Nine ways in which the exodus event is echoed by Revelation

Richard Bauckham and James Ressequie say that Revelation portrays an ‘eschatological exodus’ of a new Israel to a new promised land (the new Jerusalem), where Christ leads his people out of Babylon just as God led his people out of Egypt. Here is the evidence they provide:

  1. Jesus is portrayed as a lamb that acts as a ransom (similar to the Passover lamb)
  2. Jesus makes his people a kingdom and priests that serve God (Rev. 1.6, 5.10; see Exodus 19.5-6)
  3. The ten plagues of the exodus are intentionally echoed by many of the plagues in Revelation.
  4. The sealing of the saints in Revelation 7 to protect them from the plagues (see especially Rev. 7.3 and 9.4) is similar to the protection God gave Israel during the Passover, when the last plague hit the Egyptians but did not touch the Jewish people who had the blood on their doorposts.
  5. Revelation 10.1, where the angel’s legs are described as pillars of fire
  6. The two witnesses in chapter 11 have the power to turn water into blood and strike the earth with all kinds of plagues, just as God did through Moses in Egypt (Rev. 11.6). And in Revelation 11.8 Jerusalem is called Egypt.
  7. Revelation 15.2-4 is reminescent of Exodus 15: just as Israel stood by the sea and sang the song of Moses in praise to God after pharaoh’s army was destroyed by the red sea, so in Revelation 15.2-4 the people of God stand by a sea in heaven and “sing the song of Moses”. In Exodus 15.11 the people sing of God’s glorious deeds and wonders, and ask, “Who is like you?” In Revelation 15.2-4 the people sing of God’s great and amazing deeds, and ask, “Who will not fear you?”
  8. The cosmic phenomena in Revelation 16.18 are reminescent of those at Mt. Sinai when God appeared there.
  9. Revelation 18.4, where a voice from heaven calls out, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues”.

Sources: Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); James Ressequie, The Revelation of John: A Narrative Commentary. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009)

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Five evidences for the divinity of Christ in the book of Revelation

  1. Jesus shares the title ‘Alpha and Omega / the First and the Last / the Beginning and the End’ with God the Father himself (Alpha and Omega (Rev. 21:6; 22:13); First and Last (Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13), Beginning and End (Rev. 21:6; 22:13). This is all the more amazing considering that the source of the phrase is Isaiah 44.6, where Yahweh says, “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.”
  2. The angels in Revelation don’t allow John to worship them, but Jesus is worshiped in Revelation chapter 5.
  3. Jesus shares the throne with God the Father (Rev. 3.21, 22.3)
  4. There is a doxology in Revelation 1.5-6 that is directed to Christ.
  5. Jesus is given many exalted titles in the book (see the names for God in Revelation)

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Two mentions of another John who could be the author of Revelation

  1. Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History, quotes Papias, a disciple of the Apostle John, writing around A.D. 120: “And if anyone chanced to come who had actually been a follower of the elders, I would enquire as to the discourses of the elders, what Andrew or what Peter said, or what Philip, or what Thomas or James, or what John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples [said]; and the things which Aristion and John the elder, disciples of the Lord, say.” This appears to distinguish the apostle John from a ‘John the elder.’
  2. Third century Bishop Dionysius stated that there were two Christian leaders named John, and two tombs that claimed to be the tomb of John.

Sources: David E. Aune, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 52: Revelation 1-5. (Waco, TX: Word, 1997); G. R. Beasley-Murray, “Revelation, book of”, in Dictionary of Later New Testament Developments. (Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997); Robert H. Mounce, New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Book of Revelation, Revised Edition. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998).

