Course Notes


for NT 590











Robert C. Newman

Biblical Theological Seminary

Hatfield, Pennsylvania



Course Notes


I. Course Introduction


A. The "Dangers" of Revelation


            1. Dangers from both sides:

                        in some circles book is neglected

                        in others, book is overemphasized to neglect of equally important matters


            2. Why sometimes neglected?

                        book thought to be unintelligible

                        some repelled by its symbolism

                        some turned off by its interpreters

                        some don't like to think of heaven & hell


            3. Why thought unintelligible?

                        wide variety of interpretations

                        (four quite distinct approaches; here give extremes)


                        a. Contemporary View (Preterite)

                                    book talks about events of John's time only


                        b. Historical View (Church Historical)

                                    book specifically referring to events over whole of church history


                        c. Future View (Futurist)

                                    book relates only to events at end of age


                        d. Spiritual View (Idealistic)

                                    book describes spiritual warfare by means of symbols


                        most hold some combination of these views with emphasis on one or other


            4. Unusual and strong symbolism

                        some repelled by it

                        some interpret it literally

                        some evaporate meaning



B. The Rewards of Revelation


            blessing promised in Rev 1:3 on those who read, hear & keep what is written in book

            value of the big picture

            centrality of Christ

            importance of worship

            protection against influence of world in own lives


C. The Writing of Revelation


            1. Author

                        a. According to Book: John (1:1,4,9; 22:8)

                        b. Which John?

                                    (1) modern suggestions include John Mark, John the Baptist or some unknown John as well as John the Apostle

                                    (2) ancient evidence all points to Apostle John (Justin, c 150; Muratorian Canon & Irenaeus, c170; Hippolytus & Origen, c 225)

                                    (3) stylistic evidence  more ambiguous, but Rev only other place in NT besides John where Christ is called "the Word" (Rev 19:13)


            2. Date of Writing

                        a. According to Book: when on Island of Patmos (1:9)

                                    this is when vision occurred, and 10:4 suggests John is writing while vision is going on

                                    probably an exile during persecution (cp 6:9; 12:17 and tradition)

                        b. When Was That?

                                    (1) Some try to date by identifying name coded by "666" in 13:18, and by sixth king in 17:10, as being some Roman emperor at time of writing; not very successful

                                    (2) External evidence not as solid as for authorship, but earliest evid points to c 95 AD, during Domitian persecution

                                    (3) Some evid favors Nero's reign (c 65 AD), but state of church at Laodicea (3:14ff) doesn't fit (destroyed by earthquake in 60 or 64, would still be rebuilding)


            3. Summary

                        Apostle John, about 95 AD, in exile on Patmos during Domitian's persecution



D. A Sketch Outline of Revelation


            1. Prologue (1:1-8)


            2. The First Vision (1:9-3:22): The Present

                        a. Vision of Glorified Christ (1:9-20)

                        b. His Seven Letters (2:1-3:22)


            3. The Second Vision (4:1-16:21): The Future


                        a. The Heavenly Throne-Room (4:1-11)


                        b. The Seven Seals (5:1-8:1)

                                    (1) The Scroll & the Lamb (5:1-14)

                                    (2) Six Seals Opened (6:1-17)

                                    (3) The Seal Interlude: Two Multitudes (7:1-17)

                                                (a) The 144,000 (7:1-8)

                                                (b) The Innumerable Multitude (7:9-17)

                                    (4) The Seventh Seal (8:1)


                        c. The Seven Trumpets (8:2-14:20)

                                    (1) Trumpets Prepared (8:2-6)

                                    (2) Six Trumpets Sounded (8:7-9:21)

                                    (3) The Trumpet Interlude: Two Witnesses (10:1-11:13)

                                                (a) The Angel with the Scroll (10:1-11)

                                                (b) The Temple & the Two Witnesses (11:1-13)

                                    (4) The Seventh Trumpet (11:14-20)


                        d. The Second Vision Interlude: Beauty & Beast (12:1-14:20)

                                    (1) The Dragon, the Woman & Her Seed (12:1-17)

                                    (2) The Two Beasts (13:1-18)

                                    (3) The 144,000, the 3 Angels & the 2 Harvests (14:1-20)


                        e. The Seven Bowls (15:1-16:21)

                                    (1) Bowls Prepared (15:1-8)

                                    (2) Seven Bowls Poured Out (16:1-21)


        4. The Third Vision (17:1-21:8): The End


                        a. Babylon Destroyed (17:1-19:5)

                                    (1) The Woman on the Beast (17:1-18)

                                    (2) The Judgment of Babylon (18:1-19:5)


                        b. Final Victory (19:6-21:8)

                                    (1) The Marriage of the Lamb (19:6-10)

                                    (2) Christ's Second Coming (19:11-21)

                                    (3) The Millennial Rule (20:1-10)

                                    (4) The Last Judgment (20:11-15)

                                    (5) New Heavens & New Earth (21:1-8)


        5. The Fourth Vision (21:9-22:5): The Beginning


                        a. The New Jerusalem (21:9-27)

                        b. The River of Life (22:1-5)


        6. Epilogue (22:6-21)


Interspersed in our notes, we will give chapter summaries, which will include:

            Location in structure of Revelation, OT background, other background, Greek language notes, the basic picture in this chapter, and various hermeneutical indicators:



                                                                   Chapter One


Location in Structure of Revelation:

        Prologue (1-8)

        Beginning of First Vision (9-20)

          extends thru end of chapter 3


O.T. Background:

        He who is, was, etc, (4) - Ex 3:14

        7 Spirits (4) - Isa 11:2?; Zech 4:10

        Coming with clouds (7) - Dan 7:13

        Pierced him (7) - Zech 12:10

        Golden lampstands (12) - Ex 25:31ff; 1 K 7:49; Zech 4:2

        Head, hair, etc. (14) - Dan 7:9; 10:6; Ezk 1:27; 8:2

        Sword of mouth (16) Isa 49:2


Other Background:

        Ancient letter format (4) - sender (nom);

          recipient(s) (dat); greeting (w/ charis)

        Lord's day (10) - Didache 14.1, Ignatius, Magn. 9.1

        Robe w/ chest sash (13) - Josephus, Ant. 3.7.2


Greek Language Notes:

        en tachei (1) - in a short time: soon, quickly

        semaino (1) - indicate (beforehand), foretell, sometimes of speech giving vague indication (cp Jn 21:19)

        apo ho on, etc. (4) - cp Ex 3:14 LXX for on

          undeclined for unchangeable God?


Basic Picture:

        Glorified X appears to John w/ revelation re/ past (?), present & future, directed to 7 churches (note 1:1, 4, 11; 22:16)

        The vision (9-20) has a temple setting, app the "heavenly temple" where the holy place (on earth?) includes the churches, which X as priest is tending


Hermeneutical Indicators:

        O.T. background - thruout chapter (& book)

        Blessing (3) - strongly suggests book is understandable

        Outline of book? (19) - what you have seen, what is, & what will be after this

        Interpreted symbols (20) - lampstands & stars



Back to notes outline:


II. The Prologue (1:1-8)


A. Title (1:1-2)


            1. Revelation of Jesus Christ: ambiguity; given to Him, he is revealing, he is revealed?

            2. Passed on to Christ's servants (us!) via angel & John

            3. Contents:

                        a. What must soon happen - predictive

                        b. What John saw - visionary

                        c. God's Word - sure; beyond human ability

                        d. The Testimony of Jesus Christ - Christ-centered (?)


B. Blessing (1:3)


            1. Encouragement to Read

            2. Encouragement to Keep (Take to heart?  Obey, certainly)

            3. Time is Near 

                        problem of imminency; cp Ps 90; 2 Pet 3:8-9;

                        esp Isa 60:22: "in its time ... swiftly"


C. Greetings and Doxology (1:4-6)


            1. Like beginning of letter at this point

                        sender, recipients, greeting

            2. Trinitarian blessing

                        7 spirits unusual; will see more later

            3. Doxology: poem praising God

                        here it is Jesus Christ being praised

                        praise for His love, redemption, gifts to us



D. Promises (1:7-8)


            1. He is coming again

                        (not everyone will be happy about this)

            2. God (who stands behind this) described

                        beginning and end (creator and purpose)

                        who is ... (eternally existing)

                        Almighty (who strong enough to stop Him?)


III. The First Vision (1:9-3:22): The Present (i.e., John's Time) 


A. Vision of the Glorified Christ (1:9-20)


            1. Background (9-11):  John describes himself

                        His circumstances:

                                    on Patmos, on Sunday, in Spirit

                        His commission:

                                    write what you see

                                    send it to 7 churches


            2. Christ Described (12-16)

                        One like a "son of man"

                                    human form (prob allusion to Dan 7:13)

                        Dress and lampstands imply priesthood

                        Description implies supernatural being, usually God

                                    (cp Dan 7:9; 10:6; Ezk 1:27-28)

                                    Sword in mouth

                                                prob symbolic, though this is presumably what John saw

                                                (i.e., God is providing the symbolism, not John)

                                                God's mere word can inflict damage like sword

                        Action: standing among lampstands, holding seven stars


            3. John's Reaction & Christ's Response (17-20)

                        Falls down as though dead (cp Isa 6:5; Ezk 1:28; Dan 8:17,18) terror before supernatural & God's holiness

                        Christ's reaction like that on Easter: don't be afraid

                        Describes self as "first & last" (cp 1:8; 22:13)

                        Reference to resurrection and power over Hades

                        Command repeated to write:

                                    what you have seen                 |   is this a sketch of

                                    what is now                             |    book's contents?

                                    what will happen later             |

                        Two symbols explained (few are)

                                    stars = angels (see below)

                                    lampstands = churches



Chapter Two


Location in Structure of Revelation:

        First Vision (chs. 1-3)

          Seven Letters (chs. 2-3)

            1st 4 churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira


O.T. Background:

        Left 1st love (4) - Jer 2:2

        Tree of life, Paradise (7) - Gen 2:9; 3:22-24

        Ten days (10) - Dan 1:12,14

        Balaam, Balak (14) - Num 22-24; 31:8,16

        Hidden manna (17) - Ex 16:32-34; John 6:49-51

        New name (17) - Isa 56:5; 62:2; 65:15

        Jezebel (20) - 1 Kings 16:31; 19:2; 21:25

        Rod of iron (27) - Ps 2:8-9


Other Background:

        Strong linkage back to chap 1 & forward thru Rev

        Allusions to characteristics of cities?

          (see Ramsay, Letters to 7 Churches in Asia)

          Ephesus: change of position

          Smyrna: dead yet lived; crown, faithful

          Pergamum: sword, throne of Satan

          Thyatira: revels of trade guilds

          Nicolaitans (6,15) - early Xn fathers (Ramsay, 350)

          White stone (17) - vote of acquittal, banquet ticket, amulet (BAGD 892; Beas-Murray, Caird ad loc)

          Morning star (28) - cp Rev 22:16


Greek Language Notes:

        note variant (22):  klinen - bed, phulaken - prison, klibanon -  oven, astheneian - sickness, luctum - mourning 


Basic Picture:

        Letters to churchess of John's time, with parallel structure:

           (1) description of Christ from chap 1

           (2) rebuke

           (3) praise

           (4) exhortation

           (5) eschatological promise


Hermeneutical Indicators:

        Obviously represent churches at John's time (preterist)

          possibly thruout church history (historicist)?

          end of age (futurist)?

          lessons for whole church (idealist)?




B. Christ's Seven Letters (2:1-3:22)


        To seven of the churches existing in John's time in Asia Minor; not all there were even there (e.g., Troas, Colossae); poss chosen to represent completeness

        To angel: angel, pastor, church itself?

