Transcript Revelation Powerpoint
The Apocalypse of Jesus
Apocalypse, the title of this book in the
original Greek, means "unveiling" or
"disclosure" of hidden things known only
to God. Other examples of apocalyptic
literature can be found in the Old
Testament in Daniel (chaps. 7-12),
Isaiah (24-27), Ezekiel (chaps. 37-41),
and Zechariah (chaps. 9-12).
Author: John, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James, a Disciple and an Apostle
Date: Around A.D. 95 during the rule and persecution of Domitian, emperor of Rome.
Place: Patmos, an island for political and religious prisoners.
Audience: Christians of the Roman province of Asia who were undergoing intense
persecution. Each church mentioned in Chapters 2 and 3 were between 30-50 miles
Type of Literature: Apocalyptic—prophetic—using symbolism—especial y in Revelation
because John was a prisoner and his letters probably were being censured by the
Romans so that he could not instigate a revolution since he was the last living, original
Theme: While in the midst of persecutions, Christians can hold to the fact that Jesus
has come in the past, is present with them in their struggles, and wil come again to
take them victoriously and gloriously to their eternal home.
Five current views of interpreting the Book of
A. The Tribulation was the Jewish war of A.D. 6670.
B. From that time on, the society would be
gradually changed into a Christian one.
C. The Millennium would be a golden age of
D. After the Millennium, Jesus would return and
bring the final Judgment of the World.
When World War I happened, most people
abandoned this view.
A. This age is evil and will continue to worsen until the final
persecution of Christians by the Anti-Christ. (The Tribulation)
B. Many Christians will die for their beliefs—martyrs.
C. Christ will come and judge the Anti-Christ and establish the
golden age of the millennium.
D. Armageddon will happen when Satan is loosed and then
the final judgment.
E. The new heaven and earth will be established.
This interpretation takes the entire book of Revelation literally.
This view is held widely today. One question must be
explained though: “Why the need for a thousand years of
peace and then a final battle?”
A. This view divides history into different dispensations—there is
disagreement over how many—either 3 or 7. Each dispensation
contains a different revelation from God.
B. A rapture will take place before the world becomes completely
C. God will deal with the nation of Israel during the 7 years of
D. The Anti-Christ will persecute the Israelites, but many will turn to
E. Israel will be re-established as a righteous nation by Christ
and He will rule the world as the King of Israel.
F. Armageddon will take place and then the final judgment.
G. God will establish a new heaven and a new earth.
Though most people do not understand the dispensational aspect,
this view is probably the mostly widely held in Southern Baptist
churches. Like Historic Premillennialism, this view does not answer
the question mentioned above.
A. Christians have continued to be persecuted from
the time of Christ and will be until His return—this is
B. The souls of believers go to heaven at death and
reign with Christ there—the Millennium.
C. When Christ returns gloriously and bodily, those
Christians still alive will be caught up—the rapture—
and the dead in Christ will be resurrected.
D. The judgment will occur immediately after Christ’s
This view is held by many today and is widely
understood as the simplest view.
A. Martyrs will be honored in a first resurrection and
given their reward as a thousand year reign.
B. Satan’s temporary release means that God is so great
and so good that He can allow evil to be loose on the
C. Once Christ’s rule is begun, there is no interruption.
D. At the final judgment, Christ will cause all humans to
appear before Him and be judged.
There are other points, but each basically deals with the
millennium as the period of the martyrs. This is a recent
view and is a conglomeration of the others.
Revelation Basics to Keep in Mind
1) Revelation is a book of
prophecy—the forth-telling of
Jesus’ second coming and a
fore-telling of the events that will
take place before and after that
2) Revelation is not to be
interpreted literally—it is an
apocalypse—a revelation of four
visions that John was given—
apocalyptic literature is symbolic
in nature, therefore, there are
many symbols in the book of
which we must be aware;
3) Revelation had a specific
meaning to its original
readers that must not be
overlooked—in other words,
the people of John’s day
would have understood what
John was writing about;
4) Scripture never contradicts
itself. Therefore the
interpretation of Revelation
must be done in a manner
that complements the whole
of Scripture ;
5) One’s interpretation
of the Revelation
should not be used as
a measuring stick of
Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when
His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to
Him. 2 And He said to them, "Do you not see all these things?
Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon
another, which will not be torn down."
Jerusalem was taken by the Roman armies, under
the command of Titus, 70 A.D. Matthew 24:2
Josephus says that Titus "gave orders that they
should now "demolish the whole city and temple,"
except three towers, which he reserved standing.
The Abomination of Desolation as prophesied by
Daniel has many different possible meanings.
Antioches Epiphanes sacrificed a pig in 165 B.C. on
the altar in the Temple.
Some see it as what the Romans did in A.D. 70
when the Temple was being destroyed.
Some see it as the Muslim Temple sitting on the
place where the original Jewish Temple sat.
Others see it as yet to occur.
"Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass
away until all these things take place. 35 "Heaven
and earth will pass away, but My words will not
Some interpret this word as meaning “race” while
others see it as “mankind” in general.
