Appendix 5: Revelation

Ray Sutton

Narrated By: Devan Lindsey
Book: That You May Prosper


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Chapter Text

The Deuteronomic model of the covenant is carried into the New Testament. Two prime examples are Matthew and Romans. Now, last but not least is perhaps the clearest presentation of the covenant in the New Testament. The Book of Revelation conveniently falls into five sections.

The Covenantal Structure of Revelation

True Transcendence (Preamble): 1:1-20
Hierarchy (Historical Prologue): 2:1-22 (7 churches)
Ethics (Stipulations): 4:1-7:17 (7 seals)
Sanctions (Ratification): 8:1-14:20 (7 trumpets)
Continuity (Succession Arrangements): 15:1-22:21 (7 bowls)

Understanding Revelation as a covenant is the single most helpful insight about its structure. How so? The Book of Revelation is about an awful judgment on the earth. Fire and brimstone fall; a great battle called Armageddon is fought; even the dragon, Satan, is finally cast into the pit. If any book is about judgment, Revelation is.

The covenant model, however, connects this judgment with the covenantal lawsuit concept.[1] A covenant lawsuit was brought against someone who had made covenant with God, broken it, and been unwilling to make amends. When this happened, God sent messengers to file the suit – normally three, since two or three witnesses were needed to obtain a conviction (Deut. 17:16). But in this case of God’s lawsuit against someone, the witnesses announced a verdict already reached in the Lord’s High Court of heaven. Revelation opens in this context, using the covenant structure to present the terms of judgment.

Who is the judgment against? First, the student of Revelation should realize that the language of the book itself restricts the prophecies, almost exclusively, to the first century. Revelation begins, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which shortly must take place” (Rev. 1:1). Then, at the end of the book, the nearness of all the prophecies of Revelation is again underscored when john says, “The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which shortly must take place” (Rev. 22:6). Anyone, therefore, who takes the Bible seriously, should recognize that the prophecies of Revelation concerned the immediate future.

Second, having established the time brackets, we see that the specific judgments of Revelation are against the Old Covenant people, the animal sacrifice system, and its center, the Temple in Jerusalem. Everything in the book focuses on the destruction of the Old Covenant, particularly Jerusalem, the heart of the Old Covenant religion. Then, after an elaborate discussion of the annihilation of the old “holy people,” the book concludes on a description of the “new” Temple, and Holy City (Rev. 21-22).

Most modern students of Revelation generally have a “futurist” perspective of Revelation, so this interpretation might seem novel, but the view I have proposed for Revelation, called a “preterist” interpretation, is not new. Commentaries are being published now which indicate that this was one of the standard views of the church through the ages.[2] I will leave the details of this thesis, however, to David Chilton, a theologically orthodox thinker who has just completed a commentary on Revelation, The Days of Vengeance.[3]

Nevertheless, having explained “who is being judged” in Revelation, my concern is to show that the book follows the Deuteronomic pattern. Of course, this would support a “preterist” interpretation. If Revelation is a covenant lawsuit against God’s Old Covenant people, we would expect the Apocalypse to take this form.

  1. True Transcendence (Rev. 1:1-20)

Indeed, Revelation begins like the Deuteronomic covenant. John opens, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:1); Deuteronomy starts with, “Moses spoke… all that the Lord commanded [revealed]” (Deut. 1:3). One does not have to strain to detect the parallel between the Sinai “revelation” and the Apocalypse.[4] Moses had just come from the presence of God where he had received the written Word of God a second time. John is lifted up before the transcendent Christ – in a graphic glorious description (Rev. 1:14-17) – to receive the second “revelation” about the destruction of Jerusalem, the first having been given at another mountain in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:1-51).[5] The preamble of both books, therefore, opens with statements indicating that the “words” are distinct, one of the three ways the covenant presents the principle of transcendence.