        In each, Jesus pictures himself using features of vision (V) appropriate to given situation

        Each letter has compliment (exc Sardis & Laodicea) or complaint (exc Smyrna & Phila)(C); a warning or exhortation (E); a promise to overcomers (P); and a general admonition (to all, not just church) to heed the letter


            1. Ephesus (2:1-7)

                        most important of the 7 cities at time; Paul & John active there

                        V: holds stars, walks among lampstands (serving as priest using them?)

                        C: highly commended, but has left 1st love

                        E: repent or lampstand taken away

                        P: eat from tree of life


            2. Smyrna (2:8-11)

                        also large city, destroyed c 625 BC, came back to life 400 yr later

                        V: 1st & last, died and came to life again

                        C: poor, persecuted (but really rich)

                        E: don't be afraid; be faithful in persecution

                        P: not hurt by second death (crown of life)


            3. Pergamum (2:12-17)

                        center of emperor worship; altar to Zeus; Asklepium

                        V: double-edged sword of mouth

                        C: held fast in bad location, persecution; but some follow Balaam & Nicolaitans

                        E: repent or X will fight them

                        P: hidden manna, white stone, new name


            4. Thyatira (2:18-29)

                        not as important as cities above

                        trade guilds important: copper, leather, wool, linen, dyeing

                        V: Son of God, eyes like fire, feet like bronze

                        C: good and improving; but tolerate prophetess Jezebel

                        E: against Jezebel; no further to rest but to hold fast

                        P: authority over nations; morning star (cp 22:16)


            5. Sardis (3:1-6)

                        inland, impregnable fortress, but twice taken by stealth

                        V: holds 7 spirits (fullness of spirit? cp Jn 3:34) & 7 stars

                        C: living name but dead (a few have not soiled garments)

                        E: wake up, repent, or X will come like thief

                        P: clothed in white; not erased; confessed before Father


            6. Philadelphia (3:7-13)

                        named for founder Attalus 2, for love to his brother Eumenes

                        V: holy & true; key of David (not overridden)

                        C: small strength; kept word; not denied Xs name

                        E: coming soon; hold fast; don't lose crown

                        P: made pillar; write on him name of God, X, Jerusalem


            7. Laodicea (3:14-22)

                        wealthy city, able to rebuild in 60s after earthquake w/o govt help; water from warm springs via aqueduct

                        V: Amen (faithful & true witness); ruler of God's creation

                        C: lukewarm, self-deceived

                        E: be zealous; repent; buy real wealth; let X in

                        P: right to sit w/ X on his throne



Chapter Three


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        First Vision (chs. 1-3)

          Seven Letters (chs. 2-3)

            last 3 churches: Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea


O.T. Background:


        Seven spirits (1) - see note on 1:4 - Zech 3:9, 4:10

        Soiled clothes (4) - Zech 3:3

        Book of life (5) - Ex 32:32-33; Ps 69:28

        Key of David (7) - Isa 22:22

        Fall down at your feet (9) - Isa 49:23

        Pillar, write on him (12) - Isa 56:5

        Rich (17) - Hos 12:8


Other Background:


        Allusions to characteristics of cities?

          (Ramsay, Letters to 7 Churches of Asia)

          Sardis: lived on past prestige; thief in night (387-8)

          Philadelphia: missionary city; dread of disaster; went outside; took new name (398)

          Laodicea: lukewarm, compromising; rich; garments (black vs white); eye medicine (424-29)


Greek Language Notes:


        tereo ek (10) - cp Jn 17:15


Basic Picture:


        See notes on chap 2


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        Strongest references to Lord's coming are in letters 1 (2:5), 3 (2:16), 4 (2:25), 5 (3:3), 6 (3:11)

        If historical interp correct, would expect this only in #7, which merely has 3:20

        Preterite (actual churches in John's time) and idealist ("to him who overcomes"; "he who has an ear") seem best attested for chaps 2-3


Chapter Four


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        Beginning of Second Vision (4:1-16:21)

          Forms prelude to incident of scroll, Lamb & seals

          Possibly prelude to whole vision also


O.T. Background:


        Heaven opened (1): Ezk 1:1 (cp Matt 3:16; Acts 10:11; 2 Cor 12:2ff)

        In Spirit (2): Ezk 1:3; 2:2, 3:12,14

        One on throne (2): 1 K 22:19ff; Isa 6:1ff; Ezk 1:26; 1:1; Dan 7:9ff

        Rainbow (3): Gen 9:13ff; Ezk 1:28

        24 Elders (4): orders of priests, Levites? (1 Chron 24,25); heavenly council? (1 K 22:19ff); 12 tribes + 12 apostles? (cp Rev 21:12-13)

        7 Lamps (5): Ex 37:23; Zech 4:2,10

        Sea of glass (6): Dan 7:10? (cp Rev 15:2); Ex 30:17; 31:9; 1 K 7:23-26

        4 Creatures (6-8): seraphim (Isa 6:2-7); cherubim (Ezk 1:5-21; Ex 25:18-22)


Other Background:


        Gemstones (3): some question of exact identifications


Greek Language Notes:


        lampas (5): lamp, lantern, torch (10 Virgins, arrest of Jesus) rather than luchnia (ch 1): lampstand (under bushel, in temple)


Basic Picture:


        Throne room scene in heaven, app w/ some temple features

        Emphasizes holiness of God in His own nature, worthiness of God as Creator

        Location in structure of Rev may be to emphasize God's control over disasters which follow


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        OT connections (thoughout)

        7 lamps = 7 spirits (5)

        John describes how things look (3,6,7, etc.)



IV. The Second Vision (4:1-16:21): The Future


A. The Heavenly Throne-Room (4:1-11)


            1. John Carried to Heaven (1-2)

                        in the Spirit (i.e., in a vision)

                        some see rapture of church represented here, but no such significance for other transports (17:3; 21:10)


            2. The One on the Throne (2-3)

                        throne: Dan 7:9, of Ancient of Days

                                    Ezk 1:26, of sapphire (w/ glowing metal, rainbow)

                        not much description of person enthroned (like Isa 6)

                                    cp Ezk 1, Dan 7, Dan 10

                        presumably this is God the Father

                                    since HS rep in v 5, Christ in ch 5


            3. The 24 Elders (4, 10-11)

                        also on thrones, wear crowns

                                    (so ruling with or under God?)

                        various identifications:

                                    (1) angelic beings: God's heavenly council

                                                cp Job 1, Isa 6:8, esp 1 K 22:19-22

                                    (2) humans: 24 rep courses of priests and Levites (1 Chron 24, 25);

                                                or 24 = 12 + 12, rep Israel (12 tribes) and church (12 apostles)


            4. Other Features (5-6)

                        thunder, lightning, etc.: God's majesty? fearful power?           

                                    (recall Ex 20:16; Deut 18:16)

                        lamps = 7 Spirits, prob 7-fold Holy Spirit (cp Rev 1:5, grouped with God and Christ; Zech 4:10, vision of lampstand, note Zech 4:6)

                        sea not explained; some connect with Red Sea deliverance;

                                    others with evil, chaos


            5. The Four Living Creatures (6-9)

                        similar to cherubim in Ezk 1, 10, but have one face each instead of four,

                                    6 wings vs 4

                        perhaps these are seraphim instead (see Isa 6), which have six wings and 1 face each, but not fully described

                        why the faces? one rabbi explained eagle as most powerful bird, ox as most powerful domestic animal, lion as most powerful wild animal, man most powerful of all


            6. Praise of God (8, 11)

                        praising God's holiness

                        praising God's worthiness in creating, sustaining everything



                                                                   Chapter Five


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        2nd vision (4:1-16:21)

          Connects throne room scene w/ opening of seals

          Focus on problem and solution


O.T. Background:


        Scroll (1): Isa 8:1,16; 29:11; Ezk 2:9-3:2; Dan 12:4; Zech 5:1-4 [revelation, covenant, title deed, curses?]

         Seals (1ff): authenticity? (1 K 21:8; Est 3:12; Jer 32:10); ownership? (SS 8:6); protect from tampering, prying? (Ps 40:9; Jer 32:11) [prob last]

        Lion of Judah (5): Gen 49:8-10

        Root of David (5): Isa 11:1,10

        Lamb slain (6): OT sacrificial system, esp Passover (Ex 12), poss Day of Atonement (Lev 16) 

        7 horns (6): prob power (Zech 1:18ff; Dan 8:4,7,8)

        7 eyes (6): prob knowledge (Zech 3:9; 4:10; cp Isa 11:3)

        Incense = prayer (8): Ps 141:2 (see esp Rev 8)


Other Background:


        7 seals (1ff): Roman contracts & deeds (see B-M)


Greek Language Notes:


        arnion (6) instead of usual amnos (only once outside Rev in rest of NT; 4x in LXX); distinction betw terms not clear

        phiale (8): bowl used in offerings (esp in Rev 15-16)


Basic Picture:


        Only the Lamb of all creatures has the right to open the scroll, based on his atoning death

        Worthy to receive power, wealth, etc.

        Worshiped in same breath w/ God the Father


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        Slain lamb seems clearly symbolic rather than realistic, but John was probably shown the symbols directly

        Chronology: does the scene of not being able to find anyone worthy suggest this vision is set before and just after Jesus’ ministry?




B. The Seven Seals (5:1-8:1)


            1. The Scroll and the Lamb (5:1-14)


                        a. The Scroll (1-4)


                                    (1) Seven Seals

                                                (a) uses of seals:

                                                            authenticate a message (1 K 21:8; Est 3:12)

                                                            mark ownership (Rev 7:2,3; pot handles)

                                                            protect from tampering (Matt 27:66; Jer 32:10) 

                                                (b) sealed books:

                                                            Dan 12:4 revelation sealed until end time

                                                            7 seals used in RE to seal up various legal                   documents, esp contracts, deeds


                                    (2) The Book Itself: Various Suggestions

                                                (a) Contract

                                                            /1/ God's Promises

                                                            /2/ Debenture (slavery to sin?)

                                                (b) Testament

                                                (c) Title Deed

                                                (d) Judgments

                                                (e) Book of Life


                                    (3) No One Found Worthy to Open (4)

                                                locations: no human, dead or alive?

                                                no created being anywhere in universe?


                        b. The Lamb (5-14)


                                    (1) Symbolism

                                                pretty clear indication here that vision uses symbolism

                                                (a) lamb slain - atoning death of Christ

                                                (b) seven horns - power (cp Dan 8:7,8; Zech 1:18-21)

                                                (c) seven eyes

                                                            prob knowledge (cp Zech 4:10 w/ Zech 1:10; 6:5)

                                                (d) titles

                                                            /1/ Lion of Judah (cp Gen 49:8-10)

                                                            /2/ Root of David (cp Isa 11:1,10; note this context for ideas of power and knowledge too)

                                    (2) Takes the Scroll (7)

                                    (3) Lamb is Worshiped (8-14)

                                                (a) Worthy for His Redeeming Death (8-10)

                                                (b) Worthy to Receive Power

                                                (c) God & Lamb worshiped together


C. Lessons of Chapters 4 & 5


            1. In all the disasters to follow, God the Father and His Son are in control; they alone have wisdom, power and righteousness to handle matters properly.

            2. Christ having purchased salvation for His people, now begins the events that will wind up man's (and Satan's) rebellion against God.



