Introduction to Revelation

By James M. Rochford

Authorship of Revelation Critics since the 3rd century AD have challenged that John the apostle wrote this book. We hold that John the apostle was the author.

Date of Revelation We date the book of Revelation some time during the reign of Emperor Domitian (AD 81-96). There are several reasons for this dating.

Different Schools of Interpreting Revelation There are four major schools of interpretation for the book of Revelation: (1) Futurist, (2) Historicist, (3) Preterist, and (4) Idealist.

Why did God make eschatology so confusing? Many people complain, “If God wanted to communicate about the end of human history, why didn’t he just give a clear, concise, and detailed account? Why do we have to appeal to hundreds of passages—scattered throughout the Bible?”

Doesn’t a futurist interpretation deny first-century readers any understanding or application? If John was writing a book about the end of human history, wouldn’t this neglect the needs of his original audience? Moreover, why would John write a book that could only be understood by a future generation—perhaps 2,000 years in the future—rather than a first-century audience?

Millennial Views At the heart of eschatology is our view of the millennium. Will Jesus literally reign on Earth for a thousand years, or is Jesus spiritually reigning from heaven or in the hearts of believers? Should we expect human history to get better with time, or worse? Does the millennium refer to a literal 1,000 year reign, or is this symbolic for the church age? Many questions confront the interpreter.

The Pretribulational Rapture In the end, it is relatively unimportant when the rapture will happen; it is more important that it will happen. However, from the evidence, it seems that the Bible teaches a pre-tribulation rapture.

A Critique of Preterism The preterite in English is the past tense. Therefore, Preterism is a view of the end of history that holds that these events have already occurred in the past.

Dispensational Pre-millennial resources

Rochford, James. Endless Hope or Hopeless End. Columbus: New Paradigm Publishing, 2016.

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

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

Thomas’ work is probably the most scholarly Dispensational commentary in print today.

Walvoord, John. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. JFW Publishing Trust. Chicago, IL. 1966.

Hitchcock, Mark. “A Defense of the Domitianic Date of the Book of Revelation.” Dissertation for Dallas Theological Seminary. December 2005.

Pentecost, J. Dwight. Things to Come: a Study in Biblical Eschatology. Grand Rapids, MI: Academie, 1964.

Benware, Paul N. Understanding End times Prophecy: a Comprehensive Approach. Chicago: Moody, 2006.

Historical premillennial resources

Osborne, Grant. Revelation. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2000.

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

Johnson, Alan. Revelation: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981.

D.A. Carson’s seminary class on Revelation found here.

Preterist resources

Gentry, Kenneth. Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation. Atlanta: American Vision, 1998.

Gentry, Kenneth. A Preterist View of Revelation. In S. N. Gundry & C. M. Pate (Eds.), Four Views on the Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 1998.

Gentry, Kenneth. “Postmillennialism.” Bock, Darrell (General Editor). Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan. 1999.

Amillennial resources

Beale, G.K. The Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, MI. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1999.

Revelation 1 (Jesus reveals the future)

(1:1) Is the revelation of Jesus Christ? Or is it of the things to come? Johnson writes, “In this single occurrence of apokalypsis in the Johannine writings, the meaning is not primarily the appearing or revealing of Christ—though certainly the book does this—but rather, as the following words show, the disclosure of “what must soon take place.”[1]

Thomas writes, “In 1:1, where John writes, ‘he signified it’ (esēmanen), some have misunderstood that as justification for symbolic interpretation throughout the book. Those words, however, tell the means God used to inspire John to write; they do not provide grounds for nonliteral interpretation. Interpreters should understand the revelation to John as they do the rest of the Bible, even though God gave it in an unusual symbolic fashion.”[2]

“Revelation” (apokalupsis) comes from two roots: apo (“away”) and kalypsis (“a cover”).

(Rev. 1:1) Why does John say that these events “must soon take place”? (c.f. 2:16; 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20)

(1:3) This is the only book of the Bible that promises a special blessing for those who read it. Walvoord writes, “It is singular that the one book in the New Testament which invokes a special blessing on the reader should be often left unread.”[3]

This will make us ready to meet the Lord (“keep it”). We study about the future, so we’re ready to live better in the present.

(Rev. 1:4) What are the seven spirits mentioned here?

(1:5) Better translation is “he will keep on loving you.” Present tense. “Released us” is the aorist tense. This is the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant.

Jesus is the faithful witness, and we are to be faithful witnesses like him.

(1:7) The second coming. It refers to the “blessed hope.” The first century people who crucified Christ are now dead. How can they possibly mourn over him? Compare with Zechariah 12:10 and Matthew 24:30.

(Rev. 1:7) Does this passage refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70?

(1:9) At this point, John is the only apostle left alive. Thomas writes, “Early Christian tradition says John was sent here during Domitian’s reign over Rome (AD 81-96) and was forced to work in the mines. Another tradition adds that when Domitian died, John was permitted to return to Ephesus.”[4]

(Rev. 1:10) What does it mean that John was “in the Spirit”?

(1:12) Walvoord writes, “In the Tabernacle and in the Temple one of the items of equipment was a seven-branched lampstand, a single stand with three lamps on each side and one lamp in the center forming the central shaft. It would seem from the description here that instead of one lampstand with seven lamps there are seven separate lamp-stands each made of gold and arranged in a circle.”[5] This is interpreted in verse 20 to mean the seven churches.

(1:13-15) This is the only NT description of what Jesus looked like in the entire Bible. In his First Coming, Jesus had “no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him” (Isa. 53:2). Daniel writes, “I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames” (Dan. 7:9).

(1:16) Verse 20 says that these are the seven angels.

Isaiah writes, “He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked” (Isa. 11:4; c.f. Isa. 49:2).

(1:17) This shows the transcendence of Jesus, but also the imminence. He touches his shoulder and picks him up.

(1:19) This serves as a timeline for the rest of the book:

(1) the things which you have seen. The vision of Jesus in chapter 1.

(2) the things which are. The letters to the current churches (chapters 2-3).

(3) the things which will take place after these things. The future of human history which picks up in Revelation 4:1 (“After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven…”).

(1:20) Jesus is controlling the Church. He holds the Church in his hand. He will stay with us until “the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).

Conclusions

Jesus is transcendent and powerful (v.17). If we saw him, we would fall to our faces in fear. But because he is so loving, he wants us to stand up and relate with him.

Jesus bought the Church with his blood (v.5). He expressed his love to us through his death.

Jesus rules the universe (v.8). He’s the beginning and the end.

Jesus rules the Church (v.20). He holds the Church in his right hand.

Revelation 2 (Letters to the churches)

We’ve read Paul’s letters, John’s letters, and Peter’s letters to the churches. Here are Jesus’ letters!

How do we interpret these letters? Classical Dispensationals hold that these seven churches predict the history of the church throughout the Church Age. For instance, Dwight Pentecost writes, “[The seven churches depict] this present age from the inception of the church to the judgment of the apostate church prior to the second advent.”[6] This view (called the “chronological interpretation”) is embraced by good Bible teachers like Chuck Smith and Greg Laurie, but we still disagree with it for a number of reasons:

(1) It contradicts the doctrine of imminence. If these letters to the seven churches predict the 2,000 years of church history, then Jesus couldn’t return at any moment.

(2) It only focuses on the Western church. The chronological interpretation typically focuses only on the Christians in Europe and America, but what about all of the other Christians worldwide? This becomes most evident in its interpretation of the seventh church: Laodicea. While the Western church is largely affluent, what about those Christians in Africa, Asia, etc.? As we study the seven churches, we have listed the chronological view. You can judge for yourself if you think these churches represent the history of the church age.

Instead of this view, we hold to the hermeneutic that we use for other NT epistles—namely, “if the shoe fits, wear it.” All of the epistles were written to individual churches (e.g. Colossians, Corinthians, Romans, etc.), yet they have a universal application for Christians today.

What does Jesus have to say to the churches? We don’t want to be so set in our ways that we can’t hear what Jesus is speaking to us.

What does Jesus have to say to us as individuals? Each letter closes with the statement “He who has an ear, let him hear to the churches.” While the letters are addressed corporately (“to the churches”), we are all individually responsible (“He who has an ear”). Wiersbe writes, “Churches are made up of individuals, and it is individuals who determine the spiritual life of the assembly. So, while reading these messages, we must apply them personally as we examine our own hearts.”[7]

As we reflect on the problems in these churches, ask yourself, “Am I here to criticize or to help?”

Notice Satan’s involvement in four of the seven churches. He causes persecution (2:9), has a throne (2:13), teaches deep doctrines (2:24), and influences non-believers (3:9).

1. Ephesus (2:1-7) Hardworking and discerning, but lost their first love

(Rev. 2:1) Was this an angel or the pastor of the church?

Advocates of the chronological interpretation believe that this is the first-century church (at the end of the first century, AD 95).

Ephesus was a large church (Acts 19:10). Paul, Timothy, and John all led in this church. They were heavily into idolatry in this culture (Acts 19:19-20, 23).

(2:2) We all want to know that someone appreciates and notices our hard work. Jesus is watching all of it. This group had great discernment regarding false teachers. D.A. Carson states that it’s easy to be a prophet for false teaching in the past, but it’s hard to be a prophetic voice for the false teaching for contemporary concerns.

