How to Read – Revelation (2nd Period)


Apocalyptic questions welcome.


14 Replies to “How to Read – Revelation (2nd Period)”

  1. Question: What’s with the 4th horse and rider in Revelation 6 having control over death?

    Answer: The passage says of Death and Hades, “they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.” Death and Hades do not have control over the whole world, but God gives them the ability to kill a fourth of the earth. He gives them this authority, because of His wrath and the depravity of man. The entirety of humankind is completely deserving of this damnation. However, his providence keeps Him from destroying the whole world. This image is a reference to physical death on a massive scale during the tribulation. It speaks of four ways that people will die, the sword means by war, famine by starvation, pestilence by disease and plagues, and wild beasts as an aftermath of the three preceding. After enduring the previous sources of death, people will be weak and easy prey for wild animals.


    Question for Mr. Webster: What are the seven spirits of God in Revelation 4:5?

  2. Question: In Revelation 10:9, John was told to eat a book. This is quite strange. What is the significance of this?

    Answer: This is actually the third time in the Scripture that a person is told to consume a book (Jeremiah 15:13-17; Ezekiel 2:8-10). Eating is a universal idiom for receiving knowledge. John is being challenged to know and understand God’s word. This also shows that the word of God is the food of the Christian. Throughout the Bible, God’s word is compared to bread (Matthew 4:4), milk (1 Peter 2:2), meat (1 Cor 3:1-2), and honey (Psalm 119:103).


    Question: In Revelation 7, what are the “four winds of the earth”?

  3. Question: Revelations is so different from the rest of the Bible. Sometimes when I read it, I wonder why its even in there. What is the purpose of Revelations?

    Answer: Revelations has three main purposes. The first is to “complete the prophetic” of the Old Testament. The book of Revelations contains over 500 OT references (Dr. Fruchtenbaum). The second purpose of Revelation is to comfort and encourage Christians facing persecution. John wanted to remind them that their faith in Christ will give them the ultimate victory over evil. In the end, they will win. The third purpose of Revelation is to remind believers to stay on track. By talking about the Lord’s return John is reminding believers that they need to be living their lives for Christ and to be ready.

    Question for Web: Revelation 6:4 and 6:8 talk about a rider allowed to take peace from the earth and a rider given the power to kill people. From reading this, it seems like God planned for these things to happen. Is that the case? Why would He do that?

  4. Question: What is the significance of the number 7 in Revelations?
    Answer: The number seven is used many times in the Bible, not just Revelations. The number seven is often used in association with fulfillment. Seven is used throughout the Bible like the seventh day is the Sabbath. The priests marched around Jericho seven times. The early church had seven deacons. Jesus fed a large crowd with seven loaves of bread and had seven baskets left over, which signifies Jesus’s ability to sustain and fulfill.

    Question for Webster: Is it clear that any of the prophecies in Revelations been fulfilled yet?

  5. Question: What can we learn from Revelation 12?

    Answer: Revelation 12 begins the chapter with the birth of a child that is being pursued by the ancient dragon, but this child is the ruler of the of all the nations. The reader can begin to piece together that John references the birth of Jesus and his coming reign that Satan wants to destroy. Once we realize who Revelation 12 is directly referencing, we can start to reconfirm three very important things in the Christian faith. Firstly, God preserves his people. He did not let the woman (Israel) be ravished by the dragon as she will be protected by the Lord. Secondly, God expels his enemy. God permanently vanishes Satan and his crew of angels permanently from heaven- they do not succeed in creating disruption in heaven. Finally, Satan persecutes God’s people. Once Satan was expelled from heaven, he focused all his attention on trying to destroy Israel since he was stuck to the earth.

    Revelation 12 may appear to be confusing when first read, but it’s an encouragement to Christians that while you do struggle purposely there is always God’s prevailing power over any enemy. He is the only one that is all powerful.

    Question: In Revelation 14, it talks about 144,000 people who had the Father’s name on their forehead and had been redeemed from earth. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that those 144,000 people are the only people capable of going to heaven because they are the only ones truly redeemed the earthly prison. Why do you think that Revelation 14 words the end of verse 3 like that (since it can lead to easy misunderstandings)?

  6. What do all of the characteristics of the Angel in Revelation 10:1-3 mean?
    Revelation is a book full of imagery that can not be taken literally but has to be interpreted. For example, the Angel in Revelation 10:1-3 is described with multiple different phrases. He is described, coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud, a rainbow on his head, a face like the sun, and feet like pillars of fire. Coming down from heaven is usually used in reference to when Christ comes back, so for an angel to have this description it means he must be from God’s presence and mighty. Clothed with a cloud shows that like in the OT where God is portrayed as a cloud the cloud represents Gods intervention and judgement. A rainbow represents Gods promise to Noah and his mercy represented more or less as a halo. His face shining like the sun represents just how glorious and holy the Angel was. The pillars of fire represents the Angels immovable stance and the judgement of God.

    What does the following phrase mean: “he who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death” (2:11)?

  7. Question:
    There seems to be a lot of references in Revelation made using numbers (seven churches, four horsemen, 24 elders, seven stars, seven golden lamp stands, etc.) Are many of these intentionally symbolic?

