Revelation 21

It is important to see a link or theme within chapters 19:20, 20:10 & 21:8, the lake of eternal destruction shows the contrast between Christ’s victory for us, and Christ’s punishment for our enemies. There is no room in these chapters for a separate theology of millennialism, pre or post, to cloud our view of reigning with Christ now!

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth” v1, The new Jerusalem was a reality and existing many years before Revelation was written. What this passage reveals is God’s description of the glorious replacement of the Roman world authority, with a new Godly world authority in Christ. The old Jerusalem was for Judaism but the new Jerusalem is for the whole world!

“A Bride adorned for her Husband” v2, The woman, or church is now finished with her trial, being chased and persecuted. How does she look after the battle? Not worn & blood-stained, but beautiful, faithful and new. “The Tabernacle of God is with men” v3, God lives with “anthropos” in the Greek, correctly translated, “humanity”. The word tabernacle is used to show God’s mobility amongst us in the world. The new Jerusalem is truly global. 1st Cor. 3:16, Eph. 2:20ff, 1st Pet. 2:5. “He will shall wipe away every tear” v4, God’s comforting strength and indwelling presence is an effectual reality for his children who are facing persecution. Isaiah talks of God wiping away tears for his children on earth, Isa. 25:8, so we have no reason to think this divine act is strictly or literally limited to the future, but rather it’s possible here and now. We do not weep as those with no hope, but rather continually have reason to rejoice. Isaiah repeatedly remarks on God’s present care in comforting his suffering children, Isa. 14:3, 30:19, 35:9, 65:13-19. As there will no longer be any old world order (Rome) there will be no more death from Rome.

“I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life” v6, Herein is the root cause for the effect of comfort in wiping our tears in His dwelling with us. We are made to drink of Him, 1st Cor. 12:13. Jesus spoke of this water to the Samaritan woman and the Jews at the Feast, Jn. 4:14 & 7:38-39.

“The Second Death” v8, Death itself is personified and it is finished in the lake that destroyed the Beast, false-prophet & the devil, 19:20-20:10. There is a day when the Roman Empire will no longer use martyrdom against the church, Rev. 20:14. Jesus spoke of death as something we will not even “see”, Jon. 8:51. But cowards, the faithless and perverts will see it along with murderers and all liars.

“The Glory of God” v11, The church in God’s view is splendid and secure with high walls. Precious costly jewels surround it as a Bride, after all, his Son paid for it with his blood, 1st Pet. 1:18-19. “12 gates…12 angels…12 foundation stones” v13-14, The gates never close, v25 because it’s growing! Angels are messengers much like each of the 7 churches have, 2:1-3:14, The authoritative care and security for the holiness given to all who enter, becoming a part of the body of the bride of Christ, this City. 12 names on the gates represent the family nature of all citizens. The foundation stones with 12 apostle’s names show us their authority from Jesus being the chief corner stone, Eph. 2:20. Our apostles & prophets are living in this word we grow from, called the New Testament.

“A golden reed to measure the City” v15 The One who did the measuring is known in 4:2 as God Himself, measuring like Ezekiel measured, Ezk. 40-43. Why? To emphasize the glorious Holiness of those who live in this City. The several 12s in the size of the City tell of our divine and powerful protection of the city and it’s citizens. Never would any enemy even dent the wall, much less gain entry through the open gates. 1500 mile high walls, jeweled and thick as 72 yards, forming a big cube, v16. This speaks of the City as secure as a nation with eternal guards, 1st Pet. 2:9.

“Nations will walk by it’s light…Kings of the earth will bring their glory into it” v24, The Lamb in the center is the light as the sun shining through glass-like jeweled walls. How would this affect the Nations outside? Blinding brilliance! Jesus is the light of the world, Jn 8:12. Jesus is King of kings and we see Isaiah talk about old Jerusalem becoming victorious with the worlds strength flowing into it, Isa. 60:1-20. This City is the triumphant church of our history and we are now in it. The persecuted church John wrote to needs this glorious identity, which Isaiah prophesied about and the old Jerusalem can’t see with it’s veil of Moses’ law being read, 2nd Cor. 3:13-16. The darkness outside the City reminds us of the darkness of the plague before the last plague in Egypt, when they gave gifts to the Hebrews leaving for freedom, Ex. 10:21-11:4. We leave our old self for a new life in this City NOW, Jn. 10:10. Peter spoke of God’s glory in our hearts, 1st Peter 1:8-10, promising us reception of the crown of glory, 1st Pet. 5:4.