Paul had predicted false teachers for this group (Acts 20:28-31), and so did John (1 Jn. 4:1; 2 Jn. 7-11).

(2:3) This was a hard working church.

(2:4) They were working hard, but they forgot about God’s love for them and loving others.

(2:5) Jesus gives three steps:

“Remember” What were you like when you were spiritually sharp and strong? What experiences did you have?

“Repent” What false beliefs have crept into your life since then?

“Do the deeds you did at first” Acting on the truth is important. As we step out in faith to act on the truth, we gain victory that we didn’t think was possible. What deeds did you do before that you’ve moved away from?

(2:6) Chuck Smith states that the Nicolaitans is from two words nico (“priests”) and laos (“people” or “laity”). They stood up against this teaching, while the church of Pergamum succumbed to it.

(Rev. 2:6) Who were the Nicolaitans?

(Rev. 2:7) Do we need to “overcome” to inherit eternal life? (c.f. 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21)

2. Smyrna (2:8-11) Persecution and Poverty, and no rebuke or correction

Advocates of the chronological interpretation believe that this is the pre-Constantinian church of the 2nd and 3rd century.

Smyrna was a harbor city. It was a commercial hub of Roman Empire. In AD 26, they built a statue of Emperor Tiberius. This city was a hotbed for Jewish-Christian hostility. Jesus gives no critique of this church (or Philadelphia).

(2:8) Johnson writes, “To a congregation where imprisonment and death impend, the prisoner who died and came back to life again can offer the crown of life to other executed prisoners and protect them from the second death.”[8]

(2:9) These Christians were extremely poor—even though they lived in a thriving city. Walvoord writes, “Smyrna was a wealthy city, second only to Ephesus in the entire area and, like Ephesus, a seaport.”[9] Johnson speculates, “Perhaps the high esteem of emperor worship in the city produced economic sanctions against Christians who refused to participate.”[10] They willingly chose poverty, rather than bend on their convictions. These people, no doubt, had families, marriages, and mortgages. Yet they chose devotion to Christ over financial gain. Walvoord adds,

The word used for “poverty” (Gr., ptōcheian) is the word for abject poverty. They were not just poor (Gr., penia). It may be that they were drawn from a poor class of people, but it is more probable that their extreme poverty is explained by the fact that they had been robbed of their goods in the process of their persecution and affliction.[11]

Even though they were financially poor, they were “rich (toward God).” By contrast, the church in Laodicea succumbed to materialism (3:17).

These Christians were experienced persecution and blasphemy from people in their culture—probably because they took a stand for Christ.

Satan was ultimately behind this persecution. Don’t hate the people. They themselves are being used by Satan.

Consider James 2:5 and 2 Corinthians 6:10.

(Rev. 2:9) Synagogue of Satan?

Later, the Beast is the ultimate “slanderer” (Greek blasphēmian) of God and his people (Rev. 13:1, 5-6; 17:3).

(2:10) The key to overcoming is “fear.” Don’t sit around fearing and worrying about what is going to happen. God is the “first and the last.” He rose Jesus from the dead (v.7). He’s in control of Satan and limits his persecution to “ten days.”

On the other hand, the prison sentence could precede capital punishment. Johnson writes, “In the first-century Roman world, prison was usually not punitive but the prelude to trial and execution, hence the words ‘Be faithful, even to the point of death.’”[12]

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:10).

(Rev. 2:10) What does John mean by 10 days?

Osborne writes, “Smyrna was famed for its games, and so this would be a natural metaphor.”[13]

3. Pergamum (2:12-17) Strong on persecution, but weak on doctrine and false teaching

Advocates of the chronological interpretation believe that this is the Church of Constantine (4th century and following).

The kings of Pergamum built palaces and temples on top of the acropolis. Pergamum’s theater overlook the valley. It had 80 rows of seats, and it fit 10,000 people for theaters and music.

John Walvoord writes, “It was a wealthy city with many temples devoted to idol worship and full of statues, altars, and sacred groves. It was an important religious center where the pagan cults of Athena, Asclepius, Dionysus, and Zeus were prominent. Among its famous treasures was a large library of two hundred thousand volumes, later sent to Egypt as a gift from Anthony to Cleopatra.”[14]

George Ladd writes, “Pergamum was the first city of Asia to support openly the imperial cult… Observance of this worship became a test of loyalty to Rome, for the imperial cult was the keystone of the imperial policy, and refusal to take part in the official cult was considered high treason.”[15]

(2:12) Jesus holds the word of God (cf. Heb. 4:12).

(2:13) They were holding to their faith in Christ right in the middle of Satan’s throne room. One of their group (Antipas) even faced martyrdom.

(2:14-15) Satan didn’t attack this group through external methods (i.e. persecution), but through internal methods (i.e. false teaching). The false teaching is connected with idolatry and sexual immorality. According to Numbers 31:16, Balaam tried a different strategy, he got the people to curse themselves!

(2:16) Is Jesus going to attack them with a literal sword? Balaam was killed with a sword (Num. 31:8). Not if we take this to refer to the word of God (Heb. 4:12). He’s going to battle them with his word.

(2:17) The “hidden manna” might refer to the manna put in the Ark (Ex. 16:33-34; Heb. 9:4). These Christians need to forgo the food of the idol worshippers, and get the true spiritual food from Christ.

They get a new name (cf. Isa. 62:2; 65:15). In ancient culture, our name meant something. Christ gave Peter, John, and James new names. Saul became Paul. I wonder if Christ will name us based on what we did here on Earth.

(Rev. 2:17) What are the secret names and the white stones mentioned here?

4. Thyatira (2:18-29) Growing in deeds, faith, and perseverance—but tolerating apostasy

Advocates of the chronological interpretation believe that this is the Church of Roman Catholicism in the Middle Ages, the worship of relics, and the exaltation of Mary and other saints.

Thyatira was a trade city. One of their most important products were textiles and fabric (Acts 16:14). Archaeologists have discovered coins from Thyatiran coins that show it was a prosperous city. Osborne writes, “Little was written about the city in ancient sources, and since the modern town of Akhisar is on the site, little archeological excavation has been done. As a result, we know less about it than any of the other cities. Each craftsperson… was part of a “guild,” and though they were not obligatory, few workers failed to belong, for the guilds were centers of social life as well as commerce. The religious life of Thyatira was also influenced by the guilds. Each guild had its own patron god or goddess, and the frequent feasts of the guilds were religious in character. The pressure on Christians to participate in the idolatrous life of the people was probably linked to the guilds, for their feasts were the heart of the social (and commercial) life of the city. To refuse to participate meant the loss of both goodwill and business.”[16]

(2:18) The fiery eyes could refer to Jesus’ discernment of Jezebel (or maybe that he’s angry with her?). Thyatira had bronze workers. So Johnson writes, “The feet of Christ, which are like burnished bronze, would no doubt have special significance to the bronze-workers at Thyatira.”[17] This city is mentioned as the place where Lydia dyed her clothing (Acts 16:14-15). Walvoord writes, “The city had been established as a Macedonian colony by Alexander the Great after the destruction of the Persian empire.”[18]

(2:19) This church is progressing in faith, good deeds, and perseverance. They’re actually getting better at this with time.

(2:20) They have a false teacher in their midst, however, and they’re tolerating her. Is Jezebel a symbolic reference to the queen of 1 Kings 16-19? The queen who tried to blend Baal worship with Israel (1 Kings 16:31)? They weren’t testing all things with regard to prophecy (1 Thess. 5:19-21). The Ephesians did a better job by putting false prophets “to the test” (Rev. 2:20).

(2:21-22) Jesus is really angry with her lack of repentance, and those who follow her. Johnson writes, “Christ’s strongest threat to the offenders is not in regard to their sin, serious as that is, but to their reluctance to repent. The Lord is walking among his churches. He judges evil; but he also offers deliverance to those who have fallen, if they repent and stop doing Jezebel’s deeds.”[19]

(2:23) Her “children” most likely refer to her followers. This passage shows that Jesus is omniscient.

(2:24) They don’t know the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10), but the deep things of Satan. The “burden” reminds us of Acts 15:28.

(2:25) Is this the Second Coming? The word is hexo, rather than parousia. This probably refers to him coming to bring discipline to Jezebel. Then they will see Christ working.

(2:26-27) As the messianic people, we will rule alongside the Messiah (Ps. 2:9).

(2:28) The overcomers get Jesus “the morning star” (Rev. 22:16; cf. 2 Pet. 1:19).

(Rev. 2:28) What is the morning star?

Revelation 3 (Letters to the churches)

 

5. Sardis (3:1-6) The Church that was dead—no good words, only rebuke

Advocates of the chronological interpretation believe that this is the Church of the Protestant Reformation.

