A Bible Study:
The Revelation to John
May 30, 2006
A Study of The Revelation to John
By Bernie Parsons - May 30, 2006
The following is a study of the book of Revelation that I began on November 21, 2004, at the Load, Kentucky, church of Christ. I finished the study with them on December 18, 2005. I also started the study with the church of Christ at Globe, in Greenup County, Kentucky, in on April 3, 2005.
Before studying the Revelation given to John, it is wise to first study from the book of Daniel, as well as the words of Jesus in Matthew chapters 23 and 24, and Luke chapters 17 and 21, in particular. There is much else written throughout both Old and New Testaments about these events in question, much of which will be introduced during this study of Revelation.
A Study From the Book of Daniel
The Beasts of Daniel Chapter 2
King Nebuchanezzar had a dream, which Daniel alone was able to tell, and interpret.
Daniel 2:31: “Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
32: This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
33: His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
34: Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
35: Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
36: This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
37: Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
38: And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
39: And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
40: And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
41: And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
42: And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
43: And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
44: And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
45: Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”
This lays the foundation for all that is to follow. In this dream were seen four kingdoms of men, and a fifth kingdom—the kingdom of God. The four are not regular kingdoms, but great and significant ones—four great empires of man. The importance of recognizing these as empires is critical, as emperors declared themselves to be kings of kings! Daniel informed Nebuchadnezzar that his Babylonian empire was the statue’s head of gold, indicating nobility, precious value, and softness. This is in relation to the following three empires.
The breast of the statue, representing the second empire, was of silver. Silver is of less value than gold—although a still precious metal, and is harder than gold, indicating that the second empire—the Medo-Persian—would be less refined, coarser, and harder on those whom they would conquer.
The brass thighs of the statue, representing the third empire, are speaking of the Grecian (Macedonian) empire, under Alexander the Great. Brass is less precious, and more utilitarian, and is much harder than gold or silver. There is a coarsening of the quality of the statue with each succeeding empire. Each is more warlike, and the people more inclined to a more idolatrous and coarse lifestyle, than the preceding.
The legs of iron are indicative of the Roman Empire, which was a rough, coarse society. Through a tendency to war on their neighbors, each succeeding empire was larger than the one before it. By the time of the Roman Empire, it was a war machine, crushing its opposition, and ruling with an iron hand. Iron is the hardest of the four metals, and one used for weapon making rather than jewelry and adornment.
Interestingly, the feet were iron mixed with miry clay. This signifies that the empire would branch out so much, that it could no longer absorb the people into its culture. In fact, this mixing so rapidly with people of many languages and cultures made it difficult to rule such a far-flung empire.
The undoing of the fourth empire is the stone, cut from the mountain without human hands. It is the eternal kingdom of God, which would break into pieces and consume all of the four kingdoms, which would be buried under the dust heaps of history.