Mysteries of the Apocalypse…..through the Eyes of a Jewish John
Mysteries of the Apocalypse. In this book, we will journey through the events enveloping the Second Coming of Christ.
We will see the horrific events of the Tribulation unfold on earth prior to Christ’s return, and then with joyous celebration, we will experience the restoration of paradise through God’s creation of the New Heaven and New Earth.
Our journey will be unique, as we will enjoy a front-row seat to the symbolic, evangelistic events of the book of Revelation, as seen through the eyes of the apostle John.
As never before in the literary world, you as the readers will be direct eyewitnesses to John, viewing his Divinely-inspired vision in light of how it would have been interpreted by him, a first-century Jewish-Christian.
Knowing the context of the day will help unravel the mystery behind much of the symbolism of John’s revelation. It will help the reader understand why the vision was presented to John from Jesus Christ, in this particular format of symbolic visions.
Unique to this book, not only will the context as it applies to the first-century Christian be explored, but also many relevant verses from other books of the Bible will be integrated into our journey through John’s Divine Revelation. We will specifically examine the influence of Old Testament prophecies, especially those visions received by Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Daniel.
Through contemplation of these verses taken from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), along with scripture from the Gospels and from the epistles of the New Testament, we will gain understanding and deeper meaning behind the symbolism in John’s Divinely given vision.
By understanding how the verses from other books of the Bible tie-in to the imagery presented in John’s vision, we will be able to see things in a better context of how John understood his Revelation from Jesus Christ.
As we ponder relevant biblical history, as well as the Jewish cultural background of the first century, we will be able to capture the additional hidden meaning and unravel the mysterious word-pictures of John’s Divine vision.
Parallels will also be drawn between the meanings of his vision in the first century, and how they foreshadow future world-events.
Through understanding John’s vision through his eyes, we will be given new-founded hope in what is in-store for all Christians.
Paradise, which was lost thousands of years ago as a result of the sin of humanity, will be ultimately restored to Believers, with all of the glory that God intended.
Paradise will indeed be found again, but only after Jesus Christ returns to earth in His second coming. Jesus Christ is the only One, who with His Divine power and authority can vanquish the Devil, once-and-for-all.
Most importantly, when Jesus Christ returns, He will restore our personal, eternal relationship with God, and Paradise in His presence will once again be found.
But first, let’s recap how paradise was originally lost for all humanity in the Garden of Eden.
In the Beginning, Almighty God created Heaven and earth.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
The earth was dark, covered with an expansive ocean.
In the Lord’s creation spree, He worked to evolve the earth, as we now know it. He created light, which became day and night.
He then divided the expanse of the ocean with landmasses.
He created Heaven above the waters and land. Consolidating the land and Heaven into one place, the earth was created.
The Lord then created abundant vegetation, which would bear fruit and seed, and seasons for them to flourish and grow.
He created all living creatures, which filled the waters and the land. As God breathed His breath of life into them, the living creatures of earth evolved into what He intended them to be.
Then God, hinting at the first evidence of the Holy Trinity, as He used the word, ‘us’ and ‘our’, said,
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
God then created humans, male and female, in His own image, blessed them, and said for them to multiply, and fill the earth.
On earth, He created a perfect garden, the Garden of Eden, which was specially designed for His children to live in, and enjoy its countless blessings.
“And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
This beautiful garden was indeed an eternal Paradise. Having everything humanity could possibly need and desire, abundant food and water, beautiful surroundings, everything was included. Even a deep relationship, and eternal life with God, the Father.
But what exactly made the original Garden of Eden, “Paradise”?
The answer is the presence of God.
We could walk with Him, talk with Him, ask Him for guidance and direction in life, and ultimately worship Him for eternity.
The Garden of Eden was paradise (Greek: paradeisos), because we, as humans, could be in the presence of God.
Of interest, is the earliest translation of the word ‘garden’ from the Hebrew Bible, into Greek (the Septuagint), used the word paradeisos. The Greek word, paradeisos, has the connotation of being a park fit for royalty. This concept evolved the English term of “paradise.”
