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DRAFT: A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Revelation 4-22
Part 3: The last days (Period 3) (c. 2967AD)

Kuruvilla Thomas

Revelation Timeline
Fig. 1

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

5. A Commentary on the Reconfigured Text, continued from Part 2.

In Part 1 of this paper, we reconfigured Revelation 4-22 and commented on the passages related to Satan's Fall from heaven and Christ's first coming (Period 1). Part 2 has commentary on Pre-Millennial Tribulations c 2017AD (Period 2) and Part 3, below, is a commentary on the Last Days c. 2967AD (Period 3).

5.3 Period 3. The "End of the Age" or the last days (circa 2967AD) (Ch 6:12-17, Ch 8:1-9, Ch 7, Ch 8:10 to Ch 11, Ch 14:1-5, Ch 20:11 to Ch 21:4, Ch 21:9 to Ch 22:5, Ch 21:5-8, Ch 22:6-9)

This Period begins with Christ's return in glory for the rapture, it covers the period of the end times tribulation and judgement, and ends with the New Spiritual Jerusalem coming down from heaven. Note that through a reconfiguration, this sequence of the passages on Period 3 has been altered from the original.

5.3.1 The 6th Seal is Opened, Christ returns in Glory (Unknown Date) (Ch 6:12-17)

Chapter 6 12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

At the opening of the 6th seal, Christ arrives in glory to "rapture" out the faithful (see Matthew 24:29–31). It is for this event that "no one knows the day or hour" (Matt. 24:36) - it will come as a "thief in the night" (Matt. 24:43, 1 Thess. 5:1-3). (There is a gap of around 900+ years between the opening of the 5th and 6th seals. The opening of the first 5 seals in Period 2 had resulted in the release of the 4 horsemen and the start of the reign of the Beast.)

While it appears that there will be literal signs in the heavens and earth (see Luke 21:25), these signs also represent great upheaval ("earthquake") in the spiritual and physical power structures. The sun, moon, stars and heavens represent Satan's fallen angels (see Deut. 17:3, 4:19, Acts 7:42, cf. Isaiah 34:4) that control the nations outside Israel. Their reign ends ("The sun turned black...the stars in the sky fell..."), and they face judgement (see Matt. 24:29, Isa. 24:21-23, Psalm 82:6-8). When the angels fall, their worshippers and human representatives - the wicked 'kings' of the earth - also lose their power (as indicated by "every mountain and island was removed from its place" - cf. Rev. 16:20).

Chapter 6 15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

The text, "hide us...from the wrath of the Lamb", implies that Christ unexpectedly returns in glory (see Isaiah 2:19, Matt 24:29-31), inducing great consternation among all the wicked of the earth. The "Fall on us..." language in vs. 16, is used in the Bible to indicate terror at God's wrath (for ex., see Hosea 10:8, Isa. 2:10). The "great day of their wrath" in vs. 17 indicates that this is the beginning of the final tribulation (this period of tribulation is one of the three great "Days of the Lord" - Isaiah 2:12, Joel 2:11).

5.3.2 The 7th Seal, Trumpets 1-2 and The Start of the Final Tribulation, The Rapture, The 144000 are sealed, The Multitude in Heaven (Ch 8:1-9, Ch 7)

The events of this section occur in a short time and some occur simultaneously.

The 7th Seal is broken

Chapter 8 1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

At the opening of the 7th seal, a moment of silence in heaven precedes a series of momentous events that culminate in the end of the world and everything in it - the Final Great Tribulation.

Chapter 8 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

The seven trumpets of the Final Tribulation are given to the 7 angels that stand before God (the blazing lamps of Rev. 4:5), some of the most powerful spiritual beings. Trumpets announce these tribulations to represent God's battle call against wickedness (cf. Joshua 6:16).

Chapter 8 3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

These tribulations that unleash the wrath of God against the remaining wicked seem to be partly in answer to the pleas of God's people for justice (represented by the chalice and incense at the altar). They are the final plagues on earth, because, at the sounding of the 7th trumpet, Christ's heavenly reign begins. Note that these plagues of the trumpets have some similarities to those of Egypt (Exodus 7-12). The "thunder, rumblings and lightning" represent the works of God (see Rev. 4:5) and the "earthquakes" represent great political upheaval in the spiritual and physical realms through God, during this final period of tribulation.

Chapter 8 6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

It appears that the effects of the plagues will be literally as described (unlike the 'bowl' plagues of Ch. 16 that are all figurative); we believe this because Rev. 7:1-3 lists similar plagues, and because the plagues 5&6 below seem to be literal - too much physical detail is provided for them to be figurative. However, the manner in which the first 4 plagues are brought about, seems to be figurative. Unlike the tribulations of Period 2, these more 'apocalyptic' plagues are more obviously the result of miraculous acts by God and His angels.

As in other wars for souls, the fraction 1/3 appears in several of these 'trumpet' tribulations (see Zech. 13:8-9, Rev 12:4, Ezek. 5:12, Rev. 13:18 in Part 2 ). It appears that 1/3 of the population of earth was raptured out, and so, during the first 4 plagues, the earth's habitable land and some of its resources are proportionally reduced. Another 1/3 are killed through the 6th plague (Rev. 9:18), probably because they were hopelessly wicked. And God endeavours to reform the remaining 1/3 through the works of the Two Witnesses during the last 1260 days (around 3 1/2 years).

The First Trumpet and the Rapture

Chapter 8 7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

From Matt. 24:31, we know that this first trumpet signals the beginning of the Rapture, when the living elect of Christ are gathered by his angels and taken up into heaven.

At this first trumpet, a precipitation of hail, fire and blood, representing punishment from God, will destroy the land and vegetation on a third of the earth (see also Rev. 7:3, cf. Exodus 9:13–35).

This plague will not begin immediately, because the 4 angels of 7:1-3 below hold back this plague. So we propose that the second sentence of 8:7 be rendered in the future tense: "A third of the earth will be burned up, a third of the trees will be burned up, and all the green grass will be burned up."

