The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 20:1–3)

This entry is part 54 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

Passage Summary

After seeing Christ deal with the Antichrist and his forces, John then saw an angel come to earth with a key and a great chain (Rev 20:1). The angel bound Satan with the chain (Rev 20:2) and then used the key to open, shut, and seal the abyss where Satan would remain imprisoned for 1,000 years (Rev 20:3). Satan will be unable to deceive the nations for this time but for a mysterious necessity will be released for a little while thereafter (Rev 20:3).

Old Testament in the New

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
20:1–3 Gen 3:1, 13–14; Isa 24:21–22 Satan is the ancient serpent who will be shut up for a time in prison and punished again thereafter.

A Parting Thought

If God has an angel stronger than Satan, and if God is obviously infinitely stronger than that angel, Satan’s schemes today are certainly not out of God’s domain. It is a mystery to us that God allows evil today and would loose Satan after a time of being bound. Nonetheless, God is sovereign, wise, and good, and will bring all these things together for the good of His people. Ultimately, Satan is judged, and God’s people enjoy eternity without him.

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The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 19:17–21)

This entry is part 53 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

Passage Summary

After the descent of Christ and His army, anticipation of divine victory is intensified by an angel who noticeably stands in the sun and invites all the birds to eat of both man and horse that will be left for dead after battle (Rev 19:17–18). The Antichrist and his followers gathered to challenge Christ (Rev 19:19). The Antichrist and the false prophet are captured and thrown alive into the lake of fire (Rev 19:20). The rest of their army then fall in battle and are left to the vultures (Rev 19:21).

Old Testament in the New

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
19:17–18 Isa 34:6–7; Ezek 39:17–18 In God’s day of vengeance, blood is shed, and the birds are invited to eat.
19:19 Ps 2:2; Joel 3:9–11 The kings of the earth align themselves against God and Christ.  
19:20 Isa 30:33: Dan 7:11 The end of a godless king and especially the antichrist is to be burned with fire.  
19:21 Ezek 39:19–20 The birds are filled and gorge with the flesh of fallen warriors.  

A Parting Thought

There is no nobility in rejecting Christ or facing His judgment at the end of time. Most do not receive a burial, and the leaders of His rejection are cast alive into eternal punishment. Let us beware of what befalls the enemies of Christ!

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A Christmas Promise: Light and Life to All He Brings

From “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” the first two verses of the third stanza read as follows:

Hail, the heav’nborn Prince of Peace! Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings.

“The heav’nborn Prince of Peace” is obviously the Messiah (see Isaiah 9:6), but our understanding of the rest of these verses is not so immediate. Malachi 4:2 states, “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings” (ESV). How is it that Christ is Malachi’s “Sun of Righteousness” who is “Ris’n with healing in His wings”?

Roughly 400 years before Christ, Malachi called Israel to faithfulness in light of her sins after returning to her land from exile. Malachi 3:13–4:3 gives an instance of these sins, recording Israel’s “hard words” against God claiming service to Him was profitless because the arrogant and evildoers lived in prosperity (Malachi 3:13–15). God responded that the unrighteous would indeed be judged and that the righteous would be protected (Malachi 3:16–4:3). The righteous would also experience the blessings of global righteousness and healing (Malachi 4:2).

Scripture often uses light as a metaphor for righteousness, and a king’s rule could shine righteousness over his land. As David once said, “When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning” (2 Samuel 23:3–4). Likewise, Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah’s rule, “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” (Isaiah 9:2; cf. 9:6–7). The fullest light of Christ’s rule comes at the end of the ages. John saw of the New Jerusalem that “the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23; cf. 22:5).

Malachi then pictures the sun’s rays as wings taking healing to all. Wherever this sun shines righteousness, it also gives healing through its rays. David once spoke of the sun’s dawning rays as the “wings of the morning” that reach to “the uttermost parts of the sea” (Psalm 139:9). Wherever God’s righteous rule would be, so also would be His healing. The suffering of the Great Physician on the cross conquers not only sin but also its effects (Isaiah 53:4; cf. 35:5–6).

