The Beast – Rev 13:1-3

And [the dragon][1] stood upon the sand of the sea. And I saw out of the sea a beast rising, having ten horns and seven heads and ten diadems on its horns, and names of blasphemy upon its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, and the its feet was like a bear’s, and its mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave to it his power and his throne and great authority. And one of its heads was as having been slain to death, and the wound of its death was healed. And all the earth marveled after the beast.

This first beast is what we refer to as “the Antichrist”. In this chapter we find John using an insurmountable amount of Old Testament prophecy. The symbolism, like we’ve seen through all of Revelation, takes root in Old Testament symbolism, and therefore we need to know what is being referenced to know what is being spoken of. For the description in verses 1-2, we can go back to Daniel 7:3-8. Before coming into the text and trying to behold all of the different Old Testament allusions, let us first wrestle with the ‘why’ question. Why does John not give us this information up front?

We have read through 12 chapters by this point. We’ve seen Jesus in His glory, read the messages to the churches, seen the heavenly throne room, seen the Lamb that has been slain, watched as the seals were opened, been given an introduction to the 144,000, seen the trumpets, been given understanding of some ‘beast’ that comes out of the abyss, been shown the two witnesses, and we’ve seen the woman in the wilderness being chased by Satan who has just been cast down. Why does all of this come before even introducing this ‘beast’ character?

Understand what I’m asking. We see in Rev 9:11 and 11:7 allusions to this character, and we see the dragon explicitly in Revelation 12, but now – after over halfway through the book – John begins to tell us of this beast. Why? And, when we continue reading we find that it isn’t until chapter 17 that we have the conclusion of this explanation. Why must we wait until chapter 17 before we finally see the complete picture of this composite beast? Here is our first significant discussion of the Antichrist. He is always there, but lurking in the shadows behind metaphor. Now he is revealed and out in the open. Why now?

There is a progression that John is keeping here. He first focuses upon Jesus, then the church, and then we go back to God and Jesus. It isn’t until we reach chapter 6 that there is significant discussion on the end of time. From chapters 6 through 12, the focus is almost exclusively upon Israel and what is to come upon Israel (chapter 9 might also revolve around the nations around Israel). Little by little John has been revealing to us the depth of this mystery. It started out as a statement of they who are to overcome, and progressed toward the Olivet discourse being reiterated. From there we were introduced to Israel having a significant role (the 144,000). From that mention onward we see that there is indeed more blatant mention of Jerusalem in Revelation 9 and 11. Then, in chapter 12, there is almost explicit mention of Israel as the woman, if we are willing to see the correlation between Rev 12:1 and Gen 37:9.

Here enters a new depth. The Antichrist here is not in Rome. This isn’t a Roman Antichrist. We saw in Revelation 11 that this beast is in Jerusalem. We saw in Revelation 9:1-13 that he takes Jerusalem captive. The description here is not something outside of what has been explained up to this point. We are still at the midway point in the week. Just like when you go back to Daniel 7:25 you read of “time, times, and half a time”, the timeframe here is 42 months according to verse 5.

The four beasts of Daniel 7 correspond to the four elements in the statue of Daniel 2. We have Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Then, both Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 have an extra component. Daniel 2 mentions that the feet are of iron and clay. Daniel 7 mentions a ‘little horn’. This beast here in Revelation 13 is that ‘little horn’. His kingdom is the mixture of iron and clay. How do we get past the Roman Empire? How do we know this isn’t a Caesar? The answer is again very simple. Notice Daniel 7 separates and distinguishes all of the beasts. Yet, here John makes them one. This is a composite beast. He is somehow ‘with’ the beasts of Daniel 7, but is also somehow a hybrid. This is mentioned in Rev 17:9-11.

We shall explain the mystery of the seven heads and ten horns when we reach Rev 17. If we add the amount of heads in Daniel 7’s beasts, we come to seven. That is not the mystery expressed in Revelation 17. Yet, we see again that this goes back to the fact that this is a composite, and is not to be taken as one of the beasts specifically. The seven heads and ten horns description was given to the dragon in 12:3. At the end of verse 13:2 we read of this beast having Satan’s throne. This is the mystery of iniquity Paul spoke of (2 Thess 2:7), as opposed to the mystery of godliness (1 Tim 3:16). Some believe this to be Satan incarnate. I hold to a less radical approach that this man is the image of Satan (John 1:14, 18), but not Satan. See Rev 16:13 where we have distinction between the dragon, Antichrist, and false prophet – how can they be the same?

Notice in 12:3 that the heads are mentioned before the horns, and that the crowns are upon the heads of the dragon. There are seven kingdoms that the dragon has manifest his name upon – the kingdom of darkness upon the earth. We’ll discuss this more fully in chapter 17, but know that this is almost exclusively known as “Babylon” in Revelation.

Notice that on each head is a blasphemous name. Daniel 7:8, 8:11, 25, and 11:36 all speak of one man who shall be full of boasts and blasphemy. He is identified as the ‘little horn’ and the ‘vile prince’. He is the Antichrist of Daniel, and here John is also using similar language to reveal this as the Antichrist.

The man ‘comes out of the sea’. Compare Isaiah 27:1 where God slays the Leviathan. There is great likelihood of some sort of connection.

In verse 2 we read of one mouth being like a lion. Instead of this being a plastic image, I think that we are dealing with symbolic language. There are seven heads, this is true, but those seven heads represent something. This is one man, and not seven, and it is one mouth, not seven. “The dragon gave to it his power and throne” – compare Daniel 8:24 and 11:21.

