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The Revelation of Jesus Christ

The Book of Revelation is often regarded as a book of mystery. While there are indeed many strong delusions about this book, its first word and title refute the idea that it conceals a mystery. This book is the revelation of mysteries - of the oracles spoken by the prophets who are quoted in the verses of the first chapter. The first chapter is written in the style of an epanados. Epanados is the repetition of words used earlier in a phrase or a sentence, in the reverse order. This repetition creates a pattern in the text, the pattern leads to a center, and this creates a subtle emphasis. The words John used (quoted from previous prophets), and the sequence in which he used them, are what form this epanados.

Old Testament prophets

Revelation

Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people (Isaiah 55:4) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth (1:5)
Behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days (Daniel 7:13) Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him… (1:7)
And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn (Zechariah 12:10) …and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him (1:7)
Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he (Isaiah 41:4) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty (1:8)
Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God (Isaiah 44:6) I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, what thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia (1:11)
I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof (Zechariah 4:2) And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks (1:12)
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire (Daniel 7:9) And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters (1:13-15)
He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away (Isaiah 49:2) And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength (1:16)

This first chapter epanados does three important things that I’d like to point out:

I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done.

  • Isaiah 46:9,10

Chapters two and three are seven letters addressed to seven churches. In these verses we can find the book’s message of restoration: the inheritance that was lost in Genesis will be fully restored.

Genesis (lost)

Revelation (restored)

Then the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever, therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken (Gen 3:22,23) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God (2:7)
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die (Gen 2:17) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death (2:11)
By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return (Gen 3:19) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it (2:17)
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths (Gen 3:7) The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels (3:5)
He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen 3:24) The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations (2:26)
Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken (Gen 3:23) The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, 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 from my God out of heaven, and my own new name (3:12)

Revelation is the story of the final conflict between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. You can see in the diagram below how the entire book illustrates the contrast between these two opposing forces.

Conflict

Holy Trinity
Father, Son, Holy Spirit

Unholy Trinity
Dragon, Beast, False Prophet

And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. - Revelation 7:11,12 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? - Revelation 13:2,4
To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? - Isaiah 40:18 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? - Revelation 13:4
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. - Revelation 1:18 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. - Revelation 9:1
And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. - Revelation 5:6
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. - Revelation 13:8
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. - Revelation 13:3
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. - Revelation 1:4 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. - Revelation 17:8
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. - Revelation 6:16 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. - Revelation 12:12
And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. - Revelation 7:2,3 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. - Revelation 13:16,17
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. - Revelation 14:1 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. - Revelation 13:1
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. - Revelation 19:14 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. - Revelation 19:19
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels. - Revelation 12:7
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. - Revelation 16:14
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. - Revelation 19:11
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. - Revelation 12:17
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. - Revelation 17:14
And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. - Revelation 20:8
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. - Revelation 19:9 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. - Revelation 19:17-20
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, - Revelation 21:9,10 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters...And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. - Revelation 17:1,5
And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. - Revelation 21:14 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: - Revelation 2:2
But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. - Revelation 11:2
And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. - Revelation 14:20
And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. - Revelation 14:8
And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. - Revelation 16:19

The Book of Revelation is written in a chiastic structure. For example, in chapters 2 and 3 you will find chiastic links to the end of the book in chapters 21 and 22. In chapter 6 we find similar links to chapter 19, and you will find these chiastic chains run through the whole book, first linking the beginning with the end, and continuing all the way to the middle. The diagram below helps illustrate how this works.

Chiasm

First Half

Second Half

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. - Revelation 2:1 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. - Revelation 21:23
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. - Revelation 2:7 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. - Revelation 22:2
I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. - Revelation 3:8 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. - Revelation 21:25
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. -Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. - Revelation 22:7
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. - Revelation 3:12 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. - Revelation 21:10
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. - Revelation 3:21 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him. - Revelation 22:1,3
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 here after. - Revelation 4:1 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. - Revelation 19:11
And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. - Revelation 6:2-8 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. -Revelation 19:11-16
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? - Revelation 6:9,10 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 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. - Revelation 20:4-6
And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. -Revelation 6:11 | After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. - Revelation 7:9-14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him up on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. - Revelation 19:14
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: - Revelation 6:15,16 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. - Revelation 19:17-21

Symbolic language is used throughout this remarkable book and therein lies the cause of all the delusion connected with it. If you have ever felt lost or overwhelmed by the symbolism of this book, please do not be troubled. All of this book’s symbols are explained in the book itself, or by the three prophets quoted in the first chapter’s epanados. The book’s most prominent symbol is the number seven, and one of these sevens is seven blessings:

  1. Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (1:3)
  2. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. (14:13)
  3. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (16:15)
  4. Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. (19:9)
  5. 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. (20:6)
  6. Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. (22:7)
  7. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (22:14)

I’ve emphasized three of these blessings to ask the question: how is it possible to hear the words and keep the things written therein; to keep watch; to keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book - if we are unable to comprehend them?

Continue to Prophetic Symbols

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