It’s best translated as it is…a generation. Who was
the last of Jesus’ generation to die?
"For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has
not occurred since the beginning of the world until
now, nor ever will.
Concerning the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Josephus
The whole city ran with blood, insomuch that many
things which were burning were extinguished by the
blood." - "Jewish Wars," b. 6 chapter 8 , section 5;
chapter 9 , section 2,3. He adds that in the siege of
Jerusalem not fewer than "eleven hundred
thousand" perished (Jewish Wars, b. 6 chapter 9 ,
Many hundreds," says Josephus ("Jewish Wars," b. v. chapter
11 , section 1), "were first whipped, then tormented with
various kinds of tortures, and finally crucified; the Roman
soldiers nailing them (out of the wrath and hatred they bore
to the Jews), one after one way and another after another, to
crosses, "by way of jest," until at length the multitude
became so great that room was lacking for crosses, and
crosses for the bodies." So terribly was their imprecation
fulfilled - "his blood be on us and on our children," Matt
27:25. If it be asked how it was possible for so many people
to be slain in a single city, it is to be remembered that the
siege of Jerusalem commenced during the time of the
Passover, when all the males of the Jews were required to
be there, and when it is estimated that more than "three
million" were usually assembled. See Josephus, Jewish
Wars, b. 6 chapter 9 , section 3,4.
Revelation Chapter 1
I do not believe that this is a detailed history,
but a representation of the great periods and
powers in developing the kingdom of God in
relation to the world. The Church-historical
view goes counter to the great principle, that
Scripture interprets itself. Revelation is to
teach us to understand the times, not the
times to interpret the Apocalypse. The book
is in a series of parallel groups, not in
John said that these things are soon to
occur. The Gentile church needs to be
roused from her tendency to make this
world her home, by the nearness of
Christ's advent. Many things must occur
before His return, but it is imminent.
The early church expected Him to come
soon. Though it has been nearly two
thousand years, Christ’s return could still
happen in our lifetime.
John was an eyewitness of the life of
Jesus and also these events he is going to
describe. John wanted his readers to
know that his testimony was trustworthy
and true. He has left nothing out.
Everything he has seen—note the
Gospels and the Epistles—John has
testified to and given an account of for
Seven churches--there were more churches in
that region, but seven expresses totality.
These seven represent the universal Church
of all times and places. It is the number
signifying God's covenant relation to
mankind, especially to the Church. Here in
the Revelation where the covenant reaches
its consummation, appropriately seven recurs
more frequently than elsewhere.
The faithful Witness-- of the truth concerning
Himself and His mission as Prophet, Priest,
and King of kings. This description of Jesus is
threefold. Jesus was a faithful witness even
to death. He was and is the high priest whose
sacrifice made atonement for the sins of the
world. Jesus is the ruler of all kings. He
appoints kings and rulers and all will one day
be in subject under His feet and declare Him
The overriding theme of the Book is the
return of Jesus. The apostles saw Jesus leave
in the clouds and the angel said that he would
return just as they saw him leave Acts 1:11.
Every eye will see him. This is going to be his
public return for all to see, fear and know that
the end has come. This is going to be a
dreadful event for those who pierced him
which is not reference to the Roman soldiers
at the Cross.
I am the Alpha and the Omega-- the first and
last letters of the Greek alphabet. God in
Christ comprises all between, as well as first
and last. In Christ, Genesis, the Alpha of
Scripture, and Revelation, the Omega, meet;
the last presenting man and God reconciled
in Paradise, as the first presented man at the
beginning innocent and in God's favor in
Paradise. Accomplishing finally what He had
John needs no other explanation of who
he is other than their brother and fellow
partaker in tribulation—persecution—
kingdom—the reign of Jesus in the life of
the saints—and perseverance—the ability
to overcome till the end. Jesus suffered
the Cross and endured—we must follow
In the Spirit-- in a state of ecstasy:
the outer world shut out: the inner spirit,
being taken possession of by God's Spirit,
establishing an immediate connection
with the invisible world. This happened on
a Sunday while John was worshipping or
focusing his thoughts on God.
Write in a book—John is commanded to write
what he hears. He is not given an option. The
book was to contain a message intended for
these seven churches. It was a message that
included the visions that we were to see.
These seven are representative churches; as a
complex whole, ideally complete, embodying
the spiritual characteristics of the Church,
whether as faithful or unfaithful, in all ages.
Those selected are not taken at random, but
have a many-sided completeness.
Instead, he saw seven golden lampstands. Here
the seven are separate, typifying the entire
Church. The several churches are mutually
independent as to external ceremonies and
government, yet one in the unity of the Spirit and
the Headship of Christ. The candlestick is not light,
but bears light, holding forth light around. The light
the Church bears is the Lord's, not her own--Phil.
2:15-16. His glory is the end of her light--Matt.
5:16. The Lord is the Church's only light; the light
of grace, not nature. “Golden” symbolizes the
greatest preciousness and sacredness.
In the middle of the lampstands-- implying
Christ's presence and ceaseless activity
in the midst of His people—the church.
