Hermeneutics is the study of how to interpret the Scriptures and the books of Daniel and Revelation are particularly difficult. I’ve been studying them since 1973, listening carefully to competing eschatologies and observing first-hand the outworking in cults and sects as well as in mainline denominations. I’ve seen relationships fracture over differing interpretations and many believers despair of ever properly understanding them, yet they are inspired.
A popular electronic encyclopaedia, Encarta 96, succinctly describes the problem with understanding the Book of Revelation:
In communicating to his fellow Christians “what you see, what is and what is to take place hereafter”,1 the author deliberately chose a literary vehicle that would tend to conceal his message from the enemies of the church. This vehicle was the apocalypse, a Jewish literary form characterised by an often elaborately symbolic interpretation and prediction of events. The apocalyptic symbols of Revelation are derived from prophetic books of the Old Testament and from the common Christian tradition.
No doubt the earliest readers of the book understood its visions and imagery, but in the centuries since Revelation was written, the key to the original meaning of its symbolism was lost. Efforts to recover it have produced widely divergent systems of interpretation but no general recognition of any one system as nearest to the author’s meaning. Apart from its religious message, Revelation continues to be valued today for its magnificent literary qualities and for its historical depiction of a crisis in Christianity.
I agree with Encarta that there is ‘no doubt the earliest readers of the book understood its visions and imagery’ and many believe that ‘in the centuries since Revelation was written, the key to the original meaning of its symbolism was lost’. However, as the writer also notes, ‘the apocalyptic symbols of Revelation are derived from prophetic books of the Old Testament and from the common Christian tradition’. There is indeed a key but it has never been lost – we still have the ‘prophetic books of the Old Testament’ and all essential ‘common Christian tradition’ was recorded for us in the New Testament. The key has simply not been recognised or applied sufficiently
Of course, I’ve not read all the commentaries on Daniel and Revelation. However, from what I have read (bibliography at end) and heard from innumerable speakers and teachers of all persuasions, either live, on radio or television or websites, it seems clear to me in overview that we’re making some common, fundamental errors. I’d be delighted to hear of any who aren’t making them. I believe that God has given me some light on several passages which until then were ‘dark sayings of old’2 to me. We’re told to put whatever light we have on the lamp-stand, a metaphor for the church of God, so that it “gives light to all who are in the house”.3 So, here’s my contribution to the debate.
Four Common Mistakes We’re Making
In a jigsaw puzzle, if we place any piece in the wrong place, it not only displaces the correct piece but can also mislead us when we add further pieces. And if we insist that the piece we’re holding, which seems so similar in shape and colour to the gap, must fit in so that we force it in, we bend both it and its surroundings out of shape.
As I see it, there are at least four common mistakes we’re making that are preventing us from seeing the real picture. They are:
- We’re over-estimating the importance of our ‘apocalyptic genre’.
- We’re overlooking, even deliberately ignoring, the centrality of Israel.
- Making incorrect choices as to which passages are literal and which are metaphorical.
- Missing the Jewish significance of repetition and types.
Let’s address each of these.
Mistake No. 1 – Regarding the Apocalyptic Genre
We’re over-estimating the importance of our pigeon-hole called ‘apocalyptic genre’.
While the study of ancient apocalyptic literature is interesting, it is far too often assumed to have influenced Daniel and Revelation, as evidenced below. Whenever there are many similarities, we surely need to follow the procedure of treasury officials who begin with genuine currency in order to distinguish the innumerable counterfeits: the genuine comes first. In that situation, multitudes of similarities are meaningless; it’s the differences that actually matter. And the counterfeits only prove the great worth of the original, which is part of our inheritance.
(i) There is an implicit deceit in non-Biblical apocalypses
As Robert H. Mounce explains in The Book of Revelation:
The term “apocalypse” used to denote a literary genre is derived from Revelation 1:1 where it designates the supernatural unveiling of that which is about to take place. In contemporary discussion “apocalyptic” applies more broadly to a group of writings which flourished in the Biblical world between 200 BC and AD 100 and to the basic concepts contained in those writings… The apocalyptists followed a common practice of rewriting history as prophecy so as to lend credence to their predictions about what still lay in the future.
Astonishingly, The New Oxford Annotated Bible makes exactly this claim of someone ‘rewriting history as prophecy’ about Daniel, ignoring Jesus’ testimony that he was a prophet.4 Having decided that the Book of Daniel simply cannot be supernatural or predictive, they explain its accuracy as naturalistic and historical:
The history recorded in these visions suggest that they were composed sometime before 164 BC, when Judas Maccabaeus purified the Temple that had been profaned in 167 BC… The increasingly detailed descriptions of the period following the division of Alexander’s empire up to the rule of Antiochus suggest that the apocalyptic sections were composed not in 604 BC 5 and 553 BC 6 but in 167 BC on the eve of the eve of the Maccabean revolt…
They then have to exclude Rome from the four kingdoms of Daniel 2 and 7 because that too would be predictive, so they separate the Medes and the Persians into two empires, despite Daniel 8:20 explicitly describing them as one. Then, to explain away the predictions of Daniel 9, i.e. Jerusalem being restored, Messiah coming in 26 AD before being ‘cut off’ after three and a half years, and Jerusalem again being made desolate in 70 AD,7  they decide:
the anointed one may be Onias III (see 2 Macc 4.23-28), murdered in 171 BCE. The prince who is to come is Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
All of this, despite Jesus plainly stating that He was fulfilling Daniel 2, 7 and 9, as detailed below. Did He really think the Roman soldiers crucifying Him were Greeks? Or were the gospel records also faked to have Him making these claims? But that would mean the gospel-fakers believed Daniel was predicting the Romans…
(ii) The Chicken or the Egg?
