Revealing Revelation – What’s New is Old

19Mar11

In contrast to what we spoke about in the previous post regarding the use of Old Testament imagery and themes in the Book of Revelation, here we will begin a discussion on the use of New Testament imagery and themes in a book that is quite a lot like an Old Testament book itself.

The two major New testaments references are found in the Life of Christ and in the Olivet Discourse. That is where the bulk of our attention will be directed.

LIFE of CHRIST

The life of Christ is pictures, alluded to and directly referenced in several instances. We will walk through these below in a bullet format.

  • Birth, death, resurrection and ascension are pictured, discussed or alluded to (Rev 1:18, 2:8, 5:6, 5:9, 12:10, etc)
  • The ministry of the two witnesses lasts 3 ½ years which mirrors the time of the ministry of Christ
  • Two witnesses are “slain” in the city “where our Lord was crucified” and are resurrected and ascend alluding to the life of Christ
  • The binding of Satan (Matt 12, Rev 20)
  • Seeing Satan fall (Luke 10, Rev 12)

Since the book itself is the “revealing” of Christ it would be apropos to have these important events in the life of Christ represented.

OLIVET DISCOURSE

Here we discuss a very important topic. This was also discussed briefly in the dating of the book of Revelation (Early date) discussion previously. Here we will look in more detail at the events described in the Olivet Discourse and how they mirror those events and images found in the book of Revelation.

  • The persecuting city is smitten for the persecution (Rev 11:13)

In the Olivet Discourse we are given a picture of the events surrounding the destruction of the city and temple in 70AD. Jesus predicts these events would take place within a generation and that the Temple would be so destroyed that not one stone would be left upon another. This tribulation comes against the generation that would and did spill the blood of the Saints and the Lord Jesus Himself (Matt 23)

  • The people call for the mountains to fall on them (Lk 23, Rev 6:16)

Luke 23:30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.

Revelation 6:16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,

This shows an identical result of the forthcoming tribulation and how those alive would respond to the tribulation. Here it is with an identical plea!

  • Events are said to happen soon and are “at hand” (Matt 24, Rev 1)

Both Jesus and John use identical language to denote the timing of these events. They were not far off, but both were seen to be happeing soon, at hand and were near. So, either both were right or both were wrong, but it cannot be one or the other. At hand cannot mean 40 years in one case and over 2,000 years in another.

  • Similar plagues and cosmic disturbances

Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Revelation 8:12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining


Matt 24:7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

Revelation 6:8 And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And 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.

  • Focus on tribulation, persecution and judgment

Both in the Olivet Discourse and in the book of revelation we find the bulk of the message is related to a soon coming destruction. This destruction comes in the form of a judgment against a people for their persecution of the people of God. This is mirrored in both the Olivet Discourse and in Revelation.

  • The proclamation of the Gospel expands to all nations

Matt 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come

Rev 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.

  • Both mention a “coming” of Christ in judgment

This coming is one that takes place in the clouds and is seen through the destruction of the city and people the judgment is held up against. In both cases we see an identical theme. These comings cannot be the literal, physical Second Coming because that elsewhere in Scripture is coupled with His saints eternally existing with Him, not one that includes a tribulation like the coming listed in the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation. In an upcoming post we will deal with the different forms of coming the book of Revelation employs.

The fact that the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation mirror each other is unmistakable. As mentioned previously, this may also be why John’s Gospel does not contain the Olivet Discourse. Since he spent 22 Chapters dealing with the same subject there was no need to include it in his Gospel. Either way, the case remains that thse two passages are parallel.

So, the book of revelation, one that is quite like an Old Testament book is filled with images and themes found in the New Testament as well. Next we will discuss the Geography of Revelation. Where are thhe events discussed taking place and how are images of land, sea, mountains, etc used within the framework of the book.

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