Eschatology - Oh, No, End Times?!
Updated: Jul 5
Apparently, the 30 chapters in the book, Discipleship on the Edge, are a collection of sermons by the author, Darrell Johnson.Johnson shows that the book is not a "crystal ball" but rather a "discipleship manual". It is written to help disciples remain loyal under pressure. Many readers of Revelation concern themselves with whether the book tells the future or if it applies only to the first century or a bit of both, and there is terminology for each. Johnson admits that the words that describe such things “get in the way.” The words he is referring to are preterist, futurist, historicist, and idealist. However, for the purpose of this book review, I will use only preterist (past in fulfillment) and futurist (future in fulfillment) because that is what I believe Johnson reveals in his book.The chapters to which I refer in this paper are chapters of Revelation, not to Johnson's book. I realized that I refer to Johnson quite often so rather than the repeated use of his last name, I simply refer to him using his initials, DWJ. On a critical note, I discovered at least five editorial errors in his book, and I point them out in my narrative surrounding that section. Initially, I wanted to target his credibility but realized that although the errors initially tripped me up, they also forced me to "resolve the issue" and finish my writing. The errors I found are on pages 285, 286, 349, 358, and 367.DWJ divides his book into five “windows” of which he compares to the Windows computer operating system. In fact, he likes to refer to Revelations as “Windows 96” because it was 96 CE on the island of Patmos when Jesus Christ opened the windows of reality for John.The following windows cover Revelation:Revelation 1:1 through 1:8 is the PrologueOne: 1:9 through 3:22 Jesus to the seven churchesTwo: 4:1 through 11:18 Lamb unseals the scrollThree: 11:19 through 15:4 cosmic conflictFour: 15:5 through 19:10 Wrath and fall of BabylonFive: 19:11 through 22:5 Man on horse, City of GodRevelation 22:6 through 22:21 is the Epilogue.
Window One - The Son of Man in the Middle of His Churches Revelation 1:9 through 3:22 All of Revelation is apocalyptic literature in that it presents a number of unique features about the present as well as the unseen realities of the “future”, a near-term fulfillment. Apocalyptic literature is full of figurative language such as metaphor, symbolism, simile, hyperbole, and personification. I wish DWJ would have identified the figurative languages used in the passages, but he does what John does in that the explanation of symbolism follows its introduction. For example, the seven stars in Rev.1:16 and the seven lampstands in Rev.1:12 are revealed in Rev. 1:20, “The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.”Before I cover the seven churches it is important to realize that the churches are not symbolic, they are real, historical places. Additionally, DWJ makes a good argument that Jesus is speaking to the guardian angels of the church. Delivering the messages are genuine, super-natural beings - not preachers or a corporate "angel-ness" of each congregation. His argument is that in Revelation, every use of the word angel refers to supernatural beings, never to human beings. Lastly, Jesus says, "I know your works" to each of the seven churches.The loveless church of Ephesus, [ ef-uh-suh s ], the first of the seven churches, was not a social club. The church was very busy doing. The church of Ephesus had all kinds of ministries and programs going. John Stott, author and rector, summarizes the condition of the church as, "energetic in their service, patient in their suffering, orthodox in their faith"But the church was labeled "loveless" because they lost their first love - they had fallen out of pure and simple devotion to God, out of affection, out of intimacy.Smyrna,[smur-nuh], the second of the seven churches and the loveliest because the disciples there were living out their faith - it was also the persecuted church for that very reason. The birthplace of great writers such as Homer and Bishop Polycarp. Smyrna is present day Izmir, the third largest city in Turkey. “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a [s]synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 2:9). Jesus knows the thlipsis, the crushing pressure, the disciples in Smyrna are under.The third of the seven churches is the compromising church, the church in Pergamos or Pergamum, [ pur-guh-muh m ], the city of the sword - one of the few cities to which Rome had given the power to inflict capital punishment. Jesus presents himself to the Pergamum church and gets after them for false worship inside the church as well as being at the center of Caesar worship as well as near the temple dedicated to the worship of the symbol of the serpent, Asklepios. The entire area was Satan's throne: ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate" (Rev. 2:12-15). I agree with DWJ in that Jesus would not be welcomed by the chamber of commerce, city council, or the welcome wagon.According to DWJ, the fourth church, Thyatira [thahy-uh-tahy-ruh], is the most difficult to interpret because there is not enough archeological information. Thyatira was the center of worship of Apollo and apparently Caesar since both were believed to be the son of Zeus. In Rev. 2:18, Jesus purposefully refers to Himself as "Son of God", countering the action of Emperor Domitian naming his son, "son of god."Thyatira was a prosperous commercial center with many involved in trade and manufacturing activities such as linen and leather workers, tanners, bakers, potters, bronze smiths, and shoemakers. If you were not part of those groups, it would be hard to make a living. The problems was that by belonging to that industry, it involved also engaging in their social activities which involved pagan worship, and they allowed Jezebel "who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols" (Rev. 2:20). Jezebel taught this as being justified alongside worshiping Christ. This is where Thyatira gets named the "corrupt church". Jesus uses the name Jezebel perhaps because the woman justifying compromise in Thyatira had all the marks of the Jezebel in the Old Testament.I think DWJ does a great job of pointing out six features in this area of Revelation to help answer the obvious question of how do we stay loyal to Jesus in this marketplace? He tells the story of a pastor pulling out from his wallet a picture of his wife to show a temptress and telling her, "I belong to her" as he points to her image. Jesus gives a "picture" of himself to the church of Thyatira. First, the title, "Son of God" (Rev. 2:18). Second, “who has eyes like a flame of fire” (Rev. 2:18). Third, “whose feet are like burnished bronze” (Rev. 2:18). Fourth, “I gave her time to repent but she is unwilling” (Rev. 2:21). Fifth, “I will give to each one of you according to your deeds” (Rev. 2:23). Sixth, “I will give power over the nations—‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—as I also have received from My Father” (Rev. 2:26-17).The fifth church, Sardis, [ sahr-dis ], is the largest and wealthiest of the seven and like the church at Ephesus, it too has lots of programs, but Jesus says, “ you are dead” (Rev. 3:1). DWJ sums it up nicely by comparing it to the way many people celebrate Christmas – lots of enthusiasm and joy but they forget what it is all about. The church of Sardis earned the name, “the dead church”.Let Scripture alone describe the joy Jesus must have felt dictating the message to the sixth church, Philadelphia, [ fil-uh-del-fee-uh ], the faithful church with the open door: “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. 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 I will write on him My new name” (Rev. 3:7-12).Probably the best known of the seven messages comes to us with the seventh church, Laodicea, [ ley-od-uh-see-uh, ley-uh-duh- ], with,” Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3:20a). However, this comes to us between Jesus saying, “I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:16) and I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20b). Clearly, Christ is not happy with lukewarm Christians: “you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16). Consequently, the church of Laodicea earns the name, “the lukewarm church”. DWJ writes that Jesus never tells who he is, just what he does or has, in the messages to the first six churches but that he does tell us who he is in his message to the church of Laodicea. I read it differently. The messages are clearly from the “He” and from the One who “has” all that the “He” would have.
