Mike Blume

Many mock the notion of reading Jesus' words in Matthew 24 and noting that in some cases Jesus speaks literally and in others He speaks figuratively.  The issue of Matthew 24 switching from literal to figurative is only evidenced by some of Christ's use of statements that were formerly already used and proven to be figurative in the Old Testament, for the most part. Really, the only part that is figurative is the coming in clouds and the sun and moon changing form and appearance. Those are deemed figurative, because they were in their instances in Old Testament writings.

Read 2 Samuel 22 for the use of coming in clouds. There, David said God was seen riding on the wings of the wind, and thick clouds as his pavilions. Did anybody literally see God? Of course not. Then why did David say He was seen? In clouds?

See what I mean?

If we mock the idea of this being figurative in Matthew 24, then we have to mock it's use in 2 Samuel 22. And I know we do not want to go there.

In regards to the sun and moon, that is also noted previously in the Old Testament:

One my most common copy-and-paste notes from my studies is the following:

Look at these pictures....

Isaiah 13:1, 10,13 - BABYLON'S fall.
Ezekiel 32:7-8 - EGYPT'S fall
Isaiah 34:4-5 - EDOM'S fall

All of them speak of the stars and sun blackening. But none of that occurred literally.

One the hardest things I have found in discussing figurative speech with people is to get them to realize we are not making up the figures! We are carefully, very carefully, ensuring these pictures were established as figures in the context of the Bible itself, before we claim them as such in the words of Jesus.

Also, the line is drawn in where Revelation is fulfilled and not fulfilled by simply comparing scripture with scripture, instead of with the latest high-tech magazine and chemical warfare catalogue, and determining what the various visionary imageries in Revelation mean, and interpret that from the words of Jesus and the Apostles!

One important point is to realize that we do not interpret the rest of the Bible from Revelation. We interpret Revelation using the rest of the Bible. In other words, the rest of the Bible must have already explicitly spoken of such pictures in Revelation. If we are not seeing that, then our interpretation is based upon a false system.

The city figurative? Well.... The issue of the "street" (singular - check it out) of gold in the city has to be considered along with all the other elements of the city. One note about the city that causes us to pause and think about the entire picture is the gates. Each gate is of one solid pearl. Now that is literally impossible. Therefore, that indication alone is enough to let us understand that the city is figurative. Even futurists, who use the rule of accepting something figurative when it is simply impossible to be taken as literal, should look at that as an indicator that it is not literal.

Regarding the street of gold, literal pure gold is not transparent, as well, as is noted about the gold in the city.

So all these things indicate a figurative thought. I have not delved into this particular aspect of the thought, i.e., the gold street so much, but have proposed, generally, that the city is the church. And that is not based upon flights of fancy in interpretation. It is based CAREFULLY upon established notes made in the New Testament and Old. For instance, Heb 12:22 says we've already come to Zion and to the Heavenly Jerusalem. Gal 4 notes that our mother is Jerusalem above. Jesus said we are the light of the world, and a city that is set on a hill that cannot be hidden.

The city is foursquare. That is the shape of the most holy place. The same description of the most holy place is used in principle regarding the City.

Rev 21:16  And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

1Ki 6:20  And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar.

And the term "temple" used to describe the church is literally, in the greek, the most holy place... and not the outer court, holy place and most holy place. So it is the church! The Church is His temple!

Revelation 3 describes the church at Philadelphia as having overcomers who have the name of God and the name of the city on their lives. This is saying the city is the church!

God likened Jerusalem of old to His bride (Ezek 16). And of course the church is the bride of Christ.

Revelation notes that the New Jerusalem WAS the bride. Some have noted it was like a bride. But if you keep reading chapter 21, John is told he is to be shown the Bride, and He saw the City! So is the city, comprised of its walls and street and foundations, that is adorned like a bride, and actually IS the bride, going to be literally adorned with a bridal veil, as a literal city? Is Christ going to walk a city down the aisle and marry it? Of course not. This is saying that the Church is the New Jerusalem, just as Israel's goal was to possess Canaan and establish the name of God in the city chosen by God, which turned out to be Jerusalem, and there govern the people of God.

Where we make the demarcation in Revelation as to what is past and what is future is carefully established by the teachings of Jesus and the epistles, in comparison to the interpretation of the emblems used in Revelation. And we are absolutely careful to ensure those interpretations are not flights of fancy either! They have to -- simply have to -- be metaphors that are clearly seen elsewhere in the Bible to be metaphors. If there is no example elsewhere that all can agree upon as being a metaphor, then we cannot say it is.

