03 Revelation Old Testament Background Of Revelation


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Class 3 of 16 on the Book of Revelation, scheduled to be taught by Dale Wells at Palm Springs Church of Christ on January 21, 2009.

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03 Revelation Old Testament Background Of Revelation

  1. 1. Lesson 3 The Alpha and the Omega (3) Old Testament Background of Revelation Amen! Hallelujah! – A Study of the Book of Revelation By Dale Wells Text: Rev 1.1-8; Rev 22.8-12
  2. 2. The Old Testament background of the book <ul><li>In 404 verses, there is not a single OT quote </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yet, there are hundreds of allusions to the OT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>278 verses (70% of the book) references the OT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UBS Greek NT cross-references the OT 500+ times </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By contrast, Paul's letters contain only 95 direct quotes and about 100 other allusions to the OT </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. In Revelation, we see, among many others … <ul><li>Balaam & Balak </li></ul><ul><li>Jezebel </li></ul><ul><li>Throne in heaven </li></ul><ul><li>Four living creatures </li></ul><ul><li>Beast out of the sea </li></ul><ul><li>Song of Moses </li></ul><ul><li>Fall of Babylon </li></ul><ul><li>New heaven and earth </li></ul><ul><li>New Jerusalem </li></ul><ul><li>Tree of life </li></ul><ul><li>All right out of the OT </li></ul>
  4. 4. Seven golden lampstands <ul><li>Rev 1:12 WEB I saw seven golden lampstands . </li></ul><ul><li>Reminiscent of the menorah in the tabernacle and in Zechariah's vision. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exo 25:31-40 WEB “You shall make a lampstand of pure gold . … You shall make its lamps seven . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Zec 4:2 WEB He said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I have seen …a lampstand all of gold , with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps thereon … </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. One like a son of man. <ul><li>Rev 1:13-16 WEB And among the lampstands was one like a son of man, clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest. … </li></ul>
  6. 6. The picture comes from OT image of the Messiah <ul><li>Dan 7:13 WEB I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man,… </li></ul>
  7. 7. The scene in Revelation 4-5 takes place around God's throne in heaven <ul><li>Rev 4:2-5 WEB … Behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting on the throne … There was a rainbow around the throne … There were seven lamps of fire burning before his throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The description imports aspects of the visions of several prophets <ul><li>Isa 6:1 WEB … I saw the Lord sitting on a throne... </li></ul><ul><li>Dan 7:9-10 WEB I saw until thrones were placed, and one who was ancient of days sat … his throne was fiery flames, and the wheels of it burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him... </li></ul>
  9. 9. Around God's throne in Revelation 4, John saw 4 living creatures <ul><li>Rev 4:6-8 WEB … The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each … having six wings, are full of eyes around about and within. … </li></ul>
  10. 10. The words are reminiscent of OT images of God <ul><li>Eze 1:5-10 WEB Out of the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. ... Everyone had four faces … the face of a man … the face of a lion … the face of an ox … the face of an eagle. </li></ul>
  11. 11. When the Lamb opens the first 4 seals, John sees 4 horses and riders <ul><li>Rev 6:1-8 WEB …the Lamb opened one of the seven seals … And behold, a white horse … When he opened the second seal, … Another came forth, a red horse. … When he opened the third seal … behold, a black horse … When he opened the fourth seal, … behold, a pale horse </li></ul>
  12. 12. The horses and riders are a reminder of God's judgments in the OT <ul><li>Zec 6:1-8 WEB … I … saw … four chariots … In the first … were red horses; in the second … black horses; in the third … white horses; and in the fourth … dappled horses, all of them powerful … “These are the four winds of the sky, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. … </li></ul>
  13. 13. They also remind us of one prophetic reference to four judgments <ul><li>Eze 14:21 WEB For thus says the Lord Yahweh: How much more when I send my four sore judgments on Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the evil animals, and the pestilence … </li></ul>
  14. 14. The sixth seal brings an earthquake with cosmic consequences <ul><li>Rev 6:12-17 WEB … The sun became black … and the … moon became as blood. The stars … fell to the earth ... The sky … removed like a scroll … The kings of the earth … hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks ... They told the mountains and the 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 …” </li></ul>
  15. 15. The description reminds the reader of God's judgments in the OT <ul><li>Joe 2:30-31 WEB … The sun will be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood … </li></ul><ul><li>Isa 34:4 WEB … the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll… </li></ul><ul><li>Isa 2:19 WEB Men shall go into the caves … From … the terror of Yahweh, And … the glory of his majesty, When he arises to shake the earth mightily. </li></ul><ul><li>Hos 10:8 WEB They will tell the mountains, “Cover us!” and the hills, “Fall on us!” </li></ul>
