There is a lack of appreciation in most prophetic
interpretations of Revelation prophecy for the importance of
the role Israel and Jerusalem played in God's works in the earth,
requiring a very great amount of judgment for her rejection of her
Husband and her adultery with Rome. The nature of the judgments and the
manner in which God speaks of them indicates a first century
fulfillment for the most part.
A debate has ensued for centuries
as to when Revelation was written. If it was written before
AD70, then a strong argument can be given for a first century
fulfillment. If it was written after AD70, then the contrary
is possible. The overall spiritual message of
the issues raised in Revelation is the greater aspect of what
determines the date of the writing or not. Internal evidence is always
the greater evidence.
In that internal evidence, we read of four sets of sevenfold judgments.
7 Seals, trumpets, thunders and vials. Interestingly enough, Leviticus
lists four sets of sevenfold judgments upon Israel
should they violate
Law and receive God's cursings from law. Lev 26
Law is written to them who are under the law. Israel, alone.
The many repetitions mentioned of thunders, lightnings, earthquake and
voices in Revelation span back to the giving of Law when these things
occurred, showing another tie to Law
its cursings to those under
law. Israel, alone.
Not only that, but all the temple imagery in Revelation... the
atonement pictures of Christ seizing the sealed book, etc., all point
Law was a schoolmaster to bring Israel to Christ. Should Israel
reject Christ -- the entire purpose of Law -- what could be a worse
violation of Law? No other people can experience such a position of
being recipient to these curses from law, because no other people were under
Old Jerusalem goes down and we read of a New
Jerusalem. Old temple is
replaced by a New
one. Jerusalem, formerly persecuted by Babylon, becomes
instead. The Great City was where our Lord was
crucified, and is identified as the harlot woman.
We could go on and on about Old Testament LAW-parallels with
Revelation. A pattern is there.
Exodus shows a pattern with Revelation's image of the beast and mark,
and those on Mount Zion with Christ and the Father's name in their
foreheads. Moses had the law etched
by God into stone. the mark
engraving. Moses saw them worshiping the image of the beast, the golden
calf, when he had a law they were to love with their hearts, souls
(forehead) and might (hand). The mark was satan's answer to the Law of
God. Moses told those on God's side to come to Him and stand on the
mount. Levites, like the 144,000, stood with Moses, like standing with
the Lamb on Mount Zion. 3,000 idolators were fallen just as Babylon is
fallen is fallen. Israel had strayed so far from God's law, that they
not only violated it in the worst way by rejecting Christ to whom the
Law led them, but they actually had Satan's answer to Law on their
foreheads (Law as frontlets between their eyes) and hands. It's all a
contrast with how the cursings of Law came upon Israel who violated
Law, making them a New Babylon.
Jesus came as Jerusalem's king in Matt 21. She rejected Him. When He
was standing before them in custody by Pilate, Jerusalem cried "We have
no king but Caesar!" Rome was the fourth beast. This was no casual
statement. It is then that they cried for His blood to be upon them and
their children (that generation).
Jerusalem and Rome continued their "affair" after they crucified the
Lord in their union, by persecuting the church in Acts. Acts 4
actually uses the same terms Rev 17
used in saying "the kings of the earth" joined together with
Israel. Who were those kings? Acts 4
says Herod, Pontius Pilate and the gentiles. Rome was the world power.
Hence, her leaders were the kings of the earth.
The harlot rode the back of the beast and crucified her Groom. They
rejected the government of God and appealed to Caesar as her king.
Despite her abhorrence with Rome, Jerusalem claimed Caesar over
Jesus... no small thing.
The overall message of Old Testament imagery under Law
when law is
only written to those under Law -- Israel alone -- shows Israel to be
the recipients of Law's curses listed in Revelation. Revelation cannot
take curses of the law and infer these curses fall on those outside
Israel, when Law is only
written to those under law, Israel.
The issue of the changeover from Old Covenant to New, and from Old
Israel to New, and Old Jerusalem to New is a huge
issue that makes far
more sense to be the relevance of Revelation, than a didactic idea,
although I see didactic points in the book as well.
Revelation is about the great changeover of covenants and of God's dealings with Israel to fullness of
Church existence, and all the judgment and mopping up that occurred as a result of
the rejection of Chirst by Israel. The rejection of Jesus by Israel, and their
judgment, cannot be so easily overlooked. It may be a small matter to
us, but it was monstrous in God's eyes. It is, in fact, a major
emphasis in all the epistles! Why would Revelation be any different?
Yes, there is a didactic message in Revelation. But in every
historical record in the Bible can we find didactic lessons to be
learned. God deals with anybody in the general way he deals with the
rest of us.