Window Two - The Lamb in the Middle of His Throne Revelation 4:1 through 11:18 Rev. 4 – The Throne Room of Heaven. Things are not as they seem. DWJ drags this out in over 12 pages to apparently expound on the imagery. Imagery is very important in apocalyptic literature. I will summarize in one paragraph what DWJ conveys in thirteen pages. John sees a throne, a control center of the universe, and five things stand out about the throne: what is on the throne, what comes from the throne, what is behind the throne, what is before the throne, and what is around the throne. God sat on the throne (Rev. 4:2). There was a rainbow around the throne (Rev. 4:3) along with twenty-four other thrones in which sat twenty-four elders (Rev. 1:4) along with “four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back” (Rev. 4:6b). Seven lamps of fire, the seven spirits of God, were before the throne (Rev. 4:5) along with a sea of glass like crystal (Rev. 4:6a).Rev. 5 – The Lamb Takes the Scroll. With the image of God sitting on the throne (Rev. 5:1) still in John’s mind, he sees God holding a scroll and then a slain Lamb (Jesus) is worthy to take and scroll (Rev. 5:7) and open the seals (Rev. 5:9). Angels, elders, the four living creatures, “…and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,” (Rev. 5:11). DWJ elaborates that the scroll contains “meaning of history – the meaning of world history, the meaning of your history and my history!”The deeper meaning is that the Lamb has overcome and reigns today and forevermore.Rev. 6:1-7 and 8:1-5. Remember the Lamb taking the scroll and opening the seals? There are seven seals and each seal represents something and with the opening of each seal, someone cries out or prays. Chapter 6 covers the six seals, but the seventh seal isn’t covered until chapter 8. The six seals are as follow:First Seal: The ConquerorSecond Seal: Conflict on EarthThird Seal: Scarcity on EarthFourth Seal: Widespread Death on EarthFifth Seal: The Cry of the MartyrsSixth Seal: Cosmic DisturbancesDWJ writes that the vision of the breaking of the seals is cosmic because of John’s use of the number four in four creatures, four horses, fourth of the earth (Rev. 6:8). “It is the number of the cosmos: four winds, four corners, etc.” The four creatures are calling for Jesus Christ the Lamb and the four horsemen represent the kinds of things that happen when Jesus and His kingdom begin to press in on the world.The first horse, a white horse, appeared in the opening of the first seal as the conqueror, “and he went out conquering and to conquer”(Rev. 6:2). Some say this is Jesus because in Rev. 19:11 Jesus appears on a white horse, “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war” Rev. 19:11). Does DWJ make a good argument against this being Jesus? His reasoning is that conquest, as used in the rest of Revelation, is of demonic agents. Yet conquer and conquered used throughout the rest of the Bible all denote actions to advance the Kingdom of God. According to DWJ, the first horsemen imitates Christ’s appearance. After all, Satan is here to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). I initially thought DWJ's argument was plausible but nevertheless, weak. Is the rider on the white horse in Zechariah 1:8, 6:3, and 6:6 not Divine? The four horsemen in Zechariah were commissioned to traverse the earth: “These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth”…“We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is resting quietly” (Zech. 1:10-11). The four concealed horsemen in Zech. 1:8 are the Lord's scouts and the four not-concealed chariots in Zech. 6:3 and 6:8 are the four spirits of heaven. The rider on the white horse in Revelation could present a negative counterpart to the vision of Christ as an instrument of God's purpose. I do not think there is a correlation between the colors of horses in Zechariah and the horses in Revelation.The second horse, a fiery red horse, appeared in the opening of the second seal to cause conflict on earth. Red is symbolic of blood and “the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword” (Rev. 6:4).The third horse, a black horse, appeared in the opening of the third seal and the rider had a pair of scales, or balances like one would use to measure and appropriate food and money (Rev. 6:6). The scarcity on earth means greed and injustice, hunger and famine.The fourth horse, a pale horse with Death as the rider and Hades following. “And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth” Rev. 6:8).DWJ is convinced that ever since Jesus Christ was installed on the throne, the reveal of the first four seals and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse have been trying to wipe us out. He posits that "As long as he and his way are ignored or resisted, the four horsemen will continue to ride. As long as violence is glorified and marketed, [he previously mentioned the millions murdered through ethnic cleansing and genocide throughout the world], violent video games and, the world will continue to suffer violence. God does not desire violence. The rise of violence is due directly to humanity resisting Jesus and his way of nonviolent suffering." Unfortunately, DWJ follows this with aspersions against violent video games and rough hockey while his previous reference to the massive murders clearly drove home his point.Regarding the fifth seal, The Cry of the Martyrs, John sees under the altar all the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God. DWJ explains that the blood ran under the altar and that the "death of Jesus' followers is a priestly, sacrificial act, and has sacrificial consequences for the world."Cosmic disturbance happens with the opening of the sixth seal. "…there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves 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 who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?'" (Rev. 6:12-17). I like that DWJ writes that this either describes a historical crisis or the final crisis. I think this leaves him room as a preterist in spite of his apparent leaning towards a futurist. He does suggest that the sixth seal brings us right to the edge of the final coming of the kingdom. I disagree. I believe it is for John's time period only and I hope to explain that position in my research paper.This takes us through chapter 6 and now DWJ tells us that the events in the beginning of chapter 7, The Sealed of Israel, actually take place before the explanation of the seals in chapter 6. The beginning of chapter 7 has an angel telling "four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, 'Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.'" This is in stark contrast to the destruction we just read in the previous chapter, Rev. 6:12-17. Also at the beginning of chapter 7, the four angels, four corners, four winds, take us back to the four seals and four horsemen in chapter 6.DWJ goes down the mathematical path regarding the one hundred and forty-four thousand in Rev. 7:4 (the tribes of the children of Israel who were sealed) but