Readers Question / Comment - Questions on the book of Revelation

Hi Iain, It’s Eric again.

I was wondering if you could help me with a couple things in Revelations?
In chapter 7, the 144,000, these are Jewish people sealed by God to preach his word in the world during the tribulation because the restrainer/church has been removed, right?

Then in Rev 7:9, is this a fast-forward into the future scene showing the souls the 144,000 end up saving? And Rev 8 is the sort of “and now, back to our story” bringing us back to where the 144,000 haven’t brought anyone through the tribulation yet? And then Rev 8 through Rev 11 are the events happening on earth chronologically while the 144,000 are meanwhile doing their work?

Does Rev 12 begin with a flashback scene depicting Jesus first coming, through Israel/the Jewish people. But is Rev 12:6, and the 1,260 days, bringing us back to the present part of the story?
And then Rev 12:17 is referencing the 144,000 that are working through the tribulation?

But where does Rev 13 fit in? Is it chronological to the previous chapters, or is it taking us back to the beginning of the tribulation and the rise of the Antichrist? Because in Rev 13:7 he is given power to wage war against, and conquer God’s holy people. Are those people he conquers, the future tribulation saints that are martyred?
And then Rev 13:10 ends with: “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” Are these people the tribulation saints that will be martyred?

Sometimes I wonder/worry that I’m re-interpreting scripture from my own viewpoint. And I’ve read info from different sources, but it doesn’t always seem to jive. And my brain feels full.
I realize you must be a busy person, and this may seem like one long rambling question. So if it takes some time to respond I understand. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated.

Thanks again!

JPN Reply:

Hey Eric,

hope things are well. You've got a few questions there which is normal for all of us with the book of Revelation! But there is a special blessing given to those that read and heed this book (Rev 1:3) so good on you. Before getting to your question just a wee correction that is a little bug-bear with me. It is Revelation not Revelations. It is singular because it is predominately a revelation from and of a person - Jesus Christ. That is what all prophecy is about. (ie Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ...)

Right... questions... : )

In chapter 7, the 144,000, these are Jewish people sealed by God to preach his word in the world during the tribulation because the restrainer/church has been removed, right?

Yes. God's plan was always that the Jewish nation would be a light to the Gentiles to reveal the true God. They failed to do this. But God's intentions never fail and He will use them again in the last days when the church is removed. Now considering that they were scattered to every nation of the world, can you imagine 144,000 Jewish Apostle Paul's in the last days, filled with God's Spirit, knowing the language of the different people groups and totally devoted to Him? It will be a unique time! Rev 14 calls the 144,000 the 'firstfruits' to God so I expect they will be the first Jewish believers during the last 7 year period.

Then in Rev 7:9, is this a fast-forward into the future scene showing the souls the 144,000 end up saving?

Yeah Revelation 7:9 starts with 'And after this...' so we don't know how far after but it is best to think of Revelation 7:1-8 as being at the start of Daniel's 70 week (start of that last 7 year period) and think of the ones in Rev 7:9-17 as speaking of the result of the 144,000 Jewish believers' ministry amongst the Gentiles nations (every tribe and tongue). The gentile believers before the throne are specifically said to have come out of the Great Tribulation in vs 14 so that is generally accepted to refer to the 2nd half of that 7 year period. They would have been martyred for their faith.

And Rev 8 is the sort of “and now, back to our story” bringing us back to where the 144,000 haven’t brought anyone through the tribulation yet? And then Rev 8 through Rev 11 are the events happening on earth chronologically while the 144,000 are meanwhile doing their work?

Yes, Revelation has a few little 'interludes' and chapter 7 is one of those. So chapter 7 is looking at a different aspect of the Tribulation - namely how God is ministering through these sealed Jewish believers and the results of their ministry. Revelation 6 and then 8 is focusing on the judgement and wrath of God upon unbelievers. So chronologically 8 follows on from the end of 6 with a little interlude in between to focus on something else. I wouldn't say that 8 brings us back to where the 144,000 haven't brought anyone through the tribulation yet. That will be ongoing at the same time - it is just focusing on a different part of the story.

Does Rev 12 begin with a flashback scene depicting Jesus first coming, through Israel/the Jewish people. But is Rev 12:6, and the 1,260 days, bringing us back to the present part of the story?

Revelation 12 is interesting. People disagree on a few things in Rev 12 including who the woman is and who the child is, and when the child is caught up. Though pre-millennial believers would generally agree that the woman is the nation of Israel. Most would take the child to be Jesus as a flashback to His birth at His first coming. And then a flash-forward to the mid point of the tribulation starting in verse 6 showing that Israel (the woman) will have to flee at the mid point of the tribulation just as Jesus said in Matt 24:15-21. Quite a few on the internet and Youtube recently are making noise about this Rev 12 heavenly sign of the woman being an actual alignment of different planets in the Virgo constellation, occurring in Sep 23 of this year (2017). So they see the child being caught up as the church in the rapture. But this has problems as the child is caught up after the labor pains / birth in Rev 12:2 (and the labor pains are normally thought of as the first half of the tribulation cf Matt 24:8 - so if it was the Rapture then it would fit a midpoint rapture better). I had one lady send me a book recently that had exact dates for the rapture, the start of the tribulation, midpoint and return of Jesus at the end of the tribulation (all based around 2017 - 2024). This is all yet another 'sure thing' dating system that will prove to be misguided. Her book will not have a long shelf life!

