The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 10:1–7)

Passage Summary

A mighty, heaven-sent, cloud-wrapped, rainbow-cloaked, sun-faced, fire-legged angel held a little open scroll and stood with his feet on the land and sea (10:1–2).  He gave a lion-like call, bringing about seven thunders, revealing things that John was not allowed to write (10:3–4). It may be that these divine descriptions indicate that this angel (angelos) is Christ Himself, the great Messenger (also angelos) of God (cf. Rev 1:15, 16; 4:3; 5:5; OT verses below). The angel then raised his right hand, swore by God, and promised that the seventh trumpet’s sound would bring about the fulfillment of the mystery of God (10:5–7), meaning that the end of this age would be initiated by the blowing of the seventh trumpet.

Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
10:1 Exod 19:9; Ezek 1:26–28 God presents Himself in the cloud and rainbow.
10:3 Gen 49:9; Amos 3:8; Ps 29:3 The voice of God is like the lion and thunder.
10:4 Dan 8:26; 12:4, 9 Some prophecies are sealed to remain unknown for a time.
10:5–7 Deut 32:40; Dan 12:7 Lifted hands and swearing precede judgment. In Daniel and Revelation, the context is the final three and one-half years of this age.
10:6 Gen 1:1 God created all things.
10:7 Amos 3:7 God has announced the end to the prophets.

 A Parting Thought 

For all the mystery of this angel and what is left unwritten from the seven thunders, it should be impressed upon the one who reads that further and more severe judgment is yet to come. And when it does, it means that Christ is claiming His kingdom on earth back to Himself in full (cf. Rev 11:15)!


The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 9:13–21)

Passage Summary

The sixth angel blew his trumpet, after which a voice commanded the release of four bound angels (cf. 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6; Rev 20:1) who were to lead an army of 200,000,000 to kill a third of mankind (9:13–16). The army consisted of riders and horses that are the colors of fire and smoke and had lion-like heads that killed by spewing forth fire, smoke, and sulfur (9:17–18). Grammatically, the riders or horses or both could be wearing breastplates. The horses also wounded mankind with their serpent-like tails (9:19; cf. 9:10). The rest of mankind, one-half of the population that began to suffer the judgments up to this point (cf. 6:8), refused to repent of their demonic idolatry, murder, sorceries, immorality, or theft (9:20–21).

Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
9:14 Gen 15:18; Deut 1:7;
Josh 1:4
The land where judgment originates is the same promised to Abraham’s descendants.

 A Parting Thought 

God will be God and exact justice from man in this time of pouring out His accumulated wrath. And man will be man by defying God in spite of the presence of overwhelming judgment. Let us examine ourselves to make sure that the sins left unconfessed in 9:20–21 are in no way our own!


The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 9:1–12)

Passage Summary 

After the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, a star (angel) came down to earth to open the abyss, releasing smoke that created much darkness (9:1–2). Supernatural creatures (perhaps demonic; cf. Luke 8:31; Jude 6; 2 Pet 2:4) were also released to torment unbelievers for five months, leaving them wishing for death instead (9:3–6). Designated as locusts, their armor, crowns, face, hair, teeth, and wings show them to be altogether unique (9:7–10). Their feature of note is their tail whereby they sting and torment unbelievers (9:10). Their king is the Destroyer, an angel from heaven (9:11; cf. 9:1). This judgment is the first of three woes, which are the final three of seven trumpet judgments (9:12).

Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
9:1 Isa 14:12–14 A star is said to fall from heaven to earth.
9:2 Gen 19:28; Exod 19:18 Great activities of God are accompanied by smoke.
9:3 Exod 10:12–15 Locusts are an instrument of judgment by God.
9:4 Ezek 9:4 God’s seal protects His own in the midst of judgment against unbelievers.
9:6 Job 3:21 People long for death in the midst of difficult circumstances (but do not act to bring it about).
9:8 Joel 1:6 The one metaphorically described with lion’s teeth or actually possessing them is one who has great power over the enemy.
9:9 Joel 2:5 The noise of a great army is overwhelming.
9:11 Job 26:6; 28:22; 31:12; Ps 88:11; Prov 15:11 Abbadon/Apollyon is parallel with the grave and has the idea of destruction.

A Parting Thought

If God will protect His own in the midst of the world culminating judgment, surely He has the power to watch over us today.


