The Time of the End
A Study About the Book of Revelation
Arlen L. Chitwood
The Seven Sealed Scroll
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”
And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.
But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. (Revelation 5:1-7)
(All of Revelation chapter five is taken up with events surrounding the introduction of a seven-sealed scroll, with the seals of this scroll beginning to be broken in the next chapter. Properly understanding that which is in view by the introduction of this seven-sealed scroll and the breaking of the seals on the scroll is a major key to understanding all that follows in this book. The importance of understanding and grasping the significance of this scroll at this introductory point in the book cannot be overemphasized.)
Attention is often called to the importance of understanding the book of Daniel when studying the book of Revelation, or conversely. And this would be a correct way to view matters, for these are companion books, and both cover the same material, with one book shedding light upon the other when Scripture is compared with Scripture.
That which is often overlooked though is the fact that the book of Daniel is only one of a number of books in the Old Testament holding this type of connection with the book of Revelation. Parts of books other than Daniel from the section of Scripture referred to as the Prophets (Isaiah through Malachi) would hold this same type of connection with the book of Revelation as well. And in this chapter, particular attention will be called to a section from one of these books, the book of Jeremiah, which forms a major key to properly understanding Revelation chapter five.
Then, beginning in Genesis and continuing to the Prophets, one finds that section of Scripture often referred to as Historic (Genesis through Esther), followed by the section referred to as Poetic (Job through the Song of Solomon). And the same thing can be said about these two sections of Scripture that was said about the Prophets. Numerous parts of both sections reflect on material in the book of Revelation.
In the first of these two sections, note particularly three books where this can be clearly seen — Exodus, Ruth, and Esther. These three books have been singled out because almost the complete contents of each foreshadow that which is seen in different parts of the book of Revelation, with a section in one of the books particularly foreshadowing events seen in Revelation chapter five.
Exodus, in this manner (historic events typically foreshadowing future events), deals centrally with Israel during the Tribulation, with Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation, with the overthrow of Gentile world power following Christ’s return, and with the subsequent establishment of the Messianic Kingdom (paralleling events seen in Revelation 6-20a).
Esther, as well, deals with the same thing as Exodus — centrally with Israel during and immediately following the Tribulation. And Esther, by the same means and in the same manner as seen in Exodus, parallels the same part of the book of Revelation as Exodus, showing other facets of the matter.
Ruth though is different. Rather than dealing with Israel, Ruth, by the same means and in the same manner as seen in both Exodus and Esther, foreshadows God’s dealings with the Church. And the time covered by this book deals with the Church throughout not only the present dispensation but with the Church at the judgment seat, with the Church following the judgment seat, and with Christ and His bride in the Messianic Kingdom.
And, though Ruth deals with the Church rather than Israel, Ruth is the one book among the three mentioned that deals with events foreshadowing that which is seen in Revelation chapter five. And if one would rightly understand that which is seen in this chapter, one must first understand that which God revealed to an unknown author some twelve hundred or more years before these things were shown to John. One must let Scripture interpret Scripture, allowing God Himself to explain the matter by and through other revelation that He has provided on the subject.
With all of the preceding in mind, two sections of Scripture from two Old Testament books will comprise most of the material in this chapter.
The first will be a section from the book of Jeremiah (from chapters 30-33, but particularly from chapter 32), which, through an Old Testament account of circumstances and events of a similar nature to that seen in Revelation chapter five, shows exactly what is transpiring in this chapter in the book of Revelation.
And the second will be a section from the book of Ruth (from all four chapters of the book, but particularly from chapter 4), which, as seen in Jeremiah, will illustrate the working out of that introduced in Revelation chapter five, showing different but corresponding facets of the matter.
There are two aspects to that which occurs by the breaking of the seals on the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation chapter five — redemption of land, and a corresponding marriage. Jeremiah, in his book, seemingly only deals with one aspect (redemption of land), but the other aspect (marriage) is clearly seen in the context. And the writer of Ruth deals with both aspects together, at the same time.
Then, beginning in Revelation chapter five and viewing that which is seen in this book in the light of that which is seen in both of these Old Testament books, the whole of the matter is opened up and dealt with in this closing book of Scripture.