The Second Trumpet

Chapter 8 8 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

At the second trumpet, something like a meteorite kills marine life and destroys ships in a third of the oceans (this tribulation is also mentioned in Rev 7:3, cf. Exodus 7:14–24).

The 4 angels of 7:1-3 hold back this plague for a while , so we propose that 8:8b,9 be rendered in the future tense "8b A third of the sea will be turned into blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea will die, and a third of the ships will be destroyed."

The 144000 are Sealed to Protect against the Plagues

Chapter 7 1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3 “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

The angel from God asks that the first two Trumpet plagues (represented by "winds" - see Jer. 49:36,37), that affect the land and sea, be held back by the angels at the four corners of the earth (equivalent to the four points of the compass) until the people of God are marked with His seal. The angel with the seal comes up from the east, which seems to represent the direction of God's throne (see also Ezekiel 43:1). (Note that this passage, 7:1-3, is structured as a chiasmus. The pivot, vs 2, is about the angel from God, and the subunits, vs 1 and 3, are regarding the holding back of the plagues/"winds". )

Chapter 7 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000, 6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, 7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000, 8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

The 144,000 represent the firstfruits (see Rev. 14:4) of God's 'harvest' (the 'harvest' is the rapture of the faithful) and they are chosen from the new Israel's twelve tribes (interestingly, the tribe of Dan is omitted, the tribe of Levi is listed as a separate tribe, and the tribe of Ephraim is called Joseph here). The reconstituted Israel of the time consists of the descendants of the original Israelites and those of the first resurrection.

These 144,000 will not be raptured out till the end (see Rev. 14:3–5), but the seal of God, that indicates His ownership, will protect them from the tribulations that come from His angels (see Rev. 9:4). The 144,000 will act as representatives of God and Israel on earth during the Final Tribulation period, since the rest of the faithful have been raptured out.

The Great Multitude in Heaven

Chapter 7 9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

John is shown a vision of heaven with a Great Multitude in White Robes standing before the throne of God and before Jesus. We believe the Great Multitude are the faithful of the world who were alive at the time of Christ's return; they had been taken up into the presence of God in the rapture. This is the first explicit mention of humans in the presence of God in heaven (cf. John 3:13). The Great Multitude carry the palm branches of praise and victory (John 12:13) and wear the white robes of righteousness (Rev. 3:4, 19:8). Their presence in heaven implies that they have been judged and found worthy (even before the Final Judgement), and so they praise God and Christ, through whom they were saved from the tribulation and from eternal damnation (see also Matt. 24:31, Luke 21:36).

Chapter 7 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, 12 saying:
“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”

The angels also participate in this great celebration by praising God - an indication of their great love and concern for humanity (cf. Rev. 19:1-8).

Chapter 7 13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

The text, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation", can be taken to mean, "These are they who have been spared the great tribulation", confirming that the rapture of the righteous occurs before the end times tribulation (see Luke 17:35-36). Those in White Robes are the righteous who were alive at the time of Christ's return (see Rev. 3:10) and were forgiven of their sins through Jesus' sacrifice (the dead are raised only after the tribulation period). This passage is framed as a question and answer to draw attention to the significance of the event.

This passage that identifies the Great Multitude (7:13-14) can be considered the chiastic pivot of this section regarding the Great Multitude (7:9-17). The subunits (7:9-12 and 7:15-17) detail their salvation.

Chapter 7 15 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

The Great Multitude continually praise the awesome God before whom they now stand. Their earthly troubles are ended - they are no longer under the curse of Eden (Gen. 3) - and they will soon reside in the new heaven and earth, with its New Spiritual Jerusalem that descends from heaven. They will have God and Christ as their eternal leaders and guides, directing them into spiritual growth ("springs of living water") (see Rev. 21:1-22:5).

5.3.3 Trumpets 3-6 and Cataclysmic Events (Ch 8:10 to Ch 9:21)

The Third and Fourth Trumpet

Chapter 8 10 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11 the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

A star typically represents an angel (see Rev. 1:20), and this angel, called "Wormwood" ("Apsinthos" in Greek), turns the water of a third of the earth bitter and poisonous so as to cause death to many (cf. Exodus 7:14–24, Jeremiah 9:15).

Chapter 8 12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

This plague of darkness blocks a third of the light reaching the earth from the heavens (cf. Ex. 10:21–29).

Chapter 8 13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”

The tribulations of the last three 'trumpet plagues' are more intense, so they are called Woes. The threefold repetition of the word "Woe!" indicates the superlative, the greatest of woes. This message comes from an angel flying in "midair" (overhead) (see also Rev. 14:6), who announces it with a "loud voice", both of which indicate that this message will be transmitted to the whole world by a prophet. (Some Greek texts and the KJV have "angel" instead of "eagle" in vs 13 - we go with "angel", as it is consistent with announcements in the rest of the book).

The Fifth Trumpet

Chapter 9 1 The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. 2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. 3 And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. 6 During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
7 The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. 8 Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 9 They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. 10 They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. 11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).
12 The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.

The 'locusts' of the 5th trumpet (and 1st Woe) are creatures released from the bottomless pit, the Abyss, by an angel from God (cf. Rev 20:1). The Abyss is a place of punishment for spiritual beings (see also Rev 20:1-3, 11:7, Luke 8:31, 2 Peter 2:4), where they endure torture, apparently by these creatures. The "smoke from the Abyss" represents the suffering (see Rev. 14:11) of those imprisoned in the bottomless pit, and this suffering will now spread to the rest of the world ("the sun and sky were darkened by the smoke"). The Abyss and these creatures from it are controlled by God's angel, the Destroyer, called Abaddon (in Hebrew) or Apollyon (in Greek). ( The use of the Greek name, Apollyon, indicates that the Greeks of the time had correctly identified this angel; however, Apollyon was not one of the gods they worshipped, because he is not an angel of Satan.)

