Old Testament References and Allusions in Revelation 1-3

There is approximately a 2:1 ratio of Old Testament allusions (404 verses in Revelation and over 800 allusions).1

There are also several other Old and New Testament cross-references. While John was certainly familiar with the other Gospels and perhaps some of Paul’s writings, keep in mind there was not a “New Testament” as we think of it when John received the Revelation.

Chap 1-3

Rev 1:1 The revelation of Yeshua the Messiah, which God gave Him to show to His servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John,Dan 2:28-29; Deut 15:16-17; Rev 1:4,9; Rev 21:2
Rev 1:2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah—to everything he saw.Rev 1:19; John 3:11; John 3:32-33; Acts 4:20; Acts 22:15; Acts 26:16; 1 John 1:1; 1 John 4:14
Rev 1:3 How fortunate is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and those who hear and keep what has been written in it—for the time is near.Deut 6:4; Mark 12:29; Rev 22:6,10,12,20; Rom 13:11; James 5:8,9; 1 Pet 4:7; 2 Pet 3:3-4,10; 1 Cor 10:11;
Rev 1:4 John, To Messiah’s seven communities in Asia: Grace to you and shalom from Him who is and who was and who is to come, as well as from the seven spirits who are before His throne,Isa 11:2 Rev 3:1; Rev 4:5; Rev 5:6; Zec 3:9; Zec 4:10; Zec 6:5;  1 Cor 12:4-13;
Rev 1:5 and from Messiah Yeshua, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His bloodGen 49:11; Ps 89:27 Rev 7:14; Zec 13:1; John 13:8-10; Acts 20:28; 1 Cor 6:11; Heb 9:14; 1 Pet 1:19; 1 John 1:7
Rev 1:6 and made us a kingdom, kohanim to His God and Father—to Him be glory and power forever! Amen!Ex 19:5-6; Isa 61:6 Rev 4:11; Rev 5:12-14; Psa 72:18,19; Dan 4:34; Mat 6:13; John 5:23; Phil 2:11; 1 Tim 6:16; Heb 13:21; 1 Pet 4:11; 1 Pet 5:11; 2 Pet 3:18; Jude 1:25
Rev 1:7 “Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth shall mourn because of Him. Yes, amen!”Dan 7:13; Zech 12:10-14; Isa 52:8 Rev 18:20; Rev 19:1-3; Rev 22:20; Judg 5:31; Psa 68:1; Acts 1:11
Rev 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says Adonai Elohim, “Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty!”Isa 41:4 Rev 4:8; Rev 11:17; Rev 16:14; Rev 19:15; Rev 21:22; Gen 17:1; Gen 28:3; Gen 35:11; Gen 43:14; Gen 48:3; Gen 49:25; Exo 6:3; Num 24:4; Isa 9:6; 2 Cor 6:18
Rev 1:9 I, John, your brother and fellow partaker with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patient endurance that are in Yeshua, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Yeshua.Dan 10:2-4; Rev 1:2; Rev 6:9; Rev 11:7; Rev 12:11,17; Rev 19:10
Rev 1:10 I was in the Ruach on the Day of the Lord, and I heard behind me a loud voice like that of a trumpet,Isa 2:12, Joe 1:15, Oba 1:15, Mal 4:5-6 Rev 4:1; Rev 10:3-8; 2 Cor 12:2-3; Joel 1:15; 2:1-31; 3:14; Amos 5:18-20;
Rev 1:11 saying, “Write what you see in a scroll, and send it to Messiah’s seven communities—to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”Isa 30:8; Jer 30:2; Hab 2:2 Col 4:15,16
Rev 1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned, I saw seven golden menorot.Ex 25:37; Ex 37:23; Zec 4:2 Rev 1:13,20; Rev 2:1; Dan 7:9-14; Dan 10:5-10
Rev 1:13 In the midst of the menorot, I saw One like a Son of Man, clothed in a robe down to His feet, with a golden belt wrapped around His chest.Ex 28:4, Dan 7:13; 10:5, 16 Rev 15:6; Exo 28:6-8; Exo 39:5; Lev 8:7; Isa 11:5
Rev 1:14 His head and His hair were white like wool, white like snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire.Dan 7:9; 10:6; Mat 17:2 Rev 2:18; Rev 19:12;
Rev 1:15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the roar of rushing waters.Ezek 1:7, 24; Ezek 43:2; Dan 10:6; Rev 14:2; Rev 19:6; Psa 93:4; Isa 17:13;
Rev 1:16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came forth a sharp, two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at full strength.Judges 5:31; Isa 49:2; Heb 4:12 Rev 10:1; Isa 24:23; Isa 60:19,20; Mal 4:2; Acts 26:13; Gen 1:4 (dividing light); John 3:19
