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A Bible Study of Revelation

Note that the main version of the Bible used for this study is the English Standard Version
(ESV). Two commentaries were used to create this study: The Concordia Commentary
on Luke by Louis A. Brighton and an online version of The Book of Revelation:
Scriptures Crescendo and Culmination by Dr. Laurence L. White.

Introduction to the Book of Revelation


[This section comes from notes taken from Dr. Brightons commentary.]

The Last Book of the Bible


Revelation is the culmination of the entire story of salvation that God has given to his
church. It draws all of revelation, both prophetic and apostolic, to it final goal: the exalted
reign of Jesus Christ. It reveals and confirms that Jesus incarnation, death and
resurrection happened so that God could restore creations glory and righteousness. It
provides a sense of urgency for the church to hold fast and complete its mission.

The Christological Testimony of Revelation


The heart and center of Revelation is Christological. It focuses on the exalted reign of
Christ. It is assumed that the reader knows of and trusts in Jesus humiliation and
vicarious atonement. Revelation picks up where the gospels end it goes from the
ascension to the second coming and into eternity. The Christology of Revelation is
presented in the following ways: Son of Man (ch. 1), the Lamb of God (ch. 5), the Angel
of the church (ch. 10), the Lord of the church (chs. 2, 3, 22), the Judge of the world (ch.
19), the everlasting God (22:12-13), the Word of God (19:13), the source of the new
creation of God (ch. 3:14), the Lord of the cosmos, the Lord of history, the Lord of the
living and the dead, the Lord of angels, the Lord of the world and of all creation (22:13).

Revelation: A Celebration of the Saints


The saints in heaven and on earth respond to this revelation with praise and worship of
the Father and the Son (the Lamb). The praise continues throughout Rev. and is most
striking when viewed in contrast to the terrible suffering of the saints on earth. It seems
that the more the church on earth suffers, the more confident and joyous Gods people are
in their faith and hope in Christ. The great Te Deum is sung throughout Rev. It begins in
chpts. 4 and 5 and stanza after stanza are added throughout the prophecy. It reaches it
crescendo at Christs second coming in 19:1-8, the end of the earth, and the creation of
the new heavens and earth. The one who reads Rev. in faith will join in with the saints in
singing the Te Deum, the hymn of victory.

Revelation, a Prophetic Apocalypse


Apocalyptic literature reveals divine secrets, is revealed by heavenly beings, is revealed
to a human recipient in a historical setting. Its characteristics are that it deals with the End
Times, uses symbolic language to convey its message, is dualistic in nature humans in

A Bible Study of Revelation


history in a warfare between good and evil [although not fully dualistic, good, that is
God, will triumph over evil, Satan], and the author receives the message through angelic
beings who appear in visions. Most apocalypses are prophetic. Revelation is prophetic,
influencing the hearer toward repentance. Revelation is not pseudonymous. John is the
author as it states at the beginning and at the end (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8). Revelation is
Christocentric and not theocentric (as other apocalyptic literature is). Christ is the chief
character around which Revelation revolves. Revelation above all is prophetic in its
intention, in the OT prophetic tradition (22:6, 18-19). Its purpose is not primarily to
reveal secrets, but to call to repentance and faith and worship.

The Purpose of Revelation


The first words of the text tell us what the purpose of Revelation is: it is a revelatoryunveiling of Jesus Christ. We are to take to heart the words of prophecy for Jesus Christ
is coming quickly (22:6-7). A key word might be preparation. Be ready for what is to
come. Be ready by hearing the message. Prepare through sealing (7:2-3), washing (1:5;
7:9, 13-14; 19:13; 22:14), and cleansing (22:12). As Christians stand ready, they are
encouraged in hope (2:10) and inspired in mission (10:11).
Rev. ends with the promise that the Lord will come quickly (22:20). This is the
conclusion and end that Rev. aims at. The Spirit leads the hearer to pray this prayer now
and until it is answered. Simeon witnessed the Savior and then prayed to be in Gods
presence. It is the same here. Based on what Christians have witnessed, they desire the
same. Simeon and Rev. both unveil the glory of Christ. The revelation to Simeon moved
him to witness. Its the same for the hearer who hears the prophetic word and now sees
the sacramentally enfleshed Word.