For this plague, these infernal spiritual creatures are given a terrifying physical form (vs 3) that is primarily a combination of locust and scorpion (see a similar description of this plague in our reconfiguration of Joel [5]). Those that have the seal of God, such as the 144,000, will be spared, but the rest suffer so intensely from these strange, fearsome creatures that they long for death (cf. Exodus 10:1–20). Unlike normal locusts, these creatures do not harm vegetation. See appendix below for an analysis on the start and end dates of this plague that lasts for 5 months.

The Sixth Trumpet

Chapter 9 13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. 14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number.

17 The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. 18 A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. 19 The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.

At the 6th trumpet - and the start of the 2nd Woe - a devastating plague is initiated by a voice from the altar, indicating that this woe comes partly in answer to the prayers of the faithful (see also Rev 8:3-5). The 4 angels of God that administer this woe are released at the Euphrates - the Euphrates is considered the centre of the earth (see Psalm 72:8). These angels control an army of 200 million 'mounted troops', of a bizarre and terrifying description, that bring death (and not just suffering as in the previous Woe) to a third of mankind. The large number of executioners indicates that this massacre will take place in a short time ("this very hour" in 9:15), and the number of people killed by these creatures is probably some multiple of 200 million. Like the 'locusts' of the previous Woe, these 'troops' seem to be spiritual beings that have taken on a physical form, but unlike the creatures from the Abyss, these angels and the creatures they control were only charged with this one duty.

This sweeping massacre, the most disastrous of them all, apparently occurs 3 1/2 years before the end of the world (2967AD), around the same time as the events of the next chapter, Rev. 10. The time of its occurrence has been preordained right down to the hour (vs 15) (see appendix below for an analysis on the date of this event).

Chapter 9 20 The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Even in these last days, God, in His great love, sends these terrible plagues to prod the rest of mankind into changing its ways, but, as in the case of Egypt, the wicked refuse to repent - they continue to worship demon gods and to do the evil that comes with it.

The list of sins of vs. 21 are those typically committed by demon worshippers: "murder" refers to human sacrifices to gods (see 2 Kings 23:10); "magic arts" is seeking the aid of demons (see Micah 5:12); they commit sexual perversions as part of demon worship (1 Cor. 10:7-8); and they steal from others, partly for their own greed (1 Timothy 6:10), and partly to amass wealth and power for their gods (see Rev 17:4 for example). (See also comment on Rev. 21:8 below.)

5.3.4 An Interlude that Introduces the last 3 1/2 Years: The Little Scroll and The 7 Thunders (Ch 10)

This interlude in Ch. 10 occurs before details on the final 3 1/2 years of the tribulation are revealed to John, and we believe the predictions in this chapter are introductory to those final years. ( There is, similarly, an interlude for Period 2 in Ch 17:1-18:3, Ch 14:6-8, Ch 18:4-24.) See appendix below for a detailed analysis of the dates relevant to these final 3 1/2 years.

Chapter 10 1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”

We believe that the mighty angel delivering this message is the Archangel Michael, the raptured Messiah, and we believe this for a few reasons: this angel's appearance is similar to Michael's in other passages (Rev. 1:12-16, Dan. 10:4-6); it is fitting that the same angel that predicted the resurrection 3 1/2 millennia prior, in Dan. 12:7, should confirm it here; and according to 1 Thess. 4:16, the final return by Christ for the judgement will be announced by the "shout of the Archangel", as in vs. 3.

The sea and land sometimes represent the physical and spiritual realms respectively in prophecy (Rev. 12:16, 13:1), so Michael's standing on sea and land may indicate that his momentous message is for both realms (see also Dan. 12:5,6). The angel's legs of fiery pillars seem to represent his spiritual power (cf. Rev 1:15); his face shone like the sun, presumably from being in the presence of God (cf. Rev 1:16). Michael spoke with a loud shout, indicating that his message would be transmitted to all the universe, both the spiritual and the physical realms. The clouds may signify that the angel used a short-term transport mechanism to move from the spiritual world into the physical so as to make this great announcement known to the world (cf. Matt 24:30, Rev 1:7...). The rainbow may refer to God's promise that he will not destroy the earth in a flood again (Gen. 9:13-16), even with these unrepentant remaining wicked as its occupants.

The contents of the little scroll of prophecy and the "7 thunders" appear to be mysteries to be revealed at a later date, probably by the Two Witnesses of Ch. 11.

Chapter 10 5 Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6 And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! 7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”

The angel swears by God with his raised right hand (indicating the importance of his message), in a pose reminiscent of the angel who swears by God with his raised hands in Daniel 12:5-7. In our reconfiguration of Daniel 10-12 [4], we showed that the angel in Daniel 12 had predicted that the date of the resurrection lay 3 1/2 millennia in the future. The angel in this vision confirms that prophecy by predicting that, in a short time (around 3 1/2 years), at the sound of the 7th trumpet, the 'mystery' of the Final Resurrection will be accomplished - the 'mystery' whereby the dead are raised imperishable (see 1 Cor 15:51,52, see also Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 26:19...). ( We propose that the phrase "There will be no more delay!..." is better rendered "The time has not yet come,...")

Chapter 10 8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”
9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

John takes the prophetic scroll and reads it ("eats") and "digests" its meaning (cf. Ezekiel 3:1-3). John is joyous at this great revelation regarding the momentous events of the last years ("sweet as honey" - cf. Psalm 119:103), but he is pained when he comprehends the fate of the unrighteous ("my stomach turned sour"). He is charged with disclosing its dreadful contents to the world at a later date. ( Does this mean the apostle John is one of the Two Witnesses? Jesus seems to hint that John will be raised in the First Resurrection and be alive until his coming - John 21:22-23. Another prophet who is predicted to be a part of the First Resurrection is Daniel - Dan. 12:13. It is fitting that the two great end-times prophets, beloved of God and Jesus, play a significant role in the end-times.)

