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Blessed: The Promise-Shaped Patterns that Resolve in Revelation with Jim Hamilton (Episode 7)

This article is part of the Blessed: Conversations on the Book of Revelation with Nancy Guthrie series.

Promise-Shaped Patterns throughout Scripture

Join Nancy Guthrie as she talks with Jim Hamilton about how our understanding of the book of Revelation hinges on our understanding of the promises of God throughout the rest of Scripture.

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Blessed

Nancy Guthrie

Blessed, by bestselling author and speaker Nancy Guthrie, gives individuals and small groups a friendly, theologically reliable, and robust guide to understanding the book of Revelation.

Topics Addressed in This Interview:

01:49 - What Is a Promised-Shaped Pattern?

Nancy Guthrie
Jim, thank you so much for being willing to help us as we want to learn more about Revelation.

Jim Hamilton
Thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here.

Nancy Guthrie
I first became familiar with Dr. Hamilton when I read his book God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment. With that title itself, I was like, I’ve got to understand that. It was one of the biggest books I think I had ever bought at the time. I just loved how it worked its way through the Bible showing salvation. Not just salvation on its own, but that salvation always actually comes through judgment. We’ll get back to talking about that a little more as we go along, but one reason I wanted to talk to Dr. Hamilton is he wrote the commentary on the book of Revelation called Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches in Crossway’s Preaching the Word commentary series. He’s written a number of other books as well. His newest book is called Typology-Understanding the Bible’s Promised-Shaped Patterns: How Old Testament Expectations Are Fulfilled in Christ.

Jim Hamilton
It’s quite a title.

Nancy Guthrie
I love this. When I saw that book I thought to myself, Okay, these promised-shaped patterns—where is it they come to their climax? Well, in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But then, where are all of these patterns that begin in the Old Testament? Where do they find their resolution? The book of Revelation. Maybe we should begin by you just telling us what you mean by that big, long title and that whole idea of promised-shaped patterns. What do you mean?

Jim Hamilton
What I have in mind is the way that when God’s word comes to people in the form of a promise, it then begins to shape their expectations. We can go all the way back to the very first one, which is actually in a word of judgment. This is Genesis 3:15, which is a word of judgment that also hints at salvation as the Lord actually says, in words of judgment over the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed.” For the man and the woman, who at that point I think are expecting to die. The prohibition is, “In the day you eat of the tree, you will surely die.” Now that God has spoken this word of judgment to the serpent, which includes enmity between the serpent and the woman and between his seed and her seed, now she’s thinking (because of those words from God), Okay, I’m going to be at enmity with this evil beast that has led me into sin. That means I’m going to be on God’s side. It also means I get to go on living. In the words of promise there is revelation that shapes her expectation about the future. She begins to now expect enmity between herself and the serpent, and enmity between her offspring and the offspring of the serpent. As the narratives continue to unfold, we get more information about what this is going to look like, but it’s information that is filtered through the words of promise so that the promises actually shape the patterns, and they shape the biblical author’s interpretations of the patterns.

Nancy Guthrie
And really, we can’t understand the rest of the Bible unless we understand that promise and begin looking for that fulfillment.

Jim Hamilton
Amen. Right away in Genesis 4:11, the Lord says the same words to Cain that he had spoken to the serpent. He said to the serpent in Genesis 3:14, “Cursed are you,” and then he says to Cain in Genesis 4:11, “Cursed after you.” This is after Cain has killed Abel. What that does is it identifies for us people who act like the serpent as the seed of the serpent. This leads to John, of course, in 1 John 3 saying that Cain was “of the evil one.” He was from the seed of the serpent. The words of promise are, I think, shaping the way that the author of Genesis—I would take this to be Moses—the words of promise in Genesis 3:15 are shaping what Moses chooses to include in Genesis 4. He’s careful to include this statement in Genesis 4:11 that identifies Cain with the serpent, because he’s informed by the promise of Genesis 3:15.

07:28 - The Defeat of the Ancient Serpent

Nancy Guthrie
As I think about what that means for someone who’s getting ready to study the book of Revelation, first of all we could trace that all the way through the Bible and that would be fun for us to do. But I want to try to do this with several of these promised-shaped patterns in a short time, so let’s jump ahead and I think we have to stop at the cross. At the cross, that’s where Paul would say that the record of our sins was nailed and that’s where Jesus defeated the powers of darkness in his death and resurrection. But really, it’s not until Revelation that that pattern, that final and ultimate defeat, occurs. And actually, when Revelation refers to Satan it calls him “that ancient serpent.” Talk to us a little bit about how understanding what we read in Revelation about the final destruction of that ancient serpent. How does that help us to see that in light of the whole story that began back there in Genesis 3:15?