Chapter Six


Location in Structure of Revelation:

        2nd vision (4:1-16:21)

          Six seals opened (ch 6)


O.T. Background:

        Four horsemen (1-8): Zech 1:8ff; 6:1ff

        Four plagues (1-8): Ezk 14:21

        Souls under altar (9): Ex 29:12: sacrificial blood poured out at base of altar (cp 2 Tim 4:6)

        Earthquake (12): Ps 97:4; Isa 29:6; Ezk 38:19; Zech 14:4-5

        Sun darkened, etc. (12): Isa 13:10; Joel 2:10,31; Ezk 32:7

        Stars fall (13): Isa 34:4

        Kings of earth, etc (15): Ps 2:2,10; 76:12

        "Fall on us!" (16): Hos 10:8

        Who can stand (17): Ps 76:7


Other Background:

        Denarius (6): Matt 20:2, day's wage

        Parallels of seals w/ Olivet Discourse (Matt 24)

          1. Gospel preached (14), or false Xs (5,23-24) or nation against nation (7)

          2. Wars & rumors of wars (6-7)

          3. Famines (7)

          4. Death (9b, 21-22)

          5. Persecution (9) 

          6. Sun darkened, etc. (29-30)


Greek Language Notes:

        choinix (6): about one quart dry measure

        adikeo (6): injure, damage, spoil, treat unjustly

        chloros (8): light green; pale as opposed to healthy

        thanatos (8): death; more specifically, fatal illness


Basic Picture:

        Disasters unleashed by Lamb; seem to run to end

          (cp seal #6 w/ Matt 24:29-30)

        When do they start? beginning or end of church age?


Hermeneutical Indicators:

        OT background

        Parallels w/ Olivet Discourse




D. Six Seals Opened (6:1-17)

            opened by Christ with some involvement of 4 creatures


            1. First Seal (1-2): Imperialism?

                        rider on white horse, w/ bow and crown, goes out conquering

                        identity obscure; three common suggestions

                                    (1) Christ: use of white in Rev;

                                                but seals, trumpets, bowls are nearly all disastrous;

                                                spread of Gospel?

                                    (2) Antichrist: mimics Christ; no other evidence

                                    (3) Imperialism: fits other 3 seals as allegorical

            2. Second Seal (3-4): War

                        rider on red horse, w/ large sword, takes peace from earth

                        pretty obviously represents war


            3. Third Seal (5-6): Famine

                        rider on black horse, w/ scales and voice re/ wheat, barley, oil, wine (shortage of former, but not latter)

                        Famine represented; oil & wine not luxuries, so may represent moderate famine or lack of manpower for harvest (moderation not out of place in 1st              sequence)


            4. Fourth Seal (7-8): Death

rider on "green" horse named Death, accompanied by Hades (allegorical names);

                        kill 1/4 of world by warfare (seal #2). famine (#3), plague & wild animals (cp Ezk 14:21)


            5. Fifth Seal (9-11): Martyrdom

                        souls under altar, killed for Word of God and their testimony; i.e., persecution

                        cp Ex 29:12: sacrificial blood poured out at base of altar; same symbol here?


            6. Sixth Seal (12-17): Signs on Earth & in Heaven

                        earthquake, sun darkened, moon like blood, stars fall, sky rolls up, mts & islands moved

                        fierce natural (?) disasters

                        men recognize God's hand but try to hide


            7. Summary


                        parallels to horses in Zech 1-6:

                        perhaps hint of angelic activity?

                        closer parallels to events in Olivet Discourse Mt 24:


                                    seal #1             Gospel preached (14)

                                                            false Christs (5,23-24)

                                                            nations rise against nation (7)


                                    seal #2             wars & rumors of wars (6-7)


                                    seal #3             famines (7)


                                    seal #4             death (9b,21-22)


                                    seal #5             persecution of believers (9)


                                    seal #6             sun darkened, moon no light, stars fall; nations mourn (29-30)



Chapter Seven


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        2nd vision (4:1-16:21)

          Throne room w/ Lamb (chs 4-5)

          Six seals opened (ch 6)

          Interlude between 6th & 7th seals (ch 7)


O.T. Background:


        Seal on forehead (3): Ezk 9:4 - protection; ownership?

          (use of Heb Tau, which then looked like X or +)

        Census of Israel (4-8): Num 1; 26; 2 Sam 24:9

        12 Tribes (5-8): Gen 49 (12 sons); Num 1 (Eph & Man for

          Levi & Jos); Ezk 48 (ditto; Dan still around in Millennium?)

        12 groups (of 24,000 each) 1 Chron 27; (of 1,000 ea) Num 31:4-5

        Spread tent (15): Isa 4:5-6

        Shepherd (17): Ps 23, etc.


Other Background:


        White clothing, palm branches (9): holiness, festivity;

          cp Jn 12:13; 1 Macc 13:51-52


Greek Language Notes:


        phoinix (9): palm tree or branch; fabulous bird

        skenoo (15): live, shelter, dwell, tabernacle


Basic Picture:


        Interlude seems to look back to 5th seal and forward to coming disasters of trumpets

        Israel (4-8) = Jewish nation? church? people of God?

        Two groups (4-8 & 9-17) same or different?


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        OT background

        Contrast of two groups:

          1. Israel (4) vs all nations (9)

          2. 144,000 (4) vs innumerable (9)

          3. on earth (3) vs in heaven (13-15)

          4. sealed (3) vs slain? (14,16)




E. The Seal Interlude (7:1-17): Two Multitudes


            1. The 144,000 (1-8)


                        interruption of seal sequence

                                    such interludes significant part of structure of Rev

                        sealed to protect from coming disasters (allusion to trumpets?)

                        pictured as Israelites, 12,000 for each tribe

                        protected by seal of God's ownership


            2. The Innumerable Multitude (9-17)


                        some identify this group with #1 above, as two alternative pictures of Xns

                        But distinction of 2 groups seems too much emphasized:

                                    number <=> innumerable

                                    Israel <=> every nation

                                    on earth <=> in heaven

                        at least, distinction of believers on earth & in heaven

                        identity of 2nd group:

                                    victors (white, palm branches): faithful to death?

                                    persecuted: come out of great tribulation  

                                    redeemed: washed robes in blood of lamb



                                                                  Chapter Eight


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        Second Vision (4:1-16:21)

          Seven Seals (5:1-8:1)

            Seventh Seal (8:1)

          Seven Trumpets (8:2-11:20)


O.T. Background:


        Silence (1): Hab 2:20; Zeph 1:7

        Censer, altar, etc. (3-5): tabernacle & temple Ex 30:1-6; prayer & incense Ps 141:2; casting

          coals on earth Ezk 10:2

        Seven trumpets (2,6ff): Josh 6:2-5

        Hail & fire (7): Ex 9:23; Ezk 38:22 (prob = Rev 20:9)

        Mountain (8): Jer 51:25 (but more like Rev 17:9)

        Water to blood (8): Ex 7:17-21 (closer to 2nd bowl)

        Wormwood (11): Ex 15:23; Jer 9:15; 23:15

        Darkness (12): Ex 10:21-23; Isa 13:10; Ezk 32:7-8


Other Background:


        compare w/ seals & bowls, app escalating disaster

          note justification of escalation in Ex 9:13-16

          (cp also Lev 26:18,21,24,27)

        incense & prayer (Edersheim LTJM, 1:137-38)


Greek Language Notes:


        epi (3) - "at" the altar

        took (5) - perfect tense

        autous (6) - angels prepared "themselves"


Basic Picture:


        Continuation of disasters on earth, principally directed at environment


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        OT background

        Variety of views on silence of 7th seal:

          (1) silence of end of world or new creation

          (2) silence to hear prayers of God's people

          (3) silence anticipatory of trumpets

          (4) silence because contents of seal hidden

        Note pattern of nesting 7s in destruction of Jericho (Josh 6:3-4); suggests nesting of trumpets & bowls leading to fall of Babylon (Rev 16:17-20)




F. The Seventh Seal (8:1)


            silence in heaven

            seems rather anticlimactic after previous violent action

                        some think this is "calm before storm"

            suggest that 7th seal is trumpets

                        and 7th trumpet is bowls


G. The Seven Trumpets (8:2-11:20)


            1. The Trumpets Prepared (8:2-6)


                        new imagery for plagues of judgment

                        perhaps source is Josh 6:4, where priests with 7 trumpets march around Jericho before its destruction


            2. Six Trumpets Sounded (8:7-9:21)


                        a. 1st Trumpet (8:7)

                                    hail, fire & blood thrown to earth

                                    1/3 of earth burnt, 1/3 trees, all grass


                        b. 2nd Trumpet (8:8-9)

                                    burning mountain thrown in sea (volcano, meteor?)

                                    1/3 of sea => blood; 1/3 sea creatures die; 1/3 ships sunk


                        c. 3rd Trumpet (8:10-11)

                                    star falls, named Wormwood (bitter herb)

                                    turns 1/3 of fresh water bitter


                        d. 4th Trumpet (8:12)

                                    sun, moon, stars struck

                                    light decreased by 1/3: intensity or temporal?


                        e. The Three Woes (8:13)

                                    5th-7th trumpets also labelled "woes"

                                    app much worse; described in more detail



                                                                  Chapter Nine


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        Second Vision (4:1-16:21

          Seven Trumpets (8:2-11:20)

            5th & 6th Trumpets


O.T. Background:


        Locusts (3ff): Jer 51:27; Joel 2:1-11

        Abaddon (11): Ex 12:23; Isa 37:36; Jer 6:26; 48:8


Other Background:


        Abyss (1ff): Luke 8:31; Rev 11:7; 17:8; 20:1,3


Greek Language Notes:


        phrear (1): well, pit, shaft

        akris (3): grasshopper, locust

        huakinthos (17) hyacinth-colored; dark blue?  smoke-colored?

        plege (18): plague, misfortune, blow, stroke, wound


Basic Picture:


        Disasters become worse, now directed more specifically toward (unsealed) mankind

        Still no repentance (20-21)


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        Less OT background than usual

        Wide variety of interpretations of "locusts":

          (1) demonic, actual appearance

          (2) demonic, figurative description

          (3) supertechnological: helicopters, etc.

          (4) symbolic of delusions, fears, hardships, memories of sins



                        f. 5th Trumpet (9:1-11): 1st Woe

                                    "star" opens abyss, lets out "locusts"

                                    torment men without God's seal for 5 months

                                                how interpret?  some say these symbolic, some say demonic, some say technological


                        g. 6th trumpet (9:12-19): 2nd Woe

                                    four angels bound at Euphrates loosed to kill 1/3 of mankind, app by means of infernal cavalry rather similar to "locusts" above

                                    but locusts do not kill (5-6), these horses do (18-19)


                        h. Results (9:20-21)

                                    survivors still do not repent of their sins:

worship of demons, idolatry, murder, magic, sexual            immorality, robbery

                                    i.e., the drawn-out nature of these plagues intended to bring mankind to repentance; few repent



Chapter Ten


 Location in Structure of Revelation:


        Second Vision (4:1-16:21)

          Seven Trumpets (8:2-11:20)

            Trumpet Interlude (10:1-11:13)


O.T. Background:


        Cloud (1): theophanic?

        Rainbow (1): Gen 9:13; cp Ezk 1:28; Rev 4:3

        Fiery pillars (1): Ex 13:21-22; cp 1 K 7:15-22

        Voice like lion (3): Hos 11:10

          (lion image for Christ, Gen 49:9; Rev 5;5)

        Thunder (3-4): Judgment: Ex 9:23ff; 1 Sam 7:10; Isa 29:6; Sinai: Ex 19:16

        Seal up (4): Dan 12:4,9; (9:24); Dan 8:26

        Lift right hand (5): Dan 12:7; Deut 32:40

        Mystery accomplished (7): Dan 9:24?; 12:7

        Eat scroll, etc. (9-10): Ezk 2:8-3:5, 14

        Sweet in mouth, etc. (9-10): Job 20:12-18


Other Background:


        Face like sun (1): Matt 17:2

        Open scroll (2): Rev 5:1ff

        Thunder (3-4): Jn 12:28-31; Rev 8:5; 11:19; 16:18

          precursors of judgment?


