Created Apr. 29, 2004, updated Dec. 26, 2008
No Man was Able
And it is a challenge to interpret God's message for sure. Not only was God trying to escape the notice of those who were exposed in the book of Revelation, but it is at least possible that He was even hiding it from earlier groups of Christians who did not need to know or worry themselves with what was to come.
Perhaps they might have imagined that what they were reading would take place in their lifetime and get very concerned when it was not necessary. Yet, it has always been important to be vigilant no matter what time Jesus was coming back. But being vigilant and faithful is different from being anxious about what one might have to endure. But sadly, various Christians in all time periods have lived in peril due to war, sickness, famine, social upheaval, and whatever else might come along.
Life has always been uncertain and Christians have often had their lives cut short for many different reasons. The beginning of Christianity was quite perilous and executions were all too common. But for most of us, we have lived in a relatively peaceful time, nourished in the wilderness while dressed in sackcloth. But that time is nearly over now. I regret to report that I believe what Revelation holds in store for Christians could be quite bothersome to some. We have one large trial by fire, so to speak, that we must face and overcome and some will be required to do so with their lives.
But Jesus put it this way: Luke 21:28 But when these things begin to happen, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.
It is not a time to droop in sadness or despair. It is a time to raise your heads and rejoice that our salvation has finally arrived and that this mess down here on earth is almost over. Anyone who must die will also live again and with great reward as well. If we have faith and truly believe, then we have no doubt and should be happy at the prospect ahead of us. We shall soon receive our promised reward that we have so long waited for.
However, if our hearts are very attached to this world and what we have in it, we are not apt to be so thrilled with God's reward. Remember Lot's wife? She looked back longingly at what she left behind and turned to a pillar of salt. Will we be like her? We have got to examine our heart and where it really lies. What is it we really want? A place in God's kingdom or do we believe we are in paradise already?
I can hardly believe someone could call the hell hole we live in a paradise but it does seem like some feel that way. But really, those who love God and His ways should hate the present wicked world of Satan and be glad to leave it behind. So you had better check your attitude and see if it is really right for God's Kingdom or not. This would be a real good time for that check up.
But now we proceed to the task of understanding and interpreting those symbols so long veiled from human understanding. Really, we are kind of privileged in that we are seeing the fulfillment of the most incredible time in God's long march toward undoing what Satan had begun in the Garden of Eden. The most climactic event in the Bible. God has spent most of His prophecies preparing for this one great event. We get to see it and understand it when no one in the past ever did. Perhaps we do not appreciate the gift we have been given.
So what I have done here is examine the most significant symbols and passages of Revelation in the order they appear and gather Old Testament scriptures that make up the ideas given in Revelation as well as some New Testament scriptures as well. As I have been working on this project, I have come to realize how big it is. There is so much you could write. I hope that God will bless my efforts in this big task I have attempted. The rest of my comments will be in purple from here on in.
There are 4 passages in Revelation that deal with the 7 spirits. Symbols in Revelation are often interpreted in later verses. So by putting them all together in one place, one can make better sense of it all.
Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches in Asia: Grace to you, and peace, from the One who is, and who was, and who is coming, and from the seven spirits which are before His throne;
Revelation 3:1 And to the angel of the church in Sardis, write: These things says the One having the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know your works, that you have the name that you live, and are dead.
Revelation 4:5 And out of the throne come forth lightnings and thunders and voices. And seven lamps of fire are burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;
Revelation 5:6 And I saw, and behold, in the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, was a Lamb standing, as having been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, having been sent out into all the earth.
As best as I can tell, the 7 spirits belong to Jesus and go forth into all the earth. One might question whether these spirits are living creatures such as angels, seraphs, cherubs, or something of that nature or whether they are spirits as in propaganda, messages, ideology, and the like. I favor messages and influence since if they were angels, then they should have been called angels as they are everywhere else in this book.
So while Satan has his influence and propaganda out there in great numbers, Jesus is not without his message and influence in the earth. And those who carry that message and influence of these spirits are us.
This phrase used frequently be Jesus actually derives from the book of Daniel originally. Many Bibles even make a cross reference to it as does Green's Literal Translation that I use here. Zechariah is also used by Jesus and Revelation so it is here as well.
Revelation 1:7 "Behold, He comes with the clouds," and "every eye will see Him, and the ones who pierced" Him, and all the tribes of the earth "will wail on account of Him." Yes, Amen. Dan. 7:13; Zech. 12:10
Daniel 7:13 I was looking in the night visions. And behold! One like the Son of Man came with the clouds of the heavens. And He came to the Ancient of Days. And they brought Him near before Him. 14 And dominion was given to Him, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Zechariah 12:9 And it shall be in that day, I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 And I will pour on the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of prayers. And they shall look on Me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they shall be bitter over Him, like the bitterness over the first-born.
1Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who remain alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to a meeting with the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.
Mark 14:62 And Jesus said, I AM! And you will see the Son of man sitting off the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of the heaven. Psa. 110:1; Dan. 7:13
Matthew 24:30 And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in the heavens. And then all the tribes of the land will wail. And they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and much glory. Dan. 7:13
Matthew 26:64 Jesus said to him, You said it. I tell you more. From this time you shall see the Son of man sitting off the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of the heavens. Psa. 110:1; LXX-Dan. 7:13
Acts 1:9 And saying these things, as they looked on, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him from their eyes. 10 And as they were intently looking into the heaven, He having gone, even behold, two men in white clothing stood by them, 11 who also said, Men, Galileans, why do you stand looking up to the heaven? This Jesus, the One being taken from you into the heaven, will come in the way you saw Him going into the heaven.
The quote from Acts is perhaps the most enlightening. Jesus was caught up in the clouds. He was hidden from their eyes. When he returns, it will also be in the clouds, hidden from our physical eyes. We will perceive him even as his enemies will, but he will not be visible to our fleshly eyes. For He is a king in heaven now, sitting at the right hand of his Father, having attained much power and glory even as the scriptures say.
That is why Jesus warns:
Matthew 24:23 Then if anyone says to you, Behold, here is the Christ! Or, Here! Do not believe. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise up. And they will give great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 Behold, I tell you beforehand. 26 Then if they say to you, Behold, He is in the wilderness; do not go out. Behold, He is in the inner rooms; do not believe. 27 For as the lightning comes forth from the east and shines as far as the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of man.
Matthew 24:31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the heavens to their ends.
Jesus is making it clear that he will not be down on earth so do not look for him there. Just as lightning shines everywhere, so it will be with the Christ. His presence will be felt but not seen in bodily form. Many will try to claim a physical appearance, hoping to mislead many. And they will mislead many, even among Christians. But Jesus has warned us so we do not need to be fooled if our eyes are "open" so as to recognize what he is telling us.
I also added verse 31 to show you the sequence of events. It is just after the false prophets and false christs that the elect, those chosen for heaven, are gathered from the earth. The false prophets and false christs, one in particular according to Paul at 2 Thessalonians 2 in the time of the end.
The false prophets and christs will have some sort of signs that will be quite impressive, though I doubt they will be resurrections, but some will evidently find them impressive, whatever they may be. But the fact that they are on earth should alert you that they are frauds. You have been warned. These false christs, called antichrists by John and the man of sin and lawlessness by Paul, are discussed in length in another article I present in Related Articles.
But one thing for sure, we should not be looking for a bodily return of Jesus if we understand this passage in Revelation 1:7 and related scriptures throughout the Bible.
Jesus refers to himself this way 4 times in Revelation. But actually, this phrase is more common than you might think and appears in the Old Testament as well, only using Hebrew letters. This is a fact that most are unaware of but let me explain.
Revelation 1:8 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, says the Lord, the One who is, and who was, and who is coming, the Almighty.