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22 references to Revelation in the Reformed confessions

As a minister in the Christian Reformed Church, I limited myself to the ‘three forms of unity’ (The Belgic Confession, The Heidelberg Catechism and The Canons of Dort), as well as Our World Belongs to God (a contemporary testimony of the Christian Reformed Church), and the Belhar Confession (the status of which is currently being decided by the denomination). In a separate post I will review the references to Revelation in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Larger Catechism.
  1. The Belgic Confession, Article 4, recognizes “the Revelation of the apostle John” as one of the canonical books of the Bible.
  2. The Belgic Confession, Article 7, refers to Revelation 22.18-19 to teach that Scripture is sufficient and that no one ought to teach other than what the Bible has taught the church.
  3. The Belgic Confession, Article 37, refers to Revelation 20.12 in its discussion of the judgment of the dead. It interprets “the books will be opened” as referring to the consciences of the resurrected dead.
  4. The Belgic Confession, Article 37, also quotes Revelation 7.17’s promise that on the last day “all tears will be ‘wiped from their eyes.’”
  5. The Heidelberg Catechism, question and answer 31, refers to Revelation 12.10-11 as a promise that God governs, guards and keeps us.
  6. The Heidelberg Catechism, question and answer 51, refers to Revelation 19.11-16 when it says Christ “defends us and keeps us safe from all enemies.”
  7. The Heidelberg Catechism, question and answer 54, refers to Revelation 5.9 as a prooftext that the Son of God has gathered a community “out of the entire human race.”
  8. The Heidelberg Catechism, question and answer 70, refers to Revelation 1.5 to support its discussion of the forgiveness of sins based on Christ’s blood poured out for the believer.
  9. The Heidelberg Catechism, question and answer 73, refers to Revelation 1.5 and 7.14 to say that the blood and Spirit of Christ wash away sins.
  10. The Heidelberg Catechism, question and answer 94, refers to Revelation 19.10 and 22.8-9 in its prohibition of prayer to “saints or to other creatures.”
  11. The Heidelberg Catechism, question and answer 112, refers to Revelation 21.8 for support when it says that the use of lying and deceit “would call down on me God’s intense anger.”
  12. The Heidelberg Catechism, question and answer 117, mentions Revelation 4 as support when it says that we must “humble ourselves” in God’s “majestic presence.”
  13. The Heidelberg Catechism, question and answer 123, refers to Revelation 22.17 and 22.20 in its discussion of the completion of God’s kingdom.
  14. Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, Section 2, refers to Revelation 4-5 when it affirms that God is king, Christ is victor, his rule has begun, and our world belongs to God.
  15. Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, Section 6, quotes Revelation 22.20 when it calls out, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
  16. Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, Section 19, refers to Revelation 11.15 when it affirms that the world is God’s kingdom.
  17. Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, Section 29, gives Revelation 5 as a reference when it says that Jesus rules the world.
  18. Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, Section 30, refers to Revelation 7 when it says that people from every language and nation “are gathered into the unity of the body of Christ.”
  19. Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, Section 38, refers to Revelation 21.9 when it describes the church as the Bride of Christ.
  20. Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, Section 40, refers to Revelation 19.6-9 when it affirms that Jesus will come again and call believers to the Supper of the Lamb.
  21. Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, Section 56, refers to Revelation 11.15 to say that God’s “kingdom shall come fully, and our Lord shall rule forever.”
  22. The Belhar Confession, Section 3, refers to Revelation 21-22 when it says that “the church is witness both by word and by deed to the new heaven and the new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

(The Canons of Dort contain no references to the book of Revelation.)

Source: the author’s personal study

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Ten verses in Revelation 4 that allude to the OT

In Revelation 4.1 a voice from heaven tells John, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

  • In Exodus 19.20 and 19.24 God calls Moses up to the top of Mount Sinai to receive a revelation.
  • In Daniel 2.28-29 and 2.45 Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that God has revealed to the king what will take place after this / in later days.

In Revelation 4.2 John sees a throne in heaven, and sees the one seated on the throne.

