In my as yet unpublished commentary on the whole Bible, I have about a thousand pages long commentary on the NT or Testimony of Yeshua alone. Parts and pieces of this I share from time to time on this blog.
For fun and, hopefully, to bless a few readers, I decided to share my commentary notes on Revelation chapters 20 to 22. These notes are unpublished and not formally edited, so if you find any typos, kindly let me know.
I hope this is a blessing to someone and will get you thinking a little! This ought to keep some of you going for awhile! 😉
Revelation 20:1, Bottomless pit. (See notes at Deut 32:22; 2 Pet 2:4; Rev 9:1. Also see notes at Isa 14:18–21.)
Revelation 20:4, A thousand years. This is but one of six references in the Bible to the Millennium lasting for one thousand years. The other references are found in the surrounding verses (vv. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7). These are more than enough references to meet the biblical criteria of establishing a truth in the mouth of two or more witnesses. Even then, some biblical students still question the idea of the Millennium and categorize it as a NT concept only and, therefore, feel they can disregard it. This is a shame and shows naive ignorance with regard to the Word of Elohim. An understanding of the prophetic implications of the seventh day Sabbath should settle this discussion once for all. In Hebraic thought, the seven days of creation picture the time man will be on this physical earth. Six days (for six days or six thousand years) man does his own work, while on the seventh day (or one thousand years) he rests and fellowships with Elohim. This is a picture of the millennial rest, which the Jewish sages have long called the Messianic Era, which is to come. The Millennium is not uniquely a Christian or NT concept, but is rooted in Judaism going back before the Christian era. The writer of Hebrews makes reference to this in Heb 7 when he compares Joshua taking the Israelites into the Promised Land with Yeshua taking the saints into the Sabbath, millennial rest of our spiritual inheritance.
Revelation 20:5, The rest of the dead. This phrase is a parenthetical thought. Before and after this phrase, the author is discussing those who will be part of the first resurrection, which occurs at Yeshua’s second coming. Later in the same chapter, John goes on to discuss what happens to the rest of the dead (vv. 12–13).
Revelation 20:7–21:1, Events after the Millennium. The events in these verses appear to be chronological and occur after the Millennium. In Rev 20:2ff John seems to be receiving a f pre-millennial flashback vision. (See my discussion on these verses.)
Revelation 20:8, The four corners. These rebels who will inhabit the millennial earth have removed themselves as far as possible from Jerusalem, which is the seat of King Yeshua’s rule and the at the center of the earth.
Revelation 20:9, Fire came down from heaven. If the New Jerusalem, the seat of Yeshua’s millennial government, is hovering over the earthly Jerusalem during the Millennium, then this is the source of the fire or Yeshua’s judgment against the rebels who dare to defy his divine governance.
Revelation 20:10, The devil…lake of fire. (See notes at Deut 32:22; 2 Pet 2:4; Rev 9:1.)
Tormented forever. The devil as a spirit either can only be contained, but not destroyed meaning Elohim is not all-powerful, or, more likely, Elohim will allow the devil to exist, though in a place of torment, as an on-going example and testimony to his sovereign greatness and power over evil.
Revelation 20:12. The dead. Who are these dead? Besides those who physical humans who lived during the Millennium, who else might they be? See notes at 1 Peter 4:6.
According to their works. The Scriptures teach that Yeshua will dispense eternal (spiritual) rewards at the judgment seat based on the good works of Torah-obedience. Rewards, not salvation, is based on good works. (See Matt 5:19; 16:27; Rom 2:6; 2 Cor 5:10; Eph 6:8; 1 Pet 1:17; Rev 2:23; 19:8; 20:13; 22:12 cp. Ps 62:12; Jer 17:10; 32:19; Ezek 7:27).
Chapter subdivisions are often misleading and fall at odd places. These were made by well-meaning men, but are not in the original Greek manuscripts. In this case, Rev 21:1 appears to be a continuation of the chronological events of Rev 20. Rev 21:2 picks up a new thought and is a pre-millennial event. See discussion below.
Revelation 21:1. New heaven…new earth. This appears to be occurring after the Millennium and white throne judgments, since this verse is a continuation of the scenario that occurs previously in Rev 20:11–15, which is clearly post-millennial and after the second death, when it appears that the old earth and heavens will be burned up or purified to make way for the new heavens and earth.
Revelation 21:2. Then/and. Is this expressing chronological timeline as in “after the preceding event this event followed” or, rather, “this was simply the next scene that I saw” irrespective of chronology vis-à-vis those events that are listed above it. Then is the Greek word kai, which is a conjunction primarily meaning “and, also” (e.g. Zodhiates, Thayers, Arndt-Gingrich and Mounce) and not “then.” Therefore, it seems that this verse is not necessarily a continuation of the previous thought, but a new, stand-alone prophetic vision.