Revelation 1:11 saying, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last
Revelation 21:6 And He said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending.
Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the First and the Last.
Isaiah 41:4 Who has planned and done it, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I Jehovah am the first and the last; I am He.
Isaiah 44:6 So says Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Jehovah of Hosts: I am the First and I am the last; and there is no God except Me.
Isaiah 48:12 Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel My called: I am He; I am the first; I surely am the last.
The Aleph and the Tau
Zech 12:10 ; Gen 1:1
See this article: The Resurrections and select the subheading "Two
Different Resurrections (Click here for the
Also this article: The Soul and Hell and select the subheadings on Hell (Click here for the article) which deal with the symbolism of the 2nd death.
Revelation 20:14 And death and Hades were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. 15 And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the Lake of Fire.
Revelation 20:14 makes it clear that the Lake of Fire is symbolic and represents the 2nd death. Death and Hades were also thrown into the Lake of Fire. Hades is typically translated as hell in some Bibles. so Hell is thrown into the Lake of fire which means hell must either be symbolic or coming to and end and not eternal. The symbolism seems rather apparent to me. Note the symbolism in the next scripture.
Isaiah 34:8 For the day of vengeance is to Jehovah, the year of repayments for Zion's cause. 9 And its torrents shall be turned to pitch, and its dust to brimstone; and its land shall become burning pitch. 10 It shall not be put out night or day; its smoke shall rise forever. From generation to generation, it shall lie waste; no one shall pass through it forever and forever.
The imagery given here is what will happen on the surfaceof the earth in certain places. It is certainly symbolic.
White robes or garments are very symbolic of a washed, purified, cleansed, sanctified state; one is made holy as symbolized by the white robe or garment they wear. This is contrasted with red garments or stained, often with red, red symbolizing blood and sin. White robes or garments appear so many times in Revelation that it is not worth putting them up here.
Ecclesiastes 9:8 Let your garments be white at every time; and let your head lack no ointment.
Isaiah 1:18 Come now and let us reason together, says Jehovah: Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as the crimson, they shall be like wool.
Angels, Jesus, the Father; all were pictured in white garments in the scritpures, of course.
Daniel 7:9 I was looking until the thrones were thrown up, and the Ancient of Days sat, whose robe was white as snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was like flames of fire, its wheels like burning fire.
Matthew 17:2 And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His clothing became white as the light.
Matthew 28:3 And his face was as lightning and his clothing white as snow.
Mark 9:3 And His garments became shining, very white like snow, such as a fuller on earth is not able to whiten.
Mark 16:5 And entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right, having been clothed in a white robe. And they were much amazed.
John 20:12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
Acts 1:10 And as they were intently looking into the heaven, He having gone, even behold, two men in white clothing stood by them,
Isaiah 22:22 And the key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder, so that he opens, and no one shuts; and he shuts, and no one opens.
This is the scripture that is quoted by Jesus in Revelation. No one else has the key, the qualifications and when Jesus does something, it can not be undone.
Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia, write: These things says the Holy One, the True One, the One having "the key of David," "the One opening, and no one shuts; and shuts, and no one opens:" [Isa. 22:22] 8 I know your works. Behold, I have given a door being opened before you, and no one is able to shut it, for you have a little power and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
Revelation 3:19 I, as many "as I love, I rebuke and I chasten." Be zealous, then, and repent. [Prov. 3:12] 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will enter to him, and I will dine with him, and he with Me.
Proverbs 3:11 My son, do not reject the chastening of Jehovah, and do not loathe His correction;
Proverbs 3:12 for whom Jehovah loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son with whom he is pleased.
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, and whips every son whom He receives." Prov. 3:11, 12
God does not spare His sons when they are in need of discipline. It is necessary and for their own good. So all sons (even if you are daughters) should expect to be disciplined and corrected so that we will be proper subjects in God's Kingdom. If we are to live forever, we will need that discipline and should welcome it. It will produce good effects in us.
Revelation 4: 6 and a glassy sea before the throne, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne and around the throne were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first living creature was like a lion; and the second living creature like a calf; and the third living creature having a face like a man; and the fourth living creature like an eagle flying. 8 And the four living creatures each one had six wings around, and within being full of eyes. And they had no rest day and night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty," the One who was, and is, and is coming! [Isa. 6:3]
Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died, then I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. And His train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphs. Each one had six wings; with two he covered his face; and with two he covered his feet; and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to the other and said, Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of Hosts; all the earth is full of His glory!
Ezekiel 1:5 Also from its midst came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was how they looked: they had the likeness of a man, 6 and four faces were to each, and four wings to each of them, 7 and their feet were straight feet, and the sole of their feet like the sole of a calf's foot. And they sparkled like the color of burnished copper. 8 And the hands of a man extended from under their wings on their four sides. And their faces and their wings were to the four of them, 9 joining each one to the other by their wings. They did not turn in their going, each one went toward the front of their face.
Ezekiel 1:10 And the likeness of their faces: the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side to the four of them; and the face of an ox on the left to the four of them, and the face of an eagle to the four of them. 11 So their faces were. And their wings were spread upward, to each, the two wings were joined, and two wings of each covering their bodies. 12 And each went toward the front of their faces. To where the spirit was to go, there they went; they did not turn in their going. 13 And the likeness of the living creatures: they appeared like coals of burning fire, like the appearance of torches; it was continually circling among the living creatures. And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. 14 And the living creatures kept running and returning, like the appearance of a flash of lightning.
Ezekiel 1:15 And I looked at the living creatures, and, behold, one wheel was on the earth beside the living creatures, with the four of its faces.
Ezekiel 1:23 And under the expanse their wings were straight, the one toward the other, to each, two wings covering on this side, and to each two covering on that side of their bodies. 24 And I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty. In their going was the sound of tumult, like the sound of an army. In their standing still, they let down their wings. 25 And there was a voice from the expanse that was over their heads. In their standing still, they let down their wings.
Ezekiel 10:1 And I looked. And, behold, in the expanse over the head of the cherubs appeared the look of the form of a throne, like a sapphire stone, above them. 2 And He spoke to the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in among the wheels, under the cherub, and fill your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubs, and sprinkle on the city. And he went in before me. 3 And the cherubs were standing on the right side of the house when he, the man, went in. And the cloud filled the inner court. 4 And the glory of Jehovah lifted up from the cherub, over the threshold of the house. And the house was filled with the cloud. And the court was full of the radiance of the glory of Jehovah. 5 And the sound of the wings of cherubs was heard over the outer court, as the voice of God Almighty when He speaks.
8 And the form of a man's hand was seen under the wings of the cherubs. 9 And I looked, and, behold, the four wheels were beside the cherubs: one wheel beside one cherub, one wheel beside one cherub. And the look of the wheels was like the color of a stone of Tarshish. 10 And their appearance was as one, the four of them, as if the wheel were in the midst of the wheel. 11 In their going on their four sides, they went. They did not turn in their going. For to the place where the head faces, after it they went. They did not turn in their going. 12 And all their flesh, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, were full of eyes all around, even their wheels which the four of them had.
13 As for the wheels, it was cried to them in my hearing, Whirling wheel! 14 And four faces were to each. The first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
15 And the cherubs rose up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river Chebar. 16 And in the going of the cherubs, the wheels went beside them. And when the cherubs lifted their wings to soar from the earth, the wheels did not turn from beside them, even they. 17 When they stood still, these stood still. And when they rose up, these also lifted up. For the spirit of the living creature was in them.
18 And the glory of Jehovah went from the threshold of the house and stood over the cherubs. 19 And the cherubs lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight. When they went out, the wheels also were with them. And he stood at the door of the gate of the house of Jehovah, the eastern gate And the glory of the God of Israel was over them from above.
