Michael F. Blume

I look at the scope of the Book of Revelation as a spiritual explanation of the New Covenant and how it came into being when Jesus ascended and entered the holiest of Holies, in Revelation 5, to redeem us by His blood.  It speaks about how Jesus is revealed, for He is the covenant.  It concentrates upon the great truths of the cross of Christ and our identification with His death, just as the rest of the New Testament does.
Revelation 1:1  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:
Aside from the fact that the very first verse says that these things must shrotly come to pass (how do literalists take that?), a common error amongst those who claim to understand Revelation, and thereby refer you to nuclear explosions and computer chips and Chinese armies, is to look at the many visionary emblems in Revelation and miss the fact that they are all taken from the Old Testament passages.  The Bible interprets itself.  Somebody claims that we are to take Revelation literally for what it says, but yet they would never think to take the following scriptures literally:
Revelation 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. .

Psalm 36:7  How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

Psalm 114:4-6  The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs . What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs?

The truth is that the Bible interprets itself.  We cannot look to the emblems used in Revelation and imagine anything about them, and spiritualize them away without concrete foundation.  We could come up with any bizarre idea if we did that!  But the foundation we require is the Bible itself.  The early church was steeped in Old Testament understanding.  So John's use of Old Testament symbols was very comfortable for the saints of the early church.  They immediately knew what was written in Revelation, due to their understanding and familiarity with the Old Testament usage of metaphors and idioms.

Jesus used metaphors when speaking to the disciples.  He compared the believer to salt and light.

Matthew 5:13-16  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour , wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
What is our light?  Why say LIGHT?  Light is a metaphor.  The Bible explains what it is:
2 Corinthians 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ
Light is the knowledge of the glory of God.  Please take note of how the Bible interprets itself.

So many do not recognize the metaphors of the Bible.  But above we clearly see that metaphors were used by Jesus.  Literalists would say you cannot allegorize anything.  But Jesus distinctly used an allegory.  Is he saying that we are literally salt, or is salt simply an allegory that was used to better teach us a spiritual lesson?  We are not literal light, nor a literal city, nor literal salt.  But these allegories were commonly used throughout the Bible in order to better explain something to us.  But literalists say that there are no allegories or metaphors.  They are simply not thinking about what they are saying!  If they are correct, than we had better get inside of a monstrous salt shaker and let God literally salt the earth with we believers.  (But lick your hand first and make sure that you still taste salty and have not lost your savour!)  Or, lets look for a giant candlestick somewhere and climb on top of it and light ourselves afire, so that we are the light on a candlestick, because we must let our light shine in the manner a flame on a candle shines.  Even the thought of LIGHT is an allegory and metaphor!

Metaphors are also used for Jesus when He is seen as a Lion and a Lamb, not because the images of these animals are nice to think about, but because the Bible already established what connotation the lion and lamb had in the Old Testament.  It spoke of the tribe of Judah from which the Son of God was born.  The lamb spoke of the sacrifice required for Passover in Exodus.  We are intended to understand that thought of sacrifice for salvation when we think of Jesus as a Lamb.

Revelation 5:5-6  And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Revelation 5:5-6 is filled with symbols that are metaphors, which one can only interpret when reading the Old Testament and comparing it with New testament teachings about Jesus and the Gospel.
1 Corinthians 5:7  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
In the Old Testament the LAMB was slain to free israel from death and Egypt during the Exodus.  Horns are metaphors for POWER.
Daniel 8:6-7  And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power .  And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.
Revelation interprets what HORNS are meant to represent as follows:
Revelation 17:12  And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
Horns were used to pour anointing oil on the priests and prophets and kings.  Horns were on the four corners of the altar, for example.  There is a message in that picture concerning power.  Eyes are symbolic and used as metaphors to denote understanding.
Ephesians 1:18  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Therefore, biblically, we interpret Revelation 5:6 as Jesus having all understanding and all power.  In fact the Bible itself says this elsewhere!

