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Understanding the Book of Revelation

Introduction

Revelation is a confusing book to most people despite the many commentaries written. The reason most commentaries fail to enlighten the book’s contents is because they violate one or more of the three basic principles of sound biblical interpretation. These are the following: 1) acceptance of the Scriptures as God-breathed (θεόπνευστος), 2) correct placement of the text within the framework of God’s progressive revelation, and 3) sound and consistent hermeneutic or interpretative method.

The first word of the book is “revelation” (ἀποκάλυψις)–hence its title. The word means to “unveil,” or “reveal.” The first phrase of the book is (Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ) “Revelation of Jesus Christ.” The “revelation of Jesus Christ” should be interpreted as both a subjective and an objective genitive. The book reveals Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible, in His role during the Tribulation and as King of Kings (subjective genitive) and is the revelation from Jesus about the events that will transpire during the Tribulation and afterwards (objective genitive).

God wishes us to understand His Word (cf. Revelation 1.3). The goal of this study is to reveal to whom the book was written and the purpose of the book.

Summary

TitleThe Revelation of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1.1).
Meaning“Revelation” (ἀποκάλυψις) means “disclose,” “unveil,” “reveal.” Subjective and objective genitive: Christ is revealed and He reveals things to come.
MessageOvercoming (νικάω) in the Day of the Lord (Revelation 2.7, 11, 17, 26, 3.5, 12, 21, 21.7)
AuthorThe Apostle John (Revelation 1.1, 4, 9)
LocationWritten from the isle of Patmos (Revelation 1.9)
OccasionThe Day of the Lord:  ἐγενόμην ἐν πνεύματι ἐν τῇ κυριακῇ ἡμέρᾳ (Revelation 1.10)
AudienceSeven Jewish assemblies in Asia Minor (Turkey) (Revelation 1.4, 6, 22.16)
LiteratureProphetic with many symbolic expressions, i.e., Lamb, Beast, etc.
HermeneuticNormal reading and literal interpretation. Symbols have literal antecedents, many of which are found in writings of the prophets.
DateAbout 50-55 A.D.1

Interpretative Schools

Four Major Interpretative Schools
PreteristEvents were fulfilled by 70 A.D.
HistoricalEvents were fulfilled throughout history
IdealistEvents symbolize the battle of good vs. evil
FuturistEvents remain future

Preterist and Historical schools of interpretation face insurmountable obstacles in identifying events described in Revelation with events in history. To overcome these obstacles they imagineer passages and interpret them in a figurative manner. Under such a system the text can mean almost anything the interpreter wishes. This weakness was summarized by E. W. Bullinger:

“The historical interpreters differ so much among themselves that we may well ask, ‘Which one of them are we to believe?’ It is this very diversity which has caused so many earnest students to put the Apocalypse aside in despair.”2

An example of such confusion is the teaching that the seven “churches” represent successive stages of Church history. This is represented by charts similar to the one below:

Seven Churches of Revelation

While this interpretation is widespread in Christendom it has no Scriptural basis. It is fantasy. The seven “churches” in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation are Jewish assemblies, not Christian churches. The language associated with them is wholly Jewish; no Pauline or Church language is present. Everything the Lord said was associated with Israel and concerned God’s judgment and how to obtain salvation during those seven years.

The Idealist school suffers from similar inadequacies. It is so broad and general an approach it cannot provide helpful insight into the meaning of the events in the book other than to say that forces of good are at war with the forces of evil and that good will conquer evil.

For serious students of the Scriptures, only one interpretive school has hermeneutical rigor and merit: the Futurist. This method alone can integrate and interpret consistently the hundreds of Old Testament prophesies and the words of our Lord concerning end-time events (cf. Matthew 24).

Interpretive Methods

Another essential factor in understanding Revelation is its method of interpretation. Those who engage in a figurative hermeneutic wrestle the text into almost any shape they wish. For example, a figurative approach declares the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are the Church. This is pure imagination. Nothing in the context of the passage would lead to this conclusion. A normal reading of the text is the two witnesses are just that, two witnesses, i.e., two men whom God will use during those days.

Much of the language in Revelation is figurative or symbolic. So are passages in Isaiah. Isaiah wrote, “all flesh is grass.” Did he mean skin is bermuda, zoysia, fescue? No, everyone recognizes Isaiah was using a figure of speech to communicate our bodies are mortal. The literal point remains: life ends. We die. The text will usually indicate when a passage is a figure of speech by its context or the use of “like” or “as.” In other cases, when symbolic language is used, one can understand the literal sense behind the symbol. In Revelation, we know the Lamb is Christ. We know the Beast is the Antichrist, the one who comes in the place of Christ and opposes Him. This is straightforward. In the same way, who are the two witnesses? The most natural interpretation is the two witnesses are two men God has commissioned as servants to reveal Him and oppose the Antichrist. In other words, the two witnesses are two witnesses. Lastly, since Revelation is a Jewish book, many of the symbols in the text allude to events and language of the Old Testament. The meaning of such passages can be found by comparing Scripture with Scripture.

If one is open to a normal reading of the text and will allow the Scriptures to speak plainly, Revelation is quite forthright. Only when one applies a non-literal interpretive method and tries to identify events to past history or impose ideological constructs or theological presuppositions does it become complex, difficult, and impossible to verify.

Structure of the Book (Governed by Groups of 7)

Introduction and the Seven AssembliesRevelation 1-3
Praise of GodRevelation 4
The Seven Seal JudgmentsRevelation 5-6
Sealing 144,000 Jews of 12 Tribes of IsraelRevelation 7
The Seven Trumpet JudgmentsRevelation 8-9
The Seven ThundersRevelation 10
The Two WitnessesRevelation 11
War in Heaven and EarthRevelation 12
The Beast and the False ProphetRevelation 13
The Six Angels and the Son of ManRevelation 14
The Seven Bowl JudgmentsRevelation 15-16
Babylon: World System of SatanRevelation 17-18
The Return of the KingRevelation 19
The Judgment of UnbelieversRevelation 20
The New Heavens and New EarthRevelation 21
Concluding Words and WarningsRevelation 22

revelation_chart[1]

Chart is refurbished from original artwork by H.A. Ironside

Audience

Everything in Revelation concerns Israel and the nations. The Tribulation is the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30.7) and God’s judgment of the nations. Paul wrote the Church, the body is Christ, would not go through the wrath of the Day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 1.10, 5.1-9; 2 Thessalonians 2.1-15; Romans 5.9; Ephesians 5.6; Colossians 3.6). Therefore, no Church language of evidence of the Church is present in Revelation. Paul warned that those who teach the Church will go through the Tribulation were false teachers (2 Thessalonians 2.1-2).

The primary audiences of Revelation are Jews who belong to the seven ἐκκλησίαι, “churches,” “assemblies,” “congregations,” etc., identified in the second and third chapters of Revelation (cf. Revelation 1.4-5). Notice each assembly did not just receive the message written to it but received the letters of all the assemblies (Revelation 1.4, 2.7, etc.). Each received all the messages. Why these seven? Why are they only in Turkey? Why are none in Israel? No one knows. The best answer may be that these believers were the same Jews to whom James and Peter wrote (James 1.1; 1 Peter 1.1). Only three of the seven cities of the assemblies are mentioned outside of Revelation: Ephesus (Acts 18.19, 21, 24, 19.1, 17, 26, 35, 20.16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15.32, 16.8; Ephesians 1.1; 1 Timothy 1.3; 1.18; 2 Timothy 4.12), Thyatira (Acts 16.14), and Laodicea (Colossians 2.1, 4.13, 15, 16). The other four are not mentioned.

The three assemblies mentioned are clearly different from the churches associated with Paul’s ministry. The language surrounding them is wholly Jewish and vastly different from the language Paul used in writing to members of the body of Christ. Paul’s language of grace, peace, the cross, resurrection, the body of Christ, etc. does not exist in these passages. Rather, the messages are of judgment, works, repentance, overcoming, etc. Each message contains the Lord’s familiar refrain “he that has an ear” from the gospels (Matthew 11.15, 13.9; Mark 4.9; Luke 8.8). Members of these assemblies were not saved by believing Paul’s gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24; Romans 16.25; 1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Those composing the ἐκκλησία of Revelation were Jews who believed the gospel of the kingdom. They had believed who Christ was (Matthew 16.15-16; John 11.25-27)–in His identity.

The Lord Himself communicated to these assemblies. The allusions and symbols are Jewish and the passages read like texts from the prophets. Revelation could snap into the Biblical canon right after Zechariah or Malachi and we would think nothing of it. John wrote to those who were “kings and priests” (Revelation 1.6). Members of the Church, the body of Christ, are never described as “kings and priests.” “Kings” and “priests” are designations of Jews (cf. Exodus 19.6; Matthew 19.28; 1 Peter 2.5, 9; Revelation 5.10).

The occasion or timeframe of the book is the Day of the Lord. John wrote he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day or the Day of the Lord:  ἐν τῇ κυριακῇ ἡμέρᾳ (Revelation 1.10). Clearly, he did not mean Sunday. What John recorded were events that would fulfill the prophecies of the prophets concerning this day (Isaiah 2.12; 13.6, 9; Ezekiel 13.5, 30.3; Joel 1.15, 2.1, 11, 31; 3.14; Amos 5.18, 20; Obadiah 1.15; Zephaniah 1.7, 14; Zechariah 14.1; Malachi. 4.5 cf. Revelation 6.17; 16.14)3

The Lord communicated directly to John to them (Revelation 1.4, 11) and warned about events that would soon (τάχος) occur (Revelation 1.1, 22.6) and were “at hand” ἐγγύς (Revelation 1.3, 22.10). The word τάχος (from which we get tachometer) means either (or both) something that will happen soon or something that will happen speedily. The word ἐγγύς means to be near either (or both) in time or place.

To make their case, Preterists place enormous weight upon the terms τάχος and ἐγγύς. They argue the events recorded in Revelation occurred by 70 A.D. While difficulties exist in explaining the terms outside of the 70 A.D. framework, they are trivial compared to explaining the events within a 70 A.D. framework. Consider the following: Zephaniah wrote the Day of the LORD (the Tribulation) was near (קָרוֹב) in Zephaniah 1.14. The Hebrew word קָרוֹב corresponds to the Greek word ἐγγύς and means near in time or place. How near was the Day of the LORD to the prophets? Zephaniah wrote in the 6th century B.C. Joel wrote that the Day of the LORD was near קָרוֹב (Joel 2.1) in the 9th century B.C. So what is “near?” Near for whom? How is the problem of “near” solved? That is another story and the subject of a future article.4

Date

Most commentators maintain Revelation was written about 95-96. Evidence for such dating is highly problematic. The primary evidence for dating Revelation during Domitian’s reign (95-96) comes from Irenaeus. But what Irenaeus meant by what he wrote is unclear. Furthermore, Irenaeus’ reliability is questionable. For example, he stated Jesus was over fifty when he died (Adversus haereses, 2:22). Irenaeus specific quote for a late date is the following:

“We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign” (Adversus haereses, 5:30:3).

More likely, John wrote between 50-55 A.D., during the reign of Nero. Preterists maintain the events of Revelation were fulfilled by 70 A.D. So their theological position requires on early dating. Some have argued against Preterism on the basis of a later dating of the text (95-96 A.D.) but this approach is unnecessary. Prophecy is future. Revelation could easily have been written prior to 70 A.D. and have its fulfillment far in the future.

The great hurdle that exists for those who maintain the book was written late (95-96 A.D.) is no mention is made of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. To the Jew, Jerusalem and the Temple were everything. Not to mention their destruction in a book like Revelation would be like an American history text failing to mention the Civil War or WW2. J. A. T. Robinson commented on this matter in his book Redating the New Testament:

One of the oddest facts about the New Testament is that what on any showing would appear to be the single most datable and climactic event of the period–the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and with it the collapse of institutional Judaism based on the temple–is never once mentioned as a past fact. It is, of course, predicted; and these predictions are, in some cases at least, assumed to be written (or written up) after the event. But the silence is nevertheless as significant as the silence for Sherlock Holmes of the dog that did not bark. S.G.F. Brandon made this oddness the key to his entire interpretation of the New Testament: everything from the gospel of Mark onwards was a studied rewriting of history to suppress the truth that Jesus and the earliest Christians were identified with the revolt that failed. But the sympathies of Jesus and the Palestinian church with the Zealot cause are entirely unproven and Brandon’s views have won scant scholarly credence. Yet if the silence is not studied it is very remarkable.

James Moffatt wrote:

We should expect . . . that an event like the fall of Jerusalem would have dinted some of the literature of the primitive church, almost as the victory at Salamis has marked the Perae. It might be supposed that such an epochal-making crisis would even furnish criteria for determining the dates of some of the NT writings. As a matter of fact, the catastrophe is practically ignored in the extant Christian literature of the first century.

Similarly, C.F.D. Moule wrote:

It is hard to believe that a Judaistic type of Christianity which had itself been closely involved in the cataclysm of the years leading up to A.D. 70 would not have shown the scars–or, alternatively, would not have made capital out of this signal evidence that they, and not non-Christian Judaism, were the true Israel. But in fact our traditions are silent.

