This commentary on Revelation will prove, contrary to what most people think, that the Revelation, the last book of the Bible, is not difficult to understand if we will take a simple, face-value, common-sense approach to interpreting it. It is only when we start to over-allegorize it or to force its interpretation according to our pre-conceived ideas or doctrines about the “end of the age” and the world to come that it gets indecipherable.
The Bible is Yehovah’s ("God's") inspired, written Word. We are not going to get into the many arguments and evidences for the inspiration of the Bible. That fact is assumed in this commentary. Anyone who reads the Bible with an open mind and heart, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, will know that it is no mere human composition. There have been errors in human translation and transmission of the Bible, but nothing that affects the basic Bible doctrines, which include: there is one, true God whose name is Yehovah who created and sustains the universe and everything in it; Yehovah’s creation is doomed for destruction; and the only way to be saved from that destruction and to live forever in union with Yehovah is through a personal, spiritual relationship with God incarnate, Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. Also, it is assumed that there are no errors in translation and transmission of Scripture that cannot be resolved through diligent prayer and study because, as Yeshua said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (Matthew 24:35).
It is clear that Yehovah intends for His written Word to be understood by the average person. For many centuries, it was kept from the general public by church clergy who communicated the Scripture only in languages (e.g., Latin) which were unfamiliar to the masses. Today, there are still many ministers and Bible teachers who pretend to be the ultimate authorities on Bible interpretation and application; they do not encourage their followers or students to get into the Word for themselves, prayerfully trusting Yehovah to reveal its meaning to them. However, Yehovah says, through the apostle Paul, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to [Yehovah], a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing [interpreting and applying] the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). It is kind of hard to see how we can correctly interpret Scripture unless we study it for ourselves, is it not? As was mentioned before, the Believers in Berea were commended - considered more “noble” than other congregations - because they studied the Bible to see if what Paul taught them was accurate (Acts 17:11).
Also, as was mentioned before, there are many approaches to Bible interpretation, particularly prophetic Scripture. This has resulted in much confusion in the understanding of Scripture. But “[Yehovah] is not the author of confusion” (1Corinthians 14:33). So, this commentary takes a literal, face-value, common-sense approach. There are many symbolic images in Bible prophecy, but it is clear from the context of each which is to be taken as literal and which as symbolic. And every symbol can be understood if we will simply compare Scripture with Scripture, allowing the Bible to be its own interpreter.
Finally, the apostle Peter wrote, “. . . no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). That means that no individual can claim exclusive discernment of the correct interpretation of any Bible passage, term, or image because every correct interpretation must be revealed by the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Peter 1:21). So, the writer of this commentary certainly does not claim to know the correct meaning of every word of the Bible, specifically the Revelation. Therefore, he will endeavor, by the Grace of Yehovah, to be honest in his comments - noting areas of uncertainty when there are those and possible alternative understandings when there are those. Then, the reader is encouraged to dig into the Word, like the Bereans, asking Yehovah to reveal its true meaning. And, with enough diligence and patience, waiting on the Lord, that meaning will be revealed, because Yehovah promised those who have real faith, “Seek and you shall find” (Matthew 7:7), and, “. . . when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
One last word: This commentary is not the text of a debate. Much study and contemplation of various insights, interpretations, definitions, descriptions, and commentary of others has gone into it; but, except for some possible alternative interpretations when in doubt, only what the writer believes the Lord has shown him, personally, will be presented. And although he has had no seminary training - does not even know the original languages (mainly Hebrew and Greek) - the writer believes that, after years of prayerful, diligent study, looking up the meanings of various terms in Bible dictionaries and lexicons (which any literate person can do), Father Yehovah, in His wonderful grace, has given him a clear understanding of the Revelation of the Lord and related Scriptures. So, more than anything, it is the commentator’s prayer that all you “average” lovers of the Truth will take heart in the confidence that you can understand Yehovah’s prophetic Word, understand the critical End Times in which we live in the light of that Truth, and know what our Heavenly Father wants us to do about it, before it is too late - which is the main purpose of the Revelation of the Lord (1:1, 3).
A Brief Background
In the Beginning, God (Hebrew: 'Elohiym - a title of the triune, omnipotent Creator) created the universe (the “heavens and the earth”) and all that is in it, including human beings created in Yehovah’s own image (Genesis 1:1-27). And He gave man the power to reproduce others in Yehovah’s image and to have dominion over the earth - to rule over it and take care of it (Genesis 1:28).
But there was a period of probation in a specific part of the earth - the Garden of Eden. In the Garden, Adam and Eve, the first humans, were given a choice: eat of the Tree of Life and live forever, or eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and die (Genesis 2:9, 17). No doubt, if they had chosen to eat of the Tree of Life, Adam and Eve would have fulfilled Yehovah’s original plan for them and lived forever, reigning over the earth in perfect unity with Yehovah the Son (Yeshua), by whom all things were created (Hebrews 1:2). But, the brightest angel, Lucifer, who aspired to supplant Yehovah (Isaiah 14:13), was also in the Garden in the form of a serpent. And he appealed to Adam and Eve through something beautiful (“the lust of the eyes”) and that tasted good (“the lust of the flesh”) and through telling them, “You shall be like Yehovah” (“the pride of life”), to rebel against Yehovah and do what He had told them not to do (Genesis 3:1-6; 1 John 2:16). And they fell for it.
And through their sin, Adam and Eve allowed Satan to get a foothold in Yehovah’s creation and to usurp their (and through them, Yeshua's) dominion over the earth. And it has been downhill since that time, both for Yehovah’s natural creation and for man, because it is the basic nature of Satan to kill, not to give life, and to destroy, not to create or maintain Yehovah’s creation (John 10:10).
But Yehovah has a plan for taking Earth back, placing it under the direct dominion of Yehovah the Son, Yeshua (the second, life-giving Adam - 1 Corinthians 15:45)! At the present time, Yehovah is preparing a special, chosen people, beginning with a remnant of the nation of Israel and including Followers of Yeshua, to rule with the Messiah Yeshua over the new, restored earth (Revelation 2:27). Then, during the last seven years of the dominion of Satan over Earth, Yehovah will set the adversary up to make a spectacle of him by allowing his incarnation, the “beast” (Antimessiah), to think that he truly is Lord of the World (cf. Revelation 13:5-7). But then, Yehovah will totally destroy the beast’s global dominion. Finally, in the greatest showdown in world history, the Lord Yeshua will return with the armies of Heaven to totally defeat the false messiah (Antimessiah) and his armies. He will then restore the earth to its original Edenic state and rule over it with His Redeemed Ones for 1,000 years (the millennial Kingdom of Yehovah).
After that, the heavens and the earth will be destroyed, Final Judgment of all those who have followed Satan in rebellion against Yehovah throughout history will occur, they will be cast into the “Lake of Fire” along with Satan and his spirit-being followers, and eternity in perfect unity in the Spirit with Yehovah the Father and Yeshua the Son will begin for the Redeemed of the Lord.
And that is what the Revelation is all about - the “Final Seven Years” of world history, as we have known it all our lives, and the events to follow. And it truly is a magnificent story - far greater than any movie ever made or science fiction story ever written. And it is all the more fantastic because it is absolutely true! Please keep reading to learn all the infuriating (for most), terrifying (for some), but thrilling and joyful (for the few who are open and respond to the Truth in faith) details of the Revelation of the Lord.
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