The lamb had been slain but stood before John.  This is resurrection.  And it is plainly stated by Jesus after His resurrection that He specifically has all power.

Matthew 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
And we also read of Him as our High Priest, which priesthood did not begin until His resurrection, when he entered the true holiest with His blood, which is what is represented in Revelation 5.  He sees all things.  has all understanding.
Hebrews 4:13  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Ninety five times does the Book of Revelation refer to Old Testament metaphors and symbols.  And these are repeated several times in the book of Revelation.  With the repetition of such symbols, one man discovered that about 250 times does Revelation use Old Testament symbols.  That is an average of ten per chapter of Revelation!  But yet people continue to neglect that, and look at the images in Revelation literally, in total ignorance of what metaphors the Old Testament used in the very same pictures.  One preacher even proposed that there is a literal seven-headed dragon in outer space somewhere after reading Revelation chapter 12!  But that is a metaphor!
Revelation 12:3  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.
Yet when you read later in the verse you discover this interpretation of it in the very chapter itself.
Revelation 12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Some places in the book of Revelation do not have the interpretation.  So you must look ONLY IN THE BIBLE for the interpretation of the symbol and metaphor.  For example, the Revelation does not say that the Lamb is Jesus.  But we do read elsewhere that it is!
John 1:29  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Without a good understanding of Hebrew Old Testament scriptures and the rest of the New Testament scriptures, we will miss most of what Revelation is saying.  Instead of looking to the Old Testament usage of metaphors and idioms and symbols, people look to the newspapers and world events today to interpret these scriptures.  That is silly in light of the usage of allegories and metaphors in the Bible.

Jesus made a statement that sheds much light upon the current popular trend of prophecy "hounds."  That statement tells us that the average person is not going to know what the actual dangers of the false prophets are going to be, particularly the "Beast".  One is going to have to be most spiritually-inclined and truly a child of God.  Here is that statement.

This explains that the average person, not truly a child of God, is not going to see the deception the false prophets will be promoting as truths.  They will be duped.  If it says, "If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect," it is saying that the degree of covert deception will be so intense and successful that only true believers will catch it and be able to avoid it.  The idea of computer chips, oil embargoes and economic tyranny is not going to be the ploy used by the enemy.  We have sinners who are predicting that!  No, the enemy is going to use something that only the very elect will not be fooled by. In that way he will succeed in getting the most of the people. After all, many are called but few are chosen.

I believe the emblems all through Revelation are to be spiritually interpreted, and not literally.   Revelation begins by explaining that very truth.

The term "signified" means betokened or symbolized.  It is through the use of signs that Revelation relates to us the manifestation of Jesus Christ.  Its SIGN-IFIED.  To signify is to give a sign and to indicate .  It is to betoken. So what we are told right up front is that the visions of the Book of Revelation are symbols of actualities.

Agabus SIGNIFIED through the Spirit about trouble coming.

Acts 11:28  And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
What did Agabus do in order for the Bible to say that he "signified" future events?  Let us look elsewhere in the Bible to see if Agabus did anything similar to SYMBOLIZING something.  The same prophet is later spoken about in Acts 21 and we read that he once again SYMBOLIZED something about Paul, and in doing so he used SYMBOLS of Paul's girdle to indicate bondage Paul would enter into in Jerusalem.
Acts 21:10-11  And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
Obviously the SIGNIFYING in Acts 11:28 was similar in his use of foretelling something through SIGNS as he foretold Paul's bondage by binding Paul's hands and feet with his girdle, for this is how Agabus ministered.