The book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible in our canon for good reason. It is the final expression of and complement to the prophecies of the Jewish prophets. Revelation reveals the events of the Day of the LORD (Revelation 1.10; Zephaniah 1.14-18; Joel 2.1-11; Acts 2.14-21), what Jesus called the “Tribulation” (Matthew 24.21, 29) and the establishment of the kingdom of God upon the earth.

Theme and Purpose

Survival in the Tribulation will be nearly impossible.

Survival in the Tribulation will be almost impossible.

Jesus provided His disciples with details about the end-time and His return (Matthew 24). His chief warning to them in His Olivet discourse was that they should not to be deceived (πλανάω) (Matthew 24.4, 5, 11, 24). The reason Jesus gave this warning was that deception will characterize the Day of the LORD (the Tribulation). The book of Revelation is the record of Satan’s great attempt as the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4.4) to rule overtly the world he now controls behind the scenes (Matthew 4.8-9; Luke 4.5-6). Satan has manipulated the world’s governments for thousands of years as a great puppet master and will finally step from behind the curtain onto the world stage in the person of the Antichrist a.k.a. “the Beast” to rule (1 John 2.18; Revelation 13.1-4). Jesus prophesied about him in John 5 and issued a chilling warning about how the Jewish people (and the world) will respond to this deceiver.

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men; 42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him (John 5.39-43).

Jesus declared to the Jews who opposed Him that He came in His Father’s name. He told them that while they refused to receive Him, they would receive “another” who would come in his own name. This will be Satan’s man, the Antichrist, the Beast (cf. John 5.43).

A Guide For Survival

Revelation is a survival manual. Beyond revealing the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the events that will transpire until His return, its primary purpose is a survival guide. In His Olivet message Jesus declared the Tribulation period would be a time of extraordinary deceit. This deception will be to such a degree that even believers may be deceived:

24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told you in advance (Matthew 24.24-25).

Jesus made it clear that this period of time will also be a time of unprecedented distress:

Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24.9-14).

The Lord warned His disciples of coming tribulation with death and hatred because of Him. People (believers included?) will abandon the faith and betray and hate one another. False prophets will be everywhere and crime rampant. Jesus warned, “the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” This is a key phrase and has reference to what the Lord told John to write to the Jewish assemblies about “overcoming.” The gospel of the kingdom will reach the entire world and then the end (the return of the King) will come. Finally, each address to these assemblies includes the words, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2.7, 11, 17, 29, 3.6, 13, 22). This mirrors the seven times Jesus spoke these words in the Gospels (Luke 8.8;  Matthew 11.15, 13.9, 43; Mark 4.23, 7.16; Luke 14.35). The eighth usage of this adage occurs in Revelation 13.9. The significance of this occurrence is that it sums up the earlier seven warnings and explains these warnings concern the worship of the Beast and the Dragon (Satan) who empowers him.

The words Jesus gave His disciples about enduring to end is the central message to the seven Jewish assemblies in Revelation.

AssemblyMessage: Overcome (νικάω)
EphesusTo him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God (Revelation 2.7).
SmyrnaHe who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death (Revelation 2.11).
PergamumTo him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it (Revelation 2.17).
Thyatira26 He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; 27AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star (Revelation 2.26-28).
 SardisHe who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels (Revelation 3.5).
PhiladelphiaHe who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name (Revelation 3.12).
LaodiceaHe who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne (Revelation 3.21).

The message Jesus gave to the members of each assembly was a message of salvation, i.e., “eat of the tree of life,” “not hurt by the second death,” etc. Nothing in Jesus’ words indicate that the members of these assemblies had salvation as a present possession. He said, “I will grant/give” (δώσω–future active indicative) salvation to those who “overcome.” Such language is entirely different from Paul’s teaching that believers “have” salvation as a present possession on the basis of believing his gospel (cf. 1 Corinthians 15.1-4; Ephesians 1.7; Colossians 1.13-14). For those whom Jesus addressed in Revelation 2-3, salvation is based upon “overcoming.” If they “overcome” they will (future tense) be saved.

La Bête de la Mer (from the Tapisserie de l'Apocalypse in Angers, France). A medieval tapestry, this detail of which shows the False Prophet, the Dragon, and the Beast of the Sea.

La Bête de la Mer (from the Tapisserie de l’Apocalypse in Angers, France). This detail shows the False Prophet, the Dragon, and the Beast of the Sea.

What constitutes “overcoming” (νικάω) to obtain salvation? The challenge for the generation in which these events will occur will be a choice: to trust the true Christ or embrace the false Christ. Jesus warned of the tremendous pressure that will be exerted to earth’s inhabitants to worship and identify with the false Christ. John witnessed that “all who dwell upon the earth will worship him” (Revelation 13.8) and that none can buy or sell without accepting his identifying mark (Revelation 13.16-17). Worship of and accepting the Antichrist’s mark will constitute rejection of Christ and seal one’s eternal doom (Revelation 14.9-11). Such language presents an impossible hurdle for preterists and historicists since this has never happened. It remains future.

The “enduring until the end” of which Jesus spoke referred to one of two outcomes: the end of a person’s life–being executed for not worshiping the Antichrist and accepting his mark–or Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation. The one who endures to the end is the one who overcomes. By “saved” Jesus meant both eternal salvation and physical salvation.

Another thing to note from the Matthew 24 passage is that the “gospel of the kingdom” will be preached during the end time. This gospel was the good news John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve proclaimed: that Christ was the Messiah-King. It declared the King and His kingdom were near (Matthew 3.3, 4.17, 23, 9.35). Under the kingdom gospel one was saved by believing Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God (Matthew 16.15-16; John 11.26-27). This gospel will be revived and preached again during the Tribulation period. Believing Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, means one will reject the Beast, the Antichrist as God–worshiping and taking his mark.

Conclusion

The book of Revelation serves strategic and tactical purposes. The strategic purpose is to reveal Christ, His return, the setting up of His kingdom, the defeat of Satan, and establishment of the eternal state (new heavens and new earth). The tactical purpose, which is most of the book, is to reveal the horrors of the Tribulation and how one can be saved in the midst of tremendous deception and pressure.

1 Dating is based upon several factors. John thought the coming of Christ was near (Revelation 1.1) as did Peter (Acts 2.16-21), and Paul for that matter (though for Paul the Lord’s return was the Rapture, not the Second Coming). While the stoning of Stephen was the crisis point for national Israel, God let Israel’s rejection run its course for 40 years (the biblical time of testing) until Titus destroyed Jerusalem (70 A.D.). Had Israel repented, the Tribulation would have occurred during the reign of Nero, who would have fulfilled the requirements of the Antichrist. One of the cities John wrote was Laodicea, which was destroyed (along with Colossae and Heiropolis) in the mid-60s A.D. This would seem to indicate he wrote before then. Paul mentioned believers in both of these cities in his letter to the Colossians, but neither Colossae or Heirapolis is mentioned in Revelation. About 60 A.D., Paul made his last appeal to Israel (Acts 28). In 51 A.D., the Jerusalem Council agreed Paul’s gospel was the only valid gospel from then onward. Thus, this meeting marked the end of the gospel of the kingdom proclaimed by the Twelve (Acts 15.11, cf. Galatians 1.6-9). John wrote of future events, which would indicate before Nero, who reigned from 54-68 A.D. What he wrote would have had to be before or within his reign, i.e., probably before 54 and before Laodicea was destroyed. John gave no indication of the decision of the Jerusalem Council. He recorded the words of Jesus that salvation was based upon “overcoming” (νικάω, cf. Matthew 24.13-14). The gospel preached during the time of Revelation will be the gospel of the kingdom, not Paul’s gospel of the grace of God. No Church, body of Christ, doctrine exists in Revelation or doctrines proclaimed by Paul. This seems to indicate John wrote Revelation before Pauline doctrine was assimilated (cf. 2 Peter 3.14-16). Lastly, is the matter of the Temple, destroyed in 70 A.D., discussed above.
E.W. Bullinger, Commentary on Revelation, p. 154.
3 The predominant view is the that “Lord’s day” referred to Sunday. However, a strong minority view has favored that the phrase meant the “day of the Lord” or the “day of Yahwe,” cf. Revelation 6.17, 16.14 (Encyclopedia Biblica, s.v. “Lord’s Day”). J. A. Seiss wrote: He says he “was in Spirit in the Lord’s day,” in which he beheld what he afterwards wrote. What is meant by this Lord’s day? Some answer, Sunday—the first day of the week; but I am not satisfied with this explanation. Sunday belongs indeed to the Lord, but the Scriptures nowhere call it “the Lord’s day.” None of the Christian writings, for 100 years after Christ, ever call it “the Lord’s day.” But there is a “Day of the Lord” largely treated of by prophets, apostles, and fathers, the meaning of which is abundantly clear and settled. It is that day in which, Isaiah says, men shall hide in the rocks for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty;—the day which Joel describes as the day of destruction from the Almighty, when the Lord shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake;—the day to which the closing chapter of Malachi refers as the day that shall burn as an oven, and in which the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings;—the day which Paul proclaimed from Mars’ Hill as that in which God will judge the world, concerning which he so earnestly exhorted the Thessalonians, and which was not to come until after a great apostasy from the faith, and the ripening of the wicked for destruction;—the day in the which, Peter says, the heavens shall be changed, the elements melt, the earth burn, and all present orders of things give way to new heavens and a new earth;—even “the day for which all other days were made.” And in that day I understand John to say, he in some sense was. In the mysteries of prophetic rapport, which the Scriptures describe as “in Spirit,” and which Paul declared inexplicable, he was caught out of himself, and out of his proper place and time, and stationed amid the stupendous scenes of the great day of God, and made to see the actors in them, and to look upon them transpiring before his eyes,that he might write what he saw, and give it to the Churches. This is what I understand by his being “in Spirit in the Lord’s day.” I can see no essential difference between ἡ Κυριακη ἡμερα—the Lord’s day, and ἡ ἡμερα Κυριου—the day of the Lord. They are simply the two forms for signifying the same relations of the same things” (J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation). A good study of the subject is Ranko Stefanovic’s “The Lord’s Day” of Revelation 1:10 in the Current Debate, Andrews University Seminary Studies, Vol. 49, No. 2, 2011, pp. 261-284.
4 See the author’s study, How “Near” is the Day of the Lord?

©2013 Don Samdahl. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold.


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196 thoughts on “Understanding the Book of Revelation

  1. Ron G

    Now your messing with my head.
    I have always been lead to believe, and it has always made sense and uncannily matches with church history, the interpretation that sees the various ages of the church through history and the description of the 7 churches in revelation.
    I have never come across your take on it.
    Even Theodore H Epp taught the down through the ages theory.
    I am also pretty sure Dwight Pentecost does as well in his amazing work…”Things to Come”.
    If it is a complete invention as you state, it is uncannily accurate.
    Can you point me in the direction of some other authors who agree with you?
    Also, what is your understanding of the following:
    Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. (Revelation 1:19 NKJV)
    Ron G

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Ron,
      I do not care if anyone agrees with me. One has to have a very accommodating view of history for the ages theory to work. It’s one of those things that got popular and many jumped on the bandwagon. It’s fluff. If you want to understand Revelation, read Bullinger. The language Jesus used to address the 7 “churches” is completely alien to Paul’s language. It’s all Jewish. Revelation 1.19 is simply the command for John to write all that he has seen, not just what he had witnessed in the previous verses.

      1. Ron G

        In another article on this blog by Pember 1885 he says
        He clearly holds to the 7 churches ages of history theory.
        So why do you use his material on this blog if you don’t agree with his hermeneutics?
        I am not trying to be difficult or argumentative.
        I really appreciate this site and have learnt a great deal from it.
        Ron G

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Pember was right about many things but in this was wrong (as many have been and continue to be). The problem with such a theory is twofold: 1) specifics are lacking; one can select any criteria to fit the age. One might as well adopt Elliot’s hermeneutic. 2) the 7 “churches” were not Christian churches; they were Jewish. Nothing about them reflects Pauline doctrine. Why would anyone seek to chart Christian history with non-Christian, i.e., Jewish “churches?”

  2. Hova

    Your page about the real bride of Christ brought me here. I imagine I will ask a question or two on that subject but as for this subject and “enduring,” Hypothetical question if you will… I’m so confused I don’t even know how to ask this. I am a gentile that has faith in Jesus, a personal relationship with him and bears Godly fruit. If I live to see all/most/some of the events of the last days as described in Revelations what will save me or will I be raptured prior to them? If I die before the anti-christ reveals himself then my faith would save me? If I die after he reveals himself but reject him and hold fast to Jesus, then I have endured and will be saved? Or because I am not Jewish, I will be raptured? Based on all those questions I guess I want to know where the gentiles fit in when the anti-christ reveals himself?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Hova,

      All who have believed Paul’s gospel, that Christ died for our sins and arose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4) are saved and members of the Church, the body of Christ. All in this category will experience the Rapture when the Lord returns. It is that event in which members of the body of Christ receive resurrection bodies. Some will be alive and be changed, never to experience death, as Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 15.51-52. I think my articles, The Rapture and The Day of Christ will answer many of your questions. What is going on in Revelation is a whole new ballgame. No members of the body of Christ are there. They are gone. Everything in Revelation concerns Jews and the nations (see 1 Corinthians 10.32) for the categories of man. During the Tribulation the gospel of the kingdom will again be preached. This gospel’s focus is upon the identity of Christ, not his work. To be saved requires faith in the identity of Christ, that He is the true God, not the pretender, the Antichrist.