While Malachi did not speak directly of the Messiah as the sun with healing in His wings, this righteousness and healing obviously do not come apart from Him. As He will one day be the Lamp of the New Jerusalem, we can gladly permit the hymnist the poetic license to call Christ the Sun of Righteousness whose rising day brings Healing as far as His rays will fly.

Merry Christmas to all, and may we be the all to whom light and life He brings.

Christmas, the Face of Jesus, and the Story of the Gospel

It was a significant moment for some individuals when they saw the face of the infant Jesus. The Magi “saw the Child…and worshiped Him” (Matt 2:11). The shepherds “found…the baby.…When they had seen this…the shepherds returned, glorifying and praise God for all they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:16, 17, 20). Likewise, Simeon was promised “that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26) and would later say with the infant Jesus in his arms, “My eyes have seen Your salvation” (Luke 2:30). A proper perception of Jesus can only lead to worship because we see salvation in Him.

In the Scriptures as a whole, the story of looking on the face of God is one just one way to see the story of the gospel.

From an Innocent Look

In the beginning, man regularly saw the face of God. After Adam and Eve sinned, “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and…hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God” (Gen 3:8). (“Presence,” pānêh, could be translated “face” or at least assumes its visibility in this setting.) Apparently, Adam and Eve were accustomed to walking with the pre-incarnate Son of God in the garden before the fall of man into sin. He likely appeared to them as a man, showing His face to them.

To an Occasional Glimpse

As a consequence of sin, man lost the privilege of regularly being in God’s presence  and seeing His face (cf. Gen 3:22–24). In fact, man’s sinfulness led to fearing the presence and face of God. Just as Adam and Eve hid in the garden, so also men such as Moses, Elijah, and Manoah feared to look upon God (Exod 3:6; Judg 13:22; 1 Kgs 19:13). The rarity of seeing His face shifted language about the matter to become figurative for blessing and not to be understood in a literal manner (e.g., Num 6:24–26; Ps 11:7; 17:15; 31:16; 67:1; 80:3, 7, 19, 119:135). If anyone was to look upon the face of God, it was typically a prophet, and even then, to look upon God’s face was rare. Moses illustrates this fact. As he himself recounted, “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend” (Exod 33:11), something so rare that it would later be said at his death, “Since that time no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face” (Deut 34:10).

But Look Again

But then, God sent His Son, and in seeing the Son, man also saw the Father. As Jesus said, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him” (John 14:7). His person, face included, had “no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to him” (Isa 53:2). At the same time, in showing us the Father, He was and “is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb 1:3).

So, though God had once banished man from being able to regularly see His face, He showed it on occasion and spoke regularly to Moses. Then, God the Son walked among man, and all who saw Him could see that God was now graciously speaking to man through His Son. How would they react?

Though some believed, the greater number eventually marred the face of Jesus, showing what he thought of Him as a whole. With words spoken on His behalf before His time, Jesus could have said, “I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting” (Isa 50:6). Told by Mark, “Some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, ‘Prophesy!’ And the officers received Him with slaps in the face” (Mark 14:65).

Then, the Son of God was put on the cross, and as darkness overtook Golgotha, so also the Father forsook His Son. Perhaps we could say that He looked away from His face so that His Son who knew no sin could become sin for you and me so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (Mark 15:33–34; 2 Cor 5:21).

And See Him Now

And now, to our advantage (cf. John 16:7), we no longer physically see our Savior’s face. Rather, we see His face through the gospel. God makes our Savior’s face clear to us by pouring His light into our hearts and revealing to us the knowledge of His glory concerning our salvation through His Son (2 Cor 4:6). And while not seeing our Savior with the eyes of our heads, we see Him with the eyes of our hearts, believe in Him, love Him, and are eternally blessed for doing so (John 20:29; 1 Pet 1:8; cf. Eph 1:18). As we keep our eyes fixed upon Him, we run our Christian race until we one day join Him in heaven (Heb 12:1–2).

And See Him Fully in Time to Come

When we get there, we will be “face to face” with Jesus, knowing Him fully as we shall be fully known (1 Cor 13:12). We will be glorified and thus be “like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). And for us at that time, “They shall see His face” (Rev 22:4). What Adam lost long ago, we shall have in perfection and with no potential to lose it again.