5.3.5 The Two Witnesses (Ch 11:1-14)

Chapter 11 1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.

John is asked to measure the temple in the New Jerusalem of the Millennial Reign; measurement is an act of claiming ownership and control (cf. Zech 1:16), and God wants only the faithful in the temple. The 'Gentiles' (those that worship other gods) are given control of the holy city and the outer courts for 42 months (42 months according to the Hebrew calendar, almost 3 1/2 years - see details in appendix).

The world was ruled from Jerusalem during the Millennial Reign, and so this renunciation of the city and outer courts indicates that the Messiah (the King of kings) has been raptured and Israel's reign over the world has ended; however, control over spiritual matters, represented by the temple, remains with the faithful of God, specifically the Two Witnesses and the 144000.

Chapter 11 3 And I will appoint my Two Witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

The Two Witnesses prophesy while clothed in sackcloth (to represent their sincere plea for repentance - cf. Jonah 3:8) for 1260 days (almost 3 1/2 years - see details in appendix), exhorting the people to change their ways and turn to God. They are "olive trees", continual sources of Godly wisdom (see also Zech. 4 verses 2-3,11,14), and "lampstands" that enlighten the world. They "stand before the Lord of the earth", meaning that they work for Jesus as priests and prophets. These Two Witnesses have supernatural abilities to punish anyone who harms them (powers like those of Elijah and Moses - 2 Kings 1:10, 1 Kings 17:1, Exodus 7:20). For these final 3 1/2 years, God will use these Two Witnesses, with their abilities to persuade and torment, to win over the souls of the remaining wicked (similarly, in the final 3 1/2 years of Period 2, Satan had been given all power, even over the saints, to win the souls of men using the Antichrist and Beast).

Chapter 11 7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8 Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.
11 But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.
13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The beast that comes out of the Abyss is a group of fallen angels, led by Satan, that gathers a vast army from around the world, led by Gog and his nation, Magog, for a final assault on the people of God (see details in commentary on Rev 16:13-14, 20:7-10 in Period 2) (this is not the 7-headed Beast of Period 2, because that Beast had been thrown into the Lake of Fire - Rev. 19:20). This beast kills the Two Witnesses, and their bodies lie in the public square of the old city of Jerusalem (the new Jerusalem of the Millennial Age is located elsewhere); this Jerusalem, where Jesus was crucified, had figuratively turned into Sodom (a place of idol-worship and profligacy) and Egypt (a land of oppressors). ( Note that after killing the Two Witnesses, this beast army moves on to attack the New Jerusalem - Rev 20:7-10.) The inhabitants of earth, instead of mending their ways, dishonour the bodies of the Two Witnesses and celebrate their death for 3 1/2 days (the '3 1/2' number, half the sacred number 7, is commonly found in the Bible - 3 1/2 millennia, years, days...). The earthquake that comes after their resurrection and ascension terrifies many into turning to God. The Two Witnesses are taken up to heaven in a cloud - the cloud represents a mechanism for ascension to the spiritual realm without experiencing death (cf. Acts 1:9).

Chapter 11 14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

The deaths from the millions of horses and riders (Rev 9:13-17) and the torment from the Two Witnesses, are part of the 2nd Woe that began at the 6th trumpet. The 3rd Woe begins at the 7th trumpet.

These statements demarcating the woes indicate that these woes are sequential and do not run in parallel, unlike some of the other tribulations (for instance, the bowl plagues of Rev. 16) (cf. Rev. 9:12).

5.3.6 The Sounding of the 7th Trumpet (Ch 11:15-19)

Chapter 11 15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”

Loud voices and praise greet the 7th trumpet (see also Thess. 4:16) at the start of Christ's heavenly reign, as opposed to the silence on the opening of the 7th seal (Rev. 8:1-6), when the tribulation period began. At the sounding of this final trumpet (and start of the 3rd Woe), in 2967AD [4], the earthly reign of Christ ends and the heavenly, eternal reign of God and Christ over the faithful begins. Christ descends from heaven for the Final Resurrection (Rev. 20:13, 1 Thess. 4:15-17), when the dead will be raised imperishable (the 'mystery' of Rev. 10:7) and taken up; after that, the remaining faithful (primarily, the 144,000 - see Rev. 14:1-5 below) will be raptured (1 Cor. 15:51-53). We believe that the "Lord" in this passage is Jesus Christ and "his Messiah" is the Archangel Michael; it appears that the Archangel will rule for Christ in heaven as he did on earth.

Chapter 11 16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. 18 The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

The 24 elders (the leaders of the angelic divisions) praise and worship God for taking back all control over mankind, so that He may reign through Christ and his Messiah. The elders announce the Final Judgement, through which God dispenses eternal rewards for the righteous and punishment for the wicked. The wicked of the earth had been exasperated by the Final Tribulation, but now their time of evil against God and man is ended, and they face God's wrath at the Final Judgement.

Chapter 11 19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.

The display of the ark of the covenant, a symbol of God's Law, indicates a great judgement against the wicked according to the Law (see also Rev. 15:5,6, Matt. 5:18). The "lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder" represent the presence of God (Rev. 4:5), the "earthquake" represents great upheaval in the power structure and "hail" represents punishment from God (see also Rev. 8:5).

5.3.7 The 144,000 Sing a New Song (Ch 14:1-5)

Chapter 14 1 Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

The 144,000, chosen from the tribes of the New Israel and sealed with the seal of God (see Rev. 7:3-8), are finally taken up into heaven from Zion (Millennial Jerusalem) with Christ - ironically, the first-fruits are taken up last (1 Thess. 4:16,17). They sing a new song in heaven accompanied by harps of praise and celebration (a new song signals a new age - see also Rev 5:8,9, Psalm 33:2, 137:2,3); only the 144,000 have the privilege of singing this song that heralds the heavenly reign of Christ, and they will aid Christ in his new role ("follow the Lamb"). These men are pure both physically (they may literally be virgins) and mentally, they are offerings without blemish, chosen from the faithful and offered as firstfruits of the final harvest to God and Christ.