      1. Vanessa

        Hello Don,
        Hope you are well. Thank you for your endless supply of answers. This is what you said. All who have believed Paul’s gospel, that Christ died for our sins and arose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4) are saved and members of the Church, the body of Christ. All in this category will experience the Rapture when the Lord returns. I have copied and pasted what you said. Here is my question.
        The Catholics believes this.
        The Emerging church believes this.
        The Charasmatic church believe this.
        The Baptists believe this.
        The Pentecostals believe this.
        Are all the above saved by Grace and are raptured.? whether they follow only Pauls Gospel or not. There are those I know who don’t only follow Pauls Gospels but apply the Epistles to their daily living but also believe, that Christ died for our sins and arose from the dead. They are a mixture of OT/NT. Very Typical of most Christians (I being one of them in the past, yet I know I was saved whilst under this false teaching.)
        So what damage was I doing to myself whilst assuming the Epistles was written for me. Please don’t think I am challenging you in any way but its my deep thinking process that has caused me to ask this question. Hope I make sense. The discussions still continue in our family. Thank you.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Vanessa,
          Everyone who believes Paul’s gospel is saved and will experience the Rapture. Paul’s gospel is faith + 0. I do not think Roman Catholic doctrine teaches this. I believe they teach one is saved by faith and works. As for damage, I think we all are damaged in some way. God looks upon the heart. He will supply truth and light as we desire it. Our part is to respond in obedience once we know it. And God will reward those who are faithful.

  3. Stan

    I agree with you that the letters to the 7 churches doctrinally apply to assemblies during the Tribulation, however, can one state dogmatically that historically these were purely Jewish churches who were saved by believing the gospel of the kingdom?
    The apostle John uses the same opening remarks as Paul in his church epistles : “Grace…..peace…”
    Rev 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne
    In verse 5 John says: “….Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”
    This sounds very “Pauline” to me?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Stan,
      The ground is solid to state dogmatically that these were Jewish assemblies. Yes, John used “grace…peace” and stated that Christ loved us and released us from our sins through His blood. But we must look at the overall context. In Revelation 1.6, he stated that Christ made “us” kings and priests. Paul never declared this to the Church. Kingship and priesthood was the province of Israel that went back to Exodus 19.6. Peter, whom we know wrote to Jews (1 Peter 1.1) used this same language (1 Peter 2.9). As the message progresses in the letters, the language the Lord used was all Jewish. Paul never used this kind of language to the body of Christ. We are never told that we will have salvation based upon overcoming.

      1. Stan

        Good points-thanks. So these Jewish believers were NOT in the body of Christ, hence their salvation was based upon faith in Jesus Christ PLUS overcoming.
        In one of your other articles you stated Paul was saved by the kingdom gospel so when did he become a member of the body of Christ?
        I have always believed the body of Christ started in Acts 2, I know it was FIRST revealed to Paul but just because something has not been revealed doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist. That being the case the Jewish believers in Revelation would have been in the body of Christ and therefore saved by faith alone. However, if the body of Christ started later with Paul then this would make sense. I guess basically what you are saying is that there was a period of transition where there were two types of believers, those in the body of Christ and those Jews who were saved by the gospel of the kingdom, and it is these latter who belonged to the churches in Revelation?
        Do you believe that the 7 churches can at least be seen as types of the churches in the church age?

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Stan,
          Correct. These believers were/will not be body of Christ believers. Their salvation was based upon the kingdom Gospel and in the future will be based upon the gospel of the kingdom (see Matthew 24.14) and specifically upon overcoming–rejecting the Antichrist and acceptance of Christ as the true God. We really can’t know when Paul became a member of the body of Christ. All he wrote was that he was “first” (πρῶτος). We can know the Church, the body of Christ, did not began in Acts 2 (even though that is what 99% of Christendom teaches) by the definition of the body of Christ–that no difference exists in Jew and Gentile in Christ. Peter addressed Jew only. He knew nothing of Gentile salvation at this point and the concept of equality was completely alien to his thinking. Look at his response in Acts 10 and the Jewish believers in Acts 11! And that was probably 5-7 years after Pentecost. The concept of salvation by faith alone began with Paul. No one knew anything about it before him. See my article on Faith and Works in James for more information. I think we depart from sound exegesis to see the 7 churches in Revelation as types for the Church age.

          1. Nica

            are you kidding, how about, this, “Eternal life is received by grace through faith. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world and without faith it is impossible to please God (1 John 5:4; Heb 11:6). ” “Jesus says, I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” Or how about John 3:16, “”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17″For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.…” So How can you say that jews are not saved by faith alone or whatever you were saying, as though they are somehow saved differently than gentiles?

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              Nica,
              Faith has always been required for salvation but Scripture does not support salvation by faith alone before Paul. Read Acts 2.36-38, 15.1,5; Mark 1.4, 16.16, 10.17-22; Matthew 6.14-15. The Scriptures you referenced are not faith alone. They require faith, which was always the case, but not faith alone. The reason people think salvation has always been by faith alone is because Paul has been read into the Old Testament and gospels. But if you read the OT and gospels apart from Paul one would never get this idea. See my articles, Is John 3:16 Christian? and Faith vs. Works in James: Resolving the Problem.

          2. Bobbi

            Hi Don.
            There is an interesting point David O’Steen makes in his revelation commentary. We all have looked at the 7 churches but this thought is the most reasonable to me so far seeing as the language is Jewish.
            He sees them being:
            7 STAGES OF ISRAEL’S HISTORY
            -in the wilderness
            1. Ephesus= Israel’s spousal (The exodus & Jer. 2:2)
            2. Smyrna= Israel’s testing (tried in the wilderness)
            3. Pergamos= Israel’s failure (Balaam &Balak)
            – in the land
            4. Thyatira= The day of Israel’s kings(Jezebel)
            5. Sardis= Israel removed ( art dead)
            6. Philadelphia= the day of Judah’s kings (key of
            David )
            7. Laodicea=Judah’s removal= (spue out,
            Lev. 18:28)

            Isn’t that interesting… Here is the link to this commentary if anyone is interested. He does preach Paul just fyi.

            http://hopebiblechurchga.com/menu/id/154/Writings

  4. Steve H

    Thanks for taking the time to put out your thoughts on these matters.

    I have read through a number of your teachings and have enjoyed looking at things from a different perspective.

    To be honest, some offer a perspective that I have not held so have found it challenging … but that’s the good thing about Scripture, there’s plenty tucked away in there to keep you on your toes.

    During my studies at Bible College, I was introduced to an excellent text book by David DeSilva – An Introduction to the NT – who, when exegeting the book of Revelation – poured scorn on the approach that many believe is a pattern laid out in the 7 letters [and reflected in your study in chart form].

    I fully understand why he [and you] do this from a purely exegetical position but do you not consider that Scripture is far more than one dimensional in the way that we can/should view it?

    Especially Scripture that is so clearly prophetic and apocalyptic in it’s nature.

    Sir Robert Anderson in his book ‘The Coming Prince’ wrote:

    Narrowness of interpretation is the bane of apocalyptic study.

    You do not have to dig too far in to his background to realize that this fella was no fool – and while that does not mean he was infallible, it does give you confidence in his ability to dig into and investigate things.

    Sir Robert Anderson saw in Revelation a similar pattern laid out in these 7 letters – and as the quote suggests, managed to avoid a narrowness of interpretation.

    This church age interpretation is not the only way that these 7 letters can be interpreted – it is but one interpretation & I see no reason why it cannot run alongside other interpretations.

    We draw our roots from the Jewish faith – it is quite well established that Scripture is interpreted in a number of ways without diminishing the value of it.

    Biblical interpretation has always followed a number of pathways – P’shat [plain literal translation], Remez [the hint of something below the surface], Drash or Midrash [homiletic sermon type interpretation] and Sod [something hidden].

    In view of this, I believe all are valid forms that can be used to understand the meaning of Scripture.

    Rev 1:19 appears to give us an indicator as to how the book of Revelation should be viewed:

    • Write the things you have seen [past tense]
    • And the things that are [present tense – letters to Churches].
    • And the things that which will take place after this [future tense & Chapter 4 onwards]

    Chapter 4 starts with Μετὰ ταῦτα [After these] ie, the churches – the whole shape of Revelation is very Jewish in its make up.

    These letters are laid out in a particular order – from Ephesus to Laodicea – the letter travels north fm Ephesus through Smyrna & Pergamos – then heads south through Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and ends in Laodicea.

    It is quite possible that this was a circular letter – read first in the Ephesian church – then passed on to the next church on the route.

    All these cities were important trade & communication centres – connected by major roads in NT times – each no more than 1 to 2 days walk apart.

    The content of each letter can be applied locally – collectively [all the churches] – personally & prophetically.

    So when looking to see how it speaks prophetically you can draw detail from the order that the churches are recorded and as such, the letters would appear to mirror the development of the church through the ages.

    I do not think that there is a distinct ‘cut off’ date setting between the Church Ages [as your chart shows] – there is much cross over and within every age we see some transitional aspects.

    [Come to think of it, date setting by any church is a bit of a nonsense].

    When I say church – I am inclined to think of the institutional church [rather than the relational church] in particular.

    Ephesus = Apostolic Church
    Smyrna = Persecuted Church
    Pergamos = Married Church [with State]
    Thyatira = Medieval Church
    Sardis = Reformation/Denominational Church
    Philadelphia = Missionary Church
    Laodicea = Apostate Church

    There are also some common features found in each letter which effectively make up 7 design elements:

    • Name of the Church
    • Description/Title for Christ
    • Commendation for achievement
    • Concern raised
    • Exhortation to lift the game
    • Promise to the Overcomer
    • Concluding phrase – ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’

    This concluding phrase is interesting in so much as it emphasizes that it is for the one who has ‘an ear to hear’ – which would mean ‘all people’, not just Jews but Gentiles included.

    If valid, this prophetic interpretation also speaks volumes when we come to the much quoted and in my opinion, misapplied verse – Rev 3:20:

    ‘For behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me.’

    This verse has nothing to do with Jesus knocking on the door of your heart to enter in for salvation but relates to the fact that He is no longer in the church and has been put out.

    If you consider [just for a moment] that this links to the Apostate Church, then where better for Jesus to be stood, than outside, knocking to come back in. What a massive demonstration of grace!

    I don’t think you have to look too far these days to see how Jesus is being sidelined by what I would term the institutional church. Let’s face it, He is what makes the difference between what we term Christianity and any other religion in the world.

    If He is removed, then our faith is just one more religious belief in ‘God’ that can easily be reconciled with other religious beliefs.

    I know that you have previously said, you don’t care whether anyone agrees with you but I would just encourage you to continue with the great content and if possible, consider whether there is indeed something in the comment,

    Narrowness of interpretation is the bane of apocalyptic study?

    Who knows? You may find even greater revelation ;)

    Blessings.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Steve,
      One of the first principles of sound interpretation is the principle of one interpretation, several applications. The first order of exegesis is to interpret a passage in its content. With regard to the Revelation churches nothing in them indicates they were Christian, i.e., body of Christ, Pauline churches. They were/will be Jewish churches composed of those who had been and will be saved by believing the gospel of the kingdom. This is what Jesus taught in Matthew 24.14 and what He proclaimed to these assemblies. Thus, we have is a double fulfillment–past and future. Why impose any of this on Christian churches? All Scripture is for us but not all Scripture is to us. The Scriptures will interpret themselves if we let them. We must let Israel be Israel and the Church the Church.

      1. Steve H

        May I just take your last point first.

        I absolutely 100% agree with you, the church is the church and Israel is Israel.

        Each have a different origin, each a different purpose & ultimately, each a different destiny.

        The church will never complete its God given mission if it seeks to work out the Great Commission in Matthew 28. This, in my opinion, is something that is for the Jewish nation to complete at a later date.

        In your excellent piece on Pauls Mystery, you note that the gospel has changed several times throughout history & cite a number of examples, noting that the Gospel of the Kingdom comes to a close at or around the time of Acts 15:11.

        It was surely at this point that there was some form of accord in terms of how the Gospel of the Kingdom would transition to the Gospel of Grace and from that point onwards, any salvation would only come through faith + 0 i.e. no works to complement the grace on offer.

        Around nine years later, after things had come to a head at the Council of Jerusalem, Paul wrote to the Colossians. This would have been around 60 to 61 AD and it is clear from the text that he also expected his writings to be shared with other churches in the region, one of which was the church in Laodicea.

        Does not the reference in Col4:15-16 suggest that the church in Laodicea was one under Pauline influence?

        If so, would not this be the same church that John refers to in the last letter in Revelation 3? Made up of believers who had been taught the Gospel of Grace?

        Pauls letter to the Ephesians, would also have likely been written between 60-62 AD as it forms part of Paul’s prison epistles along with Philippians, Colossians [as mentioned] and Philemon.

        Again, would this not be the first church that John refers to in the first letter of Revelation 2?

