Old Testament in the Book of Revelation
In Revelation19, we see Yeshua returning as the Commander in Chief, followed by the angelic armies. Revelation 19:11, 14 – "I saw heaven opened and behold a white horse. He who sat on him… judges and makes war. The armies of heaven… followed Him on white horses."
In Joshua 5:13-15, Yeshua appeared to Joshua as the Commander, however, we saw no armies with Him. In II Kings 6:17 Elisha saw the armies of heaven, but there was no Commander with them.
Revelation 19 is a resolution of Joshua 5 and II Kings 6. The historical context of Joshua is a war with the Canaanites; II Kings with the Arameans. Without this context, one might misunderstand the heavenly battles of Revelation 19 to think there is no real war taking place at that time.
Zechariah 14 describes the earthly side of the battle: the nations of the world attack Jerusalem (verse 2): Yeshua returns to fight them (verse 3); His feet stand on the Mount of Olives (verse 4); He is accompanied by a heavenly army (verse 5). Revelation gives the heavenly view; the Hebrew prophets give the earthly view. We need both to understand the whole picture.
There will be 4 armies involved, three large and one little. There will be a big army of angels, a big army of demons, a big army of the nations, and a little army in Israel. [You can see why it is crucial to pray for Messianic believers in the Israeli army.] Revelation 12:7 – "War broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought." Michael is an angelic commander whose assignment is to fight for the nation of Israel (Daniel 12:1).
Restoring the Garden of Eden
Revelation 6:14 describes the heavens rolled up as a scroll. Revelation 6 is quoting Isaiah 34:4 – “The host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll.”
Revelation 19:15 describes Yeshua trampling the grapes of the wrath of God. This is quoting Isaiah 63:3 – “I have trodden the winepress alone… and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled on My garments.”
Revelation 21:1 describes a new heaven and a new earth. Revelation 21 is quoting Isaiah 65:17 – “I create new heavens and a new earth.”
Revelation 21:23 describes the New Jerusalem as having no need of the sun or the moon to shine in it. [Note: it does not say that there will be no sun, but that there will be no need of the sun’s light to illuminate the city.] Revelation 21 is quoting Isaiah 60:19 – “The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light.”
Revelation 21:12 describes New Jerusalem with twelve gates named after the tribes of Israel. Revelation 21 is quoting Ezekiel 48:31 – “The gates of the city shall be named after the tribes of Israel, the three gates northward: one gate for Reuben, one gate for Judah…”
Throughout the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21, there are numerous quotes from Isaiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah. The context of all these descriptions is the restoration of Israel and the establishment of the Messianic kingdom on earth. Without this context, Revelation would be understood wrongly as a Hindu nirvana or Hollywood space fantasy.
Many well-meaning Christians see the book of Revelation more as a psychedelic hallucination than as a biblical restoration. Thus the general sweep of end times’ prophecies has become irrelevant unfortunately to most people, while it should be the cutting edge of the gospel message in our generation.
Revelation 22 describes a river of life, trees and fruit. This is a continuation of the prophecy in Ezekiel 47:1-12. It is also a reference to the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2. In Revelation, John is describing a restoration of Eden, not a replacement of creation. Replacement theology is incorrect, not only concerning Israel, but concerning God’s purposes for the entire planet. God is in the restoration business, not the replacement business.
End Planned before the Beginning
The most significant aspects of the Old Testament context of the book of Revelation are in the last few chapters. The Bible is not only consistent from beginning to end, it has a perfect symmetry. The last 3 chapters of Revelation mirror the first 3 of Genesis.
At the beginning of Genesis we find the creation, the planting of the Garden of Eden, the marriage of Adam and Eve, and the victory of the serpent. At the end of Revelation, we find the new creation, the restoration of the Garden of Eden, the marriage of Yeshua and His bride, and the defeat of the serpent. In Genesis 3 man sins. In Revelation 20 (3rd from the end), sin comes to its final judgment. [Revelation 20 explains that the serpent of Genesis 3 was actually Satan.]
No engineer, architect or contractor in his right mind would ever lay the first brick or dig the first shovel until every last screw, wire and detail of the building were already planned out in the written blueprint. Before God ever said, “Let there be light”, He already had planned the ending of the book of Revelation. The rabbis say that the Torah and the Messiah existed before the creation in Genesis.
God planned His kingdom “before the foundation of the earth (Matthew 25:34, Ephesians 1:4, I Peter 1:20, Revelation 13:8).” Another rabbinic saying goes: “the last to be done is the first to be planned.” Everything in Genesis was done with the final perfection of Revelation already in mind. Before God wrote the first pages of His book, He had a happy ending planned for the last few chapters.
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