thankfully instructs us to not take any number in Revelation with mathematical literalism. He crashes and burns in his calculations on page 183 when he states that "one hundred forty-four is twelve thousand squared times ten cubed…" Even if he meant one hundred forty-four thousand, it would still be incorrect. He further miscalculates when he finishes his conclusion as "12 to the second power times 10 to the third power" when in fact, it calculates to 1.44 times 10 to the eleventh power. This aside, he makes the relevant point that it is a Hebrew way of saying it is a big, very big, number. The other important point (not answered in chapter 7 but John answers in chapter 14) is that to be sealed is to be protected from the ultimate consequences of the breaking of the seals of the scroll and the pouring out of the seven bowls (yet to be explained in Rev. 8-16).In chapter 8 the seventh seal, Prelude to the Seven Trumpets, is opened, and "there was silence in heaven for about half an hour" (Rev. 8:1). Half an hour equates to a moment of time. Seven angels sound seven trumpets (Rev. 8:2). DWJ writes a very expressive statement, "The images need to be heard in order to be seen." A separate angel holding a golden censor with incense then fills it with fire, tosses it to earth and causes noise, thunder, lightning, and earthquake. The seven trumpets are to warn the world of the pending judgement. And even with all the devastation, judgement is not total but fractional. One-third fractional in fact, but again not to be taken literal mathematically. Each of the sounding seven trumpets devastate something, and for an important reason only the first four are covered in chapter 8.First trumpet - vegetationSecond trumpet - seasThird trumpet - watersFourth trumpet - heavensThe description of the devastation causes by the sounding of first four trumpets is concise. DWJ writes that it happens in rapid order and I think that is reading something into Scripture that is not there. The description of the devastation caused by the sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets is protracted in chapter 9, and just as between the opening of the sixth and seventh seal, there is a pause between the sixth and seventh trumpet. We don't read about the effects of the seventh trumpet until Rev. 10: - 11:14.Chapter 9 has the details of the fifth and sixth trumpet. DWJ writes that chapter 10 "shows us the role of the church as judgement is worked out on the stage of history." Chapter 11 takes us just before Window Three with lots of symbolism and Old Testament references, many from Zechariah. Afterall, the Old Testament is the only part of the Bible John possessed. DWJ comments that "Bruce Metzger refers to Revelation 11 as almost bewildering interweaving of symbols."  Chapter 11 refers to the temple, but the second temple was destroyed in 70 CE and it is now 96 CE; therefore, the temple is a reference to the new temple, God's people, a major theme in the New Testament. The forty-two months (Rev. 11:2) is symbolic, like all the references to numbers in Revelation. The two witnesses mentioned in Rev. 11:3 are the two lampstands and two olive trees. DWJ claims the olive trees as likely King Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua and the two lampstands as the only two faithful churches of the seven, Smyrna and Philadelphia. We read about a beast in Rev. 11:7 that kills the witnesses and will learn more about this beast in Rev. 13.
Window Three - A Woman, A Dragon, A Child Revelation Chapter 11:19 through 12:17 The imagery in this section is quite fluid and difficult to put into words. Eugene Boring wrote, "…language about the picture can never replace the message communicated in and through the picture itself." The woman is all at once: the church, Israel and Mary, referred to as the ark of the covenant, "…ark of His covenant was seen in His temple" (Rev. 11:19). Since the church has always had to tell the gospel story in the context of other stories, DWJ brings in some Greek mythology regarding the god Apollo's mother and how she fled to the island Delos with her child to avoid persecution from the dragon Python and how the god Poseidon hid Delos under water to safeguard the woman and the child.The woman in Rev. 12:1 "clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars" clearly describes Joseph's dream in Gen. 37:9 regarding Israel, " Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.” Rev. 12:2, "Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth." The woman and the dragon are signs, but the child is not a sign. He is Jesus the Messiah.Just as the woman fled to the island of Delos, this woman "was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent" (Rev. 12:14). This woman was also hidden by water, "the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth" (Rev. 12:15-16). I am not sure why DWJ writes that Revelation 12 is a Christmas text! He says it is the nativity story all the same. Personally, the first nativity was full of wonder whereas this "nativity" scene excites evil! The dragon has come to deceive God's people (Rev. 12:9); accuse them night and day, probably of not being worthy because of their sin (Rev. 12:10); and seeks to kill (Rev. 12:17). But God's people have overcome the attacks of Satan, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…" (Rev. 12:11). DWJ finishes writing about chapter 12 with a relevant hymn by Marten Luther, A Mighty Fortress is Our God.Revelation Chapter 13:1-10 Chapter 13 is the larger part of the story between chapters 11 and 15. The great red dragon from chapter 12 joins us in chapter 13 along with two beasts - one from the sea, and the other from the earth. Both beasts get their power from the dragon and, according to DWJ, the three make up a kind of trinity, a counterfeit trinity. DWJ suggests that John's imagery is somewhat like modern day political cartoons and provides a good example of Uncle Sam (USA) wrestling a big brown bear (Soviet Union). That did not literally happen, but the image conveys meaning. The people of John's day, steeped in the Old Testament, would have understood what John was getting at with the descriptions of the beasts and that of the dragon.John writes in Rev. 13:7 that in the beasts, speaking blasphemy against God, "authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation." This is not in conflict with what Paul wrote in Romans. The apostle Paul wrote Rom. 13 during the administration of moderate emperor Claudius, when the emperor is a minister of God (Rom.13:4). This is not in conflict with what John writes much later in Rev.13 about the State being a servant of Satan. The State moved away from servant role because by then, Rome was ruled by "the-more-evil-than-Nero" Domitian who demanded that the whole world worship him as "Lord and God."DWJ finishes Revelation 13:1 - 10, with five observations the text is calling us to do: First, have healthy suspicions of political institutions. All that glitters is not gold. All that is spiritually remarkable may not be of God. Second, hold allegiance to