And this is exactly as interpretation in the book of Revelation, or anywhere else in Scripture, must exist. Scripture must be interpreted in the light of Scripture — the New Testament in the light of the Old Testament, the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament, parts of the Old Testament in the light of other parts of the Old Testament, parts of the New Testament in the light of other parts of the New Testament.
(Note that a division of the Old Testament into three parts — Historic, Poetic, and the Prophets — refers to form, not to content. Prophecy, via typology, is dealt with throughout the Historic section, with other means, along with typology, used in the Poetic section and in the Prophets. And this is why Christ, in Luke 24:25-27, 44 could refer to Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets together, in the sense that different things surrounding the same Subject are dealt with throughout. All wrote about Christ, His first coming, His second coming — Moses through one means, the writers of the Psalms through another means, and the Prophets through yet another means.)
As evident from Ruth chapter four (in the light of the larger context, chapters 1-3), along with comparing that which is seen in Jeremiah chapter thirty-two (in the light of the larger context, chapters 30-33), the seven-sealed scroll that the Son took from His Father’s right hand in Revelation chapter five (the New Testament parallel) could only be identified as one thing and could only have to do with one thing. As will be shown, this scroll could only be identified as the title deed to the earth, and it could only contain the redemptive terms for the earth — the inheritance awaiting the Sons of God (Christ, Israel, and the Church [following the adoption]).
Beyond the preceding, this redemption of the inheritance is inseparably tied to marriage — the marriage of God to Israel, and the marriage of Christ to His bride. There can be no future reign of Christ over the earth apart from God again taking Israel as His wife and the Son, as well, taking a wife. And both are inseparably tied to the breaking of the seals on this scroll.
John’s apparent knowledge of these things, as they pertained to that which the Father held in His right hand in Revelation 5:1, would account for his actions in verse four — much weeping — when no one “in heaven or on the earth or under the earth” (v. 3) was found worthy to break the seals on the scroll. John evidently knew exactly what this scroll had to do with, along with the implications of the seals either being broken or not being broken — which could only have come from his familiarity with the Old Testament and the corresponding Mosaic Economy.
(To illustrate that this scroll contains the redemptive terms of the earth, before seeing this from two Old Testament books, note Revelation 10:2. In this verse, an angel is seen holding the scroll from chapter five after all of the seals had been broken, leaving the scroll open; and, in a display of power, filled with symbolism — with “his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land” — this angel claims the redeemed inheritance, the earth, for the One whose right it is to rule.
For more information on the preceding, refer to Chapter 19 in this book.)
The earth in a forfeited and unredeemed state was the same earth which, in the distant past, preceding man’s creation, had been reduced to a ruin because of Satan’s attempt to exalt his throne above that of his God-appointed position over the earth; this was the earth that, 6,000 years ago, had been restored for man, whom God created to replace the incumbent ruler; and this was the earth that had been reduced to a ruined state once again because of man’s subsequent fall (cf. Genesis 3:6, 7, 17, 18). And Revelation chapter five takes one to the point where the inheritance (the earth) is about to be redeemed (cf. Psalm 2:8), allowing the earth to be “delivered from the bondage of corruption,” with a new order of Sons then holding the scepter (Roman 8:18-23).
Not only must man be redeemed, but the earth must be redeemed as well. That which God requires for both man and the earth must be brought to pass in each instance.
Man’s redemption is wrought by and through Christ’s finished work at Calvary; and the earth’s redemption is wrought by through subsequent actions of the only One qualified to act in the realm of redemption (cf. Acts 3:21; Colossians 1:16, 20), by His breaking the seals of the seven-sealed scroll that He is seen taking from His Father’s right hand in Revelation 5:7 (Revelation 6:1ff).
The Books of Jeremiah and Revelation
(The accounts in the books of Ruth and Jeremiah form the only two places in the Old Testament where the matter that is seen in Revelation chapter five is dealt with in the sense of being carried out, showing exactly what is in view in this closing book of Scripture.
The account from Jeremiah will be dealt with first, for this account provides details concerning how matters were handled as they pertained to the scroll itself. Then, the account in Ruth provides other details not seen in Jeremiah. And both together, within their contextual settings, provide the necessary Old Testament word picture to properly understand that which is seen in Revelation chapter five.)