Jim Hamilton
Actually, in Revelation 12 John describes this sign that he sees in heaven. By calling it a sign he’s telling us that this is symbolic material. He sees this woman, and she’s clothed with the sun and the moon, and on her head is a crown of twelve starts. I think this is meant to recall Joseph’s dream where the sun, moon, and the stars are bowing down to him. There are these patterns of expectation of the child of promise who is going to be raised up to deliver the Lord’s people, as Joseph does in Genesis. Then, this dragon is there, ready to eat this child—devour it—as soon as it’s born, but the child is caught up to God and to his throne. The child, in Revelation 12:5, is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. This is Psalm 2, which I think is identifying the child as the Messiah. What I think happens there when the child is caught up to God in heaven is it’s like we skip from the birth of Jesus to the ascension of Jesus, assuming the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Then, as it were, in response to the career of the Lord Jesus on earth, there is this war in heaven and Satan is thrown out of heaven. It’s interesting that prior to this—prior to the cross of Christ—you have these scenes in the Old Testament where Satan comes as the accuser against the Lord’s people—Job 1 and 2, and also Zechariah 3. Satan is standing there as the accuser, and he’s accusing Joshua, the high priest. He’s rebuked on that occasion, but he’s there in the heavenly court. Well now, in Revelation 12:10, after Satan is cast out of heaven, I think because of the cross work of the Lord Jesus, John writes, “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 brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.’” I think this means that Satan has no more standing in the heavenly court to accuse the people of God.

Nancy Guthrie
You know, Jim, I think this is a good place to talk about the fact that we so often think about Revelation as being all about the future, especially some of these very vivid pictures. But I think what you’ve just shown is, first of all, it showed us something from the very beginning of redemptive history—that covenant community, in a sense, gives birth to the Messiah. We see the Messiah’s life, death, and resurrection. It’s telling us there that the accuser has been thrown out. That's something that’s not future. That happened in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and he entered into heaven and now no longer can Satan accuse us because Jesus has dealt with our sin and guilt on the cross. Go on. What’s going to happen with this serpent?

Jim Hamilton
Right after that, the dragon goes after the woman. She’s delivered, and she’s delivered in ways that are reminiscent of Old Testament deliverances. The dragon, for instance in verse 14, is going after this woman but the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness to the place where she is to be nourished. I think what John is doing here is he’s recalling the way that in Exodus 19 when the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt and he got them to Mount Sinai, he says to them right before he makes the kingdom of priests/holy nations statement, “You yourselves have seen how I bore you on the wings of an eagle to myself.” Isaiah picks that up and says in Isaiah 40:31, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, and they will mount up with the wings of an eagle.” I think that John is saying now that Christ has conquered, the Lord is still delivering his people on the wings of an eagle the way that he did at the exodus and the way Isaiah prophesied that he would at the new exodus. Then, right after that, the dragon causes this flood: “The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with a flood” (v. 15). The earth comes to the help of the woman and opens its mouth and swallows the river. It’s as though Satan is trying to bring judgment upon his enemies the way that God has brought judgment on his enemies, and God will not allow Satan to accomplish those purposes. Finally, in verse 17, “The dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her seed.” So it’s like he’s attempting to devour the singular seed of the woman—the Lord Jesus—and he’s unable to accomplish that purpose, so he goes off to make war on the rest of the seed of the woman. We’re told in Revelation 12:17 that the rest of the seed of the woman are those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. So, this is Christians.

Nancy Guthrie
This speaks to our world right now, today. As you and I are having this conversation, we were praying about a situation in the world where we know that our brothers and sisters in Christ—we look at the news and we see the reports through a very human, earth-bound view, but in a sense we could look at what’s happening through the lens of Revelation, couldn’t we? There is a greater evil underneath what we are seeing.

Jim Hamilton
Yes. There is ongoing enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.

Nancy Guthrie
It’s not over.

Jim Hamilton
Right. Our understanding has been shaped by those words of promises again.

Nancy Guthrie
What do you mean by that?

Jim Hamilton
The promises have shaped the patterns that the biblical authors have written into their accounts, and then as we are informed by the promises and the patterns, our understanding of what we are experiencing and what we’re seeing in the world is likewise shaped by both the promises and the dynamic relationship between the promises and the patterns.