20 This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar, and I knew that they were cherubs. 21 Four, even four faces are to each, and four wings to each. And the form of a man's hands was under their wings. 22 And the form of their faces, they are the faces that I saw by the river Chebar, their appearances, even theirs. They each went straight forward.
As you can see, the various elements of the 4 living creatures in Revelation are also to be found in various places of earlier visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel. Of course, they are quite symbolic and hard to visualize as well.
What I can say about the 24 elders is that if you match up all the things said about them you will see that they are those bought from the earth that are spoken of as the 144,000 of Revelation chapters 7 & 14, among others. I could do it here but I am too lazy. Maybe you would like to do it, eh. Why not?
Revelation 5:9 And they sing a new song
Revelation 14:3 And they sing as a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders. And no one was able to learn the song except the hundred and forty four thousands, those having been redeemed from the earth.
Isaiah 42:9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, and I declare new things before they happen, I cause you to hear. 10 Sing a new song to Jehovah; His praise from the end of the earth, you who go to sea, and all that is in it; the coasts and their people.
Psalm 33:3 Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, with shouts of joy.
Psalm 40:3 And He put a new song of praise to our God in my mouth; many shall see and shall fear and shall trust in Jehovah.
Psalm 96:1 O sing to Jehovah a new song; sing to Jehovah, all the earth.
Psalm 98:1 A Psalm. O sing to Jehovah a new song, for He has done wondrous things; His right hand and His holy arm has saved Him.
Psalm 144:9 I will sing a new song to You, O God; I will sing praises to You on a harp of ten strings,
Psalm 149:1 Praise Jehovah! Sing to Jehovah a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints.
I suspect that as regards new songs, the Bible refers to the words, the things told in the songs, as being new. Songs were often used by cultures to record and memorize stories and history. Israel was not without such bards who sang their tales.
And just as the same blues style is used and sung to many different words in the USA, so it was in ancient times, too. The same music or style might be used over and over again with different words or accounts. That is not to say they never used new music but the new aspect was more to do with the words being told/sung.
Zechariah 6:1 And again my eyes lifted up and looked, and, behold, four chariots were coming from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of bronze. 2 With the first chariot were red horses, and with the second chariot black horses, 3 and with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth dappled and strong colored horses. 4 And I answered and said to the angel who was talking with me, What are these, my lord?
5 And the angel answered and said to me, These are the four spirits of Heaven who go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. 6 The black horses in it go into the north country, and the white go after them; and the dappled ones go toward the south country. 7 And the strong colored ones went forth and sought to go, to walk to and fro in the earth. And he said, Go! Walk to and fro in the earth. So they walked to and fro in the earth.
The Horses and their riders of Revelation 6 in the 1st 4 seals were of white, black, red, and pale green. Three of the four had the same color as Zechariah's vision and had a similar feel to them.
Revelation 6:12 And I saw when He opened the sixth seal. And
behold, a great earthquake occurred. And the sun became black as
sackcloth made of hair; and the moon became as blood;
13 and the stars of the heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree being shaken by a great wind casts its unripe figs.
This phrase was quoted by Jesus and recorded by 3 gospel writers.
Matthew 24:29 And immediately after the affliction of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give her light, and the stars will fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Mark 13:24 But in those days, after that affliction, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her light; 25 and the stars of the heaven will be falling, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Luke 21:25 And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars. And on the earth will be anxiety of nations with bewilderment, roaring of sea and of surf,
Acts 2:20 The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the" "coming of the great and glorious" "day of the Lord."
Isaiah 60:19 The sun shall not still be your light by day, or the brightness of the moon give you light; but Jehovah shall be for everlasting light to you, and your God for your beauty. 20 Your sun shall not set any more; and your moon shall not withdraw; for Jehovah will become your everlasting light; and the days of your mourning shall end.
Light here was symbolic of understanding and guidance which is granted by God.
Isaiah 13:10 For the stars of the heavens and their constellations shall not give light; the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not reflect its light.
Jeremiah 31:35 So says Jehovah, who gives the sun for a light by day, the laws of the moon, and the stars for a light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar, Jehovah of Hosts is His name.
Ezekiel 32:7 And I will cover the heavens when I quench you, and I will darken their stars. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light.
Joe 2:10 The earth shall quake before them, the heavens shall shake. The sun and moon shall grow dark, and the stars shall gather in their light.
Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Jehovah.
Joel 3:15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall gather in their light.
I gather that the sun, moon, and stars had a lot to do with light used in a symbolic manner. They being darkened or turned to blood symbolized the lack of light or understanding/guidance that would exist on earth as regards God and His concerns. It would also symbolize a gloomy pessimistic outlook things in general.
Revelation 6:14 And the heaven departed like a scroll being rolled up. And every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
Isaiah 34:1 Nations, come near to hear; and peoples, listen! Let
the earth hear, and its fullness, the world and all its offspring. 2
For the wrath of Jehovah is on all the nations, and fury on all their
army; He has devoted them; He gave them to slaughter. 3 And their
slain shall be thrown out; and the stench from their carcasses shall
rise; and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.
4 And all the host of the heavens shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together like a scroll. Then all their host shall droop, as a leaf drooping from the vine, and as the drooping from a fig tree.
Psalm 104:6 You have covered the deep as with a robe; the waters
stood above the mountains.
7 From Your rebuke, they flee; from the sound of Your thunder, they hurry away.
8 They go up the mountains; they go down the valleys to the place which You founded for them.
9 You have set a boundary they may not pass over; they shall not return to cover the earth.
Psalm 114:3 The sea looked and fled, Jordan turned back.
Note the symbolism since seas and mountains do not really flee. But they symbolically flee from the rebuke of God. It is not really mountains or the heavens that flee from God. They are symbolic of things pertaining to man and his rule.
Isaiah 54: 10 For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My mercy shall not depart from you; nor shall the covenant of My peace be removed, says Jehovah who has pity on you.
Revelation 6:14 And the heaven departed like a scroll being rolled up. And every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
I take it the outlook again is not good and symbolized in the heavens being rolled up and mountains and hills fleeing from God's majesty and power.
Revelation 6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great ones, and the rich ones, and the commanders, and the powerful ones, and every slave, and every freeman hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains.
16 And "they said to the mountains" and to the rocks, "Fall on
us," and hide us from the face of the One sitting on the throne, and
from the wrath of the Lamb, [Hos. 10:8]
17 because the great day of His wrath has come; and who is able to stand?
This passage was always puzzling to me in my early days of learning about the Bible. I did not understand enough about ancient times and ancient warfare and how people would hide, typically in the caves and rocks of the mountains. Especially was this the case near Jerusalem where not too far from the city were desolate regions where it was nothing but mountains, rocks, and caves.
Recall that David hid among the caves and hills of the wilderness when Saul was hunting him down. It was in caves that the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden and later found in the mid 20th century. The mountains and hills were usually located outside cities so that you could not easily be found and boxed in and surrounded. But when it comes to God and His wrath, there are no places to hide, even though some will want to.
Mountains and hills and the like also have another symbolism in that they represent things lifted up against God. People typically worshipped in what the Bible calls "high places," places raised above the land where people typically dwell such as mounds, ziggurats, pyramid like structure, hills, mountains, or under oak trees on a hill. God has a special grudge against such places that promote other gods or the arrogant rebellious attitudes they represent.
Isaiah 2:12 For the day of Jehovah of Hosts shall be on all the proud and lofty ones, and on all that is lifted up; and it will be abased; 13 and against all Lebanon's cedars, high and lifted up; and against all the oaks of Bashan; 14 and against all the high mountains; and against all the lifted up hills; 15 and against every tall tower; and against every fortified wall;
Jeremiah 4:24 I looked on the mountains, and, behold! They quaked, and all the hills were shaken.
