The Book of Revelation

Resources and handouts for the course on Revelation:

Introduction to Revelation

Overview of the structure

The Four Approaches to Interpretation of Revelation

  1. Preterist
    • The prophecies were entirely fulfilled in the first century
    • Plus: It would have been intelligible to John’s readers
    • Minus: It is not massively relevant for us
    • Minus: To be consistent, it means that Jesus must have already returned 1900 years ago
  2. Historicist
    • The book is a description of European history over 2000 years
    • Plus: It is interesting for us
    • Minus: Every age has had a different interpretation, relevant to themselves
    • Minus: Everyone disagrees what it means
    • Minus: It would not have been intelligible to John’s readers
  3. Futurist (Dispensational)
    • Apart from the first few chapters the book is exclusively concerned with events right at the end of the age
    • Christians will not even be on earth for most of it (raptured)
    • Minus: The book is not very relevant for us
    • Minus: Much of the detail will not be understood till it happens, so it would not have been very intelligible to John’s readers (or to us)
    • Minus: The Dispensational view makes the 7 churches = 7 ages
      • The last age (Laodicea) is a total failure and then Christ returns
      • Very pessimistic about the Kingdom and demotivating for the church
  4. Idealist
    • The book is not about specific events, but patterns of events that occur right through the age
    • It sets out principles for how God works in human history
    • Plus: It would have been intelligible to John’s readers
    • Plus: It is relevant for us and for Christians in all ages
    • Plus: There are examples of “repeated fulfillment” in O.T. prophecy
      • e.g. some of Daniel’s prophecies which are already fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes are repeated by Jesus with future application
    • Minus: The meaning can end up being so vague and general that the value of the book is much reduced
    • Minus: This would make it different to all other “apocalyptic” literature in the Scriptures which tends to be more specific

Good Principles for Interpreting the Book

  1. Allow the simple and straightforward parts of Scripture to interpret the complex and difficult
    • Jesus’ teaching on the events preceding his coming in Matt 24
    • Paul also gave similar teaching in II Thessalonians
  2. Understand the language of symbols from other similar literature in the Bible
    • Symbols can be understood from other prophetic (apocalyptic) literature in the Scriptures (e.g. Daniel)
    • e.g. dragon/serpent → Satan
    • e.g. Sun darkened & stars fall → collapsing of earthly powers
      Ez 32:1-10 (Pharoah), especially v.7 & 8
      Daniel 8 (Macedonian empire), see v.10
      Joel 2:1-11 (Great army), see v.10

The language of Symbols

Analysis of the Structure of the book

  1. All in sequence:
    • Christ’s first coming — 1 — 2 — 3 — 4 — 5 — 6 — 7 — eternity
  2. All in parallel:
Christ’s first coming —1—
—2—
—3—
—4—
—5—
—6—
—7—
eternity
  1. Some combination, e.g. telescope all of 2 inside the last 7th of 1
  2. We are going to see four parts to the book:
Vision Division of Book
—1— Part 1. Letters to the Seven Churches [1-3]
—2—
—3—
Part 2. The First Scroll: The Seven Seals and the Seven Trumpets [4-11]
—4—
—5—
—6—
Part 3. The Second Scroll: Warfare (Seven Visions, Seven Plagues and Seven Visions of Victory) [12-19]
—7— Part 4. The Second Scroll: The End of the Age and the New Creation [20-22]

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

Part 1 - Letters to the Seven Churches [1-3]

note: this are very brief notes

Introduction

Vision of Jesus


The Messages to the Churches

1. Ephesus

2. Smyrna

3. Pergamum

4. Thyatira

5. Sardis

6. Philadelphia

7. Laodicea

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

Part 2a - The First Scroll: Order of End Time Events [4-6]

Introductory Scene

Fitting the Seals into a Chronology

Prophecy of the future in Matthew 24:3-44

Matt 24:3-51

The Tribulation (“Beginning of sorrows”)

