The Revelation Given to John
By Bruce L. Gerig

NOTE: This summary of the Book of Revelation concluded a two-year survey (2009–2011) by the Gay and Lesbian Bible Study of New York, meeting at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan.    For maximum use, read the various passages in Revelation first, and then the explanatory notes given below for each section.    Unless otherwise noted, translations are taken from the New Revised Standard Version.      

        Last May no doubt everyone received a tract or saw a sign somewhere, put out by Harold Camping’s Family Radio (Oakland, CA), announcing, “The End of the World Is Almost Here!    HOLY GOD Will Bring Judgment Day on MAY 21, 2011.”    Of course, nothing happened—because Jesus clearly (and repeatedly) told his disciples, relating to his return, that “about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matt 24:36, Acts 1:6-7), “for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour” (Matt 24:44, cf. 25:13).    Moreover, the references to “Judgment Day” and “when God will destroy the world” (Camping’s tract) are confusing, since according to John’s Revelation these do not occur at the beginning, during, or immediately following the Tribulation period (the last seven years of history, as John describes it); only a thousand years later will the Great White Throne Judgment occur (Rev 20:11–15) and then God will destroy and recreate a new heavens and earth (Rev 21:1).    Such false proclamations emphasize how important it is to carefully study the Book of Revelation, and within in the context of the whole of Biblical prophecy.  

 

PRELIMINARY MATERIAL

        A. Introduction to the Book of Revelation – Some early manuscripts carry the title apokalypsis Iōannou (“The Apocalypse of John”), although today this text is more commonly called “The Revelation to John” (GNB, NRSV, NAB, UNASB, NJB, ESV).    Apocalypse refers to “an uncovering, or revelation.”    The seven churches to which this letter is addressed (1:4a, 11b) were located north of Ephesus, a coastal city in the Roman province of “Asia” (now western Turkey), which Paul evangelized (Acts 19) and where later, after Paul’s martyrdom, the Apostle John lived during the second half of the first century AD.    This was a “circular letter,” to be sent to churches under his spiritual care, to be read, copied, and passed on from one congregation to the next.    The call here to remain faithful to the Lord—see the repeated injunctions to “overcome” (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 25; 3:5, 12, 21) in the individual letters included for these 7 churches—carried a real urgency since besides the frequent persecution stirred up by local Jewish synagogues, the Roman emperor Domitian (81–96) intensified his persecution of Christians during the latter part of his reign, at which time John was exiled for his Christian testimony to Patmos (1:9), a rocky, barren island located ca. 50 miles southwest of Ephesus.    The widely accepted date for John’s visions here and his subsequent letter is ca. 95 AD.    In terms of literary genre, Revelation is an epistle (sending a personal letter), a prophecy (foretelling future events), and an apocalypse (describing the ultimate destruction of evil and triumph of good on earth).    Interpreters have followed four basic approaches to try to understand the book’s unusual and often puzzling contents:    The preterist approach holds that most of the events and symbolism should be related to the first century AD, the historicist approach holds that the story of Revelation unfolds across history, the idealist approach holds that the book is primarily an allegory offering timeless symbols, and the futurist approach holds that most of the Book of Revelation should be read literally and that most of the events described there remain to be fulfilled at the end of time (Johnson).    Liberal scholars largely endorse the preterist view (not liking the supernatural prediction of future events in Scripture), while the futurist approach continues among traditionalist interpreters today (Beasley-Murray).    While some modern interpretation has become so symbolic and non-literal as to sink into total subjectivity, one has to wonder why Christ gave this prophecy to John and to the Church if he did not mean for it to communicate an understandable and important message.

        B. Introduction to Biblical Prophecy
        1. John’s Revelation and OT prophecy – Although no direct Old Testament quotations appear in the Book of Revelation, Robert Thomas counted 278 verses in the latter which allude to OT material; so this book continues in this tradition—and indeed many OT prophecies address (and add to) themes which appear in the Book of Revelation, including, e.g., passages related to Christ’s glorious return and defeat of his enemies (Zech 14:1–15), peace brought to human society and the animal kingdom during Christ’s Millennial reign (Isa 65:19–25), the structure and service of a Millennial Temple (Ezek 40–46), and many other topics (a number of which will be noted later).    Especially important is Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (Dan 9:24–27), which covers 490 years (1 “week” = 7 years).    According to Gleason Archer (an Evangelical with a Ph.D. from Harvard), the first 69 weeks (483 years) extend from the year the Persian king Artaxerxes gave Ezra the scribe a decree allowing him to return to Jerusalem (with a second group of Jewish exiles) to the year Christ began his public ministry at age 30 (in 27 AD).    Soon afterward, however, the “anointed one [the Messiah] shall be cut off” (Christ’s crucifixion, in 30 AD); and then “the city” (Jerusalem) and “its sanctuary” (the Temple later enlarged by Herod) will be destroyed (which occurred in 70 AD; Dan 9:26).    Then there is a GAP in this Jewish timetable, to allow for the Gentile Age of Grace, and Daniel’s prophecy holds off for the last “week” (7 years) to be fulfilled later.    Moving then to the last seven years of history as we know it (Dan 9:27), at first ‘he’ (the Antichrist) will make a covenant “with many [Israel] for one week [7 years]” and rebuild the Temple.    However, after 3-1/2 years (“one-half week”) he will stop the sacrificing to God there and instead set up “an abomination that desolates” (the worship of himself as god, cf. 2 Thess 2:3–12).    In relation to this, then, it may be said that the bulk of the Book of Revelation (about 60%) deals with this last 3-1/2 years (chapters 7–18), called “the great tribulation” (Rev 7:14), and then with what follows with Christ’s glorious return and its aftermath (chapters 20–22).    It should be noted that the end-time archenemy of God is called “the first beast” in Rev 13:12, “the lawless one [who exalts himself over all gods]” in 2 Thess 2:3, and “that antichrist [who] is coming” in 1 John 2:18.    

         2. Major events covered in John’s Revelation – More specifically, the major events covered in Revelation fall into seven categories:    (a) During the Early Tribulation Period (3-1/2 years), the Antichrist appears and rises to world-wide power, seemingly as a beneficial ruler; but also the world begins to experience worsening calamities (Rev 6).    (b) During the Great Tribulation Period (the next 3-1/2 years), the Antichrist openly reveals himself to be God’s archenemy, he becomes more fully empowered by Satan, he demands that the whole world worship him as god (under the direction of a False Prophet), and he intensely sets about to persecute and kill Christians (Rev 7–18).    The False Prophet deceives the whole world by setting up an Image in honor of the Antichrist (and Satan), which all must bow down and worship or be killed; and now also everyone must wear the Mark of the Beast (“666”) on his or her right hand or forehead, or they will not be permitted to buy or sell anything (Rev 13:14–18).    (c) Christ’s Glorious Return brings with him the saints who have died and defeats the Antichrist and his evil forces in the Battle of Armageddon (Rev 19; cf. Zech 14:1–7, 12–15).    (d) Christ’s Millennial Reign will witness the King of kings finally bring peace and righteousness to the whole world (Rev 20:1–6).    (e) Satan, released one last time, will stir up hostile armies again; but God will swiftly deal with them in the Battle of Gog and Magog (Rev 20:7–10; cf. Ezek 38:1–39:20).    (f) The Great White Throne Judgment will decree a just punishment for the wicked (Rev 20:11–15).    And finally, (g) the Eternal Age will begin with the recreation of a new earth and heavens, the descent of a beautiful New Jerusalem from Heaven, and the ushering in of an unending blessed life for the saints with Christ their Savior, freed from death because their glorified bodies will have access to the Tree of Life (Rev 21:1–22:5, cf. Gen 3:22).

         Yet there is one end-time event which seems missing or at least is only alluded to in the Book of Revelation (3:10): the Rapture, which Paul describes (1 Thess 4:16–17) as an unexpected worldwide event, where Christ appears in the sky and summons all those believers who have died to rise again to join him in the air, along with all those believers who are still alive on the earth; and both groups will go to “be with the Lord forever.”     Yet, when does this occur within John’s Revelation?    Many traditional interpreters (those who believe in the supernatural and in Biblical prophecy) note that the Church as we know it seems strangely absent in Rev 7–18, which surely describes the Great Tribulation Period and the last 3-1/2 years before Christ’s glorious return, since the events here are too catastrophic and extreme to be applied, as some hold, to John’s own time (the first century AD), even though severe persecution of Christians occurred then—including John’s exile on Patmos, during which time the Lord gave him these visions.    Yet, Christ promised the faithful in the church at Philadelphia that “I will . . . keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth” (Rev 3:10); and Paul wrote that Jesus will ‘rescue’ believers “from the wrath that is coming” (1 Thess 1:10).    Now some commentators (called “pretribulationists”) believe that the Rapture probably occurs between Rev 3–4, before John’s vision of the Almighty (chapter 4), who hands Christ the Scroll with the Seven Seals, which he then opens to dispense various woes (chapters 5–6).    However, other commentators (called “midtribulationists”) note that the first half (3-1/2 years) of Daniel’s 70th Week (the Early Tribulation Period) is portrayed as a time of comparative peace and security, when the Antichrist rises to world power, makes a peace treaty with Israel, rebuilds her Temple, and initiates sacrificing to the Lord there (Dan 9:27a).    Relating to the Lord’s coming “a second time” (Heb 9:26), Jesus simply referred to this as his “coming [parousia]” (Matt 24:27, 37, 39); and theologians commonly use this Greek term to refer to Christ’s Second Coming (Parousia).    Yet, just as Israel’s Messiah comes in two stages (as a suffering servant in the First Advent, then much later as a conquering king), so also his Second Coming occurs in two stages, including the Rapture which occurs secretly and then (not too long afterward) his Glorious Return which the whole world will witness (Rev 1:7, 19:11–16).    Now Jesus informed his disciples in his Olivet Discourse on the End Time (Matt 24–25) that the Age of Grace (of Christian outreach to the world, 24:14) would be marked by the appearance of false religious leaders, wars and rumors of wars, famine and earthquake, and martyrdom of the saints (Matt 24:4–9)—which parallel the woes of the Four Horsemen in Rev 6:1–8 (connected to the opening of Seals 1–4), which include false religions conquering the world, war, famine, and death.    These general signs of the times no doubt will appear in worsening forms during the Early Tribulation Period.    Yet, the falling “stars” (meteors?) and great earthquake accompanying the Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12–17) appear so grave that this could actually mark the transition into the high turbulence of The Great Tribulation Period.    In this case, the Rapture probably occurs near or at the end of Rev 6.      

         3. Some major characteristics of Biblical prophesy – Three important characteristics can be observed in OT prophecy, which carry over into John’s Revelation:    (a) Biblical prophecy is generally meant to be read and fulfilled literally, although symbolism sometimes appears in it (and is frequently explained).    When OT prophets predicted the fall of Israel’s enemies (Jer 46–51) or the coming of the special ‘anointed one’ (the Messiah) who would rule over Israel (Ezek 34:23–31) and defeat evil on earth (Ps 2), they expected these event to come to pass literally, as well as did Jesus when he described the End Time (Matt 24).    (b) Yet, events often appear in Biblical prophecy ‘mixed up’ or out of sequence relating to their later chronological order of fulfillment; i.e., they are viewed like peaks in a distant mountain range, without regard for which peaks actually lie closer or farther away from the viewer in reality.    While the Book of Revelation generally follows a chronological order, at times it also moves back and forth in time sequence; and the reader must be sensitive to this.    (c) Many OT end-time prophecies not only exist but they parallel and shed valuable light on many passages in Revelation, and vice versa.    In fact, this last book of the Bible “forms an amazing mosaic, as it were, of Old Testament and New Testament themes” (W. Smith), especially related to the End Time.

