For many years, I studied and read what had been written about
Revelation I was continually plagued with not being able to fully
understand how all Scriptures on prophecy fit into what I was reading
One that particularly bothered me was the fourth “Seal,” whose
rider is death It did not seem reasonable to equate death with a
plague when all of mankind dies The Scripture says that it was
appointed once for man to die and then the judgment
As I sought the Lord for understanding, the first thing that
became evident was that the end will come as an act of God, not
as a result of war or atomic fallout or anything that man will do As
a result of that, I became convinced that a book should be written
entitled Alpha, Omega, Alpha; that is, God is the beginning (Alpha);
God is the end (Omega); God will be a new beginning (Alpha) In
this way, the Lord began a long process that brought me to write
Alpha, Omega, Alpha
For several years, I thought the Lord would have me to meet
a writer whom I could help understand some things the Lord was
teaching me so that he could write the book However, I never met
this writer
Finally, after completing a mission project that took two years
of my life, I began to seek my Lord for his direction He gave me
an overwhelming challenge to put into words the thoughts he had
given me about understanding prophecy For approximately six
months, my every thought and all my energy was concentrated on
the twenty-two chapters of Revelation Then two things happened
that gave me the courage and motivation to begin to write
First, I had some ideas of interpretation that needed to be compared
to Old Testament prophecy I turned to Daniel and began
reading I was amazed at how clearly they fi t together, but when I
Alpha, Omega, Alpha
came to Daniel 12:7–9, the Holy Spirit took hold of me in a powerful
way. Verse 7 says, “When the power of the holy people has finally
been broken.” This clearly fit my thoughts on Revelation. Also, verse
nine says, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed and
sealed until the time of the end.” It pierced my heart that God’s
prophecy was to be sealed until the end time and then understanding
would come; that is, the Scriptures would be understood through
the Holy Spirit. This was awesome, for I believe the Holy Spirit had
helped me understand things I could not find written by others.
The second event occurred one night as I was driving down an
interstate in a rainstorm. By this time, I had Revelation virtually
memorized. I was thinking through the Scriptures and praying for
the Holy Spirit to help me. I was talking aloud to the Lord and reasoning
about the millennium. I said, in regard to what I was thinking,
if this is right, how do the other Scriptures fit? Suddenly Scriptures
and thoughts began to fill my mind, and there came a flood of
the most wonderful feeling of the presence of God. Immediately,
as I was looking down the road, there came into my vision a horrid
sight. It was suspended in midair at the edge of the lights and to the
left of the road. It was a head with a very grimacing look and snarl. It was looking directly at me, and I felt it wanted to kill me. What I
saw was so vivid that I could draw it if I were an artist. I knew it was
satan. Though very afraid, I still felt the Holy Spirit’s power in such
a way that I knew although satan was out there, he could not reach
me. Soon I came to understand that my Lord was showing me the
opposition. As the Lord opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant (2 Kings
6:17) to see a spiritual scene, he opened my eyes for a glimpse of the
opposition I was going to face.
These two things have been a driving force that have caused me
to press on for these many years when I often wanted to give up. God knew what it would take to accomplish the task.
Praise God! Hallelujah!
—D. L. English
Revelation 1
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to
his servants - things that must shortly take place And he sent
and signifi ed it by his angel to his servant John, who bore witness
to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all
things that he saw
Revelation 1:1–2
The book of Revelation begins by giving us the purpose of the book,
authorship, and manner of delivery
The purpose of the book is stated in the fi rst phrase of verse 1: the
Revelation of Jesus Christ The book is Revelation Webster’s dictionary
defi nes revelation as the act of making known something that
has been secret The book of Revelation, then, reveals the secrets of
the end times The revealing of these secrets explains the end of all
creation, the fi nal pages of the history of mankind, and the eternal
destiny of every nation, tribe, and people (each person) that have
lived on earth
The secrets have been only partially understood throughout history,
but will, in the last times, be revealed by the power and leadership
of the Holy Spirit to the family of God as God determines The
Bible substantiates this statement,
I (Daniel) heard, but I did not understand So I asked, “My Lord,
what will the outcome of all this be?” He replied, “Go your way,
Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time
of the end Many will be purifi ed, made spotless and refi ned, but
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the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will
understand, but those who are wise will understand.
Daniel 12:8–10, niv
Again, in Revelation 22:10, John is told, “Do not seal up the words of
the prophecy of this book, because the time is near.”
The Bible also says in Joel 2:28, and is repeated in Acts 2:17, “In
the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your
sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.”
Now let us put these three scriptures together. There was a time
in which the prophecies of the end times were sealed (not understood),
as stated in Daniel; however, it has been possible from the
time of the writing of Revelation to the present time (do not seal
up the words, Revelation 22:10) for God to choose to pour out his
Holy Spirit upon his people as stated in Acts 2:17–21 so that they
could understand. Although Acts 2:18 can be interpreted to refer
only to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, verses 19–20
clearly speak of the end times as referred to in Revelation. Therefore,
I believe that in the end times (probably the last generation of
Christians on earth) there will be a fuller or more complete understanding
of prophecy as God reveals it through his Holy Spirit to
those he chooses.
Thus, the purpose of the book of Revelation is to reveal to the
entire family of God, and especially to the last generation of the
family of God, the long-hidden secrets as to when and how the end
will come.
Revelation also gives a severe warning to mankind, who rejects
God’s plan for his creation, and enumerates judgments that will
be brought against those who follow the rebellion of satan and the
other fallen disobedient angels.
The identity of the author is established in the second phrase of
verse 1, “which God gave him” ( Jesus).
Message From the Throne
Webster’s Dictionary defines author as an originator, especially the
writer of a book. Within this definition is a two-phase process. First,
an originator is the thought process through which an idea is formulated
in the mind. Second, the writer is the process of transferring
the concept from the mind to the written word. This can easily be
illustrated as an author conceives an idea and content for a book in
his mind and then works for months transferring those thoughts
into the form of a book.