  • Many deceivers and false Christs
  • Wars and rumours of wars
  • Famines, disease and earthquakes
  • Tribulation, persecution and falling away
  • Gospel preached to the whole world

The Great Tribulation

  • The Abomination is revealed
  • False christs and false prophets do signs and wonders
  • Great endurance is required [Mk 13:13]

The Shaking of the Powers of Heaven

  • The sun is darkened and the stars fall from heaven

The Second Coming

  • Great sound of a trumpet
  • As obvious and visible as lightening flashing from the east to the west
  • He will come with power and great glory
  • Elect will be gathered in
  • so be prepared!

Prophecy of the future in II Thessalonians 1:7-2:12

Matt 24:3-51 II Thessalonians 2:1-12

“Beginning of sorrows” & Falling away

  • Many deceivers and false Christs
  • Wars and rumours of wars
  • Famines, disease and earthquakes
  • Tribulation & persecution
  • Many will fall away/grow cold because of lawlessness
  • Gospel preached to the whole world

The Falling away

  • Falling away comes first
  • “Mystery of Lawlessness” is already at work

The Great Tribulation

  • The Abomination is revealed
  • False christs and false prophets do signs and wonders
  • Great endurance is required [Mk 13:13]

Man of Sin is revealed

  • The “son of perdition”
  • “opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”
  • The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders

The Shaking of the Powers of Heaven

  • The sun is darkened and the stars fall from heaven
 

Return of Christ

  • Great sound of a trumpet
  • As obvious and visible as lightening flashing from the east to the west
  • He will come with power and great glory
  • Elect will be gathered in
  • so be prepared!

Return of Christ

  • “the Lord will consume the lawless one with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming”
  • believers will admire and glorify him
  • unbelievers will be punished with everlasting destruction

Now we will fit the Seven Seals into this framework

Matt 24:3-51 Rev 6:1-8:1 II Thessalonians 2:1-12

The Tribulation (“Beginning of sorrows”) & Falling away

  • Many deceivers and false Christs
  • Wars and rumours of wars
  • Famines, disease and earthquakes
  • Tribulation & persecution
  • Many will fall away/grow cold because of lawlessness
  • Gospel preached to the whole world

The Tribulation

  • 2nd seal: wars
  • 3rd seal: famine
  • 4th seal: disease famine & sword causing death

The Falling away

  • Falling away comes first
  • “Mystery of Lawlessness” is already at work
  • (see also 1 John 4:1-4 The Antichrist is already at work)

The Great Tribulation

  • The Abomination is revealed
  • False christs and false prophets do signs and wonders
  • Great endurance is required [Mk 13:13]

Time of endurance

  • 5th seal:
  • Many have been martyred
  • But the time is not quite ready for it to end

Man of Sin is revealed

  • The “son of perdition”
  • “opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”
  • The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders
  • The sun is darkened, moon fails and the stars fall from heaven

The Shaking of the Powers of Heaven

  • 6th seal: The sun is darkened, moon fails and the stars fall from heaven
 

Return of Christ

  • Great sound of a trumpet
  • As obvious and visible as lightening flashing from the east to the west
  • He will come with power and great glory
  • The nations will be terrified
  • Elect will be gathered in
  • so be prepared!

Return of Christ

  • 6th seal continued
  • As obvious and visible as the sky rolling up
  • The nations will be terrified
  • Elect will be gathered in to glory and every tear will be wiped away
  • 7th seal: (judgement in next section)

Return of Christ

  • “the Lord will consume the lawless one with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming”
  • believers will admire and glorify him
  • unbelievers will be punished with everlasting destruction

Connection between the Seals and the Trumpets

seal 1 seal 2 seal 3 seal 4 seal 5 seal 6 seal 7
trump 1 trump 2 trump 3 trump 4 trump 5 trump 6 trump 7
seal 1 seal 2 seal 3 seal 4 seal 5 seal 6     | seal 7
          trumps 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

This is shown on the: Chart of the First Scroll of Revelation

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

I John 4:1-4

  1. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
  2. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
  3. and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
  4. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

King of Babylon in Isaiah 14

  1. you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: “How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased!
  1. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!
  2. You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
  3. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
  4. But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.
  5. Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms,

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

Matthew 24:3-31, 36-44

Jesus is asked by his disciples about the end times

  1. Now as he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”
  2. And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.
  3. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

Wars and Rumours of Wars.

