The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 4:1–6a)

This entry is part 11 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

Passage Summary

Jesus called John to heaven to look through a door to see what would take place in the future (4:1; cf. 1:10, 19). John went up and had his second vision in the Spirit (4:2; cf. 1:10; 17:3; 21:10), which begins with a description of the Father’s throne and its background (4:2–3; cf. 5:7). The jasper is clear (cf. Rev 21:11), the carnelian perhaps a dark red, and emerald a green (4:2–3). Twenty-four men who lead heaven’s worship (see below) have their own thrones (4:4), but it is the Father’s throne that emanates glorious phenomena to bring attention to Himself (4:5). Before Him is the seven-fold Spirit, indicating His all-seeing presence, and sea of clear glass, similar to the clear jasper of his throne (4:6a).

Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
4–5 Dan 7:9–28 The setting is similar―both look and see thrones, fire, and the Father. Both see the Son approach the Father.
4:1 Ezek 1:1 Both see into heaven and have a vision.
4:2 Isa 6:1; Ezek 1:26–28; Dan 7:9 All four see a divine figure on a throne, whether Father (John, Daniel) or Son (Ezekiel, Isaiah; cf. John 12:41).
4:3 Exod 24:10; Ezek 1:26; 10:1 The throne of God is made of some kind of clear, heavenly stone.
4:3 Gen 9:13–17; Ezek 1:28 God displays Himself on occasion with a rainbow in the background.
4:4 1 Chr 25:1, 31 Both temples had twenty-four who ministered in music with harps (cf. Rev 5:8).
4:5 Exod 19:16; Ezek 1:13–14 Thunder and lightning sometimes accompany the presence of God, sometimes being creatures whose movements are described in this way.
4:5 Exod 25:37; Zech 4:2, 10 The Spirit sees all on earth in perfection, nothing of which escapes the very presence of God (cf. Ps 139:7; Rev 3:1; 4:5; 5:6).
4:6 Ezek 1:22, 26; 10:1 Each throne scene has something like glass or crystal in either the background or foreground.

 A Parting Thought 

“Like,” “likeness,” and “as it were”―there are no human words to accurately describe the glory of God. Be amazed!

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The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 4:6b–11)

This entry is part 12 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

Passage Summary

Distinct and yet similar to the creatures in Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 1 and 10, four creatures were on all sides of the throne, covered with eyes on their bodies and wings (4:6, 8). Their faces were like a lion, ox, man, and eagle, perhaps symbolizing the honor, strength, intelligence, and speed whereby God through them would execute His judgment upon the world (4:7; cf. 6:1–8). Day and night they ceaselessly brought attention to the holiness, sovereignty, and eternality of the Father (4:8). When they would give such glory, honor, and thanks to the Father, the twenty-four elders would prostrate themselves in worshiping the Father, cast their crowns before His throne, and likewise ascribe to the Father worth, glory, honor, and power in light of His role as the Creator (4:9–11).

 Old Testament in the New

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
4:6 Ezek 1:5, 18 Each prophet records the presence of four creatures. (Isaiah 6 records multiple seraphim but does not specify how many there are.)
4:6, 8 Ezek 10:12 The chariot rims are full of eyes, as are the creatures recorded by John.
4:7 Ezek 1:10; 10:14 The four faces are similar, though Ezekiel’s four creatures each have all four faces in Ezek 1. In Ezek 10, an ox is switched for a cherub.
4:8–9 Isa 6:2–3; Both sets of creatures ascribe to the Father holiness and sovereignty.
4:9 Deut 32:40; Dan 4:34; 6:26; 12:7 God is Him who lives forever.
4:11 Gen 1:1 The Father created all things.

A Parting Thought

Isaiah, Ezekiel, and John describe different beings. Imagine what our awe for God shall be as we see and hear them together giving glory to Him!