The Message of Revelation


There are two ongoing phenomena in Rev.: suffering and horror on earth and the reign of
Jesus Christ in heavenly, exalted glory. The [sure] hope of eternal glory encourages Gods
people, which gives strength for the mission.
Plagues and distresses demonstrate Gods wrath against sin in motivating the godless to
repentance (16:1, 8-11).
Mans sin and rebellion against God lead to tribulations and sufferings (6:1-11). The
dragon uses them and adds to them as he tries to destroy the Gospel witness of the church
(11:7-10). God allows the dragon to do this, so that sufferings bring repentance. For
Christians, sufferings remind of Gods judgment and provide opportunity to witness to
the suffering and death of Christ, who was without sin, but vicariously endured judgment
for the salvation of all people (2:8-11; 11:7-13).
The negative of the suffering of the human race is the backdrop for the beautiful pictures
of heaven in Revelation. Human history is headed for the certain judgment of God.
Human life will not improve. Against this is the peace and righteousness of Christ which
comes to believers now and not yet. These encourage Christians to trust and remain

A Bible Study of Revelation


faithful in Christ. The end for believers is not doom and horror, but glory in heaven. The
believer prays, Come, Lord Jesus!
The dominant theme is the unveiling of the exalted Christ. He rules all for the sake of his
church all history, all events, all sin and evil, even the devil. The church will
accomplish her mission (10:1-11:1, 9) and then the Lord Christ will come and claim his
bride (19:5-16).

The Structure of Revelation


Rev. is made up of three main parts: an introduction (1:1-3:22), the prophetic message
(4:1-22:15), and the epilogue (22:6-21).
The prophetic msg. is introduced by a vision of Gods throne and glory with angels and
saints and the exalted and victorious Lamb of God (4:1-5:14). This vision dominates and
controls the prophetic message of Revelation. Jesus Christ the slain Lamb is alive and
reigns! The victory has been won! Salvation is accomplished! Everything in the book is
normed by the reassurance of this opening vision.
The prophecy contains three visions of events on earth each of the same time period.
The first vision is in 6:1-8:5. The first five seals cover the time from Jesus ascension to
the End (6:1-11). The sixth seal is the End (6:12-17). There is then an interlude where we
see Gods people on earth (144,000) sealed for divine protection. This is the church
militant (7:1-8). We also see the church triumphant (7:9-17), the saints in heaven. The
opening of the seventh seal leads into the second seven-fold vision.
In the second seven-fold vision, each time an angel blows the trumpet a scene appears.
The first four scenes are natural disasters that occur during the time from the ascension to
the End (8:6-13). In the fifth scene an angel introduces the terrifying scene of demons
from the abyss who afflict unbelieving mankind (9:1-12). In the sixth scene there is a
gathering of evil hosts that will unleashed on humanity just before the End (9:13-21).
This is the first of three glimpses that John sees of Armageddon (16:16) and the battle of
Gog and Magog (20:8).
There is an interlude between the sixth and seventh scenes (10:1-11:14). In this interlude
a mighty angel from heaven commissions John and the church to proclaim the message of
God to all people (10:1-11). Then two witnesses show the church carrying out this
mission (11:1-14).
The seventh and last scene (seventh trumpet) is the end of the world (like the 6th scene of
the first seven-fold vision). For Christians this is not about destruction but it is a day
filled with joy (11:15-19).
Before the third seven-fold vision, there is a vision of the cosmic war between God and
the dragon (12:1-14:20). This cosmic vision is the heart of Rev., for it reveals the cause of
all of the tribulations and sufferings on earth and the final triumph of Christs church. The
vision consists of the woman with child and the dragon (12:1-18), the beasts of the

A Bible Study of Revelation


dragon (13:1-78), and the defeat of the dragon and the beasts, together with the end of the
world (14:1-20). Unable to destroy the woman, the dragon conjures up two beasts, which
war against her throughout the time from the ascension to the worlds end. The vision
ends with the defeat of the evil forces of the dragon and with the victory song of the
144,000 at the End, which is pictured as a great harvest.
The third seven-fold vision is introduced by seven censer-angels (15:1-16:21). As each
censer is poured out, a scene is presented. The first five scenes refer to Gods anger
poured out on the human race with various plagues (15:1-16:11). The sixth scene with the
sixth censer-angel is the second view of the last battle before the End (Armageddon)
(16:12-16). The seventh scene is the End (16:17-21).
The conclusion describes the end of the world in greater detail and the new heaven and
earth (17:1-22:5). Chs. 17 & 18 describe the evil forces of the dragon (Babylon the
harlot and the beast). The first beast (13:1-10) is the beast throughout Rev. The second
beast (13:11-18) evolves into the harlot (chs. 17 & 18) and the false prophet (16:13;
19:20; 20:10). Babylon (chs. 17 & 18) consists of the harlot and the beast (the first
beast), which she rides (17:13).