Rev 1:17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. But He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last,Isa 41:4; 44:6; 48:12; Dan 8:17-18; 10:9, 10, 12, 15, 19 Rev 1:8,11; Rev 2:8; Rev 22:13; Isa 41:4; Isa 44:6; Isa 48:12
Rev 1:18 and the One who lives. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever! Moreover, I hold the keys of death and Sheol.Isa 25:8; Hos 13:14 Rev 3:7; Rev 9:1; Rev 20:1,2,14; Psa 68:20; Isa 22:22; Mat 16:19; 1 Cor 15:54
Rev 1:19 Therefore write down what you have seen, what is, and what will happen after these things.Isa 30:8; Jer 30:2; Hab 2:2 Rev 4:1; Dan 10:14,19 (Dan 10:2-19 and Rev 1:9-19 have identical structures)
Rev 1:20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden menorot—the seven stars are the angels of Messiah’s seven communities, and the seven menorahs are the seven communities.”Zec 4:2;
Rev 2:1 To the angel of Messiah’s community in Ephesus write: “Thus says the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks in the midst of the seven golden menorot:Rev 1:12,13; Eze 28:13,14; Mat 18:20; Mat 28:20
Rev 2:2 I know all about your deeds and your toil and your patient endurance, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. You have tested those who call themselves emissaries and are not, and have found them to be liars.2 Cor 11:13-15; 1 John 2:21,22; 1 John 4:1; Acts 20:27-31; Eph 4:14; Mat 7:23; 2 Cor 11:13-15; Mt 13:3-9; 18-23
Rev 2:3 You have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.Luke 18:1; 2 Cor 4:1,16; Gal 6:9; 2 Thes 3:13; Heb 12:3-5
Rev 2:4 “But this I have against you, that you have forsaken your first love.Jer 2:2 Rev 3:14-17; Jer 2:2-5; Mat 24:12,13; Phil 1:9; Phil 3:13-16; 1 Thes 4:9,10; 2 Thes 1:3; Heb 6:10,11
Rev 2:5 Remember then from where you have fallen. Repent and do the deeds you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place—unless you repent.Rev 2:16; Rev 3:3; Mat 21:41-43; Mat 24:48-51; Mark 12:9; Luke 12:45,46; Luke 20:16
Rev 2:6 “Yet you have this going for you, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.Rev 2:14,15; 2ch 19:2; Psa 26:5; Psa 101:3; Psa 139:21,22; 2 John 1:9,10; Acts 15:28-29
Rev 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. To the one who overcomes, I will grant the right to eat from the Tree of Life, which is in the Paradise of God.”Gen 2:9; 3:22-24; Prov 11:30; 13:12; Ezek 31:8 Luke 23:43; 2 Cor 12:4
Rev 2:8 To the angel of Messiah’s community in Smyrna write: “Thus says the First and Last, who was dead and came to life.Rev 1:8,11,17,18; Acts 19:10; Acts 20; Isa 41:4; Isa 44:6, Isa 48:12; Rev 22:13; Mt 2:11; Mar 15:23; John 19:39; Isa 60:6 (note no Myrrh)
Rev 2:9 I know your tribulation and your poverty (yet you are rich), as well as the slander of those who say they are Jewish and are not, but are a synagogue of satan.Rev 3:9; James 1:2-3; John 8:44 (most of John 8 is Jesus' dialogue with those who say they are Jews but not acting like Jews); Leviticus 19:18; Romans 9-11
Rev 2:10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.Rev 3:11; James 1:12; 1 Pet 5:4; 2 Ti 3:12; Phl 1:29 (see additional verses from Philippians in written commentary)
Rev 2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. The one who overcomes shall never be harmed by the second death.”Rev 20:6,14; Rev 21:8; Mat 13:24-30 (second death)
Rev 2:12 To the angel of Messiah’s community in Pergamum write: “Thus says the One who has the sharp two-edged sword:Isa 49:2 Rev 2:16; Rev 1:16; Rev 19:15,21; Isa 11:4; Heb 4:12; John 1:17; 2Th 2:8; 2 Tim 3:16-17
Rev 2:13 I know where you live—where satan’s throne is. Yet you continue to hold firm to My name, and you did not deny your faith in Me even in the days of Antipas, My faithful witness, who was killed among you, where satan resides.Acts 22:20; Luke 21:17; Jude 1:4; 2 Tim 2:12 (On Herod Antipas see Mar 6:22; Luke 13:31; Luke 23:11)