Even when non-Biblical apocalypses are not deceitful, we too often assume they came first. When, for example, the evangelical New Bible Commentary comments on Revelation 12, it bows to the power of the apocalyptic genre of greater antiquity than 200 BC:
It is not difficult to recognise the essence of the Christian story in vs 1-6 but of one thing we may be sure: no Christian would summarise the gospel of Christ in this manner, omitting all reference to Christ’s life and death (emphasis added)
We really can be sure of that? Why? Because before the Revelation was written…:
Many similar accounts… existed in the ancient world of conflict between the powers of heaven and hell. The Ugaritic Baal cycle tells of the battle of Baal, the storm god, with Yam, the prince of the sea. The Babylonians told of Marduk slaying Tiamat, the seven-headed monster of the deep (Marduk’s mother was depicted similarly was the woman in 12:1, and Tiamat in battling against heaven is said to have thrown down a third of the stars). The Persians spoke of the son of Ahura fighting the evil dragon Azhi Dahaka. The Egyptians recounted how the goddess Hathor (Isis, wife of Osiris) fled from the red dragon Typhon to an island; the dragon was overcome by her son Horus and finally destroyed by fire. The Greeks had a similar story in the birth of Apollo from the goddess Leto, who was pursued by the great dragon Python, because he heard that her offspring would kill him. Leto was hidden beneath the sea, and the newly born Apollo immediately attained maturity and slew the dragon. 
John, they reason, therefore must have borrowed heavily:
Other variants and additions to the story were current in the Middle East, and some Jews saw in them striking parallels with the promise of the Messiah. An unknown apocalyptic writer took up the saga and adapted it to Jewish hope by adding in v 5 the reference to the male child who is to rule all nations (cf. Psalm 2:9) and the defeat of the dragon through Michael, the guardian angel and protector of Israel (cf. Daniel 12:1; there is remarkable parallel to vs 1-6 in one of the Qumran Hymns of Thanksgiving). It would appear that John was led to set forth the fulfilment of these expressions of pagan belief and OT promise in the Christ of the gospel by the simple addition of vs 10-11, thereby transforming the story into a proclamation of the victory of the crucified and risen Lord over the powers of sin and death [emphasis added].
The New Oxford Annotated Bible adds a hearty amen:
The vision of the woman, the child and the dragon is rich in symbolism drawn from mythological traditions found in ancient Babylonia Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as well as in the Hebrew Bible. One well-known version of the story tells of the goddess Leto, pregnant with Apollo, who is menaced by the dragon Python, who purses her because he knows that Apollo is destined to kill him… Here this material is reinterpreted in terms of Jewish traditions and expectations as the story of the birth of the messiah.
However, as Don Richardson points out in Eternity in Their Hearts, all ancient cultures have redemption myths and analogies. If Paul is right in Acts 17:26 and we all come from Adam and Eve, it’s only to be expected. The promise made to them in Genesis 3:15, that the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent/dragon’s head 8 should be in every culture in some form.
So, which came first – the promise of Genesis or the apocalyptic literature? While atheists, agnostics and evolutionists may be confounded by which came first, the chicken or the egg, Bible believers and creationists trust that God created the chicken which laid the egg. And as Jesus said, the hermeneutic of trust, beginning with a child-like trust in God, has quite some reward.9
(iii) Significance of Daniel and Revelation
Some think that Daniel and Revelation have more in common with apocalyptic literature than with the rest of Scripture. However, Daniel is the climax of all the Old Testament predictions about Messiah’s coming, timing, work, rejection by His people Israel and the consequences to them, as well as the final resurrection of the dead
Daniel is also the foundation of two essential New Testament mysteries:
Three other New Testament mysteries also require an understanding of Daniel:
(c) “A time, times and half a time”12 is essential for understanding the three central chapters of Revelation,13 the two returns of Elijah,14 “the times of the Gentiles”,15 and the ‘partial hardening’ of Israel.16
(d) The use of the numbers sixty and six17 in identifying antichrist regimes.18
(e) Jesus’ prediction of end-time events: “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)…”19
Discrediting or minimising Daniel’s inspiration, therefore, has huge ramifications including arguing with Jesus Himself.
As for its apocalyptic designation, most acknowledge Daniel is half narrative as well as half visions – it’s just that some argue the narrative should be considered to be ‘folktales’ based on ‘a character in Ugaritic epics of the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries BC, where he is a Canaanite king’. The ‘folktale’ origin is also often claimed for Genesis which is just as surely Biblically apocalyptic, revealing the beginning of the old heavens and earth just as Revelation reveals the beginning of the new heavens and earth. These were specifically predicted by Isaiah 20 and we have to include most of Isaiah as apocalyptic.
And are we to ignore the multitude of apocalyptic passages in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, and Zechariah, as well as in numerous Psalms? The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible defines the characteristics of apocalyptic literature as:
The presence of a cosmic dualism, visions and revelations; a contrast between the present evil age and the coming eschatological age; pessimism concerning the present age and optimism concerning the age to come; references and allusions to mythology, numerology, and animal symbolism; the idea of the unity of history and a goal toward which history is moving; the development of belief in life after death, and esp. the resurrection of the righteous and the judgment of the wicked…
As I see it, this accurately describes most of the New Testament, except for ‘allusions to mythology’ which are specifically denounced.21 Some passages such as Matthew 24, Luke 17 and 21, Mark 13, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 and 2 Thessalonians 2 are recognised as ‘little apocalypses’ but what about all the parables of the Second Coming and Judgment Day? There’s a lot of material here.
And what of the letters of 2 Peter and Jude, as well as the predictions of the coming destruction of Jerusalem in Matthew 23:34-39; Luke 13:6-9, 34-35 and 19:41-46. Are these really not apocalyptic?
As for Mark’s Gospel, Tom Wright writes:
Mark 13 is not the only obvious “apocalypse” in the gospel. Were it not the case that the parables had been read for so long as ‘earthly stories with heavenly meanings’, and then for so long as stories making only one point, without any suspicion of ‘allegory’, the parallel between Mark 4.1-20 [the sower and the seed] and the fairly standard ‘apocalyptic’ style would surely have been obvious long ago… Mark 4.1-20 is, ironically, one of the most obvious, and at the same time most neglected, examples of ‘apocalyptic’ writing anywhere in the New Testament.