New Jerusalem. This verse doesn’t tell us when this will occur—before or after the Millennium. These things we do know, and they all point us to a millennial fulfillment of this verse:
Verse three: The New Jerusalem is the dwelling place of Elohim. If King Yeshua is ruling on this earth during the Millennium as King of kings, and Yeshua is Elohim, then this verse is being fulfilled at that time.
Verse six: Those who are spiritually thirsty will receive spiritual water in the New Jerusalem. Elsewhere we learn thirst is a metaphor of salvation and that Yeshua (the Alpha/Aleph and Omega/Tav) is the source of that salvation (John 4:13–15), and that the Last Great Day of the Feast of Tabernacles (i.e. Hoshana Rabbah) is a picture of the Millennium when YHVH will pour out his Spirit like water on the dry earth to produce a rich spiritual harvest of souls (cp. John 7:37–39).
This holy city is the inhabitant of the bride of Yeshua. It is the dwelling place full of mansions, for which Yeshua declared he had to go away to prepare (John 14:2). In biblical times, when the bridegroom would return for his bride, he would immediately take her to the home he had prepared for her on the family estate. It was here that the wedding festivities took place. This fact seems to be a convincing reason why the New Jerusalem must be accessible to the bride-saints of Yeshua at the beginning of the Millennium. If it were to appear only after the Millennium, then the biblical patterns would be broken. As exemplified in the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the bridegroom would come to the bride’s house and take her back with him to his father’s house. Similarly, at Yeshua’s second coming, he will fetch his bride who has come out to meet him in the air, and she will then accompany him to his home—the New Jerusalem. We see this fact born out in several places in the Book of Revelation (e.g. Rev 7:9 and 19:1).
Revelation 21:12, 14. Twelve gates…twelve tribes of Israel and twelve foundations…twelve apostles. One can only come into the New Jerusalem through being an Israelite whose faith is in Yeshua (Eph 2:11–19), and the whole city is built on the foundation of the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42), which is the foundation of the household of Elohim,which grows into a set-apart temple unto YHVH—the New Jerusalem (Eph 2:19–22).
Revelation 21:23, The city had no need of the sun. This is not to say that the sun and the moon aren’t shining on the rest of the earth during the Millennium. The light of the Lamb just blocks out the sun shining in the environs of the New Jerusalem.
The Lamb is its light. The Torah in the Book of Revelation
In Revelation, at the very end of the Bible we find a number of references to the written Torah, and to Yeshua, the Living Torah.
- Rev 22:14, Blessed are they who keep his [Torah] commandments.
- Rev 21:23; 22:5 (also 2 Cor 4:6), The Torah-Sun. Yeshua is the Light of the World (John 1:4–5; 8:12) and the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2) whose face shines like the sun (Rev 1:16).
- Rev 22:3, There will be no more curse because there will be no more sin/Torahlessness (1 John 3:4, sin is the transgression of the Torah), which brings on the curses of the law (Deut 28:15–68), for the wages of sin is death (Ezek 18:4; Rom 6:23), which is the ultimate curse for violating Torah/Elohim’s instructions in righteousness/laws.
- Rev 22:12, Yeshua is bringing spiritual rewards to his servants based on how faithful they were to obeying and teaching the Torah (cp. Matt 5:19).
- Rev 22:13, The alpha and omega/aleph and tav—the beginning and end of the Torah-Word of Elohim—is another reference to the written Torah and to Yeshua, the Living Torah.
- Rev 22:15 (also 21:7), Outside of the New Jerusalem are found sinners or the Torahless.
- Rev 22:17, The Spirit and Bride say come. Who gets to come? Those who have prepared themselves for the marriage supper of the Lamb by putting on the robes of the righteous acts of Torah (see Rev 19:7–9, NIV and NAS). Scripture defines righteousness as obedience to the Torah (Ps 119:172).
- Rev 22:18–19, Don’t add or subtract to or from the book. This echoes the warning Moses wrote at the end of the Torah (Deut 4:2; 12:32).
- Rev 22:20–21, The Hebrew word amein is found twice in the last two verse of the Bible including the very last word of the Scripture. Amein means “verily, truly” and in Hebrew comes from the Hebrew word emet/ /<nt meaning “truth.” Emet is comprised of aleph, mem and tav, which are the first, middle and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Therefore, emet is a word that signifies all that is revealed on the subject from aleph to tav comprising all that can be written on it and no more can be added to it. This is a one-word picture of Torah which points to the highest head and source of all knowledge (as the paleo-Hebrew points illustrates).
Revelation 21:24. The nations. This is clearly millennial. Nations and kings will be existing during the millennium.
