NOTE: This reflects a "historical-futurist" Interpretation of Revelation. (parts of it have already been fulfilled throughout historical events, but the fifth seal and afterwards are what we are still waiting for). I had later grafted in "typical" preterist interpretations which I believed foreshadowed the future "real" fulfillments.
I have since adopted a version of preterism called "Pantelism", when I saw that it really explained a lot of things better, and a literal rapture in AD70 suggested by one preterist, plus an appearance of Christ in the Glory Cloud implied by Josephus satisfied my demands for a more literal "sense" of certain prophecies.
I say it's still hypothetically possible for the events described here to mark some sort of re-fulfillment of the prophecies. But the real "end" was the elimination of the Old system of Law, embodied by the Temple, in AD70. Still, this commentary is interesting reading on what could happen in the future.


This to me is the most fascinating book of Scripture, as it describes in more detail the return of our Lord, and the events leading up to this glorious event. Many dismiss it, spiritualizing everything away, and advocate what they call "pan-millenialism": it will all "pan out" in the end. But there is so much detail in the book, which would become meaningless words under such method of interpretation (e.g. a beast with 7 heads and 10 horns, which are indepthly discussed is merely "the perfect manifestation (hence, "7" and "10") of the 'evil system' of the world", rather than a political system, as several verses indicate).

I intended this commentary with the ancient perspectives of John and his readers in mind. My principle was "the Bible interprets the Bible", and that many of Revelation's strange symbols have clues elsewhere in Scripture. I tried to draw these interpretations according to these other scriptural references as much as I could, but sometimes you have to add a little speculation, as things aren't completely revealed in Scriptures, and there are some totally new revelations in this Apocalypse. My basic system of interpretation retty much follows standard futurism, with portions of chapters 12, 13 and 17 (the dragan, women and beasts) being partly historicist; but I found it very good to consult the preterist school of interpretation for the typical fulfillments. Preterism is very convincing, but just as its advocates show problems in pure futurist and historicist interpretation, there are likewise serious problems with a pure preterist interretation, which actually suggests that all events in this book are past, including the second Coming, resurrection of all, and eternal Kingdom. So a dual position seems to be the best one, which fills in all of the difficulties. Since the preterist fulfillments are often very different, I include them as the end of the pertinent passages in dark blue. (Preterism further discussed here). Two of my main sources are Parousia, by James Stewart Russel; perhaps the definitive source of the system today; and "Apocalypse Now or Later? On the Date and Meaning of Revelation" James Patrick Holding;

There are many different interpretations out there, and they all vie to be the true interpretations. Yet things happen differently then people predict, and the "prophecy" is often found false. I may sound authoritative in some areas, but I am aware, that I always could be wrong, especially in future events. So this can be thought of as a "proposal" based on the way things seem to be going now. This is meant to be read with the Bible, as I have not written out all the verses.

1:1 Revelation of JESUS CHRIST to John [not OF John]

2 bare record of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all the things he saw

3 Blessed is he that reads and they that hear the words of this prophecy.

4 Him who is, was, is to come (Father); seven Spirits before His throne (see ch.4)

5 Jesus Christ, faithful witness, first begotten of the dead, Prince of the kings of the earth

6 made us kings and priests

7 every eye shall see him, even those who pierced Him (Zech. 12:10) (also, Luke 13:28 "When ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom, and you yourselves thrust out". "Seeing" here must be literal, visible (future resurrection to judgment), and not spiritual (AD70 "Parousia"), because these are unrepentant Jews, and as such, they do not discern "spiritual things"! They will see Him in the resurrection to judgment, though (which does occur after His "coming in the clouds").

8 Alpha and Omega, beginning and ending

9 John in Patmos

10 "Lord's Day" John was carried "in the spirit" (the visions he received) to the Day of the Lord, which the prophecy is most concerned about. It has nothing to do with a day of the week.

11 Alpha & Omega, first & last, what you see write in a book, send to 7 churches in Asia

12-18 sees Jesus. Many of these descriptions match God in the Old Testament.

12, sees 7 candlesticks

13 Jesus clothed in priest's garb

14 hair white like wool & snow (see Dan.7:9); eyes like flame of fire (soul piercing role as judge)

15 feet like fine brass, voice like sound of many waters (see Ezek. 1:7, 1:24, 43:2)

16, 7 stars in His hand; out of mouth goes sharp 2-edged sword; countenance like sun.

17 John worships; "fear not" is greeting, not refusing worship, like angels, later

18 He is alive and was dead, and lives evermore. Has keys of Hades and of death

19 Tells John to write what he has seen and things that will take place after this.

20 7 lampstands and stars interpreted: stars are "angels"(messengers) of churches (human =possible); lampstands are the churches themselves.


There is really only one Church. Sevenfold division represents completeness. Here, Jesus divides His body according to the strengths and weaknesses Christians have exhibited. They are often interpreted as 7 different eras (with Laodicea being the godless generation of today, of course). This is based on the idea that the whole of the church in general exhibited more of particular traits in different periods. But since all of these traits an be found in any era throughout all of the church (both groups and individuals), the idea of contemporaneity is better. And after all, the literal churches Christ was speaking to here were contemporaneous.

EPHESUS: today would definitely be fundamentalist type Christians. Commended for their "works" and "labor" for His name's sake, and that they "canst bear them which are evil" (the 'godless'), and "have tested those which say they are apostles and are not, but have found them liars" (the 'cultists'/'heretics')etc. They have rightly been concerned about compromise (Nicolaitans—see Pergamos) and an emphasis on pleasure in the modern church. But they have "lost their first love"—Jesus Himself! In criticizing the modern church and secular world, the fundamentalists have totally distorted the Gospel into moral perfectionism and hatred of people, rather than the world SYSTEM the scriptures they base their hatred on refer to. (e.g. they condemn society's materialism and hedonism, but think the capitalism that promotes it is God's system) They exalt the past (when their brand of Christianity had wide power in society) as being pure (ignoring all the problems), an act as if the Fall occurred in 1960's America. All of this comes through in the debates over contemporary Christian music, Bible translations, psychology, politics, etc., with the traditional ways being the God ordained pattern for all of man, whether biblical or not. Thus they deny the doctrine of sin as much as the contemporary Church they have been so critical of. You never see them admit to any sin in their lives, it's just how everyone else fails to measure up. They are critical of any movement that exposes the dark sides of their glossed over past ("historical revisionists", secular media, therapy's methods of dealing with past pains, etc.) So for all of their good works, they wind up getting one of the worst warnings of all the churches— to have their candlestick removed! This equals the shiftless Laodiceans, and far surpasses the 'compromisers' they love to criticize. This shows us a lesson many have not seemed to learn; that all our righteousness is "as filthy rags" to God. (Isaiah 55). It is only by grace that God accepts us.

SMYRNA: persecuted Christians. ("Synagogues of Satan", see Philadelphia) This is one of two groups that receive no criticism. Not that they are without sin, but humble circumstances builds spiritual strength. They will continue to suffer tribulation, however, but only for a short time. This could represent, not only Christians who still face discrimination in Israel, but also the many suffering under Islam, which also considers itself the true religion of Abraham and the scriptures, and persecutes Christians more violently than many others. Any Christians who are persecuted by any other religion are represented by this humble group.

PERGAMOS "Satan's seat" refers to the temple of Zeus and center of Aesculapius, the serpent entwined around a tree stump to give it life (represents the resurrected Nimrod, the sun god; the source of various pagan fertility concepts), that was located there. Pagan cults had settled there after being driven out of Babylon by the Persians. R. A. Anderson of the Adventists points out that "when the king of Pergamos bequeathed his kingdom to the Romans, the whole cult transferred to Rome" (Unfolding the Revelation, p.24) He also mentions that "Antipas' was said to be a martyr baked in a brass bull, and that the name significantly enough means "anti-pope"

The doctrine of"Baalam" (Numbers 24:14, 25:1, 31:16; 2 Peter 2:15, Jude 11).—moral compromise.

v.15: "So" (KJV) or "thus"(NAS)— houtos ουτως—Strong #3779 means "in this way"— "you also have them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans". So this doctrine of the Nicolaitans is connected with the doctrine of Baalam—compromise. The word Nicolaitans(#3532) means "of Nicolas". There is a Nicholas mentioned in Acts 6:5 as a proselyte of Antioch; one of the seven chosen to serve Hellenist widows, and Strong's Concordance assumes this apostate group is associated with him by defining him as "a heretic" (#3531) and cross-reference Bibles refer the Acts verse with these two Revelation passages, even though he is never mentioned as starting an apostate group. (Raul Reese in his book on the seven churches (which takes the '7 eras' position) suggests the Greek "niko"(priest) + "laos"(laity), signifying the corrupt hierarchical system).

This Pergamos church could be represented today by the traditional black church in America, which suffered and struggled under centuries of racism, holding onto Christ's name. But because of this struggle, the Gospel has been watered down into a strictly social/cultural gospel that focuses a little too much on earthly concerns and has reduced the teachings of Jesus into nice practical advice for good living, and has gone to the opposite extreme from the right wing fundamentalists, in wholesale acceptance of the liberal political agenda. Thus many of their churches have become little more than social clubs where many come to clap their hands and "get blessings" from the preacher's oratory style and "uplifting message", and play bingo, have luncheons and dinners, go on outings, give their children "religion", etc. There is a lot of gossip, backbiting, tickling of the ears, financial greed, and even moral compromise, from the top down. But they are not getting the convicting, life changing message of the Word of God. This social atmosphere may have gotten the people through during slavery and other persecutions, but now it is time to return to the full counsel of scripture, and discipleship.

V.17—promises "hidden manna" (reference to the Israelites in the wilderness)— spiritual food for the poor and hungry —a message significant for the black church.

THYATIRA A church that's growing spiritually: ("last works more than the first"), but also has a problem with compromise— "Jezebel". Some, however do not have this problem, and do not know the "deep things of Satan" (pagan mystery rituals, as in liturgical churches), and receive no further criticism. Seems like the average body of contemporary Christians who are faithful, but still struggle with sin and have room to grow. For instance, even though the fundamentalists' attitude towards the "new-evangelicals" may not be right, still, some of their criticisms do have a lot of truth. We have been influenced by the decadence of society in areas like our Christian music industry, and the Church growth movement. Many of us are falling into affairs and divorce and some other sins as much as the secular society. We have been very influenced by the materialism and desire for "comfortable, self-satisfied lives", as one writer put it. Even our own apologists complain of our doctrinal ignorance. Some will even put aside important differences with other groups such as Catholics and Mormons, for social or political causes. Even though many of us think we will miss the Tribulation discussed in later chapters, Jesus here warns us (v.22) that we must repent in order to be counted worthy to escape (see also Luke 21:36).
2:26, 7 "And he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron..." Obviously not fulfilled, for the sake of the preterism debate.

SARDIS "A name that they are alive, but are dead". Pentecostal Charismatics are named after the very day the Holy Spirit fell on the Church (Acts 2), and after "grace" (charis) which has taken on the meaning of power to be "on fire" for God. They indeed often boast of their spiritual fervor, but many of the people clapping, shouting, or even speaking in "tongues" are just as fallen and worldly as the most dead traditional or nominal church they love to chide. Thus, their works are "not found perfect before God". The emphases on "gifts" of the Spirit have often replaced the FRUITS of the Spirit. Yet, some in this movement are genuinely touched and led by the Spirit and "have not defiled their garment", and "are worthy".

PHILADELPHIA: Another church dealing with the "Synagogues of Satan" or "false Jews" —probably those who persecuted their neighbors and relatives who received Jesus. (Matt.10:17, etc.). Christians are spoken of as the "true Jews" (Rom.2;28, 29, Gal.3:29). Christ will actually make them fall before their feet, (v.9). Will be specially protected during the "hour of testing" to come on the world.


The "open door" might automatically bring to mind missionary activity. But there is a better fitting, more likely interpretation:

Christians of the first century lived in an uneasy relationship with Judaism. The Church considered itself the rightful spirituals heir of Judaism; the new Israel (Gal. 6:16) The church saw itself as composed of spiritual Jews who had received the "circumcision" through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 2;28-29). This naturally caused a rift between Jews and Christians as both claimed to be God's people. That meant Jewish Christians often endured exceptional pressure and stress. They were called apostate by their own people. Non-Christian Jews...insisted that [they] and not Christians had the open door to God's presence, and the keys to the Kingdom. John...assured those in [Philadelphia] that they were, indeed the heirs of salvation. [see v.7 and compare Isaiah 22:22] John used this OT metaphor to get across a vital message to the church in Philadelphia. Christ has the key of David. He opens the for the church...and allows it to come into the presence of God. Noone can deny them that access, which [is] God's bestowal on them of the gift of salvation. Not only does Christ open the door, He is the door to the Kingdom (John 10:7,9) Thus, He presents Himself as the way to salvation. This concept of access is more in keeping with the context [than] interpreting these passages as the church's missionary activity. (The Plain Truth, 3-95, p.8)

So this group appears to represent particularly those who converted from Judaism (and can include Islam and others as well). This group actually had a harder walk than Smyrna (people already Christians in those environments), because it is much harder to have to turn from your own people than to come from the outside with the Gospel message.

LAODICEA The description is clear: the lukewarm. One can understand Christ's displeasure at people not being hot. But lukewarm is worse even than cold because often the cold are quicker to see their sin and repent. But this group is so smug that they are content with a show of religion (they aren't cold), but they aren't living for Jesus either. Their religiosity is just enough for them to dismiss messages of repentance as not applying to them. This is why Jesus told the Pharisees that the harlots and publicans would go into the Kingdom before them. They certainly weren't "cold" to God, whom they though they were serving in persecuting Jesus and the Church. But they were not serving him in Spirit and truth when they were rejecting Him. Similarly, large sections of the church, after persecution ended and they were accepted by gentile society, are now the same way. Many of these churches make a lot of money as sentimental nostalgia centers for a hedonistic society. This group can also include the faith/prosperity movement (now rightly being regarded as apostate), which associated material wealth with spirituality, and grossly twists scripture to support these ideas. They get the other strong warning— to be spewed out of His mouth! Unless they buy true riches— gold "tried in the fire" (v.18) Another suggestion, is that rather than only "hot" being good, and "cold" being bad, the passage is speaking of usefulness. Both cold and hot water have their uses (hot water for washing and cooking, and cold water for drinking. But lukewarm is useful for none of those things, and one might want to spit it out of his mouth. Professing churches that are not preaching the Gospel, or are replacing it with health and wealth are completely useless for the Kingdom, even moreso that all the other churches with their flaws.

