Notes on Revelation

Version Date: January 21, 2024. (Date of First Version: December 20, 2020.)

Rev 1:1 The fact that εν ταχει means "swiftly, quickly" but not "soon" can be seen by considering the context of this phrase in Lk 18:8. Though the Lord may not answer right away (Lk 18:1-7), his answer, when it comes, is carried out εν ταχει "quickly" (Lk 18:8). Thus, in Rev 1:1, α δει γενεσθαι εν ταχει does not mean "things that must take place soon" but "things that must take place quickly."

Rev 1:3 Not everything in the book of Revelation takes place at the same time. For example, there are 1000 years between Rev 19:19 and Rev 20:7. The statement ο γαρ καιρος εγγυς "for the time is near" does not say that time intervals such as 1000 years are negligible, but states that at the time when the text was written, the prophecies of the book were about to begin their fulfillment. Note that chapters 2 and 3 began to be fulfilled shortly after the book was written. Chapter 4 speaks of events taking place sometime after the fulfillment of chapters 2 and 3, as stated in (Rev 4:1). Though the book was sent to seven specific churches (Rev 1:11), it was intended also for all other churches. Indeed, note the statement ο εχων ους ακουσατω τι το πνευμα λεγει ταις εκκλησιαις "he who has ears let him hear what the spirit says to the churches" (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22; see also Rev 22:16). It involves ταις εκκλησιαις "the churches" instead of the phrase ταις επτα εκκλησιαις "the seven churches" of Rev 1:4, 20. This emphasizes that the book was meant for all churches. By considering the dealings of the Lord with the seven churches, believers of all times can see how the Lord would deal with their own church. In this sense, the fulfillment of chapters 2 and 3 continues also today. Since the text does not specify the length of the time interval during which chapters 2 and 3 are fulfilled, one cannot infer that the events described beginning with chapter 4 were near when the letter was written. Nonetheless, the material that begins with chapter 4 was necessary in order to provide context and a better understanding of chapters 2 and 3. Thus, they were not supposed to be sealed (Rev 22:10), for the time of the fulfillment of chapters 2 and 3 was near.

Rev 1:14-15 In view of Ps 29:3-4, "many waters" refers to large clouds. Thus, a sound like that of many waters is a sound that resembles thunder from large clouds. Such sounds were heard by Ezekiel in Eze 1:24 from the wings of the living creatures, and in Eze 43:2 from the approaching glory of the Lord. In Eze 43:2, the sound coming from the glory of the Lord could be explained as coming from the wings of the living creatures. As for the voice of the Lord, as stated in Jer 10:13, 51:16, לקול תתו המון מים בשמים "for the sound that he gives, a multitude of waters in heavens." This statement is understood here as stating that "to illustrate what his voice is like, a multitude of waters in heavens is needed." Note also Ps 29, which also indicates that the voice of the Lord is like thunder. Notable is also the fact that when God answered in Jn 12:28, some said that it thundered (Jn 12:29). The people who experienced the presence of the Lord at mount Sinai were so afraid that they did not want to hear again his voice (De 5:25, 18:16). The voice of the Lord is likened to thunder also in 2Sa 22:14, Ps 18:13 (14), and Job 40:9. It could be noted that Rev 14:2 and Rev 19:6 make a distinction between the sound of many waters and strong thunder. Thus, the sound of many waters implies thunder, though not necessarily very loud thunder. Now Rev 1:14 makes a reference to Dan 7:9, while Rev 1:14-15 to Dan 10:6.

Rev 2:17 When speaking about hidden manna, the passage makes a reference to Ex 16:33-34. God's word is his testimony. God's word is spiritual food for man, just as manna was food for man from God. God's word is hidden in the sense that man cannot understand it without divine assistance (1Co 2:14). God does not reveal himself to everyone but he teaches those who turn to him (Mk 4:11, 34).

As for the white stone, the Greek word ψηφος "stone" is found again in Ac 26:10, in the context of votes. One having a stone for voting had the right to vote. With a name inscribed on it that nobody would know except the owner, it is impossible to tell when counting votes what each has voted for. Thus, the white stone speaks of the fact that the believer will have authority and will participate in decision making when the Lord will visibly govern the world. Concerning authority, note also Rev 2:26-27.

Rev 2:28 As shown in the note on Rev 22:16, the Lord is not likened to the morning star. This can be seen also in this verse, where the promise is not that Jesus would give himself to the one who overcomes, for this would be by far more important than the promise to rule the nations (Rev 2:26-27). Why would Rev 2:28 place at the same level the promise to receive the Lord and the promise to rule the nations? Rather, the one who overcomes will be bodily alive at dawn, and in this sense have the morning star. The dawn refers to the period preceding the second coming of the Lord. Believers will be raised from the dead before the second coming, and so they will be bodily alive at dawn.