He goes on to argue that Jesus’ baptism, His transfiguration and His confrontation with Caiaphas are:
…moments when the veil is lifted, the eyes are opened, and like Elisha’s servant, the reader sees the horses and chariots of fire around the prophet. Mark’s whole telling of the story of Jesus is designed to function as an apocalypse.
As for Revelation, it is the climax of the New Testament, describing in detail Jesus’ present heavenly role and His second coming. It ties up all the loose threads of both the Old (especially Daniel’s mystery of ‘a time, times and half a time’) and New Testaments, often reinforcing in pictorial form what Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James and Jude were saying in doctrinal form.
Non-Biblical apocalyptic literature contributes very little of value to the understanding of Daniel and Revelation, growing instead like mistletoe or the New Zealand rata, i.e. parasitically. If left unchecked, most of the resulting foliage is of the parasite and not the host plant.
(iv) Does all this matter?
Apparently not to some:
Whether the stories are history or fiction, the visions actual prophecy or quasi-prophecy, written by Daniel or someone else, in the sixth century B.C., the second, or somewhere in between, makes surprisingly little difference to the book’s exegesis.
With all due respect to those vastly better educated than me, I disagree. Daniel’s visions and revelations, especially chapters 2, 7 and 9, are foundational to some of Jesus’ teaching. If we confuse them with inaccurate and untrue apocalypses, we’ll stop looking for the Biblical meaning of these intricately crafted metaphors and miss the historical significance in Revelation 12, 13 and 17 of why the dragon and the beasts have seven heads and ten horns, why it’s a third of the stars, why ‘a time, times and half a time’ really matter, the two returns of Elijah, etc.
Mistake No. 2 – Overlooking the Centrality of Israel
As I see it, by far the most common mistake made by commentators on Daniel and Revelation is failing to fully recognise the centrality of the nation of Israel in both. Like the Tower of Pisa, anything we build without the proper foundation will have a leaning superstructure. Perhaps its our Gentile arrogance22 or our presumption of enlightenment,23 especially acute in the 21st Century, that we don’t want to dig down deep enough but, either way, we are going to have to humble ourselves and admit our need to learn what would have been already commonly known by 1st Century Jewish followers of Jesus, or Gentiles taught by 1st Century Jewish followers of Jesus.
To change the metaphor, we need to fully reconnect with the 1st Century Jewish roots of the olive tree, if we want to gain what Paul called their advantage or benefit (Gk. perissos, lit. superabundance) which was…:
Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God24
Whenever we ignore this superabundance, we are greatly disadvantaging ourselves. Both books were written by Jews for Jews or Gentiles taught by Jews.25 We have to catch up on all their presuppositions which includes their history, festivals and rituals as well as their way of speaking, singing and rhyming, especially in their use of metaphor and repetition. Fortunately, we have most of what we need in their primary source documents, the Tanakh or the Christians’ Old Testament. When this was disbelieved by 1st Century Jews, such as the Sadducees,26 or obscured by rabbinical tradition as with the Pharisees27 their great advantage was completely nullified. We are supposed to learn from, not simply repeat, their mistakes.
(i) The Book of Daniel
Obviously, Daniel was himself Jewish and deeply concerned both for his own situation as an exile in Babylon (e.g. eating kosher foods in Daniel 1; praying and avoiding idolatry in Daniel 6) and for his homeland’s desolate state and restoration.28 What is often missed, however, is that all his visions concern only the Gentile empires that are ruling or are about to rule over Israel. There is no mention of the vast Chinese or Indian empires, nor the Americas; not even the nearby powers such as the Punic or Carthaginian Empire in North Africa, or the Parthians in Mesopotamia.
Daniel was living in Babylon and predicted the rise of the Medo-Persians, the Greeks and the Romans. These empires consecutively ruled over the land of Israel until at last Jesus stood there in 30 A.D. and announced that He was inaugurating Daniel 2’s ‘kingdom of stone’29 because He is Daniel 7’s ‘son of man’.30 This effectively rules out interpretations of Daniel 2 such as John E. Goldingay’s:
The statue represents the empire led by Nebuchadnezzar. It is a single statue, a single empire, passed on from one king to another. The vision focuses not on Israel’s history, like the prophets’, but on world history…
The unspecificity of Daniel 2 means the four regimes can only be identified on grounds external to it. They can be linked with Nebuchadnezzar and three of his Babylonian successors on the basis of other OT material: the rock then is Cyrus [the Mede]…
The vision offers no hint regarding the chronology whereby God’s rule will arrive; it does invite its recipients to live as people who expect it as a living reality (Grelot, “Histoire”, 105).
Daniel 2 actually offers a substantial hint regarding the chronology – it’s in the time of the feet of iron and pottery – which Daniel 7 and 9 confirmed, and Jesus Himself declared fulfilled:
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand!31
As I describe in Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws, Jesus perfectly fulfilled the sixty-nine weeks of Daniel 9:25 when He was publicly proclaimed as ‘Messiah the Prince’ at the Jordan River in 26 A.D.32 He was also ‘cut off’ (Dan 9:26) after three and a half years of ministry,33 i.e. ‘in the middle of the [seventieth] week’,34 thereby establishing the New ‘firm covenant with the many’, i.e. for all, and rendering obsolete ‘the sacrifice and grain offering’ of the Old.35
He constantly urged His disciples to trust all the OT prophecies, especially and significantly after His resurrection.36 He particularly focussed on ‘Daniel the prophet’37 quoting Daniel 9:26-27 to warn them to leave Jerusalem immediately prior to its desolation in 70 A.D.38 As we can see, uncoupling Daniel 2 from Israel’s history causes us not only to miss the extraordinary phenomenon of it being predicted hundreds of years in advance but also to miss the timing of Jesus’ public appearance as Messiah to Israel in the 1st Century. The Magi, however, having been placed under Daniel’s leadership,39 seem to have learned from him.40
The centrality of Israel and the prophecies of the Gentile empires ruling over Israel before Jesus came also renders futile any attempts by some 20th Century commentators on Daniel 7 to connect the lion to the British Empire, the eagle’s wings to the USA, the bear to the Russians and the leopard to Hitler’s panzers. After Jesus came, He gave us Revelation so we could all follow along. Of course, there may be a prophetic recapitulation of Daniel 7 so I won’t be dogmatic but it seems unlikely and unnecessary to me.
