Loading

Appendix 18: Creation and Consummation—the Book of Revelation

by Dr. Henry M. Morris:

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Genesis and Revelation—the book of “Beginnings” and the book of “Unveilings”—constitute the two “Book-Ends” of the Bible, so to speak. Genesis is the Foundation and Revelation the Consum's plan in creating and redeeming the world. In a distinctive sense, the two books fit together, and there are many references to Genesis in Revelation. Appendix 4 contains a summary of the structure and key events of Genesis. Here we note some of the key data of Revelation.

I. Fourfold Purpose of the Book of Revelation

  • Revelation completes the canon of Scripture. Originally settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89) and then conveyed through one prophet after another down to man (Acts 3:21) in various ways and forms (Hebrews 1:1), God's written Word is now finished and must not be altered by either addition or deletion (Revelation 22:18, 19).
  • All the books of the Bible provide blessing to their readers, but Revelation is the only book which has that specific purpose stated—not only to those who read it, but to those who hear it read by others (Revelation 1:3; 22:7).
  • Revelation provides a succinct outline of the future events of history, from the apostolic period on to the consummation of the present ages and the beginning of the eternal ages in the New Jerusalem on the new earth (Revelation 1:1; 1:19; 4:1; 22:20).
  • This final book of the Bible assures the consummation of all of God's purposes in creation (Revelation 1:8; 21:5).

II. Basic Data of Revelation

  • Author: John the Apostle (Revelation 1:1, 4, 9; 22:8). The vocabulary is very similar to that in John's gospel and epistles (note, for example, his use of “bare record;” “word of God;” “testimony” in Revelation 1:2).
  • Date: Probably a.d. 95-100. All the other apostles had been martyred by this time, but John had been preserved to pen this final section of God's revealed Word (note John 20:20-25; Ephesians 2:20; 3:5).
  • Place of writing: the Isle of Patmos, a small barren island in the Aegean Sea, just opposite the city of Ephesus, whose church John had pastored until he was imprisoned by the authorities on Patmos.
  • Title: The Greek for “Revelation” is Apokalupsis, meaning “Unveiling”—that is, of events previously hidden. The title is, properly, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” not “The Revelation of St. John the Divine,” as many Bibles list it (note Revelation 1:1).

III. Methods of Interpretation of Revelation

  • As Related to Literary Form
    Non-literal (symbolism, allegory, typology, spiritualizing).
    Literal (i.e., no interpretation; except as contextually warranted and explained.
  • As Related to Chronological Periods
    Mystical, or Idealist (no specific fulfillment, just expressing general optimism during tribulation).
    Preterist ( = “past;” fulfilled already during apostolic period primarily).
    Historical (mostly fulfilled during course of history between apostolic period and return of Christ)
    Futurist (mostly to be fulfilled—except for first three chapters—in climactic future consummation period)
  • As Related to Order of Events in Revelation
    Cyclic (repetition of key events two or more times, using different terms and symbols)
    Sequential (straightforward chronological account of future history)
  • As Related to Eschatology, Especially in Relation to Millennium (the 1000-year period of Revelation 20)
    A-millennial: The Millennium represents the church age
    Post-millennial: Christ is to return after the millennium, which had been achieved by the church
    Pre-millennial: Christ is to return before the millennium, to set up His kingdom on earth
  • Interpretation Used in The Defender's Study Bible
    Since the purpose of Revelation is communication, comfort and guidance for future, it must be easily understood by anyone. Therefore, use literal interpretation
    The events described after chapter 3 have not yet been fulfilled. Therefore, use futurist interpretation
    The description of events, if taken literally, have a clear, built-in chronological order. Therefore, use sequential interpretation
    A-millennialism requires a non-literal interpretation of the millennium, and post-millennialism requires a non-literal interpretation of first resurrection. Therefore, use pre-millenial interpretation
    Although Revelation should properly be taken literally, futuristically, sequentially and pre-millennially, other interpretations have often been advocated by good men and capable Bible expositors. These have supplied many good “applications,” but Scripture has only one legitimate interpretation.

