The keys to understanding Revelation! Revelation 17,18

Please read my blog article “Revelation was written before 70 AD” before reading any more of this article. From that previous article: 1) From ch 17, the “5 kings have fallen” are the 1st 5 kings of Rome, starting with Julius whom Josephus clearly says was the first (living in the first century, he should know who was considered the first). The “one is” is the 6th emperor, Nero (54-68 AD) who was reigning at the time the book was written. This is undeniable internal evidence that the book was written before 70 AD. It gets a little tricky figuring out the next statement: Rev 17 11 The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. I think the 8th king is Titus, who actually destroys the city and temple in 70 AD. He is not an emperor yet, but will be later. That is why Daniel 7 and 8 call him the “little horn” that comes up after the first 10 horns or emperors of Rome. Nero was the 6th. The next 3 reign only a few months each and are basically ignored in Rev 17. Vespasian becomes the 10th emperor in 69 AD and sends his son Titus to destroy Jerusalem, which he does. Vespasian could thus be considered the 7th and Titus the 8th. But for sure, the first 6 identify when the book was written.

2) The woman harlot was drunk with the blood of the saints and witnesses of Jesus. Why are these two groups separated since witnesses of Jesus (martyrs) would also be considered saints? The “saints” here must be those OT saints in Revelation 6 who are waiting for their blood to be avenged: When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O [k]Lord, holy and true, [l]will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. The “witnesses of Jesus” would be NT martyrs. The woman is a harlot. She is riding on the beast that has 7 heads and 10 horns. The 7 heads are both the 7 hills on which the beast sits and 7 kings of the beast. This beast is Rome. In Rev 13:1-3 Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. I saw one of his heads as if it had been [b]slain, and his fatal wound was healed. Daniel’s vision of the 4 empires in Daniel 7 and 8 (Babylon, Medo Persian, Greece, and Rome) are symbolized by these same animals: leopard, bear, lion. The 4th empire was the iron one, Rome, during whose empire God would set up his kingdom which would never be desstroyed (Daniel 2:44). Jesus and John the Baptist both came saying “the kingdom is at hand” during the Roman Empire, so that also identifies the 4th beast as Rome. In Rev 13:1 the sea beast has the 7 heads and 10 horns, the same as in Rev 17. The woman is riding on the beast, so there is no conflict at first between the two. But then the beast turns on the woman and burns her with fire. Rev 17 16 And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. 17 For God has put it in their hearts to execute His [i]purpose [j]by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled. 18 The woman whom you saw is the great city, which [k]reigns over the kings of the earth.” So who is the woman? She is the great city. What is the great city? The great city is the city where Jesus was crucified, i.e. Jerusalem. Rev 11 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which [f]mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.” Thus the woman is the same as the great city which is Jerusalem. Indeed, at first Rome allowed the Jews to worship their God Jehovah and the Jews offered a daily sacrifice in honor of the emperor. But when the Jews rebelled in 66 AD, that began the Wars of the Jews (Josephus) and then in 70 AD Rome destroyed Jerusalem and burned the temple, just as Rev 17 predicted. For those who say the “great city is Rome: how do you explain the beast (which they also say is Rome) burning the great city (which they say is Rome)?

The woman has the name Babylon on her forehead. Rev 18 describes the fall of Babylon, the great city: 18:21 “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.” The nation had become so corrupt that she would be compared to pagan Babylon of the OT. The woman is a harlot because she has committed spiritual adultery on God by worshiping other gods. The figure of Israel being called a harlot is used by Ezekiel and Jeremiah. Many of the Jews had even worshiped the beast Rome. Here is where the “earth beast” of Rev 13 comes in. 11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. 12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast [j]in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform [k]in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life. ” The word “earth” can mean land which can denote Palestine, the holy land. The signs that the earth beast does tell us that the earth beast is the false prophets who denied Jesus as the Messiah and who kept the Jews offering sacrifices to the emperor up to 66 AD. They are the ones Jesus predicted in Matthew 24 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the [l]Christ,’ or ‘[m]There He is,’ do not believe him. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will [n]show great [o]signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the [p]elect.” These false prophets and false Christs would arise within the generation of those He was speaking to. Matthew 24 34 Truly I say to you, this [x]generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” Those who worshiped the beast Rome would receive the dreaded mark of the beast, 666 (Rev 13:18) and would not be allowed to buy and sell without that mark. Of course, all that changed in 66 AD when even those who paid homage to Rome rebelled against Rome. They stopped the daily sacrifice to the emperor, which Josephus says was the event that started the war with the Romans. So the woman harlot is Jerusalem and she is the great city also. She is also called Babylon. All those terms refer to Jerusalem, not Rome. Many say Babylon is Rome, but if the things written in Revelation were to “shortly come to pass”, then how do they explain the fact that Rome is not destroyed until the 5th century, almost 400 years later?

This brings us to the theme of the book: “the avenging of the blood of the prophets, apostles, and saints”. Rev 18 20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you [ah]saints and apostles and prophets, because God has [ai]pronounced judgment for you against her.”24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of [ak]saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.” Rev 19:1-2 “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants [al]on her.” Rev 6 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O [k]Lord, holy and true, [l]will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” This matches Jesus’ predictions in Matthew 23 31 So you testify against yourselves, that you are [x]sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how [y]will you escape the [z]sentence of [aa]hell? 34 “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the [ab]temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” God made Israel his chosen nation. He continually sent prophets to get them to turn from their worship of foreign gods and to obey him, but they continually rejected the true prophets, even killing them. They would kill apostles, as Herod beheaded the apostle James in Acts 12. They would kill Jewish Christians as Saul did before he converted and became the apostle Paul. BTW, Rome never killed the prophets. Many say that the theme of the book is the victory of Christians over persecution. That is not the main theme of the book. Yes, Daniel and Jesus both predicted a great “tribulation” on the Jewish nation, and Jewish Christians would suffer during that tribulation to some degree, although they had been warned by Jesus to get out of the city when they had the chance, and they did. Yes, Jew and Gentile Christians would suffer during the Neronian Persecution when he blamed the Christians for burning Rome, and when he killed Peter and Paul. That persecution was primarily in Rome, but you know it spread to other cities in the empire. The Greek word “mello”, which means “about to happen”, is used of the suffering they are about to go through. The word is used several times in Revelation. Write . . . the things that are about (mello, present indicative) to come after these things (1:19). Be not afraid of the things that thou art about (mello, same) to suffer (2:10). Strengthen the rest of the things that are about (mello, imperfect indicative) to die (3:2). The hour of the trial that is about (mello, present participle) to come upon all the world (3:10). Their brethren, who are about (mello, present participle) to be killed—even as they (6:31). The three messengers who are about (mello, same) to sound (8:13). I was about (mello, imperfect indicative) to write (10:4). When he may be about (mello, subjunctive) to sound (10:7). The beast . . . is about (mello, present indicative) to come up out of the abyss (17:8). Yes, great promises are made to those who do not worship the beast, who die as martyrs. Rev 12 11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even [e]when faced with death. Rev 7 13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” 14 I [a]said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. But the main theme is the avenging of the blood of the apostles, prophets, and saints.

I think all these points are the keys to understanding Revelation. It is foolish to try to determine the details of a crime without understanding the main plot, characters, motives, and time the crime occurred. Once we understand these keys, a lot of the details make more sense, even though they are often described in figurative language.


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