The OT book of Ezekiel is a key interpretation source for the
NT book of Rev. The experience and visions of Ezekiel the prophet find their
counterpart in the experience and visions of John the apostle. Therefore, the
symbols, principles and predictions found in the prophecies of Ezekiel can
reasonably be used as guidelines and insights when interpreting the
A review of the contents of each chapter or set of chapters in
Ezekiel, noting the corresponding symbol or event or allusion in a specific
chapter or chapters in Revelation, provides the basic evidence. It will become
obvious that there are a large number of explicit correspondences between the
two books. Conclusion: the pattern found in Ezekiel's book is also to be found
in the Apocalypse. Here's the evidence:
1 Ezekiel was in exile in Babylon. John was in exile on
Patmos (Rev 1:9).
3 The hand of the LORD was upon Ezekiel ("in the Spirit": cf.
3:14). John was in the Spirit on the Lord's day (Rev 1:9).
5 Four living creatures in association with the throne of
God. Four living creatures in association with the throne of God (Rev
24 The sound of their wings was like the sound of many waters,
like the thunder of the Almighty, plus a voice (v. 25). Voice from heaven like
the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder (Rev
26 The throne of the LORD's glory, accompanied by firmament
and rainbow (v. 28). The rainbowed throne of God in heaven (Rev
27 The appearance of the One on the throne, a representation
of the glory of the LORD (v 28). The appearance of the One standing in the midst
of the lampstands (Rev 1:13-15).
28 When he saw it, Ezekiel fell on his face, and then he heard
a voice speaking. John heard a voice speaking, and when he turned and saw who it
was, he fell at his feet as if dead (Rev 1:12,17).
1 Ezekiel was empowered to stand on his feet again. The right
hand of the glorified One is laid upon John so that he can bear the message (Rev
3 Ezekiel was sent to the people of Israel, a nation of
rebels, to declare "Thus says the LORD" (v 4). John is given the revelation from
God (via Jesus, via the angel)         and told to write what he saw in a book and send
it to the seven churches (Rev 1:1,11,19).
9 By a stretched-out divine hand, a scroll was offered to
Ezekiel to eat. By the hand of an angel, John is given a scroll to eat (Rev
3 Ezekiel ate the prophecy scroll, which was sweet as honey.
John likewise ate the prophecy scroll, which was sweet as honey at first, but
afterwards was bitter (Rev 10:9,10).
17 Famine conditions in Jerusalem resulted from a siege.
Implied lack of bread during third seal is prophesied (Rev 6:6).
2 "A third part" was used to segment the people of Jerusalem
and the impending punishments upon them, as interpreted in vv. 5-12. "A third
of..." was used to describe the segments of punishments during the trumpets (Rev
17 Famine, wild beasts, pestilence and sword (cf. 6:11).
Sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts of the earth (Rev 6:8;
4 A multiplicity of idols (cf. vv. 5,6,9,13). Idols of gold,
silver, bronze, stone and wood (Rev 9:20).
2 The four corners of the land of Israel (implying the
desolation to come upon the whole land). The four corners of the earth (or land:
see sidebar)         the setting of the trumpet punishments (Rev 7:1;
8 God's wrath poured out. God's wrath poured out in part (Rev
8; 9)         and in full (Rev 16:19).
14 The trumpet blown and all made ready for disaster upon the
godless in Israel. The trumpets blown in Rev 8; 9; 11 herald destruction upon
20 The abominable images and detestable idols. The works of
men's hands associated with the worship of demons and idols (Rev
3 The Spirit lifted Ezekiel up between earth and heaven, and
brought him in visions of God to Jerusalem; the same will happen again in 40:2,
where he is taken to a very high mountain, to see a structure like a city
opposite him. The Spirit carried John away to a great high mountain and showed
him the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven (Rev 21:10).
2 Six men with destroying power, and a seventh man with a
writing case, were associated with the slaughter of the wicked in Jerusalem.
Seven angels will blow trumpets and bring destruction upon the earth (Rev
2 The seven men stood beside the bronze altar. The seven
angels stand before God while another angel comes and stands at the golden altar
4 Those who groan over the abominations in the land were
marked upon their foreheads so as not to be slain by the six destroying men.
Four angels with destroying power are restrained until the servants of God are
sealed upon their foreheads (Rev 7:1-3).
2 Burning coals were taken from among the cherubim and
scattered over the city. A censer is filled with fire from the altar and thrown
on the earth (Rev 8:5).