  1. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
  2. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
  3. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
  4. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.
  5. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
  6. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
  7. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
  8. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
  9. 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.

The ‘Abomination of Desolation’ and the Great Tribulation

  1. Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),
  2. then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
  3. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.
  4. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.
  5. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!
  6. And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
  7. 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.
  8. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

(Don’t be deceived because when Christ does come, it will be very obvious)

  1. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.
  2. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
  3. See, I have told you beforehand.
  4. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.
  5. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
  6. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.

The Shaking of the Powers of Heaven

  1. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Christ returns in Power and great Glory

  1. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
  2. And he will send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

People will be carrying on lives as usual, so be prepared!

  1. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
  2. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
  3. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
  4. and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
  5. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
  6. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
  7. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
  8. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
  9. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

II Thessalonians 1:7-2:12

Jesus will execute Judgement after he returns

  1. …and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
  2. in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power,
  4. when he comes, in that Day, to be glorified in his saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.
  5. Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith with power,
  6. that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus will not return before “the falling away” comes, and the “man of sin” is revealed

  1. Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, we ask you,
  2. not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.
  3. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
  4. who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
  5. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
  6. And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
  7. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.

Jesus will destroy him at his coming

  1. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming.
  2. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
  3. and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
  4. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
  5. that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

Part 2b - The First Scroll: The Seven Seals and the Seven Trumpets [6-11]

The Seals

Summary of The Seven Seals


The Trumpets

1st—4th Trumpets

5th Trumpet

6th Trumpet

Interlude: Chapter 11

  Twelve apostles (representing New Testament believers)
Twelve
tribes
=
O.T.
believers
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48
49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72
73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84
85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96
97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108
109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120
121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132
133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144

7th Trumpet

Summary of the First Scroll

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

Symbols in Revelation

This is not supposed to be a comprehensive and definitive list, but a rough guide to the most common symbols.

Numbers

Number Meaning
God (trinity), divinity
4 the Earth (four winds & corners [7:1], four living creatures [4:6], four horsemen, four angels who damage the earth [7:2])
7 Perfection, the days of creation
Half of the full number. This can be half way through 7, or a number cut short
12 A unity which can be divided into parts: 12 tribes, 12 Apostles, (also 12 hours in a day and 12 night)
So 144 (12x12) is the idealized completed and united people of God
24 Representing Old and New Covenant people of God

Symbols

Symbol Meaning
Great Red Dragon Satan
Woman who gives birth to Christ and to believers The covenant community
Beast from the Sea Evil empires and political structures opposed to Christ that culminate in the Antichrist
False Prophet Demonic power (fake of the Holy Spirit)
The Prostitute/Babylon System focussed on sensual pleasure and idolatry
Heads Usually kingdoms
Horns Power (sometimes kings)
the Abyss Place of imprisonment of demons until they are finally judged [Luke 8:31]. (Called “bottomless pit” in KJV.)
stars angelic beings (good or evil)
Sun darkened & stars fall Used in O.T. for the falling of earthly powers [Ez 32:7; Dan 8:10; Joel 2:10] also [Matt 24:29]

