Introduction to Revelation
Even though the books of Daniel and Revelation were written about 600 years apart, they tell one story, use the same architecture, and overlap each other. Many people do not realize that the prophecies in Revelation are based on facts established in the book of Daniel. This oversight has produced confusion because the four rules that govern apocalyptic interpretation in the book of Revelation are found in the book of Daniel.
Before you examine Prophecies 6 through 17, please consider three things:
- The book of Daniel provides a chronological foundation upon which the book of Revelation builds. The book of Daniel contains five prophetic “yard sticks.” Each yard stick measures a span of time. When these “five yard sticks” are properly aligned, they produce a chronological road map which begins with the Babylonian Empire (605 B.C.) and ends when Jesus destroys Earth at His Second Coming.
- The books of Daniel and Revelation contain many prophetic elements that have been fulfilled over the past twenty-six centuries. If these two books did not overlap and identify the same prophetic fulfillments, the book of Revelation would be very difficult to interpret. This overlap reveals how the book of Revelation is solidly built on the historical foundation provided in Daniel. When we properly align and understand this simple feature, we eliminate many of the false claims and endless manipulation that often surround the prophecies of Revelation.
- The book of Daniel was sealed up until the appointed time of the end. The unsealing of Daniel reveals four rules that govern apocalyptic interpretation. These self-evident rules will produce the intended meaning of apocalyptic prophecy when they are properly applied. The rules found in Daniel also apply to the book of Revelation because the architecture is the same in both books. (See Appendix A.) I hope you will review the chart on pages 4 and 5 of this book and refer to it often as you read this commentary. You can also download a free chart titled, “Seventeen Apocalyptic Prophecies” from our website. A visual picture of how various prophecies relate to each other should be helpful. Sometimes, a picture can be worth several thousand words. To download the free copy of the chart, go to: http://www.wakeup.org/Charts/18prop02.pdf.
An experienced Bible student knows that the Bible speaks without regard for what we may believe or disbelieve. The Bible speaks the truth and students of the Bible are obligated to harmonize the facts to the best of our ability; whether the facts agree or disagree with what we may currently believe to be true. After all, there is one God, one truth, and one correct explanation. Our job is to discover it.
Seekers of truth constantly stumble into apparent conflicts because our knowledge of God and His Word is incomplete. We know that our beliefs have no effect on God. God will do all that He has promised whether we believe or disbelieve His Word. We also know that truth stands on its own two feet, with or without endorsement or human support. Therefore, as seekers of truth it is important to ask ourselves whether we will only accept those truths that agree with our present understanding of God’s Word or let go of imperfect knowledge so that we can embrace larger truths that spring from His Word.
It is impossible to be “a defender of the faith” and “a seeker of truth” at the same time because these are two different seasons in life. Therefore, our frame of mind and our attitude toward God and His Word determines to a great extent, our ability to arrive at truth. I often pray for the Holy Spirit to cut through my bias and opinion. I sincerely want to see truth more clearly, because after forty years of Bible study, I have become settled on many of the issues regarding various aspects of truth. Nevertheless, I must still approach Bible study with the same humility as a novice Bible student, prayerfully putting line upon line and precept upon precept. If we follow this approach, the Holy Spirit will reveal perfect harmony because truth is based on the harmony that comes from the sum of its parts. Truth constantly unfolds because God is infinite. Therefore, our knowledge of truth at any given time is always partial and needs improving. Twenty years from now, I hope I will understand twice as much about God’s truth as I do now because this life is just the beginning of an eternal study that focuses on God, His character and plans.
Finally, notice that Prophecy 6 (the first apocalyptic prophecy in Revelation) begins with Revelation 4. Please see Appendix C for the reasons the messages to the seven churches are not apocalyptic prophecies. Therefore, they are not included in the seventeen prophecies found in Daniel and Revelation.