Thus Say The Prophets
Study Home Page
We pray to HaShem, the Holy ONE and ONLY God of Israel, to fill our consciousness with ever greater knowledge, wisdom and understanding as we begin this study into The Revelation From Yeshua to Yochanan.
For ease of understanding and avoidance of copyright issues, throughout this study biblical translations are from the American Standard Version (ASV), with language updates anbd clarifications by me, John of AllFaith.
I first wrote this commentary in 2009, after several years of study and teaching the material in various venues. Since the late 1970s, I have taught verse-by-verse studies of this book, so my written commentary reaches back to that period and is updated as I learn more. As a lifelong seeker of Truth from every source available to me, my understanding and understanding of this work has developed. Today I am a practicing Traditional, if somewhat unique, Sephardic-based, Breslov Jewish rabbi with the diverse beliefs that implies. I can no longer accept Yeshua ben Miriam (Jesus, son of Mary) as the Mashiach or Messiah because he did not meet the biblical requirements as I discuss elsewhere. If you disagree with me, I'd love to have a mutually respectful conversation with you with an open Bible.
But, there's no benefit in throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The historic Yeshua, as opposed to the Church-created Jesus, and his original followers, were all Jews. They all believed in the Torah and our prophets. They would have been unable to conceive much of what Christendom later developed as doctrines and practices. None of these people were Christians, and the only Scriptures they knew was the Tanach.
The original Derech Yeshua or Way Sect based on his teachings, like innumerable other Jewish sects, including the Ashkenazi Jewish Movements, Chassidic sects, and so on, were attempts by sincere Jews to more fully understand and experience the Derech HaShem or Way of HaShem. Yeshua's reform sect is often called the Way in the New Testament. Controversial rabbis and teachers are nothing unusual for Judaism! Many Jewish authorities opposed RAMBAM, the BESHT, and other honorable reformers. ALL rabbis, being human, are fallible.
The Way sect however met with a unique ending. Throughout the second and early third centuries, diverse Pagans became interested in the sect and sought to draw it away from its Torah foundation. During the early third century, Constantine and Pagan Rome absorbed and fundamentally altered the sect. We are not supporting that religion. We are examining a late first-century Jewish prophetic document. The sect's eventual Nicolaitan absorption into Pagan Rome and its transition into a Roman cult, then global religion, is not our interest when studying John's book. Christianity as we know it only arose 300-plus years after Yeshua and Yochanan or John. However, as we will show, their absorption was foretold in this book.
About the Name of This Commentary: As confirmed by the commentators of the New English Translation (NET):The Greek phrase apokalupsis Iesou Christou, ["the Appolypose or Revelation of Yeshua the Anointed"] could be interpreted as either an objective genitive ("the revelation about Yeshua the Anointed"), subjective genitive ("the revelation from Yeshua the Anointed"), or both (M. Zerwick's "general" genitive [Biblical Greek, 36-39]; D. B. Wallace's "plenary" genitive [ExSyn 119-21]).
I have chosen the latter because the text says that Yeshua (Iesou poorly translated as Jesus) was given the information by HaShem (the God of Israel) and that he (Yeshua) in turn gave it to a messenger or angel whom he sent to reveal it to Yochanan (John). Thus Yochanan lays out how he received this prophecy. Note that Yochanan is clear that Yeshua is not God. He specifically says that God (Theos) gave it to Yeshua to pass on to John and his readers.