Notice that ως εσφαγμενην has already been used in 5:6 in reference to the Lamb. There are a few possibilities. 1) This man has been resurrected. 2) This is an allusion to Genesis 3:15. 3) One of the seven ‘kingdoms’ has ‘died’ and resurrected (17:9-11). In verse 14 this wound is referenced to the beast, and not merely one head. 17:8 calls the beast ‘he who was, is not, and yet will come’. Here we have our answer. The beasts in Daniel have all perished, but one will come as a composite of all four. The kingdoms of the vision in Daniel are all manifestations of the kingdom of darkness upon earth, but none have been so united with Satan as this one. It is not that this Antichrist will resurrect, but that we shall again see the kingdom of darkness upon the earth when Satan is cast down.

Thus, instead of being a resurrected man, now incarnate Satan, I promote the idea that there are types in the Bible. Korah, King Saul, and Judas are the three ‘types’ of Antichrist. We see specifically in King Saul and Judas that Satan “enters them”. With King Saul we see the pattern of some sort of political leader being overcome by Satan to persecute the Davidic people of God. With Judas we see the pattern of one of the companions – see Psalm 55:13, 20 in relation to Saul – of Jesus contending against him. I don’t know that I agree with the idea of a Jewish Antichrist or false prophet, but I can see where such things could be validated. Korah, of course, wasn’t content to be a Levite, but had to also have the priesthood. His destruction was that the earth itself opened and swallowed him. Judas was called the man of perdition (John 17:12), which the Antichrist is labeled in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Those are the only two usages of that Greek word in the New Testament. Also compare John 13:27 with Revelation 13:2 with 2 Thessalonians 2:9. This man is not Satan incarnate, but one with Satan as Jesus was ‘one with the Father’.

[1] The original says “and he”, but it goes back to the dragon of 12:17.

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The Temple – Rev 11:1-2

And to me was given a measuring rod like a staff, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those worshiping in it. And leave out the court that is within the temple and do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles, and they will trample upon the holy city for forty two months.”

We have come unto Revelation 11, and the previous post explored the overall theme of the chapter. It has been established that this timeline given of 42 months and 1,260 days would put us somewhere around the abomination of desolation – halfway through the week (Dan 9:27). The first verse is somewhat reminiscent of Ezekiel 40:3-42:20 and Zechariah 2:1-2. Why exactly the temple is being measured is unclear. In both Ezekiel and Zechariah, the measuring has to do with the restoring of the temple, and not the mere preservation. However, Zechariah 2 does have the context of the cry later expressed in Revelation 18:4, “Come out from her!”. We can compare Zechariah 2:7, “Come, O Zion! Escape, you who live in the Daughter of Babylon!” This does keep our contrast being made in the rest of Revelation 11. (It would make sense that John is not thinking of Zechariah 2 alone, but Zechariah 1-5 all being expressed throughout the book of Revelations.)

The temple of God is the literal temple. This is the only mention of the literal temple in Revelations. Exegetically, I can see no reason to suppose it is the ‘spiritual temple’ (3:12) or the ‘heavenly temple’ (7:15, 11:19, 14:15, 17, 15:5, 6, 8, 16:1, 17). There is a contrast being made in this chapter between this temple that is “trampled by the Gentiles” and the heavenly temple that shall open at the coming of Christ in verse 19. The chapter begins with the earthly temple, and ends with the heavenly temple. The reason for this is that at the seventh trumpet, the heavenly temple is the earthly temple, and the earthly temple is the heavenly temple. The two have become one, and no longer is the earthly being patterned after the heavenly reality.

If we believe this temple to somehow be the ‘spiritual temple’, and all we see here is the trampling of the Christians, this not only destroys the contrast being made, but also leads us to ask some quite perplexing questions. For example, why would John need to measure the Body of Christ? And what exactly does that even mean? How could he measure the Body of Christ? What specifically does God mean when He says to measure the temple, the altar, and to count the worshipers, if the worshipers are the temple and the altar? What does it mean that only the outer court is given to the Gentiles? Are there a specific people who are the “outer court” in the Body of Christ?

That this is a literal temple cannot be denied, but it does also cause us some complication. For they who claim a future fulfillment of this prophecy (as I do, and as I believe that John did), this brings about a tremendous premonition. Here we have a direct prophecy of a third temple in Jerusalem that will be trampled down for a third time by the Gentiles. Solomon’s temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Herod’s temple was destroyed by Titus. Now this temple will also be destroyed by some Antichrist ruler. It might very well be that at the end of Isaiah, the prophet wrote concerning this very moment, “For a little while your people possessed your holy place, but now our enemies have trampled down your sanctuary” (Isa 63:18).

This would align with what we see in Daniel, though. There will be 2,300 evening and mornings between the time that the sacrifices begin and the sanctuary is restored (Dan 8:13-14). The context is explicit in Daniel. The prophet is not talking about the time that the desolation occurs until the restoration, but from the moment of the sacrificing to the restoration. This would imply that Israel will possess the temple for only long enough to build the altar and begin sacrificing for about 3 years before it will be trampled upon and they will be scattered again through the nations. That fits perfectly with the futurist view that the last seven years will consist of Israel rebuilding the temple, and then halfway through this time that temple is desolated.

With this explained, we see what I’ve said from all along: the focus is upon Jerusalem. This second verse would actually give us credence to believing that Luke 21:24 is speaking of a future time, and not merely 70 A.D. Once again, it is incredibly simple to see the connections, and I don’t balk at the preterist for seeing those connections. My contention is in their assumption that the connections mean a historical interpretation. Because Jesus was ‘obviously’ talking about 70 A.D. the author of Revelations must also be writing about 70 A.D. The problem is that it isn’t obvious, and from what I can tell through the general scope of Scripture we are looking for a future fulfillment.