Literary Style
Johns style in writing Rev. is more of an artist than a technical writer. He thinks and
writes more in visual patterns than in logical axioms. He does some things grammatically
that are not normally done in order to present this artistry. His style also reflects a Semitic
background. He uses the Greek language in unusual ways to express Semitic thoughts.
Johns artistic writing also expresses itself with the use of symbols. Some symbols are
based on real persons, events, or places. When he uses such things, he does not refer to
the thing he is using as a model, but to something new that is explained in terms of
something that is already known. The known thing then points to and gives clues about
the thing that is being revealed. In this case the symbol acts as a metaphor. For this kind
of symbol the reader/hearer can draw upon common human experiences in order to
interpret the symbol. If one cannot draw from common human experiences then the
symbol is being used to picture something that is supernatural. An example of this would
be the dragon. A dragon is not real, therefore one must use ones imagination. The dragon
then refers to Satan who is a supernatural being. Another type of symbol he employs is
that of numbers. Numbers can symbolize or represent other things.
Much of the symbolic imagery of Rev. is taken from the OT, especially from the later
prophecies and the book of Daniel. So knowing the OT helps tremendously in
interpreting the symbols of Rev. Some symbolism is taken from some of the
intertestamental books and from Graeco-Roman mythology.
John not only uses the OT for symbolism, but more importantly, he also uses it as a basis
for theology. Sometimes he does this rather subtly. He does not formally cite an OT
passage; rather he uses OT imagery, phrases, thought patterns, and theological motifs.
The OT furnishes the vocabulary, mode of expression, and theological mind-set with

A Bible Study of Revelation


which Rev. was written. For instance, in trying to describe the exalted Christ in 1:12-16,
he uses the Son of Man of Dan. 7 and 10. Yet, in describing Jesus in this way, he goes
beyond the description in Dan. and makes the description distinctly his own. He builds
upon it in an innovative way.

Interpreting Revelation
Throughout the centuries Rev. has been interpreted in two basic ways. One way is in a
linear fashion so that each item in the book follows what came before it. In this way
events unfold in an orderly, chronological way. This is called the millenarian method. The
other method is cyclic and is commonly called the recapitulation approach. In this
method the prophecy is viewed as repetitive, so that the events of the same time period
are described several times. This Bible Study employees the recapitulation method.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 1: The Prologue of Revelation
Read Rev. 1:1-8
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
1:4, 8 Who is and who was and who is to come: speaks of the eternalness of God;
he has always existed and will always exist.
1:4 The number 7: 7 is also the number of completion (7 days is a complete
week).
1:4 Seven Spirits: 7 equals Gods presence by his Spirit. 7 is the number of God
the Creator as he created the world in 7 days.
1:5 Firstborn of the dead: the first to rise from the dead and live forever.
1:7 Clouds: associated with Gods presence.
1:8 Alpha and Omega: the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the
beginning and end.
1. The first phrase gives us the title to the book: The Revelation of Jesus Christ or
as the Concordia Commentary (CC) puts it: The Revelatory Unveiling of Jesus
Christ. According to 1:1, who is it that is providing this revelation?
God the Father
And who does Jesus use to make the revelation known to John (1:1b)?
Jesus makes it known to John by his angel.
2. John testifies to what he saw. What does he call what he saw (1:2)?
The word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. This is not
something made up from Johns imagination. This is in fact the word of
God.
3. This is the first blessing (out of 7) in Revelation. Who is blessed in this blessing
(3:3)?
The one who reads or hears the words of this prophecy and takes them to
heart.
What reason is given that it is important to take these words to heart?
Because the time of their fulfillment it near. The things that John sees are
about to take place.
4. According to 1:4a, who is the letter from and who is it to?
The letter is from John and it is to the seven churches in Asia. (Asia here is
not the continent of Asia, but Asia Minor, which is around modern day
Turkey).

