Bible Query from
Q: In Rev, what are the parallels with other verses in the rest of the Bible?
A: Surprisingly, there are few concepts unique to Revelation, as these 105 similarities show.
|Concept or phrase||Revelation||Rest of the Bible|
|Bear witness to the testimony of Christ||Rev 1:2||1 Jn 1:2-3 3 Jn 5,12|
|Blessed are those who hear||Rev 1:3||Mt 13:16|
|The time is near||Rev 1:3||Rom 13:11|
|Sevenfold Spirit||Rev 1:4; 4:5||Zech 3:9; Isa 11:2|
|Jesus firstborn of the dead||Rev 1:5||Col 1:15; Heb 2:6,9|
|Jesus freed us from sins by His blood||Rev 1:5||Rom 5:9; Heb 9:12-14; 10:19|
|We are kings and priests to God||Rev 1:5||1 Pet 2:4, 6,9|
|A kingdom and priests||Rev 1:6; 5:10||Ex 19:6|
|Jesus comes with the clouds; every eye shall see Jesus return||Rev 1:7||Mt 24:30; Mk 13:26; Lk 21:27; Acts 1:11; Dan 7:13|
|The wicked pierced Jesus and will mourn||Rev 1:7||Zech 12:10-14|
|Almighty||Rev 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7,14; 19:6,15; 21:22||Many OT. Rom 9:29; 2 Cor 6:18; Jms 5:4|
|Second death||Rev 2:11; 14:10-11; 19:20; 20:10-15; 21:8||Isa 66:24; Mt 13:24-43,50; Mt 25:41-46|
|Let him who has ears, let him hear||Rev 2:29; 3:6,13,22||Mt 11:15; Mk 4:23; Lk 8:8; 14:35|
|We must remain watchful||Rev 3:2,3||Mt 24:4,44; Mk 13:33; Lk 21:36|
|We do not know when Jesus will return||Rev 3:3||Mt 24:36; Mk 13:32|
|Never be blotted out of the Book of Life||Rev 3:5; 20:12||Ex 32:32-33; Ps 69:28|
|The Book of Life||Rev 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:27||Dan 12:1; Lk 10:20; Ex 2:32-33; Ps 69:28|
|What God shuts none can open. What God opens none can shut||Rev 3:7||Isaiah 22:22|
|Have an open door||Rev 3:8||Acts 14:27; 1 Cor 16:9|
|We will receive crowns and rewards||Rev 3:11||1 Cor 3:12-15; Php 4:1|
|We are a part of the Temple of God||Rev 3:12||1 Cor 3:16-17; 1 Pet 2:5-6|
|As many as are loved are chastened||Rev 3:19||Pr 3:11-12; Heb 12:5-11|
|The throne room in Heaven||Rev 4:1-11||Isa 6:1-7; Ezek 1, 10:1-22|
|Lightning from the throne||Rev 4:5; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18||Ezek 1:4,13,14|
|Four Living Creatures||Rev 4:6; 19:4||Ezek 1:5-19; 10:10-14|
|Sea of glass||Rev 4:6; 15:2||Ezek 1:22|
|Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty / Lord of Hosts||Rev 4:8||Isaiah 6:3|
|Jesus is the Lamb of God||Rev 5:1-8||Jn 1:29; 1 Pet 1:19|
|Jesus is honored as the Father is||Rev 5:12-13; 7:10||Jn 5:22-23|
|Wars and fighting come before the end||Rev 6:1-4||Mt 24:6-7|
|Famine||Rev 6:5-6||Mt 24:7|
|Plague and death come before God||Rev 6:7-8||Ps 50:3; Mt 24:7|
|Sword, famine, wild beasts and plague||Rev 6:8||Ezek 14:21|
|Sun turns dark and moon turns to blood||Rev 6:12-13||Joel 2:2,10; 3:15; Mk 13:24; Lk 21:25; Isa 24:23; Am 8:4|
|The stars fall from the sky||Rev 6:13||Joel 2:10; Mk 13:25|
|Sky receded like a scroll||Rev 6:14||Isa 34:4|
|Earthquake at the end||Rev 6:12; 8:5; 11:13,19; 16:18-19||Mt 24:7; Mk 13:8; Lk 21:11; Jer 4:24; Isa 29:6; Nah 1:5|
|People hide in caves from Godís wrath||Rev 6:14-17||Isa 2:10-11; 19-21; Lk 21:26|
|Four destructive angels||Rev 7:1||Zech 6:1-8; ~Jer 49:36|
|Godís name will be on our foreheads||Rev 7:3; 9:4; 14:1;22:4||Ezekiel 9:4|
|The great silence||Rev 8:1||Zech 2:13; Hab 2:20|
|Trees and grass burned up||Rev 8:7||Joel 1:19|
|Water turned to wormwood||Rev 8:10-11||Jer 9:15|
|Dreaded locusts, looking like horses||Rev 9:1-12||Joel 2:3-11; Ezek 5:17?|
|Euphrates River||Rev 9:14; 16:12||Isa 11:15-16|
|Parts of Godís Revelation sealed up||Rev 10:4||Dan 12:9; Isa 29:11-12|
|Eating a scroll||Rev 10:9-10||Ezek 2:9-3:3|
|Measuring the temple||Rev 11:1-2||Ezek 30-43|
|3 Ĺ years||Rev 11:1-3; 12:6; 13:5||Dan 9:26-27; 12:7,11|
|Two olive trees and two lampstands||Rev 11:4||Zech 4:3,11-14|
|The Last trumpet;||Rev 11:15||1 Cor 15:52|
|Ark of the Covenant in Heaven||Rev 15:5; 11:19||Heb 9:23|
|Michael||Rev 12:7||Dan 12:1; Jude 9|
|Dragon casting down stars||Rev 12:4||Dan 8:10|
|Satan being cast out of Heaven||Rev 12:9||Ezek 28:16-17|
|A flood, or river of water||Rev 12:15||Dan 9:26; Nahum 1:8|
|An allegorical godly lady and her offspring||Rev 12:17||2 Jn 1,5|
|A beast with ten horns||Rev 13:1-3; 17:3||Dan 7:4-7|
|Singing a new song||Rev 14:3-4||Ps 149:1|
|Grapes of wrath||Rev 14:17-19||Isaiah 63:1-6; Joel 3:13|
|Spirits sent to gather the nations for battle in general or against Edom||Rev 16:12-14||Obadiah 1 (Edom)|
|Great battle at Armageddon||Rev 16:14-16||Isaiah 34,63; Hab 3|
|The future evil of Babylon||Rev 17||Zech 5:5-11; 1 Peter 5:13; Isaiah 21:9; 49:20; Jeremiah 50:2-8|
|Cup of the maddening wine of adultery||Rev 17:4; 18:3||Jer 51:7; Ezek 23:31-34|
|Destruction of Babylon||Rev 14:8; 16:19; 18; 19:1-4||Isa 47; Jer 50-51|
|Jesus / the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night||Rev 16:15||Mt 24:42-43; 1 Thess 5:2; 2 Pet 3:10|
|Trading in the bodies and souls of men||Rev 18:13-14||Joel 3:3|
|What city is like Babylon/Tyre destroyed in the midst of the sea?||Rev 18:17-19||Ezek 27:32-34|
|Smoke goes up forever||Rev 19:3 (Babylon)||Isa 34:10 (Edom)|
|The bride of the Christ, the lamb||Rev 19:7; 21:9||Eph 5:32|
|Robe is dipped in blood||Rev 19:13||Isaiah 63:1-3|
|Jesus coming with armies following Him||Rev 19:14||Mt 16:27; Jude 14; Dan 7:10|
|River of fire coming out of the Christ / Ancient of Days||Rev 19:16||Dan 7:10|
|God / Jesus treading on the winepress of the fury of the Godís wrath||Rev 19:15b||Isaiah 63:1-3|
|Birds gorging themselves on flesh||Rev 19:17-21||Mt 24:28; Lk 17:37; Dt 28:26|
|The Millennium (1000 years)||Rev 20:1-7||Isa 35|
|Coming to life again||Rev 20:4-5||Dan 12:2|
|Reign with Christ||Rev 20:4,6||2 Tim 2:12|
|Gog and Magog killed; battle outside of Jerusalem||Rev 20:7-9||Ezek 38-39; Zech 12:7-11; 14:2-8,12; Isa 29:6|
|Devil and others cast into Lake of Fire||Rev 20:10||Mt 25:41|
|Book of deeds||Rev 20:12||~Ps 139: 16|
|Judged according to their deeds||Rev 20:13; 22:12||Mt 25:31-46|
|Death will be destroyed forever||Rev 20:14||Isa 25:7-8|
|People go into the Lake of Fire||Rev 20:15||Mt 25:41|
|New Heaven and new earth||Rev 21:1||Isa 65:17-25; 66:22-24; 2 Pet 3:13|
|God will live with His people in the New Jerusalem||Rev 21:2-3; 22:3||Zech 8:3|
|No need for sun and moon in Heaven||Rev 21:3-5; 22:5||Isa 60:19-20|
|Wipe away every tear||Rev 21:4; 7:17b||Isaiah 25:8|
|God is the beginning and the ending||Rev 21:6; 22:13||Isaiah 41:4|
|Believers will be Godís sons||Rev 21:7||Jeremiah 3:19, Galatians 3:26|
|New Jerusalem on a great mountain||Rev 21:10||Micah 4:1-2|
|New Jerusalem has a gate for each tribe||Rev 21:12-13||Ezek 48:30-35|
|New Jerusalem / church built on 12 foundations of the apostles||Rev 21:14||Eph 3:20|
|Angel with a rod to measure the city||Rev 21:15||Ezekiel 47:3-6|
|River / fountain flowing out of Jerusalem||Rev 22:1-2||Ezek 47:1-2; Zech 14:8; Joel 3:18|
|The tree of life||Rev 22:2-3,14,19||Gen 2:9-10; Ezek 47:12|
|Leaves of the tree of life for healing||Rev 22:2||Ezek 47:12|
|We will see Godís face||Rev 22:4||Ps 11:7; 17:15; 27:8|
|Phrase: spirits of the prophets||Rev 22:6||1 Cor 14:32|
|No worship of angels||Rev 22:8-9||Col 2:18|
|Do / Do not seal up words of a prophecy||Rev 22:10||Dan 12:4|
|Good and evil both increase||Rev 22:11||Dan 12:10|
|Jesus is the morning star||Rev 22:14||2 Pet 1:19|
|The evildoers remain outside||Rev 22:15||1 Cor 6:9-10|
|Say, come, thy kingdom come, or look forward to Christís return||Rev 22:17,20||Mt 6:10; 2 Pet 3:12|
|Destruction of the four horsemen (Rev 6:1-8)||Four horses roaming throughout the earth (Zech 1:8-11)|
|Seven seals on a scroll and their curses (Rev 6:1-7:17)||Flying scroll of curses (Zech 5:1-4)|
|Eagle flying with three woes (Rev 8:13)||Flying scroll of curses (Zech 5:1-4)|
|Measuring the Temple but not the outer court (Rev 11:1-2)||Measuring the city but then donít measure it.) Zech 2:1-3)|
Q: Since Rev seems so unusual, so why should it be considered scripture?
A: Revelation parallels many earlier Old Testament and New Testament writings as the answer to the previous question proves. Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.), Justin Martyr, the Muratorian Canon, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Hippolytus all said it was written by John. Tertullianís Five Books Against Marcion book 4 lines 180-184 very strongly implies John wrote Revelation. The Letter to Diognetus (c.130 A.D.) appears to refer to it in chapter 12, and Ignatius, who was a disciple of John the Apostle, in his letter to the Smyrneans reminds his readers of their previously known teaching, of which we have no record whatsoever, except in the book of Revelation. Dionysius of Alexandria was probably the first to question if John was the same apostle John, but that was 150 years after it was written.
Fragment 8 of writings concerning Papias, probably written about 400 A.D. says, "With regard to the inspiration of the book (Revelation), we deem it superfluous to add another word; for the blessed Gregory Theologus and Cyril, and even men of still older date, Papias, Irenaeus, Methodius, and Hippolytus, bore entirely satisfactory testimony to it." (Ante-Nicene Fathers volume 1 (Roberts & Donaldson editors, 1994) p.155.
Q: In Rev 1:3, should Christians spend time studying about the endtimes?
A: Yes, because Revelation 1:3 says so. Since approximately 2/3 of the doctrinal material of the New Testament is concerned with the second coming of Christ, R.C. Sproul in Now Thatís a Good Question p.488-490 says, "So just from the sheer volume of information in both the New and Old Testaments that focuses on the future consummation of the kingdom of God, itís obvious that this was a burning matter of importance to the early Christian church and to the teaching of Jesus himself. ... At the same time we ought not to be preoccupied."
Q: In Rev 1:4 and Rev 4:5, is the Holy Spirit one, or seven?
A: Scripture tells us of only one Holy Spirit. However, Revelation 1:4 shows the Spirit has seven distinct parts. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.431-432 and When Critics Ask p.557 say these are named in Isaiah 11:2 as the spirit of LORD, wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and fear of the Lord. Zechariah 3:9 speaks of the stone set before Joshua the high priest with one stone and seven eyes. Zechariah 4:10 also mentions the seven eyes of the Lord.
Q: In Rev 1:4,8,11,17, is it the Father, or the son, who is the Alpha and Omega, who was and is and is to come, the first and the last?
A: These two titles, as well as many others, are shared by the Father and the Son. For another example of a shared title, see John 8:58 for another example. Ambrose of Milan (c.378 A.D.) in his work, Of the Holy Spirit book 1 chapter 13, wrote more on the sharing of the divine names. See The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 2nd Series p.110-111 for more info.
It must be difficult to be a Jehovahís Witness when the Father and Son share so many titles. The JW Awake Magazine 8/22/1978 p.28 says the Alpha and Omega here refers to Jehovah God. Yet the 10/1/1978 Watchtower Magazine p.15 says it refers to Jesus Christ. See Sixty Questions Every Jehovahís Witness Should be Asked p.24 for more info.
Q: In Rev 1:5 (KJV), should it say "washed us" or "freed us" like other translations?
A: The Text of the New Testament by Bruce Metzger (1968) says the KJV here used later manuscripts and it should be "freed us". He also says the error likely occurred because pronouncing the two in Greek is almost indistinguishable. Williams Translation has "released us from our sins", which is similar to "freed".
Q: In Rev 1:5, how is Jesus the firstborn of the dead?
A: See the discussion on Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 2:6 for the answer.
Q: In Rev 1:7, when Jesus comes back in the clouds, could that refer to the Guru Maharaj Ji flying from India to America in an airplane, as the Divine Light Mission taught?
A: No, for at least four reasons.
1. Acts 1:11 says that Jesus will return in the same way He ascended to Heaven.
2. Acts 1:11 says it will be this same Jesus
3. Revelation 1:7 says that every eye will see him.
4. Revelation 1:7 and Acts 1:11 both imply a miraculous coming, that people would view as spectacular. Nobody paid much attention to Guru Maharaj Ji flying from India in an airplane.
See also the discussion on Hebrews 12:1.
Q: In Rev 1:7 and Acts 1:11 was Jesus coming back in the clouds show they thought there was a cosmic "up"? (The skeptic Bart Ehrman asked this in Jesus, Interrupted p.280-281)
A: I am surprised at Ehrmanís absolute skepticism here. If an Apollo spaceship orbited the earth, and on a cloudy day it went through the clouds to land, I would says it came back through the clouds. If an airplane took off, I would say it flew up into the sky. And I donít have to believe in a cosmic "up" to say that, mathematically speaking, "up" is a single direction, called r, using radial coordinates.
Q: In Rev 1:7 and Acts 1:11, is it "incomprehensible" that Jesus would literally return in the clouds as Rev. Moon claims?
A: No. Here is what the cult leader Rev. Moon wrote: "Consequently, the most important matter of all is the viewpoint from which one interprets the Bible.... since it is absolutely incomprehensible to the intellect of modern men that the Lord would come on the clouds, it is necessary for us to consider the Bible in detail a second time..." Divine Principle p.500.
It is no more incomprehensible than Jesus leaving in the clouds in Acts 1:11. Perhaps one of the root problems of many in the Unification Church is a lack of faith in Godís ways, and a gullibility to follow someone elseís ways. See also the next question.
Q: In Rev 1:7, how can "every eye" see Jesus coming back in the clouds?
A: In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, skeptics used to use this verse to show the Bible was wrong, because it was impossible for every eye to see Jesus, given that the world was round. That was before the invention of TV or video.
Of course, even without TV or live video, if Jesus came to earth in a circular path, or if Jesus came in a straight path and took more than 24 hours, every eye could still see Jesus. See When Cultists Ask p.304 for more info on Revelation 1:7.
Q: In Rev 1:7, how could even those who pierced Jesus see him, since they had died long ago?
A: First what the cult leader Rev. Moon says from the Divine Principle (fifth edition, 1977), and then the answer.
Rev. Moon says that the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus could not see him, since the Roman soldiers were not resurrected yet. Since the "ones who pierced him" will not really see him, we should interpret this verse as a parable. Since the ones who pierced him is only symbolic, Christ returning in the clouds is symbolic too. (Divine Principle p.513). The clouds really represent groups of people, and Christ returned is really Rev. Moon from Korea.
There are two different ways those who pierced him could see Jesus returning.
1. What could stop God, who is Almighty, from letting people in Hell glimpse Jesus returning to earth? Since John 5:28-29 says all, even the dead will hear Jesus when He comes forth, then there is no problem with all, even the dead, seeing Jesus, too.
2. Jesus did not die just for the Roman soldiers and Jews of that time. He died for all of us, and in this sense, we all pierced him, too.
Q: In Rev 1:7, will Jesusí return be invisible as Jehovahís Witnesses teach?
A: Revelation 1:7 could not be more plain: "every eye will see him". Furthermore, Acts 1:10-12 says that Jesus will return the way he ascended to Heaven. They visibly saw Jesus ascend into Heaven. See When Cultists Ask p.304 for more info.
Q: In Rev 1:8, is the "Alpha and Omega" Jesus?
A: Yes, contrary to what Jehovahís Witnesses say. According to Jehovah Witness theology, only the Father is "Almighty" God, and Jesus is "Might god", and "the Almighty" is mentioned here. However, there is a problem with their theology, because it is clearly Jesus for three reasons.
1. It was Jesus, not God the Father, who was pierced,
2. It is Jesus who is coming in Revelation 1:8
3. The person speaking is the Alpha and Omega in Revelation 22:12-13, and that person is Jesus in Revelation 22:20.
Also, the meaning of "Alpha and Omega" is similar to "first and last", which is a title of Jesus in Revelation 1:17-18 and 2:8.
See When Cultists Ask p.304-305 for more info, and Jehovahís Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse p.101-103 for a sample dialog useful in talking with Jehovahís Witnesses.