Some say that this approach to Revelation causes one to believe that there is no coming mark of the beast, and that it is an error of spiritualizing everything away.  They feel that if we do not believe in a literal stamp or mark on the literal hand or forehead of a person, then we do not believe what the Bible says.  But the error of their thinking is that they are totally unaware of the symbolism taken from the Old Testament for the mark.  If we were to use their reasoning when looking at the Bible, we would have to believe that the mountains literally sprouted legs like rams, and skipped across the territories according to the Psalms.  That is taking things literally.  But of course we are not meant to take that Psalm's reference to mountains and hills skipping to be literal.  So the argument that we are to take things literally unless specified to do otherwise is simply manifesting ignorance of biblical literature.

Don't let someone gloss over these things and tell you that it is erroneous spiritualizing away of the truth to say that Revelation, for example, is not symbolic.  It is not spiritualizing anything away when you are careful to look to the BIBLE ALONE AND ITSELF to understand the symbols used in Revelation.

Of course the Bible is to be taken literally at times.  But we do not choose which is literal and which is allegorical.  The Bible does that itself.  In the book of Revelation, where we are told that the revelation was SIGNIFIED when it was given.  Just as Agabus signified Paul's bondage using the symbols of his girdle (Rome would not bind Paul with his girdle!), Revelation is full of symbols.  And some have stated we should by default take Revelation literally, and only take Revelation symbolically when it says it is symbolic.  If that were the case then we should literally believe that Jesus turned into a lamb with seven eyes and seven horns, because the Revelation does not say "THIS IS SYMBOLIC OF JESUS OUR PASSOVER."  But the truth is that the Revelation should foremost be taken symbolically EXCEPT for the instances in which the symbols   are explicitly explained, because we are told to read it as such in the very first verse of the book.

For example:

Revelation 17:9-10   And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
Above, the Revelation distinctly interprets for us.

Also, here:

Revelation 21:9-10  And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
The SYMBOL of the City descending out of Heaven is interpreted explicitly as the BRIDE.. the Lamb's wife.  That is the Church!
Romans 7:4  Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

2 Corinthians 11:2  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ .

All agree that Revelation 14:1-2 is symbolic, in speaking about the name of the Father on the foreheads of the 144,000., Why then do we say Revelation 13:16-18, speaking about the mark of the beast on the foreheads of people is not?
Revelation 13:16 - 14:1  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 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. And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads .
 Both passages speak of something being put on the foreheads of individuals. In fact, the passages, though they separated by the humanly added chapter title "CHAPTER 14," are only one or two verses apart!  (The chapter writings in chapter 14 are original, but the chapter and verse title --  " CHAPTER 14" -- was added.)  The same imagery is used in both chapters.  Most agree that the idea of the name of the Father on the foreheads of the 144,000 is a symbolic picture of the people of God being identified.  Nobody believes there will be a literal mark on the foreheads of these people reading "FATHER" or "JESUS", or whatever!  Yet the same people will say that the mark or number of the beast on the forehead or right hand is either a physical computer chip or something else that is physical.

So many are unaware of the biblical usage of symbols and therefore don't even recognize the following connection:

Exodus 13:15-16   And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem. And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt.
A TOKEN would be placed on their hands and foreheads.
Exodus 13:9  And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD'S law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.
The word "TOKEN" is translated from the from the Hebrew  " 'owth "  {oth} and is probably derived from  "'uwth" {ooth} which means "to consent, agree" (in the sense of appearing).  It is also translated in the KJV as "sign(s)", "ensign(s)", "miracles", "mark".  Its definitions are as follows:
1) sign, signal
1a) a distinguishing mark
1b) banner
1c) remembrance
1d) miraculous sign
1e) omen
1f) warning
2) token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof

So we clearly see the symbolic nature of the token.  It even says it is translated as "MARK", and we find that in...

Genesis 4:15  And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
These frontlets and hand tokens were called PHYLACTERIES by Jesus in Matthew 23:5.  For an entire message about this issue check out this study: PHYLACTERIES OF HELL . The Word "Phylacteries" is actually defined in English as "defenses and protections."  They were parchments of the laws that specifically were told by God to be regarded as frontlets.  When God told Moses to regard these scriptures and truths as frontlets between his eyes (on his forehead) and as bound to his arm, He told Moses that keeping the commandments of His Word would cause the people to be protected and defended by God, Himself.  Satan has His counterfeit "Torah and law."  He has his kingdom also.