Revelation 20

Every symbol in the visions from 4:1 and onwards, has a meaning. The symbols do not show John and is not written for the 7 churches for any kind of physically literal picture. Numbers & times, animals, beasts, monsters and even colors of the world, all have a meaning. The meaning gives us a message, and all the visions are part of a sum total message, one message. Christ wins and we are on His side!

“1000 Years Bound” v2, Satan is not allowed to use Rome to persecute the saints ANYMORE, meaning completeness, Psalm 50:10 & Duet. 7:9

“1000 Years Reigned” v4-6, Notice the past tense of the reign in v4 and the future tense in v6. This is not two different reigns, but rather it’s denoting two different sets of saints sharing in the same reign but under different oppressors which end up being defeated. Rome first and then future persecution till Jesus arrives again. The First Resurrection gives us a new life, wherein the old person that dies in baptism is dead during the 1000 year reign, but when the 2nd Resurrection occurs, we have a glorious life!

“Little Season of Satanic Freedom” v3-10, God makes clear; he has sealed and saved us right now under Rome and He will make our children (offspring of the woman, 12:17) victorious in the future. He will do it with all Christians throughout time. Ezekiel 1-24 shows the Jews in Jerusalem must fall, then Ezk. 25-32 has foreign nations falling, and in Ezk. 33, Jerusalem is smitten. In Ezk. 34-38, Jerusalem must be comforted. How can he comfort and strengthen them with real security and victory? He tells the now kingless Jews that he offers a restoration of the Kingdom under “David”, to the Jew without hope of ever regaining his national dignity, he offers just this: One nation under one King “David”. But a pessimist would say, “we had all that before with Egypt, Philistines, Assyrians and Babylonians, so what guarantee do we have of the future? So in Ezk. 38-39 the Jews are assured that a Messiah (Davidic Jesus) will reign against an army so huge coming from the four points of the compass relative to Jerusalem, that his children have no chance of winning, but God defeats them without his children having to fire a shot! So here is the place of the “little time/season” wherein the GOG & MAGOG host/battle takes place, v8. So the 1000 years of binding speaks of utter defeat of the present oppressor, but the “little season” speaks of the future temporary victory Satan has over the church until Jesus comes again in our future. Our present enemy may be huge (Eph. 6:12) but they will be defeated.

“Invasion of the Holy City” v9, Any future persecution coming upon the New Jerusalem as in the church or offspring of the woman today (ref; Rev. 12:17 & Heb. 12:22-23) will stand the force and win the fight by the blood of the Lamb.

“Second Resurrection” v12, Our victory sealed in the Judgment Day is real and in a sense is tasted after our second death into a grave with a funeral. We share in the same victory they experienced. Remember with God after the 2nd death there is no element of time, 2nd Peter 3:8.

“Throne” v11-13, What happens from before the Throne in God’s presence represents what is already taking place back in v4, but towards the unbelievers which didn’t take the church serious and get their names written in the book of life. They were too busy being deceived by the Devil.

“Lake of Fire” v14-15, showing us a complete and eternal limit to their potential leadership. Never again would the Devil be able to use a “beast” or “false prophet” in the way he used Rome. It is an opinion of many early church writers that the future of the church may hold persecution which Satan is behind, but it will not be as huge as what was happening during the first few centuries of the church’s history. Persecution and martyrdom is still real and just as painful as it’s ever been, but it will never be on the same scale as Satan used it within the Roman Empire! The “Second Death” v14, shows there is no literal first death, it is our spiritual death to our old person. The 2nd death would represent future pain and suffering or even martyrdom till Jesus comes again. They will be victorious in the Judgment to come, as well as those who are faithful today.

