in Revelation 13:1.

Thus, the man previously seen riding forth when the first seal of the seven-sealed scroll was broken, wearing a crown depicted by the word stephanos, will now have achieved the power that he sought three and one-half years earlier — worldwide dominion.

In Revelation 12:3, this man’s kingdom is seen so closely aligned with Satan that the dragon himself is depicted as having the seven crowned heads and ten crowned horns.  This is how inseparable Satan, the one ruling through the nations during Man’s Day, is seen aligned with the final form of Gentile world power at the end of Man’s Day.  And Satan will give to this man controlling the final form of Gentile world power “his power, his throne, and great authority” (Revelation 13:2).

3)  The Male Child

Most commentators and Bible teachers dealing with Revelation 12 identify the “male child” as Christ, also brought forth by Israel.  This is done mainly on the basis of two things said about the male child in Revelation 12:5.  The male child is destined “to rule all nations with a rod of iron”; and, following his birth, the male child is “caught up to God and His throne.”  Both would appear to identify the male child as Christ.  Christ, brought forth by Israel (as the male child was brought forth by Israel), is destined to rule the nations as described in the text (Psalm 2:6-9); and Christ, as well, ascended to the same place described in the text
(Psalm 110:1; Acts 1:9; 7:56).

Then again, co-heirs with Christ have a similar connection with Israel, are given the same promise relative to ruling the nations, and will be caught up into heaven as well (Galatians 3:29; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 2:26-27).  And this has led some commentators and Bible students to associate the male child with Christians being removed in what they would see as a selective rapture of Christians (though this would be completely out of place, for all Christians will have previously been removed from the earth; and, aside from this fact, a selective rapture is not taught in Scripture anyway).

But, after all is said and done, bear something in mind.  The “woman” and the “dragonare identified in the chapter.  And the same should be expected concerning the identity of the male child as well, which is exactly what can be found.  The male child is unquestionably identified later in the chapter, and a proper identity will open parts of Revelation 7; 11; 14 to one’s understanding (plus verses in the Olivet Discourse accounts, along with parts of the Old Testament), which would otherwise remain closed. 

With that in mind, note what the text and context have to say and teach about the matter.

First, the reference to a “male child,” used as a metaphor, must be in complete keeping with how both the “woman” and the “dragon” are used as metaphors in the chapter.  And doing this would automatically discount any teaching that the male child is a reference to Christ.  If Christ is being referenced, then the expression is not really being used as a metaphor in the same sense that the other two are being used, for Christ was brought forth by Israel as both a “male” and a “child,” or a “son” (literal rendering from the Greek text in Revelation 12:5 is “a son, a male,” with the Greek word for “child” also used in the text and context [Revelation 12:4-5]).

But the preceding, contextually, is really inconsequential.  Any thought that the male child is a reference to Christ is nullified by the context on both sides of the text.  Note the timing of the birth of the male child in Revelation 12:5.  The male child’s birth occurs after Satan and his angels have been cast out of their abode in the heavens, which places this birth just before or in the middle of the Tribulation (Revelation 12:4); and it occurs immediately before Israel flees into the wilderness at the full end of the 1,260 days covering the first half of the Tribulation (Revelation 12:6).  Also, the birth of the male child will occur either very near or at the time when the two witnesses in chapter eleven are slain, which is also at the full end of the first 1,260 days of the Tribulation.

But how is the male child identified in Revelation 12?  The male child is seen following the woman fleeing “into the wilderness” Revelation 12:14) as “the rest of her [the woman’s] offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17 [seen also in Revelation 11:13]).  And that which is stated about the “the rest of her offspring” in Revelation 12:17 would also identify them with the 144,000 in Revelation 7; 14.

(This birth and identity of the male child will be further developed in the next part of this chapter, where different things in both Revelation 11; 12 will be tied together.)

The Great Seismos

In the same hour there was a great earthquake [Greek: seismos], and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake [seismos] seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Revelation 11:13)

The Greek word seismos, used twice in the preceding verse, has to do with “a shaking,” “an agitation”; and that which is being shaken has to be understood contextually.  The word seismos is consistently used after only one fashion in its four other appearances in the book of Revelation 6:12; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18.  The word is consistently used in connection with judgment related to regal power, particularly in connection with God’s judgment upon the kingdom of the beast (e.g., Revelation 6:12), though Israel is seen in the picture as well (e.g., Revelation 16:18-19a).  And it is evident that the word seismos is used after the same fashion in Revelation 11:13, referring to a shaking of powers in both the heavens and upon the earth, not with an earthquake (ref. Ch. 15,  The Great Seismos and Ch. 18,  Silence in Heaven (3)).

(Note also that in Matthew’s, Mark’s, and Luke’s Olivet Discourse accounts, depicting events during the Tribulation, the same thing is also true [Matthew 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:10-11].  The word seismos is used in each instance in connection with regality, with governmental powers, not with the earth [not with an earthquake].)

The word “hour,” seen in Revelation 11:13, is used in Scripture in a similar sense to the way “day” is used.  “Day” is used referring to both a twenty-four-hour period and a longer period of time (e.g., Matthew 16:21; 17:1; 27:40; John 8:56; 14:20; 16:23, 26), and “hour” is used referring to both a sixty-minute period and a longer period of time (e.g., Matthew 20:3, 5-6, 9; 24:42, 44, 50).  And these two words are used by numerous cultures after these same two fashions today (e.g., note the way “today” is used in the preceding sentence).

The expression, “the same hour,” seen in this verse, must be understood both textually and contextually.  The reference, evidently, is not to a sixty-minute period surrounding the resurrection and ascension of the two witnesses but to a longer period of time (understood more in the sense of “during that time [the word ‘same,’ KJV/NKJV, is not in the Greek text]”).  A number of Greek manuscripts also have the word for “day” instead of “hour” in this verse, which, if this is the correct rendering, would also have to be understood the same way.

This is borne out by what the verse goes on to say.  During that time which is referenced in the verse there was a great shaking.  Contextually, this great shaking could only have begun to occur no later than when the beast overcame and killed the two witnesses, possibly shortly before this time. In this respect, the time in view would encompass several days.

Revelation 12 then deals with and describes this shaking by relating details concerning the war in heaven (Revelation 12:4, 7-9) and details concerning the woman being driven from her capital city and land (Revelation 12:13-14).

Both have to do with powers being shaken — the incumbent ruler with his angels being cast out of the heavens onto the earth, and the crowned woman, who is about to take the scepter, being driven from her city and land.

Then reference is made to three things connected with this shaking:

1)   A tenth part of Jerusalem falls.

2)   Seven thousand are slain in the city.

3)   Those comprising the “rest” (KJV: “remnant”) are terrified (an intensified form of the word for “frightened” is used in the Greek text). 

Note that “tenth” and “seven thousand” are numbers showing completeness.  The numbers undoubtedly are not used referring to a tenth of the city falling in an earthquake, leaving seven thousand slain.  Rather the statements would be similar to that which is seen in Zechariah 8:23 where the number ten (“ten men”) is used to show completeness, signifying those comprising “every language of the nations” (i.e., all those throughout the Gentile nations).

As in other parts of the book of Revelation, it is apparent that numbers are being used to show completeness.  And, in the light of the context and related Scripture, these numbers would show the complete destruction of the city, and the complete uprooting of the Jewish people (cf. Daniel 9:26; Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2).

It will be during this time — extending throughout the last half of the Tribulation — that Satan, through the beast, will launch his final and most intensive thrust against the Jewish people, seeking their utter destruction once and for all.  

It is into this type of scene that the woman will give birth to the male child, which can only be the ones referenced by “the rest of her offspring” (Greek: loipos, “remaining ones”) in both Revelation 11:13 and Revelation 12:17).  Is it any wonder that those comprising the “rest of her offspring” will be terrified at this time?  And, is it any wonder that they will have to be removed from the earth if they are to survive and fulfill the purpose for which they were brought forth (Revelation 12:17)?

(The removal of the male child from the earth [Revelation 12:5] is dealt with in Ch. 26, The One Hundred Forty-four Thousand  [cf. Revelation 14:1-4].)

Also note again that Revelation 11:1-13 forms an aside, covering events during the complete seven years of the Tribulation.  Revelation 10 had previously taken the reader to the end of events immediately following the Tribulation, events which will usher in the Messianic Era.  Then, events in Revelation 12 continue immediately following the aside in Revelation 11, with Scripture providing additional information pertaining to what is called “the third woe”:

The second woe is passed.  Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

Then the seventh angel sounded . . . .” (Revelation 11:14-15a).

The “second woe,” which “is past” [the second of the three woes in Revelation 8:13; 9:12], does not have to do with events in the previous verses of Revelation 8:1-13], but with events seen when the sixth trumpet sounded and the corresponding sixth bowl was poured out [Revelation 9:12-21; Revelation 16:12-16].  And the “third woe” has to do with events seen when the seventh trumpet sounded and the corresponding seventh bowl was poured out [events seen in Revelation 10:1-11; Revelation 16:17-21, repeated after another fashion immediately after mention of the “third woe,” in Revelation 11:15-19].)

1)  Birth of the Male Child

The woman in labor and pain (KJV: “in travail”) during the first part of the Tribulation and giving birth to the male child in the middle of the Tribulation is dealt with in Matthew’s and Mark’s Olivet Discourse accounts, with Luke omitting the matter in his account.  And seeing how the matter is dealt with in these two accounts, plus noting something surrounding Luke’s omission of the event in his Olivet Discourse account, will help to better understand the same thing being dealt with in Revelation 12.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes [shakings], in various places.

All these are the beginning of sorrows [travail, birth-pangs] . . .

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:7-8, 14)

For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes [‘shakings’] in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows [travail, birth-pangs] . . .

And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. (Mark 13:8, 10)

The word translated “sorrows” in Matthew 24:8 and Mark 13:8 and the word translated “labor” in Revelation 12:2 are noun and verb forms of the same word in the Greek text (odin and odino [cf. Galatians 4:19 and 1 Thessalonians 5:3 where the same two forms of the word are used and properly translated]).  The picture in both Matthew and Mark has to do with Israel in travail (labor pain) during the first part of the Tribulation, during that time when the beast is coming to power through conquest (seen as a shaking among Gentile powers).

In both Matthew’s and Mark’s accounts, mention is made, following Israel’s travail (labor pain), of the gospel of the kingdom being proclaimed throughout all the Gentile nations.  Luke’s account though is different.  Neither Israel’s travail nor the gospel being proclaimed among the nations is mentioned.  And the reason is evident:  Mention or omission of one necessitates a corresponding mention or omission of the other, for the one whom Israel brings forth at the end of her travail is the one who will carry this gospel message to the Gentile nations.

This individual is referred to as a “male child” and “the rest of her offspring [the woman’s, Israel’s offspring]” in Revelation 12 (along with being referenced in Revelation 11), and as the 144,000 in Revelation 7; 14.  Thus, the birth and purpose for the birth of the male child are dealt with quite extensively in Scripture.

2)  Birth of the Nation

“Travail” (KJV), “birth-pangs,” is also seen in connection with the birth of the nation itself during the latter part of the Tribulation (cf. Isaiah 66:7-8; Micah 4:9-5:15).  Note in Isaiah 66:7-8 that the birth of the male child is mentioned, but Israel’s travail is seen occurring following this birth.  In this respect, the whole of the Tribulation will be a time of travail for Israel, with a first fruit of the nation being brought forth in the middle of the Tribulation (Revelation 14:4), to be followed by the birth of the whole nation in the main harvest at the end of the Tribulation, as seen in the referenced verses from Isaiah and Micah.

Israel’s “travail” (birth–pangs) in Matthew’s and Mark’s Olivet discourse accounts could be viewed as covering the larger scope of the matter — the nation’s travail throughout the entire Tribulation.

Unlike the Old Testament accounts, this travail as is seen in the two gospel accounts would have to be viewed first in connection with the male child being brought forth, for specific reference is made of his ministry during the last half of the Tribulation. 

Then there is the matter of Luke not recording Israel’s travail and, as well, not recording anything about the message carried by the male child.  But Israel’s travail seen in Matthew and Mark, in the light of the Old Testament, could also be viewed in a continuing respect, referring to the birth of the entire nation following the birth of the male child.

And as a first fruit of the nation will carry the message to the Gentiles worldwide during the last half of the Tribulation, the entire nation, once brought forth, will carry the message to the Gentiles worldwide during the Messianic Era that follows.

Chapter 22

The Beast — In the Types

Revelation 13 presents two beasts — one rising up out of the “sea” (Revelation 13:1ff), and the other rising up out of the “earth [‘land’]” (Revelation 13:11ff).  The “sea,” is used referring to the Gentile nations in their lands; and the “land” is used referring to the only other entity that will be on earth at that time, the Jewish people in their land.  Thus, it is apparent that the first beast will be a Gentile, arising from among the Gentile nations, in a Gentile land; and the second beast will be a Jew, arising from among the Jewish people, in the land of Israel.

(The words “earth” and “land” are translations of the same word in the Greek text, the word, ge.  Thus, how ge is used in the text and/or context would determine whether the whole earth or a particular land or people upon the earth was being referenced.

The Gentile nations are being referenced by and through the use of the “sea” in Revelation 13:1.  In this respect, the use of ge in Revelation 13:11 could not refer to the earth, for that would include the sea, the nations in their lands. Thus, the word in this verse could only refer to a people in a land separate from the nations.  It could only refer to the Jewish people in the land of Israel.)

The first beast is revealed to be a political leader, previously seen as the rider on the white horse when the first seal of the seven-sealed scroll was broken, riding forth, “conquering and to conquer” (Revelation 6:1-2).  And in Revelation 13:1 he is seen three and one-half years later, having achieved his aspirations of worldwide dominion.  He is seen here at the beginning of his reign, which would extend throughout the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation, bringing the Times of the Gentiles to a close.

The second beast will be a pseudo spiritual leader (Revelation 13:11), who will draw his power from the first beast, who, in turn, will draw his power from Satan (cf. Revelation 13:2, 12).  By and through various means (supernatural powers and signs [Revelation 13:13-15]), this pseudo spiritual leader will direct attention to the first beast, causing those dwelling on the earth to worship him, to worship the one having previously sat in the rebuilt Temple on the Temple Mount, declaring himself to be God (Revelation 13:8, 12; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

(The use of the word ge [land, or earth] in Revelation 13:12ff, referring to those whose worship is directed toward the first beast, would, of necessity, refer to the earth rather than to the land of Israel, as in Revelation 13:11.  Note that the Jewish people at the very beginning of the first beast’s reign will be uprooted from their land and, except for those who escape to a specially prepared place “in the wilderness,” or the remnant removed from the earth, they will either be killed or be driven back out among the nations.  Thus, during the last half of the Tribulation, the Jewish people will no longer be in the land as a nation, which would preclude activities of the second beast centering on a Jewish presence in the land of Israel.)

The first beast alone is the one occupying the limelight from Revelation 6-20; and, aside from several places in the book (Revelation 13:11ff; 16:13; 19:20; 20:10), he is seen alone and is referred to in a singular manner.  And he is referred to in this singular manner when dealt with elsewhere in Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments.

He is the one seen numerous places in Old Testament prophecy, referred to in different ways by different names.  There is a tremendous amount of material in the Old Testament dealing with this man.  And, because of this volume of material, he should be one of the best known political leaders to ever rise on the scene, long before he even makes his appearance.

But the opposite of that is true today and will be true when this man appears yet future.  Mankind, in general, knows very little about this man, though that information has been readily available for millennia.  Because of mankind’s lack of knowledge concerning this man, he will be able to rise on the scene and deceive the masses.  And at the beginning of and during the first part of the Tribulation, the masses that he will deceive will even include many in Israel, many from among those who gave mankind the Book telling about this man.

Before dealing further with Revelation 13, it would be best to go to the Old Testament and see how this man is introduced in Scripture, along with a number of the ways that he is subsequently dealt with.  Then, when this man is seen from the perspective of the manner in which he is presented in the Old Testament — with a foundation of this nature — Revelation 13 can only become far easier to understand.

(This chapter and the three subsequent chapters in this book deal with the beast.  This chapter deals with the beast, in the types; and the three subsequent chapters deal with the beast in the Psalms, in the Prophets, and in the book of Revelation.  And it should go without saying, with only four chapters, the subject can only be far from exhaustive in any one of the areas.  But enough is covered in each area to illustrate the point concerning how extensively this man is dealt with in Scripture, along with laying a proper foundation and providing information for further study.

The present chapter deals with three main Old Testament types — Nimrod in Genesis, the Assyrian pharaoh in Exodus, and Haman in Esther.  And when these types are studied together, one can see a developing word picture surrounding the beast.  Then, when this developing word picture is put together with that subsequently revealed about this man from other parts of the Old Testament — particularly from that which is covered in the Psalms and the Prophets — the beast can easily be quite well known, not only long before he appears but without even going to the New Testament.)

The First King of Babylon

The sons of Ham were Cush . . .

Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth.

He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.”

And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

From that land he (Nimrod) went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah,

and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city). (Genesis 10:6a, 8-12)

The future man of sin, the beast, the one often called the Antichrist, is introduced in Scripture during the first 2,000 years of human history, in Genesis 10.  He is introduced following seven chapters (Genesis 3-9) that begin with teachings surrounding salvation by grace (Genesis 3; 4) and continue with teachings concerning the rapture (Genesis 5), the great Tribulation (Genesis 6; 7; 8), and a new beginning (Genesis 9, pointing to the Messianic Era that will follow the Tribulation).

Then Genesis 10, beginning a new sequence of events, picks up during the Tribulation and introduces the Antichrist through the person of Nimrod, adding details to that which was previously presented in Genesis 6-9.

(Ref. the author’s books, Seven, Ten Generations by Arlen Chitwood and Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Prophecy on Mount Olivet, Ch. 9, for information on the overall type in Genesis 5-9.)

Nimrod was a grandson of Ham.  In this respect, the beast is first seen in Scripture by and through one from a lineage that Noah had cursed, which had been relegated throughout Man’s Day to the position of “a servants of servants [the lowest of servants]” for the remainder of mankind — the descendants of Shem and Japheth (Genesis 9:24-27; ref. Ch. 20, The Two Witnesses).

And note that which Scripture has to say in Proverbs 30:21-22a about a person from this lineage occupying a regal position during Man’s Day, as Nimrod occupied.

For three things the earth is perturbed [the earth quakes], Yes, for four it cannot bear up [under]:

For a servant when he reigns . . . .

Calling attention to these things is not to say that this future world ruler will be of Ham’s lineage.  Rather, it is to point out a couple of interesting features about this man, drawn from the first type of him in Scripture.

First, he is seen typified by a man coming from a line that had been cursed, set in opposition to a line through which God’s blessings to all of mankind would flow, through Shem’s lineage (Genesis 9:26-27).  And those in this latter lineage (descendants of Shem through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) will be the ones whom a man (the beast) typified by an individual from the former lineage (the lineage of Ham) will seek to destroy when he rises to power.

Then, with the man typifying this future world ruler coming from Ham’s lineage, negative regal implications would, of necessity, have to be seen in the type.  Nimrod in the type ruled a kingdom in his day (Genesis 10:10), producing conditions seen in Proverbs 30:21.  And the beast in the antitype will rule the world in his day, with the outcome of his rule producing similar conditions to those seen in the type.

Note Isaiah 14:15-17, which apparently looks beyond Satan to this future world ruler, to whom Satan will give his power, throne, and great authority (Revelation 13:2).  Isaiah 14:4-5 introduces this man (ref.  Isaiah 14:2-3, 6 [2b]), referring to him as “the king of Babylon.”  Then, beginning with  Isaiah 14:12, the text moves to Satan (past) but several verses later back to the beast, to the last king of Babylon yet future ( Isaiah 14:15ff).  Note the inseparable way Satan and the beast are presented in Revelation 12:3; 13:1, which fits perfectly with the picture presented in Isaiah 14.

Nimrod was the first king of Babylon, and the man whom he foreshadows, who will bring it all crashing down, the beast, will be the last king of Babylon.  Note how the verses referenced in Isaiah 14 read:

that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: “How the oppressor has ceased, the golden city ceased!

The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers; . . .

Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.

Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms,

who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?” (Isaiah 14:4-5, 15-17).

The name “Nimrod” in Genesis 10:8-9 means rebel, seen from the meaning of the Hebrew verb nimrodh, which means, “to revolt.”  And both his position as ruler (a servile person reigning) and the meaning of his name would necessitate viewing the things said about Nimrod in a negative rather than a positive way.

Two things are said about Nimrod’s activities as he is introduced.  Nimrod “began to be a mighty one on the earth,” and “he was a mighty hunter before the LORD [something repeated in the verse, apparently for emphasis]” Genesis 10:8-9).  And these are the only things said about Nimrod prior to the subsequent record of this man building four cities, possessing a kingdom, then building four more cities (Genesis 10:10-12).

The expression, “before the LORD” was previously used in Genesis 6:11 (KJV: “before God”) relative to wickedness in the earth preceding the Flood, during Noah’s day.  And something similar is evidently in view by the use of the same expression relative to Nimrod’s activities, something not connected with a mere hunter in the field.

Many commentators, particularly those dealing with the Hebrew text, see Nimrod’s activities as being a mighty hunter of men.  A Chaldean paraphrase of Genesis 10:8, introducing Nimrod, reads,

“Cush begat Nimrod who began to prevail in wickedness, for he slew innocent blood and rebelled against Jehovah.”

If the paraphrase is correct, this would lead into the thought of Nimrod hunting men rather than game in the field (Genesis 10:9).

The last king of Babylon, as the first, will likewise become “a mighty one on the earth,” and he will, as well, become “a mighty hunter before the LORD” in the same sense as is seen in the type (something clearly seen in the antitype that would appear to confirm the previously presented understanding of the type).  He will begin his quest for power at the very first part of the Tribulation, as seen when the first seal of the scroll is broken in Revelation 6 (Revelation 6:1-2); and he will have achieved this power three and one-half years later, as seen in Revelation 12 and Revelation 13 (Revelation 12:3; 13:1).