political institutions seriously - but lightly. When religion loses its way, it worships power. Third, rise above nationalism (one of our great idols of our time) to the multi-national, transnational body of Christ. Do not fall victim to the earth beast. Fourth, the beast can only be defeated with the sword of the Spirit. Finally, worship the Emperor of emperors.Revelation Chapter 13:11-18 The most exciting thing in this section is the discussion about the number 666. But before I engage in that, I need to present what I thought was an error in DWJ's description of the beasts. I will begin with some review and preparatory material. Because the child was caught up to God (Rev. 12:5), the dragon failed to kill the child of the woman clothed with the sun, moon under her feet, and twelve stars in her crown.This counterfeit trinity, to which DWJ refers, is the dragon and the two beasts. He eventually spells out his explanation of each of their roles but initially I questioned his reasoning and wanted evidence. The dragon mimics God but the dragon is Satan, the devil, the serpent, and manipulates (has control) over the two beasts. Following this is what I thought was an error in his writing. On page 241, DWJ writes that the beast from the sea mimics Jesus Christ, the Lamb. Yet in Rev. 13:1-2 (with no mention of lamb), "And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion." It is the beast of the earth with reference to a lamb that I thought should be the one to mimic Jesus Christ, the Lamb: "I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon"(Rev. 13:11). My misunderstanding is resolved by Rev. 13:2-4 which mentions given power, authority, wounded but healed head: "The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast."It is the beast from the sea with all the heads, horns, and crowns that mimics Jesus Christ, having the political power manipulated by the dragon. It is the beast from the earthhaving two horns (horns are the image of strength), dragon voice, full authority, ability to perform great signs, that mimics the Holy Spirit, "so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Rev. 13:13-17).Political power (the beast of the sea) cannot exist on its own, especially when it moves out from under God. It needs the "breath," the "spirit" (the beast of the earth). "If the beast from the sea is dragon-manipulated political power and institutions, then the beast from the earth is dragon-manipulated religious power and institutions." Religious power gives life to the worship of the State; therefore, it was not the political powers that wanted to crucify Christ! Afterall, Pilate said three times that he could "find no guilt in him." The religious powers, the beast from the earth mimicking the Holy Spirit, having full authority and giving breath to the worship of the beast of the sea (mimicking Jesus Christ) that pushed for the crucifixion of the Messiah. Religion can be the enemy of discipleship as evident in Rev. 13:11-18.Now let's talk about the mark of the beast, the 666, and gematria. The mark of the beast is not a literal mark on anyone's forehead, right hand, or a physical mark anywhere else. The mark of a killer, pedophile, or thief is just as much embedded under the skin as is the mark of the saving grace of Jesus Christ and redemption for a disciple - it is the character of such. That is why it is so difficult to put a name to the 666. "Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666" (Rev. 13:18). However, it is fuel for amusement as well as an interesting "game" or "puzzle" for many to tinker with.There are at three options DWJ gives to experiment with the number of the beast, his number, the identity of 666. The first, and the only one I will consider, is what is called gematria (juh-ma-tree-uh), using numbers to spell words. While gematria was used periodically in the Talmud and Midrash, it was not central to rabbinic literature, (although it is essential to Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition). The rabbis occasionally employed gematria to help support biblical exegesis but did not rely on it heavily. They were much more invested in the use of logical reasoning and argumentation to support their positions. I will review the Hebrew alphabet in numerology for the numerical value of my name, my wife's name, and for fun, emperor Nero.The Hebrew Alphabet in Numerology
1 Aleph א 2 Bet ב 3 Gimel ג 4 Daleth ד 5 Heh ה 6 Vav ו 7 Zayin ז 8 Het ח 9 Tet ט 10 Yud י 20 Kaf כ 30 Lamed ל 40 Mem מ 50 Nun נ 60 Samech ס 70 Ayin ע 80 Peh פ 90 Tzady צ 100 Koof ק 200 Reish ר
Eric: E (5), R (200), I (9), C (3); C (3), L (30), I (9), N (50), E (5). Numerical value = 314
Tina: T (200), I (9), N (50), A (1); Cline. Numerical value = 357. I, Eric Cline, love my 357.
If you translate one of the most "bestial" of the emperors, Nero (Greek name: Neron Kaiser) from Greek to Hebrew using gematria, his name, nron gsr, comes out to 666:
HEBREW = N (50), R (200), W (6), N (50), Q (100), S (60), R (200) = 666 I agree with author, Darrell W. Johnson, "Is the 666 referring to Nero? Likely not. It requires too much playing around with the facts. It requires John's first readers to be able to go from Latin to Greek to Hebrew and to fudge some letters along the way."
Revelation Chapter 14:6-20
Chapter 14 begins with the symbolic number one hundred forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth, not defiled by women, and followers of Jesus and without fault before the throne of God. Rev.14:1-5 to 15:1-4 has a chiasm structure, an inverted parallelism, where concepts are repeated in reverse order. John also uses other literary devices in Revelation. For example, the entire book is sandwiched, an inclusio or bracket, at the beginning and ending of the book. Eight verses into the beginning is, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” (Rev. 1:8), and towards the end is, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End" (Rev. 21:6).
Vision of the redeemed (14:1-5)
- new song -
Three angels (14:6-13)
- announcing -
The Son of Man reaping (14:14)
Three angels (14:15-20)
- reaping what was announced -
Vision of the redeemed (15:1-4)
- song of Moses and of the Lamb
As is his style, DWJ, reiterates the material from his previous chapter and here he reminds us of the "woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" and she is the people of God, Israel, Mary, the new Israel, and she was with child and the dragon tried to kill the child but the child was caught up to God. I mentioned it all again probably for the same reason DWJ did and that is to remind us of the important consequence of the dragon being defeated back in chapter 12, "Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Rev. 12:7-9). DWJ tells us that the point of chapter 12 and 13 is that the disciples of Jesus will continue to be in this cosmic battle Jesus Christ has already won, but Satan will not concede defeat; therefore, the gospel continues to need being announced. As you will see in my writing of on Revelation 20, this requirement resides in "postmillennialism".