With this definition of author in mind, realize that God is the
author-originator and John is the author-writer of Revelation. In
the same way, God was the author-originator of the prophecies that
came to Daniel, Joel, Zechariah, etc. in the Old Testament. Thus,
the symbolism and messages spanned many generations and numerous
authors-writers, and yet contain the same message. God is the
The fact that God is the author gives this message of Revelation
great power and importance. Whereas all Scripture is inspired of
God and is indeed the Word of God, this message of Revelation is
direct from the hand of God as he sits on the throne. John is shown
this fact as explained in the two scenes of chapter 5.
In the first scene, Revelation 5:1–5, John saw in the right hand
of him who sat on the throne a scroll. A scroll, as biblically used,
symbolizes the Word of God, and it is in God’s right hand ready to
be delivered.
In the second scene in Revelation 5:6–7, John “saw a Lamb looking
as if it had been slain.” He came and took the scroll from the
right hand of him who sat on the throne. The statements of Revelation
1:1–2 and the two scenes of chapter 5 give a strong proclamation
that God is the author of Revelation and that he gave the message to
Jesus, who gave it to his angels to give to John, to send to the seven
churches of Asia, which, in turn, have handed it down to all generations
who hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ.
This book of Revelation
is from the throne of God.
God is the author-originator
John is the author-writer.
Alpha, Omega, Alpha
John is the servant who receives and writes the message. He is commanded
in Revelation 1:19, “Write, therefore, what you have seen,
what is now and what will take place later.” Although John introduces
himself to the seven churches in verse four, the greeting is from
God, the seven spirits, and Jesus Christ as explained in verses 4–5. So
John, then, was not the originator, nor did he formulate the message
of Revelation from his knowledge of Old Testament prophecies, but
he wrote only that which he was told and shown.
John was instructed by Jesus in verse 11, “Write on a scroll what
you see and send it to the seven churches; to Ephesus, Smyrna,
Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” In verse
18, Jesus continues to tell John what to write to each of the seven
churches as seen in chapters 2 and 3. Then beginning in Revelation
4:1, John wrote, “After this I looked”; in 5:1, “Then I saw”; in verse
6:1, “I watched”; and 7:1, “After this I saw”; in 8:2, “And I saw”; in 11:1,
“I was given”; and in 16:1, “ Then I heard,” etc. Thus, John was the
author-writer who wrote only what he was instructed, what he saw,
and what he heard.
God, the author-originator from the spirit realm, delivered to
John, the author-writer, a message of revelation to the physical family
of God. It is of great importance that we grasp the power in the
fact that this is the Word of God direct from his throne into the
hands of physical mankind.
Manner of Delivery
Revelation 1:1 states clearly that God gave the Revelation to Jesus,
who “made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.” Thus,
the message is passed from God to Jesus, to his angel, to John, to the
seven churches, to all generations.
God formulated the message and delivered it to
Jesus revealed himself to John on the island of
Patmos, dictated to him seven messages to the seven
churches, received the scroll from the right hand of

Message From the Throne
God, and opened the seals, which delivered the message
to the angels.
The angels blew the trumpets, delivered to John a
scroll (Revelation 10: 8) and a reed, (Revelation 11: 1),
poured out the bowls, and gave various explanations.
John wrote what he was instructed, what he saw,
and what he heard and had it delivered to the seven
The churches copied the message and handed it
down to each generation.
Each generation has the responsibility of passing the
message down to the next generation.
The visionary message of Revelation has been delivered to us that
we might understand the awesomeness of the events of the end
times, for:
Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and
blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in
it, because the time is near.
Revelation 1:3
This third verse states, “Blessed is the one who reads … hears … and
takes to heart … this prophecy.” So with great diligence and care,
everyone should enter into the study of Revelation. Use diligence
because of the warning of Revelation 22:18–19, which says,
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of
this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him
the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes
away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall
take away his part from the Book of life, from the holy city, and
from the things which are written in this book.
Before you start to read, while you are reading, and after you have
read, pray that the Holy Spirit of our Lord will help open your

Alpha, Omega, Alpha
understanding to the message of Revelation and that the words God
is telling us will sink into your heart. You will be blessed. I suggest
that you read from chapter 1 through chapter 22 without stopping, as
this method was invaluable to me in visualizing and understanding
the whole message.
At the time of the writing of Revelation, verse 3 states, “the time
is near,” yet 1,900 years later the world is still continuing as always. That phrase, “the time is near,” means that any given day or moment
in history may be the time that God has set for the end. Yet, for each
of us that time comes with the coming of death. For at death, our
judgment and destiny has been determined. Thus, the end time is as
near as our next heartbeat.
However, the phrase, “the time is near,” has greater meaning to
us in the last decades of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Possibly, we can see some signs of the times. Until the 1980s, there
was no knowledge of the viral infection AIDS; however, by 1987, it
was frontline news, with warnings and daily accounts of numbers of
people infected and killed by AIDS. This virus, since it is a living
organism, was created by God, just like rattlesnakes and tigers. And
just like rattlesnakes and tigers, it can be harmful to your health. It
is unique that one of the symptoms of AIDS is that body sores do
not heal and that, as the angel pours out the first bowl in Revelation
16:2, ugly and painful sores broke out on the people. I do not suggest
that we are in the great tribulation of chapter 16, but that this may
be a sign of the times, a sample of what is to come.
In 1986, along the Texas Gulf Coast, there was what was commonly
called the red tide. The effect of the red tide was the death
of millions of fish. Also, people reported experiencing nausea and a
burning sensation to the eyes when exposed to the red tide. Again,
I do not suggest a parallel to Revelation 16:3, but possibly a sign of
which we should take note because “the time is near.”
