The Book of Revelation: The Final Exodus

I. Introduction
The Book of Revelation was most likely written around 96AD by the Jewish apostle John to the 7 churches in Asia Minor which were comprised of a large portion of Jews who had been dispersed from the holy land because of the Jewish Roman war in 66-70AD.  However, these churches were in cities mostly populated by gentiles and those churches also had a large amount of gentile believers. However, we must remember that the gentiles from these cities who received Jesus as Messiah understood themselves as being grafted into the hope of Israel.  Here is what I mean by this: 

 After the destruction of the temple in 586 BC and the deportation of the Jews to Babylon the Holy Land was left desolate which created the Diaspora of Jews throughout all of the known world. Obviously after the destruction of the temple the sacrifices had ceased.  The Jewish faith was completely dependent upon the temple, the priesthood, and the sacrificial system and now needed to find a way to survive without those elements. This is when the roots of Rabbinic Judaism began to take shape.  Then in 539 BC Cyrus made the decree for Jews to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. However only a very small percentage of Jews actually made the difficult journey back to the holy land to undergo the nearly impossible task of rebuilding the temple in a desolate place. Still, with much difficulty the second temple was rebuilt in 516 BC which left the rest of jews who were still scattered among the nations without a way to participate in the restored temple worship.  This led the Jews to began to build synagogues all over the known world to worship within instead of the temple. Since these Synagogues were in gentile areas many gentiles ended up become proselytes. Proselytes were gentiles that converted to worshipping YHWH and following rabbinic teaching (the old testament made provision for this). From the time of the building of synagogues till the time of Christ we see this trend permeate the nations.  Rabbinic teaching of 2nd temple Judaism was obviously Israel-centric with a huge emphasis on the hope of the coming Jewish Messiah who would end oppression & wickedness, bring in everlasting righteousness and rule all the nations from Jerusalem ushering in the "Kingdom of God"

So during the forming and blossoming of rabbinic Judaism in synagogues it seems that large amounts of gentiles throughout the known world began to hear and some even began set their hope in the coming Jewish Messiah. So when we come to the book of Acts we have proselytes called God-fearers like Cornelius in Acts 10 prepared to receive Jesus as the Messiah from the Jewish Scriptures: Here are a few examples of gentiles in scripture that seem to have the hope of the coming Jewish Messiah:
The Magi from the east coming to worship the King of the Jews, the Ethiopian eunuch who has his own scroll of Isaiah and is reading it; the canaanite woman from Tyre and Sidon who calls Jesus the Son on David (Matt. 15); the Roman Centurion who called Himself unworthy to have Jesus in his house (Matt. 8); the Greeks coming to celebrate the Jewish festival of passover and seeking Jesus (John 12),  the Roman King Agrippa who read the Old Testament prophets (Acts 26:27); the Gentile multitudes from the Decapolis who saw the miracles of Jesus and Glorified the God of Israel (Matt. 15:31); The Roman Centurion Cornelius who gave alms to Jewish people and prayed to YHWH (Acts. 10)  to name a few.  
The synagogue was used by the Lord as a catalyst to spread the message of the coming Jewish king who would restore all things throughout the whole known world.  This is what sets the context for the book of acts and the rapid expansion of the gospel throughout all the gentile nations. Our modern dilemma is that there is not a global climate which is somewhat familiar with the concept of a promised messiah to come like there was then. Most people would say..." messiah... what messiah, or what do you mean messiah?"  And if they have head the word messiah it certainly has nothing to do with the King of Israel.

So the Apostle John was writing the book of revelation to a church comprised of lots of Jews & Gentiles who would have all been well versed in the old testament with an ingrained hope that Jesus was the promised Jewish Messiah who would come back and restore the kingdom to Israel. We also must remember that as the early church was formed their bible was the old testament.  They didn't have most of the epistles or the gospels for the first 20-30 years of the church.

Though Jesus did change and shift the Jewish messianic expectation with an atonement at the 1st coming rather than an immediate kingdom. He did not redefine the Jewish expectation of the coming Kingdom. He said time and time again that at His second coming He would restore the Kingdom to Israel.  He also said that those gentiles that believed He was the Messiah would also be included in that kingdom and those Jews that didn't receive Him as Messiah would be thrust out of that Kingdom.

