Summary of Revelation Chapters 14-16 [1]

The End Times

In my last post, we unpacked Revelation 16:17-21 to explore The Seventh Bowl. In this post, we summarize what we have learned from Revelation Chapters 14-16.

We have now concluded the final cycle of sevens: Seals, Shofars, and Bowls. 

The Historicist view has seen the final overthrow of the papacy depicted in these final judgments.  The language is primarily symbolic, referring to the French Revolution and subsequent events in Europen history; as well as some yet future event that topples the papacy.

The Preterist position is divided between those who see this as a continuation of the prophecy of the downfall of Jerusalem and those who believe that subject was left behind [no pun intended] in Chapter 11.  The latter opinion sees this section as representing God’s judgment upon the Roman Empire.

Futurists find in these chapters the very end of the Tribulation period.  Just before the return of Yeshua, unprecedented judgments will be sent against the rebellious, HaSatan worshipers who have taken the Mark of the Beast.  The climax will be the final Great Battle of Har Meggido, involving millions of troops from the majority of militarized [read nuclear] nations. Yeshua will bring this war to a final conclusion at His Second Coming as we will later learn in Chapter 19.

Idealist interpreters find a recapitulation of the shofars series here, with an increase in intensity. These “last plagues” may be “last” in the sense of occurring at the end of time.  They are the last stroke of personal judgment from God.

Summary of Revelation Chapters 17-19[2]

The Great Bavel

Who or what does Bavel represent? When do these events occur?

Historicist Approach:

  • The fall of Bavel, the harlot, is the overthrow of the papal system of religion and government as yet to be seen in the future. These chapters feature the divergent reactions of the godly and the ungodly to this final vindication of true religion.
  • The rider on the white horse represents the ongoing conquests of Yeshua through His Word or His continuing campaign of judgment upon other enemies.

Preterist Approach:

  • Bavel is identified either with Rome or Jerusalem.
  • If the former, these chapters describe the downfall of the Roman Empire and especially the city of Rome, the harlot.
  • If Bavel is Jerusalem, these visions depict the burning of that city by the Romans and the mixed reactions of the wicked and the righteous.

Futurist Approach:

  • Bavel may represent the Catholic Church or some great apostate religious entity forming under the Anti-Messiah in the end times.
  • Alternatively, Bavel may be a city ~ either the restoration of ancient Bavel or a revived Rome.
  • In any case, this great enemy of truth and righteousness will be destroyed at the end of the Tribulation to the chagrin of the wicked but rejoicing of the righteous.
  • Yeshua visibly returns to earth in Chapter 19, riding a white horse.

Idealist Approach:

  • Bavel represents the world system as the seducer of the godly. [This certainly seems to be true in our day and age.]
  • Its destruction at the end of the age is depicted in terms of its current manifestation in Yochanan’s time: Rome.
  • The ultimate judgment upon the harlot comes through Yeshua at His Second Coming, who is the rider of the white horse. [Sounds right to me.]
  • Alternatively, the rider may represent Yeshua’s more gradual conquests over the world system through the preaching of the Besorah. [???]

[Just when I thought I was beginning to understand some of the Idealists viewpoints ~ I still really don’t ~ they throw out these curve balls.  I never could hit one in Little League.]

In my next post, we will explore a Revelation 17:1-6 as we examine The Vision of the Harlot.

Click here for PDF version.

[1] Material in this post is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg. Notations in brackets, if any, are my comments.

[2] Ibid.

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