The forehead is a metaphor for the WILL of a person (Ezekiel 3:8-9 -- note how you must interpret the metaphor using the Bible itself, rather than search into science magazines of the present day).  The right hand is a metaphor for a person's POWER (Exodus 15:6; Luke 22:69).  The idea of a computer chip placed beneath the skin is simply not what the Bible is speaking about in Revelation 13.  One would not know that, though, if one did not search the Bible for interpretations rather than the science magazines of today's world.  People would have you believe that a claim for the use of allegories in the Bible is actually an excuse for spiritualizing away the word of God.  Nonsense.  It is using the Bible itself to interpret the Bible.

J. L. Martin, in 1873, wrote these words, having missed the symbolic nature of the book of Revelation chapter 9.

"John is pointing to the modern mode of fighting on horseback, with the rider leaning forward, which, to his sight, and to the sight of one looking on at a distance, would appear as the great mane of the lion; the man leaning on his horse’s neck. He would, in fighting with firearms, have to lean forward  to discharge his piece, lest he might shoot down his own horse that he was riding. In John’s day the posture was very different. . . . Now, I want to ask my friendly hearers if it is not as literally fulfilled before our eyes as anything can be? Are not all nations engaged in this mode of warfare? Do they not kill men with fire and smoke and brimstone? . . . Do you not know that this is just ignited gunpowder?"

(JL Martin, The Voice of the Seven Thunders: oc Lectures on the Apocalypse (Bedford, IN: James M. Mathes, Publisher, sixth cd., 1873), pp. 149f.)

Martin looked at his then-modern-day invention of gunpowder and pistols and pointed to Revelation 9 saying this proves John wrote of his day and the pistols of his day.  Instead of looking to the Bible for the reference of "locusts", etc., he looked to the science of his day.  He would have accused anyone of thinking otherwise that they were spiritualizing the Bible away!

And we can laugh at that today, but it is just as silly when we say, for example, that the mark of the beast is a computer chip placed beneath our skin.  Moses was given the law of God and was told by God to bind it to the hand and between the eyes as frontlets.  Was the law of God a computer chip?  No. God simply symbolized to Moses the importance of the word of God that was to be the people's strength, represented by the right hand.  The law was to be God's will accomplished instead of their own independent wills, represented by being placed on the forehead.  The forehead represents the will, as God told Ezekiel that he would make his forehead harder than the people's foreheads -- God would make Ezekiel's will stronger than the will of the people (Ezekiel 3:8-9).  The enemy has his own book that he urges people to adhere to -- to be bound on their foreheads and on their hands.  That is what the mark of the beast is speaking about in Revelation 13.

Beware of literalists who are unaware of biblical symbols used in the Old Testament and elsewhere in the New Testament.

But if we read the passages in the Old Testament about binding these phylacteries to our foreheads and hands, and were ignorant of the fact that these events were given to people long before Christ ever came to earth, and we looked at the newspapers of today, we would say that Moses spoke about computer chips!

The 144,000  in Revelation 7 are said to be 12,000 from each tribe of Israel.  When they are listed in Revelation 7, the first tribe listed is Judah.  Never was the list of the Israeli tribes noted in this order.  This is obviously a spiritual idea being proposed.  Since Jesus is from the tribe of Judah through Mary, then we can see why Judah would be listed first in the New Testament symbolism of the Church, the ISRAEL OF GOD.  Furthermore, the angel that announced the number of those to be sealed came from the EAST (Rev. 7:2), and Judah was positioned east of the tabernacle when the tabernacle was set up in the wilderness.  (See Numbers 2:3).

The 144,000 are the representative group depicting the Church, the Israel of God.