However, later in the 2nd and 3rd century the power base of the church lost its jewish roots and began to adopt a version of Christianity that had been corrupted through a hellenistic influence which sought to merge greek philosophy and the bible together (A bible school in Alexandria, Egypt).  This introduced a hermeneutic into the church of allegorically interpreting the old testament which ultimately led to replacement theology and the loss of the hope of the Gospel being anchored in a literal everlasting Messianic Kingdom centered in Jerusalem. Its very clear that all the early church fathers clearly still believed in a literal Messianic Kingdom from Jerusalem that would be inaugurated at Jesus second coming (references).  Slowly, The kingdom of God became spiritual like plato's philosophic construct which leads us to where the vast majority of western mainstream evangelical christianity lies today.  A hellenized version of the Gospel, not the Jewish gospel. 

Since we are now 2000 years removed from that time period we must step back and try to return to the true gospel which was entrusted 1st to the Jewish people and then the gentiles .  We must remember that the word "gospel" or good news was first used in the old testament (i.e. Is 40)  and promised that the LORD would bring forth Israel into an everlasting kingdom which would be forever ruled by Messiah... The son of David (obviously the gospel also includes the atonement of Messiah. Is. 53).  As 21st century gentile Christians we must remember that we have been grafted into the hope of Israel to also inherit the covenant promises of Abraham by God's mercy (Rom. 9-11). With all that said we must read the scripture through the lens of the original Jewish hope; meaning we must read and interpret the scripture being thoroughly anchored in the old testament promises as literal not allegorical.  The New Testament was never meant to stand is the fulfillment to the Old testament.  So we must understand what the Old testament was prophesying to understand what the New Testament is fulfilling.

II. Passover in the Early Church 

1st century Jews and Christians (both Jews and gentiles) had one main common element in their worship - the Passover.  The Jews entire year was centered around the Passover feast where they commemorated the exodus from Egypt and the entering of the promise land. The main part of the passover celebration was the highly symbolic meal that was eaten in which the slain lamb was the central part of that meal.  The Christians still seemed at some level to be involved in that once a year feast.  However, the passover feast became even MORE central to Christians.  This is because Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper while eating His last passover meal (Last supper).  He told us to eat the bread and drink the wine of the passover meal to remember His body broken and blood poured out whenever we meet until He returns.  Jesus set up the new covenant in the context of the passover meal as Him as the slain lamb as not just as a yearly celebration but as the main element in Christian liturgy to be observed weekly!  The early church renamed this weekly passover feast to be called the love feast (Jude 1:12) in which church worship was simply gathering in homes and eating the meal together and singing hymns to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus as the true passover lamb.  I am sad to say that we have lost just how much weight the passover story and celebration once had in the church.

III. The Book of Revelation: The Final Exodus

Knowing just how central the passover was to the early church and just how schooled even the gentiles were in the Old Testament one can hardly overemphasize the significance that the passover would have had in their minds.  With all of this in mind as we look at the book of Revelation we will quickly see it the way early church would have viewed it. The Lord gave the book of Revelation in a very distinct way with language and parallels that are meant to be understood as the "final exodus". The similarities are striking when you overlay the book of exodus upon the book of Revelation and view the end of the age through the lens of the passover and exodus.  This book is the eschatological "passover" where Messiah will judge the nations and bring those covered in the "blood of the Lamb" into the promised blessings of Abraham. The Book of Revelation truly is the New Covenant book of Exodus: So lets look at all the parallels that point to this reality.  

The Old testament clearly tells us that there will be mighty trouble at the end of the age for the Jewish people (Jer. 30:7), and so does the new testament say also the same for the church (John 15-16; Matt 24; Luke 21; Mk 13); but just as the Lord delivered His people during the 1st exodus so will He deliver His people at the end of the age with the SAME magnitude of miracles that He used in the 1st exodus but on a global scale!
  (the end of the age will be like...) "As in the days when you came out from the land of Egypt, I will show you miracles." Micah 7:15

 Just as the Jews were freed from the oppression of the Egyptian Pharaoh during the first exodus so His people will be freed from the oppression of the anti-christ at the end of the age.

