As the first century drew toward a close, the last remaining apostle was exiled to a Roman penal colony in the Aegean Sea. John was imprisoned on the Island of Patmos because of his teachings concerning the “word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ …”
“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9).
The “word of God” to which he referred may not simply have been his faith in the existing divinely inspired collection of writings, but rather his continual public preaching about certain mystical conversations he was having with an unseen angelic presence. This “word of God” was more of a continuing experience rather than simply the reading of some ancient scrolls. The “testimony of Jesus Christ” was likely a designation for the individual who was speaking to him from beyond this natural existence. It is no wonder then that he was arrested and condemned under Roman law. Roman authorities may have thought he was crazy. His anti-government preaching about King of kings and a coming world kingdom probably led to his indictment and imprisonment. During his incarceration, John penned the concluding book of the Bible. Without a doubt, it is the most mystical of all the New Testament writings. The strange nature of this book has left many theologians baffled. Attempts to interpret these visionary descriptions have often met with dismal results.
TOOLS OF INTERPRETATION
Without a working knowledge of ancient Jewish prophetic teachings, it is virtually impossible to understand this apocalyptic book. The tools needed for a proper interpretation are available in chapter 1. After referring to each of them, John reminds us that we can go no further until we have acquired these tools “… which thou hast seen” (verse 19). Among those tools of interpretation alluded to in the opening chapter are:
- Jewish concepts concerning the “day of the Lord;”
- The alphabetic design of each chapter;
- The Menorah structure of various sevens in the book;
- The chapter-by-chapter comparison with John’s other masterpiece – the Gospel story of of Christ’s First Advent;
- The verbal tapestry drawn from the liturgy and ritual of the Jewish Holy Days.
Now that we have arrived at the close of the second millennium of church history, it seems appropriate that we should give John another opportunity to explain just what he saw. It just may be that the upcoming new millennium is that “Lord’s day” (verse 10) of which he spoke. Among the rabbis, it is a common teaching that the six days of creation were also metaphors that pointed to six thousand years of human endeavor. The Jewish sages wrote that Moses established the concept of these millennial days. The seventh day, in which God rested, pointed to the seventh millennium and is referred to as “the day of the Lord.” More about this subject can be read about in two previous articles (links below)
Nine of the Old Testaments prophets used this familiar term as they wrote of those events that would transpire upon the introduction of the seventh millennium – when “the day of the Lord is at hand” (Isaiah 13:6). Those events are what we know as the approaching judgments of the seven-year Tribulation period that leads us into that seventh millennium, or the “day of the Lord.” Moses wrote that the first week of creation closed with a day of rest, and to help Old Testament believers remember this grand prophecy of the coming kingdom. God established the seventh day of every week as a day of rest. Therefore, the first tool of interpretation should be that we view the book of Revelation as an introduction to the seventh millennium. It is the “Lord’s day.” Keeping this in mind, we can better understand John’s reference to “things which must shortly come to pass” in his opening verse …
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” (verse 1).
Writing in A.D. 96, John could not have designated his visions as events that “must shortly come to pass” unless he was writing to a future generation – the one living at the beginning of the seventh millennium. Though the book has been titled “The Revelation of St. John the Divine,” the apostle tells us that these 22 chapters are all about the “Revelation of Jesus Christ.” Perhaps this study should be designated as “The Prophecies of St. John the Divine.” That seems more appropriate. It is not the revelation of the exiled prophet that captures our attention, but rather the revealing of Jesus – the slain Lamb of God and triumphant Lion of the tribe of Judah. In the second verse, John tells us that he is the one designated to “bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Among the apostles, only John was given the privilege of seeing into the far future and witnessing the establishment of the long-looked-for Heavenly kingdom ,,,
“Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw” (verse 2).
Eight verses later, he tells us that he was imprisoned because of it – using the very same terminology …
“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 9).
These introductory words prepare us for John’s initial vision and the tools of interpretation that are given in this first chapter. Thus far, we have learned that the book was written primarily for those living in the generation that would see the revealing of the one whose character and purpose has been concealed for centuries, Jesus Christ. In particular, we could say that this book was actually written primarily to the Jews of the last generation, although it applies to the unsaved gentiles as well (those who reject Christ for salvation). The Jews are the ones who have their spiritual sight blinded and whose spiritual hearing has been closed to the identity and deity of Christ. They are the ones who would more understand the rabbinical tools of interpretation, rather than the church. After the third chapter, the church is not mentioned again until the conclusion of the book. The larger part of Revelation was most likely written to encourage those Jews who are destined to endure the Tribulation period, or what Jeremiah 30:7 calls “Jacob’s Trouble.” But it needs to be emphasized again that in no way does the book of Revelation somehow only effect the Jews. The masses of unsaved Gentiles of every nation of the world who will be left behind when the rapture event occurs will be effected by this time period of judgment. Therefore, it behooves all both Jew and Gentile that are sitting on the proverbial fence on deciding whether or not to receive Christ as savior in faith to take to heart this most sobering book. Though Revelation is the final book of the Bible, it is the only writing that offers a blessing to those who study it …
“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (verse 3).
John’s use of the term “at hand” refers back to the Old Testament prophets who spoke of the “day of the Lord” as being “at hand.” Three Jewish prophets spoke of events that would come to pass when the “day of the Lord” was “at hand” …
“Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty” (Isaiah 13:6).
“Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come” (Joel 1:15).
“Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests” (Zephaniah 1:7).
It seems logical that those who are especially blessed are the ones who will witness the events herein described. Otherwise, why should they need to “keep those things which are written therein” from verse 3?
John opens his visionary experience by addressing the seven churches served from his pulpit in Ephesus. Living in this general area, he probably often traveled and taught in each of these churches …
“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen” (verses 4-7).
Historically, we are told that John ministered to the church in Ephesus. However, essentially, they may all have been under the leadership of this great apostle. If so, John would have developed a keen sense of understanding about the attributes and needs of each congregation. It has since been learned that they actually correspond to seven church ages. He tells them, and through them to us, that we are about to hear a message from the eternal Trinity – from God “… which is and which was, and which is to come” – from his seven spirits which “are before his throne” and from Jesus Christ himself. John then launches into a series of accolades about Jesus. He is the “faithful witness … the first begotten of the dead ... prince of the kings of the earth.” He is the one who “loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” He is the one who will make us “kings and priests” when he returns. Then John tells us that he will come in glorious “clouds” and that “every eye shall see him,” including those who “pierced him” and whose spirits are now imprisoned in the nether world; and that all nations will weep and “wail” when they realize that Jesus really is who he claims to be – the very son of God. But, unfortunately for those people described in that passage of scripture, it will be too late. They will realize that they have realized who he is too late. The weeping and wailing description given here is, dare I say, a result of realizing that they will now be cast into damnation because they did not receive him as personal savior when they had the opportunity to do so in faith when he could not be physically seen.
THE ALPHA/OMEGA TOOL
The theme in verse 8 alludes to an alphabetic structure in the book of Revelation. This statement not only reveals the mystical nature of Christ, but also one of the means by which we are to interpret the book …
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (verse 8).
Four times, in Revelation 1:8, 1:11, 21:6 and 22:13, Jesus says, “I am Alpha and Omega.” These are the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet. It seems rather obvious that if Jesus refers to himself in this way, he must intend for us to see that he is represented by all the letters between the Alpha and the Omega. in other words, the entire alphabet. Sine we already know him as the “Word” (John 1:1) and words are made up of letters, it is perfectly natural that he should depict himself in this way. Remarkably, we find that his statement links the Greek alphabet with the Hebrew alphabet (aleph-beit) of the Old Testament. Christ is not just the Greek “Alpha and Omega,” he is the aleph and the tahv.
The Old Testament Aleph-beit
At this point, I think it’s appropriate to address the ground-breaking study that the late J.R. Church uncovered in the following segment of information. His studies opened up a never-before-seen view of what is going on with the book of Revelation and, as such, I am obliged to summarize what he found in his studies. In fact, it is information that would be very important in rehashing for those who haven’t seen this before given that this is one of the aforementioned tools of interpretation in studying the book of Revelation. It simply gives further in-depth insight to understanding the structure of this incredible last book of the Bible. It gives us a richness and depth to the structure and understanding of this book that we would not otherwise know and understand. Most importantly, it also destroys and silences the critics of this book by demonstrating the supernatural design and origin of this book as well. So, with that said, I’ll summarize the repulsive, doubt destroying, book of Revelation shade casting critic annihilating abhorrent stink-face that J.R., through the leading of the Holy Spirit, cracked open one day long ago. Hold on to your nasty toe fungus, it’s going to get interesting.
