Notes on Revelation

Version Date: December 20, 2020

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. In Nu 13:11, Ephraim is mentioned separately and Joseph is represented by Manasseh, the firstborn. This is the opposite of Rev 7:8 in which Manasseh is mentioned separately while Joseph appears to be represented by Ephraim. This fits Ge 48:14 in which Ephraim was given preeminence and Ge 48:19 which states that Ephraim will be greater than Manasseh. Thus, 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 we read in Ge 48:19, Ephraim was told that his seed will be מלא הגוים "the fullness of the nations"; we read about το πληρωμα των εθνων "the fullness of the nations" also 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 considered to belong to Ephraim.

Rev 17:8 The received text has " ... was, and is not, and yet is." In contrast, other versions of the Greek text have " ... was, and is not, and is to come." Following the received text, the passage states that there is a sense in which "it 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", we could 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 The description of the city continues in the next chapter. It testifies to the fact that the time of the end is in the distant future, for since the coming of the Lord to the present time no city has matched perfectly the description of Rev 18. To find the identity of the city, one does not have to look for cities in which there is much evil today. The character of a city can change. A city known as revering God at some point in time, could be known for persecuting believers at some other point of time. For example, Jerusalem was known as a holy city when Solomon dedicated the temple. At the time mentioned in Is 1:21, however, it was very corrupt. The present tense of the forms εστιν "is" and εχουσα "having" in Rev 17:18 indicates a city that was existing at the time when Revelation was written. At that time, the city that matched Rev 17:18 was Rome. 1Pt 5:13 is another passage in which Babylon appears to denote Rome.