In the Old Testament, redemption (a purchasing, a buying back) existed for both individuals and sections of land.
Other than redemption necessary for all mankind by and through death and shed blood, because of Adam’s sin, other forms of redemption were dealt with in the Mosaic Economy. Provision of this nature existed for the redemption of two types of individuals — for a wife who had lost her husband, and for a person who found himself in a position of servitude or slavery. Then, provision existed for the redemption of sections of land that had been sold. And there were laws governing both the redemption of individuals and land (Leviticus 25:1-55; 27:16-25; Deuteronomy 25:5-9).
A scroll (or two scrolls) was prepared for the redemption of land, but there is no indication that scrolls were used for the redemption of individuals (something that, of course, would be completely out of place for the redemption of a wife).
Scrolls of this nature had to do with title deeds to sections of land and contained the redemptive terms for these sections, which could be quite different in each scroll. And there is a classic example of how this was carried out in Jeremiah chapter thirty-two by events occurring in Jeremiah’s life shortly before the final part of the Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C.
Zedekiah, the king of Judah at this time, had imprisoned Jeremiah because of his prophecies concerning the Babylonian captivity.
Jeremiah had prophesied that the city of Jerusalem, along with the Jewish king (Zedekiah), would be given “into the hand of the king of Babylon” (Nebuchadnezzar). This didn’t set well with Zedekiah; and, as a result, he imprisoned Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32: 1-5).
Then, while imprisoned, the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, relating that his cousin would approach him about redeeming a piece of property that had been sold to someone else; and the Lord instructed Jeremiah, who possessed “the right of redemption” (a blood relative) to redeem the property, to act in this capacity (vv. 7, 8).
This act would leave Jeremiah owning the property (possessing “the right of inheritance” [v. 8]) — someone who knew that the property would shortly be in enemy hands, rendering it worthless. But Jeremiah had prophesied that the Babylonian captivity would only last seventy years (Jeremiah 25:11, 12); and following these seventy years there would be a return to the land, something that he had also previously prophesied (Jeremiah 29:10-14; chapters 30-33 [by a return of all the Jewish people that was later revealed to be seven times longer, 490 years, in Daniel 9:24-27; cf. Daniel 9:2; see Chapter 12 in this book for a discussion of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy]).
Then, aside from the property being in enemy hands for the next seventy years, a year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:8ff) — which occurred every fiftieth year — would occur while the Jewish people were in Babylonian captivity. And, during this year, unredeemed property would automatically revert back to its original owner, apart from any redemptive action. In this respect, it would seem almost out of place for Jeremiah to redeem the property before the captivity.
But God had a reason for instructing Jeremiah to redeem the property before the captivity (though it would have reverted back to its original owner during the time of the captivity).
Note that this account appears in the midst of a section in Jeremiah which, though Gentile captivity was at hand, has to do with the Jewish people one day being restored to their land, along with the things that God would do for His people in that day (ref. chapters 30-33). And God, by having Jeremiah redeem this section of land, was using another means to make this fact known to His people.
The preceding is made clear by that which God stated at the completion of Jeremiah’s purchase. His purchase is seen in Jeremiah 32:9-14. Then note what the Lord stated in verse fifteen, immediately following this purchase:
For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.”
This same thing — a promise, by this means, concerning a future restoration of the Jewish people — is reiterated again in verses forty-two through forty-four in this same chapter (see also Jeremiah 33:7-17):
For thus says the Lord: “Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.
And fields shall be bought in this land of which you say, ‘It is desolate, without man or beast; it has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’
Men will buy fields for money, sign deeds and seal them, and take witnesses, in the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the South; for I will cause their captives to return,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 32:42-44)
(As well, contextually, Jeremiah’s purchase of a field moves beyond God reiterating, by another means, His promise concerning a restoration of the Jewish people. The larger picture that is seen in Jeremiah — in chapters 30-33 — has to do with God remarrying Israel and a restoration of the kingdom, with God taking Israel as His wife once again in a restored theocracy.
Refer to the next chapter in this book, Chapter 9, for details concerning the preceding.)