Nancy Guthrie
The promise was the crushing of the head. The evil that infiltrated that original garden will one day be gone for good, and we are going to enter into a new garden. We read in Revelation 21 that nothing evil will ever enter it. When I read that line, and I don’t know about you, but I just think he’s thinking about the original garden. He’s about to tell us about this new—

Jim Hamilton
No serpent is going to come in and tempt us.

Nancy Guthrie
Nothing evil is ever going to enter into this garden and sully it like it did before.

Jim Hamilton
Amen. We see in Revelation that there will be a lot of ongoing enmity between the serpent and his seed and the seed of the woman. One outworking of that enmity is the way that in Revelation 13 these people who refuse to take the mark of the beast, it’s granted to the beast to cause them to be slain. Then, at the beginning of Revelation 20, those people who were slain for refusing to take the mark of the beast—they faithfully endured under persecution, and in the terms of Revelation 12:11, “They loved not their lives, even unto death”—those people are going to be raised from the dead. So, Satan does not ultimately conquer them. They suffer, and then they are rewarded with the resurrection. And then Satan himself, at the end of Revelation 20, is thrown into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet already were.

Nancy Guthrie
And then we have a huge sense of relief.

Jim Hamilton
Yes, hallelujah! The enemy is finally defeated.

Nancy Guthrie
It’s dealt with. Then, we turn the page where we read about this new heaven and this new earth, this new garden and this new temple, this new city and community. There we read that nothing evil will ever enter into it. Surely, there John is thinking about that original garden where that promise was first given, that evil would be dealt with, and we don’t have to worry about evil every entering into this what I call “Eden 2.0.”

Jim Hamilton
What’s presented to us here in Revelation 21 and 22 is also informed by the garden and the temple and the tabernacle, because the city is this perfect cube. I think that this is meant to indicate that the city represents what the holy of holies represented, so that what we’re really getting is a cosmic temple. I would argue, with many others (G. K. Beale has a great book on this called The Temple and the Church’s Mission), that Moses intended to communicate a relationship between the Garden of Eden and the tabernacle as he narrates the making of Eden and the instructions and the building of the tabernacle. Moses set this up so that his readers would see points of contact between these things. This informs not only our understanding of the world that we live in—a temple is a place where God is present, God is worshiped, God is served, God is known, and he’s with his people. And that’s what the world was made to be, a place where God is present, served, worshiped, known, and with his people. Because sin has defiled the temple—by our sin we’ve brought about a separation between ourselves and God—and the Bible is telling us that that separation is one day going to be brought to an end. The cosmic temple will be renewed and purified, and God’s original purposes for creation will be realized in the new heavens and the new earth, which are the fulfillment of the Garden of Eden, the tabernacle, the temple, the land of Israel, and the church.

17:34 - The Pattern of Creation

Nancy Guthrie
All of these things are patterns that are showing us something about why the world is the way it is and how God is dealing with the way that the world is. In your new book, I think you work your way through maybe nine or ten of these patterns. I’ll throw out one: creation.

Jim Hamilton
We were just talking about this: the world being made as a cosmic temple, it’s defiled by sin, but God reinstitutes the project through the tabernacle and the temple and the promise of land. Then, the church becomes the new temple and the new creation. Paul says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” He also says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.”

Nancy Guthrie
The new creation has come! It’s beginning right there on the interior of our lives.

Jim Hamilton
Yes. And then John depicts this being fulfilled. Obviously, that part is through Christ. And then John depicts it fulfilled in the new heavens and the new earth.

18:32 - The Righteous Sufferer

Nancy Guthrie
It’s so clear, isn’t it? We read in Genesis 1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” And then we turn to Revelation 21, “And I saw coming down out of heaven a new heavens and a new earth.” The righteous sufferer. Tell me what you mean by that.

