Welcome to Prophecy Toolkit. This is my first venture at writing and making available online commentaries on the prophetic books of the Bible. I have started with Revelation, but felt it necessary to produce with it a commentary on the prophetic sections of Daniel (ch 2, 7-12) and Zechariah ch 12-14 (as Annex 1), as I found myself increasingly studying them in order to understand Revelation.
I also plan to make available on this website downloadable resources on themes in the Bible that are not prophetic by nature. You will find these on the Thematic Material page of this website.
All my materials on the prophetic parts of the Bible are downloadable from the Prophecy toolkit page of this website. The commentaries are written from the evangelical Christian standpoint, and the intention is to help fellow Christians understand the prophecies in the Bible and how they may be fulfilled. With Revelation, the detailed notes verse by verse are preceded by a summary, at the start of each chapter, that sets out simply what that chapter is saying, gives the way (or ways) in which it seems to me that the prophecies in that chapter have been, are being or will be fulfilled, and suggests the key messages in that chapter for us. For some of you, that may be all that you want to read, and that’s fine. But if the summary stimulates your curiosity, or you disagree with what I am saying, then the detailed notes on each chapter are for you! They are designed to function as a toolkit. They are to help you to work out for yourself just what the passage means, how it fits with other prophecies and how the prophecies might be fulfilled. You can dip in and out of them, as you wish. No theological knowledge or understanding of Hebrew, Aramaic or NT Greek is needed.
Do read the Foreword in my Introduction to Revelation for advice on navigating around the Commentary and how to get the best out of this resource. I suggest you flick through the rest of the Introduction to get an idea as to what is there, and perhaps read the first six sections before starting on the Commentary itself.
You may also find the annexes interesting, though I suggest that you read through the Bible text of Revelation first, perhaps using my chapter by chapter summaries to help you, before you “get stuck into” them.
- Annex 1 gives a chapter by chapter summary and detailed notes on the prophetic sections of the book of Daniel (ch 2, 7-12) and Zechariah ch 12-14. Again, you can simply read the summaries without bothering about the detailed notes. John in his headline statement explaining the focus of Revelation, “Behold, he is coming with the clouds . .” (1.7), quotes from key prophecies in both Daniel and Zechariah of Christ’s return, which I think shows their importance. Familiarity with Daniel helps you understand much of the symbolism and the structure of Revelation. There’s also a section in my Introduction, “Is Revelation the church’s equivalent from the Lord of the book of Daniel?”, that looks at the similarities – and the differences. I have tackled Zechariah ch 12-14 as it seems clearly to me to speak of the events surrounding Christ’s return, but from the perspective of God’s chosen people Israel.
- Annex 2 looks at Babylon – a key concept to understanding Revelation, but also perhaps the most complex, and a subject on which there is a wide range of interpretative views. The annex pulls together into one place the origins of Babylon, according to the OT, and the many OT prophecies about Babylon’s future, with detailed help on interpreting them and how they might be fulfilled. It closes with two sections that pose questions on how these prophecies take us beyond the historical Babylon of OT times and what are the issues that they raise for Christians in the 21st Century.
- Annex 3 will help you understand what will happen when Christ returns, according to Jesus’ own teaching and the other NT passages on the subject. The second half of the annex pulls together what I think will happen to mankind when Christ returns and in the era that follows his return, using what Revelation reveals to us and also other parts of the NT.
- Annexes 4 & 5 look in detail at the very many prophecies in the Bible about the future of Israel. Annex 4 sets out thematically how the Lord will deal with his people Israel as this age draws to the close, and then at the time when Christ returns and delivers Israel from her many enemies. The annex is still a work in progress. Future sections will focus thematically on what the Bible means by Israel’s restoration and how we should understand this in the light of the NT. Annex 5 seeks to show how the various prophecies may fit together that deal with the nations’ attacks on Israel and Jerusalem at the end of the age in the 7 years before Christ returns, and the Lord’s deliverance of his people through Christ’s return to earth. As with Revelation, Daniel and Zechariah, I have taken a toolkit approach which assembles the relevant prophecies and suggests how they may relate to each other and be fulfilled.
My toolkit approach is different from traditional commentaries on the Bible. It fits with my firm belief that when the Lord speaks through a Bible Prophet and reveals that he is going to do a particular thing, or that something is going to happen, he WILL bring it about, and he wants us to understand what he is doing AND act accordingly. But generally, the understanding of how the Lord will fulfil what he has revealed through his OT and NT Prophets, and through Christ’s own teachings, will get clearer and clearer the nearer we get to the time of their fulfilment. That’s why I have written this resources as a toolkit that will, hopefully, remain useful as time marches on and the time of the prophecies’ fulfilment gets ever nearer.
I have discovered that grappling with the Bible’s prophecies strengthens my faith in God’s Word, excites me as I see more clearly what God has done, is doing and will do, and helps me find my place in his plan and play my part in the church in which he has placed me. I trust it will do the same for you!
JIM SHAW, Derby City Church, March 2018
Subjects: Bible prophecy; Revelation; Daniel; Zechariah; Babylon; Christ’s return; Israel’s restoration; church.