(ii) The Book of Revelation
Without prior knowledge of Israel, its history, prophets, worship and Scriptures, most of Revelation is impenetrable. Many therefore simply pick out the verses they can understand about Jesus and His ultimate triumph and gloss over the rest.
To go deeper requires us to study at least:
(a) Jewish History 101, the founding of Israel as a nation, to recognise that the plagues of Revelation echo the ten plagues poured out on Egypt before the Exodus, 41 the seven trumpets are supposed to remind us of how Joshua fought the Battle of Jericho.42 The infamous mark of the beast, popularly but incorrectly known as 666, (which I cover in my book Gotta Serve Somebody can only be understood by reference to the marks God placed on the heads and foreheads of all of Israel in the Book of Exodus43 and how He numbered them all in the Book of Numbers.44
(b) Jewish Scriptures. The scroll 45, the lamp-stands and olive trees 46, the famous ‘four horsemen of the Apocalypse’ 47, and the wicked woman of Babylon 48 are all prefigured in Zechariah. Add to this the multitude of references to Genesis, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Psalms.
(d) Jewish History 102. The wild beasts seen by Daniel require an understanding of Israel’s interaction with the ancient Gentile empires of Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The locust plague matches Joel’s.53
(e) Jewish literary devices. Besides the frequent use of proverbs, parables, and allusions, there are the particular Jewish uses of literary devices like repetition, metaphors, and chiasms.
Since 1942, when Nils Lund published his Chiasmus in the New Testament, most commentators have come to recognise chiastic structures throughout the Scriptures, especially in the Book of Revelation. While often disagreeing as to the exact composition, they all accept Revelation 12 as its centre point, the centre point of which chapter is:
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”54
Accordingly, they argue the focus of Revelation is the victory of Jesus and the need for the saints to persevere in the midst of intense persecution.
Not so clearly acknowledged, however, is Israel’s centrality in the rest of chapter 12. It begins (vv. 1-6) with the history of Israel as a people ‘according to the flesh’,55 ‘from whom is the Christ according to the flesh’.56 It ends (vv. 13-16) with the consequences to her of rejecting her own Son. This vision which highlights the victory of Jesus is actually about the calling, purpose, history and destiny of Israel ‘according to the flesh’.
Chapter 11 is often argued over but there is no doubt that the setting, whether the passage is to be read literally or metaphorically, is old Jerusalem.57 Verse 8, in fact, uses both literal and metaphorical meanings:
…the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.58
The city is literally where Jesus was crucified and metaphorically as carnal as Sodom and Egypt.
In the same way, Revelation 16:16 and 20:9 unmistakably place the last battle in the land of Israel. ‘The kings of the east’ are at the Euphrates River – east of where? Was any other nation’s eastern boundary delineated by the Euphrates in Exodus 23:31 and Deuteronomy 11:24?
Compare all these references to Israel’s history and land to those referring to Rome, the largest empire of the day. John refers only once to the city on seven hills (Rev 17:9) as the geographical location of Babylon the Great in the 1st Century. She’s since moved on from Rome, as I will show in my Book 5, Kingdom Come: The Final Judgements. ‘The word of God is living and active’59 – we need to keep up or we’ll be left behind and in the dark.
One word of caution. Rabbinic Judaism, ancient or modern, will not help us any more than it did in Jesus’ day.60 From my observation, some of today’s Messianic Jewish teachers are not as much help as they could be because they seem to have been taught by Gentile institutions and are now just passing on those teachings in a Jewish manner. The olive tree roots are all to be found in the Scriptures by all who ask, seek and knock61 and come as infants.62
Mistake No. 3 – Literal or Metaphorical?
One of the major issues in understanding any of the Scriptures, and dividing the churches of God, is the choice of whether a passage is to be read as literal or metaphorical. The most obvious example is Jesus’ warning:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day”63
Many of His disciples took this literally and stopped following Him.64 As Jews, they were forbidden to eat or drink blood.65 The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches still today read this as literal. The result is the doctrine of trans-substantiation and the Mass, requiring a duly authorised priesthood to change bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus to be consumed. The application is to exclude all those unauthorised, i.e. non-Catholics, from the Mass.
The Protestants, however, read it as metaphorical. The result is that Protestants seek further meaning, to unpack the metaphor. It turns out that Jesus was actually calling on everyone to partake of His imminent sacrificial death in the same way that every Jew was required to partake of the Passover lamb.66 His death was symbolised in yet another Jewish metaphor: blood is a symbol of life.67 Blood poured out therefore symbolises His life poured out, which must also be received by all of His disciples. The application? We all need to ask the literal Spirit of Jesus into the core of our beings, or we’re not His.68
As Jesus explained
For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.69
In other words, our daily life-sustaining food and drink is transitory but His sacrifice provides for us for eternity.We see therefore that the literal reading leads to a dead-end but the metaphorical reading is a doorway to more profound teaching, provided the metaphor is correctly unpacked.
(i) Obvious Metaphors
Much of Jesus teaching in John’s Gospel is unambiguously metaphorical: “I am… the temple,70 the bread of life,71 the light of the world,72 the door of the sheepfold,73 the shepherd,74 the resurrection and the life,75 the grain of wheat76 and the vine”.77
So too in Revelation. John is told to “behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah”78 but when he looks, he sees:
a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes…79
So which is it, the Lion or the Lamb? Obviously, both. He’s looking at Jesus who is the prophesied lion of Genesis 49:8-10 and the Passover lamb of Exodus 12. And what does John actually see? A literal lamb? Of course not. He’s seeing Jesus as slain but now standing before the throne of God, and he goes on to explain that the horns and eyes are metaphorical:
…which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.80
The number seven is also a Jewish metaphor. It’s the number of the Sabbath, the day when God rested because He had finished creating all things, and so means perfect or complete. ‘Seven eyes’ signifies perfect vision of everything. This is also why the Lord has ‘eyes like a flame of fire’81 – fire being ancient Israel’s primary light source after the sun set, this means He sees everything; nothing is hidden from Him.82
‘Seven horns’ also needs to be properly unpacked. Horns are a metaphor for authority and power83 so Jesus having ‘seven horns’ means He has “all authority in heaven and on earth”.84 In theological terms, He is omnipotent and omniscient; He is the third Person of the Trinity.