 

I. PROLOGUE TO THE BOOK OF REVELATION (chapter 1)

        A. Preface (1:1–8) – The text begins by calling this “The revelation of Jesus Christ” which was given to John to show believers “what must soon take place” (1:1)—although tachei (“soon”) would be better translated here as “suddenly” (Acts 12:7) or “quickly” (Acts 22:18, NRSV)—indicating that once these events begin, they will quickly unfold and be completed.    John explains the origin of his revelation, which came from God the Father, through Jesus Christ, and then through an angel (1:1–2)—although sometimes in the vision the Father (1:8) and Christ (1:17–18) speak directly to John.    He writes, “Blessed [happy]” will be those who read this prophecy and take it to heart (1:3).    John sends greetings to the 7 churches in the Roman province of Asia to whom this letter is addressed and will be sent (1: 4a); and then he raises a doxology to God the eternal one, to the Holy Spirit in his fullness (NRSV footnote: “the seven-fold Spirit”), and to Jesus Christ the true witness of God and our loving Saviour (1:4b–6).    The main focus of this Book (or scroll) is Christ’s Glorious Return to earth (1:7), although the calamities that will precede this (Rev 7–18) and the marvels that will follow this (Rev 19–22) are described in some detail. 

       B. John’s commission (1:9–20) – Now the Apostle John relates more specifically how it was during his imprisonment on the Island of Patmos that he had these visions and was divinely commissioned to write them down, so that they could be sent immediately to the 7 churches.    The glorified Christ appears to him (1:12–20) surrounded by 7 lampstands (symbolizing the 7 churches, to whom Christ stands near) and holding in his right hand 7 stars (symbolizing his “messengers,” or the leaders of these churches).    His face shines like the sun; and his voice, loud as a trumpet (1:10) or a waterfall (1:15), conveys the authority and power of a double-edged sword (1:16).    Now Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, united again with his full deity (cf. Phil 2:5–11), commissions John to “Write” down what he sees and hears (1:11, 19).    Christ is both the Eternal God (“the first and the last”) and our Risen Lord (“I was dead . . . [but now I] am alive”).       

 

II. SPECIAL CONCERN FOR GOD’S CHURCHES (chapters 2–3)

        A. Message to Ephesus (2:17) – This church was marked by loveless orthodoxy (correct teaching).    Christ praises this important church’s hard work, perseverance through hardships, and rejection of wicked persons and false teaching (2:1–3).    They hate what Christ hates (2:6)—and yet he laments, “You have forsaken your first love” (2:4).    “Repent” therefore, and stir up the fervent love for Me that you once had.    Ephesus was the center for Christian outreach in this region, and it also contained the world famous temple of Artemis, the great Mother Goddess.   
       B. Message to Smyrna (2:811) – This church was marked by continuing persecution.    Christ knows the poverty and afflictions and slander that its members suffer, particularly from hostile Jews in the city.    Yet even though some of them will be thrown into prison, Christ urges believers there to be faithful, even if they may suffer martyrdom—for their “crown of life” (Thomas: of victory) will be worth it.    Perhaps the most beautiful city in Asia Minor, Smyrna had a “street of gold” which led up to the Temple of Zeus.  
        C. Message to Pergamum (2:1217) – This church was marked by dangerous tolerance.    Christ praises the church here for remaining true to him, even though they live in an evil city and one of its members, Antipas, was recently martyred.    Still they must expel a false prophet in their midst (like Balaam in the Old Testament, cf. Num 22) who advises their members to continue attending the pagan temple feasts with their sexual orgies.    The grand Pergamum Altar from the city center still survives in the Pergamum Museum in Berlin.   
       D. Message to Thyatira (2:1829) – This church was marked by sinful compromise.    Christ notes the church’s many good deeds and love; and yet they tolerate an evil and influential woman (like Jezebel, cf. 1 Kings 16:31–32, 17:19ff) who spreads esoteric ideas (“deep secrets,” 2:24) and encourages indulging in sexual immorality, including perhaps even having sex with her (2:22–23).   She should be cast out.    Every craftsman in Thyatira had to join an influential guild, which, in turn, required supporting that guild’s special deity.  
         E. Message to Sardis (3:16) – This church was marked by near-death complacency.    Christ tells the church that although people think they are “alive” (an active church), they are really spiritually “dead,” or nearly so.    Only a few members there walk with the Lord and “have not soiled their clothes” (fallen into error and sin).    Yet there is still time to “Wake up!,” repent, and return to a close walk with Christ.    Nearby Sardis lay famous hot springs, promoted for their healing properties and as a religious site.          
        F. Message to Philadelphia (3:713) This church was marked by promised deliverance.    Christ notes that although the members there have “little strength,” they have kept his word and not denied his name in the face of fierce Jewish persecution.    Since they have endured patiently, Christ assures them that their enemies will one day be humbled, and their reward will be worth all of their suffering.    Prone to earthquakes and aftershocks, Philadelphia in the 90's was still recovering from the great quake of 17 AD.               G. Message to Laodicea (3:1422) – This church was marked by lukewarm materialism.    Christ informs the church here that they are “lukewarm—neither hot nor cold” (2:16).    Although they glory in their material wealth, in fact they are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” in spiritual terms (2:17).    They should seek the “gold” obtained in the fires of life and forgiveness from the Lord, and open their eyes.    Many residents in this city became wealthy from black sheep wool, famous eye cures, and other commerce.   

         H. Christ’s special gifts offered to his followers – In his letters here (at the end of each one) Christ promised certain rewards to those believers who “overcome,” who remain faithful to the end.    These blessings include:    In the final Eternal Age they will “eat from the tree of life” (Rev 2:7, receive eternal life, cf. Gen 3:22) and avoid “the second death” (2:11, the final punishment of the wicked, cf. Rev 21:14).    Their names will never be removed from the Book of Life, and Christ will acknowledge them before his Father (3:5).    They will also obtain “hidden manna” (2:17, true and lasting satisfaction which only Christ the ‘Bread of Life’ can give, cf. John 6:35) and also “a white stone with a new name written on it” (2:17, showing our Saviour’s special love for each believer).    Also they will be given “the right to sit with me on my throne” (3:21, to share in Christ’s glory) and “authority to rule the nations” (2:26, positions of honor and great importance), along with “the morning star” (2:28, either Christ himself, cf. Rev 22:16, or [Thomas:] a physical brightness or glory that shall shine as the stars, cf. Dan 12:3).    

 

III. RECORD OF THE MAIN PROPHECIES (Rev 4:1–22:5)

        A. OPENING OF THE SCROLL WITH SEVEN SEALS (4:1–8:1)
        1. Preliminaries (chapters 4–5) – The main body of John’s prophecies begins with a vision of God the Father in Heaven (chapter 4) and of Christ (chapter 5).    Here the Eternal Lord God (4:8) emitted a brilliant light both like jasper (Thomas: perhaps diamond) and carnelian (a fiery reddish-orange stone); and an emerald rainbow (W. Smith: symbolic of God’s mercy, cf. Gen 9:12–15) encircled his great throne, from which also came flashes of lightning and peals of thunder.    Surrounding God’s throne sat 24 Elders (4:4), a kind of high angelic council, dressed in white, wearing gold crowns, and seated also on thrones.    They seem to discharge primarily ‘priestly’ duties before the throne of God (Bruce).    Yet, between them and the Almighty stood 4 Living Creatures (4:6b–8), hybrid winged cherubim like Ezekiel saw (Ezek 1) guarding God’s throne with their many eyes and four faces (of a lion, an ox, a human, and an eagle) pointing in all four directions, which each cherub possessed.    Henry Swete wrote, “The four forms [here] suggest what is noblest, strongest, wisest, and swiftest in animate nature.”    Those who think that these creatures are too ‘fanciful’ to ever exist should check out the Creator’s surprising imagination displayed even now on earth, in “microscopic animals,” “deep sea fish,” and “dinosaur photographs” on Google Images.    Anyway, day and night these Heavenly beings give God “glory, honor and thanks,” as the Creator of all things (4:9–11).    Then the Almighty displayed a scroll in his right hand, with writing on both sides (5:1); and a mighty angel asked, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”    At first John is dismayed that no one might be found worthy, but then “the Lion . . . of Judah, the Root of David, . . . the Lamb [of God]” stepped forward, and he was worthy to take the scroll.    This is Christ, who appears in this vision as a bleeding lamb (the crucified Messiah), standing before God’s throne, having 7 horns (symbolizing his omnipotence, or all powerfulness) and 7 eyes (symbolizing his omnipresence, or being everywhere present through the ‘sevenfold’ or all-seeing Holy Spirit).    Then the Angelic Council and Four Cherubim fell down before “the Lamb” (Christ’s predominate name in the Book of Revelation), singing praises to him for his atoning death, as 10,000 x 10,000 (i.e., an uncountable number) of angels join in.               

         2. Seals 1–6 – Here one must recall Jesus’ Olivet Discourse (Matt 24–25), where in a similar vein he noted that “the beginning of birth pangs” (painful signs that will precede Christ’s Glorious Return) will begin appearing even in the time of apostles, in the first century AD; and these signs would include “wars and rumors of war . . . famines and earthquakes . . . many false prophets” and killing of the saints—while at the same time the “good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world” (Matt 24:4–14).    Albrecht Dürer’s famous woodcut “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” (c. 1498) pictures Death, Famine, War, and Plague, taken from Seals 2–4 here.  
         a. First Seal opened (6:12) – When the Lamb broke the First Seal, there appeared a rider on a white horse, with a bow; and he was allowed to ride out conquering.    The absence of arrows suggests a peaceful conquest (Walvoord).    This is not a symbol of Christ, but of false religions, which begin spreading doctrinal error in a bloodless conquest even in the first century.   
         b. Second Seal opened (6:34) – When the Lamb broke the Second Seal, there appeared a rider on a fiery red horse (“red” symbolizing bloodshed); and he was given a large sword and he took peace from the earth, so that men slayed each other, and the world was filled with war.    This may have reminded John of Nero’s and Domitian’s slaughter of Christians.       
         c. Third Seal opened (6:56) – When the Lamb broke the Third Seal, there appeared a rider on a black horse, and he rode forth with a pair of scales, bringing widespread famine.    Enough wheat (a basic staple) to feed just one person now costs a full day’s wages, although oil and wine are not affected.    This suggests wheat prices 12 times higher than normal (Johnson).          d. Fourth Seal opened (6:78) – When the Lamb broke the Fourth Seal, there appeared a rider on a pale (sickly-colored) horse, and its rider, named Death, brought widespread death; in fact, a quarter of the earth’s population died from killing, famine, and plague in the world, and even from hungry wild beasts.    Plagues often follow widespread famine.   
         e. Fifth Seal opened (6:911) – When the Lamb broke the Fifth Seal, John saw the souls of martyrs slain for their faith, crying out, “How long, Sovereign Lord . . . until you . . . avenge our blood?”    But they were given white robes (Thomas: of glory) and told to wait until the company of martyrs was complete.    “Souls” (psychē) here refers to disembodied spirits (Johnson).      
          f. Sixth Seal opened (6:1217) – When the Lamb broke the Sixth Seal, there was a great earthquake, and thick dust hid the sun and moon; and “stars” (meteorites?) fell from the sky.    Then the kings of the earth sought to hide themselves from “the wrath of the Lamb.”    The woes of Seals 1–5 will continue through the Christian Era—but with the Sixth Seal the scene moves abruptly to the Tribulation period (W. Smith), probably marking the beginning of the Great Tribulation period with this “complete convulsion of heaven and earth” (Bruce)—the Lamb’s response to the rise and revelation of the Antichrist, and giving the world another reminder that God is still on the throne and they should repent of their sins and worship him.