Jim Hamilton
All through the Old Testament we have these figures who are obedient to Lord—it starts with Abel. The Lord has regard for Abel’s sacrifice, and then Cain murders him. It’s enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. Then, we have Isaac who’s being mocked by Ishmael, and then we have Jacob. Jacob is not necessarily righteous, but Esau wants to kill him and Jacob is clearly the Lord’s chosen. Then, we have Joseph. We don’t read of any sins that Joseph committed, but his brothers want to kill him and then they sell him into slavery. Then, the Lord raises up Moses, and the people of Israel reject him and persecute him and want to stone him at various points. Then, we have a figure like David. The prophet Samuel annoints him to be king, Saul starts trying to kill him and he’s chasing him around the wilderness. These patterns all build toward the prophets themselves, who are also righteous sufferers: Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah. All of these guys are faithful to the Lord; they’re rejected by the establishment in Israel. That whole pattern culminates in Christ. It comes to its fulfillment in Christ. In the book of Revelation there are significant points of contact between, for instance, Jesus being the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of Jesse who has conquered, and then John turns and sees the Lamb standing as though slain (Rev. 5). There are points of contact between that and Isaiah 53: “He grew up before us as a root out of dry ground.” That root in Isaiah 53 is the shoot that will come from the stump of Jesse in Isaiah 11. In Isaiah 53 we also have reference to this figure who is a lamb, who is led to its shearers and is silent. There’s this conquest through defeat. The cross work of the Lord Jesus, whereby the glorious defeat of the cross is his moment of triumph and results in him being the Lamb, standing as though slain. He creates a situation where his followers are to conquer in the same way that he conquered.

Nancy Guthrie
That seems to me to be a really important message of Revelation. When you get, I think it’s in chapter 11, where it’s talking about these witnesses and it says that they will be trampled, it’s a gulp to read. Really, if you’re looking for a Christian life in which somehow Jesus is a tool to make your life easier, maybe Revelation isn’t the book for you because Revelation’s message is you should expect that staying faithful to Jesus Christ is going to look like defeat to the world. It’s not going to look like victory to the world, and this is why we need this divine perspective from heaven to help us understand that what we can see in this world is not all that there is. In fact, it’s going to look like glorious victory. But there in Revelation 11, you’ve got this picture of you should expect to suffer. You’ll be trampled by it. What’s fascinating to me in that passage is the way that John describes what’s going to happen seems very purposefully to sound exactly like what happened to Jesus. They die, then they’re given the breath of life—

Jim Hamilton
Yes, after three days.

Nancy Guthrie
Right, after three days. So you see death, but you also see that just as you are going to share in his suffering, you will share in his resurrection, which is such good news to us as believers.

Jim Hamilton
Amen.

22:45 - King and Kingdom

Nancy Guthrie
Alright, we didn’t say that one very quickly. Let’s do king and kingdom. Certainly, when we get to Revelation, we see a king has arrived, but where does that come from?

Jim Hamilton
I would argue that over God’s cosmic temple he installs a king-priest in Adam. Adam is not directly called a king, but he’s given dominion. He’s not directly called a priest, but he’s to work and keep the garden in the way that the Levites were to work and keep the tabernacle. So, I would argue that Adam is a royal priest in the Garden of Eden. And then we’re given this figure of Melchizedek, who is a royal priest, in Genesis 14. Then, the nation of Israel is designated as a royal priest.

Nancy Guthrie
“You’ll be a kingdom of priests” they are told when they come out of the exodus.

Jim Hamilton
That’s exactly right. Though David is not called a priest, it’s interesting that the only people to be anointed in the Pentateuch are the priests. When the prophet, Samuel, is instructed to go anoint the king, people are naturally going to think of the priests because the only people we anoint, according to the Pentateuch, are the priests. Now we're going to anoint a king, and this is associating the king with the priesthood, I think. As you continue through the Old Testament, there are various ways in which David and others take up priestly roles. This builds, I think, to Psalm 110 where the future king from David’s line is told that he will be a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Then, in the New Testament, and specifically in Revelation, you have Jesus in Revelation 1, when John sees him, he is clearly the reigning King. He’s going to be identified at the end of the book as the King of Kings, but he’s also clothed like the high priest of Israel. John writes in Revelation 1:6 that Jesus “made us a kingdom, priests to his God.” So, it’s as though this whole theme of royal priesthood comes to its fulfillment in Christ, who then enables his people to be like him in that they are royal priests. Again, in Revelation 5:10, “You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Christ reigns as the royal priest and his people administer his reign as royal priests.