5.3.8 The Final Resurrection, The Final Judgement, A New Heaven and Earth (Ch 20:11-21:1)

This passage (vs 20:11-21:1) that predicts 3 momentous events - the Final Resurrection, the Final Judgement, and the Creation of a New Heaven and Earth - is structured as a chiasmus, as below:

A1 20:11 The old heaven and earth are destroyed
  B1 20:12 The Final Judgement
    X 20:13a the Final Resurrection
  B2 20:13b-15 The Wicked are Sentenced
A2 21:1 A new heaven and earth are created

We propose that the events of this chiasmus occur in this chronological sequence: the Resurrection [X]; the Judgement [B1,B2]; the renewal of heaven and earth [A1,A2].

Chapter 20 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.

Christ takes his place on his great (elevated) white throne ("white" representing righteousness) from which he will rule over the New Spiritual Jerusalem. The corrupted physical heavens (sky/space) and earth are removed ("fled from his presence"), as they no longer have utility ("there was no place for them") (see also 2 Peter 3:10-13, Rev. 21:1).

Chapter 20 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

The dead are raised up at the Final Resurrection (see 20:13 below), and they now stand ready to be judged at the Final Judgement (see also 1 Cor. 15:52, Matt 25:31, John 5:22,23). The Book of Life is a list of those who are judged worthy of entering Christ's heavenly kingdom (see Rev. 3:5), and the "books" are a record of peoples deeds. So while the Book of Life determines a souls destinations, the "books" will be used to reward or punish all souls at that destination, according to their works (2 Cor. 5:10). Everyone is judged based on the contents of these books (see also Matt. 25:31-33, 2 Thess. 1:7-9, Dan. 12:2). However, it is primarily the resurrected dead that are judged at this Final Judgement, because the end-times living have been implicitly judged through the rapture. This is the third major "judgement day" after those of the First Resurrection and the initial rapture (Matt. 24:40).

Note that the only souls spared judgement during these end-times are those of the First Resurrection at the start Christ's Millennial Reign, primarily those that gave up their lives for God (Rev. 20:4-6). Other Christians may be saved from sin and forgiven by the blood of the Lamb, but they will face this judgement - they will be judged on the extent to which they manifest the Fruits of the Spirit (see Gal 5:22-23, the "works" of James 2:14-17).

Chapter 20 13a The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them,

This short passage that predicts the Final Resurrection is the pivot, and it can be considered introductory to this chiastic passage in 20:11-21:1.

The oceans apparently have a region for the dead (probably for non-humans, like the Rephaim - see Job 26:5 in Hebrew); and Thanatos (the word translated "Death") and Hades are regions under the earth in the realm of the dead, with Thanatos for the good and Hades for the wicked (see Luke 16:23). The dead from all these regions, both the good and the wicked, are raised for the Final Judgement.

Chapter 20 13b and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

Thanatos and Hades are also demonic spiritual beings that control eponymous regions in the realm of the dead (see also Rev. 6:8, Rev. 1:18). After the realm of the dead is emptied, these two demons are thrown into the Lake of Fire, for in the heavenly kingdom, there will be no more death (see also 1 Cor 15:26). ( Note that Thanatos, Hades are also the names of Greek gods of the underworld.)

Chapter 20 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Those deemed unworthy of entering Christ's Heavenly Kingdom are thrown into the Lake of Fire, the second death. (The Lake of Fire is a spiritual realm and so the "fire" figuratively indicates mental/spiritual torment - Daniel 12:2, Rev. 20:10. God is just but loving; he will punish the wicked in the Lake of Fire, but only in proportion to their sins.)

Chapter 21 1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

With the old earth and sky removed (see also Luke 21:33), a new physical earth and sky are created (cf. 2 Peter 3:12-13). This new earth will not have the great oceans of today that cover most of the earth. ( It may be that the oceans of our earth grew to their present size during the Great Flood - a result of man's corruption.)

The 3rd Woe

This period that started at the 7th trumpet is the time of the 3rd Woe (Rev. 8:13). The effects of the 3rd Woe are final and eternal: sinners are thrown into the Lake of Fire; the earth, sky and everything in them are destroyed (Rev. 20:11, 21:1, 2 Peter 3:10). ( The content of the 7 thunders and the little scroll may also be a part of this Woe - see Rev 10:3-4,9-10.)

5.3.9 The New Spiritual Jerusalem from Heaven (Ch 21:2-4, Ch 21:9 to Ch 22:5 )

A Brilliant New "City", Spiritual Jerusalem, Descends from Heaven

Chapter 21 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

A Holy "City", the New Spiritual Jerusalem, is described as 'descending from heaven', presumably to indicate its spiritual nature. This Jerusalem is called a Bride of Christ to indicate that Jesus will be its ruler (the New Israel that consisted of faithful Christians and Israelites was the bride of Christ during his earthly reign - Rev. 19:7-9). Humans will have God in their midst, as it was in the garden of Eden, and there will no longer be suffering or death ("tears are wiped") - the curse of Eden (Gen. 3) is lifted.

So the new universe will have both physical (Ch 21:1) and spiritual (Ch 21:2) realms and the faithful of God will have access to both.

Chapter 21 9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

John is taken to the "top of a mountain", a superior spiritual vantage point from which he could better see the Holy City (cf. Ezekiel 40:2). This new city is in the spiritual realm (see also 1 Cor.15:35-49), and so the physical details of the city represent spiritual qualities. It is a beautiful new world (like a "precious jewel") in which nothing is hidden ("clear as crystal"). The description uses the language of the physical world to give humans an inkling of the glory that awaits those who overcome (1 Cor. 2:9).

A note on this "bowl" angel: John is transported in the spiritual world to see this vision by one of the "bowl angels" who destroyed 'Babylon' in Period 2 (see Rev 15,16). Other "bowl angel's" had transported John to see the 'Whore of Babylon' and had given him the messages of Rev 17,18,13.

