11/01/2006 - Final Thoughts on Revelation

Final Thoughts on Revelation

Date: 11/01/2006

Issue No. 220

The revelation portion of the Book of Revelation properly ends with Rev. 22:6 and 7,

6 And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true;” and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place. 7 And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.

The final instructions from this angel parallel those given to Daniel. He says in verse 10,

10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.”

Contrast this with the end of Daniel’s revelation as found in Daniel 12:9,

9 And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time.”

In the time of Daniel in the sixth century before Christ, the revelation was to be for “the end time.” Even though Daniel was living in the Babylonian captivity, his words were not to be understood until a later time.

But John’s revelation was not to be sealed. A seal was put on scrolls to prevent people from viewing its contents. The book of Revelation was meant to be understood. Why? Because “the time is near.”

This confirms the words of the angel in verse 6 (above), “the things which must shortly take place.” Recall also Rev. 1:1, which says the same thing.

In other words, the things in the Book of Revelation were never meant to be incomprehensible. They revealed the history of the Church Age from the time of John to the present day. The idea that most of the book is about the distant future is not supportable in the light of history. If Daniel’s words were sealed, being a mere six centuries early, then how is it that John’s writings were not sealed, if most of his words were at least 2,000 years early?

This is one reason I hold to the historicist view of the Book of Revelation, along with the vast majority of the Protestant reformers and scholars until the futurist view was invented in recent years. In my view, the only reason people still think the Book of Revelation is about future events is because they have not bothered to study actual history and correlate it with the symbolic events seen and recorded by John.

There is another direct parallel between Daniel and John. In both cases, the verses immediately following their instructions about sealing up the words are similar. Daniel 12:10 says,

10 Many will be purged, purified and refined; but the wicked will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.

John says in Rev. 22:11,

11 Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and let the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and let the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.

In other words, we are to understand that in both cases we are being brought back to the present reality, first in Daniel’s day, and then in John’s day. These words are not to be applied to the time of the New Heavens and the New Earth, as if it were part of the sequence of events being revealed in their respective books.

During the time of the New Heavens and New Earth, the unbelievers will be serving as bond-servants to the believers in order to learn righteousness in the lake of God’s fiery law. Sin will be restrained in that day, and men will no longer have the freedom to do wrong to their neighbors or to “be filthy.” These are, then, statements relating to the present time in Daniel’s day and John’s day.

Thus, Daniel’s statement is not speaking of the time of future judgment when he says, “Many will be purged, purified and refined; but the wicked will act wickedly.” This speaks of a present time of purging, purification, and refinement which is designed to create overcomers. It is during this time of refinement that the wicked will continue to act wickedly, for they follow the way of the world, rather than submitting to the refining of God.

John continues in Rev. 22:12,

12 Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.

Here again is a statement showing that John was writing from his perspective in his day. These words of Christ are about a future time—though He claims to be “coming quickly.” Even so, it is future from His point of view when he wrote this in 96 A.D.

This is a statement that is applicable specifically to the Great White Throne mentioned in Rev. 20:11-15. In that passage we read that “the dead were judged from the things that were written in the books according to their works” (20:12).

This judgment occurs after the general resurrection of the dead, in which both the unbelievers as well as the majority of believers are raised (John 5:28, 29). And so the “reward” in Rev. 22:12 is positive for believers and negative (corrective) for unbelievers.

Alpha and Omega

Rev. 22:13 reads,

13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, which are meant to symbolize the fact that He was in the beginning at creation and will be at the end of the divine plan as well. This is explained in Rev. 1:8,

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

In other words it indicates past, present, and future, which is a way of expressing His pre-existence as well as His immortality. It is also a more hidden way of saying that He is Truth. The Hebrew word for Truth is amet, or the name Emmett. It is spelled with the first, middle, and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph, mem, and tav). In order to understand the Truth of a matter, one must know its source, its end, and everything in the middle.

Those who have the mark of God, as opposed to the mark of the beast, are those who have this Truth. The Hebrew word amet can be viewed as a combination of am (Heb. “people”) and the tav, which means “a mark or sign” and was originally written as a cross. In this we see that the word for Truth can indicate “the people of the cross,” or the people who have the mark of God upon their forehead.