As for the title "Christ," used throughout the text, this word is Greek-English for the Hebrew term Mashiach or Messiah. The term does not necessarily refer to HaMashiach or THE Messiah. Mashiach-Christ means anointed. While it is true that the first century Way sect generally believed Yeshua would one day be HaMashiach, if, for the sake of argument, we accept the premise that God did reveal this information to Yeshua to pass on to Yochanan, then he would have been "anointed" or mashiach for that purpose, which is all the text claims by the term. So the standard title of the book, "the Revelation of Jesus the Christ," does not actually claim that he was HaMashiach, only that he was "anointed" to deliver this message to Yochanan by the True God of us all. We aren't going to debate whether Yeshua was or wasn't HaMashiach here. As Jews, we don't accept that he was, and I'll be happy to demonstrate why if anyone wishes. We need to understand this prophecy from its author's original First Century intention. It must be admitted by all who are spiritually awake that this prophecy, like the other Jewish prophecies in our Tanach and other works, is coming to pass today as never before. So, let's begin:1:1 The Revelation of Yeshua the Anointed, which God gave him to show unto his servants, even the things which must shortly come to pass. God sent and signified these things by His angel unto His servant Yochanan;
2 who bore witness of the Torah of God, and of the testimony of Yeshua, of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed are those that read, and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein: for the time is at hand.
We begin our study of the Book of Revelation by pointing out that this is not the Revelation of the Yochanan. Instead, it claims to be the only one of the sixty-six books of the canonical Christian Bible to be revealed directly by Yeshua. Whether accepted or not, this prophecy book is unique and of utmost importance for those who seek to follow his Derech of the historic Yeshua! Because its prophecies are proving to be accurate today, it should interest us all. To understand what Yochanan, and arguably Yeshua, wanted to convey, we put our skepticism aside and seek to understand the texts as written within their historical realities.
This book draws from earlier Hebrew prophetic writings such as Daniel, Isaiah, Zechariah, and others. The Book of Daniel ends with the promise of future revelations. What other book claims to reveal those revelations?Daniel 12:8 And I heard, but I understood not: then I said, O my Lord, what shall be the issue of these things?
9 And He said, Go your way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end.
10 Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but they that are wise shall understand.
11 And from the time that the continual [burnt-offering] shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there will be a thousand and two hundred and ninety days.
12 Blessed are those who wait and come to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
13 But go your way till the end be; for you will rest, and will stand in your lot, at the end of the days.
Members of the Way sect believed that HaShem sent His angel to reveal to Daniel the things that would come upon the Earth and that He is the very same God who revealed this great work to Yeshua, and that he passed on his talmid, Yochanan or John the Beloved Apostle. Some believe that the Book of Revelation is the conclusion of the Book of Daniel the Prophet. The two books appear to be intimately interwoven. Therefore as we make our way through this book, we will often reference Daniel's writings, as it would only be possible to accurately understand certain aspects of the Revelation by referring to Daniel. We will also draw from the writings of other prophets occasionally, as did Yochanan. In this way we will seek to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" (II Timothy 2:15). Even so, much of this information may be new to you and may cause you some distress! Please patiently read these things with an open mind because the truth is often not what we expect it to be! For a very long time, many important teachings have been withheld from both Jews and Christians. As HaShem told Daniel, these are now being revealed. Disagree with me as you may; I will share my understanding here as plainly and openly as I can.
This entire book claims to be a prophecy of things yet to come. The Greek word used to express this is propheteia, which tells us that the work is the direct result of divine inspiration intended to reveal insights from God, especially regarding future matters. Those who say propheteia means only "discourse" are incorrect. Propheteia refers to specific types of discourses that have as their aim the divine revelation of future events and the calling forth of their hearers to preparedness to that end.
By going through this material, we will be blessed! But how? By recognizing these events as they occur, we can better stand against the evils of these Last Days of the Olam Hazeh. The rising of the man our Jewish prophecies call the man as cruel as Haman, the Muslims call Al Dijal, and the Christians call the Son of Perdition and "Anti-Christ is likely now upon us. Information is power. Ignorance will not be bliss as these wicked machinations are beginning in earnest! The text therefore also adds that those who "keep the things that written in it" will be blessed. Head knowledge is important, but more is needed. As we better understand these things, we need to act on them with emunah (motivating faith) in harmony with the Light we have thus far received.