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

This entry is part 13 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT


Passage Summary

Still in the setting described in Rev 4:1–11, John now sees a scroll in the right hand of the Father, complete with writing and seals (5:1). An angel asked loudly who could open the scroll, received no reply, and John wept that no one worthy was found (5:2–4). Halted by an elder, John’s attention was brought to the Lamb and Lion who was qualified to open the scroll by virtue of His victory in His life and on the cross (5:5; cf. 3:21). Between the throne and creatures, the Lamb stood as all-powerful (seven horns) and all-seeing (seven spirits; 5:6). He took the scroll, moving the four creatures and twenty-four elders to worship with the knowledge that the Lamb was sovereign and would answer the prayers of the saints for justice against evil (5:7–8).

Old Testament in the New

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
5:1–2 Ezek 2:9-10; Dan 12:4 A scroll, written on front and back, is in the hand of Him who sits on the throne (Ezek; Rev). The scroll is sealed (Isa; Dan; Rev).
5:5 Gen 49:9; Judah and Jesus from Judah were both known as lions.
5:5 Isa 11:1, 10 The Messiah is the Root of David, the King who restores the Davidic dynasty.
5:6 Isa 53:7 Jesus is the Lamb who was slain for us.
5:6 Zech 4:2, 10 The Spirit sees all on earth in perfection, nothing of which escapes the very presence of God (cf. Ps 139:7; Rev 3:1; 4:5; 5:6).
5:7 Dan 7:13 The Son goes forward to receive.

A Parting Thought

Only Him who knew no sin and died as such is qualified to put down sin in its entirety. And He will―an answer to the prayer He taught us to pray―Thy kingdom come!

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The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 5:9–14)

This entry is part 14 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

Passage Summary

Responding to the Lamb’s taking the scroll, the four creatures and twenty-four elders (cf. 5:8) sing a new song to ascribe worth to the Lamb for having ransomed a people with His blood (5:9). A diverse people, they are a kingdom of priests to God to reign upon the earth (5:9–10). Innumerable angels join the four and twenty-four and claim the Lamb worthy for all that is His to exercise and enjoy for having been slain (5:11–12). All creatures left in creation join these two groups, ascribing blessing, honor, glory, and might to the Enthroned and the Lamb (5:13). The elders “amen” and fall to worship before the judgment begins (5:14).

Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
5:9 Ps 40:3; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa 42:10 The psalmists and Isaiah exhort or example singing a new song to the Lord.
5:9 Dan 5:19 The various peoples God gave to Nebuchadnezzar are parallel in diversity to those ransomed by Christ to be a kingdom.
5:10 Exod 19:6; Isa 61:6; Dan 7:22b, 27a As Israel was characterized by its priesthood, so also the church shall reign with its entire constituency being a priesthood.
5:11 Dan 7:10 Each throne scene enjoys the presence of innumerable heavenly beings.
5:12 Chr 29:11–12; Dan 2:20 Blessing, wisdom, might, and glory are ascribed to the Recipient forever and ever.
5:13 Exod 20:11; Neh 9:6; Ps 146:6 Whatever creatures God created anywhere―all worship Him and will praise the Lamb.

 A Parting Thought

The great crescendo of voices and its confirming “Amen” brings a sobering worship of the Father and Son who soon are seen in wrath. What God has created would soon be seen by John to be ruled in full. Let us likewise praise God for His creation, rule, and judgment and anticipate the fullness of His kingdom to come!

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The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 6:1–8)

This entry is part 15 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

Passage Summary

When the Lamb breaks each of the first four seals, the four living creatures take turns to command a horse and its rider to “Come!” (6:1–8). The first is a white horse whose rider has a crown and a bow, likely symbolizing the Antichrist who rises to power in the first half of the Tribulation (6:1–2). The second is a red horse whose rider has a sword, symbolizing the war that plagues this earth in this time (6:3–4). The third is a black horse whose rider has scales in his hand, symbolizing how food would be carefully weighed due to its scarcity from famine (6:5). The voice of the Father or Lamb tempered the severity of the famine so that a day’s worth of wages could win a day’s worth of food (6:6). That the oil and wine would remain unharmed may symbolize that better food was still available to some (6:6). The fourth is a corpse-colored horse whose rider is named Death, followed by Hades (perhaps a second rider), symbolizing what is immediately explained thereafter, that a fourth of the earth’s population would die by war, famine, disease, or wild beasts (6:7–8).

Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
6:2, 4, 5 Zech 1:8–9; 6:2–3 John and Zechariah have visions that involve four horses of various colors. Common colors are red, white, and black.
6:8 Jer 15:2–3; 24:10; 29:17; Ezek 14:19–21 John echoes Jeremiah’s prophecies of pestilence, the sword, and famine, as well as Ezekiel prophecy of wild beasts.
6:8 Hos 13:14 Death takes one to Sheol (OT) or Hades (NT), the realm of the dead.

A Parting Thought

What a miserable time it shall be for those who suffer the wrath of the Father and the Lamb at the end of this age! Thank God for what Christ through the Spirit promised to the churches: “I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth” (Rev 3:10).

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The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 6:9–17)

This entry is part 16 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

Passage Summary

 The breaking of the fifth seal brings about a call from martyrs to God to avenge the persecutors who killed them (6:9–10). Given robes and told to rest, their number would increase for a time until judgment came their killers in full (6:11). The breaking of the sixth seal brings about previously prophesied cosmic and astronomical phenomena (6:12–14), sending those who dwell on the earth into caves, fearful of the wrath of the Father and the Lamb (6:15–17).

Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
6:12 Isa 50:3 The heavens will become black.
6:13 Isa 34:4 The stars shall fall.
6:14 Isa 34:4; Nah 1:5 The skies will be rolled up as a scroll.
6:15 Ps 48:4–6; Isa 34:12 Those of high rank cannot escape God’s judgment.
6:16 Isa 2:10–12, 19; Hos 10:8 Mankind hides in caves to escape God’s judgment.
6:17 Ps 76:7; Jer 30:7; Nah 1:6; Zeph 1:14–18; Mal 3:2 The eschatological wrath of God will come, and the rhetorical question indicates that no one can withstand it once it has begun. Cf. also Isa 13:10-13; 24:1–6, 19–23; Ezek 32:6–8; Joel 2:10–11, 30–31; 3:15-16; Jer 4:23–28; Amos 8:8–9.

A Parting Thought 

There is no mistaking when this judgment begins―all will see what happens on the earth and in the heavens. There are also no exceptions to who shall suffer. And yet, the promise of martyrs to come thereafter means that some would yet be saved. While God is gracious to save some during this time, be ready and persevere so that you can know its coming is not for you (cf. Rev 3:10–11)!

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The Old Testament in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 7:1–8)

This entry is part 17 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

Passage Summary 

After the judgment of the sixth seal, an “interlude” takes place. Four angels protect the earth from further judgment until another angel went about to seal 144,000 Jews (7:1–3), perhaps won to the gospel through the witness of the two prophets (cf. 11:3). These 144,000 would tell the world about Jesus and die as martyrs for their testimony (cf. 12:13, 17; 14:1–5). Each of the twelve tribes listed would have 12,000 men sealed, 144,000 in all (7:5–8). This group was only a portion of those who would be saved during the Tribulation (cf. 7:9–14), and as martyrs, not a part of the third of Israel saved at the end of the Tribulation (cf. Zech 13:1, 8–9).

Old Testament in the New 

Revelation Old Testament Connection Between the Two
7:1 Isa 11:12; Jer 49:36; Ezek 7:2; 37:9; Dan 7:2; Zech 6:5 Whether corners or winds, the idea of totality in geography is dominant.

 

7:3 Ezek 9:4–6 The mark of God protects His people from judgment.
7:4–8 Ezek 48:31–34 In comparison to 18 other lists in the OT, this one matches in names, though not order.

A Parting Thought

Even in the midst of this age’s conclusive wrath, God will temporarily relieve His judgment in order for tens of thousands of Jews to be saved. In all likelihood, these evangelists would be part of the means whereby the great multitude of the Tribulation would hear the gospel and be saved. Even in wrath, God is a God of mercy!

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

This entry is part 18 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

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!


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

This entry is part 19 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

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.

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

This entry is part 20 of 54 in the series Revelation and Its Connections to the OT

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.

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