We need to be careful not to try to impose natural physical
events upon end-time prophecy. The events of Revelation are acts of
God that pertain only to the end time tribulation period. Even so,
Message From the Throne
the phrase “the time is near” is a definite, perhaps severe, warning to
mankind. The end of earth and time as we know it may be near, or
it may not be near, but the end of your life can definitely be near, so
be warned; be prepared.
In Revelation 1:4, John addresses the seven churches with his
own name so that those to whom it was sent would know that it was
from John the apostle, whom they knew. Then they would receive
without question the message-vision as the Word of God.
John was instructed to write personal messages, which are
recorded in chapters 2 and 3, to the churches, which are named in
verse 11. The fact that they are written to “seven churches” is significant
in light of the way the number seven is used in Scriptures. Seven, being a complete number and here referring to seven churches,
means that the message is intended for all the churches and, thus, to
the whole family of God of all generations until the end. If you are
a Christian, part of the family of God, this message is directly from
the right hand of God, written to you.
As John continues in verses 4–7, it becomes more evident that
the greeting is from the throne and from Jesus Christ to the seven
churches. Verse 8 is a statement from the Lord God stating his scope,
authority, and power. In verse 9, John again verifies himself and then
gives the setting of the vision. In verse 10, he states the day of the
week and that he is worshiping in the spirit as the vision begins in
verse 11.
At the beginning of the vision, John saw someone “like a Son
of Man” (verse 13). The same phrase, “like a Son of Man,” is used
in Daniel 7:13–14 in the same visionary manner. In both Daniel and
Revelation, the visions are of a spiritual being that is described to
have appeared “like a Son of Man.” Jesus, while physically on earth,
referred to himself as the “Son of Man,” although he was not a son
of man as far as having an earthly father is concerned. Jesus, being
the Son of God and having come from heaven to earth to be born of
a virgin, was a spiritual being in a body of flesh. When he referred to
himself as a Son of Man, Jesus was speaking from a spiritual standpoint
and was saying that he was like a Son of Man as he was living
Alpha, Omega, Alpha
in a fleshly body. In each of these three references (in Daniel, in Revelation,
and here in verse 13), Jesus is referring to himself and speaks
of a spiritual being that has the appearance of a man.
So the phrase, “like a son of man,” is speaking of Jesus in his
glorified spiritual body as he spoke to John, his beloved apostle.
John describes a magnificent Jesus. His dress was elegant. His
appearance was with such authority and power that John fell at his
feet, as though “dead.” This John is the same John who had followed
Jesus day after day for three years. John, with his brother James, had
been so closely associated with Jesus as to desire to sit one on the left
and one on the right of Jesus when he came into his kingdom. He
was the one who, at the Last Supper, had leaned upon Jesus’s breast. This is the same John who was given the responsibility of Jesus’s
mother as he stood by at the crucifixion. This same John ran to the
empty tomb and saw Jesus numerous times in his resurrected body. This same John had been a preacher of the gospel for many years. Yet here in Revelation 1:7, John falls as though “dead” at the feet of
his dear friend, Jesus.
The whole world, as well as we who are Christians, desperately
need to learn a lesson from Revelation 1:17. We need to realize the
awesome magnificence and majesty of our God, that it will be a fearful
thing to come into his presence, and that we will all be judged in
his presence. We Christians of this generation are so often proud and
arrogant, making boastful claims about God’s love for us––which are
true––but we will be as dead men before the throne of Almighty
God. We will be awestruck in the presence of our God.
Although John had great fear at the sight of the resurrected
Jesus, with a touch of the Master’s hand, he was told he need have
no fear. We can realize the truth of the Scriptures from these events. The Scriptures say the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. The
fear of the Lord is truly the beginning of knowledge, for
when we realize the fear and awesomeness of falling into the hands
of the Almighty God and cry out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner,”
then we realize the true knowledge of “For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son” ( John 3: 16). Consequently, fear is
Message From the Throne
replaced by the overwhelming love of God. So it was with John; that
great fear was overcome by the touch of the hand of Jesus.
John, having recovered at the touch of Jesus, was instructed in
verse 19 to write what he had seen, what is now, and what will take
place later. It is clear from the instruction here and from examining
the book of Revelation that John wrote only what he saw. When
Jesus said, “what you have seen,” he was not only referring to what
John saw with his eyes as pertaining to the vision, but also what he
saw with his ears and mind as pertaining to understanding. What
John saw and understood pertained to “now”––at the time of the
writing––and “later”––what was to come.
When John saw Jesus in verse 12, he was standing among seven
golden lamp stands and he had in his right hand seven stars (verse16). In verse 20, the stars are explained as representative of the angels
of the seven churches; the lamps, as representative of the churches. Thus, the messages to the churches are addressed to the angel of the
church, which gives the message a spiritual connotation and a need
for spiritual understanding. The lamp stands are representative of
the churches in that they are a lamp, or light, in a world of spiritual
With Jesus’s appearance to John, the explanations, and the command
to write Revelation 1:9–20, John is ready to receive the messages
to the seven churches as recorded in chapters 2 and 3.

Revelation 2 and 3
The seven messages to the seven churches are uniquely from the
mouth of Jesus, whereas the majority of the vision is given to John
through visionary scenes and angelic explanation Chapters 2 and 3
present a personal message from Jesus to each of the seven churches–
–all of the true church or family of God
If you are a Christian, there are one or more messages in these
two chapters that will directly apply to your life and where you are
today You would do well to apply a “spiritual ear ” Just as we apply
every word of the Bible to our own lives and times, so our Lord
intended these messages to be applied to every Christian of every
generation, to every fellowship of Christians, the local church and
to the universal church, to all whose names are written in the Lamb’s
Book of Life The application seen in this statement is to every
church: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the
churches” (Revelation 2:7) This verse may be paraphrased: Anyone
who has spiritual understanding must listen to what Jesus, through
the Holy Spirit, is saying to you individually and to your church
These personal messages contained elements of commendation,
rebuke, warning, promise, and prophecy as the Holy Spirit leads us
to apply them to our own circumstances
Our Lord commends those who have persevered and have endured
hardships for his name and have not grown weary (Revelation 2:3)
Have you persevered, continued in your witness, when friends have
invited you to do things that would compromise your faith? If so,
you are commended Have you endured when there was much hard26
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ship in performing the task our Lord has given you? If so, you are
commended. Have you endured when every Christian you know has
turned back to the things and the ways of the world? If so, you are
commended. Apply the spiritual ear.
