The Book of Revelation does not stand on it’s own. Just as all of Scripture unveils Jesus; Revelation wraps up and confirms all preceding knowledge of Him. John also never wrote that it’s about the “end of the world” but introduces it ~ “1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass…”
The entire book is THE Revelation of Jesus Christ! Not simply A revelation but, The Revelation or Unveiling of Jesus Christ! This singular point alone is enough to drastically change our perspective concerning the complex symbolism contained in this prophecy.
The context written to them (Most likely before 70 AD and Jerusalem’s destruction) was that these following things “must shortly come to pass.” There is no reason to assume that God wanted them to think these things would happen 2,000 years later. All of the Apostles that wrote Scripture clearly indicated that they had a confident expectation of God about to manifest his glory to that generation. The word “shortly” was only used 8 times in the N.T. and every other time was clearly indicating “immediately”. The Greek word is “tachos” and is actually defined ~” quickness, speed; hastily, immediately.”
Because John was declaring to that generation the ultimate Revelation of who Jesus Christ truly is and the things which did very quickly come into being and emerge! This Book is the unveiling of Jesus as the Lord God Almighty and King of the universe but also the exhortation to the persecuted church that their persecutors were about to experience all of the Old Testament prophesied destruction. Remember, the New Covenant assembly was first and foremost being persecuted by the same religious Jews who crucified their Lord and were hell-bent on eliminating every trace of his followers! Paul declared (just as many O.T. prophets before him) that God’s wrath would be poured out in fullness on the Jews.
Seriously, I had no idea the Scriptures said this. However, Paul made it clear in 1 Thess.2:14-16 that it was the Jews who persecuted them and finished by declaring ~ “the Jews, 15who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men…with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.” (See 1 Thess.2:14-16)
How many passages in Revelation immediately come to mind relating to those words!?
JESUS PROPHECIES ~
Many of us are aware of Jesus’ prophecies concerning the “End of the Age”, his promised “coming” and the destruction of the Temple in Matt.24. However, we have also been taught from a perspective that is foreign to the text and the culture who originally received these words. Matthew, Mark and Luke were all un-disputably written before 70 AD and all record very similar words concerning the prophesied destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
So why would we look back at these words and consider them about a future Temple that had absolutely no relevance to them or their culture unless man has improperly taught us to think that way?
Like me; I bet you did not know that Jesus was articulating the “8 woes” he had just declared to the religious Jews in chapter 23. Consider a few of his warnings to them ~ 31Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? (Matt.23:31-33)
“Fill up the measure” is the exact phrase Paul used above to describe God’s wrath on the Jews in fullness that HAD COME. It was being poured out in that generation!
Jesus continued ~35so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.”
On who would come all the blood of the prophets? On us? NO. On a future generation 2,000 years later? NO.
ALL those previous woes would come on THAT generation! Did you know that Moses also prophesied complete destruction to Israel almost 1,500 years earlier when they would reject their covenant with God!? Moses described in very similar detail what Jeremiah, Isaiah and eventually Jesus declared and it all sounds like the judgements described in Revelation!
The important thing to note about Jesus’ words is that the Lord himself guaranteed all of judgement of the blood of the prophets would come on that generation because Revelation 16:6 (At the 3rd bowl of wrath) declared the reason for God’s righteous judgement ~ “6for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.” This same guilt is declared on “Babylon” 3 more times in Rev.17:6 , Rev.18:24 and Rev.19:2.
In the next verses of Matt.23 continues ~37“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38See, your house is left to you desolate.
It was almost exactly 40 years later (one generation) before Jerusalem’s house…The Temple was desolated.
I don’t know about you but, I don’t care what men say. Since Jesus said those things would happen on that generation and they would be guilty of the blood; my only conclusion is that the things prophesied in Revelation DID happen to them.
Since, studying some of the works of secular historians regarding Rome’s desolation of Jerusalem within that generation; I have become even more convinced that this prophecy had to have been fulfilled in 70 AD.
One of the biggest problems is the typical way we westerners think, which is more like the Greeks and completely opposite the Hebrew mindset. Basically, Greek thought considers “What does that look like” and Hebrew “What is the function”.The difference this makes when trying to understand prophecy in parables and symbolism is gigantic.
Many of the words that some versions use are completely misleading too. “End of the world” is actually “completion of the age” and many times what is translated “entire world” is more accurately the “inhabited land” at that time. We also haven’t taken the context (which was to the Jewish people) and forget that what Jesus did and brought was the most revolutionary way of life, relationship with and worship of God that the world have never known! Remember his conversation with the “pagan” Samaritan who was concerned about how and where to properly worship God?
2,000 years ago ~“21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
We don’t have to worship YHWH (Jehovah) Almighty Creator God at some old wall in natural Jerusalem. God’s not interested in show and tell worship! Jesus brought a completely new and different system, Covenant and reality that the Old way could only elude too…“Christ in us the hope of glory!”