The expression ‘seven Spirits of God’ has led to some confusion in those taking this literally because there’s only one Holy Spirit. They have therefore tried to identify seven particular manifestations of the Spirit in Isaiah 61:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-7 but there aren’t only seven and there’s no need to worry for those reading this metaphorically – we see one Holy Spirit with ‘sevenfold’, i.e. perfect, effectiveness.
What John saw was that Jesus was, is, and will be using His perfect and total vision to exercise all of His absolute authority and power as the Son, before the Father’s throne, through the Holy Spirit who has been “sent out into all the earth”.
(ii) Misreading Metaphors in Literal Passages
On the other hand, we can misread metaphors into literal passages, e.g. any 1st Century Jews waiting for Messiah to fulfill Zechariah 9:9 on a metaphorical donkey (“Surely the Warrior-King will come on a war-horse!”) could overlook Jesus on the literal one.
In Revelation 17:9, an angel explains to John the meaning of the seven-headed beast carrying the mysterious ‘Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots’.85 He says:
The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.
Some have assumed this seven is metaphorical, as with the seven horns above, but it’s literal. Geographical or topographical, in fact. The world-power of John’s day was the Roman Empire, based as you’d expect in Rome, but a city famous for its situation on seven hills (see Virgil, Martial, Cicero). John’s vision is saying, therefore, that the metaphorical woman was, in the 1st Century, based in a literal location, Rome. Each occurrence of seven must be assessed in its context.
As noted earlier, some read only a metaphor in the 490 years of Daniel 9. There’s no doubt that it does have a metaphorical meaning – that of the Sabbath. We’re told that the 70 years in Babylon were:
…until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.86
However, the Temple was made desolate in 586 BC88 and rededicated in 516 BC89 i.e. literally 70 years. We can therefore safely conclude, as is also the case of the 483 years of Daniel 9:25, that where there’s a perfectly fulfilled literal, historical fulfilment of a prediction, there’s simply no need to make it only metaphorical.
(iii) Navigating the Maze
Most of the Scriptures are not hard to read. Children understand and love the stories, incidents and narratives. The apocalyptic passages, however, are ‘dark sayings of old’ and there is simply no other option than to consider at every step whether what we’re reading is to be taken literally or metaphorically.
It’s like we’re entering a maze. As we enter the first doorway, we are immediately confronted by a wall so we have to decide whether to turn to the left or to the right. Both seem possible but if we turn left and walk on only to reach a dead-end, we need to retrace our steps and then turn right. Sadly, in theology we’re notoriously slow to admit that we’ve reached a dead-end. Some theologians would rather blame the text than their own understanding.
Popularity is no help either. Many famous or popular views are dead-ends where the population just sits down and refuses to budge. However, as Robert Frost wrote:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
Consider John’s vision of the woman giving birth to a son while threatened by a seven-headed dragon.
To most of us, the child is obviously Jesus. So who is the woman? As detailed in my Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws, the RC’s again chose literal – the woman is Mary and as a result, she is called ‘Queen of the Angels’ and believed to have power over demons. This raises the question: when was she given eagles’ wings to fly into the wilderness to hide for three and a half years?90 No satisfactory answer means it’s a dead-end.
The Protestants again are choosing metaphorical but then, ignoring her Jewish identifying metaphorical features, assume she’s either the church or the faithful remnant of Israel. Then comes some zig-zagging: they often choose the three and a half years as literal, when she flees to a literal wilderness, such as to ‘Perea called Pella’ in Jordan. This escape on metaphorical wings is to escape from the literal Antichrist in either a literal rebuilt temple in a literal Old Jerusalem or a metaphorical temple in the metaphorical New Jerusalem.
As I see it, it’s far simpler and more consistent to better unpack the metaphors and avoid some of these unnecessary zig-zags.
This reveals the metaphorical woman to be Israel ‘according to the flesh’ being punished for rejecting her own Son by being exiled to a metaphorical ‘wilderness of the peoples’91 for a metaphorical time period, ‘the times of the Gentiles’. She’s ‘led captive into all the nations’92 on metaphorical eagle’s wings because it’s God doing it and ‘nourishing’ her there until its time for her to be restored to her land again. But that’s another story, as detailed in Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws.
And her literal baby became a literal Man, Jesus of Nazareth.
Mistake No. 4 – Repetition of Dreams
In my introduction, my fourth point was ‘missing the significance of repetition and types’. Much needs to be said about types, i.e. recurring patterns, which are everywhere in the Scriptures. This subject is so important that the Lord spent much of the day of His resurrection teaching it, not only to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus but the entire original church leadership. He rebuked their slowness of heart “to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!”93 If they had, He said, they would have recognised much more of what He was doing.94
Rather than address that here, however, I want to finish this article on hermeneutics with how essential it is that we understand the significance of repetition, especially in dreams and visions.
(i) In Daniel
Some commentators see no need to connect Daniel 2 with Daniel 7. For example, John E. Goldingay writes:
I have suggested that if we are to attempt to identify the four regimes in chap. 2 at all, they are those of the four kings who appear in Daniel 1-6, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus. Nothing specific points to this being the right understanding of chap. 7; indeed, chap. 7 offers no specific indications of the empires’ identity. The chapter itself would permit the fourth empire to be Rome, as traditional Jewish and Christian interpretation held… but we have just noted that succeeding visions suggest that the four kingdoms span the period from Daniel’s own lifetime to the Greek period. This would make one expect the fourth kingdom in chap. 7 to be Greece, which fits the chapter just as well.
