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). 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 relegate it to the realm of the allegorical. An understanding of the prophetic implications of the seventh day Sabbath should settle this question once and for all. In traditional Jewish 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 yet to come. The Millennium is not uniquely a Christian or NT concept, but is rooted in Judaism going back before the Christian era. For example, the writer of Hebrews juxtaposes the Sabbath and the Millennium in Hebrews chapter seven 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 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 is 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 3:9, Worship/bow down before your feet. This scripture has puzzled many. Who are these saints before which those who are of the synagogue of Satan will at some time in the future bow down in worship? Who are those who are of the synagogue of Satan? First, the saints are wearing crowns (verse 11) and they have the name of Elohim written upon them (verse 12). We know that a group of saints will be ruling with Yeshua in his millennial kingdom (Rev 1:6; 5:10). These same saints will be part of the first resurrection (Rev 20:6), which occurs at Yeshua’s second coming. Not all saints will be kings and priests. There are levels of rewards (and responsibilities) in YHVH’s kingdom depending on how obedient one has been to his Torah-commandments. This Yeshua teaches in Matthew 5:19. Some saints will be the least in his eternal kingdom, while some will be the greatest depending on their level of Torah-obedience. Similarly, Yeshua identifies two groups of saints in his Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt 25:1–13)—the wise saints and the foolish saints. The wise virgins will go into the wedding supper of Yeshua, and presumably will become his bride, while the foolish ones will be left outside. In Revelation chapter three, Yeshua further identifies two groups of believers: those who are spiritually lukewarm and those who are spiritually hot (Rev 3:14–22). It is not a stretch to connect those who are spiritually on fire in Laodicea with those in Philadelphia who have been faithful to his commands, who will be given a crown and who will be worshipped.
Can we further identify these faithful saints who will be worshipped (or before whom the knees of lower order saints will bend, which is the actual meaning in the Greek of the word worship) in Yeshua’s kingdom? They have crowns and are thus ruling as kings and have the name of Elohim written on them. Similarly, the 144 thousand have the seal of YHVH’s name on them (Rev 7:3–4 and 14:1), and they keep his Torah commandments and have the testimony or faith of Yeshua (Rev 14:12). These are the likely candidates for being those Yeshua describes in Matthew 5:19 who will be the greatest in the kingdom of Elohim, and who others will worship (Rev 3:9).
Why would people be worshipping (or bending the knee before) these glorified, resurrected and kingly saints? There are several possible explanations here for this. First, the bride of Yeshua will be ruling and reigning with Yeshua as a queen (in ancient Jewish thought) or like a king (under Yeshua, who is the King of kings, as presented in the book of Revelation). Second, Paul teaches us that those saints who will be resurrected will be literally adopted (Rom 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5) into the family of Elohim as sons or children of YHVH Elohim.
In Galatians, Paul speaks of redeemed believers being both Abraham’s seed and being adopted as sons of Elohim (Gal 3:29; 4:5). Elsewhere where the term adoption is used in the Testimony of Yeshua, it is in reference to our relationship with our Heavenly Father, not with our earthly father, Abraham. The redeemed are therefore, sons or the seed of Abraham, yet adopted into the family of Elohim as spiritual sons (Rom 8:15, 23; Eph 1:5). In other words, the saints are literal sons or seed (physically) of Abraham, yet adopted sons (spiritually) of YHVH. This adoption will be finalized or completed at the resurrection when the saints receive their spiritual bodies (Rom 8:23), for then they will be like him for they shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2).
Elohim is a plural word in Hebrew and can mean many things, and has many usages in the Scriptures. It is used to refer to the Creator, YHVH Elohim, as well as to angels, kings, judges and humans in authoritative capacities. When the saints are resurrected, they will be as Elohim and will be part of the family of Elohim, though they will not be Elohim, who has existed forever and is the Creator of all things. It appears that these saints will be worshipped, not as YHVH Elohim, but as his created sons who have been elevated through the process of redemption, sanctification, glorification and adoption into members of the family of Elohim.
Revelation 3:14, The church at Laodicea.
Will you pass the test and make it into YHVH’s kingdom?
Revelation 1:1, Must shortly take place/come to pass. John expected that the prophecies that followed were about to occur. This seems to be proof that the Book of Revelation (at least up to Rev 10:11) was written before A.D. 70. The second half of this book was John prophesying again (see Rev 10:11) and must have been written after the fall of Jerusalem at the hand of the Romans.
Revelation 1:2, Testimony. In the NT or Testimony (marturia) of Yeshua (as compared to the Old Testament, also known in the book of Revelation as the Word of Elohim), the word testimony (as found in many places) is either the Greek word marturia or marturion meaning “testimony, witness, or one who testifies.” Interestingly, our English word martyr comes from these Greek words. A martyr is one who testifies to their faith and is killed for it. These Greek words refer to both one who shares their testimony of the good news of Yeshua or the gospel message including their personal testimony. It can also refer to one who as a prophet testifies of future events, but the word is not confined to that meaning only. Consider this. One doesn’t have to be a prophet to testify to the future events that the Bible already tells us are coming such as the second coming, the establishment of Elohim’s kingdom on earth, punishment for the wicked and rewards for the righteous, the glorification of the saints as well as inclusion in the family of Elohim as his glorified and spiritual children. These are all future events and are part of the gospel message.
Marturia and marturian come from the root word martus which is “a witness in a legal or historical sense, a spectator to anything.” As born again believers in Yeshua, we are witnesses to the power of Yeshua in our lives and the validity of the gospel message. For example, Stephen was a martus or martyr (Acts 22:20) as he was preaching the gospel to those who stoned him (see also Rev 2:13 where Antipas was slain for his faith as well). In the Gospel of John, John the apostle writes (marturia) the record John the Baptist in John 1:19. In John 1:32, John the Baptist records or bears witness (martureo) of what he saw pertaining to Set-Apart Spirit coming down upon Yeshua. A little later, John the Gospel writer testifies (martureo) that Yeshua is the Son of Elohim (John 1:34). The word martureo is also used of those who viewed the miraculous resurrection of Lazaurs (John 12:17), and of John who was witness to or who bore record of (martureo) the death of Yeshua (John 19:35). Many more examples could be given, but you get the idea. Marturia and its cognates can have several meanings that include the gift of prophecy, but is not limited to that.
Revelation 1:7, Even they who pierced him. How will those who killed Yeshua see him at his second coming if they are dead? Only those alive on earth and the righteous dead will be resurrected at his second coming will see him. Perhaps, they will see him descending from the New Jerusalem in his power and glory at the end of the Millennium when he will resurrect all the unrighteous dead who then must appear before him on bent knew at the white throne judgment before being cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 1:10, The Lord’s Day. This verse is one of the cliche biblical passages that mainstream church scholars use to “prove” Sunday’s replacement of the Sabbath. The problem with this position is that there’s no clear scriptural proof that the apostles ever changed the Sabbath to Sunday. What’s more, to view this passage as referring to Sunday is to take a phrase the early church fathers used as a euphemism for Sunday when pushing for Sunday in place of Sabbath observance and to retroactively apply this meaning to John’s use of the phrase. Frankly, it is biased and dishonest scholarship to take the phrase “the Lord’s day” with its second century colloquial meaning and then to back-apply this meaning to John’s use of the phrase when there’s no reason to believe this was John’s intended meaning.
Alternatively, the phrase, “the Lord’s day, can be a reference to the biblical term “the day of the Lord’s wrath” when YHVH, in the end times, will judge the nations for their wickedness. This is a point that several biblical scholars have made (see From Sabbath to Sunday, by Samuele Bacchiochi, p. 111; E. W. Bullinger’s Companion Bible footnote on Rev 1:10; The Jewish New Testament Commentary on this verse, p. 791, by David Sterns).
There is actually more scriptural proof that the phrase “the day of the Lord” is a reference to the seventh day Sabbath than to the first the week. In Isaiah 58:13, the prophet YHVH refers to the Sabbath as “my holy day…the holy day of the Lord.” So conceivably, it could have been on the Sabbath day itself that John received his vision on the island of Patmos about that great and terrible day of YHVH’s wrath that is to come on the earth just prior to the Messiah’s second coming.
Revelation 2:17, A white stone. The Romans of biblical times exchanged a token of friendship between friends that could be passed on down from one generation to another. The ritual consisted of two friends writing their names on a tile of wood or stone, which was then divided in half and each took the piece containing name of their friend. To produce the counterpart of the one of the pieces to the other friend (or his heirs) guaranteed friendship and hospitality. The white stone with a new name on it is likely a reference to this first century practice (Manners and Customs, p. 70).
Revelation 2:27, A rod of iron. Yeshua’s rod of iron is similar to the scepter of a king, which was taken from the shepherds rod, since a king was viewed as the shepherd of his people. The scepter was not only a symbol of protection, but of power and authority.
Revelation 2:28, The morning star. In the Latin Vulgate Bible (translated by Jerome in about A.D. 400 for the Roman Catholic Church) is the official Latin Bible of the Catholic Church the biblical term morning start is translated into Latin as lucifer. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, when morning star is translated as lucifer, it is not referring to the devil, but rather denotes the exalted state from which he fell. That exalted state refers to the glory of heaven or the morning star (Rev 2:28), and to Yeshua himself who Peter and John refer to as the Morning Star (2 Pet 1:19; Rev 22:16) (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09410a.htm). The name Lucifer appears in some Catholic liturgy. It would seem that this is not a reference to the devil, but to Elohim or to Yeshua.
The Koine Greek name for the Book of Revelation is apokalupsis from which our English word apocalypse derives, is a word that in the minds of most people conjures up visions of horrific and cataclysmic events in which there is war, political and environmental upheaval involving mass death and destruction. This idea is a misnomer however. Though the Book of Revelation indeed foretells of a cataclysmic end times scenario, the Greek word apokalupsis literally means “laying bear, making naked; a disclosure of truth, instruction concerning things before unknown, manifestation, appearance,” and hence our English name for this book: Revelation. This meaning is made clear in the first verse of this same book.
The Revelation of Yeshua the Messiah, which Elohim gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.
The Book of Revelation is just that—a revelation of things to come to pass, which Yeshua is making known to his servants (plural). This includes you and me.
Although, I don’t claim to have all or even much understanding pertaining to this book, I here share with you what I enlightenment I have been given to this point on several key topic. This is simply my understanding to this point until YHVH by his Spirit gives us more understanding. Until then, may we remain as little children, pale in hand, on the seashore of the vast ocean of YHVH’s unfathomable wisdom and knowledge in faith waiting for him to fill our buckets with more of his divine revelation.
What Should Be Our Perspective on the Book of Revelation?
On another note, there are those who champion the view that events of the Book of Revelation are primarily in the past tense. That is to say, Revelation records the events leading up to and following the destruction of the Jewish temple and Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The view that the events of Revelation were mostly fulfilled in the first century is called the preterist view, and those who support this position draw our attention to verses which point to the immediacy of the prophecies of the book being fulfilled—to events which must “shortly take place” (i.e. Rev 1:1, 3; 22:6, 10).
The problems with this view are several. To make it work, most of the prophecies of the book have to be allegorized. As such, preterists believe that little if anything Revelation says can be taken literally. The purpose of Revelation, they say, was to comfort the churches in Asia Minor in light of the persecutions they were enduring (Rev 1:4). While much in Revelation is obviously allegorical, to say that it all is, is simply applying a broad brush approach and, in my opinion, denies some of the basic rules of biblical interpretation. My approach is to take what the book says to be literal, unless the context or passages elsewhere in the Scriptures give us reason to interpret it symbolically.
The second major objection I have to the preterist view is that since most scholars agree that John wrote this book in the last decade of the first century, this view would make John’s Book of Revelation a record of history, as opposed to a prophecy “of things which must shortly come to pass,” which is contrary to the book’s purpose as the first verse of the book clearly states. The preterist view cannot accommodate this reality unless scholars can prove that John wrote all of his book before A.D. 70, a date which is at odds with the records of the early church fathers, which place the date of the books writing in the 90s.
Why I’m Not a Preterist
Preterism is the Christian eschatological (understanding of end time events) concept that all Bible prophecy has already been fulfilled including Yeshua’s Matthew 24 Olivet Discourse and those prophecies in the book of Revelation.
A couple of days ago, someone emailed me a commentary on the book of Revelation and asked me to review it. I began reading it, and realized that it was nothing more than one man’s speculations about what he thought that this enigmatic book means.
That same day I went to the post office to get my mail, and I picked up a cardboard tube sent to me by an admiring follower of our ministry. Inside the tube was a kind and complimentary letter along with a paper chart when unrolled was more than five feet long! It was basically another man’s interpretation—a timeline chart—of how he thought the events of the book of Revelation would play out in the last days. It contained ideas cobbled together from many sources including a number of well-known Christian prophecy pundits who have little or no idea about the Torah or Hebraic biblical understandings, meaning their biblical understanding—including their interpretations on the book of Revelation—is incomplete and not to be trusted. The man asked me to critique his work. After looking at this chart for a couple of minutes, I rolled it back up, stuck it back in the tube and shelved it.
To the kind gentleman who had emailed me the pdf commentary on the book of Revelation requesting my opinion, I wrote the following:
We all have our hunches about how Bible prophecy along with the book of Revelation will play out, but we’re all wrong. Some of us may have parts and pieces of the truth, but most Bible prophecy will not be fully understood until after it happens.
For the most part, those prophecy pundits and Bible students who formulate timelines, charts and write commentaries on the book of Revelation and other end time Bible prophecies in an attempt to explain the exact meaning of the metaphorical symbols and to predict how these prophecies will be fulfilled, by whom and when are engaging in folly. No one knows these things exactly, and know will know, again, in most cases, until after they have come to pass, and even then, most people will not even understand the prophecies at that time.
Here is a case in point: Even Yeshua’s disciples didn’t understand what his role was to be or how he was to fulfill the many Old Testament Messianic prophecies about him until after his resurrection. Do we really think that our biblical understanding and spiritual perspicacity is greater than theirs? If so, than this is not only folly on our part, but extreme arrogance and hubris! Perhaps we need to explore the biblical meaning of humility and faith. Let me explain what I mean.
Regarding faith, if we were to know the exact details concerning the fulfillment of biblical prophecy including the book Revelation, then our spiritual walk would no longer be a faith walk as per the biblical definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1, would it?
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
We’d now be walking by sight, not by faith, which is the opposite of what Scripture enjoins us to do (2 Cor 5:7).
No, the main purpose of Bible prophecy isn’t to provide us with a sort of crystal ball to know what’s going to happen in the future. It’s purpose is only to raise our hope by providing us with a shadowy understanding of future events, like looking through a glass darkly (1 Cor 13:12), even as the ancient Jews had a shadowy understanding about the coming of Messiah, but they didn’t know the full or exact details of how biblical prophecies concerning him would play out. The exact fulfillment of those prophecies was hidden from the majority of Jews, which is why they killed him. YHVH divinely revealed only to a few of Yeshua’s closest associates how he perfectly fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning him.
Now this brings us to the main purpose of Bible prophecy, as I see it. It’s not so that humans can use the Bible as a sort of crystal ball or as a means to divine or augur the exact details of the future, but so that after the prophecies have been fulfilled, and the understanding of them is divinely revealed to YHVH’s faithful saints (as occurred to Yeshua’s disciples after his resurrection) that the omniscience and glory of YHVH Elohim will be manifested causing humans to glorify, praise and worship him. Please not: Even an understanding of the fulfillment of the prophecies is by divine revelation and will not be understood by the vast majority of people. For example, what majority of the Jewish population understood that Yeshua the Messiah was who he was in his day…or even today?
What, therefore, should be the main focus of our spiritual walk as Bible believers? Namely this: We need to pursue holiness and righteousness through a spiritual relationship with Yeshua as we love him by obeying his Word. Our future is in his hands, and the just shall walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7; Heb 11:1). In his hands, we are safe and secure no matter how the prophecies of the Bible play out.
What is the bottom line here? Keep your eyes on Yeshua and have faith in him, and not on how you think Bible prophecy is going to play out, because no one knows these things. Make no mistake about it, the vast majority of those people who “understand” Bible prophecy are those who have something to sell you; they want to make a name for themselves for the purpose of human pride, control and mammon. Beware!
Matthew 24:29, 30, Sun will be darkened…sign of the Son of Man. Here Yeshua tells us that certain harbingers of his second coming will occur first. These include phenomenon occurring in the heavens involving the sun, moon and the stars. After this, a miraculous sign in the heavens will occur, and then Yeshua will come. Between the signs of the sun, moon and stars and the final miraculous sign of his coming there’s a gap in time. Yeshua later revealed to John that the cosmic disturbances involving the sun, moon and stars would correspond with the sixth seal (as part of the of the great tribulation that occurs before Elohim pours out his wrath on the earth) of Revelation 6:12–17. After this, Elohim pours out his wrath upon the earth (Rev 6:17; 11:18; 15:1; 16:1), and then the second advent of Yeshua occurs.
Does the sign of the Son of Man coming (Matt 24:30lp) occur before or after the wrath of Elohim? That’s hard to say, but since Yeshua states that between the two events all men will mourn, perhaps this is a veiled reference to the wrath of Elohim that is to be poured out on unregenerate men during the seven trumpets, seven thunders and seven bowl judgments described in the Book of Revelation. Why else would men be mourning? The intervening time between the cosmic disturbances (the sixth seal of Rev 6:12–17) and Yeshua’s second coming during which Elohim pours out his wrath could be a year or more, since the Scriptures speak of the day (or a period of time) of YHVH’s wrath. The Hebrew word for day (Heb. yom)can mean both a day and a period of time.
The prophet Isaiah speaks in several places about “the day of YHVH’s vengeance” (or words to this effect). This is the time period when YHVH will judge the nations including Babylon the Great, which occurs at Yeshua’s second coming (see Rev 18 and 19). In three places, Isaiah indicates that the day of YHVH will last for one year (Isa 34:8; 61:2 and 63:4). Interestingly, in Isaiah 63:4, the prophet couples the idea of the day of YHVH’s vengeance being a year long with the jubilee year—“the year of my redeemed has come.” This occurs as the Messiah (the subject of Isa 63:1–6) judges the enemies of Israel (notably Edom) as he is at the same time about to redeem (i.e. regather and return scattered Israel to its Promised Land inheritance). It appears that while Yeshua is judging Israel’s enemies at his second coming, he will at the same time be regathering the lost and scattered 12 tribes of Israel. Yeshua seems to allude to this in Matthew 24:31.
What happens after the return of Yeshua to this earth — after he has put down all of his enemies in battle (Zech 14:1–3; Rev 17:14; 19:11–21)? This we know. He shall set his feet on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4) even as he ascended from the same place (Acts 1:9–12), and YHVH-Yeshua shall become king over the earth (Zech 14:9). He shall be King of kings (Rev 17:14; 19:16) and rule with a rod of iron over the whole earth (Rev 12:5; 19:15) for one thousand years (Rev 20:2, 3, 4, 6, 7). This is commonly referred to as the Millennium. This is the earth that Yeshua declared that the meek would inherit (Matt 5:5).
A Quick Overview of the Millennium
What will the 1000 year-long Millennium be like? The Scriptures give us some insights into life on earth during this time.
Elohim will live with his people. (Ezek 37:26–28)
David will rule as King over Israel (Ezek 37:24–25)
YHVH’s annual feast will be kept by all people (Ezek 46:3–6; cf. Col 2,16–17)
YHVH’s government will be established on Mount Zion in Jerusalem: Torah will go forth from Mount Zion and the nations will go up to Mount Zion to worship YHVH in the house (temple) of YHVH (Mic 4:1–2)
A Highway of YHVH, or a highway of holiness will lead to Zion. (Isa 35:8–10)
Whether literal or spiritual, living waters will flow from Jerusalem and Yeshua’s throne. Water was flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (Ezek 47:1; Zech 14:8)
On the bank of the river there were very many trees on each side (Ezek 47:6–9)
People will live to a very old age. (Isa 65:20)
Crowds of people will flock to Jerusalem. (Zech 2:1–4; Isa 49:14)
The temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt. (Zech 6:15; 14:20–21; Hag 2:6–9)
The Messiah will be king over the whole world. (Zech 6:9–13; Isa 11:1–5; Rev 20:6; 5:9–10)
The nations which do not want to serve and obey YHVH will be destroyed. (Isa 60:12; Zech 14:16–19; Isa 9:5–7)
What Happens After the Millennium?
After the thousand years is completed, Satan the devil who has been bound in the bottomless pit (Rev 20:1–3) will be released briefly to test those on earth as to their faithfulness to King Yeshua (verses 7–8). The devil will then be cast into the lake of fire forever (verse 10).
Next is the final judgment day — commonly called the great white throne judgment. At that time, all the dead, and any others who have died in Yeshua and have yet to receive their Continue reading →