Our Lord will rebuke you if you have forsaken your first love (verse 4). Do you love our Lord so that you continue in his Word and meditate
on it day and night? If not, you are rebuked. Do you love your Lord
so that you worship him daily in spirit and in truth? If not, you are
rebuked. Do you love your Lord so that you continue to search your
life, thoughts, and relationships, striving daily to be the best you can
be for him? If not, you are rebuked. Apply the spiritual ear.
If you have any of the shortcomings that all Christians possess, our
Lord issues a warning to you in Revelation 2:5, which says, “If you do
not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its
place.” Although as born-again Christians we are forgiven our sins–
–past, present, and future––as pertaining to salvation, as we continue
to live, we will have sins and shortcomings. Jesus warns us—as he
warned the Ephesian Christians who had forsaken their first love—to
repent, or he will remove our lamp stand. Have you forsaken your
first love? Is the love of Jesus priority to you? Is that priority in your
church? If not, you are in danger of having your lamp stand, witness,
removed by Jesus. In the same manner, apply the spiritual ear to the
other warnings contained in chapters 2 and 3.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ also gives us this promise: “To
him who overcomes I will give the right to eat from the tree of life,
which is in the paradise of God” (verse 7). When you have completed
your Christian life and have overcome, Jesus promises that
you will have the right to live in the paradise of God. This is not
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to say that to “overcome” would infer that one must attain a certain
spiritual level for salvation, for the Bible says, “For whosoever calls
on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I believe that this is a challenge
to press on in one’s spiritual life and overcome the trials and
temptations of this world.
The Lord Jesus also gives words of prophecy to those to whom it
applies, as to Smyrna in Revelation 2:10:
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you the
devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will
suffer persecution for ten days.
Jesus is prophesying the fact that there will be some faithful Christians
in every generation who will be persecuted by satan and his
followers, until the last two witnesses of Revelation 11 are killed.
Our Lord prophesies that the persecution will be for a given
time (ten days). It is very likely that some Christians in Smyrna were
persecuted for literally ten days and then either released or put to
death (Revelation 2:10). As we make application of the prophecy to
the rest of the history of Christendom, I suggest that the “ten days”
are a limitation of the persecutions from satan, rather than a specific
time period.
For example, in Acts 12, Herod killed James with the sword and,
seeing that it pleased the Jews, arrested Peter and put him in jail. At
that point, the Lord intervened by bringing Peter out of jail and later
disposing of Herod. This example illustrates that Herod, having set
about to persecute the Christians, was allowed to go only so far, and
then God intervened. So Jesus is telling us that some will be thrown
into prison and some will be killed, but God is still in control and
will not allow satan a free hand in persecuting his people.
Chapters 2 and 3 contain numerous messages, as illustrated
in these five examples, direct from the mouth of Jesus that apply
to Christians of all generations. You are encouraged to listen with
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“spiritual ears” to what the Holy Spirit says through the messages to
the seven churches.
The messages to the seven churches are prophetic as we apply
them to today’s churches. We find in today’s churches the same
problems that were addressed in the first century churches, and the
same answers are the answers for today’s churches. In the same way,
those answers are for each individual as he or she applies “spiritual
ears” to the messages of the seven churches.
Introduction to the Vision
In chapters 1 through 3, we have been instructed about the visionary
message that is to follow. Jesus has manifested himself in a visual
form to John and has dictated to John seven messages to the seven
churches. Now in chapter 4, the prophetic vision begins to unfold. The vision––one vision, many scenes––continues nonstop from
chapter 4 through chapter 22, with many scenes and explanations
along the way. Before we enter the vision, let us examine some interpreting
principles and the major participants of the vision.
Interpreting Principles
1. The book of Revelation uses several numbers that
have caused problems with interpretation. The use of
numbers in the Bible needs to be understood as having
two possible interpretations: literal or symbolic. One should make every effort to interpret numbers
literally. A number should be interpreted symbolically
only when a literal interpretation is not in harmony
with other biblical references.
Literally, the number means its actual value. Example: “seven” equals seven. Second, symbolically,
the number has meaning other than its actual value. Example: “seven” equals complete, all, or perfect.
Most theologians agree that the number seven is
used biblically to mean complete or perfect. This is
easily seen in the messages to the seven churches in
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chapters 2 and 3. It would have probably been impossible
for John to have handwritten these messages to
all the churches at that time. So, in writing the message
to seven churches, it was understood that the
message was for all churches and was passed on, or
copied, as needed to get the message to all churches
and all Christians.
Seven can also be seen as literal and symbolic. This is exemplified in the seven bowls of God’s
wrath. The seven bowls represent seven events and
circumstances affected by God’s wrath as described
after the pouring out of each bowl. Also, the seven
bowls represent God’s complete wrath poured out. (“It is done,” Revelation 16: 17.)
The number six, as used in Revelation, is symbolic
and used in relation to the complete number seven. Six is one less than seven, thus incomplete.
In the same manner, eight is one more than complete. This
can be understood only in the context of
Revelation 17 and is discussed there.
There are two numbers that we interpret as limiting
numbers. A limiting number is a number that
seems to have something other than a literal meaning
when understood in its context and in relationship
to other biblical references. The context and
spiritual conscience have led me to believe that the
number limits the subject referred to. Example:
144,000 equals limited––many but not all; two equals
limited––very few out of many.