Q: In Rev 1:9, did John voluntarily "retire" to the Island of Patmos, as the skeptical Asimovís Guide to the Bible (p.959) says was according to legend?
A: No. In Revelation 1:9 John says he was on the Island of Patmos "because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus" (NIV) In On the Twelve Apostles p.254-255 said to be by Hippolytus it says, "John, again in Asia was banished by Domitian the King to the isle of Patmos in which he also wrote his Gospel and saw the apocalyptic vision; and in Trajanís time he fell asleep at Ephesus where his remains were sought for, but could not be found."
Q: In Rev 1:10 is the "Lordís Day" Saturday or Sunday here?
A: It was most likely Sunday, because "the Lordís Day" would be the day Jesus rose from the dead. As one preacher said, John might have felt discouraged, so God took him to church! Some Christians disagree and feel this was the Sabbath (Saturday).
For a non-Christian perspective, Asimovís Guide to the Bible (p.1194) discusses both, but he claims it is probably Saturday, because Sunday was not considered special until "the early decades of the fourth century." However, Asimov apparently missed the fact that Paul instructed the Corinthians about the regular collection for Godís people that was to be taken on the first day of the week in 1 Corinthians 16:2. Why would he instruct that if they did not already have a special assembly on the first day of the week? Paul never told them to gather together for the offering, presumably because they already were gathered together on the first day of the week.
Q: In Rev 1:11 (KJV, NKJV), should it begin with "saying, ĎI am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and, what..." or "saying, what..." as other translations?
A: That phrase is absent in the NIV, Wuest, Expositorís Bible Commentary, The Greek New Testament by Aland et al., RSV, NASB, uNASB, and Williams Translation, Zane Hodgesí Translation. It is not even listed as a manuscript variant in Aland et al..
The phrase is present in the KJV, NKJV, Greenís Translation.
How did this get in the Textus Receptus? The Expositorís Greek New Testament vol.5 p.281 says The exceptionally corrupt state of the Textus Receptus in the Apocalypse [Revelation] is due to the fact that for this book Erasmus (to whose text it goes back) had access to only a single cursive1 (numbered 1) of the twelfth or thirteenth century. Even that was inferior and incomplete.
Q: In Rev 1:13 (KJV), what are paps?
A: This King James Version word means "chest".
Q: In Rev 1:15; 2:12, how can a sharp two-edged sword come out of Jesusí mouth?
A: John is describing what He saw and its effects. Whether John saw rays of light, or something else is not the main point. Since God created the universe by His word (Psalm 33:6,9), Godís Word is the most potent weapon around.
I heard of a somewhat irreverent article asking about the outcome of a hypothetical battle between Jesus and an evil version of Superman. It said Jesus would win, simply because no matter what happened to Him, Jesus would always rise. This article forgot about the power of the words God utters, and the almighty power to blast anyone into an almost infinite number of pieces. Kryptonite would be unnecessary.
Q: In Rev 1:17, why did John fall at Jesusí feet as though dead? Did John really die?
A: That is the effect of Godís holiness on people, even believers, prior to them being transformed in Heaven. John himself might not know if he had died or not. Either John did die in the presence of Jesus, or John fainted as though dead. Most people think the latter.
Q: In Rev 1:20, Rev 2 and Rev 3, who are the seven angels of the seven churches?
A: The Greek word here, angelos, can mean messenger as well as angel. Christ was not encouraging and rebuking angels in Heaven; rather Jesus had words of encouragement and rebuke for the seven churches, and the message was delivered through angels. Regardless of whether these seven were angels or human messengers who visited John, their function was to communicate to the seven churches.
Q: In Rev 2:1-3:22, what do we know about the seven churches in general?
A: These churches form a circle in Asia Minor (modern Turkey), and John likely ministered in this region. There were many other cities with churches that could have been written to, but for some reason, there was a special message for each of these seven churches. It is likely that these particular seven churches illustrated seven types of churches, both then and now.
Q: In Rev 2:1-7, what do we know about the city of Ephesus?
A: Until Constantinople was built later, Ephesus was the dominant city between Corinth and Antioch. To give an idea of its importance, The New Bible Dictionary (1978) says the road to this port city was 70 feet wide, and its population was a third of a million. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.534 also estimates its population was 300,000.
Ephesus was inhabited before the 12th century B.C., and passed peacefully to Roman rule in 133 B.C. The theater Paul entered could seat 25,000 to 50,000 people. Pictures of it are in the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.535 and The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.316. It also adds that Miletus was the leading trading port, but when its harbor silted up (before Paulís time) Ephesus displaced it. When the harbor at Ephesus silted up later, Smyrna replace Ephesus as the leading port. The dominant influence in Ephesus was the Temple of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt. There were many Jewish merchants in the city.
Also, Timothy stayed in Ephesus in 1 Timothy 1:3.
Q: In Rev 2:4, what does it mean for believers to forsake their first love?
A: Even genuine love, if not maintained and nurtured, can grow dim. Christians have a duty to persevere and remain devoted to Christ. Unfortunately, they can let their love grow cold and only rarely want to draw near to Christ.
Q: In Rev 2-3, were these messages a) the current situation, b) prophecies which were fulfilled shortly after or c) prophecies of the history of the church through the ages?
A: All agree this describes seven local churches at the time of Revelation and shortly thereafter. Beyond this, there are two main views.
Church Period Theory: This view says this illustrates seven periods of the church. A telling shortcoming of this theory is that advocates do not agree on the periods, except that Ephesus was the early church, and the present age is within the Laodicean Period. I once taught a Sunday School, where I split church history into seven periods on cards. I did not put any dates. Each group of three of four people had to try to match the description on the cards to the church in Revelation. The groups did not all agree on the matching, and no groupís matching followed the order of history.
J. Dwight Pentecost was one teacher of this theory in his class on Pauline Epistles and Revelation. According to the class notes
33-100 A.D. was Ephesus
100-316 A.D was Smyrna the persecuted church
316-615 A.D. is Pergamum the state church
615-1517 A.D. Thyatira - Roman Catholicism (what about Greek Orthodox Christians???)
1517-1750 Sardis - The Reformed church
1750-1850 A.D. Philadelphia - the Believing Church
1850- Laodicea, Liberalism
See the next question for more info on this theory.
Church Type Theory: Today for example, it is hard to believe the church in China, the church in Indonesia, and the church in North America have exactly the same problems, strengths, and shortcomings. The seven churches in Revelation illustrate seven types of churches, each type of which was more or less present throughout all of church history.
Q: In Rev 2-3, what is a condensed summary of the history of the church, and how does it compare?
A: Here is my opinion of a summary of the church, assuming it has to be split into seven parts and we are in the last parts.
Some think the seven churches in Revelation stand for seven church ages; other Christians do not. The point of this exercise is to attempt to fit these "ages" to the seven churches in Revelation. The use of stones as names has no significance. There are eight stones, so two of them must be combined to match seven churches.
JASPER: There was a great Church Council that excluded a large group of church-goers. After much war a great city was sacked. This was an age of great missionary outreach. There was an emphasis on Mary the mother of God and icons. There was a terrible plague. Learning declined.
CHALCEDONY: A great persecution just finished. During this short period, there was a great Church Council that excluded a large group of church-goers. After much war a great city was sacked. Except for this, things looked so good it looked like the millennium might be starting. A great number of being baptized, many of which had not completely forsaken pagan customs. The church was becoming institutionalized.
SAPPHIRE: First there was a great Church Council that excluded a large group of church-goers. There was severe war and persecution of many Christians. A few Christian rulers sought to get rid of the veneration of icons, but their efforts were subverted. There were some false apostles, and there were false writings of authority.
CARNELIAN: A small number of true Christians were persecuted by a false church that ruled society. The institutional church received much revenue from people paying money to free souls from purgatory, but it was morally bankrupt. A great city was sacked. There were great plagues during this time. The plagues were so severe, that many stayed home for public gatherings, including church services. This was a time of great missionary outreach, but many of the baptisms were coerced. There was a major church split during this time. This was a time the doctrine of "the third Rome" started.
TOPAZ: There was, for some, a fear of the end of the world coming at the start of this time. Christians and non-Christians fought for hundreds of years, and many warlike pagans were converted into warlike Christians. Many Christians in one large area of the world were annihilated. There were three new great world powers that started. True Christians were persecuted by the institutional church. There was much mysticism, must scholarly learning, much celibacy, and much sexual immorality in the church. There was a major church split during this time.
EMERALD: There had been many great wars, but there were many great wars yet to come. There was a great surge in learning and a secularization of society in this time. There was great persecution of Christians, a great stagnation and falling away, and great revivals during this time. There were great plagues during this time. There were empires that were almost as large as a previous one. There were new aids for evangelism.
AMETHYST: For Christians there were three crucial wars during this time: all of them were intellectual and not military. There were three or four great military wars too. Christianity was decimated in one region, but rapidly increased in another. Many cults started on primarily two regions. There was a great increase in learning the truth, and great increase in the study of foolish error. Christianity was simultaneously growing very rapidly, suffering under intense persecution, and drifting along. There were new aids for evangelism.
BERYL: This short period was a time of great persecution. There was also a great battle against cults. The church was small but vibrant, with a few tendencies toward legalism. There were keen on doctrine, but unfortunately too quick to add their own doctrines to scripture.
Q: In Rev 2:6, who were the Nicolaitans?
A: They taught that living an immoral life was perfectly fine for a Christian. According to Eusebiusís Ecclesiastical History (book 3 ch.29 p.161) the Nicolatians mentioned in Revelation came from Nicolas. Irenaeusís Against Heresies book 1 ch.26.3 p.352 and book 3 ch.11.1 p.426 (182-188 A.D.) also describes them as libertines, or trying to be both spiritual and immoral. One characteristic of libertines is that they often reject all moral absolutes, and think that almost nothing is black and white. Clement of Alexandria 193-217/220 A.D.), Tertullian (198-220 A.D.), Hippolytus (225-234/5 A.D.), and Victorinus of Pettau (martyred 307 A.D.) also discuss the Nicolaitans. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.759-761 for more info.
Q: In Rev 2:7 and Rev 22:2, is this tree the same one that was in the Garden of Eden?
A: God can build things to last, so it might be the same tree. However, nothing restricts it from being a different tree, or a tree that grew from the tree in Genesis 2:9.
Q: In Rev 2:8-11, what do we know about the city of Smyrna?
A: Smyrna was a very ancient port. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the first inhabitants were the possibly non-Greek Lelegians, allies of the Trojans in the 10th century B.C. (Iliad x, 429; xx. 96). The Anchor Bible Dictionary volume 6 p.73-75 says that based on Herodotus, Ionian Greeks seized the city from Aeolian Greeks, who were all outside the city celebrating a festival to Dionysius, god of wine, before 688 B.C.. The powerful Mermnad king Gyges (c.687-652 B.C.) opposed Lydia, and Smyrna was destroyed in 627 B.C. by the Lydians under Alyattes III (609-560 B.C.). Smyrna was only a small group of villages until it was "resurrected" by the Macedonian general Lysimachus around 288 B.C.. Smyrna was allied with Rome against the Seleucids, and built a temple to the goddess Roma in 195 B.C.. The Parthians occupied Smyrna from 41-39 B.C. Worship of the Roman Emperor was strong there, because in 26 A.D., they asked Emperor Tiberius for permission to build a temple to the Roman Emperor as God. Smyrna also had a large Jewish population. The highest point, 525 foot high Mount Pagos/Pagus/Pagros, had a ring of buildings that from a distance would look like a crown. Curving around the mountain, east and west was a road called the "Street of Gold". There probably was a temple at either end of the road. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1601-1602 and the Wycliffe Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology p.542-543 also add that the population at that time was about 200,000. The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1949) says that in 1940 the modern city of Izmir, on the same site, had a population of 184,000.
Physically, Smyrna is at the point where the Hermus river flows into gulf. It has a well-protected harbor, and The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.950 says it was the endpoint of a trade route through the Hermus Valley.
In Christian times, Ignatius (98-116 A.D.) a disciple of John, wrote a letter to the Smyrnaeans. Polycarp was a bishop of Smyrna who was martyred in 155 A.D. Pionius was martyred there in 250 A.D.
Q: In Rev 2:9, how could Jews form a synagogue of Satan?
A: The Bible does not say they explicitly called it a synagogue of Satan, only that it served as a synagogue of Satan. If a synagogue, or any religious assembly actively opposes the Gospel, it is used by the devil.
Q: In Rev 2:12-17, what do we know about the city of Pergamum?
A: Pergamum passed peacefully to Roman rule in 133 B.C. One of the two most important influences at Pergamum was the strong worship of the Emperor. The second major influence was the magic and astrology, which came from Babylon.
Q: In Rev 2:13, how did Satan have "a throne" at Pergamum?
A: This does not mean this is where Satan lives, but rather it was a center of Satanic activity centering on the worship of the Roman Emperor (on this throne). Pergamum had a temple to the divine Augustus and goddess Roma. It also had a temple to the snake-god Asclepius, from which modern medicine gets its symbol. It had a Temple to "Savior Zeus". See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.757-759 for more info.
Q: In Rev 2:14 (KJV), who was Balac?
A: This is the same as Balak, whom you can read about in Numbers 22:2 - 24:12.
Q: In Rev 2:14-16, 2:21-23, can genuine believers follow Balaamís teaching and commit sexual immorality?
A: -Unfortunately, yes. David did in the Old Testament, and God disciplined him for his sins.
Q: In Rev 2:17, what is the significance of the white stone?
A: In those times, when there was a public event, such as a competition or a theater performance, the white stone served as a ticket to attend.
Q: In Rev 2:18, how do you pronounce "Thyatira"?
A: According to Crudenís Concordance, the city is pronounced "THI-a-TI-ra, with two long iís, two long aís, and the accent on the first and third syllable. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary has the same accents, but both of the aís have dots over them.
Q: In Rev 2:18-29, what do we know about the city of Thyatira?
A: Physically, Thyatira was 52 miles northwest of Smyrna, along a major road connecting the Caicus and Hermus river values. The modern site is Akhisar.
Thyatira passed peacefully to Roman rule in 133 B.C. In Acts 16;14-15,39, a dealer in purple cloth named Lydia, whom Paul met in Philippi, was from Thyatira. Dyes, garments, brass, and pottery were made on this frontier fort. The Anchor Bible Dictionary volume 6 p.546 says that it was especially important center of the wool trade. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1703-1704 says there is evidence of more trade guilds than in any other Asian town. The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.1013-1014 says that the importance of membership in the trade guilds might have been a temptation for Christians there to compromise.
Q: In Rev 2:20, was the immoral woman really named Jezebel?
A: It could have been her actual name, a nickname, but it is more likely a comparison of the evil of this woman with the Jezebel you can read about in 1 Kings 21.
Q: In Rev 2:27, does this quote from Ps 2:9 refer to Christ or Christians?
A: It primarily refers to Christ, and in a secondary way, Christ allows it to be applied to Christians. Christ reigns in Heaven, but Ephesians 2:6 Revelation 3:21 say we will be co-seated with Christ on His throne.
Q: In Rev 3:1-6, what do we know about the city of Sardis?
A: Physically, Sardis was in the Hermus Valley, 2 Ĺ miles south of the Hermus River and at the foot of the 1,000-foot high Mount Tmolus. It was about 50 miles east of Smyrna.
Long before the Roman Empire, Sardis used to be the capital of the mighty Lydian Empire. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says the Cimmerians captured Sardis in the seventh century, and the Persians and Athenians captured it in the 6th century. The Lydians of Sardis captured Ephesus in 560 B.C. Sardis was a fine site for a capital, because of the high cliffs of Mount Tmolus that made it extremely difficult to capture.
Almost everyone in Johnís time would know the story of how Sardis was captured by the Persians. Some sources say this was in 549 B.C., others 546 B.C., and others say 539 B.C. A Lydian soldier accidentally dropped his helmet, and, with the Persians watching, carefully went down a narrow way through the cliff to retrieve it. At night, the Persians used that route to capture the city. Sardis was captured by Antiochus the Great the same way in 214 B.C., again at night. As Revelation 3:2,3 says, we should be watchful.
Sardis was destroyed by an earthquake in 17 A.D., but it was rebuilt. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1525 says there was a large, but unfinished temple of Artemis. It was 160 by 300 feet, with 78 columns 58 feet high.
A reference in Obadiah 20 might refer to Sardis, which would date Jewish settlers in Sardis back to then. From the third century on, there was the largest Jewish synagogue ever discovered. The Anchor Bible Dictionary volume 5 p.982-984 says this was an ornate building, 85 by 20 meters that could have held up to 1,000 people. It adds that this tends to debunk the theory that Jews were "ghettoized" in Roman cities. Other synagogues were much smaller, but there were synagogues in Acmonia, Apameia, Aphrodisias, Hierapolis, Laodicea, Miletus, and Priene.
In Christian times, Melito (flourished 161 A.D.) was a famous bishop of Sardis. The Persian Chosroes II devastated Sardis in 616 A.D. Christianity survived in Sardis, though with bishops living there until Gregory (ca.1315-1343 A.D.).
See also The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.897-898 for more info.
Q: In Rev 3:3, does "coming as a thief" here refer to Christís Second Coming.
A: No, according to The NIV Study Bible p.1929. It gives the reason that Christís coming is not conditioned on the churchís refusing to repent.
A second, different view is that if they refuse to repent, when Christ unexpectedly comes again, they will be as unprepared as a homeowner when a thief breaks into their house.
Q: In Rev 3:5, Rev 13:8, Rev 17:8, Rev 20:12,15, and Rev 21:27 is the book of life "originally ...merely a metaphoric expression signifying the list of living people... and to die would be to be blotted out of that book", and only in post-Exilic times, it became those who would live in Heaven, as Asimovís Guide to the Bible states (p.1200-1201)?
A: No. This is a one of a great number of (almost) unsubstantiated claims that Asimov is fond of making. Other verses in the Bible on the Book of Life, such as Daniel 12:1, and Luke 10:20 (names written in heaven), all are consistent with the Book of Life being those living in Heaven. Asimov would agree, since these verses are all Post-Exilic. He makes his entire case on the only pre-Exilic verses that mention the Book of Life, Exodus 32:32-33, Psalm 69:28. However, Psalm 139 mentions that all Davidís Days were written in Godís book (not necessarily the book of life, though), before one of them came to be. Thus, at least for this book, it is not simply a record of those currently living.
Asimovís claim is almost unsubstantiated, although he does try to substantiate it in a way by mentioning this is based on his opinion that afterlife was only taught in Post-Exilic times. However basing an entire argument on an assumption is not the same as basing an argument on facts. Here is why his assumption that afterlife was only taught in Post-Exilic times was wrong.