Osborne writes, “The acropolis lay… with a fifteen-hundred-foot precipice on three sides and a steep approach on the south side that connected it to the mountain… Sardis was the first to mint gold and silver coins. Gyges’s son, Croesus, was so powerful that he thought to attack Cyrus of Persia. After an initial battle, he retired back to Sardis for the winter, expecting Cyrus also to return home. However, Cyrus pursued Croesus and surprised him, destroying his vaunted cavalry. Croesus then went into his fortress and prepared for a siege. However, one of Cyrus’s troops climbed up a crevice on the ‘unscalable’ cliff at an unobserved point and opened the gates. Sardis fell after only fourteen days of the siege in 546 b.c. This so astounded the Greek world that ‘capturing Sardis’ became a saying for achieving the impossible.”[20]

(3:1) They had a reputation for being hard workers, but God views things differently. Were they living off of the nostalgia of old good works? Johnson writes, “The citizens were living off past fame. Apparently the same spirit had affected the church. Their loyalty and service to Christ was in the past. Now they were nothing.”[21]

As a city, Sardis had taken a deep decline. Walvoord writes, “Although the situation of the city was ideal for defense, as it stood high above the valley of Hermus and was surrounded by deep cliffs almost impossible to scale, Sardis had twice before fallen because of overconfidence and failure to watch. In 549 b.c. the Persian King Cyrus had ended the rule of Croesus by scaling the cliffs under the cover of darkness. In 214 b.c. the armies of Antiochus the Great (III) captured the city by the same method. The city of Sardis at the time it received this letter was in fact in a period of decline as compared to its former glory, having been reduced by these invasions.”[22]

(3:2) We can’t stay complacent until we go home to Heaven. We can live off the thrills of the past, but only press on to the future (cf. Phil. 3:13). This group is salvageable, but they need to wake up from their haze.

(3:3) This isn’t the Second Coming. It probably refers to Jesus coming to take away their influence (cf. Rev. 2:5). Jesus doesn’t tell them to get into some exotic spirituality to fix their problems, but instead, to get back to the bread and butter (“remember what you have received and heard”). So much of spiritual growth—whether individually or corporately—has to do with remembering what God has already said and embracing it (“keep it, and repent”).

(3:4) There is a faithful remnant of believers in this church.

(3:5) Johnson comments, “In the first century, Christians who were loyal to Christ were under constant threat of being branded political and social rebels and then stripped of their citizenship. But Christ offers them an eternal, safe citizenship in his everlasting kingdom if they only remain loyal to him.”[23]

(Rev. 3:5) Does God erase names from the book of life?

6. Philadelphia (3:7-13) Faithful to Christ

Advocates of the chronological interpretation believe that this is the Church of the modern evangelical movement.

(3:7) This is a reference to Isaiah 22. Johnson writes, “The reference to the ‘key of David’ alludes to Isaiah 22:20ff. and the incident of transferring the post of secretary of state in Judah from the unfaithful Shebna to the faithful Eliakim.”[24] Roman Catholics somehow connect this with the keys of the kingdom and Peter being the first Pope (cf. Mt. 16:18). However, it seems that God (the King) has delegated his authority to Jesus. The open doors can refer to ministry and evangelism (1 Cor. 16:9; Col. 4:3). Sir William Ramsay writes, “Philadelphia lay at the upper extremity of a long valley, which opens back from the sea. After passing Philadelphia the road along this valley ascends to the Phrygian land and the great Central Plateau, the main mass of Asia Minor. This road was the one which led from the harbour of Smyrna to the north-eastern parts of Asia Minor and the East in general, the one rival to the great route connecting Ephesus with the East, and the greatest Asian trade-route of Mediaeval times… Philadelphia, therefore, was the keeper of the gateway to the plateau.”[25] This shows that Ramsay holds to the ministry view.

It could also be an open door into the kingdom—despite the fact that they are weak (“have a little power”).

(3:8) Even though they have little power, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens (Phil. 4:13). Jesus was pleased with this small, yet faithful, church.

(3:9) There was probably an anti-Christian Jewish group in Philadelphia. When Ignatius wrote to this church (just a few years later), he warned Ignatius not to listen to “any one propounding Judaism unto you” (To the Philadelphians 6.1).[26] These could be similar to the Judaizers of Acts 15:1 and Galatians.

In the OT, the Gentile nations bow to Israel (Isa. 43:4; 45:14; 49:23; 60:14). Here, ethnic Jewish people who reject Jesus will bow to the true Christians. We either bow to Jesus now, or we will bow later (Phil. 2:10-11).

(Rev. 3:10) Does this support a pre-tribulational rapture of the church?

(3:11) They can forfeit their rewards if they don’t persevere (cf. 2 Jn. 8).

(3:12) These believers with “little power” (v.8) get a great reward, and become pillars in God’s temple.

7. Laodicea (3:14-22) Wealth and Deception

Advocates of the chronological interpretation believe that this is the Church of apostasy in the last days.

(3:14) Why is Jesus called “the Amen”? Johnson writes, “The normal Hebrew adverb that is rendered by the Greek amen means the acknowledgment of that which is sure and valid.”[27] John is saying that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises to us (2 Cor. 1:20). Christ is faithful in contrast to the Laodiceans being unfaithful.

(Rev. 3:14) Was Christ a created being?

(Rev. 3:15-16) What does it mean to be “hot or cold” for God?

(3:17) They may have interpreted their material wealth as a blessing from God—similar to health and wealth preachers today. It’s interesting how Jesus views the Church compared to how the Church views itself.

(3:18) Origen (AD 250) held that the Laodiceans weren’t true, regenerate believers (First Principles 3.4.3). This is why Jesus advises them to turn to him.

(3:19) He spits out (literally “vomits out”) the unbelievers in the visible church. However, he disciplines the believers here, because he loves them (Prov. 3:12; 1 Cor. 11:32; Heb. 12:6). Their role is to repent.

(3:20) Is this passage evangelistic or not? It might be ambiguous because the church was populated by licentious believers who needed discipline and reproof (v.19) and unbelievers who would be cast out of the kingdom (v.16). Johnson holds the evangelistic view: “While most commentators have taken this invitation as addressed to lapsed, halfhearted Christians, the terminology and context (v. 18) suggest that these Laodiceans were for the most part mere professing Christians who lacked authentic conversion to Christ, which is the essential prerequisite for true discipleship. Verse 20 is, therefore, more evangelistic than admonitory.”[28]

Whoever means that we are each responsible before God.

(3:21) There is a lot about reigning in this book. What will it be like to reign with Christ on the Earth?

Revelation 4 (Creation worshipping God: Part 1)

Gary Delashmutt argues that these two chapters (4-5) serve as an apologetic for why God has the authority to invade the world.

(4:1) The chronological marker (“after these things”) harkens back to 1:19. These events take place after the Church Age. John is given a view of the future from Heaven.

(4:2) This is Jesus on the throne.

(4:3) It isn’t clear how much we should interpret each individual color or stone. These might just show us the beauty of God.

(Rev. 4:4) Who are the 24 elders mentioned here?

(4:5) This must’ve been an overwhelming vision to see lightning and thunder coming from Jesus’ throne. This communicates his power. He isn’t the meek and mild Jesus of popular culture; he’s the Lord sitting on his throne, ruling over creation.

(4:6) The sea is representative of humanity in Revelation (cf. Rev. 13:1). Here, in Heaven, the sea is still and calm. Jesus is in control over the world.

(4:7) Chuck Smith takes these images to refer to the ways that the four gospels describe Jesus. However, these are called “creatures,” not the Creator. Johnson explains them by saying, “The faces of a ‘lion,’ ‘ox,’ ‘man,’ and a ‘flying eagle’ suggest qualities that belong to God, such as royal power, strength, spirituality, and swiftness of action.”[29] We’re not entirely sure what the symbolism means. These seem to be angels like in Isaiah 6.

(4:8) In Hebrew, a double reference shows a superlative or emphasis. The threefold use of “holy, holy, holy” really emphasizes God’s character. Jesus is worthy to rule the world, because he is Holy in his character.

(4:9-10) This really shows the deity of Christ. Everything in creation is bowing down and worshipping Jesus, as the Creator.

(4:11) Jesus is worthy to rule the world, because he is the world’s Creator.

Revelation 5 (Creation worshipping God: Part 2)

(5:1) Chuck Smith takes the seals to refer to the title deed of the world. We should interpret these seals alongside the seals which are broken open in the next chapter. Only Jesus has authority to judge the world in the Tribulation, inaugurating his Millennial Kingdom. Johnson writes, “The scroll, then, is not only about judgment or about the inheritance of the kingdom. Rather, it contains the announcement of the consummation of all history—how things will ultimately end for all people: judgment for the world and the final reward of the saints (11:18). Christ alone, as the Messiah, is the executor of the purposes of God and the heir of the inheritance of the world. He obtained this by his substitutionary and propitiatory death on the cross (5:9).”[30]

(5:2)

(5:3) No man has the power or authority to redeem or judge the world. No one was able to enter in and bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth.

(5:4) Consequently, John begins to weeps uncontrollably.

(5:5) These are all messianic titles from the OT (Gen. 49:9-10; Isa. 11:1, 10; Jer. 23:5; 33:5; Rev. 22:16). One of the elders tells him to anticipate seeing a Lion. Instead, he sees something else…

(5:6) A Lamb! The one who will rule the world and usher in the Kingdom will be a lamb (arnion, “a young sheep”).