Greek Language Notes:


        chronos (6): time, usually a period of time; here probably  has force of "delay"

        kai (7): prob Hebraistic, with meaning "that"


Basic Picture:


        Angelic proclamation re/ end & its disasters to be relayed by John (cp Messianic proclamation in Ps 2:7)

        Thunders?: not everything revealed, will still surprise when it happens


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        OT background, esp. covenant symbolism & scrolls

        Scrolls --> seals --> mystery connection

        7th trumpet = end




            3. The Trumpet Interlude: Two Witnesses (10:1-11:13)


                        a. The Angel with the Scroll (10:1-11)


                                    (1) Mighty Angel Described (1)

                                                robed in cloud, rainbow above head, face like sun, feet like pillars of fire

                                                angelic appearance? symbols of God's covenant?

                                                            cp face w/ transfig Mt 17:2; rainbow w/ Gen 9:13; pillars w/ Ex 13:21-22; cloud frequently


                                    (2) The Open Scroll (2)

                                                I suggest this is the scroll opened in Rev 5,6,8

                                                see further below (8-11)


                                    (3) The Thunders Speak (2-4)

                                                angel speaks w/ voice like lion (cp God's voice, Hos 11:10; and lion imagery for Christ, Rev 5:5; Gen 49:9)

                                                7 thunders speak (cp God's voice, Ps 29:3)

                                                Rev 8:5; 11:19; 16:18: precursors of judgment?

                                                            why sealed? not told; cp Dan 8:26; 12:4,9 and contrast Rev 22:10; secrets not even John to reveal


                                    (4) The Angel's Oath (5-7)

                                                raised right hand standard for oath (Deut 32:40; Dan 12:7)

                                                “no more delay" rather than "no more time"

                                                seventh trumpet will complete mystery of God

                                                            (fits idea that 7 bowls part of 7th trumpet)


                                    (5) John Eats the Scroll (8-11)

                                                same figure in Ezk 2:8-3:5

                                                            receiving God's word to pass on to others, as seen in context of both passages



Chapter Eleven


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        Second Vision (4:1-16:21)

          Seven Trumpets (8:2-11:20)

            Trumpet Interlude (10:1-11:13)

            7th Trumpet (11:14-20)


 O.T. Background:


        Measure temple (1): Ezk 40-43

        42 months (2): not explicit, but same length in 3-1/2 yr of Dan 7:25; 12:7; 9:27

        1260 days (3): = 42x30; nearly comparable periods in Dan 12:11,12; 8:14

        Two olive trees, lampstands (4): Zech 4:14

        Fire, drought (5-6): like Elijah; cp also Mal 4:5; Matt 27:49; 11:14; 17:10-12

        Blood, plagues (6): like Moses

        Eschatological sketch w/ OT background (17-18)

        Destroying destroyers (18): Jer 51:25

        Temple opened, ark seen (19)


Other Background:


        Trample city (2): Luke 21:24

        Beast from abyss (7): Rev 9:1-2; 13:1 (sea = abyss?)

        7th trumpet (15): Rev 10:7

        Temple opened, ark seen (19): Matt 27:51; Rev 15:5; 19:11 


Greek Language Notes:


        kalamos (1): reed, measuring rod

        rabdos (1): rod, staff

        plateia (8): wide road, street

        onoma (13): name, title, category, person, office


Basic Picture:


        Much disagreement re/ witnesses



            -Moses & Elijah: cp transfiguration

            -Enoch & Elijah: never died

            -others w/ spirit & power of such: like John Baptist


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        OT background

        killed by beast, resurrected, taken to heaven




                        b. The Temple & the Two Witnesses (11:1-14)


                                    (1) The Temple (1-2)  

                                                measuring temple parallel to Ezk 40ff

                                                where is the temple?

                                                heavenly Jerusalem? earthly? both?

                                                where is outer court?

                                                seems to be on earth: trampled by Gentiles

                                                maybe it is the earth

                                                2 witnesses (below) app at Jerusalem (8)

                                                42 months = 3-1/2 yrs


                                    (2) The Two Witnesses (3-14)

                                                they prophesy for 1260 days = 3-1/2 yr

                                                is this the 1st or 2nd half of 7 yrs?

                                                who are they?

                                                two olive trees, lampstands (cp Zech 4:3,11,14)

                                                some see as church due to lampstand analogy

                                                            (but sound like individuals)

                                                others as Moses & Elijah due to miracles

                                                            (M:water --> blood, plagues; E:drought, fire)

                                                others as Enoch & Elijah, the ones who never died (Gen 5:23-24; 2 Kings 2:11)

                                                death, resurrection, ascension analog to Jesus'


                                    (3) The Great Earthquake (13-14)

                                                freq mentioned in eschatological passages

                                                            (cp esp Zech 14:4-5 & Rev 16:18)

                                                first signs of repentance (13)

                                                second woe (6th trumpet) ends here? (14)


            4. The Seventh Trumpet (11:15-20): Third Woe


                        trumpet produces announcement in heaven: world's kingdoms have become God's (15)

                        praise (16): because God has begun to reign

                        opening of God's temple & appearance of ark

                                    veil split? (Mt 27:51) reminder of covenant?

                                    God about to come out and intervene?

                        suggest 7th trumpet runs to end of bowls (16:17)

                                    better fits concept of "woe"

                                    allows city to fall w/ last trumpet as at Jericho



Chapter Twelve



Location in Structure of Revelation:

        Second Vision (4:1-16:21)

          Seven Trumpets (8:2-11:20)

     =>   Second Vision Interlude (12:1-14:20)

          Seven Bowls (15:1-16:21) 


O.T. Background:

        Sun, moon, 12 stars (1): Gen 37:9-11

        Pregnant woman (2): Isa 26:17; cp Isa 54 & Mic 4:10

        Dragon (3): Isa 27:1; Ps 74:14

        Stars cast down (4): Dan 8:10

        Rule nations w/ rod of iron (5): Ps 2:9

        Desert (6,14): Jer 31:2; Ezk 20:34-38; Hos 2:14

        1260 days (6): see background to Rev 11:3

        War in heaven (7): Dan 12:1; cp Dan 10:12-13,20-21

        Ancient serpent (9): Gen 3:1-7; Isa 27:1

        Out of serpent's reach (14): Isa 26:20-21

        Time, times & 1/2 time (14): Dan 7:25; 12:7; cp 9:27

        Flood (15): 2 Sam 22:5ff; Isa 28:15-18

        Make war w/ rest of offspring (17): Dan 12:7; 7:21,25; 8:24; 11:31-35


Other Background:

        Woman as heavenly Jerusalem (1-2): Gal 4:21-31 (citing Isa 54)

        Pursuit of holy family: Matt 2:13-15

        Recall Elijah, John Bapt & Jesus in wilderness

        1/3 stars (4): Rev 8:7-12

        Rule w/ rod of iron (5): Rev 2:27; 19:15


Greek Language Notes:

        odino (2): suffer birth pangs

        poimaino (5): shepherd, tend; (fig.) rule, govern

        oikoumene (9): inhabited world, empire


Basic Picture:

        Woman who gives birth to Christ is protected from Satan, but he goes after her offspring


Hermeneutical Indicators:

        OT background important

        woman = Israel, or (more generally) God's people?




H. The Second Vision Interlude: Beauty and Beast (12:1-14:20)


            1. The Dragon, the Woman and Her Seed (12:1-17)


                        a. The Woman described (1-2)

                                    Rom Catholics think this is Mary, who gave birth to Christ

                                                but contrary to RC theol, she has other seed (17)

                                                also apparently on earth whole time from birth of X to end

                                    sun, moon & stars recalls Gen 37:39ff where symbolic of Israel

                                                cp Isa 54 sym of Zion, & Gal 4:21-31 symb of heavenly Jerus

                                    suggest woman either Israel or more generally people of God


                        b. The Dragon (3-4)

                                    similar to 4th beast in Dan 7 and beast from sea in Rev 13, tho clearly distinguished from latter there

                                    v 9 identifies as Satan

                                                very similar OT background in Isa 26:11-27:1, with both birth pangs of God's people & slaying of serpent


                        c. The Child is Born (5-6)

                                    pretty obviously Christ, tho some might include his church

                                    Satan tries to destroy, but escapes to heaven (ascension?)

                                    woman escapes to desert


                        d. War in Heaven (7-12)

                                    Satan cast out by Michael


                                                some see this at orig fall of Satan, but several Script passages against this (Job 1,2, Zech 3, etc.)

                                                others put at X's ministry (Lk 10:18), but ref to 3-1/2 years (6,14) suggests end of age


                        e. Pursuit of Woman & Her Seed (13-17)

                                    either Israel (pre-trib rapture has taken out church) or believers (post-trib)

                                    protected by God in wilderness 3-1/2 years

                                                cp Elijah in wilderness 1 K 17; also note Isa 26:20-21 cited above; cp Mt 24:15-22 flee Jerusalem; Zech 14;5

                                    who are rest of seed? - obv believers (17) suggesting not all escape



Chapter Thirteen


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        Second Vision (4:1-16:21)

          Seven Trumpets (8:2-11:20)

   =>  Second Vision Interlude (12:1-14:20)

          Seven Bowls (15:1-16:21)


O.T. Background:


        Description of beast (1-2): Dan 7:2-10

           from sea: Dan 7:2-3

          10 horns: Dan 7;10 (cp Zech 1:18)

          7 heads: Dan 7:4,5,6,7

           leopard: 7:6; bear: 7:5; lion: 7:4

        Dragon gave it authority (2): Dan 7:6; cp Matt 4:8-9

        Who is like...? (4): cp Ex 15:11

        Utter blasphemies (5-6): Dan 7:8,11,20,25; 11:36

        42 months (5): see background to Rev 11:2

        Make war against saints (7); ditto re/ Rev 12:17

        Captivity, etc. (10): cp Jer 15:2; 43:11

        Image to be worshiped (14-15): cp Dan 3


Other Background:


        horns like lamb (11): power like Christ's?

        spoke like dragon (11): message like Satan's?

        performs signs (13): Matt 24:24; 2 Thess 2:9

        mark of beast (16-17): cp seal of God, Rev 7

        number of his name (17-18): gematria? (see handout)


Greek Language Notes:


        didomi (7,15): allow

        poieo (12): exercise

        dosin (16): indefinite 3rd plural active = passive


Basic Picture:


        Beast & false prophet force mankind to worship Satan


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        1st beast related to four empires of Dan 7 

                        sums them up?


                        note total number of heads & horns

        2nd beast later identified as "false prophet" (16:13)



            2. The Two Beasts (13:1-18)


                        a. Dragon stands on shore (1) - calling up beast?


                        b. Beast from Sea (1-10)

                                    abyss = sea? (cp Rev 11:7)

                                    very similar to dragon:

                                                            heads horns crowns color

                                                dragon    7       10         7       red   (12:3)

                                                beast       7       10       10       scarlet? (13:1; 17:3)

                                    very similar to beasts of Dan 7:

                                                [10 horns] fourth beast (Dan 7:7)

                                                like leopard (3rd beast) (7:6)

                                                feet like bear (2nd ) (7:5)

                                                mouth like lion (1st) (7:4)

                                    suggest it sums up previous world powers and has family resemblance to Satan, the "prince of this world"

                                    fatal wound (more later, 13:12,14)

                                                phrase "as if slain" in 13:3 parallel to Rev 5:6

                                                does Antichrist have death & resurrection also?

                                    whole world follows, worships beast

                                    ref to slander, war against saints like Dan 7:8,11,20,25           

                                    length of authority 42 mos., again like Rev 11,12

                                    warning against danger of worshiping beast (8)

                                    exhortation to patience, endurance, faithfulness (10)


                        c. Beast from Earth (11-18)

                                    another beast from earth

                                                sea = abyss? people? (17:15)

                                                land = Israel?