Three angels appear in chapter 14 to proclaim the gospel. The first says, "Fear God…" (Rev. 14:7); the second angel says, "Babylon has fallen…" (Rev. 14:8); and the third angel says much about the crisis of choice - worshipping God leads to one destiny, worshipping the beast least to another.
I initially thought that the proclamation of the three angels was the key part of chapter 14 but DWJ says it is the two harvests. John uses two images for this work of harvest: harvest of earth and harvest of grapes. The questions DWJ presents are if the two events are two sides of the same coin; two different actions; or are they about the same thing. He claims the latter, that the two events are about salvation.
Revelation Chapter 14:1-5 and 15:1-4
This last section before we get to the fourth window really hammers home discipleship, of which DWJ professes is the entire message of Revelation. He says we are all disciples, but will we choose to be a disciple of Jesus? The many images John uses in Revelation illustrate just that - are we going to follow the dragon and the two beasts or the Lamb and his Father and Holy Spirit? The question is not, "Will I be a disciple" because we are all disciples of something, someone, or some ideology. The question is always "Whose disciple will I be"?
The symbolic 144,000, the multicultural, multi-lingual, multi-racial, trans-national, mentioned in the beginning of chapter 14 chose to be disciples of Christ but DWJ points out that they did not start out that way nor are they perfect. They are blameless because of confessed sin, but they are not perfect. DWJ points out seven marks of discipleship and just as Revelation waits until chapter 16 to explain the seven bowls mentioned in chapter 15, DWJ waits until his Window Four to address the seven bowls. The seven marks of discipleship are supported throughout the New Testament, but I do not see specific references to them in Revelation 15. The two scenes in Revelation 15 are of the Lamb of God standing on Mount Zion and the sea of glass mixed with fire, those who have victory over the beast.
Those in the sea of glass, according to what DWJ draws from various Scriptures, each have seven marks distinguishing them as disciples of Christ. The first mark is that of "I am not my own, I belong to Christ". The second is, "I am a living sacrifice" and my life is not compartmentalized - everything I have belongs to God. The third are those "who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins" (Rev. 14:4). John is speaking metaphorically in that the disciples did not give into intimacy with Babylon the Harlot. The fourth is that the Lamb's people become like the Lamb. The fifth is that they are followers of Christ. The sixth is that they have victory over the beast. The seventh is that the songs they sing are songs about the great and marvelous the deeds of God. None of the songs are about what they have accomplished.
Window Four - Just Judgement
Revelation 15:1 through 16:21
Again we see John's use of the literary device inclusio, or bracketed use of the word, "wrath" and of the word, "finished" (complete or done). The scene in Rev. 15:1, "… the wrath of God is complete." Toward the end, "... of the fierceness of His wrath" (Rev. 16:17) and in Rev. 16:17, “It is done!” Wrath is mentioned throughout the New Testament. God's wrath "is a burning zeal for the right coupled with a perfect hatred for everything that is evil."
Five observations of DWJ follow his preface of what he says his friend Earl Palmer calls the most tragic of all the scenes in the book of Revelation. His first observation is that Jesus provided John a "full-length animated film" with characters in wild costumes but points out that John is describing the symbols of the realities being conveyed, not the realities themselves. The second observation, and DWJ has two of them in his book, one on page 285 and the other on page 286, are what he calls the three T's. "the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven." I suspect DWJ's second entry for his second observation is an editorial mistake, but it does summarize the first: the presence and character of the Holy God. In DWJ's second observation he also presents the pouring out of the seven bowls as the outworking of the natural consequences of violating God's moral law.
His third observation is that the seven bowls are related to the seven seals and seven trumpets. His fourth observation is that the passages use the literary technique called recapitulation, where each series of verses might seem to end only to lead towards a going back and starting over again. For example, shortly after the seven seals take us toward the sealed of Israel, the seven trumpets begin with the striking down or destruction of something. I like the phrase DWJ uses on page 288, "To the end that is the beginning of what does not end."
His fifth observation is about the angels pouring out the seven bowls of the wrath of God. Some scholars believe the wrath is aimed at the beast but humanity following the beast also acquires the wrath. The symbology is intended to make us feel the horror of the consequences of not repenting. The first bowl pours out sores, sores more severe than those of the plagues sent upon Egypt; "a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image" (Rev. 16:2). The second bowl pours out into the sea "and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died" (Rev. 16:3). When the angel poured out the third bowl, the rivers and springs of water became blood and the angels basically said, serves you right, "it is their just due" (Rev. 16:4-5). The fourth bowl was poured out on the sun and power was given the sun to scorch men with great heat and they still did not repent (Rev. 16:8-9). The fifth bowl we can feel good about! It was poured out "on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores and did not repent of their deeds" (Rev. 16:10-11). The sixth bowl dried up the great river Euphrates (Rev. 16:12).
Finally, the seventh bowl: "Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great" (Rev. 16:17-21).
DWJ follows with his five inter-related truths: 1). Judgement is horrible. 2). Judgement is justified. 3). Judgement comes only after a time of repentance. The seven trumpets were pictures of warnings. 4). Judgement always "fits the crime." 5). Judgement is merciful because God has provided a way out of the judgement.
I thought it particularly interesting that a number of godly scholars question whether the John of Revelation is the same John of the fourth gospel. He believes "the John who penned Revelation is the John who penned the fourth gospel." DWJ compares Rev. 15:1 and 16:17 to John 19:30 where the concept of "it is finished' is used. "It seems to me John would have somehow connected the two and intends for his readers to connect the two." I agree.