Galatians 6:16  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Romans 2:29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

After reading Revelation 14 where the 144,000 stand on Mount Sion, we are reminded that Hebrews 12:22 lists the Church as the Heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God, Mount Zion.  The Church is the Bride, and you see the New Jerusalem referred to as a Bride in Revelation 21.  We are lively stones built up into a spiritual house, said Peter in his epistle.  And this House is the House of Christ, or the New City, the Bride.  (Christ is not marrying a literal set of buildings!)  It even says the 144,000 are standing on Mount Zion, which is referred to as the Church in Hebrews 12:22.  Twelve foundations engraved with the names of the twelve apostles are seen upholding the City (Rev. 21:14), and we read that the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:19-20).  Its a pictorial symbol of the Church using biblical symbols!

And note that the dimensions of the SIGNIFIED City are 12,000 furlongs by 12,000 furlongs by 12,000 furlongs.  This makes a cube.  And a cube has twelve edges (edges, not sides).  This figures to 144,000!  The exact same number of people sealed with the Father's name in Revelation 7 and Revelation 14.  I previously quoted the Scripture where Jesus is said to have told the disciples that they were a CITY SET ON A HILL.

Clearly, the 144,000 is a symbolic number depicting the Church.  Is one to think that there will be exactly 12,000 people from each tribe of literal and earthly Israel that will be sealed with some kind of stamp on their literal foreheads?  Surely not.  It is said of them that they are virgins and have not defiled themselves with women.  This does not mean they are all men or eunuchs, but that they are believers who have not committed spiritual fornication and adultery by going to other gods.  They were faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ!  It is not speaking about literal women or literal adultery.  Adultery in the Bible always posed as a shadow of going to false gods, while the true God is a jealous God.  The Old Testament spoke of people committing whoredoms by following after other false gods.

Ezekiel 16:20  Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter,
And having the Father's name on their foreheads depicts how the people of God are the temple of God. As much as the temple stood for God's name in Jerusalem, so, too, are God's people called by Jesus' name, as the temple of God.

Not only that, but the forehead represents the will of a person.

Ezekiel 3:8-9   Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
Ezekiel would preach to a rebellious and stubborn people.  These things are a result of their particular wills set to be so.  God would make Ezekiel's will stronger than their's to not be affected by their stubbornness.
Matthew 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
What better way to show people committed to doing the Father's will than by having them symbolized as ones with their Father's name on their foreheads?

Also, we read the 144,000 are standing on Mount Zion.  Jesus said in Matthew 7, that those who enter the Kingdom, are not the miracle workers and gift operators.  Those who stress these things alone will never make it in!  Jesus said it is those who do the will of the Father which is in Heaven.  And then he says that the ones who enter the Kingdom are the ones who hear the word and do it.  And they are like the wise man who built his house on the rock that resisted the thrash and batter of storms.  It stood through the storms.

While the 144,000 stand, on a Rock called Zion, as the wise man who did the Father's will built his house on the rock, the fools fall in the storms since they have built on sand.  And Babylon was literally built on sand in the Old Testament days.  Babylon speaks of Satan's people.  The false church is called Mystery Babylon The Great, in Revelation 17.  So the 144,000 are the true church who do the Father's will and stand, while the Babylon is the house of fools built on sand that falls.  Notice that the thought of Babylon falling is noted in the same chapter that mentions the 144,000 on the rock standing.

