Revealing Revelation – Where is What?

17Mar11

In this post we further our discussion of the themes and characteristics found in the Book of Revelation. Here we now turn our attention to the “geography” of Revelation. We will be discussing both the actual locations of those places that are in focus in the book of Revelation as well as the use of landmarks as symbols within the book.

THE GREAT CITY

There is no denying that the primary geographical center of the book of Revelation is Jerusalem. It is called Egypt and Sodom as well as Babylon, but it is Jerusalem as the evidence points to. This includes naming it as the “great” city and the city in which the Lord was crucified.

This city also contains the Temple that John is told to measure. This Temple is located in area where Gentiles would be considered “outsiders” as the outer court is reserved for the Gentiles. This could only be Jerusalem.

This city is mentioned over 10 times and is the focus of the judgment and tribulation. It’s walls are torn down and it is overrun by the Gentiles for 3 1/2 years.

At the end of Revelation the earthly city of Jerusalem is contrasted with the heavenly city, then called the New Jerusalem.

ROME

The only other location named or hinted at would be Rome. We find this in Chapter 17 where we are told that the seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills on which it sits. This can only be Rome. The “great” city of Jerusalem is seen as whoring herself with this beast and so at times the imagers merge and blur.

We also know Rome is in view because the seven heads also represent seven king, the sixth of which was alive at the time of the writing of the book.

LAND and SEA

Popular Biblical imagery found throughout the Old Testament is that the “land” represents Israel while the “sea” represents the Gentile nations. This is seen as the Beast comes out of the “sea” while the second beast that has a religious affiliation comes from the land. The land is also seen in conjunction with the term tribes which nearly always be assigned to Israel.

The Greek word “ge” is used for land and it most often represent the “land” of Israel, even when it is translated earth as in the first chapter because of it’s connection to the word “tribes.” These translational issues can make things difficult and the student must be careful to read the contextual issues.

The above is in contrast the other Greek word for earth, “oikemene.” We have discussed this word in detail in previous posts dealing with the Olivet Discourse. I will review here. The term is not meant to be seen as the “entire planet,” but rather the “known” earth, or what we would refer to as the Roman Empire. This is the same word used in Luke 2 to describe the extent of the Roman census under emperor Augustus. We know those in the Philippines, Appalachian Mountains and Alaskan frontier were not taxed be the Romans.

This is simply meant to convey the whole known world at the time of the writing. If the totality of the world was meant to be in focus the author could have used the term “cosmos” which would be the entire world as in Genesis 1.

One other note in relation to the land and sea contrasting, there is one great picture sometimes overlooked. This is found in Revelation 10.

Rev 10:1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land

This “angel” is obviously Jesus Christ as the description plainly points. Note where Jesus is standing? He has placed His feet on both the land and the sea showing His dominion and Lordship over both. This great and wonderful picture declares the complete reign of Christ over all things.

ARMAGEDDON

Since there has been a lengthy discussion regarding Armageddon in previous posts I will only state that here you have both a physical and symbolic option. The mention of this plain can simply refer to the actual place and a future or past battle, or it may be symbolic of the demise of Israel which has historic implications.

One note though is that the word for Armageddon is most commonly translated from the word Har-megeddo which would be hill or mountain of Megiddo. This actually may be related to Mt. Carmel. Either way, context must be king and the student must be diligent to discover the true import of the place.

Geography does play a major role in the book of Revelation. The student must always be aware, though, when the terms and locations and specified for actual physicality or when they are used for symbolic reference purposes. That, of course, is for a later post..

In the upcoming post we will discuss the “comings” of Jesus in the book of Revelation.

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3 Responses to “Revealing Revelation – Where is What?”

  1. 1 Yeshua the Lord of Glory

    Hey David

    I have three questions:

    1.Is Zechariah 14:4 the same event as Revelation 10:1,2 ?

    2. Concerning the Second coming of Christ and the very brief picture in Revelation 20:9 of fire coming down from Heaven: is His coming right? If so: it seems that his coming like fire or as fire and by the context of the passage that something really bad must be happening to us who remain alive and are waiting for Him…

    That we both do not believe in a literal millennial reign after he comes: but that he will deliver the Kingdom up to the father like it says in 1 Cor 15:24…

    However,we know that he reigns from Heaven over/in his Kingdom:Daniel 7:13: since believers are already translated [spiritually] into his Kingdom: John 5:24 Colossians 1:12-14: we sort a are in a thousand [or the way God sees and counts time] reign…Right?

    3.So is it possible or even likely that 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 may be still future? I left out verse 4 purposely because it makes no sense: to me anyway: unless of course you know what it is telling us?

    Ok. back to the question if 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 is not speaking of a man or it: does it speak of former or apostate believers who have no hope of salvation trying to destroy us [believers] before His return?

    I find it more than odd and i know that you have said something like this before: That anyone can believe that Christ could be here on earth reigning in THEIR version of the Millennium and come under attack! He the King of Kings unable to protect us [who are in glorified bodies] or himself ? Has to be rescued by the Father sending fire from Heaven? That is so absurd in a most twisted way! I cannot believe that i USE to believe this stuff!

    btw: you can fill a whole page with your answers: Ok.Just dont make your answers to short: I kinda miss hearing your answers to things…

    • 2 low5point

      1. I’m not sure those two events are related directly. I see the Rev 10 as simply the delivery of the second prophecy – the one contained in the little book that will introduce Rome. This is something that is “outside” of the events. Kind of like a break in the action as this new prophecy is being introduced. Where Zech 14 would be related is in the prophecy itself. They both relate to 70AD but the action of Christ in Zech is a picture of His coming in judgment against the city where the Rev passage is more oa coming to John to deliver the rest of the prophecy.

      2. I do see the return of Christ in Rev 20:9 not based on the fire analogy, though it does coincide with peter’s picture, but rather because it immediately precedes the eternal judgment – sheep and goats, white throne, etc. The force of the fire is destroy death and the work of the enemy, and do so with the fury and totality that fire provides. this leads to the final “new heaven and earth.” Which leads me to a thought. I am starting to see the term New heaven and New earth used over and over to describe different “shifts” in time and the hope of the future. One of the NHNE statements appears to be directly regarding the return from exile in babylon while another appears to be about the introduction of the new Covenanta with the work of christ. Now, we look forward to the eternal NHNE…still sifting thru the date now.

      3. I’m still convinced those opening verses are related to the coming judgment. I think the context determines it. This context is related by Paul to be the day of the Lord. This is a judgment coming. Also again, a letter from paul about the resurrection already happening would make no sense so that day must not be the resurrection.

  2. 3 Yeshua the Lord of Glory

    Thanks David

    I will read your next post in the morning… Talk to you later…


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