Eyesalve: a play on the fact that the ancient city of Laodicea manufactured eyesalve.

4 Visions of Heavenly throne— see also Ezekiel 1

4 24 elders— perhaps 12 patriarchs + 12 apostles.

5 lightnings, thunderings, voices— common sounds of the throne. Probably represents judgment, which is about to fall on the earth; so horrendous that all of Heaven is "abuzz" about what is in store.

Seven lamps— seven spirits of God (see also Zech.4:10, Ex.25:31-37, 2 Chronicles 16:9, Prov.15:3)— run to and fro throughout the earth.

—in the last 2 chapters, we saw that the lampstands represent the church— the people of God. So this shows that God's people collectively now represent God's presence on earth, as Jesus did when he walked on earth, and as supernatural appearances and the Holy of holies did in the Old Testament. So now we see the triune God portrayed, not as three men on thrones, or one man with three heads or faces, as men have drawn, but as the Father representing the fullness of the Godhead on the throne, the Spirit manifested through God's people on earth, and in the next chapter, we shall see Jesus as the slain lamb who now has risen to authority in Heaven, and walks among his people. Seven is used, and is a common theme throughout revelation because it symbolizes perfection. Secular historians point out seven became a mystical number because of the sun, moon, and five planets that were known to the ancient world (which the days of the week were named after). In that sense, the number represents the fulness of the universe, and God used it to picture Himself as the universal Creator.

6 sea of glass— peace, serenity. Perhaps antitypical Red Sea crossed by Israelites.

6-8 4 living creatures— has been suggested that they parallel the four gospels: one for Israelites, the second, Greeks; the third, Romans and the fourth, all people. See also Ezek.1:5-21, 10:14

5 Scroll with 7 seals.

3 Nobody in heaven (angelic beings) on the earth (humans living at the present), or under the earth (any human who ever lived) was worthy to open the seals.

5 Only the righteous Son of God who died to redeem man, and rose again was found worthy

6 The seven spirits are now pictured as the eyes and horns of the Lamb. These "Seven eyes of the LORD" as they were called in the Old Testament, show that the Lamb was actually YHWH, present on earth in human flesh, and, once again, that he is now present in His people on earth. As we shall see later, horns represent kingdoms. Christ's present kingdom, the Church was earlier pictured as sevenfold. Plus, since seven is used to represent perfection, it also represents his future Kingdom.

8 4 creatures and 24 elders worship Lamb; golden bowls of incense are prayers of saints.

9-10 New song— have redeemed us to God..out of every tribe... [elders or saints]

13 every creature, living and dead give glory to God and the Lamb

6 The 7 Seals

Note; first four seals opened by four living creatures.

Much dispute between preterists and futurists. Armstrong* points out a DUALITY— both past and future fulfillments. To this I add simultaneous: that they're all fulfilled in small extents as time goes on. It's not necessarily a particular time frame that is being emphasized here, but rather the revelation of issues— symbolized by the breaking of the seals. (Unlike the trumpets and bowls which are one after the other events.)

*Even though Armstrong (Herbert W) was a false teacher, a lot of his insights on Revelation (where they didn't spring forth from his errors, such as the Sabbath) were very good. He had caught a lot of points that everyone else had missed.


OT prototype of the horses— Zechariah 1:7-11, 6:1-8

Where most of the seals are simple and pretty easy to identify, the very first one— the white horse is misleading. A similar horse is shown in chapter 19, the rider being called "the Word of God" and "King of kings and Lord of lords"(v.12, 16), which is obviously the returning Christ. Some automatically think that this first "conquering" horseman is the same. But the key to understanding the seals is the parallel prophecy of Jesus on Mt. Olivet in Matt.24:3-31. There you see the same 7 occurrences in the same order. Notice, the first, is not the true Christ, but rather men, in Christ's name, preaching a FALSE Christ. The phrase "...saying I am Christ" could mean two things. The false teachers saying "I [the leader] am Christ"— false messiahs, or it's Jesus' own first-person pronoun— the teachers would be "saying [that] I [Jesus] am Christ"— Christian preachers preaching Jesus, but adding their own false teachings to the Gospel. This was warned about all throughout the New Testament epistles. We have not had that many false Messiahs in history. But we have had the corruption of the church after the first few centuries, in which the whole mission became control, and many destructive doctrines were taught that helped corrupt the Western world. Even if it does mean "I [the teachers] am Christ", the word christos also means "anointed", and many preachers have boasted about being "anointed" as His ministers, but have added false doctrines. It has been said that "in" (my name) really means "against". But if you look in Strong's Concordance, you will see that it is in the sense of leaning against. So this first seal then, is picturing false preachers coming in— leaning against Christ's name— to support their supposed authority as His ministers; but actually deceiving the world— not leading or "conquering" the world to/for Christ. It was these ministers Paul warned about in 2 Cor.11:15 who actually are ministers of Satan, but APPEAR as ministers of Christ— just like Satan himself appears as an angel of light. THIS is the very symbolism of the WHITE horse, white representing purity and righteousness. —It LOOKS like Christ, as pictured in ch.19! It looks like the truth.

This first horseman was said "to go conquering, and to conquer". So many interpret either as the second coming of Christ, supporting their pretribulational theory that says that Christ comes first to "rapture" his Church before anything else happens; or the amilennial or postmillenial ideas that the Christ "returned" in the authority of the church, which in the early centuries had "conquered" paganism, and must conquer it again before Christ sets up the eternal kingdom. But these people FELL FOR THE TRICK! That conquering church was not the Kingdom of Christ, or even His true Church, but rather a corrupt, paganized institution that 'conquered' paganism by ABSORBING it into its doctrines and practices, and then being recognized and exalted by a pagan emperor (who as we shall see later, represented the political power known as "the Beast") and essentially SOLD itself in union with this power for universal control of the empire— an act we shall see later described as "harlotry". All of this corruption is what helped pave the way for the rest of the seals to follow. All the conquests, robbery of others' lands, and the resulting racism, greed, and strife led inevitably to WARS, the second seal, and even contributed to a lot of the famine and pestilences (3rd and 4th seals) and led to the religious persecutions of the Dark Ages, which were definitely part of the great tribulation (5th seal— disproving pretribulationism, even though there will probably be a future fulfillment, as the powers of the word vie for complete domination)

You can even see the difference in the two horsemen by looking at their details. Both are pictured as conquerors, nut the METHODS and MOTIVES are very different. The chapter 19 horseman is called "faithful and true", and most importantly, "IN RIGHTEOUSNESS does He judge and make war". This is the point the Christian world has missed, They have claimed the same attributes, but it is obvious that their warlikeness is self preservation and desire for control. The world is now in all out rebellion against the church because of its UNfaithfulness to the teachings of the Bible, and its control by fear, false, often UNnatural doctrines. With everybody doing as they please, in rebellion against the church and the truth that it does teach, this is the "lawnessness" that abounds, and is now "causing the love of many [to] grow cold" (Matt.24:12).

And again, the chapter 19 rider fights with a SWORD, which represents Christ's TRUTH. (1 Thess.5:8, Eph.6:17, Is.49:2). The chapter 6 rider carries a BOW; something OTHER than God's truth. Significantly enough, Nimrod (the Hunter), the original false christ, was seen in legends as a horseman-archer! (See Hislop, The Two Babylons, p.42) Plus, Constantine, who exalted the corrupted church, was motivated by the vision of a fiery cross, which said "IN THIS SIGN, CONQUER!" The cross, is similar to a bow! It is used in scripture as sort of a symbol of the faith, but never to the extent used by the corrupt church. It is, a pagan symbol, in fact. Jesus and Paul used it to signify the Gospel message of the death of Christ and the Christian life of sacrifice and death of the selfish nature, not "the truth" in general, and definitely not a sign we were to conquer the world under!

The plural nature of the fulfillment of the seals is further illustrated by Jesus' reiteration of the first seal in Matthew 24, v.23-24. Deceptions were starting right as the apostles were writing, and later wars, etc. and they'll all continue up until the ultimate fulfilment to come. Even then, it all occurs in graduating stages of deceptions, wars, famine & pestilences, then greater deception, bigger wars, more massive famines ad pestilences, etc.

The sixth seal, signs in the sun, moon and stars, is claimed by Adventist writers to have occurred May 19 1780 and Nov. 12-13 1833, and Nov. 15 1866. Yet, there will undoubtedly be a greater antitypical fulfillment. Also, is the "sign of the Son of Man", Christ mentioned in Matt. 24:30, which then leads men to begin to hide under the rocks. This is not yet His return, but is the main sign ushering it in.

See also Joel 2:10, 31, 3:15, Isaiah 13:10

Preterist Typical Fulfillment: As I read the seven seals as the revelation of issues moreso than singular events; I have no conflict with the Preterist interpretation. In fact, I have seen a great correlation with Leviticus 26:24: "then I also will walk contrary to you, and I will punish you yet seven times for your sins." This was God's bill of divorce from the unfaithful nation. Upon reading Josephus, however. I see that these things we associate specifically with the world today--deceptions, false christs/prophets, wars, famines etc. were much greater than we imagined back in the period leading up to AD70; only we don't hear about it as much outside of Josephus and a few others.

12. One Preterist I spoke with actually allowed for a literal fulfillment of the 6th seal, along with the symbolic ones drawn from the OT. Josephus seems to even describe some such visible signs. 15. Josephus reports that when a some of the insurrectionists began burning the the house of Ananias the high priest, and the palaces of Agrippa and Bernice, "some of the men of power, and of the high priests, went into the vaults under ground, and concealed themselves", (III.17:6) and then later, the "robbers" themselves tried to hide in the caves and caverns under ground (VI.7.3)


1 Four angels at four corners of the earth (four corners (N, E, S, W) represent entirety of globe.)

3 the seal of God

4-8 144,000 sealed. Sometimes interpreted spiritually to mean Christians. Then, the group might claim their group, or selected leaders from their group (if the group has grown past that number.)

But the explicit listing of each individual tribe of Israel (12,000 from each) suggests that it is somehow literal.

The tribe of Dan's sins were apparently great enough to forfeit their place in this group. (Just like Judas Iscariot, of the original 12 apostles had to be replaced) So Joseph is split, with Manasseh taking Dan's place as a whole separate tribe, and Ephraim being represented as Joseph.

9-17 But it is not just Israelites who are redeemed. A great multitude from all nations and tribes accompany them. This distinction further shows that the 144,000 could not simply be a group of Christians, who could be from all groups of people. They come out of the tribulation, and are seen before the throne. This is most likely looking at them in the future, since the last trump and the resurrection have not yet occurred. (Paul tells us in 1 Thess. 4:16, 17 that the dead shall rise first, and then the living, and we will first meet Christ in the air. Serving in the Temple comes later, after all of the prophetic events are fulfilled).

Preterist Typical Fulfillment: Taken as 144000 Jews and a multitude from all nations (in first century, of course)

8 The 7th Seal

1 "Silence in Heaven" at these horrible judgments coming up

2 The seven trumpets are seen. Armstrong cleverly points out that the 7th seal consists of (is divided into) the 7 trumpets. The seals and trumpets are not contemporaneous (the same things), as pretribulationists often teach (even though there are some apparent parallels between them. Neither do the trumpets follow the 7th seal as one might first assume.

3-5 angel offers incense and prayers of saints up to God and fills golden censer with fire from alter and throws it to earth, followed by voices, thunder, lightning and an earthquake— fulfillment of God's promise to avenge His saints.

Note: the first four trumps are the four winds (7:1, winds hurt earth, seas and trees which are damaged by this first group of trumpets). As Armstrong points out, it's the four winds that BLOW the trumpets. Both wind and trumpet signify WAR. The second group, the last three trumpets are called the three woes.

Here is a partial key to the symbols we find in the upcoming passages, and the ways to interpret them:
rivers/fountains of water
world (every tribe, tongue, nation, kindred, etc Roman EmpireGlobe
earth ["land"]IsraelGlobe or world of church
seaGentilesworld of non-Christians
Other symbols
grasspeople; general populace (Job 5:25, Ps.37:2, 72:16, 90:5, 92:7, 129:6, Isaiah 40:6)
treesleaders, strong men, sometimes prophets (ch.11:4/Zech.11:4, Judges 9:15, 1 Kings 4:33, Ps.104:16 Isaiah 2:13, 14:8, 56:3, Exeli. 20:47, Hosea 14:8, etc)

7 the 1st trumpet: "hail and fire mingled with blood". Third part of trees and all green grass burned up. Sounds like a mixture of human caused violence and natural catastrophes. Perhaps the hail is caused by nuclear winter. Trees and grass can symbolize leaders, mighty men and societies of people however.

8-9 the 2nd trumpet. "Great mountain burning with fire", which destroys a third of seas, ships and sea life. Could be either a large bomb, or meteorite (keep in mind, the trumpets signify war). "Mountain" also figuratively represents great kingdoms, (and water, peoples) and in Jer.51 we see the typical fall of ancient Bablylon prophesied as it becoming a "burnt mountain", having been "[thrown] down" (v.25). The association of "seas" and all sea industry being wiped out makes it look literal, but it could still be a figurative play on words. It could be the fall of a seafaring nation or kingdom that affects the whole shipping industry. Also, "ships", from what I gather, can symbolize "bringer of goods" (e.g. see Prov. 31:14)

10-11 the 3rd trumpet. Star burning like a lamp falls to third part of rivers and fountains and turns third part of waters to "Wormwood". Taken literally, this seems to be a repeat of the 2ndtrump. But symbolically, it could be giving us the actual timing of Satan being cast out of Heaven, as described in chapter 12! "Stars" represent angels (e.g. 12:4), and as we shall see, "waters" are often used to represent peoples. Christ had announced the fall of Satan after the successful return of the first 70 evangelists in Luke 10:18, but this was probably just the anticipation of this event, which the spread of the Gospel paved the way for. One might think he was thrown out of Heaven as soon as he sinned, but he was cast down from his position. Scriptures show he has access to the heavenly throne (Job 1:6), and that "wicked spirits" are said to be "in high places" (Eph.6:12). In several OT scriptures, wormwood (from a root meaning "curse", and suggests "poison, therefore, accursed") represents sin (Deut.29:18), judgment of sin (Proverbs 5:4, Jer.9:15, 23:15, Lam.3:15, 19), and perversion of justice (Amos 5:7, and in 6:12 translated as "hemlock") Satan certainly poisons and makes accursed everything he gets involved with, and when he actually is thrown to the earth, sin and its curse will be far worse than anything we've seen in history (see next chapter and 12:12). So civilization will become as "wormwood" (increased sin, no justice, and the resulting increase of accursedness and judgment of sin), and many will die.