Chuck Smith states that our first view of Jesus might be a very shocking experience. We might expect to see a beautiful picture of Jesus, as we see in paintings or Christmas cards. He might appear to us with his scars still all over him.

(5:7) God the Father is seated on the throne. Only the Son is able to get up and approach the throne.

(5:8) These are literally the “petitions (proseuchē) of the saints.”

(5:9) Jesus is worthy based on his work on the Cross. It’s probably a new song, because this had never happened before. The consequence of his death was reaching the world’s cultures.

(5:10) We aren’t reigning yet. This is still future (“they will reign”).

(5:11) A “myriad” is 10,000. So this is at least 100 million angels.

(5:12) They sing about seven qualities that Christ has. Jesus receives this qualities from his creation, because of his Cross.

(5:13) All of creation gives equal worship to the Father (“Him who sits on his throne”) and the Son (“the Lamb”). This is one of the best passages on the deity of Christ.

(5:14)

Revelation 6 (Seven Seals)

What a terrifying picture of the world! Inflation, war, disease, and death. During this time, people will really see that the only security we have is in Christ.

How should the seals be interpreted? Several options have been given including (1) these occur throughout the Church Age, (2) these occur sequentially, or (3) these occur immediately before Jesus’ Second Coming. There must be some time lapse in between the seals. When Jesus opens the fifth seal, the martyrs are still asking “how long” until God will judge (Rev. 6:9-11).

We hold the view that these events lead up to the Second Coming, and some of them might even occur as “birth pains” in the Church Age.

(Rev. 6) Are the seals before the tribulation or during it?

This is where we get the concept of the “four horsemen of the apocalypse.”

(6:1) The vision shifts from Heaven to Earth. God is on his throne in Heaven. Everyone knows who is the true God. But on Earth, we see a different story. Jesus is the one who opens the seals.

Seal #1: The Antichrist (the white horse)

(6:2) This is the Antichrist who is given permission to rule. The Antichrist isn’t ultimately in charge. Jesus is. He allows him to do what he wants, but he ultimately gets the victory (Rev. 17:14). There are many antichrists who rule in each generation (cf. 1 Jn. 2:18).

(Rev. 6:2) Who is the rider on the white horse? Christ or the antichrist?

Seal #2: Warfare (the red horse)

(6:3)

(6:4) The red horse is symbolic for war.

Seal #3: Famine and inflation (the black horse)

(6:5)

(6:6) These prices are massively inflated. A pound of wheat could feed a grown man for a full day, and a denarius was a grown man’s full wage. This means that he could afford just enough to feed himself, but have none left over to feed his family or even have housing.

What does the reference to the oil and wine mean? This could refer to luxurious living (Prov. 21:17) in the sense that luxury will be gone due to the fact that all of their money is gone. This isn’t entirely certain.

Seal #4: More famine, disease, and wild beasts (the ashen/green horse)

(6:7) The “ashen” (chlōros) horse is yellowish green. It can refer to “the paleness of a sick person in contrast to a healthy appearance” (BDAG).

(6:8) Some interpreters believe that the “wild beasts” refer to rats bringing disease. While this doesn’t sound too intimidating, rats historically brought disease (e.g. Bubonic plague), and they are deadly during times of famine and disease.

Seal #5: Martyrs in heaven

(6:9)

(6:10) These dead saints refer to God as “sovereign” and “holy” and “true.” Even though they’re questioning God, they’re still referring to him as in control and morally perfect. They trusted in God’s judgment (Rom. 12:19).

(6:11) God told these outraged people to rest a little while longer. His plan isn’t finished yet.

(Rev. 6:9-11) Is it Christian to pray for vengeance?

Seal #6: Massive earthquake, sun blackened out, stars falling, mountains and islands rearranging

(6:12) This earthquake causes the sun to be blackened out. John uses the language of simile (“like blood”), so this must mean that the moon turns red.

(6:13) These can’t be literal stars. If literal stars collided with the planet, their massive centers of gravity would suck the surface of the Earth dry before contact was ever made. The Earth would also cook to incredible temperatures before collision occurred.

Elsewhere in Revelation, stars refer to angels—though not always (cf. 8:10). It’s also possible that this is perspectival language, and John is seeing falling objects coming from the sky and crashing into the earth (i.e. Missiles? Asteroids?).

(6:14) The sky is split apart. Is this perspectival language for modern warfare?

(6:15) Since John mentions all classes of people, this must refer to a universal, global judgment.

(6:16) Do they climb into bunkers to hide from the terrible events happening on Earth? This language comes straight from the OT (Isa. 2:19, 21; Hos. 10:8). Jesus used this language to refer to the destruction of AD 70 (Lk. 23:30).

(6:17) This is a rhetorical question: Obviously, no one will be able to stand in this day.

Revelation 7 (Heaven)

This is an interlude or an aside from the seals. The seventh seal doesn’t occur until 8:1. Is this an interlude due to the fact that God needs to seal the 144,000 before the angels are released to judge the Earth in the seventh seal (7:3)?

(7:1) Chuck Smith believes that the wind currents could disrupt the weather patterns, which would lead to famine and starvation.

(Rev. 7:1) Did the biblical authors believe in a flat earth?

(7:2)

(7:3) Before the Tribulation begins, God wants to seal his people.

(7:4) Some commentators see symbolism in the fact that there are 12 x 12 x 1000. Yet the text tells us that these are Jewish people from specific tribes. To take a symbolic view, we would need to reinterpret the text’s own interpretation of the passage.

(Rev. 7:4) What is the seal of God?

(Rev. 7:4) Who are the 144,000?

(Rev. 7:4-8) Why is the tribe of Dan missing from this list?

(7:5-8) These are pretty specific names and numbers.

(7:9) The martyrs also had white robes (Rev. 6:11). Are these martyred believers? Or do all Christians get the white robes? White robes are for all believers in Christ (Rev. 7:14; 3:5-6). This shows that many, many people come to Christ during the Tribulation. Many Dispensational authors connect these conversions with the 144,000 Jewish believers at the beginning of the chapter.

The crowds used palm branches at Jesus’ triumphal entry (Jn. 12:13).

(7:10) The believers are praising God for giving them salvation.

(7:11) The angels take their turn at praising God.

(7:12) Similar to 5:11-12.

(7:13) Those who interpret the elders to refer to angels argue that in apocalyptic literature, an angel usually does the interpreting for the prophet.

(7:14) John doesn’t know who this group is. Chuck Smith argues that he doesn’t know because this isn’t the Church. It’s the believers in the Tribulation.

(7:15) These believers have immediate and direct access to God’s throne. They are literally inside the tabernacle where the presence of God dwells (cf. Jn. 1:14).

This can’t be the final New Heavens and Earth, because they are in God’s temple in Heaven. In the New Heavens and Earth, there is “no temple” (Rev. 21:22). This is the Present Heaven—even though the language is similar to the New Heavens and Earth.

(7:16) While the four horsemen bring war, starvation, and disease on Earth, these believers are spared in Heaven.

(7:17) Heaven isn’t just about a place, but about a Person. Johnson observes, “It is not through some perfect environment but through the presence and continual ministry of the Lamb that their sufferings are forever assuaged.”[31]

Revelation 8 (Seventh seal is opened… Trumpets 1-4)

When the seventh seal is cracked open, God sends the angels to sound the seven trumpets. This is an intensification of judgment. Seals 1-5 occur as birth pangs. Seal 6 is more toward the end of history. Now the seventh seal lets loose more severe judgments.

The seals only affected parts of the Earth, but the trumpets affect the entire Earth.

The seventh seal, seventh trumpet, and seventh bowl all seem to overlap.

When we get to the bowls, they are more intensified, and they end God’s judgment (Rev. 15:1).

Seal #7: Massive earthquake, sun blackened out, stars falling, mountains and islands rearranging

(8:1) Picture the silence before the jury gives its verdict. Everyone is hanging on every word of the person in anticipation. Heaven waits to see what God will do…

(8:2) Now we’re introduced to the seven trumpets. Trumpets were used in Israel’s history whenever something serious was about to happen (Ex. 19:19; Lev. 23:24; 25:9; Num. 10:2-10; Joel 2:1; Zeph. 1:16; Mt. 24:31; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16).

(8:3) Is this Christ or an angel? Angels have already had a priestly function in this book (Rev. 4:8–11; 5:8–14; 7:11–12), so we don’t see any reason for thinking this is Jesus.

(8:4) Our prayers are often referred to a pleasing aroma (i.e. “incense”).

(8:5) Casting the coals was symbolic of judgment (Ezek. 10). This is tied to the saints asking, “How long, O Lord?” (Rev. 6:9-11)

Seven bowls

(8:6)

Trumpet #1: Hail, fire, and blood

(8:7) This could be harkening back to the Exodus (9:19, 25). The hail killed the beasts and men in the field.

Trumpet #2: Something like a great burning mountain strikes the sea

(8:8) The sea becoming blood could be similar to Aaron turning the Nile into blood.

Some interpreters understand this mountain to be Babylon, falling into humanity (i.e. “the sea”) destroying a third of it. Babylon is symbolized as a mountain by Jeremiah (Jer. 51:25). Later, Babylon is brought up in Revelation 17-18, along with the sea. However, Walvoord criticizes this for reading too much into the passage.[32] After all, it specifically mentions the creatures and ships being destroyed. If the sea is symbolic here, why mention the ships?