The holy city is thus Jerusalem, even though that wording is ‘only’ used for the New Jerusalem (21:2, 10). This term is not used to call Jerusalem holy, for at this time we will find in Revelation 17 that she is being called a prostitute, but to once again remind the reader of the parallel between heaven and earth. At Sinai there was smoke and fire, and in the Tabernacle we find the altar of incense and menorah. At Sinai there was an altar; outside of the Tabernacle there was the altar. In the wilderness the Israelites were fed by manna; in the Tabernacle they had showbread. The Tabernacle was a traveling Sinai. Later these things were adopted to Jerusalem, where the earthly city was considered to be the city of God. Many times in the Psalms and prophets we’re not sure if they are singing of the earthly city or the heavenly reality called “Zion”, or if they are somehow the same.

The trampling comes from Luke 21:24, which comes from Daniel 8:9-13. We can also see Isaiah 63:18, where we asserted that the short three years is that “little time” that they possess the sanctuary, and Psalm 79:1, which most likely speaks of the Babylonian siege. The 42 months appears both here and in 13:5. When speaking about the wicked, we read of the 42 months, but the righteous are spoken of with specificity: 1,260 days. However, 12:14 is a literal translation of Daniel 7:25, 12:7. Here the author wants to make no mistake about what he is saying. These are all the same measurement of time, but he wants you to know the context comes directly from Daniel, and not from Jesus alone.

This is crucial, because many have translated Daniel as being Antiochus Epiphanes. This is impossible considering that Jesus claimed this to be a future event, and now John is also claiming the same. It also causes us to reconsider the whole of Daniel in light of what John is saying. If John fully expected the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies to be future to him, then it doesn’t matter if he is writing before or after 70 A.D. It is still future. Titus never came to an end supernaturally, as Daniel explicitly predicts. Neither did Vespasian, nor Domitian, nor Nero come to a supernatural death “without human hands”. If we take seriously the details, none of it adds up.

This puts us at both excitement and awkwardness. It is exciting because we can thus conclude certain events will take place in the future, and as such, we take hope that Jesus shall return unto us. Yet, it places upon us an onus far too large to possibly lift. How can we predict the future without the Spirit of God revealing it unto us? Though the details are given quite explicitly, there are still some very rough patches that need to be worked through. Not only that, but we find many who desire to take these things and use them to promote propaganda and heresy. Yes, the blood moon is mentioned in Revelation 6, but that doesn’t necessitate that we should be searching for blood moons. If we’re looking for blood moons, our head is in the sand and we don’t even know it.

To get back to the 42 months, I wanted to end with a peculiar similarity. In Luke 4:25 and James 5:17, we read that Elijah caused drought to last for 3 ½ years. This is rather startling considering that when we pick up in the two witnesses we will find one of them to “be Elijah”. This man’s life is somehow a pattern for the end times, more than we can even currently know. This is what Malachi prophesies as well. Before the coming of the Lord – specifically, the Day of the Lord – Elijah must come (Mal 4:5). Jesus’ first appearing doesn’t fully express the Day of the Lord as sought by the prophets. Thus, we expect another “Elijah” to come – just like John the Baptist came in those shoes.

The Fifth Trumpet – Rev 9:1-12

Very seldom do I look at only one verse for an entire post, and yet last time we looked at Revelation 9:1. Today, I want to attempt to go through the whole of the fifth trumpet. If we were to look at Revelation 9 as a whole, we see that there is language borrowed for both the fifth and sixth trumpets from the book of Joel. We have seen previously that there are also many parallels between the trumpets and the bowls of wrath, and they both also parallel some of the Egyptian plagues.

This fifth seal, we see in verse 2, begins with smoke arising from the Abyss, and for even some of the sun and sky to be darkened by the smoke. We saw in the fourth seal that a portion of the sun, moon, and stars were darkened, and now here we find that these “locusts” (verse 3) darken the sky. The language used here is borrowed from Joel 2:10, and also seems to parallel the idea of the smoke rising from Sodom in Genesis 19:28.

The locusts are specifically from Joel 1:4. They do not form the cloud, but come out from it. Locusts were the eighth Egyptian plague, and just as those locusts did not harm Goshen, these also are not allowed to harm anyone with the seal of God upon their foreheads. However, unlike the Egyptian plague, these locusts specifically attack humanity, and not the trees or greenery.

For the understanding of what this trumpet represents, we need to go back to Joel. We find Joel 1:4 speaking of these locusts that are devouring everything. Yet, the prophet calls them in verse 6 “a nation” that has “invaded My land”. As we continue, we find that because of this nation, “grain offerings and drink offerings are cut off from the house of the Lord (Joel 1:9). This sounds an awful lot like Daniel 8:13, where the Antichrist figure stops the sacrifices at the temple. Then, in case we thought it might be the Day of the Lord, we’re told in Joel 1:15 that it is “near”. So, something is happening here before the Day of the Lord, and yet the devastation is drastic like many of the prophecies concerning the Day of the Lord.

What could it possibly be? We see in 2:6 that nations are in anguish, and not only Israel. This gives us credence to believe that even though this is most likely the march of the Antichrist to capture Jerusalem that this army is also devastating the other surrounding nations. This would also fall in line with Daniel 11:23-25, where the Antichrist is invading many lands, and waging war against the kingdom of the south. In our timeline, we’re further in the progression than Daniel 11:25 (we should be around verse 31), but there is no reason to believe that this cannot be an army that has already been devastating the earth.

Once again in Joel 2:11, even though it says that this is God’s army, and that God is the leader, it is not to be mistaken as when God comes with all of His holy ones (Zech 14:5), because Joel 2:20 is when God drives this same army “far from you”. Thus we conclude that what John is expressing here is the Antichrist army marching on Jerusalem, but in classic Hebrew apocalyptic fashion, he is explaining much more than just this one event. Isaiah 33:4 also comments on this army that plunders the nations, identifying them with “locusts”.