12 the 4th trumpet pollution from all the turmoil clouds the entire sky.

13 3 woes announced by angel.


1-12 5th trumpet/1st woe. This is often interpreted literally, and with the strange appearances of the "locusts", as well as the "horsemen" of the next woe, people are left with the conclusion that these must be demons. But Armstrong brilliantly made the connection of this passage with later ones which shows that what ascends out of a symbolic "bottomless pit" (representing an inactive condition or hiatus) is an ancient political/military power called "the Beast". Armstrong's literature would even show pictures of the bug-like fighter planes that could be the "locusts". This is all strongly supported by the following scriptures: Joel 2:1-11— at blowing of trumpet, God leads "strong people" (appearance of horses) against Israel. 1:6— lion's teeth ref.; Nahum 3:17, crown/locust ref. (Ninevah/Assyria is prototype of the future "beast" kingdom).

1 The "star [that had (NIV)] fallen from heaven" who opens the bottomless pit is in v.11 called the "angel of the bottomless pit", and therefore, must be Satan, who had just "fallen" two trumpets ago. He is the ultimate "destroyer" (Apollyon) who has caused all the "destruction" (Abaddon), the meaning of these Greek and Hebrew titles. Even though he is called the "king" of the locusts, it cannot be the human king of this power (often called the "Antichrist"). It is Satan who ultimately controls this system and gives it his power (13:2)

4, 5 The flying troops are shown hurting the people who do not have the seal of God, rather than persecuting those who do, as one might expect. For one thing, those who do have the seal of God are now protected. And those "hurt" are not killed, but only "stung", as by a scorpion. This would do well to support the popular idea of a physical "mark" of the Beast branded on the skin. (A discussion of the mark later). Perhaps, this is the enforcement of the worship of the Beast, particularly on people in opposing blocs. As we shall see next chapter, there will be opposition from other non-Christian powers. For a more likely interpretation, the Old Testament references to these symbols (see above and below), suggest that this and the next trumpet concern the judgment of Israel, many of whom will not have the seal of God at that time, but will most likely resist the idolatrous, antisemitic beast system, when it makes its true intentions known (Dan.9:27).

This timing of the rise of the Beast power is very significant. We usually think of the rise of the Antichrist as the beginning of all the end-time prophetic events. We all expect him to burst on the scene any time now, bring about a false world unity, and then cause the tribulation, and all the wars, and destruction. With all the diversity and disunity in the world, it seemed that looking at it realistically, it might take another few generations, or even centuries to resolve all the differences in the world— religious, political, economic, language, etc. to enable a leader or government to even be able to rule a unified world. The European Economic Community— the main candidate for this government, is in the process of adopting a common currency, but is still nowhere near any position of power to rule the world. (It is still in "the bottomless pit", largely inactive). But according to the time sequence we see here, the Beast or Antichrist does not even arise until the fifth trumpet! That is AFTER the first four trumpets, or "4 winds", in which an entire third of the world is already destroyed, and many people killed. Such enormous worldwide occurrences, all shipping destroyed, perhaps entire nations being wiped out, will definitely change the entire geopolitical structure, thus reordering the world. This, PLUS the actual fall of Satan himself to the earth in the midst of this, will greatly accelerate the rise of a world ruler, and his system over all the frenzied surviving masses.

13-19 the 6th trumpet/2nd woe. The idea that the fifth trumpet represents the Beast is further supported by this huge army which comes from behind the Euphrates— from the east. Daniel 11, prophesying the entire history of the Beast empires from Alexander the Great up until the final ruler at the return of Christ, mentions a "king of the north" coming against him and in verse 44: "and tidings from the east and north shall trouble him". A few years ago, we would have referred to this entire group of nations as the Communist bloc, which was always against the West. But now, even though the Soviet empire has abandoned communism, unity with the still communist countries of the far east is still possible. Especially with the unstable nature of democracy in Russia now.

So now, the two super powers are fighting each other, and a second third of mankind is killed. (v.18) So another key of understanding the rise of the Beast power is realizing that it doesn't rule the entire world, as people usually assume. There's still another superpower that fights against it.

(OT references: 1 Chron.12:8 (Gadites), Isaiah 5:26-30— lion ref.; —Judgment of Israel)

20-21 rest of mankind does not repent. "Sorcery"=drugs, a common sin in society.

Preterist Typical Fulfillment:Preterists seem to treat the trumpets and vials as the same events, as do many futurists.

"hail and fire mixed with blood". Perhaps the beginning of trouble, when insurrectionists began revolting, and stones were used (which as we shall see are the "hail")(III.7.17). "third part of trees and all green grass burnt up", and the rest of the "third of" statements in the following verses seem more likely given a symbolic meaning in past fulfillment. Trees, are leaders, and grass is the general nation of people. Perhaps a third of the leaders of Israel were killed at this point, but obviously not "all the people". (unless you specify "green" grass as a specific category of the people. That would probably represent the healthy). Josephus, however does mention a "Scorched Earth Policy" of the Roman armies, in which the whole area was reduced to a barren wasteland; so here it actually winds up literal!

8 suggested that this is the temple mount, which Jewish rebels had begin burning part of (including destroying a Roman tower), thus leading to full scale war. (VI.2.9)

10 Preterists of course see the fall of Satan as being past.

9:5-11 Like dispensationalists, Preterists are divided as to whether these are Roman armies, or demons.

13-19 All seem to agree that these are the armies from the Roman kingdoms behind the Euphrates.

20. here is proof that this prophecy cannot just be the judgment of Israel. While the Jews committed many sins, and even sided with Caesar against Jesus; clearly, "worshipping devils and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood" was no longer what the majority did, as we see in the Old Testament. These were the sins of the pagans. You can say spiritually, the Israelites were guilty of false worship (as one of the apostolic fathers or apocryphal gospels said they worshipped "idols of flesh", IIRC), but this is using literal language, and there were enough people outside of Israel who did these things.

10 The Little Book

The Adventists plug in the book of Daniel, but this book, which is to be eaten by the prophet, and is "sweet as honey in the mouth, but bitter in the belly", was earlier mentioned in and identified in Ezekiel 2:9-3:4. Written on both sides was "lamentations and mourning and woe". This book consisted of the words of warning of judgment God was sending to His people, Israel.

So now it follows that this version of the book John is given to eat is the judgments and plagues to fall on the rebellious world, that are yet to be revealed (v.11) as we continue in Revelation.

God's justice is sweet indeed, yet when you consider the extent of its severity, it is terrifying.

11: 3 The Two Witnesses

The Adventists' historicist interpretation makes them the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. They point out that they contain the plagues mentioned in v.6. But the more realistic literal interpretation makes them simply two supernaturally powered prophets, perhaps the antitypes of Moses and Elijah, as is commonly suggested.

4 These are the antitypes of the two olive trees that stood beside and supplied oil for 7 lamps (Zech.4:3, 11-14) which, as it was shown earlier, represents God's presence on earth through His people. This would be in harmony with the idea of the witnesses being the testaments of the Bible. But it also suggests that perhaps the two witnesses not only testify against the evil in the world, but they also bring about spiritual revival. The last two verses of the Old Testament— Malachi 4:5, 6 show the antitypical Elijah as a prophet who does bring some amount of revival.

7 The restored Beast kills them

8 Their dead bodies lay in the streets for 3 days. Human interpretations would make Paris in the French Revolution, or some modern American city the "spiritual Sodom and Egypt", but the key identifying phrase in this verse is "where also our Lord was crucified". It is silly to try to spiritualize this reference to the Crucifixion as all the godlessness and 'abandonment of biblical moral values' and belief in God in 18th century Paris or modern American cities as some are prone to say. The reference is obviously to Jerusalem, the city of a people who largely rejected her Messiah, and many (but not even all) still hold to forms of Lawkeeping, but their hearts are far from God. To God, this is just as bad as the sins of Sodom, Egypt, and large modern cities; or even worse, since he had never dealt with those gentile cities as His people, as He had with Israel. In Isaiah 1:10, he even refers to Judah as Sodom and Gomorrah

9- People do not permit them to be buried.

10 people rejoice— a sort of Christmas celebration of gift-giving, at death of witnesses.

11-12 Witnesses resurrected, ascend in a cloud, fear falls on men who see them.

13 "The city", still referring to Jerusalem, identified, earlier. Great Earthquake causes tenth part to fall, and 7000 are killed; the rest are frightened and give glory to God.

15 7th Trumpet/(3rd Woe) Proclamation of the rulership of the world by God and Christ

18 "time of the dead, that they be raised" —shows that resurrection (and rapture—1 Thess.4:15, 1 Cor.15:52; and rewards of saints) are about to occur. (See also ch.14). Also, God will "destroy those who destroy the earth". People misunderstand God's command for man to "subdue" the earth, and destroy the environment though both war and misuse of its resources. This is a warning especially to the right wing, which tends to favor war, and criticizes environmentalism, and at the same time thinks that it's on God's side in the final matter.

19 Temple of God opened in Heaven

Preterist Typical Fulfillment: 2. another proof of future fulfillment. We see here that the times of the gentiles do have an end. (Luke 21:24). According to preterists interpretation, the times of the gentiles (in this world, including on the temple mount) never end. They may point to "42 months", but the Gentiles did not cease trampling on the temple ground after 3½ years. The only thing they could do is say that this is the spiritual temple (which is supported by the fact that it is still called "the holy city"). But then that removes the key proof-text they use for Revelation being written while the physical temple still stood!

3ff Just like other other systems, there is differing interpretations of these as either "Christian witness, or 2 literal leaders. Russel suggests apostles Peter (Moses-like figure who raised many churches) and James (Elijah-lke preaching). Both killed by rising "beast". Russel sugests they they literally rose and ascended, after being left in streets of Jerusalem 3½ years. The legend of Peter dying in Rome is dismissed.

v.13 Holding points out "If we take this chapter, as is more likely, to represent the first "killing attempt" of the Neronian persecution, the "tenth" of the city that falls alludes to God taking a "tithe" of Jerusalem as a warning of what is to come. Those who take the 7000 killed literally may consider the symbolism of the number in terms of the 7000 who were faithful remnants in Elijah's day -- in this case, we have a reversal where the 7000 are killed and the remainder respond with fear. In this we are perhaps approaching the initial stages of the Roman war against Judea, just after the Neronian persecution which failed to destroy Christianity".

12 The Woman

Often interpreted as the Church, but the Church is the Bride of Christ, and notice, v.2, 4, 5 this woman is the [symbolic] MOTHER of Christ, and the Church is also her offspring (v.17). This woman represents Israel, the symbolic "wife" of God; (c.f. Isaiah 26:17, 18, 66:7-9, Gal.4:26)

3 The only description of Satan in the Bible. Not as a two horned man with a goatee and pitch fork, but as a 10 horned, 7 headed "dragon", or large snake/reptile. Some try to identify it as a political power, such as Rome, since the heads and horns of later beasts represent kings who reign in those governments, but those powers are clearly identified as human kingdoms, while this dragon is clearly identified as Satan the Devil (v.9). The fact that he has the same number of heads and horns as the beasts shows that they are fashioned in his image, just like Christ is the image of God. We shall see more of how Satan and his agents mimic the triune nature of God.

4 chapters 12 and 13 step out of the time flow and go back in time to cover the entire histories of the powers they describe. Here in this verse is shown the primeval rebellion of Satan and his angels; plus his attempt, through Herod, to destroy the newborn Christ (Matt. 2)

5 Christ's birth and resurrection.

6 The entire nation of Israel never fled to a wilderness or place of safety. If this is past, it may refer to a group of faithful messianic Jews. Or perhaps the Hebrew aspects of Christianity, which were abandoned for a more gentile nature, particularly out of a contempt for Jews. It could also be future and refer to the bringing into the place of safety of both faithful Christians ("the remnant of her seed") and the repentant Jews mentioned in chapter 7. No "rapture" to Heaven has been mentioned so far.

7-9 War in Heaven, Satan cast out

10-12 Kingdom of God and Christ and final 'salvation' proclaimed showing that Satan's fall is yet future.

13 Satan persecutes woman. Israel has always suffered persecution, but now it is intensified, and specifically against true "Jews" (Rom. 2:28, 29 Gal. 3:29) Not necessarily secular Jews.

14 reiterates v. 6, supporting idea that that verse is yet future. Time+time+ times=1260 days.

15 water cast out of mouth of serpent like flood— perhaps some sort of armies or people sent out to infiltrate the hidden groups of the faithful. Mouth may suggest that lying propaganda is involved.

16 earth swallows up flood— perhaps persecuting armies getting lost in wilderness looking for faithful.

17 Satan persecutes tribulation saints. Keep in mind that he works through his human systems, described next.

Preterist Typical Fulfillment: Generally agrees that woman is the faithful in Israel, and remnant of her seed are Christians, and Dragon is Satan. Russel suggests "manchild to rule all nations" and was "caught up to God and His throne" also are Christians, rather than literally, Christ. He has a point in that it is true the Christians are promised to "rule" with Christ, and do go before the throne (In this case, these were those killed, while those who were not killed became the "remnant"). As the Church is the very "Body" of Christ; both are most likely true.