In other words, the people who are so marked are characterized by Truth in all its forms. The next verses explain this hidden meaning, saying in verses 14 and 15,

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

If the people are characterized by their love of the Truth, then those who love lying do not have access to the tree of life in the Holy City. This is the case on two levels. First, as believers, we are citizens of the Kingdom and have free access to the Throne of Grace (Heb. 4:16), wherein is the Tree of Life.

Secondly, in the Age to come, many will come to the Federation of Kingdom Nations to learn His ways (Isaiah 2:2-4), but they will have to “wash their robes” before they are able to enter the gates (border). [The KJV reads “keep His commandments,” but the original text reads “wash their robes.”]

The requirement to “wash their robes” does not mean that the people must do their laundry. When Israel was to meet God at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:10, they were required to wash their clothing as part of their consecration as a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation.

Likewise, when the people picked up the dead carcass of an unclean animal, they were to wash their clothes and be unclean until the evening (Lev. 11:25, 28). But I believe the primary reference is to the cleansed leper in Lev. 14:8,

8 The one to be cleansed shall then wash his clothes and shave off all his hair, and bathe in water and be clean. Now afterward, he may enter the camp, but he shall stay outside his tent for seven days.

This law of the cleansing of lepers is about coming from mortality to immortality. It was a requirement to wash one’s clothes in order to enter the camp after touching death, for death renders a person unclean and unfit to stand before God.

In other words, Rev. 22:14 is giving us a requirement for entering the City of God. It is not talking about how to go to heaven, but rather how to enter the Kingdom of God upon the earth. When Babylon is struck by the Stone on its feet, causing that great city to crumble into dust, the Stone Kingdom begins to grow until it fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:35). It grows by incorporating more and more nations and extending its territory until it fills the whole earth.

While we have seen an early form of this throughout the past on a more spiritual and individual level, we have never seen this occur on an international level. That is because Mystery Babylon has not yet fallen on the historical level. But God intends to reclaim His creation and purge it, creating, in effect, a New Heavens and a New Earth. The whole earth will be filled with His glory.

When we see the world system collapse, it will be time for the Holy Spirit to move in a new and powerful way in the earth, for He will be filling the power vacuum left by Babylon’s fall.

I believe that the overcomers will be raised around this time, perfected and immortal, to administer equal justice to all and be a blessing to all families of the earth. The nations that desire to be ruled by King Jesus will be purged of wicked men and of all unbelievers who would refuse to submit to Him and to His laws.

Those who may refuse to submit to Him will want to live somewhere else, because the divine law will be enforced in His Kingdom. So if they want to stay out of trouble, it would be better for them to live where they are free to sin.

For this reason, Rev. 22:15 says that outside the City are the immoral ones, murderers, idolaters, and liars, etc. They will not have access to the Kingdom of God in its New Earth manifestation any more than they would have access to the spiritual Kingdom today.

There is no religious freedom insofar as the Kingdom of God is concerned. There will be freedom of opinion within the boundaries of the law of the land, for we will be learning and receiving deeper understanding of Truth all the time. Thus, there will be room for spiritual growth. But the laws will be enforced according to the mind of Christ resident in the overcomers.

Non-Christians cannot be citizens of the Kingdom. Residency requires the washing of their clothing, which is a symbol of faith in Christ, hearing the Word, and being separated from death through the blood of Christ.

The Root and Offspring of David

Rev. 22:16 says,

16 I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.

First, Jesus identifies Himself as “the root and offspring of David,” for He is the subject of the prophecy in Isaiah 11:1, saying,

1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

He is not merely the branch, which is the “offspring of David,” i.e., the son of David. He is also the root itself, which indicates that He preceded David. In other words, He pre-existed David, even as He pre-existed Abraham, saying in John 8:58, “before Abraham was born, I am.”

David Himself prophesied of Christ in Psalm 110:1,

1 Yahweh said unto my Adonai: “Sit at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet.”

Jesus discussed this verse with the Pharisees in Matt. 22:41-45,

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They said to Him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him Lord, saying, 44 “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand until I put Thine enemies beneath Thy feet? 45 If David then calls Him Lord, how is He his son?”