First though, let’s establish some ground work before discussing J.R.’s findings. For centuries, it has been taught that the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet contain 22 messages of deep spiritual meaning. These letters bear an uncanny correspondence to the 22 chapters of Revelation. To reiterate the importance of the Hebrew language to the Biblical novice or new Christian, the Hebrew language is the original language of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. The original language of the New Testament was Greek, or more specifically, one can call it “Judea-Greek (or Judeo Koine Greek). The entire original text of the document we have come to know as the New Testament was written by Christ-following Jews (in the ancient sense of the word) in a language that can be best described, not simply as Koine (or Common) Greek, but as “Koine Judeo-Greek.” First of all, let’s ask the question “what is Koine Greek?” Koine Greek (which is different from Classical Greek) was the common multi-regional form of Greek spoken and written during Hellenistic and Roman antiquity. However, I do not think that the kind of Greek we see in the New Testament can be best described ONLY as Koine Greek. There is another component to this Koine Greek and that is it’s significant Jewish and Hebrew connection. I can accurately call it “Judeo-Greek” (or Judeo Koine Greek). What is Judeo-Greek? Judeo Greek, like the well-known Judeo-German (Yiddish), Judeo-Spanish (Ladino), and the less familiar Judeo-Farsi, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Italian, and Judean-Georgian languages, is simply a form of Greek used by Jews to communicate. This language retained many words, phrases, grammatical structures, and patterns of thought characteristic of the Hebrew language. So is Judeo-Greek really Greek? Yes, it is, but it is Greek that inherited the patterns of Semitic thought and expression. In this way, it is different from the types of Greek used by other people groups. It can be reasonable surmised that it was written in Greek by people who thought Jewishly, and what is perhaps more important, multi-lingually. The speakers of a variety of languages manage to also think in a variety of languages. When they do speak, however, they always import into one language something that comes from another. It is never a question of “if,” but only of “how much.” We must remember that the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek by leading Jewish scholars of the day. Legend has it that the 70 individual Jewish sages made separate translations of the Hebrew Bible and when they were completed, all of it matched perfectly. As I said, “it is a legend.” The number 70 is likely symbolic of the 70 nations of the world in ancient Judaism. This translation was not only meant for Greek-speaking Jews, but also for non-Jews so that they too could have access to the Hebrew Bible. You can imagine how many Hebraic words, phrases, and patterns of thought are present on every page of the Septuagint. So, other than the authors of the New Testament thinking Jewishly and Hebraically, we also have the main source of their Old Testament quotations coming from another Jewish-authored document – the Septuagint. So should it be surprising that the New Testament is full of Hebraic forms expressed in Greek? As a side note, the use of the Septuagint by New Testament writers is actually a very exciting concept. The Jewish text of the Hebrew Bible used today is the Masoretic Text (MT for short). When the Dead Sea Scrolls were finally examined, it turned out that there was not one, but three different families of Biblical traditions in the time of Jesus. One of them closely matched the Masoretic text, one closely matched the Septuagint, and one seems to have connections with the Samaritan Torah. Among other things, this of course shows that the Septuagint quoted by the New Testament has great value, since it was based upon a Hebrew text that was at least as old as the original base text of the later Masoretic Text (MT). With this in mind, I’ll now examine and summarize the can of face-melting stench that the late J.R. Church ripped open with a resounding tear that echoed through the known universe before moving forward through the book of Revelation. His studies had the effect of demonstrating, with evidence, the supernatural, God inspired origins of this most notorious book … the book of Revelation. I think this study is a vital primer and foundational teaching that can be built upon as we progress through this most notorious book.
John’s Gospel makes it clear that Jesus was the “Word” long before his physical incarnation. Therefore, in ancient days, when Old Testament scripture was being written, he must have borne the same relationship to it’s inspired language. This observation leads to yet another pertinent teaching. It is the concept of the “word,” which is said to characterize God’s creative power. It is the spiritual imagery of the Hebrew alphabet. For centuries, it has been taught that the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet contain 22 messages of deep spiritual meaning. These letters bear an uncanny correspondence to the 22 chapters of Revelation. The indisputable fact that each Hebrew letter and it’s meaning corresponds to the theme of each chapter in Revelation is more than just a mere coincidence. The Hebrew text of the Old Testament correlates perfectly with the meaning of the New Testament (Alpha and Omega). If, in the New Testament, Jesus is characterized as the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, then it is reasonable to assume that he also must be visible in the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet-beit – the language of the Old Testament. This idea is powerfully illustrated in Genesis 1:1, the very first sentence of the Bible. Genesis 1:1 contains seven Hebrew words. The word in the center – or fourth position – is spelled with the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, namely the aleph and the tahv, corresponding to the “Alpha and Omega” of the Greek language.
Jesus, as the word “Word” is literally positioned in the very first sentence of the Bible! Moreover, he occupies the central position similar to the Shamesh, or servant candle, at the center of a Menorah structure.
Even if you do not read Hebrew, the following illustration clearly shows how this works:
Translating Hebrew from right to left,
Note that the middle word eht has no English translation. It simply consists of the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This is called the “Word of Creation.” Being the fourth, or central word of the seven that make up this sentence, eht occupies the place of the Servant Lamp of a Menorah design as illustrated in the menorah picture a few pictures above. As we shall see, this Menorah structure is most important. It has an obvious reference to Israel’s true Messiah (Jesus Christ) as the one who “created the heavens and the earth.” This phenomenon clearly demonstrates the continuity of scripture. John 1:3 says, “All things were made by him.” The “Word” was the force of creation, and his signature appears in Genesis 1:1 – the introductory verse of the Bible as clearly demonstrated above. One may be tempted to ask why most Jews do not see this, but we see that scripture reveals that God has blinded their eyes through their unbelief and rejection of the true Messiah until the full number of Gentiles enter into the Kingdom through getting saved by faith. Then, scripture reveals that those Jews who survive into the Tribulation period will recognize him and receive him just before the second coming …
“I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:1-32).
When Jesus called himself the Alpha and Omega, he was actually saying that he is the eht of Genesis 1:1 – the creator of our Universe!
The Hebrew Aleph-beit
The idea of this creative force of the “Word” is a Jewish concept. For centuries, Jewish sages have taught that the Hebrew alphabet is descended from the original letters given by God to man. As such, they are not merely accidental shapes, but conform to a system of wisdom. Writing in “The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet,” Michael L. Munk says …
“The twenty-two sacred letters are profound, primal spiritual forces. They are, in effect, the raw material of creation. When God combined them into words, phrases and commands, they brought about creation, translating his will into reality, as it were … Just as the “word of God” gave being to Heaven, so it is his word that gives being to everything.”
As Christians, we know that the “word” is more than just a mere collection of letters, no matter how powerful. He is a person who incorporates the power of God’s creation into the whole of his character …
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
In these first three verses from the Gospel of John, we see the clear actions of the “Word of Creation.” From a Jewish perspective, minus it’s personhood, the “Word” is an alphabet that has a kind of power of it’s own, since God used it to command creation. Picking up this concept, Munk compiled a systematic teaching based upon centuries of commentaries. Quotes regarding the meaning of the Hebrew alphabet, unless otherwise noted, are taken from his book. With regard to Genesis 1:1 and it’s aleph-tahv, he says …
“This usage alludes to the fact that the universe was created in complete perfection, ‘from aleph to tahv.'” The aleph and tahv encompass the entire Hebrew aleph-beit. Rabbinic teaching says that the “word” not only created everything, but also continues to hold it together.
Munk writes …
“The heaven continues to exist because not an instant goes by without God continuing to say, in effect, ‘let there be a firmament’ – otherwise they would return to the status that prevailed before God’s will was uttered. So it is with every aspect of creation. God’s original ten utterances of creation are repeated constantly in the sense that the divine will of the original six days remain in force. Otherwise, everything would revert to the nothingness of before creation.”
His words remind us of the verse in the letter to the Hebrews [1:3], where Christ is said to be “upholding all things by the word of his power.” Here, the “Word“, in addition to being the force of creation is also the energy of continuance. His constant activity holds the creation together.