Series of three are given to express emphasis. Example: “holy, holy, holy” means most holy. “Woe,
woe, woe” means the greatest sorrow or greatest
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2. The book of Revelation is one vision, but has many
scenes. The scenes are separated by statements from
John such as, “I saw,” “I looked,” “I heard,” etc. The
scenes are not still life pictures, but moving scenes as
though one were watching a movie at a theater. Some
scenes seem to be a unit within themselves, such as
chapter 4, which shows the participants around the
throne moving and speaking. Other scenes seem to
be in a series. Although each scene gives a complete
picture, a series gives a larger, more complete picture
as to subject and time span. Example: The first scene
of Revelation 7: 1–8 gives a picture of those of the
nation of Israel who have the “seal” of God. The second
scene, 7:9–17, gives a picture of the rest of mankind
who are of the family of God and what happens
to them at the end. Thus, these two scenes portray
1) The subject matter––all the family of God, and 2)
The time span––all of history (Revelation 7: 17; 21:
3. A visionary object picture is the best possible picture
that spiritual God can show to physical mankind to
explain a spiritual circumstance or dilemma. In the
vision of Revelation, there are pictures of objects––
bowls, crowns, etc.––and animal-type characters that
are representative of a spiritual message that God has
put into a physical picture. Examples: crowns represent
authority and horses represent beasts of burden
delivering cargo (a message).
4. God’s time: God sees all of time and history in one
view or scene. To God, one day is as a thousand years
and a thousand years as one day. Also, the Scripture
says that Jesus was the Lamb that was slain before the
foundation of the world. The scenes of Revelation
may pass through history at a very rapid pace. For
Message From the Throne
example, in chapters 12 and 13, a few verses describe
the entire history of satan’s rebellion against God.
God’s time does not stop or pause at physical
death. As humans, we think of death as an end, but
God sees death as simply passing from physical into
spiritual. There is no stop in time when we die. Thus,
in Scripture, God speaks of his people and the family
of satan in the physical and spiritual with no break or
division between the two.
5. God’s line is the division of mankind into two groups:
the family of God and the family of satan. God’s
line dissects and crosses all national, all language, all
color, and all social barriers. There are persons from
every nationality, language, color, and social position
on each side. Spiritually speaking, there are no other
divisions among mankind. You are either on God’s
side, or satan’s side. Everyone is born on satan’s side
of God’s line, and each person must decide of their
own free will whether or not to cross over to God’s
6. God’s boundaries: certain boundaries that rule all of
creation. There are two worlds that exist side by side:
the spiritual realm and the physical world. The spirit
realm has limited access to the physical world.
Jesus is the only one who has crossed over from the
spiritual world into the physical world ( John 1).
satan can manifest himself for brief intervals to the
physical world but does so in a distorted or deceptive
manner and remains in the spiritual realm.
God reveals from the spiritual realm satan’s true
nature to the family of God as needed to protect
or teach.

Alpha, Omega, Alpha
Angels can manifest themselves to the physical
world but remain in the spiritual realm.
Demons can manifest themselves, but are limited
and remain in the spiritual realm.
The physical world has limited access to the spiritual
Physical mankind can learn about the spirit
realm, but remain in the physical world until
the death of the body.
Physical mankind of the family of God can,
from God, experience the indwelling of the Holy
Spirit, leadership of the Holy Spirit, prophecy,
knowledge, miracles, tongues, sightings of spiritual
beings, and being in the spirit, etc.
Physical mankind of the family of satan can,
from satan, experience the indwelling of the
spirit of satan, the leadership of satanic spirit,
limited prophecy, limited knowledge, limited
miracles, demonic tongues, sightings of spiritual
beings, soul travel, astral projection, etc.,
through the demonic powers within the physical
There are two boundaries within the spiritual realm: 1) the boundary
between heaven and hell, which no one can cross over. 2) the abyss
which closes access to heaven, hell, and the physical world; no one
can escape this boundary except as God permits.

Revelation 4 and 5
Participants of the Vision
In chapter 4, John is introduced to “the throne in heaven with someone
sitting on it,” the twenty-four elders, and the four living creatures;
then, in chapter 5, the Lamb and the angels Each of these is
a signifi cant part of the vision and interact in their different roles as
prophecy unfolds
someone sitting on the throne is central to the whole
about the throne are gathered all the participants of
the vision
from the throne, the scroll (message) is given to Jesus
(Revelation 5: 1)
from the throne comes the decision that fi nalizes the
tribulation (Revelation 21: 5–8)
before the throne are gathered all who ever lived
(Revelation 21: 11–12)
from the throne comes the explanation of the results
of judgment (Revelation 21: 5–8)
The twenty-four elders: are seated on thrones, which signifi es
authority through the Lamb (Revelation 20: 4); are dressed in white
robes, which signifi es righteousness through the Lamb (Revelation
6: 11; 7: 14); have golden crowns, which signify reward, awarded by
God (Revelation 3: 11; 12: 1, 3; 13: 1; 19: 12; 14: 14); bow, worship, and

Alpha, Omega, Alpha
sing a new song before God (Revelation 5: 8–14; 7: 11–12; 19: 4); give
exclamations to John (Revelation 7: 13–17).
The four living creatures: have places of prominence “in the center,
around the throne” (Revelation 4: 6); have eyes “in front and
in back” (Revelation 4: 6); have an appearance that is exemplary of
God’s creation (Revelation 4: 7); sing and glorify God continually
(Revelation 4: 8; 7: 11, 12; 19: 4); are the voices that present the four
horsemen (Revelation 6: 1–8).