But anyway, that's another story. So Revelation 12 is another chapter that you don't have to fit in chronologically with the others. It is giving another helicopter overview of a different aspect of what is happening at this time - in this came the persecution and protection of the woman Israel, and the persecution of all believers.

And then Rev 12:17 is referencing the 144,000 that are working through the tribulation?

Rev 12:17 is the persecution of the tribulation saints in the second half of the tribulation. This would apply to all believers at that time, not just the 144,000.

But where does Rev 13 fit in? Is it chronological to the previous chapters, or is it taking us back to the beginning of the tribulation and the rise of the Antichrist? Because in Rev 13:7 he is given power to wage war against, and conquer God’s holy people. Are those people he conquers, the future tribulation saints that are martyred?

It is another interlude... It is giving another helicopter overview of a different aspect of what is happening during the whole period. So we've had chapter 7 looking at God's sealing and enabling of the 144,000 and the results of their work as an overview. We've had chapter 12 as an overview of the persecution of Israel and believers in general. Chapter 13 is an overview of the rise of the two beasts (Antichrist and right hand man, the false prophet). We don't need to try fit it in with other chapters but there are some clues when it generally sits. First of all it speaks of the general rise of the beast and their must be wars for the people are saying 'who can make war with him?' (13:4) This is likely to be the first half of the trib. From verse 5 it says that he was given authority for 42 months. This is the second half of the tribulation. He only has authority over the saints for this period. This ties in with the 'time, times, and half a time' of Dan 7:25. It is 3 1/2 years or 42 months or 1260 days. It is only the second half of the trib that he has this power over the saints.

And then Rev 13:10 ends with: “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” Are these people the tribulation saints that will be martyred?

Yes, it is all tribulation saints be they Jewish or Gentile... whether they are eventually martyred or make it through the tribulation to the end. It will be a very difficult time unlike any that have gone before it.

Sometimes I wonder/worry that I’m re-interpreting scripture from my own viewpoint. And I’ve read info from different sources, but it doesn’t always seem to jive. And my brain feels full.

I think you are doing really well. Your comments were good. Someone has said that studying Bible prophecy is like going on a holiday and packing too many clothes into your suitcase... something will always stick out! But we don't need to know everything and have every verse tucked away nicely. There will certainly be surprises that no one saw. But it is good to have a clear general overview and understanding of what the Bible teaches about the coming days (which you seem to have) and to always remember that the spirit (or intention) of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus! (Rev 19:10) It is to get people watchful, ready and focused on Him.

I realize you must be a busy person, and this may seem like one long rambling question. So if it takes some time to respond I understand. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated.
Thanks again!


Not many write in and ask about Revelation actually so I'm happy to write about it. I've always had a great love for Revelation and Bible prophecy in general and it sure beats answering yet another question  on soul sleep (generally from Seventh Day Adventists) or something that I just feel like I'm repeating myself on! : )

God Bless,

Iain.
 

Readers Reply:

Hi Iain!

The info on “Revelation” vs. “Revelations” has been noted, and appreciated!
Thanks for sending such a quick reply!
You know, when I was younger, the book of Revelation scared me a little (a lot, actually!). And I couldn’t believe what I was reading, or finish it for that matter.
As I read it now, I have more of an understanding of what things mean. And it feels empowering and peaceful at the same time, no matter how little that understanding may be at times.
And that goes for Daniel also. Now that I understand the 70 weeks ( among other things), it’s like a whole new book.
I feel so blessed and thankful to God, for opening my eyes when He did.

I found your website back when I finally accepted the truth about Jesus Christ, God, and the Bible. And it was a treasure trove of information! Hopefully, I can share this truth and help others gain understanding also.

As always, thanks for the guidance!

God bless you!

Eric

p.s. How do you pronounce your name? I had a friend while growing up named “Ian”, pronounced: eee – in. Is yours similar?

JPN Reply:

Thanks Eric,

Glad it helped. The good thing about studying Revelation is that it ties the whole Bible together - so to understand it properly forces the reader to have a good overview of so many other areas like Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Daniel, Zechariah and other prophets etc... I think that is why there is a special blessing given to the readers of the book.

And yeah, you are onto it... 'Iain' is a Scottish version of 'Ian' and is just pronounced the same ie e-in. It comes from the Hebrew Yohanan (meaning 'grace of Yahweh' or 'Yahweh is gracious') from which we get the English name John. Having the extra 'i' in the name normally throws people! I get 'Lain' a lot. Or they'll remember there is an extra i but not be to sure where to put it so they do Iian : )

Oh well... they can call be Bob if they want to.

Bob.