As for this plaguing army, some have considered it to be demonic, because these locusts come out of the Abyss. However, the Hebrew parallel would be tehom. Tehom is used in Genesis 1:2, Jonah 2:6, Proverbs 8:27, Psalm 104:6, 71:20, etc. Most instances refer to watery depths, but not all (Psalm 71:20, for example). Something like Genesis 7:11 may be in our author’s mind. “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month – on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth…” Luke 8:31 records demons begging not to be cast into the Abyss. Jesus drove them into pigs, who then ran into the sea (please note the irony). I don’t see any support that just because the demons didn’t want to be cast into the bottomless pit that it requires these trumpets to be demonic. After all, it is the angels who blow the trumpets, and God’s judgment that is being effected by them.

They torture men for five months. Which, locusts are typically only alive for about 5 months (from spring to fall). This comes up again in verse 10.

We can compare verse 6 with Jeremiah 8:3, “Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares the Lord Almighty.” Also, we find Job 3:21 being a sort of parallel, “…to those who long for death that does not come…”

The description of the horses (Rev 9:7) is found in Joel 2:4-5, “They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry. With a noise like that of chariots, they leap over mountaintops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty army drawn up for battle.” The teeth like lion’s teeth in verse 8 parallels Joel 1:6. The sound in verse 9 is found in Joel 2:5.

Finally, in verse 11 we have mention of “abaddon”, or “apollyon”. In Hebrew, abaddon is used almost exclusively in the wisdom literature. We find it in Job 26:6, 28:22, 31:12, Proverbs 15:11, 27:20, and Psalm 88:11. Isaiah 30:28 uses the Greek appolyon. Most likely this is the Antichrist, comparing 11:7, 13:1, and 17:8. Others think it is Satan. Latter Day Saints believe this to be Jesus. Others reference Exodus 12:23 and say that this is God’s destroying angel. We’ll investigate with Revelation 13:1 the connection between the Antichrist and Satan, because there does seem to be a mystery taking place here.

In regard to answering some critics who would claim that my stance is rather implausible, the reasoning for my position is not based upon only a couple of parallels, and a handful of verses, but upon a plethora that describes this time of Jacob’s Trouble and the march on Jerusalem. In the Old Testament, the way that we distinguish between a time in history and an ultimate climax of the age is by the result of the judgment. There are certain judgments that have their fulfillment in the exile. Yet, there are many that claim God will establish a shepherd for Israel, will redeem Israel, that He will be their God and they His people, that the nations will come to know God because of this, and so on. When did this take place in history? The rebuilding of Jerusalem in Nehemiah doesn’t cut it. We either throw those verses away as unfulfilled prophecy – the prophet got it wrong – or we claim there must be a future time where they will be fulfilled.

If this be future, the redemption and restoration of Israel, then we must take seriously the judgment that leads to this redemption and restoration. Because Joel is used quite explicitly here in Revelation 9, I go to Joel. Yet, behind Joel is inescapable amounts of prophecy concerning the future of Israel. We simply go to any of the prophets and find that they speak of a future time of judgment upon Israel, and Ezekiel 38:17 would seem to indicate that there is specifically one future individual who is being prophesied about (and it isn’t Nebuchadnezzar).

The Four Horsemen – Rev 6:1-8

And I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as a voice of thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold! A white horse, and the one sitting on it had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he went forth overcoming that he might conquer.

And when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come!” And another horse went forth – bright red – and the one sitting on it was granted to take the peace from the earth and that one another will slay one another, and to him was given a great sword.

And when he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And the one sitting on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard like a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A choenix of wheat for a denarius, and three chonixes of barley or a denarius. And the oil and the wine you should not damage.”

And when he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And the one sitting on it, his name was Death, and Hades followed with him, and authority was given to them over the fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and with famine and with death and by the beasts of the earth.

These are the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The perplexing question that is always asked is who they are. We see them represented in Zechariah 6, the four horses having only slightly different colors. However, when we come to this conclusion, we then have another perplexing question: why is the order different, and why do they go in various directions? The order isn’t truly something to get caught up on. What brings my confusion is that they are all heading different directions, and that they are considered the four rauchs of heaven. The Hebrew would say that the black goes north, and the white also goes north, yet the dappled horse goes south and the red horse isn’t even mentioned.

How exactly they fit together, I do not know. It is entirely possible that they don’t, and that the majority of commentators have, like myself, seen the similarity and falsely assumed. How exactly we take such a passage as Zechariah 6 has very little influence upon how we translate Revelations 6.

This first horse is white, and the rider upon it has a bow. He is given a crown and rides off to conquer, bent on conquest. Some have asserted that this is the Antichrist, and others have asserted that it is Jesus. These are two completely different things, so one is wrong, or both are wrong. It is obvious that Jesus rides the white horse, but Jesus has a sword and not a bow. My contention would lie in that where we are in our timeline would suggest that this is the Antichrist. How do we have Jesus riding forth at the beginning of the Tribulation? Even with the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture, this doesn’t fit, because Jesus would be riding forth to conquer, not to rapture.

It has been suggested that this is the eternal Gospel going forth, and so in that way Jesus is the white rider. Once again, while this is symbolism, I don’t think we can rob it of the immediate implications. There is a literal rider upon this horse, and if all of the other horses have literal riders, then why would we symbolize this away as mere Gospel? No, the best way to interpret this, in my own opinion, would be to say it is indeed the Antichrist. However, we’re at the beginning of the Tribulation. I would see this corresponding to the events marked out in Daniel 8:23 and 11:21. This would be when that pact is being made – when the covenant is confirmed (Dan 9:27).