25:14 - The Pitfall of Importing Our Own Meaning into Revelation

Nancy Guthrie
One thing that’s coming clear to me as you talk, Jim, and it was so clear to me as I worked on Revelation too, is that this is not a book that we can understand in isolation. All of these pictures and images, we can’t simply import neatly. When we read about a kingdom or priests, we can’t import meaning into those words simply from our life experience and what we look at around us. Here is John on the Island of Patmos and he has been marinating in the Old Testament. For his whole life he’s been reading Moses and the Prophets. In a sense, when we read the book of Revelation, one reason perhaps all of these patterns come through is those so make up his understanding of what God is doing in the world that these are the words he speaks. John doesn’t so much quote the Old Testament as it just seems to be kind of the fabric. Over and over again we’re hearing allusions. He’ll use a little phrase or a little descriptor or an image. What’s interesting is it seems so many people approach Revelation and they see those things and they want to look out into the world today. But it seems to me that in Revelation our instinct always has to be, and you’re showing us this, is Where did this come from? What had John so filled his mind with in the Old Testament that would cause him to use an image like locusts or a scroll or any of these kinds of things? Can you speak to that a little bit?

Jim Hamilton
I would define biblical theology as the attempt to understand and embrace the interpretive perspective of the biblical authors. What you’re describing that John has done is exactly what I’m talking about, where the Bible has really come to be the set of lenses through which John views the world. John has ground these lenses on the words and the images and the teachings and the perspective of earlier biblical authors so that when he looks at the world, he sees the world as they saw it. John, I would argue, in Revelation is really doing biblical theology, and he’s learned to do this from Moses and the Prophets and from Jesus and probably from his interaction with the other apostles—Paul and Peter and the rest. We’re not inspired by the Holy Spirit and we were not designated by the Lord Jesus as apostles, but we want to learn that same perspective from the biblical authors so that when we read the Bible what we’re trying to do is say, What’s the perspective from which all this was written? What informs this perspective? The answer to that is, as you said, earlier Scripture so we want to marinate ourselves in that, and then we want to try to figure out how John is looking at the world, and then look at the world that way.

Nancy Guthrie
Do you have any practical advice for someone who is coming to Revelation and it’s tough going because they’re having a lot to process, but they want to understand it in the way that you’re talking about. Maybe they don’t have as much ingrained Old Testament understanding, certainly as John had or as you had. Is there any practical way that as they work through Revelation what can help them see those things?

Jim Hamilton
I think the most important thing that any of us can do is just read the Bible a lot. If we’re in a situation where maybe we don’t have lots of time to read, we have all these ways today to listen to the Bible. If you have the ESV App on your phone, you can touch the screen and this little speaker will come up. You can touch that speaker and hit “play,” and David Cochran Heath will start reading the Bible to you. It’s amazing the ways that we can access the Scriptures today. I think the more thoroughly acquainted we are with the whole Bible, then when we read Revelation, I often encourage people to send up their biblical awareness antennae so that you really turn on your biblical knowledge apparatus and employ that as you think about what you’re reading. Often I think people just don’t do that. They’re very familiar with earlier Scripture, but they don’t reflect on it. For instance, that woman in Revelation 12 who is clothed with the sun and the moon and she has the twelve stars under her feet. We don’t stop and think, Where do I see twelve? Where do I get that imagery before? In Revelation 10 there’s this massive angel with these pillars of fire and cloud for his legs.

Nancy Guthrie
Where have I heard that before?

Jim Hamilton
Exactly. We should think, Why would John use imagery from Israel being led through the wilderness when he talks about this angel? I would propose that John is saying that Christ is the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb, and that through the revelation that he’s providing, God is going to lead his people through the wilderness to the new and better Jerusalem in the new heavens and the new earth, in the same way that he led his people through the forty years in the wilderness. That imagery is informing how we are to understand what John is doing as he eats the scroll and begins to prophesy.

Nancy Guthrie
Your advice was to read the Bible a lot.

Jim Hamilton
Yes. That’s the practical thing.

Nancy Guthrie
I agree. Can I add something to that? I think it’s what you’ve demonstrated in all of your books, and particularly in this new book, Typology-Understanding the Bible’s Promised-Shaped Patterns: How Old Testament Expectations Are Fulfilled in Christ. If we go to that reading with already a sense of some of these major themes, patterns, or types, that we can expect to see—wherever we are in the Scripture—when we see one of those images jump up, it guides us into the Holy Spirit intended meaning for the text. So, a basic biblical literacy skill. I didn’t grow up with that. I don’t know if you grew up understanding these kinds of things, but I didn’t grow up with that. I think for a lot of us it’s a skill we have to develop. It’s a knowledge base we have to develop of understanding these major themes. You call them patterns in this book. For example, the patterns you have in the book are creation, the righteous sufferer, the three-fold office of king, priest, prophet. I think you had the exodus and the new exodus in there. You have what you called Leviticult—basically the Leviticus presentation of sacrifice. Then, a very important theme we see beginning in the Bible is marriage. There’s also the temple, and we talked some about that. So, whenever we would see one of those themes, that should kind of make us pay attention. I think it’s the same in Revelation because these themes and imagery are pervasive, especially when we get to Revelation 21. It is a typologist’s dream right there. We start out with this new creation, and it is presented as a bride—that should make us see the marriage imagery. Then, there’s a city. We think about all the cities in the Bible, and then here’s the New Jerusalem. Then we get to the scope of it being a perfect cube. If we’re familiar with temple imagery, then we think, Temple. Garden. I think all of those things really serve us well throughout the whole of the Bible, but particularly when we get to Revelation.