Revelation’s Twenty-two chapters
Jewish teaching holds that each of the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet carries with it a complexity of meanings. Regardless of how these meanings originated, one thing is certain: the teaching has been fixed and formalized. The meaning of the letters do not shift. That’s why it is extremely curious that the symbolism given by Jewish teachers to each letter seems to relate – sometimes with amazing clarity – to it’s corresponding chapter in the book of Revelation. This undeniable structural design should lead the observer to believe that the book of Revelation was originally written in the Hebrew language rather than Greek. As we review each chapter, I will note the meaning of each corresponding Hebrew letter and how it sets the theme of that particular chapter. Since we are now in chapter 1, let us turn our attention to the first Hebrew letter.
The Hebrew Letter Aleph (letter 1 – Revelation 1)
The aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, represents the number 1. Each Hebrew letter, in fact, has a numerical value and may also be used as a numeral. According to the aforementioned Michael Munk, aleph symbolizes the “One and only, the Eternal, the Omnipotent God.” It is said to be the master letter, proclaiming both the name of God and his divinity. It is the link between Heaven and Earth, between God and the finite physical creation. The first chapter of Revelation features this very same picture, as John writes in verse 8 …
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
Jesus is revealed in verse 8 as the Lord God almighty. He is the One and Eternal. He is the link between Heaven and Earth. In verse 18, Christ declares …
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen.”
This is an incredible statement – especially in light of the meaning of aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. While observing the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek “Alpha,” we should also take note of the meaning of the equivalent of Greek “Omega,” namely, the “tahv, which symbolizes the Hebrew word, emet, which means “truth.” In Hebrew, this word is said to be an acrostic that stands for “God is the Eternal King, in the infinite past, present and future.” We can see this meaning in Revelation 22:6 which says …
“And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done” (Revelation 22:6).
Also, truth is epitomized in Jesus, who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life …” (John 14:6).
This letter has a numerical value of 400, a multiple of 4 and 40, the numbers associated with the material creation and the testing of man. Rabbinical teaching says that tahv represents “man’s final destination.” We are now brought full circle back to where we started in Revelation. Jesus, the “Word,” announces himself as the first and last letters of the alphabet. The final book of the Bible is the “Revelation of Jesus Christ.” It’s 22 chapters speak of his character and his work. And now we know that even the letters of the Hebrew alphabet expound his truth …
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:12-13).
Each chapter is governed by the meaning of it’s corresponding letter. Chapter 2 follows the meaning of the second letter (beit) of the Hebrew alphabet; chapter 3 corresponds to the third letter (gimel); chapter 4 corresponds to the fourth letter (dalet); etc. In this introduction to the tools of interpretation, let us briefly review these letters and consider how they relate to chapters 2-4. This tool will add a new dimension to our understanding of the book.
The Hebrew Letter Beit (letter 2 – Revelation 2)
The beit, having the numerical value of the number 2, is also said to be the letter of duality; good versus evil and right versus wrong, the curse of disobedience that accompanies the blessings of obedience. Many Christian expositors have also taught that two is the number of division, opposition or enmity. Significantly, Jews declare beit to be the letter of the home, the house of meeting or the Holy Temple, since the very pronunciation of this letter forms the Hebrew word that means ‘house.” How appropriate it is, then, to observe that the second chapter of Revelation is addressed to the first four of seven churches in Asia Minor. Each of them is a house of meeting – a geographical location that typifies the life and work of the Church. Perfectly matching the declared meaning of beit, the Lord pronounces a blessing for obedience and a curse for disobedience upon each of these houses of meeting.
The Hebrew Letter Gimel (letter 3 – Revelation 3)
The gimel, third letter of the alphabet, is also used as the number 3. It is said to be “the symbol of kindness and culmination.” The gimel “is cognate to gamol, which means to nourish until completely ripe.” We can see both “kindness” (as in Philadelphia) and “culmination” (as in Laodicea) depicted in Revelation chapter 3. First, the gimel represents God’s loving-kindness and goodness. In response to these qualities, the spiritual man must attempt to reflect them in his life. In like manner, the Philadelphian Church is the most desirable of the churches in this chapter, and is said to represent precisely these qualities. From the translation of it’s name, it is commonly said to be the church of “brotherly love.” In this respect, the meaning of the 3rd letter of the Hebrew alphabet, gimel, fits perfectly with the 3rd chapter of Revelation.
The Hebrew Letter Dalet (letter 4 – Revelation 4)
The dalet is the number 4. It is cognate with the Hebrew, delet, “door.” “The dalet also alludes to dahl, pauper, who knocks on doors begging for alms … The shape of the dalet is like that of a door with it’s lintel spreading right and left, and it’s doorpost reaching up and down.” How magnificent it is, then, to look at Revelation 4 and see in verse 1 …
“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven …” (Revelation 4:1).
Revelation 3 ended with Christ knocking on a door and chapter 4 opens with the forceful image of a door that allows access to Heaven. It is quite easy to see, then, how the meaning of the 4th letter of the Hebrew alphabet fits the subject of the 4th chapter of Revelation with the subject of both being a door! We can now clearly see how each letter governs the subject of each chapter. We will be able to better understand the grand scope of Revelation because of the 22 letters.
The Hebrew Letter Hay (letter 5 – Revelation 5)
To the Jews, the hay, with it’s numerical value of the number 5, is symbolic of the divine name of God. In Hebrew writings, hay is an abbreviation for God. It is associated with repentance and mercy. The Hebrew word teshuvah, meaning “repentance,” can be separated into two parts: teshuv, followed by hay. In this case, it is said that it becomes teshuv (return to) hay (God). This “return to God” is a prominent feature of Revelation chapter 5, where the drama commences. In Revelation 5, the Lamb of God is found worthy to take the book and begin the final process of redemption, which will establish his throne and the people of Israel. In the process, Judaism will return to him. To Gentile Christianity, 5 is the number of grace. Here, God turns his attention from the redeemed church age and begins the process of bringing about Israel’s glorious redemption. Even today, rabbis are calling for repentance that redemption might come. So, we see a perfect correlation between the meaning of this 5th letter and the subject matter of the 5th chapter of Revelation.
The Hebrew Letter Vav (letter 6 – Revelation 6)
The vav has a gemetria (numerical value) of 6. According to rabbinical commentary, it denotes physical completion, redemption and transformation. It is generally believed that the six days of creation represent a prophecy that all things will be completed, redeemed and transformed at the close of 6,000 years. Perhaps for that reason, the apocalyptic events of completion, redemption and transformation commence in Revelation chapter 6 with the breaking of the seals and the opening of the scroll – title deed to Earth. Also, the letter vav “is the prefix of conjunction; it unites manifold, even opposing concepts. It is the link connecting Heaven and Earth. It’s form is that of a hook, as indeed it’s name (vav) means ‘hook.'” The vav links words and phrases to form sentences; it joins sentences into paragraphs and chapters; it connects one chapter to another; and even unites books. It may also be translated into the English word, “and.” In this chapter of Revelation, 6 seals are opened. As each seal is broken, the narrative begins with the conjunction “and.” This is the beginning of God’s wrath upon an unbelieving mankind. It is not merely an aimless outpouring of divine anger, but a systematic redemption of the earth. Author E.W. Bullinger stating the Christian interpretation observes that 6 is the number of man, his labor and his worship, true or false, since he was created on the 6th day. Therefore, this is the number of sin and the Antichrist. Significantly, he is seen in verse 2 of this 6th chapter as he rides forth “conquering and to conquer.”
Revelation 13:8 emphasizes the mystical significance of the number 6 as it pertains to the great imposter …
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred three score and six” (Revelation 13:18).
This man is introduced in Revelation 6!
The Hebrew Letter Zayin (letter 7 – Revelation 7)
The zayin is said to be the letter of “spirit, sustenance and struggle.” It’s numerical value is the number 7. It is said to represent the “focal point,” or center of peace. Rabbis point out that “seven comprises the six physical directions of expansion (east, west, north, south, up, down) plus one, representing it’s own individual focal point.” The commentary continues …
“Figuratively, [the human] condition is likened to the 6 directions – east, south, west, north, up and down – that surround every human being wherever he/she is. The directions are the influences that work on him/her incessantly. They are outside of a man, at a distance from his essence, but he/she is never free of them, always surrounded by them. The 7th factor is the placid center of it all – the inner man who is the object of all the forces, but is not a part of them. How well he/she succeeds in shaping and maintaining his/her identity in accordance with the spiritual dictates of his/her soul is the challenge and purpose of life.”