Asimovís argument is curious, as nearly all of the ancient Mideast cultures had some concept of afterlife. Perhaps he forgot that the Egyptian pyramids were built by slaves for the purpose of Pharaohís afterlife. Likewise, the Hittites, built a rock sanctuary of Yazilikaya to the deceased king. The Scythians also had elaborate tombs. Out of Sumerians (Abrahamís people), Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Hittites, Greeks, Scythians, and others, Asimov would make the Hebrews unique in not believing in an afterlife.
Here is an incomplete list of the many Biblical proofs of belief in afterlife, using only Pre-Exilic verses.
Exodus 3:15 Jesus used this verse to refute the Sadducees, who denied an after life. Jesusí point, as valid now as it was then, it that it Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had to still exist in Mosesí time, since God said He "is" the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Sadducees apparently had no answer for this.
1 Sam 2:6 (NIV) "The Lord brings death and make alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up." (NIV)
Psalm 49:14 (NIV) "But God will redeem my soul from the grave; he will surely take me to himself."
Psalm 22:29, (NIV) "...all who go down to the dust will kneel down to Him..."
Psalm 23:6, after telling about the shadow of death in Psalm 23:4, David says, "He will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Psalm 49:8-9 (NIV) "The ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough - that he should live on forever and not see decay."
Psalm 52:8-9 (NIV), "I trust in Godís unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you forever... I will praise you in the presence of your saints."
Isaiah 25:7-8 (NIV), "On this mountain he [God] will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever...."
Isaiah 53:8-10, after saying the one who suffers for us will be killed and put in the grave of a rich man in verses 8-9, yet he shall see his offspring in verse 10.
Hard Sayings of the Bible p.104 says essentially the same thing.
Nevertheless, it is amazing to see how many learned men and women will deny even these two texts [Isaiah 26:19 and Daniel 12:2] and argue that the Old Testament teaches virtually nothing about resurrection or life after death.
The truth of the matter is that ancient peoples were more attuned to the subject of life after death than moderns suspect. The peoples of the ancient Near East wrote at length about what life was like after one left this earth. One need only consult such representative pieces as the Gilgamesh Epic, The Descent of Ishtar into the Netherworld, the Book of the Dead and the Pyramid texts. Indeed, the whole economy of Egypt was geared to the cult of the dead, for all who wished to be a part of the next life had to be buried around the pyramid of the Pharaoh. ... By the time Abraham arrive in Egypt, such concepts had been emblazoned on their walls in hieroglyphics, murals and models made of clay, to make sure no one missed the point. Life after death was not a modern doctrine developed by an educated society that began to think more abstractly about itself and its times. Instead it was an ancient hunger that existed in the hearts of humanity long before the patriarchs.... Why should we attribute this idea to the second and third centuries B.C. if already in the third and second millennium B.C. there is strong evidence to support it?
The earliest biblical mention of the possibility of a mortalís inhabiting the immortal realms of deity can be found in Genesis 5:24 [God taking Enoch away with Him]."
Q: In Rev 3:5, can a Christian be blotted out of the book of life?
A: This verse is saying two of the three things below, but genuine Christians disagree on which two things.
1. All agree that believers in Heaven will never fall or lose their salvation.
2a. Christians who believe you cannot lose your salvation can interpret this as a general promise, available to all true believers in both Heaven and earth unconditionally.
2b. Christians who believe you can lose your salvation can interpret this as a specific promise, as certain believers on earth, called overcomers, are given the promise that they will never lose their salvation. See the discussion on Ephesians 1:14 and Hebrews 6:4-10, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.938-939, and The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.193-194 for more info.
Q: In Rev 3:7-13, what do we know about the city of Philadelphia?
A: King Eumenes II of Pergamum founded it in the 2nd century B.C., named it (city of brotherly love) in honor of his loyal brother Attalus. It and Sardis were destroyed by an earthquake in 17 A.D., and it was rebuilt with money from the Roman Empire. The city was temporarily renamed as Neokaisareia in honor of Caesar.
Q: In Rev 3:8, how does Jesus set an open door before people?
A: In at least three ways.
Salvation: Jesus opens the door to Heaven for us. He is both the gate (John 10:9) and the gatekeeper (John 10:3). (As a side note, if Heaven had a literal gatekeeper, it would be Jesus, not Peter.) The door to the wedding feast was shut in Matthew 25:10.
Ministry: An open door was a metaphor for a ministry, as Acts 14:27 and 1 Corinthians 16:9 show.
Passage: When John was transported to Heaven in a vision, it was through an open door in Revelation 4:1.
Hope and Restoration: Even an evil place like the Valley of Achor could be a door of hope in Hosea 3:15.
Q: In Rev 3:12, since Christians are living people, how can Christians be pillars in Godís Temple?
A: The Almighty God can make a Temple comprised of living people if He wants to. God will, according to 1 Peter 2:5-6 and 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. However, this is a symbol of our eternal abiding with God, not that we will be changed into marble.
One could guess that this is where the expression "a pillar of the church" comes from.
Q: In Rev 3:14-22, what do we know about the city of Laodicea?
A: According to the Strongís Exhaustive Concordance, "Laodikeia" is from a comparison of two Greek words, #2992-laos-people and #1349-dike-right, justice. In Gaebeleinís Concise Commentary (by Arno C. Gaebelein, 1861-1945) page 1208, he gives the meaning of Laodicea as "the judging or rights of the people." The KJV Parallel Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson Publishers c. 1994) page 2666, in reference to Laodicea, also lists "rights of the people."
Antiochus II rebuilt Laodicea in 250 B.C.. He named it after his wife, Laodike. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 60 A.D, prior to the book of Revelation being written.
The Laodiceans were wealthy enough that they rebuilt the city without external government assistance. Laodicea had fertile land, produced glossy black woolen clothes, and eye-salve. Unfortunately, it had a poor water supply. Unlike nearby Hierapolis, which had hot water, and Colossae, which had cold water, the water at Laodicea was lukewarm, from being piped in from hot springs. Many of these are alluded to in the message to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22.
Q: In Rev 3:14 (KJV and NKJV), since Christ is the "beginning of Godís Creation", does this show Christ is a created being as Jehovahís Witnesses teach?
A: No. The Greek word here, arche, is the word from which the English language gets its prefix "arch". Arche means head, or ruler, as well as beginning. Jehovahís Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse p.103-104 and When Cultists Ask p.305 mention that the word architect is derived from arche; as such, Jesus is the architect of all creation.
Williams Translation is very clear her. It says, "the origin of Godís Creation" with a footnote saying "Grk., beginning, but in philosophical sense, so origin."
While all of creation had its beginning and creation through Christ, the primary thought here is that Christ existed before Creation and has sovereignty over Creation, as The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.941 says.
Q: In Rev 3:19, why does God rebuke and chasten those He loves?
A: God chastens His children in a similar way as good parents discipline a child they care about. They love the child too much to let the child grow up with a lack of discipline. For good parents, the childís well-being, moral character, and development is more important than their short-term comfort.
Q: In Rev 4, who is sitting on the throne, the Father or the Son?
A: It is most likely the Father, since the Son took the Scroll from His right hand in Revelation 5:7. It is not the Lamb, based on Revelation 5:13.
However, this being the Father does not show that God is a man or came from a man, contrary to Numbers 23:19 and 1 Samuel 15:29. Rather, God can appear as a burning bush or as any form He desires, and this is how He appeared to John in this vision.
Q: In Rev 4:4 and Rev 11:16, who are the 24 elders, who are seated on their own thrones?
A: God has not told us their identity, yet. There are three basic views.
(likely) Individual people: The twelve apostles and twelve representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus promised the disciples they would sit on twelve thrones in Matthew 19:28.
(unlikely) Groups: The twelve tribes of Israel and Christians. 1001 Bible Questions Answered (p.272) believes they are the enthroned church. Foreshadowing this, there were 24 rotations in the Levitical priesthood in 1 Chronicles 24. However, there is no precedent for saying Christians are in twelve groups, and it would be strange if it gave this as a symbol when the symbol would be meaningless to most believers reading it.
Angels: A special order of angels.
Q: In Rev 4:4,9-10 is John seeing himself in this vision?
A: If the 24 elders are individuals, as is probable, then yes, John would be seeing himself in this vision.
Q: In Rev 4:6-9; 5:145; 15:5, who are the four living creatures?
A: Genuine Christians disagree on the identity of these mysterious "cherubim-class" of angels. Cherubim also are mentioned in Ezekiel 10:1-16; 1:5-21; 3:12-14,23. Cherubim are either:
Identical with the Seraphim in Isaiah 6: because the descriptions are compatible, or else
Different from Seraphim in Isaiah 6: because the Old Testament uses two different words in Isaiah and Ezekiel.
Q: In Rev 5:5, will Jesus come again as a lion, or as a lamb as Rev 5:8 mentions?
A: Two aspects of Christ are that He was offered as a sacrifice like a Lamb, and He will come a second time with the fierceness of a lion. His coming again as a lion does not change what He did in the past, being sacrificed as a lamb (John 1:29). See When Critics Ask p.552 and Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.127 for more info.
Q: In Rev 5:8-13, is this worship of Christ?
A: Yes. This is an excellent verse to show the worship of Christ. Please notice the following.
1. They fell down before the Lamb. (5:8)
2. They were doing this act with the prayers of the saints. (5:8)
3. They praised the Lamb as worthy. (5:9)
4. Then the angels praised the Lamb as worthy. (5:12)
5. The angels sang that the Lamb was worthy to receive many things, including honor and glory and praise. (5:12)
6. Then every living creature said to both the Father and the Lamb "be praise and honor and glory and power..." (5:13 NIV).
7. The four living creatures said "Amen" to all that.
8. Finally when the elders fell down and worshipped in 5:14, they were apparently worshipping the ones they were praising in 5:8-12).
This is in sharp contrast to Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie, who said it was wrong to worship Jesus. (McConkie said this in Our Relationship with the Lord, an address at Brigham Young University). This is also in sharp contrast to Jehovahís Witnesses, who believe you could "honor Jesus, sort of like many people pledge allegiance to the flag of their country", but not worship Him.
Q: In Rev 5:8; 14:1-2; 15:2, what does this say about using instrumental music to worship God?
A: Since they used mechanical instruments of music to worship God in the Old Testament, as well as in Heaven, worshipping God in music is acceptable and pleasing to Him.
The Church of Christ sees this differently though. According to the Church of Christ booklet Instrumental Music in Worship p.25-26 acknowledges that music is OK in the home, and even if the references to harps are to be taken literally, "What God ordains for heaven is one thing; what He authorizes for the church is something else."
Letís try to follow the consistency of this logic here. While God enjoyed instrumental music during Old Testament times He does not like it now for worship on earth. But God never told us in the New Testament that this changed. While God now may like instrumental music in Heaven, He does not like it now for worship on earth. While it is fine to have instrumental music now on earth (if it is wholesome), it is not fine for worship.
I can just imagine a Church of Christ parent telling their teenager, "You can play those Christian CDís if you want, but while you are listening there had better not be any worship of God going on in your heart."
Q: In Rev 5:9 (KJV, Greenís Literal translation), should it say "us" or "men" as the NIV says?
A: Neither noun is explicitly there in the Greek. The Greek simply says, "redeemed/purchased". The words "men" or "saints" are better than "us", because the four living creatures are speaking too, and God did not redeem them.
It is translated as "men" with the word men in italics or else square brackets to show that it was not in the Greek in the NASB, uNASB, and Wuestís Expanded Translation. The NRSV has "saints". The NET Bible has "persons". The NKJV, like the Greek, has no noun here. It says, "And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation," See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.338 for more info.
Q: In Rev 6, have the four horsemen come yet?
A: -Probably not. The things they represent (conquest, war, famine, and death/plague) have been around since before John was born. However, the prophecy of the four horsemen in Revelation 6:1-8 was probably not been fulfilled yet, because these things have not come in such great magnitude in the correct order, unless you count 1415- for conquest, 1914- for war, 1917- for famine, and 1918- for plague.
If you wish to analyze the data yourself, www.BibleQuery.org/horsemen.html gives my estimates since Johnís time.
Q: In Rev 6:1, is the rider on the white horse Jesus Christ?
A: No. While Jesus comes on a white horse too, this is not Jesus, because Jesus does not have a bow (or an empty bow), Jesus is not "bent on conquest", and Jesus is not on parallel with war, famine, and plague. The identity of this horseman might be related to Matthew 24:23, where many imposters of Christ will come.
Q: In Rev 6:8, what exactly is the color of the fourth (pale) horse?
A: Greeks did not use the same descriptions of color that we have. According to Through the language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages by Guy Deutscher, the Greeks described colors differently that we do. They often said things were black or white, and they would describe the sea as "wine-dark". The Greeks had no word for blue. The Greek word chloros, usually translated as "green", was also used by the Greeks to describe honey and peopleís faces. Give the broad range of meaning, probably the best English translation of this word is "pale".
Q: In Rev 6:9-11, how many Christian persecutions have there been?
A: The following is a partial list of persecution of Christians, and the thousands killed
|50-323 A.D.||10 Early Christian Persecutions||50|
|50 A.D.||Roman Nero persecutes Christians|
|95/96 A.D.||Roman Domitian persecutes Christians|
|107 A.D.||Roman Trajan persecutes Christians|
|118 & 134 A.D.||Roman Hadrian persecutions Christians|
|135 A.D.||Christians in Israel persecuted by Jews (not Romans) under the Bar Kochba Revolt|
|177 A.D.||Roman Marcus Aurelius persecutes Christians|
|202 A.D.||Roman Septimus Severus persecutes Christians|
|235 A.D.||Roman Maximim persecutes Christians|
|250-251 A.D.||Roman Decius persecutes Christians|
|251-253 A.D.||Roman Gallus persecutes Christians|
|253-260 A.D.||Roman Valerian continues to persecute Christians|
|270 A.D.||Roman Aurelius persecutes Christians|
|284,303-305 A.D.||Roman Diocletian persecutes Christians|
|315-323 A.D.||Roman Licinius persecutes Christians in the east|
|370 A.D.||Roman Arian Valens kills Christians in the east|
|525 A.D.||Christians flee Ethiopian Jewish persecution|
|527-568 A.D.||Byz. Justinian persecutes Monophysites in Egypt|
|700-||Muslims persecute Christians|
|978-1000||Jewish Queen Judith of Axum persecutes Christians|
|1000-||Persecution of Waldenses in Europe|
|10th - 12th centuries||Burning and killing heretics in Europe|
|1100-1300||Mongols kill most Nestorians|
|1211||At Strasbourg, Waldenses burned||0.08|
|1252||Innocent IVís bull for torture to detect heresy|
|1261-1331||Dominicans bring in the Inquisition|
|1232||Dominican Inquisition under Albert|
|1233||Inquisition instituted by Gregory IX|
|1309||Venice under heresy for opposing Clement V|
|1415-16||In Czechoslovakia Hussites revolt|
|1419-34||Crusade against Hussites in Hungary|
|1431||Hussites scare off large Holy Roman Empire Army|
|1480||Spanish Inquisition by Ferdinand and Isabella|
|1487-88||Crusade against the Waldenses|
|1527||Mantz and other Anabaptists killed in Zurich|
|1545||Waldenses persecuted in Italy|
|1555-60||Waldenses persecuted in Italy|
|1562||At Toulouse, French kill Huguenots||4|
|1576-93||In France, Catholics and Huguenots fight|
|1618-48||Thirty years war kills 1/3 of Germans||7000|
|1629-69||"Trample the crucifix" persecution in Japan|
|1637||Japanese + Dutch artillery crush Christians|
|1655||Many Waldenses killed in Italy and France|
|1808||Napoleon ended the Spanish Inquisition|
|1820-41||Christians persecuted in Vietnam|
|1870-90||Guatemala persecutes priests; only 100 left|
|1915-||Persecution of Christians under Communism|
|1956||Protestants persecuted in Colombia|
|1976||16 priests and 1,000ís of Catholics murdered in Guatemala||1,000ís|
|1990-||Severe persecution in Sudan by Muslims|
|1998-||Muslims violently persecuting Christians in Indonesia|
|1998-||Muslim persecution of Christian churches in Uzbekistan||probably 0|
|2001-||Bhutanís Buddhist king persecutes Christians by taking away their free education and medical care unless they pledge not to gather to worship or evangelize. Some have been badly beaten, fired from their jobs, and expelled from Bhutan||0|
|2008-||Hindus persecute Christians in Orissa province in India|
Q: In Rev 6:12, what major earthquakes have occurred?
A: The earthquakes and darkness in Revelation have not occurred yet. Here are some of the earthquakes that have happened.
1201 Earthquake in modern day Syria 1000K dead
1/23-24/1556 Earthquake in Shanxi, China 830K dead, class XI
1883 Earthquake near Java, Indonesia 100K dead
1883 Krakatoa blew up. 12 square miles (31 square kilometers) of land went into the atmosphere. The noise was heard 3000 miles (4,800 km) away. In England and America they called it the year without summer.
Q: In Rev 6:12-14, how could these things happen in our solar system?
A: God Almighty can change or supersede the natural laws whenever and however He wishes. You know, some people have a very difficult time with the concept that a natural law can be superseded. For example, when the Wright brothers were experimenting, many people were so certain that "man cannot fly", their limited view of the natural law for heavier-than-air objects rendered them incapable of believing in aircraft. The Wright brothersí accomplishments were notable not just for what they did, but also in the cultural climate of supposed "certainties" of natural law.
Q: In Rev 6:13, what is the point of late figs?
A: According to The NIV Study Bible p.1933, green figs appear in winter, where they are easily blown from the trees, because the trees have no leaves.
Q: In Rev 6:16, does Jesus, the Lamb of God, have wrath?
A: Yes, Jesus has wrath as well as mercy. Romans 11:22 says to consider both the kindness and sternness of God. See When Critics Ask p.552 and Haleyís Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.116 for more info.
Q: In Rev 7:1, do the four angels at the four corners of the earth mean the earth has four corners?
A: No. These refer to four angels who stand at the found points of the compass. These are perhaps the same as the "four winds" in Jeremiah 49:36 that went against Elam and the four chariots in Zechariah 6:1-8. See When Critics Ask p.553 for more info.
Q: In Rev 7:2-4, since an angel rises in the east, does this prophecy Rev. Moon coming from an eastern nation as Rev. Moon says in his Divine Principle p.519-520 (5th edition, 1977)?
A: As When Cultists Ask p.306-307 points out, Revelation 7:2-4 says,
a) An angel, not the Messiah (angels are not to be worshipped according to Revelation 22:8-9, and Colossians 2:18).
b) It is in the direction of east, not a country or city of the east.
In addition, it will be the same Jesus according to Acts 1:7, and Jesus will return the same way He came. The Unification church tries to make a distinction between "Christ" who is coming back, and "Jesus" who died. However, every knee will bow to Jesus in Philippians 2:10-11.
Q: In Rev 7:3-8 and Rev 14:1-5, could the 144,000 be a select class of believers, as Jehovahís Witnesses teach (Reasoning From Scriptures, 1989 p.76)?