Notice with all of these that one of the four living creatures says, “Come!” Each different horse receives a different living creature. I don’t think there is any way of connecting these living creatures to the horses, but if you could connect them, I would love to see your conclusions.

The second horse is fiery red. Notice the other two places in Revelation where red is used: the judgment in chapter 9:17 and the red dragon in chapter 12. Red in the book of Revelations is negative. It connotes judgment according to many Bible dictionaries. Unlike the first rider, where he already had a bow, this rider is given his weapon. Once again, when we looked at the general overview of Revelation 6, we would see that this lines up with Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:7. First, there is war, then there is international strife. In Daniel 11, we find that this “king of the north” attacks the king of the south. This is probably where we are in our timeline.

The third horse is black, and its rider holds a pair of scales. Now, in case you are like myself, when you read this, it isn’t talking about the scales of a fish or reptile – like a dragon or something. These are scales used to compare weight – a balance. In the ancient times, you would have a certain price for wheat, and you weigh out in one side of the scale your gold, and on the other side they weigh out the certain amount of wheat to balance the scale. This is why the living creature says, “A day’s consumption of wheat for a day’s wages, and a day’s consumption of barley for a day’s wages” (which is the understanding behind the chonix and denarius).

I had said that much of what we see in the Seals corresponds with the book of Ezekiel. The second horseman represents no peace, and we certainly find that as a judgment in Ezekiel 4, where the prophet is prophesying Jerusalem’s siege. At the end of Ezekiel 4, in verses 16-17, we also find this implication of famine and rations given for food and water. This inference would call into question our timeline, for during this time in Daniel and in Jesus’ prophecy we find that Jerusalem will be at “peace” – a false peace, albeit. While I think that there is the correlation, and I do assume that John is also using the progression found in Ezekiel 1-10, I don’t think that we should put it so literally upon Jerusalem and Jerusalem alone. What John is seeing by the Spirit is something altogether different than the prophet Ezekiel, yet at the same time is quite similar – to the point where John even borrows language from Ezekiel to describe it.

Why is it said not to touch the oil and the wine? I believe that we are seeing symbolic language, which very well could be worked out through literal fulfillment. It might be that God will actually have plenty of oil and wine, while everything else is dearth. Wine symbolizes the New Covenant (Matthew 26:27-28, Luke 5:39). Oil can be debated, but most likely it is a symbol of the “anointing”. In both cases God is making physical manifestations of spiritual truth. While everything else is bankrupt, the hope is still found in the blood of the New Covenant and the Spirit of God. It is when we are in complete keeping with the command of God, the covenant made between God and Israel, the land itself is affected and produces abundantly (see Leviticus 26:3-5, 10, Deuteronomy 28:8, 12, Psalm 37:19). It is that very thing that will bring the Jew to jealousy. When they see the covenant enacted through Gentiles and formerly-known-as-Jews (for anyone who knows a Jewish believer has probably heard the stories of being cast out of the Jewish society because of that belief) they will have nothing but jealousy. Who wouldn’t be jealous? The very people you thought were insignificant and outside of God’s will are the ones being blessed by God.

This fourth horseman is Death, and Hades follows close behind. Notice Revelation 1:18 and 20:13-14. Death and Hades are personified in those two places as well. The Greek word θανατος is like the Hebrew word daber: it can mean either death or pestilence. The Greek word Hades seems to come from the word ειδον, which is to see, and the alpha to negate it. It would literally then mean “unseen” or “not seeing”. So, we see in the secondary meaning of thanatos that this could indeed parallel Jesus’ words in Luke 21, that there will be pestilence.

In Ezekiel 5:16-17, the same plagues are promised. Also see Ezekiel 14:21 and Jeremiah 9:21. In Ezekiel 5:16-17, we find that added to these plagues are daber and dam (death/pestilence and blood) to pass through the land. We can be sure that John is not thinking of only Ezekiel 5 or 14, but the whole context of Ezekiel 1-10 (and possibly 1-14). This same symbology and judgment is repeated throughout this whole section of Ezekiel, and Jon has been making references to this section up to this point. In Revelaiton 4 we saw similar language describing the throne room in heaven as Ezekiel 1, in 5 we saw the same scroll as in Ezekiel 2, and in 6:6 we saw the same sort of language of famine and rations as in Ezekiel 4:16-17. We’ll see as we continue that this pattern doesn’t stop all the way through the seventh seal in Revelation 8.

In 2 Samuel 22:6, thanatos is used in the Greek Septuagint as the translation for sheol. In this, is it possible that John is paralleling the two words – death and Hades – neither of which truly being what they are describing. Death is the separation of the soul from the body (Strong’s NT Greek 2288-1), the result of which being Hades. What is it that these two words may be typifying for the reader? If John is playing on these two words to express something larger than these two words, what could that be?

Proverbs 2:18 speaks of the adulteress’ house leading down to death, and her paths to ghosts (or the shades). Her feet go down to death, and her steps lead to sheol (Pro 5:5). Her house is a highway to sheol, leading down to the chambers of death (Pro 7:27). The woman folly invites the simple into her home, but little do they know that the dead are there and that her guests are in the depths of sheol (Pro 9:18). In Hosea 13:14, we read of how God will “ransom them from the power of sheol; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O sheol, is your destruction?”