In the account of the transaction during Jeremiah’s day, two pieces of paper were brought out, one sealed and the other remaining open (both having to do with the unredeemed title-deed to the property). Both pieces of paper contained the same thing — the redemptive terms for the section of land in question. The redemptive terms could be read on the open piece of paper. Then, once the redemptive terms had been met, the sealed piece of paper (forming a sealed scroll) could be opened.
Jeremiah purchased the field, allowing him to open the sealed scroll. He then either made notations on this scroll or a new piece of paper, along with the unsealed scroll or a new piece of paper. In turn, one of these was rolled up and sealed, with the other left open (both having to do with the redeemed title-deed to the property). Then both scrolls (with notations on both, indicating Jeremiah’s purchase), for preservation purposes, were placed in “an earthen vessel [clay jar], that they may last many days [which could only have been with a view, at that time, to the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity]” (Jeremiah 32:7-14).
In later years, only one piece of paper was used for redemptive scrolls (titles to property) of this nature, with the redemptive terms appearing on both sides. One side, forming the inside of the scroll, would be hidden from view once the scroll had been rolled up and sealed. And the other side, forming the outside of the scroll, would have the redemptive terms written in a place where they could be read without unsealing the scroll.
With all of the preceding in mind, note the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation chapter five.
First, in Jeremiah, there were two scrolls — one sealed, the other remaining open. In the book of Revelation, in keeping with this practice seen in later Jewish history, the redemptive terms of the scroll are seen written on both sides of one scroll (5:1). One side was sealed, and the other side was open where the redemptive terms could be read. And the Father handing the scroll to His Son clearly implies a recognition and an acknowledgement of the Son’s full qualification to act in this capacity — as Redeemer — having previously paid the price to take the scroll, break the seals, and redeem the inheritance (5:5ff).
Second, this scroll in the book of Revelation can only have to do with land and land rights, for, within the realm of redemption, scrolls were not used for individuals (a widowed woman, or a servant or slave). They were used for the only other thing that could be redeemed — land.
Third, in the account in Jeremiah, a field was being redeemed (Jeremiah 32:7-9). In the account in the book of Revelation, it is the same — a field, with the field being “the world” (Matthew 13:38).
And that which is seen in the book of Revelation — redemption in relation to the title-deed to the earth — will form the outworking of that which is foreshadowed in Jeremiah when the Jewish people return from their dispersion among the Gentiles, not at the end of Jeremiah’s seventy-year prophecy but at the end of Daniel’s four-hundred-ninety-year prophecy (cf. Jeremiah 33:7-26).
Books of Ruth and Revelation
The book of Ruth begins with a Jewish family in Moab, driven from their own land because of a famine in the land (1:1). And the reason for this famine and the departure of this Jewish family from their land is given in verses such as Leviticus 26:14, 15, 32, 33 and Deuteronomy 28:15, 64-67.
This book though, rather than having to do with God’s dealings with Israel, foreshadows, through typical means, His future dealings with the Church. And God’s dealings with the Church after this fashion begin specifically in verse four of chapter one, where two Moabite women become members of this Jewish family in Moab, brought to pass through their marriage to the two sons in the family (cf. Romans 11:15-25). Then, from this point forward, events in the book foreshadow God’s dealings with the Church during a time that would not even begin until well over a millennium later.
(Note that events such as those that occurred in the book of Ruth took place under God’s sovereign control of all things. And events as we have them in this book were later recorded by an unknown author as he was borne along by the Holy Spirit [1 Peter 1:21], allowing the same Spirit to have these events to draw upon at later points in time in order to lead Christians into an understanding of the deep things of God.)
Ruth chapter one, in that which is foreshadowed by events seen in the chapter, deals with two types of Christians — one faithful, the other unfaithful (typified by the actions of Ruth and Orpah). And these two women can, alone, portray all Christians, for there is no third class of Christians. A Christian is either faithful or unfaithful, never partly one or the other. There is no middle ground between the two. Scripture is clear that if a person is not for Christ he is against Christ; if he does not gather with Christ, he scatters abroad (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23; Romans 14:23).