Rev 3:7 In Is 22:15, Isaiah was given a message concerning Shebna, who was over the royal palace. The Lord mentioned that Eliakim, a servant of the Lord, would take his place. Speaking of the future authority of Eliakim, the Lord said, ונתתי מפתח בית דוד על שכמו ופתח ואין סגר וסגר ואין פתח "and I will place the key of the house of David on his shoulder, and he shall open and none shall shut, and he shall shut and none shall open" (Is 22:22). Note that the key of the house of David was not his own but something he was entrusted with. So Rev 3:7 has, ο εχων την κλειδα του δαβιδ ο ανοιγων και ουδεις κλειει και κλειει και ουδεις ανοιγει "who has the key of David, who opens and none shuts, and shuts and none opens." Now David was made king over God's people. As indicated in passages such as Lk 1:32, Jesus has now the throne of David. Thus, the key of David is his.

Rev 3:16 As stated in Jn 4:34, the food of the Lord is to do the pleasure of God the Father. The Lord is working on some who do not believe so as to bring them to faith. He also works within believers, to perfect them, for this is the will of the Father. The Lord was not enjoying his work on the church of Laodicea, and so he was warning them, in accordance with the will of the Father, that unless they repented he would stop working among them. The situation in which God stops working on a group of people manifests his wrath on them, for he leaves them alone to do what they want and pursue their evil ways.

Rev 5:3 The passage points out that only one who is worthy can open the scroll (Rev 5:3, 9). The one opening the scroll receives power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing (Rev 5:12). It can be inferred that the one opening it becomes the king of this creation (our universe). This king has to be of this creation, for in Rev 5:3 a worthy person was sought within this creation. Note that Rev 5:13 confirms that Rev 5:3 refers to this creation. Though Jesus is bodily alive and with respect to his human nature is part of this creation, he is not bodily present in this creation. Thus, the statement that nobody located in this creation could open the scroll (Rev 5:3) does not include Jesus.

Rev 5:4-5 The fact that the apostle wept emphasizes that it is not good that the scroll should remain unopened. Unless the scroll is opened, the ruler of this world will not be replaced. The Lord Jesus is victorious because he died for our sins, as emphasized in Rev 5:9. Victory is also mentioned in Col 2:15 and is implied by 1Co 2:7-8. In Jn 12:31, the Lord spoke about his victory, saying, νυν ο αρχων του κοσμου τουτου εκβληθησεται εξω "now the ruler of this world will be cast out" (Jn 12:31), indicating that by means of his death on the cross the ruler of this world would be cast out. It was not God's plan that the ruler of this world should be immediately replaced after the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, for this would have caused the people on the side of this ruler to perish. The Lord does not want his human enemies to perish but to come to the faith and have life (2Pt 3:15). So he patiently works among people, waiting for his enemies to become his footstool (Heb 10:12-13).

Rev 6:13 Two ways to look at this verse are as follows. One is that the falling stars denote fallen angels (Rev 9:1); stars also denote angels in Rev 1:20. The second one is that the verse refers to physical heavenly bodies such as meteorites. As will be shown below, the first view has much evidence in the Scripture. The second view does not have any clear evidence from other Scripture passages. On the contrary, Lk 21:25-26, which is in the same context of the coming of the Lord, speaks only about signs in the sun, moon, and stars.

Stars can denote figuratively the heavenly host, such as in Rev 1:20, 9:1, Jdg 5:20, Job 38:7. Then, the time when stars will fall to the earth corresponds to Rev 12:9, when Satan and his angels will fall. Note also that the angel of Rev 9:1 is described as a star that fell down from heaven; the perfect tense of πεπτωκοτα "having fallen" indicates that he fell before the time of Rev 9:1. This fact fits the interpretation that Satan and his angels will fall from heaven at the time of Rev 6:13. Note also that the stars mentioned in Dan 8:10 and Rev 12:4 must also refer to fallen angels. Now both Dan 8:10 and Rev 12:4 indicate that not all stars will fall to the earth. This observation is consistent with Rev 6:13, for in the original language, the phrase οι αστερες "the stars" does not have to refer to every star but only to a significant number of stars. As can be seen in Rev 12:4, only a third of the angels will fall. This includes the authorities in heaven under Satan, for when Mt 24:29 and Mk 13:25 mention that the stars will fall, they also state that the heavenly powers will be the shaken.

Note that Rev 6:13-14 makes a reference to Is 34:4. First, the phrase ונגלו כספר השמים "and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll" corresponds to και ουρανος απεχωρισθη ως βιβλιον ειλισσομενον "and heaven departed like a scroll when it is rolled up" in Rev 6:14. Moreover, וכל צבאם יבול כנבל עלה מגפן וכנבלת מתאנה "and all their host shall fall as the falling of leaves from the vine and as the falling from the fig tree" corresponds to και οι αστερες του ουρανου επεσαν εις την γην ως συκη βαλλει τους ολυνθους αυτης υπο μεγαλου ανεμου σειομενη "and the stars of heaven fell to the earth as when a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a mighty wind" in Rev 6:13. The falling of leaves from the vine is not meant to express a peaceful fall but weakness. The fall of the host of heaven will not be peaceful. This can be seen when considering the mighty wind of the fig tree illustration of Rev 6:13, and when noticing the phrase כי רותה בשמים חרבי "for my sword shall be bathed in heaven" in Is 34:5. Now Is 34:4 is in the context of judgments on the nations (Is 34:2-3) and especially on Edom (Is 34:5). Likely, some of these judgments will take place when every mountain and island will be moved from its place (Rev 6:14). See also the note on Rev 16:20.