Revelation 19

“A Great Voice of a Great Multitude” v1-2, Christ’s church, martyrs, prophets and priests, that is all God’s children give glory in God’s victory. This is reminiscent of the infinite crowd from Rev. 7:4-12. God has avenged his children of the terrible whore, without his servants needing to take vengeance into their own hands, since we will never be defeated by our enemy’s spite. Our Omnipotent God is capable of rendering vengeance since he is motivated by justice and love. Our job is to pray for the government & honor the Emperor, 1st Peter 2:17.

“Her smoke Goes Up Forever” v3-4, Jude speaks of Sodom suffering eternal fire, Jude v7. He is not referring to a literal flame burning through the centuries, rather he is helping us understand how permanent his judgment is and how the punishment he gives is eternal for our enemies. Isaiah 34:8-ff, holds a similar picture of Edom, with eternal smoke & brimstone, but in the same passage he describes nettles and thorns growing there along with animals living amongst them. Literally, both can’t be true, so figuratively what is meant? Utter defeat is rendered to God’s enemies, a defeat which the world will never fully recover from. From this event and into the future, governments built upon Ninevah (Iraq), Tyre & Edom (Jordan), Babylon (Iran), and yes Rome will never experience God’s blessings like they had them historically. “The Almighty Reigns” Pantokrator (Gk) shows an awe-inspiring power implying a relentless grip. His omnipotent hold was used against the iron army of Rome stomping across the civilized world and within a couple of centuries, God in Jesus Christ stopped them in their tracks.

“The Marriage of The Lamb” v7-10, This vision is directly from the happiness of the Lamb and the rejoicing of His saints which needs expressing! In Paul’s mind they were already married, and by God’s consent is shown with rejoicing over a victory that is bound up in their unity, of which nothing can separate them, Romans 7:1ff & Ephesians 5:22-33. “The Righteous Acts of the Saints” v8, The fine linen is representing purity of lifestyle. Our righteous acts are not scriptural worship in communion, or our doctrinal astuteness in our preaching, nor is it our bold evangelism producing baptisms. No, our righteous deeds, are the pure, holy and blameless lifestyles we act out in our daily lives from Monday to Saturday, giving service to the needy, lost widows & orphans of the world. This is pure religion, James 1:27. It is important to discern between worship & service in the Revelation, because God clearly does with the different symbols. Our prayers and praise are symbolized as harps & incense, whereas, our deeds are symbolized as fine linen. New Testament Christians were publicly known for their pure lifestyles. The next lesson to learn is our humility which the angel teaches John in v10, where John gets corrected from worshiping him. If an angel can state his station/position as just another servant, how much more should we be aware of our humble estate before God? See Matthew 18:3-4. “The Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy” God’s children are married to the Lamb, the unity which brings the privilege of sharing our faith in Christ, when we do that, we are acting as prophets of the future coming judgment the world will see and our own future deliverance and glory in God’s eyes, you’re acting like a prophet, 1st Corinthians 12:1-3.

“Faithful & True…The Word of God” v11-13, Jesus, the rider of the white horse in the first seal (Rev. 6:1) is the rider of this white horse which is already victorious and supported by armies (Christian saints). They actually don’t participate in the war against the beast and false-prophet, with a leader like Jesus, who needs to do anything? He IS the King of kings and Lord of lords. Notice the persecuting Empire (Beast) and Roman Emperor worship/religion (False Prophet) are taken captive and thrown into the “lake”, but not slain, as were all their followers,

“Ruling with a Rod of Iron, Stomping the Winepress” v15-21, The word “Ruling” in the Greek language actually means ‘shepherding’, and the “Rod”, is actually akin to a royal ‘scepter’, so we have this picture of a Royal Shepherd as the victorious Lamb, venting his anger in war as He stomps to victory! v21. This alludes to the very long time Rome’s influence continued in the face of the inevitable defeat God had worked out. The worldly people (birds) filling up on the flesh of the client-kings, generals, centurions & senators, succumbing to Rome’s power imploding. They are then slain! The war’s victory is assumed by the angel which calls the birds to eat on their corpses! See Psalm 94:1 & Romans 12:19