  16. 16. Rev 7 depicts 4 angels being held back until God's people are sealed. <ul><li>Rev 7:1-8 WEB … I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree. I saw another angel … having the seal of the living God. He cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Don't harm the earth … until we have sealed the bondservants of our God on their foreheads!” … </li></ul>
  17. 17. This picture is reminiscent of a similar passage in Ezekiel 9 <ul><li>Eze 9:1-6 WEB … Behold, six men … every man with his … weapon in his hand; and one man … clothed in linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side. … The glory of the God of Israel … called to the man clothed in linen, … Go … set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh … over all the abominations … To the others he said … Go you through the city after him, and strike: don't let your eye spare, neither have you pity; … but don't come near any man on whom is the mark … </li></ul>
  18. 18. The four trumpets of Rev. 8:7-12 are harbingers of God's judgments <ul><li>Rev 8:6-12 … (7) The first sounded, and … hail and fire, mixed with blood … (8) The second … sounded, and … a … mountain was thrown into the sea … the sea became blood, (9) and … creatures … in the sea died … (10) The third … sounded, and a … star fell from the sky … the waters became wormwood … people died from the waters … (12) The fourth … sounded, and … the sun was struck, and … the moon, and … the stars … darkened </li></ul>
  19. 19. The judgments depicted by trumpets come from various places in the OT <ul><li>In part, from the Day of the Lord in Joel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Joe 2:1-3 WEB Blow you the trumpet in Zion … sound an alarm in my holy mountain! … For the day of Yahweh comes … it is close at hand: A day of darkness … A great and strong people; … A fire devours before them, And behind them, a flame burns. … and no one has escaped them. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. They are also reminiscent of the plagues of Egypt <ul><li>Exo 9:23-26 WEB Moses stretched ... his rod … thunder, hail, and lightning </li></ul><ul><li>Exo 7:19-21 WEB “Tell Aaron, ' … stretch … your hand over the waters … the waters … in the river were turned to blood. The fish … died; and the river became foul, and the Egyptians couldn't drink … </li></ul><ul><li>Exo 10:21-23 WEB Yahweh said … “Stretch out your hand … that there may be darkness over the land … darkness which may be felt.” </li></ul>
  21. 21. In Revelation 10, John is told to eat a little book that an angel gives him <ul><li>Rev 10:8-11 WEB … “Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land.” I went to the angel … He said to me, “Take it, and eat it up. It will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth. When I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter... </li></ul>
  22. 22. This episode is reminiscent of an experience of the prophet Ezekiel <ul><li>Eze 2:8-3:3 WEB … When I looked, behold, … a scroll … He said to me, Son of man, eat that which you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat the scroll. He said to me, Son of man, cause your belly to eat, and fill your bowels with this scroll that I give you. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. </li></ul>
  23. 23. In Revelation 11, John is told to measure God's temple <ul><li>Rev 11:1-2 WEB A reed like a rod was given to me. Someone said, “Rise, and measure God's temple, and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside of the temple, and don't measure it, for it has been given to the gentiles. They will tread the holy city under foot for forty-two months. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Zechariah similarly envisioned a man measuring Jerusalem <ul><li>Zec 2:1-5 WEB … behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then I asked, “Where are you going?” He said to me, “To measure Jerusalem ...” … and another angel went out to meet him, and said to him, “Run, speak to this young man, saying, 'Jerusalem will be inhabited as villages without walls, … For I,' says Yahweh, 'will be to her a wall of fire around it, and I will be the glory in the midst of her. </li></ul>
  25. 25. In Revelation 11, two witnesses preach for three-and-a-half years <ul><li>Rev 11:3-6 WEB I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands, standing before the Lord of the earth … These have the power to shut up the sky, that it may not rain ... They have power over the waters, to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague ... </li></ul>
  26. 26. These two witnesses remind us of the two olive branches in Zechariah 4 <ul><li>Zec 4:11-14 WEB Then I asked him, “What are these two olive trees on the right side of the lampstand and on the left side of it?” … He answered me, “Don't you know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” </li></ul>
  27. 27. The power to turn water to blood and inflict plagues reminds us of Moses <ul><li>Exo 7:19-21 WEB Yahweh said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, 'Take your rod, and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their ponds of water, that they may become blood … Moses and Aaron did so … and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. ... </li></ul>
  28. 28. The power to shut the sky and prevent rain reminds us of Elijah <ul><li>1Ki 17:1 WEB Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the foreigners of Gilead, said to Ahab, As Yahweh, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. </li></ul>
  29. 29. In Rev 12, John sees a war in heaven with Satan thrown to earth <ul><li>Rev 12:7-9 WEB There was war in the sky. Michael and his angels made war on the dragon. The dragon and his angels made war. They didn't prevail, neither was a place found for him any more in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. </li></ul>