Rev 7:4 This is one of the Scripture verses that indicates that the word πας "every, all" can have exceptions. Thus, a more precise definition of its meaning would be "virtually every, virtually all". This can be seen in Rev 7:4-8 by noting that the tribe of Dan is not mentioned. Other examples can be found in Mt 12:31, Mk 3:28-29, and 1Co 15:27. The usage of πας in the New Testament matches the usage of כל in the Old Testament, such as in Ex 12:16, Lev 11:20-22, Jos 11:19.

Rev 7:8 Joseph is mentioned as a tribe in Nu 13:11 and De 27:12. Considering Joseph's sons Manasseh and Ephraim, Jacob predicted preeminence for Ephraim (Ge 48:14) and stated that he would become greater than Manasseh (Ge 48:19). This prophecy was not fulfilled right away, for in Nu 13:11 Ephraim is mentioned separately and Joseph is represented by Manasseh, the firstborn. However, since every prophecy from the Lord is eventually fulfilled, it is not surprising to find that at the time of Rev 7:8 the roles of Manasseh and Ephraim are reversed, with Manasseh being mentioned separately and Ephraim, apparently, representing Joseph. So by the time of Rev 7:8, Joseph will be represented better by Ephraim than by Manasseh. One possible way in which Ephraim will achieve preeminence is as follows. As mentioned in Ga 3:29, those who belong to Christ are Abraham's seed. Moreover, as stated in Ge 48:19, Ephraim was told that his seed will be מלא הגוים "the fullness of the nations". In the New Testament, το πληρωμα των εθνων "the fullness of the nations" is mentioned in Ro 11:25. (Note that the Greek and Hebrew words meaning "nations" are sometimes translated "Gentiles".) Thus, it appears that believing Gentiles, being grafted into Israel (Ro 11:17, 19, 24), are placed in the tribe of Ephraim.

Rev 8:5 Each of the seventh seal, seventh trumpet, and seventh bowl of wrath, is followed by sounds, thunders, lightnings, and an earthquake (Rev 8:5, 11:19, 16:18). Moreover, Rev 11:19 and Rev 16:21 also mention severe hail. While Rev 8:5 does not mention hail, it is followed almost immediately by the description of a plague involving hail (Rev 8:7). Additionally, Is 29:6 also mentions sounds, thunders, lightning, and an earthquake in the context of the Lord's deliverance of his people (Is 29:7-8). Consequently, Is 29:6 corresponds to Rev 16:18.

It is also interesting to note that in response to prayer (Rev 8:3-4), fire was cast on earth (Rev 8:5). In this context of prayer, the fire does not have to be taken as punishment on the wicked but as the fire of the Spirit empowering believers. The Spirit is associated with fire in Lk 3:16 and Ac 2:3. The Spirit is also associated with fire in Lk 12:49, where the Lord mentioned that he came to cast fire on the earth. Just as in Ac 4:31 the place where believers prayed was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, so also in Rev 8:5 the text mentions an earthquake and fire being cast on earth. On one hand, in response to prayer, the believers will be strengthened. On the other hand, the others will be warned of the coming judgment by means of the earthquake and the storm.

Rev 10:6-7 "And he swore by the One who lives forever who created the heaven and what is in it, and the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there is no more time left, that it shall be in the days of the sound of the seventh angel, when he is about to blow his trumpet and when the mystery of God is completed, as he announced to his servants the prophets." This translation follows the received text and the Byzantine text variant that have the subjunctive form τελεσθη "should be completed" instead of the indicative form ετελεσθη "was completed." The major event taking place after the seventh angel blows his trumpet is that the world becomes God's kingdom (Rev 11:15). The oath of the angel in Rev 10:6 could remind one of passages such as Mt 24:34-35, Mk 13:30-31, and Lk 21:32-33, where the Lord adds much emphasis to the fact that what he said will happen. Now οταν "when" in Rev 10:7 is followed by two verbs with different subject, for the angel is the subject of μελλη "is about," while the subject of τελεσθη "should be completed" is the mystery of God. Instances in which οταν is followed by subjunctive verb forms with different subjects appear also in LXX in Ex 18:16, Jer 16:10, Am 5:19, and Mi 5:8.

Rev 11:3 The two persons mentioned in this verse are described as witnesses of the Lord that will prophesy for 1260 days. Understanding the rapture to be a little more than 1260 days before the second coming of the Lord, it follows that at the time of the rapture the two witnesses will be among the believers. However, at that time, they will not get an imperishable body, for later they will be killed (Rev 11:7). After the rapture, the people with an imperishable body will be those who were raised from the dead at the time of Mt 27:52-53, those raised at the time of the rapture (1Th 4:16), and the believers who will live in those days (1Th 4:17, 1Co 15:51-52). The believers on earth who will be part of the rapture are described with the words ημεις οι ζωντες οι περιλειπομενοι "we who are alive, who are left" (1Th 4:17). The word "we" refers to believers belonging to the new covenant, like the apostle Paul. Thus, Elijah and Enoch do not fit 1Th 4:17. Since they have never died, they do not fit either Mt 27:52-53 and 1Th 4:16. Thus, their situation is unique, since there is seemingly no verse stating they will have an imperishable body after the rapture. Since the two witnesses will not be part of the rapture and will not have an imperishable body, they can be identified as Elijah and Enoch. So about the time when many will get the imperishable body, Elijah and Enoch will return to the earth to minister to the Lord as witnesses to the world.