I also wish to note that the literal Greek of these passages indicates a very interesting thought.
Revelation 14:1  And I saw, and lo, a Lamb having stood upon the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty-four thousands , having the name of his Father written upon their foreheads;
The term is plural!  It is like saying thousands of 144.
Revelation 7:4  And I heard the number of those sealed, (one hundred and forty four thousands were sealed out of all the tribes of the sons of Israel):
Thousand is a number often used to simply signify MANY.
Exodus 20:6  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Exodus 34:7  Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

In the mention of the Mark and Number of the Beast, John said that he who has understanding will be able to understand what the number means. This is very important.  When we read words like this we are to take careful note and realize the average person is not going to understand.  This is not referring to carnal understanding in mathematics. These words are akin to Jesus' words in Matthew 24:15, where He said "Whoso readeth let him understand."   They are warnings that we must see a spiritual application, otherwise we will not correctly understand these words. God grants this understanding to those living for Him, and to those who know the Bible.  So, heathen, who can come up with the same literal, materialistic ideas of Revelation that many so-called students of prophecy have come up with, will not be able to truly understand the symbols. Look at the other references to the need for a believer to seek understanding and find what exactly is the nature of the understanding we are told to acquire. It is surely not educational understanding, possessed only by those of high IQ.

I believe that counting letters in a man's name in order to figure who the antichrist is does not fit with the biblical term of proper "understanding". Heathens can guess such things as names. Any whiz-kid with a mathematical slant would be able to calculate it if it were so.  And if it were the case, and we must count letters of an alphabet, it would not be the English Alphabet with English Spelling. (Since God's people are no longer relegated to materialism in the sense of how God deals with humanity, for example in the Old Testament times when Sabbath days were kept, I cannot see how counting numbers of a certain language's variation of spelling a name can apply to Revelation's most spiritual writings.)

What of the name of the Beast? Well, we know about the godly seal which, according to Revelation 14:1, is the name of God in the forehead. God told Israel that He would come to those places where His name has been placed. The Temple was an inference. Each of us are lively stones united into a temple. Jesus said, Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them. The lamb is in the midst of the 144,000.  The Devil's version, noted only verses before this godly version of the 144,000, would therefore involve a similar, but counterfeit, naming involving people united in evil, much like the tower of Babel united people in rebellion against God's commands. We are united in Jesus' name - the strong and mighty Tower in which the righteous run and are saved (Proverbs18:10).

The uses of God's name in the Old Testament are also in effect in the New Testament regarding Jesus' name.

As to the seven-sealed scroll seems to indicate a covenant.  Recall that the Ten Commandments were written on two small, palm-sized tables, and were written on the front and back of the tables.

Exodus 32:15  And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
It was Israel's covenant commandments.

The scroll is written within and on the backside also!  In fact the account and order of elements Moses saw when instructed to make the furniture of the Tabernacle are listed in the same order in Revelation 4 with their counterparts.

Revelation 5:1  And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
It is not the Ten Commandments, but the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus that we are concerned with (Ro. 8:2; 2 Cor. 3:3-11).

Jeremiah was told to redeem a field while Babylon was on its way to seize it and conquer Israel!
In fact, Jeremiah was told to REDEEM the property.

Jeremiah 32:7  Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it.
What a waste of purchase!  But God told Jeremiah that Israel would return again and the land would one day be worth something.  So he was to buy it.  And notice what was to be done with the deed.
Jeremiah 32:10-15  And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances. So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open: And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison. And I charged Baruch before them, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.
The title deed was to be held for many days.  So it was sealed and placed in a safe place.

What better place to put the covenant of the redemption of mankind than in the hand of God Himself?  Before Satan deceived Eve and threw humanity into sin, the lamb was slain from the foundation of the world.  The covenant was drawn.  And like Babylon coming to seize the land and make it seem worthless, Satan was to tempt and deceive man.  But as the covenant was sealed and kept in store for the day that Israel would be worth something again, God sealed the New Covenant, put it in His right hand until Christ should redeem us from sin.

The idea of a hidden mystery is indicated in the Old Testament as a sealed book.