13 The Beast

1-2 This is obviously the four beasts of Daniel 7 put together. The lion is Babylon, the bear is Medo-Persia, the leopard is Greece. The fourth beast was Rome, which expanded to engulf all the strongest characteristics of the other 3 beasts— the lion's mouth, the bear's feet, and the leopard's swift body. Most illustrations erroneously show a 7 headed leopard with 7 lion's mouths and the 10 horns randomly distributed among the heads, but if you put the original four beasts together, it will make up this beast. 1 lion's head + 1 bear's head + 4 leopard's heads (representing the four divisions of Alexander the Great) + the fourth beast's head make the 7 heads. Since this beast represents the expansion of the fourth beast, its head is the "main" head of the beast, which has the lion's mouth (in addition to the lion's head), and thus was wounded in verse 3. Since it was the fourth beast that had all 10 horns, then it's this 7th head that has all 10 horns. The correct illustration is that of C. Winston Taylor, which appeared in Armstrong's literature (such as the front cover of 1986 print of the booklet Who or What is the Prophetic Beast?), and also now on WCG's website:

3 the "deadly wound" represents the fall of Rome— the 7th head, in 476 AD. It was healed by Justinian (the 4th horn) in 554— the "imperial restoration". All the world marveled at the restored Roman Empire.

4 people worship the dragon who gave the beast it's power. (Leaders claim their power came from God, or "hard work", natural superiority, or a combination of those, but we really see it came from Satan himself, the "dragon".)

5 this is the mouth of the "little horn" (Daniel 7:8) who had plucked out the first three horns (Vandals, Heruli, Goths) and then dominated the remaining 7 horns. This is the corrupt church that had become the religion of the empire. The entire beast is not the little horn (church) as the Adventists teach. The term "he was given" used in the KJV and other old translations is the literal word-for-word translation showing that this mouth was ADDED (see Daniel) later; it wasn't one of the beast's original 7 mouths. Power was given to him to continue "42 months". As a day represented a year in OT prophecy (Num. 14:34, Ezek. 4:4-6 ), this would represent the 1260 years from 554 to 1814, when Napoleon was defeated and the Roman power would go into "the bottomless pit".

6 the false system's claim of infallibility; religious system's idolatrous misuse of Heavenly names, etc.

7 persecution of saints and control of the world.

8 those without seal of God worship him.

The Second Beast

11 With all the attention given the first beast, you don't hear about this second beast very often. But it is very important, because it is THIS power that actually deceives the world into worshiping the first beast. He has two horns like a lamb, indicating a power with two divisions that appear lamblike, or claim to represent Christ's kingdom, since Christ Himself was earlier pictured as a lamb with seven horns, picturing the sevenfold Spirit that dwells in His sevenfold kingdom on earth— the Church. Yet, this power "speaks" like a "dragon", indicating that what this whole system actually says and does is not so innocent and peaceful, and Christlike, but is really only aiding in the cause of the first beast and the devil. It's this "beast" that seems to fill the role later described as the "False prophet", and therefore at first, it may seem to be the religious hierarchy later described as a harlot woman riding the first beast. One problem though, is the fact that "beasts" represent political governments, while "women" represent churches. Armstrong points this out to the Adventists (who think the first beast is the church), but then he also takes this view, pointing out that "beast" in this case represents the civil aspect of the corrupt church which does act as an independent nation with ambassadors being sent to it's capital, etc. But he also says that the civil government is one of the horns, (while the ecclesiastical government is the other), and he also says the image of the beast is the civil government. But the image is formed at the behest of the second beast, and it wouldn't make sense to say that the church led the people to form the church, and that the civil government is a branch of itself. Others say it is the division of East and West in the church, sort of paralleling the two legs of Nebuchadnezzar's image. But first of all, a big difference is that while the harlot woman is said to "sit on many waters"(17:1)—the waters the first beast rises out of (13:1), which represents "peoples, multitudes and nations" (17:15), the second beast arises out of "the earth", which seems to represent a less populated and developed land. And the church never performed any signs, as v.13 says. Plus the ENDS of the two systems are completely different. The harlot is eventually destroyed by the first beast, (ch.18), while the False Prophet continues with the Beast until they are both thrown together into the lake of fire (ch.19) So this False Prophet is definitely shown to be distinct from the harlot. Besides, the church is already accounted for in this passage as the "mouth speaking great things..." (v.5), which is on the first beast, just as the woman is on the first beast. This second beast is an entirely separate, and relatively new entity.

12 One significant political power, that seems to fit this picture, and has not yet been covered in the prophecy, is the United States, with its two-party system of "left" and "right". America is now the most influential country in the world, and also the most powerful, exercising all the authority the Roman empire ever had (it is now in our presence as the emerging European Community, though it is still in the inactive state of "the bottomless pit").

13 America has preformed great signs, such as the wonders of our technology (even though some other countries are now beating us at our own game, still, we discovered it), and has even made fire to come down from the sky (our discovery of atomic power).

14 And with these signs, we've literally deceived the earth. Here is a country that was basically formed by the expansion of the first beast (European conquests), with the land stolen from its original inhabitants, and when those people were killed off, slaves were yanked out of other lands, intentionally kept dumb and persecuted with segregation and even lynchings, and now their descendants are blamed for all of our social and economic problems today, and even disrespected around the world for their supposed "laziness" or "inferiority" portrayed by the images we project, being that the neurotic technological rat race started by this country is now the main criterion by which the worth of peoples are judged. Our technological superiority is our ultimate proof. Yet, all of this was done under the banner of "Christianity", and people on the right still refuse to acknowledge that all of that was wrong, according to true Christian principles. Just as their forefathers twisted scripture to justify their actions, their descendants today twist it to defend them, and a cold conservative agenda which is all about restoring their power.

The right is very vocal in emphasizing "biblical morality", and thus has attracted much of evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity— the Ephesus church that has lost its first love. Today, the right argues for the rights of the rich, and largely ignores the poor, with a "let 'em eat cake" attitude or "bootstraps" philosophy that ignores the situation of the uneducated poor, especially minorities. All in the name of the "work ethic". Christians will be entertained by people like Rush Limbaugh, who pitches "moral values", but then advocates "babes and booze", and has gone through 3 marriages. A conservative movement that has boasted of the prosperity of the land (chiding the Democrats for their "negativity" a few years ago), will suddenly turn into deprived poor victims of the tax system which is supposedly giving all the money to lazy immoral welfare queens/sluts (actually only 2-4%!), yet will ignore all the government waste that benefits the rich. Naziism, especially the modern American version, is also a far-Rightmovement (even though right wing Christians will often try to link it with the "atheistic" leftist philosophy of Marx). It's this movement that has done and has planned more destruction to our government than Russia could dream of (and almost equals that of Islamic terrorists).

Meanwhile, people on the other side rebelled, and formed a left wing agenda which tried to recapture the virtues of love/charity, patience and tolerance, and has thus captured the support of many black Christian churches (Pergamos) and white liberals (Laodicea). But then it went to the opposite extremes in saying essentially that anything goes, such as homosexuality being simply a natural difference, sort of like race, and support of abortion, and other sex perversions. Even its civil rights actions have been questioned. It was the liberals who labeled black mothers "unfit" and yanked the children away, placing them into foster care, as William Ryan pointed out in Blaming the Victim. This was Malcolm X's story, and his attacks on the white system were aimed just as much at the do-gooder liberals as the hateful conservatives.

So here are two opposing systems that appear "lamblike" in professing their own particular choice of "biblical values", yet both neglect other biblical values, and they both keep the people deceived by emphasizing their own "values" and attacking the other side for the values they neglect, using that to cover up their deficiency. They both push the people further to either side by leading people to elect politicians with increasingly radical policies which pushes people on the other side to revolt and elect an even more radical opposing leader. It just keeps going back and forth, and this two-party system is polarizing this country, and much of the world.

Another view has the 2 horns being America and Britain together, as the Anglo-American world. It was Britain that had also conquered a vast global empire. But Britain has now waned as a major world power of its own. The two ideas can be harmonized by pointing out that in the revolutionary period, England represented the conservative notions of divine monarchy, while America represented the liberal notion of freedom. But both are now largely decadent countries with conservative factions. Most of all, we have deceived the world into worshiping capitalistic materialism. That's the main goal of life in the West. To get rich and powerful. And American glitz and glamor has intensified this desire. The Christian right condemns this, but for decades supported it by praising capitalism as God's system, and arguing that businesses should have unlimited freedoms.

Armstrong points out that lamblike horns picture "some kingdom or government posing as the Kingdom of Christ (thus implying the church), still, don't people on both right and left feel that their policies will usher in millennial (i.e.— Christ's Kingdom) conditions? The Right criticizes the left for its "utopianism", but aren't they just as guilty? Don't many on the right claim that America is supposed to be some kind of Christian Kingdom (which it once was, and they want to "reconstruct" and control?) Didn't Armstrong Himself point out in Mystery of the Ages (p.297) that people once proclaimed Britain as the Kingdom of God? Clearly, this second beast stands identified. Though I and some others identify this second power as America, it extends far beyond this country, as in the Cold War and other ideological (and sometimes physical) battles among nations between the equally corrupt, oppressive alternatives of control by western influence (right), or control by local dictators (left). As we see, it even extends across the churches, with white conservative churches on one end, and black and white mainline liberal or nominal churches on the other end, and little in between. Since religion pervades this ideological right-and-left system, it will in the end be represented, or perhaps even led by the False Prophet. So there is a point in identifying this power with the church, but it also now seems to be embodied in the two-party system. In this "tri-cameral" system, you have the three branches, executive (the leader), plus legislative and judicial. (This was taken from the old Roman republican form of government). It's here that the division between right and left is clearly drawn, with the executive and legislative usually being on the opposite side (they just flip-flopped within the last decade), and the judicial has been liberal for decades. There is now a push for a third party executive, and such a person would probably have elements of both, such as the moral relativism and big government of the left, plus the support of ruthless capitalism on the right.
All of this is significant, in that the typical fulfillment of this second beast from John's day, was the Imperial Roman cult of Emperor Worship. This body, of course, was what mandated worship of the emperor, and the senate even decreed that Caesar's house was to be built like a temple. This civil religion was mostly political and government involved. (And not an ecclesiatical authority, so for this reason it is a "beast" and not a "woman"). America has in many ways copied the whole system, and both right and left push for a civil religion that falls far short of the Gospel. (Either a liberal civil religion that is very eclectic or all-inclusive, and holds only a misty notion of "love" or social self-improvement as the highest goal; or the conservative civil religion, which may look more like biblical faith and morality, but is to be imposed legally, and seems to hold only moral self-improvement (especially sexual morality) as the highest virtue while other aspects of biblical morality are neglected, as well as the fact that the Gospel is concerned with personal salvation, not civil imposition of Christian morality). This way, people will be lured into one side or the other, yet still ultimately be drawn toward the agenda of the first beast.

It makes sense, to have this two party system to maintain absolute control. When you have a system of conquest and oppression (based on race, class, "consumerism", etc), the subject people will not be deceived into believing your system is right— it works against their best interests. So you create another "wing" of the system that pretends to represent those people's interests. So the poor and minorities look to the left, and the Christians look to the right. But both sides are really only supporting the (first) beast, and keeping the people divided into thinking their particular branch of the system has the answer.

The IMAGE of the Beast

So now, this two party system is going to perpetrate the forming of an "image" (likeness) of the first beast. Since it mentions the beast "who was wounded..and lived", it's talking about the restored Roman Empire of the medieval period, not necessarily the later empire that ascends out of the bottomless pit in the time of the end. What's most interesting, is that this image is not directly created by the beasts, but by "those that dwell on the earth", who are deceived by the second beast who tell them to make the image.

15 The second beast is given power to give breath to the image, so it speaks, and also causes those who do not worship it to be killed. Many take this literally and predict an actual statue of "Antichrist" that will be given life by demonic power. But remember, the Beast is not just an end times ruler, but also the entire system he represents, namely the Roman Empire. So this image of the Beast will be a likeness of the Roman Empire— a political or military power. So the image then will be some sort of enforcing power. Since enough of the end time events have not been revealed as of now, and we do not see any big obvious power forcing anyone to worship the Beast (and remember, the Beast does not arise out of the pit until the 5th trumpet), it's hard to clearly identify this power now. But we can get some ideas of possible candidates.

Sometimes it seems like there is already an invisible, but very powerful political force that is pulling all the strings in this country, and the world. Just look at the deaths of the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X. In each case, civilian suspects were arrested, but there was a strong sense that other forces were ultimately behind it. Organizations like the Klan, organized crime, big business, and even the government's own intelligence agencies. Powerful people on both sides felt threatened by these radical leaders, so it's possible that they hired these stooges to do all the dirty work and take the fall, getting nothing out of it except life in prison or assassination themselves. They can't even speak up now, because powerful people can still have them killed right in the prison, or their families. These people in their positions of power never actually kill anyone. They cause them to be killed. They get ordinary people who are frustrated or fearful about leaders like this, to in effect enforce their will that no one is to step too far out of line in challenging or changing the system. Those leaders of the 60's were really making an impact in this system, and they had to be silenced and replaced with the type of weak leadership we have now that does nothing but keep the right-left fingerpointing war going. Just compare Kennedy with Clinton, King with Jesse Jackson or Sharpton, and the later Malcolm X with Farrakhan. Their messages may irk people, but they really are an easily discredited joke- flame bait, to those whom were greatly threatened by their predecessors. Even if those suspects really did it all on their own, still they were supporting the powers that were threatened by these leaders, being moved by propaganda that appealed to their fears and frustrations. Like the way conservatives now make many feel cheated by the government, for giving all their money to undeserving blacks or third world "toilets". The right will even use fear of the first beast and the supposed "new world order" to scare people, including Christians into all sorts of unbiblical actions. (A segregated dating policy at a fundamentalist college, rescinded just this year because of media pressure, was justified as "opposition to the one-world scheme"!) Militias are now thriving off of this rhetoric, and if they ever gain power, they could definitely be the image. They are definitely created by "the people" who are deceived by this right and left system. They are persuaded into "action", such as the "take back our country" cry of the "Reconstructionists" and others, with their "culture war" rhetoric. They want all guns, including all sorts of assault weapons, to be legalized so they can take matters into their own hands against both the government and the black criminals it supposedly supports so much. This is one horn (right) using the other horn (left, with its "big bad government bureaucracy") to frighten the people into creating their own war machine under the guise of "defense". But it will quickly turn to OFFENSE as most of these groups are anti- everything, race included.