Note that Elijah must come before the great and fearful day of the Lord (Mlc 4:5 (3:23)), that is, before the rapture. Since his ministry will be very important (Mlc 4:6 (3:24)), it must be that the book of Revelation mentions him. Excepting the two witnesses, nobody else in the book of Revelation fits Elijah. Moreover, he fits very well as one of the two witnesses. Indeed, note the fire destroying those seeking to harm them (Rev 11:5), the authority to shut the sky so as to prevent rain for 1260 days (Rev 11:3, 6), and the fact that 1260 days correspond approximately to 3 years and 6 months, which is the length of time for which Elijah shut the sky during the reign of king Ahab (Lk 4:25, Jms 5:17).

Rev 11:4 This verse references Zec 4:14 and indicates that the two witnesses were standing before the Lord at the time of Zec 4:14. At that time, Elijah and Enoch were the only men who were both bodily alive and in heaven. During their time on earth, by testifying the words of the Lord, they were like two olive trees (Zec 4:3) producing the golden oil for the lamps (Zec 4:12). Their testimony was used by the eyes of the Lord (Zec 4:10) to bring to light matters of the hearts of men. Since the light of the Lord shone through them, each of the two has been like a lampstand. They are role-models of people standing for the Lord in the power of his Spirit, and so they were given as examples to Zerubbabel (Zec 4:6-10).

Rev 11:14 Each of the last three trumpet blasts is associated with a woe, as could be seen in Rev 8:13. In particular, note that ουαι "woe" appears three times in the phrase ουαι ουαι ουαι "woe, woe, woe" of Rev 8:13. A woe begins after a trumpet blast and ends before the next trumpet blast (Rev 9:12-13, 11:14-15).

Rev 11:19 The context is the seventh angel blowing his trumpet (Rev 11:15). As mentioned in Rev 10:7, the mystery of God is fulfilled when the seventh angel blows his trumpet. The mystery of God, as indicated in Rev 10:7, refers to the Scripture, which is fulfilled by the events that will take place at that time. Now the temple on earth had the ark of the covenant in the most holy place; the worshiper could not see it. Thus, Rev 11:19 speaks about seeing the most holy. As the Scripture will be fulfilled at that time, something most holy, that is God's word, will be plainly seen. The fact that the sight of the most holy is associated with the revelation of God's word can be seen also in Heb 10:19-20; see the note on Heb 10:19-20.

Rev 12:1 The point of the phrase ωφθη εν τω ουρανω "was seen in heaven" is that the sight was seen from heaven, not that everything that was seen was in heaven. For example, in Ac 7:30, ωφθη αυτω εν τη ερημω του ορους σινα αγγελος κυριου "the angel of the Lord was seen to him in the desert of mount Sinai," is a statement that mentions that Moses was in the wilderness of mount Sinai when he saw the angel. It does not say that while he was in some other place, he saw the angel in the wilderness of mount Sinai. So also, in Rev 12:1, the phrase ωφθη εν τω ουρανω "was seen in heaven" does not say that John was in some place observing things in heaven but that the passage is about things seen from heaven. Thus, the woman of Rev 12:1 was seen from heaven. She is described as being both in heaven (Rev 12:1) and on earth (Rev 12:6, Rev 12:13-16).

The meaning of the sun, the moon, and the stars can be seen in Ge 37:9-10. The twelve stars in the crown stand for the twelve tribes of Israel. The crown marks one who has royal power. The sun as a garment indicates that she is identified as Israel. The sun and stars metaphors, and especially the moon underneath, indicates that she is heaven. Nonetheless, she is also on earth, as could be seen in Rev 12:6 and Rev 12:13-16. The moon under her feet appears to refer to ancestry. Note that ancestors appear at the base of an ancestry tree (cf. Is 11:1). The woman is mentioned again in Rev 19:7, 21:9, where she is identified as the bride of Christ and as holy Jerusalem (Rev 21:10). Now in Ge 37:9-10, the sun stands for Jacob. The fact the woman is clothed with the sun (Rev 12:1) and is not described as originating from the sun, indicates that not every person that she represents is a natural descendant of Jacob; many are not. Note that all believing Gentiles were included in Jacob when they came to the faith (Ro 11:17-18, Ga 3:7, 29).

