I’ve been slowly making my way through Revelation and wanted to start listing out some things I’ve noticed so far. As I stated in the “introductory” post, I’ve noticed an overwhelming amount of “soon” terminology throughout the book. I now wanted to take a more specific look at some of the verses. I may not hit every single detail as some of the corresponding history has been lost. I have noticed, however, some of the historic records we do have seem to line up remarkable well. Please note these are my current views as I study Revelation. I tend to uncover more profound implications of the Bible as Jesus inspires me to re-study scripture.
Revelation seems to sync up well with the rest of the New Testament as well as the Old Testament prophecies that the book references. I don’t want to get into conjecture here, but rather point out the direct correlations. My view takes into consideration the original recipients and the intent of the message for them. I feel this to be an important first step in understanding any correlation there may be to our day. I will try to hit the keynotes in this post, as well as any future ones. The verses that are more self-evident I may not touch on as in depth.
So beginning with verse 1, we see the starting point relayed—things which must happen soon. We get to verse 3 and again see this concept reiterated—the time is at hand. We also see the first mention of the intended audience—those who read and hear. Considering the timetable stated to this point, this would seem to mean that further events described were soon to take place as relevant to the audience. As we continue through this chapter, and hopefully through the rest of the book as God permits, we can see if this concept holds true or not.
Verse 4 more implicitly states the intended audience—the seven assemblies in Asia.
When we get to verse 7, we begin to get into the Eastern symbolism that can be confusing to our Westernized mindset, but first, we see the word “Behold.” This is a word used throughout the Bible when something needs to be noted implicitly. So, every word in the following sentence needs to be considered important. As alluded to in another post, the “coming in the clouds” of Jesus was a symbolic way of saying that judgment is coming. This correlates to his pronouncement in Matt 24:30. This is similar to how it is also stated in the Old Testament prophecies such as Isaiah 19:1. Each prophecy in the Bible states the intended audience as well as the time-frame and uses similar symbolic language. Here we see the objects of judgment—those that pierced him, which seems to mean the Jewish people that handed him over for crucifixion. As well, we see a specific reference to the “tribes” of the earth. This is additionally specific to tribal Israel just as in Matt 24:30 as well as passages throughout the Old Testament.
Let’s pause to further consider why this would be relevant to ancient Israel and not us today. First, the pronouncement is fairly specific so far as to the intended recipients of judgment and the readers of the letter. Secondly, while similar symbols were used throughout the Biblical prophecies, each judgment was given a specified time-frame and society. So far, the text doesn’t seem to make any allusions to our age or society.
Continuing on, in Verse 10 we see something mentioned that may be easily overlooked—the Lord’s day. Notice that John is already in the vision at this point. He then states that it is the “Lord’s day.” This is, again, a specified reference as to the timing of the events as related to “the Day of the Lord.”
In verse 11, we again see the intended recipients of this vision listed out specifically this time.
Throughout verses 12-17, we see a description of Jesus’ glorified body. This wasn’t the same look that he ascended with but seems to have been remade to something so magnificent that John struggles to find comparative descriptions in our physical realm.
In verse 18, Jesus mentions Death and Hades. I’ve written some of the concept of the hell terminology in the Bible. Considering the limited explanations of the afterlife, I don’t want to make any assumptions here. My personal opinion is that, as Paul states, Jesus has defeated Death and the very concept that was upheld at that time (and now) of a fiery afterlife. Death is now but a doorway into the fully realized Kingdom of God (2 Cor 5:8).
Verse 19 is another one that can be easily overlooked and misappropriated. The keywords here are “the things that will happen hereafter.” A more accurate translation of the Greek can be found here—“the things that are about to take place after these.” The significance is that the time-frame was very specific and soon to occur.
Jesus goes on to explain the symbolism thus far in the final verse (20) of the chapter.
So this is the initial overview without going too terribly far off on tangents. It would appear that this first chapter is fairly straight forward and referencing, like all other prophecies of the Bible, a specific society at a specific point in time. So far there seems to be no “shifting” in time to indicate any type of far-future fulfillment.
It would seem that Israel was still attempting to live under the Old Covenant that was obsolete and fading away. They even specifically requested that the Jesus’ innocent blood be on their heads. Jesus’ crucifixion seems to have topped off their “cup of wrath” yet he still gave them the span of a generation to change their direction as well as the signs of his prophecy.