How appropriate is this image to Revelation chapter 7! Here, in verses 1 through 8, we have the sealing of the 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel, for God’s service. They are caught in the midst of the most turbulent period of human history, yet, they are chosen and sealed, protected so that they might carry on the work of God with perfect confidence. In verses 9-17, we see the multitude of saints who are saved “out of great tribulation.” They stand safe before the throne of God. The aforementioned Michael Munk notes that the Hebrew word zahn, beginning with the letter zayin, is the verb, “to sustain.” As such, this letter “conveys to man that the Omnipotent One will assure him success in his necessary endeavors for physical survival.” How important this will be to the righteous remnant in the Tribulation. Additionally, the name zayin is the Hebrew word for “weapon.” It is commonly seen as a symbol of self-defense under trying conditions. The 144,000 and their converts will surely be under great persecution, and will be forced to adopt a posture of self-defense! Once again, we see the meaning of the 7th letter corresponding with the theme of it’s corresponding chapter of Revelation – chapter 7!
The Hebrew letter chet (letter 8 – Revelation 8)
About the letter chet, the Jewish commentary says …
“Going beyond seven, the number eight symbolizes man’s ability to transcend the limitations of physical existence. Thus, with a gematria, or numerical value of eight, chet stands for that which is on a plane above nature, i.e., the metaphysical Divine.”
Once again, if it hasn’t already done so thus far, the observer should be encountering the strange phenomenon of their lips wrapping around their esophagus and the sensation of their face melting off of their skull at the observable and remarkable correspondence between the Hebrew symbolism of the 8th letter and the activity found in Revelation 8 …
“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (Revelation 8:1).
Here, the scene has shifted to Heaven – “on a plane above nature” – where we see seven angels and seven trumpets. Everyone breathlessly awaits the next event. Then, another (eighth) angel arrives with a golden censer. He receives incense to offer, along with the prayers of the saints. His censer is then cast to Earth, initiating yet another set of seven judgments. In themselves, these actions are manifestations of the divine nature physically touching the face of the planet Earth. In this chapter, the judgments of God are linked with the incense of prayer. Here, we are reminded that it is through prayer that man transcends the limitations of physical existence! Once again, we see a correlation between the meaning of the 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet with it’s corresponding chapter of Revelation – chapter 8!
The Hebrew Letter Tet (letter 9 – Revelation 9)
This letter tet is something of an enigma. It’s gematria (numerical value) is 9, but it’s symbolism appears contradictory, until one looks at it from the perspective of Revelation 9. It’s two major meanings are, first, a serpent, and second, objective good. The first of these meanings seems quite appropriate, since we have the blowing of the 5th and 6th judgment trumpets in this chapter. The first trumpet gives us a view of a hoard of tormenting demons from the underworld. The second trumpet produces an army of 200,000,000 (two hundred million) “horsemen,” whose work is to torment unrighteous (unsaved) mankind. Certainly, we see the work of “that old serpent” in this chapter. The very shape of tet gives the appearance of a snake with it’s head rising on the left and it’s tail coiling on the right. But what about the second meaning of tet – objective goodness? It is hard to see objective goodness in this chapter. The rabbinic commentary clarifies the view …
“Man longs for a ‘good’ life, ‘good’ health, ‘good’ business, a ‘good’ year. But what is good? Success is often ephemeral and prosperity corrupting, while setbacks and adversity often set the stage for advancement and triumph. Only God knows what is truly, objectively good for man.
And the following comment brings a great peace to the matter …
“According to the Midrash, tet alludes to [tiet], mud, and is symbolic of physical matter from which man’s body was created and to which he will return … Without faith, people could consider certain events that befall them to be as foul and unwanted as mud. However, in his awareness of God’s eternal beneficence, the righteous person faithfully trusts that ‘whatever the Merciful One does, he does for the best.'”
Revelation 9:19 describes the torments that will afflict the world …
“For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt” (Revelation 9:19).
In this chapter then, we see the sting of the serpent, tempered by the knowledge that behind all of this horror is the objective goodness of God, as he uses these events to purify his people. It is also significant that the letter tet is said by the rabbis to represent diminishment, followed by enlargement. In like manner, the Tribulation will be followed by the Millennial reign of Christ. Once again, we see the correlation between the meaning of the 9th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the 9th chapter of Revelation.
The Gold Letter Yod (letter 10 – Revelation 10)
In this chapter, John receives the little book from a “mighty angel.” This angel stood upon dry land (Israel) and upon the (Mediterranean) sea. John was instructed to eat the little book. It seems that the scroll – sweet to the taste, but bitter in the stomach – contains the title deed to the earth.
It is the scroll of chapters 5 and 6. The seals are broken and the scroll is open. The Hebrew letter yod stands for the number 10. It is said to represent God’s creativity and his deeper spiritual realities …
“God created the universe with the letters yod and hay which form the divine name, Yah. With the letter yod, he created the world to come, while with the hay he created this world.
This idea of conclusion parallels the fact that yod represents the number 10. The rabbis teach that the number 10 should be viewed as a unit. For example, “it took ten generations from Adam to Noah to complete the breakdown of morality to such an extent that mankind – except for Noah and his family – had to be destroyed.” They also say that with ten utterances, God created the world; these correspond to the Ten Commandments. Ten plagues freed the Israelites from Egypt, etc. Also, in Hebrew, both the name of God and the name of Israel begin with a yod. The letter yod means “hand.” In this chapter, it is important to note that the angel held the scroll in his hand. In verse 5, we are told that the angel lifted his hand toward Heaven and “sware … that there should be time no longer.” The hand is a prominent part of the story related in chapter 10. We see a correlation of the meaning of this tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet corresponding with subject matter in it’s corresponding chapter of Revelation … chapter 10.
The Hebrew Letter Kaf (letter 11 – Revelation 11)
The letter kaf is the first of five Hebrew letters that can be written in two forms. The first form (the form pictured above on the left) is used when kaf is located at the beginning of a word or in the middle of a word. The “final form” (the form pictured above on the right) is used when kaf is placed at the end of a word. The first form kaf assumes a “kneeling position” and the “final form” kaf shows the believer standing in his glory before God in the end time. The “final forms” are prophetic of the “end of days.” There are five letters that use “final forms:” They are …
(kaf); (mem); (nun); (peh); (tzaddi)
These five “final forms” add a prophetic dimension to the spiritual significance to the Hebrew alphabet. As each of the “final forms” are presented, the prophetic concept will be explained. The “final form” of kaf reveals the exaltation of the humble saint in the day of judgment. Also, the final form of kaf denotes “possession,” as in the case of the בְּבֵיתֶ֙ךָ֙ b’beitak, which means “in thine house” (Deuteronomy 6:7). Note: you possess the house. On judgment day, the saint will possess rewards. The kaf has a numerical value of twenty. It is said to be “the symbol of crowning accomplishment.” It is the first letter of the Hebrew word, keter, or “crown.”
“There are three crowns … the crown of the priesthood, the crown of kingship and the crown of Torah, but a fourth one – the crown of a good name – is superior to them all.”
How fitting it is that this chapter of Revelation features the crowning accomplishment of the two witnesses. If anyone in history ever had a good name, it would be the two witnesses. They represent the fulfillment of the two promised witnesses – Moses and Elijah, crowning representatives of the law and the prophets. For 1,260 days, they have been witnesses for the good name of God, and now their work is finished at this point in Revelation. After being martyred, they are raised from the dead and ascend to Heaven in the sight of their enemies. This is a “crowning achievement.”
The Hebrew Letter Lamed (letter 12 – Revelation 12)
The lamed is a letter whose height is greater than all the other letters. Having a numerical value of thirty, is is flanked on one side of the Aleph-beit by the ך kaf, and on the other by the מ mem. The kaf is said to represent God’s throne of glory; the mem is said to represent God’s kingship. Together, the mem, lamed and kaf form the Hebrew word,מלך melek, meaning “king.” Interestingly, Revelation 12 features the birth of the King …
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Revelation 12:1-5).
Divine perfection is clearly shown in the miraculous birth of Jesus. Also, ל lamed is called:
“… the symbol of teaching and purpose … That the tallest letter in the [Aleph-beit] is the one that implies lamad, teaching and learning, implies that this quality is man’s highest endowment. Man’s intellectual capacity is God’s august gift, with which he can develop human consciousness of the Divine and transmit spirituality.”