So here is how we ascertain a demarcation point in the time frame.

We know Christ was speaking about 70 AD in Matthew 24 (which is, I agree, another great argument to many people. But we research the 24th chapter of Matthew, in the same way I am describing how we demarcate Revelation, and settle upon it as being fulfilled.) And we find the same layout of events symbolized in Revelation 6 (I have studies on my site proving this). That causes us to realize Revelation 6 is fulfilled. Then we noted that the City that Rev 18:24 said was full of the blood of all shed upon the earth must be Jerusalem, because Jesus said Jerusalem was guilty of all blood shed on the earth in Matthew 23:35. And Rev. 11:8 establishes for us who the great city is. It also is Jerusalem, where our Lord was crucified. Rev 11:8 calls it the great city, to which the later references to that great city point. The term "that" makes a reference to a previously noted "the". And Rev 11:8 supplies with who that great city is.

And I can go on and on about similar words of Revelation found in the rest of the Bible indicating their figurative nature.

But, we also see that the order of the events in Rev 17 through 19 of the great city burned with fire, followed by the marriage supper indications, are precisely the same order of events noted in Matthew 22:7-9. There, in Mat 22, Jesus said the city of the people who were bidden to the marriage, and did not show up, would be first burned, to be followed by the wedding with other guests, instead. The burning of the city, followed by a wedding, occurs in both Matt 22:7-9 and Rev chapters 17-19. Same order of events.  And Jesus said that in context of being rejected by Jerusalem in Matthew 21. Now, many never note that connection since they did not read through Matthew 21 and 22 contextually. But it's there.

At this point, one realizes that the parallels between Jesus own words, themselves, and the events listed in Revelation are beyond coincidental similarity. They are speaking of the same events!!!

Therefore... knowing the harlot city is Jerusalem, and knowing she was destroyed, and knowing the church is the New Jerusalem, when we read Revelation 19, we see a duration of a very long time ("thousand" in Greek is simply a Greek plurality), followed by the devil hoarding nations against the New Jerusalem, all of that causes us to ponder over when did this, or when will this, occur. And the deduction is generally that the church has not experienced an onslaught similar to that since old Jerusalem was destroyed, which would cause the devil to be forever removed, and would be followed with the great white throne judgment.

So, with the though that the whore is old Jerusalem, due to the words of Christ to Jerusalem have been applied to the whore in Revelation, and knowing Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD, and knowing the great white throne has not yet occurred, we see the demarcation in the midst of Chapter 20.

Chapter 19 also notes a demarcation point since the chapter begins with the destruction of the whore followed by a wedding and the going forth of the Lord and the saints conquering with the Word, which I feel is the New Testament era.

The reason I say chapters 19 and 20 both show demarcation is because Revelation is well-known to back up and go forward every know and then in the time-context of the text.

Revelation 21 through 22 shows us the New Jerusalem.

Regarding the lack of weeping and sorrow noted in the New Jerusalem advent, in Rev 21, this is indeed symbolic of the church. But at the present time the church is not finished construction. The city is still being built. One day that construction will be finished. But, as Peter put it, there are still lively stones being added to the construction process.

Nevertheless, Jesus said we are a city set on a hill that cannot be hid. Would we deny Jesus' words? Would we also deny that the Mother of us all is this City, called by Paul "Jerusalem which is above"? And would we think that is a spiritual picture of the church? Or would we still think a literal city birthed us into the Kingdom of God?

Having said that, I will also say, though, that on a personal level, there is a wonderful experience in salvation in which tears are wiped away after repentance, and the thought of old things passing away is simply connected to the words of Paul in 2 Cor 5, where he describes all things passing away and becoming new when we are saved! The context of the words you refer to regarding weeping and sorrow involves the thought of all things being made new. And that is a distinct reference to Paul's words in 2 Cor 5! More on that later.


We have to refer to Genesis in order to understand many notes in Revelation. The thought of no more literal sea is absurd. If there is no more sea, then there are no more oceans, and that means the earth is one large mass of land, with lakes interspersed.

But sea is "salt" water. And salt represents two things in the word of God. Preservation as well as stealing away or, and resistance against, life.

I once preached a message entitled FROM NO LIGHT TO NO NIGHT. Genesis showed us that a time existed when there was no light, and God spoke light into existence. At that same point in time, there was no fresh water, for the earth was covered in the saline water of one huge ocean. It was not until the third day that the dry land "appeared", or resurrected up from beneath the water. And then the fresh water came into being.