        3. INTERLUDE (7:117) – Now an angel appeared and restrained certain other angels who had been given power to bring natural disasters on the earth, until a Divine “seal” of protection could be placed on 144,000 Jewish Christians, who come from all of the 12 tribes of Israel and have accepted Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Saviour after the Rapture and during the Early Tribulation period.    Yet, these numbers probably do not represent all of the Jews who have accepted Christ, but only a select group that has been called to witness (as special “servants”) for him during the Great Tribulation period (Walvoord, Thomas).    Later we are told that this “seal,” placed on their foreheads, was the ‘name of the Lamb and his Father’ (14:1).    Now sometimes in Revelation we encounter an angel (as here) who speaks words as if the Almighty is directly speaking.    This recalls the Angel of the Lord who appeared at times in the OT, who likewise spoke directly with God’s presence and authority (Wilson), e.g., to Abraham (Gen 22:15–18), Moses (Exod 3:1–4), the Israelites (Exod 23:20–22), Joshua (Josh 5:13–6:2), Gideon (Judg 6:11–16), Hezekiah (Isa 37:36), and Elijah (1 Kings 19:7–10).    Now the seal given here in Rev 7:3 does not mean that God will not also protect Gentile believers from the awful natural disasters that will appear during this time, although the focus now has returned to God’s timetable for Israel (the 70th Week) with its emphasis placed on proclaiming the Gospel to the Jews, who are still God’s chosen people and precious in his sight (7:1–8).    Then John saw in Heaven “a great multitude” of believers “from every nation, tribe, people and language” standing in front of God Almighty and the Lamb, giving them praise (7:9–12).    One of the angelic elders explains, these are martyrs “who have come out of the great tribulation,” having “washed their robes . . . in the blood of the Lamb” (7:13–17).    Here the vision looks forward to the end of the Great Tribulation Period, after the last Christian has been martyred.    One can see how strict chronology is sometimes set aside.    Christ’s gifts promised his people here (to be their Shepherd, and to wipe away their tears, 7:17) anticipate both his Millennial Rule (Ezek 34:23, 31; Isa 26:8) and the Eternal Age (Rev 21:3–4).  

          4. Seventh Seal opened (8:1) – This signals the beginning the next set of (Trumpet) woes.

       

        B. SOUNDING OF THE SEVEN TRUMPETS (8:2–11:19)
        1. Preliminaries (8:26) – After a half hour of (dramatic) silence, 7 angels come and stand before God and are given 7 trumpets.    Meanwhile another angel stood at the Altar before God and added incense to the “prayers of all the saints” which ascended from there to God.    Then the same angel took fire from the Altar and hurled it to earth, which produced lightning, thunder, and earthquake.    One can imagine that many of these prayers beseeched God to bring evil on earth to an end (cf. the martyrs’ prayers, 6:9–10).    The “seven angels who stand before God” here (8:2), who are given 7 trumpets, probably include: Michael (Dan 10:13, Rev 12:7), Gabriel (Luke 1:19), Raphael (Tobit 12:15), and Uriel, Raguel, Sariel and Remiel (added in 1 Enoch 20:2–8; Bruce).   

        2. Trumpets 1–6 – These woes, most of which adversely affect 1/3 of the earth or humankind, probably do not occur until the Antichrist fully reveals himself; so one could say that Trumpet 1 begins the full unfolding of the Great Tribulation woes, during which there will be severe persecution of Christ’s witnesses and servants.
         a. First Trumpet blast (8:7) – Following this, “hail and fire mixed with blood” fell to earth, burning up 1/3rd of the earth, including the trees and grass.    This recalls the Seventh Plague preceding the Exodus, when “heavy hail” flattened plants and shattered trees throughout Egypt, except in Goshen where the Israelites lived (Exod 9:22–26).    “Fire mixed with blood” recalls the red fire-balls that Mount Vesuvius spewed out during the eruption of 79 AD which destroyed Pompeii.    However, the “fire” here in 8:7 may more likely refer to lightning storms which then start raging forest fires, as seen in California.
        b. Second Trumpet blast (8:89) – Following this, “something like a huge mountain, all ablaze,” fell into the sea, turning 1/3rd of it to blood and killing 1/3rd of all sea life and sinking the ships in that region.    This recalls the First Plague in Egypt which turned the Nile water into “blood,” killing all of its fish (Exod 7:17, 20–21).    Here in Revelation a large meteorite may fall into the Atlantic, Pacific, or Indian ocean, poisoning all of the water there and its sea life.    No doubt a great tsunami would also occur.     Volcanic eruptions on Thera, an island near Patmos, often turned the sea water a bright orange color.       
         c. Third Trumpet blast (8:1011) – Following this, “a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky,” polluting 1/3rd of the earth’s rivers and springs and turning their water bitter.    Here a larger heavenly body (a meteor or small star) sweeps through the earth’s atmosphere, its fallout rendering undrinkable a large swath of the earth’s fresh water supply.    A volcanic eruption in the Aleutian Islands in 1823 made the water so bitter that it could not be drunk.    This star (8:11) is called “Wormwood [artemesia],” the name given an ancient plant that was bitter in small doses and poisonous in larger amounts.       
         d. Fourth Trumpet blast (8:1213) – Following this, a great eagle appeared in the sky, crying loudly:  “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth,” because of the next three woes to follow.
         e. Fifth Trumpet blast (9:112) – Following this, demonic locusts appeared from the Abyss with the power to sting, like a scorpion, those people who did not have the “seal of God” on their foreheads (which surely includes all believers); and they spread out over the earth.    These grotesque, plate-protected, winged creatures, with human-like faces, long woman-like hair, and teeth like a lion, tormented the unsaved for 5 months, although the victims could not die.    The fallen star here is Satan, and the Abyss (9:1) the deepest part of the underground realm of the dead, where evil spirits dwell (Luke 8:31) and fallen angels also are probably imprisoned (Jude v. 6). 
          f. Sixth Trumpet blast (9:1321) – Following this, 4 angels “bound at the great river Euphrates” (Beckwith: a region of evil in the OT) were released to kill 1/3rd of humankind, using a demonic army of 200 million horsemen, wearing red, blue, and yellow breastplates.    Out of the mouths of their horses (with lion-like heads) came “fire, smoke and sulfur,” which killed people; and their snake-like tails also inflicted injury.    Although given a taste of hell itself, the wicked do not repent.    The “fire, smoke and sulfur” seem to anticipate modern warfare (Walvoord) and gunfire, shot from the top of a tank and from the rear.      

        3. INTERLUDE (10:1–11:13) – This interlude is necessitated by the fact that the Apostle John apparently became so overcome by the horror of his visions that he has to be divinely encouraged to continue watching and writing them down.    After viewing the ravages of the demonic locusts and assault of fire-breathing horsemen, one can imagine John burying his face in his hands.    At the same time, he is given the example of two future witnesses in Jerusalem, who although caught up in intense events described here remain faithful to the Lord’s call to witness, and are delivered.  
         a. John recommissioned (chapter 10) – Then a “mighty angel” appeared, robed in a cloud with a face like the sun and a rainbow around his head (10:1); and he raised his hand to Heaven and “swore by him who lives forever and ever,” that “There will be no more delay!” (10:5–6).    No doubt Satan, the Antichrist, and their followers would like a delay—while an excited anticipation is building in Heaven for Christ’s Glorious Return.    And indeed after the final Seven Bowls of God’s wrath are poured out (16:1ff), the “mystery” of God (Swete: his redemptive purpose realized in human history) will be accomplished (10:7).    Then the Angel (of the Lord), standing with one foot on land and the other on the sea (symbolizing the Almighty’s all-encompassing presence and power) handed John a “little scroll,” and told him to eat it.    When he did so, it tasted sweet in his mouth, but it soured his stomach (10:8–10).    Hearing from God is always “sweet,” but these visions of doom are unsettling.    The “rainbow” (10:1) recalls God’s throne and grace (cf. Rev 4:3), and the “little scroll” (10:2) represents the renewed commission given to John, to continue writing down the dreadful woes which he is seeing in these visions.    Note God swearing by himself also in Gen 22:16, Exod 32:13, and Ps 89:35.
        b.  Measurement of the Temple, and the Two Witnesses (11:114) – Then John is given a measuring rod and told to measure the Temple that will exist in the end time in Jerusalem (revealing to us that the Antichrist has indeed rebuilt the Jewish temple), although the outer court will be “trampled on” (desecrated) for 3-1/2 years (“42 months” or “1,260 days”) during the Great Tribulation period, by the Antichrist who sets up an idol of himself to be worshipped (Rev 13:14b–15).    Yet, during this same period “two witnesses” or prophets will appear in the Temple, dressed in sackcloth and speaking for the Lord, symbolized here as “lampstands” (God’s word, truth, light), fueled (empowered) by “olive trees” (the ‘oil’ of God’s indwelling Spirit, cf. Zech 4:1–6).    They will have the power to kill, with fire from their mouths, anyone who tries to kill them, and also to bring drought or plagues upon Jerusalem.    Finally, however, “the beast from the abyss” (the resurrected Antichrist, Rev 13:12b, 17:8a) will attack them and kill them; and their bodies will lie in the street for 3-1/2 days, while the evil world gloats over and celebrates their demise.    However, God then will raise them from the dead and take them up to Heaven on a cloud.    At the same time a severe earthquake will level 1/10th of the city of Jerusalem (compared here to Sodom and Egypt, places also where great violence occurred, cf. Gen 18:20–21, 19:1–11; Exod 1:8–14); and 7,000 people will die.    Mostly early interpreters (e.g., Tertullian, Irenaeus, Hippolytus) identified these two witnesses as Enoch and Elijah, both of whom were transported to Heaven without dying (Gen 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11); however, more recent interpreters (e.g., Charles, J. Smith, W. Smith, Beasley-Murray, Mounce, Bruce, Thomas) claim that they will be Moses and Elijah, whose miracles parallel those alluded to here.    However, they could also simply be two Jews at the time whom God especially raises up and empowers to be his witnesses (Walvoord).    Still, there is no repentance in the face of God’s wrath.                  

        4. Seventh Trumpet blast (11:1519) – Soon the third and last set of (Bowl) calamities will begin.    Yet first there is a long INTERLUDE (11:15–14:20), which begins with John seeing the Angelic Elders and others in Heaven rejoicing that soon the whole world will become the kingdom of Christ and offering praise to God for his great power and because the time for judgment of the dead and distribution of rewards draws near.    Also John sees in “God’s temple” the “Ark of his Covenant,” from which came lightning, thunder, and rumbling.    These images suggest that Moses’ Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant, as well as the Altar of Incense (Rev 8:3–4), exist as spiritual realities in Heaven, after which the physical entities were patterned (Exod 25:9, Heb 8:1–2, 5–6).            


        C. THE ANTICHRIST’S WARFARE AND PREDICTED DEFEAT (chapters 12–14)   

        This section more fully explores the Great Tribulation Period, by providing background material on the fierce behind-the-scenes battle going on between God and Satan (chapter 12), soon headed for its great climax, and describing the nature and administration of the two great Satan-inspired leaders who play end-time roles (chapter 13), the Antichrist and the False Prophet.    At the same time, John’s vision cannot resist looking forward to the future victorious celebration of God’s special Messianic Jewish winesses (14:1–5), who become a prime target of the Antichrist’s persecution during the Great Tribulation period.    Then four Heavenly pronouncements are made (14:6–13): offering a final plea to the wicked to repent, predicting the fall of Babylon (the Antichrist’s world capital), warning of dire eternal punishment that will fall on the Antichrist’s followers, and proclaiming a special blessing on those believers who are martyred during this time for their faith.    Then Christ’s final victory over the Antichrist and his followers is foreseen and described (14:14–20), in blood-drenched terms.  

        1. A great cosmic struggle: the Woman, the Son, and the Dragon (chapter 12) – This chapter begins by describing Christ’s First Advent (12:1–5), then moves forward to the beginning of the Great Tribulation period, where a curtain is briefly drawn back to reveal the great unseen cosmic war going on in “heaven” (12:7–12), alongside the physically visible warfare occurring on earth between the Antichrist and Christ’s followers (12:6, 13–17).    In Scene 1 (12:1–5) a “woman,” as chosen, blessed, and honored as Joseph in his dream of the sun, moon and stars (Gen 37:9–10, 42:6), becomes pregnant and gives “birth to a son” (Jesus, the Messiah).    However, “an enormous red dragon” (Satan, God’s longstanding adversary)—with “seven heads . . . and seven crowns” (representing major nations and evil rulers whom he has controlled through history, cf. Rev 17:9–10) and also with 1/3rd of the ‘stars’ swept out of Heaven (those angels who fell with Satan in his original rebellion, hinted at in Ezek 28:11–17 and Rev 9:1)—stands ready to “devour her child.”    Yet, before the child could be totally destroyed, he “was snatched up to God” in Heaven (Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension).    In Scene 2 (12:7–12), occurring at the beginning of the Great Tribulation period (“1,260 days” or “a time, [2] times, and half a time” [Rev 12:6, 14] = 3-1/2 years before Christ’s glorious return), a war in heaven (probably referring to outer space and the earth’s atmosphere [Seiss, Strauss], where evil spirits now dwell, cf. Eph 6:11–12) resulted in the Archangel Michael and his angelic forces throwing the “great dragon” to the earth (12:7–9), where he then is “filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (12:12).    In the Scene 3 (12:6, 13–17) we see the “woman” mentioned earlier (Walvoord: representative of Jewish Christians) hastily fleeing from Jerusalem and from the wrath of the Antichrist (which Jesus also vividly describes in Matt 24:15–22).    Yet they are miraculously preserved, until they reach a hideout specially prepared for them (Walvoord: some think that will be the ancient rock-city of Petra, located ca. 50 miles south of the Dead Sea).    The “rest of her offspring” (12:17) no doubt refers to other Messianic Jewish converts (cf. Rev 7:3–8) who are located elsewhere. 