IV. Relation to Book of Genesis

Since Genesis is the foundation of God's written Word, and Revelation the capstone, unbelievers have directed their attacks especially at these two books. Without these two vital tie-points of God's Word in relation to the world, modern religion—even evangelical Christianity—tends largely to focus on only the existential present.

It is vital, if true Biblical Christianity is to survive in these critical days, for Christians to understand, believe and defend these two key books.

Genesis and Revelation are clearly tied together in various ways. Note the following references to Genesis in the Book of Revelation.

Creation

  • Paradise of God (Revelation 2:7)
  • Creation of all things (Revelation 4:11)
  • Creation of heaven, earth, sea and things therein (Revelation 10:6)
  • Foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8; 17:8)
  • Maker of heaven and earth (Revelation 14:7)

Antediluvian Events

  • Eating of Tree of Life (Revelation 2:7; 22:2)
  • Cherubim (Revelation 4:6-8)
  • The rainbow (Revelation 4:3; 10:1)
  • Two witnesses, probably Enoch and Elijah (Revelation 11:3-12)
  • Seed of the Woman (Revelation 12:5, 17)
  • The Old Serpent (Revelation 12:9; 20:2)
  • Fountains of waters (Revelation 14:7)

Post-Diluvian Events

  • Lion of the Tribe of Juda (Revelation 5:5)
  • Twelve tribes of Israel (Revelation 7:4-8)
  • Blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14)
  • Sodom (Revelation 11:8)
  • Fire and brimstone (Revelation 14:10; 19:20; 20:10; 21:8)
  • Babylon (Revelation 17:5; 18:2, 10)

Creation of New Heavens and New Earth

  • First heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1)
  • No more curse (Revelation 21:4; 22:3)
  • No need of sun and moon for light (Revelation 21:23)
  • River out of the throne (Revelation 22:1)
  • Beginning and end (Revelation 1:8, 11, 17; 22:13)

V. Comparisons between Created World and Renewed World:

Probationary World Genesis Eternal World Revelation
Division of light & darkness Genesis 1:4 No night there Revelation 21:25
Division of land & sea Genesis 1:10 No more sea Revelation 21:1
Rule of sun & moon Genesis 1:16 No need of sun or moon Revelation 21:23
Man in a prepared garden Genesis 2:8, 9 Man in a prepared city Revelation 21:2
River flowing out of Eden Genesis 2:10 River flowing from God's throne Revelation 22:1
Gold in the land Genesis 2:12 Gold in the city Revelation 21:21
Tree of life in the midst of the garden Genesis 2:9 Tree of life throughout the city Revelation 22:2
Bdellum & the onyx stone Genesis 2:12 All manner of precious stones Revelation 21:19
God walking in the garden Genesis 3:8 God dwelling with His people Revelation 21:3
First heavens & earth finished Genesis 2:1-3 New heavens & earth forever Revelation 21:1
The Spirit energizing Genesis 1:2 The Spirit inviting Revelation 22:17
Bride formed from her husband Genesis 2:21-23 Bride adorned for her husband Revelation 21:2
Command to multiply Genesis 1:28 Nations of the saved Revelation 21:24
Garden accessible to the Liar Genesis 3:1-5 City closed to all liars Revelation 21:27
Man in God's image Genesis 1:27 Man in God's presence Revelation 21:3
Man the probationer Genesis 2:17 Man the heir Revelation 21:7

VI. Comparisons between Cursed World and Redeemed World

Cursed World Genesis Redeemed World Revelation
Cursed ground Genesis 3:17 No more curse Revelation 22:3
Daily sorrow Genesis 3:17 No more sorrow Revelation 21:4
Sweat on the face Genesis 3:19 No more tears Revelation 21:4
Thorns and thistles Genesis 3:18 No more pain Revelation 21:4
Eating herbs of the field Genesis 3:18 Twelve manner of fruits Revelation 22:2
Returning to the dust Genesis 3:19 No more death Revelation 21:4
Coats of skins Genesis 3:21 Fine linen, white & clean Revelation 19:14
Satan opposing Genesis 3:15 Satan banished Revelation 20:10
Kept from the tree of life Genesis 3:24 Access to tree of life Revelation 22:14
Banished from the garden Genesis 3:23 Free entry to the city Revelation 22:14
Redeemer promised Genesis 3:15 Redemption accomplished Revelation 5:9, 10
Evil continually Genesis 6:5 Nothing that defileth Revelation 21:27
Seed of the woman Genesis 3:15 Root & offspring of David Revelation 22:16
Cherubim guarding Genesis 3:24 Angels inviting Revelation 21:9