Why would God speak about all of this physical state of things? Just to satisfy our curiosity? No. It was to introduce a principle. And the goal of the Bible is not to answer questions of a scientific nature. Adam's story is not to prove we did not come from apes, although that can be derived from that story. All of it is to lead us to salvation. So in some measure, this series of physical events are giving us a pattern and principle regarding our salvation.

Proverbs says that the glory of God conceals a thing and it is the honour of kings to search out a matter. We are kings and priests. Let's search out what God has concealed for Holy Ghost people like you and I to glean.

Notice the series of events in Genesis 1.

Light, then division of waters, then land "resurrecting". Can you see it? Repentance, water baptism, and Spirit baptism. And it goes on, but you get the idea. And we wind up with man in God's image on the sixth day, and finally the REST in the 7th. We know we are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. And we also know there remains a rest for the people of God. So although these things occurred literally, they lead us towards a spiritual message. And that message is the goal of the Bible!

There is also a principle in the Bible that tells us that it is that which is natural that is always first. Afterwards, that which is spiritual. I think some may be inadvertently reversing God's principle.

We all know that Jesus spoke of the Holy Ghost as rivers of living water. Is the river in Revelation 22 literal? Of course not! It is speaking of the living waters of the Holy Ghost. Read John 4's words regarding the woman at the well. Read Jesus' words on the last day of the feast in John 7:38-39. And then tell me that the rivers of living water is not the Holy Ghost.

To say that, yes, it is the Holy Ghost in those  passages, but to then say, no, it is not the Holy Ghost in Revelation 22, which is yet future, is to reverse the principle I noted earlier. You are saying we first have spiritual rivers of living water, but our goal in Revelation 22, in our future, is to wind up with a physical and literal river of living water. You're going in reverse!

Our goal is not a literal and physical river and city! That was the picture before things became spiritual! That which is spiritual is last and final. And would not the last book in the Bible reflect that? Many are going backwards, to make it all a goal of physical things!

I mean, if the Bible did not already establish the fact that the river of living water is the Holy Ghost in John 4 and John 7, then I would be at a loss to state anything as I am doing here. That is what I try to tell everyone who accuses me of haphazard allegorizing of scriptures, as though we never had a biblical foundation to do allegorize. But how can we deny the relevance of John 4 and John 7, as we read Revelation 22? Especially in light of the principle noted in 1 Cor 15 concerning that which is spiritual being our goal?

Have all things been made new?

Yes, that is now!


Paul used the same terms, and please note the same terms, as follows:
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Have you not experienced the above scripture?

No need of the Sun or Moon?

There shall be no night there?

As I said, this regards the church in a state of completion, which is not to be seen today, except in part. However, at the same time, let me say you are missing something if you are restricting this to the physical. In reference, once again, to my sermon, light and darkness, I noted therein, speak of good and evil. In that sermon I noted that at one time the earth was full of sinners. All night. But then Light came, Jesus, as in the book of John, which uses Genesis as a pattern to show the real Spoken word giving light! Jesus is the light! And the darkness comprehended it not. What was John referring to by "the darkness"? The Sinners. The evil ones.

But then it reads that as many as received Him to them gave he power to become the sons of God. He lights every man who comes into the world. But not every man receives that light. However, some of the world did -- us! And all through John's Gospel you see this theme of light and darkness continue.

If we’re stuck on literal and outward too much, we’ll never notice this.

Anyway, Jesus did miracles, stepped out of the scene and watched people fall into two groups... always falling into two groups. Those who accepted the light and gave God glory, and those who argued it away in outright insane denial! The light was spoken, and men were separating into darkness and light.

And you get the idea.

Well, since the spiritual is what God will wind up with, and not the natural, it is not speaking of natural light and darkness in Revelation. It is spiritual. Just as there were no saints of God (light) in the beginning, but only sinners, after Christ came a division occurred as light brought forth more light in the sons of men. And one day all sinners will be removed, and there will only be light!  No night! Genesis 1 is a pattern of Jesus' first coming!! And Revelation shows us the goal!

Same with the sea. After we see nothing but salt water at the start, naturally, we will see nothing but fresh water, in the end, spiritually. Salt is reminiscent of lack of life. Recall that nations salted the lands of the ones they conquered, so as to prohibit agriculture in the future for many years. The entire earth was "salted", so to speak, by sin. But, praise God(!), it will be different after then next time He comes! No sea, no night!