        Even at it’s earliest dating, the book of Revelation was written around 64 AD and 96 AD at the latest. This would still place Johns writing at least three years after Paul had sent circular letters throughout the region teaching that salvation is by the grace of God and not of works.

        I find it difficult to reconcile that from 61 AD onwards, one or more of the other Apostles were still teaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. Therefore, Revelation would not be addressed to congregations made up of Jewish believers who were unaware of the Gospel of Grace as revealed to Paul.

        I note your point on interpretation in its content and ask does not content also mean our understanding of the social context and other information that supports the interpretation?

        The fact that the style of Revelation is not Pauline, does not mean it doesn’t share the same Pauline end game. You and I have a different way of expressing our thoughts on paper, yet we have a common faith and common foundation – although the way we place words on a page may not convey that on analysis of the linguistics alone.

        Sorry to bother you with the response but it has been on my mind this week and so thought I would ask.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Steve,
          Chronology is a knotty matter for we have few concrete markers. This is why chronologists disagree. I think these were different sets of believers based upon the language to them. I explain my reasoning for my dating of Revelation in the footnote. We know that after Paul returned from Arabia/Damascus (37-40 A.D.) until the Council of Jerusalem (51 A.D.) two gospel were valid. After that only one–Paul’s. Does this mean Revelation was written before 51 A.D.? Does it mean that Revelation had no 1st century application but only a future application? Did the 4 assemblies (not mentioned elsewhere) exist or will they be future? Lots of questions.

          1. Amy

            I am intrigued by your approach. In fact I have been studying a lot of new approaches to Revelation lately, despite the fact that I had been quite comfortable in my dispensationalist, pre-trib understanding up to now. But my current pastors have led me to rethink.

            What I don’t get though, is how you could say that Paul teaches a different gospel than the one Jesus preached Himself? How could anything contradict or update Christ?

            And how was the church not started at Pentecost? No essential element of the church was missing that I can see. The fact that the Gentiles as a group were yet to be recognized as believers is just an administrative detail, as it were. They were always part of the plan and Jesus says so more than once in the Gospels. Even as a dispensationalist I can’t see there being different gospels.

            Perhaps there is another term for the distinction you are drawing that would help me to understand. Interested in your reply.

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              Amy,
              Paul’s gospel, which he received directly from the risen Lord (Galatians 1.1, 11-12), was that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Do you find anyone else preaching this for salvation? Please see my articles, The Gospel, and The Gospel of the Kingdom. Peter was saved by believing WHO Jesus was, not WHAT he would do (die for our sins and be raised)–see Matthew 16 and John 11 to see what he (and Martha) believed for salvation. As to the Church beginning at Pentecost, the Scriptures provide no evidence of this. Pentecost was a Jewish feast. The advent of the Holy Spirit was a Jewish promise (the New covenant, Ezekiel 36, Jeremiah 31). Peter addressed only Jews at Pentecost. He had no thought of ministering to Gentiles. In fact, no Gentile evangelism occurred for several years–until after Paul was saved. Jesus did not minister to Gentiles in the gospels (with a couple of exceptions) and ordered His disciples not to go to them (Matthew 10.5-6). The Church is that body in which Jew and Gentile are equal in Christ. No one revealed that the Church was the body of Christ except Paul. No other writer even mentions it. My articles, Paul’s “Mystery” and Why Paul? may make these things more clear.

          2. Patricia

            If John was exiled to the Island of Patmos when he wrote Revelation, would that not have been around 90-95 AD during the reign of Emperor Domitian?

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              Patricia,
              The text reads, “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1.9). We’re not told under what circumstances John was on Patmos just that he was there for the word of God and testimony of Christ. Why do you think he was there 90-95 A.D.?

              1. Patricia

                thanks for your response and excellent ministry

                my study Bibles indicate that Revelation was written 90-95. However, as you point out, it makes more sense to date this book to the 50s especially in light of the fact that there is no mention in John’s writings about the destruction of the temple in AD 70.

                peace and blessings

                1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

                  Patricia,
                  Thank you. Almost everyone dates John’s writing in the 90s. Almost everyone is wrong. The evidence for such dating is questionable. Furthermore, Paul wrote he completed the Scriptures (Colossians 1.25). So 2 Timothy was the last book written. Several other problems attend such a late date for John. The main one is no mention of the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. J.A.T. Robinson called this “the dog that did not bark.”

  5. Steve

    Thanks for taking the time to respond – I appreciate it.

    I will continue to pick at the knots & thanks for stretching my understanding.

  6. Marty Nichols

    Regarding who John wrote to in Revelation: I agree with the finding that the book is part of prophesy, as are all the non-Pauline books; and therefore, separate from the mystery writings, e.g., Paul’s letters. Revelation is not written to the Body of Christ churches.

  7. christina

    I am blessed by your teachings as well. I’m wondering if you would mind sharing your thoughts on the current events around the world. I’d love to hear your input.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Christina,
      Thank you. The world is being prepared for world government. Governments are moving towards greater control of their citizenry. Spying on citizens is increasing–and is accepted. Federal agencies are being armed as never before. Goverments are running massive debts which can never be repaid to the bond holders. The banking system is a house of cards. “Bank holidays” are declared in which banks are closed and people cannot withdraw their money. Bail-ins have occurred (Cyprus) in which depositors lost their savings which were given to unstable banks. Middle-east turmoil is increasing. It will continue. We are witnessing the stage-setting of what will become a totalitarian police-state under the Beast. Apart from the Lord no hope exists. But with God, nothing is impossible!

  8. christina

    Sorry, I also would like to ask your opinion on the greetings of the letters to the assemblies. As addressed to the angels of each assembly and the assembly itself (to the seven stars from 1 hand and the lampstands in the other), do these angels have a territory? Would they have been there 2000 years ago and also today? The OT seems to suggest that angels do have areas in which they have (for lack of a better description) a jurisdiction? Just curious on your thoughts. I read that Turkey today is 99% Muslim. A friend of mine also thought that Israel, in the last days, could possibly be split into 2 territories from references in Isaiah. I have not researched that myself, but naturally thought of Judah and Israel. Any thoughts you could share?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Christina,
      It makes sense angels have assigned areas. Michael and Gabriel have a special relationship to Israel. The “prince of Persia,” a fallen angel opposed Michael and another angel sent to answer Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 10). Satan has an organization to rule earth as the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4.4). God will restore all of Israel to Himself (see Ezekiel 37).

  9. Regina Miller

    I have always viewed the 7 assemblies to be the 7 continents of the world.

    Simply, Revelations speaks to all of the earth. I do not know which assembly is which continent but given some thought to this perhaps you can tell me.

    txs

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Regina,
      If you read the 7 letters carefully you will see the language and allusions are all Jewish. Revelation is a book that speaks primarily to Jews and the nations (Gentiles). It does not concern the Church, the body of Christ, for God has removed it from the earth. It is book that describes the deceit of the Antichrist and God’s wrath upon the whole world. It fulfills the prophecies of the prophets.

  10. Sue

    Hi Don,

    Would you also share what you think of the established ( organised ) church.

    Many believe they are going to Christianise the globe before Jesus returns and that there will be a great revival.

    Also, they think that the Holy Spirit will bring power from on high so that signs and wonders especially healings ( with that an ability to raise people from the dead) will increase. These people are expecting a ‘double portion of the anointing’ ( Elijah comes to mind) so they can then lay on hands and pass it all on.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Sue,
      No Scripture supports the idea that the Church will Christianize the globe or that signs and wonders will appear. On the contrary, apostasy will increase as we are seeing. Our attitude is to be Paul’s 1 Corinthians 9.19-23. Signs and miracles will return after the Church is gone and Jesus warned to be wary of deceit (Matthew 24.4-5, 11, 24). Signs and miracles were for Israel, not Gentiles or the Church (1 Corinthians 1.22).

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Sue,
      After His return, Jesus will occupy David’s throne (Luke 1.32) and rule the earth from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14.9, 16).

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Sue,
      Hard question. Some verses speak of David reigning while others of Christ reigning. Some have speculated David will reign as a regent but no one knows how this will work out.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Gerry,
      Impossible to know. Revelation is a book which primarily focuses upon Israel and secondarily upon the nations. On this basis, the 24 thrones probably relate to Israel. Jesus promised the Twelve 12 thrones (Matthew 19.28). What the other 12 thrones could be is not revealed.

  11. courtney king

    I have spent more time and money studying the book of Rev.than any other book.i have great and deep appreciation for all you r articles. Your work and position on the book of Rev. Is wonderfull. As an Baptist I take your position on baptism. Any thoughts on it for me with out causing strife which I will not do?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Courtney,
      My goal is to reveal the Scriptures. By the time Paul wrote the Ephesians one baptism was valid–the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He places us into the body of Christ when we believe the gospel. Water baptism ended. All believers are baptists in the sense of believing in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Thus, with regard to the Nicene Creed, a believer can state belief in one baptism. As we look at denominations water baptism divides. But the baptism of the Holy Spirit unites.

  12. Joe

    Flummoxed

    Paul says concerning his gospel of grace that those teaching anything other than the what he teaches ‘let them be cursed’.

    John appears to be teaching ‘overcoming’ at about the same time (50’s)as part of salvation.
    I’m pretty sure John was not cursed.

    Where is my error?

    good site,
    Joe

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Joe,
      After God removes the Church, the gospel of the kingdom will be reinstituted (Matthew 24.14). Salvation will once again be based upon the identity of Christ–that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, not the pretender, the Antichrist. This is what “overcoming” will mean as the Lord taught in chapters 2-3.

  13. Joe

    But my point was that these words were put down by John and Paul at possibly the same time (50’s AD). What would the readers at that time have thought?

    On a totally different subject…..Why do we believe the temple was built on what is today considered the temple mount? Is it just tradition? There were not to be stones on each other. The wailing wall has stacked up stones. There is evidence that the temple was built in the City of David several thousand feet to the south. Josephus mentions that the temple could not be seen from the north of the city of the first century……The Roman soldiers came ‘down’ the steps to the temple site when Paul got into trouble for saying the word ‘gentile’. ……………..

      1. Joe

        Can you imagine the stripped gears if this monkey wrench were thrown into the mix? No road blocks to building the temple for one. There’s a recent book. I guess it can be googled. “Temple”?

  14. Keri

    I thoroughly enjoy your site! Could you explain to me the difference between the resurrection of the dead in Christ at the rapture and those at the First resurrection described in Revelation 20:5. Are the resurrected in Rev 20 not in glorified bodies? Why is this called the first resurrection, if there is a resurrection at the time of the rapture? Thank you so much for you site. I love the Lord and this site has truly helped me grow in my understanding.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Joe,
      The Irenaeus statement quoted by Eusebius is weak support for a post-70 A.D. composition. No one is sure what the word “it” refers to, i.e., the visions, the book, or John himself. Internal evidence strongly supports a pre-70 A.D. Unfortunately, some have argued a late date to support Dispensationalism. A late date provides little support for Dispensationalism but an early date is essential for Preterism. But the main point is to stay with the text: it will lead to sound theology.

  15. Kim N.

    The bride is redeemed Israel. Jesus is the bridegroom. In the marriage supper of the Lamb, who are the guests? who are the friends of the bridegroom (except John the Baptist), where are we, the church? Would you please explain? Thank you.

      1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

        Amy,
        Please see my article, The Bride of Christ. The Scriptures state the Church is the Body of Christ, not the Bride of Christ.

  16. Bob Anderson

    Great article. You have a wonderful ability to summarize hundreds of pages of information into just a few pages. I’m happy to see you directly reference Bullinger’s Commentary. Per chance, is there time in your busy schedule to explain the arcane outlining system Bullinger uses?

    Maranatha,

    Bob

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Bob,
      Thank you for your kind words. Bullinger’s Revelation should be the start point for all study of Revelation. I’m not exactly sure I understand your outline question but will take a shot. Maybe you mean chiasm? (A, B, C, B’, A’) Bullinger used chiasm to outline much of the Scriptures. This is true of Revelation as well as his work in the Companion Bible. Here are a couple websites to tweak your interest: http://www.bible-discernments.com/joshua/whatisachiasm_two.html and http://chiasmusxchange.com/. The structure of chiasm of the Scriptures can be quite revealing. Grace and peace.

      1. Bobbi

        Hi doctrine. Thank you for this. The chiasm is hard to understand in Bullingers book. Am over halfway finished with it . I see clearly how Jewish the book is. Even down to the simple term servants. We know that we are called sons and daughters of God, so that’s quite a difference and that’s only the first verse hee hee.
        Then all the names of the Lord in the letters to the churches are all old testament and deal with Israel, and the creation. What a beautiful book in that it seems to be a road map for Gods people in these coming days and He is speaking to them I think. It is a great sorrow that it is a time coming and these things will take place, for Israel to be reconciled and for the unbelievers.
        One thing I see now is that the letters , admonitions to the 7 churches all regard works and overcoming. However we are overcomes through Christ Jesus and He overcame the world for us! What a loving, wonderful saviour we have.
        I have to say my heart goes out to Israel. My prayer for this people is that they come to know Christ now.
        Don, what do you think of the different dispensation theory that we are in the 5th? Then there is a judgement dispensation, then 7th will be millennium on earth? Or where are we ?
        Also I’m twisted with the big crowd in Rev.7. First he said one thing then something else. Is it gentiles or ?
        Also Bullinger thinks the 7 churches are future churches in that time, a different dispensation, That’s interesting for then they will know exactly what they have to do. If that is so, it’s awesome they will have it!