However, as noted earlier, Mr Goldingay also wrote:
The unspecificity of Daniel 2 means the four regimes can only be identified on grounds external to it. They can be linked with Nebuchadnezzar and three of his Babylonian successors on the basis of other OT material: the rock then is Cyrus [the Mede]…
Obviously, then, nothing specific points to Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus being the right understanding of chapter 2 either.
As I see it, this is simply standing too close to a tree to see the forest. We need to read Daniel in his Jewish context because there’s a consistent pattern of repetition amongst the Jewish prophets. This is, of course, only to be expected if they’re all motivated by the “spirit of Christ” within them.95
(ii) In Genesis
For example, Joseph has not one dream but two that predict his future rule over his eleven brothers, one about sheaves and the other about the sun, moon and stars.96 Using very different metaphors, the second dream adds more detail to the first.
When Pharaoh has two dreams, one about cows eating cows and the other about ears of grain eating ears of grain,97 Joseph explains both the irrelevance of the change of metaphor and the meaning of the repetition:
Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do.98
Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about.99
The change of metaphor was immaterial – the theme being repeated was the point, repeated because ‘every fact is to be confirmed by two or three witnesses’.100
(iii) In Acts
Two thousand years later, this was made clear to Peter too. In the rooftop in Joppa, he has the vision of being told to kill and eat all kinds of animals, crawling creatures and birds, clean and unclean. He strongly protests but is told:
“What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” And this happened three times.101
While Peter was ‘greatly perplexed… and reflecting on the vision’, the Holy Spirit told him to go with Cornelius’s messengers.102 He then understands the vision:
You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean… I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality…103
Notice, Peter is shown the metaphor three times and he only understands it in the light of subsequent events.
(iv) In Revelation
We should therefore not be surprised when John is three times shown creatures with seven heads and ten horns – the dragon,104 the first beast,105 and the scarlet beast106 – but only given the interpretation after the third occurrence.107 Even though the dragon is not the beasts, the common elements have only one meaning. And we’re not being left to guess at the meaning of the first two occurrences as if they’re different; we’re expected to wait until after the third time before we’re told the meaning:
Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.108
The New Oxford Annotated Bible rightly accepts the geographical logic of the first meaning but then confidently wrongly guesses at the second:
The seven mountains are the seven hills of Rome. The seven kings are Roman emperors…, which interpreters have sought to identify with emperors from Julius Caesar to Domitian [their italics]
These interpreters are never going to be successful because there were another thirteen emperors between Julius and Domitian.
As for the description in Rev 17:10, “five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come”, this is where our ignoring of Israel’s centrality comes back to haunt us, and Jewish History 101 comes in handy.
Every Jewish child was, and still is, taught at every annual celebration of Passover, Purim, and Hanukkah that before Rome, Israel had been ruled over by five Gentile empires: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. These five had ‘fallen’. The one that ‘is’ in the 1st Century is Rome. And the seventh was yet to come, with its ten horns. 109
From this corrected starting point, we can then unpack the ten, as to whether they are literal or metaphorical, but that’s another story, as told in Slouching Towards Bethlehem (The Rise of the Antichrists).
It seems to me that in studying Daniel and Revelation today, we are commonly making four mistakes:
- We’re over-estimating the importance of “apocalyptic genre”
- We’re overlooking, even deliberately ignoring, the centrality of Israel
- Making incorrect choices as to which passages are literal and which are metaphorical
- Missing the significance of repetition and types
I’ve happily risked over-using metaphors such as the lost key, the lamp-stand, the jigsaw, counterfeit money, chicken and egg, parasitic vines, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, roots of the olive tree, negotiating a maze, and standing too close to a tree. As Daniel and Revelation abundantly illustrate, metaphors are often the simplest and clearest way to communicate intricate points.
Encarta 96’s summation of Revelation describes the lost key that I’ve simply picked up: all of its symbols are from the Old Testament and explained in the New, if you know where to look. This, of course, means accepting their inspiration, as Peter urges:
So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God110
This is especially true of ‘Daniel the prophet’, as described by Jesus111 and detailed above. Accepting the Scriptures’ essential reliability leads to us gaining accurate internal convictions which will be eventually borne out by external events. This one simple choice, properly outworked, solves all the issues caused by similarities in apocalyptic literature as with counterfeit money, chicken and egg, and parasitic vines.
As for the centrality of Israel, ignoring or minimising it is quite simply self-defeating; the Leaning Tower will eventually topple and the olive tree will not give us the oil we need to light up ‘dark sayings’.
Regarding the maze of difficult passages, our choice of which way to turn, whether to literal or metaphorical meaning, is often only vindicated by the next part of the maze opening up before us. It’s by trial and error as we meditate on the Scriptures.
If ordinary puzzles like jigsaws, crosswords and Sudoku teach us anything, it’s to not insert conclusions before we’ve identified the essential patterns. The Old Testament offers us, if we care to accept it, fifteen hundred years of established patterns. This is why typology was the primary teaching method of Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and the author of Hebrews.
Of course, there are many issues to be addressed to properly understand all of Daniel and Revelation. Personally, as much as I’ve prayed and meditated on some passages, I still have no light on them but I don’t doubt that the Lord will be showing someone somewhere what we’re missing. All I’ve wanted to do here is to contribute what I’ve found so far and, hopefully, to help other students of the Word to avoid self-defeating presumptions and self-imposed blinkers.
Anderson, Sir Robert. 1990. Daniel in the Critics’ Den, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications.
Armstrong, Herbert W. 1980. The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Pasadena: Worldwide Church of God.
Barclay, William. 1957. Letters to the Seven Churches, London: SCM Press.
Bennett, Ramon. 1996. When Day and Night Cease, Jerusalem: Arm of Salvation.
Blaiklock, E.M. 1965. Cities of the New Testament, London: Pickering & Inglis.
– 1977. Commentary on the New Testament, London: Hodder & Stoughton.