The garment and sash are emblems of
His priesthood. His being in the midst of
the candlesticks (only seen in the
temple), shows it is as king-priest. He is
so attired. This priesthood He has
exercised since His ascension; and
therefore wears its emblems.
He has the seven stars in his hand—probably the
angels of the seven churches in verse 20. Jesus has
the power over the churches and they exist by and
through Him. From his mouth proceeds a sharp
two-edged sword. It is a war-like image which
shows the power of Jesus’ words. They have the
power to cut asunder the soul and spirit. Jesus
does not need any other weapon. He defeated the
devil’s temptations by his word. His dazzling face
points to the glory of God and Christ which is not
only brilliant, but blinding like the sun at full
(the mystery) That is, the explanation of the seven stars is
the seven angels or ministers of the churches; and the
meaning of the seven golden lamps is the seven churches
1. In the seven stars there may be an allusion to the
seals of different offices under potentates, each of which
had its own particular seal, which verified all instruments
from that office; and as these seals were frequently set in
rings which were worn on the fingers, there may be an
allusion to those brilliants set in rings, and worn on the right
hand. In (Jer. 22:24), Coniah is represented as a signet on
the right hand of the Lord; and that such signets were in
rings see (Gen. 38:18,25; Exo. 28: 11; Dan. 6:17; Hag.
2:23). On close examination we shall find that all the
symbols in this book have their foundation either in nature,
fact, custom, or general opinion.
2. The churches are represented by these
lamps; they hold the oil and the fire, and
dispense the light. A lamp is not light in
itself, it is only the instrument of
dispensing light, and it must receive both
oil and fire before it can dispense any; so
no church has in itself either grace or
glory, it must receive all from Christ its
head, else it can dispense neither light
3. The ministers of the Gospel are
signets or seals of Jesus Christ; he
uses them to stamp his truth, to
accredit it, and give it currency. But
as a seal can mark nothing of itself
unless applied by a proper hand, so
the ministers of Christ can do no
good, seal no truth, impress no soul,
unless the great owner decide to use
4. How careful should the church be that it have
the oil and the light, that it continue to burn and
send forth divine knowledge! In vain does any
church pretend to be a church of Christ if it
gives forth no light; if souls are not enlightened,
quickened, and converted in it. If Jesus walks in
it, its light will shine both clearly and strongly,
and sinners will be converted unto him; and the
members of that church will be children of the
light, and walk as children of the light and of the
day, and there will be no occasion of stumbling
Application from Chapter 1:
1. Those who read and those who hear and
those who heed the words of this prophecy will be
full of joy—verse 3.
2. The idea of a second coming of Jesus is a fact
and will take place for all to see—verses 4-8—
please note in verse 7 that the second coming will
be with the clouds—there is no mention of Jesus
having to set his feet upon the earth for it to be His
second coming—see also Acts 1:11.
3. John was a prisoner on the penal colony at
Patmos suffering in the tribulation, but on the day
of worship, he was doing what he should have
been doing, worshipping (9).
4. Not only was John doing what he should, he
found Jesus being where He promised: right there
5. The first vision reveals Jesus in all of his
glorious splendor and is truly worthy of worship
and praise—verses 12-16.
6. The image of Jesus in the middle of the
lampstands symbolizes Jesus’ presence among His
people and His watch-care over the churches and
their leaders—verses 12, 13, 16a, 20.
7. In contrast to Jesus’ watch-care over the
churches, He holds the future of those who have
died and are in Hades (18) which refers to their
judgment which will take place at His coming. This
means that there is no second chance or
opportunity for those who have died without faith.
I consider the churches as real, and that their
spiritual state is here really and literally pointed
out, and that they have reference to the state
of the church of Christ in all ages of the world.
The angel of the church is signifying the
messenger, the pastor, sent by Christ and his
apostles to teach and edify that church.
Consider what is spoken to this angel as
spoken to the whole church; and that it is not
his particular state that is described, but the
states of the people in general under his care.
The One who holds the seven stars
And the One who walks among the
Seven golden lampstands
Lost first love
Do deeds you
Tree of life
The First and the Last, Who was dead
But has come to life
Don’t fear, be
The One who has the sharp two-edged
Where you live
The Son of God with eyes like a
Flame and feet of bronze
fast until His
He who has the seven Spirits of
God and the seven stars
Church is dead
Holy and True, who has the key of
David, opens doors
Deeds, given an
open door, little
The Amen, the faithful and true
Witness, the Beginning of Creation
neither hot or
Buy from Christ
Applications for daily living:
From Ephesus we learn that activity and doctrinal
soundness cannot replace a heart and attitude of love.
From Smyrna we learn that faithfulness unto
death—death to self—allows us to escape the second
death—death unto God.
From Pergamum we learn that false teachings
must not be tolerated.
From Thyatira we learn that false teachers mix
truth with error and lead unsuspecting Christians away
and into eventual punishment.
From Sardis we learn that a body may look as if it
is alive, and it may even act as if it is alive, but at its
heart, it is stone-cold dead.
From Philadelphia we learn that the vitality of a
church is a direct indication of its missionary zeal.