The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 8:6–13)

Passage Summary

The seven angels prepared to blow their trumpets (8:6). The first trumpet signaled the burning of a third of the earth, trees, and grass with hail, fire, and blood (8:7). The second trumpet signaled a third of the sea becoming blood, destroying a third of its animal life and ships along the way (8:8–9). The third trumpet signaled the falling of Wormwood (perhaps an angel named for the associated judgment) who poisoned the water, bringing death to many who drank it (8:10–11). The fourth trumpet signaled the partial darkening of the sun, moon, and stars during the day and night (8:12). An eagle then cried a threefold woe to the earth-dwellers in light of the three judgments to follow (8:13; cf. 9:12; 11:14; 12:12).

Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
8:7 Exod 9:23–25 Both judgments include hail and fire, elements that contributing to destroying the land.
8:8–9 Exod 7:17–19 Both judgments include water turning into blood, resulting in the death of aquatic life.
8:10 Isa 14:12 Both texts refer to a star that falls from heaven. It is debated whether the star in Revelation is an angel and whether or not the star in Isaiah is the fallen angel Satan.
8:11 Jer 9:15; 23:15 These judgments include poisoned water which results in the death of those who drink it.
8:13 Hos 8:1 Both texts involve judgment, eagles/vultures, and trumpets.

A Parting Thought

The land, the sea, the waters, and the luminaries—what a day of judgment this will be! And yet more woe to come. May we praise God that this day is not for us, and may we live wisely and soberly so that we can be assured that this wrath is not for us.


Joy to the World (Isaiah 9:1–7)

2016.01.05 - joy to the worldWhat gives joy to the world during this Christmas season? It’s what gave Israel joy so long ago as we will see from Isaiah 9:1–7. (Note: Scroll to the end of this post to read Isaiah 9:1–7.)

In Isaiah 9:1–3, we see light and joy in the midst of darkness and gloom. Isaiah gives a bright future through a perfect King in contrast to the wicked Ahaz who led Israel into idolatry (cf. 2 Chron 28:1–4). The Israelites who had lived and walked in darkness would suddenly walk in a great light that shines upon them (9:2). The nation would be multiplied, and the nation’s joy would be as in harvest time or when spoil is divided after having conquered an enemy (9:3).

In Isaiah 9:4–7, Isaiah gives three reasons for Israel’s joy (note the “for” that begins 9:4, 5, 6–7).

The first reason for joy is because Israel would be free. Israel would find such joy is because the yoke of her oppressor’s burden and the staff and rod that forced her subjection (Isa 9:4; cf. 10:24–27).

The second reason for joy is because war will be no more. The picture of peace is not to pause and look over the corpses of Israel’s slain enemies but rather the burning of boots and blood-soaked garments from battle, implying that such things are no longer needed (Isa 9:5).

The third reason for joy is because freedom and peace come through the Messiah, an entirely unique individual who is both human and divine. The fact that he would be a child and a son given to Israel emphasizes His humanity (Isa 9:6). Though not called a king in this passage, the government’s placement on His shoulder implies His royalty (Isa 9:6).

Along with these descriptions of the Messiah, four titles for this King indicate why peace and joy will permeate the world at this time.

  1. Wonderful Counselor – The wisdom of this Ruler and His counsel are perfect, allowing Him to be described, literally, as a “wonder of a counselor,” a Counselor who exceeds all other kings in the giving of His counsel.
  2. Mighty God – As elsewhere, this name describes God Himself (cf. Isa 10:21; Deut 10:17; Ps 24:8; Jer 32:18). Here we see the royal Child born to Israel is King and Mighty God.
  3. Everlasting Father – This title could be translated “father of eternity.” The eternality of a royal figure in Israel echoes the Davidic covenant. God promised David a descendant who would rule on his throne forever (2 Sam 7:16). The idea of this King being a father either indicates that He Himself is over eternity (“Father of eternity”) or that He will provide paternal care for Israel forever (“everlasting Father”; cf. Gen 45:8).
  4. Prince of Peace – As promised in the Davidic covenant (2 Sam 7:10–11), this King would bring Israel to a time where she will be disturbed no more and be completely rid of her enemies (cf. Isa 11:6–9).

This King’s government would exist and provide peace without end (9:7), and this King would be the promised Davidic descendant who was promised to bring about such a time (Isa 9:7; cf. 2 Sam 7:10–11, 16). Perfect justice and righteousness will prevail because God Himself will zealously see to its fulfillment (Isa 9:7).

Just as Israel had joy in these promises then, so also these promises bring joy to the world today. Israel’s promised King is our King as well, the Lord Jesus Christ. His rule is not just over one nation but all the nations. His rule is manifested in part for now but will be in full when He comes again. At that time, His counsel, might, paternal care, and peace will carry on for all eternity. Such hope brings joy the world now and will be joy to the world then and forever.

Isaiah 9:1–7 (ESV)

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,

on them has light shone.

You have multiplied the nation;

you have increased its joy;

they rejoice before you

as with joy at the harvest,

as they are glad when they divide the spoil.