There are also some other important parallels about the historic situation of Deuteronomy and Revelation. Revelation is addressed to the New Covenant people – “to the seven Churches” (Rev. 1:4) – to tell them once again of destruction coming on the “ancient religion.” The destruction came in A.D. 70, so the contents of Revelation had to have been written before the collapse of Jerusalem. This means there were approximately forty years between the death of Christ and the destruction of the Old Covenant capital, from the definitive redemption to the actual clearing away of the old religion.

This was precisely the situation with Israel, as the nation sat on the borders of Canaan, when Moses gave them the “second revelation.” There had been forty years between their definitive redemption from Egypt and the new entrance into Canaan. But the land of Palestine represented the old ancient religions and their perversions of the original covenant. Israel was entering with a “new” covenant, one that had just been renewed and signified by the very name of Deuteronomy, “second” law.

Many other parallels could be drawn, but Revelation definitely begins according to the structure and influence of Deuteronomy. Moses is God’s “servant” delivering the transcendent words of the covenant, and John is the new messenger in the transcendent presence of the Lord, revealing a new, better, “renewed” message about the end of the ancient religion.

  1. Hierarchy (Rev. 2:1-22)

The second section of the Deuteronomic covenant develops the hierarchy of lordship which is confirmed in history. Revelation contains all these elements in its second section, the seven letters to the churches.

First, they have to do with a hierarchy. The letters are addressed to an “angel,” properly translated “messenger” (angelos), and symbolically portrayed as a “star” (Rev. 1:20; 2:2). Who are these “stars,” or “messengers” of the churches? The fact that they “receive” the letters indicates that they are “elders,” not angels. William Hendriksen says,

The “angels” cannot indicate the messengers of the churches sent to visit John, as the Scofield Bible holds. Then the expression: “To the angel of the church at… write” (Rev. 2:1 for example) would have no meaning. Again, real angels, heavenly beings, cannot be meant. It would have been rather difficult to deliver the book or its epistles to them!… For an excellent defense of the view that these angels refer to the bishops or pastors or ministers of the churches, see R. C. Trench, Commentary on the Epistle to the Seven Churches in Asia, pp. 53-58.[6]

Since the recipients were “elders,” a hierarchy is implied. The “elders” were to convey the message to their churches and implement discipline. Furthermore, the “messengers” (elders) of this section in Revelation are the same “messengers” of Revelation 8-11 who pour out judgment on the earth. In other words, the representatives in God’s hierarchy become a means to issue some kind of imprecation against the enemies of the New Covenant people. Perhaps Imprecatory Psalms were used – Psalms laid out in the covenant lawsuit structure designed to bring judgment on God’s enemies (Ps. 83) – or some other “maledictory oath.” Whatever they did, we are introduced to a hierarchy in Revelation 2-3.

Second, these letters to the churches also have a historical flair to them, each church having Old Testament allusions that seem to follow the history of the Old Covenant. Corsini says,

It has been sometimes noticed that there is a sort of historical progression in the Biblical allusions, a history of salvation beginning with Adam and finishing with Christ. Each episode refers to some progressing moment in the history of salvation… fitting John’s continual and central concern to show that the coming of Christ is the perfection and replacement of the Old Testament economy.[7]

The following is a brief overview of the history indicated.

  1. Reference is made to the Fall, garden, and curse (Gen. 2:17-3:19) in the phrases, “Remember then from what you have fallen” (2:5), “I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the paradise of God” (2:7), and “Your works, your toil and your patient endurance” (2:2).
  2. The historical period seems to be the captivity in Egypt. The “ten days of testing” (2:10) refers to the 10 plagues of Egypt (Exod. 7:14ff.). Also, Christ speaks of Himself as “dead and has come to life,” an allusion to the Exodus where Israel was dead and then resurrected.
  3. The next period is the time of the wilderness wanderings with reference to the “manna” (2:17; cf. Exod. 16:32ff.). Also, during this period, there was the Balaam and Balak episode (2:14; cf. Num. 25:1-2).
  4. A time of prosperity and apostasy approximates this epoch of history during the reign of the kings. The mention of Jezebel” indicates the era when Israel “tolerated apostasy” (2:20; I Kgs. 16:31ff.).
  5. The time is the latter prophetic period, judging by the comments

hinting at a small group of people, a “remnant” (3:4; Isa. 1:9, 6:13; 65:8ff.).