        2. Two evil end-time leaders: the Beast from the Sea (13:110) and the Beast from the Earth (13:1118) – John’s vision then switches to earth at the beginning of the Great Tribulation period, where we are introduced to a first “beast,” the Antichrist (13:1), whose power derives from Satan (note his 7 heads, cf. Rev 12:3), and then to a second “beast,” his False Prophet (called “a lamb,” 13:11, probably because his outer demeanor appears mild but) who is committed to seducing the whole earth to worship the Dragon (Satan, 13:12), who in turn will hold the whole world in his spell for “42 months” (3-1/2 years, 13:4–5) and make “war against the saints” (13:7).    After the Antichrist is killed and then resurrected (13:3, 12c, 14), he becomes even more Satan incarnate.    The False Prophet sets up an Image of the Antichrist, which becomes alive, speaks, and kills those who do not bow down and worship it (13:14–15).    The False Prophet also forces everyone to wear a “mark” (666) on the right hand or forehead, which is the ‘number of the name of the beast’ and without which people cannot buy or sell (13:16–18).    Here we see an Evil Trinity: Satan (the word in Hebrew means “Adversary”), the Antichrist, and the False Prophet.    “Out of the sea” (13:1) points to the Abyss (11:7, home of fallen angels and evil spirits deep underground), while “out of the earth ” (13:11) probably points to the land of Israel (i.e., the False Prophet being of Jewish national origin).    Note that the Greek word can mean “region, land” as well as “earth” (Strong), while thalassa (“sea”) was often viewed as the home of evil creatures (Coogan)—and on the final New Earth there will be no more “sea” (Rev 21:1).    The title “beasts” warn that these beings are dangerous and ferocious.    The number “666” no doubt refers to an ancient tradition called gematria, in which numbers are assigned to the letters of an alphabet, and then the numbers in a name can be totaled up.    For example, the Sibylline Oracles (1.324–329) gives Iēsous (“Jesus”) the number “888”—which can be arrived at if one assigns 2–9 to the initial Greek letters alpha through theta, then 10, 20, 30 on to the next 10 letters, then 100, 200, 300 on to the remaining letters.    However, the name associated with “666” cannot be known from this number until the Antichrist actually appears (Thomas).        

         3. The future victorious chant of the special Messianic Jewish witnesses (14:15) – Then John saw “the Lamb [Christ] standing on Mount Zion [Jerusalem], and with him [the] 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads,” and they “sang a new song before the throne [of God].”    The divine name here might be something like “God Almighty” (theos ton pantokratoros), which is applied to Christ as victor of this book twice (Rev 16:14, 19:15) and which also was an important name ascribed to the Father (“Lord God Almighty” = kurie o theos o pantokratōn), found in Rev 11:17, 15:3, 16:7, and 21:22.    Whatever the case, this scene flashes forward to some point after Christ’s glorious return when he is finally fully honored as Israel’s Messiah by a large number of God’s (original) chosen people.    These special Messianic Jewish witnesses (14:3, cf. 7:3–8), all of whom were martyred or at least persecuted in the Antichrist’s pogrom, now gather to offer praises to their God (Yahweh) and their Messiah.    They raise a song which only they can sing (from their perspective), accompanied by stringed music from Heaven itself; and they are completely devoted to Christ (they “follow the Lamb wherever he goes”).    They are called “firstfruits” (Jesus was sent first to Israel, Matt 15:24–28), they stand “blameless” in Christ’s atonement, and they “did not defile themselves with women,” which they felt no doubt would distract them in their witness in the treacherous time in which they lived (cf. Paul’s similar view, 1 Cor 7:28c, 32–35).

        4. Four climactic announcements (14:613) – An “angel flying in midair” calls to rebellious humanity to “Fear God [your Creator] and give him glory, because the hour of his [righteous] judgment has come.”    Then a second angel predicts, “Fallen!  Fallen is Babylon the Great,” capital of the Antichrist’s worldwide rule.    Then a third angel warns, “If anyone worships the beast [Antichrist] and his image and receives his mark,” that person will end up being tormented in Hell.    Then “a voice from Heaven” declared, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” during the terrible days ahead.    Many scholars, ancient and modern, have held that “Babylon the Great” here actually refers to Rome (Swete, Charles, Ladd, Bruce), since the city later is described as sitting on “seven hills” (Rev 17:9), it is the center of the world’s shipping (18:19), and Peter in one letter obliquely refers to Rome as “Babylon” (1 Pet 5:13).    Yet, ancient Babylon on the Euphrates River was a major and enduring foe of the Israelites; and a restored Babylon (W. Smith, Strauss, Johnson, Thomas), raised anew from its ruins, would be an appropriate site for the Antichrist to build a new world capital.    The city is also described as being located in the “desert” (17:3); and the “many waters” (17:1) might recall the numerous canals, trenches, marshes and dikes that have generally surrounded Babylon.    There have been numerous capitals (e.g., Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Beijing) that were and are centers of commerce, including shipping, but without being a port or near one.         

         5. Christ’s final battle with and victory over Satan’s forces foreseen in dramatic terms (14:1420) – This coming decisive battle is now compared to a great grape “harvest,” when “one ‘like a son of man’” (the Messiah, cf. Dan 7:13) comes to dispense “the great winepress of God’s wrath” (14:19), accompanied by 3 harvesting angels who come out from “the temple” or from “the altar” in Heaven.    Blood will flow in Israel rising as high as a horse’s head (or ‘bridle,’ 14:20) and cover some 180 miles (from the north to the south of the land of Israel).    Although a poetically heightened description, this picture clearly points to the coming climactic Battle of Armageddon (16:16), when Christ destroys the Antichrist’s massive army.    As the prophet Joel wrote, “For then in those days . . . I [the Lord] will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat [probably not the name of a locale so much as pointing to a place where ‘Yahweh judges’], and I will enter into judgment with them there” (Joel 3:1–2a).    Finally the Antichrist and the False Prophet will be taken captive and judged (Rev 19:17–21).      

 

        D. EMPTYING OF THE SEVEN BOWLS (chapters 15–18)
        1. Preliminaries (15:18) – Then John saw the Almighty and before him a burning “sea of glass” (this “sea” can reflect both God’s wrath as well as his tranquility, 4:6); and nearby stood “those [martyrs] who had been victorious over the beast and his image,” singing praises both to the God of the Israel and his Messiah (the Lamb).    Then “the temple, that is, the tabernacle of Testimony, was opened,” and out came 7 angels carrying 7 bowls “filled with the wrath of God”—and “the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God” (15:5–8).    This reference also points to an actual Heavenly Tabernacle that stands near God’s throne—of which Moses’ earthly tabernacle and Israel’s later temples were replicas, and where Christ after his Ascension offered once and for all his own atoning death and sacrifice for the “eternal redemption” of believers (Heb 9:11–12).

         2. First Bowl emptied (16:12) – Thereafter ugly and painful sores appeared on those who worshipped the Antichrist.    These probably are bleeding ulcers that will not heal.    This recalls the Sixth Plague in Egypt, where “festering boils” appeared on the skin of humans and animals among the Egyptians (Exod 9:8–12), but did not afflict the Israelites.  
         3. Second Bowl emptied (16:3) – Thereafter the sea (oceans) turned to blood, killing all sea life.    This recalls the First Plague of Egypt, where the Nile water turned to blood (Exod 7:19-21) or became red-colored and foul, killing the fish there.    Now there is a complete destruction of marine life, not partial as following the earlier Second Trumpet (Rev 8:8–9).  
        4. Third Bowl emptied (16:47) – Thereafter all sources of fresh water (rivers and springs) turned to blood.    Perhaps all drinking water now thickens like clotted blood or simply turns red and produces a foul smell and poisonous taste.    Earlier after the Third Trumpet only 1/3rd of the fresh water became polluted (Rev 8:10–11), but now all of it becomes undrinkable.      
         5. Fourth Bowl emptied (16:89) – Thereafter the sun’s rays became so intense that they “scorch people with fire”—yet the wicked do not repent.    All of those faithful to God (both Jewish and Gentile) no doubt carry the ‘seal of God’ (cf. Rev 7:2–3) and will be protected or provided for in the midst of these plagues, as with Israel in Egypt (cf. Exod 8:22; 9:6, 26; 10:23).    Note that these plagues are directed toward the wicked (Rev 16:6, 8, 10, 21).      
        6. Fifth Bowl emptied (16:1011) – Thereafter the earth was “plunged into darkness,” so that those who “gnawed their tongues in agony” (from the previous woe) did so in darkness.    This recalls the Ninth Plague in Egypt, when thick darkness covered Egypt, except where Israel lived (Exod 10:21–23).    This could be an all-encompassing blackness if the sun’s earlier intense heat completely knocked out the earth’s electrical grid.  
         7. Sixth Bowl emptied (16:1216) – Thereafter the Euphrates River dried up “to prepare the way for the kings from the East” to come to the Battle of Armageddon—to receive their punishment for serving the Antichrist.    Demons, looking like frogs, issue from the mouths of Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet, to call these leaders to the final battle, although this will turn out to be a fatal trap for them.
         8. Seventh Bowl emptied (16:1721) – Thereafter there was lightning, thunder, and an earthquake like never seen before; and Babylon the Great split into 3 parts; and other “cities” (including capitals of the world’s nations) collapsed.    Also islands sank into the sea, mountains disappeared, and 100-pound hailstones fell on earth’s inhabitants—but still the wicked only cursed God and did not turn to their Creator.     
   

        E. A CLOSER LOOK AT BABYLON AND HER DESTRUCTION (Rev 17:1–19:10)

        1. Babylon’s evil described (17:115) – “Babylon” is compared to a “great prostitute who sits on many waters,” with whom “the kings of the earth committed adultery” (joined in her idolatrous worship of the Antichrist, and probably also with her cult prostitutes [Beasley-Murray, Thomas], as in ancient times, cf. Deut 23:17 and Ezek 23:28–30, 35–37); and these rulers became completely “intoxicated” by the city (made senseless by her lies and wine).    Then John saw in the desert “a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names [perhaps like “The Most High” or “The Lord God” applied to Satan] and [that] had seven heads and ten horns.    The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and . . . held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things”—and her name was “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (17:1–5).   An angel then explained to John that the “scarlet beast” who here supported the prostitute (Babylon) was the Antichrist, Satan incarnate.    The 7 heads represent 7 great kingdoms which Satan has controlled throughout Biblical history (cf. Dan 2), the first six including: Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (Seiss, Hailey, Thomas).   Determining the seventh king or kingdom is problematic, however (Caird), although I would suggest perhaps the later Muslim Conquest, which swallowed up so much Christian territory.    Yet also another, eighth kingdom, that of the Antichrist, will arise in the end time.    Meanwhile, the 10 horns here are 10 kings who at the end will rule for a brief time (“one hour”) with the Antichrist and who will bring their armies to war against the Lamb.    The “many waters” on which the “great prostitute” sits represent the myriad peoples of the world (17:15) who support the false religion of Babylon (17:7–14).    The evil leaders of this Satanic cult (the False Christ and his False Prophet) impress the world with their purple and scarlet (royal and religious) vestments, but their “golden cup” of Communion mocks Christ’s atoning death and perhaps supplies their supplicants with intoxicating drugs and stimulants which will lead them into sexual orgies.    Abominations” in the Bible most frequently points to idolatry and those practices which accompanied this, often including magic, séances, drunkenness, prostitution, and orgies (Deut 18:10–11, 23:17; Hosea 3:10–18).