Ezekiel 6:3 And say, Mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord Jehovah: So says the Lord Jehovah to the mountains, and to the hills, to the ravines, and to the valleys, Behold, I, even I will bring a sword on you, and I will destroy your high places.
Ezekiel 35:8 And I will fill his mountains with his slain. In your hills and in your valleys, and in your every torrent, the slain by the sword shall fall in them.
Where else would you expect to find people in order to kill them? Why, hiding in the mountains and hills, of course. So that is where the slain are to be found. and if they are funning every which where, they will be found everywhere.
Ezekiel 36:4 Therefore, mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord Jehovah: So says the Lord Jehovah to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and to the valleys, to the wastes of desolation, and to the forsaken cities which became a prey and a mocking to the rest of the nations all around.
Ezekiel 36:6 So prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and to the hills, to the ravines and to the valleys, So says the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and in My fury, because you have borne the shame of the nations.
Habbakuk 3:6 He stood and measured the earth; He looked and shook nations; and the ancient mountains were shattered; the eternal hills bowed down. The goings of eternity are His.
We have read the next 4 verses earlier in this section but it is the verses that come after that we will focus on now but the 1st 4 verses are needed for context.
Isaiah 2:12 For the day of Jehovah of Hosts shall be on all the proud and lofty ones, and on all that is lifted up; and it will be abased; 13 and against all Lebanon's cedars, high and lifted up; and against all the oaks of Bashan; 14 and against all the high mountains; and against all the lifted up hills; 15 and against every tall tower; and against every fortified wall;
Isaiah 2:19 And they shall go into the caves of the rocks, and into the holes of the earth, for fear of Jehovah, and from the glory of His majesty; when He rises up to make the earth quake. 20 In that day a man shall throw his silver and his golden idols which they made for him to worship, to the hole of the burrower and to the bats; 21 to go into the crevices of the rocks, and into the clefts of the cliffs, from the dread of Jehovah, and from the glory of His majesty; when He rises up to make the earth quake.
So here they hide their spiritually filthy disgusting idols into hiding places such as crevices and clefts in hills and cliffs. They are in fear of God and His majesty and glory, sort of like Adam and Eve were after their sin when they went and hid in the trees.
Hosea 10:7 Samaria is cut off; her king is as a bough on the face of the water. 8 Also, the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed. The thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars. And they shall say to the mountains, Cover us! and to the hills, Fall on us!
The thought being conveyed in Revelation was that people would sense God behind events and would be running and hiding among the rocks, mountains, and hills in fear, much as Adam and Eve hid among the trees and bushes when God's voice was heard by them. They had felt shame and fear, having disobeyed God's command.
Revelation 7:3 Do not harm the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, until we seal the slaves of our God on their foreheads.
Ezekiel 9:4 And Jehovah said to him, Pass through in the midst of the city, in the midst of Jerusalem, and mark a mark on the foreheads of the men who are groaning and are mourning over all the abominations that are done in her midst.
Notice that Revelation was not the 1st place that good men and women were marked or sealed. Look what happens next to those who are not sealed or marked as God's.
Ezekiel 9:6 Slay old men, choice men, and virgins, and children, and women, all to destruction. But to every man who has the mark on him, do not come near. And begin from My sanctuary. And they began with the old men who were before the house.
God's servants were marked in Ezekiel and receive a seal in Revelation, which is the same thing. Notice in Revelation that Satan's slaves/servants also receive a mark known as the mark of the beast. Everyone gets either one seal/mark or the other. Sort of God's way of separating the sheep from the goats and the wheat from the weeds. I also note the following verses also of the same spirit, which I come across in reading another religious publication (Thank you Mr. Meyer).
4 Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah. 5 And you shall love Jehovah your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
If we love our Father and God, Jehovah, then we will do the following:
And these words which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart. 7 And
you shall teach them to your sons, and shall speak of them as you sit in your
house, and as you walk in the way, and as you are lying down, and as you are
rising up. 8 And you shall bind
them for a sign on your hand; and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.
9 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house, and on your gates.
This is more of that typical symbolism so common throughout the Bible. We take God's words to heart, in the same sort of way that a priest wears his wrist and head pieces while he carries out his duties. They shall be evident everywhere, our homes, fences, you name it! We are to have God's words on our minds throughout our day in all our activities. It is not that we physically wear scripture on our wrist or head, or cut ourselves open and place them on our hearts, which I am sure must be obvious, right? And there is a good reason why we must do this as is evidenced by the next warning.
And it shall be, when Jehovah your God shall bring you into the land which He
has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to you
great and good cities, which you have not built, 11 and houses full of every
good thing which you have not
filled, and wells dug which you did not dig, vineyards and oliveyards which you
did not plant; and you shall eat and be satisfied;
12 and you shall be on guard that you not forget Jehovah who brought you out of the
Israel was inheriting the spoils of war, even as Christians in the end of the days will. Israel got good land, houses already built for them, etc. It would be easy to forget all about God when times are good and plenty. In doing so, we or our kids might forget or neglect God and serve other gods or a false version of the one we already have or even fall for a false prophet/antichrist. Nor do we only want to consider God on just a few occasions or just occasionally. Such light half hearted devotion will guarantee our failure and destruction. We can not straddle the fence and survive. Whole hearted complete devotion with great effort is all that is going to save and preserve us. By our actions, we get marked one way or the other, as either a sheep or a goat, as wheat or as weeds. More of the same in the next account.
16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart not be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods, and bow down to them; 17 and the anger of Jehovah glow against you, and He shut up the heavens, and there be no rain, and the ground not give her increase, and you perish quickly from off the good land which Jehovah is giving to you.
And you shall lay these words up in your hearts, and in your souls, and shall
bind them for a sign on your hand. And they shall be for frontlets between your
eyes. 19 And you shall teach them to your sons by speaking of them as you sit in
your house, and as you go in the way, and as you lie down, and as you rise up.
20 And you shall write them on
the side posts of your house, and on your gates,
Everyone in Revelation receives a mark of either the Beast or God. The point is not some physical mark or perhaps something like an RFID chip. It is by our obedience to either God or the Beast, the False Prophet, and "Babylon" that we distinguish ourselves as having the mark of one or the other. But if we try to serve two masters and be fence straddlers, we will be reckoned as serving the Devil and the Beast. One must be faithful to God alone and exclusively if we are to be allowed into God's Kingdom. A chip could be used against us by enabling those in power to deny us the right to buy or sell if we do not obey all things. But if receiving the chip by itself is said to be something like renouncing God, then we would have to refuse that chip. But if its only purpose is to allow us to be indentified, it is not necessarily a sin against God.
Revelation 7 spoke of a great crowd which no man could number. It is said almost the same way in the Old Testament simply saying, "without number." It was what you might call one of those Hebrew exaggerations; a way of saying it was a very large number, almost to large to bother to calculate.
Genesis 41:49 And Joseph heaped up grain like the sand of the sea, exceedingly much, until he ceased to count it, because it was without number.
1Chronicles 22:4 And also cedar trees without number, for the Sidonians and the Tyrians brought in cedar trees in abundance to David.
Job 9:10 who is doing great things past finding out; yea, marvelous things without number?
Psalm 104:25 This is the sea, great and wide on both hands; there are creeping things even without number; living things, small and great.
Ps 105:34 He spoke, and locusts came; and larvae without number;
Song of Solomon 6:8 Sixty of them are queens, and eighty concubines, and virgins without number.
Jeremiah 2:32 Can a virgin forget her finery, a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.
Joel 1:6 For a nation has come up on my land, strong and without number; its teeth are the teeth of a lion, and it has the jaw teeth of a lioness.
Jesus is referred to as a shepherd and guide in Revelation 7:14 & Revelation 21:3. Similar descriptions were common in the Old Testament.