Others understand this to be an angel. They base this off of 1 Enoch 18.13 which states, “I saw there the seven stars [angels] that were like great burning mountains.”

We believe that this is some sort of planetary disaster (an asteroid?). To an ancient prophet, what would a falling and burning mountain look like? Osborne concurs, “It is clear that this is a meteorite or falling star blazing through the atmosphere as it falls to earth… There is no evidence that this is an angelic visitation, however, and none of the other plagues has been angelic in nature. Rather, this also is a judgment from nature, a divinely sent disaster.”[33]

Trumpet #3: The Wormwood star… like a torch

(8:10) It might go too far to stay that this is a missile. On the other hand, such a description would fit with one. How else would John describe one if he saw one?

Some interpreters believe that this is an angel. Remember, angels are pictured as “stars” (cf. Rev. 1:20; 9:1).

Regarding Wormwood, Johnson writes, “The star’s name is ‘Wormwood,’ which refers to the quite bitter herb Artemesia absinthium found in the Near East and mentioned elsewhere in the Bible (Jer. 9:15; 23:15; Lam. 3:15, 19; Amos 5:7).”[34]

Some Dispensational authors hold to a hyperliteral view. For instance, Weirsbe contends that this is a literal star! He writes, “If a star actually struck the earth, our globe would be destroyed; so this star must ‘come apart’ as it enters the atmosphere. Of course, this event is a divinely controlled judgment; therefore, we must not try to limit it by the known laws of science.”[35]

(Rev. 8:10) Is this star simply an angel?

(8:11) These words mean “destroyer.”

(Rev. 8:11) Why is the star called Wormwood?

Trumpet #4: Sun, moon, stars darkened

(8:12) The world doesn’t go pitch black, but a third of the luminosity becomes dampened. Darkness is usually associated with judgment (Isa. 13:10; Ezek. 32:7-8; Joel 2:10; 3:15; cf. Matt 24:29). Since the darkness is partial, this probably means that the judgment isn’t total.

(8:13) John mentions an eagle in 4:7 to refer to an angel. He mentions one in 12:14 to refer to how God will rescue his people during the Tribulation. This being (an angel?) screams a message of pity for the people of Earth who are still in rebellion from God.

Revelation 9 (Trumpets 5-6)

These trumpets intensify. Notice how much writing is devoted to the fifth and sixth trumpets compared to the first four.

Trumpet #5: Locusts

(9:1) This “star” is an angel. Later, he is called “the angel of the abyss” (v.11), and later still, we read that he is mentioned again (Rev. 20:1). He’s a good angel, because he comes “from heaven.”

The “bottomless pit” (abyssos) is a maximum security prison for specific demons (Lk. 8:31)—perhaps the same ones who produced the Nephilim in Genesis 6 (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). At this junction of history, the abyss is opened! The last time these demons roamed the Earth—the world was flooded in judgment.

Abaddon means “ruin” or “destruction.” Johnson writes, “In late Jewish apocalyptic texts and Qumran literature, it refers to the personification of death (1QH 3.16, 19, 32; IQ ap Gen 12:17 [TDOT, 1:23]).”[36]

(Rev. 9:1) Is this angel Satan?

(9:2) The smoke from the pit seems to interact with the sun and air in the material world. How are the spiritual and natural realms connected?

(9:3) Are these just regular locusts or something more? The description of these beings exceed just regular locusts. Already we’ve seen that they come from the “bottomless pit,” which doesn’t seem like regular locusts.

(9:4) These aren’t ordinary locusts, because they don’t eat grass. They also target people who worship the beast.

(9:5) Locusts typically live for five months. This is a time of torment for people who worship the beast.

(9:6) Men won’t be able to die during this time (?!).

(9:7) Some Dispensational authors believe that these describe helicopters with metal plates and pilots inside (“faces… like the faces of men”). However, the descriptions exceed military warfare (see v.8).

(9:8) These descriptions do not fit with military warfare that we know of. Some strain at this to say that the hair is like the propellers on the helicopter, and the teeth are like decals painted on the front of the helicopter. However, this is straining to much to make it fit.

(9:9) They look armored, but the language of simile is in view (“like breastplates of iron”). So it isn’t clear what these are.

(9:10) They are similar to scorpions, but again, this is the language of simile.

(9:11) John gives bilingual descriptions in his gospel.

Trumpet #6: The four angels bound at the Euphrates River

(Rev. 9:13) Why are the angels “bound” to the river Euphrates?

(9:14) These angels had been bound at this river, but now they are released. This is similar language to Satan being “bound” (deo). They are bound to a location, just as Satan is bound and sealed.

(9:15) God’s plan is orchestrated to the day and even the hour. A third of the population is destroyed.

(9:16) The total number of Allied and Axis forces in World War II was only 70 million people.[37] Johnson believes that this is a demonic—rather than human—army. Though, he believes that smaller human armies could be in view. This seems like a human army, and the world populations today could account for it.

(9:17) Johnson believes that the army is demonic based on the description of the horses here. Of course, the horsemen are demonic (v.19), but the (human) armies are separate from the horsemen. Could these demonic horsemen manipulate and lead this vast army into war?

(9:18) People are killed from the pollution of this warfare. Nuclear warfare could pollute the world like this.

(9:19) This seems like a demonic description here.

(9:20-21) What a horrible picture of warfare, plagues, and death! Even more horrible is this final picture: unrepentant humanity. Even when the world is coming to an end, people still won’t have a change of heart regarding their worship of the occult and the demonic. Wiersbe wisely writes, “The most frightening thing about Revelation 9 is not the judgments that God sends but the sins that men persist in committing even while God is judging them.”[38] Proverbs states, “The foolishness of man ruins his way, and his heart rages against the Lord. They ruin lives with their own foolishness” (Prov. 19:3).

Revelation 10 (Interlude)

(10:1) Chuck Smith connects this angel with Jesus because of his description, which sounds like chapter 1 (“face like the sun”). However, we shouldn’t overlook the plain sense reading of the passage, which calls him an angel.

(10:2) In Revelation, the “sea” often refers to humanity in rebellion from God.

(10:3) The reference to the voice of a lion would be further reason for thinking this is Jesus—the messenger (angelos) of God.

(10:4) Why is he told not to record what the seven peals of thunder spoke? It’s best not to speculate what they said if John was told not to record them.

(10:5)

(10:6) This doesn’t seem like Jesus. Jesus would say, “Truly, truly, I say to you…” Here the angel swears by God’s authority. He cites Exodus 20:11. God is the Creator, and he will also be the Judge.

(10:7) This can either be taken as imminence (“about to sound”) or strong future certainty (“shall sound”). Johnson takes the latter view.[39] This seems to make more sense, because at this point “the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to his servants the prophets.” The unleashing of the final trumpet will be the Second Coming. This whole chapter is an interlude, which would point to the following chapters.

(10:8)

(10:9) The predictions about Christ’s coming are literally bittersweet—similar to Ezekiel (Ezek. 3:1-3). As we study the Revelation, we too feel excitement at the return of Christ, as well as deep sadness for those who reject him at his coming.

(10:10)

(10:11) The angel prepares him to continue prophesying.

Revelation 11 (The Two Witnesses)

(11:1) John was told to measure the Temple, the altar, and the people. How do you measure people?

(Rev. 11:1) Is this a literal Temple and city, or does this represent the church?

(11:2) He is not supposed to measure the court of the Gentiles.

What is the significance of the 42 months? This figure of 3.5 years comes up throughout Revelation in several different ways.

(11:3) The two witnesses are given 3.5 years to prophesy. Why are they dressed in sack cloths?

(Rev. 11:3-12) Who are the two witnesses?

(11:4) Why are these two men called olive trees and lampstands?

(11:5) These two prophets are supernaturally protected.

(Rev. 11:5) What is the fire coming out of their mouths?

(11:6) God gives them the prerogative to execute judgment (“as often as they desire”). These two examples of drought and turning the water to blood are reminiscent of Elijah and Moses.

(11:7) God divinely protects these two men to give their testimony. The forces of evil (i.e. the beast) can’t kill him until his testimony is finished.

(11:8) The city isn’t literally Sodom and Egypt. It is “mystically” (NASB) or “symbolically” (NET) called this (Greek pneumatikos). Sodom and Egypt were historically known as excessively evil nations.

(11:9) Leaving a body unburied was thought to be a curse in Gentile cultures. The Gentiles believed that these two prophets were cursed after their death.

(11:10) Some commentators refer to this as a “Satanic holiday.”

(11:11) God resurrects these two men, and the peoples are seized with terror. After all, these two men brought judgment on the nations for a few years. They prophesied for 3.5 years, and they were only dead for 3.5 days.

(11:12) God takes them up into heaven. Why did he raise them first—only to immediately take them to heaven? It could be to show that God was supporting them. Their bodies didn’t just disappear into thin air. God raised them first.