For the yoke of his burden,

and the staff for his shoulder,

the rod of his oppressor,

you have broken as on the day of Midian.

For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult

and every garment rolled in blood

will be burned as fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace

there will be no end,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it

with justice and with righteousness

from this time forth and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.


Who Are the Gods in Psalm 82?

2016-11-02-dore_gustave_-_paradiso_canto_31Psalm 82:1 states, “God has taken his place in the divine council,” a line parallel in thought to the next: “in the midst of the gods he holds judgment” (ESV). The divine council is made up of the gods. These gods are charged with injustice and partiality (Ps 82:2–4) and lacking the knowledge and understanding necessary to their roles (82:5). God thus condemns these gods for their sins, addressing them directly: “I said, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince’” (Ps 82:6–7 ESV). The psalmist ends with a plea for God to restore justice, something these gods could not do (Ps 82:8).

Who are these gods?

One suggestion is that the gods are human rulers based on the use of elohim in other passages (cf. Exod 21:6; 22:8–9, 28; Deut 1:17), but it is questionable as to whether or not these passages refer to gods as human rulers or (more likely) God Himself, only implying the role of these rulers.

Another suggestion is that these gods are angels, being that these “sons of the Most High” (Ps 82:6) are the same as angels identified elsewhere as  “the sons of God” (Job 1:6; 2:1; cf also Job 38:7; Exod 15:11; Ps 8:6; 29:1; 89:6–7).

Throwing a sound view of Scripture out the window is the view that Israel saw her God ruling among the pantheon of gods, just as the nations around them. The reality of God and these gods in this view is not necessary, since Israel’s religion is simply one to be compared to many of like, human origin.

What seems to be the best understanding is that these gods are the people of Israel who were accountable to administer justice according to God’s Word. Both God and gods are translations of the same Hebrew term elohim, a word that is technically in the plural. In the Hebrew, a plural noun can sometimes bring out the majesty of a singular referent, as is the case with God. Since elohim refers to both the Judge of sinners and the sinners being judged in this psalm, context obviously decides the translation of each instance of elohim. Within the psalm, these gods are responsible for judging the matters of men, do so poorly, and are thus condemned to death, the last of which indicates they are human.

Another indicator that these gods are human is Jesus’ argument against the Jews in John 10:34–36. Jesus was accused of making Himself out to be God by claiming He and the Father were one (John 10:33; cf. 10:30). In response, Jesus quoted part of Ps 82:6 (“I said, you are gods”) in order to remind His opponents that “he called them gods to whom the word of God came” (John 10:34–35). Being written by Asaph, one of David’s musicians (ca. 1000 BC), a reference to the coming of the Word of God would have referred to God’s giving of the Law to Israel on the mountain over 400 years earlier (cf. Exod 19–24). Jesus’ argument went from the lesser to greater and could be summarized like this: if God could call these erring Israelites gods, then all the more am I justified in calling myself the Son of God who was consecrated and sent by the Father (John 10:35–36).

Being more specific, these gods were not just humans but those who had the responsibility of administrating justice according to the Word of God on His behalf. It is no surprise that Asaph would call them elohim. Using this one term in multiple instances and moving back and forth between meanings poetically highlighted the importance of their responsibility to administer justice on God’s behalf.


Our Blessed Hope

2016-10-13-sky_cloudsThe passages below speak of the appearing, revelation, and coming of Christ. Were we to transliterate the Greek words in each verse below, we could speak of Christ’s epiphany (appearing), apocalypse (revelation), and parousia (coming). While these terms make for an interesting study, especially when used other passages, it encourages us first and foremost to see how their use equips us to be better “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13; cf. 1 Cor 1:7).

We should not question “the promise of his coming,” as do false teachers who do not recognize that Christ’s delay in coming is time given for more people to repent (2 Pet 3:4, 9). Rather, we should “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord…the coming of the Lord is at hand” (Jas 5:7–8).

Until Christ comes again, we should abide in Him “so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28). Towards that end, we should pray that we would “be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 5:23). Should we suffer for Him, we should “rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Pet 4:13; i.e., the glory of Christ).

We look forward to reuniting with deceased believers through the resurrection and rapture that accompany the return of Christ. Among the resurrected “at his coming” will be “those who belong to Christ” (1 Cor 15:23). Living believers “who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thess 4:15). Deceased believers are resurrected, and all are raptured and reunited in the air with the Lord (1 Thess 4:16–17). This event is “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him” (2 Thess 2:1).