        I pray that all who will come to Christ will come now.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Bobbi,
          The chiastic structure shows how intricately the Scriptures are woven. Revelation 7.9, 13-14 are those killed by the Beast for their faith. The 7 churches were/are present and future. The Lord had not closed the prophetic door on Israel at the time John wrote. The events could have taken place had the nation repented. Since they would not, these assemblies will exist in the future.

          1. Bobbi

            Doc,
            So are these the ones we saw we saw in chapter 6, under the alter that were given white robes? For now they have palm branches too. I know they are martyrs. Are these then saved under the Kingdom gospel or because of their testimony do you think?
            Also this is different teaching than I’ve had so it’s like starting over. Hope these questions don’t seem foolish. Am going to finish reading the book then go back and read it again, now that I understand the word structures. Also it says there was no Thyatira church at the time Revelation was written.

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              Bobbi,
              Yes to Revelation 6.9. On the dispensations matter, I see things a bit differently. The 7 dispensations became popular, largely through the Scofield Bible. I do not disagree with them. But I believe the divisions I write about in The Framework of Scripture are easier to understand and more helpful.

  17. Vernon

    Hi Don,
    Thank you for your work, it is truly inspiring.
    My question is this…the church at Ephesis is in Revelation and is Jewish.
    Who then did Paul write to? Was it the same church?
    Can one compare the book of Ephesians (the “in Christ” letter) to the church of the Ephesians in Revelation?

    Thanx,
    Vernon.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Vernon,
      Impossible to know for sure but most likely a different congregation. If Revelation was written early it was definitely different. If late, it could have been the same church who had abandoned Paul (1 Timothy 1.15). You might enjoy the article by Matthew McGee.

  18. Dawn

    I had heard of Bullinger but never read any of his work. So I have spent some time doing so. Why is his work seemingly ignored for the most part?
    He has been labeled a “hyper-dispensationalist”. I imagine you get labeled that too. Is that “bad”? What are the arguments that are used against it?
    Thank you again

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Dawn,
      Bullinger was a tireless scholar who made many wonderful contributions to believers. His Figures of Speech is the standard text on the subject and will remain so. His commentary on Revelation is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the book. His Companion Bible is a classic. The biggest problem with Bullinger was his view that the Church began after Acts 28. Those who hold this are known as Acts 28 dispensationalists. This view is clearly wrong. Paul wrote about the Church, the body of Christ, to the Corinthians about 57 A.D., before he reached Rome. The unfortunate thing is that while Bullinger was wrong, critics of “hyper-dispensationalism” (an unfortunate term as ever was) lump everyone together in their attacks. Included are people like J.C. O’Hair, Cornelius Stam, Les Feldick, who believe the Church began with Paul around Acts 9 or 13. Stam was a godly man and his book, Holding Fast the Faithful Word, reveals the venomous attacks from big name dispensationalists against him. It’s an excellent read for it points out the issues but it is also a sad read for it shows that even highly regarded men have feet of clay.

      1. Dawn

        This scripture is now crystal clear:

        AFTER THIS I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be Hereafter

        After what? After Jesus gave John the 7 letters to the churches, Jesus proceeds to call John “up hither” to be in the Day of the Lord and show these 7 churches how to “overcometh” in the time of Jacobs trouble!!
        And NOT after the so called church age is over that is commonly taught.

        Wow do things get easy to understand once we take the Body of Christ out of the Book of Revelation!!

        So, Don, are you asked to speak at other churches? At Prophecy conferences? You would certainly shake things up and expose so many false teachings.

        My bible study friends are not receptive to this message at this time. Not to mention my pastor whom I hold in very high esteem. How do I handle that? Go to him? I have not done this yet. I don’t think it would go over well. But who knows?
        He has always been a man who goes by line and verse. And he takes the bible literally. But does preach the common misconceptions like the church being the Bride.
        I will pray for wisdom.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Dawn,
          Thank you. The Lord has not opened the door for me to speak to other churches. On the matter of receptivity, God will enlighten those who desire it. In my case, I had a treasury of theological knowledge but was ignorant of Paul’s distinctive ministry. I heard a message from someone far less educated than I and thought, “He’s right; I’m wrong.” I have never looked back. That’s all it takes. One must be willing to lay aside non-Biblical tradition for the Word of God. If one is teachable, God will reveal the Scriptures. Sometimes, just dropping a question will do the trick, e.g., why is going to heaven never taught in the OT? Why did Peter not proclaim Christ’s death and resurrection for salvation at Pentecost? Why did the Jews at Jerusalem tell Paul his converts were not saved? Grace and peace.

  19. Kathy

    Hi Don,
    Thank you for your great website and the deep word of God. I was raised in a works based religion and lived scared and confused most of my life. Over the past two years, I prayed for the truth. I ran across Les Feldick website and have spoken with him on the phone, a wonderful man of God and now I have found your website that confirms the things I have been seeing in Gods word. My question is associated with the 7 churches in Revelation. He gave them promises that they would receive if they were overcomers, this bothered me for a while but I found the following verses and would like to know if you agree with what I see.
    1 John chapter 5:4-5
    4) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, even our faith.
    5) Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

    Would not this support that these churches were back under the Kingdom gospel and not Paul because they are require to believe Who he is and not What he did?
    Appreciate our thoughts, God Bless

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Kathy,
      Thank you and may the Lord continue to lead you. They were Jewish assemblies, part of the kingdom program. See my article, Understanding the Book of Revelation.

  20. Kathy

    Don
    Thank you for your response that is what I thought also, if you don’t mind can you clarify something else for me. I understand Paul was sent for the Body of Christ. But my question is… Peter and the 11 taught the Kingdom gospel but at the council meeting in Acts Peter stood up and defended Paul’s Gospel of grace, and said we also believe as they, so would Peter be part of the Body or part of the Jewish kingdom program still?

    1. Kathy

      Sorry Don, also what about Paul he was saved under the old program but received the revelations later, so would he be part of the Body or the Kingdom? These are the things that is confusing me and I would appreciate your insight, Thanks so much.

      1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

        Kathy,
        Paul was saved under the kingdom program. However, he was the “first” and the “master-builder” of the Church. So he definitely is a member of the body of Christ. Please see my article, Paul: Chief of Sinners?

    2. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Kathy,
      No, Peter remained in the kingdom program. Remember, he and the rest of the twelve will rule Israel’s tribes (Matthew 19.28). Peter’s destiny and that of the other apostles is with believing Israel, not the Church, the body of Christ.

      1. Kathy

        Thanks so much and God Bless you for taking the time to help people like us that are hungry for the truth. I was having a hard time with separating which program they would be under because Peter was given the keys.(Plural) . And Jesus said upon this Rock I will build my church. But now with understanding Peter will remain in the kingdom, could the keys represent the Body (Jews and Gentiles) which he used at Cornelius house to show the door was being open outside of Israel’s program. And the Rock is Christ. Instead of how the church teaches it started with Peter at Pentecost? I don’t mean to bother you but I really want to understand God’s Holy Word

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Kathy,
          Peter has nothing to do with the Church, the body of Christ. He knew nothing of it until Paul. The Church, the body of Christ, was a Pauline revelation. The Church did not began with Peter in Matthew 16 or at Pentecost as most of Christendom teaches. It began with Paul. Please see my articles, The Church: The Body of Christ, On This Rock, and What Was Pentecost? This is probably shocking as it is not what is taught in seminary or from most pulpits. All I ask readers to do is examine the Scriptures to see if these things are so.

  21. Bruno

    Don

    The New Jerusalem comes after the millenium or before it? I always thought it would come after the 1000 years (just because of the sequence on revelation). However now I’m not sure anymore, because of Is 65, which seems to suggest that the millenium kingdom will take place at the new jerusalem (and it would make sense, once jerusalem will be destroyed after the great tribulation, so a new one is needed).

    My problem is Rev 21:4 “and there shall be no more death” (because according to Is 65 there will be death), and Rev 21:22 “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it” (according to Ez 40 there will be a millenial temple).

    Please, give me your thoughts on this issue!

    Thank you so much!

    Regards from Brazil!

    God bless you!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Bruno,
      The order of prophetic events revealed in the OT is unclear. In the NT, especially Revelation, the order is more defined. The New Jerusalem is an element of the new heavens and new earth, which comes after the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth. Death will occur during those 1,000 years. The temple Ezekiel described will be built during that period. Death will be abolished in the new heavens/earth. The Lord Himself will serve as the temple in the new heavens/earth (Revelation 21.22).

  22. Tommy

    Doc.
    Who is John talking about in Rev.5;9 and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. The church ?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Tommy,
      John is speaking of redeemed Jews. John wrote to Jews (the assemblies in chapters 2-3 are Jews) and redeemed Jews are promised to be kings and priests (Exodus 19.4-6; 1 Peter 2.9).

  23. Joe

    Doctrine,

    Paul says late in his ministry that all the churches in Asia had turned against him. Is it possible the 7 churches in Revelation had reverted to Jewish assemblies? Does this suggest that Revelation was written after Paul’s epistles? Can it suggest that the Asian (Turkey) churches had moved away from Grace and back toward the law?

    Viewed from our perspective today can enough be said about Paul’s decision (based on revelation) to sail to what is considered the ‘West’. To Phillipe (Macedonia) from Troas (Asia)? Except for Israel look at what the Aegean Sea separates us from today.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Joe,
      No, I don’t think so. I think these were Jewish assemblies established earlier (cf. James 1.1; 1 Peter 1.1) and that Revelation was written in the 50s. Paul stated he completed the Scriptures (Colossians 1.25) so 2 Timothy is the last book written.

  24. Jane

    First time on this site. Very informative. Body of Christ is not the Bride of Christ! Never
    could figure it out till now. Paul started the church, not Peter and not Pentecost. We as the body of Christ will be gone before tribulation….Israel is the Bride of Christ..We will read
    Bullinger…Our Thursday night Bible Study will be taking up Revelation very soon….and
    this has blown us away! I thought we were kings and priests in Christ….time to reassess
    our position….Thanks for all the clarity on this site!!!!

  25. Dawn Sobczak

    Your opinion would be helpful. In thinking a lot about the 7 churches I keep going back to the fact they were\will be in Turkey. Could it be a “clue” that the Anti-Christ is from Turkey? And the persecution of believers starts there or is even concentrated there?
    I’ve pretty much concluded they must be active churches during the tribulation. Why else would they be getting instruction to persevere to the end?
    Is the tribulation world wide? Or is it mostly in the middle east where events of the Old Testament takes place? Of course the whole world would feel the ripple effects of this.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Dawn,
      Those are good questions and I do not know. Answers may not become clear until the Tribulation or shortly before. Turkey was in the realm of ancient Rome and the Antichrist will come out of this realm. The Tribulation is world-wide. Notice the language e.g., Revelation 6.8.

      1. Dawn Sobczak

        Isn’t interesting that Pergamon is said to be the seat of Satan? Revelation is prophecy so during the tribulation, at least at some point, satan is seated there. Could this indicate the presence of the Anti-Christ? Whatever it is Turkey seems a key player. As though it’s Magog. I never bought it was Russia.

  26. Eric Streff

    Placing these seven churches in the tribulation has no biblical backing! This could be illustrated in many ways, but the easiest would be to have an understanding of the context leading into Rev 2.

    Rev 1:13-20 informs us of a couple of facts:

    1. The man that John saw was the Lord Jesus Christ v18″I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hades and of death.”
    2. He is v13 “in the midst of the candlesticks.”
    3. v20 “the candlesticks are the seven churches.” (7 being the number of completion represents the complete church)
    4. The description given of Christ in V12-16 is “As Judge.” “girt about the paps with a golden girdle,” “brass”, “fire”, “sword. All Judicial!

    THIS IS A SCENE AT THE JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST!

    Now how do you place the judgement seat of christ on earth and in the midst of the tribulation?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Eric,
      The Lord counsels the Jewish assemblies of Revelation 7 to endure the wrath of the Tribulation. If they do they will receive eternal life. These passages expound on Jesus’ dissertation on the Tribulation in Matthew 24.13. These passages clearly have nothing to do with the Church, the body of Christ. The language is wholly Jewish and completely alien from what Paul taught concerning the Church. Keep Israel and the Church separate and everything works. Mix them and confusion and contradiction is the result.

      1. Eric

        I’m clear on the Church being separate from Israel. I’m also clear on Christ not appearing till the end of the tribulation. Which is the basis for my point. The question you haven’t yet answered:

        Does Christ Appear In The Midst Of The Tribulation? ( In the Midst Of These So-Called Jewish Assemblies?) Because that’s what Rev 1:13 states.

        Rev 1:13 “And in the midst of these seven candlesticks, one like unto the son of man (Christ).”

        Answering this question is the key to understanding why this CAN’T be a vision to a supposed Jewish Assembly on earth during the tribulation (during Man’s day). But rather a vision of the Judgement Seat Of Christ, on “The Lord’s Day.”