(11:13) This earthquake will occur during the time of the two witnesses’ resurrection. This account seems similar to what God did through Jesus. He was killed, thought to be cursed, dead for three days, raised, and ascended into heaven. Is there a legitimate parallel here, or just a similarity?

(11:14)

Trumpet #7: Loud voices in Heaven

(11:15) While all hell is breaking loose on Earth, the people in heaven know God is still in control.

(11:16) They are worshipping God in heaven, knowing that he is in control.

(11:17) God is starting to reign on Earth through these miracles.

(11:18) It doesn’t matter if people are angry with God’s judgment. He is still going to come and judge.

(11:19) The temple of God in heaven is different from the one on Earth.

Revelation 12 (Satan)

(12:1) What does this “sign” (semeion) show us?

(Rev. 12:1) Who is the woman: Israel, Mary, or the Church?

(12:2)

(12:3) What does this “sign” (semeion) show us? This image of a seven headed dragon with ten horns needs to be interpreted.

Satan attempted to stop the Messiah through overt or covert means:[40]

  • Cain’s murder of Abel (Gen. 4:8). Originally, God promised to bring the Messiah through the “seed of the woman” (Gen. 3:15), and so, Satan may have influenced the first murder to thwart God’s prediction. After all, Jesus did say, “[Satan] was a murderer from the beginning” (Jn. 8:44). John elsewhere writes, “We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother” (1 Jn. 3:12 ESV).
  • Satan’s fallen angels helped to pervert the human race to the point where the entire race’s existence was at stake (Gen. 6:1-2; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6)—thus attempting to stop the coming of the future Messiah.
  • Attempted rapes of Sarah (Gen. 12:10-20; 20:1-18).
  • Attempted rapes of Rebekah (Gen. 26:1-18).
  • Murder of male boys in Egypt (Ex. 1:15-22).
  • Attempted murders of David (1 Sam. 18:10-11). Saul’s murderous rage toward David was connected with “an evil spirit” (1 Sam. 16:14).
  • Queen Athaliah’s attempt to kill the royal line (2 Chron. 22:10).
  • Haman’s attempt to kill the Jews (Esther 3-9).
  • Herod killing the children of Bethlehem (Mt. 2:16).
  • Satan tried to tempt Christ to worship him, forfeiting the Cross (Mt. 4:9). He also tried to tempt Christ to forfeit the Cross by tempting him through one of his friends, Peter (Mt. 16:22-23).
  • Satan entered into Judas to betray Jesus (Jn. 13:2, 27; Lk. 22:3).

Some of these examples above are just conjecture, but others are clearly connected with Satan’s persecution of the Jewish people. Could it be that Satan was trying to thwart God’s plan of bringing his Messiah through the Jewish people?

(12:4) Who or what are the “stars of heaven”? These stars (1/3 of them) move location from heaven to earth.

Some interpreters hold that these “stars” are human believers (based on Dan. 10:20-21; 12:1, 3). However, Osborne argues, “It is generally agreed that Dan. 8:10 pictures the attack on Israel as a war against the heavenly host, it is also generally held that the ‘stars’ in Dan. 8:10 are primarily angels rather than the people of God… While Dan. 12:3 says the faithful ‘will shine … like the stars forever and ever,’ it does not say they are stars. Also, in the Apocalypse, whenever ἀστέρες (asteres, stars) refers to beings, they are always angels (1:16, 20; 2:1; 3:1; 9:1; 22:16 [Christ as “the Morning Star”]). There is no instance when the people of God are called ‘stars.’”[41]

(Rev. 12:4, 9) When did Satan sweep a third of the angels away to the Earth? When was Satan cast out of heaven?

(12:5) The “child” is no doubt Jesus the Messiah. After all, he is destined to “rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” He is also taken up into heaven.

(12:6) The woman flees to the wilderness for protection. If this is understood chronologically, then this must be after the birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.

The woman is in the wilderness for 3.5 years.

(12:7-8) Does this flashback to the removal of the “stars” from heaven (v.4)?

Michael has his angels, and the dragon has his angels. This is some sort of spiritual battle in heaven, and the dragon is kicked out.

(12:9) The great dragon is interpreted for us as “Satan.” He (and his angels) are thrown down to earth.

He is called a deceiver. This cannot refer to the Millennium, because Satan is no longer a deceiver at that time.

(12:10) Who is speaking this “loud voice”? We aren’t told, but his message is that the Messiah has authority over Satan.

Satan has been thrown down by Christ, but he still (present tense) continues to accuse them before God. How do believers stand up to this deceiver and accuser?

(12:11) They overcome (nikao; cf. Rev. 2-3 “To him who overcomes, I will…”) through:

“The blood of the Lamb”

“The word of their testimony”

“They did not love their life even when faced with death” It isn’t that the believers were all martyred, but that they at the very least faced martyrdom. They “were [not] afraid to die” (NET).

(12:12) This message makes heaven “rejoice,” but it makes the earth “woe.”

Satan knows that his time ruling the Earth is very short.

(12:13) Once Satan knows that he has been thrown down to Earth and that his time is short (v.12), he launches at an all-out attack on the “woman.”

(12:14) The “woman” (Israel) flees to the wilderness for 3.5 years. This is a recapitulation of verse 6 (“the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days”).

Jesus told believers to flee when we see the abomination of desolation (Mt. 24:15).

Somehow, Satan couldn’t reach the “woman” (Israel) while she was in the wilderness (“from the presence of the serpent”). Why can’t Satan terrorize the woman when she is in the wilderness? Does the wilderness harken back to the Wandering after the Exodus? Or is this something in the future?

(12:15) Satan can go after the “woman” (Israel) with something like a flood (but not a literal flood: notice the use of simile).

(12:16) Somehow the earth protects the “woman” (Israel) from this “flood” or “river.”

(12:17) This only further enrages the dragon (Satan), who goes after the “rest of her children” (Gentile converts to Jesus?).

Revelation 13 (The dragon, the beast, and the false prophet)

(13:1) The “dragon” is Satan. We know this from the last chapter. Satan is also described as having “seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems” (Rev. 12:3). Carson argues that horns are almost always kings in apocalyptic literature.[42]

Later, John interprets this vision: “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour” (Rev. 17:12).

Daniel speaks of the “little horn” in the same way: “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts” (Dan. 7:8; c.f. 7:25).

Daniel gives a similar description in his fourth beast: “After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts” (Dan. 7:7-8).

Is there any significance to the dragon standing “on the sand of the seashore”?

(Rev. 13:1) Is the Antichrist an empire or a single individual?

(13:2) Is the “beast” the same or different from the “dragon”? He receives his kingdom and authority from the dragon. The two must be different persons.

(13:3) Whose heads? The nearest antecedent is the dragon, who has “seven heads” (v.1).

(Rev. 13:3) What is the “fatal wound” mentioned here?

(13:4) People worship both the dragon and the beast. The two are different, and yet they are closely connected. It sounds like the dragon invests his power into the beast.

This language (“Who is like the beast”) is reminiscent of Yahweh God (Ex. 8:10; 15:11; Ps. 71:19; 89:8; Isa. 44:7; 46:5; Mic. 7:18). The beast is a counterfeit god. Osborne writes, “The church of John’s day would have again thought of the imperial cult, “the throne of Satan” (Rev. 2:13), and of emperors like Caligula, Nero, and especially Domitian, who demanded to be worshiped as gods.”[43]

(13:5) Again, we see the time period being 3.5 years listed here.

The dragon gave the beast his “authority” (v.2). It is a counterfeit authority, because all authority belongs to God. God permits the dragon and the beast to blaspheme him for a period of time before he pulls the plug.

(13:6) Some interpreters see a vague allusion to a pretribulational rescue of the Church here: the beast may need to explain where all of these believers went, and so, he not only blasphemes God, but also “those who dwell in heaven.”

(13:7) John doesn’t use the term “antichrist” in Revelation (this term comes from his letters: 1 John and 2 John). However, it’s easy to see the image of the antichrist here. He is a false messiah who has authority over the world for this brief time.

(13:8) Johnson writes, “It has been debated whether the words ‘from the creation of the world’ (also 17:8) belong grammatically with ‘have not been written’ or with ‘that was slain.’ In other words, is it the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world, or is it the names that were not recorded in the book of life from the creation of the world? In Greek, either interpretation is grammatically acceptable.”[44] The NET note states, “The prepositional phrase ‘since the foundation of the world’ is traditionally translated as a modifier of the immediately preceding phrase in the Greek text, ‘the Lamb who was killed’ (so also G. B. Caird, Revelation [HNTC], 168), but it is more likely that the phrase ‘since the foundation of the world’ modifies the verb ‘written’ (as translated above). Confirmation of this can be found in Rev 17:8 where the phrase ‘written in the book of life since the foundation of the world” occurs with no ambiguity.’”

(13:9) This is conspicuously different from similar language in Revelation 2-3. There we repeatedly read: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” If the pretribulational rescue of the church is true, then there wouldn’t be churches on Earth during this time.

(13:10) It is going to take perseverance during this time because of all of the bloodshed and persecution.

“Another beast” (the false prophet)

(13:11) Who is this other beast? He seems different from the first beast. The first beast is described differently: ten horns, seven heads, like a leopard, bear feet, and lion’s mouth. The first beast comes out of the sea.