Revelation 18

“another Angel…great authority” v1, The defeat of Rome coming from God is repeated and initially announced in 14:8, here it is reiterated as in the past tense. “Nations…kings…merchants” v3 shows that the world may take no notice of Rome’s disintegration, because they are confident from it’s past, the wealth of her sensuality became her ruin. There is nothing in the Bible which prohibits God’s wrath from being shown before the day of Judgment when Jesus returns. God’s wrath was displayed in the absence of Christ against Rome, and Christ’s second coming and judgment was not brought about. So what will stop God’s wrath from being displayed again against any other nation that attempts to mimic Rome?

“Come Out of Her” v4, This is what God warned the captive Jews in Babylon, Jer. 51:5-10, 45. Jesus warned his followers in Jerusalem, Mat. 24:15-22 “to flee”, and now John warns the new church. Is there a lesson here for us? Persecution has always been a good advertisement for God’s Kingdom and results in growth. If we decide to grow silent and be a closet disciple when pressure mounts against the church, get ready to be swept away and suffer with the world in God’s judgment. It’s better to suffer as a Christian and reap a reward, than suffer as a coward and reap God’s judgment, Rev. 21:8. We are called to suffer for righteousness, therefore do not lie about your identity, your name is written in the Lambs book of Life, 1st Peter 3:9-17, 4:13-19.

“Pay Her Back” v6, Vengeance is mine says the Lord, and Rome’s death will be torturous, her burial will cause the world to weep and the saints will rejoice, this stark contrast in reactions throughout the civilized world may be one reason why God describes Rome’s destruction as swift, yet actually carries it out slowly. The Goths put the first scar on Rome in 269AD, and it’s final sack was in 410AD. The greatest Empire the world had ever known had it’s capitol destroyed in less than 140 years.

“In One Day”, v8, This anticipates complete change in the opposite direction. How could the richest ruling city in the world be turned into the poorest? The most painful way to do it, was the way God did it, slow & agonizing through the years, to this date, the glory of Rome is remembered but only it’s ruins are seen.

“The Fear of Her Torment”, v10-15, Merchants & Kings didn’t really love her, they cried and lamented as they left her because they just lost their ticket to riches. The hub of their power and access to an ally which led to money in the bank, was being ravaged and they started distancing themselves. The same kind of language used toward Tyre in their prosperity for themselves, instead of crediting God for their success, leads to ruin, see Ezekiel 27:1-13, 33-36, 28:1-19. Is the USA making the mistake of accrediting our self and our allies in making us rich and strong, or do we credit God for helping us? What is the real source of our riches? Remember our roots & resources!

“Will not be heard in you any longer” v21-24, The world governing city of Rome will not enjoy the Empire’s benefits from this day any longer. Their glory faded, the historian Gibbons writes concerning 253AD, “The Romans were irritated to a still higher degree when they learnt they had not secured a rest from attacks, even at the expense of their honor in losing over 70,000 soldiers to the Sassanids in Barbalissos of Armenia within the province of Mesopotamia. The dangerous secret of their wealth and weakness of the Empire had been revealed to the world, while new swarms of barbarians encouraged by their success kept attacking and not conceiving themselves (Romans) bound by the obligation of their allies, spread devastation through the provinces and terror as far as the gates of Rome itself”, Vol. 1, page 196. This chapter shouts at Christians today, “PATIENCE”!  Christians then and now can not afford to be short-sighted. Peter condemns it, 2nd Peter 1:8-9. Christians must be long-sighted, making our calling sure by holy living and receiving the Spirit’s patience and self-control, Gal. 5:22-23. The words, “ONE HOUR” are like a reference to time in other passages of the Revelation, noting a big change in events, not a 30 minute section of time (Rev. 8:1) Rome itself was turned into a burning warning to all nations and at all times, LEAVE MY PEOPLE ALONE OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES!