Category Archives: Revelation

THE 144,000 IN REVELATION

PMW 2019-080 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I have been giving a brief survey of Revelation beginning in Rev. 4. Now we must note that as the wrath of the Lamb against the Jews builds, we will witness a surprising pause in the horrifying drama. Four angels hold back the wind from “the land,” i.e., Israel (Rev. 7:1-3). This act is symbolic imagery, relating what Robert Thomas calls (at another place) “picturesque apocalyptic.” The angels are not holding back literal winds, but the winds of destruction (cp. Jer. 49:36-37; 51:1-2). The first six seals represent the early stage of the Jewish War wherein Vespasian fights his way through Galilee toward Jerusalem. But before he has an opportunity to besiege Jerusalem the action pauses as these angels seal the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:3).

The number 144,000, as most commentators agree, is surely symbolic. In fact, in Revelation perfectly rounded thousands all appear to be symbolic. Ten is the number of quantitative perfection, and one thousand is the cube of ten. Frequently Scripture uses 1000 as a symbolic value, not expressing a literal enumeration (e.g., Ex. 20:6; Deut. 1:11; 7:9; 32:30; Josh. 23:10; Job 9:3; Ps. 50:10; 84:10; 90:4; 105:8; Eccl. 7:28; Isa. 7:23; 30:17; 60:22; 2 Pet. 3:8). Continue reading

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THE SEVEN SEALS OF REVELATION 6

PMW 2019-079 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In Revelation 6 Christ begins opening the seals. As Robert Thomas, Marvin Pate, and other commentators note, there is a “close parallelism between Jesus’ Olivet Discourse” and the seals of Revelation. And as the preterist reminds them, the contexts of both of these prophecies relate to first century events (cp. Rev. 1:1, 3; Matt. 24:2-3, 34). Interestingly, church father Eusebius (A.D. 260-340) uses Josephus’s history of the Jewish War (A.D. 67-70) to illustrate the fulfilling of the Olivet prophecy (Eccl. Hist. 3:5-9).

The rider on the white horse “bent on conquest” (Rev. 6:2-3) represents the victorious Roman march toward Jerusalem to engage the Jewish War in the Spring of A.D. 67. The rider on the red horse (Rev. 6:4) who takes “the peace from the earth” (Rev. 6:4; cp. Matt. 24:6-7) speaks of the surprising disruption of the famous pax Romana, an enforced peace that prevails throughout the Roman Empire for many years. For example, Epictetus (A.D. 60-140) writes that “Caesar has obtained for us a profound peace. There are neither wars nor battles” (Discourses 3:13:9). The Jewish revolt against Rome temporarily interrupts this famous peace. The red horse especially highlights that civil war occurring in Jerusalem itself (where Jesus utters his prophecy, Matt. 24). Continue reading

JOHN’S “MANY WATERS”: ROME OR JERUSALEM? (2)

PMW 2019-076 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second and final part of a brief series arguing that the “many waters” of Rev. 17:1, 15 refer to Jerusalem’s influence over the diaspora Jews, many of whom were proselyte from the nations.

My second observation regarding the Babylonian-harlot’s sitting on many waters represents Jerusalem’s political influence exercised by means of the diaspora — particularly against Christians —- which is exerted throughout the empire and among the “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (17:15).

Remembering the Jewish danger to Christians (Rev. 2:9; 3:9; cp. Acts 4:3; 5:18; 8:3; 9:2; 12:4; 18:6; 22:4; 24:27; 26:10; Rom 15:31; 2 Cor. 11:24; 1 Thess. 2:14-17; Heb. 10:33-34) and the role of the martyrs in Rev (Rev. 6:9-10; see also: Rev 1:9; 2:9-10; 3:9-10; 11:7-8, 11-13, 18; 12:10; 13:10; 14:11-13; 16:5-6; 17:6; 18:20, 24; 19:2; 20:4, 6), this is a quite significant implication of John’s image. After all, we discover “the common reflection of Jewish opposition in the NT writings” (Rick Van de Water, “Reconsidering the Beast from the Sea (Rev 13.1),” 248). Continue reading

REVELATION AND THE LENGTH OF THE JEWISH WAR

PMW 2019-073 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

A reader of this blog site wrote an insightful and important question. This question is important because preterism emphasizes the history of the Jewish War as it relates to the judgment scenes in Revelation. Rather than treat his question as a comment which would not be seen by many, I thought I would make it an article. I hope you find this helpful.

Bryan Kuranaga question

I don’t know if this question is completely relevant to this post, but I figured it’s a good place to ask it. I was wondering if you have heard/read Phil Kayser’s messages on Revelation? He is also a partial preterist postmillennial and in preaching on Revelation 11:1-7, he writes (taken from the sermon, “The Two Witnesses, Part 1” preached on January 29, 2017):

“So how long was the war? If the only thing you read was the Partial Preterist commentaries (and I am in the Partial Preterist camp that believes most of chapters 1-19 has already been fulfilled) you would get the impression that the war was only three and a half years long. But all the early and later histories of the Jewish War with the Romans refer to it as a seven year war. Josephus, Eusebius, Hegesippus, Yosippon, Seutonius, Tacitus, and other ancient historians are consistent. And modern historians like Cornfeld, Mazar, Maier, and Schurer say the same.” Continue reading

REVELATION’S FOUR-FOLD JUDGMENT STRUCTURE

PMT 2019-070 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

It has been said that wherever you find five Revelation commentaries, you will discover six different Revelation outlines. Outlining Revelation is a difficult task due to its cyclical and repetitive movement. For instance, in it appear cycles of seven: seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials. But these appear to be rehearsing the same information.

Nevertheless, outlining Revelation is an important, though difficult, task that can be accomplished. The structuring of Revelation should emphasize its judicial character, since we see one judgment of God after another in its unfolding story. Continue reading

QUICK ARGUMENT FOR REVELATION’S EARLY DATE

PMT 2019-069 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Introduction

Revelation 17:8–10 is an important passage that helps us determine the date in which John composed Revelation. That passage reads as follows:

[17:8] The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. [17:9] Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, [17:10] and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.

Since there is a serious debate over the dating of Revelation, and since we are in one of the passages that offers us evidence for its date (Rev. 15–19), I thought I would introduce you to the debate. Continue reading

THE BEASTS OF REVELATION

PMW 2019-023 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Beast from seaIn Revelation 13:1–2 we are introduced to the beast from the sea who will play a prominent role in Revelation from this point forward: “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.”

We must understand the “first beast” in Rev 13 both generically and individually. This is not unusual in Scripture: Christ’s body is generic (the church) and specific (Jesus); Adam is generic (man) and specific (Adam). Generically the “beast” is Rome; individually it is Nero Caesar, the head of the Roman Empire of the day. Continue reading