  • In 1 Kings 22.19 and 2 Chronicles 18.18 Micaiah announces that he saw the Lord sitting on his throne.
  • In Psalm 47.8 says that God sits on his holy throne.
  • In Isaiah 6.1 Isaiah reports that he saw God sitting on a throne.
  • In Ezekiel 1.26-27 Ezekiel sees what looks like a throne with someone with a humanlike figure sitting on it.
  • Sirach 1.8 says that God sits on his throne and is to be feared.

In Revelation 4.3, the one John sees seated on the throne looks like jasper and carnelian, and there is a rainbow around his throne.

  • In Ezekiel 1.26-28 Ezekiel sees a throne of sapphire, and the one seated on the throne  looks like gleaming metal, and there is a brightness around the throne that resembles a rainbow.

In Revelation 4.4 John sees 24 elders around the throne.

  • Isaiah 24.23 says that God reigns in Jerusalem and that his glory will be in the presence of his elders.

In Revelation 4.5 John sees lightning and thunder coming from the throne, and seven burning torches.

  • In Exodus 19.16 there is lightning and thunder ion the mountain when God appears at Mount Sinai.
  • In the Septuagint (Greek) text of Esther 1.1 there is apparently a parallel with Revelation 4.5, but I could not find it when I consulted the NRSV of Greek Esther 1.
  • In Ezekiel 1.13 Ezekiel sees a vision of the throne of God, and lightning pours forth from the living creatures there.
  • In Zechariah 4.2 Zechariah sees a golden lampstand with seven burning lamps on it.

In Revelation 4.6-7 John sees a sea of crystal around the throne, and four living creatures. One creature is like a lion, one is like an ox, one is like a human, and the last is like an eagle.

  • In Ezekiel 1.5-10 Ezekiel sees four living creatures. Each has four faces: a face like a human, a face like a lion, a face like an ox, and a face like an eagle.
  • In Ezekiel 1.22 Ezekiel sees an sheet of crystal over the heads of the living creatures.
  • In Ezekiel 10.14 the creatures have four faces as before, but now the faces are like a cherub, a human, a lion and an eagle.

In Revelation 4.8 the four living creatures have six wings and are covered with eyes. They sing “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

  • In Exodus 3.14 God reveals that his name is “I am who I am”.
  • In Isaiah 6.2-3 Isaiah sees seraphim with six wings who sing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.”
  • In Isaiah 41.4 God says “I the Lord, the first; with the last, I am he.”
  • In Ezekiel 1.18 and 10.12 the living creatures Ezekiel sees are covered with eyes.
  • In Amos 3.13 and 4.13, God is described as the Lord, God, the God of hosts.

In Revelation 4.9 is a second reference to the one seated on the throne. He is described as one who ‘lives forever and ever’.

  • In 1 Kings 22.19 and 2 Chronicles 18.18 Micaiah announces that he saw the Lord sitting on his throne.
  • In Psalm 47.8 says that God sits on his holy throne.
  • In Isaiah 6.1 Isaiah reports that he saw God sitting on a throne.
  • In Ezekiel 1.26-27 Ezekiel sees what looks like a throne with someone with a humanlike figure sitting on it.
  • Sirach 1.8 says that God sits on his throne and is to be feared.
  • In Daniel 4.34, 6.26 and 12.7 God is described as the one who lives forever, the one whose kingdom will never be destroyed, and whose dominion will never end.

In Revelation 4.10 is the third reference to the one seated on the throne.

  • In 1 Kings 22.19 and 2 Chronicles 18.18 Micaiah announces that he saw the Lord sitting on his throne.
  • In Psalm 47.8 says that God sits on his holy throne.
  • In Isaiah 6.1 Isaiah reports that he saw God sitting on a throne.
  • In Ezekiel 1.26-27 Ezekiel sees what looks like a throne with someone with a humanlike figure sitting on it.
  • Sirach 1.8 says that God sits on his throne and is to be feared.

Source: The Greek New Testament (UBS, 4th edition), compared with the Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament feature in Logos Bible Software version 4.