Isaiah 49:10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; and the heat and sun shall not strike them. For He who has mercy on them shall lead them; and He shall guide them by the springs of water.
Psalm 23:1 A Psalm of David. Jehovah is my shepherd; I
shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters;
3 He restores my soul; He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Plagues were most famous when God, through Moses, told Pharaoh to let His people go. God brought 10 plagues upon Egypt for her stubborn refusal to obey Him. Turning all the water to blood was notable and appears in Revelation as well. Thunders, lightning, hail, bitter wormwood, smoke, and fire are all common symbols.
In all but the last 2 scriptures in this section, these descriptions are actually literal and real. In many prophetic cases, they will be symbolic plagues that deliver as much torment as the physical ones once did, but in a spiritual or psychological way. Their effect is no less devastating.
Exodus 19:16 And on the third day, it being morning, it happened: There were thunders and lightnings, and a heavy cloud on the mountain, and the sound of a ram's horn, very strong! And all the people in the camp trembled.
Exodus 20:18 And all the people saw the thunders, and the lightnings, and the sound of the ram's horn, and the smoking mountain. And the people looked, and they trembled, and they stood from a distance.
Exodus 9:23 And Moses stretched out his staff to the heavens. And Jehovah gave thunder and hail. And fire came down to the earth, and Jehovah rained hail on the land of Egypt.
Exodus 9:24 And there was hail, and fire flashing in the midst of the hail, very heavy, which never had been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
Psalm 78:48 He gave their cattle up to the hail, and their flocks to bolts of fire.
Psalm 105:32 He gave hail for their rain, flaming fire in their land.
Psalm 148:8 fire and hail, snow and smoke, stormy wind fulfilling His word,
Exodus 7:19 And Jehovah said to Moses, Say to Aaron, Take your staff, and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over the rivers over their canals, and over their pools, and over every body of their waters, so that they may become blood. And blood shall be in all the land of Egypt, both in wooden and in stone vessels.
Psalm 105:29 He turned their waters into blood and killed their fish.
The last 2 here speak of wormwood, which is very bitter and not a nice experience to ingest in one's body. It represents poison in waters, due to its bitter taste and ill effects. Jut another plague to pour out.
Jeremiah 9:15 so Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel, says this: Behold, I will feed them, this people with wormwood, and make them drink poison waters.
Jeremiah 23:15 So Jehovah of Hosts says this concerning the prophets: Behold, I will feed them wormwood, and make them drink poisonous water, for ungodliness has gone forth from the prophets of Jerusalem into all the land.
Locusts are also considered a plague but have a special symbolism in Revelation. 8:10 is in regards to locusts, but they are not your average locust by any means. Very symbolic.
Revelation 8: 10 And they have tails like scorpions, and their
stings were in their tails; and their authority is to harm men five
11 And they have a king over them, the angel of the abyss. In Hebrew his name was Abaddon, and in Greek he has the name Apollyon.
I found this interesting contrast between Revelation's account and the next one:
Proverbs 30:27 the locusts have no king, yet they go out in a swarm, all of them;
To me, this is further evidence that the locusts of Revelation are very special and unique and certainly symbolic.
Jeremiah 51:27 Set up a banner in the land. Blow a trumpet among the nations; consecrate nations against her. Make hear the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz together against her, set a marshal against her. Cause the horses to come up like rough locusts.
The locusts of Revelation are said to resemble horses and their riders so I thought Jeremiah's verse to be relevant.
Joel chapters 1 & 2 have interesting visions of locusts and armies similar to Revelation's.
Deuteronomy 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses or three witnesses shall he that is to die be put to death. He shall not be put to death at the mouth of one witness.
Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin which he sins. At the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses a thing shall be established.
Genesis 19:1 And the two angels came into Sodom at evening. And Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. And Lot saw, and he rose up to meet them and bowed his face to the earth.
Two or three witnesses were required in order for a matter to be firmly established. A court in Israel was forbidden to judge a man with only one witness. Two angels came into Sodom and Gomorrah to see if the complaint against it was correct. It certainly was and had to be destroyed. Likewise, God has His figurative two witnesses on earth, symbolizing His people, who act as His 2 witnesses against the evil generation to be judged at Armageddon.
Revelation 11: 8 And their bodies will be on the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom, and Egypt, where our Lord was crucified.
This great city is called, figuratively/ spiritually, Sodom. Such was done also to Israel/Judah in the scriptures below.
Isaiah 1:10 Hear the word of Jehovah, rulers of Sodom. Listen to the law of our God, people of Gomorrah.
Isaiah 3:9 The look of their faces witnesses against them; they have declared their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have dealt evil to themselves.
Isaiah 13:19 And Babylon, the glory of the kingdoms, the beauty of the pride of the Chaldeans, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
Jeremiah 23:14 I have also seen a horrible thing among the prophets of Jerusalem; they commit adultery and walk in falsehood. And they make the hands of evildoers strong, so that not a man returns from his evil. They are all of them like Sodom to Me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah.
It was in Daniel before it was in Revelation. Daniel 12:7 deals with the same time and events as Revelation.
Daniel 7:25 And he shall speak words against the Most High, and he shall wear out the saints of the Most High. And he intends to change times and law. And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and one half time.
Time, Times, and one half time was a method of counting in Hebrew where one was one, the plural times meant 2, and one half time was one half. Teh total being 3 and 1/2 or 3.5. Revelation 11 says the saints, 2 witnesses symbolizing the saints, actually, are given over for 42 lunar months or 1260 days. So from Daniel, we assume that 3.5 times is 3.5 lunar years.
Daniel 12:7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was on the waters of the river, when he held up his right and his left hand to the heavens and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and a half. And when they have made an end of scattering the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
So though we can not be sure about how long 3.5 years/ 42 months/ 1260 days is, since it is symbolic, it is clear that we are talking about the same time and events in Daniel and Revelation and that is a lot to know and helps everything to make sense.
Revelation 13:1 And I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten diadems, and on its heads names of blasphemy.
Horns have often symbolized kings. Of course, Later in Revelation it makes this clear but it helps to know the symbolism had its start in Daniel first. They both speak of the same events at times.
Daniel 7:19 Then I wanted to know the truth of the fourth beast, which was different from all of them, very frightening, whose teeth were of iron and its nails bronze; who devoured and crushed, and trampled what was left with its feet, 20 also of the ten horns that were on its head, and the other which came up, and before whom three fell, even that horn that had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things, and its look was greater than his fellows.
Daniel 7:21 I was looking, and that horn made war with the saints and overcame them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came. And judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
Daniel 7:23 And He said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all kingdoms, and shall devour all the earth, and shall trample it down and crush it. 24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings; they shall rise, and another shall rise after them. And he shall be different from the first, and he shall humble three kings. 25 And he shall speak words against the Most High, and he shall wear out the saints of the Most High. And he intends to change times and law. And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and one half time.
Daniel 7:26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his rulership, to cut off and to destroy until the end. 27 And the kingdom and rulership, and the greatness of the kingdom under all the heavens shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. And all kingdoms shall serve and obey Him.
As we can see from Daniel, this is all about kingdoms and rulerships, both of the horn(s) and when it is taken from them and given to the saints who rule with Christ in heaven.
I will first state at the beginning here that in order to fully understand Ezekiel 37, one must consider what is written in chapters 36 and 38 before fully comprehending 37. Chapters 36-39 are discussed in detail in Part 1 of The Lasts Days; "The Old Testament Visions of the End," that hopefully were read already or soon will be. But 36 refers to a resurrection and yet another attack follows in 37 on God's people, Christians, symbolically referred to as "Israel."
Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of Jehovah was on me. And He brought me by the Spirit of Jehovah and made me rest in the midst of a valley, and it was full of bones. 2 And He made me pass among them all around. And, behold, very many were on the face of the valley. And, behold! They were very dry. 3 And He said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I said, O Lord Jehovah, You know.