So the image could wind up being some sort of police or militia state in the style of the conservatives coupled with an all powerful government in the style of the liberals— a sort of compromise between the two (the right really wouldn't mind the big government if it served "the people" meaning their interests). And it would keep the people deceived by focusing everyone on "them" (the other side).

Perhaps a one-world corporate power. The right is so fearful of 'one-world government', picturing American businesses as the victim of it, but supports unrestricted business power, which could be just as powerful as a huge government. Everyone knows that rulers and politicians can be "bought".

Perhaps the role of the courts. The courts enforce the laws of the land. And everything about it is ROMAN— the language—its various Latin terms, the architecture of the old courthouses. So it is like an image of ancient Rome, enforcing the will "of the people" (those who dwell...). When the Beast and False Prophet take control, the courts will definitely be corrupted by them.

The MARK of the Beast

16 the second Beast causes all to receive a mark in their right hand or forehead. Now this, everybody agrees, has not been fulfilled yet.

Too many people interpret this literally as a physical mark; perhaps even an electronic device placed under the skin. Many have pointed to cards like the new smart cards, and also the bar codes, which are said to have the number of the beast encoded between the product numbers. But the Bible elsewhere gives us a valid symbolic interpretation of the right hand and forehead. In Exodus 13:9, Deut.6:1,6-6 and 11:18, it conveys the meaning of work with the hand, and acceptance with the mind. (The Jews did make physical applications of it, though) What's interesting to note, is that the 144,000 earlier mentioned, are "sealed" (7:3,4), and the Seal is the Father's name (14:1), signifying that they belong to Him. And in this case, the seal is ONLY in the forehead, signifying the New Covenant principle of salvation by faith alone. A prototype of this seal of God is in Ezekiel 9:4-6

17 So people will be forced to accept some sort of belief and practice, identifying them as belonging to the Beast, or they will not be able to buy or sell. This doesn't necessarily mean that stores won't accept one's money, as is the assumption in the popular "cashless society" theory, but that a person wouldn't be able to make a living— to even hold a job or function in society! Because enough hasn't been revealed yet, we cannot identify what exactly this mark will be. But as with the image of the beast, we can get some ideas of how it will work.

Several times in the prophecy of Revelation, the faithful, such as those with the seal of God, are said to be those who keep the "commandments of God, and the faith/testimony of Jesus". And this is contrasted with the mark of the Beast. So the Sabbathkeepers have the right idea when they say that this mark of the beast will involve some point of SIN. But they have the wrong issue of what "sin" it will be. This main 'issue of the ages' cannot be the Sabbath-Sunday dispute over 'days' of worship. In the New Testament, the Sabbath and other Old Testament CEREMONIAL 'commandments' are NEVER the issue regarding sin and obedience to God. Yes, it may have been included in the original 10 Commandments, but as those other commandments actually changed in application (Matthew 5), so the spirit of the fourth commandment is resting in Jesus (Matt.11:28-30, Hebrews 4). Yet, it's trusting in Jesus plus the other commandments— not worshiping false gods or idols, blasphemy, killing, adultery, stealing, lying or even the covetousness (lust) that leads us to these things that are clearly emphasized. These are the only things that are mentioned in Revelation and other prophecies as bringing the wrath of God on humanity, not days of worship (except in the Old Covenant when He was dealing specifically with Israel). (See Sabbath and the Faith of Abraham for further discussion) And since man cannot keep even these commandments perfectly, the ultimate issue for every person is the acceptance or rejection of God's provision for our sinful state— His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to pay the penalty our sins deserve, so we could be righteous before a holy God. So the issue of the ages basically, is whether people will follow Jesus, or reject Him so they can continue in the lusts of the flesh & eyes, the pride of life, etc. Even those who try to keep the laws of God without Jesus ultimately fall short, and are left in their sins. So in this sense, the fourth commandment— rest/trust in Jesus is the ultimate issue. Millions of people have died without ever having to have accepted or rejected a mark of the beast, and they will still be saved or condemned according to their relationship with Jesus during their lifetime. God could right now send the final wrath mentioned in upcoming chapters to the unregenerate, sinning world, and you wouldn't even need a mark of the beast. (But God is letting the evil powers of the world manifest their rebellion against Him by enforcing some law that will in some way cause people to compromise the commandments of God, and/or ones testimony of Jesus).

One mild example I can use of this is what you may have to do to get a job in the first place. As times are getting tougher, and we compete with the global market, decent jobs one can live off of are getting more scarce and employers are getting increasingly scrutinous on people's work & experience record. Anything can be a spot on one's record, even periods out of work. It's like everyone has to practically lie or bend the truth to accentuate the positive and hide the negative. This was an issue in my early faith as my parents told me "what you have to do to survive" in society, and thought my new profession of faith would hamper that. Lying is sin. Yet, SURVIVAL is now at stake. This is REAL to people. They will do anything to survive, which is the basic instinct in all living things (which right there sets those who would follow the biblical command to give up one's life or freedom rather than support or worship evil against the rest of humanity).This is a fuzzy issue as it involves the question of how much "bending" of one's record constitutes lying, but it does give an example of how this may work.

So Satan is manipulating his business and government systems to make life so desperate that people will easily and quickly follow his Beast system rather than God. The day is fast approaching, when living will be so tight that the only way to survive in society will be by acts that violate God's will and compromise one's faith, whether it be stealing, stepping on others to get ahead, setting aside beliefs and morals to be accepted in society, etc. Every sinful act of greed by both rich and poor, great and small is justified under the guise of "survival". Satan has the entire world gripped by this reasoning, including much of the church. So you see how easily these prophecies can be fulfilled. Also keep in mind once again, that the fulfillment of this will be after the world shaking events of the first four trumpets. Much of society will perhaps even be thrown back into barbarian type conditions where survival certainly will be at any cost.

It's interesting to note how it is already almost impossible to get a job in this country without a social security number. But once again, that, as well as credit cards, bar codes, computers, etc. is not connected with sin. Perhaps they could be involved in the sense that the entire government system will be fighting against the returning Christ, and all of these things will be tokens of alliance with the evil powers. So these things can't completely be ruled out as fulfillments of the prophecy, but then the prophecy can't be limited to these things either. Anyone caught in their sins without Christ will be under the same wrath, even if he has nothing at all to do with the Beast system and its technologies.

18 The NUMBER of the Beast 666

This number is often taken too literally to mean, of course, an actual computer code number. But there are several historic titles that add up to it. After all, we are told that is the "number of a man", and to "count" it. And the letters of the ancient languages had numerical value, such as the Roman numeral system.
D 500 R 200 L 30 q 100
C 100 O 6 A 1 s 60
L 50 M 40 T 300 r 200
X 10 I 10 E 5
V 5 I 10 I 10 n 50
I 1 TH 400 N 50 r 200
666 (Hebrew) 666 O 70 o 6
Full set of original Roman numerals (before M(1000) was added.) S 20 n 50
(Greek) 666 (Hebrew) 666
Founder of Rome, or "Latin Man" "Caesar Nero", the wicked emperor of New Testament times.
S 200 Saturn, the "Hidden God" of Babylon (original "beast" kingdom)
t 60
u 400
r 6
(Chaldean) 666
V 5 HE 8 V 5 I 10
V 5 I 1 T 300
L 30 C 100 A 1
I 1 A 1 A L 30
L 50 T 300 R I 10
I 10 I 1 K 20
D 500 N 50 V 5 A 1
V 5 e 8 S
C 100 E 5
"Viva Il Duce": "Long Live the Chief" (Mussolini, the 9th horn of the Beast) B 2 F K 20
A 1 I 1 K 20
S 200 L 50 L 30
I 10 I 1 e 8

L 30 I S 200
E 5 I 10
I 10 D 500 A 1
A 1 E (Greek) 666
(Greek) 666 I 1 "Italian Church"
"The Latin Kingdom", plainly identifying the Beast empire! (Latin) 666 These identify the Church and Papacy, not as the Beast itself, but simply as intimately connected with the system
"Vicar of the Son of God" (Pope title)

The actual term translated "666": chi (600) Xi (threescore), stigma (defunct former 6thletter.)

Stigma actually represented a cross, and the other two letters are also variations of a cross. Three crosses are the symbol of false religious office

CLOSE CALL: "Novus Ordo Seclorum"— "New Order of the Ages", printed on the back of every $1 bill, beneath a pyramid/eye symbol believed to be of Babylonian origin!

v=5 + u=5 + d=500 + c=100 + l=50 + u=5 ==665!

I often wonder if an "I" is missing somewhere from the phrase. (In English, we could make a pun and say it is the "I" (eye) on top of the pyramid!)

Magic Numbers on amulets worn by ancient sun-worshipers adds up to 666. Adventist writer R. A. Anderson gives several examples of how the number 6 was "strangely prominent" in connection with Babylon in the Bible. (Unfolding the Revelation, p.133 Pacific Press)

So we see, 666 is indelibly branded on the entire system of Babylonian paganism in general, and the Roman Empire in particular.

The number 6 represented the number of unrest for man who was created on the 6th day. It falls short of 7, which represented perfection. This goes along with the Gospel teaching about man and sin. Sin brings unrest. And a triple number represented the eternity of the thing symbolized. So 666 then, represents "eternal unrest", the fate of all who die in their sins without Christ. So the most significant term of all that adds up to this number is the Greek he pren— "the [natural] mind". It's this natural or "carnal" mind, devoid of God's Spirit, that is hostile to God (Rom.8:7). It gets us into such trouble with God because "it is not subject to the Law of God, nor indeed can be! So then those who are in the flesh, CANNOT please God" (v.7,8) THIS will be the snare of all the unregenerate people who manage to escape the actual mark of the Beast, such as the northern and eastern powers who fight against the Beast (and are obviously then, not worshiping the Beast). Their rejection of the atoning work of Christ in their lives makes them in God's sight all apart of man's world system of sin led by the archrebel, Satan. This also applies to political conservatives, including religious separatists who think that just shunning the "new world order" puts them on the right side. Yet, their whole agenda boils down to selfish self preservation— a worldly, fleshy value that is also a lure of Satan. (See above under the IMAGE of the Beast). So all unregenerate people, whether officially aligned with the Beast power or not, will still be (spiritually) branded with the number of the Beast, and of sin. (And Christians can unwarily get caught up in supporting it). That's why this verse and others specify "The mark...OR the name...OR the number..." It's possible to have one without the others. But any of them will bring the wrath of God.

Another noteworthy point is that King Solomon's income was 666 talents of gold, and it left him in a state of unrest. (1 Kings 10:14, Ecclesiastes 2:8-11, 17)
HE 8 ST (defunct "stigma") 6 I 10
A 1 e 8
PH 500 U 70 S 200
R 100 R 100 O 70
e 8 O 400 U 400
N 50 S 200 S 200
"the [natural] mind" 666 "The Cross" 777 JESUS 888
eternal unrest eternal perfection eternal victory

Preterist Typical Fulfillment: Of course, the Beast is the Roman Empire. The seven heads are taken to be either the combination of Daniels beasts, as I have shown, or just "symbols of his plenary power and universal dominion". Those who take the former, hold the ten horns, from Daniel to be 10 of the 13 Ceasars, with Vespasian (the "little horn") "throwing down" the three "before him" (Galba, Otho, Vitellius) simply by being the "winner" in the Roman civil wars which led to the rapid disposition of the other three emperors in the same year, though he may not have directly overthrown or killed them. It is unanimous that 666 is Nero. The deadly wound, they are not certain on, but it is suggested that it may involve the claims of a "revived Nero" after his death, such as Otho, who was hailed by many as a new Nero) or perhaps even a resurrection of him. Tacitus reports a "False Nero" who had appeared after his death. The legacy continued on regardless. Also, there is a suggestion that the "deadly wound" was the Gospel "turn[ing] the world [oikoumene, which was used of the Roman Empire] upside down"(Acts 17:6)

11ff: The second beast, being from "the earth" ("domestic") is believed to be either the Jewish leadership, or the Roman governor of Judea, Gessius Florus, and perhaps also his predecessor, Albinus. Both were very tyrannical and cruel, often taxing heavily, and fraud, treachery, etc. This is what finally incited the zealots among the Jews to being uprising, and then to make it worse, Florus even incited them to war.

The "image" is generally taken literally (statue of emperor); though I don't know how they explain it "Speaking".

The mark is hard to find any clear answers on based on Josephus. Holding suggests "The charge here is that the leadership of the Jewish nation gave Rome a place of authority to persecute the church. How? Let it be kept in mind that the Jews were given immunity from Emperor worship. By disassociating the church from themselves, the Jews essentially caused the church's protection from the "Jewish exception rule" to be withdrawn. The Jewish disassociation of Christian believers with Judaism removed, in effect, the ability of believers to be protected from Emperor worship, and that led, in a collectivist society in which deviant behavior was punished with sanctions, to more official sanctions which would include an inability to do the most basic things -- like buy or sell (an economic boycott)." Of course, all the preterists agree this mark was symbolic.