A Bible Study of Revelation


5. It was common among the writers of the NT letters (epistles) that they begin their
letters by proclaiming Gods grace and peace to those receiving the letter (1:4b).
All three persons of the Trinity are mentioned in 1:4c-5a. How is the Father
described?
From him who is and who was and who is to come, a reference to Gods
eternal existence.
How is the Holy Spirit described?
from the seven spirits who are before his throne
How is the Son described?
from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the
ruler of kings on earth.
6. Look up Ex. 3:14. What did God tell Moses his name was?
God said his name was I AM WHO I AM, which in Hebrew is Yahweh.
It may also be translated as The One Who Is.
This name connotes the eternity of God. He always has and always will exist. The
title in 1:4c is an expansion of this title, which again says that God has existed
from eternity past. He exists now. And he will exist into eternity future. He is
always present for his people.
7. In the Bible 3 is the number for God (3 persons yet 1 God). 4 is the number of
creation (4 corners of the earth, 4 directions). 3+4=7. 7 then is the number of God
the creator. 7 is also the number of completion. In the creation of the world God
created the world in 6 days and he rested on the 7th day because he completed his
creation.
Look at Zech 3:9 4:10, what do the 7 eyes and 7 lamps represent (see esp. 4:6)?
They represent the Holy Spirit.
Through his Holy Spirit God sees the whole earth. God is present with his
creation through the sevenfold presence of his Spirit.
In Revelation, 7=Gods presence by his Spirit. Thus the church, represented by
the 7 churches, is always under the Spirit of God.
8. Revelation also comes from Jesus Christ (1:5a), the One who died and rose from
the dead and now rules the kings of the earth. Through his resurrection he set
Gods people free and made them a kingdom of priests (1:6a).
9. So the source and authority of Revelation (and by inference the entire Scripture;
OT and NT) comes from the Trinity. It may also indicate that there will be no
other word of God spoken until Jesus comes again.

A Bible Study of Revelation


10. In Rev. 1:5b-6 John breaks into a doxology, in which he praises Jesus for freeing
Gods people through his shed blood. In doing so he makes them Gods loyal
subjects and his priests. Priests were go-betweens between God and people. So
now Christians are go-betweens between God and the people of the world. They
bring the concerns of the world to God in prayer and they bring Gods grace to
sinful people through the proclamation of Gods Word. For what he has done,
Jesus deserves eternal glory and dominion.
11. Look up Acts 1:9-11. How was Jesus ascension described?
And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted
up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
How did the angel say he would return?
This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the
same way as you saw him go into heaven."
So what does 1:7a describe?
It describes Jesus return, his second coming to earth.
So the time for his second coming is near.
12. In 1:7 it mentions that Jesus was pierced. John is the only evangelist that tells of
Jesus piercing (Jn. 19:32-37; 1 Jn. 5:6).
Those who pierced him are his enemies. The Tribes are Gods repentant
people (see Zech. 12:12-14; Lk. 2:35; 23:27; Jn. 20:11). The recognition at his
second coming of his being the pierced one confirms the truth that his death and
resurrection made him the Savior and Judge (see Jn 19:33-35; 1 Jn 5:6-12). Gods
people wail because they know he was pierce for their iniquities.
13. In 1:8, the God himself breaks in to confirm the exalted status of his Son. There is
no greater witness than the Eternal, Almighty Father.
14. To the Greek world, what was the alpha and omega?
Alpha was the first letter of the Greek alphabet and omega was the last
letter of the Greek alphabet.
So to say that God is the Alpha and Omega is to say that God is the beginning and
end. In Rabbinic theology it refers to the visible presence of God for his people.
For Christians, God is visibly present for his people in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the
glory of God who entered into human history and time. Within Rev. the Father
and Son share this title.
15. The Father is again identified as the One Who Is and Who Was and Who Is
Coming (1:8). What else is he called?

A Bible Study of Revelation

He is also called the Almighty.

