Is the book of Revelation prophesying what is going to happen or stating
what happened a long time ago? Also, in Revelation it says that the
locusts were not given power to kill the people with the gold seal on
their head but to torture them so does that mean God’s people will be
tortured or were tortured? Also it says that two witnesses will prophesy
for 1,260 days and also that the gentiles will trample on the holy for 42
months and also that a woman will appear or has appeared and will stay in
a place prepared for her by the Lord in the desert for 1,260 days and also
“the beast that was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and
to exercise his authority for forty-two months”. Do those words mentioned
in the Bible have any relation to each other?


I have answered parts of this question already. For the first question,
here is an answer I gave to a previous person:

As far as the issue of the prophecies in the book, there certainly are a
wide variety of opinions about that. Let me share my belief, but
encourage you to do your own research. I believe that virtually all the
apocalyptic/prophetic writing in the book concerns things which happened
during the time the book was written or shortly thereafter. The book is
about the persecution of the Christian Church by the Roman Empire and
about God’s judgment on those who attacked the church. Specifically, the
angel told John that the vision was about things which were soon to take
place (Revelation 1:1) and that the time was near (Rev 1:3). It seems
easy to interpret the meaning of these passages to me! Besides, all the
prophecies are easily understood as involving the Roman Empire. It is a
huge stretch to apply most of the book to future times. The exception is
at the very end of the book, from Revelation 20:7 to the end of the book,
which seem to me to involve a shift to the end times. A key question
concerns the thousand years of Revelation 20:1-6. It is my belief that
this is a description of the time between the persecutions under Rome and
the end of days, the thousand years being an apocalyptic and symbolic
representation of a long but indeterminate period of time.

On your second question about the locusts, let me provide a partial answer
from a previous answer:

First of all, you should know that most of the book of Revelation is in
what is known as apocalyptic language. This is a type of literature
common among the Hebrew writers at the time of the writing of the New
Testament. Other apocalyptic writings in the Bible include Zechariah,
parts of Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, etc.. With most types of writing, the
reader is to take statements literally unless the context demands a
symbolic interpretation. In apocalyptic writing, the reader is to take
things fuguratively unless the context demands a literal interpretation.
Therefore, in Revelation, we see Jesus as a lamb and so forth. If we were
to take Revelation 7:4-8 literally, then only male virgins from the twelve
tribes of Israel would be in heaven. No one believes this, which makes
taking the 144,000 who were sealed literally to be completely

Now let me add a few new comments. It is impossible to do a good job of
understanding the book of Revelation without bearing in mind that the
language is apocalyptic. You should always interpret the things in the
book (except chapters two and three, and sometimes even there)
symbolically unless the context absolutely demands a literal
interpretation. If we take the seals and bowls symbolically, that will
affect the answer to your question about the locusts. Having said that,
most of the book of Revelation has to do with the early church and the
persecutions they were to undergo from Rome. For this reason, your
question is relevant, sort of. What I mean is that it is very possible
that God is telling the early church, through John, that some of them were
to be killed and others would be tortured because of their faith. I say
this is relevant “sort of” because it has to do with events of the past,
not the present or end-times.

Being even more specific, when I read Revelation chapter nine, it says
that the locusts only harmed those who did not have the seal of God on
their foreheads. I interpret this to mean that whatever is implied by this
prophecy, it does not apply to saved people–those with the seal of God on
their foreheads.

As to the 1260 days and the 42 months, the interpretation is fairly
straightforward. Both represent a period of time of three and one-half
years. A parallel passage is found in Daniel 7:25, where it says that the
Jews would be handed over to the persecuting power; Antiochus Epiphanes
167-164 BC in this case. “The saints will be handed over to him for a
time, times and half a time.” In other words, for three and one half
years. The number three and one half has apocalyptic/symbolic
importance. In Jewish symbolism, the number seven represents perfection
or eternity. The number three and one half, being half of seven, is a
number which represents Satan’s amount of time. Scholars are nearly
unanimous in agreeing that all of these passages use three and one half
years to represent an indefinite but limited amount of time during which
God’s people will be persecuted. In the case of the Jews under Antiochus
Epiphanes, the persecution lasted for just over three years, after which
God judged Antiochus. In the case of the persecutions prophesied in
Revelation, the persecutions under Rome were indeed temporary, but they
lasted quite a few years. The years of persecution under Rome lasted from
about AD 80 until the edict of toleration in AD 312.

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