Then the tower of Babel enters into the picture in Genesis 11, having to do with Nimrod and those in his kingdom seeking to make a name for themselves and attempting to keep the kingdom intact, producing a unified kingdom of that day (Genesis 11:1-4).  And this, of course, foreshadows the last king of Babylon doing the same thing, though not with a tower per se (Revelation 13:1-7).

The Lord came down and destroyed the kingdom in Nimrod’s day (Genesis 11:5-9), exactly as He will do when the final form of this kingdom appears yet future (Revelation 6:12-17; 8:1ff; 19:11ff).

Then that which is foreshadowed by events in the latter part of Genesis 11 will occur.  In this part of the chapter, Abraham was called out of the same area where Nimrod’s kingdom existed to go into another land and realize an inheritance therein (Genesis 11:31-12:4). 

And yet future, after God deals with the final form of this Babylonian kingdom, He will call the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob out of the same area where Antichrist’s kingdom existed (worldwide) to go into another land and realize an inheritance therein (Deuteronomy 30:1-5; Ezekiel 34:11-13; 36:16ff; 37:1ff; 39:21-29).

The Assyrian in Egypt

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.

And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we;

come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.”

Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens . . . .”  (Exodus 1:8-11a).

The book of Exodus opens with the Israelites residing in Egypt (a type of the world in Scripture) and a new king arising in the land, an Assyrian pharaoh (Isaiah 52:4; Acts 7:18).  The Assyrians had previously conquered Egypt and were now ruling the land of Egypt.  And the Assyrian pharaoh’s attention was turned toward the Israelites, whom he saw as a threat; and he sought to destroy them (Exodus 1:7ff).

In the antitype, the Antichrist is seen coming out of the boundaries of the old Assyrian Empire (Daniel 8:8-9) and is referred to a number of places in Scripture as an Assyrian (Isaiah 10:5; 14:25; 23:13; 30:31; 31:8; Hosea 11:5; Micah 5:5-6).  As the Assyrian in the type conquered and ruled Egypt, the future Assyrian will conquer and rule the world.  And, exactly as in the type, the future Assyrian’s attention will be turned toward the Jewish people, whom he will see as a threat; and he will seek to destroy them.

The threat in the type involved God’s firstborn son, Israel (Exodus 4:22-23).  And the threat was very real.  Satan knew full-well that Israel was the nation destined to hold the scepter, and he used the Assyrian pharaoh to destroy Israel.

Exactly the same thing will occur during the reign of the latter-day Assyrian.  He, following worldwide conquest, will exercise power from Satan’s throne and will do Satan’s bidding.  Satan knows full-well, exactly as he knew before, during Moses’ day, that Israel is the nation destined to hold the scepter, the woman from Revelation 12:1 who is destined to wear a diadem of twelve stars.  And, exactly as in the type, Satan will use the latter-day Assyrian in a final attempt to destroy Israel, enacting an intense, deadly effort without parallel in history (cf. Matthew 24:21-22).

(“Sonship” is connected with rulership in God’s kingdom.  It is sons who rule [e.g., ruling angels are all sons of God because of creation], and in the human realm it is firstborn sons who rule [ref. the author’s book, God’s Firstborn Sons by Arlen Chitwood].)

In the type, God raised up a deliverer, whom the Israelites had previously rejected but now received.  God then reduced the Assyrian’s kingdom to a ruin, gave the Israelites the means to escape the decreed death of the firstborn (through paschal lambs dying in the stead of the firstborn, a vicarious death), delivered the Israelites from Egypt through the Red Sea, and destroyed the Assyrian pharaoh with his armed forces in the Sea.

In the antitype, exactly the same thing is seen.  God will send the Deliverer, whom He has raised up, whom the Israelites previously rejected but in that future day will receive.  God will then complete His work of reducing the Assyrian’s kingdom to a ruin, the Israelites will realize a vicarious death of the firstborn through applying the blood of the Paschal Lamb (whom they had previously slain), God will deliver the Israelites from their worldwide dispersion, and He will then destroy the Assyrian, along with his armed forces.

In the type, the Israelites were led out of Egypt and taken to Sinai to receive the Law, the Old Covenant.  And from there they were led toward another land, a land previously covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, wherein they were to realize an inheritance within a theocracy.

In the antitype, exactly the same thing is seen.  The Israelites will be led out from a worldwide dispersion and taken to a place (referred to as “the wilderness of the people” [Ezekiel 20:34-37], which could very well be the Sinai area again) where a New Covenant will be made with the house of Israel, replacing the Old Covenant.  Then the Jewish people will be placed back in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, wherein they will realize an inheritance within a theocracy.

This is what the entire book of Exodus is about, along with the three subsequent books of Moses and the book of Joshua.  It all begins with the rise of the Assyrian in Egypt, and it ends with the Jewish people in their own land within a theocracy.

Thus, if a person wants to know about the man who is about to rise to power (the future Assyrian) and/or what the future holds for Israel, all he/she has to do is go back to these books and read about the matter.  It’s all there, recorded almost 3,500 years ago.

Haman

After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him.

And all the king's servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage. . . .

When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath.

But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone [he scorned the thought of laying hands on Mordecai alone], for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus-the people of Mordecai. (Esther 3:1-2, 5-6)

The opening two chapters of Esther (Esther 1; 2) deal with the complete, overall scope of the history of Israel — past, present, and future — as seen typically through the experiences of Ahasuerus (the king), Vashti (rejected as queen), and Esther (replacing Vashti as queen).  Then the book takes eight more chapters (Esther 3-10) to provide details surrounding events during a minute part of this overall history, yet future.

Esther 3-10 deal centrally with Ahasuerus, Haman, Esther, and Mordecai.  And, from a typical standpoint, events seen in these chapters have to do with God, the beast, and Israel during the last three and one-half years of the Times of the Gentiles, with events leading into the Millennium.

This section of the book opens with Haman being promoted to a position in the kingdom above all others, a position directly under the king (Esther 3:1).

This foreshadows the beast coming into power as world ruler in the middle of the Tribulation, with Satan giving to this man his power, throne, and great authority.  And this will place the beast in exactly the same position seen in the type — a position directly under the King, under God, as the Lord’s anointed (cf. Ezekiel 28:14).

All in the kingdom were to bow and reverence Haman.  But Mordecai, a Jew seated in the king’s gate (Esther 2:19, 21), refused to bow before or reverence him (Esther 3:2b).

(From the standpoint of the overall type, Mordecai, a Jew seated in the king’s gate, portends that which is seen in Genesis 22:17-18 — the seed of Abraham possessing the gate of the enemy.  The “gate” was the place where business or governmental affairs were conducted in a city or kingdom.  And possessing the gate in the manner seen in Genesis 22:17-18 is a manner that Scripture uses to signify governmental control.

Mordecai seated in the king’s gate in the type is another picture of the same thing seen in Revelation 12:1 — the woman wearing “a crown of twelve stars.”  Both foreshadow Israel in waiting, destined to take the kingdom, possess the gate.)

And when Haman saw Mordecai seated in the King’s gate, refusing to bow and reverence him, he was enraged.  As a result, Haman’s hatred for not only Mordecai but the whole of the Jewish people in the kingdom became such that his goal was seen to be the same as previously exhibited by the Assyrian in Egypt.  Haman sought to destroy all the Jews throughout the kingdom (Esther 3:6).

And the remainder of this book is about Haman’s efforts to do away with the Jewish people, along with that which resulted from his efforts.

The more Haman turned his hand against the Jewish people, the worse conditions become for him.  He was humiliated by having to publicly exalt Mordecai, whom he had planned to slay and impale on a gallows that he had built (Esther 5:14; 6:1-14).  And then he himself was slain and impaled on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai (Esther 7:1-10), followed by his ten sons being slain and impaled on the same gallows as well (Esther 9:10-14).

These events were then followed by the king giving Esther all that had belonged to Haman (Esther 8:1, 7) and promoting Mordecai to the position that Haman had previously held (Esther 8:2; 10:2-3).

The whole of the account, typically, has to do with the aspirations of the beast during the last half of the Tribulation, that which God will bring to pass concerning this man and his ten-kingdom federation as a result, and that which God will then bring to pass concerning the nation of Israel.

This account is simply another part of an overall word picture surrounding the beast and Israel, with the emphasis placed in a particular realm.  And the account shows once again the working out of God’s unchangeable principles regarding Israel as set forth in Genesis 12:1-3.

(Ref. the author’s book, Esther by Arlen Chitwood, for a more detailed account of these events in the book of Esther.)

Chapter 23

The Beast — In the Psalms, the Prophets

(Material in the Psalms, in three of the Major Prophets, and in several of the Minor Prophets will be dealt with in this chapter.  The Prophets are designated either “major” or “minor,” not because of importance, but because of length.  Also, the twelve Minor Prophets make up one book in the Hebrew canon. 

No one book classed among the Major or Minor Prophets is more important or less important than any of the others.  All have their unique, individual place in Scripture; and each presents part of one complete word picture, exactly as God would have man view the matter.

Because of the vast amount of material pertaining to the beast and/or his kingdom in the book of Daniel [a Major Prophet], this book will not be dealt with in any special way in this chapter.  Rather, the beast, as he is seen in the book of Daniel, is dealt with in the next chapter, The Beast — In the Book of Daniel.)

The Psalms

A number of the one hundred fifty chapters in the book of Psalms call attention to the beast.  This man, in the Psalms, is always seen in connection with Israel, and often with Gentile powers.  And he is invariably presented in a descriptive manner (e.g., “the bloodthirsty and deceitful man” in Psalm 5:6) or in a somewhat indirect manner by the mention of the national powers that will form this man’s kingdom in that coming day (e.g., “the kings of the earth” in Psalm 2:1-3).

The beast is never named in the Psalms, though he can be easily identified in the different Psalms that depict Israel during the Tribulation, leading into the Messianic Era.  In these Psalms he is seen as Israel’s final and most horrific persecutor, appearing on the scene during Daniel’s Seventieth Week, at the end of the Times of the Gentiles.

And occupying this ignominious role, though his efforts will be directed toward destroying the Jewish people, God will use this man’s efforts to turn the matter completely around.  Because of sin, God drove the Jewish people out among the nations to effect their repentance by and through Gentile persecution.  That was 2,600 years ago, with untold periods of Gentile persecution occurring since that time.  Jewish graves dot the landscape throughout Gentile countries worldwide, but repentance on Israel’s part has yet to occur.

The persecution and slaying of 6,000,000 Jews in modern times under the Third Reich in Europe didn’t bring about Israel’s repentance.  But the man who is about to appear, described so vividly in the Psalms, will bring the persecution of the Jewish people to a level without parallel in history (cf. Matthew 24:21-22), a level that will result in the Jewish people being left without a place to turn other than to the God of their fathers.  And it will be in that day, after over two and one-half millennia of Gentile dominance and persecution, that Israel will be brought to the place of repentance.

Then, following Israel’s subsequent national conversion, God will place the Jewish people back in their own land, within a theocracy, with the nations being blessed through Israel.  And many of the Psalms depict the type of persecution at the hands of the beast that will allow God to bring this to pass.

The Psalms, when dealing with this man, always present part or all of the same picture.  Descriptions and actions of the beast are seen.  This is then followed by his overthrow and the subsequent elevation of the Jewish people to their rightful place as both God’s firstborn son and the restored wife of Jehovah.

Taking certain verses from different Psalms, note some of the ways this man is presented.  As previously seen, Psalm 5:6 presents this man as “the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”  Then, Psalm 7:4 presents this man as an individual who was at peace with Israel, but has now become their enemy (which could only be an allusion to his making and then breaking the covenant in Daniel 9:27).

Psalm 10:2-11 presents one of the most complete descriptions of this man in the Psalms.  He is seen filled with pride, boastful, giving heed to that which God abhors, and giving no thought to God’s ways at all.  His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit, he lies in wait to murder, to draw any and all into his net, and he will say in his heart that God has turned the other way and forgotten.

In other Psalms one finds Israel’s cry for deliverance and/or God’s deliverance of His people from this man, who is described in different ways in different passages (cf. Psalm 17:8-13; 37:7ff; 43:1; 71:4; 74:8-10; 140:1, 4, 8).

Then, Psalms 2 and Psalms 83 form two places where the beast is presented in an indirect manner by and through dealing with the actions and/or aspirations of Gentile military powers at the end of Man’s Day, which this man will command.

Psalms 2:1-2  were quoted in unison by a group of the followers of “the way” after Peter and John had experienced persecution at the hands of Israel’s religious leaders.  And, by so doing, an application of the Psalm was made concerning the past actions of Gentile powers of that day, along with the Jewish people, against God’s firstborn Son, Christ (Acts 4:23-27). 

The Psalm though, evident from the context, has to do with events surrounding Christ’s second coming, not His first.  And the Psalm has to do with the actions of Gentile powers against both Christ and Israel, God’s firstborn Sons.  Thus, the fulfillment of this Psalm waits for a future time.

The second and eighty-third Psalms (Psalms 2; 83) both deal with exactly the same thing — Gentile powers, forming the armies under the command of the beast, coming into the land of Israel for particular purposes.  The time when they will come into the land of Israel is evident from material in both Psalms, with each Psalm presenting matters from a different perspective.

Both Psalms picture these Gentile powers coming into the land of Israel during days immediately following the Tribulation, with a common goal.  Part of this goal (seen in Psalm 2) will be to do away with the restraining and authoritative power of the Father and the Son (Psalm 2:2-3, cf. Psalm 2:4), and the other part of this goal (seen in Psalm 83) will be to do away with the Jewish people (Psalm 83:4).

(Psalm 2 refers to these armies as “the kings of the earth,” and Psalm 83 adds more detail, listing ten Middle East nations that have planned and plotted together, foreshadowing the beast’s ten-kingdom confederacy.)

At the time these armies come into the land, God’s Son will be seated on the throne in Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6-7; cf. Joel 2:27ff; Luke 1:32-33), and the Jewish people will have been re-gathered back to the land (Psalm 83:4), which places the matter at a time following the Tribulation.

Then, at that time, a dual scene presented in Scripture will be brought to pass.  On the one hand, the Gentile armies of the earth will willingly and defiantly march into the land of Israel, as seen in both the second and eighty-third Psalms (Psalms 2; 83).  On the other hand though, they will have no choice, for, in the words of Scripture, God will put hooks in their jaws and bring them into His land (Ezekiel 38:4, 16; Joel 3:2).

And when the beast with his armed forces marches into the land (cf. Ezekiel 38:8-11; Joel 3:7-16; Zechariah 14:1ff; Revelation 19:11-21), seeking to do away with the restraining and authoritative power of the Father and the Son, along with seeking to do away with the Jewish people, God is going to laugh at the very best that man, under Satan, can put forth.

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision [i.e., the Lord will mock, scoff, at them and their vain efforts]. (Psalm 2:4)

The thought of God laughing in the preceding verse has to do with a type of laughter where the recipient of that laughter is held in contempt, a mocking type of laughter exhibited toward an individual who is seeking to do something but is unable to do anything.  And though the beast and his armies will be left without a choice concerning coming into the land, when they do come into the land with their lofty goals and aspirations, God’s fury, as He laughs at them in a contemptible and mocking manner, is going to mount up in His anger (Ezekiel 38:18).

Then He [God] shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure [produce dismay, panic, terror as He exhibits His fiery wrath]” (Psalm 2:5; cf. Psalm 83:9-18 to see the utterly complete manner in which God will take care of the matter in that day).

At this time, God’s purpose for bringing these armies into the land will be realized.  Following God’s fury mounting up in His anger, Gentile world power will be destroyed on the mountains and plains of Israel (cf. Revelation 14:14-20; 19:17-21), allowing the scepter to be placed back in Israel’s hands where it belongs, with the theocracy restored to Israel.  The Jewish people will be elevated to the head of the nations, and all the Gentile nations will then be ruled by and blessed through the one nation, separate from the Gentile nations, which God called into existence to occupy this role.

The Prophets

The Prophets continue God’s revelation of the beast in the Old Testament Scriptures, presenting this revelation after a different fashion than that which is seen in the types or in the Psalms.  And viewing the matter from a different facet in the Prophets is simply God’s way of continuing to add to a developing word picture of this future end-time world ruler.

But the Prophets, though presenting the matter from a different perspective, deal with exactly the same thing as seen in the types or in the Psalms.  The Prophets deal with Israel’s disobedience, the condition of the nation as a result, and the nation being uprooted from her land and driven out among the Gentile nations to effect repentance by and through Gentile persecution.  And the Prophets, in turn, deal with Israel’s last great subjugator and persecutor, whom God will use to effect repentance on the part of His people.

Material from three Major Prophets and several Minor Prophets will be developed in this chapter.  And as previously stated, material from the book of Daniel (a Major Prophet) — which deals with the beast more than any of the other Prophets — is dealt with in a separate chapter, Ch. 24, The Beast — In the Book of Daniel.

1)  Isaiah

Verses in a number of chapters in Isaiah deal with the beast; and each deals with this man after a different fashion, revealing a number of things about him.

He is seen throughout much of Isaiah 14 as the last king of Babylon and as the Assyrian (Isaiah 14:4, 25).  This chapter deals principally with how this man will reign, the end of his reign, and the subsequent reign of Christ.

Typical of the way Scripture is often structured, revelation in this chapter moves back and forth from the beast’s reign to Christ’s reign.  Isaiah 14:1-3 picture millennial conditions.

Then Isaiah 14:4-6 picture conditions immediately preceding the Millennium.  Then Isaiah 14:7-8 bring the reader back to millennial conditions, with Isaiah 14:9-11 even describing this man’s overthrow preceding the Millennium.  And the remainder of the chapter is structured after the same fashion.

Descriptions of the reign and subsequent overthrow of the beast are seen in a number of different verses in this fourteenth chapter, providing a wealth of information:

that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: “How the oppressor has ceased, the golden city ceased!

The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers;

he who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he who ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted and no one hinders.” . . .

Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.

Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms,

who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?”. . .

The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand:

that I will break the Assyrian in My land, and on My mountains tread him underfoot. Then his yoke shall be removed from them, and his burden removed from their shoulders.” (Isaiah 14:4-6, 15-17, 24-25).

This man is seen as an oppressor (Isaiah 14:4), one with other rulers exercising regal power with him (Isaiah 14:5 [his ten-kingdom confederacy]), and one who will smite the people in anger, not only continually but in an unrestrained manner (Isaiah 14:6).  He is seen as a man who will make the earth to tremble, who will shake kingdoms, who will make the world as a wilderness, who will destroy cities, and imprison individuals in an unmerciful manner (Isaiah 14:16-17).

But this is also the man who is seen overthrown and trodden under foot in the land of Israel, exactly as the Lord had decreed (Isaiah 14:24-25).  Then, he is seen in the place of the dead with all that appertained to him destroyed, pictured as one with maggots beneath him and worms covering him (Isaiah 14:9-11).

In Isaiah 16:1-5, this man is presented in connection with the Jewish people as a spoiler, an extortioner, and an oppressor.  And particular reference is made to those Jews who will escape his wrath by fleeing to a specially prepared place in the land, which is stated in the text to be in Moab, which lies southeast of the Dead Sea (Isaiah 16:4). 

Then, once this man is overthrown (Isaiah 16:4b), the Messianic Era will follow (Isaiah 16:5).

The same sequence of events is presented again in Isaiah 24:21-23; 26:8, 13-14, depicting a different facet of the picture.

Then in Isaiah 28:14-18, the same sequence of events is presented yet another way.  Reference is made to the covenant that the beast will make with “many” in Israel (cf. Daniel 9:27).  It is referred to as a covenant with death, an agreement with Sheol, the place of the dead (Isaiah 28:15, 18). 

This covenant made by the beast though will be “annulled [Hebrew: kopher, meaning ‘atonement.’  God will provide ‘atonement’]” (Isaiah 28:18), followed by the Lord Himself making a new covenant with the house of Israel (Jeremiah 31:31-33).  And the Messianic Era will then follow (Isaiah 28:16-18a).

Then note Isaiah 33:8-9, in a chapter that again moves back and forth between the beast’s reign and Christ’s subsequent reign.  In these two verses, reference is made to the broken covenant, with nothing but destruction lying in this man’s wake, as he regards no one.  

Thus, Isaiah, in different places, presents the same overall picture of the beast from a number of different facets.

2)  Jeremiah

Most of Jeremiah 4 deals with the beast in relation to the havoc and destruction that he will be allowed to bring to pass throughout the land of Israel, particularly upon the Jewish people’s cities and land.  Then, verses in Jeremiah 6 deal with and shed light on the whole of the matter.  Thus, these two sections of Scripture will be viewed together; and they will be the only ones dealt with in Jeremiah, though there are other sections pertaining to this man in the book.

The fourth chapter begins with the reason for that which God is about to allow the beast to do as he moves against the Jewish people.  He will be allowed to move against God’s people in this manner because of their “abominations” (Jeremiah 4:1; cf. Jeremiah 4:14), abominations that will have been occurring over millennia of time.

That which is about to occur because of these abominations, in a climactic sense, is in perfect keeping with God’s promised warning to the Jewish people in Leviticus 26:14ff and Deuteronomy 28:15ff.  If God did not do as He had previously promised that He would do in these two sections of Scripture, which is seen carried out in Jeremiah 4, then He would not be true to His own Word.

The man who will be God’s instrument to carry out God’s promised warning, in a climactic respect, will be the beast.  He is referred to in Jeremiah 4:7 as “the destroyer of nations [the Gentiles],” who will move against Israel in this same destroying way, making their land “desolate” and laying their cities “waste, without inhabitant.”

In Jeremiah 6 this man is referred to as “the plunderer” (KJV: “the spoiler”) whom God will have placed as “an assayer and a tester” (NASB) among the Jewish people, to “know and test their way” (Jeremiah 6:26-27).  The thought here is the same as that which God stated about the Pharaoh of Egypt in Exodus 9:16, quoted in Romans 9:17:

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.