1. - Moses and Aaron prophesied to Pharaoh and through prophetic decrees (prayer) they released the Plagues upon Egypt.  They also prayed to the Lord to stop the plagues and the Lord did (Ex. 8:12). The Two witnesses in the Rev. 11:6 are seen functioning exactly the same against the anti-christ in the great tribulation.  
These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying ; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. Rev. 11:6
 The language of this verse it pointing towards to ministry of Moses and the ministry of Elijah being raised up again at the end of the age.  Just as Moses and Aaron released and stopped the plagues of Egypt through prayer so the church will step into the James 5:16 "effective prayer that avails much," and the churches prayers will be answered by God releasing Judgment upon the reprobate who are oppressing the nations of the earth especially Israel. The two witnesses will be walking in the fullness of this ministry but the rest of the end time church will also be operating in this anointing in part as well.  The following verse points to this...
Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. - Rev. 8;3-5
At the end of the age the Lord will "fill the prayer lives of the saints with fire"  and the prayers of the saints will be answered by God releasing great "shakings" upon the oppressors of the earth.  Just as God answered the prayers of the early church in Acts 4 with an earthquake, an infilling of the Spirit; and boldness upon the will God do it again globally at the end of the age.   

2. -  The  Plagues were Judgments upon Egypt to liberate Israel just as the end time Judgments (seals, trumpets, bowls) will be judgments upon the anti-christ's empire to liberate the righteous. 

 - Turning water into blood in the 1st Plague of Egypt (Ex. 7:19); Water turned to blood in 2nd and 3rd bowl judgments and the 2nd trumpet judgment (Rev.16:3-6; 8:8)

- Darkness covers the land of Egypt in the 9th Plague (Ex. 10:21-21); Darkness covers the earth in the 6th seal & the 6th trumpet judgments.  A third of the earth is struck with darkness in the 4th trumpet. darkness comes upon the anti-christ’s empire in the 5th bowl judgment (Rev. 6:12; 9:2; 8:12; 16:10)

- Boils come upon the Egyptians in the 6th Plague (Ex. 9:8-9); foul and loathsome sores will come upon all those that take the mark of the beast in the 1st bowl judgment; (Rev. 16:2)
- Hail come upon Egypt in the 7th plague (Ex. 9:19); Hundred pound hail will fall upon the anti-christ's empire in the 7th bowl & trumpet judgments.  

- Locusts came and ate all the crops producing famine in Egypt in the 8th Plague (Ex. 10:4-5); Demon locusts come out to the bottomless pit to torment the wicked on the earth in the 5th trumpet (Rev. 9:3) and famine comes to the earth in the 3rd & 4th seal judgment (Rev. 6:5-8). 

- All the firstborn of Egypt died in the 10th plague (Ex. 11:4-5); 1/4 of mankind dies in the fourth seal judgment; (Rev. 6:8) 1/3 of mankind dies in the 6th trumpet judgment (Rev. 9:18)

3. The Lord made a distinction between His people and the people of Egypt by protecting His people from the plagues (Ex. 8:22; 9:4; 11:7); at the end of the age the Judgments will be directed against the anti-christ's empire and his followers with the mark of the beast and He will protect His people from the Judgments just like He did with Israel in Goshen. At the end of the age the Lord will again make a distinction between His people and the rest of mankind.

 1st Exodus - The hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast ; the hail also struck every plant of the field and shattered every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the sons of Israel were, there was no hail. - Exodus 9:25-26

Last Exodus - Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. Rev. 9:3-4

[Not to say that God's people won't suffer in the great tribulation.  The 1st exodus narrative even tells us that at the beginning of Israel's liberation oppression became worse for a season, and it doesn't say that goshen was exempt from all the plagues of Egypt.  So we can't expect God's people to be exempt from suffering in the final exodus.  The point here is that God will clearly make a distinction between His people and the world.]

4. The Lord brought His people safely through the parted waters of the Red Sea to escape the armies Pharaoh and then lured the entire Egyptian army into the "valley" between the waters to kill them all to display His power (Ex. 14). At the end of the age Jesus will split the Mt. of olives and the remnant of His people will safely flee from the anti-christs army into the wilderness; Jesus will lure the anti-christ and His army into the valley of Meggiddo where He will tread the winepress and kill all of the anti-christs army. (Zech. 14.4-5; Rev. 12:14-15; 14:19-20; 19:11-21)

Now this "Red Sea escape" is what I want to focus upon the remainder of this study.  The Red Sea escape in the book of exodus was the ultimate climax of the LORD's deliverance for the people of Israel against Pharaoh.  The Red Sea was God's wrath being poured out upon His enemies.  And so the end time judgments are also wrath of God against the anti-christ and the reprobate to deliver the righteous into the age to come.