Revelation 17:1 through 19:10
The question here is, why is it so difficult to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ? Babylon, and Babylon is more symbolic than an actual physical location, is always falling. In all of Revelation we are dealing with descriptions of symbols, not with an actual reality but the symbols convey a real message. John sees another woman in chapter 17. This woman sat on a scarlet beast (as well as many waters) having seven heads and ten horns. On its heads a blasphemous name (apparently the same beast from the sea because there is no mention of blasphemous name on the beast of the earth) and she wore gold and precious stones. In her hand she held a golden cup full of her sins. The message on her forehead indicated she was a whore, the mother of harlots. She was drunk not on wine but on the blood of the saints. John reveals the full meaning of all of this later in the chapter. DWJ does a nice job assembling the mix messages of water, beast, and seven hills. Again he reminds us that the beast is the second member of the "evil trinity."
The seven heads are seven mountains (Rome was built on seven hills). There are also seven kings. The ten horns are also ten kings who wage war with the Lamb (the Lamb of course wins). The waters are the "peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues" (Rev. 17:15). The beast will eventually kill the woman "eat her flesh and burn her with fire" (Rev. 17:16). Even Babylon (a codeword for places of corruption) gets eaten up by the very power that made her Babylon.In the Old Testament, a number of places could be labeled as Babylon: Ninevah, Tyre, Persia, Greece, and Rome.
We are in the home stretch towards Window Five! And we learn that the only place in the New Testament where the word "Hallelujah" is used is in this chapter 19 of Revelation because in this chapter, heaven exults over Babylon. "And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, 'Amen! Alleluia!' Then a voice came from the throne, saying, 'Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!'" (Rev. 19:4-5). DWJ mentions the Hallel Psalms where "Hallelujah" is used most often in Ps. 113-118 and throws in the mealtimes before and after Passover. Fitting I suppose, since Rev. 19:17-21 is all about the birds eating their fill of the remaining carnage from the defeat of the beast and all of those having the mark of the beast.
To a lighter note, the Passover meal celebrates the deliverance from Egypt. More importantly is the Pantokratos, the All-Power, reigns. We are called to be disciples, priests, martyrs, witnesses, and brides. Yes, we are called to be His bride. Throughout the Bible, the relationship between Yahweh and His people is spoken of as husband and wife. Over 25 verses refer to us as bride. The seven messages to the seven churches each contain some reference of such. For example, Ephesus left her first love; Jesus knocks at the door at Laodicea; and Thyatira is basically accused of adultery because Jezebel seeks to seduce Jesus' bride into bed with Babylon the harlot. We have been betrothed! We are engaged to Jesus Christ! Jesus is coming to take us to himself to be His forever. DWJ goes on six things that reinforce this reality, but I think it is a stretch. Suffice it to say in summary: "Sin is adultery." Blessed is everyone who is invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Window Five - The Rider, The Never-Fought War, The Holy City
Looking back over the five windows we see the verb "open" used four times and DWJ draws this out in this part of his book. It leads us into a summation. Window one "I heard behind me a loud voice…" (Rev. 1:9 - 3:22). Window two, "I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven" (Rev. 4:1 - 11:18). Window three, "And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened" (Rev. 11:19 - 15:4). Window four, "I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened" (Rev. 15:5 - 19:10). Window five, "And I saw heaven opened" (Rev. 19:11 - 22:7). When heaven is opened, John sees Jesus, "…behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God" (Rev. 19:11-13).
In summary to this point, DWJ extrapolates some interesting aspects regarding the structure of Revelations between the prologue and epilogue.
Prologue - John says, "Jesus is coming…" (1:7).
Epilogue - Jesus says, three times, "I am coming…" (22:7, 12, 20).
Prologue - John says, "For the time is near" (1:3).
Epilogue - "For the time is near" (22:10).
Prologue - God says, "I am the Alpha and Omega…" (1:8).
Jesus says, "I am the first and the last…"(1:17).
Epilogue - Jesus says, "I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (22:13).
A chiasm of sorts because in the Epilogue we come back to what is in the Prologue. A similar stratagem is found between the first window and the fifth window:
First window - Jesus makes tremendous promises to the seven churches.
Fifth window - Each of those promises is now fulfilled.
First window - He promises access to the "tree of life" (2:7).
Fifth window - Access to the "tree of life" is given (22:2).
First window - "I have the keys of death and Hades" (1:18).
Fifth window - "And death in Hades were thrown into the lake of fire" (20:14).
First window - "His eyes were like a flame of fire" (1:14).
Fifth window - "His eyes are a flame of fire" (19: 12)
First window - "the faithful witness" (1:5)
Fifth window - "Faithful and True" (19:11)
First window - "I will give him a white stone and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but the one who receives it" (2: 17).
Fifth window - "He has a name written upon him which no one knows except himself" (19: 12).
First window - Jesus is "clothed in a robe" (1:13).
Fifth window - Jesus is "clothed with a robe dipped in blood" (19:13).
First window - the promise of the new Jerusalem (3:12).
Fifth window - the descent of the new Jerusalem (21:2).
First window - the promise, "I will give them the morning star" (2:28).
Fifth window - "I am the bright morning star" (22:16).
First window - "rule the nations with a rod of iron" (2:27).
Fifth window -"He will rule them with a rod of iron" (19:15).
First window - "…out of his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword" (1:16).
Fifth window - "And from his mouth comes a sharp sword…" (19:15).
At the beginning of his book, DWJ tells the story about a janitor reading Revelation and when asked if he understood what he was reading, the janitor responds with, "Yes, Jesus wins". In this section of Rev. 19:11 through 21, John is answering the questions, the why and the how does Jesus win. Jesus wins because he is called, "Faithful and True" (19:11). Jesus wins because "His eyes are a flame of fire" (19:12). Jesus wins because "Upon His head are many crowns" (19:12). Jesus wins because "He has a name written upon him which no one knows except Himself" (19:12). Jesus wins because He is "clothed with a robe dipped in blood" (19:13). Jesus wins because "His name is called the Word of God" (19:13). DWJ reminds us the he believes the John of Revelation is the same John who wrote the book of John because in John 1:1-2 we find, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." Jesus wins because "on His robe and on His thigh, He has a name written, 'King of Kings, and Lord of Lords'" (19:16). The janitor was right, Jesus wins.