In my own studies of the Crucifixion, I have noticed an even more striking correlation. We would normally think the Jews would have nothing to do with the worship of any emperor or image; especially given that they were granted immunity from such. But "worship" is not just bowing prostrate to something, but also "fawining". In Strong's, we see that the word proskuneo literally means "kiss [lick the master's a hand] like a dog". ("latreia" is the more religious aspect of "worship"). The most stunning act of this by the Jewish lleaders was in John's account of the Crucifixion (19:15), where in order to insure they were not accused by the Romans of sedition in havng Jesus as their king, they shouted emphatically "WE HAVE NO KING BUT CAESAR!" We read this all the time, but when you really stop and think of this, this was the most cowardly, two-faced thing imaginable. Here the whole time; their whole messianic hope, was based on their resentment of being under heathern rule, such as the Romans. Because the Messiah sent to them didn't put them down as they wished; they shied away from Him, and now would shout their allegiance to the very king they had hoped He would crush, to save your own necks! Then, you remember all of that contempt they held for "publicans" (seen as traitors for the Roman government), and their trying to trap Jesus with questions about tribute to Caesar (if He outright said yes, He would be seen as traitorous). Yet now, they can appeal to Caesar. Even if Jesus was false; what ever happened to David? He was supposed to be their King, with the Messiah reigning on their throne! Wasn't it the utmost act of treason to appeal to any other king? This was definitely an act of WORSHIP; especially spiritually! They in essence rejected the entire throne of David, and with it, their entire heritage God had given them! Obviously, their end was near, and this was the beginning of the blind madness that would soon bring the whole nation completely down.

So the choice men faced then was either to go ahead and worship the emperor; even both the emperor and Jesus if you like; or stick with the Jews, in which you would have immunity from worshipping the emperor, but would have to reject Christ. Obviously, you're still rejecting Christ due to the emperor, even if you're not worshipping the emperor, and then my interpretation, above, of the spiritual nature of the number of the beast as our nature without Christ comes into play. Then, you could reject both the emperor, and apsotate Israel, and hold fast onto Christ, and then be banished from Israel, persecuted, and not be able to buy and sell. When Israel sided with Caesar against Christ, THIS was the birth of the foretypical "mark of the Beast"!

With this, I then make my own proposal of the typical indentity of the various figures. Perhaps the lamblike beast really is the Jewish leadership (Sanhedrin, etc. which was granted authority uner the Romans, and expelled the Christians, pledged allegiance with Caeser, thus giving placing all who followed it under the "mark" which granted them the protection of immunity, and placing Christians in the dilemma of having to worship the beast or be persecuted), and therefore the Roman governorship was the "image" who was therefore "made" (appealed to by the deceived people) and moved ("given life") to "speak" a decree against the Christians to cause themt to be killed. This still does not explain the miracles, but then it is suggested that that simply represents "the ability to persuade of one's prophetic ability".

14 The Great Harvest

1-5 144,000 again pictured, now with the Lamb, on mount Zion.

1 Father's name on forehead

3 New song before throne, 4 living creatures, and elders; no one could learn song.

4 Not defiled with "women" —cannot be referring to celibacy, since God made marriage good, and would never refer to it as "defiling". (Heb.13:4) It could mean fornication, or symbolically, not involved with false corrupted churches; churches (symbolized by immoral women).

These are- the first-fruits to God and Lamb

5 No guile— without fault

THE THREE ANGELS' MESSAGE— Perhaps will be manifested on earth by the worldwide proclamation of these messages by God's true preachers on earth

6,7 First angel's message The Everlasting Gospel— fear God, Judgment is come; worship true creator

8 Second Angel: Babylon is fallen

9-11 Third Angel Wrath of God for all who worship the Beast and receive his mark

11 every tract on Hell lists this as eternal punishment, but it is "IN THE PRESENCE OF God and His Holy angels", where Hell is said to be separation from God. This is not even talking about the final judgment, which doesn't even come until 1000 years after all of this. It's the human kingdoms and power that are being reduced to "smoke" in the upcoming events— this is the eternal destruction of the evil human governments and societies, not [yet] the people's souls. And they have "no rest day or night" during the dreadful PLAGUES that are yet to be described. Fire and brimstone are mentioned in other prophecies regarding the end times (Ezekiel 38, and passages like 2 Thess.2:8 and Zech.14:12 which mention people being "consumed" by the brightness of His coming, so it must not readily be assumed to always be referring to Hell.

12 Patience of saints—commandments of God, faith of Jesus— see under 13:17

13 From this point on, all who die in the Lord now, are "blessed". It's THIS group who "shall not taste death" (Matt.16:28, 24:34, 1 Cor.15:51) The rapture is about to occur (next verse) and those who die now will instantly be transformed to the resurrected state, and be with the returning Lord.


Christ is now shown with a sharp sickle reaping the "harvest of the earth"

17-20 Then an angel with another sickle is shown gathering the "clusters of the vine" which is thrown into the "winepress of the wrath of God". This is all obviously the fulfillment of Matthew 25:31-34 where Jesus said He would return with all His holy angels, and gather and separate the nations— "sheep" and "goats"— one group welcomed to His Kingdom, the other rejected. And in Matthew 13, the parable of the wheat and tares, He describes the same thing, saying that He and the angels would reap the earth.

THIS IS THE RAPTURE— the first mention of such an event in the prophecy. And Paul had said it would occur at "the last trump" (1 Cor.15:52). The last or 7th trumpet began in ch. 11:15, and includes all events up until now (except of course, for the historical portions of ch. 12&13).

So we see now, the rapture occurs before the final bowl judgments; it's not quite "post-tribulational", but AFTER the 5th seal ("tribulation") and trumpets— also not "mid-tribulational" or "pre-wrath". It is MID-wrath (God's "wrath" beginning with the mainly humanly carried out trumpets, and being completed (Rev.15:1) in the entirely divinely carried out bowls.) This is the most clear, plain timing of the Rapture. Ch.11:18 also pictures the resurrection of the saints (which occurs at the same time as the rapture) as being at this time. The popular pre-tribulational theory is rightly called by Adventist writers a "cop-out" doctrine. It betrays a purely Americanized church that in their own words don't believe that God would ever do such a thing to us (leaving us on the earth during the reign of Antichrist). Christ had told us to watch and pray that we be counted worthy to escape all these things. (Luke 21:36) He didn't say that if we were saved, we would all automatically be taken away from it all. (The fact that the Philadelphia church is specifically promised to be "kept from the hour of testing" seems to point to special protection of some, rather than the immediate rapture of the whole church before any of the seals or trumpets).

People quote 1 Thess.5:9— "We are not appointed to wrath, but to obtain salvation from our Lord Jesus Christ". But this scripture is obviously talking about salvation. The so-called "tribulation saints" who get saved after the pre-trib rapture won't be appointed to [God's eternal] "wrath" [in Hell] either, but they will still suffer the human portion of the "wrath". And besides, they will be spared from the final divine wrath of the bowl judgments, anyway.

People suggest Paul's "last" trump is not the same as John's 7th trump because Paul wrote before John and didn't know about the seven. But it was the same God who inspired both, and he revealed a "last" trump to Paul (suggesting it was the end of a series), and further revealed all seven to John, in his more prophetically detailed "Revelation". The point is, could any trumpet before the 7th Trumpet truly be considered the last trump? And if anyone suggests that this harvest is just a special second rapture for the "tribulation saints" who had been "left behind", from an earlier rapture, no two raptures are ever mentioned.

And as for the "taken" and "left" argument, (Matt.24:37-41; Luke 17:26-36), in Luke's account, the disciples ask "WHERE?"(v.37), and Christ responded "wherever the carcase is, there shall the eagles be gathered together; an obvious indication of destruction. This seems to refer to "taken" because Jesus just told them 'where': "...grinding the bed...", and where they were is naturally where they would be "left". That's the only thing that is not given before hand. Although it is true that the word translated "taken" (paralambano) does mean "brought near" and other intimate senses, still, it does not say whether this was before or after the tribulation.

There is absolutely no proof that the Holy Spirit is "he who now restrains...until he be taken away"(2 Thess.2:7-10), implying that the Church goes with Him, before the Antichrist arises. That is just an interpretation that was just arbitrarily plugged in there. For all we know it could be Satan. He keeps his plans hidden (to prolong his time on earth) until Christ forces him to come out with his plot so that all may be fulfilled. It has also been suggested that it could be an angel. Even if it was the Spirit, where do we get this idea that the Spirit is only where the church of this age is? The left behind "tribulation saints" will have the Spirit, won't they?

That the Church is not directly mentioned in the bulk of Revelation (another "proof" that we won't be here)is because this prophecy is primarily about the world scene. There are many references to "the faithful", but of course, these are said to refer to the "tribulation saints".

The best argument would seem to be Christ's warning about his coming as "a thief in the night"; "at an hour when you think not" (Rev. 3:3, Matt. 24:36-51). This is called "immanence". But the whole context is watchfulness. The reason people are caught off guard in the first place, is not just because they are doing wrong, but also because they are not WATCHing. And this suggests that there were signs that one could observe to know that the end was near. (Matt. 24:32, 33, 16:2,3, 2 Peter 3:10) And then Christ goes on to tell us to watch and pray. Our escaping is based upon our WORKS, while the rapture is attached to our salvation, which is based on FAITH. Meanwhile, it's the pre-trib theory that may actually fulfill it's own proof-text. People will go through all of the seals and trumpets (rigorously engaged in the politics of the 2-horned system all the way), and say "these can't be the fulfillments of the end times prophecies— We're still here!". And thus Christ's coming truly will be in an hour they know not!

I've even heard that if the rapture wasn't pre-tribulational, we would not be able to "comfort one another with these words" (1 Thess. 4:18) But we forget that the 1st century Christians Paul wrote to were already in tribulation-like circumstances. The object of Paul's words here is that the rapture in itself is the "comfort" to us, not the escaping of any tribulation before it. The beginning of the seals and trumpets would simply mean to them that this world was almost over, and that they only had a short wait, (ch. 6:11) and this would be a comfort to them. But not to us. We today are so cozy in this country, and so enmeshed in the monetary system (churches and ministries are organized as non-profit corporations, with the leaders making money off of it; people who believe mark of beast will be some sort of electronic card now use them themselves. Who wants to one day have to give all that up?). We know that we have a lot to lose when this system goes down, and people can't deal with that. So they opt for the pre-trib theory, where they get to prosper as they do until the very end. As it is, we have enjoyed a peace and wealth not known to earlier people of God. But God never promised us it would always be like this. But we've become accustomed to it. Even though all the saints in the Bible from at least Noah, up to Jesus Himself, and centuries of martyrs after that, had to suffer. But God would never put us through such discomfort!

But the church will be forced to make its final stand, and then perhaps return to its humble 1stcentury beginnings. Anyone who remains in the "professional" world then, will be submitted to the corrupt powers.

Which Dispensation is "parenthetical"?

Pre-tribulationism is driven by Dispensationalism, which divides history into the age of "Law", and the age of "grace", or the Church age. A problem is, that people describe the church age as some sort of parenthetical period, like an afterthought, that God stuck in the middle of his true scheme, the age of Law. Then, the Church is raptured, returning the world to the age of Law (Salvation is no longer by faith in Christ, but by keeping the Law, including avoiding the mark of the Beast; seems to explain certain OT passages where God says He will punish people in the last days for breaking the Sabbath and other ceremonial laws). So this theory is used to undergird pre-tribulationism. But actually, just the opposite is true: God's true plan is grace. It was the period of Law that was the parenthetical age begun a few thousands of years after man's creation, to show man that He was fallen (Gal. 3:19, 24, Rom. 3:20) and therefore in need of more than just a system of law, or God's direct presence in the Temple. And keep in mind, the OT scriptures were aimed at Israel, before it was fully revealed that God would bring in a new dispensation. This would explain the references to OT commandments in last-days prophecies.

The reason why the rapture is now and not later, is because the tribulation and trumpets were humanly (and perhaps somewhat naturally) carried out afflictions that partly fulfil the wrath of God. God allows His people to be on earth, not comfortable (remember, He never promised that), but still protected. But now, we are getting ready to see the last 7 plagues, or "bowl judgments" (KJV: "vials"), which are divinely carried out, and from which no protection will be possible. So for this God will completely remove all His people from the earth, and they will now be with Him. From now on, no more groups of faithful are seen on the earth, and no more repentance is witnessed. All who will ever be redeemed in this dispensation are now redeemed. (Jer. 8:20)

15 Prelude to Bowl Judgments

1 7 angels having "seven last plagues" (bowls) seen. "In them, the wrath of God is complete"

2 sea of glass mingled with fire seen again. Those who have victory over the Beast, his image, mark and number of his name, standing on sea of glass with "harps of God".

3 They sing the song of Moses (Ex.15:1-21, praising God for victory over Egypt)

3,4 and now, its antitype, the song of the Lamb

5 Temple of tabernacle of the testimony opened in Heaven

6 angels with 7 last plagues come out of temple.

7 one of the 4 living creatures gives 7 bowls of wrath of God to angels.

8 temple filled with smoke of the glory of God.

16 7 Bowls(vials)/Last Plagues

— Antitypes of 10 plagues God sent to Egyptians

1 Loud voice sends angels

2 1st bowl— loathsome sore upon those who had mark of beast and worshiped his image

3 2nd bowl— sea turns to blood |sort of parallels 2nd & 3rd trumpets, but

4 3rd bowl— smaller bodies of water turn to blood |all 7 bowls are apart of 7th trump

5-7 Angels declare righteousness of God for giving men "their just due"— blood to drink for the blood of saints and prophets they (or their systems) shed. Egyptian plagues were similarly based on the gods they worshiped.

8 4th bowl— poured out on the sun, which scorches men

9,11 men blaspheme, and now there is no more repentance as in judgments before the harvest.

10 5th bowl— on seat (throne) of Beast. Kingdom becomes darkness, men afflicted with pain.

12 6th bowl— Euphrates now dried up, showing it is not the same as the 6th trumpet, even though it is a sort of parallel. Where under the trumpet it was the it was just the armies at the river that were released marking the beginning of the attacks, now under the bowl, the rival armies, previously kept at bay, now cross over into the Beast's territory and toward Armageddon, in this full blown attempt at conquest.

13 3 unclean spirits like frogs out of mouths of the Dragon (Satan, in his direct influence in people's lives), the Beast (Satan's political power), and the False prophet (Satan's false religious system; associated with the two-horned power) Satan has now created his own triad, or mock trinity, and it's these three things— Satan's direct influence, plus politics and religion, that encourages men to fight in Armageddon. You can even see this principle in today's "culture war" climate of politics and ideology. Even the Christians are caught up in all the rhetoric, in this fight for "rights", and control over society.

