Is Israel Missing from Revelation? Pt. 2

Like last time, this is not an excerpt from my book, but I cover this material in chapter 6, “The Vision of John.”

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.


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christian, Derek's Writings, Judaism, Life to Come, Messianic Jewish, Replacement Theology, Supersessionism, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Is Israel Missing from Revelation? Pt. 2

  1. Thanks for sharing your insights on integrating the eschatalogical elements of the OT with the book of Revelation, Derek.
    Could you possibly expand a little bit more on your statement about Mary not fitting the woman who gives birth to the child? I’m inclined to agree with you that the woman is Israel, but I see the feasibility of the Mary interpretation, and I haven’t studied it in depth.
    The following Roman Catholic blogger touches on the point in a larger context in this interesting post comparing Mary to the ark of the covenant:

    (Don’t worry, I’m not about to cross the Tiber–but I try to read outside my own circles for educational purposes–I learn a lot that way!)

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. Yahnatan:

    The argument could be made that the woman is Mary, that the persecution by the dragon is Herod’s slaughter of the innocents, and that the time in question is when Mary went to Egypt.

    Several things argue against this:
    1. The persecution is said to happen after the child is taken up to God’s throne. That would fit with the first Jewish revolt.
    2. The time she is in the wilderness is 1,260 days, which sounds like many other verses speaking of tribulation for Israel.
    3. The dragon makes war on her other offspring, which fits much better with Israel’s subsequent history than that of Yeshua’s brothers (James, Jude).

    Hope this helps.


  3. Thanks, that helps.
    I definitely agree that “the dragon making war on her offspring” idea fits Israel’s subsequent history. However, 12:17 appears to identify the “offspring” as “those who hold to the testimony of Yeshua”–is there another way you’re reading that?

    Perhaps in 12:17 John is referring to specific persecution of the Jewish believers (i.e. a righteous remnant) up to and during his day, rather than looking prophetically two thousand years into the future?

  4. Yahnatan:

    Notice Rev 12:17 says “the rest of her offspring.” This is a similar concept to John 10:16, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold.” It is also similar to Ephesians 2:12, “you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants.”

    In other words, the congregation of the nations in Messiah is an extension of Israel.


  5. Ah!

    woman = Israel
    child = Yeshua = her Offspring
    Rest of her offspring = congregation of the nations in Messiah

    So this passage also holds some helpful insights into John’s understanding of the relationship between the church and Israel. I’m glad to be aware of these…thanks, Derek.


  6. Pingback: Recent Links Tagged With "missing" - JabberTags

  7. cenepk10 says:

    ”In a rare astrological event, Virgo the virgin ( Bethula) is giving “birth” to the moon every year from 1996-1999 & it just happens to be occurring every year on the Jewish New Year Rosh Hoshanah or Feast of Trumpets which is very rare indeed. By the year 2000, the moon is far beneath her legs ( birthed). This positioning of the moon has never occurred before & will never again occur for another 26,000 years due to the precession of the equinoxes.

    The sun is just below the horizon such that Virgo (Bethula) is “clothed with the sun” as the scripture mentions. The sun must be below the horizon in order to have any possibility of seeing this “sign”. The moon is “new”after the “birth”. The moon will move directly to the feet of Virgo
    (Bethula) within 24 hrs. Over Virgo’s head is the constellation know as “Coma Bernice’s hair”. This is the crown of 12 stars in verse 1. Higher & above her legswe will find “Draco the Dragon” poised to devour Virgo’s child. Isaiah 66 seems to be the closest match in all scriptures to the birth in Rev 12.

    I think it is more than a coincidence that the weekly Torah reading during the week of Sept 11 1999 which is read by all Orthodox Jews specifically when the new moon (Rosh Chodesh) falls on the Sabbath; just as it does when this sign occurs on Feast of Trumpets ( Sept 11 & 12 1999 )The Lord obviously chose these readings so that His people would be informed before He takes action. “”

    Now – with this in mind- my questions are: Who is the man- Child ? Who does this woman represent ? The 1/3 of the stars struck by the tail of Draco to the Earth- Are these demons loosed on the Earth now ?

    • mystical1 says:

      I have heard something simiar before cenepk10. I wrote a date somewhere as I was doing research on something else,that date had to do with ( my table is crowded with so many books and papers–can’t seem to find that scrap of paper); however I remember the year being 2013. That’s all I can remember. O well.

  8. cenepk10 says:

    Virgin=Israel= Mother of us all

    Manchild= (Ephesians 2:15) One new man from Jew and Gentile caught up to throne

    144,000= first fruits of Israel sealed of God ( Romans 11:15 )For if their being cast away is the reconsiling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead ?

  9. Pingback: Revelation’s 144,000 and Grant Osborne’s Commentary « Messianic Jewish Musings

  10. Pingback: Rev. 11 and Overlooking Israel « Messianic Jewish Musings

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