Rev 12:2 The woman stands for those who have been chosen for eternal life. This verse states plainly that Jesus came from them. Indeed, Mary, the mother of Jesus, became a disciple of Jesus (Ac 1:14), so she is among those who were chosen to inherit eternal life. Note that the woman of Rev 12 stands for all predestined to eternal life, both believers and those who come later to the faith. This can be seen in Rev 12:17, where των λοιπων του σπερματος αυτης "the rest of her seed" corresponds to των τηρουντων τας εντολας του θεου και εχοντων την μαρτυριαν ιησου "those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus," which is in apposition. Since believers are the rest of her seed, those in Rev 12:13-16 are not believers but people coming to the faith.

Rev 13:17-18 "and so that no one may buy or sell except those having the mark of the beast, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let anyone who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of man, and figuratively speaking, his number is 666." Following the received text, Rev 13:17 has το χαραγμα η το ονομα του θηριου η τον αριθμον του ονοματος αυτου "the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of its name." (Other versions of the Greek text have το χαραγμα το ονομα του θηριου η τον αριθμον του ονοματος αυτου "the mark, that is, the name of the beast, or the number of its name.") Likely, those having the name of the beast will be relatives and members of his family, while those having the number of his name will probably be people granted special favors under his regime. The number of his name is likely to denote collectively numbers assigned to people that will indicate their privileges, such as in commercial transactions. The phrase "his name" in "the number of his name" emphasizes the authority of the Antichrist. Thus, the number of the beast that can be calculated (Rev 13:18) is likely the same thing as the number of the name of the beast (Rev 13:17). The passage asks people living at that time, if they can, to calculate the number of the beast (Rev 13:18). Note that Rev 13:18 makes it clear that the number they need to find out will not equal 666, or else there would be no need to discover what the number is. Thus, since 666 is not the actual number, it must be a figurative description of the beast. Therefore, the phrase "figuratively speaking" was added in the translation above. Now it will be possible to discover the number of the beast because the number is not something hidden by God but something that he will be willing to reveal. Thus, Rev 13:18 emphasizes that it can be calculated because it is a number of man and because the Antichrist (and so those who are his) will be imperfect, as suggested by the number 666. Thus, their coding system will have vulnerabilities making it breakable. Now those who will figure out the number of the beast will be able to buy and to sell (Rev 13:17). The passage does not say that the numbers they will figure out are related to 666, but states that 666 is a number that represents symbolically the beast.

Rev 14:9 People will receive the mark of the beast at the time of the spiritual harvest mentioned in this chapter, that is, towards the end of the period preceding the return of the Lord.

Rev 14:15 Note that the time of Rev 14:15-20 corresponds approximately to the end of the testimony of the two witnesses (Rev 11:11-13). The fact that people became afraid and glorified God after the resurrection of the two witnesses indicates that some will be converted at that time. Thus, the harvest is not over before their resurrection. The reason their resurrection will be public (Rev 11:11) might be to help some believe. Since people cannot be converted after they receive the mark of the beast (Rev 14:9-11), the end of the ministry of the two witnesses must be about the time when people begin receiving the mark of the beast. Thus, the harvest marks the end of the period of seventy weeks of years mentioned in Dan 9:24. Since this is a very notable event, it must also mark the end of the 1290 days mentioned in Dan 12:11. The subsequent period of time preceding the second coming of the Lord will require patience and perseverance from the saints (Dan 12:12, Rev 14:12). The wait time is complete 45 days after the 1290 days (Dan 12:12); apparently, this is when the Lord returns.

Rev 14:20 The figurative language of this verse illustrates the multitude of unsaved people that will live at that time. It does not imply that every unsaved person will experience a violent death, just as the figurative language of Rev 14:15-16 does not imply that those coming to the faith will be received with a sickle. Nonetheless, the text communicates very clearly the fact that the unsaved will experience the righteous wrath of the Lord.

Rev 15:2 The received text has here και εκ του χαραγματος αυτου εκ του αριθμου του ονοματος αυτου "and from his mark from the number of his name," while other Greek versions of the text have simply και εκ του αριθμου του ονοματος αυτου "and from the number of his name." Thus, the received text indicates that the mark of the beast will include a number, the number of his name. See the note on Rev 13:17-18.

Rev 16:20 Earlier, at the time of Rev 6:14, the mountains and the islands were moved but not destroyed. The fact that mountains are mentioned together with islands in both Rev 6:14 and Rev 16:20 can be explained when considering that islands can be regarded as mountains or mountain ranges that are partially under water.

Rev 17:8 In this verse, the beast refers to a person, as could be seen in Rev 17:11. Considering the phrase "the beast that thou sawest," the aorist tense of ειδες "sawest" indicates something that the apostle had seen earlier, not something that he was seeing at that time. The apostle was shown earlier the Antichrist (the beast) in Rev 13; the Antichrist is not present at the time of Rev 17:8, for he "was and is not." The received text has ην και ουκ εστιν καιπερ εστιν "was, and is not, and yet is." In contrast, other versions of the Greek text have ην και ουκ εστιν και παρεσται "was, and is not, and is to come." Following the received text, at the time of Rev 17:8, there is a sense in which the beast "is not" and there is a sense in which it is already present; see 2Th 2:7 and 1Jn 4:3. Comparing "is not" with "yet is," one can be reminded that occasionally the Scripture uses the same words in more than one way. For example, the Lord used εμη "my, mine" in two different ways in η εμη διδασκη ουκ εστιν εμη "my teaching is not mine" in Jn 7:16. Note also Pr 26:4-5, in which אל תען כסיל כאולתו "Do not answer a fool according to his foolishness" is followed by ענה כסיל כאולתו "Answer a fool according to his foolishness."