16 God was a sanctuary for His people wherever they had been
scattered. The "sealed" are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night
within His temple (Rev 7:15).
20 In the context of a restored Israel: "They shall be my
people, and I will be their God." In the context of new Jerusalem being
established: "He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God
himself will be with them" (Rev 21:3).
28 A voice said: "None of my words will be delayed any longer,
but the word which I speak will be performed." The angel "swore by him who lives
for ever... that there should be no more delay, but... the mystery of God, as he
announced by his servants the prophets, should be fulfilled" (Rev 10:6,7); also,
"Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near"
2 False prophets who saw delusive visions and who spoke lying
divinations (v. 9). The false prophet and the three unclean spirits (Rev
13 The storm of God's wrath, a deluge of rain in anger, and
great hailstones of wrath. The fury of God's wrath, including thunder,
lightning, earthquake and great hailstones (of a hundred pounds)         (Rev
18 Women hunted down souls belonging to God's people, and kept
other souls alive for profit. The harlot trades in human souls (Rev
4 Men took idols into their hearts and set the stumbling
block of iniquity before their faces. Men would not give up worshiping demons
and idols of gold and silver and bronze and wood and stone, which cannot either
see or hear or walk (Rev 9:20).
21 Four sore acts of judgment upon Jerusalem: sword, famine,
evil beasts and pestilence, to cut off man and beast. The fourth seal aspects of
judgment: sword, famine, pestilence and wild beasts of the earth (Rev
7 Fire would consume the inhabitants of Jerusalem...and the
land would be made desolate, because they had acted unfaithfully (v. 8). A third
of the earth (land)         will be burnt up with fire (Rev 8:7).
26-29 Israel played the harlot with Egypt, Assyria, and
Babylon. The harlot commits fornication with the kings of the nations (Rev
30 The deeds of a brazen harlot. The description of a brazen
harlot, drunk with the blood of saints and martyrs (Rev 17:4-6).
37-41 At God's direction, former lovers gathered to uncover
the nakedness of the harlot-city, strip her bare of clothes and jewels, burn her
with fire, and slay her inhabitants. "The ten horns and beast will hate the
harlot, make her desolate and naked, devour her flesh and burn her up, for God
has put it into their hearts" (Rev 17:16,17).
22 A high and lofty mountain, the place of God's planting and
fruitfulness. "New Jerusalem" comes down to a great high mountain, a place of
great fruitfulness (Rev 21:10; 22:2).
30 In a context of 'this may be your last chance', "Repent and
turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin." In the same
context, "Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come"
38 "I will let you go in by number: I will purge out the
rebels from among you." "But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor anyone who
practices abomination or falsehood..." (Rev 21:27).
47 "Behold, I will kindle a fire, and it shall devour every
green tree in you and every dry tree; the blazing fire shall not be quenched,
and all faces from south to north shall be scorched by it." "A third of the
trees were burnt up" (Rev 8:7); "men were scorched by the fierce heat, and they
cursed the name of God who had power over their plagues" (Rev 16:9).
7 When they heard the tidings of God's doom, "every heart
will melt and all hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint and all knees
will be weak as water." When they see the certainty of God's doom, they call the
mountains and rocks to fall on them and hide them from the wrath of God..."for
who can stand before it?" (Rev 6:15-17).
2,3 "A city that sheds blood in the midst of her...and makes
idols to defile herself." In the great city "was found the blood of prophets and
of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth" (Rev 18:24).
31 Regarding the bloody city and its inhabitants: "I have
poured out my indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my
wrath; their way I have requited upon their head, says the Lord GOD." God pours
out His wrath on Babylon (Rev 16:17,19), and "she shall be burned with fire, for
mighty is the God who judges her... render to her as she herself has rendered,
and repay her double for her deeds" (Rev 18:6,8).
2 "Two women, the daughters of one mother...played the
harlot." "Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth's abominations" (Rev
18 "She carried on her harlotry so openly and flaunted her
nakedness, I turned in disgust from her..." "She glorified herself and played
the wanton..." (Rev 18:7).
22-26 "I will rouse against you your lovers... and I will
commit judgment to them... and I will direct my indignation against you... they
shall seize your sons and daughters, and your survivors shall be destroyed by
fire; they shall also strip you of your clothes and take away your fine jewels."