  1. The history probably refers to the return of the Jews after exile. The “key of David” indicates that people are coming back to a city to open its doors (Rev. 3:7). Yet, when they return, they encounter false Jews, “a synagogue of Satan” (3:9; Ezra. 4; Neh. 4, 6, 13).
  2. These are the times from A.D. 30 to A.D. 70, a period of great apostasy and “lukewarmness” (3:16).[8] The language of Revelation 3 parallels the Mosaic description of Israel’s being “spewed” out of the land (cf. Rev. 3:16 with Lev. 18:24-28; and Luke 21:24). God told Israel that he would “spit” them out of the land the day they apostatized. In A.D. 70, God kept His promise.

Why does God record all of this history in terms of the seven churches? Again, we must remember the parallel between Israel’s preparation to enter the land, Deuteronomy, and the Church’s position before A.D. 70. The Church was being prepared for new territory, just as the Israelites had been before they entered the Promised Land. They did not listen, and a new people of God were raised up. God wanted His New Covenant people to remember the history of His hierarchy. As He had disciplined His children under the Old Covenant, so He would chastise them in the new age (Heb. 3:7-13).

Finally, regarding this hierarchical section of Revelation, each letter is laid out like a miniature covenant, following the five-fold structure. Take the first letter as an example, the Church at Ephesus (2:1-7).

  1. Preamble: “The One Who holds the seven stars in His right hand (True Transcendence), the One Who walks among the seven golden lampstands” (2:1).
  2. Historical Prologue: “1 know your deeds” (history of compliance with the hierarchy; 2:2-4)

  3. Stipulations:
    “Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent [consecration], and do the deeds (ethics) you did at the first” (2:5a).

  4. Sanctions:
    “Or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place [application of sanctions in covenant lawsuit] – unless you repent” (2:5b).

  5. Succession Arrangements:
    “…To him who overcomes [perseveres in continuity with covenant], I will grant to eat of the Tree of Life [sacramental continuity], which is in the Paradise of God” (2:6-7).[9]
  1. Ethics (Rev. 4:1-7:17)

The third covenantal principle is consecration through obedience to the Law, the stipulations of the Deuteronomic covenant. Revelation 4-7 follows these emphases, beginning with a scene around the throne of God where the “Holy, holy, holy” response stresses consecration (Rev. 4). The next chapter specifically mentions the Ten Commandments, a “book” written on both sides (Rev. 5:1). So the “ethical” concentration is obvious. Again, however, this section provides a “covenant within a covenant,” the entire segment following the five points of covenantalism.

  1. True Transcendence (Rev. 4)

Revelation 4 begins the ethical section with the first point of covenantalism. John was commanded to “Come up here” (4:1). Worship starts with the votum, “the call.” Everyone is called to come into God’s presence and offer true worship. Once John reaches heaven, he encounters the transcendent/immanent Lord. God is sitting on His “throne,” transcendent (4:2). His presence (immanence) is also manifested by His “holiness.” Everyone is singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, Who was and Who is and Who is to come” (4:8).

In the other covenants we have found that three events are used at the beginning of the covenant to convey God’s transcendence and immanence: creation, redemption, and revelation. John witnesses God as the mighty creator. The last verse of the chapter closes, “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created” (4:11).

The Adamic covenant had begun the Bible with creation, and now the last book of the Bible emphasizes this theme. Why? God is getting ready to destroy the world through the judgments to come in the next few chapters. He is not going to destroy the creation, but instead He will judge it unto new life. The world will be re-made by the application of the covenant.