A: The 144,000 are said to be men (not women) from the twelve tribes of Israel. While these verses do not use the word "males", it is clearly males because Revelation 14:4 says they "did not defile themselves with women".
Heaven is for all who believe in Jesus (Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 3:1; 12:22).
The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.60-61 adds, "What about the Watchtower [JW] contention that the tribes mentioned in Revelation 7 cannot be literal tribes of Israel? One must first point out that the very fact that specific tribes are mentioned along with specific numbers for those tribes removes all possibility that this is a figure of speech. Nowhere else in the Bible does a reference to 12 tribes of Israel mean anything but 12 tribes of Israel." When Cultists Ask p.307-308 points out that while the word "tribes" is used frequently in Scripture, it is never used for anything except literal tribes.
Some have the view that 144,000 refers to all Christians. When Critics Ask p.553-554 mentions this view and shows why this is incorrect. Jehovahís Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse p.104-106 adds that if the 12,000 was just a symbolic number, then their sum, 144,000, must also be a symbolic number. If so, what in the world is 144,000 a symbol of? (Most JWís I know of agree the 144,000 is a literal number, though.)
Q: In Rev 7:5-8, why was the tribe of Dan absent?
A: Scripture does not say, but many think it was because Dan was the first tribe to become idolatrous; they became completely idolatrous, and were largely destroyed. Some speculate that since Jeremiah 4:15 mentions Dan (as well as Ephraim) in referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, these tribes are not mentioned.
Some, as far back as Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) in Irenaeus Against Heresies book 5 ch.32.2 p.559 and his pupil Hippolytus (225-235/6 A.D.) in Treatise on Christ and Antichrist ch.14-15 p.207 have speculated that Jeremiah 8:16, as well as Deuteronomy 33:22 indicated that the Antichrist would come from the tribe of Dan.
Q: In Rev 7:6-8, why was the tribe of Ephraim absent, and Joseph mentioned instead?
A: As The Complete Book of Bible Answers (p.61) points out, Ephraim was involved in pagan worship of God (Judges 17 and Hoses 4:17). Thus Joseph was mentioned rather than a tribe that was synonymous with Samaria.
Q: In Rev 7:1-8 and Rev 14:1-4, who are the 144,000?
A: Verses 5-8 are not meaningless. They are stated as 144,000 Jewish/Israelite men, from each of the twelve tribes, excluding Dan. While many Jewish people today do not follow Christ, Zechariah 12:10-14 shows there will be a future time when the Jews will mourn for the one they pierced (Christ). Romans 11:25-28 shows that in the end many in the Jewish nation will turn to Christ.
However, this does not support the false, extreme view that all Jews are going to Heaven, regardless of their rejection of Christ. Jesus told the very religious Pharisees in John 8:24, that if they did not believe Jesus was the Messiah, they would indeed die in their sins. Other verses that show that Jews as well as non-Jews need Jesus are Acts 3:19-20; Matthew 23:29-33; John 10:7-8,14-16. For evidence that God has not rejected the Jews once Jesus come, Paul gives as "proof" the fact that he came to believe in Christ, in Romans 11:1.
See the previous four questions for more info. See also Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.432-434, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.761-763, 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.283, and When Critics Ask p.553 for more info.
Q: In Rev 7:7, why was the tribe of Levi included, since the Levites did not have any land?
A: Their inclusion means this was not just a list by land. As The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.61 speculates, perhaps it was because their role as priests and Levites was finished once Christ came.
Q: In Rev 7:9-17, who are the great multitude?
A: These are some other believers besides the 144,000. The great multitude are those who have come out of the great tribulation. The phrase "made their robes white in the blood of the lamb", has the meaning of believers who are killed as martyrs for their faith.
It is important to note that the great multitude stand before the throne of God in Revelation 7:9. Also, Revelation 19:1 clearly says they are "in Heaven", contrary to what the Watchtower teaches (Watchtower magazine 2/1/82 p.26). Watchtower magazine 3/1/1985 p.14 also discusses the JWís view of the great multitude. See Jehovahís Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse p.106-110 for more info.
Q: In Rev 7:14, should it best be translated "great tribulation" (KJV), or "the great tribulation" (NIV, NKJV, Green)?
A: The Greek here is emphatic and indicates the first. It could be translated "out of the tribulation, the great one" according to 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.282. The NRSV has "the great ordeal" and NCV has "the great suffering" which are equivalent to the second. Wuestís Expanded translation has "the tribulation, the great one."
Q: In Rev 9:1, what is the abyss?
A: The Abyss is neither Hades, Hell, or the Lake of Fire. Here is what the Bible says about the Abyss.
Luke 8:31 Demons begged Jesus not to order them to go there
Revelation 9:1, 20:1 Like Death and Hades, the Abyss has a key to lock beings inside.
Revelation 9:2 The Abyss is a smoke-filled pit.
Revelation 9:3 Special locusts that tormented men for five months came from the Abyss.
Revelation 9:11 The King of the locusts, the angel of the Abyss is Abaddon (Hebrew), Apollyon (Greek)
Revelation 11:7 The beast that kills the two witnesses is from the Abyss.
Revelation 17:8 The beast the woman sits on comes out of the Abyss.
Revelation 20:2 Satan will be locked in the Abyss for 1,000 years. It is interesting that Satan is chained as well as thrown in there.
Revelation 20:3 It will be sealed shut for 1,000 years.
Revelation 20:7 The Abyss will be a prison for Satan. (No mention of torment though.)
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.763-765 for more info.
Q: In Rev 9:6, what does it mean that men shall seek death and not find it?
A: It means that, at this time, God will not allow people to escape the wrath by dying. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.289-290 for more info.
Q: In Rev 9:11, who is Abaddon, the angel of the Abyss?
A: There are two views:
Satan himself. 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.62 advocates this view.
Another demon, since he is given a different name than Satan, and nowhere are the two said to be equivalent.
Q: In Rev 9:16-17, what is this army of 200 million?
A: There are at least four possibilities.
Possibly supernatural warriors (demons) that kill people.
More probably ordinary people. In the 1960ís, Chairman Mao claimed that by calling up all reserves, Mainland China alone could field an army of 200 million troops.
Combinations of the above.
See also the next question for more info.
Q: In Rev 9:16-17, how could there be an army of 200 million horsemen on this earth?
A: These were not ancient troops, and they were mounted on no ordinary horses. John called these horses that had smoke and fire coming out of their mouths (exhaust pipes?). The colors are similar to many flags, which have red, blue, and yellow.
Q: In Rev 9:16-19, what are these multitude of horsemen? Could they be tanks and armored vehicles, planes, and helicopters?
A: Revelation does not actually say these could fly, but it does not eliminate that possibility either. It is not necessary that they be all one thing. For example, they could be a mechanized division with tanks, trucks, cars, and motorbikes. They could also include robots. However, all of this is pure speculation. It remains to be seen what they are.
Q: In Rev 10:1, who is this mighty angel?
A: Scripture does not say. There is no reason to suppose this is Christ, though. The Greek language has two words for "another": the first is "another of a different kind", and the second is "another of the same kind". It is the second word that is used here.
Q: In Rev 10:4, why did God "tease" us with telling John the words of the seven thunders, yet command John not to write them down?
A: This is the most explicit reminder of an important point frequently implied in the book of Revelation. God has not told us everything yet. We will not have everything fit together neatly until these events occur. God is giving a very similar reminder in Daniel 12:9.
Q: In Rev 10:8-9, is the little book here actually "Divine Science" by Mary Baker Eddy of the Christian Science cult, as Science and Health (p.558-559) says?
A: No, though some people could see a similarity, as it made John sick to his stomach. In a way that was unintended, it is tempting to relate this book to cults that have teaching that seems sweet, yet leads to a bitter result.
However, cults are not the focus of this passage. This is speaking of Godís impending judgment, which sounded good to John at first, but then on reflection did not seem very pleasant. See When Cultists Ask p.308 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament p.954-955 for more info.
Q: In Rev 10:7, is it Gabriel that blows the horn?
A: The Bible never says who blow the horn, only an angel. The secular song "The Eyes of Texas" is apparently the source of the thought that Gabriel blows the horn.
Q: In Rev 10:9-10, what is the significance of eating a book that is sweet in Johnís mouth but bitter in his stomach?
A: Here is one likely meaning. Some things sound nice and sweet when you first learn of them, but upon reflection, they can have a bitter aftertaste. Some of the things John heard sounded great, but He realized the terrible things the world would go through first.
Q: In Rev 11, could the two witnesses be Mohammed and ĎAli as the Bahaiís say? (Some Answered Questions p.43-61)
A: No for the following eleven reasons.
1. Revelation 11:3 says they will prophesy for 1,260 days. Mohammed made very few prophecies, and ĎAli was never considered a prophet by orthodox Muslims.
2. Revelation 11:5 says that if anyone tries to harm them fire devours their enemies. Mohammed was poisoned (but barely survived), and ĎAli was assassinated by a Muslim. ĎAliís cause was defeated by Muíawiyah, and his son Husain was slain. He did not devour his enemies; instead, he was killed by them.
3. Revelation 11:6 The two prophets can shut up the sky so that it will not rain. Mohammed never claimed to do that, and neither did ĎAli.
4. Revelation 11:6 Mohammed and ĎAli did not turn waters into blood, as almost all of the people they beheaded, burned, or otherwise slew were not by rivers. If a Salafi Muslim were to argue that they made rivers of blood that does not count, because Revelation 11:6 says they turned waters into blood.
5. Revelation 11:7-8 Mohammed was not killed by violence, and in both cases their bodies were not put on humiliating public display.
6. Revelation 11:8 their bodies were not put in the street of a great city. In fact, relatively few saw ĎAli die.
7. Revelation 11:9 Everybody did not gaze at their dead bodies and refuse them burial. Mohammed in particular was buried rather promptly by his followers.
8. Revelation 11:10 Who sent out lots of gifts when Mohammed and ĎAli were killed?
9. Revelation 11:11 There is a small sect of Muslims, called Muhammadiyya, that claims that Mohammed never died. The Sabaíiyya are a small sect of Muslims that claim ĎAli never died. Except for these small groups, Muslims have no basis for saying either Mohammed or ĎAli were raised back to life.
10. Revelation 11:12 Muslims never say Mohammed and ĎAli did not ascend to heaven in a cloud. (Though Muhammadiyya and Sabaíiyya might disagree.)
11. Revelation 11:13 There was not a severe earthquake when either Mohammed or ĎAli left the earth in a non-existent cloud.
The point is not whether you can allegorize away some of these reasons. The point is that if even one of these reasons cannot be allegorized away, then the prophecy does not refer to them.
Q: In Rev 11:1, what is the significance of John measuring the Temple of God?
A: This may mean that was an actual, real temple with physical dimensions.
Q: In Rev 11:2, can the mention of Jerusalem being trampled for 42 months mean the time between the Hejira of Mohammed and the revelation of the Bab in 1260 A.D. as Bahaíis teach in Some Questions Answered p.46-47?
A: No. Abduíl-Baha claims that since a day is [allegedly] always a year, that is 1,260 years. But consider this: if day here really meant day, how could God communicate this in a way that they would accept it? No, there is no reason to doubt that days means days here.
Furthermore, if the 42 months was the time when the Gentiles were trampling the holy city, then this interpretation would mean that Mohammed in Medina, and Mohammed later in Mecca was include din the time when the holy city was getting trampled.
Actually Revelation 11:2 relates to the same subject as Daniel 12:6.
Q: In Rev 11:2, what is the significance of the three and a half years?
A: It is the same three and a half years mentioned as the last half of the period in Daniel 9:27. The would be 360-day years. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.282 for more info.
Q: In Rev 11:3-12, who are the two witnesses?
A: There are four main views.
Elijah and Moses both had miracles like these. Elijah was taken up to Heaven (2 Kings 2:11), and Mosesí was buried by God and his body was never found (Deuteronomy 34:6; Jude 9). Also, these two appeared to Jesus in his First Coming at the transfiguration.
Enoch and Elijah both they have both not seen death yet. Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) in A Treatise on the Soul ch.50 p.227-228 held this view.
Two individuals who have not been born yet.
Two groups of people, though this is an unlikely stretch.
1001 Bible Questions Answered p.284-285 believes it will be Elijah and either Moses or Enoch.
Q: In Rev 11:3-12, do the two witnesses prophesy for the first half of Danielís seventieth week or the second half?
A: While scripture does not explicitly say, it mentions this after the Gentiles trample on the city for 42 months. This would indicate it would be during the last half of Danielís seventieth week. 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.284, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.955, and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.2367 say the same. The Expositorís Bible Commentary vol.12 p.503, with prefers the first view, adding that Hippolytus, Victorinus, and Augustine also held this view.
Q: In Rev 11:10, what is the significance of sending each other gifts?
A: There are at least three possibilities.
1. It could be a one-time exchange of gifts to celebrate the witnesses being killed.
2. It could be a brand new holiday, starting by the authorities of that time, to celebrate the death of the two witnesses.
3. It could just happen to coincide with an existing holiday where people exchange gifts. Three holidays where people exchange gifts are:
Christmas: Most Christians exchange gifts on December 25, but some Orthodox exchange gifts in January.
Divali/Diwali/Deepawali/Deepavali is a five-day Hindu festival of lights which has somewhat different meanings in north and south India. It is usually around the last half of October to the first half of November.
Eid ul-adha in Islam is when people exchange gifts to celebrate Abrahamís almost sacrificing his son. "Eid" means festival in Arabic and is also the last day of the Hajj pilgrimage. This can be in January.
Q: In Rev 11:13, which city is the great city?
A: This is almost certainly Jerusalem.
Q: Was Rev 11:12-13 fulfilled by an earthquake in Shiraz when the Bab was executed as Bahaíis teach in Some Questions Answered p.55-56?
A: No. First of all, I have not seen any evidence of an earthquake in Shiraz at this time. Second, if Bahaíis want to make Revelation 11 refer to Mohammed and ĎAli, and then they switch the subject to the Bab in Revelation 11:12-13, they cannot have their cake and eat it too. Either The Bab was one of the two witnesses or he was not. If he was not, then it is stretching the Bible to take this verse in isolation and say it refers to the Bab.
Q: In Rev 11:14-15, is Mohammed the first woe, and the Bab the second woe, as Some Questions Answered p.56-57 says?
A: Bahaíis can say Mohammed is the first woe if they want, but I do not think they would want to say that, if they read what the first woe really was. The first woe, the fifth trumpet, is described thoroughly in Revelation 9:1012. Hellish locusts from the abyss sting the non-believers on the earth. They tortured them for 42 months. It will be so painful that the people will want to die, but death will elude them.
The sixth woe, the sixth trumpet, is when the four angels at the Euphrates river let loose 200,000,000 mounted troops to kill 1/3 of mankind. Do Bahaíis really want to say the Bab loosed forces that killed 1/3 of mankind?
Q: In Rev 11:15, is this the same angel as in Rev 10:1-10?
A: Probably not, because the seventh angel in Revelation 11:15 had a trumpet.
Q: In Rev 11:18, is God against all polluters?
A: No. Pretend, for the moment, that all pollution was a sin. Since using electricity causes it to be generated, in most cases generating electricity causes pollution, all use of electricity would be a sin. Do you ever use a heater? All driving or riding in cars, motorboats or fuel-powered vehicles would be a sin. However, even horses in the city pollute, unless you potty-train the horse, and they release methane gas into the atmosphere. When you make an airline reservation, instead of riding in a DC-10 or 747, make sure to tell them you want a glider!
We cannot seriously answer this question until we know what a sin is. Sin is missing the mark, when your heart, words, or actions are not what God desires you to do.
Some polluting is not a sin. For example, lighting the fires for the sacrifices for burnt offerings was not a sin, and in general, pollution where the effects are reversible in a reasonable period of time is not a sin. As an example, I am not concerned with throwing bread on the ground, particularly when I am feeding squirrels. I will not throw paper or cans on the ground though, because those will not disappear quickly. I certainly will not leave pieces of balloons on the ground, because animals can swallow them and choke to death.
In summary, Christians should want to reduce all pollution, especially the more serious kinds. However, Christians are to be reasonable, too.
Q: In Rev 11:18, why does God destroy those who destroy the earth, since He destroys too?
A: All the earth is the Lordís (Psalm 24:1) and who are we to tell God what to do with His own belongings? God has given a time to every material thing, and God can destroy His things in His time; it is not our prerogative.
Q: In Rev 11:18, should Christians be for protecting the environment?
A: Yes, though realizing that people are more important than animals, and not taking extreme, bizarre measures. Ever since Adam we have been to some degree caretakers of the planet we live on. While we do not know how long we will be here, while we are here we should not ruin or poison it us and future descendants.
On February 8, 2006, 85 evangelical leaders, including Rick Warren, took out a full page ad in the New York Times saying we should do more to stop global warming. According to a February 9, 2006 article in Reuters by Alan Elsner, a poll showed 63% of evangelicals thought the U.S. should address global warming, and half said the U.S. should act even if there is a high economic cost.
Since that time it appears it should be properly called global climate change rather than global warming. The average temperatures are getting warmer in the polar regions, but not as much in the temperate regions. Glaciers are melting, Greenland is shrinking, but the temporal areas are still colder than they were in 1200 A.D. when Vikings grew barley in Greenland. Beautiful coral reefs are slowly dissolving due to higher ocean acidity. So letís try not to be the biggest polluters of the environment, but letís keep things in perspective.
Q: In Rev 11:19, 15:5, is this the same Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament?
A: It could be. On the other hand, the Old Testament ark could be a copy of an original ark, in Heaven. Hebrews 8:5 mentions that it was important for Moses to make everything after the pattern he saw on Mt. Sinai.
Q: In Rev 12:1,5, who is the woman, and who is the child?
A: Scripture does not say directly. Here are three possibilities to consider and twelve clues. After each clue are possibly relevant verses. Then we will see the most likely answer.
1. Mary and Jesus
2. Old Testament believers and New Testament believers. 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.60,273 teaches this, adding that the man-child is Jesus and the church. John writes to a godly lady and her offspring in 2 John 1,5.
3. New Testament believers and believers after the rapture.
Revelation 12:1 - Sun, moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars. (Genesis 37:9-10) (symbolic of Israel)
Revelation 12:2 - A pregnant woman about to give birth.
Revelation 12:4 - Satan about to kill the child. (Matthew 2:16-18)
Revelation 12:5 - Son will rule the nations with an iron scepter. (Psalm 2:9) (has to be Jesus)
Revelation 12:5 - Child snatched/raptured up to Godís throne.
Revelation 12:6 - The woman protected in the desert. (Mary/Joseph/Jesus in the wilderness? Future?)
Revelation 12:6 - Satan pursued the woman on earth.
Revelation 12:15 - Tried to drown the woman with water.
Revelation 12:16 - The earth opened up and swallowed the water. (sounds like the Red Sea, NOT Mary/Jesus. Could it be in the future?)