May we see Jesus as the Magi, shepherds, and Simeon saw Him long ago—not only with our eyes, but also with our hearts, worshiping Him because we truly see Him for who He is, the Savior of the world. And may we thereby see His face one day when it shines on us forevermore.

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The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 19:11–16)

This entry is part 52 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

Passage Summary

John then saw the heavens opened with a Rider, Faithful and True, coming to earth on a white horse to righteousness war and judge the world (Rev 19:11). This Rider is obviously Christ. He sees and judges all things, is sovereign over all, and has the prerogative to withhold His name (Rev 19:12; cf. Gen 32:29; Judg 13:18). As with His crowns, His blood-dipped robe looks ahead to victory, and His name is The Word of God (Rev 19:13; cf. John 1:1). The saints accompany Him as His army (Rev 19:14; cf. 19:8). His commands and weapons lead to the death of His enemies in carrying out the wrath of His Father (Rev 19:15). His name King of kings and Lord of lords finds fulfillment here in taking His kingdom back to Himself (Rev 19:16).

Old Testament in the New

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
19:11 Ps 18:10; 45:3–4; Isa 11:4–5 God rides upon on of His creatures to carry out righteousness in His creation.
19:13, 1 Isa 63:3 The blood of God’s enemies is on His garments as the winepress of His wrath is trodden.
19:15 Ps 2:8–9; Isa 11:4 Christ slays His enemies with His mouth and a rod of iron.
19:16 Deut 10:17 God is called Lord of Lords.

A Parting Thought

Christ’s coming is for wrath. May we be watchful for His coming so that we might join His heavenly army and not be among the forces of Satan who oppose Him in that day.

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The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 19:6–10)

This entry is part 51 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

Passage Summary

John heard a great multitude (probably angels) loudly and climactically praise God for establishing His reign over the harlot (Rev 19:6; cf. chs. 17–18). God was also to be honored in light of the coming marriage of the church to Christ (Rev 19:7)—it was the Father who brought it about that the Bride would adorn herself with righteous deeds and be properly clothed for her wedding (Rev 19:8). John was then commanded by the angel to describe those who would be present for the marriage supper as blessed, and the angel affirmed the truth of these words (Rev 19:9). John then attempted to worship the angel but was sharply rebuked (Rev 19:10a). The angel reminded John that he was simply a messenger of the testimony of Jesus, just as John was through revelation given to him by the Spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:b; cf. 1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10).

Old Testament in the New

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
19:6 Ps 93:1; 97:1 The Lord’s reign is reason for praise throughout the ages.
19:6 Ezek 1:24; 43:2; Dan 10:6 Voices and wings of angels can sound like many waters or people speaking at once.
19:7–8 Isa 61:10 Praise goes to God who clothes His bride in righteousness now and fully in time to come.

A Parting Thought

We worship God and Him alone for the righteousness that He grants us in Christ and the righteous deeds that He enables us to do. May we praise Him for the righteousness we have now and for the full experience of righteousness in time to come!

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The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 19:1–5)

This entry is part 50 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

Passage Summary

Rejoicing over the fall of Babylon (cf. Rev 18:20), John heard the voice of angels praising God for His salvation, glory, and power (Rev 19:1; cf. 19:5) in light of judging Babylon and avenging the blood of the martyrs (Rev 19:2). They praised God again for the eternality of this judgment (Rev 19:3). The twenty-four elders and four living creatures affirmed these words and praised God as well (Rev 19:4), and a voice from one near the throne called upon the entirety of God’s servants to do the same (Rev 19:5).

Old Testament in the New

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
19:1, 3–4 Jer 51:48 Heave rejoices over the fall of Babylon.
19:2 Deut 32:43 God avenges the blood of His martyred people.
19:3 Isa 34:9–10 Never-ending smoke is both a judgment and reminder to others of this judgment.
19:5 Ps 134:1; 135:1 The servants of God are called to worship Him.

A Parting Thought

Sin and persecution do not go unnoticed. Though unbelievers seem to enjoy sin and oppressing believers without restraint in the present, God will have His day of judgment, something worth singing about.

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Three Interpretive Questions from Galatians 3:16

1) What are the plural promises?

