197. THE REVELATION.
A. | The King and the Kingdom, (See Ap. 95. II and Ap. 198) in promise and prophecy (the Old Testament) :
B. | The King presented, proclaimed, and rejected (the four Gospels) :
A. | The King and the kingdom unveiled. The King enthroned. The kingdom set up. Promise and prophecy fulfilled (The Revelation).
C. | Transitional. The kingdom again offered and rejected (Acts and the earlier Epistles. See Ap. 180 and 181) :
B. | The King exalted and made Head over all things to "the church which is His body". The "mystery" (the later Pauline Epistles. See Ap. 193). The kingdom in abeyance (Heb. 2:8).
- The Lord Jesus Christ is the one great Subject of the Word of God
(cp. Luke 24:27; John 5:39), being the promised "Seed" of the woman (Gen.
3:15). He is therefore the Master-key to the Divine revelation of
the Word. The whole Bible is about Him directly or indirectly, and
as everything centers in and around Him, apart from Him it cannot be understood.
This is set forth in the foregoing Structure, from which we see that
Genesis and Revelation, "the first" and "the last" books
of the Bible, are inseparably linked together. Genesis is
"the beginning" and Revelation the ending of the written Word, even
as the Lord, the Incarnate Word, spake of Himself (cp. 21:6; 22:13).
is the complement of Genesis. Either without the other would
be unintelligible. Genesis 1-2 finds its correspondence in Rev. 21-22
(see Ap. 198).
Without the first chapters of Genesis, Revelation would
be an insoluble riddle, as indeed it is to those who treat the record of
the "Creation" and the "Fall" as "myths" (See 2Tim. 4:4). Without
the last chapters of the Revelation "the Book" would be a hopeless
and heart-breaking record of the failure and doom of the Adamic race.
The Bible may be likened to a beautiful and complex girdle or belt,
with a corresponding connecting clasp at each end, one the complement of
the other. Do away with either, the girdle is useless as a girdle.
So here, Genesis and Revelation are the two clasps of the
Divine Word, which link together and enclose between them in "perfection
of beauty" and harmony the whole of the Scriptures in which God has been
pleased to reveal His "Eternal Purpose" (Ap. 198).
- ITS SCOPE, &c. The key to unlock the meaning and scope
of the book is found in 1:10. "The Lord's day" = THE DAY OF THE LORD
(Jehovah). (See Isa. 2:12) John was not in "a state of spiritual
exaltation" on any particular Sunday at Patmos, as the result of
which "he saw visions and dreamed dreams". But as we are told, "I
came to be (or found myself) by the Spirit in the day of the Lord" (cp.
Ezek. 1:1; 8:3, &c.). He is then shown, and both sees and hears
(22:8), the things he records.
"The day of the Lord" being yet future, it follows that the whole
book must concern the things belonging to "that day", and consequently
is wholly prophecy. Though partial adumbrations of judgment may be
traced in connection with affairs of past history, yet the significant,
warning here (1:10) that the "judgments" in Revelation relate to
the day of the Lord, "the day of vengeance" (cp. Isa. 61:2; 63:4, &c.),
makes it clear that the book concerns the future, and the day of the unveiling
(the Apocalypse) of the great "King of kings and Lord of lords" (see Ap.198).
Its scope is further shown by its place in the Canon. The order
of the separate books of the N.T. varies, but they are always formed in
four groups that never vary chronologically. (See Ap. 95. II.)
The Gospels contain the prophecies of the great tribulation :
Revelation describes it. Between, come the Scriptures of the
intermediate period, Acts and the Epistles. Chronologically
and canonically, Revelation follows after the Epistles, though logically
in God's purpose (Eph. 3:11) it follows the Gospels. Therefore we
see the scope embraces the wind-up of all the affairs of time; it records
the end of prophecy, the end of "the secret of God" (10:7), the end of
all "enmity towards God", and the dawn of the "ages of the ages".
- ITS HEBREW CHARACTER. The language of the book is Greek "
its thoughts and idioms are Hebrew. This links it with the O.T.,
and shows that its great purpose is to declare God's final dealings with
the Jew and the Gentile as such; and that "the church of
God" of the Pauline Epistles and this dispensation (Ap. 195) has no place
in Revelation (other than in association with its glorified Head).
See Ap. 193. All the imagery of the book, Temple, Tabernacle. &c.,
belongs to Israel.