Spirits are like frogs— obviously a throwback to Egypt;

they come out of mouths— false propaganda and doctrine. Such as militant "take back our country"; false interpretations of scripture to support paramilitary defense

They perform signs, and this time deceive not just "those who dwell", as before, but now also the kings of the earth. They then begin to lead their armies into Armageddon

15 warning to reader

16 The gathering to Armageddon

17 7th bowl— into the air. Loud voice out of temple in Heaven declares "it is finished"

18 Noises, thunderings, lightning and greatest earthquake in history of earth

19 "the great city" (Babylon) divided into 3 parts, and nations of earth fall.

20 destruction on earth continues.

21 Plague of hail (1 talent=62.5 pounds). Men continue to blaspheme

Preterist Typical Fulfillment: the War of the Jews. Many of the details are not attmpted to be spelled out. some that are addressed:
12 here it is suggested thet the river does not actually dry up, but this simply means "its being crossed with ease and speed".
16 Holding insinuates the the plain of Megiddo is referenced simply because it "is Israel's 'Waterloo' -- a symbol of where it has suffered great defeat, notably in the OT the loss of Josiah, the last good king before Judah was taken into captivity". The battle was really in Jerusalem.
19 Jerusalem divided into three factions, under the seditious "tyrants" John, whose group plundered the populace; Eleazar and his party, that kept the sacred first-fruits, and Simon, whose had his supply of provisions from the city, that fought within the walls as Titus was besieging from without. This caused much destruction, and a great famine, as they robbed or burned all the corn stored in people's houses. (Josephus, V.1.1-5) See also Ezekiel 5:1-5,
20 stuff like this is taken symbolically, based on OT imagery.
21 stones of about this weight were catapulted by the Romans. This would tell us that "hail" is symbolic of stones, as also in the first trumpet.


1 Angel (one of the ones with 7 bowls) announces judgment of the great harlot. Chapter then steps back from the time frame to show us more about the harlot and the beast

This is simply a magnification of the "healed" stage of the beast of chapter 13. The 7th head, or Daniel's 4th beast had 10 horns, three of which had been uprooted by a "little horn", representing a religious government. That left 7 horns plus the little horn, which are now pictured as the 7 heads and harlot rider of this new beast, the Holy Roman empire. The seven heads are the various resurrections of the Empire after the deadly wound was healed, beginning with Justinian(554). Then there was the Frankish kingdom (begun 774, Charlemagne crowned 800), Otto the Great(German, 962) The Habsburgs (Austrian, Charles V crowned 1520), Napoleon(French, 1805), Garibaldi/Mussolini(Italy, and includes Hitler's related Nazi movement, 1870-1945), and then finally, the future resurrection of the Beast, under the Antichrist, as a 10-nationed empire, symbolized by the 10 horns (v.12 shows that they arise at the same time, and are therefore all on the last head, contrary to most illustrations). It's these 10 horns which are the same as the 10 toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image (Daniel 2), not the 10 horns of Daniel 7/Rev.13, which are the seven heads of this beast, plus the 3 that were plucked out.

2 The Woman— almost universally recognized as a great religious hierarchy, or church, that in the 4th century, began to be recognized by the kings of the empire. The Church was supposed to be waiting to be married (united) to Christ at His return (later chapters). But this church united with those kings to try and establish God's Kingdom (and thus fulfil a [symbolic] "return of Christ") her own human way. This was spiritual FORNICATION, and her great influence in the empire is pictured by her riding the beast.

Now this is not to single out a particular denomination. Armstrong had ingeniously handled the common assumption that "...surely, the Protestant world isn't deceived. Oh, but it is! Notice verse 5, she is a mother church. Her daughters are also churches, which came out of her, in protest— but are fundamentally of her family. They too make themselves a part of this world, taking active part in its politics, the very act that made a "harlot" out of the mother!" (The Plain Truth about Easter, p.8, 9) Many newer Protestant denominations officially have strong "separation of church and state" stances, but it's individuals and their ministries within these denominations which are pushing for political control, even challenging the Constitutionality of "separation of church and state". So they are apart of the system, even though many of these same Protestants condemn the Catholic church over doctrinal disputes. (Some are talking unity though, based on their common goal to take society back!) The Catholic Church then, is "mother" since it was the church that first united with governments, and which the others later came out of.

Both groups complain about how "no one knows right from wrong anymore", blaming "secular humanism". But, as v.2 continues, the world was "made drunk" with the wine of her fornication". As Armstrong continues, "All the Western nations...spiritual perceptions blurred by her paganized teachings and practices, they are unable to clearly distinguish truth". The churches do all that complaining about society, but they forget how it was THEY who once did have the control. But their own doctrines were so corrupt, that they confused and drove people away, into "do whatever feels right" secularism. Just think about sex, for instance. This is the biggest area where the church and world are at odds. But the church had for centuries taught that sex and the body were EVIL in themselves, inspiring all sorts of EXCESS guilt and shame, leading to NEUROSIS, and FURTHER obsession with sex, not less. (And this was yet another pagan doctrine of Babylon. God had declared the physical body good, but it was man's SOUL that was fallen, misusing sex. But the church had reversed this into pagan dualism— a good soul corrupted by evil flesh). Is it any wonder the world burst out in rebellion, and now refuses to hear the church's teachings on morality? How about persecuting those who held that the earth was round? Now can we expect the world to listen to what we say about the Genesis account of Creation and the Flood? How about racism, sexism, colonialism, control, legalism, intolerance, etc.? No wonder society is so "politically correct", and tries to keep "religion""in its place"! So it was actually the church that first blurred the lines of truth and error with all of these destructive unbiblical teachings proclaimed as "the truth"; our fingerpointing at the world, notwithstanding. It was the church that was responsible for carrying forth God's message, and as Jesus said, WE are the light of the world. If our "light" was darkness, how dark the society we influence would be, indeed! Who can know what "the truth" is based on what the church says?

4 The church enriched itself from money given by the kingdom, and then the laity, and fear was often used. Then there was the sale of indulgences, etc. This whole profit motive is still what pushes the church to try to enforce its ways so they can maintain their power and the wealth that comes with it. Their pushing to get conservative U.S. presidents into office only sends an abundance of money their way; not even achieving the moral objectives they were purported to do It definitely hasn't aided in the spreading of the Gospel.

5 Paganism in "mother" church derived from ancient Babylonian mystery religion, the "mother" of false religion.

6 then the church is said to be drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. True Christians, such as the Anabaptists, and other small groups were persecuted by both Catholics and Protestants, for "heresy"— disagreement with doctrines held in common by both of them. They believed they were so RIGHT, and tried to rationalize as defenders do today (like when they blast liberal "revisionists" who point out the dark points of Christian, European, and American history. They really believe their history was pure!) So they also blurred the lines of right and wrong to justify all that. They blast modern society for its "relativism", and then paint a relativized picture of history.

Remember, all this power the church had, she received from "the Beast", who in turn received it from "the dragon" (Satan— 13:2, 12:9) This is why "power corrupts". Because Satan holds the seats of power in this age, and the evil he leads people to do when they get some of that power, has to be JUSTIFIED by bending the truth. So this world truly is "drunk" from the corruption of doctrine (wine} and blood of saints caused by the church's departure from the true Gospel of Christ, to political union with the world (fornication).

8 The Beast "was and is not, and yet is/will ascend". Actually a blatant mockery of Christ's resurrection in ch. 1:18. The original typical antichrist, Nimrod, was said to have underwent a mock crucifixion and resurrection, leading to all the sun-god mystery religions, and their fertility rituals.

Remember, the time frame we were up to was the END. (We only step back in time to cover the histories of the prophetic figures and bring them back up to the end time) So John sees this beast, not in his own time, but as it is now, in our time, in the bottomless pit, getting ready to ascend for the final time.

9 seven mountains— obvious reference to Rome, the "city of 7 hills"

10 but mountains also represent kingdoms— the seven heads that would come out of this empire. So then John, still seeing the end times, sees five of the kings (Justinian—Napoleon) fallen, and the one that "is" (Fascist/Nazi kingdom), which Armstrong points out "was not in any sense the power-wielding old Roman Empire, so during [this] stage...John speaks of it as the beast that was and is not and shall arise once more..."(Who or what is the Prophetic Beast .p.14)

The seventh (future) head will continue only for a short time There were more that five emperors before John wrote, and much more than one afterwards, proving John could not have been talking about individuals emperors in his own time as a more literal interpretation would assume.

11, 12 The 7th head will consist of the 10 horns (kings), but they shall be ruling with the actual Antichrist, symbolized by the [whole] "beast", who as an individual can be seen as an eighth power, distinct from, yet ruling this final head "of the seven".

14 it's these 10 horns that are the 10 toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image that are smashed by the "stone" [Christ](Daniel 2:34, 41-45)

15 waters interpreted as peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.

16 10 horns shall hate the harlot and make her desolate and burn her with fire. This seems kind of strange, but it actually makes sense and fits in with the whole scenario. Remember, the woman is a harlot— a PROSTITUTE, only USED by the kings of the earth. And what do 'johns' do when they are finished with the women they were only using— especially if the woman were to start demanding love and commitment? They DUMP them! So the church gives its support powerful in exchange for the power they in turn give her, Not only has the Catholic Church operated this way, but also the top Protestant politically active ministries. And they don't realize they are only being used! To justify this system and its rich leaders so they can sway the people of the world and be the global power. And the church even helps this by picturing American capitalists as innocent victims of the left and the "New World Order". The rich would have some conservative politician elected (endorsed by the religious right!), who would give them all sorts of tax breaks, and cut spending on financial aid to the poor. They don't mind the rigid moralism of the right, even though those rich are no more moral than anyone else, because they know that no religious power will control them. It is good, however, for controlling or pacifying the poor masses. Yet, the church is not trying to be inconsistent. The churches do believe that the rich and powerful should obey God, and the church as well. So perhaps now, with much of the world united under their influence, they will begin to put pressure on world leaders to "give their lives to God". But these leaders, under Satan's power, and who are the gods of their own lives, will have none of that. They will then be finished with the church, no longer needing her, so they will destroy her.

17 They now have the Beast (Antichrist) to reign with and give their power to. (A forerunner of this is how technology has taken the place the Church ["religion"] once had in the public life.

The churches constantly complain about this, but once again, don't realize how they were only being used by the powers of western civilization for world control, and would naturally only be discarded when better control tools would be developed).

18 The woman is "that great city" who reigns over the kings of the earth. In John's day, before there was a corrupt branch of the church, this of course represented the city of Rome, the center of the Roman Empire. But later, out of this city sprang the corrupt "universal" faith, and "city" also kind of represents faith— a heavenly version of Jerusalem being the woman of chapters 12 & 21. Plus, this church has its headquarters in its own city-state within Rome.

Various New Testament scriptures foretell a corruption of the Church from the ancient times to the modern

Many misconceptions abound regarding the history of modern society, its morality and the Church's role in it. Many describe the last few decades of this century as a "falling away" from "the truth" leading up to the end-time scenarios of the book of Revelation. This is based on the assumption, frequently preached or written, that all was well in western society or America throughout the centuries, when the Church was the main influence on society's morality. Then, major paradigm shifts, such as the Enlightenment, and moral changes in America this century, especially in the 1960's, are seen as the great turning away from God foretold in scriptures. But beside the fact that "Christian" civilization was not as pure as it is often portrayed, if you look closely at the various scriptures mentioning a falling away, the writers pictured this as occurring in their age, not centuries later. This was fulfilled, in the very fact that the Church did become the great power in western civilization, but this corrupted it, and even those cultural shifts church leaders point to as the "falling away" were a revolt against the stranglehold the church had. As a non-believer, I was shocked to see in various scriptures many of the corruptions I saw in the Church foretold as great evils by whom "many would be led astray". This is what tore down all my walls, and reasoning that Christianity was false because of all the hypocrites, false prophets, greedy preachers and control mongers.

Here are the full set of New testament scriptures foretelling how Christianity would be corrupted:

Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false sheep's clothing, ...[who] inwardly are ravenous wolves"

Matthew 24:5 "Many will come in my name, saying I am Christ, yet will mislead many" (then he goes on to mention the wars that were later characteristic of the "Christian" world, and so on.) "And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold" (v.11-12)

Paul, Acts 20:28: "For I know, after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock".

2 Cor.11:3, 4 the church was susceptible to those preaching "another Jesus" or giving them "another Spirit"

v.12-15 Satan's ministers appear as ministers of righteousness, just as Satan appears as an angel of light,

Gal.1:6-10 "another gospel"

Phil.1:15,16 some preach Christ for totally wrong reasons!

1 Thess.5:1-10 when people shall say "peace and safety", then shall come sudden destruction. People think that modern technology or political developments are solving all of the word's problems, but it is only making us more blind to the realities of sin.

2 Thess.2:1-12 Leaders would teach that Christ had already returned. False apostolic writings would even be used. Then would come the falling away, and the wicked end-time leader. This "mystery of iniquity" (v.7) was working right then as Paul wrote, and would begin a slow process that would go through the centuries up to today, and the time that the Antichrist finally does rise. It all happened just as it was here prophesied! The Gnostics flooded the Church with phony epistles, as well as "gospels", "acts" and "apocalypses" where the physical birth, life, death, resurrection and return of Christ were all spiritualized away. Later, when the Church gained power from the Roman empire, it concluded that the Christ had returned in the authority of the Church and its leader, and that His millennial Kingdom had begun. But it was still a very human and fallen institution, and its stranglehold drove the West into the Dark ages, not any ages of light. The secular world would then challenge the very notions of church and divine revelation, and here we are today!

1 Tim.4:1-3 lying spirits; doctrines of pagan asceticism, which greatly influenced the later church

2 Tim.3:1-9 "perilous times"

4:1-4 "for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled (be told things they like to hear), they will heap up for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, who will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to fables." This is how charismatic leaders would begin increasing in power among the people.

Here's a really good one:

2 Peter 2:1-3: "But there were false prophets among the people [in ancient Israel], even as there shall be false teachers among reason of whom the way of truth shall be spoken evil of. And...with feigned words shall they make merchandise of you".

Precisely what we've seen going on in the church since the early centuries!