The "Walls" and "Gates" of Spiritual Jerusalem

Chapter 21 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.

The "city-gates" permit entry into Spiritual Jerusalem from the rest of the newly created earth and heaven (of vs 1,2) from all directions. Angels stand watch as the people of God move between the city and the rest of the universe through its "gates" or portals (cf. Eze. 48:30-35). The people of God in this heaven appear to be divided into 12 tribes (see Rev. 7:4-8).

Chapter 21 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The "city-walls" seem to represent the salvation that permits humanity to enter the Holy City and be in the presence of God (see also Isaiah 60:18,26:1); the foundations of the city-walls have the names of the 'founding fathers' of Christianity, the 12 disciples of Christ, representing salvation through Christ (see Eph. 2:20, Matt. 19:28).

Chapter 21 15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

The angel measures Spiritual Jerusalem as an act of taking ownership (see also Rev. 11:1, cf. Zech 1:16), and the golden measuring rod indicates that this ownership goes to God and Christ. This "city" has a 3-dimensional, cube-shaped layout - it is not so much a city as a spiritual world that accommodates all those who are in the Lambs Book of Life (cf. John 14:2). This "city" is primarily made of the purest gold, and we take this to indicate the sublimity of all aspects of this eternal abode. The "walls", which we take to represent salvation (see Isaiah 60:18), were of jasper, probably to indicate that only the pure could enter the city (see also, vs 11).

The number 12 (and its multiples), representing the divisions of God's people, feature prominently in the dimensions and features of this city. The length, breadth and height are 12,000 stadia; since this is a spiritual world, we believe the dimensions are representative and not literal. The thickness (or height) of the wall (vs. 17), 144 cubits, is the "measure of man" (as in Rev 13:18); so this 144 may represent a count of humans in heaven (such as the 144,000 of Rev. 7:4).

The foundations of the "city-walls" are made of 12 types of precious stones, as on Aaron's priestly breastplate (Exo. 28:15-31), representing the 12 tribes; this aspect of the wall's foundation seems to indicate that faithful Israelites are also eligible to enter this kingdom (note that, according to vs 14, these foundations also have the names of the 12 disciples). The gates of pearl may represent praise (as in Isaiah 60:18, Psalm 100:4), for all who enter this Jerusalem, worship and honour God.

The Residents of Spiritual Jerusalem

Chapter 21 22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

Most importantly, God, in His glory and goodness ("light"), and Christ, its shepherd and guide ("lamp"), will inhabit and lead Spiritual Jerusalem (cf. Isaiah 60:19) (the spiritual world does not require "light" in its literal, physical sense for perception). So the temple, which represented the presence of God on earth (for ex., see Psalm 18:6), is no longer required.

Chapter 21 24 [KJV] And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

This passage (vs 24-27) focusses on the kind of people from our earth that will inhabit Spiritual Jerusalem. We propose that the word "nations" in vs 24 and 26 be rendered "peoples".

Only those who are judged worthy by Christ can enter this brilliant city - those whose names are in the Book of Life (see Dan. 12:1, Rev. 13:8...), those who are saved through his blood (see Rev 12:11), the faithful of God. The best from among mankind (the "kings" in vs 24 figuratively refers to the truly great - the elite of God) will bring their personal glamour ("glory and honor" - vs 26) to this city, so the residents will live among the exceptional; not only will Spiritual Jerusalem shine with the Glory of God and Christ, its residents will contribute their mite to its brightness. The wicked and their evil ("night" - in vs 24) are excluded from this city (see Rev. 21:8), so there is no need to guard against them (all the "gates" and "doors" inside this safe city are left open - vs 24).

The Glorious, Eternal Life in Spiritual Jerusalem

Chapter 22 1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3a No longer will there be any curse.

The river of the Water of Life runs along The Great Street, the golden street (see Rev. 21:21) that leads to the thrones of God and Christ. This river with its crystal clear water seems to represent abundant spiritual nourishment - pure and unmuddied wisdom and knowledge (John 4:14) - flowing from God and Christ (cf. Gen. 2:10). The Tree of Life (cf. Gen. 3:22-23), which is watered by the river, offers spiritual growth to the residents ("healing" is better rendered "health-giving"); it bears 12 crops of fruits, one for each month, indicating continuous and plentiful supply (cf. Ezekiel 47:12). Humanity will no longer be under a curse, as it has been from the time of Adam, when they were separated from the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:22-24).

Chapter 22 3b The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

God and Christ will lead and guide this city according to their plan. The faithful will "see His face" (as in Eden, they have direct access to God, so they can better understand Him - cf. John 14:9), and His name will be on their foreheads (they will be eternally dedicated to Him - cf. Rev. 3:12, Rev. 7:3). The greatness, goodness and love of God will be their "light" (cf. John 8:12), the ideal to which they must strive (cf. Rev 21:24), and evil ("night") will be banished.

5.3.10 Epilogue for Period 3 (Ch 21:5-8, Ch. 22:6-9)

After he is shown this vision, John is taken back to the time of the vision at Patmos for this epilogue. This epilogue for Period 3, after the reconfigurations, is a combination of 2 epilogues and is similar in content to that of Period 2.

Chapter 21 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

God, the One on the throne of Rev. 4:2,3, creates a new heaven and earth and takes full control of it. John is told to write this down, to indicate that this is a solemn promise, "trustworthy and true", to the faithful from God. ( John is similarly told to "write down" a promise in the epilogue of Period 2 Rev 19:9. See also Rev. 14:13.)

Chapter 21 6a He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
6b To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.

This passage in vs 6-8 identifies the sources of this prophecy and predicts the fate of 3 kinds of people: the righteous, the coming Messiah, and the wicked.

The declaration, "It is done", indicates the final victory over Satan and the start of Christ's heavenly reign; similar declarations had been made at the cross (see John 19:30), and at the defeat of Satan's earthly kingdom in Period 2 (see Rev. 16:17).

