Introduction to Studying Revelation
Updated: Oct 9
Used by permission from GEMS from the Book of Revelation written and compiled by Patrick Jones
WHY DANIEL & REVELATION GO TOGETHER
Daniel, written in the sixth century BC, and Revelation, written at the end of the first century AD, contain some of the most important visions and dreams to be
found in the Bible. All of the visions are prophetic and contain a train of events that occurred from the days they were written to the last days.
There are many similarities to be found in these two books. In fact, Revelation explains and complements the book of Daniel, in just the same way that the New Testament does to the Old Testament. This unity of thought between two different writers over six hundred years apart is remarkable and can only be explained by the common source of inspiration—the Holy Spirit— working on the minds of two men consecrated to God.
What are some of the similarities between these two books?
Daniel and John had the same experience. Daniel was one of many captives from Israel in the Babylonian empire. John was one of many Christian prisoners in the Pagan Roman empire. For their faith in God, both were persecuted. Daniel was thrown into the den of lions, John into a pot of boiling oil. Both came out alive. Both lived to a great age. Both were beloved of God. Both communicated with the angel Gabriel. Both saw Jesus on the Sabbath day. See Dan. 10 and Rev. 1. Both Daniel and Revelation mention the same prophetic time period—the 1260 days. Daniel mentions it two times in two prophecies and John mentions it five times in three prophecies for a total of seven times! It must be important!
God gave both Daniel and John visions that used the same symbols! Notice:
God gave both Daniel and John visions that used the same symbols! Notice that we find the symbols of a lion, bear, leopard, and ten horns used in both Daniel 7:4-7 and Revelation 12:1,2. Notice also, that if you add up the number of heads and horns they are the same! 7 and 10. There are two wings of an eagle used in both Daniel 7:4 and Revelation 12:14.
Even when the same symbols are not used, there are similarities. There is an interesting and very important connection between both books in their identification of the last persecuting power on Earth—the anti-Christ. The “little horn” of Daniel 7 and the “beast” of Rev. 13:1-10 have identical characteristics!
So necessary is it that these two books be studied together is seen by the fact that the book of Daniel is symbolized in the book of Revelation as “a little book open.” Daniel had been told to seal up his book (after being written) until the ‘time of the end’—1798. (John was specifically told not to seal his book of Revelation, and no other book of the Bible was ever closed up or
sealed.) But John saw that the book of Daniel would be opened in Rev. 10:2. In 1798, this historically happened.
God’s people saw the fulfillment of the 1260 day prophecy and began to study the portion of Daniel that had yet been unfulfilled—the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel 8:14. Proof that the little book is indeed the book of Daniel is seen in the fact that it is only after John “eats” this once
closed (but now open) little book, that all the symbols and imagery from the book of Daniel explode into the book of Revelation—even those same time periods!
But not only is Daniel found in Revelation, over 2000 allusions to the Old Testament are found in this prophetic book. We cannot understand the book of Revelation without consulting these connections with the Old Testament.
BOTH DANIEL AND REVELATION ARE VITAL FOR GOD’S PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND.
“Daniel and Revelation must be studied, as well as the other prophecies of the Old and New Testaments. Let there be light, yes, light, in your dwellings. For this we need to pray. The Holy Spirit, shining upon the sacred page, will open our understanding, that we may know what is truth.... “There is need of a much closer study of the word of God; especially should Daniel and the Revelation have attention as never before in the history of our work. We may have less to say in some lines, in regard to the Roman power and the papacy; but we should call attention to what the prophets and apostles have written under the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit has so shaped matters, both in the giving of the prophecy and in the events portrayed, as to teach that the human agent is to be kept out of sight, hid in Christ, and that the Lord God of heaven and His law are to be exalted. Read the book of Daniel. Call up, point by point, the history of the kingdoms there represented. Behold statesmen, councils, powerful armies, and see how God wrought to abase the pride of men, and lay human glory in the dust....