So How do we know for sure that we can use this Red Sea typology in our interpretation of the book of Revelation?  The answer lies in Rev. 15
then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished. 2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. 3 And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, " Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! 4 "Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name ? For You alone are holy ;For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTSHAVE BEEN REVEALED." Rev. 15:1-4
In Rev. 15:3 the saints sing the song of Moses.  So what is the song of Moses? 
Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said, "I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted ; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea. 2 "The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation ; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will extol Him. 3 "The LORD is a warrior ; The LORD is His name. 4 "Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea ; And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea. 5 "The deeps cover them; They went down into the depths like a stone. 6 "Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy. 7 "And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You; You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff. 8 "At the blast of Your nostrils the waters were piled up, The flowing waters stood up like a heap ; The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 "The enemy said, 'I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil ; My desire shall be gratified against them; I will draw out my sword, my hand will destroy them.' 10 "You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; They sank like lead in the mighty waters. 11 "Who is like You among the gods, O LORD ? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders ? 12 "You stretched out Your right hand, The earth swallowed them. 13 "In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed ; In Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation. 14 "The peoples have heard, they tremble ; Anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia. 15 "Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed ; The leaders of Moab, trembling grips them; All the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. 16 "Terror and dread fall upon them; By the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone ; Until Your people pass over, O LORD, Until the people pass over whom You have purchased. 17 "You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, The place, O LORD, which You have made for Your dwelling, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established. 18 "The LORD shall reign forever and ever." 19 For the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea on them, but the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea. 20 Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing. 21 Miriam answered them, "Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted ; The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea." Exodus 15:1-21
Rev. 15 is the only other place in scripture where the people sing the song of Moses.  So what does this tell us about the saints seen in Rev. 15?   
I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. 3 And they sang the song of Moses, Rev. 15:2-3
This points to the righteous singing at the end of the age of being victorious over the anti-christ and His systems just like Israel sang in the 1st exodus of having victory over pharaoh and his armies.  Both groups, Israel in the 1st exodus and the righteous in the last exodus, are both seen singing the same song.  These are the only two groups in scripture that sing this song pointing to the supernatural power of God delivering both groups in the same way.............. A complete and total deliverance like that of the Red Sea which will glorify the power of God causing the nations to tremble and revere Jesus as God.  

In Rev. 15 the righteous are seen as VICTORIOUS! This means they did not partake in the anti-christ system and didn't take the mark of the beast; but this also implies that they didn't just survive through the great tribulation but they experienced great victory by having hearts that were a burning with the fire of love towards Jesus and being faithful even while being under the great pressure and persecution of the anti-christ. 

The Greek for victorious is Nikao which means:to carry off the victory, come off victorious; of Christ, victorious over all His foes; of Christians, that hold fast their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, and temptations and persecutions; when one is arraigned or goes to law, to win the case, maintain one's cause to conquer.

This word points to a victorious end time church. I love how this word is used in the following passages:

I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.1 John 2:13-14

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them (Those with an anti-christ spirit); because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

and one of the elders said to me, "Stop weeping ; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed so as to open the scroll and its seven seals." Rev. 5:5

"And they (Saintsovercame him (Satan) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. Rev. 12:11

In Rev. 15 we see a church who was victorious over the beast and his mark!  This victory doesn't mean they are the ones that overthrow the beast and His empire.  Because the beast has been given authority by God to kill a large number of saints. This victory implies that the saints will remain faithful and unmoved in the love, commitment and faithfulness to Jesus no matter the cost.   

This passage in Rev. 15 shows us that the many waters of affliction of the great tribulation will not put out the flame of Love burning in the heart of the church.  The end time church will love Jesus with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength in the midst of the greatest global crisis in history 

Those with a Pre-trib theology see this passage in Rev. ch. 15 as those that were previously raptures.  Lets look at why this passage doesn't point the a pre-tribulation group

I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. 3 And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying. 15:2-3

The song of Moses is being sung by the end time church because of the WAY that they are delivered from their enemy.  The children of Israel walked through the Red Sea supernaturally.  They were not "raptured" or taken out of the elements they walked through the midst of it with supernatural favor and protection.  The reason that the end time church sings the song of Moses again is because they are delivered in the same way Israel was during the exodus...they walked through the midst of the great tribulation and were delivered from their enemies by the power and Judgment of God.  The End time church would have no reason to sing the song of Moses if they were raptured out and didn't walk through the midst of the impossible great tribulation to put the Glory of God on display.

