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John’s End-Time Vision
Sometime around AD 95, the ApostleJohn sat down and penned the Book of Revelation.
In a series of visions givento him by Yeshua the Messiah throughan angel (1:1), it provides an amazingglimpse into the future of our world.The book outlines itself in 1:19: “Writethe things
which you have seen
, andthe things
, and the things
which will take place after this
.”So from John’s perspective, it talksabout the past (things that “have”been), present (things that “are”), andfuture (things that “will” be).The past is the vision in Chapter 1;the present (that is, John’s present)is the messages to the seven Messi-anic congregations in Chapters 2 and3; and the future is everything fromChapters 4 to 22.Revelation can be viewed as a com-mentary on the OT Book of Daniel. SirIsaac Newton, in fact, recognized thisrelationship between the two booksand wrote a dual commentary on bothof them:
Observations Upon the Proph-ecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John
In Chapter 11, John describes a com-pelling scene that unfolds on thestreets of Jerusalem during the com-ing Tribulation:
And I will give power to my two witnesses,and they will prophesy one thousand twohundred and sixty days, clothed in sack-cloth. These are the two olive trees andthe two lampstands standing beore theGod o the earth. And i anyone wantsto harm them, fre proceeds rom theirmouth and devours their enemies. And i anyone wants to harm them, he must bekilled in this manner. These have powerto shut heaven, so that no rain alls inthe days o their prophecy; and they havepower over waters to turn them to blood,and to strike the earth with all plagues,as oten as they desire (vv. 3-6).
When we interpret Revelation, it’s im-portant to remember that words like“laser,” “rocket,” “helicopter,” “bomb,”or “airplane” (or their modern Greek/Hebrew equivalents) were unknownto John. After all, none of these imple-ments of war existed in his day. So hedescribes, as best he can with a first-century vocabulary, what he sees inthis mind-boggling vision (1:10-11).There are striking parallels betweenRevelation 11 and Daniel 7, where theProphet Daniel describes a future peri-od of international upheaval and spiri-tual warfare in which the “kingdom”of the anti-Messiah tramples down allopposition (Dan. 7:23-25). Ultimately,the Kingdom of God prevails and God’speople (“saints”) assume rulershipover the earth (v. 27)—but not beforethe forces of evil wreak havoc on muchof humanity.Returning to Revelation, John firstof all saw two old-fashioned streetpreachers (“witnesses”) proclaimingGod’s Word in Jerusalem. Not only dothey prophesy/preach, but God alsoempowers them to work miracles.They are able to withhold rain for ex-tended periods of time, for instance(drought is a serious matter in Israeleven today); and whenever they arethreatened, “fire . . . devours” theirenemies (v. 5). They carry on like thisfor three and a half years.One cannot help noticing the parallelswith the OT ministry of the ProphetElijah, who withheld rain (1 Kings17:1, 7) and called fire down on hisenemies (2 Kings 1:10, 12).
The aged Apostle continues:
When they fnish their testimony, the beastthat ascends out o the bottomless pit willmake war against them, overcome them,and kill them. And their dead bodies willlie in the street o the great city whichspiritually is called Sodom and Egypt,where also our Lord was crucifed. Thenthose rom the peoples, tribes, tongues,and nations will see their dead bodiesthree-and-a-hal days, and not allow theirdead bodies to be put into graves. Andthose who dwell on the earth will rejoiceover them, make merry, and send gits toone another, because these two prophetstormented those who dwell on the earth(Rev. 11:7-10).
Bamberg Apocalypse Folio (11th century)