God will raise up the beast, exactly as He has raised up all of Israel’s persecutors over centuries of time (cf. Isaiah 10:5-6).  The matter begins with Israel’s abominations, and it will end with God demonstrating His power (one way — by effecting Israel’s repentance through Gentile persecution) and bringing matters to pass after such a fashion that His name will be declared throughout all the earth (cf. Ezekiel 36:17-36; 39:21-29).

Note how the end result of the matter is described in Jeremiah 4, following that time when the beast breaks his covenant with and turns upon the Jewish people:

Destruction upon destruction is cried, for the whole land is plundered. Suddenly my tents are plundered, and my curtains in a moment.

How long will I see the standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?

For my people [the Jewish people] are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly [stupid] children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.

I beheld the earth [the land, the land of Israel], and indeed it was without form, and void; and the heavens, they had no light.

I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth.

I beheld, and indeed there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled.

I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of the LORD, by His fierce anger.

For thus says the LORD: “The whole land shall be desolate; yet I will not make a full end.

For this shall the earth [the land] mourn, and the heavens above be black, because I have spoken. I have purposed and will not relent [i.e., God will not change His mind], nor will I turn back from it.” (Jeremiah 4:20-28)

(The words “land” and “earth” [Jeremiah 4:20, 23, 27-28] are both translations of the Hebrew word erets, which can be understood as either “land” or “earth,” depending on the context.  Erets should be translated “land” throughout the preceding passage, for the land of Israel is in view, not the earth as a whole.)

These verses need little comment to see what God is going to allow this man to do to both the Jewish people and their land.  And this will be because of their abominations on the one hand, and to effect their repentance on the other hand.

Then the chapter ends with Israel in travail, experiencing birth-pangs (Jeremiah 4:31), about to realize a national birth following their being brought to the place of repentance (cf. Isaiah 66:7-8; Matthew 24:8; Revelation 12:2).

Thus, God is going to raise up and use the beast for His own glory, to bring His plans and purposes regarding Israel and the nations to pass.  Then, God is going to judge and destroy this man, for the unchangeable principles of Genesis 12:1-3 cannot be violated.

3)  Ezekiel

There are a couple of classic references to this man in Ezekiel 24; 38.   And in Ezekiel 39 the kings ruling under him are mentioned.

In Ezekiel 21:25 he is seen as the “profane wicked prince of Israel,” who is about to be replaced by Another, “whose right it is” to rule and reign (Ezekiel 21:27):

Now to you, O profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end,

thus says the Lord GOD: “Remove the turban [the mitre], and take off the crown; nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted.

Overthrown, overthrown, I will make it overthrown! It shall be no longer, until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him.” (Ezekiel 21:25-27).

The “mitre” (Ezekiel 21:26) has to do with the headdress of Israel’s high priest, and the “crown” denotes a ruler.  This man will be Satan’s counterfeit of the true Christ, a king-priest in relation to Israel, one who had previously sat in the temple of God, “showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

His end is in view in the passage.  “Iniquity,” referring particularly to Israel’s abominations, is to be brought to an “end” (Ezekiel 21: 25; cf. Daniel 9:24).  And the mitre and crown are then to be removed and given to the One whose right it is to wear both — the true King-Priest in Israel (Ezekiel 21:26-27).

Then note four verses in Ezekiel 38; 39:

Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

and say, “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.’”. . .

And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field: assemble yourselves and come; gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you, a great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.

You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, drink the blood of the princes of the earth . . . .” (Ezekiel 38:2-3; 39:17-18a; cf. Revelation 19:17-21).

The word translated “prince” (Ezekiel 38:2-3; 39:17) in the Hebrew text refers to a king or a leader.  This is another picture of the same thing seen in Psalms 2; 83, with the prince leading them (Ezekiel 38:2-3; cf. Psalm 2:1-3), and the princes of the earth and their armies destroyed upon the mountains and plains of Israel and left for the ravenous birds and animals to feed upon (Ezekiel 39:17-18a; cf. Psalm 83:9-18).

4)  The Minor Prophets

This man is mentioned throughout a number of the Minor Prophets.

In Joel he is seen heading the northern army, pictured in Ezekiel 38; 39 (Joel 2:20).

In Amos he is seen as “an adversary” who will destroy the Jewish people and their land (Amos 3:11).

In Micah he is seen as “the Assyrian” who will come into the land and tread it down (Micah 5:5-6).

In Nahum he is seen as “a wicked counselor,” set in opposition to the “Wonderful Counselor” of Isaiah 9:6 (Nahum 1:11-15).

And in Zechariah he is seen as “the worthless [KJV: “idol”] shepherd” who will conduct affairs in an opposite manner to that of the true Shepherd (Zechariah 11:16-17).

The extensive attention that the Old Testament gives to this future world ruler need not be further dealt with in the Minor Prophets.  The preceding, in conjunction with that which is covered in the Psalms and Major Prophets, should suffice to illustrate how revelation concerning this man can be seen extending from one end of the Old Testament to the other.

Chapter 24

The Beast — In the Book of Daniel

The book of Daniel is about the kingdom of this world during the Times of the Gentiles, to be succeeded by the kingdom of Christ at the end of the Times of the Gentiles. In this respect, Daniel deals with the last 2,600 years of Man’s Day, and then projects matters into the following 1,000-year Lord’s Day.

The Times of the Gentiles exists for two basic reasons:

(1) because of Jewish transgression and

(2) to bring the Jewish people to the place of repentance, by and through Gentile persecution.

The Times of the Gentiles began about 605 B.C, with Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of the southern kingdom of Judah (completing that which began over one hundred years earlier by the Assyrian invasion of the northern kingdom of Israel). At this time the Jewish people began to be uprooted from their land and transported to Babylon in the Mesopotamian Valley. The scepter was removed from Israel’s hands and placed in the hands of the Gentiles at this time, and the scepter has remained and will continue to remain in the hands of the Gentiles until the appearance and destruction of the beast’s kingdom, Antichrist’s kingdom, yet future.

Antichrist’s kingdom, as Nebuchadnezzar’s, will be centered back in the Mesopotamian Valley. He will be the last king of Babylon. And once the Jewish people have been removed from his kingdom and placed back in their own land, the scepter will be taken from the hands of the Gentiles and placed back in Israel’s hands. At this time, Gentile world power will be destroyed, and Israel will be elevated to the head of the nations, within a theocracy. Then, with the destruction of Antichrist’s kingdom, the Times of the Gentiles will be brought to a close.

The book of Daniel is the one book in Scripture that deals with this complete sequence of events, and the whole book is given over to revelation having to do, after some fashion, with this subject. That which is depicted by the “great image” in chapter two and the four “great beasts” in chapter seven deal with the same thing from two different vantage points. These two sections of Scripture deal with Gentile world power throughout the Times of the Gentiles (throughout that time when the scepter is held by the Gentiles), and the overthrow of Gentile world power at the end of the Times of the Gentiles. And these two sections of Scripture, together, form the foundation upon which the remainder of the book rests.

The Great Image
The Four Great Beasts

The “great image” in Daniel chapter two (divided into four parts [Dan. 2:31-43]), and the “four great beasts” in chapter seven (Dan. 7:1-8), are viewed by most premillennial students of the Word as representing four successive world kingdoms. These four kingdoms, as seen by most, begin with Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar and end with a revived Roman Empire under Antichrist. But is this the correct way to view the matter?

Note a summary view of the four parts of the “great image” and the four “great beasts” in the preceding respect:

1) The head of gold (Dan. 2:32, 38) and the first great beast (Dan. 7:4) have to do with the kingdom of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar and his successor, his son, Belshazzar (605 B.C. to 538 B.C.)

2) The breast and arms of silver (Dan. 2:32, 39) and the second great beast (Dan. 7:5) have to do with the Medo-Persian kingdom, beginning with Darius and Cyrus, rulers of Media and Persia at the time of the conquest (538 B.C. to 330 B.C.).

3) The belly and thighs of brass (Dan. 2:32, 39) and the third great beast (Dan. 7:6) have to do with the Grecian kingdom (330 B.C. to 323 B.C. and beyond), beginning with a conquest of the Medo-Persian kingdom by Alexander the Great, who died seven years later (323 B.C.). The kingdom was then divided into four parts, with Alexander the Great’s four generals each commanding a part. And the kingdom, over time, gradually faded from existence as a world power.

4) The legs of iron and feet part of iron and part of clay (Dan. 2:33, 40-43) and the fourth great beast (Dan. 7:7-8) have to do with the Roman Empire, forming a Roman kingdom (27 B.C. to 476 A.D.), followed by a revived Roman Empire, forming a future Roman kingdom.

This would be the position set forth in the Scofield Reference Bible footnotes for example, a position followed by most premillennial commentators.

The only part of the prophecy where the interpretation is really in question, aside from understanding that there is an inseparable connection with Babylon throughout, would be the fourth part of the image and the corresponding fourth beast. Viewing the great image and the great beasts together, Daniel identifies the first three parts of the image and the corresponding first three beasts as particular nations that either began in Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom) or later came in and conquered the nation(s) ruling in Babylon (the Medes and the Persians, and then Greece). And this part of the prophecy has been fulfilled and is a matter of history (cf. Dan. 2:38; 5:18, 22-31; 8:3-8, 20-22).

But should the fourth part of the image (or the fourth beast) be identified as Rome? There are two main reasons why people interpret the prophecy after this fashion:

(1) Rome was the next world power following Greece; and

(2) the words, “and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary,” in Daniel 9:26, are usually associated with a Roman destruction in history (under Titus in 70 A.D.) and a Roman prince (Antichrist) in prophecy — both connected with the fourth part of the image or the fourth beast.

Greece was the third kingdom (represented by the belly and thighs of brass on the image, or by the third beast), and the fourth kingdom (represented by the legs of iron, and in its final form by the feet part of iron and part of clay, or by the fourth beast) would, from history, appear to be Rome, with the final form looked upon as a revived Roman Empire.

Then, this interpretation would appear to be substantiated by Daniel 9:26. In this verse, “the prince who is to come” is Antichrist, and “the people of the prince” are said to be the Romans destroying Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. Following this sequence, Antichrist is said to be a latter-day Roman prince (“his people” being the Romans in history) who will rule a revived Roman Empire.

Thus, understanding the interpretation of the fourth part of Daniel’s image in this respect, all of the image except the feet would have a historical fulfillment. The legs would represent the Roman Empire in history, and the feet would represent the revived Roman Empire during the Tribulation.

And the same would hold true for the corresponding description set forth by the “four great beasts” in Daniel chapter seven. The first three beasts would have a historical fulfillment, and the fourth would have a partial fulfillment in history. The fourth beast would represent the Roman Empire in both history and prophecy, corresponding to the legs and feet of the image.

Is the preceding though the way Scripture sets forth that which is represented by the fourth part of the image and the fourth beast? Or is this an attempt to interpret biblical prophecy through events in secular history rather than interpreting prophecy by comparing Scripture with Scripture? The answer is easy to ascertain if one remains solely within that which Daniel and related Scripture elsewhere reveal about the matter.

1) One Kingdom of this World in Babylon

Rather than the four parts of the great image and the four great beasts representing four world kingdoms, they actually represent one world kingdom (Babylon) under different national powers, over time. As previously seen, the “head of gold” has to do with the kingdom of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar and his successors prior to the conquest of the kingdom by the two nations represented by “breast and arms of silver” (Dan. 2:37-38). The “breast and arms of silver” have to do with the Medes and the Persians coming in and conquering this Babylonian kingdom (Dan. 2:39; 5:28, 31). And the “belly and thighs of brass” have to do with the Grecians coming in and conquering the kingdom ruled by the Medes and the Persians (Dan. 2:39; 8:5-7, 20-21).

The mechanics of the preceding, of course, is the interpretation held in common by anyone reading Daniel. This is simply what the record in Daniel states, along with secular history.

But note something often overlooked about the preceding. Daniel’s image is seen standing in Babylon (Dan. 2:31). One kingdom is in view, and the kingdom represented by the image is Babylonian throughout all four parts of the image. The powers represented by the head of gold, the breast and arms of silver, and the belly and thighs of brass all reigned from Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar and his immediate successors reigned from Babylon. Then, when the Medes and the Persians came in and took the kingdom in 538 B.C., they reigned from Babylon and were still there when Alexander the Great came over in 330 B.C., 208 years later. Then, when Alexander the Great took the kingdom, he also reigned from Babylon. In other words, the image is not seen lying down, with the head of gold in Babylon, the breast and arms of silver in Media and Persia, and the belly and thighs of brass in Greece. That’s not the picture at all. The image is seen standing in Babylon. It is Babylonian in its entirety.

This is one place where those who view a Roman Empire next in the prophecy go astray. Rome had nothing to do with a reign from Babylon in history. The capital of the Roman Empire was Rome, not Babylon. And Rome is not Babylon. If there were such a thing as a revived Roman Empire though, there could possibly be room for the final form of the Roman Empire to be associated with Babylon, for Babylon, back in the Mesopotamian Valley, will be the capital of the earth during the last half of the Tribulation. Such though will not be the case, for this prophecy has nothing to do with a Roman Empire in history or a revived Roman Empire yet future.

Those viewing Rome as representing the fourth part of the image try to press secular history into biblical prophecy at a point where it seems to possibly fit, but really doesn’t. Then they further complicate the matter by a misunderstanding of the timing surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem in Daniel 9:26 (to be discussed later in this chapter).

The most interesting thing about the whole matter is the fact that Daniel identifies all four parts of the image, and he identifies the fourth part as being other than the Roman Empire. Daniel, in his identity, has Antichrist coming into power following a four-way division of the kingdom after the death of Alexander the Great; and he rises out of a part of this Greco-Babylonian kingdom, not a succeeding Roman kingdom. The kingdom under Antichrist follows the Grecian kingdom and is represented first by the legs of iron, and then by the feet part of iron and part of clay in its final form.

As previously noted, the first part of the image is identified in Daniel 2:37-38. Then, following this, the remaining three parts of the image are given, though not identified. The identities of the other three parts are then given in the vision of the “four great beasts” and the interpretation of this vision in chapters seven and eight. The four beasts are said to represent four kingdoms (four sequential kingdoms forming the one Babylonian kingdom [Dan. 7:17; cf. Dan. 7:23]), and beginning with the second beast, the last three are identified in chapter eight.

For the identity of the second, compare verses three and four with verse twenty (Daniel 8:3-4, 20, cf. Daniel 5:28, 31); for the identity of the third, compare verses five through eight with verses twenty-one and twenty-two (Daniel 8:5-8, 21-22); and for the identity of the fourth, compare verses nine through fourteen with verses twenty-three through twenty-six (Daniel 8:9-14, 23-26).

Note that the identity of the second is Media and Persia (corresponding to the breast and arms of silver on the image), the identity of the third is Greece (corresponding to the belly and thighs of brass on the image), and the identity of the fourth is the kingdom under Antichrist (corresponding to the legs of iron and the feet part of iron and part of clay on the image). Rome is simply not in the prophecy!

Following Alexander the Great’s death, the kingdom was divided among his four generals (Dan. 8:8, 22). The prophecy in Daniel though does not cover events during the reign of these four generals following this division. Rather, the vision goes immediately into the days of Antichrist yet future (the “little horn” in Daniel 8:9 is not Antiochus Epiphanes [as is often taught], but Antichrist [see parallel verses, Daniel 8:23-26]); and, though Alexander the Great’s kingdom will have long since ceased to exist, Antichrist is seen coming out of one of the four divisions of this kingdom.

A couple of hundred years following Alexander the Great’s death and the four way division of his kingdom, Rome appeared on the scene as a world power, but not as a world power connected with Babylon or fulfilling any part of Daniel’s prophecy. This prophecy will not again continue to be fulfilled until Antichrist appears during Daniel’s Seventieth Week. Then, and only then, will the fourth part of the image in Daniel 2 and the Daniel 4 beast in Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 come into existence.

Now, what about “the people of the prince who is to come” destroying Jerusalem and the Temple in Daniel 9:26? Doesn’t that refer to a past destruction in 70 A.D. and to the Romans being Antichrist’s people in history?

Not at all!  First note the expression, “the people of the prince who is to come,” and compare this with a similar expression in Daniel 7:27 — “the people, the saints of the Most High.” Who will take the kingdom according to Daniel 7:18-27? Note in verse eighteen that it is “the saints of the Most High,” and in verse twenty-seven it is “people, the saints of the Most High.” The latter is the translation of a Hebrew idiom which is equivalent to the former. And it is the same in Daniel 9:26. The “people of the prince” in Daniel 9:26 is a reference to the prince himself. Failure to recognize this idiom and properly interpret its usage in Daniel 9:26 has resulted in confusion.

The destruction of Jerusalem in Daniel 9:26 is not a reference to the destruction that occurred in 70 A.D. but rather a reference to a future destruction under Antichrist in the middle of the Tribulation. This is the same destruction referred to in Luke 21:20-24 (cf. Revelation 11:2). The destruction in Daniel 9:26 must occur during time covered by the Seventy-Week prophecy, and contextually it occurs in connection with Antichrist breaking his covenant with Israel in verse twenty-seven. Both the text and context in Luke 21:20-24 show that this section also has to do with the same time as Daniel 9:26 — the coming Tribulation, rather than with events in 70 A.D.

(Refer to Chapter 12, Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, for additional information on Daniel 9:26.)

2) Emphasis on the Fourth part of the Great Image and the Fourth Great Beast

The emphasis in Daniel is exactly where it is seen in all other parts of Scripture where the subject is dealt with. It is upon the final form of the kingdom seen depicted by the fourth part of the great image in Daniel 2 and the fourth great beast in Daniel 7.

And, in a respect, all of the remainder of Daniel is commentary on that which is depicted by the great image and the great beasts in chapters two and seven, with the book, particularly from chapter seven forward, centering on the final form and destruction of this Babylonian kingdom.

The types in Scripture having to do with this Babylonian kingdom deal with the final form of the kingdom and center on the Jewish people, the last king of Babylon, and the utter destruction of this kingdom (refer to Ch. 22, The Beast — In the Types).

The Psalms and the Prophets, when referring to this kingdom, do the same. Their message, as well, deals with the final form of the kingdom and centers on the Jewish people, the last king of Babylon, and the utter destruction of this kingdom (refer to Ch. 23, The Beast — In the Psalms, the Prophets).

And the Book of Revelation, providing summary Scripture, as well, deals with exactly the same thing — the final form of the kingdom, the Jewish people, the last king of Babylon, and the utter destruction of this kingdom (Revelation 6-19; refer to Ch. 25, The Beast — In Revelation).

The book of Daniel is the one book in Scripture providing a complete, overall view of the kingdom of Babylon, dealing with all four parts, showing the complete picture of the kingdom of this world, from beginning to end. But, as elsewhere in Scripture, the emphasis in Daniel is on the final form of this kingdom.

In Daniel’s reiteration of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about the great image in chapter two, Scripture devotes four verses to the dream itself — two verses describing the image (Dan. 2:32-33) and two more verses stating that which would happen when the final form of that which is depicted by the image appeared (Dan. 2:34-35).

Then, in the interpretation of that which is depicted by the great image, Scripture devotes one verse to the head of gold (Dan. 2:38), one verse to both the breast and arms of silver and the belly and thighs of brass (Dan. 2:39), but three verses to the legs of iron and the feet part of iron and part of clay (Dan. 2:40-43). Then the image is seen struck at this final form (in both the dream and the interpretation) by a “Stone . . . cut out of the mountain without hands.” The complete image is destroyed, and the Stone then becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:44-45; cf. Dan. 2:34-35).

Years later, in Daniel’s reiteration of his own subsequent dreams and visions about the four great beasts in chapter seven, Scripture devotes one verse each to the first three great beasts (Dan. 7:4-6). Then, beginning with verse seven and continuing through the remainder of the chapter (Dan. 7:7-28), Scripture deals with things surrounding the fourth great beast, the Stone from chapter two, and the destruction of the kingdom represented by this fourth great beast.

Then, in the interpretation of that which is depicted by these four great beasts, the first beast is passed over without mention because that part of the image was about to become history. Though Belshazzar still ruled at the time of this vision (Dan. 7:1), the Medes and Persians would shortly conquer the kingdom (Dan. 5:30-31). Thus, the interpretation begins with the second great beast, by picturing a ram with two horns in chapter eight (Dan. 8:3-4, 20). Then the third great beast is depicted by a male goat (Dan. 8:5-8, 21-22). And quite a bit of space is devoted to information concerning this male goat, apparently because the ruler associated with the fourth great beast (the “little horn” [Dan. 7:8]) is seen coming out of a part of his kingdom (Alexander the Great’s kingdom).

Then, along with the latter part of chapter seven, the remainder of the book has to do with different aspects of revelation that mainly center on or have something to do with this man and his kingdom.

The Little Horn
The Prince of the Covenant

The little horn in Daniel 7:8, 20; 8:9 is none other than the future world ruler when the final form of the great image or the great beasts is seen — the Antichrist, the man of sin, the beast. This is the man whom the Lord will raise up, will place in the highest of regal positions, and will use to bring the Jewish people into such dire straits that they will have nowhere to turn other than to the God of their fathers (cf. Exodus 3:1ff; 9:16; Daniel 4:17, 25-26).

This is the man whom God will use to bring Israel to the place of repentance. The Caesars during the time Rome ruled the world couldn’t do it. The different Pogroms, Crusades, and Inquisitions during the Middle Ages couldn’t do it. The Third Reich during modern times couldn’t do it. But the man about to appear on the scene will be able to do it.

Jewish persecution under this man will far exceed anything that has ever occurred in the past, resulting in the actions of the wandering and persecuted Jewish people closing out 2,600 years of a human drama in which no Jewish person has wanted to participate but in which all Jewish individuals had to participate.

As previously seen, this little horn will rise from one of the four divisions of Alexander the Great’s kingdom — the northern division, which covered what is today northern Iraq and parts of Iran, Syria, and Turkey (Daniel 8:9). This is the part of the world from which this man will rise, not from Europe but from the Middle East.