         2. Babylon’s fall described (17:1617) – However, at one point “the beast [Antichrist] and the ten horns [his rulers over ten regions of the world] . . . will [come to] hate the prostitute [Babylon].    They “will bring her to ruin . . . and eat her flesh and burn her with fire” (17:16–17).    Perhaps during one of the Antichrist’s absences from Babylon, a rebellion arises led by other leaders and shutting him out of the city.    Yet quickly (“in one day,” 18:8) food shortages develop and plagues break out; and when the Antichrist finally breaks into the city with his armed forces, in fierce anger he will devour her people (“eat her flesh”) and set the city on fire (18:8, cf. 17:17), completely destroying her “riches and splendor” (18:14).    Her cultural life as well as her everyday life will come to an abrupt end, along with her “magical spells” (18:22–23). 

        3. Six reactions to Babylon’s destruction (chapter 18) – (a) An angel predicts that Babylon after her demise will remain only a haunt for evil spirits and unclean birds (18:1–3).    (b) A voice from Heaven (the Angel of the Lord?), prior to Babylon’s destruction, warns God’s people not to have anything to do with this evil city (18:4–8, i.e., leave it if you live there).    (c) After Babylon’s destruction, the “kings of the earth,” standing afar off, bewail the city’s smoking ruins (18:9–10).    (d) The “merchants of the earth” mourn also, because now their “cash cow” is gone, and no one is left in the city to buy all of their expensive imported goods, which included precious jewels and furnishings, spices and perfumes, and animals and slaves (18:11–17a).    (e) “Every sea captain” and others in the shipping trade cry out, “Was there ever a city like this great city?” (18:17b–18).    (f) However, in Heaven the “saints and apostles and prophets” rejoice, because God has judged Babylon in like manner (shed its blood) as it martyred the saints (18:21–24).                               

 

        F. CHRIST’S GLORIOUS RETURN AND MILLENNIAL RULE, AND THE END OF THIS AGE (chapters 19–20)

        1. Praise to God that the Great Tribulation is over and looking ahead to the Marriage of the Lamb (19:110) – Suddenly there is “the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting, ‘Hallelujah!  Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for just and true are his judgments’” (19:1–2a).    The praise continues:  “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!   For the wedding of the Lamb has come [is near], and his bride [the Church] has made herself ready” with her righteous acts (19:7–8).    The angel tells John, “Blessed are those [the redeemed in the Lord] who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (19:9).    Overcome by this vision, John fell down to worship the angel, who told him to stop this, since his words come from Jesus (19:10).    Four Hallelujahs (= “Praise the Lord!”) punctuate this passage, coming from angelic beings and from the saints (19:1, 3, 4, 6).    This is the last appearance of Heaven in Revelation, since the focus will soon switch exclusively to the New Earth and the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:1ff).    Jesus, in his Parable of the Wedding Banquet (Matt 22:1–10) compared the kingdom of God (his promised rule over all the earth) to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son; but when many of those invited (representing the Jews) decided that they were not interested, he invited in others off the street, whom one might think were not worthy (representing the Gentiles), to come and enjoy the royal wedding feast (the Wedding Supper of the Lamb).    Isaiah also speaks of this feast:  “On this mountain [Mount Zion = Jerusalem] the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples [the redeemed alive at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom] a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines . . . .  Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth” (Isa 25:6, 8). 

        2. Christ’s Glorious Return (19:1116) – Then John saw Heaven open and out came a rider named  “Faithful and True,” “the Word of God,” and “King of kings and Lord of lords.”    On a white horse, “dressed in a robe dripped in blood” and wearing “many crowns,” he comes with justice to make war against the Antichrist and his followers.    “The armies of heaven were following him, riding also “on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and pure.”    And out of Christ’s mouth came “a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations” arrayed against him.    The Wedding Supper of the Lamb cannot take place until the King of kings secures the victory over his adversaries and then establishes his Millennial Kingdom.    “Many crowns” are fitting since Christ will rule over the many nations of the world, and his “robe dripped in blood” symbolizes his unique atoning sacrifice as the Lamb of God.    The “Word of God” recalls John’s confession about Christ at the beginning of his Gospel, that “In the beginning was the Word [logos = “expression”], and the Word [Second Member of the Trinity] was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1–2), indicating that Jesus Christ was and is the (only) true expression and revelation of the Father.    This heavenly “army” is made up of the redeemed, the Lord’s “chosen and faithful followers” (Rev 17:14), those raptured saints and those who died later in Christ—although there might also be some angels in attendance.    However, none of the righteous will bear nor need weapons, since the word of Christ alone will defeat the Antichrist and his followers. 

        3. Battle of Armageddon and the “great supper of God” (19:17–20:3) – Only the aftermath of the Great Battle is mentioned here, and one must look to OT prophecies for a description of the actual event.    As Zechariah wrote, “See a day is coming for the Lord, when . . . I [the Lord] will gather all the nations together against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses looted and the women raped; half of the city shall go into exile,” with the rest of the people cut off inside.    “Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations . . . .   On that day his [Christ’s] feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two [by an earthquake],” so that people trapped in the besieged city can escape through a pass that opens up (Zech 14:1–5b).    When the Lord comes with all his “holy ones [the saints],” daylight will continue when night should have fallen (14:5c–6).    And the Lord will strike his enemies with a “plague,” so that “their flesh shall rot while they are still on their feet,” and likewise with their animals.    Such confusion and “panic” will fall upon the enemy soldiers that they attack each other.    After the battle, “the wealth of all the surrounding nations” will be collected, including gold and silver in great abundance (Zech 14:12–15).    Earlier in the Book of Revelation we were told that the kings supporting the Antichrist “gathered . . . together to a place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” (Rev 16:16), an area southeast of the Sea of Galilee and ca. 50 miles north of Jerusalem.    Christ will be victorious in battle there, as well as at Jerusalem, aided by a severe thunderstorm and earthquake and giant hailstones (Rev 16:17–18, 21).    LaHaye and Jenkins (2004) create a vivid scenario of this battle in their Glorious Appearing and End of Days (2004).    No doubt the Antichrist’s armies, spread throughout the whole land of Israel, will stain the whole country with their blood (cf. the ‘winepress harvest,’ Rev 14:20).    Then, to begin cleaning up all the carcasses, the Creator will call upon “all the birds flying in midair . . . [to] gather together for the great supper of God”—to come and begin cleaning up the millions of dead bodies strewn everywhere (Rev 19:17–19).    What a contrast between the Wedding Supper prepared for God’s children, and the Funeral Supper prepared for his adversaries, where they are the main course.    The Antichrist and his False Prophet are captured and then thrown into “the fiery lake of burning sulfur” (19:20–21).    Then an angel (perhaps Michael, cf. Rev 12:7) descended from Heaven and “seized the dragon [Satan] . . . and bound him” and locked him in the Abyss, “to keep him from deceiving the nations” (20:1–3).      

        4. Christ’s Millennial Kingdom (20:46) – We are also told very little in John’s Revelation about Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, probably because other prophecies offer a good deal of information on this, Israel’s future Golden Age, with Jerusalem as its world capital and its Messiah as the King of kings.    All that John tells us is that those martyred for their faith during the Great Tribulation period “came to life and reigned with Christ” during this era,  as “priests of God and of Christ” (20:4–6).    In the OT, Daniel measured the period of the Antichrist’s absolute rule as 1,278 days (3-1/2 years), but then pointed to an additional 45 days (Dan 12:11–12), which Archer believes might be required to bury the dead and cleanse the land after the battle.    Jesus’ judgment of “the sheep and the goats” (Matt 25:31–40) will probably then occur, when all of those around the world who survived the Battle of Armageddon “will be gathered” before Christ, seated “on the throne of his glory.”    Those who helped Jesus’ followers (“my brethren,” 25:40, KJV; cf. Carson, Morris, France) during the Great Tribulation period, when having refused the Mark of the Beast they could neither buy nor sell (Rev 13:16–17), are separated from those who did not help them; and the latter are sent away to “eternal punishment” (never again to know God’s universal blessings).    This event certainly does not refer to the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11–15), where the unsaved are judged on all the wrongs of their lives and the righteous are spared because their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, containing the names of all of Christ’s followers.    Then probably the Wedding Feast of the Lamb will occur (Rev 19:7–9, NLT, NJB).  

       David will be appointed to serve (again) as king over Israel (Ezek 37:24), while “one king” (Christ) shall be king over all the nations (37:22).    The Twelve Apostles (probably replacing Judas Iscariot with Paul) will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt 19:28); and the land of Israel will be divided into twelve horizontal strips of territory allocated to the twelve tribes (Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben, Judah, Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, Gad), with another strip between Judah and Benjamin given to King David and the priests (Ezek 45:1–8, 47:13–48:29).    Ezekiel also provides a detailed description of the Millennial Temple (chapters 40–47), with a sanctuary apparently the same size as Solomon’s Temple (inside measurements 20 x 60 x 30 cubits wide, long and high—or ca. 32.8’ x 98.4’ x 49.2,’ if 1 cubit equals 1.64 feet (Kletter), (1 Kings 6:2, 20; Ezek 41:4).    The prophet also sees the glory of the Almighty return to dwell in the sanctuary, the Holy of Holies room in the Temple (Ezek 43:1–12); and Jerusalem will be renamed Yahweh Sammah (“The Lord is There,” Ezek 48:35).    Animal sacrifices will be offered on the Altar in the Temple (Ezek 43:18–27) to commemorate Christ’s great atoning sacrifice and as a witness to those who have not yet accepted Christ as Saviour and Lord (Alexander)—for the earth’s infants and innocents who survived the Battle of Armageddon and Lord’s judgment ‘of the sheep and the goats,’ as well as babies born later to those believers who survived the Battle of Armageddon and will need to decide whether they wish to accept Christ as Saviour or not.    As Isaiah intimates, those who are not believers will not live past the age of 100, while all believers will continue live to the end of the Millennial Age (Isa 65:20).    A stream of water flowing from the south side of the Temple will increase in size until it reaches the Dead Sea, filling this desolate lake once again with life; and monthly fruit will grow on the trees along the river’s banks, along with leaves with healing properties (Ezek 47:1–12).    As King of kings, Christ will “judge between the nations” and settle major disputes; and the nations “shall beat their swords into plowshares [cutting blades used in plowing]” and there shall be war no more (Isa 2:4).  

        Animals will no longer be wild predators, but “the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid [young goat] . . . and a little child shall lead them” (Isa 11:6).    Hebrew may be the international language (Isa 19:18).    A great highway will be built through the desert stretching from Egypt through Israel to a restored Assyria (Isa 19:23); and travel will be comfortable here because the deserts shall . . . blossom” and “waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert” (Isa 35:1, 6b).    Not only will Christ “reign in righteousness,” but the blind will see, the deaf hear, the feeble understand, and the stammerer speak fluently (Isa 32:1–4).    Joy shall rest on the heads of the saints who come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord, and “sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isa 35:10).    Every year delegations will come to Jerusalem from the nations around the world, along with individual believers, to celebrate the Festival of Booths (Zech 14:16), thanking the Lord for his bountiful harvests and other material blessings.    The Feast of Passover (commemorated Christ’s atoning death) followed by the Festival of Unleavened Bread (perhaps a time to rededicate oneself to the Lord) will also be celebrated (Ezek 45:21).     