Is it possible that John sees the adulterous woman (Revelation 17:1 – Babylon) as being this fourth horseman? In this case, we see both judgment upon Israel and the common thread of the Antichrist once again. Ezekiel 16:15 and 1 Peter 5:13 (as well as much else in the context of Ezekiel 16 and also 23) plainly put Babylon as being Jerusalem. In the book of Revelations, we see two Israels. There is the woman who is the righteous and sealed Israel (the 144,000) in Revelation 12 as the woman who is to give birth. Then, we see the prostitute is this wicked Israel, the one that has ever and always been chastised and condemned by the prophets. Both are Israel, but only one is the pure and first fruits to God. Just like we see some in Israel that betray the covenant in Daniel 11:30 and 32, and we even find in Zechariah 14:14 that some of Judah will fight against Jerusalem at Armageddon, so too do we find that there is both righteous and wicked Israel in the book of Revelations.

What John is doing here is connecting the dots for us. This pestilence is ultimately from the Lord (Ezekiel 5:11-12), but we find John explaining to us who this “fourth” is and in what manner it happens. This theme continues through Revelations. Notice also the context of Ezekiel 5 – Jerusalem under siege – and compare Luke 21:20. What I am suggesting is that this fourth horseman is released at the time that there is the rebellion spoken of in Daniel 8:12, which is the time where the abomination of desolation is set up. This final horseman is when the Antichrist is fully established, and they who know their God will resist him. This is the rebellion that Paul expected in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (see the Greek, because rebellion is the correct interpretation, not “great falling away”).

This is where the pieces all fit together. This is the climax of the plot. From this point forward, we find that there is persecution upon the saints – all of them. We also find that they who are wicked continue to do wickedly. It is here, and exactly here, where we see the unfolding of all that the prophets have decreed. The triumph of the saints over the kingdom of darkness is utterly displayed in their victory through the cross, and this is the formation of events to reveal Christ at His second coming. So, what is imperative to understand, then, is that these four horsemen revolve around the Antichrist and his actions, but they ultimately have their full expression through the sons of Israel. As we continue in Revelation 6, we’ll see the events to culminate in the return of Jesus. As the pieces are put together for us, and as we begin to see more details being added as we go through the book of Revelations, it is imperative to understand these seals. These are the foundation for the rest of the book in regard to the end times. How we understand the trumpets and bowls will directly come from how we understand the seals. At the very front of all of this is the four horsemen and what they represent. These are world events, but they revolve around Jerusalem – the center of all the nations (Ezekiel 5:5).

Overview of the Seals – Rev 6

To put the seals plainly, where we’ll go back through in more detail later, we see them as follows: 1) war/conquest, 2) no peace, 3) famine, 4) pestilence/death, 5) martyrdom/persecution, and 6) earthquake, sun turned black, red moon, stars fall, sky recedes like a scroll, every mountain and island removed, men call upon the rocks to save them, and the wrath of the Lamb. Whether there is symbolic language or not, these events seem to be actual and literal. The reason for this is that they parallel what Jesus had said the end of the age shall be, and his language was not symbolic. We see Revelation 6 angelic beings that seem to actually cause the event to unfold. There is a seal broken in heaven, and the first four seals have a living creature reveal them.

When we compare this to the Olivet discourse, we find this:

Matthew 24:6-9, 29:
1) Wars
2) International strife
3) Famine
4) Earthquake
5) Persecution
6) Eclipse of the sun and moon, falling stars, and shaking of the powers of heaven

Mark 13:7-9, 24-25:
1) Wars
2) International strife
3) Earthquake
4) Famine
5) Persecution
6) As in Matthew

Luke 21:9-12, 25-26:
1) Wars
2) International Strife
3) Earthquakes
4) Famines
5) Pestilence
6) Persecutions
7) Sings in the sun, moon, and stars, men fainting for fear of things coming on the world, shaking of powers in heaven

Notice how Revelation 6 seems to be a hybrid of the Olivet discourse. It is important to note that Revelation 6 follows the Olivet discourse, but the Olivet discourse follows Daniel.

Daniel 11:
1) War (verse 21-22)
2) International strife (verse 23-25, 29-30)
3) Betrayal/rebellion
4) Abomination of desolation (verse 31-32)
5) Persecution (verse 33-35)
6) Boastful man (verse 36-39)
7) Armageddon (verse 40-45)

Matthew 24:
1) Wars
2) International strife
3) Famine
4) Earthquake
5) Betrayal (rebellion)
6) Abomination of desolation (verse 15)
7) Great distress (persecution)
8) False Christ
9) Coming of the Son of Man (with events listed above)

Mark 13:
1) Wars
2) International strife
3) Earthquake
4) Famine
5) Betrayal (rebellion)
6) Abomination of desolation
7) Persecution
8) False Christ
9) Events mentioned above
10) Return of Jesus

Luke 21:

1) War
2) International strife
3) Earthquake
4) Famine
5) Pestilence
6) Persecution/betrayal
7) Jerusalem surrounded (“desolation is near”)
8) Unequaled distress (compare to Daniel 12:1)
9) Events mentioned above in 7th point
10) Return of Jesus

Because there is clear evidence that the Olivet discourse is paralleling the prophecies in Daniel, there is equally enough evidence to expect that John is writing out the events he is seeing in the vision with the same sort of language to cause us to go back and fill in the blanks. We see that the first four seals correspond to the first segment of Daniel 11, and that with the establishment of the abomination of desolation comes persecution. We also see from Daniel and from the mouth of Jesus that betrayal is the reason for the establishment of the abomination of desolation. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, we read of a “great falling away”, which the original Greek would refer to apostasy and not “falling away”. Paul was expecting rebellion, because that is what Daniel and Jesus both laid out.

It is when the apostasy, or the rebellion, occurs that the “man of sin” (Antichrist) is revealed by setting himself up in the temple as God. Notice how this also corresponds with Daniel 11, that the Antichrist figure becomes boastful and calls himself God in verses 36-39. We find the same progression in Jesus’ discourse when we see his speaking of “false messiahs”. In Daniel, these three pieces (rebellion, abomination of desolation, and persecution) all go side-by-side and not necessarily in a progression one after another. Of course, with time there is always step one, step two, step three. However, these events are quite close to simultaneous. It is after the establishment of that abomination and the beginning of persecution – the unequaled days of distress – that the “man of sin” then becomes boastful.