Revelation 12:17 - The woman had other offspring, those who obey God. (This clue is difficult to reconcile with the child being believers after the rapture.)
Revelation 12:17 - The dragon was enraged at the woman.
Revelation 12:17 - The dragon went to make war on the womanís other offspring. (not the Israelites.)
The answer: Revelation 12:1,5 does not refer to any single past historical event as no single event fits every detail. Rather Revelation 12:1,5 is a timely reminder, of a recurring cosmic theme: a mother and a child will escape the dragon. Out of Old Testament believers came the church, and from one Jewish believer, Mary, came Jesus. Most pointedly, from the past witness of the church will come those who believe during the tribulation.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.767-769, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.957-958, and When Cultists Ask p.308-309 for more info.
Q: In Rev 12:1 (KJV, NIV), should the word here be "sign" or "wonder"?
A: Christian scholars disagree. The KJV and NIV translate this word "wonder", while the NKJV and NASB translate this word "sign". Williams Translation has "great symbol" The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.957 mentions this, saying that "sign" is more precise, because John did not use the Greek word for "wonder".
Q: In Rev 12:1, could the woman represent Maryís bodily ascension into Heaven?
A: Some Christians, even Protestant ones, see that the woman here could refer to Mary. However, regardless of whether or not Mary is represented here, the woman never went up to Heaven. It was the child who was snatched up to Heaven in Revelation 12:5.
While this question is not a major point, throughout history there has been a tendency to wrongly take attributes and devotion to Christ and apply them to Mary. We only have one redeemer and mediator, and it is Jesus, not Mary. See When Cultists Ask p.308-309 for more info.
Q: In Rev 12:1 is the woman the law of God under Mohammed, and the male child the new law of God under Bahaíuíllah as Bahaiís teach in Some Questions Answered p.67-72?
A: No. Bahaiís as well as Muslims do not accept the authority today of Christ in Revelation 12:10, because they think His words have been corrupted. They do not overcome the beast by the blood of the lamb in Revelation 12:11. If only they would understand the importance of the blood of the lamb!
Q: In Rev 12:3, was the enormous red dragon the evil Umayyad Dynasty (Abu Bakr, ĎUmar, ĎUthman, Muíawiyah, etc.) who had seven dominions: Rome around Damascus, Persian, Arabian, Egyptian, Africa, Spain, and Turks of Transoxania as Bahaíis teach in Some Questions Answered p.69-70?
A: No. They say the ten heads were ten commanders: starting with Abu Sufyan, and ending with Marwan. They also admit there are more than ten people, but since there are two Muíawiyahís, three Yazids, two Walidís, and two Marwanís, if you count the names without repetition, then it comes to ten!
In reality, the beast is Satan, because Revelation 12:10 calls the beast the accuser of our brethren. The beast is after Christ and Christians, because Revelation 12:10 speaks of the authority of Godís Christ. Note that the woman was taken care of by God for 1,260 days. Now how could she be taken care of if the Umayyads trampled the sanctuary for 1,260 days?
Q: In Rev 12:3, who is this dragon?
A: Scripture explicitly says this is Satan in Revelation 11:9.
Q: In Rev 12:4, what is the significance of a third of the stars falling from the sky?
A: Most Christians interpret this as one-third of the angels in Heaven. They left their places to follow Satan to fall and become demons.
Q: In Rev 12:6, is the wilderness here a physical place?
A: While it could be, it is not necessarily so. Two points to consider about the wilderness.
1. To the Jews, the wilderness was not a dry forbidding place, as much as a vast, quiet place one where could seek refuge.
2. In Revelation 12:6, the woman fled to the wilderness for the purpose of God taking care of her.
Q: In Rev 12:7 and Dan 10:13,21; 12:1, who is Michael?
A: Michael is the archangel in Heaven.
Unlike Jehovahís Witnesses teach, Michael could not be Christ, because
1. We are not to worship angels (Colossians 2:18; Revelation 22:8,9), and Michael is an angel.
2. We are not to worship created beings (Romans 1:25), and Michael is a created being, since He is an angel.
Daniel 12:1 mentions that Michael is the prince that supports the children of Israel. Daniel 10:13,21 mentions that the prince [angel] Michael helped another angel against the prince [demon] of Persia.
Q: In Rev 12:7, when did or will this war occur?
A: Either this was a past event or a future event. If it was a past event, then it probably occurred prior to the temptation in the Garden of Eden. If it is a future event, the phrase "his time is short" suggests a time immediately preceding the tribulation.
Q: In Rev 12:7, since Heaven is perfect, why did war broke out in Heaven?
A: See the previous question for when this war did/will occur. Two points to consider in the answer.
1. It does not say Satan and his angels entered Heaven after they fell. Rather, they were likely in Heaven when they fell, and this records them getting kicked out of Heaven.
2. There are different heavens, and it is not specified how close to Godís throne they were when this occurred.
Q: In Rev 12:7-12, what conflicts does the Bible record angels fighting?
A: All of the conflicts with angels and devil that were recorded involve Michael.
Jude 8-9 Michael contended with disputing with the devil about the body of Moses.
Daniel 10:12-14 Gabriel was opposed and delayed in giving a message to Daniel because the Prince of Persia opposed him. But Michael came and helped Gabriel.
Revelation 12:7-12 Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels.
Daniel 12:1-5 During the end times Michael, who protects Godís people, will arise.
Q: In Rev 12:7-9, could Michael be the angel that fell?
A: No. First some guidelines on Christian speculation, and then the answer.
Christian Speculation: Revelation is one of the most fun books of the Bible to speculate on. But we should understand that some speculation is nothing more than temptation. I have taught this book a number of times, and I follow two principles.
I make sure to label my speculations as not being the word of God, so that I do not disobey 1 Corinthians 4:6.
Also, God says so much in the book of Revelation (it takes me at least a quarter to go through it), I would feel guilty spending a lot of time on what Revelation does not say at the expense of teaching all that Revelation does say.
The answer: There is no way this could be Michael. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. When "they" lost their place in heaven, "they" refers to the dragon and his angels. Verse 9 makes it crystal clear that it was the dragon that was hurled to earth., also called the Devil or Satan. The fall of Satan is also discussed in Ezekiel 28:11-17 and Isaiah 14:12-15.
Here are all of the other passages about Michael in the Bible.
Dan 10:13,21 Michael the prince [angel] helped one of Godís angels against the prince [demon] of Persia
Dan 12:1 Michael, the great prince [angel] who protects Godís people will arise.
Jude 9 Michael was DISPUTING with the devil about the body of Moses
Revelation 12:7 Michael and his angels FOUGHT against the dragon and his angels.
There are not any other verses that list Michael by name.
In the early church, Hippolytus (225-235/6 A.D.) in his commentary (p.182,190) discusses Daniel 10:13-21. On p.190 is says, "ĎAnd lo, Michael.í Who is Michael but the angel assigned to the people? As (God) says to Moses, ĎI will not go with you in the way, because the people are stiff-necked; but my angel shall go with you.í" So Hippolytus taught that Michael was with the Israelites helping them after the Exodus.
The Shepherd of Hermas book 3 ch.3 (p.40) (115-140 A.D.) also mentions "The great and glorious angel Michael" as having authority over this people and who gave them the law. So the early Christian writing The Shepherd of Hermas has only positive things to say about Michael too.
The ONLY revealed role of Michael in the Bible is protecting from demons, disputing, and fighting. While the devil might hate Michael, we are happy for this servant of the Most High God. There is no more evidence of a fallen angel named "Michael" than a fallen angel named "Alex".
Now letís assume you think you received special doctrine from God, that no one in 2,000 years of Christianity has received. There is a question of milk vs. meat vs. candy. How primary could this teaching be, if this doctrine is absent in all of early church history? How important is it for Christians to know this today? If it is a secondary matter, will it cause divisiveness? If there are important, primary doctrines for new believers to learn, even if this doctrine were correct, would you teach little details Christians disagree on in place of teaching what is primary for all Christians to know?
Q: In Rev 12:11, how do the saints overcome Satan by the blood of the lamb?
A: This illustrates the difference between power and authority. A single army scout can kill great numbers of the enemy if he radios back where the bombers should drop their bombs. Blood is not magical, nor does it have secret lethal powers and military uses. Rather, the blood of Jesus gives us the right to call upon Him. Since God cannot lie, and God promised to hear our prayers, we have the authority, given by Godís grace, to overcome Satan. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.769-771 for more info.
Q: In Rev 12:15-16, what is the significance of the flood and the earth?
A: The definitive answer for this is perhaps one of the more difficult questions of the Bible. Here are two views:
Persecution: Since deceit is done with the mouth, this could be an attempt to destroy the church through persecution. This assumes the child in this sign is either Christians, or Christians during the tribulation.
Future Tribulation event: This could be a future demonic supernatural event or simply future persecution
Q: In Rev 13:1-10, who or what is the Sea Beast?
A: Just as Old Testament believers had many of the pieces but not the complete picture of Christ, we today have many pieces but not the complete picture of the End Times. Views of the Sea Beast depend on how literally one takes the word "Sea".
Literal: A demonic creature, group of demons, or group of people somehow literally associated with the Ocean.
Symbolic: If the Sea represents peoples and nations, an organization that comes from many peoples and nations.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.771-772, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.960 for more info.
Q: In Rev 13:6, why would God knowingly permit a being to blaspheme Him, since God does not want this and has the power to stop it.
A: While a few extreme people might say all that happens is desired by God as a part of His "secret will", that seems far from the true character of God.
At least for a time, God permits things that not only does He not desire, but that break His heart. Some examples are in Matthew 23:37-39, Luke 19:41-44, and Jeremiah 19:5; 32:35.
As Francis Schaeffer said in The Church at the End of the Twentieth Century: "We can glorify God, and both the Old and New Testament say that we can even make God sad. That is tremendous." (Hymns for the People of God no.364)
Q: In Rev 13:8, how can anyone be blamed for worshipping the beast, since all who are not written in the Lambís book of life are supposed to worship the beast?
A: This is an argument from fatalism. They are not supposed to worship the beast, but God knows people will do what they are not supposed to do. Similar examples of God knowing people will do things that they are not supposed to do are the Pharisees rejecting Godís purpose for themselves in Luke 7:30, and Godís workers being urged not to receive Godís grace in vain in 2 Corinthians 6:1.
Q: In Rev 13:11-15, who or what is the Land Beast?
A: Scripture does not say. This could be a single creature, a person, a group of creatures, or a group of people. The Land beast could have a special relationship with the ground, and/or be something in contrast to the Sea Beast.
Q: In Rev 13:16-18, what is the significance of 666?
A: Scripture does not say. One likely view, popularized as early as 1973 in the Christian film "Thief in the Night" is that it is a computer code imprinted on the skin. A second view is that it might be a computer chip, embedded under the skin, which has our personal information.
1001 Bible Questions Answered p.289 agrees that the mark is literal, and dismisses some other theories. See also the next question.
Q: In Rev 13:16-18, why "666" and not some other number?
A: Scripture does not say. Todayís Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.156-158 mentions various theories, such that "666" falls short of perfection as "777", that "666" is the number of mankind, or that "666" is the number of a specific man.
Q: In Rev 13:16-18 and Rev 14:9,11, what is wrong with receiving a little mark?
A: There are five points to consider in the answer.
1. Even if there was nothing else wrong, believers should not received a mark on the right hand or forehead simply because God said not to do so.
2. People had to agree to worship the beast prior to receiving the mark.
3. Many dogs and cats today have a small computer chip put under their skin for identification purposes. Perhaps this is a purpose the mark serves.
4. Note that while the suffering could be a reaction to the mark (or computer chip, or the scanning process, the suffering for having the mark could be supernaturally inflicted.
5. God will judge severely those who have the mark.
Q: In Rev 14:1 (KJV) (NKJV), should it say "his Fatherís name" or "his name and his Fatherís name" like other translations?
A: The King James Version is incorrect here. Every Greek text except the one Erasmus wrote has "his name and his Fatherís name." Jay P. Greenís Literal Translation, following the Textus Receptus, mistakenly omits this. The NKJV omits this, but adds in a footnote that the Alexandrian textual family as well as the majority (Byzantine) textual family differ from the Textus Receptus in having this.
How did this error come about? New Age Bible Versions Refuted p.6 says that this most likely was a simple typographical mistake made the Desiderius Erasmus, the Catholic priest who just prior to the Reformation put together the Greek text that became the Textus Receptus.
Q: Does Rev 14:3-4 teach that only 144,000 celibate men will be saved? (A Muslim stated matter-of-factly that this is what this passage taught.)
A: No, Revelation 14:3-4 is a special class of men from the 12 tribes of Israel. It is a lie to say it teaches "only 144,000 celibate men will be saved". You can read more about them in Revelation 7:1-8, directly followed by "the great multitude from every tribe and nation in Revelation 7:9-10. Was it intentional that you failed to mention Revelation 7:1-10 when you said that only 144,000 celibate men will be saved?
Q: Is Rev 14:6-7 the fulfillment of everyone hearing the Gospel in Mt 24:14?
A: -It could be. On the other hand, the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 could be human beings preaching the Gospel to all nations.
Q: In Rev 14:9-12, does this mean the Sabbath will be restored as some Seventh-Day Adventists teach?
A: Not likely. As When Cultists Ask p.309 points out, the word Sabbath is not even mentioned in the entire book of Revelation. Any relationship between the mark of the beast and keeping or not keeping the Sabbath is simply in the minds of the interpreters.
Q: In Rev 14:11, is there going to be day and night in Hell? How could there be day and night if there were no sun?
A: No. On one hand, this obviously means forever continually. However, in addition, consider this. If a person were in a windowless prison, there would be day and night, but they would not see it. If a person were always facing a light they would not see day or night either. While there will be no sun or moon in Hell, Heaven, or the new earth, who knows what God would choose to create in other parts of the universe.
Q: In Rev 14:14-16, is it Jesus who on the cloud with a sickle?
A: Yes. The phrase "son of man" has the general meaning of people, but Jesus was also fond of using this phrase as a partial description of Himself.
Q: In Rev 14:18-20, how could grapes produce blood?
A: Obviously, these are no ordinary grapes. These grapes likely symbolize the persecution of people. The judgment of this will come to those who persecute others.
Q: In Rev 14:20, go ahead and figure out the size of the river of blood God [allegedly] wants to have in Rev. 14:20. It would take the blood of just about one billion people the fill that river. Why is this?
A: There are two possible answers.
On one hand, Revelation does not say this was blood from people. Through Mosesí staff God turned the waters of the Nile to blood, and that was not blood from people. It does not say Godís perfect will wanted to have this either; rather this was decided by God as part of his judicial punishment on people. It could be blood that did not come from a living human or animal. On the other hand, if you calculate the blood from all the abortions done (which in the mid 1970ís was about 1 million per year in the U.S., and 7 million per year in Japan, and others in other countries), one might say that metaphorically we already have rivers of human blood today. However, I do not think Revelation is just speaking a metaphor here. If God were to create new blood equal to the blood spilled from all the abortions and wars, it might fill a great many rivers.
Q: In Rev 15:4, why wonít everyone go to Heaven, since all will fear God and glorify His name?
A: No. This question contains the false assumption that everyone who ever glorifies God will go to Heaven. In contrast, this verse, as well as Philippians 2:10-11 and others, show that at the end, even those who are going to the Lake of Fire will praise God.
Q: In Rev 16 and Rev 17:1 (KJV), what is a vial?
A: Here, a vial is a bowl.
Q: In Rev 16, are the bowl (vial) judgments different from the seven trumpets in Rev 8-9, or the same?
A: Genuine Christians disagree on this.
Recapitulation theory says that they are the same because of the similarities and simply glosses over the key differences. The late fourth-century African Donatist Tyconius was one who taught the recapitulation theory relating to the millennium according to The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 12 p.578.
The plain interpretation has no problem acknowledging there are many similarities, but the key differences show them to be separate, with the seven bowls more severe (often by a factor of three) than the seven trumpets. Here are the similarities and differences.
|1||hail and fire with blood 33% trees, 100% of the green grass burned||sores on those with the beastís mark|
|2||A great mountain thrown into the sea, 33% of the sea is blood. 33% sea life died||100% of the sea is blood 100% sea life died|
|3||star wormwood fell. 33% fresh water bitter||100% fresh water is blood|
|4||33% of sun, moon, and stars darkened||sun could scorch people with fire|
|5||woe of the stinging locust for 5 months||beastís kingdom full of darkness and pain|
|6||woe of the 4 angels setting loose 200M at the Euphrates to kill 33% of mankind||Euphrates dried up to prepare for the Armageddon: 3 frogs|
|7||The mystery of Godís kingdom has finished||It is done. A great earthquake. Babylon destroyed|
Q: In Rev 16:1, was the wrath of God evident on the earth before this time?
A: Yes. Many verses show God expressing His wrath. However, no verses, except perhaps those concerning the flood, show Godís wrath expressed to as great extent on the earth until this time.
Q: In Rev 16:2, is the first bowl connected with the prayers of the saints?
A: No. This might be thought so only if you assume a) the seven bowls are the same as the seven trumpets (called recapitulation theory), and b) the incense of the prayers of the saints in Revelation 8:3-4 is related to the first trumpet in Revelation 8:7.
a) the recapitulation theory is not correct, because the seven trumpets are
T1: hail, fire, and blood burning 1/3 of the earth and vegetation
T2: huge mountain 1/3 of the sea turned to blood and 1/3 of the sea life died
T3: great star of wormwood, polluted the fresh water
T4: 1/3 of the heavenly lights
T5: locusts from the abyss for 5 months
T6: 4 angels and an army of 200 million kill 1/3 of mankind
T6 1/2: 7 thunders and two witnesses
T7: the kingdom of the word has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.
The 7 bowls do not completely match. They are:
B1: ugly and painful sores
B2: All the sea turned to blood and all the sea life died
B3: fresh water turned to blood
B4: sun scorched people with fire
B6: Euphrates dried up and kings of the east gathered to Armageddon
B7: It is done, a great earthquake, and Babylon destroyed
b) Even if recapitulation theory was correct, in Revelation 8:3-7, the seven angels with the seven trumpets are different from the eighth angel who had the incense with the prayers of the saints.
Q: Since Rev 16:3 says in Greek the "souls" in the sea died referring to the sea life, therefore, soul means life, and man does not have a "soul" separate from his body any more than an animal does.
A: Aboard the ark, 1 Peter 3:20 in Greek says only eight "souls" were saved. Soul sometimes means "life" as in Revelation 16:3. Sometimes "soul" means the spiritual part of a Christian that is present with the Lord when we are absent from the body in 2 Corinthians 5:8. Notice that we do not have a body at this point, but are "absent from the body." Animals have animal souls/life, and humans have human souls/life, but 1 Peter 3:20 shows that only people have savable souls.
Christians disagree on whether there is any afterlife for animals. In Now Thatís a Good Question, p.290-291, R.C. Sproul says, "The Bible does give us some reason to hope that departed animals will be restored."