It is most interesting then that the 12th chapter of Revelation is an abbreviated teaching, or didactic history, that tells the story of the woman, her man child, the dragon, the wilderness, Michael the Archangel, and the events of war in Heaven and on the earth.
This story is a spiritual history that forms the core of the struggle between good and evil. It capsules the program of the King of kings. The ל lamed is indeed the symbol of teaching and purpose.” Revelation 12, being a condensed teaching, corresponds perfectly with this 12th letter of the Hebrew alphabet!
The Hebrew Letter Mem (letter 13 – Revelation 13)
The 13th letter, mem, signifies water. In it’s most ancient forms, it resembles waves of water. It’s gematria (numerical value) is 40, the number associated in scripture with testing or trial. How fitting it is that this chapter features the beast who rises out of the “sea” to put Israel and the world to the supreme test, ultimately to commit the “abomination of desolation” (Matthew 24:15), and sell out Israel after publicly agreeing to support them. The letter mem is written in two forms: the open form of mem (the form on the right above) is used at the beginning or end of the word, and the closed or “final form” of mem (the form on the right above) is used at the end of a word. For this reason, it is called “the symbol of the revealed and concealed.” The open form of mem is symbolic of that which is revealed and easily understood. On that note, it is interesting that Revelation 13 deals with the beast out of the sea: “… and all the world wondered after the beast” (Revelation 13:3). The final development of the world system will be revealed to the entire world.
On the other hand, the closed “final form” of mem speaks of that which is mysterious and not as easily discerned. Such is the future. No man can see into the future. It is closed to us. All we know is what we read in God’s message through the prophets. We learn about the closed nature of prophetic truth by God’s message to Daniel …
“… shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4).
We are also familiar with the strange passage in Revelation 10:4. The Lord told John …
“… Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not (Rev. 10:4).
Such is the nature of the “final form” of mem. In fact, each of the five “final forms” in the Hebrew alphabet have a prophetic significance. Concerning Revelation 13, the open mem seems to refer to the first half of the chapter and the closed mem may refer to the second half. The chapter tells of two beasts who rise up from the sea and the earth. This number of the second beast appears concealed. The chapter ends with this cryptic statement …
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Revelation 13:18).
Once again, we see a stunning correlation between the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the 13th chapter of Revelation.
The Hebrew Letter Nun (letter 14 – Revelation 14)
The letter nun has a numerical value of fifty. This letter is said to stand for “faithfulness, soul and emergence.” Like the letters kaf and mem, this 14th letter is written in two ways, the bent nun used at the beginning or in the midst of a word, and the straight nun or “final form” used at the end of a word. The eleventh century Rabbi, Rashi, once wrote …
“One who submits himself humbly to God’s will, bending before him like the bent nun, will stand straight and upright like the final nun when he eventually faces the Day of Judgment.”
The first five verses of Revelation 14 speak of the 144,000 on Mount Zion with the Lamb. They present the image of humble service, coupled with uprightness before the Lord. It perfectly suits the meaning of the letter nun. This letter is also said to represent the soul, or neshamah in the Hebrew language, which is also called ner, or candle – reminding us of the middle lamp of the Menorah.
“Man is accountable for his thoughts, words and deeds, because God placed within his body a celestial light – his soul.”
The letter nun also stands for the quality of being perpetual and everlasting, and the blessing that comes from living a life of obedience. Again, we find a perfect match. Verse 13 says …
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:13).
The letter is also said to reflect “downfall and simultaneous salvation … nun, in itself, implies the outlook for hope, redemption and the eventual future resurrection: nun stands for nephilah, downfall, but implies at the same time the concepts of ner [candle] light in darkness and of neshamah, spirit in the body. No turmoil [bent nun נ] will last forever, because in the end, it leads to the exalted nunן .” Chapter 14 ends with a description of the harvest judgment – the terrible culmination of God’s wrath. It is a dark time, out of which will flow the joy of the kingdom for those in Christ.
The Hebrew Letter Samech (letter 15 – Revelation 15)
The samech has a numerical value of sixty. In shape, it is closed and rounded. It is said to represent, “Divine support, both in the active sense that God provides support to man and in the passive sense that man relies on him.” The number 60 is said to depict completeness, in the same way that vav and the number 6 speak of the fullness of God’s six days of creation. The samech is also called the letter of the “sign” [siman]. It speaks of the distinctive divine hallmarks that appear throughout scripture. It is therefore significant that Revelation 15:1 begins …
“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God” (Revelation 15:1).
This is the sign of God’s wrath. Of all the signs in Heaven, this is the one that men most fear. For centuries, they have joked that it would never actually come. But their jokes were hollow; but now at this point in Revelation 15, it is about to be unveiled.
The circular shape of samech is said to represent God as protector and the interior depicts Israel, who is dependent on his protection. As God’s wrath is poured out, Israel will definitely need such protection.
“The center of the [samech] is an allusion to the [Mishkan], Tabernacle, the place where the Shekinah, God’s presence, dwelled during Israel’s journey in the desert. The peripheral line of the [samech] represents the camps of Israel, which surrounded the sanctuary. The same was the case when Israel settled in the Holy Land. The center of the [samech] depicts the [beit hamikdash], Holy Temple, the abode of divine presence.”
In yet another amazing correspondence, Revelation 15:5 and 15:8 says …
“And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened” (verse 5). “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power …” (verse 8).
It is remarkable to see that the very heart of this letter’s meaning beams through the eight verses of this corresponding chapter (chapter 15). This is the significant place in scripture where we see the opening of the Temple in Heaven.
The Hebrew Letter Ayin (letter 16 – Revelation 16)
The ayin has a numerical value of 70. This number is said to be “critical in the turning points of history.” E.W. Bullinger points out that as the product of 7 and 10, it “signifies perfect spiritual order carried out with all spiritual power and significance.” This chapter of Revelation (chapter 16) reflects precisely that message, as the 7 vials of God’s wrath are poured out upon an unrepentant world. Indeed, this chapter marks the great turning point of history as the corrupt world system finally dies, to be replaced by the era of Messianic rule. The ayin is also said to be the letter of “sight and insight,” since the name ayin means “eye.” The eye – the organ of vision and direction – is spoken of as bringing the entire universe into focus. The judgments of this chapter are a focal point of human history: the eye of God is now focused in wrath. The letter ayin is also taught as representative of “the tempted eye” of mankind. Just as the eye can lead one into purity and spiritual insight, so it can turn to evil influence. With the pouring out of the first vial of wrath, we find verse 2 …
“And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image” (Revelation 16:2).
With the eye, men had paid homage to the image of the beast. Now, they are about to pay in full, under the discerning eye of God. This symbol of God’s eye may also be viewed in the context of a mystery that began in ages past at the tower of Babel. John writes …
“And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath” (Revelation 16:19).
One modern symbol for the tower of Babel shows an unfinished pyramid with an “all-seeing eye” suspended above it.
Genesis 11:5 puts this theme in it’s proper perspective …
“And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. (Genesis 11:5).
The ayin appears to be placed quite tellingly for this chapter of Revelation as the final judgment of God commences upon an unbelieving human race.
The Hebrew Letter Peh (letter 17 – Revelation 17)
The peh stands for the mouth, the organ of speech. So begins the commentary on this letter, which has a numerical value of 80. And, in like manner, it’s corresponding chapter of Revelation (chapter 17) begins with a speech …
“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters …” (Revelation 17:1).
And so begins a proclamation of the destruction of Mystery Babylon the Great. The placing of this story under the peh alludes back to the meaning of the name Babylon – babbling. Also, this chapter features a speech, during which an angel expounds to John the details of the evil woman’s destruction. As the angel speaks, John listens in stunned silence. This is remarkably like the Jewish teaching that peh has both a bent form פ(used at the beginning or in the midst of a word) which symbolically alludes to a closed mouth, and a long open form ף (used at the end of a word) which alludes to an open mouth. The rabbis say that “just as the mouth should sometimes be open and sometimes be closed,” so there is a time to speak and a time to remain silent. At this time, while John listens, the message is spoken by the angel with great clarity: Mystery Babylon is about to be destroyed.