        PS. (The promise to the church of Laodicea is the throne of Christ not David)

        Respectfully,

        Eric

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Eric,
          No time element is present in Revelation 1.13. The seven candlesticks are the 7 assemblies (Revelation 1.20) and John saw the “son of man” in the midst of them. This title always refers to Christ in His earthly operations, particularly His rule (John 5.27). It is never used with reference to the Church. It has nothing to do with the timing of His coming mentioned in verse 7.

      2. Faith

        You are so right Doctrine! Coming to this site a year ago was a blessing! I knew something was wrong with the messages I had heard in church and I was independently studying on my own with God only as my Teacher; I started to see and notice the differences a long time ago.
        Coming here, however, just confirmed even more so my belief in the differences of the Jews and the Gentiles role in Revelation. I did not know, though, that Paul and the Gospels were separate- this helped so much to clear up the cloudiness and confusion with what I had already been studying.

  27. Eric

    Is Christ in the midst of these 7 Jewish Assemblies? And how? Should this be looked upon in a spiritual manner? What about the way Christ is dressed etc? (The imagery given of him) What is that all about?

    Rev.1:12-20

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Eric,
      The assemblies are warned to endure and given a glimpse of Christ in His glory and dominion. He is in their midst spiritually. This view of Christ is like that of His return. See Daniel 7.9-12.

  28. Eric Streff

    I see Christ as Judge in this scene however I am interested in knowing what your interpretation is on key verses within Rev 2 & 3 that leads you to believe that this is not the Christian Church.

    (Besides the language!)
    IPeter 2:1-12 would be a perfect example of how Jewish language so-to-speak is also Christian language. Reading the first 9 verses would lead one to thinking this is wholly-Jewish, then all the sudden we see it’s not. v10 “which in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God.” Obviously referring to Gentiles who became Christians. Then take a look at v11&12 he tells these Gentiles who became Christians that they should abstain and keep their conversation honest, among who? “Amongst the Gentiles.” Clearly in this text “Gentiles” refer to those who are not Christians . Just as the “Jews” in Rev 2&3 would refer to those who are Christians. (understood as follows: “which say they are Jews (Christians) but are not.”

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Eric,
      1. None of the Twelve had a ministry to Gentiles. John was an apostle of Israel, not the Church. Therefore, he did not write to the Church. The Church has no “priests” (Revelation 1.6). Only Israel.
      2. John wrote concerning the Day of the Lord, i.e., the Tribulation (Revelation 1.10). The Church is absent from this day.
      3. The Church is never called a candlestick. The tabernacle had candlesticks. See also Zechariah 4. Jesus spoke of candlesticks to the Jews.
      Peter wrote to Jewish believers (1 Peter 1.1). The passage you note is wholly Jewish. The Church has no “priests” or “priesthood.” That is Jewish ground (v. 9). Verse 10 is the same people as v. 9. In vs. 11-12 Peter counsels believing Jews to live holy lives among Gentiles.

  29. Eric

    1Peter 2:9,10 “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God, which have not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

    “In time past” wasn’t Israel the people of God? “In time past” I believe scripture is pretty clear on the fact that Israel was the “only people of God!”

    Who else could this be referring to but Gentiles?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Eric,
      Peter wrote to Jews (1 Peter 1.1). Jews are the subject of this passage. Jews were a chosen race, a royal priesthood (Exodus 19.4-6). God declared them Lo-ami but promised restoration. See Hosea 1.9-10, 2.23 and Paul’s quotation of it in his discussion of Israel (Romans 9.25-26). Gentiles are not in view.

  30. Eric Streff

    Peter 1.1 Would Peter address Jews as “Strangers?”

    Ex 19.4-6 Yes the covenant was originally made with Israel and offered to Israel by Christ, later re-offered by his disciples. And as a nation they rejected the offer and it was given to a nation bearing the fruit thereof. (BELIEF) Matthew 21:43

    Romans 9.25-26 & Hosea 1.9, 2.23 Both speak of the Remnant that will be restored to their promise of the earthly Kingdom. (This will happen after 2 days on the third day Hos 5:15-6:2) This new covenant Jer 31:31-33 remains yet future “after those days” with the house of Judah and with the house of Israel.) Paul a type of Israel rejected Christ, just as Israel did. Paul was blinded just as Israel has been. Paul regained his sight just as Israel will. Paul was called to preach to the Gentiles, just as Israel will be yet future.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Eric,
      Yes. They were strangers for they were Jews in foreign lands, just as he stated. The words παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς clearly mean this. The “nation” bearing fruit will be the future generation of Jews in the Tribulation who will repent and believe Jesus is the Messiah (Matthew 23.37-39).

      1. Eric Streff

        Matthew 23:37-39 refers to Israel as a nation. The Israel clock so-to-speak will not start until the tribulation begins. So we have no contradiction on this.

        However for the sake of argument lets just say your right in regards to Peter speaking to Jews in (1Peter 1.1). Jews today are strangers scattered throughout the world. So is he speaking to Jews in the tribulation only or is he speaking to Jews who have existed for the past 2000 years and presently exist?

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Eric,
          Peter wrote to the same Jews as James (James 1.1). The Jews of the Tribulation will read Peter and can apply it but that was not the intended audience at the time. God is not speaking to Israel today other than through Paul’s gospel.

  31. Eric

    With either James 1.1 or 1Peter 1.1 the same thing would be in view. Both could be looked upon as Jews scattered abroad. You say yes that the Jews in the tribulation could apply what is written in 1Peter. Ok so the question that remains …. Can Jews today apply what is written in 1Peter and James?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Jews today are in the same program as Gentiles. There is only Paul’s gospel for them. The kingdom program is currently suspended. After God removes the Church, the kingdom program (gospel of the kingdom) will be reinitiated and the prophetic clock will restart.

      1. Eric

        1Peter 1.4 “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in HEAVEN for you.

        Is not The Kingdom of Heaven for Christians?

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Eric,
          Peter wrote to Jews. He had no ministry to Gentiles. Their inheritance was an earthly kingdom. It would come with the Messiah. When Peter wrote He was in heaven. They will not receive the kingdom until He returns. It is presently reserved in heaven in the person of the King. When He was on the earth, Jesus told the Jews the kingdom was in their midst (Luke 17.21, 10.9). The kingdom of God is wherever the King is.

  32. Eric

    Do you not see the contradiction in these statements?

    Lets review your two statements in Regards to 1 Peter 1.1,4
    1. Peter is specifically writing to Jews
    2. The Jews inheritance is earthly

    It is impossible for both of these statements to be true according to:

    1.Peter 1:4 “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in HEAVEN for you.

    If Peter is talking to Jews only then that is to say their inheritance is Heavenly, in to which you say it is not.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Eric,
      I have to wonder if you want to understand or if are you being purposefully recalcitrant. The King is in heaven. He will return to earth. When He does He will establish His kingdom which the Jews await. Until then the kingdom is in heaven in the person of the King. Peter did not write their inheritance was heavenly. He wrote it was reserved in heaven. Totally different.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Eric,
      The firstfruit was Christ Himself (1 Corinthians 15.20, 23) attended with those who were raised after His resurrection (Matthew 27.52-53).

  33. Eric

    One more question, not meaning to drift but I’m trying to get down to the heart of our difference. Who do you see as the manchild in Rev 12.

      1. David Dean

        Hi Don,
        Please don’t take my response to you as argumentative but instead as a healthy dialog between us both. When I read anything you have written it makes my writing look like a grade 2 level so please excuse my poor attempt at expressing myself in written form.

        You said “The events of Revelation 12 takes place at the mid-point of Tribulation” and from your comment I can only assume that you have not looked closely enough at Revelation 12 because we don’t believe in a “mid-tribulation” and yet Revelation twelve is about the rapture of the church. I know your position in regards to John writing to the Jews and not the church but I would like to put forth the following please.

        Firstly I would like to point out that twice in revelation (chapters 1 & 4) John writes that these things have not yet happened but shortly will come to pass.

        Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

        Revelation 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

        My aim here is to prove that the Man-Child is not Jesus because John stated that these things are yet to occur and set in the future. If you don’t believe this to be the case then ask yourself this question: for what purpose and benefit would Jesus show the Apostle John a vision of an event that has already taken place some 20 or 30 years earlier?

        Revelation 12
        1: And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

        The wonder in heaven that appeared definitely points to the (September 2017) star alignment. Regardless of Paul mentioning a sign or not does not mean God can’t or won’t show His plan in advance for those who are awake and searching. John might not have known what his vision meant but it is certainly there for us today, just as the Magi had the Star of Bethlehem 2000 years ago. We know the woman who’s clothed in the sun is Israel and the twelve stars above her head are her identifiers of the twelve tribes. Who is the child that is about to be born?

        2: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

        Because Israel rejected the Messiah the gospel message went out to the gentiles and because of Israel’s rejection the church was then conceived. The same as Jesus (the head) was conceived through the workings of the Holy Spirit as was the church (the body) conceived through the workings of the Holy Spirit.

        Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

        The scriptures have always referred to the last days or the tribulation period as a “woman in travail”.

        1 Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

        Jeremiah 30:6 Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? 6 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.

        If we examine closely Isaiah 66, it describes the woman’s birth pains arriving after she gave birth and this is exactly what happens after the rapture of the church. Something else to note is in verse 7 where it talks about the man-child being born and then “her pain came” and in verse 8 it says “as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children”. So first a singular child is born and then her birth pain arrives followed by plural children coming forth.

        Isaiah 66:7 Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. 8 Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children

        What is written here in Isaiah regarding Israel giving birth to a man-child, travailing in pain and then again bringing forth more children is confirmed again in Revelation 12: 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

        Don these passages just get deeper and deeper because not only is Isaiah 66 and Revelation 12 speaking of the man-child (zakar) but in Hebrew means “remember” or “marked”(set aside). The September heavenly sign occurs on the “Feast of Trumpets” or “a memorial of blowing of trumpets”. These things are not coincidental.

        Revelation 3: And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

        I won’t go into too much detail about verse 3 because this heavenly sign is yet to be fully revealed, but I would like to say this; there is a heavenly body that is deliberately being masked out by NASA and other authorities that is converging at the feet of the constellation Virgo. As the son of perdition will not be revealed until the church has been removed it too looks like this heavenly wonder that represents the dragon will not be revealed either until the church has been fully removed and safe.

        5: And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

        The word caught up in Greek is “Harpazo” meaning to forcibly snatch or to seize and Jesus was never snatched or seized up to heaven as a child. Jesus wasn’t snatched up when he was older either but instead was handed over to the Romans and crucified. After the Messiah’s work on earth was complete He ascended up to heaven but was not snatched up. The child spoken of is the body of Christ (church) who will be raptured out of harm’s way allowing the Antichrist to rule and God to bring His judgment and wrath upon this world. The church will rule and reign with Jesus Christ on His throne for where the head is will the body also be.

        2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

        Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

        I have read where you have stated that John’s letters to the 7 churches in Revelation 2 and 3 are not to the Christians churches of today but instead to Israel. My personal belief is that these letters are addressed to both Israel and the churches. The language appears to me to be a mixture of both Jewish and gentile.

        Revelation 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

        If somebody can be cast into great tribulation then obviously they are here on earth today.

        Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

        The body of Christ are one with Him therefore will be ruling with Jesus on His throne.

        I realize that this letter might be long winded but I hope you can understand the reasoning why I believe Revelation 12 is pointing to the rapture. As I have expressed earlier, there are plenty more other convincing proofs that show us that this September is more than likely the long awaited “blessed hope”.

        Kind regards
        David Dean.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          David,
          If you mix the Church with Israel you have confusion. All prophecy relates to Israel and the nations in contact with it. The Church is separate from both (1 Corinthians 10.32). The language in Revelation 2-3 is wholly Jewish. No Pauline language is present. All Church doctrine comes from Paul’s letters and Paul wrote the Church is not present during the Day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 1.10, 5.9; Romans 5.9-10). In Revelation 12 the woman is Israel. The passage, “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne” clearly refers to Christ. He is the One prophesied to rule (Psalm 2.6, 8-9). Jesus spoke of this time (Revelation 12.6) as the abomination of desolation. It is clearly at the mid-point of the Tribulation for the text says God will take care of Israel for 3 1/2 years. Trying to fit astronomical signs to mean something for the Church’s only ends in confusion. The Church has nothing to do with the events of Revelation.

          1. David Dean

            Hi Don and Vanessa,
            I will indeed read what E.W Bullinger has to say on the subject but whatever he has written does not mean he is 100% correct on the subject of the man-child either.

            I’m a little disappointed with your response Don because you failed to address any of the issues at hand. To mention that John only wrote to the Jews and there is no Pauline language present is not addressing the facts.

            I stated the fact that it is impossible for the man-child to be representative of Christ because of the points listed in my comments above. Lastly I would like to say this: I’m not trying to fit any astronomical sign in anywhere but if it’s there in the heavens and fits perfectly within the confounds of scripture who am I to ignore it? God has told us on numerous accounts that the stars, sun and moon are for signs. Was he lying?

