• “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches..." (Revelation 1:11) | Photo credit: Pixabay

The Book of Revelation – Write Number One

Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer - 8 January 2020

We all know the Eight, or even Nine Beatitudes of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, recounted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, and the Four Beatitudes followed by the Four Woes in the Gospel of Luke. But we are probably less familiar with the Seven Beatitudes that we find in the Book of Revelation. Therefore the first series of articles we recently published on this website was about these Seven Beatitudes in the Book of Revelation.

We now will contemplate about the Fourteen times ‘Write’ that are mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

Having done that, we now will contemplate about the Fourteen times ‘Write’ that are mentioned in the Book of Revelation. To sum them up:

Revelation 1:11
Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

Revelation 1:19
“Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.”

Revelation 2:1
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:…”

Revelation 2:8
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:…”

Revelation 2:12
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:…”

Revelation 2:18
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:…”

Revelation 3:1
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.'”

Revelation 3:7
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:…”

Revelation 3:12
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.”

Revelation 3:14
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:…

Revelation 10:4
“When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.””

Revelation 14:13
“And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labours, for their deeds follow with them.””

Revelation 19:9
“Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.””

Revelation 21:5
“And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.””


Write Number One

Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” Revelation 1:11

After the 7 beatitudes in the Book of Revelation we will now discover that 4 times one finds the expression WRITE in the Book of Revelation. Jesus wants the Apostle John to write in a book the messages he saw (and heard). Higher Bible Criticism claimed that the text of the Bible was written much later in time than the events happened that it describes. This type of Bible criticism claims that the written text in our bibles is of a very late date and is based on oral traditions during many centuries.

But ‘writing’ originated very early in history. Although the earliest findings of Hebrew letters of the alphabet go back to the 8th century B.C. – for instance the Shiloah inscription in Paleo-Hebrew in King Hezekiah’s Siloam tunnel, which brings water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, located in the City of David in East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Shiloah or Silwan. Yet, much earlier ‘Proto-Sinaitic’ inscriptions were found dating back to between the 15th and 17th centuries B.C. These inscriptions are considered to be the ancestor of the Phoenician or Paleo-Hebrew script, derived from Egyptian hieroglyphs or Akkadian cuneiform letters. The language of the inscriptions is Semitic.

So writing was common in the days of Moses and even in the days of Abraham – and for that matter also in the days of Noah and even of Adam, as we shall see. Of course, the Hebrew and Aramaic language and letters, and the Greek language and letters that we find in the source texts of the Scriptures in our Bibles today are of a much later date than the languages and letters of the 14th or the 20th century B.C. And even in the centuries before that.

Recent discoveries of Semitic literature from Syria and Mesopotamia, among them many dated texts from 2300 B.C. notably the finds in 1975-1976 from Tell Mardikh (Ebla, 2500-2250 B.C.) and from a millennium later the Akkadian texts from Ras Shamra – show the continuity in the tradition both of scribal education and literary practices.

God wrote on tablets of stone (Exodus 24:12-15, Exodus 32:15 and 19, Exodus 34:1-4, 27-35, Exodus 40:20, Hebrews 9:4, compare Acts 7:38 and 53 where it is said that angels were involved in the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai) and Moses could read what God wrote.

The prophet Jeremiah had to write the words that God spoke to him on a scroll and he asked Baruch to do it, Jeremiah 36. The fingers of a human hand wrote on the wall of the palace of King Belshazzar and Daniel explained the meaning of the words that were written, Daniel 5.

When you write down the things that you ‘saw and heard’ the reliability and the truthfulness of the words and reliability of the historic events that you read about today in the Bible is much greater than if they were delivered by oral – mouth to mouth – traditions. These orally transferred traditions will change gradually their content over the years and centuries. In the Bible (NASB) 77 times one finds the word ‘write’, and 251 times the word ‘written’.

We read in Genesis 11:1 about building of the tower of Babel/Babylon. It says that “…the whole earth used the same language and the same words…” (NASB) “…Now the whole earth had one language and one speech… (NKJV). That was the situation with mankind before and after the Flood.

Those words of that one language surely were not yet the Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek language of the Bible. And not yet written in Hebrew or Greek letters. Those languages and many others as well developed later. And the letters, in which the words of these languages were recorded, changed and developed as well in the centuries to come.

In verse 9 it says, speaking about the Tower of Babel, “…Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth…(NASB)

So languages and types of writing developed from then onwards. On clay tablets in Mesopotamia and on papyrus in Egypt. Also chiselled in the rocks of mountains. Even marks on rocks, leaves, clay, bark, metal and paper. There are roughly 6500 spoken languages today in the world. However, about 2000 of those languages have fewer than 1000 people who speak such a language. And about 100 writing systems, alphabets! Cuneiform is the oldest system of writing, developed by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia, going back to 3500-3000 BC, some say. The latest language being created probably was Esperanto! And the latest way of ‘writing’ probably being the sign-language of our computers!

In the book of Genesis we find written down recordings of events that the author ‘saw and heard’– maybe written down in pre-Hebrew languages and letters. So written down in the one language that was spoken before and after the Flood until and during the building of the Tower of Babel. Until the Lord ‘confused the language of the whole earth’.