The Garden of Eden was indeed the perfect slice of nature, created and designed by God with the intention of pleasing humanity, His creation. This gorgeous Garden of Eden was beyond perfect, but what truly made it Paradise was that we could have a true, meaningful relationship with Almighty God.
But then, sin raised its ugly head.
Taking the form of a “serpent,” the Devil tempted Adam and Eve to be disobedient to God, and to do the one thing that they had been instructed NOT to do. That being, to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Giving in to the temptation of their own desire to be ‘god-like’, the first-ever humans succumbed to the sin of disobeying God. Because of humanity’s sinful nature and disobedience to God, we, all humans, were then forever cast out from the garden.
But this was not how it was supposed to be. God had created humanity in His image, we are His children.
The harmonious, perfect relationship between God and humanity had been broken. All because of the deception by the Devil, and humanity’s sin of disobedience to the will of our Creator, God.
But thankfully, due to a merciful God, our relationship with the Almighty was not completely destroyed. God promised to send us a Savior, to restore, and transform this broken relationship.
Speaking to the Devil, who was manifesting himself as a serpent, the LORD God said,
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
True to His Word, God sent us an offspring from a human woman, being His own Divine Son, to ‘bruise’ the Devil’s head. Therefore, our relationship was eventually restored after thousands of years, through the first coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
In my first book, “Cultivating the Christ”, we journey through the thousands of years, and hundreds of generations of Christ’s ancestors, that eventually culminate with the birth of Jesus.
In “Cultivating the Christ”, we see how God, in His Master Plan for the salvation of humanity, sent us an offspring of a woman who would destroy the Devil’s plan to separate us from Him, the Creator.
Interestingly, the Lord God did not give the Devil much information about the offspring that would deliver the ‘death-blow’ to his head. This frustrated the Devil and left him guessing who this mystery-man would be.
The Devil, therefore, proceeded to do all he could to make sure this offspring of the woman would never be born! He must have thought that he could surely predict, and therefore prevent, this protoevangelium of God from ever coming to fruition.
Of significance, is that the Lord God involved humanity to help solve the problem, and He countered the Devil by using the most unexpected, and sometimes most unworthy people, to be in Jesus’ family tree.
Sent by Father God to redeem His relationship with humanity, Jesus Christ drank the sins of the world and became the sacrificial Lamb of God. Through Jesus’ substitutionary atonement, he took on our sin, redeemed us, and restored our eternal relationship with God, the Father.
Going back through Biblical history, in the book ‘Cultivating the Christ’, we explore the ancestry of Jesus Christ, taking a deep look at the people who formed His earthly family tree. In this journey through the pages of the Bible, we experience how God’s Master Plan was weaved throughout history, which eventually led to the birth of Jesus, our Savior.
Jesus, the Son of God, became flesh, The Word. He walked among us, teaching God’s Word to people who had strayed far from God due to the barriers of sin. Jesus performed miracles proving His Deity, but most of all, Jesus came upon this earth to take on the sins of humanity, and be the sacrificial Lamb of God.
His ultimate act of servanthood, being His substitutionary atonement for the sins of humanity, Jesus was crucified as the sacrificial lamb. With His resurrection, Jesus made it possible for all of those who believe in Him, to also be resurrected, and gain eternal life in the presence of God.
We know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will one day return again to earth. In His second coming, He will reign in the New Heaven and New Earth as Lord of Lords, and King of Kings.
But why does Jesus need to come again to earth?
After all, our eternal salvation is guaranteed, because of Jesus’ sacrificial substitutional atonement for our sins.
What is left undone?
The answer lies in knowing that sin still continued to exist on earth, because the ultimate deceiver, the Devil, continues to exist. The Devil persists to wreak havoc on earth, especially targeting those who believe in God, the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
The Devil despises the Holy Trinity and all who believe.
The Devil continuously wages war against God, and Jesus through the persecution of His followers, His church. Jesus’ followers continue to be assaulted by the Devil through his evil-doings.
To the Devil’s delight, his evil dogma has become engrained in society and the culture on earth, which has led to the degradation of moral, and socioeconomic principles.