VII. Chronological Framework of Revelation

Chapters Age Duration
Revelation 1-3 Church Age Unknown Duration
Revelation 4-19 Judgment Age Seven Years
Revelation 20 Kingdom Age Thousand Years
Revelation 21-22 Eternal Age Endless Years

Basis for Arriving at Above Framework

  • Destruction of millennial earth prior to renewed earth (Revelation 20:11; 21:1)
  • Judgment of Beast prior to millennium (Revelation 19:20; 20:2)
  • Death of two witnesses prior to reign of Beast (Revelation 11:7)
  • Three-and-one-half-year testimony and judgmental power of two witnesses (Revelation 11:3, 6, 10)
  • Assembly of all saved in heaven prior to judgments on earth (Revelation 4:1, 4; 5:9)
  • Persistence of churches to coming of Christ (Revelation 2:25; 3:3; 3:11; 3:20)

VIII. The “Sevenness” of Revelation

  • More occurrences of “seven” than in entire New Testament, and more occurrences of “seven” than in any book of Old Testament. Significance of “seven,” as signifying completion, comes from completion of creation (Genesis 2:1-3)
  • Emphasis on completion of God's Word of redemption in Book of Revelation
  • Examples of “Sevens” in Revelation (54 occurrences)
    Seven churches (Revelation 1:4, 11, 20, 20)
    Seven Spirits (Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6)
    Seven candlesticks (Revelation 1:12, 13, 20, 20; 2:1)
    Seven stars (Revelation 1:16, 20, 20; 2:1; 3:1)
    Seven lamps (Revelation 4:5)
    Seven seals (Revelation 5:1, 5)
    Seven horns (Revelation 5:6)
    Seven eyes (Revelation 5:6)
    Seven angels (Revelation 8:2, 6)
    Seven trumpets (Revelation 8:2, 6)
    Seven thunders (Revelation 10:3, 4, 4)
    Seven thousand (Revelation 11:13)
    Seven heads (Revelation 12:3; 13:1; 17:3, 7, 9)
    Seven crowns (Revelation 12:3)
    Seven angels (Revelation 15:1, 6, 7, 8; 16:1; 17:1; 21:9)
    Seven plagues (Revelation 15:1, 6, 8; 21:9)
    Seven vials (Revelation 15:7; 17:1; 21:9)
    Seven mountains (Revelation 17:9)
    Seven kings (Revelation 17:10, 11)
  • Examples of Groups of Seven not Specifically Mentioned as Such
    Seven years of tribulation (Revelation 7:14; 11:3; 12:6, 14; 13:5)
    Seven divisions in each church letter (Revelation 2 and 3)
    Seven beatitudes (Revelation 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14)
    Seven “I am's” of Christ (Revelation 1:8, 11, 17, 18; 21:6; 22:13, 16)
    Seven doxologies in heaven (Revelation 4:9-11; 5:8-13; 7:9-12; 11:16-18; 14:2-3; 15:2-4; 19:1-6)

Outline of Book of Revelation (note Revelation 1:19)

  • “The Things Which Thou Hast Seen”: The Patmos Vision (Revelation 1)
  • “The Things Which Are”: The Seven Churches (Revelation 2 and 3)
  • “The Things Which Shall Be Hereafter”
    The throne-room set in the heavens (Revelation 4)
    The Lamb and the scroll (Revelation 5)
    The seal judgments on earth (Revelation 6)
    The saved in the great tribulation (Revelation 7)
    The trumpet judgments on earth (Revelation 8-10)
    The two witnesses (Revelation 11)
    The conflict of the two seeds (Revelation 12)
    The kingdom of the beast (Revelation 13)
    The everlasting gospel (Revelation 14)
    The bowl judgments on earth (Revelation 15-16)
    Babylon the great (Revelation 17-18)
    The glorious appearing of Christ (Revelation 19)
    The millennium and the last judgment (Revelation 20)
    The new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 21-22)