Parallels

Good Evil
God the Father Satan
The Lamb: Jesus Christ The Beast: Antichrist—a fake, not divine at all but human
The Holy Spirit The False Prophet—gives power to do lying signs and wonders and causes people to worship the Antichrist
Woman attacked by Dragon = Bride = New Jerusalem The Prostitute = Babylon (destroyed just before [?] the wedding of the Bride)
2 Witnesses = 144,000 Demonic armies [9:7-11; 11:7] who do signs and wonders [16:14]

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

Part 3a - The Second Scroll: Warfare (Seven Visions & Plagues) [12-16]

note: these are very brief notes

chart of the second scroll (pdf format)

A. Seven Visions of Warfare

1. The Woman [12:1-2]

2. The Great Red Dragon [12:3-6]

3. War in Heaven, Dragon thrown down to earth [12:7-18]

4. Beast from the Sea [13:1-10]

5. Beast from the land (False Prophet) [13:11-18]

Number of the Beast

6. The Lamb with the 144,000 (hour of judgement) [14:1-13]

7. Judgement begins [14:14-20]

Summary of Seven Visions of Warfare

  1. God promised to his people that they would eventually give birth to a Messiah, but there are many attempts to destroy the line of Jesus
  2. These attempts are from Satan, the dragon, but Jesus is born and later ascends to heaven, and the Satan turns his attack on God’s people
  3. Jesus’ victory on the cross was Satan’s defeat and he is no longer able to accuse believers
    • He attacks God’s people, but they are supernaturally preserved, just like Elijah and Israel were
  4. Satan’s opposition to Christians begins to be through anti-God kingdoms (the beast from the sea)
    • There are a series of these kingdoms which eventually culminate in a particularly evil one that is the manifestation of anti-christ
    • This time ends with an intense persectution and martyrdom of Christians, the “Great Tribulation”
  5. The final member of the anti-trinity is the false prophet, (the beast from the earth)
    • He does supernatural signs and wonders and makes people worship the anti-christ
    • He puts a mark on unbelievers which is a fake of the sealing of the Spirit
  6. But Jesus is assembling all the true belivers, whose worship song is amazing and can’t be faked
    • events rapidly hasten towards the final judgement
  7. Jesus appears in the clouds and judgement begins

B. Seven Plagues (bowls poured out)

Summary of Seven Plagues (bowls poured out)

  1. — 4. the earth is damaged by plagues, but the true believers are not hurt
  1. The beast causes darkness and extreme pain. This was supposed to lead people to repent, but (most of them) refused to
  2. A demonic-inspired army is raised up for the final confrontation (this may or may not be literal)
  3. Creation comes to an end

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

Daniel 7

  1. In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter.
  2. Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.
  3. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another.
  4. The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it.
  5. And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’
  6. After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it.
  7. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.
  8. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.
  9. As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire.
  10. A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.
  11. I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.
  12. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.
  13. I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
  14. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
  15. “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me.
  16. I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things.
  17. ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth.
  18. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’
  19. “Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet,
  20. and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions.
  21. As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them,
  22. until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.
  23. “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
  24. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings.
  25. He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
  26. But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
  27. And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’
  28. “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.”

Part 3b - The Second Scroll: Seven Visions of Victory [17-19]