Rabbi Munk writes …
“The power of intelligent speech gives man the highest rank among the categories of existence … Through speech, man can articulate the soul’s insights and concepts and communicate them to others; their intelligent speech is the basis of all humanity and civilization.”
In Revelation 17, we find the ultimate conclusion to “humanity and civilization” – Mystery Babylon. The term Babylon or Babel refers to the power of speech. This mystery, which is about to fall under the final judgment of God, takes us back to the tower of Babel when all men spoke only one language. Their communication skills were used to plot against God. During the construction of their ultimate idolatry, God confounded their powers of speech and added 70 languages to the human race! Here, God’s final judgment commences. What started at Babel is thus concluded. It is most fitting that the story of the “speech” concludes in this remarkable chapter of Revelation (chapter 17) which corresponds to peh, the symbol of speech and silence!
The Hebrew Letter Tzaddi (letter 18 – Revelation 18)
Revelation 18 completes the destruction of the world system of Babylon. The kings of the earth express great lamentation and sorrow over her fall. But there is quite a different picture in Heaven, as seen in Revelation 18:20 …
“Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her” (Revelation 18:20).
A righteous God has acted in judgment, and it is time for rejoicing in Heaven. It seems significant then that tzaddi is the letter associated with righteousness. This is probably because tzaddi is quite close to the Hebrew word, tzaddik, which means “righteousness.” This letter, having a numerical value of 90, is said to depict “the righteousness of God and devout human beings.” Tzaddi also has two forms: a bent form (the form depicted above on the left) and a straightened form (the form depicted above on the right) that appears on the end of a word. These two forms are said to be a picture of righteous man. The bent form pictures his humility in this world. The straightened form shows that he will stand tall and erect in the world to come. The last verse of this chapter is a clear reference to the righteous, which God has avenged …
“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Revelation 18:24).
It is also appropriate that the tzaddi, which stands for righteousness, should reflect with the message of it’s corresponding chapter of Revelation (chapter 17) – the judgment of Mystery Babylon. This final judgment of God upon a wicked humanity is shown to be an outgrowth of his righteousness.
The Hebrew Letter Koph (letter 19 – Revelation 19)
The koph is the symbol of “holiness and growth cycles.” It alludes to God’s kedushah, holiness. It’s gematria numerical value is 100. Revelation 19:1-2 says …
“And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand” (Revelation 19:1-2).
This chapter opens with a “Hallelujah Chorus” in verses 1-6. In verses 7-10, we find the marriage supper of the Lamb. Then, in verses 11-21, we see the Second Coming of the “King of kings and Lord of lords,” and the destruction of the beast and those who follow him. At last, the Messiah has stepped out of Heaven with the resurrected and raptured saints. He arrives on Earth to establish the Kingdom.
The Koph is also said to represent hakafah, the cycle of growth. Regarding koph, Rabbi Munk writes …
“The cycle of human history began in “Gan Eden” [the Garden of Eden], where man’s recognition of God was as clear as day and where man and all animals lived together in perfect harmony. Though mankind’s awareness of God weakened in course of history, it will return to it’s starting point in Messianic times …”
“Messianic times” begins in this very chapter! Another amazing insight concerning koph is that it’s spelling is the Hebrew word for monkey …
“The fact that the same letter koph represents both kedushah and an animal that is a parody of humanity offers a deep insight about man’s role. Man is created in the image of God and is only a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:6). Though he can never attain God’s holiness, he is charged with emulating him and is assured that he can scale celestial heights. But he can do so only if his efforts are concerted and sincere. If man acts as an ‘image of God,’ his potential is boundless. If he is merely a poor imitation of what man should be, he is hardly better than a primate.”
This is an extremely pertinent comment by the Rabbi in view of the fact that the beast and his followers are thrown into the lake of fire at the conclusion of this chapter. The beast was created as a man who might have pursued the holiness of God. Instead, he became like an animal and was destroyed. Here, we see an amazing connection between the 19th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the 19th chapter of Revelation.
The Hebrew Letter Resh (letter 20 – Revelation 20)
Because of it’s association with the Hebrew word rashah, “wickedness,” resh stands for the wicked. In like manner, this chapter deals with the binding of the old master of wickedness himself – Satan – for 1,000 years, and his release and rebellion at the end of that time …
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Revelation 20:1-3).
It’s numerical value is 200 and is a multiple of two, the number of division, duality and conflict. Likewise, this chapter tells about a final conflict led by the devil after he is released. This chapter also deals with the judgment of the Great White Throne, in which the wicked (unsaved who rejected Christ while on Earth) of all time will be judged and thrown into a lake of fire …
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).
This letter Resh and it’s corresponding chapter of Revelation (chapter 20) deals entirely with the subject of wickedness. Surely, we must marvel at the way in which the Hebrew alphabet corresponds to the 22 chapters of Revelation. The divine design of the book is irrefutable!
The Hebrew Letter Shin (letter 21 – Revelation 21)
The commentary of shin opens with the following words …
“The shin stands high among the sacred letters because it represents two names of God: Shaddai, the All-Sufficient Unlimited One, and Shalom, Peace.” It’s numerical value is 300, a multiple of 3, which to Christians, stands for the person and character of God. The shin is engraved on the Mezuza – a small container of scripture found on the doors of every Jewish home, representing God’s protection for those who live there. It is appropriate, therefore, that this chapter is devoted to the arrival of the New Jerusalem down from Heaven to Earth. The New Jerusalem will be our eternal home.
Furthermore, the city has twelve gates engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Perhaps they are engraved on Heavenly Mezuzas? Since the shin corresponds to this chapter, one might speculate that those twelve gates each have a Mezuza. Revelation 21:27 may also be a reference to a Heavenly Mezuza …
“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).
It is remarkable that such a “book” of life is also mentioned in Daniel 21:1. Notably, the shin also corresponds with the theme of Daniel. Finally, this is the city of God’s peace. According to Rabbi Munk, the shin stands for shalom, meaning “peace.” No better analogy could be made than to recognize that the very name, Jerusalem, means “city of peace.” The rabbis teach that shin also stands for sheker (falsehood and corruption) or that which is rejected by God. Verse 27 of this chapter is a testimony to exactly that rejection. No falsehood or corruption will be allowed in the holy city. Shaddai (as typified by the shin) is seen protecting the inhabitants from those who would defile, or work an abomination, or make a lie. Those who are allowed into this new Heavenly city (those who received and now belong to Christ) will be in their new bodies and thus will not be subject to the failings and sins of the formerly fleshly bodies. Here, we see another amazing correlation with the meaning of the 21st letter of the Hebrew alphabet and it’s corresponding chapter of Revelation (chapter 21).
The Hebrew Letter Tahv (letter 22 – Revelation 22)
The tahv symbolizes the Hebrew word, emet, “truth.” In Hebrew, this word is said to be an acrostic that stands for “God is the Eternal King, in the infinite past, present and future.” In this chapter (22), verse 6 verifies this reading …
“And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done” (Revelation 22:6).
Also, truth is epitomized in Jesus, who said …
“I am the way, the truth, and the life … ” (John 14:6).
This letter has a numerical value of 400, a multiple of 4 and 40, the numbers associated with the material creation and the testing of man. Rabbinic teaching says that tahv represents “man’s final destination.” It is also said to typify divine perfection – the very subject of this chapter …
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (verse 13).
We are now brought full circle back to where we started in Revelation. Jesus, the “Word,” announces himself as the first and last letters of the Alphabet. The final book of the Bible is the “Revelation of Jesus Christ.” It’s 22 chapters speak of his character and his work. And now, we know that even the letters of the Hebrew alphabet expound his truth:
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:12-13).
One day in the not-too-distant future, the Church will depart this earth. When it does, the sealing of national Israel’s righteous remnant (144,000) will mark a new appointment in human history. As Jews, they will have a deep understanding of the symbolism which we have reviewed. This will stand as a sign to the Jew that the entire Bible – not just the Old Testament – is divinely inspired. For the first time, the Lord is allowing us to see these beautiful patterns. This can only mean that we must be drawing very close to the events that will bring forth the Tribulation.
THE VOICE OF A TRUMPET
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last …” (Revelation 1:10-11).
John describes the “great voice” like the blast of a “trumpet” in verse 10 and the noise of “many waters” in verse 15. The symbolism of the trumpet is John’s way of using the incident as a preview of the future rapture of the Church (still in our future). He used this same metaphor of a trumpet again in the opening verse of chapter 4, which can leave no doubt as to his intended purpose of connecting it with the rapture. Ever since John wrote this final book of the Bible, Christians in every succeeding generation have anticipated the shout and the trumpet.