Again, in Matthew (the Hebrew Gospel) are some 92 quotations
from and references to the O.T. In Hebrews there are 102.
In Revelation are found no fewer than 285. This emphatically
stamps its close connection with the O.T. and Israel; and it equally stamps
the latest utterances of "modern scholarship", viz. that "whatever view
may be taken of the indebtedness to Jewish sources, there can be no doubt
that he (the writer) has produced a book which taken as a whole is profoundly
Christian", as being the dicta of men who, wittingly or unwittingly, are
blind to this fundamental fact of Revelation.
THE TITLES OF CHRIST further attest its Hebrew character :
- "The Son of Man" (1:13; 14:14). Never found in the Pauline Epistles to the "churches". See Ap. 98. xvi and Ap. 99.
- "The Almighty" (1:8; &c.). See Ap. 98. iv.
- "The Lord God" (3:8 and see 2:.6). Cp. this title with Gen. 2:4-3:24 in connexion with "paradise".
- "The First and the Last" (1:11, 17; 2:8; 22:13). Never associated with "the church which is His body".
- "The Prince of the kings of the earth" (1:5). Never used in connexion with "the church".
- "Who is to come" (=The Coming One), 1:4, &c. Occ sixteen times in the Gospels, Acts, Hebrews (10:37); three times in Revelation, and nowhere else.
- "The Living One" (1:18). A title only found in Daniel (4:34; 12:7) and six times in this book. Thus linking Daniel and Revelation in a very special manner.
- THE "BRIDE" AND THE "WIFE" of 21:9 must not be confused with the
"wife" of 19:7. The latter is Israel called out from among the nations
for blessing in "the Land"; the earthly consort of "the Great King" (cp.
Ps. 45; Jer. 3:14). This "wife" (19:7) is connected with the Millennial
Jerusalem which, with the rest of the earth "that now" is, will pass away
and give place to the new earth with the new Jerusalem, succeeding
and replacing the former. "The bride, the Lamb's wife" of 21:9, is
still of Israel, but the Israel of the "heavenly calling" (Heb. 3:1) :
all those connected with the "heavenly country" and "the city with the
foundations" for which they "looked" (Heb. 11:13-16); the "Jerusalem
above" of Gal. 4:26. Hence the significance of the term "bride" (numphe)
The Israel of 19:7 is not spoken of as bride (numphe), because
she has become wife (gune). Cp. the "married to you" = am
become your husband (consummation), of Jer. 3:14, and see the Note
there relating to the "restoration" time. Here (21:9) the term "bride"
indicates clearly that the betrothal has taken place and that the marriage
will be consummated when the bride shall have come down out of heaven.
John sees her coming down (pres. part.), 21:10.
The loose way in which we speak of a "bride" as not only a contracting
party at the time of the marriage ceremony, but also of her after she has
become wife (gune), is responsible for much confusion as to the
"wife" of 19:7 and the bride-wife of 21:9. Strictly speaking , "bride"
is to be applied only to a betrothed virgin (Gr. parthenos = Heb.
hethulah), when the marriage (legal) ceremony takes place.
Directly after, she ceases to be "bride", and has become (legally)
"wife", although from the forensic point of view consummation of the marriage
may be delayed (cp. Matt. 1:25, and see the Note there).
According to the Mosaic Law, a betrothed maid (Heb. bethulah)
was legally a wife ('ishshah), (cp. Matt. 1:18, 20 with Deut.
22:23, 24); hence Joseph's trouble and temptation (see Matt. 1:20).
A careful study of the terms in Matt. 1:18-25 will afford a clue to a clearer
understanding of the terms "bride" and the two "wives" of Rev. 19:7; 21:9
than volumes of commentary.
If the earthly millennial metropolis is real, so is this also, for both
are spoken of in the same terms. And if the laying of "thy stones
with fair colors" and "thy foundations with sapphires" (Isa. 54:11) is
spoken of the day when God is to be called "the God of
the whole earth"
(see v. 5), it must refer to the time of Isa. 65:17; 66:22 and Rev.
21:1. Moreover, laying foundations implies a solid substratum
on which to lay them, i.e. earth. Foundations are of no use
to a city "suspended" in the air!
The same argument applies also to the "tree of life" and the "water
of life". If the "river" and "trees for meat" of Ezek 47:1-12 are
real and literal, so also are the "tree" and the "water" of life here.
