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13.8. Genesis and Revelation as Bookends

Having explored the parallels between events in the book of Revelation and passages which speak of a future time of trouble for both the world and the Jews, we now expand our scope to consider the role which Revelation plays as an opposite “bookend” to Genesis. “Ponder for a moment about the books you have in your study. What keeps most of them in a tidy, neat row? The bookends! Consider the books of Genesis and Revelation. They are the ‘bookends’ of the Word of God.”1

The Book of Revelation is the sequel to the Book of Genesis, the two books together bounding all history and bounding all of God’s revelations to mankind. They constitute the alpha and omega of God’s written Word, the Book of Beginnings and the Book of Unveilings.2

Given the extensive list of correlations which follow, it is hard to imagine how some in history could have questioned the role of the book of Revelation within the canon. Once these relationships are seen, it becomes clear how important the book of Revelation is to the completion of God’s revelation to man and how inadequate are the views which restrict the events of the book of Revelation to an exclusively first-century fulfillment.3 Many questions which are posed when interpreting Genesis can be easily furnished by an understanding of Revelation and vice versa. For example, consider the creation of the sun and moon on day four of creation week (Gen. Gen. 1:14-17) whereas light is said to have been created on the first day (Gen. Gen. 1:3). The oft-heard question is “how could there be light prior to the creation of the sun?” Many elaborate theories about the sun and moon actually being created earlier than day four and then “unveiled” or made to appear on that day could be instantly disposed of by the study of the light source which John records in the eternal state (Rev. Rev. 21:23+).4 Morris offers the following instructive comparisons between the probationary (and subsequently cursed) world described in Genesis and the eternal (and redeemed) world described in Revelation.5

Probationary versus Eternal World
Genesis (probationary world)Revelation (eternal world)
Division of light and darkness (Gen. Gen. 1:4). No night there (Rev. Rev. 21:25+).
Division of land and sea (Gen. Gen. 1:10). No more sea (Rev. Rev. 21:1+).
Rule of sun and moon (Gen. Gen. 1:16). No need of sun or moon (Rev. Rev. 21:23+).
First heavens and earth finished (Gen. Gen. 2:1-3). New heaven and earth forever (Rev. Rev. 21:2+).
Man in a prepared garden (Gen. Gen. 2:8-9). Man in a prepared city (Rev. Rev. 21:2+).
River flowing out of Eden (Gen. Gen. 2:10). River flowing from God’s throne (Rev. Rev. 22:1+).
Tree of life in the midst of the garden (Gen. Gen. 2:9). Tree of life throughout the city (Rev. Rev. 22:2+).
Gold in the land (Gen. Gen. 2:12). Gold in the city (Rev. Rev. 21:21+).
Bdellium and the onyx stone (Gen. Gen. 2:12). All manner of precious stones (Rev. Rev. 21:19+).
God walking in the garden (Gen. Gen. 3:8). God dwelling with His people (Rev. Rev. 21:3+).
The Spirit energizing (Gen. Gen. 1:2). The Spirit inviting (Rev. Rev. 22:17+).
Bride formed for her husband (Gen. Gen. 2:21-23). Bride adorned for her husband (Rev. Rev. 21:2+).
Command to multiply (Gen. Gen. 1:28). Nations of the saved (Rev. Rev. 21:24+).
Garden accessible to the Liar (Gen. Gen. 3:1-5). City closed to all liars (Rev. Rev. 21:27+).
Man in God’s image (Gen. Gen. 1:27). Man in God’s presence (Rev. Rev. 21:3+).
Man the probationer (Gen. Gen. 2:17). Man the heir (Rev. Rev. 21:7+).