I have heard Pre-trib people use the Red Sea and Noah's Ark as a "president" for a secret rapture.  I think this is ridiculous because in both of those stories the righteous were preserved while they were on the earth in the midst of crisis.  They were never taken off the planet during crisis; the LORD preserved them in the midst of it to put His glory on display. The Lord didn't take the Children of Israel out of the Red Sea but He had them walk through it first in safety to glorify His name in the greatest way possible.  The End time church will again safely walk through a Red Sea like situation called the great tribulation to put the Glory of God on display causing all the nations to tremble before Jesus.  

   Here is what IHOP-KC's Mike Bickle has to say about the group in Rev. 15 - The sea of glass was foreshadowed by the bronze (brazen) laver in the tabernacle of Moses that was filled with water. The priests washed their hands and feet in it before entering the sanctuary or the tabernacle of meeting (Ex. 30:18-21). The bronze sea in Solomon’s temple was for washing and purification of the sacrifices (1 Kgs. 7:23-24; 2 Chr. 4:2-15). It typified Israel going through the Red Sea (Ex. 14-15). Both the brazen laver and the bronze sea were made of brass or bronze and were in the outer court. The saints stand on the sea in the outer court before entering the service in the sanctuary in the age to come. Glass speaks of transparency without deception. It is mingled with the fire of holiness. 

I also think that its important to look and the context before and after this passage.  Before we see the 7th trumpet and what clearly seems to be the rapture of the saints. Then in Rev. 15:1 we see the angels coming out of the temple with the 7 bowls of wrath.  Then after we see the saints in this passage we see the progression of the bowls of wrath being poured out.  So this group is seen singing in the context of the wrath of God being poured out to finish the judgments of God.  

This points to a church that is un-offended at the severity of God's judgments.  The church will understand clearly that the wicked clearly deserve hell and that God judging them will bring Him great glory.  They are singing about how all the nations will finally fear the Lord after He judges the nations; and all people will worship Jesus night and day on earth as it is in heaven.  The church seen in this passage is clearly jealous for the fame and glory of Jesus to have preeminence in the hearts of all men.  

IV. God's Zeal for the nation of Israel

Well to bring this to and end I would just like to say that the end times are centered mostly around severely disciplining the nation of Israel for abandoning the LORD.  The Lord is raising up the anti-christ to administer this chastisement upon Israel (as well as the other nations). But just remember that His chastisement is always perfectly calculated as a tool of redemption. So just as the Lord raised up Babylon to judge Israel He will raise up another babylonian system at the hand of the anti-christ that will send Israel into "exile" again. However, God turned around and judged Babylon for their destruction of Israel.  So God will raise up the anti-christ and then quickly turn around and destroy the very tool He used for His purpose.  The Lord will do this in very dramatic fashion to be a final exodus for Israel and those grafted into her (Rev. 12:17)

We the church must realize that the end time events are totally Israel-centric and that the pressures of the end of the age are centered around God's zeal to purify the nation of Israel.  The intense pressure will cause many many in Israel to perish but a remnant of Jewish people will remain who will ALL receive Jesus as both LORD and Messiah! This will finally transition the earth into the messianic era and bring Israel (and those grafted in to her) into the promises of the abrahamic covenant. (True Israel is those who join themselves to the promised seed of Abraham by faith in the atonement Jew first and then gentile.  However, National Israel has and always will retain the calling of being head of all the nations as the firstborn son.  The call of God is irrevocable (Rom. 9-11)   

V. Conclusion 

This eschatological exodus will cause all nations to be confronted with the great glory and power of God just as Egypt and all the surrounding nations were through the 1st exodus. The LORD put His glory on display for all the nations to see by judging Egypt and  preserving Israel; So again will the Glory of Jesus shine forth as He makes a distinction by preserving His people in the midst of releasing judgments upon the end time pharaoh...the antichrist and his system.  Also, in the 1st exodus, a massive emphasis was placed around the LORD exalting the nation of Israel in the eyes of all other nations.  After the exodus the nations feared the people of Israel because of their God.  God exalted Israel most effectively by preserving them in the midst of the judgments not by taking them out of it.  God clearly showed to all nations that Israel was His people by making a clear distinction between them and Egypt.  At the end of the age the Lord again will glorify His name and vindicate His church by clearly displaying that they are His people by yet again making a distinction between His people and all sinners.