3:3-16 mockers and Day of Lord. Notice particularly v. 15, 16: The letters of Paul would be misunderstood, and twisted to teach false doctrines. Pretty significant indeed!

1 John 2:18, 19 "antichrists" who went out from the Church; 4:1-3 false prophets, and

2 John 7-11 false teachings denying Christ's humanity (apart of the gnostic dualism invading the church at the time)

3 John 9, 10 leaders begin to love "prominence" and expel true followers of Christ from the Church.

Jude 4-19 certain persons crept in unnoticed, who turn grace into license

18 The Judgement of Babylon. See also Isaiah 47

1,2 Angel announces again the fall of this antitypical Babylon

3-22 Now Babylon does sound more like some sort of great financial center or secular enterprise than a church as some believe. But keep in mind that all of this is in the very end, after the world shaking events of the trumpets and bowls. The entire world will have been drastically altered by those factors. And with massive foxhole type conversions to "Christianity", there very well could wind up being some religious super city-state. (Also it has been suggested that this chapter is including the entire socio-political system as "Babylon", and not just the ecclesiastical institution. Remember, she does "ride" (control) it, and is united with it.)

4 "Come out of her, my people"— [pre-wrath] warning to reader.

7 But even without all of that, this could be looking at it spiritually. Many other institutions glorify themselves and live luxuriously, but God is looking at it from the perspective of what He expects from His church. It was to be a humble body of believers being His witnesses and spreading His Gospel to the world. But the Roman Empire made it into a worldly government of control, and Protestants pretty much followed suit, modifying their bodies into corporate businesses. Because of this, all are wrapped up in money, depending on it for the survival of the organization, and the often well off material living of the "clergy" (based on a misunderstanding of 1 Cor.9, and 1 Tim. 5:17,18). And it's the "laity" that is pressured to financially support this. So many in the world of "professional" Christian leadership, being sheltered from the real world of secular employment and living off of the laity, are out of touch with people's lives, and support a conservative political machine that favors big business at the expense of the working class, including those who fill the churches. So "glorifying themselves (and their culture, ideologies, etc.), and living luxuriously", in this society, they preach capitalism as God's system, and have aided its spread around the world, as the spread of "the truth", or even "the Gospel". But all it's really doing is expanding the power of western corporate power and wealth. In the political rhetoric of our times, they claim to oppose "one-world government", but then help foster the myth that this shift of wealth is good, because they will invest it back and pull up the economy. But those corporate leaders are operating on a GLOBAL level; having homes, business ventures and recreations around the world; and this is where the money is going. It is ultimately helping to finance the rise of the Beast power.

13 "Bodies and souls of men": Perhaps includes the church's role behind all of the European conquests and slavery, which gave the West and its "merchants" a lot of its wealth. "Souls" also can represent the laity, which are instructed by the Church to support the system.

So the rich and the merchants of the earth can be seen as actually having gotten their wealth from the Church (v.3,19), and mourning when God uses the 10-horned power to destroy her (v.9-19). (Think of when conservative Christians boast of the West's "Christian heritage"; that it was the influence of the church that made the West so "great".) Referring to the Church as this end-time "Babylon" may seem harsh, but it is consistent with the principle of Isaiah 1:10 and Rev.11:8, where God does refer to His people as the heathen cities they resemble when they go astray.

23 Lamp, bride and bridegroom— Now it really does sound like a church! "Her Merchants": once again, the powerful in the who have benefitted from her controlling/pacifying influence over people.

24 Her role in the shedding the blood of saints reiterated. (The "prophets" may refer to New Testament church prophets. Old Testament prophets were mainly killed by the Israelites they were sent to (Matt.23:31-37), not so much the pagans, showing that God may even be including Messiah-rejecting Israel/Judaism in this end time ecumenical Babylon. (See v.38)

Preterist Typical Fulfillment: ch17, 18 I myself began to consider that Babylon might be Jerusalem; especially given Isaiah 47. But this seemed incredulous. Jerusalem was but a small persecuted city, wasn't it? They certainly did not "rule over" any kings, and have all that pomp and wealth we have come to associate with the Vatican, or at least ancient Babylon, modern New York or some other major financial center, right? But as with the wars and famines, we underestimate how great Jerusalem was back then. Being in the coveted Middle East, the crossroads of the world, all the trade routes passed through, so there was heavy trading of all those fine things. And religiously, there was the temple trading that Jesus opposed. The positions of power the religious leaders had, and were afraid of losing if they were accused of sedition because of Jesus. Even though there were bad emperors and governors, the Jews basically had it relatively nice; much like in Egypt, which they suddenly came to appreciate in the wilderness, but without the slavery. Recall, they were even granted immunity from the emperor worship! They were so fortunate for something like that. "that great city" was also a term that Jews, such as Eleazar (reported in Josephus) used for Jerusalem. See also Lamentations 1:1. And ruling over the kings? Once again, in my study of the Crucifixion account, we can see right away, in the most wicked act of human history, when the Roman ruler was reluctant to crucify what he saw as an innocent man; the Jewish rulers insisted, and he ended up complying. Israel "rode" the beast! Pleading "we have no king but Caesar" was the ultimate act of forsaking her husband YHWH, and fornicating with the kings of the earth, who benefitted from her trade. She may not have actually literally bowed down to their gods, as the forefathers did in the OT, but this was for all purposes the same thing! And then add their casting out the Christians from their immunity to emperor worship. Israel may not have had that much real worldly power, but from the perspective of the Gospel, she did in fact guide the beast!

7:4 Jewish priestly colors. Exodus 28 prescribes these colors for the High Priest
10 The seven heads are taken to be possibly the seven Herodian kings, the seven governors from Cuspius Fadus to the war, or seven of the 13 Caesars, though there are differing views as to which are counted. Five are fallen -- from Julius to Claudius. One is -- Nero. One is yet to come, and must continue a short space -- Galba
11 If the next three emperors, who did not have power of Judea are skipped, then Vespasius is the seventh, dnt Titus his son, is the "eighth, and of ["belonging to", or the son of, that is] the seven[th]".
12 These are taken to be the 10 governors of Roman provinces, which began persecuting resident or fleeing Jews in their regions.
14 see Preterism page, as this was obviously not fulfilled
16 The other divisions of the empire joined in the war, espceically as Jews fled to their regions.

The preterist comments for the rest of the book continue on the preterism page, as this is about as far as I believe their interpretations are possible.

19 Marriage of the Lamb

1-6 Heavenly multitude praises God and declares His judgments righteous.

7-9 Marriage of Lamb announced.

10 Angel refuses John's worship..

11-13 Now finally, the true Christ is shown on the white horse.

14 The armies of heaven could be angels or risen saints. People use this verse to as support for Christians' preoccupation in war now, but these saints are RISEN, no longer carnal, limited and fallible, and they are following the righteous Lord, not some human commander carrying out the will of some sinful human government.

15 Winepress now treaded.

16 Christ now declared KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS



"Supper of God" (destruction of wicked) announced.

19 The Beast and kings of earth and their armies assembled against Christ and His army

20 Beast and miracle working False Prophet (individual leaders) thrown into lake of fire

21 rest of armies killed with the sword of Christ's mouth. Birds eat their flesh.

20 Resurrection and Judgement

1-3 Satan cast in "abyss" (condition of inactive existence) for 1000 years.

4, 5 resurrected righteous given thrones of judgment

7 After 1000 years, Satan is released and deceives nations of "four corners" (entirety) of earth, and in particular, a millennial "Gog and Magog", perhaps descendants of surviving Russians, since they are usually identified with the Gog and Magog of Genesis

It has been suggested that it is this post millennial attack that is probably referred to in Ezekiel 38 and 39 (however, beginning in 39:17, the [pre-millennial] supper of God is prophesied.)

We usually think of the Millennial kingdom as being only the righteous. That's because its only the righteous who will be in the first resurrection at the beginning of the Millennium. But other scriptures show that there will be unregenerate people in the Millennium, descendants of the few surviving Armageddon. After all, the righteous will be ruling with Christ, and in 19:15, it said He would rule with a rod of iron. This would not be necessary for righteous men or angels. In Zechariah 14:16, God is said to still have to punish sinning nations in the Millennium. (The Adventists and others assume all will be killed by the 7th bowl, and that the "wicked" at the end of the Millennium are the resurrected wicked, but that resurrection takes place AFTER this event, —beginning 3 verses from now, not before.)

9 They attack the city of God, and are devoured by fire from God in Heaven

10 The Devil is cast into the lake of fire

11 Great White Throne

12 "Rest of the Dead" judged according to their works— the things written in "the books". (where men are JUSTIFIED by faith, not works, they are JUDGED by their works.)

13 Second resurrection further detailed

14 Death and Hades (the 1st death itself ; the grave) are cast into the lake of fire. This is probably talking about the prophesied destruction of the earth (which graves are made of), by fire, in 2 Peter 3:7, 10-13). Also, the much awaited destruction of the last enemy, death itself (1 Cor. 15:26), which passes away right along with sinners (next verse), and sin, which is what brought death in the first place.

15 anyone not found in the Book of Life is cast into the lake of fire— the antitypical fiery dump of "Gehenna" in the valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem. Locations for this "lake" have been suggested such as inside the earth, a star or a black hole. I think it will be an entirely different time dimension. Millerites (who don't believe in eternal consciousness in Hell) think it is just the wicked being "destroyed" (annihilated) in the fiery destruction of the earth. One thing to note, however, is that the Beast and False Prophet had been cast into this lake of fire before the Millennium.

2 Peter 3— "Day of the Lord"/Destruction of earth by fire; replaced by new heavens and earth. Much confusion caused by this passage, since Day of the Lord is seen as pre-millennial (6:17), and the destruction by fire and new earth is post-millennial. A-millennialists like Harold Camping, citing this, completely dismiss the whole idea of a thousand year period altogether). But Peter is most likely including the entire thousand year period as the "Day of the Lord", beginning with the pre-millennial wrath, going through the whole 1000 years of His government on earth, and ending with the final judgment. Significantly enough, it is in this very context that he continues with the classic phrase "with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years, as a day" (v.8)

21 New Heavens and New Earth

1 New Heavens and New earth— first heaven & earth passed away

2 Holy City— new Jerusalem comes down out of Heaven from God

3 God dwells with men on earth

4 God shall wipe away all tears— the end of the world of sin and suffering

5-7 The Father's promises— to make all things new; the fountain of the water of life, to inherit all things and be His son

8 but all [unrepentant, unsaved] sinners will be in lake of fire

9 one of angels with the bowls shows John the bride

Descriptions of the New Jerusalem of heaven

10 Then carries him away in the spirit to a high mountain show him the holy Jerusalem

11 Having the glory of God, her light was like a precious stone like jasper, clear as crystal

12 great high wall with 12 gates, 12 angels at the gates and the names of the 12 tribes written

13 3 gates on each of the four sides (north, east, south, west)

14 wall had 12 foundations with names of 12 apostles of the Lamb

15 angel measures city

16 12,000 furlongs is said to be about 1500 miles. Height, width and depth equal.

17 wall is 144 cubits, according to measure of man, that is angel (about 345 miles)

18 wall was jasper; city was pure gold, like clear glass— probably reflective, not transparent

19, 20 precious stones on foundations of wall: 1 jasper, 2 sapphire, 3 chalcedony, 4 emerald, 5 sardonyx, 6 sardius 7 chrysolite, 8 beryl 9 topaz, 10, chrysoprasus, 11 jacinth, 12 amethyst.

21 12 gates are 12 pearls; streets of city are pure gold like transparent glass (see v.18 note)

22 NO TEMPLE— Lord God almighty is the temple!

23 city has no need of sun or moon; glory of God lights it, and the Lamb is the lamp of it.

24, 26 nations of the saved walk in it, kings of the earth bring glory and honor to it.

25 gates of it shall not be shut, no night there

27 nothing or no one who defiles shall enter, only he written in the lamb's book of life.

22 Further descriptions of city.

1 River of life, clear as crystal proceeds out of throne of God and Lamb.

2 in the midst of the street, and on either side of the river was the tree of life, which bore 12 kinds of fruits every month, and the leaves were for the healing of the nations

3 no more curse, but throne of God and Lamb shall be there, and His servants shall serve Him.

4 they shall see His face, and his name shall be on their foreheads.

5 again, no night, no sun, no need for lamps; God gives them light and they reign forever

Keep in mind, all of this is talking about the city only. We usually think of the city as all of heaven, but the fact that there are still "nations of the earth", (and those can't be the wicked "without" the city (v.15), because they shall have been cast into the lake of fire, unable to enter it (21:8, 27) ) show that we won't live in the city, but we'll have unlimited access to it. Also, the rest of the world may still have the sun and moon; this too is talking about the city. But still, the new heavens and earth shall be a whole new order of existence, a new life with a new purpose.

Believe it or not, there is even a clause for an instantaneous "new heavens and new earth" in secular science! In string theory, the universe consists of the 3 dimensions of space and one of time that we are all familiar with, PLUS up to 22 additional space dimensions that have shrunk up like rolling a 2-D sheet into a 1-D line. (For a total of 26-D space-time). This arrangement (called an orbifold) might not be the perfect lowest energy state, however, just like a bed sheet wants to curl up rather than stay stretched out. So if this is true, a tiny bubble might appear in our universe, in which all the laws of nature are different, and matter would dissolve and reform. It would expand outward at the speed of light, engulfing the entire universe. (It could be out there now, heading toward us. We'd never know until it hit us. And from the viewpoint of earth, it "comes down out of heaven!"). See Hyperspace, by Micho Kaku, Oxford University Press. 1994, p.211, 212). To the scientist, this is random, but we know that God is in control of it!

6 God sent His angel to show His servants what must shortly take place.

7 admonition to reader

8, 9 John again worships angel and is corrected

10 do not seal the words of the prophecy

11 reiterates finality of people's eternal choice

12 more admonition— he is coming quickly and His reward is with Him

13 Alpha and Omega

14, 15 more warning

16 Jesus sent angel to testify these things in the churches. He is the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star

17 Spirit and Bride say "Come"— a welcome by God and His Church to the reader to partake of Christ and His Heaven

18, 19 warning about tampering with words of prophecy

20 Come quickly


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