Bloomfield, Arthur E. 1970. The End of the Days (A Study Daniel’s Visions), Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship Inc.
Boettner, Loraine. 1977. The Meaning of Millennium (Four Views), Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press.
Butler, M.A. 2003. The Big Picture of Daniel, Marayong, NSW: Herald of Hope, Inc.
Carlé, Graeme. 1998. Because of the Angels (Unveiling 1 Corinthians 11:2-16), Auckland: Emmaus Road Publishing
– 2001. The Red Heifer’s Ashes (Mysteries of Ancient Israel), Auckland: Emmaus Road.
– 2011. Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws (The Mystery of Israel’s Survival): Emmaus Road.
– 2012. Slouching Towards Bethlehem (The Rise of the Antichrists): Emmaus Road.
Chilton, David. 1990. The Days of Vengeance (An Exposition of the Book of Revelation), Fort Worth: Dominion Press.
Connor, Kevin J. 1981. The Seventy Weeks Prophecy (An Exposition of Daniel 9), Blackburn, Vic., Australia: Acacia Press.
Curle, George T. 1988. Times of the Signs, Chichester: New Wine Press.
Duty, Guy. 1975. Escape from the Coming Tribulation, Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship Inc.
Foster, Thomas. 1983. Amazing Book of Revelation Explained! Blackburn, Vic.: Acacia Press.
Goldingay, John E. 1989. Daniel, Word Biblical Commentary 30, ed. John D.W. Watts, Dallas: Word Books.
Guy, Laurie. 2009. Making Sense of the Book of Revelation, Regent’s Study Guides 15, Oxford: Regent’s Park College.
Hendriksen, William. 1976. Survey of the Bible, Grand Rapids: Baker Books.
– 1986. More Than Conquerors (An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation), Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
Hoekema, Anthony A. 1977. The Meaning of Millennium (Four Views), Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press.
Hoyt, Herman A. 1977. The Meaning of Millennium (Four Views), Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press.
Hunt, Dave. 2005. Judgment Day! (Islam, Israel and the Nations), Bend, Oregon: The Berean Call.
Jenkins, Jerry B. & Tim LaHaye. 2000. The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession, Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale
Johnson, Dennis E. 2001. Triumph of the Lamb (A Commentary on Revelation), Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P & R Publishing Co.
Ladd, George Eldon, 1977. The Meaning of Millennium (Four Views), Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press.
LaHaye, Tim & Jerry B. Jenkins. 2000. The Indwelling: The Beast Takes Possession, Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale.
Jeremiah, David. 2008. What in the World is Going On? (10 Prophetic Clues You Cannot Afford to Ignore), Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Lindsay, Hal, with C.C. Carlson. 1976. The Late Great Planet Earth, Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Mounce, Robert H. 1977. The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, ed. F.F. Bruce, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Perkins, Pheme. 1988. Reading the New Testament, Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press.
Price, Randall. 1999. The Coming Last Days Temple, Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers.
Prince, Derek. 1982. The Last Word on the Middle East, Eastbourne: Kingsway Publications.
Rietkerk, Wim. 1989. The Future Great Planet Earth, Mussorie, India: Nivedit Good Books.
Shoebat, Walid and Joel Richardson. 2008. God’s War on Terror (Islam, Prophecy and the Bible), Newtown, Pensylvania: Top Executive Media
Stern, David H. 1992. Jewish New Testament Commentary, Clarksville, Md: Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc.
Tenney, Merrill C. 1958. Interpreting Revelation, London: Pickering & Inglis.
Tooley, Dale. 1994. All Things New, Lower Hutt: Hasten the Light Ministries.
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of New York. 1988. Revelation (Its Grand Climax at Hand!), Brooklyn, New York.
White, Ellen G. 1974. The Great Controversy, Mountain View, California: Pacific Press.
White, John Wesley. 1972. Re-Entry! Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Wilcock, Michael. 1975. The Message of Revelation, The Bible Speaks Today, ed. John Stott, Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press.
Wright, N.T. 1992. The New Testament and the People of God, London: SPCK.
– 2011. Revelation For Everyone, London: SPCK.
Bibles & Encyclopaedia
Encarta 96, Buffalo, New York: Microsoft 1996
New American Standard (NASB), La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation, 1970
The New Oxford Annotated Bible (New Revised Standard Version with the Apochrypha), Augmented 3rd Edition, New York; Oxford University Press, 2001
The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. Merrill C. Tenney, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1977
 Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, Buffalo, New York.
 P. 18. Part of The New International Commentary on the New Testament series, ed. F.F. Bruce.
 The New Oxford Annotated Bible, p. 1267 Hebrew Bible.
 Ibid. p. 1253 Hebrew Bible, comment inserted.
 See my Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws, pp. 93-108.
 The New Oxford Annotated Bible, p. 1273 Hebrew Bible, their italics.
 New Bible Commentary, IVP Academic, 1994, p. 1441
 The New Oxford Annotated Bible, p. 435 New Testament.
 Regal Books, 1980.
 Explained in Gotta Serve Somebody, pp. 135-137.
 The New Oxford Annotated Bible, p. 1253 Hebrew Bible.
 Besides chapters 65-66, we have to include 1-6, 9-19, 21-35, 37:22-29 and 40-64.
 Vol 1, p. 203.
 Matthew 20:1-16, 21:33-46, 22:1-14; 25:1-46; Mark 9:43-50, 12:1-11; Luke 11:29-32, 49-52, 12:2-5, 13:24-30, 14:16-24, 16:1-13, 17:22-37, 19:12-27, 20:9-19, 22:28-30, 23:28-31.
 N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, pp. 393-94.
 Ibid, p. 395, emphasis in the original.
 John E. Goldingay, Daniel, Dallas; Word Books, 1989, p. 57. Word Biblical Commentary 30, ed. John D. W. Watts, p. xl.
 John E. Goldingay, Daniel, Dallas; Word Books, 1989, p. 57. Word Biblical Commentary 30, ed. John D. W. Watts.
 Ibid. p. 51.
 Ibid. p. 62.