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Ten verses in Revelation 5 that allude to the OT

In Revelation 5.1 the one seated on the throne has a book sealed with seven seals.

  • In 1 Kings 22.19 and 2 Chronicles 18.18 Micaiah announces that he saw the Lord sitting on his throne.
  • In Psalm 47.8 says that God sits on his holy throne.
  • In Isaiah 6.1 Isaiah reports that he saw God sitting on a throne.
  • In Ezekiel 1.26-27 Ezekiel sees what looks like a throne with someone with a humanlike figure sitting on it.
  • Sirach 1.8 says that God sits on his throne and is to be feared.
  • Isaiah 29.11 compares a vision from God to the words of a book that is sealed.

In Revelation 5.5 one of the 24 elders tells John that Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Root of David, and that he has triumphed.

  • Genesis 49.9-10 compares Judah to a lion and says that the scepter will not depart from Judah until he has conquered all the peoples and receives tribute from them.
  • Isaiah 11.1 and 11.10 prophesy a shoot or branch that will come from the stump of Jesse (David’s father), bearing fruit and acting as a sign to the nations.

In Revelation 5.6 John sees a Lamb that had been slain, with seven eyes, before God’s throne.

  • Isaiah 53.7 compares the Servant of the Lord to a lamb being led to the slaughterhouse.
  • In Zechariah 4.10 the seven lamps from verse 2 are identified as the seven eyes of the Lord.

In Revelation 5.7 is another reference to the one seated on the throne.

  • In 1 Kings 22.19 and 2 Chronicles 18.18 Micaiah announces that he saw the Lord sitting on his throne.
  • In Psalm 47.8 says that God sits on his holy throne.
  • In Isaiah 6.1 Isaiah reports that he saw God sitting on a throne.
  • In Ezekiel 1.26-27 Ezekiel sees what looks like a throne with someone with a humanlike figure sitting on it.
  • Sirach 1.8 says that God sits on his throne and is to be feared.

In Revelation 5.8 John sees the 24 elders with bowls of incense, which he says represents the prayers of the saints.

  • Psalm 141.2 also compares prayers to incense.

In Revelation 5.9 the elders and the living creatures sing a new song because he has taken people from every tribe, language, people and nation.

  • Psalm 33.3, 96.1, 98.1, and 149.1 exhort the listener to sing a new song.
  • In Psalm 40.3 the psalmist affirms that God will put a new song in his mouth.
  • In Psalm 144.9 the psalmist promises to sing a new song.
  • Isaiah 42.10 exhorts people all the way to the ends of the earth, and the mariners and the inhabitants of the coastlands (i.e., all the nations) to sing a new song.

In Revelation 5.10 the elders and the living creatures sing that God has taken people from every nation and has made them a kingdom of priests, and they will reign on the earth.

  • In Exodus 19.6 it is Israel that is made a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
  • Isaiah 61.6 comforts the exiles in Babylon and tells them that the nations will call them God’s priests and ministers. They will eat the wealth of the nations.

In Revelation 5.11 John says that the number of angels around the throne is myriads of myriads (ten thousands of ten thousands) and thousands of thousands.

  • Daniel 7.10 says that Daniel saw thousands of thousands serving God before his throne, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him to be judged.

In Revelation 5.12 the living creatures, elders and multitude sing, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

  • 1 Chronicles 29.11 sings, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty….”
  • Isaiah 53.7 compares the Servant of the Lord to a lamb led to the slaughterhouse.

Revelation 5.13 is another reference to the one who is seated on the throne.

  • In 1 Kings 22.19 and 2 Chronicles 18.18 Micaiah announces that he saw the Lord sitting on his throne.
  • In Psalm 47.8 says that God sits on his holy throne.
  • In Isaiah 6.1 Isaiah reports that he saw God sitting on a throne.
  • In Ezekiel 1.26-27 Ezekiel sees what looks like a throne with someone with a humanlike figure sitting on it.
  • Sirach 1.8 says that God sits on his throne and is to be feared.