THE SEVEN CHURCHES
John is told to send this book to seven Gentile churches. One may ask, “Why?” If the book concerns the Jewish people in the Tribulation Period, why was John told to send it to seven churches in Asia? John writes …
“What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea” (Revelation 1:11).
John begins with Ephesus, near the coast of the Aegean Sea; proceeds north to Smyrna; then further north to Pergamos. He then turns Eastward to Thyatira; then south to Sardis, Philadelphia and finally, Laodicea. Somewhat circular in their positions on a map, John seems to address the churches in a circuit or clockwise method. Perhaps he is adding a time dimension to the structure of his letters to these churches. Like the shadow on a sundial, these churches seem to run the course of history – the Church Age. At sunrise, the shadow falls upon Ephesus; at mid-morning, it approaches Smyrna; at near noon, the shadow reaches Pergamos; at noon, it falls upon Thyatira; shortly thereafter, it falls upon Sardis; at about mid-afternoon, the shadow falls upon Philadelphia; and near sunset, it reaches Laodicea. With the seventh church, the day is ended. Night comes. I think we shall see that these churches represent the whole of Gentile Christianity down through these past two-thousand years. So, why have we Gentiles been given this book? Gentile Christianity has become the guardian of this book while the Jews have languished in unbelief. Their rejection of Christ roughly 2,000 years ago (give or take) while he was on Earth necessitated our guardianship of this writing until the rapture takes us away. This is another important reason why the Church must be gone before the Tribulation period can commence. Historically, the Jews have hated Christianity and would have nothing to do with it. This early Jewish rejection of the Gospel became somewhat of a perennial thorn in the side of Judaism. It has led to a spiritual stubbornness that rejects the Gospel in spite of any proofs offered to them. Were we to remain on Earth into the Tribulation period, we might be blamed out-of-hand for the torture that will be unleashed upon the Jewish people.
THE MENORAH TOOL
The next important tool needed for interpretation is the Menorah – the seven golden lamps of the Temple lamp stand. It’s design hearkens all the way back to the Mosaic Tabernacle. John gives us a view of the Menorah in the remaining verses of the chapter:
“And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:12-16).
A view of Jesus walking “in the midst” of seven golden lamps opens a whole new area of study that, to my knowledge, has not been touched by other Christian theologians. Most commentaries view Jesus as walking in and out among the seven lamps, but the Greek account portrays him in the middle – providing the light of the Servant Lamp. It is Christ that also provides the lights for the other lamps. He is seen holding them in his hand.
Though the lamps may be listed in a particular order from one to seven, they may not necessarily be viewed as sequential. The Menorah actually draws our attention first to the elevated lamp in the middle – the fourth position – and provides the spiritual theme for the first and seventh; second and sixth; third and fifth. In Temple days, the middle lamp, called the Shamash or Servant Lamp, provided the fire for lighting all the other lamps. First century historian, Flavius Josephus, wrote that the Menorah was designed after our universe with the sun in the middle, providing the light for the six wanderers that revolve around it. The visible planets and the moon only reflect the light of the sun. Therefore, all Menorah designs are crafted around the fourth item as providing the spiritual theme for the entire seven. Of any seven items that are grouped together in the Bible, the first item appears to be related to the seventh item – a sort of “before and after” – a “prophecy and it’s fulfillment.” All of the items are related to the theme of the fourth item in the list. The second item is connected to the sixth item, just as the second lamp and sixth lamp extend from the same circular shaft. The same is true of the third and fifth items. In most cases, the fourth item actually demonstrates a light of some kind. For example, in the case of the Menorah in chapter 1, we are told that the lamps represent the seven churches.
Upon the fourth lamp, Thyatira, stands the Shamash light “who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire” (Revelation 2:18). Thyatira provides the theme of “conflict between apostasy and faithfulness,” which can be seen as a struggle in all seven churches. Bear in mind that this theme of “good and evil” is represented by the letter ב beit, the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet. While the first church, Ephesus, has lost it’s first love, the seventh church, Laodicea, has become luke-warm. While the second church, Smyrna, is faithful to reach it’s world with the Gospel in the midst of persecution, the sixth church, Philadelphia, is faithful to reach it’s world and receives the promise to be spared from persecution in the “hour of temptation (the coming seven years of judgment after the rapture). Both Smyrna and Philadelphia address the question of those “who say they are Jews and are not.” While the third church, Pergamos, drifts into apostasy, the fifth church, Sardis, comes out of apostasy during the period of Reformation. These themes are connected to each other in the same manner that the lamps (1 and 7, 2 and 6, 3 and 5) sit atop single circular rods that extend from either side of the center lamp’s pole.
The first seven chapters in Revelation make a Menorah. In chapter 4 (the Servant Lamp) we are given a view of the throne of God with a “rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald” (Revelation 4:3). The colors in this scene are noteworthy. We are shown what appears to be a blue throne upon a blue floor, with the appearance of God as fiery red, surrounded by a green rainbow.
These are the three primary colors, but who in the first century knew such things? For example, the screen of a color television set is made up of tiny red, green and blue lights. Together, they are capable of producing various colors. There are seven basic colors in the visible light spectrum – red on the lower end, blue on the high end and green in the middle. The green light seems to have a relationship to the Servant Lamp since it lies between the red and blue. Just as it takes the green light mixed with red and blue to produce a white light, it took Jesus to bring man and God together, thus producing spiritual regeneration i.e. being born again (the requirement for entrance into Heaven – see “THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN AND YOU” section at the end of this article). The historical religious significance of the color green is stated as being the “hope of eternal life.” In the Tabernacle of Moses (a.k.a. the Mosaic Tabernacle), the predominant colors were red and blue. Red represents the earth and man (the name Adam means red) and blue represents the realm of Heaven. As a side note, interestingly enough, we see the colors red and blue on the American flag just as in Moses’ Tabernacle. The reason that this is more than a little curious is the fact that there is a visually demonstratable connection between Moses’ Tabernacle and the geographical layout of the United States of America – the dominant nation of Earth that is also the main propagator of the gospel.
For more on America’s connection to the Tabernacle of Moses, see a previous article titled “THE SEVEN-FOLD DEATH OF MEGALOPOLIS: GOD’S HIDDEN SIGN” and scroll down to the section of the article titled “AMERICA’S TRUE AND GLORIOUS IDENTIFICATION IN BIBLE PROPHECY.”
Strange as it may seem, no color green is apparent in the Tabernacle, perhaps because the Law simply could not produce eternal life. There is so much that could be said about the spiritual significance of the colors, but at least it has been demonstrated that the seven colors of the light spectrum form a Menorah design with spiritual connections. Also seen before the throne in Revelation 4 is a set of “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God” (Revelation 4:5). These may represent the redeemed Church, indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Having been seen on Earth in the previous three chapters, we are now standing before the throne of God as a result of the rapture. I see the seven Spirits as the seven works of the Holy Spirit – divided into seven because of the time involved in the fulfillment of the prophecies apparent in the seven churches. They appear as seven separate Spirits because John wants us to understand that the seven churches did not simply exist together, but as seven separate church ages over at least two millennia.
Menorahs in Menorahs (Revelation 1-7)
The first seven chapters of Revelation (1-7) not only form a Menorah structure, there is a Menorah in the first three chapters, namely the Seven Churches, and another Menorah in the remaining three chapters (5-7), namely the Seven Seals. The Seven Seals also form a Menorah. The fourth Seal corresponds with the Servant Lamp. In it, we are shown “pale” horse. First of all, it is pale as opposed to a bright light. Secondly, the Greek word translated “pale” is “chlorus” – from which we get the word “chlorophyll.” Yes, it’s color is green – cognizant with the green rainbow around the throne in chapter 4.
The book of Revelation has 22 chapters – three Menorahs of seven chapters each. Just as the first seven chapters (1-7) form a Menorah, the next seven chapters (8-14) also form a Menorah. It’s Servant Lamp is found in the middle chapter (11). Revelation 11:4 says …
“These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth” (Revelation 11:4).