Kings of the earth. The glorified saints or bride of Yeshua will be kings and priests reigning with Yeshua during the Millennium (Dan 7:18; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). This verse may indicate that the New Jerusalem is hovering over the earthly Jerusalem during the Millennium, and Yeshua will be reigning over the earth from it. The ladder of which Jacob dreamed with the angels (Heb. malakim meaning “messengers”) ascending and descending from heaven, and Yeshua’s reference to himself as a ladder-like Being by which the angels (Gr. angelos meaning “divine messengers”) ascend and descend (John 1:51) can mean only one thing. It is not traditional angels that Jacob saw in his ladder vision, nor traditional angels to which Yeshua makes reference in John 1:51, but a picture of the saints (who are also divine messengers of YHVH, which is another meaning for the Hebrew word for angel, which is malak) who will be, as this verse states, bringing their glory and honor into the New Jerusalem from the nations that are saved (implying that not all nations are yet saved—again, an implication that the New Jerusalem is in place during the Millennium) they are ruling who are walking in the light of this glorious city.
If the New Jerusalem is hovering over the earth during the Millennium, this would explain the two enigmatic passages of Rev 21:8 and 22:14 about the cowardly, unbelieving, liars, murders, etc. being outside of the city, for during the Millennium, there will be those who will not accept Yeshua’s rule, and who will eventually be judged unworthy of eternal life and whose fate will be the lake of fire. If the New Jerusalem weren’t hovering over earth during the Millennium, then how is it that sinners are still alive after the lake of fire event of Revelation 20 and continue to exist into eternity if the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven after the white throne judgment and lake of fire events?
Revelation 21:27. Anything that defiles/nothing unclean. This verse indicates that there will still be inhabiting the earth people and things that are unclean—something that will not be the case after the white throne judgment and lake of fire events. This verse appears to be referring to the Millennium and the Gog and Magog events of Rev 20:8 haven’t occurred yet, or else this statement is irrelevant if it is referring to events occurring after Rev 20:11–21:1.
Revelation 22:2. Healing of the nations. This is a millennial event, since nations will exist during the Millennium. For example, we read elsewhere in the Bible that the resurrected David will be the king over Israel, that the 12 apostles will be ruling over the 12 tribes of Israel, that the saints will be kings and priests ruling over cities (and presumably nations as well) and that Yeshua will be the King of kings over all.
Revelation 22:5. No night…nor light of the sun. This appears to be referring to the New Jerusalem and not necessarily the New Heavens and the New Earth. This is because Yeshua will likely ruling the earth during the Millennium from the New Jerusalem that is hovering over the earth. His face shines like the sun (Rev 1:16), which is why the light of the sun will be drowned out by the light of Yeshua’s beaming countenance.
Reign forever. The New Jerusalem may be present during the Millennium and hovering over the earth, but it will continue on forever with the saints ruling from it long after the Millennium has passed.
Revelation 22:14. Do his [Torah] commandments/wash their robes. Ancient NT manuscripts show variant readings of this phrase. The fact is that both readings when combined reveal a key biblical truth. The saints wash themselves in the water of Elohim’s Word (Eph 5:26) by obeying his Word (John 14:15 cp. 12:47–48; 14:19–23), which makes their spiritual lives or garments clean or righteous. Yeshua is the Word of Elohim incarnate (John 1:1, 14), and by being sprinkled in his blood, we’re cleansed from sin, and then by obeying his word we remain clean or righteous and are rewarded for our good works with higher positions in his kingdom (Matt 5:19).
Right to the tree of life. The tree of life is a biblical metaphor for eternal life or immortality. Had Adam and Eve obeyed Elohim’s commandments and not sinned, they would have been granted the privilege of eating from the tree of life and could have obtained immortality. Yeshua is our tree of life, and through him, we can have eternal life if we have faith in him and obey him.
May have the right. Gk. exousia/exousia meaning “permission, privilege, or authority.” Partaking for the tree of life is a privilege for those who have the permission to do so by divine authority.
Revelation 22:15. Outside. This is a millennial prophecy and cannot occur after the white throne judgment, lake of fire and second death events of Rev 20:11–15, or else the Bible makes not sense if it says that sinners are still alive after the lake of fire.
Dogs. This is an idiom referring to homosexual prostitutes. See notes at Deut 23:18.
Revelation 22:17. The Spirit and the bride say come. This is another appeal to the reader to trust in Yeshua and accept the gospel message.
Both the Spirit of Elohim and the bride of Yeshua are inviting those who are spiritually asleep or even dead and who are obviously not the bride to come and partake of the waters from the river of life. This confirms the point that not all saints are the bride of Yeshua as illustrated in the Parable of the Ten Virgins, where, though all were virgins (i.e. redeemed followers of Yeshua the Bridegroom), not all were spiritually prepared to enter into the wedding feast where they would meet and become the bride of Yeshua. In the kingdom of heaven, Yeshua taught that there are at least two levels of rewards for the saints. There will be the least and the greatest in the kingdom depending on their level of Torah obedience (see Matt 5:19 and notes at Rev 20:12).