Isaiah 29:11  And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:
Over and again, the New Testament refers to the Gospel plan as the MYSTERY hidden from ages.
Romans 16:25-26  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery , which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

1Corinthians 2:7  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

Ephesians 1:9-10   Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

The book of Revelation is about the revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:1).  It is about the the new covenant through the cross.  It circles around that.  We see the Lord as High Priest /Lamb (Hebrews 9:12) enter the Holiest of Heaven (Hebrews 9:24) in Revelation 5, and redeeming humanity by taking the MYSTERY/Covenant and then opening it up.  And we wind up in Revelation 21 - 22 with the City instead of a Garden, with the tree of life and a river of life.  We are back at the original purpose of God in Eden, redeemed and carried on throughout the rest of eternity.  And it all began with the redemption of mankind through the lamb who was slain but stood in resurrection glory to save us (Rev. 5:6-7).

You will find that many parallels are seen in the Old Testament and the book of Revelation, which shows, I believe, the typical aspect of Revelation, since the Old Testament is looked upon today as typical of the new covenant coming into position in the world.  In fact let me propose that if you can find the similar symbols used in the Old Testament and even in the epistles of the New, you will find the key to understanding the true meaning of the symbols in revelation.  Find the context in which the Old Testament counterparts are listed.  For example, you read of a woman in Revelation 12 clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet and 12 stars on her head.  Notice the ordering.

  1. Sun
  2. Moon
  3. Stars
Joseph had a dream of his father, mother and brothers as the sun, moon and stars.  This woman is the Israel of God again (Gal 6:16), the Church!  The father is naturally mentioned first, the sun.  The mother is next, the moon, and then the stars are the brothers.  This symbolic picture indicates Israel.  In the Old Testament she was pregnant with the Christ soon to be born.  In the New Testament Christ has come forth and she is the Church after the birth.  The true Israel.

Also, note how that Revelation 12 parallels with the Exodus story. The woman gives forth the manchild and flees into the desert. The dragon follows her as Pharaoh chased Israel. The woman was given two eagle's wings as Moses told Israel how God gave them eagle's wings to flee pharaoh - Ex. 19:5. The Red Sea opened and Israel swiftly escaped Pharaoh. The dragon sent out a flood after the woman seeing he could not catch her on foot. So, too, did Pharaoh send his army after Israel through the Red Sea. The earth helped the woman and swallowed up the flood, as the Red Sea swallowed up the army of Egypt. The woman was fed in the wilderness for 3 1/2 years as Israel was nurtured by God for entrance into Canaan. The 3 1/2 years is used often in Revelation and seems to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem which took exactly 3.5 years in 70 AD.  The reason that the book of Revelation speaks about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD is due to the fact that Revelation is all about the inception of the New Covenant.  And the integral part, obviously, of that inception involved the crucifixion of the Lord by the Jews of that generation.  And Jesus spent very much time speaking about the curse to come upon that generation 40 years later due to the greatest rejection of all rejections -- that of rejecting the Lord and His New Covenant.

Reading literal economy of the world, or helicopters or suchlike into the writing of Revelation is carnalising the book out of its proper place. The New Testament is not a thing which elaborates on the material affairs of the world, but is concerned with our spiritual relationship with God. Why should Revelation be any different?

One might argue that discussion of the dangers of material progress is indeed applicable to the progress of our relationships with God. True, but the other New Testament books deal with these issues in a more general fashion, applicable to all ages. Discussing how the love of money, for example is the root of all evil is certainly applicable but not in accord with the nature of the "pop-prophecy" preachers of today who say that the locusts were "helicopters."

I believe people have slipped away from the spirituality of things, and with the carnal mind, that we all share, and that is naturally curious, it has been a very successful venture for authors to throw in their two cents' worth of carnal speculation, lacking in spiritual interpretation.

I believe Paul's words in 1 Cor. 2:14 apply when reading Revelation. The natural man cannot receive the things of God. One must pray and ask God for enlightenment and a state of spiritual receptivity, and then commence reading Revelation. Otherwise the sayings seem ridiculous and non-sensical.  High IQ's and degrees in science of mathematics is not going to reveal the interpretation of the symbols in Revelation.