When He does come again, we look forward to our glorification and are thus commanded to “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:13). We also anticipate that “the tested genuineness of your faith…may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:7). Added to this praise and glory and honor is the reward for our ministry to others, which Paul describes for himself as the “hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming” (1 Thess 2:19).

Summarizing the above, we do not doubt but patiently wait for Christ to come again. Until then, we should abide in Him, suffer as God sees necessary, and live blamelessly before Him. Our hope is not just in Christ Himself, but also the many blessings His coming brings. We are reunited with the believing dead and raptured together to Him. Our faith is then praised, and we are rewarded for our service to God. What an amazing return this will be! This truly is our blessed hope!


The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 8:1–5)

Passage Summary

Upon opening the seventh seal, there was silence and then a procession of seven angels who were each given a trumpet (8:1–2). An eighth angel offered incense with the prayers of the saints on an altar before the throne of God (8:3–4). Taking some fire from the altar with his censer, the angel cast it on the earth, bringing about harbingers of judgment― thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake (8:5).

Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
8:3–4 Ps 141:2 Prayers and incense are both offered up to God.
8:3–5 Ezek 10:1–7 In a vision, fire is taken from before God and cast to the location to be judged.
8:5 Exod 19:16–19 Trumpets, thunder, and an earthquake are used to bring attention to God. Cf. Rev 8:6–21; 11:16–19.

A Parting Thought

Heaven went silent with knowing that judgment would follow. A healthy fear of the wrath to come should likewise sober us all.


The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 7:9–17)

Passage Summary

John saw an innumerable, ethnically diverse multitude, redeemed and rejoicing by ascribing salvation to God and the Lamb (7:9–10). All the angels, elders, and four creatures then prostrated themselves to likewise ascribe to the Father eternal blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might (7:12). John was asked and then told the identity of the white-robed multitude―those who came out of the great tribulation, assumedly by martyrdom (7:13–14). Their newfound privilege was to continuously serve the Father in His temple, sheltered by His presence from the plagues still ravaging the people on earth (7:16). Guided by the Lamb, they would drink from living water in heaven, and the Father would wipe away their tears (7:17; cf. 21:4).

Old Testament in the New

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
7:9 Gen 16:10; 32:12; et al. The “great multitude” reflects the language of God’s promises to the patriarchs of Israel.
7:9 Lev 23:40 Palm branches often accompany rejoicing.
7:10 Ps 3:8 Both passages ascribe salvation to God.
7:16 Ps 121:5–6; Isa 49:10 Hunger, thirst, and scorching do not last for God’s people.
7:17 Ps 23:1–2; Ezek 34:23 The Great Shepherd leads His sheep to water.
7:17 Isa 25:8 God will wipe away the tears of the redeemed.

A Parting Thought

Man can harm the body but not the soul. Whatever suffering one may undergo here on earth, there is nothing so overwhelming that it can rob us of what shall be. What this multitude enjoys then will be ours forever as well, and like them, we should do no less than to offer our praise to the Father and the Son!


How Well Do You Understand God’s Word?

2014.10.31 - boy studying from 1924Scripture indicates that some understand God’s Word better than others. An unbeliever does not truly understand God’s Word in that, without the Spirit, he does not see its value to himself and thus rejects it (1 Cor 2:14–15). Believers truly understand God’s Word, and vary in their understanding of it.

Those Who Misunderstand

Negatively, some completely misunderstand God’s Word. They hear it, reject it, and even use it as a means of ungodly gain. Referring to what false teachers do with Paul’s letters, Peter states, “There are some things in them… which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Pet 3:16).

Those Who Understand But Should Understand More

Some hear and believe God’s Word, but they do not advance in their understanding and application of it as much as they could and should, which is to their shame. Before explaining the complexities of how Christ is a priest like Melchizedek, the author of Hebrews stated that, for his readers, “it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb 5:11–14; cf. 4:14–5:10). Some Christians had not grown much in their understanding of God’s Word, and in the time lost, they could and should have been teachers of God’s Word to others.

Those Who Understand Well

Others are teachers and understand some things better than others. Quoting 2 Pet 3:16 again, Peter said of Paul’s letters, “There are some things in them that are hard to understand.” Paul understood what he wrote. For others, however, these things were not as understandable.

No One Has Reached His Limit

Really, though some might understand truth about God better than others, there is no end for us in growing in our understanding of God’s Word, and what knowledge we possess is no reason to boast (1 Cor 8:1). There are many things yet unrevealed (Deut 29:29), and more that could have been said was not (John 21:25). Until glorification, the command to grow in the knowledge of God is ours to obey, implying there is always more to know (2 Pet 3:18). And even then, we as finite beings will never fully comprehend our infinite God, giving us cause to glorify Him forever (Rom 11:33–36).