  1. Hierarchy (Rev. 5:1-5)

The hierarchical sections of the covenant emphasize God’s authority and the “I-thou” relationship between God and His people. God’s hierarchy requires submission. Often a “command/fulfillment” pattern is used to show God’s authority to speak something into existence, the building of His creation house (Gen. 1:3ff.), or the destruction of the world (Gen. 6:11ff.). Revelation 5:1 opens with an “unfulfilled challenge.” This chapter shifts from heavenly adoration to a challenge by a “strong angel” for anyone to “open a book” that has been sent to the throne (5:1ff.). No one is strong enough to open it, and this is the point. There is only One who comes and has the authority, Jesus Christ (Rev. 5:5).

  1. Ethics (Rev. 5:6-14)

The third section of the covenant usually contains stipulations that consecrate and become the program for dominion. Through these laws, ethical boundaries are established that separate the clean from the unclean.

John turns his attention to the “book.” The document is not just any book; it is the Ten Commandments. John explains that this scroll is written on the front and back (5:1). The only other “book” with writing on the front and back is the Ten Commandments. Moses writes, “Then Moses went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets which were written on both sides; they were written on one side and the other” (Ex. 32:15). Now we can see why Jesus was the only One who could break the seals. The “new song” that everyone sings says “He is the lamb that was slain” (5:9). He was the only One “worthy” to open the book because He was the Redeemer, the One who satisfied all the just demands of the Law.

After it has been determined that Jesus is the only One strong enough and “pure” enough to break the seals, He comes and “takes the book” from God the Father (5:7), applying it toward the conquest of the enemies.

  1. Sanctions (Rev. 6)

This part of the covenant has to do with judgment by means of the sanctions, the breaking of the seals. After being broken, they cause six awful judgments to begin to fall on the earth, the sixth coming when martyrs at the throne of God say, “How long, O, Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging the blood on those who dwell on the earth” (6:10). Their call to be “avenged” brings the sixth judgment, the “great day of wrath” (6:17).

The saints play an important role, therefore, in having the seals broken. Their request for God’s vengeance brings direct judgment to the wicked. Normally, since God’s people receive the sanctions, the wicked are also simultaneously cursed, or “sealed.”

Probably, God’s people break the seals on the wicked by praying, singing, and speaking the imprecatory psalms at this time of the service. The imprecatory psalms are Scriptures devoted entirely to calling down God’s vengeance and judgment on the wicked. Psalm 94 opens with the following.

O Lord, God of vengeance; God of vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O Judge of the earth; Render recompense to the proud. How long shall the wicked, O Lord, how long shall the wicked exult? They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; all who do wickedness vaunt themselves. They crush Thy people, O Lord, and afflict Thy heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the orphans. And they have said, “The Lord does not see, nor does the God of Jacob pay heed” (Ps. 94:1-7).

God is the blood avenger of His people. In the Old Testament, when a relative was murdered, the next of kin was asked to be a “blood avenger” (Nu. 35:12; Deut. 19:6-12). God’s justice was “recompensed” when the nearest of kin killed the murderer. The Psalmist speaks of God as having this role for the saints. Did this change in the New Covenant? No, the New Covenant saints cry out for God to be their “avenger” (Rev. 6:10). Also, Paul commanded the Ephesians to greet one another with psalms (Eph. 5:19), so they, even the imprecatory ones, are still applicable in the New Covenant.

This is the way to dominion. By praying the imprecatory psalms in the sealing part of worship, the seals are broken on the wicked. How powerful is worship and the prayers of the saints? So powerful that God judges the world on this basis. This is a theology of love, even though it may not seem like it. God says He “hates” the wicked (Ps. 11:5). If a person believes the Word of God, then he should realize that God does not love everyone. He only loves His people. God shows His love for the righteous by avenging them. He kills the wicked through conversion or death. When the wicked are cleared off the earth, the righteous receive their inheritance (Matt. 5:5). This prepares us for the last section.