This verse identifies two sources of this Revelation: God, "the Alpha and the Omega", who is from everlasting and the creator of all; and the coming Messiah, the angel that delivers this message, "the Beginning and the End" (see explanation of Rev. 22:13 in Part 2). Jesus' name, "the First and the Last", is not mentioned here (as it is in 22:13), probably because it is he who primarily gives of the Water of Life from God (see Rev 7:17) - we believe the passage in vs 6b-8 comes from Jesus.

Those who yearn for righteousness (the "thirsty") are given the wisdom that leads to eternal life (the "water from the spring of life") at no cost (as opposed to the high price of following Satan) (see also John 4:14, Rev. 22:1-2).

Chapter 21 7 [BSB] The one who overcomes will inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son.

We believe that this verse applies to the coming Messiah. He overcomes when he triumphs to open the seals (see Rev. 5:5, cf. Rev. 2:28 and 3:12,21 in [7]), and he will reign for Christ in heaven as he did on earth (he will "inherit all things"). The sense of "I will be his God, and he will be My son" seems to be, "I (Jesus) will be his master and he will do my bidding like an obedient son" (the Messiah had a similar role on earth - see 2 Samuel 7:14,15).

Chapter 21 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

This list of behaviours describes those who worship Satan and demon gods (see also Rev. 22:15). They are known to be: cowardly (rejecting God for fear of worldly loss - Matt. 19:24), unbelieving (they do not believe that Jehovah is the one true God), vile (for the detestable things they do as worship - Rev 17:2,4), murderers (for human sacrifices to their gods - 2 Kings 23:10), sexually immoral (they commit sexual perversions as part of demon worship - 1 Cor. 10:7-8), practitioners of magic arts and witchcraft (seek the aid of demons - Micah 5:12), idolaters (worship demons - Num. 25:1-3, 1 Cor. 10:20) and liars (for their gods are liars - John 8:44).

Some of these wicked had lived outside the New Israel during the Millennial Reign (Rev. 22:15), but now are all thrown in the Lake of Fire.

Chapter 22 6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.

The angel, speaking for Christ, reaffirms the authenticity of the revelation from God, averring that its predictions will occur promptly, as predicted by the prophets ("soon" is better rendered "promptly") (see Rev 1:1).

Chapter 22 7a “Look, I am coming soon!”

Christ says he will return promptly ("I am coming soon" is better rendered "I will come promptly"): he will return for the rapture and Final Resurrection, and reign among mankind in his Heavenly Kingdom forever.

Chapter 22 7b Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

This revelation from John, after it is reconfigured and interpreted, clearly lays out what lies ahead, particularly during the reign of the Beast: the battles and the victories, the tribulations and the joy, the punishments and the rewards. While all of scripture is a blessing, those who understand and accept this revelation are explicitly called blessed, because, based on its detailed prophecies that are unsealed ahead of time, they can make wise decisions that lead to eternal life (see also Rev 22:10 in the epilogue of Period 2 and Rev. 1:3 in the introductory passage).

Chapter 22 8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”

When John is told that these words are from God (vs 6), he falls at the feet of this angel, who is the coming Messiah and the Holy Spirit [2], but the angel redirects his worship to God (and not a Trinity) (see also Rev. 19:10). The Holy Spirit and the angels that aid him are primarily messengers who do as God instructs - they are superior to humans, but not by much (Psalm 8:5). ( Note that the epilogues for Period 2 and 3, after the reconfigurations, end the same way, with John falling at the feet of the angel, so validating our parse of this section.)

5.4 Final Epilogues to the Whole Book (22:16-21)

The cryptochiastic section is ended. The rest of the epilogues correspond to the various introductory sections in Rev. 1-3.

The 3 introductory sections in Rev 1-3 along with the 3 epilogues below form a chiastic 3-unit envelope/inclusio structure around the central cryptochiastic section, as below:

1:4-16 John's Greeting
  1:17-20 Jesus' Instructions
    2-3 Letters to the Churches
      4:1 to 22:5 Cryptochiastic section - Periods 1-3
    22:16-17 Epilogue to the Letters to the Churches
  22:18-20a Closing to Jesus' Instructions
22:20b-21 John's Benediction

Epilogue to the Letters to the Churches of Rev 2-3 (22:16-17)

This closing passage in vs 16-17 seems to correspond to the opening passages from the Spirit to the individual churches in Ch. 2-3 - the Spirit and the churches are mentioned here.

Chapter 22 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

The angel speaks as Jesus in the first sentence of this verse, and as himself in the second, because the titles of Root of David and Morning Star apply to the coming Messiah and not Jesus (after his ascension, Jesus is no longer the "Son of David", a title that places him inferior to David - see Romans 1:3,4). The coming Messiah will be of the line of David like Jesus was ("Root" here means a Branch or shoot from the dormant root of David's royal line - see Rev. 5:5, Isa. 11:1,10, Zech. 3:8, Zech. 6:12), and he will be given the title "Morning Star", an exalted priestly title (see Job 38:7), as promised in Rev 2:28 (see our parse of Rev 2 & 3 [7], 2 Peter 1:19). Although the angel speaks in the present tense here, the second sentence of the verse is an eschatological prediction (this verse is part of an epilogue to the letters in Rev. 2&3, and we have shown that those passages make end-times predictions in the present tense - for ex., see Rev 3:20 in [7]).

So the coming Messiah, like Melchizedek, will be both priest ("Morning Star") and king ("Offspring of David") (see also Rev. 2:26-28).

Chapter 22 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

This is an invitation from all of God's faithful to the rest of humanity. The Spirit (the archangel Michael who represents the angels of God) and the "bride" (the church) invite all mankind to come to God; and those who hear and accept this prophecy are also exhorted to call others to Him. The "water of life", or spiritual wisdom that gives eternal life, is freely given to all who seek it (John 4:14, 7:37-38, Matt. 7:7–8).