Ezekiel 37:4 And He said to me, Prophesy to these bones and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of Jehovah: 5 So says the Lord Jehovah to these bones: Behold, I cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live,; 6 and I will put on you sinews and will bring flesh on you and spread skin over you and put breath in you, and you shall live. And you shall know that I am Jehovah.
Ezekiel 37:7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a noise. And, behold, a shaking! And the bones drew near, a bone to its bone. 8 And I watched. And, behold! The sinews and the flesh came up on them, and the skin spread over them from above. But there was no breath in them. 9 Then He said to me, Prophesy to the Spirit. Prophesy, son of man, and say to the Spirit, So says the Lord Jehovah: Come from the four winds, O Spirit, and breathe on these slain ones, that they may live.
Ezekiel 37:10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the Spirit came into them. And they lived and stood on their feet, a very great army. 11 Then He said to me, Son of man, these bones are all the house of Israel. Behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is perished; we are cut off to ourselves. 12 So prophesy and say to them, So says the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, O My people, and I will bring you to the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am Jehovah when I have opened your graves and have brought you up out of your graves, O My people. 14 And I shall put My Spirit in you, and you shall live; and I will put you on your own land. And you shall know that I, Jehovah, have spoken and have done it, says Jehovah.
Before they, "Israel," come to life, they say their bones are dried and their hope perished. But God shall bring them back to life. Right after this in 37, they are again attacked. so we can assume that this "resurrection" is a symbolic sort of one since their dead souls also speak.
And since in my analysis chapter 36 makes it firm that "Israel" represents Christianity, then it can not be an earthly resurrection since this chapter we are considering says in 37:9 that they were slain which would make them martyrs and qualify them for a resurrection in heaven rather than on earth as described here.
Israel, though "dead," speaks. It could be symbolic, of course. The dead speak in Revelation and they are really dead when they speak, speaking symbolically, of course. The house of Israel is referring to God's people at the end, the very last days, not the ancient Israel of old.
For those who do not believe that this death of the 2 witnesses, symbolizing God's people, is a death of activity, consider that there will be another attack on god's people at Armageddon. If there is to be another attack, one last final attack, on God's people, then there have to be survivors who live physically at least, or there would be no one to attack.
In Revelation, those who die as martyrs are harvested from the earth to serve with Jesus. So the only choice left to us is that the death and bodies laying out in the open in the symbolic great city, would have to be symbolic. And this great city has to be symbolic since it must contain all Christians and that would require a fair amount of the world. Since everything else is so clearly symbolic, the death must also be, too.
The good news is that means most Christians will not have to die a literal death. A significant number will, as a means of trying to scare and intimidate the rest but many will remain faithful and not be required to die. Of those that do die literally, they shall be richly rewarded in ways the survivors never will be. Everyone who is faithful is a winner in one way or the other.
Revelation 14:18 was not the first place to mention the winepress of God's anger. It appeared first in Isaiah.
Isaiah 63:2 Why is Your clothing red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? 3 I have trodden the winepress, I alone, and no man of the peoples was with Me. And I will tread them in My anger, and trample them in My fury; and their juice shall be spattered on My garments; and I will pollute all My clothes. 4 For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come. 5 And I looked, and no one was helping. And I wondered that no one was upholding. Then My own arm saved for Me, and My fury upheld Me. 6 And I trod down the people in My anger, and made them drunk in My fury. And I poured their juice to the earth.
The imagery of Isaiah is kind of graphic as who I assume to be God is treading the winepress in anger and their blood, symbolized as grape juice is splattered all over His clothing. It is all connected with the day vengeance on God's enemies and those of His people, which in this account, might be Edom, but also indicating what could be of any of God's enemies.
Lamentations 1:15 The Lord has trampled all my mighty ones in my midst. He called a gathering against me to crush my young men. As a winepress, the Lord trod the virgin daughter of Judah.
God will have no mercy on His enemies when the time comes. It won't be pretty.
The amazing thing about this next account is that is sounds so much like the descriptions of Revelation's Babylon. See for yourself.
From Green's Literal Translation
Isaiah 47:1 Go down and sit on the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the earth; a throne is not to the daughter of the Chaldeans; for they shall not again call you tender and delicate.
Isaiah 47:2 Take millstones and grind meal; uncover your veil; strip off the skirt; uncover the leg; pass over rivers. 3 Your nakedness shall be uncovered; yea, your shame shall be seen. I will take vengeance and I will not meet a man.
Isaiah 47:4 Our Redeemer; Jehovah of Hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 47:5 Sit in silence, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans, for they shall no more call you the mistress of kingdoms. 6 I was angry with My people; I defiled My inheritance and gave them into your hand. You gave them no mercy; you made your yoke on the aged very heavy.
Isaiah 47:7 And you said, I shall be a mistress forever, until you did not set these things on your heart, and not did remember its end. 8 Now, then, hear this, O pleasure seeker, who lives carelessly; who says in her heart, I am, and none else is; I shall not sit as a widow, nor shall I know the loss of children.
Isaiah 47:9 But these two things shall suddenly come to you, in one day: loss of children, and widowhood; as complete they come on you, for your many sorceries, for the multitude of your great spells. 10 For you trusted in your evil; you said, No one sees me. Your wisdom and your knowledge perverts you, and you said in your heart, I am and none else is. 11 For this, evil shall come on you; you shall not know its origin. And mischief shall fall on you; you shall not be able to cover it. And ruin shall come on you suddenly, you shall not know.
Isaiah 47:12 Stand now among your spells, and with your many sorceries, in which you have wearied yourself since your youth. Perhaps you will be able to profit; perhaps may cause quaking. 13 You are exhausted by your many plans; let those dividing the heavens stand up now and save you, the stargazers, making known what is coming on you into the new moons. 14 Behold, they are as stubble; the fire burns them; they shall not save their soul from the flame's hand; there is no coal to warm them; nor fire, to sit before it. 15 So they are to you with whom you have labored, your traders from your youth; each one wanders to his own way; no one saves you.
All the aspects mentioned in Revelation can be seen as having been mentioned here first. I am sure that God knew this in advance and gave a prophecy that would likely apply to the original Babylon as well as the future symbolic one, too.
King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which Daniel needed to interpret. The dream foretold that the king would loose everything and later get it back to teach and show him that it was God who allowed him his kingship and all that he accomplished. The king himself could do little without God allowing it. When it was over, the king announces to all that it is God in heaven who is in charge and control and deserves praise. We are going to focus on when the dream was about to come true and the king was about to loose his mind for a period of time until he had learned his lesson. It was his haughty proclamation that got him in trouble with God.
Likewise, whoever is symbolized by Babylon in Revelation also likely bears this haughty arrogant attitude that they can do whatever they want and that they are fully in control and are royalty that will never be brought down. But they will be humbled even as Nebuchadnezzar was. Lets look at this passage in Daniel now.
Daniel 4:27 So, O king, let my advice be pleasing to you: Even break off your sins by righteousness, and your iniquities by pitying the poor, whether there will be duration to your prosperity.
Daniel 4:28 All this came on the king, Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months, he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. 30 The king spoke and said, is this not great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty? 31 The word was still in the king's voice when a voice fell from the heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: The kingdom has been taken from you!
It says "Great Babylon," but it could just as easily be worded as Babylon the Great. Whether the "great" comes before or after is not important. I have seen Bible translations that word it as Babylon the Great in Daniel. But it was Nebuchadnezzar's haughty arrogant conceited attitude that it was him and not God who accomplished the building of Babylon, that got him in trouble. It will get symbolic Babylon in trouble, too.