Again, both are spoken of in identical terms. There is no more room
for "imagery" in the one case than the other. The "tree of life"
lost in the paradise of Genesis is here seen restored to the whole
earth in the day when "the God of the whole earth" will "tabernacle" with
men, - (and be) "their God" (Rev. 21:3). There is no place for "symbolism"
in either case.
- The more important Figs. of Speech are noted. These will supply
helpful keys where the symbolism is not Divinely explained or indicated,
and will enable the student to judge whether Revelation is purely
Johannine "symbolic imagery", as some affirm, and a "legitimate appeal
to Christian imagination"; or whether the book is, as it claims to be,
a deliberate setting forth proleptically of the actual scenes and events
with which God declares that His purposes concerning the heaven and the
earth shall be consummated.
- NUMBERS hold a prominent and significant place in
These in order are: - 2 (occ. eleven times); 3 (eleven); 3 1/2 (twice);
4 (thirty); 5 (three); 6 (twice, including 13:18); 7 (fifty-four); 10 (nine);
12 (twenty-two); 24 (seven); 42 (twice); 144 (four); 666 (once); 1,000
(nine); 1260 (twice); 1,600 (once); 7,000 (once); 12,000 (thirteen); 144,000
(three); 100,000,000 (once, 5:11); 200,000,000 (once 9:16). Twenty-one
in all (3 x 7 = 21. See Ap. 10).
Seven is thus seen to be the predominant number, occurring fifty-four
times (3 x 3 x 3 x 2 = 54. Ap. 10). Twelve comes next - twenty-two
occ. Seven, ten, and twelve, with their multiples,
run throughout the book. In the Notes attention is called to other
numbers of great significance. The student will thus be enabled to
work out for himself many problems connected with the question of number
in Scripture. Some examples are here given of word occurrences.
- 6 times; Babulon, basanismos, (torment), theion (brimstone) :
- 7 times; abussos (bottomlesspit), axios (worthy), basileuo (reign), etoimazo (make ready), makarios (blessed), propheteia (prophecy),
semeion (sign, &c.), hupomene (patience), charagma (mark), Christos:
- 8 times; Amen, thusiasterion (alter), planao (deceive), Satanas, sphragizo (seal), stephanos (crown), nux (night):
- 9 times; deka(ten), kainos(new), krino (judge), marturia (testimony), pantokrator (Almighty), polemos (battle, &c.):
- 10 times; alethinos (true), eikon (image), thumos (wrath), keras (horn), prosopon (face), hora (hour), salpizo (to sound):
- 12 times; dunamis (strength), phiale (vial) :
- 14 times; aster (star), Iesous, doulos (servant); &c.
The word arnion (lamb) occ. 29 times ("the Lamb" 28 = 4 sevens
: the other occ. 13:11). Elsewhere only in John 21:15.
(holy) occ. 26 times according to the texts, which omit 15:3 and 22:6,
and add 22:21; otherwise 27 times (3 x 9 or 3 x 3 x 3) : doxa (glory)
occ. 17 times (10 + 7) : eulogia (blessing and ascription)
3 times; ethnos (nations) 23 times; nikao (overcome) 17 times
: drakon (dragon) 13 times : plege (plague, &c.) occ.
16 times (4 x 4).
Phrases occ. frequently, e.g. (i) he that hath an ear 7 times;
if any man hath an ear occ. once : (ii) third part , 16 times :
(iii) the kings of the earth, 9 times.
- CONCLUSION. The "tree of life" (22:2) and the "water of life"
(vv. 1, 17) are seen to be the great central subjects of the new
earth. No longer will there be any "curse" (v. 3). In place
of the "Fall" we have restoration. Instead of expulsion --
"lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat,
and live for ever" (Gen. 3:22) -- is the gracious invitation to
those who "have right to the tree of life" (v. 22), "Come, whosoever
desireth, and let him take the water of life freely" (v. 17).
- The Benediction (22:21) not only completes the correspondence of
the Structure (p. 1883), but appropriately closes the whole of the Book
of God. "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). In this
dispensation all is of grace. Grace now, glory hereafter (cp.
Ps. 84:11). In the time coming, with which Revelation is concerned,
will be given to "endure to the end" (Matt. 24:13) to all who come "out
of the great tribulation" (7:14); to all slain under antichrist "for the
Word of God" (6:9); and to all who "have the testimony of Jesus Christ"
(12:17). "Grace, grace." ALL IS OF GRACE !
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