Rev 21: 27 tells us who cannot enter there but these are who makes up the Church.

First of all the kingdom of God is within us! It does not come with observation! The city being seen by John, therefore, represents the Kingdom of God in the church. Otherwise, it refutes Jesus' words, and does indeed come with observation. I have certainly noted that in the past and was blessed to think of its spiritual picture well!

Ever wonder why it said that those that are outside are dogs (spiritual term for unsaved, as Jews called Gentiles dogs), and whoremongers, etc? Imagine if this was literal and looking out through your window in the city, as you imagine the city to be, and seeing a beautiful scene of whoremongers and liars and unrighteous people outside. The Bible says that without, or "outside" ( not saying where outside, but just outside), there are dogs etc. (I was absolutely stunned in a laughing fit as I heard about a very prominent minister say that this proved canines do not go to heaven, since dogs were outside the city.) Dogs refer to Gentiles, which speak spiritually of the unsaved.

And to beat all, the gates never close since there is no night. So outside ("without" in old English), these whoremongers wander around, and the gates are wide open. The only manner in which that can make any sense is for the city to represent the church, and people who walk through its pearly gates become saved and enter in as changed lives!

Is the river of living waters, clear as crystal, not literal?

No. Its the Holy Ghost. How do I know its today, as well?

Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

If this is literal, and the river is not yet available, why does John hear words for all to come and DRINK RIGHT NOW? And if you confine that to a future time when men can come and drink, as though John heard a future, unfulfilled, statement, then you are missing the fact that these words parallel Jesus' words perfectly:
Joh 7:37-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (39) (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Can you not see the similarity, or its it mere coincidence? Come on! Let’s read it again!

The aspect of it being free, to drink freely, comes from the fact that Isaiah foretold we could have wine milk and honey without price, as opposed to Adam, who had to WORK for bread that would leave him dying anyway. And that contrasted the fact that Adam could have enjoyed food that gave eternal life, before he sinned, without working for it by the sweat of his brow! Its a spiritual picture of return to the Garden in salvation! Since the river comes from Jesus' throne, it is telling us that until you make Jesus your Lord and King, you ain't getting any Holy Ghost!

Is the throne not literal?

Its as literal as the throne He now sits upon according to Eph 1:20!

Is the tree of life not literal?

No. Its Jesus and the church. He is the vine and we are the branches. That is why Ezekiel 47 says there were many trees by the river banks, in absolute agreement with revelation's note of the purpose of the leaves and the fruit. Ezek. 47:12. And Psalm 1:2 says we are like trees planted by the waters (by the river of life) whose fruit comes in his season (yielding every month) and leaf shall not fail (thank goodness, for the leaves are for nations' healing!!). We are also called trees of Righteousness, the planting of the Lord in Isaiah 61:3. Note there, that ZION is noted -- the synonym of the church, as well as the new City in Hebrews 12:22. And note there that sorrow is exchanged for joy, which is indicated in Rev 21.

Is 22:11 fulfilled?

Yes! If people refuse Christ and His righteousness, then there are declared to be left unrighteous! But it is being fulfilled, and will be fulfilled as well, for others until the city is completed.

What do 12 Gates represent?

What names are on the gates? It speaks of the entrance into the church, which causes one to become the spiritual Israel of God in a spiritual Jerusalem in the Spiritual promised land in Spiritual Zion! Read Heb 12:22 again.

Please answer this. If this is not spiritual, how on earth are the gates each made of one pearl?

The meaning of the twelve foundation stones each one?

Simple enough! What are the names on them? The Apostles? Ever read the following:
Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

I hope we’re all ALREADY BUILT on that foundation!!

Why couldn't God make one pearl a gate? He made this universe.

Of course he made the universe! But a pearl comes from an oyster! God can make anything He wants. But to use that sort of reasoning, which CONTRADICTS the very rule dispensationalists abide by, that says something that cannot be physically possible is to be regarded as obviously symbolic, let me ask WHY CANNOT GOD MAKE A LAMB WITH SEVEN EYES AND SEVEN HORNS????

But people will not say that is literal, since they believe it is Jesus. But God could just as easily make something that does not occur in nature like a seven-horned lamb, as well as 12 GIANT PEARLS cut out into Gates!

Using that argument NOTHING is symbolic, because God can make anything! Even a lamb with seven eyes!

Is the bottomless pit literal?

How could something physical be bottomless?  Its obviously speaking spiritually. But its more real than anything physical, for sure!

I am still learning and subject to error, but I think this is the explanation of these issues.

God bless!