Rev 2:14 “But I have a few things against you. You have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who was teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before Bnei-Yisrael, to eat food sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality.Num 25:1-3 Rev 21:8; Rev 22:15; 1 Cor 5:1 (Chapter 5 is all about sexual immorality); 1 Cor 6:13-18; 1 Cor 7:2; Heb 13:4; Joshua 13:22; 2 Peter 2:15, 21; Read all of 2 Peter 2 and entire narrative of Balaam and Balak in Num 22-25, 31;
Rev 2:15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.Rev 2:6
Rev 2:16 Repent then! If not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of My mouth.Rev 2:12; Rev 1:16; Rev 19:15,21; Isa 11:4; Isa 49:2; Eph 6:17; 2 Thes 2:8
Rev 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. To the one who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone—and written on the stone a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”Ex 16:31-35; Isa 62:2; 65:15 1 Cor 2:14; John 6:31
Rev 2:18 To the angel of Messiah’s community in Thyatira write: “Thus says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like polished bronze:Dan 10:6 Rev 1:14,15; Ps 2:7; Mal 3:2-4; Mat 3:17; Mat 16:15-16; John 3:16
Rev 2:19 I know your deeds and your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your last deeds are greater than the first.Rev 2:4; Job 17:9; Psa 92:14; Pro 4:18; John 15:2; 2 Pet 3:18; Gal 5:22-23; 1 Th 1:3
Rev 2:20 “But this I have against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess—yet she is teaching and deceiving My servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.1 Kings 16:31-32; 2 Kings 9:7, 22 Rev 2:14; Exo 34:15; Num 25:1,2; Acts 15:20,29; 1 Cor 8:10-12; 1 Cor 10:18-21,28; Deu 13:1-5
Rev 2:21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality.Rev 9:20,21; Jer 8:4-6; Rom 2:4,5; Rom 9:22; 1 Pet 3:20; 2 Pet 3:9,15
Rev 2:22 Behold, I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation—unless they repent of her doings.Jer 36:3; Eze 18:30-32; Eze 33:11; Zeph 3:7; Luke 13:3,5; 2 Cor 12:21; 2 Tim 2:25,26; Rom 1:26; Deu 13:10-11; 1 Kings 18:40
Rev 2:23 I will also strike her children with a deadly disease. Then all of Messiah’s communities will know that I am the One who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your deeds.Ps 7:9; 26:2; 28:4; Jer 11:20; 17:10 Rev 20:12; Psa 62:12; Isa 3:10,11; Mat 16:27; Rom 2:5-11; Rom 14:12; 2 Cor 5:10; Gal 6:5; 1 Pet 1:17
Rev 2:24 “But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold to this teaching and have not learned the so-called ‘deep things’ of satan—I place on you no other burden.Acts 15:28; 1 Cor 2:10
Rev 2:25 Only hold firm to what you have until I come.Rev 1:7; Rev 22:7,20; John 14:3; John 21:22,23; 1 Cor 4:5; 1 Cor 11:26; 2 Pet 3:10
Rev 2:26 To the one who overcomes and guards My deeds until the end, ‘I will give him authority over the nationsRev 3:21; Rev 20:4; Rev 22:5; Psa 49:14; Dan 7:18,22,27; Mat 19:28; Luke 22:29,30; 1 Cor 6:3,4
Rev 2:27 and he shall rule them with an iron rod, as when clay pots are broken into pieces.’Ps 2:7-9; Isa 30:14; Jer 19:11 Mat 11:27; Luke 22:29; John 17:24
Rev 2:28 Even as I have received from My Father, so I will give him the morning star.Rev 22:16; Luke 1:78,79; 2 Pet 1:19
Rev 2:29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities.”Rev 2:7
Rev 3:1 To the angel of Messiah’s community in Sardis write: “Thus says the One having the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know your deeds—you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead.Isa 4:1 Luke 15:24,32; Eph 2:1,5; Col 2:13; 1 Tim 5:6; James 2:26; Jude 1:12
Rev 3:2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains that was about to die. For I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of My God.1 King 11:4; 1 King 15:3; 2ch 25:2; Isa 57:12; Dan 5:27; Mat 6:2-4; Mat 23:5,28-38