                                    horns like lamb = power like Christ? performs miracles

                                    speaks like dragon = message is Satan's; gets people to worship beast

                                    Satanic trinity: dragon, beast, false prophet?

                                    image of beast, made to speak

                                                creation mimicked? resembles Nebuchadnezzar's image in Dan 3

                                    mark of beast mimics seal of God (ownership, protection?)

                                    number of beast: 666  (see Appendix, page 53)

                                                app gemaitria, but technique is ambiguous 

                                                used reg Gk alphabet, plus 3 old letters:

                                                            digamma = 6; koppa = 90; sampi = 900

                                                best guess: 666 = the serpent's Christ, i.e., Antichrist



Chapter Fourteen


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        Second Vision (4:1-16:21)

          Second Vision Interlude (12:1-14:20)

            Woman & Dragon (12)

            Two Beasts (13)

            144,000, 3 Angels & 2 Harvests (14)


O.T. Background:


        Mt. Zion (1): Ps 2:6; cp Heb 12:22

        New song (3): Ps 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa 42:10

             themes of deliverance, warfare, eschatology

        Pure from women (4): Deut 23:9-11; 1 Sam 21:5

        Firstfruits (4): Jer 2:3; Jas 1:18

        Eternal gospel (6): cp Isa 24:5

        Give God glory (7): Josh 7:19, idiom for "confess" 

        Fallen is Babylon (8): Isa 21:9; cp Jer 51:8

        Make nations drunk (8): Jer 51:7

        Wine of God's wrath (10): Isa 51:17; Jer 25:15

        Burning sulfur (10): Gen 19:24; Ps 11:6; Isa 30:33; Ezk 38:22

        One like son of man (14): Dan 7:13

        Sickle (15,18): Joel 3:13; cp Mt 13:30,39-42

        Winepress (19): Isa 63:3; Joel 3:13


Other Background:


        144,000 (1-3): Rev 7:4

        Name on foreheads (1): Rev 3:12; 7:3; cp Rev 13:17

        No one could learn (3): Rev 2:17; 19:12


Greek Language Notes:


        Ripe (15): lit. "dry," i.e., grain harvest


Basic Picture:


        Is this prelude to 2nd coming?

        Warriors ready, warnings sent, harvest about to begin?



Hermeneutical Indicators:


        Blood flow: 1 gal/person x 200 million people / 200 miles  = stream 6' x 3'; perhaps this pictures Jordan R and Dead S stained red by bloodshed




            3. The 144,000, the 3 Angels and the 2 Harvests (14:1-20)


                        a. 144,000 on Mt. Zion (1-5)

                                    where? heavenly or earthly?

                                                if earthly, not in chron order, as Lamb is there too

                                                if heavenly, suggests they have died

                                    what does "not defiled w/ women" mean?

                                                literal: some special unmarried group

                                                figurative: warriors not to have sexual relations

                                                            Deut 23:9ff, 1 Sam 21:5

                                    firstfruits: used of X's resurrection (1 Cor 15:20,23);

                                                also as picture of believers in general (Jas 1:18)


                        b. The Three Angels (6-13)

                                    last opportunity to repent?

                                    1st angel calls on all to fear & worship God

                                    2nd announces fall of Babylon (more in chs 17-18)

                                    3rd warns of consequences of worshiping beast & taking his mark


                        c. The Two Harvests (14-20)

                                    possibly only one harvest seen, but looks like two:

                                                a grain harvest & a grape harvest

                                    Biblical background would suggest two aspects of X's return in view:

                                                deliverance for believers

                                                judgment for unbelievers



Chapter Fifteen


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        Second Vision (4:1-16:21)

          Seven Bowls (15:1-16:21)

            Prepared (15)

            Poured Out (16)


O. T. Background:


        Seven plagues (1): Lev 26:18,21,23,27

        Red Sea (2): Ex 14

        Song of Moses (3): Ex 15:1ff (or Deut 32)

        Tabernacle (5): Ex 25ff

        Bowls (of blood) (6): Ex 24:6

        Temple filled w/ smoke (8): Isa 6:4

        Unable to enter (8): Ex 40:34-35; 1 K 8:10-11


Other Background:


        Sea of glass (2): Rev 4:6 (now mixed w/ fire)

        Passover fulfilled in kingdom (2-3): Lk 22:16

        Dress of angels (6): cp Rev 1:13 & Jos, Ant 3.7.2

        Bowls (7): B-M: drinking cups filled w/ God's wrath, cp Isa 51:17,22; more likely bowls used to sprinkle blood on altar, Zech 14:20; 2 K 12:13; Ex 27:3


Greek Language Notes:


        nikao ek (2): free selves by victory (BAGD 234, 1d)


Basic Picture:


        Angels as priests bring bowls (of blood?) from temple to pour on earth; cp Mt 23:35-36.  The righteous blood previously shed will now be avenged.

        Seals: God's answer about to be revealed

        Trumpets: God's answer announced

        Bowls: God's answer poured out


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        Strong Exodus theme

                 but this already connected w/ end in Isa 51:10-11




 I. The Seven Bowls of God's Wrath (15:1-16:21)


            1. The Bowls Prepared (15:1-8)


                        Christ himself opens seals, angels sound trumpets, pour out bowls

                        Sign in heaven (cp Rev 12:1, woman; Rev 12:3, dragon)

                        have seven angels w/ seven last plagues

                                    “last” explained as completing God's wrath

                        7th bowl apparently destruction of Babylon (detailed in chs 17-18)

                        6th prepares for Armegeddon at Lord's return (detailed in ch 19)


                        Exodus theme here?

                                    resemblance of plagues to those of Egypt

                                    ref to Song of Moses (3) cp Ex 15:1ff (Deut 32 also called Song of Moses)

                                    heavenly Red Sea? (2) cp Rev 4:6 for sea of glass, now red from being mixed w/ fire

                                    tabernacle (5) = temple, but that of Mosaic period

                                    may indicate that events here complete deliverance from bondage to Satan & sin, as (1st ) Exodus delivered from Pharoah & slavery

                        Song of Moses (3-4)

                                    praising God for his marvelous works, justice & truth

                                    right that men should fear & glorify him

                                    will be worshiped by all nations


                        Tabernacle Opened (5-6)

                                    no longer hidden?

                                    angels in priestly attire


                        Bowls (7)

                                    Beasley-Murray (cp Heb & Gk in Isa 51:17,22) thinks these drinking cups filled w/ wine of God's wrath; cp Rev 16:19

                                    but temple scene, plus use of Gk term phiale in LXX points to bowls used in sprinkling blood on altar (see Zech 14:20; 2 K 12:13, grouped w/ trumpets; Ex 27:3) for use of bowls filled w/ blood, see Ex 24:5-8 and Lev 16:11-19

                                    yet Zech 9:15 suggests combination of two figures (note also ref to trumpet in v 14; whole passage is eschatological)

                                    main idea expressed in two ways: mankind in rebellion against God will get back what they have given:

                                                wine to make drunk those who made others drunk

                                                blood poured out on altars due to human sin now being poured back on earth


                        Smoke fills Temple (8)

                                    smoke also at Sinai (Ex 19:18), dedication of tabernacle (Ex 40:34), dedication of temple (1 K 8:10-11), so no one enters

                                    theme: man unable to stand when God acts?

                                    perhaps picture of God's holiness & wrath against sin?



Chapter Sixteen


Location in Structure of Revelation:

        Second Vision (4:1-16:21)

          7 Seals (5-7)

          7 Trumpets (8-11)

          7 Bowls (15-16)


O.T. Background: [pe = plagues of Egypt; cc = covenant curses]

        Pour out wrath (1): Ps 69:24; Isa 42:25; Jer 7:20; 42:18; 44:6; Lam 4:11; Nah 1:6  (more common image "kindled")        

        Sores (2): Ex 9:9-11 (pe); Deut 28:35 (cc)

        Water => blood (3-4): Ex 7:20 (pe); cp Gen 4:10; Num 35:33; Mt 23:35; Rev 6:10

        Scorch by sun (8): Ps 121:6; Deut 28:22 (cc)

        Darkness (10): Ex 10:21ff (pe); Deut 28:28-29 (cc)

        Euphrates (12): boundary of Israel: Gen 15:18; Deut 1:7; dry up: Isa 11:15

        Armageddon (16): Jud 5:19

        City/ies fell (19): Josh 6:20; Jer 51:44; Ezk 38:19

        Every island flees (20): Ps 46:2; Isa 54:10; Jer 4:24; Ezk 38:20

        Huge hailstones (21): Josh 10:11; Ezk 13:13; 38:22


Other Background:

        2nd bowl (3) like 2nd trumpet (8:8-9)

        3rd (4) like 3rd (8:10-11)

        5th bowl (10ff) like 4th trumpet (8:12)

        6th bowl (12ff) like 6th (9:13ff)

        Gather for battle (14): cp Rev 17:14; 19:19

        Every island flees (20): Rev 6:14


Greek Language Notes:

        helkos (2): sore, abcess, ulcer


Basic Picture:

        God's wrath poured out on earth in form of returned blood from sacrifices


Hermeneutical Indicators:

        Bowls are escalation of trumpets

        Parallels to Exodus plagues & covenant curses

        Short timespan (10-11)

        Purpose? cp Ex 9:14-16




            2. The Bowls Poured Out (16:1-21)

                        God's wrath poured out on earth


                        a. 1st Bowl (2) sores on people w/ mark of beast


                        b. 2nd Bowl (3) sea becomes blood so all life in it dies

                                    (cp 2nd trumpet, where 1/3 die)


                        c. 3rd Bowl (4-7) fresh water becomes blood

                                    just retribution: shed blood => blood to drink

                                    (cp 3rd trumpet)


                        d. 4th Bowl (8-9) sun scorches

                                    notice ref to (lack of) repentance (9)


                        e. 5th Bowl (10-11) darkness of beast's kingdom

                                    (cp 4th trumpet: there 1/3, here complete, darkness)

                                    ref to sores recalls 1st bowl, so app close together

                                    again, men refuse to repent (11)


                        f. 6th Bowl (12-16) Euphrates dried up (cp Rev 9:14)

                                    to prepare way for kings of East to gather to fight God

                                    note God in control, even as Satan et al rebel 


                             note interlude (15):

                                    Christ coming like thief

                                    stay awake, have clothes

                                    Armegeddon - Heb for "mount Megiddo"

                                                fortified city at edge of large plain of Esdraelon

                                                see Judg 5:19: Deborah's victory near there

                                                2 K 23:29-30: Josiah killed there

                                                Zech 12:11: eschatological


                        g. 7th Bowl (17-21) Earthquake, hail

                                    worst earthquake ever (since humans on earth)

                                    Babylon destroyed by God

                                                gets God's winecup of wrath

                                                note also Babylon destroyed by beast (17:16)

                                    hailstones weighing 100 lb each

                                    men still curse God (no repentance)



Chapter Seventeen


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        2nd Vision (4-16)

        3rd Vision (17:1-21:8)

          Babylon Destroyed (17:1-19:5)

            Woman on the Beast (17)


O.T. Background:


        Harlot figure (1)

          Israel as harlot: Isa 1:21; Jer 2:20; Ezk 16

          Pagan city as harlot: Isa 23:15-17; Nah 3:4

        Babylon (5)

          Tower of Babel: Gen 11

          Later city: Jer 50-51

            by many waters (1): Jer 51:13

            gold cup (2,4): Jer 51:7

            shed blood of saints (6): Jer 51:35,49

            pictured as mountain (9): Jer 51:25

        7 Heads (3,7): 4 beasts of Dan 7 have 7 heads total

        10 Horns (3,7): 4th beast has 10 horns; other 3 not horned type (lion, bear, leopard)

        7 kings (10): combine Isa 52:4 w/ 4 kings of Dan 2,7


Other Background:


        Woman riding beast (3ff): cp pagan Europa myth

        Babylon the Great (5): Rev 16:19; 18:2

        7 Hills (9): traditional description of Rome

        7 Kings (10-11): Roman emperors or world empires?

        Make war against Lamb (14): Rev 16:14; 19:19


Greek Language Notes:


        parestai (8): is coming

        gnome (13): design, mind, opinion, purpose

        eremoo (16): depopulate, lay waste 


Basic Picture:


        Harlot Babylon as in league with beast & opposed to saints


Hermeneutical Indicators:

        OT background

        Identity of harlot?  apostate church?

          mercantile city? (more evidence in ch 18)




V. The Third Vision (17:1-21:8): The End


A. Babylon Destroyed (17:1-19:5)


            1. The Woman on the Beast (17:1-18)


                        a. John shown vision of harlot/prostitute (1-2)

                                    sits on many waters (explained in 17:15)

                                    commited adultery w/ kings of earth

                                    inhabitants of earth drunk w/ her wine (cp 14:8)


                        b. OT Background: Harlot Figure


                                    (1) Israel as Harlot

                                                Isa 1:21: minor feature, but some parallels to Rev in Isa 2 & 4

                                                Jer 2:20 set in context (vv 2, 32) of bride

                                                            becoming faithless; developed in detail in ch 3

                                                Ezk 16: whole chap is allegory of Jerusalem as castoff child, raised & married by God, turning to harlotry

                                                Basic idea is that of unfaithfulness to husband


                                    (2) Pagan City as Harlot

Isa 23: destruction of Tyre foretold; harlot imagery in vv 15-17

                                                            wailing of merchants (cp Rev18:11ff) in vv 1-2; Isa 24 seems eschatological

                                                Nahum 3:4 pictures Nineveh as harlot; v 11 her drunkenness; v 16 innumerable merchants

                                                Basic idea of figure is that of allurement of nations via merchandising (Isa 23:2) & sorcery (Nah 3:4)


                        c. Description of Woman (3-5)   

                                    sitting on beast (seems to be that of Rev 13:1)

                                    richly dressed, jewelry, golden cup

                                    title on forehead: "Babylon the Great"

                                    drunk w/ blood of saints


                        d. OT Background: Babylon

                                    Hebrew word is "Babel"

                                    Tower of Babel: man's civilization in rebellion against God?

                                    Babylon: world empire which took Judah captive?

                                                but beast seems to represent world empire, so harlot something different?

                                                note esp Jer 50-51 on destruction of ancient Babylon and parallels in Rev 17 & 18

                                                pictured as gold cup, making nations drunk (51:7)

                                                by many waters (51:13)

                                                shed blood of saints (51:35,49)

                                                pictured as mountain (51:25; cp Rev 17:9)

                                                urged to flee it (50:8; 51:6,9,45; cp Rev 18:4)


                        e. John astonished (6-7)

                                    Why? not told

                                    Some suggest that this is harlot church of end times, emphasizing figure of harlot as unfaithfulness of professing believers, parallel to unfaithful Israel in OT

                                    Yet main parallels are with pagan cities with their economic and political power

                                    Possible that figure picks up both ideas, but if only one, then it is pagan city


                        f. The Angel's Explanation (7-14)

                                    more info on beast than on woman

                                    told she is great city which rules over kings of earth (17:18)

                                    that she sits on 7 hills (17:9), reminding John's readers of Rome

                                    beast: once was, now is not, will come out of abyss & be destroyed (app "not" at John's time)

                                    7 heads = 7 kings: 5 have fallen, one is, one to come

                                                beast (once was & now is not) one of 7, also an 8th

                                                many try to identify with Roman emperors, but won't work well because of 3 emperors in one year:

                                                            [Julius]            1

                                                            Augustus         2       1

                                                            Tiberius           3       2

                                                            Caligula           4       3

                                                            Claudius          5       4

                                                            Nero                6       5

                                                            [Galba]            ?       ?

                                                            [Otho]             ?       ?

                                                            [Vitellius]        ?       ?

                                                            Vespasian        7       6

                                                            Titus                8       7

                                                            Domitian         9      8


                                                seems to work better with world empires:

                                                            Egypt               1 \

                                                            Assyria            2 | five

                                                            Babylon           3 | have

                                                            Persia              4 | fallen

                                                            Greece             5 /

                                                            Rome               6  one is

                                                            Broken Rm?    7  must remain for a while

                                                            Antichrist        8  one of the 7 (now is not)


                                                ten horns: cp ten horns of Dan 7 beast and 10 toes of Dan 2 image; app subrulers under beast to join beast in fighting Christ (see ch 19)


                        g. Harlot Destroyed (15-18)

                                    hated & ruined by beast and his ten kings (16)

                                    knocked down by earthquake (16:19)

                                    perhaps God damages and kings plunder



Chapter Eighteen


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        3rd Vision (17:1-21:8)

          Babylon Destroyed (17:1-19:5)

            Woman on the Beast (17)

            The Judgment of Babylon (18:1-19:5)


O.T. Background: [*Babylon, +Nineveh, #Tyre , %Edom,  ^Israel]


        Fallen, fallen, etc. (2): Isa 21:9*

        Haunt of demons, etc. (2): Isa 13:20-22*; Isa 34:13-15%; Jer 50:39; 51:37*; Zeph 2:14-15+

        Nations drunk w/ wine of her adulteries (3): Jer 51:7*

        Merchants rich from her luxuries (3): Ezk 27:9-25#

        Come out of her, my people (4): Jer 51:45; 50:8; 51:6*

        Give her what she has given (6): Jer 51:6,24,56*

        I sit a queen, etc. (7): Isa 47:7-8*; Zeph 2:15+

        Destruction in a day (8): Isa 47:9*; Jer 50:30-31*

        Lament of kings, merchants, sailors (9-19):  Ezk 27:28-36#; sailors (39), kings (35), merchants (36)

        List of cargoes (12-13,16): Ezk 27:12-24#

        Sink like stone (21): cp Jer 51:63-64*; Ezk 27:25-27#

        Music, bridegroom, etc. (22-23): Isa 24:7-13 (earth); Ezk 26:13#; Jer 7:34; 16:9; 25:10^

        Merchants world's great men (23): Isa 23:8#

        Magic spells (23): Isa 47:9,12*; Nah 3:4+

        Shed blood of saints (24): Jer 51:49*


Greek Language Notes:


        soma (13): slave

        krinein to krima (20): pronounce judgement (see BAGD, 450 5a)


Basic Picture:


        Calamity of Babylon's fall; destruction of its wealth & gaiety


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        Nearly all OT allusions to pagan cities (see *+#) rather than Israel (^); suggests apostate Israel or apostate church not best identifications

        Suggest capital city of beast's empire, or possibly civilization itself




            2. The Judgment of Babylon (18:1-19:5)


                        mainly a series of dirges and laments very similar to those on Babylon in Isa 21 and Jer 51 and one on Tyre in Ezk 27, and for Jerusalem in Lamentations


                        main themes are:

                                    complete destruction of city

                                    punishment was deserved

                                    those who profited from city will lament:

                                                kings, merchants, sailors

                        rejoicing for those who were harmed by her or who care about justice being done


                        who is the harlot?

                                    suggest she is that which is attractive and seductive about economic/political power; civilization; the world; mammon; man's worship of things



Chapter Nineteen


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        Third Vision (17:1-21:8)

          Babylon Destroyed (17:1-19:5)

          Final Victory (19:6-21:8)

            Marriage of Lamb (19:6-11)

            Second Coming (19:11-21)


O.T. Background:


        Prostitute, adulteries (2): see chap 17

        Marriage of Lamb/bride (7-8): Ps 45

        Clean clothes = righteousness (8): Isa 61:10; Zech 3:4ff

        Judges/wars (11): Ps 9:8; 96:13; 98:9; Isa 11:4; Zech 14:3

        Robe bloody (13): Isa 63:1-3

        Armies of heaven (14): Deut 33:2-3; Zech 14:5

        Sword of mouth (15): Isa 49:2; cp Isa 31:8

        Smite nations (15): Isa 11:4; 30:28,31; cp Zech 14:12

        Rule w/ rod of iron (15): Ps 2:9

        Tread winepress (15): Isa 63:3; Joel 3:13

        Thigh (16): Gen 24:2,9

        Call to birds (17-18): Ezk 39:4,17-20

        Beast/king/armies (19): Ps 2:2,12; Ezk 38:16; Zech 12:3;14:2


Other Background:


        Marriage of Lamb/bride (7-8): Matt 22:2; Eph 5:32

        Fall at his feet (10): Acts 10:25-26; Rev 22:9


Greek Language Notes:


        meros (16): thigh

        deipnon (17): dinner, supper, banquet


Basic Picture:


        Rejoicing over destruction of Babylon

        Marriage supper of Lamb (Christ) & bride (His people)

        Second coming


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        Wedding: parallels to Ps 45 & Matt 22 looks like defeat of enemies precedes wedding

        See OT parallels re/ sequence: 2nd coming followed by Millennium




B. Final Victory (19:6-21:8)


            1. The Marriage of the Lamb (19:6-10)


                        bride = believers collectively (Eph 5:25-33, man & wife cp to Christ & church; Gal 4:21-31, Sarah & Hagar analogy; Rev 21:2,9;22:17, bride as New Jerus; plus OT background of bride/wife)

                        marriage supper (cp Matt 22:1-14, parable of marr supper; Matt 26:29, drink wine in kingdom)


                                    in heaven before return (pre-trib view)

                                    on earth after return (post-trib view);

                                    preannouncement, like that of fall of Bab in 14:8 


            2. Christ's Second Coming (19:11-21)


                        rider on white horse - Christ (see further)

                                    description like glorified X in 1:14

                        many crowns (rule many realms?)

                                    cp dragon 7 crowns (12:3; seven empires?) & beast 10 crowns (13:1; ten kings?)

                        name no one knows - future? (2:17); beyond human? (Jdg 13:18)

                        robe dipped in blood - winepress analogy? his own blood?

                        name is Word of God - cp Jn 1:1

                        armies of heaven - angels? believers? prob both

                        sharp sword - X's punishing word

                        iron scepter - Ps 2

                        treads winepress - Isa 63

                        name: King of k's, Lord of l's

                        birds called to dine - cp Ezk 39

                        the battle (19-21)

                                    beast, kings, armies oppose (cp 16:14,16;17:14)

                                    beast & false prophet captured (nothing about how)

                                                thrown into lake of fire

                                    rest (kings, armies) killed by X's sword

                        birds gorged on their bodies

                                    two wedding suppers?



Chapter Twenty


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        3rd Vision (17:1-21:8)

          Final Victory (19:6-21:8)

            Millennial Rule (20:1-10)

            Last Judgment (20:11-15)


O.T. Background:


        Bind, imprison (2,3): Isa 24:21-22

        Thrones, judging, ruling (4): Dan 7:9,10,22,26

        1000 years (2ff): Ps 90:4 (cp Isa 24:22; Ezk 39:12; Dan 7:12; Zech 14:16)

        Gog & Magog (8): Ezk 38:2; 39:1

        Like sand of seashore (8): Gen 22:17; Ezk 38:9,15-16

        Fire from heaven (9): Ezk 38:22; 39:6

        Lake of fire (10,14-15): Isa 30:33; Dan 7:11

        Last judgment (11-15): cp Ps 50; Mt 25

        Sky vanish (11): Isa 34:4

        Books opened (12): Dan 7:10

        Book of life (12): Ex 32:32; Dt 29:20; Dan 12;1; Mal 3:16; cp Lk 10:20; Rev 3:5; 21:27


Other Background:


        Abyss (1,3): Lk 8:31; Rev 9:1,2,11; 11:7; 17:8 (13:1?)