The Lamb ( Jesus) receives honor and glory from God and all
of creation, is the Lion of Judah and has triumphed (Revelation 5:
5); has been slain (Revelation 5: 6); stood in the midst of the throne
(Revelation 5: 6); is the only one who can receive the scroll from God
(Revelation 5:7); opened the seven seals (Revelation 6: 8); has seven
horns––all power, and seven eyes––all knowledge (Revelation 5: 6);
speaks directly to John (Revelation 2, 3).
The angels:
number in the thousands upon thousands, and 10,000
times 10,000 (Revelation 5: 11).
encircle the throne, the living creatures, and the
elders (Revelation 5: 11).
sing and praise the Lamb. (Revelation 5: 12).
are assigned to each of the seven churches (Revelation
6: 8).
are in charge of holding nature within its boundaries
(Revelation 7: 1–3).
signify, at God’s command, the beginning and the
progression of the great tribulation through the
blowing of trumpets and pouring out of the bowls of
God’s wrath (Revelation 8, 9, and 16).
instruct, explain, and deliver messages to John
(Revelation 10; 14: 15, 17; 22: 1–7)
proclaim the Gospel (Revelation 14: 6).
pronounce judgment (Revelation 14: 8).

Message From the Throne
pronounce warnings (Revelation 14: 9–12).
explain visionary Babylon (Revelation 17–18).
chain and imprison satan (Revelation 20: 1–3).
We see from the above descriptions that all of heaven participates
in giving to mankind a vision that informs us of the end times and
eternity in heaven.
The Vision Begins
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing
open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me
like a trumpet said, ‘come up here, and I will show you what
must take place after this.’ At once I was in the spirit, and there
before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.
Revelation 4:1–2
As in Isaiah 6: 1–3, John, in describing what he saw, does not describe
the features of the one sitting on the throne but describes the glory,
the majesty, the power, the fixtures, and the four living creatures
around the throne of God. Still in the flesh, John could not look
on the face of God, but was allowed to see the things and the glory
surrounding his throne. Doubtless, the one on the throne is God, as
the four living creatures never stop saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the
Lord God Almighty,” and the twenty -four elders fall down before
him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives forever and
ever. They lay down their crowns before the throne and say, “You are
worthy, our Lord and God.”
Chapter 4 sets the stage for the rest of the book. God is on his
throne, with all majesty, honor, glory, and power surrounding him. The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders are there, each
playing their various parts throughout the rest of the vision.
Chapter 5 opens with a scroll in the hand of God. The scroll
represents a message––instructions from God on the throne to his

Alpha, Omega, Alpha
creation. God, who is the Creator, the ruler, the sustainer, the judge,
hands down his message on a visionary scroll.
There is only one (verses 5–8) in all of creation (verse 3) who can
receive the scroll message from the hand of God. The Lamb, Jesus,
is the only one worthy to take the scroll because he was slain, and
with his blood he purchased men for God (verse 9). The reality of
God handing the scroll message to Jesus is substantiated in Revelation
1: 1, which states, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God
gave him … ”
The scene which sets the stage for the prophetic vision is completed
in verses 11–13 as John “looked” and heard ten thousand times
ten thousand angels encircling the throne and singing, “Worthy is
the Lamb that was slain.”
The stage is set. God is on the throne, the four living creatures,
the twenty-four elders, the angels, Jesus with the scroll, and all of
creation singing to God and his Son, Jesus Christ (verse 13).
Revelation 6 and 7
Introduction to the Seals
There are some similarities in the fi rst four seals They each have in
common horses, riders, living creatures, and a spoken message
The four horses of this scene, Revelation 6:1–11, symbolize the
carrier, or method of delivery, of the spiritual message to mankind
God does not need horses to deliver his message or to carry out
his will on earth but uses the horse, a beast of burden, as the visual
symbol of his message being delivered to a physical world Horses
are symbolized in the same manner in Old Testament prophecy In
Zechariah, horses with riders are the ones the Lord has sent to go
throughout the earth In Zechariah 1: 5–10, horses are used to give
the best possible picture that God, who is spirit, can give to mankind,
who is physical, to explain the delivery of the visionary message
Jesus said, “I have spoken to you of earthly things and you did
not believe: how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”
( John 3:12) Thus, it is necessary for God to give to physical mankind
a picture that we can understand
The riders of the four horses are humanlike; otherwise, there
would be further description The riders being humanlike implies
that the message is to mankind All of creation (refer to the four
living creatures) is affected by the message, but the riders deliver the
prophetic message to mankind as a result of mankind’s sin Mankind
sinned, and all of creation has suffered as a result Thus, we believe
that the four horsemen being humanlike simply means that the message
is to mankind, although the message affects all of creation
The four horsemen also symbolize the carrying out of God’s
message, will, or plan in the hearts and minds of physical mankind
Alpha, Omega, Alpha
This carrying out of God’s will is exemplified in Revelation 6:4,
which states, “Its rider was given power … to make men slay each
other.” Also, Revelation 17:17 says, “For God has put it into their
hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their
power to rule, until God’s Words are fulfilled.” God does not need
a rider on a horse as an implement to carry out in the hearts of
mankind his will or plan on earth. But, the riders symbolize––give a
picture––that physical man can understand the spirit of God carrying
out his will on earth.
For example, it is by the will of God that rulers, whether good
or bad, reign and are given power to bring about the Lord’s purpose. This concept can be seen in Romans 13:2, which states, “Everyone
must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no
authority except that which God has established.” The authorities
that exist have been established by God. Bad rulers through burdens
imposed, such as corruption, chaos, death, and war, should make
mankind realize the depravity of mankind, the sovereignty of God,
and the need of mankind for repentance. God’s Spirit intervenes in
the mind and affairs of mankind to carry out his will on earth. This
is clearly seen in God’s direction to Babylon to make war against and
destroy Jerusalem because of the sins of Israel, as seen in Jeremiah
24. So the riders and horses symbolize the delivering of the message
as God’s Spirit carries out his will and conclusion to mankind and
his creation as a whole.