Persecution through violence, bloodshed, and even death by torture of believers are extreme tactics of the Devil and his minions used to quench the evangelistic movement of Christians in the Name of Jesus.
Engaged in a continuous spiritual war with the forces of the Devil, Jesus’ church is in the death-throes of destruction now, and will continue to be in the future.
Through his sinful influence, the Devil continuously fights to usurp the ultimate Master Plan of Father God, and the Lamb, that being to regain Paradise for His children.
All because of the doings-of-the-Devil.
But there is great news for Believers in Christ!
The second coming of Jesus will be the final victory for those who have put their faith in Him, as it will result in the ultimate demise of the Devil, and all of his demonic and human allies.
There will be the unveiling of a New Heaven and a New Earth where sin, death, suffering, and pain, will no longer exist.
Believers will enjoy Paradise, because we will have the blessings of an eternal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, His Son.
Jesus foretold of this magnificent future for His Believers.
On the final night of His first coming to earth, Jesus told His disciples that He was going away for a while.
“Where I am going you cannot come”
Jesus then followed up by reassuring the disciples that He would come again to earth.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
We, as believers, know that Jesus will return for us, but when will this happen?
Thinking back on Biblical history, we know that three-thousand-plus-years elapsed between the original sin in the Garden of Eden, and the birth of the Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
God’s theme of redemption and restoration with humanity resounded throughout those years, culminating with the first coming of Jesus Christ, to earth.
How long will it take this time, that is, before the Second Coming of Christ?
We don’t know the answer, as once again, this is on God’s timeline, not ours.
“With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should reach repentance.”
(2 Peter 3:8-9)
Though we as Christians anticipate Christ’s return for the ultimate, final defeat of evil, God is patiently waiting before Jesus’ return, for unbelievers to turn to Him in faith.
We, as believers, have faith in God’s Masterplan for redemption, which resonated throughout Biblical history. We know that God is patient, and welcomes all who will believe.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Believers have been tasked to remain faithful, and resist the wiles of the Devil. We know that the Devil continues to try to put doubt into the minds of people from having faith in Jesus Christ.
Importantly, we are also keenly aware that the Devil tries to distract mankind from understanding when, how, and even IF Jesus is coming back to earth.
The Devil is always lurking in the background, creeping into the hearts and minds of people, even those who are believers.
“And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
After all, the Devil does not want the return of Jesus Christ, as this will be the final conflict, with tremendous ramifications of total cosmic upheaval (Revelation 6:12-17, Matthew 24:29-31).
However, we as Christians know the Devil and his evil allies will be defeated (Revelation 20:7-10).
Christ will return for the final conflict with the Devil, but how will this happen?
We don’t know for sure, but we read in scripture that it will indeed be glorious, loud, bright and that everyone on earth and in Heaven will be aware of this amazing event! (Rev 1:7; Matt 24:27, 29-31; Luke 21:34-36 and Acts 1:9-11)
We don’t know God’s complete Master Plan for the ultimate defeat of the Devil through the second coming of Christ, but we have seen a glimpse of it with John’s Revelation.
We do know that God is always true to His promises and that one day we will see His Master Plan come to fruition.
And importantly, we do know one very important thing about when Christ returns.
This time, Jesus will not come to earth as an innocent, meek baby.
Other Books by Dr. Jana Jones McDowell
Jana Jones McDowell DVM, DAVCA, DAVECC has spent a lifetime practicing Veterinary Medicine and former Professor at a College of Veterinary Medicine.
A Christian, Dr. Jones began her research into Biblical studies a number of years ago, focusing on “context.”
Her research revolves around the “context,” with the study and application of the Judaica Books of the Prophets and the Hagiographa (A new English translation of the Hebrew Masoretic text and commentaries by Rashi and other Rabbinical scholars), and the books of the Midrash Rabbah. The basis of this was the exegesis of the Hebrew Bible with application to the origins of Christianity.
Dr. Jones-McDowell continues her research on the Jewish roots of Christianity as a student of the Israel Bible Center.
Dr. Jones-McDowell and her husband, reside in the southwest with their horses, a Bengal cat named Ravi and their border collie, Sarah.