Israel/ Samaria and Judah were described by God as 2 harlots, with Judah going on to be worse than Samaria. Warning!!! This account is very sexually graphic. Blame God if you choose to be offended. He dictated it to Ezekiel. Or maybe you ought to reconsider your attitude instead. Judah and Israel/ Samaria were often described as fornicators, adulterers, and harlots, in regards to their relationships with the nations instead of relying on God and in her worshipping idols and false gods of other nations.
This was likely deemed as the best way to get through to men, having to imagine their own wives behaving in such an atrocious manner as God's nation and kings did. Revelation's harlot, known more commonly today by the word "whore," must have some sort of adulterous relationship with God. Some former or present relationship or obligation which she does not honor with God. Lets read Ezekiel's long account.
Ezekiel 23:1 And the word of Jehovah was to me, saying, 2 Son of man, there were two women, daughters of one mother. 3 And they fornicated in Egypt; in their youth they fornicated. Their breasts were handled, and there their virgin nipples were worked. 4 And their names were Oholah, the oldest, and Oholibah, her sister. And they were Mine, and they bore sons and daughters. And their names: Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah.
We don't have to wonder about the identity to these 2 whores. It is made clear for us.
Ezekiel 23:5 And Oholah whored under Me. And she lusted after her lovers, to Assyrian neighbors, 6 clothed with purple, governors and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding horses. 7 And she bestowed her harlotries on them, the choice sons of Assyria, with all of them, and with all after whom she lusted. She defiled herself with all their idols. 8 And she did not leave her fornications from Egypt. For they lay with her in her youth, and they worked her virgin nipples and poured their fornications on her.
Ezekiel 23:9 So I have given her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the sons of Assyria on whom she lusted. 10 They uncovered her nakedness. They took her sons and her daughters. And they killed her with the sword. And she became notorious among women, and they executed judgments on her.
Ezekiel 23:11 And her sister Oholibah saw. And she was more corrupt in her lustfulness than she, and her fornications were greater than her sister's whoredom. 12 She lusted to the sons of Assyria, neighboring governors and rulers clothed most perfectly, horsemen riding horses, all of them desirable young men.
Ezekiel 23:13 Then I saw that she was defiled, one way was to both of them. 14 And she added to her fornications. And she saw men carved on the wall, images of the Chaldeans engraved with red color, 15 girded with girdles on their loins, with overflowing turbans on their heads, the look of rulers, all of them, like the sons of Babylon in Chaldea, the land of their birth. 16 And she lusted after them, to the look of her eyes, and sent messengers to them into Chaldea.
Ezekiel 23:17 And the sons of Babylon came to her, to the bed of love. And they defiled her with their fornications. And she was defiled with them, and her soul was alienated from them. 18 And she uncovered her fornications and uncovered her nakedness. Then My soul was alienated from her just as My soul was alienated from her sister. 19 And she multiplied her fornications to recall the days of her youth, in which she had fornicated in the land of Egypt. 20 And she lusted on their lovers of whom the flesh of asses resembles their flesh, and as the issue of horses was their issue. 21 So you longed for the wickedness of your youth, when from Egypt they worked your nipples, for the sake of the breasts of your youth.
I am going to interrupt Ezekiel just briefly to alert you to pay attention to what is said next since it sounds so much like the wording in Revelation about Babylon, the great harlot. Continue:
Ezekiel 23:22 So, O Oholibah, the Lord Jehovah says this: Behold, I will arouse your lovers against you, from whom your soul is alienated. And I will bring them against you from all around, 23 Babylon's sons and all the Chaldeans, Pekod, and Shoa, and Koa, all the sons of Assyria with them, desirable young men, governors and rulers, all of them, third heads and called ones, all of them riding horses. 24 And they shall come against you with weapons, chariots, and wheels, and with a group of peoples; buckler and shield and helmet shall set against you all around. And I will give before them judgment, and they will judge you by their judgments. 25 And I will give My jealousy against you, and they will deal with you in fury. Your nose and your ears they will take, and the rest of you shall fall by the sword. They will take your sons and your daughters, and the rest of you shall be devoured by the fire. 26 And they will strip you of your clothes, and take the articles of your beauty. 27 And I will cause your wickedness to cease from you, and your fornication from the land of Egypt. And you shall not lift up your eyes to them, and Egypt shall not be remembered by you any more.
Ezekiel 23:28 For so says the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will give you in the hand of those whom you hate, in the hand of whom your soul was alienated from them. 29 And they shall deal with you in hatred and take all your wealth, and shall leave you naked and bare. And the nudity of your adulteries will be bared, even your lewdness and your fornications. 30 These will be done to you because you have whored after the nations, because you are defiled with their idols. 31 You have walked in the way of your sister, and I will give her cup into your hand.
Ezekiel 23:32 So says the Lord Jehovah: You shall drink your sister's cup deep and wide; you shall be laughed at and mocked, for it holds much. 33 With drunkenness and sorrow you are filled, the cup of horror and ruin, the cup of your sister Samaria. 34 And you shall drink it and drain it. And you shall break its fragments and tear off your breasts. For I have spoken, declares the Lord Jehovah. 35 So the Lord Jehovah says this: Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, so also you bear your wickedness and your adulteries.
Ezekiel 23:36 And Jehovah said to me, Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominations. 37 For they committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. Yea, they committed adultery with their idols, and even their sons whom they bore to Me, they cause to pass to them to be consumed. 38 Even still they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary in that day, and have profaned My sabbaths. 39 And when they had slain their sons to their idols, then they came into My sanctuary in that day to profane it. And, lo, this they have done in the midst of My house.
Ezekiel 23:40 Furthermore, they have sent for men to come from a distance, of whom a messenger was sent to them. And behold, they came, for whom you washed, painted your eyes, and were adorned with gems. 41 And you sat on a glorious bed, and a table was arranged before it, and My incense and My oil you set on it. 42 And the sound of a crowd at ease was with her, and drunkards from the wilderness were brought with the men of the host of mankind. And they put bracelets on their hands and crowns of beauty on their heads. 43 Then I said about the one worn in adulteries, Will they now fornicate with her, and she with them?
Ezekiel 23:44 And they went in to her. As they go in to a woman of harlotry, so they went in to Oholah and to Oholibah, the wicked women. 45 And as righteous men, they shall judge them with the judgment of adulteresses, and the judgment of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is in their hands.
Ezekiel 23:46 For so says the Lord Jehovah: Bring up on them an assembly, and give them to terror and plunder. 47 And the assembly shall stone them with stones and cut them down with their swords. They shall slay their sons and their daughters, and they shall burn their houses with fire. 48 So I will cause to cease wickedness out of the land, that all the women may be taught, even not to do according to your wickedness. 49 And they shall put your wickedness on you, and you shall bear the sins of your idols. And you shall know that I am the Lord Jehovah.
First, it is obvious from the language that the fornications of the two whores is representative of their relationship with the nations and with idols and false gods. The judgment of the harlots is a severe one and one that comes from her former lovers, in a twist of irony as God seems to be fond of. This is the same source of punishment in Revelation, too. Micah tells similar things below.
Micah 1:6 And I will make Samaria into ruins of the field, planting places for a vineyard. And I will pour down her stones into the valley, and I will uncover her foundations. 7 And all her carved images shall be beaten to pieces, and all her gifts for harlotry shall be burned with fire. And I will make all her idols a desolation. For she gathered it from the reward of a harlot, and they shall return to the reward of a harlot.
Be sure to check out the previous subheading "The Second Death" for more on this subject.
Matthew 8:22 But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.
Luke 9:60 But Jesus said to him, Leave the dead to bury their dead, but going out, you announce the kingdom of God.
Romans 7:4 So that, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, for you to become Another's, to One raised from the dead, so that we may bear fruit to God.