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              David,
              The woman and child in Revelation 12 are clearly Israel and Christ. John is seeing a vision of the overall picture and future of Israel. He sees past and future. The woman giving birth is to show exactly who she is. The child is Christ–who else rules the world with a rod of iron and ascended into heaven? And from Revelation 1.6-7 we know the book is written to Jews for only Jews are a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19.6; 1 Peter 2.9). The point I made earlier about signs is that Paul gave the Church no teaching about looking for signs. The only sign he gave for the beginning of the end was the Rapture. It is a waste of time to be looking for signs when we’re not given any and cannot determine their significance. The only real “sign” we have that we are nearing the end was Israel’s return to the land.

            2. Vanessa

              Hello David,
              Thank you for saying you will read Bullinger.

              Here is how I see it.

              Revelation 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

              the things which thou hast seen – ie. the risen Christ. Revelation 12.

              the things which are – The seven Jewish churches .

              the things which shall be hereafter – the events of the tribulation as covered in the remainder of the book.

              The book of Revelation is a love letter written to the Jewish people for their survival during the 7 year tribulation. When they read Revelation 12 they will recognise the man child who came as their king. They will read about the 7 churches and recognise what they need to do to endure to the end and many will die as they will follow Balaam.

              The book of Revelation is multi layered and its not for us to grasp as its written to the 7 Jewish churches. Recall one letter was sent to all 7. Not 7 different letters. When John wrote in a book he was writing to Jews. There’s no letter to the churches in Antioch. There’s no letter to the churches in Heliopolis. There’s no letter to the churches of Rome. Why not. Because these were Gentile churches. John never addressed Gentiles.

              Lets add further. If you believe in once saved always saved then you are a dilemma with the 7 churches as many of them dont make it unless they change their ways. Paul never teaches us that. We don’t have to endure to the end to be saved. If we do then the cross is all in vain. Which we know that is not the case.

              When Jesus was born there was a great sign in the sky. The Magi recongised it and followed it. When Christ died John saw heaven open up. Revelation 11 verse 19 heaven opens and immediately afterwards Revelation 12 Christ dies. Heaven needs to be opened up first to receive the risen Lord.

              If God is addressing both the Jews and the Gentiles in the 7 churches then its no wonder there is so much confused when studying the Book of Revelation. No where did God mix the 2 churches together in history. Why now. And neither does God mix us up in the 1000 years. Jews have an earthly calling. Gentiles have a heavenly calling.

              David, if you feel and think Revealtion 12 is the rapture how will you feel when its not.

              Just yesterday I read with such sadness a letter from a 70 year old man.

              copied and pasted.
              Quote.
              It is Sunday August 20 th @ 7:30 pm. here in Fla. I come to you with sincere apology for predicting the wrong timing of the rapture. Every thing I’d seen did not show up. wrong timing. For 21 years I’ve waited also, I’m 70 years old and have health problems too. I will never again predict a rapture timing. Every thing I seen was for real ,but wrong timing, my hopes were dashed too.

              God Bless all of you.

              End quote.

              Just wishing to reach out to you to say, “Lets hope you are right but if you are not we are still here for you”. Take care.

  34. Stan Feldsine

    Dear Don,

    I too would like to add my thanks to you for your site.

    I have a fairly broad picture of scripture, I completed North Coast Bible Institute, and spend around 30 hours a week in study, mostly in preparation for teaching, but for myself as well. When I would join others in teaching, say in the jail for instance, we would be pretty much in sync, except I would hear things in the vein of “we just have to try harder” from my partners.

    When I would hear this, it made me think of a video metaphor, where the video was slightly out of focus. I knew something was wrong, and I knew it was in the area of “we can’t and God can”. Even though I knew this, I had an uncomfortable feeling that I wasn’t seeing things quite clearly either. Perhaps clearer, but still a little out of focus.

    My path to clarity started during a Revelation study I was leading. I was using J. Hampton Keathley III’s Studies in Revelation for the study material. But a few years back, I had read Bullinger’s “Witness of the Stars”, a fabulous book. I thought I would add in his “Apocalypse, or the Day of the Lord” to my Revelation study. I read the introduction, and for the very first time heard that the 7 Assemblies were Jewish. It’s like it crystallized in my brain, it seemed so clear and made sense. I couldn’t believe I had never heard this before, so I googled “7 churches are Jewish assemblies” or something like that to see if anyone else ever came up with this. Google came up with Matthew McGee’s site. I read his page on the 7 churches and immediately read all the rest of his stuff.

    What happened was like looking through a lens which had suddenly become perfectly focused. Everything just fell into place and made sense like it never had before. Could this really be?

    I then came across your site, and the clarity continued to focus clearer and clearer. I feel like I have been crawling along a cave with an intense desire to know what lies ahead, and the Lord has led me to a grand expansive cavern. It is quite the experience.

    Funny think is now I have to read the whole Bible again cover to cover with this new perspective. It is new every day, and fresh.

    Thanks for taking the time to write all you have, and be a part of my journey.

    Stan Feldsine

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Stan,
      Thank you. Yes. When one understands God’s plan for Israel and God’s plan for the Church, the body of Christ, everything makes sense. Paul was God’s chosen instrument to reveal doctrine for the Church. The Gospels and letters of James, Peter, Jude, and John concern Israel. Keep these things straight and there is harmony. Enjoy! Grace and peace.

  35. Stan Feldsine

    One of the things I am interested in is the role of the body of Christ during the Millennium. A couple of the passages relating to this seem to indicate that we will be judges:

    1Co 6:2-3 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if by you the world is judged, are you unworthy of the most insignificant courts? (3) Do you not know that we will judge angels, not to mention ordinary matters?

    2Ti 2:12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;

    But this also seems to parallel some statements in the Revelation regarding the Jews.

    Rev 2:26-7 And the one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him authority over the nations, and “he will shepherd them with an iron rod; he will break them in pieces like jars made of clay,”

    Rev 3:21 The one who conquers, I will grant to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also have conquered and have sat down with my Father on his throne.

    I am wondering if you have studied this topic. It seems that perhaps there is some overlap, or perhaps the role of the body is more of a judicial whereas the role of the bride (National Israel) is executive. I.E. Body = judges, Jews = rulers.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Stan,
      It’s unclear what our role will be beyond the passages you’ve stated other than we are joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8). “Judge” generally means “rule” in the Scriptures. Whether we have a rulership role on earth is unclear. It may be confined to the heavens.

  36. Dawn Sobczak

    Don,
    I have mulled over the 7 churches of Revelation. To me, clearly these are prophetic churches in the “Day of the Lord”. They are future. They are Kingdom (gospel) churches who seem to have fallen into the the same “bad habits” that Israel did in the OT.
    I have wondered why are they in Turkey. Are these churches that have people who were persecuted for the gospel……so they scattered like ages ago?
    If this is the case, then it seems a considerable amount of time must have gone by since the rapture happened. What is your opinion?
    I also think of the 144,000. Where did the idea come from that they are “evangelists”. I can’t find that any where in Revelation. I see them more as a remnant that has been set aside and sealed. They show up only twice in scripture. In Rev 14 they are redeemed and called First Fruits standing with Jesus on mount Sion. If they are first fruits then aren’t they changed into immortals? Along with “the whole house of Israel” as prophesied by Ezekiel in Chapter 37. Isn’t this chapter about the dry bones a chapter on the resurrection of “the whole house” of Israel that are going into the Millennium kingdom……Along with King David? (Ezekiel 34:23)
    I look forward to your thoughts.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Dawn,
      Thoughtful questions. I do not know the answer to why the focus is upon these Jewish assemblies in Turkey. I’ve mulled over this but the Lord has not given me anything except a hint. I believe these were assemblies in John’s day but since Israel did not repent they are future. We are not told when these events will take place in relation to the Rapture. Considerable time could elapse (see my article, When Will the Lord Return?). The 144,000 are sealed, i.e., marked (God has His mark and Satan has his mark, 666) for protection. Nothing specific is stated about evangelism but this is reasonable (Matthew 24.14). God sealed the 144,000 to protect them from the Beast and are the firstfruits of believing Jews who will enter and constitute the kingdom.

  37. Joe

    Doctrine, you a 1000 times smarter than me and I have learned so much from reading on this site…..now wait for it…………..but. I have a problem with accepting that the book of Revelation was written before 70 a.d. There is so much external evidence that the book was written after 70. …Why would Paul be killed by Nero and John exiled? I know Nero was crazy and it could have happened. Of course there is the comment by Areneas (sp?) who mentions it was the time of Domitian. One thing that should be considered is the earth quake in Laodicea in 60. Tacitus says it was so bad it destroyed the city. There have been no coins found that date to that period. In Rev Laodicea is said to be rich . It probably took a generation to rebuild.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Joe,
      The evidence Revelation was written after 70 A.D. is highly problematic. Nero died in 68 A.D. Paul did not live to see the destruction of Jerusalem. The comments by J.A.T. Robinson (and others) that John made no mention of the Temple or Jerusalem being destroyed seem logical and sound. Eusebius wrote Paul was executed in Nero’s reign and Paul anticipated his soon death in 2 Timothy. The Scripture does not state John was exiled to Patmos (Revelation 1.9). I have given reasons for an early dating Revelation in the article and think they fit the overall evidence better than a late date. It makes as much (or more) sense for Revelation to have been written before Laodicea was destroyed than long afterwards. Doesn’t it make sense they would have been rich(er) before having to rebuild than afterwards?

      1. Dawn Sobczak

        But aren’t they future? John was in spirit in the Lords Day…..aka Day of the Lord. So john saw these churches active during the tribulation.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Dawn,
          They are future. But John wrote to existing assemblies. He thought the Lord would come in his lifetime. Peter expected the Tribulation to come soon–see Acts 2–this is why he quoted Joel 2.

  38. Tanya

    hey,

    I was wondering what is your take on the gift of tongues. I did look at the list, I dont know if I missed it, do you have an article? if not could you please tell me how you understand it and how important it is in the church.

    thank you

  39. Jacob

    Don, I was wondering if you can shed some light as to whom the “angel” from the east is, and who/what are the four “angels” in Rev. 7:2-3?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Jacob,
      God has angels overseeing believers, human governments, nations, etc. to effect God’s plan. He is the Lord of Hosts, CinC of the armies of heaven. These “generals” have tasks and responsibilities related to God’s judgment during the 7 years. Other than that, the Scriptures are silent.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Jacob,
      Revelation 12 looks backward to Israel’s beginning, to Christ’s birth, and forward to God’s preservation of the nation at the mid-point of the 7 years. It is at this time that Satan will be cast from heaven. Revelation 12.5 is Psalm 110.1.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Bobbi,
      We know that in our present age, the gospel of the grace of God, is the only gospel (Galatians 1.7-9). We know that John, Jesus, and the Twelve proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom and that this gospel will again be in place and proclaimed at the time the Lord returns (Matthew 24.14). Therefore, the “everlasting gospel” is best seen to be a general declaration of the good news God had in mind from eternity, which He first revealed to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3.15. Angels are greatly aware of the warfare between God and Satan and are engaged in executing God’s plans. The statement of the angel in Revelation 14.7, “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” gives us some context for the “everlasting gospel.”

  40. Bobbi

    I am reading the commentary on Revelations by Bullinger. It is good although his theology on when the church began in the grace age is different. Is interesting however. Is really interesting even the name of the book The Appocolypse is revealing as to who it is written to. Always wondered what the unveiling was for the church as we know Him (Jesus) already. What an intriguing book!
    Thank you for always answering and for all the fun extra tidbits and reading. Really love this site.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Bobbi,
      Bullinger’s Apocalypse is the best commentary in existence on Revelation. It is the gold standard. Bullinger thought the Church did not begin until Paul’s prison epistles. He was wrong but he was a tremendous Christian and labored for Christ as few have. Tragically, his name is too often used in an ad hominem manner to attack anyone who does not believe the Church began in Acts 2.

    2. Vanessa

      Good Morning Bobbi, Through your postings I decided to get a copy of the Bullingers Book only to discover I had it in my library. What a joy. I have begun to read it but his style of writing makes it hard for me. One has to read it slowly and take millions of notes. Vernon and I wished we had a study group where we are able to attend. Q and A,s are such fun when studying this type of book. His book keeps me up late. I have been so blessed by iy. Cannot put it down. As you have read it would you mind if I ask you questions or will this be an imposition. Knowing this is Dons site I don’t want to make this forum into a Q and A for my own selfish needs. Don I hope you wont mind either. Perhaps I need direction and of course your willingness to help us. Please advise Gentlemen.

  41. Bobbi

    I am so totally in awe . I am just blown away with the truth of it. This is the only commentary I’ve ever read that shows Gods glory . I have done many studies in this area, and I must say they have been so shallow in comparibility. Thank you forever for giving light to recommend the book. I am grateful.
    I am seeing the Glory of Christ all over! Hallelujah!