In Rev. this only refers to the Father. The Father holds the prime position while
yet being equal to the Son and the Spirit.
The Fathers word here is similar to the transfiguration; its a confirmation of his
Son. Here in 1:8, the Father confesses that this Spirit-given prophecy about the
sent, crucified, and exalted Son has its origin in himself, the Father, and so it has
his authority behind it. The Son is a witness to this prophecy. He tells it to John by
means of his angel.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 2: Commissioning of John: Vision of the Son of Man
Read Rev. 1:9-20
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
1:12, 20 Seven lampstands: the 7 churches of Asia.
1:13 Son of Man: A man who represents humanity and is authorized by God to
rule and to carry out Gods judgment on humanity.
1:13 Robe and sash: the garb of a king or priest.
1:14 White hair: a sign of honor, respect, and wisdom.
1:14 Fire: Gods holy presence, which can purify or destroy.
1:15 Feet like fiery burnished brass: symbolizes strength that conquers and
tramples enemies.
1:15 Roar of many waters: power.
1:16 Jesus right hand: Gods mercy and blessing of his church.
1:16, 20 Seven stars: the 7 angels of the 7 churches.
1:16 two-edged sword: the judgment of God.
1:16 Sun: a metaphor for God and his glory by which he blesses his people.
1:17 The First and the Last: refers to the relationship of Christ to his bride, the
Church. He is the source of the church and the church exists for him.
1:18 The Living One: the exalted, living Christ is the only true God, Creator, and
Judge and Redeemer.
1:18 Keys: the power and control to lock or unlock.
1. According to 1:9 where was John at and why was he there?
John was on the island of Patmos and he was there because he was being
punished for remaining a faithful witness to Christ.
This is true for all Christians. They should know that they will join Christ in
suffering. Christians follow in Jesus footsteps. Like him they suffer before they
enter the glory of heaven.
2. John was in the Spirit (1:10). That is, he was in a moment of worship and
meditation on the Lords day. Here he receives a revelation and is commanded to
write it down and send it to the churches (1:11). No one else was permitted to see
and describe the exalted Christ in such detail.
3. A voice told John to write down what he saw. John turned to see who it was that
spoke to him. When he turned to look, what was the first thing he saw (1:12b)?
John saw 7 golden lampstands.
What did they represent? (see 1:20b)

A Bible Study of Revelation

The seven lampstands are the seven churches in Asia.

4. Who did John see standing in the midst of the lampstands (the churches) (1:13a)?
He saw one like a son of man.
The person is then described. Johns description draws on several OT sources, his
own experience, and the memory of the transfiguration. The prophetic promise
seen prophetically by Daniel and momentarily experienced by John at the
transfiguration, now stands consummated in all its everlasting beauty. The Lord is
now in his glory because he has completed his mission through his death and
resurrection (1:18).
How was he dressed (1:13b)?
He was dressed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.
Who wears clothes such as these?
The high priest and king.
How is his hair described (1:14a)?
The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow.
What does Lev. 19:32 and Prov. 16:31; 20:29 say about white hair?
It is a sign of respect and honor (Lev. 19:32), a crown of splendor and
righteous wisdom (Prov. 16:31; 20:29).
The Son of Man represents the Father in his rule over creation. The Son of Man
was due honor and glory because through his death and resurrection he carried out
his commission of establishing the everlasting kingdom (1:9). Having ascended,
the whiteness (respect and honor) of the Ancient of Days (God the Father) is
transferred to the victorious Christ. He too receives the full worship and glory
given to the Father.
His eyes were like a flame of fire (1:14; Dan. 10:6). In the OT fire symbolized
Gods holy, purifying presence before whom only the purified can stand. God
purifies people so they can stand before him. Gods holy presence also destroys
evil. Therefore Jesus is the Son of Man who is authorized to destroy evil and to
purify his people.
Feet like fiery burnished brass (1:15a; Dan. 10:6) symbolizes strength that
conquers and tramples enemies (Dan. 2:33). What enemy has Christ defeated
(1:18: 1 Cor. 15:25-27)?
He conquered death. He was dead but became alive again. Death could not
hold him. He holds the key to unlock the prison of death.
He had a voice that was as loud and powerful as the roar of mighty waters, the
sound of a multitude (1:15; Dan. 10:6; Eze. 43:2).