This man’s ten-kingdom federation is referenced by the use of “ten horns,” referring to “ten kings,” in Daniel 7:7, 24. And he is said to subdue three horns, three kings (Dan. 7:8). But these subdued horns, kings, couldn’t be three of the ten, for these ten horns, ten kings, are to reign with this man (Revelation 12:3; 13:1; 17:12). Rather, let Scripture interpret Scripture, and the matter becomes clear.

Note the parallel verse in Daniel 8:9, referring to the four parts into which Alexander the Great’s kingdom was divided. The three horns, three kings, which he subdues can only be those who ruled the other three parts of the kingdom (the matter is viewed as if this kingdom still existed when the little horn comes into power [cf. Daniel 2:44-45; 7:12], else he couldn’t be seen coming out of one part of the kingdom, then subduing those ruling the other three parts [Dan. 7:23-24; Dan. 8:8-10, 21-23]).

The kingdom of Babylon, which was divided four ways at the time of Alexander the Great’s death, must be seen as one undivided kingdom in its final form. Thus, the first thing mentioned is the “little horn” subduing three kings — referring to those ruling the other three parts of the kingdom — showing the kingdom being brought back together under one ruler again.

Then the covenant that this man will make with “many” in Israel, along with his breaking this covenant, occupies a central place in these latter chapters in Daniel. This covenant lies at the center of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy in chapter nine, and it is seen again through a large part of chapter eleven (Dan. 11:21-45).

(The word “covenant” appears seven times in the book of Daniel, all in chapters nine and eleven [Dan. 9:4, 27; Dan. 11:22, 28, 30 (twice), Dan. 11:32].)

From that which is revealed, this future covenant will undoubtedly center on the Mosaic Economy with its Temple. The Jewish people will be allowed to live in some type of semblance of peace in the midst of their Moslem neighbors, with a rebuilt Temple on the Temple Mount (a major feat in itself, one which is unattainable today) and the entire Mosaic Economy re-instituted.

Once the covenant is broken by this man entering into the rebuilt Temple and declaring himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:4; cf. Daniel 9:26-27; 11:30-39), the most horrific time this earth has ever seen will break out overnight. It is at this moment in time that the Jewish people living in the land are told to not take time to pick up anything but to run for their lives, with only that which they have on their person (Matthew 24:15-22).

This man is going to have an affiliation with those who forsake the covenant; he will pollute the sanctuary, take away the daily sacrifice, and make it desolate. He will “corrupt with flattery” those who side with him against the covenant. He will “do according to his will,” exalting and magnifying himself “above every god” (Daniel 11:30-32, 36; cf. Daniel 9:27; Matthew 23:37-39). He will not regard any God [the true God, or false deities of the Gentiles). Rather, he will “honor a god of fortresses [power]” (Daniel 11:36-38).

But, after all has been said and done — following this man’s reign of terror, with the nations in ruin, and millions on top of millions slain — this man is going to “come to his end, and no one will help him” (Daniel 11:45; cf. Isaiah 14:15-17; Jeremiah 4:23-28).

Also see Arlen Chitwood's Great Image Great Beasts, Part 1, Part 2. 

Chapter 25

The Beast — In Revelation

Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.

Now the beast that I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.

And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.

So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”  (Revelation 13:1-4)

The book of Revelation is an unveiling, from the Old Testament Scriptures, of God the Father’s Christ — the anointed One, the One whose right it is to rule and reign, the One whom the Father will give “dominion and glory, and a kingdom . . . .” (Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 1:1).  And, to set forth different regal aspects of the unveiling of the One whom the Father will place on the throne, the book of Revelation also has to do with a parallel counter unveiling, from the Old Testament Scriptures, of the one whom “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), Satan, will give the same thing — “his power, his throne, and great authority” (Revelation 13:1-2).

Satan will give the scepter to his Christ, his anointed one, three and one-half years before his overthrow at the hands of the One to whom God will have given the scepter.  This is the scene foretold at the beginning of Scripture, immediately following Adam’s fall, when God announced the whole of the matter to the one responsible for the fall — to Satan:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel. (Genesis 3:15)

Over and over in the Old Testament vast amounts of information concerning both God’s Christ and Satan’s Christ can be seen.  And time and again the end of the matter is clearly presented as well.  Thus, when one arrives at the closing book of Scripture he should immediately know what to expect, particularly when the book begins with a clear statement relating the subject matter of the book — “The Revelation [unveiling] of Jesus Christ . . . ” (Revelation 1:1a).

Then there is the matter of Israel and the nations occupying a central place in the book of Revelation, exactly as is previously seen throughout the Old Testament Scriptures.  And, to complete the unveiling of Jesus Christ, the matter surrounding Israel and the nations is fully opened up and revealed in this last book of Scripture as well.

There is nothing new in any realm in the book of Revelation.  The book is simply an opening up and amplification of that which is previously found in the Old Testament.  And the more one understands the Old Testament Scriptures, the easier it will be for that individual to understand the book of Revelation.  Scripture, moving from the Old Testament to the New Testament, is self-interpreting in this respect.

God’s Sovereign Control

God exercises sovereign control over all things.  Nothing takes God by surprise, for nothing occurs apart from His sovereign control.  And God’s ways are quite different than man’s ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).  God sees the future the same way that He sees the past — as being present (Ecclesiastes 3:14-15).  God views matters from the perspective of an eternal present.  And, to effect His plans and purposes, with His omnipotent power and sovereign control of all things, God can move men and nations as one might move pawns on a chessboard.

God’s plans and purposes, made known in the Old Testament, invariably take a course that man might find unimaginable and would find unattainable.  And one such course of action that God will use, made known in the Old Testament and brought to pass in the book of Revelation, has to do with the counterpart to God’s Christ — Satan’s Christ.

God will have raised this man up to accomplish His plans and purposes, and this man will be little more than a pawn in His hands.  God will use this man as a chastening rod in order to bring His plans and purposes regarding Israel to pass.  This man, who will seek to destroy Israel, will be the person whose actions God will use to bring about Israel’s deliverance — something that is seen in different places in the Old Testament and is fully opened up and revealed in the book of Revelation. 

God will use this man to that end, though once matters have been brought to a conclusion, God will express extreme displeasure with this man’s actions and then judge this man for his actions — a judgment completely commensurate with his actions.

Note two verses from Isaiah 52 that reflect on this matter:

For thus says the Lord GOD: “My people went down at first into Egypt to dwell there; then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.

Now therefore, what have I here,” says the LORD, “That My people are taken away for nothing [in the later Babylonian captivity]?  Those who rule over them make them wail [wail in distress] . . . .” (Isaiah 52:4-5a)

Isaiah 52:4 depicts the Assyrian in Egypt during Moses’ day, foreshadowing the future Assyrian in the world during the days of the Son of Man.  Then Isaiah 52:5  forms a prophecy that moves from Isaiah’s time to the days of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian captivity.

Then note Exodus 9:16, which not only relates God’s dealings with the Assyrian in history but would reflect on God’s dealings with the first and last kings of Babylon during the Times of the Gentiles (Nebuchadnezzar and the beast):

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. (Exodus 9:16)

The same distressful wailing to be heard in the camp of Israel in Babylon was heard in the camp during the days of the Assyrian in Egypt and will be heard again during the days of the future Assyrian.  And this resulted/will result from persecution at the hands of individuals whom God had raised up and will raise up.

The distressful wailing yet future though will result from an intense persecution without parallel in history.  And, through this latter persecution, the Jewish people will be brought to the end of themselves, resulting in their repentance.

And, as the Assyrian and the first king of Babylon during the Times of the Gentiles were judged in history after God had used them to accomplish His own plans and purposes (Exodus 14:13-15:12), so will it be with the future Assyrian, the last king of Babylon, whom God will use to accomplish His own plans and purposes (Revelation 19:17-21).

Note the same thing again in Jeremiah 6:

O daughter of my people, dress in sackcloth and roll about in ashes! Make mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentation; for the plunderer will suddenly come upon us.

I have set you [the plunderer] as an assayer and a fortress [an assayer and a tester (NASB)] among my people, that you may know and test their way. (Jeremiah 6:26-27)

This future world ruler, “the plunderer” (“spoiler” in the KJV) is seen as the one whom God Himself will place in power for a central purpose, as revealed in these verses.  God will place this man in the regal position that he will occupy (cf. Daniel 4:17, 25, 32; Matthew 20:23), as the earth’s ruler, with a view to using this man to bring about His own revealed plans and purposes. 

And these plans and purposes must begin with bringing Israel to the place of repentance, for the whole of the matter of God bringing things to pass in His Son’s kingdom is dependent on Israel occupying her God-ordained place in this kingdom.

Then, note how the matter is described another way in Zechariah 1:

. . . I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal.

I am exceedingly angry with the nations [the Gentiles] that are at ease; I was a little angry, and they [the Gentile nations] helped — but with evil intent [“helped forward the affliction” (KJV)]. (Zechariah 1:14-15 [14b])

The scene, in the light of the manner in which the book begins (Zechariah 1:2-6), has to do with God seeking to bring about correction involving His son, Israel.  Then, the nations seeing what is happening, though undoubtedly not understanding the matter, step in and seek to help God bring about this correction.  The nations help “forward the affliction,” with God then becoming very displeased with the nations’ actions.

God though will only allow the nations to carry their actions so far — to the degree necessary to bring about the needed correction.  Then, once this correction has been effected, God will put a stop to the matter and judge the nations that He used to bring matters to this predetermined goal (cf. Genesis 12:1-3).

Prominence of the Beast in Revelation

Thus, the culmination of 2,600 years of Israeli persecution at the hands of the Gentile nations will be brought to an end through God using the beast and his ten-kingdom federation of nations from Revelation 13.  This is the man who will “shake kingdoms” and make “the world as a wilderness” (Isaiah 14:16-17).  But this is also the man whom God will use to bring His plans and purposes surrounding Israel to fruition — Israel’s last and greatest enemy during the Times of the Gentiles, the one who, under Satan, will seek to destroy Israel.  God though will bring matters to pass in such a manner that the end result of this man’s actions will be just the opposite of that which he set out to accomplish.

This man is not introduced in Revelation 13 but much earlier, in Revelation 6, when the first four seals of the seven-sealed scroll were broken.  He is the one seen riding forth on a white horse, then a red horse, then a black horse, and then a pale horse (Revelation 6:1-8).  And the scene presented by this man riding forth on four different horses, each a different color, covers events during the whole of the seven-year Tribulation (refer to Ch. 13, The Four Horsemen).

The breaking of the remaining three seals, which includes the trumpet and bowl (“vial” [KJV]) judgments (the judgments of the seventh seal), simply presents details and commentary for that which is seen when the first four seals were broken.  Thus, this man, his actions, and the result of his actions are seen throughout chapters six through twelve, before even arriving at chapter thirteen.  Revelation 13 is simply an aside in the book, relating a number of details about this man so that other parts of the book can be better tied together and understood.  Then, beyond chapter thirteen, this man is seen throughout Revelation 14-20 as well.

(See Breaking of Seals plus Trumpet and Vial Judgments LINK, table format, in this site.)

Two beasts are seen in chapter thirteen.  The first arises out of “the sea,” and the second arises out of “the earth [KJV: ‘the land’]” (Revelation 13:1, 11).

(For information on “the sea” and “the earth” in relation to the appearances of these two beasts, refer to Ch.  22, The Beast — In the Types.)

The first beast will be a political leader — the one seen riding forth on the four different horses in Revelation 6 and the one seen throughout parts of the Old Testament, beginning with Nimrod in Genesis 10.  The second beast is then seen doing things on behalf of and calling attention to the first beast, directing everything (worship, etc.) toward the first beast.

1)  An Unholy Trinity

There will be a father-son relationship between Satan and the beast, comprising the first two individuals in an unholy trinity.  The first beast will be the actual son of Satan — as the “giants [Hebrew: Nephilim, ‘fallen ones’]” in Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33 were the offspring of fallen angels under Satan (cf. Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 26:13-14).  Then, to complete this trinity, the second beast will function in a counterfeit realm to that which is seen in the work of the Holy Spirit.  As the Spirit calls attention to Christ, the second beast will call attention to the first beast, the Antichrist.

Miraculous signs will be performed through power exhibited by the second beast, as he calls attention to the first beast (Revelation 13:12-14).  And it appears evident that this will be a counterfeit work paralleling the work of the Spirit during Christ’s earthly ministry at His first coming.  The miraculous signs that Christ performed were done through the power of the Spirit, as the Spirit called attention to Christ (Matthew 12:27, 28; John 16:13-15); and the miraculous signs being manifested by the second beast will be performed through the power of the first beast (to whom Satan will have given his power), and attention will be called to the first beast through these signs (cf. Revelation 13:2, 12ff).

2)  Mortally Wounded (“Wounded to Death” in the KJV)

In conjunction with all of this, as God’s Son died and rose again, with all attention then directed toward Him by the Spirit, the same thing will occur within this unholy trinity.  Satan’s son will receive “a deadly wound.”  He will be “mortally wounded,” and his wound will be “healed” (Revelation 13:3, 12, 14; 17:8-11).  Then, all attention will be directed toward him by the second beast.

The expression “mortally wounded” could refer to this man being brought to the point of death and then miraculously healed, without actually dying.  But that really doesn’t fit the complete picture, particularly when considering how this is dealt with in chapter seventeen (Revelation 17:8-11).

This man will be the seventh head commanding a ten kingdom federation of nations, as seen in Revelation 12:3; 13:1.  And, according to Revelation 17:9-10, these seven heads have to do with “seven mountains” denoting “seven kings” with kingdoms.

(The KJV rendering of the first part of Revelation 17:10 somewhat obscures the issue.  Rather than the text reading, “And there are seven kings . . .,” it should read, “And they [the seven heads, seen as seven mountains in the previous verse] are seven kings.”

The oft taught ideology that Revelation 17:9 has to do with the city of Rome, built on seven hills — resulting in no small part from the KJV rendering and the thought from Daniel that the fourth part of the great image and the fourth great beast have to do with Rome — cannot possibly be derived from a correct rendering of the text and the subsequent explanatory interpretation from the context.

Aside from the preceding, a reference to Rome, with its inseparable state Church [the Roman Catholic Church], cannot possibly be seen in the text or context.  In fact, seeking to associate this verse with Rome and the Catholic Church would be completely out of place in Revelation 17; 18, for the dispensation in which God deals with the Church will be past at this point in time.  In these chapters God is seen dealing with Israel and the nations, not with the Church in any form.)

This seventh head (the seventh ruler, the beast) in Revelation 13; 17, will be slain and then will be raised from the dead shortly after he comes into power, near the middle of the Tribulation (Revelation 13:3, 5).  In chapter seventeen he is seen ascending out of “the bottomless pit [Greek: abussos, ‘the abyss,’ ‘the underworld,’ a place where only the dead or angels would be confined]” (Revelation 13:8; cf. Luke 8:31; Romans 10:7 [“deep” in these two verses, KJV, is a translation of abussos]; Revelation 9:1-2, 11).  Then, once the beast ascends out of the abyss — once he has been raised from the dead — he is seen as an eighth beast, though still of the seven (Revelation 17:11).

This man will be slain, descend into the underworld, and then be removed from this place as the unholy trinity is given power to raise the man from the dead.  And after he has been raised from the dead he becomes the eighth beast, though he is still seen connected with the original seven beasts.

And it will be at this time that “all the world,” seeing that which has occurred, will become engaged in Satan worship and beast worship, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4, 8).

3)  Seven Heads

The seven heads in connection with Satan in Revelation 12:3 and of the beast in Revelation 13:1 must be interpreted from other Scripture to properly understand that which is in view — in the same manner that the identity of the three subdued horns in Daniel 7:8 can be seen from Daniel 8:8-10 (the three kings forming the other three parts of the four-way division of Alexander the Great’s kingdom at the time of his death).

And it is really a continuation of the conquest of these three horns in Daniel 7:8 that is seen when the beast is described as being the seventh and last king among a succession of kings (cf. Revelation 13:1; 17:9-11).  An allusion to the conquest in Daniel 7:8 and a continuation of this conquest through three more kings, with the beast emerging as the seventh king, is seen in Daniel 11.

Beginning with Daniel 11:3, the next nineteen verses are about the rise and fall of six kings (Daniel 11:3-20), followed by the rise of a seventh (Daniel 11:21).  Then, details concerning this seventh king begin in this same verse and extend throughout the remainder of the chapter (25 more verses), with his fall and end seen in the concluding verse (Daniel 11:45b).

Daniel 11 begins with the Babylonian kingdom under the dominion of the Medes and the Persians (Daniel 11:1-2) and progresses to the kingdom under Alexander the Great and the four-way division of the kingdom following his death (Daniel 11: 3-4).  Then, beginning with Daniel 11:5, all is future.

In Daniel 11:5-20, three kings rise and are put down, with a fourth rising in Daniel 11:21 (the little horn from Daniel 7:8, the beast from Revelation 13:1ff).  And these things will occur “in the end of years” (Daniel 11:6 [Daniel 11:13 reads very similar in the Hebrew text]), which is an apparent reference to the end of the time in Daniel 9:24-27.

Then this beast was previously seen subduing three other kings (cf. Daniel 7:8; 8:8-10; 11:3-4) before he subdues the three kings seen in Daniel 11:5-20 (cf. Daniel 11:5 -12 [the king of the south], Daniel 11:13-19 [the king of the north], and Daniel 11:20 [a raiser of taxes]).  Thus, the beast becomes the seventh, completing the seven heads, seven mountains, and seven kings, seen in Revelation 12:3, 13:1.

(Many commentators teach that Daniel 11:5-35 has to do with a continuing time in history following Alexander the Great’s death and the four-way division of his kingdom [323 B.C.], extending to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, a Syrian ruler who sat on the throne from 175 B.C. to 164 B.C.  Other commentators though teach that beginning with Daniel 11:5, all is future.

The latter, not the former, is in perfect keeping with the way that the book of Daniel is structured elsewhere.  Things having to do with the fourth part of the great image [Daniel 2] or the fourth great beast [Daniel 7] immediately follow things pertaining to the third part of the great image or the third great beast.  Things pertaining to the third part of the great image and/or the third great beast are seen in Daniel 11:3-4, and that which is seen beginning in verse five, which moves beyond that which is seen in verses three and four, could, contextually, only have to do with that which is depicted by the fourth part of the great image or the fourth great beast.)

Image, Mark, Name, Number

Four things are mentioned in Revelation 13:14-18 — the image, mark, name, and the number of the beast — but, in reality, there are only three things mentioned.  “The image” is one thing, but “the name” or “the number” of the beast form his mark (cf. Revelation 14:11).

1)  Image of the Beast

The second beast introduces image worship by causing an image of the first beast to be built and then giving life to that image.  The image is then given the ability to both speak and cause those on the earth to worship the image, under penalty of death (Revelation 13:14-15).

The beast and his image are then seen in a somewhat inseparable sense.  The image of the beast would undoubtedly be an object to keep the attention of the world fixed upon the beast, with worship of the image being beast-worship through the image (cf. Revelation 14:9-11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4).

The Old Testament counterpart to this image would be the image set up in the plain of Dura by the first king of Babylon during the Times of the Gentiles, by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:1ff).  All were commanded to worship this image, under penalty of death (Daniel 3:5-6).  Three Jews whom the king had placed over affairs in the province refused, and they were cast into a furnace heated seven times hotter than normal — so hot that it slew the men casting them into the fire (Daniel 3:8-22).  But the three Jews were protected in the fire after a manner that not a hair on their head was singed (Daniel 3:23-27).

Then, after these Jews had been removed from the fire, the king realized what had occurred and who had protected them in the fire.  He then decreed that all peoples, nations, and languages were to recognize and honor the God of the Jews (Daniel 3:28-30).

These events foreshadow that which will occur during and beyond the Tribulation — the world caused to worship an image under the penalty of death, the Jewish people refusing, divine protection provided for them in the fires of the Tribulation, deliverance of the Jewish people at the end, and the final result being the same as in the type — the God of the Jews recognized and honored by the nations of the world (cf. Ezekiel 36:33-36; 37:21-28; 39:21-29).

2)  Mark, Name, Number of the Beast

The “mark” of the beast would consist of either his name or his number.  A correct rendering of Revelation 13:17 from the Greek text would be:  “. . . save he had the mark, [which is] the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

The name of the beast is not given, though his number is provided in Revelation 13:18 — “six hundred three score and six,” 666, the number of man.

The name or the number of the beast will be placed on the right hand or the forehead (possibly an implanted computer chip, we’re not told).  And without this mark, no one will be able to “buy or sell” (Revelation 13:17).

This is what is about to come upon the whole world, and the time in view can only be very near at hand.

Chapter 26

The One Hundred Forty-four Thousand

Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.

And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.

They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.

These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits [a first fruit] to God and to the Lamb.

And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth — to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people —

saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” (Revelation 14:1-7)

The individuals who will proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the earth during the Tribulation, spoken of by Christ in Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10, are revealed in the book of Revelation to be 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel (Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5).  And, in order to provide additional information, these Jewish evangels are presented after another fashion in  Ch. 11, Seals, Trumpets, Bowls and Ch. 12,  Daniel’s Seventy Weeks — as “a male child” (“man child” in the KJV) at the time Israel brings the 144,000 forth (gives birth [Revelation 12:2, 4-5]), and as “the rest of her [Israel’s] offspring [KJV: ‘the remnant of her seed’]” following the nation bringing the 144,000 forth (Revelation 11:13; 12:17).

(Refer to Chapter 21, A Woman, a Dragon, a Male Child, for more information on the male child and the rest [KJV: the remnant] in Revelation 11; 12, along with how these are descriptive references to the 144,000 in Revelation 7; 14.)

Thus, information in each of these four chapters (Revelation 7; 11; 12; 14) presents different things about the 144,000.

Revelation 7 presents the sealing of the 144,000 (Revelation 7:1-8), along with the results of their ministry — “a great multitude that no one could number, of all nations . . . .” (Revelation 7:9-17).

Revelation 11 drops back behind Revelation 7 in time and presents the apparent means by which the 144,000 will hear the message and be saved — through the ministry of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3, 13).