And probably written on clay tablets. Some claim that one finds these clay tablet structure clearly in the book of Genesis. Later Moses edited these age-old traditions written on clay tablets, and thus the book of Genesis, compiled by Moses, became the first of the ‘5 books of Moses’: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Moses being the editor/compiler of these ancient recordings in the Book of Genesis, and probably the compiler of the last 14 chapters of the Book of Genesis, using a written record by Joseph himself, because of the many purely Egyptian words and expressions in it.

Written correspondence between Egypt and the Sumerian culture took place by people who could read and write both in Egyptian hieroglyphics as well as in Sumerian cuneiform writing. Moses, born 64 years after Joseph, was versed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He probably could read and write the hieroglyphs as well as the cuneiform.

This section about Joseph begins with the words “and Joseph being 17 years old”, and ends with the words “and he (Joseph) was put in a coffin in Egypt”. Moses added Joseph’s death and embalming. In this way Moses connected these ancient recordings in the Book of Genesis to the Book of Exodus. From then onwards he wrote down the words that God had spoken to him. Compare Habakkuk 2:2.

The clay tablet structure of the Book of Genesis could still be visible in the ’toledoth’- expressions used by the author who wrote them ‘These are the generations of…The formula is used 11 times in the book of Genesis. Not as ‘headings, captions, preface or introduction’ to what follows on each clay-tablet, but written at the bottom of each clay-tablet! A method that is found on ancient Babylonian clay tablets as well. These captions at the bottom of the clay tablet mention the content of what just had been written, and mentions the name of the author as well. They point back to what was just written down, including the name of the author! Like a signature.

The formula is used in the following places:
Genesis 2:4 These are the generations (toledoth) of the heavens and the earth
Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the generations (toledoth) of Adam
Genesis 6:9 These are the generations (toledoth) of Noah
Genesis 10:1 These are the generations (toledoth) of the sons of Noah
Genesis 11:10 These are the generations (toledoth) of Shem
Genesis 11:27 These are the generations (toledoth) of Terah
Genesis 25:12 These are the generations (toledoth) of Ishmael
Genesis 25:19 These are the generations (toledoth) of Isaac
Genesis 36:1 These are the generations (toledoth) of Esau
Genesis 36:9 These are the generations (toledoth) of Esau
Genesis 37:2 These are the generations (toledoth) of Jacob


Tablet series 1 contains Genesis 1:1-2:4 This is the book of the origins of the heavens and the earth as God shared it with Adam
Tablet series 2 contains Genesis 2:5-5:2 This is the book of the origins of Adam
Tablet series 3 contains Genesis 5:3-6:9a These are the origins (or histories) of Noah
Tablet series 4 contains Genesis 6:9b The origins (or histories) of the sons of Noah
Tablet series 5 contains Genesis 10:2-11:10a The origins (or histories) of Shem
Tablet series 6 contains Genesis 11:10b-11:27a The origins (or histories) of Terah
Tablet series 7 – 8 contain Genesis 11:27b-25:19a The origins (or histories) of Ishmael and Isaac
Tablet series 9 – 11 contain Genesis 25:19b-37:2a The origins (or histories) of Esau and Jacob

In this way Moses clearly indicates the source of the information available to him and names the persons who originally possessed the clay tablets from which he gained the knowledge. These are not arbitrarily invented divisions. They are stated by the author/editor to be the framework of the book.

So ‘writing’ has been proven by the modern findings of thousands of clay tablets in the Middle East to be much older than Higher Bible Criticism that was developed in the 18th and 19th century A.D, going on into the 20th century.

Again: Higher Bible Criticism was invented in the 19th century A.D. before the wealth of these written sources on clay tablets or papyrus was discovered by scientifically well-educated archaeologists, in various languages in the Middle East. These written findings –many thousands of them – turn the theory of ‘oral tradition’ as the origin of the Bible into an outdated, old-fashioned, obsolete position. The Bible was written down by those who ‘heard and saw’ the events themselves. And therefore totally reliable. ‘Writing’ is as old as mankind itself.

The reverence for the written text of the Old Testament was so great amongst the Jewish people that its words had to be copied by hand ‘faultlessly’. All kinds of methods existed to check this. For instance, the middle letter of a written scroll was determined, and if that letter was not the middle letter of the new scroll, the copier of the scroll had to start again and the faulty scroll was to be destroyed! Don’t try to find the mistake and correct it. Just start all over again!

There are various Bible manuscripts among the Dead Sea Scrolls found in 1947 at Qumran. Among them was a complete scroll of the Book of Isaiah. Bible scholars were therefore able to ascertain how accurate the work of the rabbis who copied the scrolls over the centuries had been for there was a period of over a thousand years between these Dead Sea scrolls and the oldest handwritten codex known until then! The Leningrad Codex (Latin: Codex Leningradensis, the “codex of Leningrad”) was the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible in Hebrew, using the Masoretic Text and Tiberian vocalization. It is dated 1008 A.D. (or possibly 1009) according to its colophon. The Aleppo Codex, against which the Leningrad Codex was corrected, is several decades older, but parts of it have been missing since 1947, making the Leningrad Codex the oldest complete codex that has survived intact to this day. In modern times, the Leningrad Codex is significant as the Hebrew text reproduced in Biblia Hebraica (1937) and Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (1977). To the amazement of many it came out that the Bible Texts of the Dead Sea scrolls was practically identical with these later manuscripts of the Bible. Letter for letter, word by word. The Lord safeguarded His Word over the centuries! No ancient text of antiquity copied by hand can boast such reliability!


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