A separation is made in chapter one (Orpah who turns back, and Ruth who goes on). And the remainder of the book deals with Ruth alone, showing not only the manner in which faithful Christians conduct themselves during the dispensation but, as well, that which awaits faithful Christians following the dispensation.
Chapter two deals with faithful Christians during the present dispensation, laboring in the field; chapters three and four then deal with faithful Christians beyond the present dispensation.
Chapter three has to do with prepared Christians appearing before Christ at His judgment seat, seen in Revelation chapters one through three (though Revelation 1-3 presents matters surrounding unprepared Christians as well). Then, the first part of Ruth chapter four has to do with the subject at hand in Revelation chapter five. And both of these sections in the books of Ruth and Revelation have to do with that which is seen in Revelation chapters six through nineteen. Then, the latter part of Ruth chapter four has to do with that which is seen in the first part of Revelation chapter twenty — with Christ’s 1,000-year reign, as the Son of David, during the long awaited Messianic Era.
Events surrounding Ruth’s appearance before Boaz, on his threshing floor in Ruth chapter three move beyond events surrounding a separation of the wheat from the chaff. And these subsequent events have to do with three things: redemption, marriage, and regality.
Once on the threshing floor at this time, Ruth, by her words and actions, made known a dual request — a request for both the redemption of a forfeited inheritance and for marriage (cf. Deuteronomy 25:5, 6; 27:20; Ruth 3:8-13; Ezekiel 16:8). And, as seen at the end of the book of Ruth, with the lineage of Boaz and Ruth traced to King David (their great grandson), regality is brought into the picture (Ruth 4:13-22).
(The thought of redemption, marriage, and regality [from the book of Ruth, or from the book of Jeremiah, as well as from the opening chapters of Genesis] — foreshadowing that which is seen in the breaking of the seals of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation chapter five — is developed more fully in the next chapter of this book, Chapter 9.)
Boaz was to redeem the forfeited inheritance and, in the process, take Ruth as his wife. And, because of Ruth’s prior actions (proper preparation, allowing her to now be in a position to make this request), Boaz, in keeping with laws governing the Jewish people, was required to honor Ruth’s request.
In the type, once the prepared bride was revealed on the threshing floor and the request was made, Boaz was seen honoring the request. And exactly the same thing is seen in the antitype in the book of Revelation, with the antitype providing more detail and covering a broader scope of events than this one type covers (though without understanding the type, it is difficult to properly understand this in the antitype).
(Note that Orpah [typifying unfaithful Christians] is not seen beyond the chapter one in the book, for she could have no part in that awaiting Ruth [typifying faithful Christians] — which had to do with the redeemed inheritance, marriage, and regality.)
The antitype begins with events surrounding “the Revelation of Jesus Christ,” as introduced in Revelation 1:1-8, with this revelation occurring during time covering numerous events within a period lasting slightly over seven years. And, as seen in this book, events surrounding “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” begin with the removal of all Christians from the earth to appear before Christ in judgment (1:10ff) and end at least seven years later with Christ’s return to the earth and subsequent events connected with His return, leading into the Messianic Kingdom (19:11ff).
The type in the book of Ruth doesn’t deal with the removal of Christians from the earth, with the unfaithful at the judgment seat, or with an actual judgment per se (though reference is made to judgment through a separation of the wheat from the chaff, along with the time when Ruth appeared [midnight]); nor does the type deal with that which is seen in Revelation chapter four (the twenty-four elders arising from their thrones and casting their crowns before God’s throne).
(For a discussion of the significance of that which is seen by the twenty-four elders arising from their thrones and casting their crowns before God’s throne, refer to chapter 7 in this book.)
Rather than dealing with all of the things seen in the antitype in the opening chapters of the book of Revelation, the type in the book of Ruth deals only with the things emanating out of findings and determinations at the judgment seat, as these things have to do with faithful Christians. The type deals with prepared Christians at the judgment seat (which necessitates their prior removal from the earth) and that which will result from the dual request that they, following the separation of the wheat from the chaff, will make in Christ’s presence — a prepared bride, by her presence, requesting both a redemption of the inheritance (lost through Adam’s sin and subsequent death) and marriage (seen in Revelation 5-19a).
