The following is the introductory pages of William Newell ‘s commentary, “The Book of The Revelation”. Although I disagree with the eschatology presented in it, as will be seen by my two articles on this website demonstrating why, I’ve included it here because it is a helpful summary of what Premillennialism teaches. However, there are some things we agree with, Section 1 being a very helpful introduction to the book, regardless of one’s prophetic viewpoint.
1. The only prophetic book in the New Testament, therefore the only divine and accurate account of present and future things.
2. Closes God’s Book, therefore peculiarly important as is Genesis which opens God’s Book.
3. A book not sealed, therefore can be understood if Scripture is compared with Scripture.
4. Special blessing promised its reader and hearer. Special blindness follows its neglect, for neglect of it grieves the God who gave it.
5. Simple belief of its statements is the only proper approach to it.
6. Its method (visions given to John, the beloved disciple) is the very best way of securing the confidence, awaking the interest, impressing the mind and arousing the conscience of the reader.
7. Is addressed to Christ’s servants, therefore such will be blessed by it.
Remembering that the Father hath committed all judgment, and also the authority to execute it, unto the Son, “because he is a son of man,” we shall expect Christ to be seen as the Judge, in each judgment scene in The Revelation; and also that He will have a special character towards each stage of a judgment.
I. The part concerning judgment will include:
- First, judgement of the assemblies (churches) as God’s house on earth; for judgment must “begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). This judgment Christ carries on as risen, glorified Son of God, in His priestly character, but as a priest dealing judicially. Church testimony on earth is finally rejected. Chapters 1-3.
- Second, the scene is removed to heaven, where is seen the Throne of God as holding the whole earth in responsibility. Christ, as the Lamb slain, takes the sealed book of the divine counsels of earthly judgment. The seals, trumpets and vials follow. Chapter 4-18.
- Third, Christ Himself comes as King of kings and Lord of lords in the Great Day of Wrath; sets up on earth His iron-rod judgment rule of 1000 years, at the end of which, Satan being released and man rushing again to his banner, the world’s affairs are closed up, and heaven and earth pass away. Chapter 19.
- Fourth, all moral, responsible beings (except Christ’s own) are called to the judgment of the Great White Throne, which has nothing to do with earth or with dispensations, but with eternal destinies only. Chapter 20:11-15.
II. Then we have the New Creation: a new heaven, a new earth – “all things new”; with the new Jerusalem the home of God and His saints; the Throne of God being established therein.
It is for this new heaven and new earth wherein righteousness is at home, that the Spirit, through Peter, declares the saints are looking.
Christ in The Revelation
We find our blessed Lord directly named in seven chief characters:
- He is the risen, glorified Son of God among the churches as the light-bearers of this present age, judging their state by His Spirit (chapters 2 and 3).
- He is the Lamb in heaven (after the rapture of the Church) publicly invested with authority to carry out the determined preliminary judgments upon men before His personal arrival on earth as Judge and King (chapters 4 to 19:10).
- He comes to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords in the Great Day of Wrath (chapter 19:11-21).
- He is Christ, reigning with His glorified saints on earth, during one thousand years (chapter 20:1-6). He is then “King over all the earth” (Zechariah 14:9).
- He is the Judge upon the Great White Throne, with the holiness, righteousness and truth of deity absolutely and finally unveiled in judgment (chapter 20:11-15).
- He is the Lamb, upon “the throne of God and of the Lamb”: through whom, though subjected willingly to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:28), the glory and love of the deity will be expressed forevermore (chapter 21:22-23; 22:3-4).
- He is “I Jesus…..the root and offspring of David, the bright and morning star”, to His own, His beloved servants (chapter 22:16). He is the Coming One, expected and longed for by His real saints, the Bride, the true Church, who are under His grace continually. The Revelation’s last words are, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with His saints. Amen.” [It is disappointing that Newell regarded the corrupt Revised Version as being more accurate than the preserved words of God in English as found in the King James Bible. The true reading is “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”]. We must study this book in the light of this verse, and of Revelation 1:5: “Unto Him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood!” [The true reading is “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”].
Whatever judgments fall, they do not fall on the saints, the Body of Christ!
The Various Judgments
- Of the Church’s early history – chapters 2 and 3.
- Of the rebellious nations – especially the Beast-worshippers – chapters 4-16.
- Of the system of earth idolatry called “Babylon” – chapters 17-18.
- Of the Beast, the False Prophet and the Kings and armies of earth at Armageddon – chapter 19:19-21. (This is the Great Day of Wrath).
- Of the devil’s permitted career on earth, for 1000 years – chapter 20:1-3.
- Of the spared nations, in enforced righteousness, justice and peace, during the Millennium – chapter 20:4-6.
- Of the rebellious earth, upon Satan’s release – chapter 20:7-9.
- Of Satan himself in the Lake of Fire forever – chapter 20:10.
- Of the unsaved, at the Great White Throne – chapter 20:4-15.
We repeat over and over that our Lord is not seen in the book of the Revelation as the Head of the Body, the Church. This description belongs wholly to Paul, who unfolds in his epistles the character, calling and destiny of the Church of God. In The Revelation we are not studying the calling of the Church as the Body of Christ, as risen and heavenly.
But The Revelation does deal with outcomes: (1) of the earthly church testimony, for as a witness for God the church is proved unfaithful and removed from the scene: the real Church taken to heaven (4:1), and the false, destroyed by the Wild Beast (chapter 17). (2) Then the nations, under responsibility to occupy and govern the earth, are judged and desolated. (3) Jerusalem, “the holy city”, is seen as “Sodom and Egypt” (except for a remnant). The nation is handed over to the delusions of Antichrist. (4) Finally, the rebellious of the race of Adam and the earth they chose and claimed, following Satan’s captaincy in their final testing, are destroyed, and new things are brought in.
Newell, William R, 1935, “The Book of The Revelation”, p. v-viii, Moody Press, Chicago