  30. 30. The description sounds like a similar description in Isaiah 14 <ul><li>Isa 14:12-15 WEB How you are fallen from heaven, day-star, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; … I will make myself like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the uttermost parts of the pit. </li></ul>
  31. 31. In Revelation 13, John sees a beast coming out of the sea <ul><li>It has features of a leopard, bear and lion. </li></ul><ul><li>Rev 13:1-2 WEB Then I stood on the sand of the sea. I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads. On his horns were ten crowns, and on his heads, blasphemous names. The beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. </li></ul>
  32. 32. In a similar OT passage, Daniel saw four beasts coming out of the sea <ul><li>Dan 7:1-7 WEB … I saw in my vision … behold, the four winds of the sky broke forth on the great sea. Four great animals came up from the sea... The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings… another animal, a second, like a bear… another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; … a fourth animal … and it was diverse from all the animals that were before it; and it had ten horns. </li></ul>
  33. 33. In Rev. 14, God's judgment is seen as a harvest of grain, then grapes <ul><li>Rev 14:14-20 WEB … “Send forth your sickle, and reap… for the harvest of the earth is ripe!” He … thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped … “Send forth your sharp sickle … for the earth's grapes are fully ripe!” The angel … gathered the vintage of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. The winepress was trodden … and blood came out … even to the bridles of the horses, as far as one thousand six hundred stadia. </li></ul>
  34. 34. In the OT, harvesting grain and grapes depict God's judgment <ul><li>Joe 3:12-14 WEB &quot;… Put in the sickle; For the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the winepress is full, The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great.” … </li></ul><ul><li>Isa 63:1-6 WEB Who is this who comes from Edom … Why are you red in your clothing, and your garments like him who treads in the wine vat? I have trodden the winepress alone… I trod down the peoples in my anger … and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Rev. 18 begins with the proclamation that “Babylon the great” has fallen <ul><li>Rev 18:1-3 WEB After these things, I saw another angel coming down out of the sky… He cried with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great… For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality, the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from the abundance of her luxury.” </li></ul>
  36. 36. The prophets made similar proclamations in the OT <ul><li>Isa 21:9 WEB Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the … images of her gods are broken to the ground. </li></ul><ul><li>Jer 51:7-8 WEB Babylon … who made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunk of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed… </li></ul>
  37. 37. Revelation 19 describes the wedding supper of the Lamb <ul><li>Rev 19:5-9 WEB … “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns! Let us rejoice and be … glad, and let us give the glory to him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready.” It was given to her that she would array herself in bright, pure, fine linen: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. … </li></ul>
  38. 38. The prophets speak of Israel both as God's betrothed and as his wife <ul><li>Hos 2:19-20 WEB I will betroth you to me forever ... in righteousness, in justice, in loving kindness … and in compassion. I will … betroth you to me in faithfulness; And you shall know Yahweh. </li></ul><ul><li>Isa 54:1-8 WEB … For your Maker is your husband … For Yahweh has called you as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even a wife of youth, when she is cast off, says your God … </li></ul>
  39. 39. Jesus is the divine warrior with his enemies' blood on his clothes <ul><li>Rev 19:11-16 WEB … behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it … Faithful and True. In righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on his head are many crowns … He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood… Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, double-edged sword, that with it he should strike the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron.... He has … a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” </li></ul>
  40. 40. Portions of this picture come from Isaiah and the Psalms. <ul><li>Isa 63:1-6 WEB … I have trodden the winepress … trampled them in my wrath; … their lifeblood is sprinkled on my garments, and I have stained all my clothing … </li></ul><ul><li>Isa 11:1-5 WEB … a shoot out of … Jesse … shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth… Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness … of his loins. </li></ul><ul><li>Psa 2:9 WEB You shall break them with a rod of iron. </li></ul>
  41. 41. We could go on and on <ul><li>These examples barely scratch the surface of the rich allusions to the Old Testament that permeate Revelation. </li></ul><ul><li>John refers to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Psalms, Exodus, and Deuteronomy. </li></ul><ul><li>He often reinterprets Old Testament passages, giving them new meanings. </li></ul><ul><li>In order to understand Revelation, you have to know the Old Testament. </li></ul>