And, beyond this dual request being made, the type, in this same respect, deals only with that which Christ will do in that coming day when this request is made (based on His death and shed blood [Revelation 5:6, 9, 12, 13]) — honor the request by redeeming the inheritance and by taking the revealed bride as His wife.
Christ will honor this dual request in that coming day, in fulfillment of that which is foreshadowed by the type, for exactly the same reasons as seen in the type. A prepared, revealed bride will be present; and, the Son, to remain true to His Word and fulfill the many promises in this Word to the bride (e.g., the overcomer’s promises in Revelation 2, 3), will act accordingly.
Thus, the redemption of the inheritance in Ruth chapter four has to do with exactly the same thing introduced in Revelation chapter five. Matters begin in chapter five, are worked out in chapters six through nineteen (through judgment), and chapter twenty brings events to exactly the same regal place events in the book of Ruth are seen being brought following the redemption of the inheritance in the type (ref. Ruth 4:13-22).
(Many things in the preceding will become more evident later in this chapter and in the next chapter of this book. For a more detailed discussion, refer to the author’s book, Ruth.
1) Redemption of the Inheritance
Comparing the type and the antitype, the order of events within the scope of “the Revelation of Jesus Christ,” as presented in the book of Revelation, can clearly be seen. The “Revelation of Jesus Christ” follows the time of the harvest (present dispensation, seen in Ruth chapter 2), begins with the removal of all Christians from the earth to appear before the judgment seat (Revelation 1:10ff), and continues with the revelation of the bride following this judgment (seen in Ruth chapter 3). And this revelation of the bride must precede the redemption of the inheritance (seen in Ruth chapter 4), for it is the bride who, by her presence, requests both a redemption of the inheritance and marriage.
Ruth chapters three and four center on the revelation of the bride and the redemption of the inheritance, with the bride becoming the wife of the redeemer by and through this redemptive process. And the first nineteen chapters of the book of Revelation are seen centering on exactly the same thing, with everything occurring within the scope of time covered by “the Revelation of Jesus Christ.”
In the book of Revelation, an entire chapter is given over to presenting Christ as the One both able and willing to redeem the inheritance and, in the process, take the previously revealed bride as His wife.
Following events surrounding the judgment seat (chapters 1-3) and the casting of crowns before God’s throne (chapter 4), the search is conducted for one “worthy” to redeem the inheritance (chapter 5). And, the only One found throughout the whole of God’s creation — “in heaven or on the earth or under the earth” (v. 3) — was “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” though revealed in relation to the redemptive process about to occur as “the Lamb as though it had been slain” (vv. 4-12).
(Within the course of the subject matter of the book of Revelation — “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” — two things are seen at the forefront: judgment, and redemption. In connection with the first [judgment], Christ is seen as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah”; and, in connection with the second [redemption], Christ is seen as “the Lamb as though it had been slain.”
This is why Christ is referred to in this two-fold manner in chapter five, for the redemption of the inheritance will occur through judgment. And the One who breaks the seals must be seen acting in both capacities — in a judicial capacity [as the Lion], but also in a redemptive capacity [as the Lamb].
However, within Christ’s work at this time the emphasis, by far, is on the redemptive rather than the judicial nature of the events. Revelation 5:5 is the only place in the entire book where Christ is referred to as the Lion, but He is referred to twenty-eight times in this book as the Lamb. Thus, the emphasis in the book is not on judgment per se, but on redemption emanating out of judgment.)
The future marriage of Christ and His bride will occur exactly in accord with the type that is set forth in Ruth chapter four, not in accord with the way things are done in the modern world, whether in the East or in the West. As Boaz purchased Ruth by the process of redeeming a forfeited inheritance, so will Christ purchase His bride by the process of redeeming a forfeited inheritance (forfeited by the first Adam in Genesis chapter three [cf. Romans 8:20-22]). And, as Ruth became Boaz’s wife by this redemptive process, so will it be with Christ and His bride. The bride (having previously been revealed at the judgment seat) will automatically become Christ’s wife by and through His redemption of the forfeited inheritance.
The redemption of the forfeited inheritance is seen occurring in Revelation chapters five through nineteen. The seven-sealed scroll in Revelation chapter five contains the redemptive terms of the forfeited inheritance (the earth), and chapters six through nineteen reveal judgments and events during the time when the seals are being broken and these terms are being carried out.