Rev 3:3 So remember what you have received and heard—keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you.Mat 25:13; Mark 13:33,36
Rev 3:4 “But still, you have a few people in Sardis who have not stained their clothes. They will walk with Me in white, because they are worthy.Eccles 9:8 Mat 10:11; Luke 20:35; Luke 21:36; 2 Thes 1:5
Rev 3:5 The one who overcomes thus will be dressed in white clothes; I will never blot his name out of the Book of Life, and will confess his name before My Father and His angels.Ex 32:32-33 Mal 3:17; Mat 10:32; Luke 12:8; Jude 1:24
Rev 3:6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities.Rev 2:7
Rev 3:7 To the angel of Messiah’s community in Philadelphia write: “Thus says the Holy One, the True One, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens:Isa 22:22 Rev 5:3-5,9; Job 11:10; Job 12:14; Mat 16:19
Rev 3:8 I know your deeds. Behold, I have set before you an open door that no one is able to shut—because you have little power, but you have kept My word and have not denied My name.Rev 2:13; Pro 30:9; Mat 26:70-72; Luke 12:9; Acts 3:13,14; 1 Tim 5:8; 1 John 2:22,23; Jude 1:4
Rev 3:9 Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of satan—who say they are Jewish and are not, but lie—behold, I will cause them to come and bow down before your feet, so that they acknowledge that I have loved you!Isa 43:4; 49:23; 60:14 Exo 11:8; Exo 12:30-32; 1 Sam 2:36; es 8:17; Job 42:8-10; Isa 49:23; Isa 60:14; Zec 8:20-23; Acts 16:37-39
Rev 3:10 “Because you have kept My word about patient endurance, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is coming upon the whole world to test those who dwell on the earth.Isa 24:17; Dan 12:10; Zec 13:9; James 3:12; 1 Pet 4:12
Rev 3:11 I am coming soon—hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.Rev 2:10; Rev 4:4,10; 1 Cor 9:25; 2 Tim 2:5; 2 Tim 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Pet 5:3,4
Rev 3:12 The one who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he will never leave it. And on him I will write 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 own new Name.Isa 62:2; Ezek 48:35 Rev 22:4; Isa 65:15; Eph 3:15
Rev 3:13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities.”Rev 2:7
Rev 3:14 To the angel of Messiah’s community in Laodicea write: “Thus says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Originator of God’s creation:Gen 49:3; Deut 21:17 Col 1:15
Rev 3:15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. Oh, that you were either cold or hot!Josh 24:15-24; 1 King 18:21; Pro 23:26; ho 7:8; ho 10:2; Zeph 1:5,6; Mat 6:24; Mat 10:37; Luke 14:27,28; 1 Cor 16:22; James 1:8
Rev 3:16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spew you out of My mouth.Rev 2:5; Jer 14:19; Jer 15:1-4; Zec 11:8,9
Rev 3:17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have made myself wealthy, and I need nothing.’ But you do not know that you are miserable and pitiable and poor and blind and naked.Rev 16:15; Gen 3:7,10,11; Exo 32:35
Rev 3:18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white clothes so that you may dress yourself and so the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed, and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.Isa 55:1; John 9:6-11; 1 John 2:20-27
Rev 3:19 Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore, be zealous and repent.Prov 3:12 Rev 2:5,21,22
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.Rev 19:9; Luke 12:37; Luke 17:8
Rev 3:21 To the one who overcomes I will grant the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I myself overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.Rev 5:6-8; Rev 7:17; Dan 7:13,14; Mat 28:18; John 5:22,23; Eph 1:20-23; Phil 2:9-21
Rev 3:22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities.”Rev 3:6,13; Rev 2:7,11,17

  1. List adapted from Chuck Missler, Cosmic Codes: Hidden Messages From The Edge Of Eternity (Koinonia House, 2013) Appendix C. ↩︎