Jim Hamilton
No doubt. I should have added another practical step, which is people can read a book like Blessed. Hallelujah! They should definitely do that. The way that a lot of this imagery functions is similar to the way that the American flag functions. The more that we know about American history, or even the lady Betsy Ross who stitched the flag, or the symbolism of the stars and stripes, the more we will appreciate it when we see the flag being waved. Or when we hear someone reference the red, white, and blue. These things will resonate with us a lot more, and this is the way that the symbolism and the imagery and the patterns of the Bible are intended to work. The more familiar we are with the background and the history of these things, the more the symbol will speak to us when we encounter it.

34:25 - Salvation Always Comes Through Judgment

Nancy Guthrie
Our time is about up, but because I promised earlier and because I did love your book, God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment, will you please tell us briefly how Revelation shows us the beautiful culmination of salvation in judgment that begins at the very beginning of the Bible?

Jim Hamilton
Yes. The big salvation through judgment in all of the New Testament is the way that judgment fell on Christ, and through that his people can be saved. That note is sounded all through the book of Revelation. From the beginning of the book where John says, “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” (Rev. 1:5), all through Revelation 5 with the Lamb standing as though slain, to the end where they’re saying, “Salvation belongs to our God and to the Lamb.” Salvation is possible because judgment fell on the Lamb. But then also, through the book what we’re seeing is God judging his enemies repeatedly. As God judges his enemies, he spares his people from that judgment. He saves his people through the judgment of their enemies so that in Revelation 7 when the servants of God are sealed, that seal protects them from the wrath that falls when the trumpets are blown. And then also as we read the book of Revelation, we also see the serpent trying to bring judgment upon his enemies, but he’s ineffective. I think that the number of the beast is like this false imitation, this fake, cheap imitation of God’s sealing of his saints. The beast tries to bring wrath upon the servants of God, but he can’t keep them dead. God is going to raise them from the dead. The book is telling us that God accomplishes salvation through judgment, and Satan tries to imitate God but he fails point after point. This also is exalting the Lord and causing us to seek to be faithful unto death, confident that he will raise us from the dead.

Nancy Guthrie
I would say that the whole book of Revelation has the shape, in a sense, of salvation through judgment. We begin hearing about the judgment that’s coming on us even now in this time in between his first coming and his second through the seals and the trumpets. It gets heavier in the bowls, and then we get into Revelation 17–19—there’s the judgment. The final judgment. Evil is done with for good. But it’s that judgment that has cleansed the world so that the new creation can come in. All of these people we see coming into this city, this garden, this temple in Revelation 21 and 22, they are people who have been, as you talked about, sealed, marked for protection. It’s not that they were somehow out of the scene when judgment fell. It’s that they were protected in judgment. Just like Noah was protected in judgment. Just like those people of Israel who put blood on their door and were protected when judgment came down.

Jim Hamilton
Yes. And then at the Red Sea they passed through the waters that are going to close over the army of Pharaoh.

Nancy Guthrie
Revelation just shows us such a beautiful picture of that. Dr. Hamilton, thank you so much. We really do want to hear what is in Revelation so that we can keep it. When I think about these patterns that you’ve been talking about, perhaps one way we keep these is we think through each of them and we say, What is it going to mean for me to be in this kingdom? What is it going to mean for me to be in this new creation as it begins to work its way in my life, even now? What my relationship to this Lamb? According to Revelation, am I going to be hiding from him? Or am I going to be protected by him? Thank you so much for being willing to talk with us about Revelation.

Jim Hamilton
My pleasure. Thank you.



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In this new podcast, Nancy Guthrie—author, Bible teacher, and podcast host—leads listeners to a deeper understanding of the book of Revelation through conversations with respected Bible scholars, pastors, and other Bible teachers.


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