        Bind, imprison (2,3): 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6

        Thrones, judging, ruling (4): Mt 19:28; Rev 2:26-27; 3:21

        1000 yr (2ff) 2 Pet 3:8

        2nd death (6,14): Rev 2:11; 21:8

        Lake of fire (10,14-15): Rev 19:20

        Earth & sky vanish (11): 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 6:14


Greek Language Notes:


        epi (1): in, draped over

        krima (4): dispute, verdict, judgment, authority to judge

        pelikizo (4): behead, decapitate

        platos (9): broad plain, breadth, width


Basic Picture:


        Satan bound while saints rule, then last judgment


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        Suggest ch 20 follows ch 19 given continuities between chapters 19-20 and "silver age" features in OT allusions (see Appendix, pages 54-56 )




            3. The Millennial Rule (20:1-10)


                        how does this relate to previous chapter?

                                    Premill: continues chronological  sequence

                                    Amill: (usually) recapitulation

                        suggest that continuation most natural:

                                    dragon, beast & false prophet gather armies (16:13-14)

                                    b & fp arrested

                                    what happens to dragon?

                                                in 20:2 also arrested, but put in abyss

                                                in amill view, this not described until put in lake of fire, 20:10,

                                                            abyss here is just coincidence

                        Christ comes to reign (19:15), saints to reign w/ him (2:26-27; 3:21)

                                    now saints reign (20:4,6)

                                                those who reign (20:4) were previously killed for not worshiping beast who was just disposed of (19:21)

                                    parallels events in Zech 14, with threatening rule over survivors

                        Satan temporarily bound tightly so as not to deceive nations (2-3); is this applicable today?

                        saints reign (4-6)

                                    debate over whether all saints or only (say) martyrs

                                    suggest all, but martyrs singled out for encouragement

                        first resurrection, app in contrast to another (11-14)            

                                    cp 1 Cor 15:22-26: resurrection of Christ, of his people, at end

                        Satan's doom (7-10)

                                    released from abyss

                                    able to gather multitude to follow him

                                    millennium as "silver age" w/ unbelievers still living

                                    multitude destroyed w/ fire from heaven

                                    Satan put where b & fp earlier put


            4. The Last Judgment (20:11-15)


                        great white throne (common name for this judgment)

                                    think also seen in Ps 50, Matt 25, each w/ distinct emphases

                        earth & sky flee from it (not in our dimension?)

                        apparently  resurrection involved (1st res above)

                        basis of judgment: works and/or book of life

                                    faith + works? faith or works?

                        sea, death, Hades give up dead (3 or 2?)

                        death & Hades thrown in lake of fire (last enemy death)

                        2nd death if not in book of life



Chapter Twenty One


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        3rd vision (17:1-21:8)

          Final Victory (19:6-21:8)

            New Heavens & New Earth (21:1-8)

        4th vision (21:9-22:5)

          New Jerusalem (21:9-27)

          River of Life (22:1-5)


O.T. Background:


        New heavens & earth (1): Isa 65:17; 66:22; cp 2 Pet 3:13

        New Jerusalem (2): Isa 54:11-12; 65:18; cp Gal 4:26

        Bride (2,9): cp Isa 54:1-2; Ps 45:9; Rev 19:7-8

        God dwelling w/ men (3): Ex 25:8; 2 Chr 6:18; Ezk 48:35; Zech 2:10

        He their God (3): Lev 26:12; Jer 32:38; Ezk 37:27-28; Hos 2:23

        Wipe away tears (4): Isa 25:8; 35:10; 51:11; 65:19

        No more death (4): Isa 25:8; cp 1 Cor 15:26; Rev 20:14

        All things new (5): see new h & e, above

        Drink w/o cost (6): Isa 55:1; cp Jn 4:10,13-14; Rev 22:1

        High mountain (10): Isa 2:2; Zech 14:10

        Description of New Jerusalem  (11ff): Isa 54, 60

        Jewels (19-21): h.p. breastplate (Ex 28:17-20); king of Tyre in Eden (Ezk 28:18)

        No sun or moon (23): Isa 24:23; 60:19-20

        Kings bring splendor (24): Isa 60:3,5ff

        Book of life (27): see Rev 20:12 note


Other Background:


        Alpha & Omega (6): Rev 1:8; 22:13

        He who overcomes (7): Rev 2, 3


Greek Language Notes:


        skene (3): tent, booth, dwelling, lodging

        tetragonos (10): rectangle, square

        plateia (12): wide road, main street, square


Basic Picture:


        Eternal state of blessed described


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        Extensive use of OT allusions

        How much figurative?




            5. New Heavens & New Earth (21:1-8)


                        new heavens & new earth (atm? universe?)

                        no longer any sea (ocean? Mediterranean?)

                        New Jerusalem as bride (city/people)

                        dwelling of God w/ men (reversal of Eden)

                        no tears, death, pain, mourning

                        God's word: this is true! (5)

                        Alternatives set forth (6-8)

                        overcomers inherit

                        cowardly, etc., 2nd death



VI. The Fourth Vision (21:9-22:5): The Beginning


            poss this functions like interludes earlier, detailing or giving another perspective on what has gone before, in this case 21:1-8


            reason for seeing new vision is phrase "come, I will show" as in 4:1 and 17:1


A. The New Jerusalem (21:9-27)


"coming down": is this indication of movemen,t or of connection between heaven & earth?  note same phrase in 21:2 (cp airplane coming down to land vs stairway coming down from 2nd floor)


            bride is city: how fit w/ bride = church?

                        might say city is symbol for church

                        suggest that city is church's home, natural identity between home & inhabitants; that city & inhabs mutually glorify one another


            description of city

                        shines w/ God's glory

                        several precious materials mentioned, but they are different from such today:

                                    jasper like crystal, pearls big enough to be gates; gold transparent like glass

                        suggest changed natural order?

                                    glory of city resembles that of science fiction, fairy tales; truth is greater than fiction; man's view of future w/ growing technology becoming more like Bible's?

                        gates & foundations named for 12 tribes & 12 apostles

                                    clearly unity of church & Israel here, if not earlier

                        parallel passage in Isa 54:11-12

                        great beauty & wealth at least implied


            no temple: God & the Lamb are its temple

                        dwelling of God is now with men


            God & the Lamb its light

                        no need for sun, moon (doesn't explicitly say they don't exist)

                        no night


            nations, kings bring their glory into it


            no sin or sinners enter, only saved



Chapter Twenty Two


Location in Structure of Revelation:


        4th vision (21:9-22:5)

          River of Life (22:1-5)

        Epilogue (22:6-21)


O.T. Background:


        River of life (1): Ezk 47:1-12; Zech 14:8 (& 13:1?)

        Tree of life (2,14): Gen 2:9; 3:22; Ezk 47:12

        No more curse (3): Gen 3:14-19; cp Rom 8:20-22

        See his face (4): Ps 17:15; 42:2; cp Jn 1:18; Heb 12:14

        Coming soon (7,12,20): Isa 48:3; 60:22

        Don't seal up (10): Dan 12:4; cp Rev 5,6

        Continue to do evil (11): Ezk 3:27; 20:39; Dan 12:10

        Reward w/ him (17): Isa 40:10; 62:11

        Give as deserved (17): Job 34:11; Ps 62:12; Jer 17:10; Ezk 18:20; cp Mt 16:27; 1 Cor 3:12-15; 2 Cor 5:10

        Outside (15): Dt 23:18; Isa 66:22-24; cp Mt 8:12; 22:13; 25:11-12

        Root of David (16): Isa 11:1,10

        Morning star (16): Ps 36:9; Isa 9:2; 42:6; 49:6; 58:10; 60:1; Mal 4:2

        Whoever thirsty (17): Isa 44:3; 55:1; Jer 2:13; 17:13; Zech 14:8; cp Jn 4:10

        Don't add or subtract (18-19): Dt 4:2; 12:32; Prov 30:6


Other Background:


        Alpha & Omega, Beg. & End (13): Rev 1:8,17; 21:6

        Morning star (16): 2 Pet 1:19; Rev 2:28


Greek Language Notes:


        enteuthen kai ekeithen (2): on either side

        therapeia (2): service, care, healing

        epi (16): (dat) about, concerning (BAGD 287 II i delta)


Basic Picture:


        End of description of eternal state

        Closing of book with summary, exhortations, warnings


Hermeneutical Indicators:


        Strong connection with Genesis as sort of mirror image

        Genesis and Revelation like bookends to canon?




B. The River of Life (22:1-5)


            parallel to Ezk 47, but there seems millennial

            strong recall of Eden

                        waters flowing out

                        tree(s) of life

                        no more curse

                        presence of God

            throne moved to earth?

            servants w/ name on foreheads

            reign for ever & ever


VII. Epilogue (22:6-21)


            Book Attested (6-9)

                        by angel - from God, so true

                        by Christ - coming soon, so keep words

                        by John - I saw it

            [why episode re/ angel? to show not from Satan? warn against angel worship?]


            Book Not Sealed (10-11)

                        in contrast, apparently, to Daniel (12:4), which is sealed

                                    time is near?

                                    not much nearer than Dan's time chronologically

                                    but much nearer re/ events of salvation history since crucifixion & resurrection intervene

                        continue to do wrong?

                                    poss a threat, as in Ezk 3:27; 20:39; Dan 12:10

                                    a time when one's destiny can no longer be changed?


            Summary Lessons (12-15)

                        Christ coming w/ rewards for everyone

                        Blessed are those who wash robes

                        Outside are dogs (cp Isa 66:24)


            Additional Attestation (16)

                        given by Jesus to angel to John for churches


            Final Invitation (17)

                        from Spirit, bride, individual believer


            Warning Against Tampering (18-19)


            Benediction (20-21)







Gematria and Revelation


The practice used in ancient times to represent numbers by letters of the alphabet led rather naturally to the symbolic/ interpretive device known as gematria, in which words were coded by the sum of the numerical values of their letters.  This is commonly thought to be the technique used in Rev 13:18, where we are told that the number of the beast's name is 666 (a few mss have 616 or 646).


In the Hebrew and the Greek languages, the assignment of numerical values to the letters is similar (different from Roman numerals, where only a few of the letters have numerical value).  The first nine letters of the alphabet represent the numbers one through nine.  The next nine represent ten through ninety.  The remaining letters represent 100 through 400 (Hebrew) or 900 (Greek).  Since Greek had only 24 letters at NT times, the additional three symbols needed to make 27 were provided by resurrecting or continuing the old letters vau/digamma, koppa and sampi for the values 6, 90 and 900, respectively.  The following chart indicates the correspondences:


Mod  Gk         Heb     Rom    Mod    Gk       Heb     Rom    Mod    Gk       Heb     Rom


1          α          !         I           10        ι           *         X         100      ρ          8         C

2          β          "                     20        κ          ,                     200      σ          9

3          γ          #                     30        λ          -                     300      τ          :

4          δ          $                     40        μ          /                     400      υ          ;

5          ε          %         V         50        v          1         L          500      φ                      D

6          ς          &                     60        ξ          2                     600      χ

7          ζ          '                     70        o          3                     700      ψ

8          η          (                     80        Ļ          5                     800      ω

9          θ          )                     90        ě          7                     900      ü


Some calculations suggested for Rev 13:18:


1. The simplest (and standard) numerical transcription of 666 is χξς (using the final sigma for vau). This has been seen as the abbreviation of Christ, χς, with the snake-like letter ξ in the middle, and thus “the serpent’s Christ.”


