As I have been studying The Revelation, I think I’m coming to realize something… there’s nothing in the last book of the Bible that isn’t also found in other books of the Bible. Stop —- Rewind — read that again.
The Old Testament is quoted more in The Revelation than any other book in the New Testament. John alludes to or quotes the OT 249 times in 22 chapters! That means without a decent understanding of the Old Testament it is impossible to comprehend what John wrote.
The difference between what is found in the Old Testament and The Revelation is that John writes in an apocalyptic style. Yet there are many metaphors, quotes, and allusions that are unmistakably found in both testaments. Thus it is wise to understand The Revelation in light of the Old Testament passages!
Here are a few offerings from The Revelation and Old Testament reference…
1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. (Daniel 7:9 and Daniel 10:6)
4:6 And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say… (Ezekiel 1:10)
4:8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,”Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Isaiah 6:2-4)
6:2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer. 6:4 Out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another, and he was given a great sword. 6:5 And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. 6:8 And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him… (Zechariah 6:1-5)
7:1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea… (Daniel 7:2)
And there are many more. Again… the point is that there is nothing new in The Revelation that isn’t already mentioned in the Scripture elsewhere. John is just recounting what he was shown and recording it in apocalyptic style. Thus the readers of the first century knew exactly what John was alluding to. They did have the ability to know the point John was writing about in The Revelation. They were not in the dark… they got the message loud and clear.
Just food for thought…