Revelation 12 continues from Revelation 11, providing additional information about the 144,000.  This chapter presents their being brought forth as “the male child” after all 144,000 have been saved, the timing surrounding their being saved (progressively during the first half of the Tribulation, with the complete number [all 144,000] brought forth, saved, by the middle of the Tribulation), and that which will occur once the 144,000 have been brought forth (Revelation 12:1-17).

(Note that the 144,000 couldn’t be saved near the end of the dispensation in which God deals with the Church, prior to the Tribulation.  If saved during the present dispensation, they would be part of the one new manin Christ” and would be removed at the time of the rapture, preceding the Tribulation.  Thus, they will have to be saved following the removal of Christians from the earth.)

Revelation 14 then presents additional commentary concerning the 144,000 for that which is previously revealed in chapters seven, eleven, and twelve (Revelation 14:1-7).

When information in all four of these chapters is studied together, allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture, a developing word picture can be seen concerning the place that these Jewish evangels will occupy in events throughout the entire seven years of the Tribulation.

As previously seen, the 144,000, referred to in Revelation 12 as “a male child” and “the rest” [KJV: “the remnant”] (Revelation 12:5, 17), are presented in this chapter as being brought forth in a progressive manner throughout the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation.  The matter is presented as the development and subsequent birth of a child, with “Israel” seen as the mother and “the 144,000” seen as the child (Revelation 12:2, 4-5).

The gestation period for child-birth in the human realm is nine months, but for the male child it will be three and one-half years.  Development of the child in the mother’s womb (Israel’s womb), as it were, will progressively occur over a three and one-half-year period as individuals are saved and added to the number throughout this time.  Then, near the middle of the Tribulation when the number is complete, Israel will give birth to the male child, the 144,000 (Revelation 12:2, 4-5; cf. Matthew 24:8; Mark 13:8).

The 144,000 are referred in Revelation 11:13 as “the rest” [KJV: “the remnant”] in connection with events occurring immediately following the death, resurrection, and ascension of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:7-13).  And this “rest” [KJV: “remnant”] is seen again in the next chapter (Revelation 12:17), identifying the male child seen earlier in the chapter (Revelation 12:5).

(The word “rest” [“remnant”] in both Revelation 11:13 and Revelation 12:17 is a translation of the Greek word loipos, which means “remaining ones.”  The word loipos could not refer to the Jewish people in the land as a whole.  The nation will exist in unbelief at this time, and those remaining, the rest [remnant], though afraid like the rest of the Jewish people, will give “glory to the God of heaven.”  Doing this would be completely out of place for all of the unbelieving Jewish people still in the land.

The only Jewish people in the land at this time that this could possibly be referring to would be those seen in Revelation 12:17 — “the rest of her offspring” [KJV: ‘the remnant of her seed (Israel’s seed)’], who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”  And this "rest”  [‘remnant’] in Revelation 12:17, referred to as Israel’s offspring [seed]  is the identification that the chapter provides for Israel’s offspring back in Revelation 12:5, the “male child” [easily identified as the 144,000 in Revelation 7; 14, for they will be the ones having the testimony of Jesus Christ and will be the only ones on earth at this time who could fit the description of the male child, the rest [remnant], in Revelation 12].)

Following the order of events occurring in the middle of the Tribulation, the beast (who will, at this time, be the world ruler, the crowned seventh head) will slay the two witnesses (Revelation 11:7).  The two witnesses’ bodies will then lie unburied in the streets of Jerusalem for three and one-half days, while the world rejoices.  And this rejoicing will apparently include the unbelieving Jewish people in the land, those guilty of the blood of the prophets, along with others sent to them, including God’s Son (Matthew 21:33-39; 23:37; Luke 13:33-34).

Then, after three and one-half days, a day for each year of their ministry, the two witnesses will be raised from the dead and ascend to heaven.  And it will apparently be at this point that the beast breaks his covenant with the Jewish people and enters into the temple, declaring himself to be God (Daniel 11:31; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).  At this time he will show his true colors, turn against the Jewish people, and seek to destroy them from off the face of the earth.

The first part of Revelation 11:13 (describing events occurring immediately following the ascension of the two witnesses), in the light of related Scripture, apparently has to do with the destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of the Jewish people (events that occur at this time).  Then attention is called to “the rest [KJV: ‘the remnant’]” — individuals who are afraid but still place first things first and give “glory to the God of heaven.”

Things will happen so fast at this time that the Jewish people in Jerusalem and Judea are told to run for their lives, without even taking time to enter into their homes to take necessities with them.  A segment of the Jewish people will escape to a specially prepared place in the wilderness or in the mountainous terrain, apparently in Moab (Isaiah 16:4).  And the remainder will either be slain, sold as slaves to the Gentiles, or driven out among the nations of the earth (Joel 3:6-7; Matthew 24:16-21; Luke 21:20-24; Revelation 12:6, 14).

Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed at this time, with the nation of Israel in the Middle East, as the world knows it today, ceasing to exist (cf. Daniel 9:26; Luke 21:22-24; Revelation 11:2).  And the Jewish people will not again have a national identity in this respect until Christ returns, removes the Jewish people from the nations, and reestablishes them back in the land Himself (Ezekiel 37:21-28; 39:25-29; Matthew 24:30-31).

The present nation of Israel in the Middle East — destined to be uprooted, with the Jews comprising this nation being driven back out among the Gentile nations — includes only a part of world Jewry, was brought into existence through man’s efforts in a Zionistic movement, and is a restoration of the Jewish people in unbelief. 

But when Christ returns, the restoration of the Jewish people back to the land will occur through divine activity.  Christ will send His angels out to re-gather all of the Jews from the nations of the earth (Matthew 24:31), and He will then restore them to the land in belief.  The latter, not the former, is that which is prophesied in Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets concerning Israel’s national restoration.

(For a more complete discussion of things in Revelation chapters eleven and twelve, refer to Ch. 20, The Two Witnesses, and Ch. 21, A Woman, a Dragon, a Male Child.  Also refer to Appendix 2, The Death of the High Priest.)

The 144,000, Removed from and Returned to the Earth

Revelation 14 provides the necessary information to explain things surrounding the removal of the male child from the earth in Revelation 12:5.  The male child, the 144,000, is seen in Revelation 14:1 in Christ’s presence on Mt. Zion in heaven.  And further down in the chapter the 144,000 are said to have been “redeemed from the earth” (Revelation 14:3), and “redeemed from among men” (Revelation 14:4).  Then they are referred to as “firstfruits [lit., ‘a first fruit’] to God and to the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4b).

The 144,000 will comprise a first fruit of the nation.  During the last half of the Tribulation they, as a first fruit of the nation, will fulfill one of God’s purposes for calling the nation into existence.  They will be God’s witness to the ends of the earth during this time (1 Kings 8:54-61; Isaiah 43:8-9).

Then, following the Tribulation, God will deal with the main harvest — the nation as a whole, the nation that brought forth the 144,000.  Following the Tribulation, the entire nation will be brought forth (saved through the personal appearance of their Messiah to them).  The entire nation will be brought forth “in one day” (Isaiah 66:8).  And, as a first fruit of the nation will have carried God’s message worldwide to the Gentile nations during the last half of the Tribulation, the entire Jewish nation will carry God’s message worldwide to the Gentile nations during the Millennium.

(Israel will bring forth a first fruit of the nation, the 144,000.  But how will the entire nation be brought forth?

In Isaiah 66:7-8 Israel is seen in travail relative to her own bringing forth.  And Israel being brought forth is in connection with “the land [the land of Israel]” also being brought forth [Isaiah 66:8, NASB].  Then, this concept of “the land” being brought forth at this time is seen in a larger sense in Romans 8:19-22 as the entire material creation groaning and travailing together in pain, awaiting deliverance.

In Isaiah, the deliverance of Israel and her land is seen in connection with the nation bringing herself forth:

As soon as Zion travailed [contextually, a reference to the nation], she also brought forth her sons” [Isaiah 66:8b, NASB].

And the reference to “sons” being brought forth is also seen in the travailing and deliverance in Romans 8.  The time when the creation will be delivered from the present groaning and travailing together in pain is the time of “the manifestation of the sons of God” [Romans 8:19].  This chapter in Romans deals more specifically with the adoption of Christians as firstborn sons and their being manifested as such.  Israel though has already been adopted and is presently God’s firstborn son [cf. Exodus 4:22-23], though an unbelieving son.  And Israel must be brought forth as well [actually first and foremost].

The creation will be delivered from its present groaning and travailing in pain only when the complete contingent of the Sons of God [Christ, Israel, and the Church following the adoption] have been manifested for all to see [refer to Ch. 8, The Seven Sealed Scroll and Ch. 9,  Redemption, Marriage, Regality].)

The timing of the removal of the 144,000 from the earth is seen in both Revelation 11 and Revelation 12.  In Revelation 11, they are still seen on earth at the time Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed (or, are in the process of being destroyed), with the Jewish people fleeing for their lives at this time (Revelation 11:13; cf. Matthew 24:15ff; Luke 21:20ff).  In Revelation 12, they are seen being removed from the earth following the casting of Satan and his angels out of heaven and at the time that the Jewish people in Jerusalem and Judea flee for their lives (Revelation 12:4-6).  Thus, Satan and his angels will be cast out of the heavens before the middle of the Tribulation, apparently immediately before.  And the 144,000, the male child, will be removed from the earth after the middle of the Tribulation, apparently immediately after

(Satan and his angels will be cast out of the heavens after all seven heads of the beast have been crowned.  Note, in Revelation 12:3, all seven heads are seen wearing diadems at this time [a “diadem” is a monarch’s crown, a crown worn by one holding the scepter (refer to Ch. 7,  Crowns Cast Before God’s Throne and Ch. 12,  Daniel’s Seventy Weeks)].  And the seventh head [the final world ruler, the final king of Babylon, Antichrist] will not rise to the position to which he will aspire [worldwide power and dominion], wearing a diadem, until near the middle of the Tribulation.

Thus, Satan and his angels being cast out of the heavens onto the earth will have to occur very close to the middle of the Tribulation.  And the 144,000 will have to be removed from the earth at the same time that the remainder of the Jewish people in the land flee for their lives, for they are placed together in Revelation 12:5-6 [with the escape of the 144,000 from the wrath of Satan and Antichrist being into the heavens, and the escape of other Jews in the land being out into different parts of the earth].)

1)  The 144,000 Removed from the Earth

As previously seen, the male child — the 144,000 — will be removed from the earth, following birth, to escape Satan’s wrath.  And the removal of the male child would parallel another removal of Israel’s Seed over 2,000 years before — Christ’s removal from the land following His birth, to escape Herod’s wrath.

Israel brought Christ forth through a Jewish woman.  Shortly after His birth, He was taken into Egypt to escape Herod’s death decree on all the children in and around Bethlehem, two years old and under.  He was taken to a location that was outside Herod’s jurisdiction.  Then, at a later time, Christ was taken back into the land to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to Israel for about three and one-half years (Matthew 2:13-21).

Israel will bring forth the male child through a means other than natural childbirth.  Nonetheless, the matter is likened in Scripture to natural childbirth (Revelation 12:2, 4-5).  Shortly after the 144,000 have been brought forth, they will be removed from Satan’s and Antichrist’s jurisdiction, into the heavens (Satan, immediately prior to this, will have been cast out of heaven and will no longer have jurisdiction in the heavens [Revelation 12:4, 7-12]).  Then, at a later time, the 144,000 will be sent back to the earth to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the Gentiles worldwide for about three and one-half years (Matthew 24:14).

And there will likely be another reason for their being removed into the heavens at this time.  Unlike Christ during His earthly ministry, they will need training for the ministry that they are to carry out.

Christ, in this respect, personally appeared to and taught Paul following his conversion (Galatians 1:11-12; Ephesians 3:1-3).  Paul had previously sat “at the feet of Gamaliel” and had been “taught according to the strictness of our fatherslaw” (Acts 22:3).  But Christ still had to take Paul, who was quite knowledgeable in the Scriptures, and teach him the message that he was to proclaim throughout the Gentile world.

And the 144,000, though many of them will have possibly been taught by the two witnesses, will likely experience the same thing Paul experienced following his conversion, though in heaven instead of on earth.  During the time spent in heaven, the 144,000 will likely be taught the message that they are to proclaim throughout the Gentile world by Christ Himself.

2)  The 144,000 Returned to the Earth

As Christ was taken back into the land to later proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to Israel for about three and one-half years, the 144,000 will be sent back to the earth to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the Gentiles worldwide for about the same length of time.

The 144,000 being sent back to the earth to proclaim this message — though not stated in so many words in Scripture — is inferred several different ways.  The proclamation of this message is seen in Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10 as “the gospel of the kingdom” being proclaimed among all nations during what is evidently a time extending to the end of the Tribulation, and it is seen in Revelation 12:17 as individuals possessing “the testimony of Jesus Christ” during the last half of the Tribulation.

Then, the proclamation of this message is connected in a direct manner with the 144,000 in Revelation 14.  In this chapter, the connection of the 144,000 with the message to be proclaimed is seen after a fashion in keeping with how the book of Revelation is structured.

Immediately after the 144,000 have been introduced (Revelation 14:1-5), the text reads:

Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth — to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people —

saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”  (Revelation 14:6-7)

That which is proclaimed by the angel in verse seven is not the content of “the everlasting gospel” in verse six.  Rather, this is simply an announcement to those dwelling on the earth by the angel appearing with this gospel.

Angelic activity is seen at every turn throughout the book of Revelation.  And, in the light of Israel’s calling, the placement of this angel with a message to those on the earth — “to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” — immediately after the verses dealing with the 144,000 (who are about to carry a message to the same people on earth), can be understood only one way.

Israel is the nation that God called into existence to deliver His message to the Gentile nations throughout the earth, not angels.  And, in view of Israel’s calling, the reference in these two verses, particularly contextually, cannot possibly have to do with an angel carrying the gospel message worldwide to all the nations on the earth.  Rather, it can only have to do with an angel appearing with the message that the 144,000, seen in the immediately preceding verses, are to proclaim.

And the latter, along with Revelation 12:17 (viewed in the overall structure of the chapter) and the Olivet Discourse references (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10), would necessitate the 144,000 being returned to the earth to proclaim this message.

(Note that the message that the 144,000 will proclaim is referred to as the “gospel of the kingdom” in Matthew 24:14.  In this respect, the word “everlasting” in Revelation 14:6 [Greek:  aionios] could probably be better translated “age-lasting.”  The Messianic kingdom is in view in Matthew 24:14, and this kingdom comprises one age — the seventh day [foreshadowed by the Sabbath in Genesis 2:2-3, following six days of restorative work], the seventh one-thousand-year period in the septenary structure of time, the coming Sabbath of rest in Hebrews 4:9 [cf. Hebrews 4:4].

Aionios is used in the Greek text of the New Testament to refer to “a long period of time,” often “an age.”  The “long period of time” can be understood as “eternal” only if the context so designates.

Neither the Hebrew of the Old Testament nor the Greek of the New Testament contains a word for “eternal.”  Olam is the word translated “eternal,” “everlasting,” or “perpetual” in English translations of the Old Testament, and aion [a noun] or aionios [the adjective form of aion] are the words translated “eternal” or “everlasting” in the New Testament [aidios, an older form of aionios, used only two times and meaning exactly the same as aionios, is the only exception (Romans 1:20 and Jude 1:6)].

Olam, aion, and aionios all have to do with “a long period of time,” which, if the context permits, can refer to “eternity” [e.g., the Aionios God in Romans 16:26].  But the words standing alone, apart from a context, cannot be understood as “eternal.”  Context is the all-important factor to ascertain the length of time in view when these words are used.

Aion and aionios are usually thought of and used numerous times in the New Testament in the sense of “an age.”  And a usage of this nature is even brought over into English.  For example, the English word “aeon [or ‘eon’]” is derived from the Greek word aion.

The only way in which the Greek text can express “eternal” apart from textual considerations is through a use of aion in the plural [e.g., Luke 1:33; Hebrews 13:8, referring to “the ages,” i.e., ages without end, which would comprise eternity] or a double use of aion,  in the plural and articular both times [e.g., Revelation 1:6; 4:9-10; 5:13-14; 7:12; 10:6; 11:15; 15:7; 19:3; 20:10; 22:5 —  referring to “the ages of the ages,” again, ages without end].  Also, the same plural double use of aion occurs in Revelation 14:11 without the definite articles, meaning “ages of ages.”

The preceding lists all occurrences of the plural double use of aion in the book of Revelation.  This plural double use only occurs seven other times in the New Testament, all articular [Galatians 1:5; Philippians 4:20; 1 Timothy 1:17; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 13:21; 1 Peter 4:11; 5:11].)

The Ministry of the 144,000

The ministry of the 144,000 will reach to the ends of the earth over the short space of about three and one-half years — to “to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (Revelation 7:9).  Many reached with the message will be slain for their faith, with many others, in the words of Matthew 24:13, enduringto the end” (the end of the Tribulation) and beingsaved” (being physically delivered out of the Tribulation).

Those slain for their faith during this time are described in Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 20:4.  Their state during the time between death and the end of the Tribulation is seen in the former two references (Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9-17), and that which awaits them during the Messianic Era is seen in the latter reference (Revelation 20:4).

Following death they are seen in Christ’s presence in heaven, and during the Messianic Era they are seen occupying regal positions with Christ in His kingdom.

Those enduring until the end and being delivered out of the Tribulation are seen in Matthew 25:31-46.  And, as seen among those slain during the Tribulation in the larger scope of the passage in Revelation 20:4-6, both faithful and unfaithful appear among the saved who endure until the end and come out of the Tribulation alive in Matthew 25:31-46.

A judgment of these individuals who come out of the Tribulation alive, as with those slain in Revelation 20:4-6, occurs when Christ returns.  And, exactly as in Revelation 20:4-6, the faithful will be allowed to enter into the kingdom, but the unfaithful will be turned away; and the same metaphorical picture of a burning in relation to the unfaithful, as seen in John 15:6 and Hebrews 6:8, is seen in both judgments (in both Matthew 25:31-46 and Revelation 20:4-6).

(For more information on Matthew 25:31-46, refer to the author’s book The Most High Ruleth by Arlen Chitwood and do a search for  "The Millennium and Beyond."  For more information on Revelation 20:4-6, refer to Ch. 33, The Millennial Reign.)

Chapter 27

The Beast and the Woman

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,

with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.

And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement [great wonder].  (Revelation 17:1-6).

Revelation seventeen through the first part of chapter twenty (Revelation 17; 18; 19; 20 [20a]) provides a climactic sequence of events that is seen time after time in the Old Testament.  And this corresponding parallel can only be expected, for the structure of later revelation must always be in complete keeping with the structure of earlier revelation.  Later revelation must always be completely in line with and rest upon the foundation set forth in earlier revelation.

This climax, seen in both Testaments, has to do with:

1) the realization of God’s purpose for driving the Jewish people out among the nations over 2,600 years ago,

2) the destruction of Gentile world power, and

3) the ushering in of the long-awaited Messianic Era.

Through the judgments and different events brought to pass during the Tribulation, seen in Revelation chapters six through sixteen (Revelation 6-16), everything is set in place for these climactic events to occur.  Then, beginning in Revelation 17 and continuing into the first part of Revelation 20, numerous details are given concerning these climactic events.

Most of this closing section of the book of Revelation, leading into the Messianic Era, is taken up with detailed information pertaining to the beast, his kingdom, and a harlot woman occupying a central place in this kingdom (Revelation 17; 18; 19 [19a]).  This is the subject matter seen in this climactic part of the book immediately before the destruction of Gentile world power (Revelation 19 [19b]) and the ushering in of the Messianic Era (Revelation 20 [20a]).

The “beast” and the “woman” are both used in metaphorical senses.  And that which is being referenced by the use of both metaphors is made clear in the numerous Old Testament passages dealing with the subject, in earlier parts of the book of Revelation, and in chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen as well (Revelation 17; 18; 19 [19a]).

Then, the matter is further connected with the Old Testament Scriptures by the use of the word, “mystery.”  Both the beast and the woman are referred to by this word (Revelation 17:5, 7).

(A “mystery” in the New Testament refers to something made known in the Old Testament but not fully opened up and revealed in the Old Testament.  Rather, the opening up and complete unveiling of that which is referred to as a “mystery” awaited additional revelation, which is seen in the New Testament.

One Testament is to be understood in the light of the other — the Old in the light of the New, and the New in the light of the Old.)

Thus, not only must material in these chapters in the book of Revelation be in complete keeping with the manner in which this is set forth in the Old Testament but this material must also be seen as a climactic opening up and unveiling of that which was previously presented in the Old Testament.  These chapters in the closing part of the book of Revelation, leading into the Messianic Era, remove any remaining wraps and present the beast and the harlot woman in full exposure for all to behold.

The Complete Panoramic Picture

The beast — the name used in the book of Revelation for the man of sin, the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1ff; 17:8-14) — is presented a number of different ways throughout a large section of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments.  Revelation concerning this man begins with Nimrod, the first king of Babylon, in Genesis 10; and it concludes with the last king of Babylon in the chapters under discussion in the book of Revelation, chapters seventeen through twenty (Revelation 17; 18; 19; 20).

However, throughout Scripture, revelation concerning the beast is never solely about this man alone.  Revelation concerning the beast is always seen in conjunction with revelation concerning Abraham and his lineage through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons, the nation of Israel.  This is the manner in which revelation about the beast begins in Genesis, continues throughout the Old Testament, continues into the New Testament, and concludes in the book of Revelation.  When the beast appears in Scripture, Israel appears someplace in the text or context as well (e.g., Genesis 10; 11 [Nimrod in Genesis 10; Abraham in Genesis 11]; the books of Exodus, Esther, and Daniel). 

The preceding is an axiom in biblical studies surrounding the beast, which cannot be ignored.  Thus, when an individual arrives at Revelation 17 and sees the beast and a harlot woman extensively dealt with together at the close of Man’s Day — knowing that both are referred to as a “mystery,” and knowing that the beast never appears in Old Testament Scripture apart from Israel — only one thing concerning the identity of the woman could possibly be uppermost in one’s mind.