A Bible Study of Revelation


Given this description, when John stands before the exalted Son of Man, he is
standing before the very majesty and glory of God himself.
5. What did the Son of Man hold in his right hand (1:16a) and what did they
represent (1:20b)?
He held 7 stars in his right hand, which are the angels of the seven churches.
How is Gods right hand described in Mt. 25:34 and what does he provide his
church (Jn. 14:15-17; 16:7)?
His right hand is one of mercy (Mt.25:34) that blesses the church through the
sevenfold presence of the Spirit (Jn. 14:15-17; 16:7).
The churches are represented before God by their angels (messengers). Angels
may represent the human messengers of Christs Word to his church, their pastors.
The two-edged sword that comes from his mouth (1:16) indicates that the Son
of Man will execute the judgment of God according to his Word (Heb. 4:12).
6. How did the Son of Mans face look (1:16c)?
His face was like the sun shining in full strength.
In the OT, the sun is a metaphor for God and his glory by which he blesses his
people, giving light which produces life and brings them out of darkness.
How is the Messiah described in Mal. 4:2?
He is called the Sun of Righteousness, who rises with healing in its
wings.
How is Jesus described in Mt. 17:2? At what event did this occur?
And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his
clothes became white as light.
In Rev. 1 the face and whole person of Jesus show that the exalted Christ is the
person through whom the glory and the life-giving light of God are now present.
Christ brings Gods light to a world of darkness.
7. What was Johns reaction when he saw the exalted Christ (1:17a)?
He fell at his feet as though dead. Struck by Christs full majestic glory,
John is struck down like a corpse. No sinful person can stand before Holy
God. But then Jesus graciously gives John permission to stand before him.
Who does Jesus refer himself to be in 1:17b?
Jesus said, I am the first and the last.
This might sound similar to Alpha and Omega, but there is a difference. Being the
Alpha and Omega stresses Gods eternalness in that he far above and beyond

A Bible Study of Revelation


creation. Being the First and Last refers to the eternalness of Christ in relationship
to his bride, the Church. It is a reflection and fulfillment of Is. 44:6 and 48:12 as
he speaks to Israel as King and Redeemer. Here he assures John that as the Eternal
One, he is the Savior, so dont be afraid (Is. 44:8).
He is also the Living One (1:18). In the OT there is a contrast between false
gods and idols, which are dead and have no existence, with the living God of
Israel. Christ now lives forever, having conquered death and the grave. The God
that is present in the exalted, living Christ is the only true God (Is. 44:8-10),
Creator (Is. 48:12-13), and Judge and Redeemer (Is. 48:14-22).
8. John is revived and commissioned to write (1:19) to the seven churches the
prophetic message of the unveiling of the Lords majesty. John did so in writing
the book of Revelation.
A note about the Son of Man and Lamb of God
Rev. pictures Christ as either the Son of Man or the Lamb of God. His appearance as the
Son of Man is fearful because he comes to judge the human race on behalf of the Father
(Rev. 19:11-16; cf. Jn.5:22-23, 27). He has the authority to carry out Gods judgment as
the Son of Man because as the Lamb of God he suffered Gods judgment in the place of
the human race (5:6-10; 6:15-17; 19:13-15). But as the Lamb he appears only to his own
people and there is no fear. They are Gods people washed in the blood of the Lamb
(19:5-9; 7:9-17).
Excursus: Son of Man
Daniels use of the Son of Man provides the theological background for the NT. The Son
of Man represents the Ancient of Days and rules Gods people on his behalf.
Jesus called himself the Son of Man. He used it in connection with his death and
resurrection and his coming again in judgment. Christ has fulfilled the prophecy of the
Son of Man in the OT. As the Man, he has taken Israels and all peoples place (Is. 49:3;
49:6) and represents them before God (Is. 53:12).
Jesus is given the titles of Christ, Lord, and Son of Man. As the Christ, he was the chosen
one, the Redeemer. Because of his redemptive activity, he became the Lord of the church.
As a result of his being Christ and Lord, he also became the Son of Man. The Son of Man
is the master of all history, of the human race, and of the final judgment.
He is true man who took the place of the human race in his death and resurrection. He is
also the Man who was elevated to rule.
Dan. 7:13-44 is the seminal passage on the Son of Man who approached the Ancient of
Days and received authority, glory, and kingship.