Psalm 110:1 was considered to be a Messianic verse, but the Pharisees could not figure out why David would call his own son by the title of “Lord” (Heb. Adonai).

The answer is simply that the Messiah was more than the son of David. He was also the “root” of David—that is, He pre-existed David and was therefore older than David. David was respecting His Elder when he called his son Adonai, or Lord.

The name “Jesus” is the English translation of the Greek name Yesous, or Iesous. A century ago, when Rabbi Dr. Max Wertheimer was searching the Scriptures, he began to see that Jesus was really the Messiah that Isaiah had revealed as “My righteous servant.” He wrote:

Another problem succeeded it: ‘Why is the name Jesus never mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures?’ I studied this question. Imagine my surprise when I found that 275 years before Christ, King Ptolemy Philadelphus summoned men from Palestine, and bade them translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek vernacular. They took the Pentateuch first and when they came to the name “Joshua,” they translated it The Book of ‘Yesous,” written with a circumflex over it to show there had been a suppression of Hebrew that could not be expressed in Greek. When Joshua went into Canaan with the other eleven spies, he was called ‘Yehoshua’ (Jehovah is the Saviour). That is exactly what the word ‘Jesus’ means.” [from his tract, How a Rabbi Found Peace]

Joshua, or Yeshua, means “salvation.” This word is used all through the Old Testament, and Jesus Himself is the embodiment of Salvation. Exodus 15:2 says,

2 Yahweh is my strength and song, and He has become my Yeshua. This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God; and I will extol Him.

Isaiah 12:2 and 3 confirms the deity of Christ, saying,

2 Behold God is my Yeshua, I will trust and not be afraid; for Yah Yahweh is my strength and song, and He has become my Yeshua. 3 Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of Yeshua.

Jesus Himself referred to this verse when He shouted in John 7:37 and 38,

37 . . . If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture [Isaiah 12:3; 55:1; 58:11] said, From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.

Equating Jesus with the word Yeshua (“salvation”) in the Old Testament is not stretching the point at all. The elderly Simeon understood that the Messiah would be called Yeshua, and when Jesus was presented in the temple in Luke 2:29, 30, he prayed,

29 Now Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; 30 For my eyes have seen Thy Salvation [Yeshua].

Likewise, Jesus Himself understood these prophecies about Himself, for He told the woman at the well in John 4:22, “Salvation [Yeshua] is from the Judeans.” That is, the Messiah, named Yeshua, was prophesied to come from the tribe of Judah. All of this explains Jesus claim in Rev. 22:16 that He is the ROOT of David, and not merely his offspring.

The Bright Morning Star

According to A Dictionary of the Bible, by John D. Davis, first published in 1898, the name “Lucifer” was a reference to the bright morning star. Lucifer primarily refers to the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14, and as such was a counterfeit Christ. Under the heading of “Lucifer,” John Davis writes,

The planet Venus, as the morning star. With the exception of the sun and moon, Venus is the brightest object in the sky. It appears as a morning or an evening star according as it is west or east of the sun, returning to the same position about every nineteen months. As the former, Venus is the harbinger of daylight.”

The morning star indicates that Jesus appears before the dawn of a New Day. His first appearance signaled the dawn of the Pentecostal Day (Age); His second appearance signals the dawn of the Tabernacles Day (Age).

The Invitation

Rev. 22:17 says,

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

In the beginning, Eve sinned ignorantly, being deceived, and Adam followed with eyes wide open (1 Tim. 2:14). As a result, they were expelled from Eden and were kept from the tree of life by the sword of the Cherubim (Gen. 3:24).

The last Adam (Jesus) came to reverse this and to give us access once again to the tree of life. Hence, we read that both the Spirit and the bride say “Come.” The first bride (Eve) was expelled and could not issue such an invitation. But the last bride—the bride of Christ—is able to say “Come,” for she simply repeats what the Spirit says as an Amen company.

Those who thirst are invited to come, not only in Rev. 22:17, but also prophesied in Isaiah 55:1,

1 Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

The Fountain is Jesus Christ Himself, as we saw from Isaiah 12:3 and John 7:37. This water is freely given, for it is by grace that we are saved.