2. Irenaeus noted that the Greek word for Latin, λατειvoς, added up to 666.  The numerical value of Jesus in Greek, Iησoυς, is 888.  The antichrist falls short of perfection, 777, and Jesus surpasses it!


3. Several commentators, believing that Revelation sees a resurrected Nero as the antichrist, have noted that “Neron Kaisar” in Hebrew, 928 0&91, gives 666.


Background to Revelation 19‑20


Theological Background:

            Various Views on the Chronology of the Rev 19 ‑ 20 Transition


1. Continuation: 2nd Coming (e.g., Beasley‑Murray, Ladd, Walvoord)

            Chapter 20 continues in chronological succession after chapter 19, which narrates Jesus' second coming:


        ____________________  ____________________

                19:11‑21                              20:1‑6

            Second Coming                       Millennium



2. Continuation: Not 2nd Coming (e.g., Barnes, Caird)

            Chapter 20 continues in chronological succession after chapter 19, but 19 is not a description of the 2nd coming:


        ____________________  ____________________

               19:11‑21                               20:1‑6

          Christ's Triumph                       Church Age/Golden Age

         (not visible return)



3. Recapitulation (e.g., Hendriksen, Kik, Wilcock)

            Chapter 19 carries us to second coming; chapter 20 goes back to beginning of church age, when Satan bound




                                              Second Coming




                Church Age ‑ Satan Bound


O.T. Background ‑ Allusions


        Judges/wars: Ps 9.8; 96.13; 98.9; Isa 11.4; Zech 14.3

        Robe in blood: Isa 63.1‑3

        Armies of heaven: Deut 33.2‑3; Zech 14.5

        Sword of mouth: Isa 49.2

        Smite nations: Isa 11.4

        Rule w/ iron rod: Ps 2.9

        Tread winepress: Isa 63.3; Joel 3.13

        Call to birds: Ezk 39.4,17‑20

        Beast/kings/armies: Ps 2.2,12; Ezk 38.16; Zech 12.3; 14.2

        Thrown in fire: Isa 30.33; Dan 7.11


A Suggested Solution to the Millennial Question



Response to "Continuation: Not Second Coming" View:


            If Rev 19 not 2nd coming, then Revelation, the eschatology book par excellence, does not narrate same!

            This passage looks as much like the 2nd coming as any in Scripture; why do you believe in a 2nd coming?


Response to "Recapitulation" View:


            Continuity Argument:  Several features in Rev 19 show continuity into Rev 20:


            1. Satan, Beast, False Prophet Punished

                        All 3 gather armies for battle (16:13‑16)

                        Armies gather to make war on Christ (19:19)

                        B & FP thrown in lake of fire (19:20)

                        Satan put in abyss (20:1‑3)

                        (Is this continuity merely accidental?)


            2. Persecution by Beast & False Prophet

                        B & FP disposed of, w/ specific reference to mark of B and worship of image (19:20)

                        Martyrs brought to life who had not received mark of B nor worshiped image (20:4)

                        (How can saints rule during reign of B & FP if still being martyred, esp if B & FP eschatological?)


            3. Coming of Christ

                        Comes to judge & make war (19:11)

                        Comes to smite nations & shepherd them w/ rod of iron (19:15)

                        Overcomers promised a part in this: authority, rule, rod of iron (2:26‑27);

                                    share throne w/ X (3:21)

                        X and armies of heaven smite/fight nations (19:19‑21);

                        Thrones for judgment set; saints rule w/ X 1000 yr (20:4)

                        (Judgment/rule is purpose of coming in 19, occurs in 20)


            Allusion Argument: OT passages alluded to in Rev 19 often show "silver age" features fitting millennium following 2nd coming:


            1. Zechariah 14

                        Lord comes w/ holy ones to wage war against nations gathered against Jersualem (1‑5)

                        Lord destroys them miraculously (12‑15)

                        Subsequent silver age (16ff)


                                    must come to Jerusalem yearly

                                    threatened w/ drought if disobedient

                        (Definitely after, doesn't sound like eternal state)


            2. Daniel 7 

                        (Description of beast in Rev 13 parallel to Dan 7; Rev 19 records his destruction)

                        Beast thrown in fire (11); cp Rev 19:20

                        Thrones set for judgment (9‑10); cp Rev 20:4

                        Universal dominion given Son of Man (13‑14) and saints (22); cp Rev 20:4 (reign w/ Christ)

                        Subsequent silver age?

                                    reign of saints follows Beast's destruction (26)

                                    other beasts live on without power after Beast's destruction (11‑12)


            3. Isaiah 30‑32

                        God defeats nations with breath of mouth (30:27‑28), w/ a sword not of man (31:8), coming down on Mt. Zion (31:4)

                        Casts leader (king of Assyrians?) into fire (30:33)

                        Subsequent silver age?

                                    young Assyrians become forced labor (31:8)

                                    God's king & rulers will rule righteously (32:1ff)


            4. Joel 3

                        God will gather all nations and judge them in Valley of Jehoshaphat (1‑2)

                        His activity is pictured as threshing, trampling grapes, God roaring from Zion (13‑14)

                        Jerusalem will be safe and holy (16‑17)

                        Subsequent silver age?

                                    nations sold as slaves (6‑8)

                                    Egypt, Edom desolate (19)

Annotated Bibliography on Revelation




Alford, Henry. The Greek Testament:  Vol. IV: Hebrews‑Revelation. Chicago: Moody, 1958 reprint of 7th ed.  Historicist & Futurist. Premil.

Beale, G. K.  The Book of Revelation.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.  Idealist.

Beasley‑Murray, G. R.  Revelation.  New Century Bible.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983.  Reprint of 1974 ed.  Preterist & Futurist.  Premil.

Caird, G. B.  A Commentary on the Revelation of St. John the Divine.  Harper's NT Comm.  New York: Harper, 1966. Preterist.  Liberal with helpful theological insights.

Charles, R. H. A Critical & Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St. John. 2 vols. International Critical Comm. Edinburgh: Clark, 1920.  Massive data on background          & grammar but speculative, unreliably liberal.

Colclasure, Chuck.  The Overcomers: the Unveiling of Hope, Comfort, and Encouragement.  Nashville: Nelson, 1981.  Idealist.  Amil.  Popular level.

Eller, Vernard.  The Most Revealing Book of the Bible: Making Sense Out of Revelation.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974.  Preterist and futurist.  Premil.  Somewhat liberalizing.

Hendriksen, William.  More than Conquerors: an Interpretation of the Book of Revelation.  Grand Rapids: Baker, 1961.  Idealist (or recap Historical). Amil.

Hoeksema, Herman.  Behold He Cometh! An Exposition of the Book of Revelation.  Grand Rapids: Reformed Free, 1969. Idealist and Futurist.  Amil.

Hughes, Philip Edgecumbe.  The Book of the Revelation: A Commentary.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1990.  Idealist and Futurist.  Amil.

Johnson, Alan F.  Revelation.  Bible Study Commentary.  Grand Rapids:  Zondervan Lamplighter, 1983.  Futurist and Idealist.  Premil.

Keener, Craig S.  The NIV Application Commentary: Revelation.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.  Eclectic (Preterist, Idealist, Futurist).  Premil.

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

Larkin, Clarence.  The Book of Revelation.  Philadelphia: Clarence Larkin Estate, 1919.  Futurist.  Premil.  Dispensational.  Nice charts.

Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1961 reprint of 1941 ed.  Idealist.  Amil.

Morris, Leon.  The Revelation of St. John.  Tyndale NT Comm.  London: Tyndale, 1969.  Mostly preterist.  Amil.

Mounce, Robert H.  The Book of Revelation.  New Intl. Comm. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977.  Futurist.  Premil.

Rushdoony, R. J. Thy Kingdom Come: Studies in Daniel and Revelation.  Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1971. Idealist.  Postmil.

Swete, H. B.  The Apocalypse of St. John.  3rd ed.  London: Macmillan, 1911,  Reprint, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1977.  Preterist and Idealist.  Amil. Over 200 pp of introduction.

Thomas, Robert L.  Revelation 1-7:  An Exegetical Commentary.  Chicago: Moody, 1992; and Revelation 8-22:  An Exegetical Commentary.  Chicago: Moody, 1995.  Futurist.  Premil.

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

Wilcock, Michael.  I Saw Heaven Opened: the Message of Revelation.  The Bible Speaks Today.  Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1975.  Idealist.  Amil.


Special Studies:


Cohen, Gary G.  Understanding Revelation:  a Chronology of the Apocalypse.  Collingswood, NJ: Christian Beacon, 1968. Attempts to answer chronological questions.

Jenkins, Ferrell.  The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation.  Marion, IN: Cogdill, 1972.  Good survey.  More details in Swete.

Newman, Robert C.  "The Return of Christ: Interpreting Revelation by Its Allusions." IBRI Research Report 24.  Hatfield, PA: Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, 1985.      Uses OT allusions and contextual continuity to argue for premill interpretation of Rev 19‑20.

Pate, C. Marvin, ed..  Four Views on the Book of Revelation.  Counterpoints.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.  Presentations by proponents of preterist, idealist, and futurist (progressive and classical dispensational) views.

Ramsay, William M.  Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia.  Grand Rapids:  Baker, 1963 reprint.  Main source of historical and archaeological information on 7 churches.

Strand, Kenneth A. Interpreting the Book of Revelation: Hermeneutical Guidelines, with Brief Introduction to Literary Analysis. 2nd ed.  Naples, FL:  Ann Arbor, 1979. 


Apocalyptic Literature:


Charles, R. H., ed.  The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament.  2 vols.  Oxford:  Clarendon, 1913.  Old std. edition of texts in English.

Charlesworth, J. H., ed.  The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Volume 1: Apocalyptic Literature & Testaments.  Garden City, NY:  Doubleday, 1983.  Will probably replace Charles; has more texts, but less notes.

Eissfeldt, Otto.  The Old Testament:  an Introduction.  New York:  Harper & Row, 1965.  Includes introductions to main Jewish apocalyptic works.

Goodspeed, E. J. and Grant, Robert M.  A History of Early Christian Literature.  Rev. ed. Chicago: Phoenix Books, 1966.  Overview of ancient Xn lit before Nicea.

Hennecke, Edgar and Schneemelcher, Wilhelm, eds.  New Testament Apocrypha. 2 vols. Philadephia: Westminster, 1963‑64. Now std. ed. of NT Apocrypha in English.

James, M. R.  The Apocryphal New Testament.  Oxford: Clarendon, 1924.  Old std. ed.; both Hennecke and James have some materials the other lacks.

Kraft, Robert A., ed.  Society of Biblical Literature.  Texts & Translations.  Pseudepigrapha series.  Missoula, MT:  Scholars Press, 1972‑.  Paperback series to fill in gaps in Charles, update texts, etc. 

Milik, J. T.  The Books of Enoch:  Aramaic Fragments of Qumran Cave 4.  Oxford:  Clarendon, 1976.  Evidence that all but one section of 1 Enoch is pre‑Christian.

Morris, Leon.  Apocalyptic.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1972.  Evangelical assessment of apocalyptic literature.

Oesterley, W. O. E. and Box, G. H., eds.  Translations of Early Documents.  1st Series:  Palestinian‑Jewish & Cognate  Texts (pre‑rabbinic); 2nd Series:  Hellenistic‑Jewish        Texts.  London:  SPCK, 1916‑20.  Series of small hardbacks providing English texts with introductions, notes.

Rowley, H. H. The Relevance of Apocalyptic. 2nd ed. London: Lutterworth, 1947.  Liberal perspective.

Russell, D. S.  The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic.  Philadelphia:  Westminster, 1964.  More recent liberal perspective.