Rev 17:18 This verse emphasizes that the apostle was shown the city at a future time when it will have dominion over the kings of the earth. The present tense used in Rev 17:18 is relative to the time at which the city will be in the state shown to the apostle in Rev 17:3-6, 8. Now the condition and influence of a city may change in time. A city that at some point of time may seem quite normal, or may be known for good things, can later become corrupt. Even Jerusalem, the city that had God's temple, the place where God had manifested gloriously his presence, in time became very corrupt (Is 1:21), and so the Lord had the Babylonians destroy it. The city of Rev 17:18 is identified as Babylon in Rev 17:5. There are several Old Testament passages that speak about Babylon's presence in the time of the end. In particular, as indicated below, all passages predicting an everlasting devastation of Babylon appear to refer to the end-time Babylon. Then, though the Scripture predicted that the ancient Babylon would become ruins, it did not say that it would remain ruins forever. This implies that Babylon will be rebuilt. Since the Old Testament prophecies have no indication that the end-time Babylon will have a different location, there is no reason to assume that the Babylon of the end time is some other city, not a future rebuilt Babylon. This does not mean that the name Babylon cannot be applied figuratively to another city, for it is so applied in 1Pt 5:13. However, in view of Old Testament prophecies, the end-time Babylon must be a rebuilt version of the ancient Babylon. The prophecies about the end-time Babylon are briefly discussed next.

The book of Jeremiah has two chapters devoted to Babylon, namely Jer 50 and Jer 51. These two chapters refer in part to the ancient Babylon that existed during the time of Jeremiah, and in part to the end-time Babylon. One way to see this is by comparing Jer 50:12-13 and Jer 51:43. The judgment mentioned in Jer 50:13 that people would pass by and be amazed by the desolation of the city fits well the ancient Babylon. However, the much more severe judgment mentioned in Jer 51:43 that no person would pass by is clearly not about the ancient Babylon but must be about the future end-time Babylon. Moreover, Jer 50:28, 51:10 are two verses that speak about declaring in Zion the Lord's judgment on Babylon. It is plain that these verses do not refer to the ancient Babylon, for Zion was not populated when the ancient Babylon was conquered. Jer 51:35 is similar, for it predicted that Jerusalem would be inhabited again by God's people, and that at a time when Jerusalem will be inhabited by them, Babylon will be punished. Thus, Jer 50:28, 51:10, 35 fit the end-time Babylon.

An outline of the end-time prophecies of Jer 50-51 is as follows. Both Jer 51:13 and Rev 17:1 mention the end-time Babylon being on many waters. The city will probably have lakes, just as many of the large cities of our world today. Now Rev 17:5 mentions that the waters represent peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. As could be seen in Jer 51:46, Babylon will be present at the beginning of the "birth pains" (Mt 24:8, Mk 13:8, Lk 21:10-11). At that time, her sins will be heaped up to heaven (Jer 51:9, Rev 18:5). Moreover, Jer 51:7 speaks of Babylon's "wine" intoxicating the entire earth. As stated in Rev 14:8, she will make the entire earth drink her "wine". Her intoxicating "wine" could be correlated with the statement that she will be the mother of the earth's abominations (Rev 17:4-5). The fact that her cup is of gold (Jer 51:7, Rev 17:4) speaks of affluence. As expected, her affluence will attract people of various nations. God's people must leave Babylon before her punishment comes (Jer 51:6, Jer 51:45, Rev 18:4). At the time of her punishment, people will flee each to his own land (Jer 50:16). Babylon's fall will be sudden (Jer 51:8). As stated also in Rev 18:8 and Is 47:9, her plagues will come in one day, and she will be destroyed in one hour (Rev 18:10, 17, 19). Babylon will be repaid (Jer 51:56) according to what she did to others (Jer 50:15, 29), as stated also in Rev 18:6. Just as the slain of all the earth will have been killed for Babylon's sake (Jer 51:49, Rev 18:24), so also Babylon will fall because of the slain of Israel (Jer 51:49). The sudden and definitive fall of Babylon is illustrated with the image of a stone being thrown into deep waters (Jer 51:63-64, Rev 18:21). Her fall and desolation will amaze people, as emphasized by Jer 50:23, 51:41. The earth will tremble from the sound of her capture, and her cry will be heard among the nations (Jer 50:46). The earth will tremble and writhe (Jer 51:29). People wailing for her are predicted in Jer 51:8 and Rev 18:9, 11, 18-19. However, the heavens and the saints on earth will rejoice (Jer 51:48, Rev 18:20). The intent of the Lord is to make Babylon a desolation without inhabitant (Jer 51:29). So Babylon will become ruins and will not be inhabited (Jer 51:37). This will be her condition from that time on forever (Jer 51:26, 62). Babylon will never be inhabited again; certain animals and birds will be there (Jer 50:39, Is 13:21). As stated in Rev 18:2, all sorts of unclean and detestable birds will be there.

