13. Related Passages and Themes

When we come to the book of Revelation, it is important to understand how interwoven its contents are with inspired writings which precede it in the canon of Scripture. The book is not an independent document disconnected from the rest of Scripture and intended only for the angels of the seven churches.1 Nor is it constrained to dealing only with the events of the readers of John’s day. It must be seen for what it truly is: the capstone of God’s revelation to man. Beyond this book, nothing more has been revealed by God to His Church for over 1900 years. Therefore, the wise reader will keep the following points in mind:
  1. The book of Revelation is not a “head without a body.” It is intimately connected with the previous revelation of God, especially promises and predictions which have not yet found fulfillment.
  2. The book of Revelation is God’s message to His people intended to guide them during the entire period from the departure of Christ through the day of Christ’s return.
We make the mistake of “truncating” God’s message when we fail to interpret its contents within the broad continuum of God’s revelation to man and His historical work upon the earth. Since the book of Revelation describes events during the “crisis” of the final rejection of God by the world prior to the coming of Jesus Christ, we should expect these events to also appear elsewhere in the Scriptures because of their great importance. And indeed they do. Our purpose in this section is to help the reader become aware of related passages and themes which bear upon an interpretation of the book of Revelation. Without a knowledge of these related passages and themes, it becomes difficult—even problematic—to understand the events conveyed by John in this final book of Scripture. In the following discussion, we focus on the major parallels between the book of Revelation and key passages elsewhere in Scripture. But, as was mentioned in our discussion of the interpretation of symbols, there are literally hundreds of passages throughout the Bible and especially the Old Testament, which are connected to the book of Revelation. These will come to light as we make our way through the Commentary.


1 Rev. Rev. 2:1+, Rev. 2:8+, Rev. 2:12+, Rev. 2:18+; Rev. 3:1+, Rev. 3:7+, Rev. 3:14+.