Matthew 24:21 and parallels are a direct quote of Daniel 12:1, putting the persecutions in the last three and a half years of the tribulation. We see our timeline quite easily here. The first four seals are within the first three and a half years of that final week, and the last three seals are the final three and a half years. Contained between the sixth and seventh seal is the 144,000, of which some view to be before the time of “Jacob’s Trouble”, but our author is not interested with chronology in this placement. The reason we see the 144,000 after the return of Christ (for, the sixth seal gives all of the same signs of Jesus’ return as the Olivet discourse) is because John wants to make the point that these are the sons of Israel that are redeemed. “All Israel shall be saved” when “those who pierced him” shall “behold him” (Rev 1:7).

The sealing may or may not take place before the fifth seal – Revelation 9:4 saying so, especially when coupled with Ezekiel 9 – but our author is more concerned with explaining what the 144,000 are rather than the timeline directly. It is the first six seals that parallel the Olivet discourse, and so our author makes that plain by not interrupting the text.

We find that the sixth seal and the seventh bowl of wrath both have this earthquake, every island fleeing away, and the response of the men of the earth. However, we find that the seventh seal, the seventh trumpet, and the seventh bowl of wrath all have the same description: the earthquake, the hailstorm, the lightning, and the thunder. The reason that I would claim that the sixth seal is the return of Jesus rather than the seventh seal is simple: when following the Olivet discourse, that is where it fits. This would also explain why the people cry out, “Hide us from… the wrath of the Lamb!” It is possible that the interjection of this scene in Revelation 7 is merely an interjection like Revelation 10-11 (which doesn’t actually elongate the narrative of the seven trumpets), and so the sixth and seventh seals are actually close to simultaneous. It might be that the sixth seal is the sings in the heavens that take place just prior to Jesus return, as spoken in the Olivet discourse, and the seventh seal is His actual return. I find nothing to say this could not be so. What I don’t accept is that the sixth seal is somehow way at the beginning of the narrative regarding the final Tribulation. There simply cannot be any way for that to be possible. Jesus’ dialogue betrays us if we desire to believe that.

The Pattern of Daniel – Rev 6-19

To continue in Revelations, we need to examine the book of Daniel. While I know that many of my faithful followers will benefit from this, I also know that there will be other who read future posts and won’t understand what I’m saying because they won’t have this background. What do you do? I decided to write out this small intercession.

For the sake of not having 5000+ words in this segment, I am specifically going to keep my writing to the book of Daniel as much as possible. Trust me, I can easily get off into how these things relate throughout the rest of the Scripture, and even into much of what Paul or Peter or John have written. Know that with everything I am putting here, I have details from other books as well to add and reveal that this is indeed the correct interpretation. This is seen from Isaiah through Malachi, and from the Olivet discourse to the words of Paul to the book of Revelations, and all of the other apostolic proclamation in between.

To begin our trek to understand the basic foundations for the end times, we look at Daniel chapter 2. Nebuchadnezzar has a dream, and in this dream he sees a statue with four different elements, but the fourth element contains two distinct parts. The head is gold, and the interpretation says that this is Nebuchadnezzar. After him shall come Medo-Persia, who will then be followed by Greece, who will then be followed by Rome. It is interesting to note the feet of iron and clay. Something about this fourth kingdom is being revealed. There is one sense in which we can see with the inception of the Caesars that Rome was changed, and indeed this is when Christ was born. Yet, to another degree, we see that this kingdom with the ten toes being ten kings reaches unto the end of the age.

When we pick up in Daniel 7, we find four beasts. The first beast is like a lion with wings of an eagle. This represents Nebuchadnezzar (see Daniel 5). The second is bear with three ribs in his mouth and raised up on one side. Just like the Persians were stronger than the Medes, so too was this bear raised up on one side. Medo-Persia had three conquests, represented by the three ribs. The third beast is was like a leopard, which had four wings and four heads. This beast represents Greece. First, Alexander takes over the known world, and then when he dies, his four strongest commanders were given quarters of his kingdom. Lastly, this final beast represents Rome, but specifically has ten horns just like those ten toes were pointed out in Daniel 2. This is the Antichrist kingdom.

Continuing in the narrative, we find this “little horn” to come up upon this fourth beast. This takes us to Daniel 8, and we’ll come back to Daniel 7 in a moment. In Daniel 8, there is a ram with two horns – one longer than the other. Remember the bear lifted on its side? This is the same symbolism for Medo-Persia. Then, a goat comes flying across the land. This goat represents Alexander the Great. When this goat is successful, his horn falls off and four replace it. Once again, remember the four heads and the four wings on the leopard. These are the four rulers of the four segments of Greece. Then, a “little horn” grows up on one of the four horns. Notice in Daniel 7 that this little horn uproots three horns, but here it grows on top of one horn. This is telling us details to how to identify the Antichrist – he shall come out of one of those horns from Greece, but will uproot three other kings in the kingdom of the beast.

Daniel 7 reveals to us that out of this fourth beast shall come a little horn, and he shall boast against the Lord with mighty blasphemous words (verse 8). Then, we see the establishment of the throne of the Ancient of Days, and the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds when the little horn (Antichrist) is throne into the lake of fire. This sounds an awful lot like Revelation 19. Daniel 8 then adds that this little horn will “set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host”, and will take away the daily sacrifice and bring the sanctuary low (verse 11). “Because of rebellion” (Dan 8:12), the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice will be given unto him, which explains to us how this man will enter the very temple area itself in Revelation 11 and establish the abomination of desolation in Revelation 13.