Ephesians 2:1 and He worked in you who were once dead in trespasses and sins,
Colossians 2:12 being buried with Him in baptism, in whom also you were raised through the faith of the working of God, raising Him from among the dead.
Paul had mentioned in Romans how we were once dead but were made alive in Christ, alive and living, in the spirit, at least. Out flesh still existed in sin and would die but in our spirit, we no longer served the flesh. So our being alive or dead is symbolic or spiritually so.
Also notice how Jesus instructs that the "dead" should be left to bury the "dead." That is to say, the spiritually dead should bury the physical/ literal dead. This concept is one we have covered in several areas. Because many have not discerned the spiritual metaphor, they have not correctly understood what the Bible is often talking about when it refers to the "dead." One has to pay careful attention to the wording and context to know which type of "dead" is being referred to by Jesus or whoever.
Not really such an important symbol but it was in the prophets before it was in Revelation.
Ezekiel 37:9 Then He said to me, Prophesy to the Spirit. Prophesy, son of man, and say to the Spirit, So says the Lord Jehovah: Come from the four winds, O Spirit, and breathe on these slain ones, that they may live.
Daniel 7:2 Daniel spoke and said, In my vision by night I was looking. And, behold, the four winds of the heavens were stirring up the Great Sea.
Daniel 8:8 Then the he goat became very great. And when he was mighty, the great horn was broken. And in its place came up four outstanding ones toward the four winds of the heavens.
Water was an important symbol used by Jesus in his ministry on earth. It is used in Revelation in several ways. The way shown here is the way Jesus used in while on earth pertaining to God's people. This water is symbolic of the refreshment and sustenance it provides and in Israel and that region of the world where deserts are not uncommon, water is often rare and very appreciated and important. So people can appreciate how even more important spiritual water is and how it will be provided by God. God's people will never lack for physical or spiritual water in His kingdom.
The Old Testament prophets also promised water in abundance as a token of the flourishing of the earth and ample provisions for people on earth in God's kingdom. Water is the substance of life here on earth so how better to demonstrate life in abundance and luxury that with lots of water everywhere. Many places that are dry and unproductive today are that way only because they lack a source of water.
And certainly just as we need water for life, we need God's symbolic water which Jesus will speak of in John coming up.
Isaiah 41:17 The poor and the needy seek water, and there is none; their tongue is parched for thirst. I, Jehovah will hear them; the God of Israel will not leave them.
Isaiah 41:18 I will open rivers in bare places, and fountains in the midst of valleys; I will make the desert for a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water on a thirsty place, and floods on the dry ground. I will pour My Spirit on your seed, and My blessing on your offspring.
Isaiah 44:4 And they shall sprout as among grass, as willows by streams of water.
Isaiah 48:21 And they did not thirst; He led them in the deserts; He made waters flow out of rock for them. And He cut open the rock and the water gushed out.
Isaiah 55:1 Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water; and he who has no silver, come buy grain and eat. Yes, come buy grain, wine and milk without silver and with no price. 2 Why do you weigh out silver for that which is not bread, and your labor for what never satisfies? Listen carefully to Me and eat the good; and let your soul delight itself in fatness. 3 Bend your ear and come to Me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will cut a covenant everlasting with you, the faithful mercies of David.
Isaiah 58:11 And Jehovah shall always guide you, and satisfy your soul in dry places, and support your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
Jeremiah 2:13 For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters, to hew out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Jeremiah 23:15 So Jehovah of Hosts says this concerning the prophets: Behold, I will feed them wormwood, and make them drink poisonous water, for ungodliness has gone forth from the prophets of Jerusalem into all the land.
John 4:9 Then the Samaritan woman said to Him, How do you, being a
Jew, ask to drink from me, I being a Samaritan woman? For Jews do not
associate with Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who is the One saying to you, Give Me to drink, you would have asked Him, and He would give you living water.
11 The woman said to Him, Sir, you have no vessel, and the well is deep. From where then do you have living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well, and he and his sons and his livestock drank out of it?
13 Jesus answered and said to her, Everyone drinking of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever may drink of the water which I will give him will never ever thirst, but the water which I will give to him will become a fountain of water in him, springing up into everlasting life.
15 The woman said to Him, Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.
My words turn from purple to black from here on in.
This account in John is a good example of how Jesus speaks of a symbolic or spiritual water whereas the woman is still thinking in physical terms in verse 15. The main message Jesus tried to convey and the one the law and prophets also tried to convey was to get people to think in spiritual symbolic terms and give attention to spiritual things and spiritual matters rather than the physical earthly fleshly concerns of life.
Why is such an approach of so much concern to God? I will answer with my understanding. Water, food, clothing; these are all important to our lives. Yet, if we can not live together in peace and harmony without killing each other or inflicting harm and suffering on each other, then having something to eat or drink for a while will be pointless since we will die either by the hand of others or by sin in old age and death.
We need what God has to offer by means of His son. That is a means of having the sin we inherited from Adam erased by accepting the way God has provided as a reason not to hold that sin of Adam against us. Jesus was offering that way and reason to get that sin blotted out so that we can live forever. Jesus was to be the sacrifice required to get that sin of Adam erased. So what Jesus had to say was like water we could drink and never have to drink again. It would keep us alive forever. Physical water could never do that.
So in the long term perspective, water and food were of little good since we would still die. But the message and hope Jesus offered could make us live forever. So we do not want to be giving too much attention to earthly cares like food, clothing, what sort of car we drive, where we live or what kind of house we live in. Those things mean little compared to our everlasting life.
Jesus wanted us to think about the long term perspective, the big picture. Put it all in perspective, in balance, give it the right priority in our lives. God's things, spiritual things, things of the mind, today what we might call psychological and philosophical things or ideological things deserve much more consideration than the physical cares of the world and living, the mundane things.
This is why it is so important to understand the symbols of the Bible and their meanings. Our lives depend on understanding them right and obeying them. Revelation in particular holds some very important information for us. So we need to put all our effort into understanding this book and all the Bible for our lives literally depend on it, even more than they depend on food or water.
Besides that, even if we were to die of thirst or hunger or even persecution, if we have made God happy by obeying Him and His instructions, we will get our lives back in the resurrection. So it is no big deal to die in God, as we put it, because that death is only temporary. God will bring us back to life and we will always have plenty of food and water after that as well, unless we are in heaven. Then we will not need food or water for spirits do not require those things.
And I think this says so much and is all that I really need to say anymore in this article. On to Part 4, right?
How to Interpret the Bible Most people approach the Bible from the wrong way, taking everything literally. See why this is such a grave error and what approach we need to take.
The War With
Christ Many imagine a
battle between nations at Armageddon. But it is really a battle with
Christ and we will be under attack, too.
Being Vigilant and Awake Jesus indicated that many, even most, people would be asleep and unprepared when he returned again on the last day. It also answers if many will be saved or not.
Spiritual Israel Israel is mentioned a lot in the Bible. But it is often not literal Israel in prophecy but Spiritual Israel, the Israel of God, the Christian congregation.
The Antichrist - read all about him and what 2nd century writers had to say about it all as well.
Babylon the Great Revealed! She is such a big part of Revelation. She deserves special attention since she is said to be God's greatest enemy throughout most of the ages.
The Last Days - End of the World Series:
Old Testament Visions of the End all dealing with the
last days theme as written in the Old Testament.
Part 2:The New Testament Visions of the End
Part 3:The Symbols of Revelation The many symbols of Revelation actually first appeared in the Old Testament so we do not need to wonder what they might mean. They should be considered before trying to interpret Revelation.
Part 4:Revelation Revealed! Revelation interpreted verse by verse.
The Last Days
Reviewed Are these the last days? Are things really
any different than they have ever been? You better believe they
are!!! But many skeptics would argue otherwise so I address the
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