As I said last time, it seems like the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament) give us God’s promises for Israel in the Age to Come, but that Revelation is purely about the nations (Gentiles, church) in the Age to Come. Revelation just doesn’t seem to have that Jerusalem centrality and Israel focus that the Jewish Scriptures do. Right?
Well, I would just tweak those ideas slightly and say this instead: Whereas the Jewish Scriptures present eschatology with a view of Israel’s future as primary, Revelation presents the larger picture of eschatology, including the nations.
Israel is certainly not missing from Revelation.
Consider Revelation 7 and 14. The 144,000 men from the twelve tribes function in some way as a vanguard for God’s salvation of all Israel (which happens in Revelation 11, see below).
Consider Revelation 12 and the woman and the dragon. The woman is Israel (note: Christendom did not give birth to Jesus and Mary does not fit this image either).
Consider the Temple imagery throughout Revelation:
–1:13 Menorah and priestly robes
–4:4 24 Courses of the priesthood (cf. 1 Chron. 24:4)
–4:6 Sea, basin or laver
–5:8 & 8:3 Altar of Incense
–6:9 Altar of Burnt Offering
–11:19 Ark of the Covenant
–21:22 Temple is no more, but only after the 1,000 years
Most importantly, consider Revelation 11 and its similarity to Zechariah 12. Revelation 11 is the turning point:
And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come. Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 11:13-15)
The city is Jerusalem (from earlier in the chapter). Things get very bad in Jerusalem (cf. Zechariah 12). Yet at the very worst the people of Jerusalem do not curse God, but give him glory.
This is the turning point in the final events of this age. Jerusalem’s repentance is what brings about the transfer of the kingdom of this world to Yeshua. A spirit of grace and supplication, Zechariah says, is poured out on Jerusalem. In other words, Zechariah’s prophecy spoke of Jerusalem suddenly turning to God in prayer. Revelation, quite similarly, says that at the worst point of destruction, Jerusalem gives glory to God.
According to Revelation, what brings Messiah back to this world? The repentance of Jerusalem. It is the same concept at in Matthew 23:37-39.
Is Israel missing from Revelation? No, Israel is the central player, just as in the Jewish Scriptures.