        5. Battle of Gog and Magog (20:710) – At the end of the 1,000-year reign of Christ, however, Satan will be released one final time, when he will again deceive the nations and rally their armies to oppose God.    Clearly there were those in the Millennial Kingdom who did not accept Christ as their Lord, and they passed on and spread their resistance (cf. LaHaye and Jenkins, 2007); in fact, the number of those who gather to oppose Christ in Jerusalem at this time will be “like the sand on the seashore” (Rev 20:7–9a).    Yet, their end will be swift, for “fire came down from heaven and devoured them”—and afterward the devil is thrown into “the lake of burning sulfur” to be tormented forever (Rev 20:9b–10).     Ezekiel tells us more about this battle with Gog of the land of Magog, who now leads the invasion into the land of Israel (Ezek 38–39).    His forces will come from the “far north” to attack the peaceful and unguarded people of Israel, with other nations joining him (Ezek 38:1–16).    However, ‘the wrath of God’ will be aroused:  there will be a great earthquake in Israel, and deadly plague, torrential rain, and harmful hailstones.    Falling burning sulfur, perhaps from lightning which sets afire and explodes petroleum reservoirs in the area (similar to what Harland thinks destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah earlier, cf. Gen 19:24–25), will fall on Israel’s enemies, as they also turn to attack each other (Ezek 38:17–23).    At the end of the battle, birds again are invited to become God’s garbage collectors, to fill their bellies with the bodies of his enemies (Ezek 39:17–20); and yet still it will take 7 months to bury the remains and cleanse the land (39:12–16).    Some interpreters think that Magog may be associated with Russia (T. B. Baines), joined by other forces from Turkey (Gomer) Iran (Persia), and North Africa (Cush and Put).   Differences in details show that this passage in Ezekiel cannot refer to the Battle of Armageddon, although there are also striking similarities.                           

        6. White Throne Judgment (20:1115) – One of the most terrifying and sad passages in the Bible follows, where John sees “the dead, great and small, standing before the throne [of God], and the books [of their lives] were opened” (20:11–12).    There is another book, the “Book of Life [of the redeemed],” and only those whose names are written there will be allowed to join Christ for eternity and enter the New Jerusalem (Rev 20:15, 21:27).    This judgment is for the lost, who have rejected Jehovah God in their lives and have not repented of their sins; and “each person [will be] judged according to what he has done” and then “thrown into the lake of fire.”    This passage clearly does not support the Universalist view that everyone will enter the Eternal Age with Christ (and many unsaved would not want to, observing the hardness of their hearts in Revelation).    On the other hand, the Traditional view that the lost will suffer forever for their finite sins strikes even a number of Evangelical thinkers today as unjust; and therefore a number of them in recent years have turned to the Annihilationist view, including John Wenham (1974), Stephen Travis (1980), F. F. Bruce (1982), Edward Fudge (1982), Clark Pinnock (1987), Philip Hughes (1988), Robert Price (1988), John Stott (1988), and Michael Green (cf. Peterson).    These theologians argue that Biblical language about the lost “perishing” or being “destroyed” should be taken seriously.    Hell and its fire may exist forever, but not necessarily for all those who are sent there (cf. Moore, Peterson).    For example, Pinnock writes regarding the contrast of “eternal punishment” vs. “eternal life” in Jesus’ judgment of the ‘goats and sheep’ (Matt 31:40) that eternal life refers to “a conscious enjoyment of God” (John 17:3) while eternal punishment would be the opposite of this, without any time frame attached.    Pinnock also notes that it is “smoke” in Rev 14:9–11 that “rises for ever and ever,” with no clear indication that all persons there will suffer for ever and ever.    Rather it is Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet who will be “tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev 20:10).    The lost being thrown into the “lake of fire” is called the “second death” (Rev 20:14), which refers to them being separated forever from God, not necessarily eternal suffering.    In the OT evildoers are described as finally being ‘burned up’ (Mal 4:1).    Jesus spoke of the road of wickedness which leads to “destruction” (Matt 7:13–14) and noted that God has the power to “destroy both the soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28).    Paul wrote that the end of Christ’s enemies will be “destruction” (Phil 3:19) and that the lost will suffer “eternal destruction” (2 Thess 1:9).    “Destruction” in such passages as these appears to refer to something other than eternal existence.    In fact, nowhere in the Bible are persons other than believers in Christ offered “eternal life” (cf. John 3:16).    Yet, in addition to this, God in his mercy may “save” some who turned to God in the limited way that they knew of him and who repented of their sins even in imperfect and false religions, acting on the only light (truth) that they knew.    Still, spreading the Gospel is important since this number of the truly repentant may not be large.   

 

         G. THE ETERNAL AGE (21:1–22:5)
         1. The New Heavens and the New Earth – After the bloodshed and bleakness of the Great Tribulation conflict and White Throne judgment, the splendor and glory of the Eternal Age is indeed a welcome sight.    Then John “saw a new heaven [cosmos] and a new earth” burst into being, and he also witnessed a “New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,” as beautiful and glowing as a bride.    Then the Almighty said to John, “Now the dwelling of God is with men [redeemed humankind], and he will live with them . . . and be their God” (21:1–3).    With the New Creation, God makes “everything new” (21:5).    “To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life” (1:6), probably signifying deep inner satisfaction (Isa 55:1–2) and the overflowing joy felt from living forever in God’s presence (“eternal life,” John 4:14).    And God will “wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev 21:4a), caused by grief in the old creation (Thomas).    The believer “who overcomes [who remains faithful to Christ] will inherit all this” (21:7), God promises.    Sin and death spoiled the first creation (Gen 3), turning it into a place of rebellion and alienation and an enemy territory dominated by the Serpent (Satan); yet finally this present earth and outer space will be ‘burned up’ with fire (2 Peter 3:7) and replaced by a ‘restored,’ even more marvelous creation (Acts 3:21).    Seven burdens of this present life then will be eliminated: the sea (21:1), death, mourning, weeping, pain (21:4), the curse (22:3), and night (21:25).    Eliminating oceans would increase the inhabitable space on an earth the size that it is now by 70%, as well as do away with a terrible source of natural disasters and death.    Yet, still there will be rivers (22:1–2) and no doubt lakes, waterfalls, and smaller bodies of fresh water present on the New Earth, to be enjoyed.    Perhaps, as originally in the Garden of Eden, plant life on the New Earth will be nurtured not by storm, wind and rain but by a mist that rises “from the earth” regularly to water the earth (Gen 2:5–6, KJV).    Most significantly, as Paul wrote, the whole creation at this time “will be set free from its bondage to decay,” to share in “the glory of the children of God” and provide a peaceful and blessed home for the saints with their new glorified bodies (Rom 8:21–23).    

         2. The New Jerusalem – Then an angel whisked John up to a great mountain peak, to give him a panoramic view of the Holy City of God, which had descended from Heaven (21:2, 9–10).    It glistened like a precious jewel, brilliant as jasper (Thomas: diamond?) and clear as crystal (21:11).    It was made of pure but transparent gold (21:18).    It was surrounded by a high wall, with 12 gates (three on each of the four sides of the city), each gate displaying the name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel; and an angel stood as a sentry at each gate, probably as a kind of honor guard (Walvoord).    The city rested on a square foundation made up of 12 layers, each displaying the name of one of the 12 apostles (21:12–14).    The great city measured ca. 1,500 miles (1,200 stadia) along each side, and reached up 1,500 miles into the sky (21:16, NRSV).    The city wall, also of jasper, measured nearly 75 yards (144 cubits) thick (or high); and its foundation layers were decorated with various kinds of precious stones, creating a“spectrum of brilliant color” (Walvoord).    Each gate (of the twelve) was carved out of a single giant pearl (21:17–21a).    Now the foundation of this great city would cover an area equal to the Western United States, extending from the Pacific Ocean to the Mississippi River (Thomas).    And to appreciate the height to which the New Jerusalem ascends (1,500 miles), one must compare this to the height of the earth’s present tallest mountain, measured from sea level (Mount Everest, 29,028’ or 5-1/2 miles) and to the Earth’s diameter, at the equator (7,926 miles).   Or note that the International Space Station orbits the earth at an altitude averaging 230 miles above sea level.    Thus, the highest point of this enormous satellite city (Walvoord) would extend up nearly 1/5th the diameter of the Earth.   Of course, humans can hardly grasp such dimensions nor could they ever build such a city; yet for the Creator of the Universe this will be no difficult task.    Yet, for natural-like (even glorified) bodies, one might imagine that the atmosphere of the New Earth will have been reconstituted (or our bodies), to allow for travel up to that height, without space suits!   There certainly will be plenty of space (tens of thousands of levels) for the (billions of) “dwelling-places” which Jesus promised his disciples he was going to “prepare” for them (John 14:2, REB). 

          Furthermore, John reports that he saw no temple in the New Jerusalem, “because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”    Nor did the city need the sun or moon to shine on it, because “the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb is its lamp” (21:22–23).    This does not necessarily mean that our present sun and moon will no longer exist, and the opposite side of the earth from where New Jerusalem is located might experience periods of diminished light.    Whatever the case, John saw that the “kings of the earth will bring their splendor [NJB: ‘treasures’] into [the New Jerusalem],” and at no time will the city’s gates ever be shut (21:24–25)—as was done in OT times to protect cities and towns from marauders and other harm.    The New Jerusalem is probably also pyramid shaped (William Simcox, William Hoste, Wilbur Smith), its magnificent towers increasing in height until at the center and apex of the city one reaches “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (22:1), which may or may not be enclosed (since rain clouds will never appear).    The wording here does not mean that there will be two ‘persons’ sitting on the throne, but only Christ (note the singular “his” and “him” in 22:3); the Second Member of the Trinity who took on human form (Phil 2:5–8), will rule as the King of kings in this new physical world, while at the same time remaining one with the Father.    However, the descent of the New Jerusalem from Heaven (21:1) reveals that the New Earth and former Heaven (as the Father’s home) will continue as two different, distinct places.   

         John also saw a “river of the water of life” flowing out from Christ’s Throne “down the middle of the great street of the city.    On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit,” one each month.    “And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (22:1–2).    Now the “river,” “street,” and “tree” here are probably generic or collective terms (Swete, Beckwith, Thomas); and they may represent 12 rivers extending downward from the Throne in all directions, each banked on both sides by trees, and then a divided boulevard.    And each of these groups of rivers, groves, and lanes will descend to one of the 12 great gateways of the city.    Perhaps each of these 12 gates will then lead out into a different nation (Alcorn).    One can also imagine these 12 rivers subdividing into many smaller rivers and then countless streams, then branching out throughout the nearly 2 million square miles of the city at ground level, and on other levels, providing delicious, fresh, clear water, for drinking, beautifying parks, and other purposes.    Nutrients in the trees’ fruit (22:1–2) will maintain indefinitely the life, health and vitality of the saints’ bodies (cf. Gen 3:22); and the trees’ leaves will contain medicinal properties to heal the body in case of accidents (e.g., if an extreme-sports-loving saint loses his or her grip and falls down a mountainside).    All believers will be able to see Christ face to face (“his face,” 22:4), which will be our greatest joy; and we also will carry his name on our foreheads (22:4).    People will not need to leave the New Jerusalem to enjoy natural beauty, as gardens will surely saturate the city.    Jesus earlier called the New Jerusalem the “paradise [of God]” (Rev 2:7), a word in the Greek (paradeisos) which basically means “garden,” and so the city will be filled with many parks, even more beautiful than the original Garden of Eden (Gen 2:8–9, 10–14).    People will sit on the banks of the lakes and streams, enjoying picnics, talking and laughing, admiring the flowers, and watching the friendly animals frolic (Alcorn).   

         3. The saints’ glorified bodies and sanctified spirits – In 1 Cor 15:42–49 Paul explains how our bodies now are “perishable” (subject to death), display “dishonor” (in sickness and aging), show increasing “weakness,” (frailty), and are “physical” (carrying Adam’s fallen nature).    However, after the Rapture (or a later resurrection for some believers, Rev 20:4), the saints’ glorified bodies will be “inperishable” (not subject to death), will display “glory” (youthfulness and radiance), will have new “power” (physical and mental strength and abilities), and will be “spiritual” (reflecting Christ’s sanctified nature and resurrected physical form, 15:49).    God will gather up DNA from everyone who ever lived and bring them back to life, for joy or judgment.    We can get an idea of what resurrected bodies for the saints will be like by looking at Jesus’ appearances after his Resurrection and he received his glorified body (1 Cor 15:20, 49).    On the one hand, he had a very physical body, which still displayed the recognizable crucifixion scars on his hands and feet (John 20:27), he could ‘break bread’ and eat food (Luke 24:30, 42–43), and later he fixed breakfast on the shore of the Sea of Galilee for his disciples (John 21:9–10).    Yet, at the same time, he was able to pass through walls into locked rooms (John 20:19, 26), to travel through space quickly and suddenly appear and disappear (Luke 24:15, 31), and to ascend up into space and out of sight (Acts 1:9).    Our bodies will emit a glow or radiance (Matt 13:43), as we share in Christ’s glory (Matt 17:2).    Yet Randy Alcorn believes that we will still retain the gender that we have in this life, along with many other individual physical and psychological traits—although one can expect that unpleasant traits borne in this life (e.g., excessive tallness, shortness, overweight, or the wrong body gender) will then be modified.    Probably we will find all of the personality types now identified in the ancient Enneagram system, including: the “achiever” (or perfectionist), “helper” (or care-giver), “succeeder” (or pragmatist), “individualist” (or artist), “observer” (or analytic mind), “guardian” (or loyal supporter), “dreamer” (or superactive type), “confronter” (or leader), and “preservationist” (or peace-maker), (Hurley and Dobson, Rohr and Ebert). 