note: these are very brief notes

C. Seven Visions of Victory

  1. Description of Babylon [17]
    • If Jerusalem represents the people of God, the bride of Christ adorned for her husband [21:2]
    • Babylon is the prostitute, the evil counterpart to Jerusalem
    • She is the fake bride [17:3-4]
    • She represents the seduction of wealth and sex and has damaged the people of God [17:6]
    • 10 kings will rule for one hour and turn on Babylon
  2. Babylon will fall in a single day, a single hour [18]
    • There is a surprisingly long description of the weeping and mourning for the loss of this city
    • Many people have identified Babylon with the Roman empire because of the 7 hills on which Rome was built [17:9]
      • When Rome fell, the whole world was plunged into centuries of dark ages
      • The Roman empire was an empire of trade, of luxury, and of increasing sexual corruption
      • [v.8-9] tell us that (along with the beast that carries it) it “was”, “is not” and “is to come”
    • Some have speculated that in many ways our world system is like the Roman empire both in wealth and corruption
      • If this were true, this event could be world economic collapse
    • What is Babylon?
      • probably the culture of sensual luxury, entertainment, sexual immorality, idolatry, earthly and fleshly pleasure that “rides on the back of the beast”, i.e. is supported by its economic/power system
  3. A vast throng praises God for his judgements [19:1-5]
  4. The wedding of the Lamb and his bride is announced [19:6-10]
  5. Christ appears with army dressed in white [19:11-16]
  6. Announcement of battle [19:17-18]
  7. Great battle: Beast & False Prophet thrown into lake of fire [19:19-21]
    • Note the order of destruction is the reverse of the order they are introduced in this scroll
    1. Dragon
    2. Beast
    3. False Prophet
    4. Babylon
    • Note also that the images are consistent throughout all 4 visions of the second scroll, re-enforcing the idea that they form a unity, separate from the first scroll

Parallel’s with the History of Israel

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

The History of Israel as a Prophetic Sequence Reflected in Revelation

  1. Pharoah tries to kill the male children
  2. As the Israelites escape from Egypt and are chased, water blocks them. God dries up the water and they are safe in the wilderness
  3. Jesus Christ appears as their King, carrying a sword (to Joshua)
  4. They go through a long period of wars/famines/oppression during the time of the Judges
  5. This comes to a climax in the oppression of the Philistines, and many Israelites falling back into heathen practices
  6. The people want a leader, and Saul, the “anti-David” is crowned King
  7. Saul turns out to be demonized and persecutes David and his followers
  8. David is finally crowned king and brings victory over all the nations
  9. He brings the nation into rest and establishes the kingdom
  10. Jerusalem is established as the place of God’s presence
  11. Finally a glorious temple is built, full of gold and precious stones
  • The following are parallel images found in Revelation, but not in exact time sequence:
    1. Plagues on the Egyptians that didn’t touch the people of God
      • Purpose was that Egyptians should repent, but most of them didn’t (some did and joined God’s people)
      • The mark (seal) on the homes of believers protected them from the Angel who brought death
    2. Armageddon (Megiddo) — The great battle when the kings gathered against the people of God in the time of the judges Deborah & Barak [Judges 5]:
      1. Kings came, they fought; the kings of Canaan fought,
        at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo, but they took no silver as plunder.

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

Sequence of events in Revelation

this is only a rough outline. Don’t hold me to it!

  • Jesus born
  • Died on the cross, rose again and defeated Satan =Dragon bound (a-millennial)
  • Ascended to the throne and began his rule
    • Church is protected for a period of time
    • tribulation, wars disease etc.
    • the Antichrist secretly growing in strength
    • not explicitly stated, but at some point probably great numbers of ethnic Israel are saved
  • Antichrist revealed, Great Tribulation begins
    • Beast will come up out of the abyss (before going to destruction) =Dragon released (a-millennial)
    • for 3½ years beast given ruling authority & permitted to war against the saints & conquer them
    • persecution and martyrdom
    • martyrs are with Christ in long white robes, praying for an end
    • beast is given power
    • Special sealing of Christians with the Spirit begins
  • All believers sealed. “Day of wrath” / “Great shaking” begins
    • The world is shaken
    • Demonic armies are released causing terrible pain
    • Cannot touch Christians since they are “sealed”
    • A vast army is gathered together against the Christians
    • They appear to be defeating the Christians
  • Jesus appears in the clouds and the Christians rise to meet him
    • 10 kings will rule for “one hour” and turn on Babylon
    • Babylon will fall in a single day, a single hour with a “great earthquake”
    • Christ comes to battle with army dressed in white
    • Great battle: Beast & False Prophet thrown into lake of fire
    • The Dragon subdued for 1000 years & released (pre-millennial)
    • The Dragon fights, and is thrown into lake of fire
  • Great white throne. The dead are judged
  • A new heaven and a new earth
    • The bride adorned for her husband. “Behold, I am making all things new!”
    • The beauty of the city (the wife of the Lamb)
    • The River of Life (Holy Spirit)