 Detailed in my Slouching Towards Bethlehem (the Rise of the Antichrists).
 e.g. Matthew 5:17, 7:12, 11:13, 22:40.
 John E. Goldingay writes similarly regarding Daniel 9. He acknowledges that ‘ancient and modern interpreters have commonly taken vv 24-27 as designed to convey firm chronological information’ (p. 257). He then shows how the second decree of Artaxerxes in 445 or 444 BC is an impossible starting date for the 483 years but he overlooks Artaxerxes first decree in 458 BC which matches Jesus’ baptism in 26 A.D. He therefore concludes that the 490 years are not chronological: ‘It is not chronology but chronography: a stylized scheme of history’, i.e. metaphorical. We’ll consider this in the next section on ‘Literal or Metaphorical?’
 E.g. http://cephasministry.com/prophecy_the_revived_british_empire.html, http://kenraggio.com/KRPN-Four-Beasts-Of-Daniel.html, 8 Jul 2012.
 Nils W. Lund, Chiasmus in the New Testament (A Study in the Form and Function of Chiastic Structures), Peabody, Massachusetts; Hendrickson Publishers, 1992.
 A chiasmus or chiasm is a rhetorical device whereby words or concepts are repeated in reverse order e.g. “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27) and “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6)
 See Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws.
 Except for Martin Luther, leader of the German Reformation, who rejected trans-substantiation but taught sacramental union in which he still upheld the literal or Real Presence. He broke fellowship with Zwingli, leader of the Swiss Reformation, over this issue.
 This is graphically illustrated by 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 where the Jewish metaphor of “head” has led modern Gentiles into hats and veils. Explained in Because of the Angels (Unveiling 1 Corinthians 11:2-16).
 Details in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, pp. 36-41.
 This is held either to have happened in the 1st Century, as recorded by Eusebius in the 4th Century, or is yet to happen in the future.
 See my The Red Heifer’s Ashes (Mysteries of Ancient Israel).
 John E. Goldingay, Word Biblical Commentary 30 – Daniel, ed. John D. W. Watts, Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1996, p. 174.
 Goldingay notes that ‘historically, Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562) was followed by Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach) (562-560), Nergal-sar-usur (Neriglissar (560-556), Labasi-Marduk (556), and Nabu-na’id (Nabonidus) (556-539), whose son Bel-sar-usur (Belshazzar) was regent in Babylon when Cyrus conquered the city. The four reigns might thus be those of four of these kings… or – less plausibly – four Assyrian kings…, or Ptolemaic kings… The possibility of these various interpretations raises the question whether the text’s unspecificness makes it inappropriate to attempt to identify the rulers referred to after Nebuchadnezzar…’, pp. 50-51. Since Nebuchadnezzar had five Babylonian successors, why choose only three? Why even consider the Assyrian and Ptolemaic kings?
 Ibid. p. 51.
 The New Oxford Annotated Bible, p. 442 New Testament.
 www.roman-emperors.org/impindex.htm, 18 Aug, 2011.
- Rev 1:19
- Psa 78:2
- Rev 1:20 & Matt 5:15
- Matt 24:15
- Dan 2:1
- Dan 7:1
- Dan 9:25-27
- Revelation 12:9
- Matt 11:25-26
- Matt 21:42-44 cf. the vision of Dan 2:1-45
- Dan 7:13
- Dan 7:25, 12:7
- Revelation, chapters 11-13
- Matt 17:11-12
- Luke 21:24
- Rom 11:25
- Dan 3:1
- Rev 13:18
- Matt 24:15
- Isaiah, chapters 65-66
- 1 Tim 1:2, 4:7; 2 Tim 4:4, Titus 1:14, 2 Pet 1:16
- Rom 11:18
- Rom 1:22
- Rom 3:1-2
- Acts 2:10 and 42
- Matt 22:29
- Matt 15:6
- Dan 9:1-19
- Matt 21:42-45
- Matt 9:6, 24:30 and 26:63-65
- Mark 1:15
- Mark 1:11 and John 1:29-36
- Luke 13:6-9
- Dan 9:27
- Dan 9:27
- Luke 24:25-27 and 24:44-47
- Matt 24:15
- Luke 21:20-24
- Dan 2:48
- Matt 2:1-12
- Ex 5:1ff.
- Josh 6:1ff
- Ex 13:9 & 16
- Num 1:1ff
- Rev 5:1ff
- Rev 11:4
- Rev 6:2-8
- Rev 17-19
- Rev 6:9
- Rev 8:3
- Rev 4:6
- Rev 11:19
- Joel 1:4-2:9
- Rev 12:10-11
- Rom 9:3
- Rom 9:5
- Rev 11:2, cf. Luke 21:24
- Rev 11:8
- Heb 4:12
- Matt 15:1-9
- Matt 7:7
- Matt 11:25-26
- John 6:53-54
- John 6: 66
- Lev 7:27
- Num 9:13
- Lev 17:11
- Rom 8:9
- John 6:55
- John 2:19
- John 6:48
- John 8:12
- John 10:7
- John 10:11
- John 11:25
- John 12:24
- John 15:1
- Rev 5:5
- Rev 5:6a
- Rev 5:6b
- Rev 1:14
- Heb 4:13
- e.g. Num 24:8, Psa 75:10
- Matt 28:18
- Rev 17: 5)
- 2 Chron 36:21
- Dan 9:24
- 2 Chron 36:11-21
- Ezra 6:15-16,
- Rev 12:6 & 14
- Ezek 20:35
- Luke 21:24
- Luke 24:25
- (v. 26)
- 1 Pet 1:10-11
- Gen 37:5-11
- Gen 41:1-8
- Gen 41:25
- Gen 41:32
- 2 Cor 13:1
- Acts 10:15-16, emphasis added
- Acts 10:17-20
- Acts 10:28 & 34
- Rev 12:3
- Rev 13:1
- Rev 17:3
- Rev 17:10
- Rev 17:9-10
- Rev 17:12
- 2 Pet 1:19-21
- Matt 24:15