From Laodicea we learn that indifference in a
church about its spiritual condition and toward its
commissionary fulfillment is sickening to Jesus.
From all seven churches we learn that Jesus is fully
aware of both the spiritual condition of the church and
its attitude toward fulfilling the Great Commission, and
that He fully expects His churches to be fulfilling its
discipling and missionary directives.
What Happened to the Ark of the Covenant?
It is a traditional teaching of the Jews that the
ark of the covenant, the tables of stone,
Aaron's rod, the holy anointing oil, and the
pot of manna, were hidden by King Josiah
when Jerusalem was taken by the
Babylonians, and that these will all be
restored in the days of the Messiah. Others
say it is under the Temple Mount where the
Dome of the Rock—a Muslim Mosque—is
The Second Vision of John
24 Elders—probably 12 tribes of Israel and 12
Apostles—symbolic of the people of God.
3—symbolic for God—the Trinity;
4—symbolic of the whole creation
12—3 x 4 = 12—Completeness or total;
144,000—12 squared times 10 cubed—a complete
(And one sitting on the throne) It is remarkable
that John gives no description of him who sat on
the throne, nor does he indicate who he was by
name. Neither do Isaiah or Ezekiel attempt to
describe the appearance of the God, nor are
there any intimations of that appearance given
from which a picture or an image could be
formed. So much do their representations
accord with what is demanded by God in His
commandments that they have guarded against
any encouragement of idolatry. He does not
describe his form, but his splendor.
(And there was a rainbow around the throne) This
is a beautiful image, and was probably designed to
be emblematic as well as beautiful. It reminds us of
the “covenant” when God did “set his bow in the
cloud,” and solemnly promised that the earth
should no more be destroyed by a flood, (Gen. 9:916). The appearance of the rainbow, therefore,
around the throne, was a beautiful emblem of the
mercy of God, and of the peace that was to
pervade the world as the result of the events that
were to be disclosed to the vision of John. True,
there were lightning and thundering and voices, but
there the bow stood calmly above them all,
assuring him that there was to be mercy and
We will see the “bow” again in this book.
The 24 Thrones and Elders
(around the throne were twenty-four thrones) Perhaps
this is in reference to the smaller Sanhedrin at
Jerusalem, which was composed of twenty-three
elders; or to the princes of the twenty-four courses of
the Jewish priests which ministered at the tabernacle
and the temple, at first appointed by David.
(1) These elders have a regal character, or are of
a kingly order. This is apparent:
(a) because they are represented as sitting on
(b) because they have on their heads “crowns of
(2) they are emblematic. They are designed to
symbolize or represent some class of persons. This is
(a) because it cannot be supposed that so
small a number would compose the whole of those
who are in fact around the throne of God, and
(b) because there are other symbols there
designed to represent something pertaining to the
homage rendered to God, as the four living
creatures and the angels, and this supposition is
necessary in order to complete the symmetry and
harmony of the representation.
(3) they are human beings, and are designed to
have some relation to the race of man, and
somehow to connect the human race with the
worship of heaven. The four living creatures have
another design; the angels--Rev. 5--have another;
but these are manifestly of our race-- persons from
this world before the throne.
(4) they are designed in some way to be
symbolic of the church as redeemed. Thus, they say
in Rev. 5:9, “You have redeemed us to God by Your
(5) they are designed to represent the whole
church in every land and every age of the world. This
shows, further, that the whole representation is
emblematic; for otherwise in so small a number-twenty-four-- there could not be a representation
out of every nation.
(6) they represent the church triumphant-- the
church victorious. Thus, they have crowns on their
heads; they have harps in their hands (Rev. 5:8);
they say that they are “kings and priests,” and that
they will “reign on the earth,” (Rev. 5:10).
(7) the design, therefore, is to represent the
church triumphant-- redeemed-- saved-- as
rendering praise and honor to God; as uniting with
the hosts of heaven in adoring him for his perfection
and for the wonders of his grace; As representatives
of the church, they are admitted near him; they
encircle his throne; they appear victorious over every
foe; and they come, in unison with the living
creatures, and the angels, and the whole universe to
ascribe power and dominion to God.
(8) as to the reason why the number “twentyfour” is mentioned, perhaps nothing certain can be
determined. Ezekiel, in his vision (Ezek. 8:16; 11:1), saw
twenty-five men between the porch and the altar, with
their backs toward the temple, and their faces toward
the earth-- supposed to be representations of the
twenty-four “courses” into which the body of priests
was divided (1 Chr. 24:3-19), with the high priest among
them, making up the number twenty-five. It is possible
that John in this vision may have designed to refer to
the church as a priesthood, and to have alluded to the
fact that the priesthood under the Jewish economy was
divided into twenty-four courses, each with a presiding
officer, and who was a representative of that portion of
the priesthood over which he presided.
In Chapter 4, John sees basically the same 4
creatures Ezekiel saw in his vision—Ezk. 1:5
These creatures had 4 wings, while these in
Revelation 4:6-8 had 6 wings like the Seraphim of
As the 24 Elders cast their crowns down before the
throne, so too will we do the same.