Notice that John says, "for the time is at hand." The time for teshuvah, returning to HaShem in repentance is always at hand. The time for tzedek or righteousness is always at hand. Yochanan nor Yeshua knew when these things would occur. Only HaShem has this knowledge because He granted humans free will. The Ruach or Spirit of HaShem revealed through the prophets that these things would happen, but their timing largely depends on us. Of this, Yeshua said:Mark 13:32 But of that day or that hour knows no one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the son, but the Father.
Prophets are only shown what they need to reveal. Some are shown a bit more, some a bit less. They lacked knowledge of the exact timing and certain details to protect human free will. The timing of these events depends on our choices. We are not predestined to fail, yet by human desire, we so often do. Rambam assures us that if the Jews choose to make teshuvah (repent), HaShem will quickly send HaMashiach. He is waiting on us. We have all opportunities afforded to us to choose God. Eventually, however, HaShem will force our hand. This is the message of all Jewish prophets. "Now is the time to make teshuvah."
We humans constantly choose between positive and negative options, between using our gifts to advance the Kingdom of HaShem or opposing it. HaShem knows how our choices turn out, so He forewarns them about the overall trends, not the details. They show enough detail to prepare the End Time Generation when the time comes, yet not so much that those in rebellion against HaShem and His Kingdom would be forced to concede prematurely. Human free will is of vital importance in the ongoing spiritual struggle, as we will see as we continue:
Some essential hints to the timing of the End Time events have been, and are, revealed. Consider:II Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one decieve you in any way: for that time will not come, until the falling away happens, and the Man of Sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition.
The generation of 1948 (or 1967 at the latest, as will be discussed later) is the first generation in world history in which the essential prophetic requirements of the dawning Kingdom have all been met! Prophetically, these things could only have happened once Israel was reestablished and Jerusalem was returned to our people, as will be demonstrated as we continue.Revelation 1:4-6 From: Yochanan
To: the seven assemblies that are in Asia:
Grace to you and shalom, from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits that are before his throne;
5 and from Yeshua the Anointed, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the Earth. Unto Him that loves us, and has liberated us from our sins by the blood of sacrifices [haima: those things that resemble blood, grape juice, etc.: "the seat of life"]
6 He [God] has made us a kingdom of priests before God our Father; to whom be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Compare the above translation with others you may have read. "unto him who loves us": the "him" is not identified in the text. Hoping to equate Yeshua with what follows, most teachers assume Yeshua is the one referenced. From a Jewish perspective, however, we know that such glory belongs only to HaShem. By identifying God as the subject, the rest becomes apparent and is consistent with the Greek text and the Torah teachings.
The Seven Congregations were:
The Congregation at Ephesus
The Congregation at Smyrna
The Congregation at Pergamos
The Congregation at youratira
The Congregation at Sardis
The Congregation of Philadelphia
And the Congregation of the Laodiceans
As we will discuss in chapters two and three these were seven literal Way (or Derech Yeshua) reform Jewish assemblies. One could have gone to visit them back in the day, and many did. However, from the prophetic context of this work, it is clear that there is much more to these than local congregations. Each one represents certain qualities as defined in the text. We will discuss these concerning "the seven Spirits who are before His throne" as we examine the next two chapters.
Long have the Israelites awaited the coming of HaMashiach and the promised theocratic Kingdom of the Olam Haba! Those who walked with Yeshua, heard his teachings firsthand and embraced his reforms were understandably disappointed and confused when he died without fulfilling the Messianic requirements. How could he not have been the Messiah? They were devastated. As the Way talmidim studied and prayed about this unexpected turn of events, some determined that the P'rushim or Pharisees, the Jewish authorities, had rejected the invitation of both Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) and Yeshua and were to blame. The Kingdom had been offered but refused. Others understood that the time was not yet ripe for the establishment of the Kingdom. Yochanan the Revelator, and Paul, to a lesser but equally sincere extent, determined what had happened and began teaching that the prophesied Kingdom would still be established, and that when it was, Yeshua would return to reign as Melech (King). Their second advent doctrine was without prophetic support but seemed like an answer that would rekindle and maintain their convictions in their teacher, whom they believed was Mashiach. As Paul taught:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, concerning the coming of our Anointed Rabbi Yeshua, and by our gathering together with him;
2 that you not be quickly shaken from your mind, nor be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by epistle claiming to be from us, that the Day of the Lord is at hand.