What can I say then Joe Cool? It couldn’t be any clearer! The two witnesses correspond to the lamps of the Menorah – making chapter 11 a Servant Lamp for the seven chapters of Revelation 8-14. On one side of that Menorah (in chapters 8-11), we have Seven Trumpets, which make a Menorah. It’s fourth Trumpet represents a Servant Lamp: “The fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten” (Revelation 8:12)! Yes, the fourth trumpet affects the light of the great Servant Lamp (center lamp) of our universe – the sun!
On the other side of the Menorah design (in chapters 12-12-13), are Seven Personages – another Menorah! The fourth character represents a Servant Lamp. It is Michael the Archangel, who fights the devil and casts him out of Heaven. This is the conflict of good and evil – which, by the way, is the very essence of the Menorah’s theme. Lucifer, whose name means “the light bearer,” wanted to be equal with God.
The next seven chapters of Revelation (15-21) reflect a third Menorah design in the layout of the book of Revelation. In the Servant Lamp chapter (18), we see the destruction of Mystery Babylon. In verse 18, we are told that the merchants of Earth “cried when they saw the smoke of her burning.” And in verse 23, God says …
“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee!”
In one side of this Menorah design (15-17), we have Seven Vials of Wrath – which form another Menorah. It’s Servant Lamp is the fourth vial …
“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun: and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire” (Revelation 16:8).
On the other side of this Menorah (19-22), we have another Menorah – Seven New Things. The fourth New Thing is it’s Servant Lamp – the NEW JERUSALEM! …
“Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious” (21:11). “And the city has no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (21:23)!
Did you ever see a book designed so brilliantly (don’t pardon the pun – it was intended) as the structure of the book of Revelation? No mere man could have designed the book to represent so many Menorahs layered upon Menorahs; and the theme of the book is Jesus, the Servant Lamp – who was snuffed out on the day he died, only to rise again!
“THE THINGS WHICH THOU HAST SEEN”
“And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches” (Revelation 1:17-20).
John is instructed to write the things he saw, namely his vision of Christ on the “Lord’s day” as “Alpha and Omega” along with his position “in the midst” of seven golden lamps. They are important because they provide us with certain tools needed for a proper interpretation of the book. For further reading, I strongly suggest the following two articles on this site below.
DUPLICATIONS OF DESIGN BETWEEN JOHN AND REVELATION: IS IT BY DIVINE DESIGN?
DUPLICATIONS OF DESIGN BETWEEN JOHN AND REVELATION 2: JOHN’S THREE VIEWS OF THE ANTICHRIST
In closing, the skeptic of prophecy and the book of Revelation (and the whole Bible for that matter) has their work cut out for them if they are of a mind to “disprove” the authenticity of scripture or the book of Revelation. Demonstrated in the layout and structural design of this book is a good hard dose of divine and supernatural construction that came from the mind of God himself that no man could have thought up around anyone’s campfire while tripping on the drug of the day. Nor did it come from someone’s over active imagination from long ago. That fact has been clearly demonstrated. It’s just not so. This being the case, this same book that we call the Bible demonstrates the reality of Jesus and his prophetic plan that will come to pass and nothing is going to stop it from coming to pass. That said, it is vitally important to the reader who finds him or herself on the fence to consider that this same Jesus has warned that only those born again in him and whose names are written in what the Bible calls the “Lamb’s book of Life” will enter Heaven. Is your name in that book? If you are born again in Him, it is. If you have chosen to reject him, it isn’t – and you are in eternal danger. How do you get your name in that book? Keep reading below.
THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN AND YOU
In order to accept the offer of God’s grace and his salvation, you must take the crucial three steps of …
1. Agreeing – A belief and agreeing with God in all that he says in his word, the Bible, about the fact that you are separated from God, as every man and woman on the face of the earth are before accepting his salvation. The Bible reveals that all are separated from him in a spiritual state of death, or in another way that the Bible puts it, in a state of sin, that will result in eternal damnation. Agreeing with God in your heart that you are in need of his salvation. The Bible reveals that God looks upon the heart of a man, and thus, responds accordingly to the man or woman who comes to him for salvation in recognition of his inability to save himself. The Bible makes these facts very clear – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The Bible describes these three kinds of death: physical death (the state experienced when life leaves our bodies); spiritual death (spiritual separation from God caused by our state of spiritual death, or state of sin that results in outward acts of sin on a daily basis as the Bible also puts it – the state of sin is received from the first man Adam); and finally eternal death (the fixed state entered into by the individual who dies physically while he or she is dead spiritually). It is eternal death, in particular, which is the horrible result of receiving the wages of sin. The Lord Jesus Christ frequently described such a death as being eternal (without end) in a destiny which he called Hell. He described Hell as a literal place of judgment (Matthew 13:42); a place of everlasting fire (Matthew 18:8); a place of torment (Luke 16:24,28); a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50); a place of remorse (Mark 9:44-48); of bitter memory (Luke 16:25), and a place originally prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). In fact, Jesus more often warned about Hell than he spoke about Heaven. It is not God’s will or desire that any person should be consigned to perish in Hell (2 Peter 3:9), but rather that all should come to repentance of unbelief toward him and believe on him for the salvation of the individual’s soul. But God’s justice requires that the “soul who sins” (remains in it’s state of death or state of sin) is the one who will die eternally (Ezekiel 18:4). So, agree with God, admitting that you are unable to save yourself and in a state of sin under God’s just condemnation for that sin and that you are in need of his salvation.
2. Believing – Then, believe that God does not want you to perish eternally in the torment of Hell because of your sin. Believe that God loves you so much that he provided a way whereby he could still be a just, holy and righteous God, and yet pardon you. Believe that God did not just overlook sin, but that he sent his only begotten son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to provide salvation by personally paying the penalty for sin. Believe that Jesus Christ, whose life, death, burial and resurrection is the best-attested fact of antiquity, did come to earth to live, die, rise again and ascend to Heaven in order to provide justification and salvation for all who trust him. Believe that he, and he alone, can save you because he has fully satisfied the just demands of God. Believe that you can’t become righteous in God’s sight by your own effort. Believe that he wants to save you and that he will save you. The Bible provides a solid basis for such belief …
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
“But God demonstrates his love toward us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
God presented him (Jesus Christ) as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies the man or woman who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:25-26).
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures … ” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“Jesus answered, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out [drive away]” (John 6:37).
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
3. Calling – It is not enough to agree with God, admit your need, and believe that Christ can and will save you. You must act upon those facts. You must repent of the sin of your unbelief toward him and actively call upon him for the salvation of your soul based on the fact that you cannot save yourself because of your sins. You must be willing to completely turn from your own efforts to save yourself or from any other hope. You must come to Christ, calling upon him for salvation and counting on the fact that he will do what he has promised. This means simply taking the gift of pardon and eternal life which he offers. Merely believing about Jesus Christ without coming to him makes as much sense and is as effective as believing that a medication can successfully treat a fatal disease, but failing to take it. Yet again, the Bible emphatically and authoritatively provides the basis for such statements:
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
The word translated “believe” here means to “rest one’s entire weight and trust on the object or person in which the belief is placed.” It requires action in keeping with the intellectual assent of that belief.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
” … but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
The logical question you may be asking at this point is: “how do I come to Christ and call upon him?” The answer is that “calling upon the Lord” is just another term for praying, or talking to God. To talk to God is not a complicated process, dependent upon some special rituals. God has invited people to approach him through his Son in simple, straightforward terms. In fact, Jesus approved of the dishonest, despised tax collector who simply prayed, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” While the exact words of your prayer to God are not of vital importance (since God sees and knows the attitude of your heart), the following is the kind of prayer that you could pray in calling upon God for salvation …
“Dear Lord Jesus: I realize that I need you. I admit that I have sinned and that I deserve your just, eternal punishment for that sin. But I am sorry for my sin and I am turning to you and asking for forgiveness. I believe that you died and rose again to pay sin’s penalty on my behalf. I come to you and open my heart to you. I ask you to come into my life, forgive me for all of my sin and make me your child. I invite you to take control of my life and to cause me to be the kind of person you would have me to be. I thank you for doing this because you have promised that whosoever calls upon you, as I am doing now, shall be saved. I pray this in the name of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, I urge you to sincerely and genuinely express it to God as your prayer. The Bible makes clear that when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in our heart, God forgives our sins and counts us righteous, and that when we openly confess with our mouth what we have done in our heart, God gives us assurance of that salvation (Romans 10:9-10).
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:3-7).
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