Q: In Rev 16:3-4, how can the water become blood?
A: -Just ask Moses. Seriously, God Almighty can perform any miracle He wishes. It would seem like poetic justice that a society that sheds so much believerís blood would be given blood to drink. Remember that John is writing what he saw and heard (Revelation 1:19), so the blood was either literal blood or else something which looked like blood.
Q: In Rev 16:13-14, what are the three frogs?
A: Revelation 16:14 says they are spirits of demons. 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.286 dismisses theories that they were "Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin", or fascism, communism, and the papacy. The Bible says they are spirits of demons, so they could not be men.
Q: In Rev 16:14, can demons do miracles, too?
A: Demons can not only trick and simulate miracles, they actually can do many miracles, too. Remember, Pharaohís magicians turned rods into what appeared as moving snakes. However, with that verse, there is no evidence that Satan or demons can create life.
While the devil could animate an image of the Antichrist, people can animate robots, too.
In summary, demons can do many things people can, demons also have additional supernatural powers, but what demons can do is very small compared to what the Almighty Creator can do.
See When Critics Ask p.555 and When Cultists Ask p.310 for a slightly different answer.
Q: In Rev 16:15, what does it mean to "keep his clothes"?
A: This means to keep watchful. Specifically, since Ephesians 6:11-18 mentions putting on the full armor of God, including the breastplate of righteousness, we should keep these with us. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.774-776 for more info.
Q: In Rev 16:16, does Armageddon happen here, or does it happen after the Millennium in Rev 20:8?
A: Amillennialist Christians claim both verses record the same event. They see it unlikely that there would be two great battles instead of just one.
Premillennialist Christians would go with just a straight reading of these verses. There are two great battles. Only the one before the Millennium is referred to as at Armageddon, and only the one after the Millennium is referred to with Gog and Magog. In addition, the Gog and Magog battle is not at Armageddon, but surrounding the city of Godís people.
See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.291-292 for more on Armageddon.
Q: In Rev 17:1-18, who is the woman Babylon?
A: Christians disagree on the exact city, but all can agree on a number of observations.
1. She is a powerful city (Revelation 17:18)
2. She is very evil (Revelation 17:4-6; 18:3)
3. She has killed many Christians (Revelation 17:6)
4. She shall be destroyed (Revelation 17:16; 18:2)
Christians disagree on which city this is or will be. Two top choices are literal Babylon and Rome.
Here are more details about Babylon in Revelation.
The City of Babylon
A city: (Revelation 17:18, 18:10,16,18,19,21)
A city of seven hills: (Revelation 17:3,9)
Sits on many waters representing peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages (Revelation 17:1,15).
Will see the smoke of her burning from the sea: (Revelation 18:17-18).
Future place of desolation (Revelation 16:19; 17:15-18:24).
All Heaven will rejoice in the destruction of this place (Revelation 19:1-3).
Babylonís Wealth and Power
Dressed in purple and scarlet, glittering with gold, precious stones, and pearls (Revelation 17:4,16).
Merchants rich from her excessive luxuries (Revelation 18:3,11-17).
Traded in both human bodies and souls (Revelation 18:14).
7/8+10 kings ruled (Revelation 17:10).
Sixth king ruling when Revelation written (~69-96 A.D.) (Revelation 17:10).
Ruled over the kings of the earth (Revelation 17:18).
Babylonís Evil Abominations
Religious with blasphemous, demonic, and magic aspects (Revelation 17:3, 18:2,23).
Boasts marriage to a king who will never die (Revelation 18:7).
Adulterous; the Great Prostitute (Revelation 14:8, 17:1-5,15-16, 18:3,9, 19:2).
Best symbol is a wicked woman (Revelation 17:1-7 and Zechariah 5:5-11).
Intoxicating (Revelation 17:2,18:3,23).
Prominent golden cup of madness (Revelation 14:8, 17:2,4 18:3,6).
Makes war against the Lamb (Revelation 17:14).
Drunk on the blood of the saints, those who bore testimony of Jesus (Revelation 17:6, 18:24, 19:2).
Home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit (Revelation 8:2).
Believers must flee now! (Revelation 18:4, Jeremiah 50:8, 51:6,45-47)
Regardless, we are always to flee having a lifestyle of Babylon.
Q: In Rev 17:1-18, who or what is the scarlet beast?
A: God has not revealed this yet, but He has given us twelve clues.
1. Scarlet-colored beast
2. Covered with blasphemous names
3. Seven heads, representing both 7 hills and 7 kings
4. Five kings have fallen, one is, and one is to come
5. Ten horns, symbolizing ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom
6. The beast itself is an eighth king
7. These 11 kings will make war against the Jesus, but Jesus will conquer them
8. The woman Babylon is a great city who rides this beast
9. The beast once was, not is not, and will come up out of the Abyss.
10. Eventually the beast will go to his destruction
11. Reprobate people will be astonished at the beast because he once was, not is not, and yet will come
12. The beast will ruin the woman
See also Revelation 19:19-21.
Q: In Rev 17:1-18, could the heads of the scarlet beast be Roman Emperors?
A: Probably not, because the revival of Babylon is a future event that has not been fulfilled yet. If you wish to try to compare Roman Emperors, here is a list of them. It is believed that Revelation was written about 95-96 A.D., soon before the death of Domitian.
|Augustus||27 BC.-14 A.D.|
|Nero, a son of incest||54-68|
|Emperor Domitian killed his own brother, Flavius Clemens, for being a Christian||81-96|
|Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus||161-169|
|Avidius Cassius (eastern part)||175|
|Marcus Aurelius and Commodus||177-180|
|Didius Julianus (Niger)||193|
|Gordion the Younger||238-244|
|Carus (Carnus, Numerian)||282-284|
|Maximian (Galerius) (Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus)||285/286-305|
Q: In Rev 18:6, why is Babylon paid back double for what she did?
A: This very likely is a Greek expression meaning that the harm she did "doubled back to her. It is similar to the English idiom "what goes around, comes around."
Q: In Rev 18:13 (KJV), should it say "slaves" or "bodies" of men?
A: The King James Version correctly paraphrased the intent: they were trading in slaves. However, the Greek word here is soma which means "body" and from which we get our word "somatic".
Q: In Rev 18:13, how can people trade in the souls of men?
A: People can trade in the souls of men in at least three ways.
Lives: The Greek word for soul can also mean life. Slavers can kidnap people and sell slaves, and many ancient empires basically ran off of slavery. AN estimated two-thirds of the people of the Roman Empire were slaves.
Spiritual: Many people on all continents have used religion as a means to financial gain, as 1 Timothy 6:5 warns. Their "trade" is in the souls of men.
Indulgences: The Catholic Church, especially during the Middle Ages, taught that Catholics who committed venial sins, would suffer in a fiery Purgatory before going to Heaven. However, this stay could be reduced, for themselves and others, by paying money to the church, called indulgences.
Q: In Rev 18:20 and Rev 19:3, how can godly beings in Heaven rejoice over the destruction of others?
A: They, and we, can rejoice that justice is done, just as all Americans, even German-Americans, rejoiced when the Nazis were defeated.
Q: In Rev 19:8, are the white robes of the saints a symbol that supports the Catholic doctrine of indulgences, as some Catholics say?
A: No. The white robes are a symbol, but Revelation 19:8 gives the complete explanation of what the white robes mean. They represent the righteous acts of the saints. Nothing suggests a personís righteous acts can be applied to another, or shorten someoneís stay in Purgatory. See When Cultists Ask p.310-311 for more info.
There is an important point to notice here. Many people, not just some Catholics, can read entirely unsubstantiated concepts into the Bible, completely oblivious to the fact that they cannot find a single place in the passage to support the novel concept.
Pretend for a moment that you had the crazy interpretation that this passage prophesied a resurgence in the garment industry. How could you find out whether your interpretation is wacky or not?
Here are some suggestions.
1. Pray and ask God for help in understanding what He meant. If you are trying to understand the what the Bible says, and you do not care for help in seeing the meaning God intended, that is both a contradiction in terms and a waste of time.
2. Understand what interpretation is. Interpretation is using (God-given) reasoning to logically relate the verse to verses before and after, verses in other parts of the Bible, and/or external events to come up with statements that are not in the Bible. Everybody does interpreting, not just of the Bible, but of everything we read. Proper interpretation is a good thing, but people can choose to read into the Bible whatever they feel like and masquerade this as interpretation.
3. Differentiate between what the passage explicitly says and what you interpret it means. Do not say "The Bible says" or "God says" about something the Bible does not actually say but is interpretation.
4. Christians need each other for interpreting Scripture, because no one is infallible. If your interpretation requires that the passage was written in a secret code that no one was ever able to see for thousands of years, it is a good idea to question your interpretation.
5. Validate your interpretation. If you say the Greek language means "this", and the early Christians who spoke Greek and wrote on the passage would not recognize your interpretation of what to many of them was their native language, you are back to secret codes again. The early Christians were not inerrant, and they did not have identical views on everything. However, by reading the letters and commentaries of these godly men, we can gain an appreciation for the range (and more importantly, lack of range) of the meaning of the Greek sentences in the Bible.
Q: In Rev 19:9,17, why is the wedding supper of the Lamb bloody?
A: It does sound vaguely like a slaughterhouse where animals are killed, except on a larger scale. We have this right over animals, and rightly or wrongly, all generals think they have this right over people in war. Even more so, God has the right to terminate a personís life whenever He wishes and however He wishes.
Q: In Rev 19:10, how is the testimony of Jesus the spirit of prophecy?
A: Here are three interpretations Revelation 19:10.
1. Jesusí own testimony about Himself is meant by the phrase "testimony of Jesus". His life, teaching, and spirit is the source of prophecy.
2. Our testimony of Jesus is intended by the phrase "testimony of Jesus". Prophecy that is from God is based on the testimony of Jesus, and is authenticated by its calling Jesus as Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3, 1 John 4:1-3) True prophecy will be compatible with the life and sayings of Jesus.
3. Hard Sayings of the Bible p.776-777 discusses these views, and advocates a third view: both are true.
Q: Does Rev 19:11-18 refer to Jesus?
A: Yes, according to The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.976-977, The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 12 p.574-575, and The Expositorís Greek Testament volume 5 p.466
Q: In Rev 19:11 and Isa 11:4, how does Jesus make war, since He is the Prince of Peace in Isa 9:6?
A: Two points to consider in the answer.
Two Comings: Isaiah 9:6 refers primarily to Christís first coming, while the other two verses refer to Christís second coming.
Simultaneously: Jesus makes war on sin, and brings true peace and reconciliation to His people.
See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.21 for more info.
Q: In Rev 19:13, where did the blood come from that stains Jesusí robe?
A: When Jesusí robe is dipped in blood in Revelation 19:13, and He treads the winepress of Godís wrath in Revelation 19:15, this is using the same imagery as Isaiah 63:1-3. The winepress is also mentioned in Joel 3:13 and Revelation 14:17-20.
The Believerís Bible Commentary p.2377 and The Expositorís Greek Testament volume 5 p.467 say that the blood is not Christís blood shed on the cross, but the blood of His enemies whom he trampled in the winepress of Godís wrath.
However, The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 12 p.574 says asks how Christís robe could be dipped in His enemiesí blood if He has not fought them. It takes the position that the blood is Christís own blood. It mentions that Hippolytus and Origen (225-254 A.D.) also had this view.
While the blood on the robe could represent Jesusí own blood, the blood of saints, or the blood of the wicked, it most likely is the blood-red color of treading the grapes of wrath, though not necessarily the blood of Godís enemies.
Q: In Rev 19:16, why is the name written on Christís thigh?
A: There are two different answers.
Thigh: If a horseback rider is approaching, one would not see a name on the back, stomach, or lower leg, but it would be most clear on the thigh.
Banner: F.F. Bruce in the New International Bible Commentary p.1624 says that if one assumes a Semitic original underlies Johnís Greek, a copyist error might have replaced the Hebrew or Aramaic word for banner, degel, with the word for leg, regel. However, there is no evidence of a Semitic original.
Q: In Rev 20, will there be a literal Millennium on earth?
Revelation 20:1-7 teaches a 1,000-year period where Satan is bound and believers are raised to life and reign with Christ. Here are three main views.
Premillennialists take Rev. 20:1-7, as well as other Biblical prophecies as true, non-misleading statements of the future. Now prophecy often does have some symbolism, so 1,000 years might mean a long period of time. Premillennialists believe:
Satan is not now locked in the abyss (Revelation 20:3)
The nations today are not deceived (Revelation 20:3)
None have yet been beheaded for not receiving the mark, and then raised back to life. (Revelation 20:4)
Believers do not reign with Christ for just this time. (Revelation 20:4,6)
Regardless of a personís theology on other points, believing the plain meaning of the future Millennial reign of Christ in Rev. 20 makes one a premillennialist. Concerning the rapture, premillennialists can be pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, pre-Wrath, or "pan-trib" (We do not know when the rapture will occur, but it all pans out in the end!) Premillennialists might view others as "end-time liberals", who do not take Jesus seriously in Rev. 1:3; 22:7, and say this book of the Bible has little meaning for us today.
Amillennialists deny a millennium on earth, but instead believe the millennium in an allegorical sense, has been occurring in Heaven since the start of the church age and/or right now in believerís lives on earth. The primary difference between a premillennialist and an amillennialist is not interpreting certain passages, but rather that amillennialists view most of the book of Revelation as true but indecipherable. They also interpret most prophecies, such as in Daniel, as non-literal, not actual predictions of the future. Amillennialists do affirm that the full consummation of Godís kingdom awaits the future return of Jesus, and there will be a rapture. They think premillennialists give manís dogma as Godís word, contrary to 1 Corinthians 4:6 and Proverbs 30:5-6.
Post-millennialists are so similar to amillennialists in their non-literal interpretation, that it can be difficult to determine whether Augustine and others were amillennialists or post-millenialists. The main difference is that post-millennialists believe the millennium is happening on earth now, and that the world will get better and better until Christ finally comes. This view was more popular before World War II.
Who Believes Which View
Premillennialists in the early church include Papias (died 163 A.D.), Justin Martyr in Dialogue with Trypho 80:1 (died 165 A.D.), Irenaeus Against Heresies ch.34,35 (182-188 A.D.), Commodianus ch.43 p.211 (198-220 A.D.), Tertullian Against Marcion 3:25 (207 A.D.), and Augustine before encountering the Donatist Tyconius.
Premillennialists today include dispensationalist theologians, Bible churches, most conservative Baptists, many charismatics, and some in Independent Christian Churches. Famous premillennialist writers include Chuck Swindoll, John Walvoord, and many others. Dallas Theological Seminary used to only let premillennialists graduate, but, according to a current student, they have changed this policy.
Those denying a literal 1,000 years in the early church include Dionysius of Alexandria (c.265 A.D.). By Eusebiusí time (around 325 A.D.), many of the Christian leaders were not premillennialists. Both a- and post-millennialists say Augustine later held their viewpoint. Post-millennialism looked attractive once Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.
Amillennialists today include covenant theologians, Lutherans, a minority of Baptists, Catholics, most Presbyterian and Reformed churches, and R.C. Sproul.
Early, Greek-speaking Christians disagreed on the literal millennium. However, even in the early church, both groups accepted each other in Christ. Godly Christians hold to both views.
Pros and Cons
So does the Bible teach a literal millennium on earth or not? While I admit that I am strongly premillennial myself, my purpose here is not to convince you that premillennialism is true. Rather it is to give you both sides, to decide for yourself.
Here are three interpretations of Revelation 20
The Premillennial Position
1-2) In the future, an angel with the key to the bottomless pit will capture Satan, and bind Him either for a 1,000 years or else a longer period.
3) Satan will be cast into the bottomless bit. Since Satan can only be in one place at one time, Satan will not be on earth, in Heaven, or anywhere else. Currently Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion according to 1 Peter 5:8.
Today many nations are deceived in the sense of denying the truth of God and persecuting Godís servants. The nations of the earth will acknowledge Christ during the Millennium
4) Those who were beheaded for not worshipping the beast, or receiving the mark on their foreheads or hands were physically resurrected and lived with Christ. The beast and these beheadings have not occurred yet.
5) The rest of the dead were not raised to life yet. (same Greek word for raised given in verse 4)
6) Those in the first resurrection will be priests and reign during the Millennium. All unfulfilled Old Testament promises to the Jews will be fulfilled, and there will be a Millennial Temple.
7) After the Millennium, Satan will be released and deceive the nations.
8-9) Then the nations will gather in a vast army and surround Jerusalem. This is the judgment in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, not Armageddon, which happened over 1,000 years before. Fire will come from Heaven and kill them. This is a different battle then the one in Revelation 19.
10) The devil will join the beast and false prophet, who were already cast into the Lake of Fire in Revelation 19:20. They will be in conscious torment forever.
11) Then the dead will stand before God, and some were judged according to the Book of Life, and others according to their works. Everyone whose name is not in the Book of Life suffers the second death in the Lake of Fire.
Amillennial [& Postmillennial] Positions
1-3) Satan was bound while Christ was on earth. Satan has already been bound and "cast into the bottomless pit", at Christís resurrection, [or else around 325 A.D.]
Satan is not deceiving the nations on earth anymore right now, though he will do so at the end. Deceived here might mean giving up their sovereignty to follow Satan.
4) Those who were beheaded for not worshipping the beast probably include all Christians. They are reigning with Christ in heaven right now [or else Christ is reigning with believers right now on earth]. Verse 4 does not refer to physical resurrection, but a spiritual resurrection of a new life in Christ.
5) The rest of the dead will not be resurrected physically until after this period. [A variant of this view is that since the Greek words are the same in the same context, this second resurrection is only spiritual too.]
6) The first resurrection either refers to either our new life in Christ, or else a physical resurrection of only believers after this time. Believers reign with Christ now in Heaven [or also Christ reigns in their hearts now on earth].
7) In the end, Satan will use direct power again.
8-9) Then the nations will gather in a vast army and surround Jerusalem. The battle of Armageddon and the Valley of Jehoshaphat are the same battle. Fire will come from Heaven and kill them. This is the same battle as the one in Revelation 19. Indeed, all of Revelation 20:1-10 is a "recap" of earlier parts of Revelation from a different angle.
10) The devil is thrown into the lake of fire immediately after the beast and false prophet are thrown in. They will be in conscious torment forever.
11) Then the dead will stand before God, and some were judged according to the Book of Life, and others according to their works. Everyone whose name is not in the Book of Life suffers the second death in the Lake of Fire.
Premillennial Arguments on Rev 20
"And" (kai in Greek) is the first word of Revelation 20:1. This often indicates following the previous.
John was shown the same events in two visions, one right after the other.
1,000 years is mentioned six times in chapter 20. If God really meant exactly 1,000 years, how would amillennialists postulate God could say exactly 1,000 years so that they would not dismiss it as a symbol? 1,260 days, 42 months, etc., are literal times in Revelation, so why single out 1,000 years as being figurative?