  1. Continuity (Rev. 7)

The last section of the covenant establishes continuity and discontinuity. Consistently, this has been done through the sacred meal. After the house is built and the boundaries are set up to divide between clean and unclean, the Lord comes to His house and applies the sanctions of blessing and cursing. Then He sits down with His people, eats a meal, and distributes the inheritance to the faithful sons.

Revelation 7 is the legitimacy section of this worship scene. It starts by listing the 144,000 of the remnant tribe by tribe. This census is the numbering method used at the end of the Book of Numbers, a book beginning with the census, forming a transition from Leviticus and into the fifth book of the Bible, and ending with a numbering of the nation because the door to the fold has closed, and it is time for war.

The meal, however, is the heart of the continuity section. Is a meal involved? Yes, the “remnant” is gathered around the throne and one of the elders says the remnant will never “hunger” again. Why? They are eating a meal with God forever. He says to John,

These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they and from where have they come? And I said to him, “My Lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He Who sits on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:13-17).

The “remnant” runs the kingdom. At Revelation 7, they are small in number. Some of their number have even been martyred for the faith. Martyrdom is an attempt on the part of the bastard sons to disinherit the true sons. The ones persecuting the saints are mainly the Jews in coalition with the Roman Empire. Both groups are “bastards.” They have been disinherited by God and can only come back to the “fold” by faith. Instead, they try to disinherit God’s people by premature death.

Remember, continuity and discontinuity are established at the meal. Either the blood of Christ is eaten symbolically or another “blood” becomes the communion meal. The bastard sons try to establish continuity through the shedding of the blood of the saints. Biblical continuity comes through Christ’s blood, however, and the bastards’ attempts are unsuccessful. The martyrs still end up at the meal of God in heaven; they still receive the inheritance. In fact, they receive it sooner.

All five parts of the covenant have been recapitulated. Finally, I should note that the stipulations section of Deuteronomy requires attendance at the annual sacred feasts: Passover (Deut. 16:1-8), Pentecost (Deut. 16:9-12), and Tabernacles (Deut. 16:13-15). The stipulations section of Revelation follows the same pattern. Chapter five centers around the “Lamb that was slain,” Passover. Chapter 6 is the breaking of God’s law on the earth, paralleling the Pentecost Feast that commemorated the giving of the Ten Commandments. Significantly, the synagogue reading for Pentecost was Habakkuk 3, the unleashing of a series of judgments on the earth.[10] Revelation 7 culminates the festival year with imagery referring to the Festival of Booths (Tabernacles) and multitudes before the throne of God with “palm branches” in hand (Rev. 7:9).

The “ethics” section comes to a close and leads into the fourth part of the covenant.

  1. Sanctions (Rev. 8:1-14:20)

The next literary break in the structure of Revelation falls at the beginning of the “trumpet” section (Rev. 8:1), flowing out of the seventh seal. In Deuteronomy, the fourth part of the covenant explained the ratification process. Kline calls attention to the fact that the sanctions of the suzerain treaties are called “woes and weals.”l1 Revelation 8-14 contains three “woes” (11:14).

Israel ratified the covenant through a self-maledictory oath of covenant curses (12) called the dodecalogue (Deut. 27:15-26). Revelation matches the dodecalogue with twelve angels who bring judgment. The trumpets section opens with an angel, breaking the seal that leads to seven other angels blowing trumpets (8:7, 8, 10, 12, 9:1, 13, 11:15). The sanctions conclude with five angels of doom (14:6,8, 9, 15, 17), and then return to the original angel of “fire” that began these calamities (14:18).

The section begins with trumpets because these were used to announce the coming of God’s judgment. The Greek word is the same used in the Septuagint for the “ram’s horn” of the Old Testament (Josh. 6:5; Exod. 19:13; Lev. 25). The ram’s horn came from one of the primary animals of sacrifice. After the animal atoned for the people of God, its horn was blown to signal judgment to those who were not covered by sacrificial blood. When the people of God failed to sacrifice, they were drawn near to the Lord for judgment, for example, at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:13). But, mostly the horn signaled judgment to the nations, symbolized at the Feast of Trumpets, which preceded the last festival of the year (Booths), and marked the Judgment Day of History.