24 and 4 living creatures represent:
All of God’s creation
All of God’s People—both Covenants
12 tribes of Israel and 12 Disciples
(Which are the seven Spirits of God)Which
represent, or are emblematic of, the seven Spirits of
God. If these refer to the Holy Spirit, then perhaps their
being placed here before the throne, in the midst of
thunder and lightning, may be designed to represent
the idea that-- amidst all the scenes of magnificence
and grandeur; all the storms and tempests on the
earth; all the political changes; all the convulsions of
empires under the providence of God; and all the
disturbances in the soul of man, produced by the
thunders of the law-- the Spirit of God beams calmly
and serenely, shedding a steady influence over all, like
lamps burning in the very midst of lightning, and
thundering, and voices. In all the scenes of majesty and
excitement that occur on the earth, the Spirit of God is
present, shedding a constant light, and undisturbed in
his influence by all the confusions that abound.
(And before the throne there was something
like a sea of glass) An expanse spread out like a sea
composed of glass: that is, that was crystal-clear and
transparent like glass. It is not uncommon to
compare the sea with glass. The point of the
comparison here seems to be its transparent
appearance. It was perfectly clear-- apparently
stretching out in a wide expanse, as if it were a sea.
So the kingdom of God is as far as the eye can see. A
sea went over the horizon, so it seemed to extend
(Were four living creatures) The word “beasts” by
no means conveys a correct idea of the original word.
The Greek word-- () -- means properly “a living
thing”; and it is thus indeed applied to animals, or to
the living creation, but the notion of their being living
things, or living creatures, should be retained in the
translation. Ezekiel, whom John more nearly resembles
in his description, saw four “living creatures”(Ezek. 1:5)- that is, living, animated, moving beings. The words
“living beings” would better convey the idea than any
other which could be employed. They are evidently, like
those which Ezekiel saw, symbolical beings; but the
nature and purpose of the symbol is not perfectly
The vision of the “living beings,” therefore, is not, as
I suppose, a representation of the attributes of God
as such, but an emblematic representation of the
divine government-- of the throne of God resting
upon, or sustained by, those things of which these
living beings are symbols denoting intelligence,
vigilance, the quickness and directness with which
the divine commands are executed, and the energy
and firmness with which the government of God is
(Full of eyes) Denoting omniscience. The Greek
mythological being Argus as having 100 eyes, or as
having the power of seeing in any direction. The
emblem here would denote an all-seeing God. And, in
accordance with the explanation proposed above, it
means that, in the administration of the divine
government, everything is distinctly contemplated;
nothing escapes observation; nothing can be concealed.
It is obvious that the divine government could not be
administered unless this were so; and it is the perfection
of the government of God that all things are seen just as
they are. In the vision seen by Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:18), the
“rings” of the wheels on which the living creatures
moved are represented as “full of eyes round about
them,” symbolizing the same thing.
(In front) As one looked on their faces, from
whatever quarter the throne was approached, he
could see a multitude of eyes looking upon him.
(And behind) On the parts of their bodies
which were under the throne. The meaning is, that
there is universal vigilance in the government of
God. Whatever is the form of the divine
administration; whatever part is contemplated;
however it is manifested-- whether as activity,
energy, power, or intelligence-- it is based on the fact
that all things are seen from every direction. There is
nothing that is the result of blind fate or of chance.
The first living creature was like a lion; this was,
say the rabbis, the standard of JUDAH on the east,
with the two tribes of Issachar and Zebulon. The
second, like a calf or ox which was the emblem of
EPHRAIM who pitched on the west, with the two
tribes of Manasseh and Benjamin. The third, with the
face of a man, which, according to the rabbis, was
the standard of REUBEN who pitched on the south,
with the two tribes of Simeon and Gad. The fourth,
which was like a flying eagle, was, according to the
same writers, the emblem on the ensign of DAN who
pitched on the north, with the two tribes of Asher
and Naphtali. This traditional description agrees with
the four faces of the cherub in Ezekiel's vision.
Christian tradition has given these creatures as
emblems of the four evangelists. To John is
attributed the EAGLE; to Luke the OX, to Mark the
LION, and to Matthew the MAN, or angel in human
form. As the former represented the whole Jewish
church or congregation, so the latter is intended to
represent the whole Christian church.
(Cast their crowns before the throne)
Acknowledge the infinite supremacy of God, and
that they have derived their being and their
blessings from Him alone. This is an allusion to the
custom of prostration in the east of the worshippers
of God, and to the homage of petty kings
acknowledging the supremacy of the emperor.
(Worthy are you, our Lord and our God, to
receive) Thus all creation acknowledges the
supremacy of God. We learn from this song that he
made all things for his pleasure, and through the
same motive he preserves. Hence it is most
evident, that he hates nothing that he has made,
and could have made no intelligent
creature with the design to make it
eternally miserable. It is man’s choice and
his actions which separate him eternally from
(A book written inside and on the back) That is,
the book was full of solemn contents within, but it
was sealed; and on the back side was a
superscription indicating its contents. It was a
labeled book, or one written on each side of the
skin, which was not usual. The book or roll seems to
have been so held in his hand that John could see its
shape, and see distinctly how it was written and
sealed. The book or roll referred to here was what
contained the revelation in the subsequent chapters,
to the end of the description of the opening of the
seventh seal-- for the communication that was to be
made was all included in the seven seals.