2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4 show that 1,000 years can mean a long period of time.
If Satan were currently bound, how is he still:
Be now at work in Ephesians 2:2
Be prowling around like a roaring lion -1 Peter 5:8
Hinder Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:18
Enter into Judas Iscariot in Luke 22:3
Fill the heart of Ananias in Acts 5:3
Have people handed over to him in 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20
Satan can still tempt us in 1 Corinthians 7:5
Trap people in 2 Timothy 2:26
If Satan is now locked up in the abyss, how is he at the same time still prowling around like a roaring lion 1 Peter 5:8
The nations today are deceived contrary to Revelation 20:3 in the Millennium.
Satan can outwit (deceive us) in 2 Cor. 2:11.
Satan still blinds unbelievers. (2 Cor. 4:3-4)
Nations will be deceived to follow the Antichrist.
Have believers already been beheaded for not receiving the mark of the beast and not worshipping the beast or his image in Revelation 20:4? - not by a long shot. It is one thing to say some passages are symbolic, but it is another thing entirely to make entire passages not only entirely devoid of meaning, but to say that the plain meaning misleads people.
Rebuttal: There have been many Christian martyrs who refused to worship the Emperor.
Have the believers already been resurrected who have allegedly already been killed for not receiving the mark of the beast as Revelation 20:4 says? They certainly have not!
Rebuttal: When Revelation 20:5 refers to being raised to life, it may refer to them being spiritually raised to new life in Christ. They are alive in Heaven right now in a spiritual body.
Counter-rebuttal: The Greek for raised to life in Rev. 20:4 is the same word for the dead being raised at the end of the Millennium in Revelation 20:5. Interpretation this symbolic calls into question whether there is any bodily resurrection at all, contrary to 1 Corinthians 15:12-14.
Counter-counter Rebuttal: The resurrection in Revelation 20:5 might be physical (despite the same Greek word) or it might have a spiritual meaning. If it has a spiritual meaning, then there might also be a physical resurrection not mentioned in Rev. 20.
Revelation 20:4,6 means reigning with Christ on earth; otherwise it would mean we only reign with Christ in Heaven for this period.
Rebuttal: Revelation 20 never explicitly mentions the end of the reign of believers with Christ.
A literal 1,000 year millennium was understood by some Jews, as 2 Enoch and the Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 97b show. Using a literal concept that was already held, without any mention of correction, shows the author held the concept as true.
Rebuttal: Others did not hold to a Millennium.
Amillennial Arguments on Rev. 20
There are six "whys" to ask on Revelation 20.
Why is there a "gospel of sight" when Christ is visible during the Millennium, succeeding the gospel of faith that is now?
Why is there a postponed kingdom of Christ?
Why is there a long separation between Christís coming, the resurrection, and the judgment, which the Bible shows together?
Why are there two great battles and two resurrections?
Why is the rest of the New Testament silent on connecting the second coming with an earthly kingdom centered at Jerusalem?
After you die as a Christian, why do you expect to be resurrected to live with wicked people on the same earth?
Do not base a major doctrine on only one passage.
Rebuttal: A literal millennium on a great number of other scriptures, as the next section shows.
Premillennial Arguments Besides Revelation 20
Best explained by an earthly millennium
After the Euphrates dries up, a highway for the remnant of Godís people (Isaiah 11:16; 35:8-10).
Armageddon is prior to the Millennium (Revelation 16:16; Zechariah 12:7-11; 14:2-8,12).
Israelites attack non-Israelite land (Isaiah 11:13-14).
Jacob makes servants of his captors (Isaiah 14:1-17).
After the great battle, the other nations must celebrate the Feast of Booths (Zechariah 14:12-21).
After the great battle, non-Israelite survivors will entreat God (Zechariah 8:21-23).
They will bring offerings to the Lord, and some will be selected as Levites (Isaiah 66:20-21).
Eunuchs in the temple and foreigners offer sacrifices (Isaiah 56:3-7),
The Temple will be filled with glory (Haggai 2:7).
The Temple during the Millennium (Ezekiel 40-48).
Animal sacrifice in the Temple during the Millennium (Ezekiel 40:38,42; 43:20-22).
Room to wash the burnt offerings in the Temple (Ezekiel 40:38-42).
The Levites will never fail to have a man to offer burnt offerings before God (Jeremiah 33:18).
Purify the Levites, have men bring offerings, as in days gone by (Malachi 3:3-4).
The host on high are punished (Isaiah 24:21-22).
Evil angels judged (1 Corinthians 6:3; Revelation 20:10
Sodom returns to its state (Ezekiel 16:55).
People unfortunate if they die at 100 (Isaiah 65:20).
God settling disputes between peoples (Isaiah 2:4).
Whole earth knows the glory of the Lord (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14; Zephaniah 2:11).
Lion and lamb will lie down together (Isaiah 11:6-8).
Abrahamís descendents getting all the land up to the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18).
God turns back the enemy, and Jerusalem will never again fear any harm (Zephaniah 3:13-16; Zechariah 12:7-11; 14:2-8,12).
Jerusalem (not the new one) will be holy (Isaiah 4:3).
Jews will mourn the one they pierced (Zechariah 12:10).
Prophecy will pass away (Zechariah 13:3-6; 1 Corinthians 13:9; Micah 2:6).
David as a prince will reign (Ezekiel 34:23).
Some Christiansí loss of rewards might possibly include loss during this time (Hebrews 6:4-12).
Wicked resurrected (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29).
[A few think] Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38-39).
Valley of Jehoshaphat judgment (Joel 3:1-2).
Armies surround Jerusalem at the end of the Millennium (Joel 2:20; 3:10).
Miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem (Isaiah 29:5-9).
Amillennial Arguments Besides Revelation 20
Just as Messianic prophecies were not clear in Old Testament times, the endtime prophecies are blurry in our time. They are either symbolic, or fulfilled prior to Christís return.
Two triumphant returns of Christ, defeating His enemies in two battles, seems like a redundant repetition. The similarities suggest a simpler solution: there is only one battle and one triumphant return of Christ.
Rebuttal: While God can do things as many times as He wishes, Christ does not "return" at the end of the earthly Millennium. Revelation 20:6 says that we reign with Christ for 1,000 years.
Why is there a Millennial Temple, when the Old Covenant is obsolete (Hebrews 8:13)? No, the Millennial Temple is a heavenly one, of which the earthly temple is a copy, as Hebrews 9:23-24 shows.
There is no longer any sacrifice for sin in Hebrews 10:18, because in Hebrews 10:9 Christ set aside the first covenant. Hebrews 9:10 said the animal sacrifices were external regulations applying only until the new order. Likewise, the former regulation (of Levitical priesthood) is set aside by our better hope in Hebrews 7:18. (See also Hebrews 9:12,24,25.)
Since all Christians agree on this, why are sacrifices offered in an alleged Millennial Temple in Ezekiel 40:38,42; 43:20-22? Why is there a room to wash burnt offerings in Ezekiel 40:38-42? These will not be done on earth again; rather, they are symbolic of Christ our high priest in heaven.
Rebuttal: Perhaps all the physical dimensions and ceremonial details on earth are for the same reason amillennialists have to say Levites have rooms for washing bullís blood right now in heaven! Some think this is for a sin offering (even after Christ), but others say it is only a memorial.
Counter-rebuttal: Ezekiel 43:19 says the bulls were a sin offering to the priests, and verse 20 says to purify the altar and make atonement for it.
Counter-Counter-rebuttal: 1,000 years are to:
1. Reign triumphantly on the old earth -Revelation 20:6
2. Give some an opportunity to rebel -Revelation 20:8-9
3. Fulfill every Old Testament promise
As in days gone by (Malachi 3:3-4) there will not only be sacrifices (Zechariah 14:12-21; Isaiah 56:3-7), but God will select some Gentiles to be Levites (Isaiah 66:20-21). Just as God used the period of law to teach the Jews, God may teach them a lesson for a time.
For more info on different views of the Millennium, see Hard Sayings of the Bible p.777-780, Christian Theology p.1206-1217 and the Wycliffe Dictionary of Theology p.351-355, and Christian Theology and Doctrine p.133-135.
Q: In Rev 20, during the 1000 year rule on earth, before the "New Jerusalem", will people still be flesh and blood and mate as male and female? Will those who died before the rapture come back then or after the millennium?
A: These are a couple of interesting questions. A more basic question is whether all people will be the same during the millennium. Some/all believers will reign with Christ for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4), but what about people who are not reigning with Christ? The rest of the dead do not come back to life until the 1,000 years are ended (Revelation 20:5). After the 1,000 years are ended, Satan will be able and will be successful in deceiving the nations and they will surround Godís people (Revelation 20:7-9).
Also, it is quite likely that some people will survive all the tribulation, and will enter the millennium without having died.
There is no verse that directly says no one/ some people / all people will be able to mate then. However we can infer an answer by a second fundamental question: whether or not any babies will be born during the millennium. If there are, that would imply at least some people would be able to mate then. Can anyone die during the millennium?
Isaiah 65:17-25 is a lengthy passage, so please look it up. You can see that it indicates that some can be born and some die then. Isaiah 65:17-25 refers to the time of the Millennium according to
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1120 and the Believerís Bible Commentary p.989.
However, some other Christians do not believe in a Millennium at all. The New Geneva Study Bible is not premillennialist, yet on p.1139 even it says: "This prophecy awaits the Second Coming of Christ (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1)...."
Scripture does not say for certain when believers who died before the rapture will be resurrected; but most Christians believe it will be at the start of the millennium. However, scripture is clear that at least some who were unbelievers and died before the rapture will come back after the millennium.
Q: In Rev 20, why are dead unsaved people resurrected at the end of the millennium?
A: The Bible does not say why unsaved people are resurrect at the end of the millennium. One speculation is that while people do not get a second chance after death, those who never had a single chance to hear the real Gospel would have the opportunity to make a decision.
Q: In Rev 20:8 and Rev 21:27, since people who do shameful things will be outside of Heaven, how can various evil people go to Heaven, even after they repented and gave their life to God?
A: Revelation 20:8 and Revelation 21:27 refer to people who now do these things, not people who formerly did these things, but were cleansed and forgiven.
Q: In Rev 20:10,15, what did early Christians teach about the eternalness of punishment for those who rejected Christ?
A: Revelation 20:14-15 says, "Then Death and Hades were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death." After this time there will be no more death. Revelation 21:4 says, "...there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
But does that mean that all punishment is over too? It cannot, because Revelation 20:10 says the devil and the false prophet will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
What happens to people whose names are not written in the book of life? Revelation 20:15 says, "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." Verse 14 just said that is the second death. So After this time, nobody will die, spiritually or otherwise, but the people who are already spiritually dead in the Lake of Fire stay there.
Now we can agree that early church writings are not scripture, and since they can be wrong. However, many of them knew New Testament Greek better than anyone today could, and their views, while not providing absolute proof, I think provide strong support for what was really intended in the New Testament Greek.
Polycarp (155 A.D.) bravely told his killers before he was burned to death. "You threaten me with fire that can burn for an hour, and after a little while is extinguished, but are ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly." Concerning the Martyrdom of Polycarp ch.11 p.41
Justin Martyr (c.138-165 A.D.) The bodies of all men shall be raised, some to immortality and some with eternal sensibility to everlasting fire with the wicked devils. First Apology of Justin Martyr ch.52 p.180
Mention of eternal fire. Second Apology of Justin Martyr ch.2 p.188
The devils and those who serve them will be shut up in eternal fire. Second Apology of Justin Martyr ch.8 p.191; ch.9 p.191
Justin Martyr has other references too.
Athenagoras (177 A.D.) But since vanity (futility) is excluded from the works of God, then not only is there an eternal duration of the soul, but also the body in The Resurrection of the Dead ch.15 p.157
Theophilus bishop of Antioch (168-181/188 A.D.) "...if now you continue unbelieving, you be convinced hereafter, when you are tormented with eternal punishments..." Letter to Autolycus book 1 ch.14 p.93
Theophilus has other references too.
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) Mentioned the eternal fire for the devil and his angels. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 2 ch.7.3 p.367
Those who disallow (Adamís) salvation are shutting themselves out from life for ever, in that they do not believe that the sheep which had perished has been found. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 ch.23 p.457.
Minucius Felix (210 A.D.) Mention of the fire of eternal punishment in The Octavius of Minucius Felix ch.35 p.195. Note that it was not just the fire that was eternal, but the punishment that was eternal.
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) "for sin is eternal death." Exhortation to the Heathen ch.11 p.204
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) mentions eternal life and eternal punishment of unending fire in Ad Nationes book 1 ch.7 p.116
After death, the harmless infant does not suffer the perpetual penalty. Tertullianís Five Books in Reply to Marcion book 4 p.157
Hippolytus (222-236 A.D.) says condemned and lost people have everlasting punishment according in his Fragment 40 on his Discourses and Homilies p.252.
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) says, "whom on his departure from this world eternal flame shall torment with never-ending punishments" Cyprianís Treatise 7.13 p.472
Finally, going way back to Paul, notice his use of eternal. "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel Ė which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" (Galatians 1:8-9)
So what is Hell like? I believe it could be thought of as a cosmic zoo. It is as if someone tells God, "I do not want you to be Lord of my life, and I am not going to change my mind." God says to them, "I am sorry, but I will give you what you ask for. I will make another universe, and you can go off to that universe and do your own thing." Of course, they wonít be alone there; the demons and others who made a similar decision will be there too. Since God is the source of all love, they will be separate from that too. If they had friends who went to the Lake of Fire too, they will not still be friends once they are in the Lake of Fire. I do not know if people will be insane when they go to the Lake of Fire, but I speculate that they will be insane after they have been there a while. O how terrible is the place where manís freedom to choose to be separate from God drifts away in the justice of its consequences.
One recommended book is The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. It has nothing to do with marriage and divorce, but is a fictional account of people who went to Hell, were given a choice to leave and go to heaven, but after due consideration decided that they still preferred to be in Hell. It is fictional, but a fascinating book. However, there is one unbiblical thing in it though. C.S. Lewis thought that a person in Hell could possibly repent and go to Heaven. However, Luke 16:26 says there is an impassible gulf there.
But if we establish that both scripture and the early church taught universally taught the eternal punishment of those who rejected Christ, the next question is how can that be consistent with what God has revealed in scripture about His justice towards those who never heard in the first place? See the page on www.BibleQuery.org/Doctrine/NeverHeardTheGospel/WhatAboutThoseWhoDiedBeforeHearingTheGospel.html
Q: In Rev 21:1, will the new earth be basically the old earth restored?
A: It could be the same underneath, but it will be very different on the surface. Revelation 21:1 says there will no longer be any sea, and Revelation 21:5 says that God is making all things new. Also, Romans 8:19-22 shows that God did not allow fallen man to live in an unfallen creation. Creation itself will be renewed. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.780-782 and Now Thatís a Good Question p.498-499 for more info.
Q: In Rev 21:1-3 is the first heaven and earth signify the old law and the new heaven and earth the new law under Bahaíuíllah, and no sea means all will follow Bahaíuíllah, as Bahaíis teach in Some Questions Answered p.67-68?
A: No. Revelation 21:2 says the New Jerusalem is as a bride for her husband (God). We Christians are metaphorically the bride of Christ, not some law. Revelation 21:4-5 says that God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will not be any more death, mourning or crying or pain. This prophecy was not fulfilled during the lifetime of Bahaíuíllah. This will not be fulfilled until after the return of Christ.
Q: In Rev 21:4, since there will be no more tears in Heaven, do angels weep when we sin, and does God weep?
A: This scripture does not say whether or not angels ever cry tears now. Revelation 21:4 only says that from this time forward, the bride of Christ (believers) will have no more weeping, and presumably the angels will have no weeping either. Perhaps there was crying in the past during the war in Heaven. Of course, on earth Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37-39 and Luke 19:41-44.
Q: In Rev 21:8, since God sends all liars into the Lake of Fire, why does God send delusions to people in 1 Thess 2:8?
A: Four points to consider in the answer.
Hypothetically speaking, even if God punished others for sending delusions while He sent delusions Himself, that would not be contradictory. There is no requirement that God obey what He orders His creatures to do. For example, God accepts worship, but we are not to accept worship. God has vengeance, but we are not to take vengeance. Nevertheless, God does not delude people.
Lying means to say or write something you know is not true. God has absolute knowledge, and Godís word created all things (Genesis 1:1). God not only does not lie, but God cannot lie as Hebrews 6:18 says.
Sending delusions is something even honest people do, when they leave their lights on as the leave to discourage burglars. That is not lying though.
God sends delusions, but God does not lie when He does so. For example, in 1 Samuel 16:1-5, God instructed Samuel to go to Bethlehem and give a misleading explanation. Just one chapter before, in 1 Samuel 15:29, it says that God does not lie. Thus lying here does not include allowing people to be misled.
See also the answer for 2 Thessalonians 2:11 in When Critics Ask p.495.
Q: In Rev 21:14, who exactly are the twelve apostles?
A: Most people view this as the twelve disciples, minus Judas Iscariot, plus Paul. Matthias was probably not meant, but see the discussion on Acts 1:23-26 for more info on why not.
Q: In Rev 22:6-20, how could Jesus say He was coming soon, almost 2,000 years ago?
A: While 2,000 years is a very short time to God, and some of the things in the letters to the seven churches happened only a few years afterwards, there is a more significant reason.
Soon here can mean at any time, and this doctrine is called the "imminent return of Christ". Christ says, "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." (Matthew 24:42 NIV) See also the discussion on Philippians 4:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:15, and 1 Peter 4:7.
Q: In Rev 22:16, who is the angel of Jesus?
A: Angel can mean messenger. While this possibly could refer to John the writer of Revelation, this most likely was a Heavenly being who was a messenger from Jesus to John.
Q: In Rev 22:16, who is the Bright Morning Star?
A: This verse explicitly states it is referring to Jesus. Satan was a morning star because all the angels were morning stars in Job 38:7. However, while Satan was a morning star too, Isaiah 14:12 says he was a morning star who fell from heaven. Morning star" is a title of great heavenly glory, and Jesus promised He would those who overcome the morning star in Revelation 2:28.
As an early historical note, Hippolytus (225-235/6 A.D.) mentions that the Logos of God is the Morning Star in The Refutation of All Heresies book 10 ch.29 p.151.
Q: In Rev 22:16, before you preach about The Jesus of the New Testament you should read Isaiah 14:12 in which God labels Satan The Morning Star (NIV) Lucifer in the King James Version (Lucifer = Morning Star). Then you should read Revelations 22:16 in which Jesus calls himself the Morning Star. Thatís right Jesus claims he is Lucifer.
With this information you can finally understand why Christianity is influenced by so many Pagan rituals and beliefs Satan is the one who created it. One fact that we know of for sure is that the real Jesus was sent to the Children of Israel. Thus the Jesus Sent to the gentiles was no other than Satan himself.
