The Bible In Our World (Part 38)

 

Revelation (Part 2)

By Don Ruhl

Old Testament imagery fills the Book of Revelation. One source said there are almost 500 allusions to the Hebrew Scriptures. The Jerusalem Bible italicizes many of those allusions, making it easy to spot them.

Read the entire Book of Revelation and you will never find the word, “antichrist.” The Bible uses that word only four times. Those reference are found in First and Second John. See First John 2.18–23; 4.1–6; Second John 7.

The Throne Room of God in Heaven 

After an invitation into heaven, John wrote of what he saw: The appearance of God on the throne (4.3), what surrounded the throne, describing what was around the throne (4.4), from the throne (4.5a), before the throne (4.5b, 6a), and in the midst and again around the throne (4.6b, 7). John showed the activity around the throne (4.8–11).

Then John looked at the right hand of God and saw a scroll written on both sides and with seven seals (Chapter 5). No one was worthy to open the scroll initially, but the Lamb prevailed and He was worthy.

As the Lamb of God opened one seal at a time, various visions occurred and some of those visions launched into other visions, and this comprises the material from chapters 6–20.

The Signs of Chapters 6–20 

  • 6.1–17 The opening of the first six seals
  • 7.1–8 The number of Israelite sealed
  • 7.9–17 The numberless Gentiles sealed
  • 8.1–6 The opening of the seventh seal
  • 8.7–9.21 Sounding of the first six trumpets
  • 8.13 Fourth trumpet announced three woes
  • 9.12 First woe past
  • 10 John eats a little book
  • 11.1–14 The two witnesses speak, are killed, and resurrected
  • 11.14 Second woe past, warning of third woe
  • 11.15–19 The sounding of the seventh trumpet
  • 12 A woman, a child, and a dragon
  • 12.12 The third woe with Satan on earth attacking Christians
  • 13 The sea beast and the land beast
  • 14 The Lamb with His followers
  • 15; 16 The bowls of judgment
  • 17 The woman resurfaces and rides a beast
  • 18; 19 Babylon falls and heaven rejoices
  • 20 Satan’s last effort, the saints reign, and God ends all things on the earth

The Parallel Messages of the Book of Revelation 

I believe the best way to look at the Book of Revelation is through progressive parallelism, which the Lord has used before. Remember the dreams of Pharaoh? The dreams did not succeed one another, but they paralleled one another. Genesis 41.1–7 shows a vision of cows, followed later by a vision of heads of grain.

Remember the visions of Daniel that either someone else saw or he saw. Daniel 2 showed four kingdoms of men and then the kingdom of God. Daniel 4 showed a vision about the first kingdom. Daniel 5 also showed a vision about the first kingdom. Daniel 7 again showed a vision about the same four kingdoms of men and the kingdom of God. Daniel 8 showed the second and third kingdoms Daniel 11 showed details of the third kingdom.

Some see the Book of Revelation as showing several visions in parallel, from the beginning of the church to the Judgment. Some of these may not be part of the parallel and some are. However, each one seems to take the reader a little further in time, hence progressive parallelism.

  • Christ and the churches (Chapters 1–3)
  • The opening of the seven seals (4–8.6)
  • The sounding of the seven trumpets (8.7–chapter 11)
  • The woman, the child, the dragon and his beasts (12–14)
  • The bowls of judgment (15, 16)
  • The fall of Babylon (17–19)
  • The reign of the saints, the judgment on Satan, and the glories of heaven (20–22)

These may not follow a strict parallel, but as in Daniel a new vision may provide further details about a particular vision.

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