When we come to Daniel 9, we find seventy weeks. These are sets of seven year intervals. At the 69th week, Jesus is crucified (the text says, “the anointed one will be cut off, but not for himself”). The 70th week is then describing what we saw regarding this little horn in chapters 7-8. All scholars separate this 70th week from the first 69. The question is how for forward it is pushed. Most preterists will claim it took place in 70 A.D. with the destruction of the temple. Premillinnialists will say that it is still yet future.

There is a covenant confirmed for one week (seven years). Halfway through it, we find the estblishment on the wing of the temple the “abomination of desolation” – referred to by Jesus in Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14, and Luke 21:20 (in Luke it doesn’t use the exact phrase) as a future event (it cannot be fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes).

We find this abomination being referenced in Revelation 13:14-15, where a statue is erected in honor of the beast. This happens halfway through the week, which we see in Daniel 11:21-45 is an elaboration of this wee (follow the Hebrew antecedent from verse 45 backward to come to verse 21 as the beginning of this character). So, for the first three and a half years, there is an illusory peace established, and for the last three and a half years, we find stark terror.

To connect this man in Daniel 11 with the Antichrist, we see him to “come to an agreement” and coming to power “with only a few people” (Daniel 11:23, and remember the confirmation of the covenant in Daniel 9:27 and the “little horn” seems to speak of a small insignificant man who would rise to power). This man will attempt to invade Israel, but will be stopped by ships from Kittim, and will turn back in fury against the holy covenant (Dan 11:30). He will then show favor to them who forsake the holy covenant (remember Daniel 8:12 with the language of rebellion). Then, his armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and abolish the daily sacrifice (remember Daniel 8:10-11). He will establish the abomination of desolation (the exact phrase used in Daniel 9:27 and Matthew 24:15 as a future event).

We see after this that the Antichrist will corrupt those who violated the covenant, but they who know their God will resist him firmly. This is where the “time of Jacob’s trouble” enters (Jeremiah 30:7). This is the last three and a half years. In Daniel 11:33-35, we read about this man killing by the sword, burning alive, capturing, and plundering anyone who resists him. The abomination of desolation, according to the Olivet discourse (Matthew 24 and parallels), is the destruction of Jerusalem and the time of the Gentiles when they shall have power over that land. During that time, anyone who opposes the Antichrist will be persecuted most severely. This is where the church enters in, because we are those wise who will refine and purify and make spotless the Jewish people who are being persecuted with us. The appointed time is the return of Jesus, where the coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds shall throw the Antichrist into the lake of fire (Dan 7:11-14), and the Church and Israel shall marry their God, and shall dwell in the Land together with Him forever (Dan 7:26-27).

It is this seven year cycle that Revelations 6-19 repeats. When we reach chapter 20, we find the Kingdom of God established upon the earth, which is what Daniel 7 speaks of. We find the cycle going over and over again through the book of Revelations, and so when we come to the seals, the question is where they fit in the timeline. When we come to the trumpets, the question is where they fit in the timeline. When we come to the woman in the wilderness, the establishment of the Antichrist, and the harvest of the earth (Rev 12-14), the question is where that fits on our timeline. Where do the seven bowls of wrath fit in our timeline? It is not one big chronology, but the same events repeated over and over again. Yet, I don’t want you to think that this means the seals are the trumpets, the trumpets are the bowls or wrath, and all of the above is somehow tied together with the other narratives in Revelations. They are all distinct, though they are within the same timeframe.

So, when we begin to look at Revelations 6, understand that we’re looking at a parallel between the seven years marked out in Daniel and the seals. That connection will be made clearly in the next post, but for you who cannot live without knowing, examine the three records of Jesus’ Olivet discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21) and how they parallel the six seals. Then, notice how the Olivet discourse parallels Daniel’s prophecies.

Revolutionary Christmas

In this season of Christmas I want to go through some of the Christmas story. 
The first thing I would like to cover is from the book of Daniel. In chapter two, King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. Daniel tells the king of his dream and interprets it. The dream is of a statue that is quite majestic. The head is made of gold; the arms and chest are made of silver; the abdomen and hips are made of brass; and the legs and feet are made of iron. The feet are made of a mixture of iron and clay. 
A rock cut out from a mountain “without human hands” is then thrown at the statue. An emphasis is made that the rock is small (like a pebble). The rock hits the statue at its feet and the whole thing crumbles.
The interpretation of the dream is given. These different elements that make up the statue are different kingdoms. Babylon will be taken over by the less glorious Medo-Persia, which will be taken over by the less glorious Greece, which will be taken over by the less glorious Rome. The feet being of iron and clay is a puzzle. There is a truth in saying that the feet are the Roman Empire instead of the Roman Kingdom.
The Roman Kingdom was ruled by the consul. The Roman Empire was ruled by the Caesar. When the Caesars took over (starting with Augustus), the Roman Kingdom was divided. The Caesars conquered power by manipulation and fear. They ruled by oppression. In the time of Jesus, most of the Jews were being taxed about 80-90% of their income. 
The stone cut out of the mountain is a reference to Jesus. He is the stone that smashed into the feet and established the Kingdom of God. Yet, this isn’t a complete fulfillment either. There is a second coming in which Christ will truly establish His Kingdom by breaking down all of the other kingdoms of the world.
What the dream in Daniel chapter two does is set the stage for us to view the time in which Jesus lived and get a perception of what the Kingdom of God actually looks like. The Christmas story is about this child that was born to free the captives and bring peace to the world. Lets not forget that Jesus has a second coming in which this will be ultimately fulfilled as we continue to pursue the meaning of Christmas.