"And they have been commanded no more than this to worship God offering him sincere devotion, be true in faith, establish regular prayer; and to practice regular charity That is the religion Right and Straight. Those who reject truth among the People of the Book and among the polytheist WILL BE in HELLFIRE. to dwell therein forever they are the WORST in creatures. Those who have faith and do righteous deeds they are the best of creatures (Qurían 98:5-7). (A Muslim said this)
A: The phrase "morning star" does not mean Lucifer; morning star means having heavenly glory, and Lucifer was a morning star who fell from heaven. There are many morning stars, because this was applied to the angels (Job 38:7), and in a special sense to Christ (2 Peter 1:19; Revelation 22:16b). Revelation 22:16b also calls Jesus the Offspring of David. There were many offspring of David, but Jesus is the offspring of David in a special, promised sense.
Isaiah 14:12 says that Satan had the tremendous heavenly glory of the morning star too, until he lost it when He fell from heaven.
This title is similar to how all believers, both male and female, are given the title and privileges of sons of God (Galatians 3:26-29), but Jesus in particular is the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16). By the way, believers too, will be given the "morning star" by Jesus in Revelation 2:28.
As for alleged pagan origins, someone once said "those who live in glass houses should not throw stones." Many Muslims might not be aware of the documentation that Mohammed himself taught so much in common with pre-Islamic Arabian religion.
Arabs worshipped an unshapen stone Arnobius Against the Heathen (297-303 A.D.) book 6 ch.10 p.510
Tertullian, writing 198-220 A.D., mentions that Arabian heathen females were entirely veiled except for one eye. On the Veiling of Virgins ch.9 p.37
Like the Jews, Arabs practiced circumcision according to Bardaisan of Syria (154-224-232 A.D.) The Book of Laws of Diverse Countries p.730.
Arabs ate camel, but thought it wicked to eat pork. Jerome Against Jovinianus (393 A.D.) book 2 ch.7 p.393
A black rock from heaven was held in high esteem and placed in a corner of the Kaíbah, which was called "The House of Allah". The Kaíbah was the center of worship of 360 idols according to the Bukhari vol.3 book 43 ch.33 no.658 p.396 and vol.5 book 59 ch.47 no.583 p.406. The Encyclopedia of Islam (edited by Eliade) p.303ff says the people, prior to Islam, would pray five times toward Mecca and fast for part of a day for an entire month. The Quraysh fasted on the 10th of Myharram/Muharram. Mohammed ordered this too, but later it was optional (Bukhari vol.5 book 58 ch.25 no.172 p.109), also Bukhari vol.6 book 60 ch.24 no.31 p.25.
Pre-Islamic Arabs made pilgrimages (ĎUmrah) to Mecca. Fiqh us-Sunnah vol.5 p.122, and Bukhari vol.2 book 26 ch.33 no.635 p.371-372 say they thought not performing ĎUmrah was one of the major sins on earth. At Mecca they covered the Kaíbah with cloth Fiqh vol.5 p.131, and they had a sacred month of no war prior to Islam (Bukhari vol.2 book 23 ch.96 no.482 p.273).
Compared to four of the five pillars of Islam, the Meccans before Mohammed fasted on the same day, gave alms to their own, prayed toward Mecca, and made pilgrimages (ĎUmrah) to Mecca. There were many differences too, but some marvel in the continuity of these unchanged practices in common with the pagan Quraysh worship.
Western Arabs were unusual in worshipping a moon god and his wife, the sun goddess. There are pre-Islamic statues of his symbol: the crescent moon. It looks just like the crescent moon of Shiíite Muslims, except the Shiíites added a small star. The Yemenites/Sabaeans had a moon god according to the Encyclopedia of Islam p.303. The Quraysh may have gotten this idol from them.
The Quraysh tribe in Mecca worshipped Hubal, Al-ilah, and Al-ilahís three daughters, named Lat, ĎUzza, and Manat.
A symbol can be different in a different context. Both Muslims and Christians would generally view a serpent as a sign of Lucifer, yet the Qurían in Sura 7:107 says that Mosesí serpent was a sign from Allah.
Q: In Rev 22:18-19, why are people especially warned not to add or subtract from this book?
A: Proverbs 30:6 and 1 Corinthians 4:6 also warn people about not adding to Godís word. Some see this in a general sense as referring to the whole Bible, others, such as 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.13, see this in a strict sense as just referring to the book of Revelation. Assuming this just refers to Revelation, one reason might be that there is so much about the future, and much of it speaks of judgment and wrath, some who want to take out of the Gospel everything except love would be tempted to try to reduce or eliminate Revelation from the Bible. Today in some liberal "Christian" denominations, the Book of Revelation is rejected. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.782-784 for more info.
When Cultists Ask p.312 mentions that Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, violated this in his "inspired version" of the Bible. In Revelation 5:6, Smith changed "having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God..." to "having twelve horns and twelve eyes, which are the twelve servants of God...".
As early as 182-188 A.D. the early Christian writer Irenaeus, in Against Heresies ch.20, in mentioning that he is quoting John, quotes Revelation 5:6. Thus, RLDS and other Mormons cannot say Smith was correcting what was corrupted in the Middle Ages, because Irenaeus showed us what it said in his time.
Likewise, Mormons Answered Verse by Verse p.101-102 mentions that Joseph Smith took 1 John 4:12 "no man hath seen God at any time", and added "except them who believe".
Q: In Rev 22:19 (KJV), should this read "tree of life" or "book of life"?
A: While Christians disagree, the overwhelming evidence is "tree of life".
"Tree of life" according to 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.13, The Expositorís Greek New Testament volume 5 p.493, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.990, Aland et al. in their 3rd edition and 4th revised edition, the NASB, uNASB, Williams Translation, NIV, RSV, and NRSV.
"Book/scroll of life" according to the KJV, NKJV, and Jay P. Greenís Interlinear Bible. (The NKJV in a footnote says this is one place where the Textus Receptus differs from the majority text.
Curiously, this is neither an English translation issue, nor a Greek manuscript issue, but a Latin issue. No ancient Greek manuscript we have today says "book". Rather, when Erasmus made a standard copy of the Greek New Testament, he used a single Greek manuscript, which was missing the last six verses. So Erasmus back-translated from Latin into Greek, and the Latin Vulgate had "book". Bruce Metzger also adds that the original mistake probably occurred when a Latin scribe accidentally ligno (tree) and libro (book). The Expositorís Bible Commentary volume 12 p.603 says only one or two late Greek manuscripts have "book". See A Textual Commentary on the New Testament 2nd edition p.690 for more info. This might be the second or third biggest mistake in the King James Version of the New Testament.
Q: In Rev, who wrote this book?
A: Most Christians agree it was John the Apostle:
1. Justin Martyr in Dialog with Trypho ch.81 p.240 (written between c.138-165 A.D.)
2. Irenaeus in Against Heresies 182-188 A.D. chapters 17, 20 and 23. Also chapter 30 p.559
This is especially significant, as Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John the Apostle. Against Heresies ch.34 also mentions John
3. Instructions of Commodianus (c.240 A.D.) ch.43 p.211 alludes to John "...the Medes and Parthians burn for a thousand years, as the hidden words of John declare." And then mentions many other things in Revelation.
4. Tertullian said John was the author of his Apocalypse in Tertullian Against Marcion book 14 chapter 5 (207 A.D.).
6. Athanasius (326-373 A.D.) in Four Discourses Against the Arians IV p.444.
On the other hand, a church writer who thought it might be another John was Dionysius of Alexandria (200-265 A.D.)
Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) quotes from "the Apocalypse" in Treatise 12 the third book 34,36,59. Cyprian does not mention the authorship of The Apocalypse though.
Q: In Rev, how do we know if what we have today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: There are at least three reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; and Matthew 24:35.
Clement of Rome (96/98 A.D.) quotes Revelation 22:12 (This is also the same as Isaiah 40:10; 62:11) 1 Clement ch.34 vol.1 p.14
The Letter To Diognetus (c.130 A.D.) chapter 12 alludes to Revelation. "... and salvation is manifested, and the Apostles are filled with understanding, and the Passover of the Lord advances, and the choirs are gathered together, and are arranged in proper order, and the Word rejoices in teaching the saints..."
The Shepherd of Hermas c.115-140 A.D. questionably alludes to it in a few places.
The Didache (120-150 A.D.) ch.16 p.382 alludes to Revelation 12:9 and other verses. It says, "then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but they that endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the sings of the truth; first, the sig of an outspreading in heaven; then the sign of the sound of the trumpet; and the third, the resurrection of the dead; yet not of all, but as it is said: The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him. Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven."
The Didache (120-150 A.D.) ch.11 p.380 uses the word Maranatha, which is in Revelation 22:20.
Justin Martyr c.138-165 A.D. said "And further, there was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him, that those who believed in our Christ would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem; and that thereafter the general, and, in short, the eternal resurrection and judgment of all men would likewise take place." chapter 81 of Dialogue with Trypho. He refers to Christians dwelling with Christ for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4,5) in Dialogue with Trypho ch.81 p.240.
Christians of Vienna and Lugdunum (177 A.D.) quotes part of Revelation 14:4 p.779 and paraphrases Revelation 22:11 (which is also Daniel 12:10) on p.783. They quote Revelation 1:5 and half of Revelation 3:14 on p.784.
Irenaeus 182-188 A.D. One example is in Against Heresies book 4 ch.20.6 p.489 "John also, the Lordís disciple, when beholding the sacerdotal and glorious advent of His kingdom, says in the Apocalypse: ĎI turned to see the voice that spake with me. And, being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the candlesticks One like unto the Son of man, clothed..." (and it goes one for much, much longer) Irenaeus in 33 references referred to 46 verses in Revelation.
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) quotes Revelation 6:2 as by John in the Apocalypse. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 ch.21.3 p.493
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) quotes Revelation 5:8 as by John in the Apocalypse. Irenaeus Fragment 37 p.575
Clement of Alexandria John wrote the Apocalypse [Revelation] Stromata (193-202 A.D.) book 6 ch.13 p.504
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) dicusses in detail Revelation 2:18,20-22 as by John in the Apocalypse and the Holy Spirit teaching. On Modesty ch.19 p.95
Tertullian (207/208 A.D.) stresses the authorship of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Revelation, many of Paulís Letters in Five Books Against Marcion book 4 ch.5 p.350.
Commodianus (c.240 A.D.) alludes to Revelation 3:14 "There will be no succour nor ship of the sea. Amen flames on the nations, and the Medes and Parthians burn for a thousand years, as the hidden words of John declare. For then after a thousand years there are delivered over to Gehenna; and he whose work they were, with them are burnt up. Instructions of Commodianus ch.43 p.211
Commodianus (c.240 A.D.) "From heaven will descend the city in the first resurrection; this is what we may tell of such a celestial fabric. We shall arise again to Him, who have been devoted to Him. And they shall be incorruptible, even already living without death. And neither will there be any grief nor any groaning in that city. ..." Instructions of Commodianus ch.44 p.214
The Muratorian Canon (170-210 A.D.) ANF vol.5 p.603-604 says John wrote the Apocalypse.
Hippolytus (222-235/6) A.D. Among other things, Hippolytus quotes Revelation 1:8; 2:6,24; 3:14,21; 5:5,10; 6:14; 11:3,4-6; 12:1-6; 13:11-18; 17, 18; 20:6,11; 21:1; 22:15. That is a lot of verses from Revelation.
Origen 225-254 A.D. refers to Revelation 21 as "from the Apocalypse of John" Origen Against Celsus book 6 ch.23 p.583
Origen mentions Revelation 5:8 as from John in Revelation Origen Against Celsus book 8 ch.17 p.645
Origenís Commentary on John mentions the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He mentions Paul writing in 2 Corinthians and John in the Apocalypse.
Anonymous Treatise Against Novatian (c.250-257 A.D.) ch.17 p.663 quotes Revelation 20:11-13 as "John says in the Apocalypse".
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) mentions the Apocalypse and then quotes Revelation 18:4-9 in Treatises of Cyprian - Testimonies ch.36 p.544.
Moyses et al. to Cyprian (250-251 A.D.) quotes half of Revelation 3:21 "To him that overcomes will I give to sit on my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down on the throne of my Father.". Letters of Cyprian Letter 25 p.303
Gregory Thaumaturgus (240-265 A.D.) quotes half of Revelation 3:7, which is like Isaiah 22:22. "And this same principle is expressed indeed in the Holy Scriptures themselves, when it is said that only He who shutteth openeth, and no other one whatever;"
Dionysius of Alexandria (246-265 A.D.) quotes Revelation 1:1,2,9 and discusses the authorship, saying it was by John but not necessarily John the Apostle. He did not reject it as scripture though. From the Two Books on the Promises ch.4 p.83
Victorinus of Pettau (martyred 304 A.D.) wrote an entire commentary on the Apocalypse.
Methodius (260-312/3 A.D.) quotes Revelation 12:1-6 as by "John in the course of the Apocalypse" The Banquet of the Ten Virgins Discourse 8 ch.5 p.336
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) refers to Revelation 19:12: "his name is known to none, except to Himself and the Father, as John teaches in the Revelation." The Epitome of the Divine Institutes ch.41 p.238. He also alludes to Revelation 13 in The Divine Institutes book 7 ch.17 p.214. Lactantius alludes to Revelation 217 and 22:17 in The Divine Institutes book 7 ch.27 p.223. These are all of his references to Revelation.
X Eusebius of Caesarea (318-339/340 A.D.) denied that Revelation should be in scripture
Athanasius (367 A.D.) lists the books of the New Testament, including Revelation, in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/368 A.D.)
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions the Apocalypse of John as part of the New Testament. It quotes all of Revelation 1:1.
Ephraem the Syrian (350-378 A.D.) alludes to Revelation
Ambrosiaster (Latin, after 384 A.D.)
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.) quotes Revelation 1:8 as "Scripture". On the Christian Faith book 2 ch.4.35 p.228
Gregory of Nazianzen (330-391 A.D.)
Gregory of Nyssa (356-397 A.D.) alludes to Revelation
Pacian of Barcelona (343-377-379-392 A.D.) refers to Revelation 2:5 as in the Apocalypse. On Penance ch.11 (3) p.86
Gregory of Elvira (after 392 A.D.)
Gregory of Nyssa (c.356-397 A.D.) alludes to Revelation 1:6 in On Virginity ch.24 p.376
Didymus the Blind (398 A.D.)
Rufinus (374-406 A.D.)
John Chrysostom (-407 A.D.) alludes to Revelation (vol.14)
Sulpicius/Sulpitius Severus (363-420 A.D.) says John the apostle and evangelist wrote Revelation in History book 2 ch.31 p.112
Council of Carthage (393-419 A.D.)
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.)
Chromatius (died 407 A.D.)
Orosius/Hosius of Braga (414-418 A.D.) alludes to Revelation 20:12 as in the Apocalypse of John. Defense Against the Pelagians ch.13 p.131
Augustine of Hippo (388-8/28/430 A.D.) quotes Revelation 5:9 as by John. On the Forgiveness of Sin, and Baptism) book 1 ch.51 p.34. He also refers to Revelation 21:3.
Augustine of Hippo (388-430 A.D.) quotes Revelation 1:8 as Jesus speaking in the Apocalypse. On Faith and the Creed ch.5.15 p.327
John Cassian the Semi-Pelagian (419-320 A.D.) quotes Revelation 4:4 as the Holy Apocalypse in the Conference of the Abbot Abraham ch.1 p.531.
Quodvultdeus (c.453 A.D.)
Theodoret of Cyrus (423-458 A.D.)
Leo I of Rome (440-461 A.D.) quotes Revelation 3:2 in Letter 108.6 p.79
Varimadum (445/480 A.D.)
3. Evidence of heretics and other writers
The heretic Priscillian (385 A.D.) refers to Revelation 18:2,3,12
The Donatist heretic Tyconius (after 390 A.D.) refers to Revelation 1:15
4. Earliest manuscripts we have of Revelation show there are small manuscript variations, but no theologically significant errors. Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.72 says there about 250 manuscript witnesses [early and late] of Revelation. Here are the earliest ones.
p18 (=papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1079) (250-300 A.D.) Revelation 1:4-7. The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.94 has a picture of this manuscript, and it says the handwriting was not by a trained scribe.
p24 (=papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1230) c.300 A.D. Rev. 5:5-8; 6:5-8 The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.106 has a picture of this manuscript, and it says the handwriting shows it was written by a common person. Nevertheless, it is very close to Sinaiticus, and only differs from Alexandrinus three times.
7th century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament
4th century - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition
4th century - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition
p43 Revelation 2:12-13; 15:8-16:2 (6th or 7th century)
6th or 7th century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament
6th or 7th century - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition
p47 Chester Beatty III. 250-300 A.D. contains 125 verses of Revelation. Specifically, it has Revelation 9:10-11:3; 11:5-16:15; 16:17-17:2. The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.326 has a picture of this manuscript, and on p.25 it says the scribal hand shows the scribe was practiced as writing documents. This manuscript is closest to Sinaiticus.
Second half of the 3rd century - 1934 - Kenyon according to The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.325
End of the 3rd century - 1968 - The Text of the New Testament also has 11:4; 16:16, but The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts shows 100% of those verses in brackets.
Late 3rd century - 1975 - Aland et al. third edition
Late 3rd century - 1998 - Aland et al. fourth revised edition
Second half of the 3rd century - 1999 - The Complete Manuscripts of the Earliest New Testament.
p85 Revelation 9:19-10:1; 10:5-9 (4th or 5th century)
p98 2nd century Revelation 1:13-2:1 The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts p.618 has a picture of this manuscript, and it says the text is badly damaged.
0169 (= Papyrii Oxyrhynchus 1080) (4th century) (single leaf) contains Revelation 3:19-4:1. For more info and a photograph see Manuscripts of the Greek Bible p.72-73.
0163 (single leaf)
0207 (single leaf)
p115 (=papyrus Oxyrhynchus 4499) Revelation 2:1-3, 13-15, 27-29; 3:10-12; 5:8-9; 6:5-6; 8:3-8, 11-13; 9:1-5,7-16,18-21; 10:1-4,8-10,12-17; 13:1-3, 6-16,18; 14:1-3, 5-7, 10-11, 14-15, 18-20; 15:1,4-7 (published in 1999) (3rd or 4th century)
Sinaiticus [Si] (340-350 A.D.) has all of Revelation
Alexandrinus [A] (c.450 A.D) has all of Revelation.
046 all of Revelation
Revelation is missing in Vaticanus.
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic [Sah] 3rd/4rth century
Ephraemi Rescriptus [C] 5th century
Armenian [Arm] from 5th century
Ethiopic [Eth] from c.500 A.D.
See www.BibleQuery.org/revMss.html for more on early manuscripts of Revelation.
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