Then, near the end of this time, the wedding festivities of the Lamb are seen occurring (Revelation 19:7-9), with a view to the redeemed bride becoming Christ’s wife once the work surrounding the redemption of the inheritance has been completed (Revelaton 19:11-21).
(That the redemption of the inheritance cannot be completed until Christ returns and overthrows Gentile world power [Revelation 19:11-21] is made plain from judgments seen when the seventh seal is opened. Some of these judgments have to do with events surrounding the overthrow of Gentile world power following Christ’s return. This matter is dealt with in Chapters 16-18 in this book. And since the bride becoming Christ’s wife is part and parcel with the redemption of the inheritance, the bride cannot appear as Christ’s wife until following His return and the overthrow of Gentile world power, as seen at the end of Revelation chapter nineteen.)
Thus, though God completes His dealings with Israel within the scope of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy in Revelation chapters six through the first part of chapter nineteen, judgmental matters on earth at this time also pertain to the Church as well, though the Church will be in heaven. This book begins with the Church removed into heaven and judged, followed by the twenty-four elders casting their crowns before God’s throne (chapters 1-4). Then this book continues with the search for One worthy to loose the seals of the seven-sealed scroll — containing the redemptive terms of the forfeited inheritance (chapter 5). And, in succeeding chapters, covering Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week, the book deals with the redemption of the inheritance and with the bride being revealed as Christ’s wife once this redemptive process has been completed.
The redemption of the inheritance in Revelation chapters six through nineteen has to do with the domain over which Christ and His wife, His consort queen (chapter 19), will rule during the succeeding Messianic Era (chapter 20). And it is in the preceding respect that events in these chapters have to do with the Church as well as with Israel, though the Church will be in heaven when these events unfold on earth.
Also note that when Scripture deals with the “marriage” of Christ and His bride, as in Revelation 19:7-9, the reference is always to the festivities surrounding the marriage, not to the marriage itself. There will be no marriage ceremony per se, as we think of marriage in our modern-day culture. There wasn’t one in the type, and there won’t be one in the antitype either. And this is an easy matter to see in both the type (Ruth 4) and the antitype (Revelation 5-19).
The wedding festivities surrounding the marriage of God’s Son — which portend, and in this case necessitate, a marriage — will occur in heaven very near the end of the redemption of the forfeited inheritance. But, as previously seen, the entire redemptive process must be carried out before the bride can become Christ’s wife. In this passage, the marriage festivities are seen occurring immediately preceding the completion of the redemption of the forfeited inheritance (chapters 6-19). Christ’s return and the subsequent overthrow of Gentile world power, as seen in Revelation 19:11-21, completes the redemption of the inheritance; and this will be followed by the long-awaited Messianic Era, during which time Christ will reign as King and His wife as consort queen (20:1ff).
(Note that when the type in the book of Ruth and the antitype in the book of Revelation are viewed together, the chronology of events in connection with “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” is easy to follow.
[The timing of the rapture, as it relates to the Tribulation, has, over the years, come under question by some Bible students. Suffice it to say, a person simply cannot take the complete word picture in the Old Testament (seen by viewing all of the various types on the subject together), set it alongside the New Testament antitype, and come to any conclusion other than seeing the complete Church (all Christians) being removed preceding the Tribulation.
A person must understand that the rapture is the first of the revealed events in “the Revelation of Jesus Christ,” else he will fail to properly understand numerous things about the succeeding revealed events. If one goes wrong with the timing of this beginning event in “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” — the rapture, in relation to the Tribulation (which has to do with the redemption of the inheritance and marriage, necessitating a prior removal of the Church from the earth and a revelation of the bride at the judgment seat) — he will find himself being forced into other erroneous interpretations numerous places throughout the events that follow.]
The rapture is followed by the judgment of Christians [all Christians (2 Corinthians 5:10; cf. Revelation 1:10-20)], the revelation of the bride at the judgment seat [with resulting events (e.g., crowns cast before God’s throne)], the redemption of the inheritance [being concluded and brought into full realization at the time of Christ’s return and the overthrow of Gentile world power], and the bride becoming Christ’s wife [with marriage part and parcel with the redemption of the inheritance].