3 Let no one fool you in any way: for the falling away must come first, and the Man of Sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition,
4 who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he will sit in the Temple of God, setting himself forth as God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? - I Thessalonians 2.
The Jewish Way teachers concluded that the awaited theocratic Kingdom could not be established until the majority of Jews made teshuva (repented) - see Romans chapter 11. This belief is harmonious with traditional Jewish understanding, but in their minds, teshuvah meant embracing Yeshua's reforms:
Indeed, collective Jewish teshuvah will come, but not through accepting Yeshua:Sanhedrin Folio 97a: ...Thus hath R. Johanan said: in the generation when the son of David [i.e. Messiah] will come, scholars will be few in number, and as for the rest, their eyes will fail through sorrow and grief. Multitudes of trouble and evil decrees will be promulgated anew, each new evil coming with haste before the other has ended.' Sanhedrin 97b: ... Rab said: All the predestined dates [for redemption] have passed, and the matter [now] depends only on repentance and good deeds...
R. Eliezer said: if Israel repent, they will be redeemed; if not, they will not be redeemed.
R. Joshua said to him, if they do not repent, will they not be redeemed! [i.e. not so] But the Holy One, blessed be He, will set up a king over them, whose decrees shall be as cruel as Haman's, whereby Israel shall engage in repentance, and he will thus bring them back to the right path.
Despite their hope that Yeshua would be HaMashiach, the Way Sect members, like all Jews, would have to continue to wait. No matter how rationalized, the time was not yet ripe.Revelation 1:7 Behold, he comes with the clouds; and every eye will see him, and they that pierced him; and all the tribes of the Earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.
8 I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
Yochanan here is referencing Zechariah 12:10,11. As we read:10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will consider [hiphil] those they have pierced and will mourn for them as for an only child, and grieve bitterly, as for a firstborn son.
11 On that day, the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
This, Yochanan says, will happen in due time! He expresses his hope that despite their current sadness and Yeshua's failure to meet the biblical requirements when his people (our people) finally make real teshuvah (repentance) before HaShem, we won't need any mediator, including Yeshua, because the Torah will then be written into our consciousness. We will all observe this and become tzadikim or righteous! May this day come soon! This did not happen in the first century CE nor yet.
Note that in Deuteronomy 30:1, Moshe foretold the end of the Diaspora (which had not yet begun!). Through the future history presented by the prophets, we understand that the Jews will be gathered from among all the nations and returned to Jerusalem (Tzion), even from the "uttermost parts of the heavens" (Isaiah 11:11-12). Revelation reveals those events that will bring about this momentous event of Jewish teshuvah. Today, around half of us remain in the Diaspora (i.e., outside of Israel). As important as the restoration of Israel was in 1948 and the restoration of Holy Jerusalem in 1967, the fullness of this prophecy is yet future: The complete return of the Israelites to Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) has only begun! Modern Israel is neither a theocracy nor a Torah-based sovereign nation. When HaMashiach establishes the Kingdom of HaShem, these prophecies will be fulfilled and not before.
John 1:8 cites the following verse and affirms that HaShem alone will bring about these things.Isaiah 44:6 "This is what the LORD says: Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.
7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out what has happened since I established my ancient people and what is yet to come- yes, let them foretell what will come.