(The Lion that is from the tribe of Judah) Jesus
Christ, who sprang from this tribe, as his genealogy
proves; see (Matt. 1) and (Luke 3). There is an allusion
here to (Gen. 49:9), Judah is a lion's cub; the lion was the
emblem of this tribe, and was supposed to have been
embroidered on its ensigns.
(The Root of David) See (Isa. 11:1). CHRIST WAS
THE ROOT OF DAVID AS TO HIS DIVINE NATURE; HE
WAS A BRANCH OUT OF THE STEM OF JESSE AS TO HIS
(Has overcome) By the merit of his incarnation,
passion, and death.
(To open the book) To explain and execute all the
purposes and decrees of God, in relation to the
government of the world and the church.
(a Lamb) Christ, so called because he was a
sacrificial offering. The word “lamb” signifies a little
or delicate lamb.
(As if slain) As if now in the act of being
offered. This is very remarkable; so important is the
sacrificial offering of Christ in the sight of God that
he is still represented as being in the very act of
pouring out his blood for the offenses of man. This
gives great advantage to faith; when any soul comes
to the throne of grace, he finds a sacrifice there
provided for him to offer to God. Thus all succeeding
generations find they have the continual sacrifice
ready, and the newly-shed blood to offer.
(Seven horns) As horn is the emblem of power,
and seven the number of perfection, the seven
horns may denote the all-prevailing and infinite
might of Jesus Christ. He can support all his friends;
he can destroy all his enemies; and he can save to
the uttermost all that come unto God through him.
(Seven eyes) To denote his infinite knowledge
and wisdom: but as these seven eyes are said to be
the seven Spirits of God, they seem to denote rather
his providence, in which he often employs the
ministry of angels; therefore, these are said to be
sent forth into all the earth.
(A new song) Composed on the matters and blessings
of the Gospel, which was just now opened on earth. But new
song may signify a most excellent song, and by this the Gospel
and its blessings are probably signified. The Gospel is called a
new song, (Psa. 96:1). And perhaps there is an allusion in the
harps here to (Psa. 144:9).
(Worthy are you to take the book, and to break its
seals; for you were slain, and purchased for God with your
blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and
nation) It appears, therefore, that the living creatures and the
elders represent the combined followers of God; or the
Christian church in all nations, and among all kinds of people,
and perhaps through the whole compass of time: and all
these are said to be redeemed by Christ's blood, plainly
showing that his life was a sacrificial offering for the sins of
In Chapter 5, John saw a book with seven seals, and
no one except the Lamb of God was found worthy
to open the book.
Application—a question for the literalist
translators—does the Lamb of God—Jesus—have 7
horns and 7 eyes? 7 horns are symbolic of
Complete Power and the 7 eyes are symbolic of
In Chapter 6, John saw the first 6 seals of the book
opened. Here comes the beginning of the problem
of interpretation for many scholars. Most of you
have learned differing points of view and now you
are being offered another. If Scripture doesn’t
contradict itself, then the proper interpretation of
Revelation must beginning with a comparison of
Jesus’ words about the end times and His Second
1st seal—white horse—conquer and conquering
2nd seal—red horse—war
3rd seal—black horse—famine
4th seal—ashen horse—Death and Hades
6th seal—Earthquake—read vv. 12-13
What is the sign of your coming?
Wars and rumors of wars
Famine will take place
You will be killed
For my name
After great tribulation—v. 29
Many of your translations will have sub-titles listed
before each rider—these sub-titles do not appear in
the Greek. These things have been added by
translators who follow their own interpretation—
every translation contains a certain amount of
For example—one of my translations in the NASU
states that the first rider is the antichrist, while
another NASU has nothing for the first seal.
Those who believe that the first rider is the
antichrist do so because the rider had a bow and a
stephanos—a victor’s crown instead of a diadem or
kingly crown and a sword.
However, let me ask you one question: What does the
“bow” symbolize? Now I know that the Greek word
used here literally means an archer’s bow, but
considering John’s use of symbolism, does not the
“bow” represent a covenant God made with man? Did
not the first coming of Jesus usher in a New Covenant
with man, not only to not destroy him by a flood, but to
offer to him eternal life? Just think about it.
Application—the vision that John sees is almost a word
for word description of what Jesus had taught them just
before His death. To this point, we have a history of the
Church to John’s time. All of these occurrences had
happened in his day—which Jesus prophesied would
happen. (Matthew 24:34)
(When the Lamb broke one of the seven seals)
It is worthy of remark that the opening of the seals is
not merely a declaration of what God will do, but is
the exhibition of a purpose then accomplished; for
whenever the seal is opened, the sentence appears
to be executed. It is supposed that, in (Rev. 6--11),
the calamities which should fall on the enemies of
Christianity, and particularly the Jews, are pointed
out under various images; as well as the preservation
of the Christians under those calamities.