"The woman was ... bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls... a harlot with
whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication... the beast with seven
heads and ten horns carried her...the ten horns and the beast will hate the
harlot; they will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her
with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose" (Rev
32 "You shall drink your sister's cup... you will be filled
with drunkenness and sorrow...a cup of horror and desolation." "Holding in her
hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication"
40 "For them you bathed yourself, painted your eyes, and
decked yourself with ornaments; you sat upon a stately couch, with a table
spread before it on which you had placed my incense and my oil." Scarlet-clothed
Babylon says is her heart, "A queen I sit...", and the merchants will bewail her
loss, for she no longer buys their cargo, which included gold, silver, jewels,
silk and scarlet, incense, myrrh, wine and oil (Rev 18:11-13).
7 "Woe to the bloody city... for the blood she had shed is
still in the midst of her." "Alas, alas for the great city; in one hour has her
judgment come... for in her was found the blood of prophets..." (Rev
17 Lamentation by the princes of the sea over the fall of
Tyre. Lamentation of the merchants and shipmasters over the fall of Babylon the
great (Rev 18:11-19).
28-36 Lamentation by the mariners over the fall of Tyre.
Lamentation of the merchants and shipmasters over the fall of Babylon the great
7,8 Re Egypt: "When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens,
and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud and the moon shall
not give its light; all the bright lights of heaven I will make dark over you,
and put darkness upon your land." "A third of the sun was struck, and a third of
the moon and stars...so that a third of their light was kept from shining, and
likewise a third of the night... the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the
throne of the beast, and its kingdom was in darkness" (Rev 8:12; 16:10). "A city
figuratively called Egypt" (Rev 11:8).
27 Sword, famine, pestilence, wild beasts. Sword, famine,
pestilence, wild beasts (Rev 6:8).
25 God would banish the wild beasts from the land. Beast and
false prophet destroyed (Rev 19:20).
28 Kingdom Age picture: Israel no longer a prey to the
nations, no more consumed with hunger, and no longer to suffer reproach of the
nations. Kingdom Age picture: no more mourning nor crying nor pain (Rev
13 Re Edom: "And you magnified yourselves against me with your
mouth, and multiplied your words against me" (with revilings against Israel,
which it was allowed to devour). Re beast: "It opened its mouth to utter
blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling" (and it was
allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them)         (Rev 13:6,7).
28 "You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers;
and you shall be my people, and I will be your God." "Behold, the dwelling of
God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God
himself will be their God" (Rev 21:3).
35 The land restored like the garden of Eden. Nothing
accursed; the tree of life (Rev 22:2,3).
26-28 "I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my
sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My dwelling place shall be with
them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Then the nations
will know that I the LORD sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary is in the midst of
them for evermore." "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with
them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be their God" (Rev
21:3). This is the New Jerusalem, with God being its temple: "By its light shall
the nations walk" (Rev 21:24).
Gogian invasion and divine destruction. Destruction of the
armies that come against the Lamb (Rev 19:17-21), and a similar fate to the
nations which come from Gog and Magog to attack the saints and the beloved city
2 Ezekiel was brought in visions to a very high mountain, on
which was a structure like a city. John likewise sees a city on a very high
mountain (Rev 21:10).
4 Ezekiel was instructed to look with eyes, hear with ears,
set his mind on what he is to be shown, and then to declare all that he saw to
the house of Israel. Similar instruction are given to John (Rev 1:19; 19:9;
7 The throne of God to be in the midst of the people of
Israel forever; no more defilement forever. No more anything accursed or
unclean, since God's throne is in the midst of the city (Rev 21:27;
1-12 Water comes forth from temple, trees growing on either
side, bearing fruit every month and leaves for the healing of the nations. A
similar picture in Rev 22:1,2.
35 The name of the city shall be "the LORD is there". The new
Jerusalem is said to be God's dwelling place, and "the glory of God is its
light" (Rev 21:3,23).
Except for a specific local application (eg, princes of Israel
in Eze 19)         or a description of a temple building (eg Eze 41,42), virtually every
chapter in Ezekiel finds a significant corresponding detail in the Apocalypse.
For several of these chapters, the significance refers to whole events or
situations, not merely the use of a similar symbol. Twelve of the most obvious
When a scientist tries to determine a pattern in his data or
to predict a trend from a number of points, he uses a method called "goodness of
fit". If he finds that a large number of the points align themselves with his
proposed curve, it is a "good fit". The fit with Ezekiel is "very good". Many
detailed correspondences, which cover the entirety of both books, demonstrate
that Ezekiel IS a pattern for Revelation. Therefore, it is reasonable to
generally interpret Revelation in light of the Ezekiel framework.
- A message soon to be fulfilled.