The "great cloud of God's people" (Genesis 32:12, Hebrews 12:1, I Thessalonians 4:17) will return home to Israel under the leadership of HaMashiach ben Yosef and ben David (Zechariah 8:23 Revelation 1:7) as the seventh and final shofar, or trumpet blast announcing the establishment of the Kingdom of God (Daniel 2:44, I Corinthians 15:52, I Thessalonians 4:16).Isaiah 51:11 Those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
According to Rambam and Jewish tradition, the following conditions will lead to the advent of the Mashiach (Messiah) and the restoration of the people:
- If Israel repents a single day;
- If Israel observes a single Shabbat properly;
- If there comes a generation that is completely innocent or guilty;
- If a generation of Jews loses all hope.
The events recorded by Yochanan in the Revelation will bring these conditions about and usher in the reign of Mashiach and the Kingdom of HaShem, as we will see.Revelation 1:9 I Yochanan, your brother, and partaker with you in tribulation, kingdom, and patience in Yeshua, was on the Isle of Patmos, for the Torah of God and the testimony of Yeshua.
10 I was in the Spirit on Shabbat, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet
11 saying, What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven assemblies: to Ephesus, and Smyrna, and Pergamum, and Thyatira, and Sardis, and Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
As described above, Yochanan lived as an exile on Patmos. From there, he paints a vivid picture of how this information came to him. Most Prophets, other than Ezekiel, only go into a little detail about the origins of their visions. Yochanan is certain that his Revelation is vital, so he wants his readers to understand its authority.
It was on the biblical Sabbath, the day of the Lord, and John was pondering the things of God.Revelation 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned. I saw seven golden candlesticks.
13 Amid the candlesticks one like unto a son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle.
14 His head and hair were white as white wool, like snow, and his eyes were a flame of fire.
15 His feet were like burnished brass as if refined in a furnace, and his voice was like flowing water.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last,
18 the Living one, and I was as dead. Behold, I am alive forever and have the keys of death and Hades.
19 Write therefore the things which you saw and the things which are, and the things which will come to pass hereafter.
20 The mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven golden candlesticks: The seven stars are the angels of the seven assemblies: and the seven candlesticks are seven assemblies.
Although terrestrial beings, in the book of Genesis, we learn that Adam and Chavah (Eve) were translucent in their appearance before eating the forbidden Tree. After eating, they were clothed in human flesh, as are we still (Genesis 3:21), with the accompanying illnesses and inevitable death. We see glimpses of such illumined human beings in Scripture. For example, Moshe came down from Har Sinai and had to cover his face because of its radiance (Exodus 34:29-35). The Gospels report that Yeshua, Moshe, and Elijah were 'transfigured' before Peter, James, and John, according to Matthew 17. There are other similar accounts in Jewish history. Since Yeshua had been dead and honored by his talmidim for 60 years before writing this, and John was present at the transfiguration according to the text, it is plausible that his youngest and most beloved talmid (student) might well conceive of him in such a way.
According to common Jewish understanding, one who has attained such a state is said to dwell in devekut or attachment and unity with the Creator through their purified consciousness. Such an enlightened person has attained near unity with God and is a "true man" or fully realized human. The Book of Revelation is Yochanan's eyewitness account of Divine revelations. Our job is to comprehend these things harmoniously with the revealed Hebrew prophets of the Tanach. His visions are harmonious with the Tanach Navaim when properly understood.
To affirm the obvious point, in his vision, standing amid the seven lampstands or menorahs, Yochanan once again beholds the transfigured form of his teacher Yeshua. As a lifelong member of the Jewish Way sect, Yochanan views Yeshua as an enlightened tzadik, even as we view Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, as Chabad views Rabbi Schneerson, and so on. There is no indication that he regards him as an incarnation of God. Yochanan believed and hoped Yeshua would return as HaMashiach. Ignore what the Nicolaitan Church says about this book; examine it as a Jewish writing because THAT is what Yochanan wrote it to be.
Revelation Home Page
Contact John of AllFaith
* John of AllFaith © September 16, 2009 (last update: December 26,2022)
|search engine by freefind|
|search engine by freefind|
|search engine by freefind|