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Three verses in Revelation 3.7-13 that allude to the OT

In Revelation 3.7, Jesus presents himself as the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can shut, and what he shuts, no one can open.

  • In Isaiah 22.22 God says he will give the key of David to Eliakim (the manager of King Hezekeiah’s household), and what he opens, no one can shut, and what he shuts, no one can open.
  • Job 12.14 says that if God tears something down, human beings can’t build it back up, and if God closes a man in, no one can open.

In Revelation 3.9 Jesus tells the church in Philadelphia that he will make the members of the ‘synagogue of Satan’ bow down before their feet and recognize that he has loved the members of the church in Philadelphia.

  • In Isaiah 43.4 God tells Israel that he loves her.
  • In Isaiah 45.14 God says that the Egyptians, Cushites and Sabeans will one day bow before the Israelites and plead with them, recognizing that God is with the Israelites.
  • In Isaiah 49.23 God says that kings and queens will bow down before the Israelites and lick their feet. Then the Israelites will recognize that Yahweh is God.
  • In Isaiah 60.14 God says that the children of those who afflicted Jerusalem will bow down before her and recognize her as the city of God.

In Revelation 3.12 Jesus promises that upon the one who conquers, he will write his own name, and the name of the city of his God.

  • In Isaiah 62.2 Isaiah says that the mouth of the Lord will give Jerusalem a new name.
  • In Isaiah 65.15 Isaiah says that God will one day call his servants by another name.
  • In Ezekiel 48.35, part of Ezekiel’s vision of a future Jerusalem, Ezekiel hears that the name of the city is ‘The Lord is there’.

Source: The Greek New Testament (UBS, 4th edition), compared with the Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament feature in Logos Bible Software version 4.

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The structure of Revelation 15.1-16.21

John sees seven angels with the last seven plagues (Rev. 15.1)

John sees the victors at the sea of glass (Rev. 15.2-4)

John sees the sea (15.2a)

John sees the victors (15.2-4)

They were victorious over the beast (15.2b)

They hold harps (15.2c)

They sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb (15.3-4)

John sees activity in the heavenly temple (Rev. 15.5-8)

The tabernacle is opened (15.5)

Seven angels emerge with seven plagues (15.6)

Their emergence from the temple (15.6a)

Their clothing (15.6b)

A living creature gives bowls filled with God’s wrath to the seven angels (15.7)

Smoke renders the temple inaccessible (15.8)

A voice commands the seven angels to pour out their bowls (Rev. 16.1)

The bowl of the first angel (Rev. 16.2)

The angel pours his bowl (16.2a)

Those who worshiped the beast are afflicted with sores (16.2b)

The bowl of the second angel (Rev. 16.3)

The angel pours his bowl (16.3a)

The sea turns to blood, killing all sea life (16.3b)

The bowl of the third angel (Rev. 16.4-7)

The angel pours his bowl (16.4a)

The rivers and springs turn to blood (16.4b)

An angel proclaims that the punishment is just (16.5-6)

The altar affirms the justice of God (16.7)

The bowl of the fourth angel (Rev. 16.8-9)

The angel pours out his bowl (16.8a)

The sun scorches people (16.8b)

The people curse God and refuse to repent (16.9)

The bowl of the fifth angel (Rev. 16.10-11)

The angel pours out his bowl (16.10a)

Darkness covers the beast’s throne (16.10b)

The people curse God and refuse to repent (16.11)

The bowl of the sixth angel (Rev. 16.12-14)

The angel pours out his bowl (16.12a)

The Euphrates river dries up (16.12b)

The dragon, the beast and the false prophet emit frog-like spirits (16.13)

The frog-like spirits gather the world’s kings for battle (16.14)

Interlude: Jesus speaks (Rev. 16.15)