The four living creatures that were introduced in chapter 4 as
being in the center and around the throne are part of the first four
seals as each one said to John one word: come. By the word come,
John was instructed to look and see the unfolding message. The fact
that the four living creatures are described as different parts of God’s
creation––“like a lion, like an ox, face of a man, like a flying eagle,”
Revelation 4:7––indicates that the message pertains to all of creation. This
is best exemplified in the fourth “seal” which states its
rider was named death, in that every physical living being will die as
ordained by God (Revelation 6: 8). All of creation is affected by the
scroll message from the hand of God.
Message From the Throne
A spoken message is given with each “seal” to explain the mood
or result of the message the horses and riders deliver.
The first three riders each have an object to carry. These objects
help to explain the fuller picture of the spiritual message.
The First Seal
When the Lamb opened the first seal, a rider on a white horse
came out of heaven. He held a bow, was given a crown, and had the
appearance of a conqueror bent on conquest.
The “bow” represents to physical mankind three things:
1. An instrument to aid in putting meat on the table.
2. Protection from both wild animals and mankind
3. An instrument used for war (offensive).
Therefore, as we combine horse, rider, and bow, there is the fact from
God, created by God, that gives to mankind the ability and desire to
build tools (instruments out of the things in God’s creation), from
bows to nuclear power, to help fulfill mankind’s needs––make our
lives easier––to protect themselves, and to make war.
As the rider of the first seal came out, “a crown was given to him.”
God crowned him! Mankind was crowned by God, the Creator!
In a dictionary under the word crown, it says, 1) power or authority
of a monarch, 2) Distinction for achievement or victory; honor;
reward, and, 3) to endow with honor or dignity.
The crown represents God-given authority. In Genesis 1:28–30,
God gave to mankind authority over every living thing.
Certainly, God has given to mankind the desire for achievement,
to have honor, reward, and dignity.
God has given to me a “crown” like a king, and that means I have
a choice. I can do what I want to do!
Mankind is given by God a spiritual crown, authority. This
crown represents freedom of choice. Physically, the crown gives
Alpha, Omega, Alpha
mankind the rule over God’s creation to accomplish all his ability
and opportunity permits.
Spiritually, the crown guarantees to mankind the choice to obey
or disobey their Creator. Mankind was created by God and given
the crown of choice. He has the right to believe in his Creator, or to
believe that his Creator does not exist.
God gave the crown, and guarantees that no one can take your
crown. Mankind was created so that no person or government or
army or anything else can prevent any person from calling out in his
mind to God. Anyone who believes and asks for forgiveness and salvation
will be saved and spend eternity in heaven with the Creator.
Thus, God has given to mankind the ability to make/build from
His creation (the bow) and the authority to choose (the crown) how
he will use his God-given abilities and his eternal destiny.
The rider has an appearance that gives John the impression of a
conqueror bent and determined on conquest. This spirit of conquest
is what motivates mankind to conquer whatever is before him.
The first seal is interpreted as God giving to mankind a spirit
of conquest with the power (bow) to conquer and the authority
(crown) to choose who and what he conquers and how he goes about
it. That spirit of conquest has been evident from the very creation
of mankind. It is contained in God’s command to Adam to subdue
the earth and rule over it. Man has the ability to conquer physical
creation––to improve it or destroy it––and the choice to conquer
according to God’s plan or according to his own desire.
Subduing the earth for good can be illustrated by a man who
takes a barren hill and builds on it a beautiful home with landscaped
grounds––trees, flower beds, rose gardens, vegetable gardens, and
lawns. As he trims, tills, and fertilizes the rose gardens, prunes the
trees, weeds and replants the flowerbeds, tills and reaps the vegetable
gardens, and mows the lawns, man subdues, or brings under control,
rule over the hill. He has taken God’s creation and molded it into a
beautiful place to live.
It seems as though God, in giving to mankind the authority to
subdue the earth, entered into a partnership or land owner/tenant
Message From the Throne
relationship with mankind. In reality, he has done so, as shown in
the parable of Jesus in Luke 20:9–19. It tells of a man who planted
a vineyard, rented it to farmers, and went far away. A parallel can be
seen in God creating the earth with all its plants and animals, giving
it to mankind to control and then returning to his home in heaven. How real the parallel becomes as the owner sent his servants and his
own Son, only to have them be killed. The world indeed killed his
Son, Jesus. But God will continue to send his servants until there are
no more who will listen to this message (Revelation 19).
Mankind has responsibility in that he will give account to God. He is commanded to subdue, not destroy. To illustrate, a tiger in
his natural state is not subservient to mankind. On the contrary,
if confronted, he will attack man, and has even killed humans for
food. To subdue the tiger would not mean to destroy him, but to
control him, to rule over him, in a way in which both man and tiger
are protected. Then God’s creation is preserved and enhanced for
mankind’s enjoyment and to the glory of God. The God-given spirit
of conquest in man must be molded to bring about the betterment
of creation rather than the destruction of creation. Mankind was
given the crown; mankind has the choice.
Another illustration of the spirit of conquest comes from the
account of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In regard to the
fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, satan told Eve,
“When you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like
God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3: 5). Then in verse 6, “Eve
saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the
eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom. Then she took some and
ate it.” The first two statements––good for food and pleasing to the
eye––pertain to the physical features of the fruit. It was good for
food, but surely Eve was not hungry in the Garden of Eden. It was
pleasing to the eye, but there were many beautiful fruits in God’s
creation. The third statement, “desirable for gaining wisdom,” is different
in that it comes from the desire for self-improvement. Only
the act of partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
had the benefit of gaining knowledge to be like God. So Eve ate its
Alpha, Omega, Alpha
fruit, even though she knew God’s command not to eat of it and the
severity of the punishment for disobedience (Genesis 3:3). She was
deceived by satan’s manipulative words but still had the choice. The
desire for gaining wisdom overcame the knowledge of the command
and the consequence of punishment from God. How powerful is the
desire for gain, which is the God-given “spirit of conquest.”