The specifications under the first seal are four:
(1) the general symbol of the horse-common to the first four seals;
(2) the color of the horse;
(3) the fact that he that sat on him had a
(4) that a crown was given him by
someone, as indicative of victory. The question
now is, what these symbols would naturally
The Meaning of Horse
1. War, as this was probably one of the first uses to
which the horse was applied.
2. As a consequence of this, and of the conquests
achieved by the horse in war, he became the symbol
of conquest-- of a people that could not be
3. The horse was an emblem of fleetness, and,
consequently, of the rapidity of conquest.
4. The horse is an emblem of strength, and
consequently of safety.
(A white horse) May represent the Gospel system,
and pointing out its excellence, swiftness, and purity.
Now, the general notion attached to the mention of a
white horse, according to ancient usage, would be that
of state and triumph, derived from the fact that white
horses were rode by conquerors on the days of their
triumph; that they were used in the marriage cavalcade;
that they were employed on coronation occasions, etc.
In the triumphs granted by the Romans to their
victorious generals, after a procession composed of
musicians, captured princes, spoils of battle, etc., came
the conqueror himself, seated on a high chariot drawn
by four white horses, robed in purple, and wearing a
wreath of laurel.
(He that sat on him) I believe represents Jesus
Christ. Others suppose this rider to be the Antichrist
who is to come as a peacemaker and deceive the whole
(A bow) The preaching of the Gospel, darting
conviction into the hearts of sinners. The bow is a
reminder also of the 1st Covenant and Jesus came to
fulfill the law and not dissolve it. Christ is also seen
armed with a two-edged sword in his mouth—the Word
(A crown) Jesus wore this victor’s crown and not
the kingly crown wore by Him later. Now He was
victorious over sin and death at the Cross—fulfillment of
(Conquering, and to conquer.) Jesus conquered.
Verses 3 and 4
(Another, a red horse) The emblem of war; perhaps also of
severe persecution, and the martyrdom of the saints. War has been
a part of man’s experience since Cain killed Abel. Man’s way of
conquest ends in bloodshed.
This symbol cannot be mistaken. As the white horse denoted
prosperity, triumph, and happiness (the Good News), so this would
denote carnage, discord, bloodshed. This is clear, not only from the
nature of the emblem, but from the explanation immediately
(to him who sat on him) Some say, Christ; others. Vespasian;
others, the Roman armies; others, Artabanus, king of the Parthians.
(Take peace from the earth) To deprive the Christians and
possibly Judea of all tranquility.
(They should slay one another) This was literally the case
with the Jews, while besieged by the Romans.
(A great sword.) Great influence and success, producing
The Great Revolt began in the year 66 a.d., originating in the
Roman and Jewish religious tensions. The crisis escalated due
to anti-taxation protests and attacks upon Roman citizens. The
Romans responded by plundering the Jewish Temple and
executing up to 6,000 Jews in Jerusalem, prompting a full-scale
rebellion. The Roman military garrison of Judea was quickly
overrun by rebels, while the pro-Roman king Agrippa II,
together with Roman officials, fled Jerusalem. As it became
clear the rebellion was getting out of control, Cestius Gallus,
the legate of Syria, brought in the Syrian army, based on Legion
XII Fulminata and reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore
order and quell the revolt. Despite initial advances and
conquest of Jaffa, the Syrian Legion was ambushed and
defeated by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon with
about 6,000 Romans massacred and the Legion's Eagle
standard was lost - a result that shocked the Roman leadership.
Following a seven-month siege, Titus Flavius, Emperor Vespasian's
son, eventually used the collapse of several of the city walls to
breach Jerusalem. By the summer of 70, the Romans had breached
the walls of Jerusalem, ransacking and burning nearly the entire
city. During the final stages of the Roman attack, Zealots under
John of Giscala still held the Temple, while the Sicarii, led by Simon
Bar Giora, held the upper city. The Second Temple (the renovated
Herod's Temple), one of the last fortified bastions of the rebellion,
was destroyed on July 29-30, 70).
All three walls of Jerusalem were eventually destroyed as well as
the Temple and the citadels; the city was then put to the torch,
with most survivors taken into slavery; some of those overturned
stones and their place of impact can still be seen. John of Giscala
surrendered at Agrippa II's fortress of Jotapata and was sentenced
to life imprisonment. The famous Arch of Titus in Rome depicts
Roman legionaries carrying the Temple of Jerusalem's treasuries,
including the Menorah, during Titus's triumphal procession in
Rome. With the fall of Jerusalem, some insurrection still continued
in isolated locations in Judea, lasting as long as 73.
Lucius Flavius Silva moved against the last Judean
stronghold, Masada, in the autumn of 72. He used
Legio X, auxiliary troops, and thousands of Jewish
prisoners, for a total of 10,000 soldiers. After his
orders for surrender were rejected, Silva established
several base camps and circumvallated the fortress.