Jesus’ promise to come like a thief (16.15a)

Jesus’ beatitude on those who keep awake (16.15b)

The world’s kings gather at Armageddon (Rev. 16.16)

The bowl of the seventh angel (Rev. 16.17-21)

The angel pours out his bowl (16.17a)

A voice from the throne says it is finished (16.17b)

Cosmic phenomena attend (16.18-19)

List of the phenomena (16.18a)

The incomparability of the earthquake (16.18b)

God remembers and punishes Babylon and the cities of the earth (16.19)

The islands and mountains disappear (16.20)

Immense hailstones fall from the sky (16.21a)

People curse God for the hail (16.21b)

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The structure of Revelation 8.2-9.21

The first six trumpets (Rev. 8.1-9.21)

Prelude to the blowing of the trumpets (Rev. 8.2-6)

John sees seven angels given seven trumpets (8.2)

John sees another angel with a golden censer (8.3-6)

The angel approaches the altar (8.3a)

The angel is given incense to offer with the prayers of the saints (8.3b)

The smoke of the incense and the prayers rises to God (8.4)

The angel hurls fire from the altar to the earth (8.5a)

Cosmic phenomena attend the action (8.5b)

The seven angels prepare to blow their trumpets (8.6)

The first trumpet (Rev. 8.7)

The angel blows the trumpet (8.7a)

Hail, fire and blood fall to the earth (8.7b)

A third of the earth, trees and grass are burned (8.7c)

The second trumpet (Rev. 8.8-9)

The angel blows the trumpet (8.8a)

A burning mountain is thrown into the sea (8.8b)

A third of the sea, sea creatures and ships are destroyed (8.9)

The third trumpet (Rev. 8.10-11)

The angel blows the trumpet (8.10a)

A star falls from the sky (8.10b)

The star is named: Wormwood (8.11a)

A third of the fresh waters turn bitter (8.11b)

The fourth trumpet (Rev. 8.12)

The angel blows the trumpet (8.12a)

A third of the sun, moon and stars turn dark (8.12b)

Interlude: an eagle cries out a woe (Rev. 8.13)

The fifth trumpet (Rev. 9.1-11)

The angel blows the trumpet (9.1a)

The star from 8.10-11 opens the abyss (9.1b-11)

John sees the star (9.1b)

The star is given the key to the abyss (9.1c)

The smoke from the opened abyss darkens the sky (9.2)

Locusts come from the smoke (9.3-11)

Their appearance and power (9.3)

The limits on their power (9.4-5a)

A description of the torture they inflict (9.5b-6)

Their appearance (9.7-10)

Their king and his name (9.11)

Parenthetical comment: the first of three woes has past (Rev. 9.12)

The sixth trumpet (Rev. 9.13-21)

The angel blows the trumpet (9.13a)

A voice tells the sixth angel to release the four angels at the Euphrates (9.13b-14)

The four angels kill a third of mankind (9.15)

John sees an army of mounted troops (9.16-21)

The troops’ number (9.16)

The troops’ appearance (9.17)

The troops’ deadly mouths and tails kill a third of humankind (9.18-19)

The unrepentance of the remainder of humankind (9.20-21)

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Three verses in Revelation 3.14-22 that allude to the Old Testament

  1. In Revelation 3.14, Jesus calls himself the “ruler of God’s creation.” Proverbs 8.22 speaks of wisdom as the first or chief of God’s works.
  2. In Revelation 3.17 Jesus quotes the church in Laodicea as saying “I am rich; I have acquired wealth”. This is nearly identical to Ephraim’s boast in Hosea 12.8: “I am very rich; I have become wealthy”.
  3. In Revelation 3.19 Jesus says that he rebukes and disciplines those whom he loves. This is an allusion to Proverbs 3.12 that says that God disciplines those he loves.

Source: The Greek New Testament (UBS, 4th edition), compared with the Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament feature in Logos Bible Software version 4.

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