Considering also Is 13-14, note that the day of the Lord is mentioned explicitly in Is 13:6. The time when the heavenly bodies will not be giving their light (Is 13:10) and when the heavens will be shaking and the earth's surface will be moved (Is 13:13) corresponds to Rev 6:12-17. In this end-time context, the complete and final destruction of Babylon is predicted in Is 13:19-22. The glory of Babylon that is stated in Is 13:19 fits her reigning position mentioned in Rev 17:18. That nobody will dwell there anymore is stated in Is 13:20 and is implied by Rev 18:2. The statement of Rev 18:2 that all sorts of unclean and detestable birds will be there fits Is 13:21. Now Rev 18:2 also mentions that demons will be there. This fact also can be associated with Is 13:21 if the word שעירים, commonly translated "goats", is understood with the meaning "demons", as in Lev 17:7; see also 2Ch 11:15. ( The LXX also translates שעירים with δαιμονια "demons" in Is 13:21 but with ματαιοις "vain things, idols" in Lev 17:7 and 2Ch 11:15.) Finally, Is 14:22-23 predicts the destruction of the end-time Babylon, and states about that end-time nation that it will not have a posterity.

Predictions about Babylon appear also in Is 47. The verse preceding Is 47 is about the Lord giving his splendor on Israel and his salvation in Zion (Is 46:13). Since this will happen at the second coming of the Lord, the context of Is 47 is the time of the end. In this context, Is 47 speaks about the end-time Babylon. Further evidence about the fact that the end-time Babylon is meant is that the text speaks about unending judgments, such as that Babylon will never again be called tender and delicate (Is 47:1) nor queen of kingdoms (Is 47:5). Babylon's attitude in the time of the end is described in Is 47:7-8 and Rev 18:7. The sudden destruction of Babylon (Is 47:11) is mentioned in Is 47:9 as happening in one day, just as in Rev 18:8. Now her plagues will come in one day (Rev 18:8) and she will be destroyed in one hour (Rev 18:10, 17, 19). As could be seen in Is 47:15, her friends and partners will stand far away from her (Rev 18:10, 15, 17).

Finally, the predictions about Babylon in Jer 25:12-13 can be interpreted as follows. Jer 25:12-13 is part of a passage that predicted desolations on the peoples conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, and subsequent desolations on the Babylonians themselves. In Jer 25:9, the phrase חרבות עולם "perpetual desolations" refers to nations. The prophecy did not imply a complete destruction of those nations, as it also predicted that those nations would serve Babylon (Jer 25:11). Nonetheless, Jer 25:9 speaks very explicitly about destructions by means of the form והחרמתים "and I will devote them to destruction." Thus, חרבות עולם "perpetual desolations" must refer to entire groups of people being destroyed and left without descendants. The closely-related phrase לשממות עולם "for perpetual desolations" of Jer 25:12 also refers to people, though to the Babylonians this time. Indeed, the antecedent of the suffix of אתו "it" in ושמתי אתו לשממות עולם "I will make it perpetual desolations" is הגוי ההוא "that nation," not ארץ כשדים "the land of the Chaldeans," which has the feminine gender. Thus, Jer 25:12 speaks about the Babylonians becoming a perpetual desolation. As for the timing of the predictions of Jer 25:12-13, it is interesting to note that judgments are mentioned twice. First, Jer 25:12-13 predicted that the Lord would punish Babylon's king, his nation, and their land, stating, אפקד על מלך בבל ועל הגוי ההוא נאם יהוה את עונם ועל ארץ כשדים "I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, says the LORD, for their iniquity, and also the land of the Chaldeans." Next, Jer 25:12-13 has, ושמתי אתו לשממות עולם והבאותי על הארץ ההיא את כל דברי אשר דברתי עליה "and I will make that nation perpetual desolations, and I will bring on that land all my words that I spoke about it," mentioning again a punishment on the nation and on their land. A search on the forms פקדתי and אפקד reveals that when the verb is used with the meaning "to punish," instances in which the clauses following the verb could possibly be interpreted as describing the punishment are rare. Therefore, the interpretation here is that the first punishment on the nation and their land is not the same as the second, but the second occurs at a later time. Note that the statement "I will bring on that land all my words that I spoke about it" (Jer 25:13) cannot be restricted to the times of the Old Testament, since Jeremiah and also Isaiah spoke much about the end-time Babylon. Thus, the first punishment refers to the Babylon of the Old Testament but the second to the end-time Babylon. Then, the judgment on the nation to make it desolate forever (Jer 25:12) and the judgment mentioned in Jer 25:13 refer to the end-time Babylon. Now Jer 25:14 is understood here to be unrelated to the end-time Babylon. It adds more detail on Jer 25:12-13, and must refer to something that began to happen after the fall of the Babylonian kingdom that existed during the time of Jeremiah.