Revelation 20:1 -10
It is in this section where the only mention of the "thousand years reign of Christ" is found and plenty has been written about that single concept. DWJ does a fair job of explaining premillennialism, a-millennialism, and postmillennialism but I will have to involve research outside his book for a better explanation of these terms in my research paper. For now I include brief clarifications.
Premillennialism is where Jesus returns within the thousand years period (the time between creation and the new creation) and beforethe end of the millennium (before the end of the thousand years). In premillennialism, it is a literal thousand years, not symbolically. The new creation comes after Satan is bound, released, then cast into the lake of fire during this thousand-year time frame.
A-millennialism is where the thousand years is understood symbolically, the prefix "a" negates millennial. Jesus began His reign in his first coming/ascension (we are in His kingdom now, Satan was bound), and the new creation occurs with His second coming, at the end of history. At that time, Satan will be released and defeated, and the new creation begins.
Postmillennialism is not as well defined by DWJ in that he writes of "only one final coming of Jesus"In postmillennialism, there is still a first and second coming of Christ. Suffice it to say that, like the a-mils, Jesus' reign began with His first coming/ascension and continues today by means of the preaching of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit. Satan will also be released and defeated before the new creation with Christ's second coming. The thousand years is also symbolic. The main difference between a-millennialism and postmillennialism is in what happens during the symbolic millennial. Contrary to the a-mils, the post-mils believe that the preaching of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit will transform society in preparation for Christ's second coming. Most reformists favor postmillennialism. So do I.
I like the concluding remarks of author Keith Mathison: "There is much more exegetical work to be done before any hope of consensus is possible, but the work being done by biblical and systematic theologians should encourage us. Despite the remaining disagreements, we can rejoice that we all agree that Jesus is risen and that He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth."
The question here is what are you going to say when asked, "Why should you be allowed into the Kingdom of God?" Here we are standing toe-to-toe with our Creator being judged. We are before the "great white throne and Him who sat on it… And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books… And they were judged, each one according to his works… anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:11 - 15).
Many of the events evolve from great throne-room scenes and DWJ claims "throne" or "thrones" are mentioned thirty-eight times. He also writes that there are seven great throne-room scenes but goes from the fifth throne-room scene to the seventh with no mention of the sixth. This occurs on page 349 of which I mentioned in my introduction.
The first throne-room scene is Revelation 4:1 through 5:14 with "a door standing open in heaven." The second throne-room scene is in Revelation 7:9-17. Standing before the throne and before the Lamb were a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues. All the angels stood around the throne. The ones before the throne are the ones who come out of the great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. They will serve Him day and night in His temple. And He will dwell among them. "They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:16-17).
The third throne-room scene is Revelation 8:1-4, the prelude to the seven trumpets. Before the throne is an angel with a golden censer with much incense offered with the prayers of all the saints.
The fourth throne-room scene in in Revelation 11:15-18 after the sounding of the seventh trumpet "And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: 'We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.' Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail" (Rev. 11:16-19).
Although DWJ has the fifth throne-room scene in Revelation 16:17-19:5, I believe he meant the fifth throne-room scene to be in Revelation 16:10 and the sixth throne-scene (the one he omitted) to be Revelation 16:17-19:5. He jumped from the fifth to the seventh on page 349, an editorial error I suspect. He finishes with the seventh with Revelation 20:11-15.
The fifth throne-room scene is in Revelation 16:10, Fifth Bowl: Darkness and Pain, "Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain."
The sixth throne-room scene is in Revelation 16:17 through 19:5 "from the throne, saying, “It is done!” After the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, 16:17. The next mention of throne is in Revelation 19:4, "And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!” And Rev 19:5, "Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!"
The seventh throne-room scene is in Revelation 20:11-15, The Great White Throne Judgment, "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."
The question of "what will you say,"
is worth repeating: "Why should I let you enter the new city, the new heaven, and the new earth, and not cast you into the lake of fire?"
Revelation 21:1 through 22:5 Part I
We do know what the future holds and we know who holds the future. Jesus Christ pulls back the curtain and reveals to John the vision of the new creation. DWJ argues that it is impossible for us not to think about the future and that we all dwell in the past, present, as well as thoughts of the future. It is not about the end of creation but about the beginning of the new creation. "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away" (Rev. 21:1). In the next verse it refers to the new Jerusalem as the holy "city" and immediately we might cringe because we might desire something closer to the Garden of Eden. The first century readers of Revelations lived in the cities Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea and they could relate to life in the city. But their cities were under the spell and influence of "Babylon the Great", the beast, the "Mother of Harlots." So for them to read about a new, holy city, especially since Rome had been leveled in 70 CE, they must have been ecstatic!
I was very impressed and surprised to learn that New York City was intentionally founded to be a secular cityand that it did not have a church until more than fifteen years after it had been founded! Is DWJ alluding that New York City is a sort of Babylon or Harlot or city of man? I do not know but he does write that the best way to grasp what it means for us is to gather up all of what John sees by what is not there in the new city and what isthere in the new city. What is not there is the sea. In the last part of Rev. 21:1 is, "Also there was no more sea." Of course the new creation has a body of water but the "sea" in Revelation represents the forces of chaos - all types of chaos - shootings, typhoons, earthquakes, downed airliners, etc.
Another not there are tears, death, mourning, crying, or pain (Rev. 21:4). This can be taken literally! "[T]he cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars" is another thing inconsistent with the kingdom of God that will not be there in the new city. They "shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).
John writes in Revelation 21:22 that he saw no temple in the new city! And in the next verse he writes that the city had no need for the sun or the moon. No temple? No need for sun or moon? (I am now expressing some of the influence of DWJ's style of writing. Throughout his book he writes as if he is taken aback my so many of John's visions. My personal thoughts are that DWJ does this to extreme and if he could omit that style, the book could be half its length). There is no temple because, DWJ asserts, the entire city is the temple. "The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it" (Rev. 21:23-24).