  42. Vanessa

    Hi Don, I have to agree with you regarding the 7 churches. All are Jewish. No doubt about it. And I stand on this. I also stand on the fact that Babylon must be rebuilt and its not America. The gap between the rapture and the start of the end times has a massive gap and I have to agree with Bullinger on the 40 years though in some cases he says 30. But 40 resonates with the time of testing for the Jews. The 7 churches wont have enough time to be the 7 over a 3.5 year period. Not enough time so I see them over a big gap of time taking root. Question if I may. The rider on the white horse (1st seal) is that the A/C. Christ is also seen on a white horse and this has me confused. Bullingers writing makes it difficut for me to read and understand but the Holy Spirit is always directing me. All of what I ever read has to be put away and I have to start anew.
    The Christians have gotten the book of Revelation so wrong by making Obama the A/C and the start of the tribulation next year with the rapture this year. Nobody is checking it out for themselves. They are in for a huge shock should we still find ourselves here in 2020. Thank you. Looking forward in hearing from you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Vanessa,
      Much of this is speculative. I think good reasons exist for thinking a gap exists, but it is important to recognize what the Scriptures actually reveal. I think there will be a gap because I do not think Satan knows when God will complete the Church. I think Satan has plans in every generation to bring about the Beast and that this is what Paul meant by the “secret of lawlessness is already at work” (2 Thessalonians 2.7). Satan is the great counterfeiter. Jesus lived about 30 years before He began His ministry. Satan could replicate this with his man. This would account for a “gap” between the Rapture and the beginning of the 7 year Tribulation. We know 40 years is a time of testing. So if the time from the Rapture to the return of Christ were 40 years, it would fulfill this time. But again, this is speculation. I cannot prove it. The Antichrist is a counterfeiter, a deceiver, hence the white horse. He will claim to be the Messiah. Bullinger does write, like many of his 19th-century contemporaries, in a somewhat difficult style. One has to “attune” one’s mind to his style. But it is worth it. Grace and peace.

      1. Bobbi

        Could the “gap” period. Also be reflected in the 40 days after Jesus crucifixion that he was with the apostles? This is interesting.

    2. Bobbi

      Good morning Vanessa. I love to see your posts on here! The book was really good. I found myself investigating “chaisms” which is a link Don shared on Bullingers sentence structuring. If they were too hard for me I just read on. Am not sure about the gap part. When I see the evilness in the world I just can’t imagine it taking much longer, although the days of revelation are really awful.
      Once I understood the Jewness of the book and saw it from that light it really made so much more sense, which I got right away in chapter 1! The beauty f the book from the standpoint of Gods faithfulness to His people no matter what, is astonishing. For He is full of Glory.
      Also, the current events and the direction the world is heading, on a fast track to evil is astonishing too. Events surrounding Israel, possibly leading to prophecies coming to be fulfilled is lining up for something as well.
      Who knows on a timeframe…Not I. :-)
      I just really think Israel is the clock. I watch Israel everyday. I am waiting for Lord Jesus, and watching everyday!
      Also I thought it was interesting that. Bullinger said Thyatira didn’t exist in the days John wrote Revelation. This I haven’t been able to verify yet, but would like to. I have old historian books but they are on kindle, and the indexes are the pits. I only have Josephus, and Eusebius in book form.
      It surely makes more sense if the book is written for Jews. The language and symbolism can be found in the old testament everywhere. Also it appears Satan is a big copycat. What he sees God do, so he tries to do as he wants the position. Thus the AC, False prophet, etc…
      Tis such a shame some Christians or brethren have misapplied the book, for I have done many studies on Revelation and this view is the only one so far that shows the Glory of God. Which was a revelation, in this study. An going to ‘re-read the book. If Don will repost the chaism link, that was fun too.
      Blessings, grace and Peace to you Vanessa. Have a wonderful day. Can’t wait to meet you in Heaven!

  43. Vanessa

    Thank you Don. Waited all afternoon for your reply before I carried on with my reading and research. Most appreciated. I was under the impression that Bullinger said the rider on the white horse was Christ. Going back to see where I thought he wrote this.

  44. Vanessa

    Good Morning Bobbi, Wow thank you so much for those links. I had no understanding of chiasmus and could not figure out why Bullinger kept doing the A B C D thingy. Lol. I am one of those people who dont just read and then put down a book. I ask a zillion questions, often to God. I even said I wished Bullinger were alive in order for me to have a long discussion on the things of the Word. I need structure when I read in order to compartmentalise what I am reading. Hubby often catches me starring into the heavens and he says “Ok did you have an Eureka moment now, share please.” Silly but thats how we are. I am truelly grateful for your replies. Finding Dons site is like finding a treasure trove. All these lovely goodies to read. Bullinger sees us as the bride which I dont agree with but it does not change the fact that he was years ahead of his time and truelly inspired by the Holy Spirit. Take care.

    1. Bobbi

      Don,
      It is strange about these 7 churches. One question is why are they all in Turkey? Especially if they are referenced to the future time coming, which I lean to this right now, mostly because for Thyatira there is little known if anything about the church there in the 1st century. Am investigating this. If you have any links for this info that is reliable, that would be great.:-)
      Thyatira is known for like labor unions, and has 2 different pagan statues the locals must have worshipped. I perceive we are missing something here, but can’t figure it out yet.
      It may be I’m wondering that it’s in Turkey because that’s where the AC will come from, and the stage of events in those days??

    2. Bobbi

      Vanessa, those a,b,c, things were hard! Even after the chaism article as he uses several different structures. Don had posted those links and man was I appreciative. However the complicated structures are still hard for me. Don’t you love those “Eureka” moments!
      My email ill send to Don if you’d like it so we can share studies so we don’t bother anyone on this site. Tis truly a pleasure to visit with you.
      Have a wonderful day! Blessings and Peace to you.

  45. Bobbi

    Hi doctrine.
    One thing about Revelation I wonder about, is the end of the Millenium.
    So, the Apostles sit over the 12 tribes, and the Martyrs over the nation’s during this period. Is this correct ?
    So if that being the case, the fact remains the devil once again is set loose. By the time of the end are (the good guys) overcome and therefore God ends it with fire from Heaven?
    I hate think of the good guys as being overcome.
    What do you think about this?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Bobbi,
      Yes. It is hard to imagine the world in perfect environment, no war, disease, extremely long life, no crime, righteous government being deceived into rebelling against God. But it will be. Satan will promote the LIE, that man can become like gods. He will sell the human race the idea that no matter how good it is, it could be better, that God has been holding something back. This is how he deceived Eve. It will be God’s final demonstration that man without God is no good. The good guys won’t be overcome. God will make short work of this rebellion and incarcerate Satan in the Lake of Fire forever.

  46. Joe

    I look around and see the Godless pushing their human good. I see it especially in politics. They are called Progressives. Humanist, secularists all claiming to want a better world based on the works of man himself. A borderless world, a one world government where we can all live together without prejudice, greed and crime. It’s John Lennon singing “Imagine”. Satan is pushing his agenda to the unbelieving elite that the Kingdom is in OUR hands.

    ….But there’s the little question in the back of my brain that tells me Satan is not stupid. Surely he’s read Revelation. surely he knows he’s not God. surely he knows he’s going to lose. What’s in all of this pain and misery for him? why isn’t Satan pleading for a reduced sentence?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Joe,
      I do not think Satan can see Revelation or many other prophecies. God has kept them hidden–encrypted as it were. An example of this with humans is Luke 18.31-34. Thus, we have information Satan does not. Satan does not know his end. He is convinced he will win and defeat God. His character is so corrupt and twisted he cannot imagine defeat or admit he is wrong.

    2. Vanessa

      Joe thank you for that question which has been one of mine so many years. I had assumed he knew what was coming but was too proud to recognise it but Dons reply hits the nail on the head for me. Thanks Don. Can you imagine how confused Satan was when Jesus walked this earth. Man oh man he must have been freaking out. Smiles. Now I sound like my son.

  47. Joe

    Doctrine,

    You may be on to something. I Peter 1: 10-12 and Eph. 3: 10-11 suggest Angels may be on a different plane and learn from watching us. I think we’ll be surprised when it’s revealed to us just how all these things fit together. Thank you for patience and the time you spend with us.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Joe,
      Satan’s greatest shock was Christ’s resurrection. He thought he had won the war with Christ’s crucifixion. Satan had no idea that killing Him was his strategic defeat.

  48. Bobbi

    Good morning Don,
    Knowing the book is Jewish, how is it that the church of Philladelphia is promised to be kept from the hour of testing that is to come?
    This could be seen as a rapture event. And They have a crown to keep a hold of.
    Could there be another view with the seven churches? Lol, am stuck on the 7 churches.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Bobbi,
      I do not think it is possible to understand most of the particulars regarding these assemblies. When the time comes, they will be understood. But for now, the meaning is veiled.

    2. Bobbi

      Don,
      Oh! Is he speaking of the remnant!? Man… I don’t know why that escaped me. Ok am writing Vanessa from here on, on the subject. Sorry.😢

  49. Bobbi

    I am shocked that mostly the determining factor for dating Revelation from a lot of commentators was from Irenaeus as per your article. After further investigation it appears it was written by memory of a teaching he received from Polycarp some 30-40 years before. Which makes it here-say and from an old memory as well. So I am understanding some of his work may not be historically accurate as there are other inaccuracies noted as well.
    Good to know. As I referred to Him earlier I wanted to comment on this to clarify new information.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Bobbi,
      A lot of tradition is simply error and false teaching. We must stay strictly with the Scriptures to ensure sound doctrine. Paul wrote he completed the Scriptures (Colossians 1.25 DARBY) and Paul died about 68 A.D. For me, that settles it.

      1. Bobbi

        doctrine,
        Yep. Got it! Sometimes I think I should have a better grip on church history and such but frankly there was a lot of error back then. So mostly the important dates just help identify the times e.g…. like rulers of the day and such. I will stay away from the rest.
        Thank you .

  50. Vanessa

    Good Morning Don and all fellow believers. Don I had thought we have a heavenly calling and that we dont judge Israel and the world till I read these verse. It threw me. may I ask if you can explain them to me please.

    Revelation 20:6, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
    Who is the above referring to.???

    Revelation 20:4, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:..” Who are these.????

    1 Corinthians 6:2-3, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?”
    Who are the above.????

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Vanessa,
      Revelation 20.4,6 refers to Tribulation believers and OT believers who enter the kingdom. 1 Corinthians 6 refers to members of the body of Christ. We have no specifics as to what these responsibilities except they go on for eternity.

  51. Vanessa

    Thank you Don, and yes after I sent you those questions I found the answers which confire with yours. I found an amazing article about the 1000 years and it made everything clear. Thank you again.

  52. Bobbi

    Doctrine,
    Do you see the “Body ” in Revelation 12:5? The verb here is looking like the “rapture”. It does not describe Jesus Christ ascension.

    In Acts 1:And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
    “Taken up”
    Pronunciation: ep-ī’-rō
    Part of Speech: verb
    Root Word (Etymology): From ἐπί (G1909) and αἴρω (G142)
    Outline of Biblical Usage:
    to lift up, raise up, raise on high
    metaph. to be lifted up with pride, to exalt one’s self
    KJV Translation Count: 19x
    The KJV translates Strongs G1869 in the following manner: lift up (15x), exalt (one’s) self (2x), take up (1x), hoisted up (1x).
    Strong’s Definitions: ἐπαίρω epaírō, ep-ahee’-ro; from G1909 and G142; to raise up (literally or figuratively):—exalt self, poise (lift, take) up.

    Rev. 12:5And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
    “Caught up”
    Transliteration: harpazō
    Pronunciation: här-pä’-zō
    Part of Speech: verb
    Root Word (Etymology): From a derivative of αἱρέω (G138)
    Outline of Biblical Usage:
    to seize, carry off by force
    to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly
    to snatch out or away
    KJV Translation Count: 13x
    The KJV translates Strongs G726 in the following manner: catch up (4x), take by force (3x), catch away (2x), pluck (2x), catch (1x), pull (1x).
    Strong’s Definitions: ἁρπάζω harpázō, har-pad’-zo; from a derivative of G138; to seize (in various applications):—catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).

  53. Bobbi

    Don,
    Is there a scripture that says Christ Jesus was snatched up at the resurrection? Could this not be explaining to the future people what has happened to those that have disappeared and then what’s coming for the remnant?
    Also who are these people in Rev. 12:17?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Bobbi,
      The Rapture has been long forgotten by this point. The woman is Israel, the dragon is Satan, and the people in Revelation 12.17 are Jews.

  54. George

    Hi Bro Don, when Jesus tells Sardis that their church has a name that lives but they are dead, is HE referring to the church building first and then individuals, or is it showing the hypocricy , warning and urging of those church members of not to come short of overcoming, for if they were to die that instant they would be forever damned?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      George,
      Jesus is speaking to a group of Jews in Sardis. He is referring to the people, not the building. The challenge is to be faithful to Him and not worship the Beast. That is what overcoming is about in all these addresses.

  55. Bobbi

    Hi doctrine:)
    What do you think of metonymy’s… a figure of speech.
    Am reading up on “New Jerusalem”.

    Do you think New Jerusalem is a metonymy ? Am interested in your thoughts.
    Thank you.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Bobbi,
      No, I don’t think the New Jerusalem is a metonymy. It is the heavenly Jerusalem, the greater reality. The Tabernacle and Temple were earthly representations of the throne complex of God, which was the true, greater reality. Earthly Jerusalem is just a shadow reality of the greater. It is like Plato’s cave.

  56. Joe

    Who are those around the throne in Rev. 4:4?

    And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Joe,
      Can’t be dogmatic but think they are godly Israelites, sons of Aaron who are serving as priests to God. Israel’s priesthood was divided into a rotation of 24 priests. See 1 Chronicles 24.

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