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

Part 4a - The Second Scroll: The End of the Age and the New Creation [20-22:5]

note: these are very brief notes

  1. The Dragon: subdued for 1000 years [20:1-6]
  2. The Dragon: released, fights, and is thrown into lake of fire [20:7-10]
  3. Great white throne. The dead are judged [20:11-15]
    • Judgement —for believers this is not on works but on what Christ has done for us

The Millennium

  • 3 possible interpretations:
    1. Premillenialism: between Christ’s coming and the judgment, we have another thousand years.
      • Disadvantages:
        • throws a monkey wrench into the timing—it doesn’t fit with the rest of the scheme. In the rest of Revelation, Jesus comes and then immediately there is judgment
        • according to the theory Jesus is reigning on earth for a thousand years, but at the end of this time everyone is against him. Not what we would expect!
        • we’ve already had the saints reigning—they’ve already been resurrected. it doesn’t make sense if they get raised again here.
        • a lot of coming and going from the abyss—Satan falls and rises twice in this scheme
      • Advantages
        • most straightforward reading of the text
        • seems to fit better with end-time promises in OT books—the lion lying with the lamb, etc.
    2. Amillennialism—the events of the thousand years are another statement of history from Christ’s coming to the end. Satan cast down is the same as chapter 12, when Jesus came. Satan loosed is the Great Tribulation, whereas he was bound before. A period of protection, then great persecution.
      • Advantages
        • makes all the timing simpler and cleaner—several things only happen once instead of twice, which seems to make more sense and fit in better
      • Disadvantages
        • needs a major section break at the start of chapter 20 so that we can return to the beginning of the era
    3. Postmillenialism (a variation of the timing of Amillenialism—the world gets better and better and more Christian until Jesus comes and practically everyone is saved. (e.g. Reconstructionism)]
  • Bottom line:
    • don’t get caught up in this argument—it makes very little practical difference. The sequence of events throughout the whole books is almost exactly the same whichever position you take. Christians have got caught up arguing and fighting and dividing over this issue which is such a minor one that it is pathetic and terrible to make it a big deal.
    • see chart of sequence of events
  1. A new heaven and a new earth [21:1]
  2. A bride adorned for her husband. “Behold, I am making all things new!” [21:2-8]
  3. The beauty of the city (the wife of the Lamb) [21:9-27]
    • there is no temple because Jesus is there, he dwells in the city so he is with us and in us
    • gold and precious stones is US. WE are the city, this is not where we will live.
    • this is new Eden imagery. Eden was described with precious stones, and the presence of God was there
      • Similar language was used to describe Solomon’s temple, which is a picture of the church, the people of God
    • But in Eden there were only two people—now there is a city
      • The new creation will be unimaginably more amazing than even Eden
    • Just as Adam was given a task in Eden, we will be called into new destinies and responsibilities
    • Picture language has to be used to describe the new creation because there is something about it that is totally out of our comprehension in its wonder and glory
  4. The River of Life [22:1-5]
    • [21:22]—the Father and Jesus are mentioned, but where is the Holy Spirit? [22:1,2]—the River of Life maybe symbolizes the Holy Spirit.
    • He flows through the city, so he is flowing through US, in an unlimited amount.
    • will there be animals in heaven? Rom. 8 says the whole creation groans and longs for its redemption.
      • Probably, but we can’t be sure. Anyway, it will be good!

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching

Part 4b - Epilogue [22:6-21]

note: these are very brief notes

Epilogue


Some Problems in understanding Revelation


Response

Updated on 2011-05-27 by Andrew Fountain - loveintruth.com/teaching