This other beast has two horns like a lamb and speaks like the dragon. He comes from the Earth—not the sea (v.1).

(13:12) This other beast has equal authority, but he directs worship toward the beast, rather than himself.

(13:13) Interpreters have called this second beast “the false prophet” because of his prophetic “ministry.” Like Elijah, he calls down fire from heaven.

(13:14) Jesus had seven “signs” (semeion) in the gospel of John. The false prophet has his “signs” too. While Jesus brought light to the world, this false prophet deceives the world, and encourages idolatrous worship of the beast.

(13:15) Throughout the Bible, we read that idols are deaf, dumb, and mute (e.g. 1 Cor. 12:2). One of his “signs” is to make the idol talk.

(13:16-17) The false prophet is the one to give people the “mark of the beast.” In Endless Hope or Hopeless End (pp.239-244), I point out that this universal control of money has not been fulfilled—certainly not in the first century Roman Empire. Moreover, the technology needed to control global commerce is currently available in recent years. Thus there is good reason for thinking that this passage is still going to be fulfilled in the future.

(Rev. 13:18) What does “666” mean?

Revelation 14 (Jesus’ judgment of the world)

(14:1) When it says that Jesus was standing on Mount Zion, is this figurative or literal?

The OT predicted that the Messiah would reign from Mount Zion (Joel 2:32; Ps. 48:2-11; Isa. 2:2; 24:23; Mic. 4:1-8). On the other hand, the author of Hebrews writes that the Christians already had come to “Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22).

Is this during the Tribulation? Or is it after? Osborne writes, “The idea of ‘standing’ is a military metaphor and pictures the Lamb as a divine warrior ready to annihilate his enemy.”[45] Walvoord writes, “Preferable is the view that this is a prophetic vision of the ultimate triumph of the Lamb following His second coming, when He joins the 144,000 on Mount Zion at the beginning of His millennial reign.”[46]

The Father and the Son both have their names on the foreheads of the 144,000.

(14:2) The voice from heaven is both strong and soft—thunderous and yet musical.

(14:3) The language seems to indicate that the 144,000 are in heaven (“before the throne… before the four living creatures and the elders”). Revelation 4 showed us a similar scene in heaven—not earth. The language also seems similar to Revelation 5:9 (“They sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation’”).

(14:4) Israel is also pictured as “the virgin the daughter of Zion” (2 Kings 19:21; Isa. 37:22), the “virgin daughter of Zion” (Lam. 2:13), and the “virgin of Israel” (Jer. 18:13; 31:4, 21; Amos 5:2). The church is also called the virgin bride (2 Cor. 11:2).

These people follow God wherever he wants them.

They are the first fruits that guarantee an eventual harvest.

(14:5)

(14:6) Some interpreters take this angel to refer symbolically to the Church bringing the gospel to people. However, it seems to me like a literal angel. It’s unclear why the text would specify it flying in the air (“flying in midheaven”) if it was referring to believers spreading the gospel. If this is a literal angel, then it implies that God is pulling out all the stops so that people can come to know him right before the end. This angel speaks universally to all nations (cf. Mt. 24:14?).

(14:7) There is still time to turn to God.

(14:6-7) Is this a message of forgiveness or judgment?

(14:8) This passage looks forward to the end of Babylon in chapters 17-18. Osborne writes, “Although the destruction of the evil empire lies in the future, it is presented via the doublet Ἔπεσεν ἔπεσεν (Epesan, epesan, Fallen, fallen), a proleptic aorist (see Porter 1994: 37) that stresses the absolute certainty of the coming destruction (cf. 10:7).”[47]

(14:9) The reference to taking the mark harkens back to 13:16-18. But it also stands in juxtaposition with the believers being marked by God on their foreheads (v.1).

(14:10) Johnson writes, “For those who drink Babylon’s cup (v. 8), the Lord will give his own cup of wrath.”[48]

(14:11) This language sounds like eternal conscious torment. Annihilationists argue that the “smoke” rises up forever, but not their continuing conscious judgment. However, note the next clause: “they have no rest day and night.” By contrast, the believers will find “rest” (v.13).

(14:12) Keeping God’s commandments is parallel with faith in Jesus.

(14:13) What does the reference to “from now on” mean? It seems that this persecution is so awful that this is a special promise to the believers in this future day. Johnson writes, “John expects the imminent intensification of persecution associated with the beast, and the beatitude indicates that those who remain loyal to Jesus when this occurs will be blessed indeed.”[49]

(14:14) Jesus (cf. Rev. 1:13) will come to execute judgment (Mt. 13:24-30).

(14:15) Why does an angel tell Jesus to begin his judgment?

(14:16)

(14:17-18) Angels are involved with the judgment as well.

(14:19) Picture the crushed and oozing grapes that fill a winepress. This is the vivid imagery associated with divine judgment of the human race.

(14:20) 200 hundred miles of four foot deep blood? Since the winepress isn’t literal, we aren’t required to take the bloodbath to be literal either.

Revelation 15 (Interlude in heaven)

(15:1) After this judgment, God’s wrath is finished.

(15:2) Instead of a tumultuous sea, we have a sea of glass.

(15:3-4) Why do the believers repeat the “Song of Moses” (Ex. 15:1-18) in this chapter?

(15:5) God’s tabernacle in heaven opens to pour out judgment on the earth.

(15:6) Seven angels bring the judgment.

(15:7) One of the four creatures gives the bowl of judgment (wrath) to the angels.

(15:8) No one could come into God’s presence until the wrath was taken away.

Revelation 16 (The Bowls of Wrath)

(16:1) It’s time for the seven angels to bring God’s judgment on the earth.

(16:2) Angel #1 brings sores.

(16:3) Angel #2 brings bloody waters on the seas (saltwater).

(16:4) Angel #3 brings bloody waters in the rivers and springs (freshwater).

(16:5-7) The reason for turning the water into blood is because these people poured out the blood of believers, and therefore, they “deserve it.”

(16:8-9) Angel #4 brings a magnified sun that scorches the earth. Note that the men on earth still refused to turn to God during this time.

(16:10-11) Angel #5 goes right after the top of the totem pole: the kingdom of the beast. Instead of repenting, the people blasphemed God even more because of his judgment.

(16:12) Angel #6 dries up the Euphrates River.

The dragon, the beast, and the false prophet gather the nations for war

(16:13-14) Why are their spirits compared to “frogs”? John tells us that these are the spirits of “demons”? Are they demon possessed?

Whatever the case, the trifecta (dragon, beast, and false prophet) are able to gather all the nations on earth for war. Are these nations fighting each other? Or fighting God? Or fighting the believers on earth?

(16:15) Interjected into these anarchy are the words of Jesus: “I am coming like a thief.” Just when the rulers of the world expect it the least, the Creator of the world will return to bring judgment and peace.

(16:16) This is where we get the idea of the “battle of Armageddon.”

(16:17) Angel #7 brings judgment upon the air (?), or he throws it out into the air. After this angel brings his judgment, the wrath of God is finished.

(16:18) This language about lightning and an earthquake is seen throughout the OT and the NT to refer to the coming of Christ.

(16:19) The city is split into three parts, and God force feeds Babylon her cup of wrath.

(16:20) Are the islands and mountains blown away? Submerged?

(Rev. 16:21) How could hailstones be this big?

(Rev. 16:21) Could the 100 pound hailstones actually be fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70?

Revelation 17 (The mystery of Babylon)

(17:1) The harlot sits on the “waters,” which in Revelation is a symbol for the nations opposed to God. Note in verse 15 that the waters are interpreted to be “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.”

(17:2) The rulers of the world were infatuated with the “harlot” (i.e. the world system? Idolatrous religion?). As a consequence, the people on earth were involved as well.

(17:3) In chapter 12, the “woman” in the “wilderness” was Israel. Here, the woman is the harlot.

Is the “scarlet beast” the same as the “beast” in chapter 13? Since he has the seven heads and ten horns, this must be the same beast.

(17:4) The imagery of the woman is that she is obsessed with decadence. Later, John writes, “All the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality” (18:3).

(Rev. 17:5) What is the mystery of Babylon?

(17:6) Whoever the woman is, she is diametrically opposed to the believers in Jesus. She persecutes them. This is vivid imagery (“drunk with the blood of the saints”).

If you’re confused by this woman, you’re in good company: so was John (“When I saw her, I wondered greatly”).

(17:7) The angel interprets this imagery.

(17:8)

(Rev. 17:9) Are the “seven hills” an allusion to Rome here?

(Rev. 17:10) Who are the seven kings? Roman Emperors or World Empires?

(17:11) The beast leads an eighth kingdom.

(17:12) The “ten kings” haven’t come to power yet. They come to power for a brief time alongside the beast. This period of time is so short that the angel calls it only an “hour.”

(17:13) The “ten kings” give their power to the beast to support him.

(17:14) The “ten kings” and the “beast” will try to overcome Jesus, but will fail.

(17:15) See verse 1.

(17:16) The ten kings and the beast turn on the harlot. What does this mean? Do they turn on the world system? Do they turn on idolatrous religion?