- Prophet/apostle caught up in a vision
and directed by a divine messenger.
- The four living creatures (cherubim)         and
throne of God's glory in a heavenly sanctuary.
- The four-fold punishment:
sword, famine, pestilence, beasts.
- Sealing on the foreheads of the
- Use of one-third.
- God's wrath poured out.
- The harlot,
subsequently destroyed by her lovers.
- Lamentation over fall of
- Gogian invasion and destruction.
- Kingdom Age established
by the Messiah/Lamb.
- Sanctuary of God in the midst of Israel, with river and
Interpreting the Apocalypse via Ezekiel
The entire book of the Apocalypse was sent to each ecclesia,
and thus the entire book had some relevancy to the first-century believers. They
were expected to see the message throughout the book as a direct encouragement
to them. Each generation of believers, from the first to the twentieth century,
is expected to do the same. Regardless of when they lived, believers would still
be able to learn from the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the knowledge that
the world oppressor (whichever was then current)         would one day disappear. And
they would fervently hope for Christ to return in their lifetime.
- The prophetic message was given to a people who would see a fulfillment
(not just a beginning)         soon (immediately, not suddenly). Implication: the whole
of Revelation was applicable to the first century.
- The message pertained to
Jerusalem and its fall, because of the wicked practices of its inhabitants.
Implication: an early date of writing, prior to AD 70.
- The hearers of the
message were outside the land (cf. Ezekiel's exiles), yet the subject of
Jerusalem's wickedness and God's certain judgment was very relevant to their own
spiritual welfare. Implication: this explains why the letters were sent to Asian
ecclesias; Gentile history is not particularly relevant.
- The setting of the
visions is the same as Ezekiel's: God's throne, cherubim, angelic host to do
God's bidding. The big extra in Revelation: the Lamb! Implication: Rev 1 and 5
are not pictures of any "multitudinous Christ", but of Jesus' representative
angel and the Lamb himself.
- The pattern is: punishment upon Jerusalem by
God via Gentiles; then the deeds done by the Gentiles will come back upon their
own heads. A pattern is seen in the one-third punishment with trumpets and the
100% punishment with bowls or vials. Implication: there is a rationale to the
book; it is not just a collection of arbitrary/unrelated political events.
- The beast is a Gentile power, whose seven heads could refer to Egypt,
Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and a future Mideast power. (These
seven may possibly be enumerated a little differently.)         The first six have been
the oppressors of Israel, when Israel was in the land. The beast's ten horns
refer to Mideast nations (cf Gen 15:18-21; Psa 83:1-8), or countries allied
against Israel (Eze 38). Implication: the seven heads are not seven forms of
Roman government; the seven hills do not refer to topology.
- The harlot
represents two aspects of the same city Jerusalem: initially (a)         inhabited by
Jews, punished by God (the jealous Husband)         by means of the beast and ten horns;
afterward (b)         being occupied by the beast, Jerusalem becomes a Gentile city,
which is destroyed by Christ at his Coming. There are two distinct destructions
of the "great city". Recall that this same "great city" is figuratively called
"Sodom and Egypt" (Isa 1:10; Eze 16:48; Jer 44:15-17), and explicitly said to be
the place where the "Lord was crucified" (Rev 11:8). Implication: this is not
talking about papal Rome, but the physical location of Jerusalem.
harlot is called "Babylon" because of what that ancient city represented:
idolatry and materialism and pride. These features were the same in Tyre, and
also in Jerusalem, which had allied itself so much with that city. This explains
why Revelation 18 has language taken from Ezekiel and Jeremiah which refers to
all three cities. Implication: all godless cities and systems will be included
in God's destructions.
- The beast and armies attack the Lamb after he is
back in Jerusalem in the midst of a restored Israel. The Lamb has the title
"king of kings" and a robe dipped in blood because of his overthrow of the
beast's kingdom (darkened Jerusalem)         and the Arabs (the ten horns).
Nevertheless, another ten-nation confederacy comes to counterattack, only to be
destroyed by divine wrath on the mountains of Israel. Implication: the Gogian
invasion of Eze 38; 39 and Rev 20 is post-adventual, and Israel will continue to
dwell safely under Christ's protection.
- The Kingdom is established by the
Lamb, now joined by his immortal Bride, and a renewed Jerusalem will become the
center of the earth, the throne of the Lord, the focus of God's law, and the
source of divine light and healing to the mortal nations. Implication:
Revelation 21 describes the Kingdom Age, not a post-millennial