I will put aside another editorial error (a missing quotation mark) I found on page 358 (yet I cannot avoid writing of it) but I cannot put aside the smaller yet larger detail on page 367. After presenting information about the inner sanctuary of the temple being a cube, DWJ is trying to emphasize the enormousness of the new city as detailed in Rev. 21:16-17, "The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs ["stadia" NAS]. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel." The New American Standard Bible, to which DWJ is referring, converts "twelve thousand stadia" to one thousand five hundred miles. I agree with DWJ that it is enough to simply focus on twelve thousand and put aside the expression of units because the point John is making is that the city is big. The error of DWJ is that he overstresses the point past "Twelve by ten by ten is a really big city!" when to that and after that he writes, "Twelve by ten by ten by ten is a really, really big city!" Try measuring that - it does not and will not be practical or be representative of anything but irrational thought. Who does that!?
Revelation 21:1 through 22:5 Part II
In the previous section, DWJ emphasizes what is notthere in the new city and in this section, he emphasizes what is there in the new city. I was initially puzzled by his statement "For the future is one of the unseen realities of the present!"If I understand correctly, he is talking about how John is seeing the future as a dimension of reality that is as real as this present dimension. In Rev. 21:5 God says, “Behold, I make all things new.” God is not reinventing the wheel, the light bulb, or the napkin. There will be new cities, nations, and supervisors. "And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it" (Rev. 21:24-26).
God is there, glory is there, creatureliness is there, peoples are there (21:3), and rivers, trees and streets are there (22:1-2). "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 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. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever" (Rev. 22:1-5).
Revelation 1:1-8 and 22:6-21
"The Time is Near - Always" is a most fitting title DWJ assigned to this part of his book. In Rev. 1:3 we find the time is near as well as in Rev. 22:10. The point is that Revelation is "The Unveiling of Jesus Christ by Jesus Christ" DWJ repeatedly used, "things are not what they seem" in many of his explanations about Revelation. I have come to learn precisely what DWJ is trying to convey in that "there is more to reality than we can know with our unaided senses and intellect and emotions." When my mother was days from her death she said some things that boggled my mind regarding death but I realized there is so much we do not understand or comprehend about death, life, and the afterlife that we must always be open for God's glory to prevail in all things. Sometimes we just do not have or even need to have it all figured out. Nothing around us tell us the time is near, but we must always be mindful that the "time is near", Jesus will return again. As DWJ writes, "The whole New Testament is alive with the expectation that at any moment now the last trumpet will sound"even though we are in the third millennium since Christ's birth.
What should we do between now and the second coming? Of course I am taking the position of a postmillennialist. We should walk with God and spread the light of Christ to all the we can in the way God has called us and do it without fail. We submit to the Word of God, walk triumphantly in the knowledge that "Jesus has won" all the while knowing Satan has not conceded defeat! We must always be mindful that the "time is near" but perhaps it will not be today or tomorrow, yet it could be before I finish this sentence. Well, obviously it was not - but it could have been!
Finally, I have taken some jabs at DWJ, Darrell W. Johnson, about some of his thoughts and especially the editorial errors in his book but I must make known that I admire his work and challenge him to find errors in this paper. I usually only bet on a sure thing, but I would bet that more errors would be found in my work than his. I have enjoyed his book, even with his long, drawn-out explanations, and look forward to doing more research and writing a more extensive research paper on Revelation,"The Unveiling of Jesus Christ by Jesus Christ".
 Darrel W. Johnson, Discipleship on the Edge, (Vancouver, British Columbia: Regent College Publishing, 2004) p. 15  Ibid., book summary, as well as p.230  Ibid., p.242  Ibid. p.16  Preterism holds that Ancient Israel finds its continuation or fulfillment in the Christian church at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The term preterism comes from the Latin praeter, which is a prefix denoting that something is "past" or "beyond". Adherents of preterism are known as preterists. “Preterist” means past in fulfillment, and “Futurist” means future in fulfillment. Preterist basically means the opposite of Futurist. Futurists believe most end-time prophecies (especially the big three events — the Second Coming, Resurrection, and Judgment) are yet to be fulfilled. Preterists believe that most or all of Bible Prophecy (especially the big three events) has already been fulfilled in Christ and the on-going expansion of His Eternal Kingdom. Many Futurists do not really believe that Christ has been successful in fully establishing His Kingdom. They think it was indefinitely postponed when the Jews rejected and crucified Jesus.  Ibid., p.28  The Big Five: This coffee shop is an ice box! (Metaphor)She's drowning in a sea of grief. (Metaphor)She's happy as a clam. (Simile)I move fast like a cheetah on the Serengeti. (Simile)The sea lashed out in anger at the ships, unwilling to tolerate another battle. (Personification)The sky misses the sun at night. (Personification)I've told you a million times to clean your room! (Hyperbole)Her head was spinning from all the new information. (Hyperbole)She was living her life in chains. (Symbolism - Chains are a symbol of oppression of entrapment.)When she saw the dove soar high above her home, she knew the worst was over. (Symbolism - Doves are a symbol of peace and hope.)  Johnson p.52  John R. W. Stott served as rector of All Souls Church in London and was honored by Time magazine in 2005 as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World." His many books, including Basic Christianity and The Cross of Christ, have sold millions of copies around the world and in dozens of languages. Johnson, p.56 Ibid., p. 77  Ibid., p. 144  Ibid., p. 169  Ibid. p. 174  "the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault [e]before the throne of God" (Rev. 14:3-5).  Johnson, p. 191  Ibid., p.199  Ibid., p. 206  Ibid., p.216  Ibid., p.221  Ibid., p.231  Ibid., p.251  Ibid., p.242  Ibid., p. 243  My Jewish Learning, Gematria, retrieved February 15, 2020, from https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/gematria/  Johnson, p. 248  Ibid., p.260  Ibid., p.284, also Leon Morris, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 1955), p.180  Ibid., p.291  Ibid., p.292  Ibid., p.297  Ibid., p.309  Ibid., p.313  Ibid., p.315  Ibid., p.334  Keith Mathison, The Millennial Maze, Tabletalk Magazine, Dec. 1, 2013 Johnson, p.361 Ibid., p.362 Ibid., p.369 Ibid., p.381 Ibid., p.381 Ibid., p.382