        Yet some misconceptions have been voiced about the glorified body.    Some interpreters have claimed that the redeemed in the Eternal Age will be incapable of sinning.   Yet, this would remove free will as a fundamental human characteristic.    Rather, the redeemed have chosen to want to love, please, and serve God; and this impulse will be even more strengthened, once their fallen nature is removed.    Also, they will never forget the kind of painful world which sin produced.    People who have been severely burned in a fire are not likely to want to walk into another fire.    Other interpreters have suggested that the redeemed will be perfect.    But this can hardly be so either, since only God is perfect in his nature, character and work.    The redeemed will be free from selfish jostling, greed and envy, dysfunctional influences, and other weaknesses of character; yet we will still make mistakes and sometimes show poor judgment, and will have to say, “I’m sorry.”    (Perhaps we should practice this more in this life.)    No doubt our failings then as now will be covered by the atoning work of Christ.    Another writer claimed there will be no learning in the Eternal Age, because our knowledge will be full—but how boring is that!    Only God is omniscient, having complete knowledge; and on the New Earth there will be countless new people and subjects to learn about, and skills to acquire.    The Eternal Age will be the beginning of an exciting learning adventure, the like of which we cannot begin to imagine!    And at the center of this we will become even more acquainted with our wonderful God, his love and grace and perfections, and amazing abilities—for this will not be an age when God stops being creative.    Perhaps even our basic senses will be heightened, to enjoy new colors, sounds, and smells that we do not now experience.    What God originally made—humans, the earth and the universe—he will only improve in the New Creation.    We will experience a new affection, love and pleasure in getting close to others—although not in a sexual way.    Persons will not marry (Matt 22:30) nor have sexual desire; yet life on the New Earth will not be without other kinds of desires and passions; and there will be plenty of time, energy and resources to fulfill all of our dreams, whether to be a musician, traveler, gardener, artist, writer, scientist, teacher, inventor, animal care-giver, or whatever—all for the glory of God.   

         4. The saints’ life in the Eternal Age – Beyond Robert Thomas’s comprehensive, two-volume commentary on Revelation (1,214 pages), Randy Alcorn raises many other questions, views, and thoughts about the Eternal Age in his book Heaven (531 pages)—although this second book is mistitled since it is not about God’s spiritual abode (Heaven) but the saints’ final life on the New Earth.    Indeed Paul wrote that when believers now die their disembodied spirits go to be with Jesus (2 Cor 5:8), who now is positioned at the right hand of the Father in Heaven (Acts 6:31, 7:56).    Yet after the New Creation, the New Jerusalem, which Jesus has prepared for his followers (John 14:2–3), leaves Heaven and descends to rest on the New Earth (Rev 21:1–2).    Interestingly we do not find many angels in John’s glimpse of New Jerusalem, except for the angelic sentries at the 12 gates of the great city (21:12).    There may be more around, but their primary home will remain in Heaven with the Father.    The New Earth, with its soil, rocks, water, flowers, animals, trees and many other natural wonders, has been especially prepared for the saints, with very real but transformed physical bodies.

         The New Earth will seem very different, yet familiar.    To be sure, on the New Earth there will be no more famines, floods, hurricanes, tsumanis, earthquakes, or volcanic disasters.    The cities will be free of crime, pollution, homelessness, blackouts, violence, garbage, police sirens, burning buildings, and traffic jams.    Locked doors will be a thing of the past, since New Jerusalem will be filled with truly honest, caring, and good people.    The saints will be healed of any and all physical defects and psychological traumas that they bore in this life.    Instead, we will find great universities and libraries for learning and research, as well as a whole new world to discover and explore.    Everyone will be able to go everywhere free of charge (or will have the currency needed), to enjoy restaurants, concerts, museums, sporting events, and the like.    No one will feel that he or she is left out—because all will be “citizens” of equal value in New Jerusalem.    Surely many worthy masterpieces of our present age will survive, such as Handel’s The Messiah and Bach’s organ works and Beethoven’s symphonies, artistic masterpieces by Giotto and Dürer and Rembrandt, and literary texts like the Bible, Shakespeare, and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.    However, much faulty human perspective will need to be corrected.    Also, many new masterpieces will be created, dwarfing the creative achievement of our present age.    And although now we are limited to gazing at the cosmos through great telescopes, in the Eternal Age we actually will be able to travel to these distant places, to see their marvels up close and explore their strange and intriguing vistas.    Maybe we’ll even find new species of life in these far-off worlds.  

         a. Worship and spiritual life.    Certainly love for our Saviour and Lord and our desire to worship him will dominate our emotions in the Eternal Age, and we shall share many glorious experiences in communal and private worship.    Since trumpets (Rev 8:2ff) and stringed instruments (Rev 14:2) are specifically mentioned in Heaven or coming from there, we surely will find musical instruments on the New Earth (in ancient, modern and new forms); and music played an important part in OT worship (1 Chron 25:1–8, Ps 150).    Many great hymns of our Church Age will survive, and many new songs of praise will be written during the Eternal Age.    LaHaye and Jenkins imagine in their novel about Christ’s Glorious Appearing that afterward he will have close communication with each believer telepathically, and we with him; so we will not be limited to just visiting his residence or catching a glimpse of him at some large gathering.    Also, if we have not had opportunity during the Millennial Kingdom, we will be able to hear the life stories of many interesting people, e.g., Noah, Joshua, David, Elijah, Daniel, the Twelve Apostles (including Paul)—and even Jesus, about whose life on earth we actually know very little—even as John wrote, “[I]f every one of them [Jesus’ works] were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25b).    Also, what inspiring and interesting stories will missionaries and saints of the past have to share?    Edith Schaeffer in her book Affliction imagines that there will be two great museums in the future life, one picturing scenes where the Lord delivered his children from innumerable trials and the other picturing scenes where he gave them the supernatural strength to bear what had to be borne.

        b. Work and commerce.    When Adam became bored in the Garden of Eden, the Lord brought before him all the animals to name (Gen 2:19–20a), as meaningful and enjoyable work.    Generally people who have pleasant work to do are happy, while those who have no jobs and where time hangs on their hands are not.    Rev 14:13b says that the dead in the Lord shall “rest from their labors,” but this refers to the painful struggles and burdens in this life, not work per se.    Work for many now is unfortunately tedious, menial, difficult, and frustrating (if people can find work at all); but on the New Earth everyone will have interesting and fulfilling work to do.    Jesus told his disciples, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17, NIV).    And as God’s image-bearers (Gen 1:26), we also will be engaged in creating new things, completing important projects, and striving to reach new goals.    We will not, as Thomas Aquinas imagined, simply be absorbed in a motionless, intellectual contemplation of God; such a monotonous regimen would drive us mad!    Rather in the future we shall be even more active than we are now—in worship and service, work and play, and important and creative activities.    Paul wrote that the saints will even judge angels (1 Cor 6:3).   

         But will there be manufacturing in the Eternal Age?    With regards to clothing, Alcorn suggests that surely we will not always wear white in Eternity (note Rev 6:11; 7:9, 13–14; 19:14); instead our wardrobes will be as varied as now, including clothing like blue jeans, T-shirts, and other attire suitable for sweaty tasks and vigorous sports.    No doubt some people will be engaged in designing and supplying these clothes.    Many ethnic groups, past and present, may also retain their diverse clothing tastes; and their love for colors and patterns will enrich the social scene.    Indeed, the New Earth will be a very multi-cultural place, including redeemed people “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev 5:9).     But what about private ownership in the Age to come?   Jesus advised his disciples to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven [for the future life] . . . for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:20).    Jesus noted that those believers who are persecuted will receive a ‘great reward’ in the next life (Matt 5:11–12) and that saints will receive a “reward” for their pious worship of God in private (Matt 6:1–4), no doubt some of it after death.    Paul wrote of different levels of rewards that God’s servants will receive (1 Cor 3:7–15), and John encouraged saints to strive to receive a “full reward” (2 John v. 8).    Private ownership is not evil, although materialism, greed and envy, and callousness toward others are, and these things will not be found in eternity.    Business flows from personal creativity and produces variety; and honest giving and receiving benefits both parties.    If humankind had not sinned, humans still would have invented the wheel, the pulley, the button, the staple, the engine, and ice cream.    Perhaps it will be through new inventions that humans are able to travel to the far reaches of universe, if we are not able to teletransport there, and exist in different environments.    Perhaps by using new technology, the universe will become the saints’ backyard, our playground.

         c. Play and entertainment – In fact, we will have time for rest, relaxation and play.    What feels better than laying your head on a pillow after a busy day’s activities, and then arising refreshed the next morning?    Also, no doubt there will be regular days off from work and longer periods of free time (vacations) when one can engage in hobbies, read books for pleasure, visit new places, attend special concerts, play with animals, etc.    Rest is as much a gift from God as work (remember the Sabbath, Exod 20:8–11).    No doubt a good deal of uplifting classical music will survive, although many secular songs will not.    Dance, a natural response to music, will also be found in the Eternal Age, of a positive kind.    And surely the artistic and expressive hand of God seen in nature will be paralleled in various ways in human activity, in painting and sculpture, music composition and performance, and the writing of drama, fiction and poetry—for the resurrected saints will have insights, reflections and emotions which they wish to express, about the wonders of God’s love and his world and their life in general.    Perhaps also there will be television and movies, although not devoted to glorifying evil, crime, vampires, violence, and brutality.    Unfortunately we have become so accustomed to degraded shows that it is hard for us to imagine a higher, more beneficial (and yet interesting) kind of entertainment and viewing.    There will be plenty of laughter, although not of the put-down, insulting kind of most modern comedians.    Too often we view God as grim-faced and humorless—and yet how could this be the God who created aardvarks, baboons, ostriches, giraffes, dodo birds, kangaroos, sloths, walruses, hippos, and jellyfish?     Would the twelve disciples have stayed with Jesus unless he was a likeable, caring, warm individual?    And surely there will be sports in Eternity, since it is not good for the physical body to be a couch potato.    In contrast, many will find exhilaration in pushing the limits of what their bodies can do.    All present sports records will be broken in the New Jerusalem Olympic Games. 

        d. Time and the age of people – That the tree of life bears “twelve crops of fruit” (Rev 22:2) points to a division of time, as now, into years and months, even though with access to the Tree of Life the saints will not age nor die (Gen 3:22).    Thomas Aquinas believed that all glorified saints will appear the same age as Christ when he was crucified and then rose from the dead (age 33), while Hank Hanegraaff suggests more broadly that their age appearance will probably fall somewhere in the 20s and 30s, at the human body’s physical peak.    C. S. Lewis thought that we might appear ageless, like the angels, while Randy Alcorn suggests that somehow we might ‘see’ old family and friends in eternity as we ‘saw’ them on earth (as parents or children, etc.).

        e. Food and eating – Some interpreters have suggested that in eternity we will not eat nor drink, because they feel ashamed with the acts of digestion and elimination.    Yet God created every part of the human body, with all of their diverse functions; and he called all of his creation “very good” (Gen 1:31).    Food was meant not only for nourishment, but for pleasure and for provision of table fellowship.    Yet Adam and Eve appear to have been vegetarian, with God only giving his blessing to eating meat after the Flood, to Noah (Gen 9:3).    At least, from the Millennial Kingdom on, animals will not be predatory (Isa 11:6–9) but vegetarian.    Another person asked, will there be coffee on the New Earth?    Well, God created coffee too, and in and of itself (in moderation) it is not a harmful substance—although one can expect that humans will be free of harmful addictions in the age to come, and substances related to this will be removed.     