The judgmental character of the horn also explains why it was the instrument used to defeat Jericho (Josh. 6:4). The blowing of the horn brought the judgment of God. And so, in Revelation, the angels blow trumpets that bring awful judgment on the earth. Notice the parallel between the curses of Deuteronomy 28 and Revelation 8-14. Deuteronomy says,

If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome Name, The Lord your God, then the Lord will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sickness. And He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. Also every sickness and every plague which, not written in the book of this law, the Lord will bring on you (Deut. 28:58-61).

The Deuteronomy sanctions, therefore, provide a background for the sanctions in Revelation. Some of the “plagues” are just as the ones that fell on Egypt, but there are “others” that are not previously described. Revelation 8-14 details a few “plagues” very similar to the ones that affected Egypt: hail and fire falling on the earth (Rev. 8:7), and water turning to blood (8:8). But most of the “plagues” are quite different from the Egyptian ones, just as Moses had promised.

Finally, the sanctions section of Revelation refers to “marks” of ratification. Several references speak of a “mark” of the beast, placed on the head or the hand of those who follow him (13:17; 14:9). This “mark” was used to form a false covenant, resulting in the application of the sanctions in a covenant lawsuit (Rev. 14:10ff.). In fact, the judgments only fell on those who did not have a “seal of God on their foreheads.” This language takes us back to Genesis, where the curse sanction is applied to the “head” of the serpent (Gen. 3:15).

Thus, the sanctions section of Revelation continues to follow the pattern of Deuteronomy. When, however, we arrive at the fifth section, the Deuteronomic influence is extremely obvious.

  1. Continuity (Rev. 15:1-15:21)

The continuity section of Deuteronomy arranged succession from one generation of leaders to another. Continuity was established between Moses and Joshua. Moses went before the Lord in the form of a “Song of Witnesses,” also called the “Song of Moses” (Deut. 32), testifying of the succession that was being made.

John notes a shift to the fifth and final section of Revelation by a movement from the seven trumpets of plagues to the seven bowls (Rev. 15:1-16:1). As usual, one series of seven opens into the next on the last of the series. At this point, the company around the throne of God begins to sing the Song of Moses (Rev. 15:3), matching the structure of Deuteronomy perfectly. But the transition is from Israel to the Church, so the heavenly congregation also sings, the “Song of the Lamb,” the new captain of the host, which reads,

Great and marvelous are Thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Thy ways, Thou King of the nations. Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou alone art holy; For all the nations will come and worship before Thee, For Thy righteous acts have been revealed (Rev. 15:3-4).

A transition prepares to take place. The last section of Revelation speaks of the final destruction of the Old Covenant and the “nations” that are ready to come to the Lord once Israel is dealt with. This shift occurs by means of the sacred “bowls,” or “chalices.” We saw in the Matthean covenant that the final section made the successional arrangements at the Lord’s Table, where the “chalice” was served. Indeed, the “chalice” was the means of continuity and discontinuity. How?

Jesus gave His disciples the “cup of blessing” which was the inauguration of the New Covenant (Lk. 22:20; I Cor. 10:16). The application of the blessing sanction transferred inheritance because the “cup” often represented inheritance. The Psalmist says, “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup” (Ps. 16:5). The Biblical “cupbearer” was therefore not just a wine sipper, testing the cup for poison, but a guardian of the king’s estate.

Famous Old Testament figures held this position – Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah – and were “trustees” of the king’s estate. Nehemiah was unhappy. The king wanted to know why. Nehemiah told him that Jerusalem had been torn down, and so he was given a covenant grant (Neh. 2), the Holy City of Israel. Why would the king do such a thing? Nehemiah had been his “cupbearer,” and had held all of the king’s properties in trust. Nehemiah was given his land because he had been faithful to the king. This is precisely what happens with the disciples. They become guardians of the cup, the Lord’s estate. For their faithfulness, they receive their own property and land. The “cup of blessing” symbolized the entire estate of the King of kings.