Then the Messianic Era can be ushered in, with God’s firstborn Sons — Christ, Israel, and the Church [which will have been adopted into a firstborn status at this time] — occupying their proper regal positions on and over the earth.)
2) Result of the Redemption
The result of the redemption of the inheritance — type or antitype — is regal in nature. In the type, Ruth became Boaz’s wife, and Boaz’s lineage is traced to King David (Ruth 4:13-22). In the antitype, the bride will become the wife of the Lamb, who, with His consort queen, will reign as the greater Son of David (2 Samuel 7:12, 13; cf. Matthew 9:27; 12:23; Luke 1:31-33).
The result of the redemption of the inheritance, as seen in the antitype, will be reverential awe and excitement in heaven, undoubtedly of a nature not heretofore seen.
John first heard “a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments . . . .’” (Revelation 19:1-3). Then John saw the twenty-four elders, along with the four living creatures, as they “fell down and worshipped God who sat on the throne, saying, ‘Amen! Alleluia!’” (v. 4). Then John heard a voice coming out of the throne that said, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!” (v. 5). This was then followed by John hearing a voice that he described as that of “a great multitude . . . many waters . . . mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!’” (v. 6).
Then, for the first time since the inheritance began to be redeemed, the bride comes back into view. But, the one previously seen as the bride is now seen as one about to become the wife of the Lamb — the one about to become the wife of the One who will shortly complete the redemption of the inheritance, the One who through judgments at the time of His return will take the bride as His wife.
Note how all this is anticipated in Revelation 19:7-9:
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage [marriage festivities] of the Lamb has come, and His wife [Greek: gune, meaning “woman,” (marital status unknown by the use of this word); but here, contextually, still Christ’s bride, not yet His wife (ref. NASB, NIV)] has made herself ready.
And to her it was granted to be arrayed [lit., “array herself”] in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. [lit., “righteousnesses of the saints,” or “righteous acts of the saints”].
Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper [or “marriage banquet, festivities”] of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:7-9).
And John, having previously been shown all the various things surrounding “the Revelation of Jesus Christ,” beginning with the removal of Christians from the earth, now finds himself at this climactic point. The completion of the redemption of the inheritance is about to occur, the previously revealed bride is about to become the Lamb’s wife, and the marriage festivities (with a view to ensuing events) can at last begin. And John, having been shown these things and finding himself at this climactic point, could do no more than fall at the feet of the one who revealed these things to him (v. 10).
Thus, the entire sequence of unfolding events in the book of Revelation — foreshadowed by unfolding events in the book of Ruth — can only be seen as regal in nature, in complete keeping with the way man was introduced at the time of his creation.
God’s first statement relative to man — an entirely new creation in God’s universe, one created in His own “image” and “likeness” — was, “let them [the man and the woman together] have dominion [Hebrew: radah, ‘rule’]” (Genesis 1:26). The first man, the first Adam, was to reign as king, with his wife reigning at his side as consort queen. And, though the fall ensued, with the domain remaining under Satan’s control, God’s purpose for man’s creation in the beginning remained unchanged.
And this purpose is seen being brought to fruition 6,000 years later in the book of Revelation. Following events seen in the first nineteen chapters of this book, the second Man, the last Adam, will reign as King, with His wife reigning at His side as consort queen (chapter 20a).
The Spirit is in the world today searching for a bride for God’s Son. Once the bride has been procured, all Christians will be removed from the earth. And the bride will then be singled out and revealed at the judgment seat (Revelation 1-3). Crowns will then be relinquished by one group of angels, with a view to man, after 6,000 years of sin and death, at last finding himself in a position to realize the purpose for his creation in the beginning (Revelation 4).
The inheritance will then be redeemed — the domain over which Satan and his angels presently rule, but the domain over which Christ and His consort queen will be about to rule (Revelation 5-19a). Then, once the inheritance has been redeemed, the bride will be revealed as Christ’s wife. And ensuing events (which will include crowns forcibly taken from Satan and his angels at the time of their overthrow) will lead into the Messianic Era, when the King with His consort queen, at long last, will hold the scepter (Revelation 20a).