Cursed versus Redeemed World
Genesis (cursed world)Revelation (redeemed world)
Cursed ground (Gen. Gen. 3:17). No more curse (Rev. Rev. 22:3+).
Daily sorrow (Gen. Gen. 3:17). No more sorrow (Rev. Rev. 21:4+).
Sweat on the face (Gen. Gen. 3:19). No more tears (Rev. Rev. 21:1+;Rev. 4:1+).
Thorns and thistles (Gen. Gen. 3:18). No more pain (Rev. Rev. 21:4+).
Eating herbs of the field (Gen. Gen. 3:18). Twelve manner of fruits (Rev. Rev. 22:2+).
Returning to the dust (Gen. Gen. 3:19). No more death (Rev. Rev. 21:4+).
Coats of skins (Gen. Gen. 3:21). Fine linen, white and clean (Rev. Rev. 19:14+).
Satan opposing (Gen. Gen. 3:15). Satan banished (Rev. Rev. 20:10+).
Kept from the tree of life (Gen. Gen. 3:24). Access to the tree of life (Rev. Rev. 22:14+).
Banished from the garden (Gen. Gen. 3:23). Free entry to the city (Rev. Rev. 22:14+).
Redeemer promised (Gen. Gen. 3:15). Redemption accomplished (Rev. Rev. 5:9-10+).
Evil continually (Gen. Gen. 6:5). Nothing that defiles (Rev. Rev. 21:27+).
Seed of the woman (Gen. Gen. 3:15). Root and offspring of David (Rev. Rev. 22:16+).
Cherubim guarding (Gen. Gen. 3:24). Angels inviting (Rev. Rev. 21:9+).

We may extend this list with comparisons from Bullinger.6

Genesis versus Revelation
GenesisRevelation
Man in God’s image (Gen. Gen. 1:26). Man headed by one in Satan’s image (Rev. Rev. 13:1+).
Man’s religion, art, and science, resorted to for enjoyment apart from God (Gen. Gen. 4:1). Man’s religion, luxury, art, and science, in their full glory judged and destroyed by God (Rev. Rev. 18:1+).
Nimrod, a great rebel and King, and hidden anti-God, the founder of Babylon (Gen. Gen. 10:8-10). The Beast, the great Rebel, a King, and manifested anti-God, the reviver of Babylon (Rev. Rev. 13:1+, Rev. 17:1+).
A flood from God to destroy an evil generation (Gen. Gen. 6:1-Gen. 9:1). A flood from Satan to destroy an elect generation (Rev. Rev. 12:1+).
Marriage of first Adam (Gen. Gen. 2:18-23). Marriage of last Adam (Rev. Rev. 19:1+).
A bride sought for Abraham’s son (Isaac) and found (Gen. Gen. 24:1). A Bride made ready and brought to Abraham’s Son (Rev. Rev. 19:9+).
Man’s dominion ceased and Satan’s begun (Gen. Gen. 3:24). Satan’s dominion ended and man’s restored (Rev. Rev. 22:1+).


Notes

1 Mal Couch, “Why is Revelation Important?,” in Mal Couch, ed., A Bible Handbook to Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001), 16.

2 Henry Morris, The Revelation Record (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1983), 14.

3 The creation evangelism organization Answers in Genesis (www.AnswersInGenesis.org) correctly emphasizes the need to take the Scriptures literally “from the very first verse.” Without an understanding of the cause of man’s problem, there is no need for a savior. If Adam and Eve were not literal, what need have we of Jesus? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this “back to Genesis” emphasis on literal interpretation were taken “ahead to Revelation” and applied there too?

4 Asking this question evidences a lack of familiarity with the doctrine of God’s Shekinah (abiding) Glory: Gen. Gen. 3:8, Gen. 3:24; Gen. 15:17; Ex. Ex. 3:2; Ex. 13:21-22; Ex. 14:19-20, Ex. 14:24; Ex. Ex. 16:10; Ex. 19:18; Ex. 24:15-16; Ex. 33:18-23; Ex. 34:5-6; Ex. 40:34; Lev. Lev. 9:6, Lev. 9:23; Num. Num. 14:10, Num. 14:22; Num. 16:19, Num. 16:42; Num. 20:6; Deu. Deu. 5:25-26; Deu. 33:16; 1K. 1K. 8:10-11; 2Chr. 2Chr. 7:1; Isa. Isa. 4:5; Isa. 35:2; Isa. 40:5; Isa. 58:8; Isa. 60:3; Eze. Eze. 1:28; Eze. 3:23; Eze. 9:3; Eze. 10:18; Eze. 43:2-4; Hag. Hag. 2:7-9; Zec. Zec. 2:5; Mtt. Mat. 16:27; Mat. 17:2; Mat. 24:30; Mark Mark 9:3; Luke Luke 2:8-9; Luke 9:29; John John 1:14; Acts Acts 2:3; Acts 9:3; Acts 22:6; Acts 26:13; Heb. Heb. 1:3; 2Pe. 2Pe. 1:16-17; Rev. Rev. 1:14-16+; Rev. 15:8+; Rev. 21:3+; Rev. 21:23+

5 Morris, The Revelation Record, 22.

6 E. W. Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1984, 1935), 58-59.