“The light that Daniel received from God was given especially for these last days. The visions he saw by the banks of the Ulai and the Hiddekel, the great rivers of Shinar, are now in process of fulfillment, and all the events foretold will soon come to pass. Consider the circumstances of the Jewish nation when the prophecies of Daniel were given.
“Let us give more time to the study of the Bible.
We do not understand the word as we should. The book of Revelation opens with an injunction to us to understand the instruction that it contains. ‘Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy,’ God declares, ‘and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.’ When we as a people understand what this book means to us, there will be seen among us a great revival. We do not understand fully the lessons that it teaches, notwithstanding the injunction given us to search and study it.
“In the past teachers have declared Daniel and the Revelation to be sealed books, and the people have turned from them. The veil whose apparent mystery has kept many from lifting it, God’s own hand has withdrawn from these portions of His word.
The very name ‘Revelation’ contradicts the statement that it is a sealed book. ‘Revelation’ means that something of importance is revealed. The truths of this book are addressed to those living in these last days. We are standing with the veil removed in the holy place of sacred things. We are not to stand without. We are to enter, not with careless, irreverent
thoughts, not with impetuous footsteps, but with reverence and godly fear. We are nearing the time when the prophecies of the book of Revelation are to be fulfilled....
“We have the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the spirit of
prophecy. Priceless gems are to be found in the word of God. Those who search this word should keep the mind clear. Never should they indulge perverted appetite in eating or drinking. If they do this, the brain will be confused; they will be unable to bear the strain of digging deep to find out the meaning of those things which relate to the closing scenes of this
“When the books of Daniel and Revelation are better understood, believers will have an entirely different religious experience. They will be given such glimpses of the open gates of heaven that heart and mind will be impressed with the character that all must develop in order to realize the blessedness which is to be the reward of the pure in heart.
“The Lord will bless all who will seek humbly and meekly to understand that which is revealed in the Revelation. This book contains so much that is large with immortality and full of glory that all who read and search it earnestly receive the blessing to those ‘that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.’ One thing will certainly be understood from the study of Revelation—that the connection between God and His
people is close and decided.” Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 112-114; Faith I Live By, p. 345.
USE OF THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY
The book of Revelation describes God’s last day church as those that “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Rev. 14:12. A parallel verse describes them as “those that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Rev.
12:17. The “testimony of Jesus” is identified as “the spirit of prophecy” in Rev. 19:10. The gift of prophecy is included in the gifts that God bestows on His church as prophesied in Joel 2 and listed in Ephesians 4. This gift was bestowed upon the Second Advent movement in the
writings of Ellen G. White. This commentary holds that her writings are inspired, and are used to bring light upon the verses of Daniel and Revelation. She herself has said of her writings:
“I recommend to you, dear reader, the Word of God as the rule of your faith and practice. By that Word we are to be judged. God has, in that Word, promised to give visions in the ‘last days’; not for a new rule of faith, but for the comfort of His people, and to correct those who err from Bible truth.
Thus God dealt with Peter when He was about to send him to preach to the Gentiles. (Acts 10.)” Early Writings, p. 78. The final link between both books of prophecy is their single purpose. Daniel expressed it this way:
“My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” Daniel 6:22. Because Daniel obeyed the Ten Commandments, he was
innocent in both God’s eyes (first four commandments) and in the king’s eyes (last six commandments.) The same thought is expressed by John: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation
“The purpose of God in the prophetic books of Daniel and John is simply to save every one from sin by faith in Jesus Christ. This is not just a mental assent to truth, but a receiving of the life and power of God into our life through faith in Jesus. God wants every one on planet earth to obey the ten commandments by the power of Jesus Christ through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
One thing is for sure—God’s last day church will participate in the fulfillment of the last portions of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. Today is the day of opportunity to be part of that remnant body of believers. It is vital that we correctly understand them to guide our steps aright.