1)  The Harlot in Both Testaments

In Old Testament history, because of the Jewish people’s continued disobedience over centuries of time, God uprooted His people from their land and drove them out among the nations.  And the major part of this disobedience was harlotry, which caused God to eventually divorce Israel (Isaiah 50:1; Jeremiah 3:8; Hosea 2:2).

Israel, the wife of Jehovah, was having illicit relations — forbidden national relationships — with the surrounding Gentile nations.  And when Israel’s cup of iniquity became full (cf. Genesis 15:16), God divorced Israel, uprooted His people from their land, and drove them out among the nations in order to effect repentance through persecution at the hands of the harlot’s lovers.

Revelation chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen (Revelation 17; 18; 19 [19a]) presents, in detail, the end of the matter.  Israel, in these chapters, is seen at the height of her degeneracy — enmeshed in and having illicit relations with the most corrupt form of Gentile world power known to man throughout his 6,000-year history.  And it is within this setting, as Gentile persecution reaches heights heretofore unknown, that Israel is brought to the place of repentance and is cleansed of her harlotry.

The preceding though, as will be shown, is far from the only means of identifying the harlot woman.  Attention has been called to this means of identification first in order to show the unity of all Scripture surrounding revelation concerning the beast and Israel, from an introduction in Genesis to a conclusion in the book of Revelation.

First, note a number of Old Testament references having to do with Israel’s harlotry:

How the faithful city has become an harlot! (Isaiah 1:21a)

But you have played the harlot with many lovers . . .

You have had a harlot’s forehead; you refuse to be ashamed. (Jeremiah 3:1, 3b [1b]; cf. Jeremiah 3: 6-14)

Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations . . .

You also played the harlot with the Assyrians . . .

Moreover you multiplied your acts of harlotry as far as the land of the trader [Canaan, KJV] . . . . (Ezekiel 16:2, 28-29a [28a])

Then the Babylonians came to her, into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their immorality . . .

She revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness . . . . (Ezekiel 23:17-18a [17a]; cf. Ezekiel 23:35-37)

Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall deliver her from My hand. (Hosea 2:10; cf. Hosea 2:2ff).

Chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen in the book of Revelation (Revelation 17; 18; 19 [19a]) has to do with Israel’s harlotry seen at its apex and then brought to an end.  And this is the only place in the book where this is dealt with.

If “the great harlot” in these chapters is other than Israel, then a major subject of Old Testament prophecy relating to Israel is not even dealt with in the book of Revelation.

Apart from understanding that the “woman” represents Israel, the final seven years of the Jewish dispensation is brought to a close in the book of Revelation without this book even dealing with the main purpose for these seven years.

Apart from seeing Israel with the beast in these chapters, that which could only be uppermost in God’s mind concerning Israel during the Tribulation — bringing His people, who have played the harlot over centuries of time, to the place of repentance — is not even mentioned in the book.

But, as previously stated, the preceding is just one way in which the woman can be identified.  As will be shown, this chapter goes on to state, in so many words, that the “woman” is Israel.  Then, other internal proofs are provided in the chapter concerning the same thing.

2)  The Woman is that Great City

As the beast is identified in (Revelation 17:8-14), the woman is identified in this chapter as well.  The last verse in chapter seventeen provides, beyond any question whatsoever, the identity of the woman:

And the woman whom you saw is that great city that reigns over [lit., that possesses kingly authority over] the kings of the earth, (Revelation 17:18)

The expression “the [or ‘this,‘ ‘that’] great city” is used nine times in Revelation 11-18, with six of these usages seen in Revelation 17; 18.  The first usage in Revelation 11:8 identifies the city as Jerusalem, and the identification of “the great city” in this first usage must be understood the same way throughout the subsequent chapters where this expression appears.

Note how Revelation 11:8 reads:

And their dead bodies [the two witnesses] will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

Jerusalem, in this verse, is associated with Sodom (sexual perversion) and Egypt (the world); and the next two appearances of the expression, “the great city” (Revelation 14:8; 16:19), associates “Jerusalem” with Babylon.

Babylon was the place where the southern two tribes were taken captive, beginning about 605 B.C., beginning the Times of the Gentiles.  Babylon is out in the world, typified by Egypt; and God allowed the Jewish people to be uprooted from their land and taken captive to Babylon because of their transgression over centuries of time, with sexual perversion, typified by Sodom, heading the list of sins (cf. Jeremiah 22:8-9, 25).

And this is exactly where the “woman” finds herself in Revelation chapters seventeen and eighteen (Revelation 17; 18) — enmeshed in the kingdom of the last king of Babylon, out in the world (scattered among the nations), and viewed as a harlot — exactly as is portrayed in previous verses (Revelation 11:8; 14:8; 16:19).

Thus, according to Revelation 17:18, the harlot, seen throughout these chapters, is identified as “Jerusalem.”  And there is no getting around this clearly stated fact.

(“Jerusalem” is used a number of times in Scripture as simply another way of referring to the Jewish people.  Even “the land of Israel” is used this same way in Scripture [cf. Isaiah 1:21, 26; Lamentations 1:7-8; Ezekiel 14:11-13; 16:2; Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:33; 19:41].

The Jewish people, their land, and their capital city are looked upon and referred to in an inseparable sense in Scripture.  Thus, in an interpretative respect, Revelation 17:18 would have to read, “And ‘the woman’ whom you saw is Israel . . . .”)

3)  The Woman Possessing Regal Authority

Then, Revelation 17:18 also presents another means of identification.  This verse doesn’t stop with the identification of the woman as “that great city.”  Rather, the verse goes on to provide a second means of identification, which is in complete keeping with the first part of the verse.

The verse continues by adding the words, “that reigns over the kings of the earth.”  A better translation of these words would be, “that possesses kingly authority over the kings of the earth” (reference Wuest’s Expanded Translation — “which possesses [imperial] power over…”), limiting matters in the light of Exodus 4:22-23 to Israel and/or Jerusalem alone.

Thus, the woman is identified as possessing regal authority over the Gentile nations (Revelation 17:18b).  This identifying statement reflects back upon and draws from a similar statement about the woman earlier in the book:

. . . and on her head [the woman’s head, Israel’s head] a garland [literally: “crown,”] of twelve stars. (Revelation 12:1b)

“Twelve” is the number of governmental perfection; and this verse from Revelation 12 forms part of the contextual foundational material in the book upon which the identity of the woman in Revelation 17:18 rests.

The word used for “garland” [literally: “crown”] in the Greek text of Revelation 12:1 is stephanos, not diadema, indicating that the woman, though possessing regal power and authority, was not exercising that power and authority at the time seen in the text (which is a time yet future, near the middle of the Tribulation, with the woman wearing a diadem and exercising regal power and authority following the Tribulation).

An individual presently exercising regal power and authority would wear a crown depicted by the word diadema, not a crown depicted by the word stephanos.  This is seen two verses later (Revelation 12:3), where the Greek word diadema is used — showing an exercise of regal power and authority in the kingdom of Antichrist by the one to whom Satan will one day give “his power, his throne, and great authority” (Revelation 13:2).

(Regarding Israel in possession of regal authority over the Gentile nations, note that which Moses was instructed to make known to the Egyptian Pharaoh when God sent him to deliver the Israelites [an Assyrian ruler in Egypt, typifying the coming Assyrian who will rule the world (cf. Isaiah 52:4; Micah 5:5)].  Moses was instructed to say to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, Israel is My son, My firstborn . . . .” [Exodus 4:22-23].

“Sonship” implies rulership.  Only sons can rule in God’s kingdom [past, present, or future], and in the human realm, only firstborn sons can rule [only firstborn sons find themselves in a position to exercise the rights of primogeniture within a family, with regality being one of these rights].  In short, Moses, announcing to Pharaoh that Israel was God’s Son, even His firstborn, was an announcement to Pharaoh that God recognized Israel in the regal capacity implied by sonship, not Egypt.

And this recognition was made known while Israel was still in Egypt.  Israel, following the observance of the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread in Exodus 12; 13, was to be led out of Egypt under Moses.  Then, following certain events occurring while in route to Kadesh-Barnea, Israel was to enter into and occupy the land previously covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and once the Jewish people had become established in this land, they were to rule the nations as God’s firstborn son, within a theocracy.

Again, note the latter part of Revelation 17:18.  There is only one nation on the face of the earth that this can be referencing — the nation that is not to bereckoned among the nations” [Numbers 23:9].  Only one nation on the face of the earth possesses a position of regal authority over the kings of the earth [over all the Gentile nations].  This nation was identified in Exodus 4:22-23, immediately prior to Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt; and this nation is identified in Revelation 17:18, after exactly the same fashion [previously introduced after this fashion in Revelation 12:1], immediately prior to Jesus leading the Israelites out from a worldwide dispersion yet future.

Dating from Moses’ day, Israel has never lost the nation’s standing as God’s firstborn son.  Israel has been God’s firstborn son since the announcement was made in Exodus 4:22-23, remains God’s firstborn son today [though a disobedient son, scattered among the nations], and will one day exercise the rights of the firstborn [following repentance].

This is why, for the past 3,500 years, since the time this announcement was made, the one who has held the scepter since prior to the creation of Adam [Satan] has done everything within his power to destroy Israel.

Also, note that Israel is spoken of in both masculine and feminine respects in Scripture — as a son, and as a woman [cf. Hosea 2:2; 11:1], with both having regal implications.  Only sons can rule, and man cannot rule alone.  A man must rule in conjunction with a woman, or a woman in conjunction with a manthe man as king and the woman as consort queen.  This is a principle established in the opening chapter of Genesis, which can never change [Genesis 1:26-28].

And exactly the same thing, for exactly the same reasons, is seen relative to the bride of Christ.  The one who will rule as consort queen with the Son is spoken of in Scripture in both masculine and feminine respects, with both having regal implications [cf. Romans 8:14-15, 19; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 5:23-32; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 19:7-10].)

4)  The Woman Guilty of Blood

Further, if Scripture is compared with Scripture, Jerusalem alone — referring to the Jewish people — is guilty of the blood of the prophets and of all slain upon the earth (Matthew 23:34-37), which is said of the harlot in Revelation 17:6; 18:24; 19:2.  The Jewish people alone carry this guilt.  It is not possible for any other city, nation, or segment of society to be looked upon in this manner.  This fact is clearly stated in Luke 13:33:

. . . it cannot be [lit., ‘…it is not possible’] that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.

And it is clear from the subsequent verse (Luke 13:34) that “Jerusalem” is used in verse thirty-three referring to the entire nation — the Jewish people — exactly as it is used in Revelation 17:18.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! (Luke 13:34a)

Thus, according to Scripture, Israel alone can be considered guilty of blood in this respect.  And in keeping with this thought, Christ died in the capital of Jewry at the hands of the Jews (Matthew 16:21; Acts 2:23, 36; Revelation 11:8); and the apostle Paul, as well, was prepared to die in Jerusalem at the hands of the Jews, “for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:11-13).

The Harlot Cleansed, the Kingdom of the Beast Destroyed

There is only one possible way that a person could expect the Tribulation to draw to a close and end in the book of Revelation.  And that would be exactly the same way it is seen drawing to a close and ending in the Old Testament.  Whether in the Old Testament or in the New Testament, in the end time, Israel is seen enmeshed within and committing harlotry with the most corrupt form of Gentile world power man will ever know.  This is then followed by Israel’s repentance, the nation being cleansed of her harlotry, the destruction of Gentile world power, and the ushering in of the Messianic Kingdom.

Though the nation will have paid a heavy price, one beyond human comprehension, Israel’s harlotry will be a thing of the past.  Israel’s sins will have been “as scarlet,” “red like crimson”;  but, with these sins having been completely removed — “as far as the east is from the west” — where scarlet and crimson once existed, conditions will then be “as white as snow,” “as wool” (Isaiah 1:18; cf. Isaiah 1:21-26; Psalm 103:12-22).  And a cleansed nation in that day will realize the rights of the firstborn, fulfilling the purpose for the nation’s existence (cf. Revelation 17:16-17; 18:8-21; 19:2-3).

The heavy price paid by Israel over centuries of time has been both to her detriment and the detriment of the nations.  Israel has been removed from her land, scattered among the nations, and suffered immeasurably at the hands of the Gentiles.  And, at the same time, the nations have suffered as well, having been cut off from the spiritual blessings that could have been theirs through Israel.

But, though the nations throughout this time have found themselves separated from spiritual blessings, they have, at the same time, found themselves in a position of power and involved with materialism, becoming wealthy (Revelation 18:3, 9-19).  And Israel, having left her spiritual heritage and found herself scattered among the nations, has become inseparably involved with the world’s materialism and wealth as well (Revelation 17:4; 18:16).

During the Times of the Gentiles (over 2,600 years), the nations have held the scepter and have become wealthy at the expense of Israel (Revelation 17:2; 18:19b).  And, as long as the Times of the Gentiles continues, the nations will continue to hold power and accumulate this wealth at Israel’s expense.

But once Israel is brought to the place of repentance, followed by Israel’s harlotry being done away with (burned with fire [Revelation 17:16-17; 18:8ff]), it will all be over for the nations.  The Times of the Gentiles will end, the scepter will change hands, and the wealth of the Gentiles will be given to Israel (Isaiah 60:5, 11 [the word “forces,” KJV, should be translated “wealth”; ref. NASB, NIV]; cf. Exodus 12:35, 36).

The preceding is what a large part of Revelation 18 is about.  Note particularly the latter part of the chapter beginning with verse nine (Revelation 18:9).  The nations will have become rich, and these nations will be quite distraught when all of this is suddenly taken from them (Revelation 18:9, 18-19).

Gentile headship will be over, their wealth will be gone, but they will find that they will possess something far greater.  Spiritual blessings/spiritual wealth that will be theirs through restored Israel will far exceed anything that they will have possessed throughout the Times of the Gentiles (cf. Isaiah 65:19; Zechariah 8:20-23).

Chapter 28

Judgment of the Great Harlot (KJV: Whore)

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,

with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. . .

And the ten horns that you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.

For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the Words of God are fulfilled.

And the woman whom you saw is that great city that reigns over [lit., ‘that possesses kingly authority over’] the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:1-3, 16-18)

The main thrust of Scripture seen throughout Revelation chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter twenty (Revelation 17-20 [20a] ) has to do with God’s plans and purposes regarding the Jewish people, the Gentile nations, and the Church of God being brought to fruition, leading into the Messianic Era (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:32).

In a larger sense, the working out of God’s plans and purposes for all three creations — Jew, Gentile, and Christian — has to do with ruined man and involves 6,000 years of restorative work, followed by the 1,000-year Messianic Era, a Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God.  And this is patterned after God’s previous restorative work surrounding the ruined material creation — occurring over six days time, with God resting on the seventh day — in Genesis 1; 2 (Hebrews 4:4, 9; cf. Exodus 31:13-17; 2 Peter 1:15-18; 3:3-8).

In a narrower sense, regarding Israel and the nations, the working out of God’s plans and purposes in this respect dates back 4,000 years (to the days of Abraham, about 2,000 B.C.) and 2,600 years (to the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles, about 605 B.C.).

And in a narrower sense yet, regarding Christians, the working out of God’s plans and purposes in this respect dates back 2,000 years to the inception of the Church on the day of Pentecost in 33 A.D.

The complete scope of God’s plans and purposes is dealt with in numerous places throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets — “line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:9-10), with different facets of the matter being dealt with in different ways in different places.  Each facet provides a different part of one complete overall word picture, with the complete picture presenting the matter exactly as God would have man view the whole of His plans and purposes regarding Israel, the nations, and the Church.

And, regardless of how or where these things are dealt with in the Old Testament, there is always a particular emphasis on concluding events — events that bring the whole of the matter to fruition, as seen in Revelation 17-20 [20a].

Thus, when one arrives at this closing part of the book of Revelation preceding the Messianic Era and begins reading extensively about a beast and a harlot woman, he is not left to his own imagination and interpretation concerning that which is in view.

Scripture will reveal and interpret the matter for him.  By comparing that which is spiritual with that which is spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:9-13) — in this case, comparing numerous sections of the Old Testament with that which is seen beginning in Revelation 17 — the Old Testament will have already interpreted the matter for the reader.

(Two Anglicized Greek words are sometimes used to call attention to correct and incorrect methods of biblical study and interpretation — exegesis and eisegesis.  The Greek prepositions ek [meaning, “out of”] and eis [meaning, “into”] are prefixed to the same word, which, without the prepositions, means “to guide” or “to lead.

Exegesis has to do with deriving out of a passage that which is within the passage.  In Revelation 17-19 [19a], exegesis allows Scripture to comment upon and identify the harlot woman.  And, at every turn, Scripture [Old Testament or New Testament], reveals that “the great harlot” is a metaphor for Israel at the end of the Times of the Gentiles [ref. the preceding The Beast and the Woman].

Eisegesis, on the other hand, has to do with placing into a passage that which is not in the passage.  Eisegesis, rather than allowing Scripture to identify the harlot woman in Revelation 17-19 [19a], reads a foreign meaning into the passage, usually identifying “the great harlot” as a metaphor for a false religious system, often seen as the Roman Catholic Church.

And this type of mishandling of the passage is no small thing.   Not only does such a teaching do away with the correct understanding of the passage, but such a teaching has the Times of the Gentiles ending in the New Testament after a fashion that is completely out of line with the way in which the Times of the Gentiles is seen being brought to a close throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets.)

The Old Testament has already dealt extensively, in minute detail, with the whole of that which is seen beginning with Revelation chapter seventeen and continuing into the first part of chapter twenty.  A complete word picture has already been presented, for all to see.  And this section in the book of Revelation, dealing with the same thing as is previously seen in the Old Testament, places the emphasis exactly where Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets had previously placed the emphasis, which could only be expected.

The emphasis in chapter seventeen through chapter nineteen, preceding the Messianic Era in chapter twenty, is placed on Israel and the nations (Revelation 17:1-19:6, 11-21).  And, within this section, the Church of God, as well, is brought back into the picture from chapters one through three, though only taking up four verses throughout chapters seventeen through nineteen (Revelation 19:7-10).

(To illustrate how the preceding is very much in line with the way matters are presented in the Old Testament, note material in five of the opening chapters of Genesis — chapters five through nine (Genesis 5-9).  The Church is foreshadowed in chapter five in the person of Enoch, who was removed from the earth alive before the Flood, typifying the Church being removed before the coming Tribulation [Genesis 5:21-24].  Then, Noah and his family come into view in the latter part of chapter five [Genesis 5:28-32].  And God’s dealings with Israel and the nations relative to the Tribulation and the succeeding Messianic Era are foreshadowed by events seen throughout the next four chapters (Genesis 6; 7; 8; 9).

After one complete period of time [at the end of the seventh generation], Enoch is removed from the earth.  This foreshadows the Church being removed from the earth at the end of the present dispensation.  Then, within another complete period of time [within the tenth generation], Noah and his family, under divine protection, pass through the Flood.  Noah and his family being divinely protected through the Flood foreshadows Israel being divinely protected during the coming Tribulation, the final seven years of the Jewish dispensation.  The nations destroyed in the Flood foreshadows the nations suffering the same fate during the Tribulation.  And the new beginning following the Flood foreshadows the new beginning — the Messianic Era — following the Tribulation.

For more information pertaining to the overall type seen in Genesis chapters five through nine, refer to the author’s book, Seven, Ten Generations by Arlen Chitwood.)

The Purpose for the Times of the Gentiles Realized

The Times of the Gentiles exists because of the Jewish people’s disobedience, extending over centuries of time.  And, at the apex of this disobedience was harlotry.  Israel, a nation separate and distinct from all the other nations (Numbers 23:9), was having forbidden relationships with these nations.

Because of their continued disobedience, God eventually uprooted His people from their land and drove them out among the nations (using the Assyrians in about 722 B.C. to remove the northern ten tribes and then the Babylonians in about 605 B.C. to remove the remaining southern two tribes).  And, with the removal of the southern two tribes (Judah and Benjamin), a theocracy that had existed in the camp of Israel for some eight hundred years came to an end.  Following the complete removal of the Jewish people in 586 B.C., the Glory of God departed ending the theocracy that God had previously brought into existence during the days of Moses at Sinai (Ezekiel 10:4, 18; 11:22-23; cf. Exodus 40:33-38).

And, though two remnants of Jews have returned to the land since 605 B.C. (one beginning seventy years following the Babylonian captivity, and the other occurring in modern times), the Times of the Gentiles has continued throughout.  The Gentiles have held the scepter throughout this time, lasting about 2,600 years to date.  And the Gentiles will continue to hold the scepter until God’s purpose for driving His people out among the nations has been realized.

The Jewish people, by and through Gentile persecution, must be brought to the place of repentance before the Times of the Gentiles can end.

Both remnants returning during the Times of the Gentiles eventually formed a Jewish nation in the Middle East.  And both returned under similar circumstances — apart from national repentance, which could only have been prior to the time for the nation to return.

The first remnant was driven back out among the nations in 70 A.D., and the second remnant will be driven back out among the nations yet future, in the middle of the Tribulation.  God has decreed that He will deal with His people relative to their sins, with a view to repentance, out among the nations, not in the land.  And, if for no other reason, the remnant presently in the land forming a modern-day nation of Israel will have to be uprooted and driven back out among the nations.

Just as surely as God dealt with Jonah relative to repentance in the sea (which has to do with the Gentile nations in Scripture) rather than on the ship (which would be out of the sea and, thus, could only have to do with the land), God will deal with His people relative to repentance out among the nations rather than in the land of Israel.

And in the final analysis, after 2,600 years of Gentile dominance and Gentile persecution, the Jewish people are pictured in Scripture as a harlot out in the sea, a harlot removed from her land and residing in the worldwide kingdom of the beast (Revelation 17:1, 15).  The kings of the earth will have committed fornication with the harlot woman (by forbidden national relationships), having been made drunk “with the wine of her fornication” (Revelation 17:2).  They will, as well, have become wealthy by the woman’s condition and position; and the woman will have become wealthy as well — all having to do with worldly wealth, void of spiritual wealth (Revelation 18:3-19).