The Closing to Jesus' Opening Instructions in Rev. 1:17-20 (Rev. 22:18-20a)

This closing in vs 18-20a seems to correspond to the opening passage from Jesus in Rev. 1:17-20.

Chapter 22 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

A stern warning is issued against altering this book of Revelation by claiming divine inspiration. These extensive reconfigurations that cover almost the entire book would not have been possible if the text had been altered by false prophets.

Chapter 22 20a He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Christ says that he will return as prophesied to live among the faithful for ever in his Heavenly Kingdom ("I am coming soon" is better rendered "I will come promptly").

The Closing to John's Greeting in Rev. 1:4-16 (Rev. 22:20b-21)

This closing from John (vs 20b-21) seems to correspond to the greeting in Rev 1:4-16 from the prophet.

Chapter 22 20b Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

The book ends with a closing prayer and benediction from John (cf. 1 Cor. 16:23).


With this chiastic reconstruction of the text, we have shown that Revelation 4-22 contains prophecies on several distinct Periods. Apart from the cryptochiastic structure, many other techniques have been used to obscure the meaning of the passage. For example: significant events are not explicitly mentioned but only hinted at (we have to deduce, for example, that the presence of the Multitude in heaven after Christ's return indicates a rapture - Rev. 7); and the figurative language is difficult to discern.

This Revelation spans the entirety of human existence of 7000 years on earth. While it primarily details the Periods of tribulation at the start and the end of the Millennial Reign, it also touches on significant events before the Millennial Reign (in Rev. 12), namely: The Fall of Satan and the Fall of Man; Christ's first coming; and the End of the Old Covenant in 70AD.

Notwithstanding a chiastic reconfiguration, this prophecy remains complex and difficult. However, the primary message of this Revelation to John is simple: Worship the One True God only, and remain faithful and obedient to Him, even unto death, and win Everlasting Life.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3


A. End-Times Date calculations

We attempt here to calculate more accurate dates, down to the day, for the events of last 4 years of the end-times.

The Ministry of the Two Witnesses: The Two Witnesses prophesy for 1260 days. They are killed on 19 Oct 2967AD, the 24th day of Tishri (from Dan 10:4) in the Hebrew year 6728 (the time at which the "power of the holy people is broken" in Dan 12:7 - see parse of Dan 12 [4]). They are resurrected and ascend to heaven again after 3 1/2 days on 23 Oct 2967 AD (the last day of Tishri) (Rev 11:11). Their ministry begins 1260 days prior to 19 Oct 2967 on 7 May 2964 (4th day of Iyar, Hebrew year 6724) (Rev 11:3).

The Gentiles take control of the New Jerusalem: Jerusalem and the outer courts are handed over to the gentiles for 42 months (Rev. 11:2). We presume that this period begins shortly before the Two Witnesses start their ministry (based on Rev 11:1-3), and since this period is specified in months, we believe the period begins around the first day of the Hebrew month nearest to 7 May 2964, that is, around 3 May 2964 (the first day of Iyar, Hebrew year 6724) and ends 42 months later around 25 Sept 2967AD (the first day of Tishrei, Hebrew year 6728) - note that there is one leap month in this interval.

The Fifth Trumpet and the Plague of Locusts: The locusts of the fifth trumpet torment the people of earth for 5 months (Rev 9:5). We believe this torment ends at the same time the gentiles are given control of Jerusalem, around 3 May 2964 (the first day of Iyar, Hebrew year 6724), and begins 5 months prior, c. Dec 7 2963 (first day of Teves, Hebrew year 6724).

B. The Sequence of Events for the Last 4 years of the End-Times

We synthesize the calculations of appendix A into this sequence of events.

c. Dec 7 2963 (1st day of Teves 6724): The plague of the locusts begins at the 5th trumpet and lasts for 5 months (Rev. 9:1-11).
c. May 3 2964 (1st day of Iyar 6724): The plague of the locusts ends and the plague of the mounted troops occurs at the 6th trumpet (Rev 9:12-21). The announcements of Rev 10 are made. The New Jerusalem and the outer courts of the temple are handed over to the gentiles for 42 months (Rev. 11:1,2).
7 May 2964 (4th day of Iyar 6724): The Two Witnesses start their 1260 day ministry.
c. 25 Sep 2967AD (1st of Tishrei 6728): The end of the 42 month gentile control over the New Jerusalem (Rev. 11:1,2). It may be that Satan is released from the Abyss at this time, so that he may gather Gog and Magog, the end-times beast army (Rev 20:7-8).
19 Oct 2967AD (24th day of Tishrei 6728): The Two Witnesses are killed by the end-times beast army in the Old Jerusalem (Rev. 11:3-8) and they lie unburied in the city square for 3 1/2 days. (After this, the end-times beast moves on to surround the camp of the faithful in the New Jerusalem; they are defeated and Satan is thrown into the Lake of Fire - Rev 20:7-10.)
23 Oct 2967AD (last day of Tishrei 6728): The Two Witnesses are resurrected and ascend to heaven (Rev 11:7-12). After a great earthquake in the land, many turn to God (Rev 11:13). (Shortly after this date, the final resurrection and the judgement take place).

Note: The period from when the outer courts are given over to the gentiles (first day of Iyar 6724) to the ascension of the Two Witnesses (last day of Tishri 6728) is 43 Hebrew months or 3 1/2 years. But because the period does not begin or end on the start (1 Tishri) or midpoint (1 Nisan) of the Hebrew year (it is offset by a month), the period is nowhere specified in terms of years.


[1] A Definition of Cryptochiasmus
[2] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Revelation 12
[3] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of "The Olivet Discourse" in Matthew 24
[4] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Daniel 10-12. Part 3: Daniel 12.
[5] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Joel
[6] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Daniel 10-12 Part 1: The Janus Chiasmus between Daniel 10 & 11
[7] A Reconfiguration of Revelation 2-3