Paul refers later to the singular promise of Abraham (Gal 3:17). Why does he refer to the plural promises here? Either he refers to each aspect of the promise to Abraham as individual promises (i.e., land, descendants, and blessing), or, more likely, he refers to promises because the promise is given multiple times. Repeatedly promised were descendants, blessing, and land (Gen 12:1–3, 7; 13:15–16; 15:5, 18; 17:8; 18:18; 22:17–18; 24:7; 26:3–4, 24; 28:4, 13–14; 32:12; 35:12; 48:4, 19). Also promised was the defeat of enemies who stood in the way of seeing those promises fully realized (Gen 22:17b; 24:60).

2) Where do we find “And to your offspring” in the OT?

If we demand that every word is an exact quotation from the OT and specifically the “and” in this phrase, we likely have to choose between Gen 13:15 or 17:8 as the source of our quotation. And, since Paul is speaking about the Abrahamic covenant, this issue is more at the fore in Gen 17:8.

At the same time, Paul has previously conflated and mixed quotations earlier in Galatians 3 (see Gal 3:8 with Gen 12:3 and 18:18; also see Gal 3:10 with Deut 27:26 and 28:58). So, if we allow some flexibility with this quotation here and do not demand that it must be exact in its correspondence to its OT source (particularly the “and”), possible sources could be Gen 12:7, 15:18, 22:18, or 24:7. Gen 22:18 is a favorite for some because of its correspondence to the context of Galatians 3—both passages speak of universal blessing that comes through the offspring of Abraham.

However, one takes it, Gen 17:8 seems to be the best source for the quotation, but it is a representative quote that assumes more is promised than just the land in that one verse. The quote brings to mind all the promises and everything that was promised, which is important to our next question.

3) How does Paul get Christ out of a promise made to Abraham?

Wherever we source our quotation in answering the question above, the issue here is what Abraham would have understood in the word offspring when he heard God’s promise spoken to him (and Moses, too, for that matter, since he recorded the matter). Paul identifies the offspring as Christ. Did Abraham also think that Christ was the recipient of the promise that worldwide blessing would come to all through Him?

Perhaps the best way to understand the promise to this offspring is to understand offspring in a generic sense and yet realize that it also referred to one specific male offspring who would see the promise realized in full. This understanding seems to be how Abraham and others would have understood it then, which explains why Paul would have identified the offspring as Christ as well.

The recipient of Abraham’s promise was his offspring, which could refer to anyone who was an offspring of Abraham. Whether to Isaac, Jacob, or Israel collectively as a nation, they, too, received the promises first given to Abraham. And, the blessing to the nations through them would have come by these nations blessing them and having faith in the promise themselves (Gen 12:3). The Offspring who received the promise to Abraham and brings blessing to the nations in its fullest form is obviously Christ because of what He did on the cross. By blessing Him, so to speak, through believing in Him, anyone among the nations of the earth may find himself blessed in that he is declared righteous before God through his faith.

The term offspring in two other instances is used similarly. First, Gen 3:15 promised that the seed of the woman would strive with but eventually crush the serpent. While it was singularly “he” who would crush the serpent’s head (obviously Christ), we find later that Satan’s crushing also involves the feet of believers as well (Rom 16:20). The struggle between Christ and Satan is shown through the plural offspring of each throughout the ages, as seen as early as the struggle between Abel and Cain in Gen 4 (cf. 1 John 3:9–10, 12). So, while Christ is the singular Offspring who crushes Satan in the end, so also all the offspring of the woman who are in Him will enjoy victory over Satan as well. Offspring can refer to both Christ and many offspring.

Second, 2 Sam 7:12–13 promised to David that his offspring would have his kingdom established and that the throne would be established forever. While some of David’s offspring were kings who saw their thrones established in part, the greatest Offspring of David is obviously Christ who will come again and rule forever. Again, offspring here refers ultimately to Christ and other offspring before Him.

Added to all of the above is the fact that we have seen at least three stands of promises to offspring that all find their greatest fulfillment in Christ. The original readers of the OT would easily have understood the offspring from one promise to the other to find partial fulfillment in their day, knowing that one day the promise’s greatest fulfillment would be in the greater Offspring to come.