But, all of the preceding is about to change.  God is going to use the final and most corrupt form of Gentile power the world has ever known or ever will know to bring Israel to the place of repentance.  By and through Gentile persecution under the man seated on Satan’s throne and empowered by Satan — as this man seeks to do away with the Jewish people, making individuals such as Hitler, Eichmann, Nassar, Ahmadinejad, et al. pale by comparison — Israel will, after centuries of time, be brought to the place of repentance.

Note Revelation 17:16-17:

And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire

For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose [KJV: will], to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

Those forming the ten-kingdom federation of the beast will hate Israel, and do everything within their power to destroy the nation, not realizing at all that the Gentile nations hold the scepter and are wealthy only because of Israel’s condition and position among them.  And they also will not know that God will use their genocidal efforts to bring Israel to the place of repentance, which will result in an end to Gentile rule and Gentile wealth, both wrought at Israel’s expense.  God will take the scepter from the Gentiles, take their wealth, and give it all to Israel, as He restores the theocracy to the nation (Isaiah 60:5, 11 [“forces,” KJV, should be translated “wealth”]; Ezekiel 37:21-28; 39:21-29; 43:2ff).

Insofar as governmental power and material wealth are concerned, those in the kingdom of the beast, as they seek to destroy Israel, will, at the same time, unknowingly be committing national suicide.  God will use their efforts, fulfilling His will, “until the words of God shall be fulfilled” (Revelation 17:17).  Then, once Israel has been brought to the place of repentance by Gentile persecution, God will hear from heaven, remember His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and act in complete accordance with His promise to Israel (cf. Exodus 2:23-3:12; Leviticus 26:27-42; 2 Chronicles 6:24-27; 7:12-14).

Once the reason for the Times of the Gentiles has been realized, Gentile world power, existing in the kingdom of the beast in that day, will be destroyed.  This is seen in Old Testament typology in places such as the books of Exodus and Esther — the Assyrian Pharaoh and his armies in Egypt destroyed in the Red Sea as they pursued Israel, or Haman and his ten sons impaled on the gallows that Haman had prepared for Mordecai, the Jew.  And this is seen in the book of Revelation in chapter nineteen, following Israel’s repentance and the Father sending His Son back to the Jewish people, to deliver them (Revelation 19:11-21).

(Note the sharp contrast in the government of the earth as it has existed during the last 2,600 years and as it will exist yet future once God’s purpose for the Times of the Gentiles has been realized.  Conditions in the government of the earth are quite different when the Gentiles hold the scepter [present], as opposed to Israel holding the scepter [past and future].

The descendants of Shem through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, comprising the nation of Israel, form the only nation on the face of the earth with a God [Genesis 9:26; Psalm 33:12].  And for the Gentile nations, without a God, to acquire spiritual wealth and blessings, they must go to the one nation with a God [Genesis 9:26-27].  They must go to the nation of Israel [something really not possible today because of Israel’s condition and position among the nations].

The Gentile nations though do possess gods, but not the one true and living God.  The gods of the nations are said to be “nothing” compared to the one true and living God [1 Chronicles 16:26; Psalm 96:5].  The gods of the nations could be anything separate from God Himself — materialism, demons in Satan’s kingdom, etc.

All of the Gentile nations find themselves in the same position, in the natural realm.  And they simply cannot move from that realm into the spiritual realm [except, of course, that spiritual realm where Satan and his angels operate, which is aligned with the natural].  The man of flesh simply cannot function in the realm where the man of spirit exists.

Many individuals out of the nations, over centuries of time, have moved from the natural into the spiritual realm by a Savior that came from the one nation with a God.  But it is not possible for the nations themselves to do this.  Again, nations simply cannot function in this realm.

In this respect, there is no such thing as a Gentile nation with a God, or a Gentile nation that can be referred to as a Christian nation [the Church, taken mainly from the Gentiles, is referred to as a “nation” and has a God, though the Church is neither Jew nor Gentile but one new man, a new creation “in Christ,” with a heavenly citizenship (Matthew 21:43; 1 Peter 2:9-10; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:11-15; Philippians 3:20)].

Gentile nations, in their governmental structure today, rule within a form of a theocracy, though a corrupted form connected with Satan and his angels.  “Satan” is the god of this present age [2 Corinthians 4:4], and he and his angels rule through/by the Gentile nations from their place in a heavenly sphere [Daniel 10:13-20].

God rules the entire universe, and He rules over all parts of His kingdom by and through angels whom He has placed in regal positions throughout the universe.  The earth, one province in the universe, is ruled in this manner, though presently by a rebel ruler.  God presently rules the earth through/by Satan, the god of this age.  God has delegated power to Satan, and Satan, in turn, has delegated power to subordinate angels ruling with him.  It is this delegated power and regal position [his throne] that Satan will give to the beast during the coming Tribulation [Revelation 13:2; cf. Ezekiel 28:14; Luke 4:5-6].  Then the beast will rule in this same manner under God, as a rebel ruler in a corrupted form of the theocracy.

It is immaterial whether a nation’s government is like that of the United States [where there is a separation of religious and civil powers] or like that of a Moslem country [where religious and civil powers are inseparably connected], in the final analysis all Gentile governments have a common connection.  All occupy their positions directly under Satan and his angels, who rule in a rebel respect under God.

There is only one nation on the face of the earth with a government that rules after any other fashion than the preceding, and that’s the one nation with a God, the nation that is not to be “reckoned among the nations” [Numbers 23:9], the nation of Israel.  The angelic princes of the Gentile nations [each nation has a prince, with other princes under him], who rule through/by the nations from a heavenly sphere, are demons [Daniel 10:13-20].  But Israel’s angelic prince, ruling through/by the Jewish nation in the same manner, is Michael [Daniel 10:21], and Michael exercises power under God separate from Satan and his angels.

This is why God could establish a theocracy and rule in the midst of Israel during Old Testament days.  As well, this is also why God will be able to establish a theocracy in the world yet future.

“Israel” is the key.  Since Abraham’s day, the separate creation during Jacob’s day, and the subsequent inception of the nation during Moses’ day, God has looked upon and dealt with the Gentile nations through one nation alone [cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 4:22-23; 12:2; 19:5-6; Isaiah 43:1-11; Zechariah 2:8].  And God’s dealings with the nations through Israel in this respect will never change [Romans 11:29].

Israel’s position relative to the nations is why Israel must be brought to the place of repentance, Gentile world power destroyed, Satan and his angels removed from power, and God’s three firstborn Sons [Christ, Israel, and the Church (following the adoption)] placed in power [cf. Genesis 1:26-28; Hebrews 2:5].

Satan knows this, and over millennia of time he has done everything within his power to thwart God’s plans and purposes by launching his attack at the fountainhead, seeking to destroy Israel.  And this is why Satan will give his power, his throne, and great authority to the earth’s last ruler during the Times of the Gentiles [Revelation 13:2b].  Satan will use this man in a final, climactic attempt to do away with the nation of Israel.

But God, in His sovereign control of all things, will use this man’s efforts to achieve a completely opposite end — to bring about His own predetermined plans and purposes for Israel.  Matters in that day will be as in the words of Haman’s wife, Zeresh, relative to Haman attempting to slay Mordecai:

If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him. [Esther 6:13b]

For additional information on the preceding, refer to The Intractable Middle East Problem, Appendix 1.)

The “great harlot” in Revelation chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen is seen being burned with fire (Revelation 17:16; 18:8-9, 17-21; 19:2-3).  This is the picture that Scripture provides of Israel’s harlotry being done away with.  God is seen using the beast and his kingdom to do away with Israel’s harlotry by and through a persecution of such an intense nature that “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (cf. Matthew 24:22).  And this will occur after 2,600 years of Gentile dominance and control.

Israel will be brought to the place where the nation will have nowhere to turn other than to the God of their fathers. (Revelation 17:16-17).  Repentance and cleansing will then occur (Isaiah 1:16-21), Israel’s harlotry will be a thing of the past (Revelation 18:8-10), and it will never again be an issue (Revelation 19:3).

Then God can complete His dealing with Israel, deal with the nations, deal with Satan and his angels, and usher in the Messianic Kingdom.

The Complete Purpose for Israel’s Existence Realized

God called Israel into existence to be the channel through which He would deal with mankind at large.  The Word of God would be given through Israel, a Redeemer for fallen man would arise out of Israel, Israel would be God’s witness to the nations, and Israel would rule the nations within a theocracy, with the nations being blessed through Israel.

Israel has given mankind the Word of God, and a Redeemer has arisen out of Israel.  But the remainder of God’s purpose surrounding Israel’s existence awaits a future fulfillment.

The past theocracy under the old covenant never approached the heights surrounding the reason for Israel’s existence, but the future theocracy under the new covenant will.  In that day, God will “cleanse” the nation, give the nation “a new heart,” and place “a new spirit” within the Jewish people.  In that day, God will cause them to walk in His “statutes” and keep His “judgments” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).  In that day, God will put His law “in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.”  And in that day, the one true and living God will be Israel’s God, and the Jewish people will be His people (Jeremiah 31:31-33).

The 144,000 Jewish evangels (Revelation 7; 12; 14) will form a first fruit of the nation during the Tribulation and will carry God’s message to the Gentiles worldwide during this time.  This will result in the conversion of “a great multitude,” which no man will be able to number, “of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9).

Then, following the conversion of the entire nation when Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation, the main harvest will appear.  And the entire nation will then go forth with God’s message to the Gentile nations throughout the earth.

As well, the theocracy will be restored to Israel.  And a restored nation will hold the scepter, ruling the Gentile nations, with the Gentile nations, in turn, being blessed through/by Israel (cf. Zechariah 8:20-23).

This is what awaits Israel and the nations of the earth following the horrors that will befall those upon the earth during the Tribulation.  And this will occur by and through the “Sun of righteousness” arising “with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:1-2).

(For additional information concerning the beast and the harlot woman in Revelation 17-19 [19a], refer to the author’s book, The Time of Jacob's Trouble by Arlen Chitwood.)

Chapter 29

God's Firstborn Son

Then you shall say to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn.

So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.’”

Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. . . .

And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,” . . .

And the woman whom you saw is that great city that reigns over [lit., “that possesses kingly authority over”] the kings of the earth (Exodus 4:22-23; Revelation 12:1, 3; 17:1, 18).

One of the most pregnant-with-meaning statements in the entire Old Testament — one with far-reaching ramifications extending throughout the remainder of Man’s Day and throughout the subsequent Lord’s Day — is the statement, “Israel is my son, My firstborn” (Exodus 4:22-23).

When God sent Moses back to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from Egypt, this is the statement that God instructed Moses to carry to the Assyrian Pharaoh ruling Egypt.  It is a succinct, to-the-point statement that would need no explanation.

The Assyrian Pharaoh, though he didn’t believe in the one true and living God (Exodus 5:2), would have been expected to understand what God meant by this statement.  And the Lord would subsequently show, through divine power, that this was no idle statement (Exodus 7-11); and the Lord, through the same divine power, would also subsequently show that the accompanying threat concerning that which would be done if the Pharaoh refused to let His son depart Egypt was no idle threat as well (Exodus 4:23; 12:29-30 [23b]).

The rights belonging to firstborn sons were threefold:

1) Ruler of the household under and for the father (regal rights).

2) Priest of the family (spiritual rights).

3) A double portion of all the father’s goods (property rights).

Nations are in view within the scope of Israel’s separate and distinct standing as firstborn — “Israel” and “Egypt.”  And the Pharaoh of Egypt, by and through God’s statement concerning Israel’s standing in relation to Egypt, would have been expected to understand that God recognized the nation of slaves in Egypt as the one possessing national rights as His firstborn son, not Egypt.

And by the manner in which “Egypt” is used in Scripture — depicting the world — along with the type-antitype structure of Exodus, it is plain that not only is Egypt in view but that which is depicted by the way “Egypt” is used in Scripture is in view as well.  That is to say, by God’s use of “Egypt” in this respect, Israel is seen as God’s firstborn son in relation to all of the Gentile nations.

Note how this is clearly seen in the antitype.  In the future Assyrian’s worldwide kingdom (foreshadowed by the past Assyrian’s Egyptian kingdom), Israel will be dispersed throughout the nations of the earth (typified by Israel in Egypt during Moses’ day).  And Israel’s position among the nations as God’s firstborn son in that day will be as it has always been throughout the past 3,500 years, ever since the announcement was made during Moses’ day — a separate and distinct position in relation to all the Gentile nations.

Thus, Israel was the entity that God recognized as the one nation among all the nations possessing the right to hold the scepter (rule the household [which, in the national sense in view, would be ruling the nations of the earth under and for the Head of the family, for God]); and, within this rule, Israel — the nation in possession of the priestly rights [spiritual rights] in the family of nations — was the nation through whom God had chosen to bless all the other nations in accord with Genesis 12:1-3, verses based on and showing God’s outworking of Genesis 9:26-27.

Pharaoh was to let God’s firstborn son go (leave Egypt) in order that God’s son might serve Him in another land (which would be the land previously covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).  That is to say, God’s son was to be allowed to leave Egypt in order that this son might be established in another land in a regal capacity, ruling the nations (which would include Egypt), with the nations, in turn, receiving spiritual blessings through the one in possession of the priestly rights of the firstborn.

This is the picture presented at the time of the birth of the nation in Egypt during Moses’ day.  The Israelites at the beginning of this time — at the beginning of their existence as a national entity — slew the paschal lambs and applied the blood of the lambs as instructed, passed through the Red Sea, received the Law (the Old Covenant) and the instructions for building the tabernacle at Sinai, and then marched toward the land in which they were to serve God as His firstborn son.

And as well, forming a type of events yet future, even today,  these events during Moses’ day point to that time when the announcement seen in Exodus 4:22-23 will have to do with the Assyrian who will rule the world during the coming Tribulation, with the Jewish people scattered among the nations in that day.

And relative to bringing that which is stated in Exodus 4:22-23 into full fruition, these events point to that time when the One greater than Moses will appear a second time to the nation (as Moses appeared a second time to the Jewish people in his day); the nation in that day will receive Christ (as they received Moses in the type), and there will then be a rebirth of the nation (as there was a birth of the nation during Moses’ day [cf. Isaiah 66:8]).

In that day, the Jewish people, through belief in their long-rejected Savior and Messiah, will appropriate the blood of the Lamb that they slew 2,000 years ago.  They will then be led out of the nations of the world by their returning Messiah (as the Israelites were led out of Egypt under Moses), will then be taken into “the wilderness of the people” (possibly Sinai again), and God will then make a New Covenant with His people.

Following this, the Jewish people will be placed in their own land in order to serve God as His firstborn son.  They will be placed in this land within a theocracy, as the ruling nation on earth, with the Gentile nations of the earth subsequently being blessed through Israel (Ezekiel 20:34-44; cf. Jeremiah 30:1-24; 31:8-10, 31-33; Ezekiel 37:21-28).

(The third part of the rights belonging to Israel as God’s firstborn son, the double portion of the Father’s goods [property rights], apparently has to do with both heavenly and earthly facets of the kingdom.  And this part of the rights will be realized during that future time when Israel exercises the regal and priestly rights of the firstborn.

Angels rule from the heavens today, but in that coming day, man will rule from the heavens.  Christians forming the bride of Christ, along with certain Old Testament saints, will reign with Christ from the heavens, from the new Jerusalem, with power emanating from Christ’s throne [cf. Matthew 8:11-12; Hebrews 11:13-16, 39-40; Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21].

At the same time, a converted Israel will be restored to the land.  And power will emanate from David’s throne, in Jerusalem here on earth, with Christ seated on David’s throne [Isaiah 9:6-7; Joel 2:27-32; Luke 1:31-33].

Christ will have a dual reign in this respect — from His own throne in the heavens and from David’s throne on earth.  And in that day Israel — through Abraham’s seed, both heavenly and earthly [cf. Genesis 22:17-18] — will realize a double portion of all the Father’s goods.)

The Foundation for Exodus Set in Genesis

That which is stated in Exodus 4:22-23 during Moses’ day is part and parcel with that which God had previously told Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 four hundred thirty years earlier (cf. Genesis 15:13-14; Exodus 12:40-41; Galatians 3:17-18).  These two statements are never repeated in so many words in Scripture, though subsequent Scripture is replete with material having to do with both.  The latter statement explains how God will fulfill the former statement.  Blessings will flow through God’s firstborn son or curses will result from a mistreatment of God’s firstborn son.  In a respect, both passages of Scripture form foundational statements, and subsequent Scripture fills in all the details, building on the foundational material.

Note these two statements together in this respect:

Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you.

I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

Then you shall say to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn.

So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.’” (Exodus 4:22-23)

The statement in Exodus that Moses was to proclaim to the Assyrian Pharaoh ruling Egypt, explaining how God was going to fulfill His previous promise to Abraham in Genesis, need not be repeated to the latter-day Assyrian ruling the world.  The statement had already been made to the former Assyrian, who foreshadowed the latter Assyrian.  And this statement, along with all that the statement involves, will continue to stand in that future day exactly as it has stood down through the centuries since Moses’ day, apart from any audible repetition of the matter to the Assyrian yet future.

Thus that which one finds in the book of Revelation regarding Moses’ words to Pharaoh is not a repetition of this statement.  Rather, in this book, one finds statements that rest upon and provide commentary for that which is seen in Exodus 4:22-23, which draws from and explains how God is going to fulfill His previous words to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3.

God’s Firstborn Son in the Book of Revelation

The Jewish people are seen from one vantage point in Revelation 12 and from another in Revelation chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen (Revelation 17-19.  Regality is in view in both passages, which necessitates sonship being in view as well.  Only sons can rule in God’s kingdom (all angels are sons of God because of their individual creation), and in the human realm only firstborn sons can rule.

However, because of the nature of that which is being dealt with — childbirth (Revelation 12 [a]) and harlotry (Revelation 17-19 [19a]) — feminine metaphors are used for Israel in both passages in the book of Revelation.  Regality used in connection with feminine metaphors presents no problem though, for Israel is spoken of in both masculine and feminine respects in Scripture — God’s firstborn son, and God’s adulterous wife (the adulterous wife whom God has divorced and will one day remarry [following national repentance], immediately before Israel, as God’s firstborn son, reigns).

1)  Chapter Twelve

In Revelation 12, the Jewish people during the Tribulation are depicted as a woman clothed with “the sun,” “the moon” under her feet, and wearing “a garland (KJV: crown,) of twelve stars.”  The picture, using metaphors, is taken from the second of Joseph’s two dreams, recorded in Genesis 37:9, with both dreams having to do with regality.

In Genesis, the typology has to do with Christ and Israel.  “Joseph” is seen as a type of Christ; and the “the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars” point to different positions of authority within the family, with the whole house of Israel being covered by all three metaphors.  The text clearly states that Jacob (the patriarch of the family) is referred to by “the sun,” Rachel (Joseph’s mother, though deceased) is referred to by “the moon,” and the eleven sons of Jacob (with Joseph absent) are referred to by “the eleven stars” (Genesis 37:9-10).

Thus, regality in relation to both Christ and Israel is in view.  Christ is seen reigning over Israel, with the sun, moon, and stars showing a structured gradation of governmental powers in Israel.  And this structured gradation of governmental powers begins with the highest — “the sun” — having to do with the patriarch of the family.

In Revelation 12:1 though, by and though the use of this same symbolism, Israel and the nations are in view.  The “sun,” the “moon,” and the “stars” earlier in the book had depicted governing powers and authorities among Gentile nations (Revelation 6:12-17; ref. Ch. 15, The Great Seismos).  Now, by and through the use of this symbolism, both Israel and the nations are depicted.  Israel is clothed with the sun, has the moon under her feet, and has a crown of twelve stars on her head.  “Regality” is in view throughout.

The symbolism used of the woman in Revelation 12:1 pictures Israel as the highest governing authority (clothed with the sun and wearing a crown of twelve stars), with all lesser governing authorities being under Israel (which would be the Gentile nations, depicted by the moon under the feet of the one clothed with the sun and wearing a crown).

Thus, the symbolism used places all Gentile governments [depicted by the moon] in subjection to Israel.  And, as shown by this symbolism, when the woman, Israel, exercises her right to rule (a right shown by both the manner in which she is clothed and the crown on her head), all the nations of the earth will be subjected to Israel’s rule (a position shown by the moon beneath the woman’s feet).

Israel though cannot occupy this position until the Times of the Gentiles has run its course.  And the Times of the Gentiles (that time when the Gentiles hold the scepter) will not be over until Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation and, following His removal of the Jewish people from the nations of the world, destroys Gentile world power (depicted in Exodus through the removal of the Jewish people from Egypt and the destruction of the Assyrian Pharaoh and his armed forces in the Red Sea [Exodus 14:13-31]).

It is evident from the context that the Times of the Gentiles will still be running its course when Israel is seen in the manner depicted in Revelation 12:1.  After an additional comment on the woman in Revelation 12:2, the central governing Gentile world power under Satan is depicted in Revelation 12:3, wearing seven crowns on seven heads.  The beast (Revelation 13:1ff) will be the seventh head, and he is here seen crowned and in power.  This man, foreshadowed by the Assyrian Pharaoh during Moses’ day, is seen holding the scepter at this point in the book and in the process of fulfilling the type in Exodus.

(The beast holding the scepter and Israel not holding the scepter in Revelation 12:1-3, though both are seen crowned, is shown by and through the use of two different words for “crown” in the Greek text — stephanos and diadema.  A person wearing a stephanos would be one with regal rights, though not presently exercising these rights.  The realization of these rights could have been in the past or they could be awaiting a future time [a past realization is seen in Revelation 4:4, 10 where stephanos is used for crown (ref. Ch. 7,  Crowns Cast Before God’s Throne); and a future realization is seen in Revelation 12:1, where stephanos is again used for crown (ref. Ch. 21,  A Woman, a Dragon, a Male Child)].

A person wearing a crown depicted by the word diadema, on the other hand, would be one presently exercising regal power and authority — holding the scepter and seated on a throne.  This is the word used for “crown” in verse three, dealing with the beast and his kingdom under Satan.