The desire for gain is very powerful in all of us. Every human
being has the ability (bow) and the freedom (crown) to choose how
he or she will use this powerful God-given “spirit of conquest.” We
can choose to use it for good, as God directs, or for evil, as satan
directs. When the spirit of conquest is abused and used for selfish
purposes, there is evil. When the misuse of the spirit of conquest
causes mankind to disobey God, sin is the result, as seen in the disobedience
of Adam and Eve.
There is a spirit of conquest given by, ordained by, and within
the will of God that causes men to press on, to achieve, to accomplish,
to do his best to conquer whatever is before him. Jesus said in
Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.” The spirit of that command
is to press on to be your best in order to conquer, daily, the task
of following Jesus. It incites within you a “spirit of conquest” that
would subdue self and overcome this physical world of sin.
The church also has a spirit of conquest. As our Lord was speaking
to Peter in Matthew 16:18, he said, “I will build my church, and
the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” In another version, it says,
“I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against
it.” Whether one interprets this as satan on the offensive or the
church on the offensive, the gates of hell are conquered by all who
confess to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,”
and obey his commandment to go and make disciples of all nations
(Matthew 28:19). Any Christian who has the understanding of the
reality of hell has the desire that all come to know Jesus. The church
truly needs the kind of “spirit of conquest” demonstrated by Paul
when he said, “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israel43
Message From the Throne
ites is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). What a church there
would be if Christians had that kind of spirit of conquest!
The spirit of conquest truly comes from God, as shown in
Revelation 6:1–2. God initiates, motivates, and directs the “spirit of
conquest” to bring about his will and plan for mankind. A beautiful
example is found in Zechariah 1 and 2 where God prepared his
people to return to Jerusalem. They had been slaves in Babylon for
seventy years (Zechariah 1:12). They were so suppressed that no one
could raise his head (Zechariah 1:21).
In his vision, Zechariah saw a man riding a red horse with three
other horses behind him. He asked the angel, “What are these, my
lord?” The man answered, “They are the ones the Lord has sent
to go throughout the earth.” Afterwards, they reported, “We have
gone throughout the earth and found the whole world at rest and
in peace.”
The report seems to be a good one. It would be tremendous if
we could find the whole world at rest and in peace today. Most likely,
the people who lived in the time of Darius, king of Babylon, were
enjoying the peace and rest. But God’s people were in exile and had
been for seventy years, as Jeremiah had prophesied seventy years of
exile in Jeremiah 25: 11. So the angel said,
Lord Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy from
Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah which you have been
angry with these seventy years?
Zechariah 1:12
God’s people were suppressed until they could not even raise their
heads. God was the only one who could initiate the “spirit of conquest”
that would give the Jews the courage to raise their heads and
go back to Jerusalem and rebuild. God did this by proclaiming to
the people through Zechariah, “I am very jealous for Jerusalem and
Zion, but I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I will
return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt.”
With the proclamation, the people took courage, raised their
heads, and returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city, the walls, and
Alpha, Omega, Alpha
the temple in spite of troubled times. The revealing of God’s will
initiated a “spirit of conquest” that caused the people to rise up and
overcome all obstacles.
As soon as the rebuilding began, opposition from the peoples
around Jerusalem arose to stop or conquer the work. Because it was
God’s will that they rebuild, satan immediately began to manipulate
that same “spirit of conquest” in Sanballat, Tobiah, and others to
oppose the rebuilding, as seen in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. satan can manipulate, but God is in control. God uses the “spirit of
conquest” to direct his people through tribulation and bring about
his will and fulfill his prophecy.
It is the spirit of conquest that has driven mankind to move
outside of his environment and discover the unknown. Abraham left
his native country to seek the land God promised him. Christopher
Columbus and those who followed him risked lives and fortunes
to conquer unknown lands. It has motivated mankind to drive the
fastest cars, to fly the fastest airplanes, climb the highest mountains,
walk on the moon, and split the atom. Furthermore, mankind will
press on until there are no more horizons to conquer.
The spirit of conquest, with its crown of choice, not only gives
mankind the choice, but demands that we choose. Natural man is
disobedient to God and is on a natural course of confrontation with
God. It is as natural for a child to say “no” to its parents as it is for
the sun to rise in the east. God created both the child and the sun
that way; yet, Ephesians 6:1 states “Children obey your parents in the
Lord for this is right.” Upon reaching the age of accountability, the
child has two options, and must choose one or the other: to obey or
to disobey.
Please note, the age of accountability is a point in the life of
every individual when one understands the difference between right
and wrong. It is the time when wrong becomes disobedience to God,
which constitutes conviction of sin and separation from God. A person
is in the age of accountability from the time of understanding
and for as long as he or she has understanding.
Message From the Throne
A child is disobedient long before the age of accountability,
so the mold is set. However, the child will not be judged or held
responsible by God until after that point of understanding of sin. The mold then, set by nature in disobedience, demands that one
choose obedience to God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to
the Father except through me” ( John 14: 6).
If a person refuses, or neglects for whatever reason, to turn to
Jesus, he or she will by nature be controlled by the spirit of conquest,
or self, whereby he or she will be a variance of the following:
disobedient as a child through the age of accountability; continues
rejecting of God’s plan; self-centered, desirous of self-gain, proud,
motivated by lust rather than conscience; and, in the end, angry,
embittered, and without hope.
If, on the other hand, a person during the age of accountability
chooses to follow God’s plan for salvation, the Holy Spirit of God
comes into his or her life and begins to teach and remold that “spirit
of conquest.” As a result, the one who was disobedient becomes obedient,
the one who was controlled by self becomes controlled by the
Holy Spirit, and the one