Jesus is quickly betrayed after the “cup of blessing” is given. The “cup” actually turns into an ordeal of jealousy. Jesus notes a betrayer, or “bastard,” in their midst. Judas is identified in terms of the cup when Christ says, “But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Me on the table” (Luke 22:21), “that is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him” (John 13:26). Christ served this first communion by dipping the bread in the “cup of blessing,” signifying the transferal of inheritance from one person to the next. Judas quickly betrayed the Lord, “Satan having entered into him” immediately after he ate (John 13:27).

In the last section of Revelation, the “bowls” are poured out on the Old Covenant city and people. Even Satan meets the judgment of these bowls (Rev. 20). As Jesus used the “chalice” to create continuity with the faithful, and reveal discontinuity with the “bastards” of the covenant, the continuity section of Revelation does the same.

The “chalices” create continuity between God and His people by the destruction of the Old Covenant worshippers, the Great Whore and the Beast. At the end of the continuity section, the new Temple, City, and home of God’s elect appears, a city which invites those who want to live there to come in (Rev. 22:17). No longer is the covenant exclusively Jewish. The “nations” (Gentiles) are ready to come in, sit down, worship, and eat at the new “Tree of life” (Rev. 15:4).


This completes our study of the patterns of the Deuteronomic covenant. How appropriate that we end on the Book of Revelation. John’s message was forged on the anvil of the Mosaic pattern, the five parts of the Apocalypse perfectly matching the five sections of Deuteronomy.

One matter remains to be considered in the covenant half of this book. 1 have demonstrated that the Deuteronomic covenant continues into the New Testament and have noted the parallels. But, does this mean there are no changes in the New Covenant? Are we still supposed to sacrifice animals? Should we go to church on Saturday instead of Sunday?

In the next appendix, we will examine these questions and many more, seeking to understand the relationship between Old and New Covenants.

[1] In Chapter 14, I discussed at length the concept of “covenantal lawsuit.”

[2] Eugenio Corsini, The Apocalypse (Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier Inc., 1983). Corsini, a Roman Catholic scholar, presents a brief summary of the early Fathers and then proceeds to develop Revelation in terms of a “preterist” model. Also, see J. Massyngberde Ford, The Anchor Bible: Revelation (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1975), and Jay Adams, The Time is at Hand (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1966).

[3] David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance (Ft. Worth, Texas: Dominion Press, 1987).

[4] Kline, Structure of Biblical Authority, pp. 73-74. Kline says, “The Book of Revelation is replete with treaty analogues from its opening preamble-like identification of the awesome Lord Christ; through the letters to the churches, administering Christ’s covenantal lordship after the manner of the ancient lawsuit; on through the elaborately expounded prophetic sanctions which constitute the major part of the book; and down to the closing documentary clause and canonical curse.”

[5] The key to this chapter is the near demonstrative pronoun, “this generation” (Matt. 24:34). Also very important is the fact that the Markan account of the Olivet Discourse clearly describes the same events in terms of the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70. See Chilton for a further description. Also, J. Stuart Russell, Parousia (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1983), pp. 66-114.

[6] William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors (Grand Rapids: Baker, [1939] 1977), p. 73, note 16. See also, Moses Stuart, Commentary on the Apocalypse (Andover: Allen, Morrill, Wardwell, 1845), Vol. II, pp. 55-56.

[7] The Apocalypse, pp. 104-105. Emphasis mine.

[8] Chilton, Days of Vengeance, pp. 134ff.

[9] Ibid., pp. 98-99.

[10] M. D. Caulder, The Evangelists’ Calendar: A Lectionary Explanation for the Development of Scripture (London: SPCK, 1978), p. 177.