Thus, the picture in Revelation 12:1-3 has to do with the beast holding the scepter while seated on Satan’s throne [Revelation 13:2], with Israel in waiting — a position the nation has held throughout the Times of the Gentiles.  Israel, God’s firstborn son, is the one possessing the right to rule, though not presently ruling [cf. Revelation 17:18]; and Israel is awaiting exactly the same sequence of events seen in the book of Exodus — the destruction of Gentile world power and the transfer of power from the Gentiles back to Israel.  And, just as these events occurred in the past, in the type, they will occur yet future in the antitype. 

The antitype must follow the type in exact detail.  In that coming day, Israel will wear a crown depicted by the word diadema, not by the word stephanos, as during the present time.

In like manner, faithful Christians have been promised a stephanos, for their rule is not present but future.  But, the crowns promised faithful Christians during the present time will become diadems in that coming day.

In that coming day, when God’s firstborn Sons hold the scepter [Christ, Israel, and the Church following the adoption], only crowns depicted by the word diadema will be worn by these ruling Sons.)

The whole of the matter is further depicted in subsequent verses in Revelation chapter twelve (Revelation 12:7-10).  In these verses, two angelic powers are seen fighting in the heavens, from where both angelic powers rule.

This angelic rule is seen in Daniel 10:12-21, where information concerning these two divisions of angelic powers is given — one ruling from a heavenly sphere through the Gentile nations [Daniel 10:12-20], and the other ruling from a heavenly sphere through Israel [Daniel 10:21].  The former consists of Satan and his angels in the heavens above the earth; and the latter consists of Michael and his angels, also in the heavens, though separate from Satan and his angels.  Michael and his angels reside in that part of the heavens where God dwells.  Thus, Israel, not to be reckoned among the nations [Numbers 23:9], is seen possessing a form of government completely separate from that which the Gentile nations possess.

(Note that angels, since time immemorial, have ruled the earth under God, as angels do over provinces elsewhere in the universe [cf. Job. 1:6ff; Job. 2:1ff; Ezekiel 28:14].  Satan and his angels rule this one province, the earth, under God today [though in a rebel capacity]; and they will do so until they have been put down and the scepter changes hands [Daniel 4:17, 25; 7:13-14; Revelation 11:15].

The government at that time will undergo a complete change in relation to the type of rulers holding the scepter.  Angels will no longer rule the earth through man [Hebrews 2:5].  The government will then be turned over exclusively to Man, to God’s three firstborn Sons.

But, during the present day, angels rule through man.  This is the reason angelic princes are seen occupying positions over the Gentile nations in Daniel 10:12-20 and why an angelic prince [which would include other angels as well, lesser princes] is seen occupying a position over Israel in Daniel 10:21.  And this is also the reason these two angelic factions find themselves engaged in battle in Revelation 12:7-10.  The time will have come for angelic rule over the earth to end.  And with a view to this rule ending in this one province in the kingdom of God, Michael and his angels [the angels ruling through Israel from the heavens, though Israel is not holding the scepter at this time] fight against, overcome, and cast Satan and his angels [the angels presently ruling through the Gentile nations] out of the heavens onto the earth.

And it is God’s firstborn son, introduced as a woman at the beginning of the chapter — the one clothed with the sun, the moon placed under her feet, and a crown [a stephanos] of twelve stars resting on her head [again, Israel is seen in both masculine and feminine respects in Scripture] — who will hold the scepter in that coming day in the stead of the nations.  And, unlike the manner in which rulership over the earth exists today, Israel will hold this scepter apart from angelic rule, and the nations will be governed apart from angelic rule.

For additional information on the structure of the earth’s government during the present time, refer to Ch. 28,  Judgment of the Great Harlot.  Also, refer to the author’s book, The Most High Ruleth by Arlen Chitwood.)

2)  Chapter Seventeen through the First Part of Chapter Nineteen (Revelation 17-19)

In this part of the book, Israel is presented as a harlot, in need of cleansing; and in this part of the book, exactly as the woman giving birth is presented in Revelation 12:1-5, the harlot woman is presented in a regal capacity.

And the woman [the harlot] whom you saw is that great city [Jerusalem], which reigns over [lit., ‘which possesses kingly authority over’] the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:18)

The reference to “that [or, ‘the’] great city” appears nine times in Revelation chapters eleven through eighteen (Revelation 11:8; 14:8; 16:19; 17:18; 18:10, 16, 18-19, 21).  This expression is specifically stated to be a reference to Jerusalem in its first appearance in the book (Revelation 11:8), with Jerusalem being associated with Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon (Revelation 11:8; 14:8; 16:19; 18:10, 21; cf. Jeremiah 22:8, 25 [written at the time of the Babylonian captivity]).

“Jerusalem” is often used in Scripture as a reference to the Jewish people (e.g., Lamentations 1:1-9; Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:33, 34; 19:41-42).  And, if kept within context, the identity of the harlot woman in Revelation 17:18 cannot possibly be seen as other than Israel (refer to Ch. 27, The Beast and the Woman).

And, the association of “that great city” with Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon has to do with the end result of Israel’s disobedience, extending over centuries of time.

“Sodom” is associated with sexual degeneracy, which is the main thing in view relative to Israel in chapter seventeen through the first part of chapter nineteen — harlotry. “Egypt” calls attention to the world where the nation found itself after being removed from her land and transported to “Babylon,” which marked the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles.

Thus, all three metaphors together relate a particular facet of Israel’s history, providing the reason that the nation is seen as the great harlot in the kingdom of Antichrist during the Tribulation.

But, even in the midst of being seen as a harlot in the kingdom of Antichrist, Israel is also seen associated with regality, exactly as previously seen in chapter twelve.  And the overall picture has to do with Israel, after 2,600 years, about to be brought to the place of repentance, about to be cleansed of her harlotry, and about to exercise the rights of the firstborn.

That which is stated during Abraham’s day in Genesis 12:1-3 will be brought to pass through a realization of that which God told Moses to tell the Assyrian Pharaoh in Egypt in Exodus 4:22-23, immediately after God uses the latter-day Assyrian to bring Israel to the place of repentance.

Chapter 30

The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.

And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:7-9)

When Scripture deals with “the marriage” of Christ and His bride in passages such as Matthew 22:1-14 or Revelation 19:7-9, the reference is not to the actual marriage per se but to the festivities that follow the marriage.  The marriage itself is part and parcel with the redemption of the inheritance, which occurs through that which is brought to pass by the breaking of the seals on the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 5 (Revelation 6:1-19:6).

This is the manner in which the redemption of the inheritance and the corresponding marriage of Christ to His bride are set forth in biblical typology, and the antitype must follow the type.  The redemption of the inheritance and the marriage of Christ to His bride have forever been linked in this inseparable manner in Scripture.

The wedding occurring in connection with the redemption of the inheritance is seen in the typology of the book of Ruth, by and through Boaz redeeming the inheritance before witnesses at the gate of the city of Bethlehem (Ruth 4:1ff).  Legal transactions of this nature were enacted at the gates of cities in that day.  And, through the process of redeeming the inheritance at the gate of the city, Ruth, at the same time, became Boaz’s wife.

When Boaz left the gate of the city, two things had been accomplished through one legal transaction:

1) Boaz had redeemed the inheritance.

2) Boaz had taken Ruth as His wife. 

Both the redemption of the inheritance and the marriage of Boaz and Ruth occurred together, by and through a single legal transaction, which had been completed at this point in time.

And matters pertaining to the redemption of the inheritance and the marriage of Christ to His bride must be seen occurring together, at the same time, in exactly the same manner in the book of Revelation.  When the One whom Boaz typifies redeems the inheritance (through the judgments brought to pass by Christ breaking the seals of the seven-sealed scroll), the bride, exactly as in the type, will, at the same time, become His wife.

Thus, once all the judgments connected with the breaking of the seals of the seven-sealed scroll have come to pass, two things will have been accomplished through one legal transaction:

1) Christ will have redeemed the inheritance.

2) Christ will have taken the bride as His wife.

Both the redemption of the inheritance and the marriage of Christ to His bride occur together, through a single legal transaction, which will have been completed at this point in time.

(Christ taking the bride as His wife at the time of the redemption of the inheritance, as seen in the book of Ruth, is not mentioned per se in the book of Revelation.  Rather, by and through reference to the marriage festivities, this is simply an understood occurrence, with Old Testament typology showing how and when the marriage itself would occur.

For additional information on the type-antitype structure of the book of Ruth and the book of Revelation in the preceding respect, refer to Chapters 8, The Seven Sealed Scroll, and 9, Redemption, Marriage, Regality.  Also see Chapter 9, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Ruth, Ch. 9, “Redemption of the Inheritance,” in the author’s book, Ruth.)

The bride for whom the Spirit had searched throughout the prior dispensation (cf. Genesis 24) will have been revealed at the judgment seat (Revelation 1; 2; 3; 4) and will be Christ’s wife following the redemption of the inheritance (Revelation 5-19 [19a]).  And the marriage festivities are seen occurring in heaven very near the conclusion of the judgments having to do with the redemption of the inheritance (Revelation 19:7-9); immediately before Christ returns to the earth to complete these judgments (Revelation 19:11ff).

(Note that the books of Ruth and Revelation parallel one another in more ways than just the redemption of the inheritance and marriage [Ruth 4 (4a); Revelation 5-19 (19a)].  The same sequence of other parallel events both precedes and follows the redemption of the inheritance and the marriage in both books.

In the book of Ruth, the matter of a family relationship is seen first [saved in the typological teaching of that which is occurring by and through Ruth and Orpah becoming family members (Ruth 1 [1a])].  Following this is a preparation for meeting Boaz and an appearance before Boaz on his threshing floor before the inheritance is redeemed and the marriage correspondingly occurs [Ruth 1; 2; 3 (1b)].  And after the inheritance has been redeemed and the marriage has occurred [Ruth 4 (4a)], by and through a genealogy extending to Boaz and Ruth’s great grandson, David, there is a reference to regality [Ruth 4 (4b)].

In the book of Revelation, a family relationship is seen first [Revelation 1 [1a] (individuals saved in the antitype of that which is seen by and through Ruth and Orpah becoming family members)].  Following this, a present preparation for meeting Christ and a future appearance before Christ at His judgment seat are seen together in the same Scriptures [Revelation 1-4 (1b), with Revelation 2; 3 presenting this dual picture of both a present preparation and a future meeting with Christ at His judgment seat (ref. Ch. 6, The Judgment Seat of Christ)].

The redemption of the inheritance and the corresponding marriage [a legal transaction] of Christ to His bride then follow [Revelation 5-19 (19a)].  And after the inheritance has been redeemed and the marriage has occurred, exactly as in Ruth, matters move to the thought of regality.   The greater Son of David will then reign as “King of kings and Lord of lords” with His co-heirs, His consort queen [His wife], from His own throne in the heavens and in the midst of the Jewish people [God’s restored wife] from David’s throne on earth [Revelation 19; 20 (19b-20a)].

As it was on Boaz’s threshing floor prior to the redemption of the inheritance and marriage, so will it be at Christ’s judgment seat.  It was here in the type that the bride was revealed, and it will be here in the antitype that the bride will be revealed.  And in each instance this allowed for the inheritance to be redeemed and the marriage to occur.

The rapture, seen in [Revelation 1:10-11; 4:1-2], for obvious reasons, is not seen in Ruth.  But comparing the two books, the timing of the rapture, as seen in Revelation — following certain events and preceding certain other events — is in complete keeping with the timing of these same events in connection with Ruth’s appearance before Boaz on his threshing floor.

Placing the two books together brings the complete picture more into focus.  Understanding this overall chronology of events from both books will help one to properly align and see God’s revealed timing for certain events in a number of instances, particularly as it pertains to the subject at hand — the timing of the marriage of Christ to His bride.

As evident from the type, which would govern the antitype; this marriage can occur only at one place in the overall sequence of events — not during the present dispensation, not at the time of the rapture, and not at the judgment seat.   Rather, this marriage can occur only through the judgments connected with the seven-sealed scroll that are brought to pass during and immediately following the Tribulation.  It can occur only during that time when the inheritance is being redeemed, with the wedding festivities occurring immediately prior to the completion of these judgments.)

“Alleluia”

The first six verses in Revelation 19 describe a scene of unparalleled rejoicing in heaven.  At this point in time, Israel will have been brought to the place of repentance.  And work surrounding the redemption of the inheritance will almost be finished, a work that will not only allow the bride to become the Lamb’s wife but also allow Israel to be restored as the wife of Jehovah.

Alleluia,” an Anglicized Greek word (Allelouia) that was transliterated from a Hebrew word (Hallujah), meaning “Praise Jehovah,” appears four times in Revelation 19:1-6 (Revelation 19:1, 3-4, 6);  and these verses comprise the only place that this word appears in the New Testament.  The Hebrew word Hallujah is a compound word, formed from the word for “praise” (Halal), with an abbreviated form of “Jehovah” as a suffix (Jah).  This compound word appears twenty-three times in the Psalms and is the first and last word in each of the last five Psalms (Psalms 146-150) — praise Psalms, closing the book of Psalms.

This is the word used twice, in a loud voice, by “a great multitudeas they deal centrally with Israel’s judgment, repentance, and impending restoration (Revelation 19:1-3);  this is the word used by “the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures,” first introduced back in Revelation 4, as they fall down before God’s throne, worshipping God (Revelation 19:4); and this is the word used by “a great multitude,” whose voice was like that of “many waters” and “mighty thunderingsas they reflect on God’s sovereign rule over all things (Revelation 19:6).

This is the scene in heaven at the end of the Tribulation because of that which had occurred and that which was about to occur.  And this scene leads into the marriage festivities of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9), followed by Christ’s return to deal with Israel and the nations (Revelation 19:11-21; cf. Joel 3:1-17; Zechariah 14:1-9), followed by Christ’s millennial reign (Revelation 20:1ff).

“His Wife Has Made Herself Ready”

All Christians will one day go forth to meet Christ at His judgment seat, typified in the book of Ruth by Ruth going forth to meet Boaz on his threshing floor.  The threshing floor was the place where that which was of value (the grain) was separated from that which was of no value (the chaff), which is exactly what will occur at Christ’s judgment seat.  The Christians’ works will be tried in “fire,” and a separation will occur.  Works comparable to “gold, silver, precious stones” will endure the fire; but works comparable to “wood, hay, straw” will be burned by the fire (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

A future judgment of this nature is what John the Baptist called attention to in Matthew 3:7-12 when dealing with Israel’s religious leaders, calling for the nation’s repentance and referring to fruit bearing.  Using the symbolism of the threshing floor, John concluded that of which he proclaimed to these religious leaders by saying, His winnowing fan is in His hand [Christ’s hand], and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:12)

The whole of the matter — preparation, events on the threshing floor, and that which follows — is seen outlined in a typical manner in the book of Ruth.  Ruth, in the final analysis, is seen preparing herself in a threefold manner for meeting Boaz on his threshing floor at the end of the harvest.  Ruth washed herself, anointed herself, and clothed herself with proper garments before going forth to meet Boaz.

Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor . . . .” (Ruth 3:3a)

And meeting Boaz in this manner, on his threshing floor, was with a view to two things:  the redemption of an inheritance, and Ruth becoming Boaz’s wife (Ruth 3:9ff).

This meeting also occurred at “midnight” (Ruth 3:8), typically foreshadowing a time of judgment, in complete keeping with both the first mention of “midnight” in Scripture (used in connection with judgment [Exodus 11:4]) and with that which John the Baptist told Israel’s religious leaders in Matthew 3:12.

Ruth’s preparation in the type is the same preparation that Christian’s must make in the antitype.  Ruth prepared herself, after a certain fashion, to meet Boaz on his threshing floor, at midnight, with a view to a redeemed inheritance and becoming his wife; and Christians must likewise prepare themselves, after the same fashion, to meet Christ on His threshing floor, at midnight, with a view to a redeemed inheritance and becoming His wife.

1)  “WASH YOURSELF”

“Washing” has to do with a cleansing from present defilement.  Within the scope of the ministry of priests in the Old Testament, a complete washing of the body occurred at the time one entered into the priesthood, never to be repeated (Exodus 29:4; 40:12-15).  Subsequent washings of parts of the body then occurred at the brazen (bronze) laver (basin) in the courtyard of the tabernacle as the priests ministered between the brazen (bronze) altar and the Holy Place (Exodus 30:19-21).  Their hands and feet became soiled as they carried out their ministry, and the brazen (bronze) laver (basin) had upper and lower basins for washing these soiled parts of the body.

Washings in the Old Testament were thus looked upon in two senses — a washing of the complete body (a one-time initial cleansing), followed by washings of parts of the body (numerous subsequent cleansings).  It was these two types of cleansings that Jesus referred to when speaking to Peter in John 13:8, 10:

If I do not wash [Greek: nipto, referring to a part of the body (the Septuagint uses this same word in Exodus 30:19, 21)] you, you have no part with Me [note: “with me,” not “in me”] . . .

He who is bathed [Greek: louo, referring to the entire body (the Septuagint uses this word in Exodus 29:4; 40:12)] needs only to wash [nipto] his feet . . . . (Exodus 29:8, 10a [8b])

Peter had been washed once (described by the word louo [his complete body]); now he needed continued washings (described by the word nipto [parts of the body]).  And, apart from these continued washings, he could have no part “withChrist (contextually, the kingdom and positions with Christ therein were in view).

Bringing the typological teachings of the Old Testament and Christ’s statement to Peter over into the lives of Christians today, the matter would be the same.

Christians, part of a New Testament priesthood (1 Peter 2:5), received a complete washing (louo, the entire body) at the time they entered into the priesthood, at the time they were saved.  Now, as priests ministering for their Lord, because of defilement through contact with the world, they need continued partial washings (nipto, parts of the body).  And, apart from these continued washings, Christians can have no part with Christ in His future kingdom.

All cleansing is accomplished on the basis of Christ’s past and present work in relation to His shed blood.

Christ died at Calvary, shedding His blood, to effect our redemption.  Those appropriating the blood have been washed (louo) and have entered into the priesthood (corresponding in the parallel type to the death of the paschal lambs and the application of the blood in Exodus 12:1ff).

And Christ’s blood is today on the mercy seat of the heavenly tabernacle, with Christ ministering, on the basis of His shed blood, on our behalf, in the Holy of Holies, to effect a continued cleansing (nipto) for the “kings and priests” (Revelation 1:6; 5:10) that He is about to bring forth.

Thus, the Lord has set apart a cleansed (louo) people through whom He is accomplishing His plans and purposes.  And He has provided a means whereby He can keep those whom He has set apart clean (nipto).

Cleansing through the work of Christ as High Priest though is not something that occurs automatically.  Ruth had to act herself.  She had to prepare herself for the impending meeting with Boaz, on his threshing floor.  And Christians must likewise prepare themselves for an impending meeting with Christ, on His threshing floor.

In Ruth’s case, she washed herself.  Today, Christ does the washing, but Christians, as Ruth, must act.  It is only as we “confess our sins,” judging ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:31-32), that Christ effects cleansing on our behalf.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

2)  “Anoint Yourself”

Oil was used in the Old Testament Scriptures to anoint prophets, priests, and kings; and there was a connection between the use of oil after this fashion and the Holy Spirit coming upon an individual to empower him for duties in the office to which he was being consecrated.

For example, Saul was anointed the first king over Israel (1 Samuel 10:1, 6); and, following Saul’s refusal to do that which God had commanded concerning Amalek, David was anointed king in Saul’s stead (1 Samuel 16:13).  And, as clearly shown, “oil” is used in both of these passages to symbolize God’s Spirit.  The Spirit came upon both Saul and David following their anointing, and the Spirit empowered both for the tasks which they were to perform.

The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 deals centrally with this same overall issue, with “oil” used symbolically in the parable in exactly the same manner as it is used in the Old Testament.  All of the virgins possessed oil, but only the five wise virgins possessed an extra supply of oil.  And when they were called to an accounting — at “midnight” — only the five wise virgins were allowed to enter into the marriage festivities with the Bridegroom (Matthew 25:16ff).

As the parable would relate to Christians, all Christians possess the Holy Spirit.  He indwells every Christian.  But not every Christian has the extra supply of Oil.  Not every Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit.  And when Christians are called to an accounting — at “midnight” — only those filled with the Spirit will be allowed to enter into the marriage festivities with the Bridegroom.

This same thing is seen in the symbolism of the second part of Ruth’s preparation for meeting Boaz on his threshing floor at midnight.  Ruth could not have been properly prepared for meeting Boaz apart from anointing herself; the ten virgins, in like fashion, could not have been properly prepared for meeting the Bridegroom at midnight apart from each possessing an extra supply of oil; and Christians today cannot be properly prepared for meeting their Lord at midnight apart from being filled with the Spirit.

And this will all become evident when the third and last part of Ruth’s preparation is viewed, for an inseparable connection exists between all three parts.

3)  “Put On Your Best Garment”

Not only was Ruth to be clean and to be anointed with oil but she was also to be properly arrayed (dressed).  Ruth was going forth to meet the bridegroom.  Naomi’s words, “put on your best garment,” in the light of that which was involved (events expected to culminate in Ruth’s marriage to Boaz), can only refer to special apparel for the occasion.  Ruth’s apparel, in which she was to clothe herself, would reflect the occasion at hand.

This facet of Ruth’s preparation, pointing to present preparation that Christians are to make, is seen in the parable of the marriage feast in Matthew 22:1-14.  In this parable, an improperly clothed man appeared at the festivities surrounding the marriage of “a certain” king’s son.  This man appeared without a wedding garment, and he was not only denied entrance into the festivities but he was cast into the darkness outside.

(A reference to the darkness outside [the outer darkness] also appears in the parable of the talents [Matthew 25:30].  And this parable deals with exactly the same thing as the previous parable [the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)], though from a different perspective.)

The “certain king” and “his son” in Matthew 22:2 can refer to none other than God the Father and His Son, with the festivities surrounding the “marriage of the Lamb” in Revelation 19 in vi