According to Josephus, when the Romans finally
broke through the walls of this citadel in 73, they
discovered that 960 of the 967 defenders had
Verses 5 and 6
(A black horse) The emblem of famine. Some think that which took
place under Claudius. See (Matt. 24:7); the same which was predicted by
Agabus, (Acts 11:28)
(A pair of scales) To show that the scarcity would be such, that every
person must be put under an allowance. The balance could symbolize
judgment and this case a famine.
(A quart of wheat for a denarius) The quart here mentioned was a
measure of dry things; and although the capacity is not exactly known, yet it
is generally agreed that it contained as much as one man could consume in a
day; and a denarius, the Roman denarius, was the ordinary pay of a laborer.
So it appears that in this scarcity each might be able to obtain a bare
subsistence by his daily labor; but a man could not, in such cases, provide for
(Three quarts of barley) This seems to have been the proportion of
value between the wheat and the barley. Barley was generally for the poor,
and was given to the Roman soldiers instead of wheat, by way of
(do not harm the oil and the wine.) Be sparing of these: use them
not as delicacies, but for necessity; because neither the vines nor the olives
will be productive.
Verses 7 and 8
(A ashen horse) The symbol of death, pale death,
was a very usual poetic epithet; of this symbol there can
be no doubt, because it is immediately said, His name
that sat on him was DEATH.
(And Hades was following with him.) The grave, or
state of the dead, received the slain. This is a very
elegant personification. Death and Hades will be thrown
into the lake of fire (20:14).
(Over a fourth of the earth) One fourth of mankind
was to feel the desolating effects of this seal.
(To kill with sword) WAR; with hunger-- FAMINE;
with death-- PESTILENCE; and with the beasts of the
earth-- lions, tigers, hyenas, etc., which would multiply in
consequence of the devastation occasioned by war,
famine, and pestilence.
In every one of these passages hades stands in a
dark and-forbidding connection with death-very
unlike that association with paradise and Abraham's
bosom in which our Lord exhibited the receptacle of
his own and his people's souls to the eye of faith;
and not only so, but in one of them it is expressly as
an ally of death in the execution of judgment that
hades is represented, while in another it appears as
an accursed thing, consigned to the lake of fire.
Here ends the array of horses; and it is evidently
intended by these four symbols to refer to a series
of events that have a general resemblance-something that could be made to stand by
themselves, and that could be grouped together.
Domitian was paranoid about conspiracies. He
developed new tortures and harassed philosophers
and Jews. He had vestal virgins executed or buried
alive on charges of immorality. After he
impregnated his niece, he insisted she have an
abortion and then, when she died as a result, he
deified her. He executed officials who opposed his
policies and confiscated their property.
(The fifth seal) There is no animal nor any other being to
introduce this seal, nor does there appear to be any new event
predicted; but the whole is intended to comfort the followers
of God under their persecutions, and to encourage them to
bear up under their distresses.
(I saw underneath the altar) A symbolical vision was
exhibited, in which he saw an altar; and under it the souls of
those who had been slain for the word of God-- martyred for
their attachment to Christianity, are represented as being
newly slain as victims to idolatry and superstition. This begins
to give us a hint of what will happen to God’s people
between Jesus’ first and second coming. John saw a heavenly
altar which was symbolic of the altar in the temple used for
sacrifices. It reflects the open line of communication
between God and his people. Our prayers are heard at this
altar. The souls underneath the altar show that from God’s
perspective the death of Christians at the hands of
persecutors are a special sacrifice.
(And they cried out with a loud voice) That is, their
blood, like that of Abel, cried for vengeance; for we are not to
suppose that there was anything like a vindictive spirit in those
happy and holy souls who had shed their blood for the
testimony of Jesus. We sometimes say Blood cries for blood.
(O Lord) Sovereign Lord, supreme Ruler; one having and
exercising unlimited and uncontrolled authority.
(Holy) In your own nature, hating iniquity;
(And true) In all your promises and threatening;
(Do you not judge) The persecutors;
(And avenge our blood) Inflict outstanding punishment;
(On them that dwell on the earth?) Probably meaning
the persecuting Jews and Romans. God will judge the
Unrighteous and will avenge the blood of the martyrs. They
wanted vindication and not retribution.
(White robe) The emblems of purity, innocence, and
triumph and a badge of honor. Only these and the ones of
the Great Tribulation multitude are given white robes.
(They should rest for a little while longer) This is a
declaration that, when the cup of the iniquity of the Jews
should be full, they should then be punished in a mass. They
were determined to proceed further, and God permits them
so to do; reserving the fullness of their punishment until they
had filled up the measure of their iniquity. This destruction is
that which was to fall upon the Jews; and the little time or
season was that which elapsed between their martyrdom, or
the date of this book, and the final destruction of Jerusalem
by the Romans, under Vespasian and his son Titus, in 70.
What follows may refer to the destruction of the pagan
Roman empire. God knows how many martyrs there will be
and then the end will come.
Truths from chapter six.
1. The history of the world includes conquest,
war, famine, and death
2. The number of Christian martyrs will increase
until Christ’s return.
3. God will avenge the death of martyrs and will
honor them in His time.
4. The wrath of God against sin cannot be ignored
or explained away.