All the carnal interpretations of Revelation, relegating them to material items, and such, can be guessed at by any person, whether they be Christian or heathen. And I cannot see how God would have John write a book that any old heathen, who does not experience a revelatory relationship with God, could use and come up with the same interpretations that Christian "scholars" come up with, when the rest of the Bible clearly requires a spiritual experience with Christ to fully interpret.  And this is especially so upon consideration of the words of Christ concerning the false prophets and their errors that only the elect would be able to expose as errors.

The common, popular interpretations people come up with today are so materialistically-oriented that anybody could come up with them. They lack that special understanding that John refers to in Rev 13:18 which accompanies true biblical interpretations which speak of the whole scope of God's Word in dealing with sin, self, salvation and spirituality. I mean, the Bible flows together. And if some of these material interpretations are correct, the book of Revelation breaks the flow and continuity of the flavour of Scripture. The NT writers, moved on by the Spirit of God to write, were no more concerned with helicopters and suchlike, thus indicating that God's inspiring Spirit also was not concerned with such things. And the book of revelation is no different. But to look at Revelation as practical lessons relayed through interpretative pictures is more akin to reading, say, Romans, and Paul's analogies of slavery and marriage used to illustrate freedom from sin.

Revelation is so popular over and above the rest of the Bible to many believers since they feel they can relate to it better. The reason seems to be that the carnal mind is curious. Future events are likewise carnally fascinating. Its like reading Indiana Jones, or something or other, to these people. Fantasy and revealing of our future is all these people are interested in, and could care less for Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Commercial Christian writers have capitalized on that and pumped out all the carnal interpretations that feed such fleshly believers. To say that Revelation is not so much futuristic as it is a spiritual picture of our present existence with Christ is to pull out the carpet from such believers who would immediately drop their interest in reading Revelation ever again. They are not concerned with growing in Christ.

I became so disgusted with commercialization of Revelation that I about forbade myself from reading studies of Revelation any more. But then, in my humble opinion, I felt in my spirit that God spoke to me and told me that the writings in Revelation are not what people were saying they are. They are, rather, spiritual lessons about the inception of the New Covenant.

I do believe in the end of the world.  And I believe the spiritual depths of this present life are only a drop in the bucket compared to the eternal wonders for the Church that lay ahead of us.

Let me mention that all early believers looked at Revelation as pertinent to their day, and why cannot we, too? For, in this manner, it is pertinent to our day , and to every day of every generation of believers.

Yes, I have read about the computer chips that can be placed in a man's hand, and no, I will not take a computer chip in my hand to spite the pop-prophecy teachers.  But I warn you, the computer chip is not what Revelation 13 was talking about.  We said the forehead represents the will  in the bIble.  What does the right hand represent?  POWER!   Efforts and works.  Go figure!

Some believe that Revelation is simply never going to be understood.  But the very title is against that thought!  Its a revelation, not a closure!  And its a Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ,....
God is opening up these things to the hungry souls who want truth.  One brother told me that he believes what he believes about it since he was always taught Revelation a certain way.  That is his choice.  But I challenge every true and sincere believer to not discount an interpretation of revelation simply because you were never taught it before.
Acts 17:10-11   And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Do not depend upon whether or not you heard the interpretation before in order to determine what interpretation is correct.  Don't depend upon what you've been taught all of your life.  Some people were told all their lives that Jesus is another God beside the Father.  Does their years of teaching that idea prove that their doctrine is correct?  Of course not.  Look to the scriptures, not the length of time of your family's consistent beliefs, and prove whether an interpretation is right or wrong by scripture.  If we simply believe what we have always heard before, and reject anything else, then we are as bad off as traditional and denominational folks who base the truthfulness of their faiths upon whether their fathers believed it, and whether their grandfathers before them believed it, also, and whether their great grandfathers before them believed the same thing or not.  Let us look to the Word of God alone to understand the book of Revelation.