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A Summary of Paul’s Use of the OT in Galatians 3:10–14

If Galatians were summarized in a sentence, it could be this: justification is by faith alone and not by doing the works of the law (Gal 2:16; cf. 2:16–21). Supporting this truth in Galatians 3:10–14, Paul quotes the OT numerous times.

First, in Gal 3:10, Paul quotes Deut 27:26 and adds wording from Deut 28:58 as well. His point here is that, rather than finding justification, those who rely on the works of the law will actually find themselves cursed with death for failing to perfectly obey the law. Paul assumes here a truth so obvious that it does not even need stating—that, due to sin, it is impossible for anyone to perfectly obey the law (cf. 1 Kgs 8:46; Prov 20:9; Ecc 7:20). So, anyone who attempts to do the law in order to be justified actually ends up under the curse of death.

Second, in Gal 3:11, Paul quotes Hab 2:4. His point here is to again show that doing the law does not justify anyone. The quote positively shows that those who are righteous will live (eternally) by faith. The quote negatively implies that the law has no role to play in being justified before God because it says nothing about the matter and has already positively affirmed the role of faith. So, it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law.

Third, in Gal 3:12, Paul quotes Lev 18:5. His point is to show that the law grants life (theoretically) by simply doing it. Faith is not even mentioned. But again, here we assume that doing the law perfectly is impossible due to sin, which means that no one can ever attain eternal life thereby.

Fourth, in Gal 3:13, Paul quotes Deut 21:23. His point here is to show how Jesus became a curse for us so that He could die for our sins on our behalf. After an execution for some heinous sin, the body of the punished would sometimes be hung upon a tree as a public display of what happened to those who sinned in such a way (see Deut 21:22–23). While not yet dead, Jesus hung on the cross and then died on it, and the OT text could be applied to Him as well. He did nothing to deserve this curse and punishment, and what He suffered, He suffered for us.

There is obviously more to Gal 3:10–14 than what is said above, but we have at least seen that (1) all are under the curse of death, (2) righteousness comes by faith, (3) no one can do the law perfectly, and (4) Jesus took the curse of death upon Himself for us when He died on the cross. Praise God for a wonderful Savior!

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Genesis 12:3 + 15:6 + 18:18 = Justification by Faith for All

In Galatians 3:6–9, Paul supports the truth that God declares one righteous by faith alone by quoting three passages, Genesis 12:3, 15:6, and 18:18.

The first quotation supports the truth that righteousness comes to all by faith alone by holding up Abraham as the paradigmatic example of this truth. Quoting Gen 15:6, Gal 3:6 states, “Abraham ‘believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’”

Paul used this quote to claim “that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham” (Gal 3:7), that is, that anyone who believes is declared righteous by God and truly one of Abraham’s sons. The title “sons of Abraham” was likely used by Jews who claimed that obeying the Mosaic Law was necessary for one to be declared righteous before God. Just as the Law came from those who were the sons of Abraham, so also, they thought, must one obey the Law in order to be a son of Abraham and thus receive the blessing that was first promised to him (cf. Gen 12:3). However, Paul corrected this thinking by basing one’s claim to this title on believing (faith), not doing. Abraham did nothing for God to declare him righteous. He simply believed. (And, the law had not even come yet!)

The second quotation supports the truth that righteousness comes to all by faith alone by noting faith as the means whereby God’s promise of blessing to Abraham is extended to the Gentiles. Conflating Gen 12:3 with Gen 18:18, Gal 3:8 states, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’” The original Hebrew of Gen 12:3 technically promises blessing through Abraham to all “families” or “tribes,” but Gen 18:18 (and Paul) gives the sense of these recipients by stating that “all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in” Abraham.

In one sense, the promise of blessing is extended through Abraham (“in you”) to all who have redemption in Christ Jesus, the greatest Descendant of Abraham (Gal 3:14). Closer to home for Gal 3:8 is Gal 3:9, which states as well that it is “those who are of faith” who “are blessed along with Abraham.” So, we could say that we are blessed “in Abraham” through his Descendant Christ Jesus and also by receiving this blessing through the same faith that Abraham exercised so long ago.

As Abraham simply believed and was declared righteous by God, so also it is true that we only need to believe to be declared righteous as well. And this faith is the means whereby God’s blessing of being declared righteous by Him comes to us as Gentiles who make up the nations of the earth.

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