Rev 20:5 η αναστασις η πρωτη "the first resurrection" is the resurrection of life that is mentioned in Jn 5:29. It precedes the resurrection of judgment, which also is mentioned in Jn 5:29. The resurrection of life is for those who have believed, while the resurrection of judgment is the event in which the unbelievers will be raised from the dead. The resurrection of life takes place in several stages. Some were raised after Jesus was raised (Mt 27:52-53), others will be raised at the time of the rapture (1Th 4:16), and those martyred after the rapture will be raised when Jesus will return (Rev 20:4). The resurrection of judgment occurs after the millennial reign of Christ (Rev 20:5).

Rev 22:1-2 "And he showed me the pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the city street. And on both sides of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." The fact that the river flowed through the middle of the city street is similar to what Ps 110:7 predicted about the Messiah, that מנחל בדרך ישתה "he will drink from the brook in the way." The prediction was that Jesus would walk in the way of God the Father and that he would be sustained by the Spirit, who is symbolically represented in Ps 110:7 by the brook. So נחל בדרך "brook in the way" corresponds to ποταμον ... εν μεσω της πλατειας "river ... in the middle of the street."

In the interpretation above, the phrases "the middle of the city street" and "on both sides of the river" are in different clauses. Let's call this, interpretation 1. An alternative view has been to interpret Rev 22:2 as beginning with a new sentence: "In the middle of its street, and on both sides of the river was the tree of life ... " Let's call this, interpretation 2. Note that the text does not associate closely the city street with the river. It does not state that the river did not flow anywhere else but associates it with the throne of God. Since the street and the river are not closely associated, εν μεσω "in the middle" modifies only της πλατειας "the street"; it does not modify also ποταμου "river." Thus, an interpretation "In the middle of the city street and in the middle of the river ... " appears unlikely. Without changing the meaning of the passage, the text could have excluded interpretation 1 by placing the phrases "the middle of the city street" and "on both sides of the river" in reverse order. However, since the Lord was fully aware of all interpretations when the text was written, and since these phrases were not written in reverse order, it is plain that the Lord did not want to exclude interpretation 1. It follows that interpretation 1 is right. Note that if the trees are assumed to be close to the river, such as on its banks, then interpretation 1 implies interpretation 2, for if the river was in the middle of the street, then so were the trees.

Rev 22:16 The received text differs in this verse from other versions in that it has εγω ειμι ... ο αστηρ ο λαμπρος και ορθρινος "I am ... the star that is bright and I am early" instead of εγω ειμι ... ο αστηρ ο λαμπρος ο πρωινος "I am ... the bright morning star." Though the stars of the night sky do not appear to be bright in comparison to the sun, the fact that they are visible from a very large distance testifies to their brightness. The Scripture describes stars as being very bright (Dan 12:3); this can be seen plainly when comparing Dan 12:3 with Mt 13:43. Thus, when the Lord states that he is the bright star, he speaks of brightness exceeding that of the stars, as perceived by one who could be near them. As for the statement "I am ... early" that is found in the received text, it corresponds to ναι ερχομαι ταχυ "Yes, I come quickly" in Rev 22:20. Thus, in the received text, the statement "Yes, I come quickly" of Rev 22:20 reinstates "I am ... early" in Rev 22:16. Once the time is right, the Lord will come quickly and will be early, not late.

While the received text has εγω ειμι ... ο αστηρ ο λαμπρος και ορθρινος "I am ... the star that is bright and I am early," other versions have εγω ειμι ... ο αστηρ ο λαμπρος ο πρωινος "I am ... the bright morning star." Thus, the other versions have the phrase ο αστηρ ο λαμπρος ο πρωινος which is almost identical with the phrase τον αστερα τον πρωινον "the morning star" of Rev 2:28. Just like the received text, the other versions do preserve the word λαμπρος "bright" in Rev 22:16. The word "bright" provides a hint to the fact that the Lord is not compared here to the morning star (the planet Venus.) Though the planet Venus appears bright on the night sky, this is due to its proximity to the earth; compared to a star, it is not at all bright. Thus, the modest brightness of the planet Venus does not fit at all what the Scripture states about the brilliance of the Lord's light (Mt 17:2, Ac 26:13, Rev 1:16, 21:23). Without a shadow of doubt, Rev 22:16 does not liken the Lord to this morning star. See also the note on Rev 2:28. As for 2Pt 1:19, the word φωσφορος, though literally meaning "light bearer", is commonly translated "morning star". This was a word used for certain deities (see the LSJ lexicon) and for the morning star. However, since 2Pt 1:19 speaks about the φωσφορος "light bearer" rising at dawn, it does not speak of the morning star, but of the sun, which figuratively represents Christ.

Now Is 14:12 speaks of a person falling from heaven. That person is described with the words הילל בן שחר "shining one, son of the dawn". The one falling from heaven is Satan; he will be the actual king of Babylon, for the human kings of Babylon will act in accordance to his will. Understanding dawn to refer to the period of time preceding the second coming, Satan could be likened to the morning star because he will be present and manifest himself at dawn. Just as the light of day makes the morning star disappear, so also his presence will no longer be felt after the second coming of the Lord (Rev 20:1-2).