(17:17) God doesn’t override their freewill. Instead, they both have a “common purpose.” The net result of their decision to give over their power to the beast will be a fulfillment of God’s predictive prophecy.

(17:18) The angel tells John that the woman “is the great city.”

This chapter shows the fate of humanity in rebellion from God. Why would we buy into the world-system if we know its fate is to end like this?

Revelation 18 ()

(18:1) Here we see another angel. It’d odd that the world is filled with an angel’s glory, rather than God’s glory.

(18:2) Babylon was a locus of demons and evil spirits. Why does he mention “unclean and hateful birds”?

(18:3) Remember, we saw in 17:4 that the key sin in Babylon was decadence. Could this be describing the world-system—a topic John writes so much about?

(18:4) The call from God isn’t to renovate Babylon, but to vacate Babylon.

(18:5) The people were going along thinking God didn’t care about their decadence and occult practice. But in reality, he was taking note of everything and waiting to judge. God didn’t refrain because he was weak, but because he was patient.

(18:6) Paying back, and then, paying back “double” or “twice” seems like a case of amplification.

(18:7) The key problem with Babylon was that she thought she could live a life of self-glorification and sensuality, but never experience judgment.

(18:8) God will come and bring judgment quickly.

(18:9-10) Because the kings invested so heavily in Babylon, their lives will be ruined when the see God judge her. Imagine seeing your life’s work crumble right before your very eyes.

(18:11-13) More descriptions that Babylon is primarily based on the foundation of materialism, decadence, and sensuality.

(18:14) This language is similar to 1 John, where John writes, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 Jn. 2:17).

(18:15-19) In this section, the merchants weep like the kings of the earth (vv.9-10). They keep repeating the same statements. It sounds like they are in shock. But really, couldn’t they see that the world-system couldn’t keep going on forever? Why should they (or we) be shocked?

(18:20) While those obsessed with the world-system are weeping, God’s people are rejoicing. The reason for the judgment was because of the believers (cf. v.24).

(18:21) The city will be destroyed much like a millstone falling to the bottom of the sea. Total destruction, submersion, etc.

(18:22-23) All of these things are not bad intrinsically. But because these people lived in decadence, God will wipe all of it away:

“the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters”

“craftsman of any craft”

“the sound of a mill”

“the light of a lamp

“the bridegroom and bride”

The reason God will remove all of these things is because of the polluting influence of materialism and opulence in Babylon (“your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery”). People don’t think of the world-system as devil worship.

(18:24)

Revelation 19

(19:1) They aren’t singing when Jesus returns; they are saying (or probably screaming) these words.

(19:2) God has judged the harlot, and avenged his people (citing Ps. 19:9; Deut. 32:43).

(19:3) Instead of feeling uncomfortable with God’s judgment; they are praising God for judging the world (cf. v.5).

(19:4) We see the twenty-four elders and four living creatures again (see Rev. 4).

(19:5-6) See verse 3.

(19:7) Judgment is followed by celebration.

(19:8) They aren’t clothed in God’s righteousness, but in their own. Why (how) could they be clothed in their own righteousness?

(19:9) You’ll really want to be invited to this celebration.

(19:10) This is a good passage for the deity of Christ. Throughout the book, the creation is worshipping Jesus, and here, the angel says, “Don’t worship me… Worship God!

(19:11) Jesus is a just judge.

(19:12) This imagery is terrifying—nothing like the meek and gentle Jesus who allowed himself to be killed. Here he doesn’t take judgment, but dishes it out.

Is the name that no one knows merely “the Word of God” (v.13)?

(19:13) His is robe dipped in his own blood, or in his enemies’ blood?

(19:14) His heavenly army (believers? angels?) will follow him to fight.

(19:15) The “sharp sword” is most likely a reference to his powerful word (v.13; Heb. 4:12). Jesus is coming back to rule the nations.

(19:16) Does Jesus have a tattoo on his thigh?

(19:17-18) Part of the marriage banquet is a feast for the birds. They will feast on the dead bodies from this epic battle.

(19:19) Even in the “11th hour,” the people of earth still don’t change their minds. They gather all of their forces against Jesus much like an “army” of fruit flies against a grown man. This is no war; it’s a slaughter.

(19:20) The ultimate leaders (the beast and the false prophet) are the first to be judged—thrown into the lake of fire.

(19:21) Finally, Jesus quells this global army, and the birds (vv.17-18) feast on the bodies of the dead.

Revelation 20 (The Millennium)

(20:1) The angel comes from heaven to earth.

(20:2) He incarcerates Satan in the abyss for 1,000 years.

(Rev. 20:2-3) Is Satan currently bound?

(20:3) He is released at the end of the 1,000 years “for a short time.”

(Rev. 20:4-5) Does the “first resurrection” refer to spiritual regeneration or bodily resurrection?

(20:4-5) The martyrs for Jesus in the tribulation are raised so that they can reign with Jesus. The others who died weren’t raised during this time.

(20:6) The martyrs faced the first death (i.e. physical death), but not the second death (i.e. spiritual death).

(Rev. 20:7-8) Do Gog and Magog rebel before the millennium or after?

(20:7-8) Why would God allow Satan to be released after the millennium?

(20:9) The nations come back to destroy the people of God in “the beloved city” (Jerusalem) a second time, but they are put down a second time.

(20:10) Satan goes to join the beast and false prophet in the lake of fire (cf. 19:20).

(20:11) This is referred to as the “great white throne judgment.” The books are opened at the end of the millennium, and Jesus judges those in the book of works.

(20:12) It doesn’t matter how great you are at this judgment. The playing field is leveled. They can either be in the “book [singular] of life” or the “books [plural]” of works.

(20:13) This is another resurrection. Only these people go from the frying pan and into the fire. They go from Hades and into hell.

(20:14) The second death is the lake of fire.

(20:15) If you are not in the book of life, then you face judgment.

Revelation 21-22 (Heaven and Hell)

For an exposition of these two chapters, see chapters 4-7 of Too Good to Be True? (2016). See also “Heaven in Revelation” (mp3).

[1] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 12: Hebrews through Revelation (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (416). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[2] Thomas, R. L. (1998). A Classical Dispensationalist view of Revelation. In S. N. Gundry & C. M. Pate (Eds.), Four Views on the Book of Revelation (S. N. Gundry & C. M. Pate, Ed.). Zondervan Counterpoints Collection (181). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Walvoord, John. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. JFW Publishing Trust. Chicago, IL. 1966. 36.

[4] Thomas, Robert L. Revelation 1-7: An Exegetical Commentary. Chicago: Moody, 1992. 87.

[5] Walvoord, John. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. JFW Publishing Trust. Chicago, IL. 1966. 43.

[6] Pentecost, J. Dwight. Things to Come: a Study in Biblical Eschatology. Grand Rapids, MI: Academie, 1964. 150.

[7] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Re 1:19). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[8] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 437). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[9] Walvoord, John. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. JFW Publishing Trust. Chicago, IL. 1966. 53.

[10] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 438). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[11] Walvoord, John. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. JFW Publishing Trust. Chicago, IL. 1966. 61.

[12] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 438). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[13] Osborne, G. R. Revelation. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2000. 135.

[14] Walvoord, John. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. JFW Publishing Trust. Chicago, IL. 1966. 65.

[15] Ladd, George Eldon. A Commentary on the Revelation of John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972. 2:12.

[16] Osborne, G. R. Revelation. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2000. 151-152.

[17] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 444). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[18] Walvoord, John. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. JFW Publishing Trust. Chicago, IL. 1966. 71.

[19] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 445). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[20] Osborne, G. R. Revelation. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2000. 171.

[21] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 448). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[22] Walvoord, John. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. JFW Publishing Trust. Chicago, IL. 1966. 80-81.

[23] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 450). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[24] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 452). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[25] W. M. Ramsay, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, pp. 404-5.

[26] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 453). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[27] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 457). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[28] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 459). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[29] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 463). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[30] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 468). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[31] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 487). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[32] Walvoord writes, “To make the mountain a form of human government, the sea the Roman Empire, and the ships that are destroyed the church or organized religion, is to read into the passage far more than is justified.” Walvoord, John. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. JFW Publishing Trust. Chicago, IL. 1966. 155.

[33] Osborne, Grant. Revelation. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2002. 354.

[34] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 492). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[35] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Re 8:10–11). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[36] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 493). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[37] The World Almanac, 1971, ed. L. H. Long [New York: Newspaper Enterprise Association, 1970], p. 355). Cited in Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 494). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[38] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Re 9:13–21). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[39] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 498). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[40] Thomas, Robert L. Revelation 8-22: An Exegetical Commentary. Chicago: Moody, 1995. 125.

[41] Osborne, Grant. Revelation. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2002. 461.

[42] See D.A. Carson’s seminary class on Revelation found here. Lecture One.

[43] Osborne, Grant. Revelation. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2002. 497.

[44] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 12: Hebrews through Revelation (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (528). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[45] Osborne, Grant. Revelation. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2002. 525.

[46] Walvoord, John. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. JFW Publishing Trust. Chicago, IL. 1966. 28.

[47] Osborne, Grant. Revelation. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2002. 537.

[48] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 541). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[49] Johnson, A. F. (1981). Revelation. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 542). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.