         f. Languages.    Adam and Eve must have been given an innate ability to speak in a language so that they could communicate with God and with each another.    Probably in the Eternal Age we will all just know a new universal language.    Yet Alcorn also suggests that we may be able to understand or at least easily learn many other languages that have been spoken on earth, so we can appreciate how God has been praised in many different tongues.    At Pentecost people from all over the Roman world suddenly heard the apostles “speaking about God’s deeds of power” in all their native languages (Acts 2:8–11).    Perhaps all ancient and modern cultures will be reconstituted on the New Earth, with their own ethnic identity, distinctive perspectives, art forms, and unique ways of worshipping the true God. 

        g. Animals.   Animals have a long history of aiding humans, in traveling, farming, fighting, and as pets.    God took great pride in the ‘lower’ creatures he created (Job 38:39–41:34); and in the Ten Commandments he required that they also be given a weekly day of rest, like humans (Exod 20:10).    It seems inconceivable that God would recreate a New Earth without animals being a part of it, and probably in an even expanded, enriched way.    Wouldn’t it be interesting, for example, if ‘higher’ animals could speak to us in our human language, like Balaam’s donkey (Num 22:22–30)?    Sacrificing of animals was required in Israel’s worship because they were of such value, and Jesus noted even that “your heavenly Father feeds [the birds]” (Matt 6:26).    The four creatures (cherubim) most closely positioned to the Almighty in Heaven blend both human and animal characteristics (Ezek 1, Rev 4:6b–8); and when Christ returns in glory with the saints, they will come riding on majestic white horses (Rev 19:11–14).    Now some people very close to their pets have asked whether they might see them again in the Eternal Age.    Alcorn believes, based on Matt 7:9–11 (God’s unusual goodness showered on his children), that indeed this could happen.    As C. S. Lewis wrote, it is quite possible that some animals will experience a ‘resurrection’ connected to the immortality of their owners who on this earth were or are very devoted to them.   

        h. Compensation for losses in this life.    One of the great gifts of Eternity will be the opportunity to fulfill worthy dreams and make up for the losses suffered in this life.    Consider Li Quan, a brilliant Chinese student, whose dream was to teach and write at a great university, but who because of his conversion to Christ was permitted only to work as a locksmith’s assistant; still he did this work faithfully as unto the Lord, day after day.    Surely, he will be given an exciting chair at one of New Jerusalem’s great universities, to carry on research in his area(s) of interest.    Perhaps the smartest person who ever lived never learned to read, or the most musically gifted person never had the opportunity to touch a musical instrument.    And as Joni Ereckson Tada, confined to her wheelchair, has written:  “Being glorified—I know the meaning of that now.    It’s the time, after my death, when I’ll be on my feet dancing.”    We should not grow discouraged or despondent now because of the losses we feel, because they are only temporary and our future gains as followers of Christ will be immeasurable and eternal.    Fanny Crosby wrote hymns with lines like “His glory we shall see . . .” and “When our eyes behold the city . . . ,” even though her blind eyes had never seen anything.    Yet she told people not to feel sorry for her because the first face she would see would be that of Jesus—which came to pass in 1915 when she went to be with the Lord.    What is important in this life is the kind of person each one of us becomes, faced with our burdens and trials. 

 

IV. CONCLUDING REMARKS (22:621)

        A. Final testimonies (22:617) – It is sometimes difficult in this passage to determine who exactly is speaking, although it is a conversation that takes place between the primary angel-guide whom the Lord sent to show John these visions (Rev 1:1, 2:16), Christ himself who speaks in the vision, and the Apostle John.    In the first section (22:6–7), the angel-guide speaks to John, affirming that these visions are a genuine prophecy sent by the Almighty to John (verse 6); and then Christ appears in the vision, saying: “Behold, I am coming soon!” (verse 7)—wording in the NT that is taken to mean that he could return at any time.   In the second section (22:8–11) John confirms again (1:9–20) that he was the one who witnessed and wrote down these visions, noting also that he was so overcome by the glories of the New Jerusalem that he fell down before the angel speaking to him—although the angel told him only to worship God.    The angel then informs John not to be surprised that even though people learn that the Lord could return at any time, in general they will continue to live their lives just as they are doing, in an evil manner or an upright manner.    In the third section (22:12–16) Christ speaks to John directly, emphasizing again that he will return, to “give to everyone according to what he [or she] has done,” because he is one with the Father.    Then Christ draws a striking contrast (verses 14–15) between those who are “blessed,” who will find great joy and happiness in the City of God because they have “wash[ed] their robes” in his atoning sacrifice, and the unrepentant, like those found in the idolatrous city of Babylon, who will never be found in the New Jerusalem.    Rev. 22:16 is the only place in Revelation where “Jesus” refers to himself or is referred to by his human name (he is generally called “the Lamb [of God]”), which may appear here as a term of endearment to John, who now faithfully completes his commission.    In the fourth section (22:17) the angel speaks again, noting how the Holy Spirit and the Church (Christ’s true followers) say, “Come!,” yearning for their Saviour’s glorious return and righteous rule.    A loving invitation is extended to all who read this Book and who “are thirsty” (feel empty) to come and join the group of happy seekers and sinners who have already received the Lord’s forgiveness and who will enjoy the blessed Eternal Age, described earlier in Rev 21–22.    This shows that the Book of Revelation is intended for all of the churches, all Christians, indeed all people.  

        Two similar lists appear in Revelation 21:8 and 22:15, of types of individuals who will not inherit the New Earth nor the New Jerusalem.    They includes those kinds of people who followed the Antichrist and supported his New Babylon, including: the cowardly (so-called believers who did not remain true to God, Rev 13:10b, 14:11–12); the unbelieving (the unsaved who continue to reject God and refuse to repent, 14:6–7; 16:9, 11); idolaters (those who worship the Antichrist and his idol, 13:3–4, 12, 14–15; 14:9–11; 16:2; 17:2); liars (those who support and spread the Antichrist’s lies, 13:14, 19:20); the vile (those who blaspheme God and engage in “abominations,” a term in the OT which refers primarily to disgraceful cult practices connected to idolatry, 16:9, 17:4–5); the sexually immoral (female prostitutes, “adulteries” probably referring here both to spiritual and physical unfaithfulness, 17:2, 5; 18:3); ‘dogs’ (male prostitutes, cf. Deut 23:18, KJV and NRSV, included here among the “prostitutes,” 17:5); murderers (13:7, 16:6, 17:6, 18:24); and practitioners of magic (13:13, 18:23d).  

        B. Final warnings and a final cry (22:1820) – In the fifth section here, the angel (probably) continues speaking, warning in the most severe terms that if anyone adds to or subtracts from this prophecy, God will surely punish that person.    Then, Christ reiterates: “I am coming soon,” I may appear at any time.    And John responds with a final cry for Christ’s return, saying: “Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus,” adding his prayer to those expressed earlier from Holy Spirit and God’s people elsewhere.    Elsewhere Paul wrote, Maranatha (“Our Lord, come!”), expressed in Aramaic, the everyday Jewish language, to communicate his deep longing for Christ’s glorious return to come (1 Cor 16:22). 

         C. Final benediction (22:21) – Then John closes his letter with a benediction:  “The grace [the loving favor] of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” 

 

MAIN TEXTS
Alcorn, Randy.   Heaven.   Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2004. 

Thomas, Robert L.   Revelation 1–7: An Exegetical Commentary.   Chicago: Moody Press, 1992.

Thomas, Robert L.   Revelation 8–22: An Exegetical Commentary.   Chicago: Moody Press, 1995.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY TEXTS
Alexander, Ralph H.   “Ezekiel.”   In Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 6, pp. 735–996.    Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986. 

Archer, Gleason L., Jr.   “Daniel.”   In Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 7, pp. 1–157.    Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985. 

Baines, T. B.   The Revelation of Jesus Christ.   London: G. Morrish, 5th ed. 1911.  

Beasley-Murray, G. R. (George)   “The Revelation.”   In Donald Guthrie, ed., New Bible Commentary, Revised, pp. 1279–1310.   Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, (1953) 1970. 

Beckwith, Isbon T.   The Apocalypse of John.   New York: Macmillan, 1919.

Bruce, F. F. (Frederick F.)   “The Revelation to John.”   In G. C. D. Howley, ed., New Layman’s Bible Commentary, pp. 1675–1712.   Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979. 

Caird, G. V.   A Commentary on the Revelation of St. John the Divine.   (Harper’s New Testament Commentary)   New York: Harper & Row, 1966.  

Carson, D. A.   “Matthew.”   In Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 8, pp. 1–599.   Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984.  

Charles, R. H. (Robert)   The Revelation of St. John.   (International Critical Commentary)   New York: Scribner’s Sons, 2 vols., 1920.  

Coogan, Michael D.   “Sea.”   In Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, ed., New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 5, pp. 139–140.   Nashville: Abingdon, 2009. 

France, R. T.   The Gospel of Matthew.   (New International Commentary on the New Testament)   Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge, UK: Eerdmans, 2007. 

Hailey, Homer.   Revelation: An Introduction and Commentary.   Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979.  

Harland, J. Penrose.   “Sodom.”   In George Arthur Buttrick, ed., Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 4, pp. 395–397.   Nashville: Abingdon, 1962. 

Hurley, Kathleen V., and Theodore E. Dobson.   What’s My Type?  Using the Enneagram System of Nine Personality Types to Discover Your Best Self.   San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991. 

Johnson, Alan F.   “Revelation.”   In Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12, pp. 97–603.    Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981. 

Kletter, Raz.   “Weights and Measures.”   In Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, ed., New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 5, pp. 831–841.   Nashville: Abingdon, 2009. 

Ladd, George E.   A Commentary on the Revelation of John.   Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972. 

LaHaye, Tim, and Jerry B. Jenkins.   Glorious Appearing and End of Days.   (Left Behind Series)   Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 2004.  

________.   Kingdom Come: The Final Victory.   (Left Behind Series)   Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2007. 

Moore, David G.   The Battle for Hell: A Survey and Evaluation of Evangelicals’ Growing Attraction to the Doctrine of Annihilationism.   Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1995. 

Morris, Leon.   The Gospel according to Matthew.   Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge, UK: Eerdmans, 1992.  

________.   “Parousia.”   In Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 3, pp. 664–670.   Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986.  

Mounce, Robert H.   The Book of Revelation.   (New International Commentary of the New Testament)   Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977.  

Peterson, Robert A.   “Undying Worm, Unquenchable Fire.”   Christianity Today, October 23, 2000, pp. 30–37. 

Rohr, Richard, and Andreas Ebert.   Discovering the Enneagram: An Ancient Tool for a New Spiritual Journey.   Translated from German by Peter Heinegg.   New York: Crossroads, 1992. 

Schaeffer, Edith.   Affliction.    Old Tappen, NJ: Revell, 1978. 

Seiss, Joseph A.   The Apocalypse.   New York: Charles E. Cook, 3 vols., 1909. 

Smith. J. B.   A Revelation of Jesus Christ.   Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1961. 

Smith, Wilbur M.   “Revelation.”   in Charles F. Pfeiffer, ed., Wycliff Bible Commentary, pp. 1491–1525.   Chicago, Moody Press, 1962. 

Strauss, Lehman.   The Book of Revelation.   Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1964. 

Strong, James, ed.   The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.   Revised John R. Kohlenberger III and James A. Swanson.   Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.  

Swete, Henry B.   The Apocalypse of St. John.   London: Macmillan, 1906. 

Walvoord, John F.   The Revelation of Jesus Christ.   Chicago: Moody Press, 1966.  

Wilson, J. Macartney.   “Angel.”   In Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1, pp. 124–127.   Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979. 

 

BIBLE TRANSLATIONS – Good News Bible, 1976.   English Standard Version, 2001.   King James’s Bible, American Bible Society version, 1932.   New American Bible, 1995.   New International Version, 1978.   New Jerusalem Bible, 1985.   New Living Translation, 1996.   New Revised Standard Version, 1989.   Revised English Bible, 1989.   Updated New American Standard Bible, 1999.    

 

 

© Bruce L. Gerig 2011
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