    Most likely, they are. (“The most enigmatic use of numbers in the New Testament is found in Revelation.”) Throughout the book of Revelation, John is drawing on a stock of recognizable symbols from the First Testament. This stock includes some commonly-used numerical symbols that would have been meaningful to John’s readers.
    In Revelation, the number 12 is used throughout the book to possibly represent the community. For example, it is used many times to describe New Jerusalem. The number 3 could represent God, who’s “often described in three-part phrases (“who was, and is, and is to come”) and ascribed triple attributes (“holy, holy, holy”; “glory and honor and power”).”
    The number 7 represents perfection and completeness. “Seven” figures prominently in Revelation. The seven plagues represent judgment in its completion. The meaning of “seven golden lampstands, “and “seven stars” in 1:12, 16 are given in 1:20.
    We see in all of these ways, that “in addition to visual symbols drawn from earlier Scriptures, the book of Revelation also uses numerical symbols. Certain numbers in the book are like ‘logos’ that point to key characters and themes.” However, there are other numbers in Revelation that cannot be undoubtably deciphered.

    Question for Mr. Webster:
    What do you exactly think we will be doing in Heaven? There is talk about praising the Lord in song and worship, but what else? (The fear of being bored in Heaven is apparently one of the top 35 questions Christians have about the afterlife!) – Christianity Today


  8. Who was the intended audience for Revelation?
    The book of Revelation promises a blessing to the one who reads it as it says in Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near”. So the intended audience of Revelation is to anyone who reads it and believes that Jesus is coming again and will defeat the forces of evil of the world.

    What is the difference from a blood moon to when the moon will turn red signifying the beginning of the end times?

  9. Question: I recently heard people talking about how Genesis and Revelation are basically the same books. Do these books actually have a connection stronger than with the other books of the Bible?

    The connection between Revelation and Genesis is indeed very marked. In Genesis we have the book of the Beginning; in revelation the book of the End. In Genesis we have therefore the primal creation and the history of the curse which came upon it: Revelation tells how that curse will be removed, and the New Creation brought in. In Genesis three, God says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” He, of course, is Jesus; a fully human offspring of the woman. By dyeing on the cross he defeated Satan. Revelation ends with God crushing the serpent once and for all, as was promised in Revelation 20:10. In Genesis we have Satan’s first revolt, and in Revelation his final revolt.


    Question for Web: Is it important to decide on which millennial point of view you agree with the most, or is this something that it’s ok to not have all the answers on and simply know that in the end, God is victorious?

  10. Q1: There seems to be, throughout the book of Revelations, a somewhat heavy emphasis on numbers, specifically the number 7. What is the significance, if any, or what does it symbolize?
    A: In Revelations, numbers are a common theme and there are many used such as 12, 3, and most often 7. The number seven is used in the seven golden lamp stands and seven stars and the meaning is actually given in verse 1:20. The reason the number 7 is used though, is because it was a representation of perfection and completeness and the original audience would have understood that.
    Q2: If you had to speculate when the rapture will take place, when would you guess?

  11. Question: What is the theme of Revelation?
    There is a conflict of earthly personalities throughout the book. People were directed by demons and especially Satan, to overthrow God’s kingdom. God is triumphant, and through Jesus He overthrows evil, and His kingdom is established.

    Question: What is the importance of the numbers in Revelation? Such as 7 churches, 4 horsemen.

  12. Q: How can we be confident that the prophecies in Revelation will come true?

    A: It is important that we understand the meaning of prophecy. Prophecy by definition is a prediction. All throughout the Bible there are prophecies. The nature of these prophecies can be direct while others more indirect. The promise in Micah 5:2 that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem is an example of a direct prophecy. “Who would ever have read Hosea 11:1 and concluded this was a prophecy that Jesus would be brought by His parents out of Egypt and back to the land of Israel (Matthew 2:14-15)? Yet Matthew tells his readers that this fulfilled the prophecy of Hosea 11:1.” This is an example of an indirect prophecy. Another trend that is often seen especially in the New Testament is the way prophecies have been fulfilled. Often the prophecies are fulfilled in ways that nobody expected or saw coming. Prophecies won’t always be fulfilled in a clear picture that we expect. We do have the hope of Old Testament prophecies. All throughout the OT, the prophecies have been fulfilled in a literal way. We have no reason to think the prophecies in Revelation will be any different.

    Q for Web: What is so critical about understanding that Revelation is both prophecy and epistle?

  13. Q: How should we understand the book of Revelation?

    A: Revelation never describes itself as a symbolic code of future events plotted on a timeline. Like the books of prophecy in the Old Testament, Revelation proclaims a message. In Revelation, the message is that God is coming to judge and to redeem and that the powers of evil and empires will clash before God establishes the fullness of his kingdom. That central message gives people two things: warnings and comfort, just as the Old Testament books of prophecy did. The book of Revelation is similar to other literature of the time that’s called “apocalyptic,” which typically includes visions, global clashes, end-of-the-world warnings, and many, many symbols. It is, of course, the cryptic symbolism of Revelation that makes it challenging to understand. But when we connect many of the symbols with elements that appear earlier in the Old Testament Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, the message emerges from the details.


    Q for Web: If John has the ability to see all of these visions, why doesn’t he explain the symbolism in them?

  14. Question: What is the purpose of Revelation?

    Answer: Revelation was written to first-century churches in the seven cities of the Roman province. These churches were threatened by false teaching and persecution. Jesus sent his revelation to John to help encourage the churches in their battles. John both warned the church and fortified it to endure suffering and to stand out from the rest of the world.

    Source: ESV Study Bible

    Question for Webster: Is Revelations applicable to our lives now or is it simply good information to know?

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