A Bible Study of Revelation


The 'Concorida Commentary - Revelation' by Louis A. Brighton and the online
version of 'The Book of Revelation: Scriptures Crescendo and Culmination' by
Dr. Laurence L. White were used to create this Bible Study.

Overview of The Seven Letters of Preparation (2:1-3:22)


(This section comes from notes from the Concordia Commentary on Revelation.)
The purpose of the seven letters is to prepare the recipients for receiving and applying the
message revealed in the visions. They also are a call to repentance.
The seven letters follow the same literary pattern.
The recipient is mentioned
A descriptive phrase that identifies Christ as the author and sender
Acknowledgement of historical circumstances of the church and the work that the
church is doing for Christ
The danger the church faces because of sin of its members and the weakness of
their Christian faith
Author urges recipient to repent, otherwise they will lose their place with him
Promise of blessing for those who repent, trust, and conquer
Urgent appeal to listen to the Spirit
The Seven Churches and the Church
The letters indicate that the Lord Christ knows all about his churches, and that they are
historical churches. The message is relevant for all time to the End. Each church has a
particular sin or failing, which if not repented of, threatens their fellowship with Christ.
The letters are meant to cause repentance, stand firm, and comfort in the promised
blessing and hope of victory. Repentance also prepares the readers to receive the
prophetic message of Rev (4:11-22:5).
Each letter is intended for all seven churches, as is all of Revelation. Indeed, the whole
church will benefit from these letters. The seven churches represent the entire church (7 is
the number of completion). The seven churches like the entire church are always under
the grace of the Spirit.
The Angel of the Church
Are the angels of each church, the churches themselves or actually angels? In keeping
with the whole character of Revelation, they should be thought of as actual angels.
Outside of the angels of the churches, every time angel is used in Revelation, it is
speaking of actual angels. That the Lord should use angels as messengers is not
surprising. Angels mediated the Law to Moses at Mt. Sinai (Acts 7:38, 53; Gal. 3:19;
Heb. 2:2), announced the birth of Jesus (Mt. 1:20; Lk. 1:26-27; 2:8-9), and proclaimed

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the resurrection (Mt. 28:2-7). But the view that they represent the pastors of the churches
is not entirely out of the question.
The Preparatory Function of the Seven Letters
Each of the seven letters was written to a specific (historical) congregation. And yet, they
all became a part of Revelation which was received by all of the seven churches and the
church universal. Each of the seven letters ends with to the churches (e.g., Rev. 2:7).
7 equals the entire church of Jesus Christ under the motivating influence of the Holy
Spirit. In Revelation, 12 and its multiples 24 and 144,000 represent the church. The
number 7 represents the seven-fold (complete) presence of the Spirit who is with and in
control of the church.
The seven sins and failings in the letters are addressed to all churches and Christians. If it
can happen to them, it can happen to other churches too.
There seems to be a sequence to these sins: leave of first love (2:4), which leads to fear
(2:10), which gives way to serving both God and mammon (idolatry) (2:14), which
causes errors in teaching denying the uniqueness of Christianity (2:20), that then leads to
deadness of faith and heart (3:1), and no desire to serve by proclaiming the Gospel (3:8),
becoming lukewarm to the Lord (3:16), which then leads to being cast out of his holy
presence. These seven sins are a constant threat to the Christians life. Awareness of these
sins is necessary for repentance, which prepares the heart to receive the message of
Revelation.
The letters provide seven identification marks of the speaker. He is
1) Lord of the church and mediator of this revelation (2:1) (holds 7 stars, walks in midst
of 7 lampstands),
2) Savior of the church (2:8) (the First and Last, the one who died and rose again),
3) Judge (2:12) (two-edged sword),
4) Omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent (2:18) (flaming eyes and brass-like feet),
5) Sends the Holy Spirit and angels for the sake of the saints (3:1) (7 spirits and 7 stars),
6 & 7) Governs opportunities to witness the Gospel (3:7) and confirms that witness (3:14)
(key of David and is the agent of Gods new creation).
This detailed description is of the Son of Man (1:13). Thus chapters 2 & 3 interpret the
Son of Man in chapter 1 for the sake of the church, warning and comforting her. It also
reminds the church of her mission and that he will supply every need of the mission as
she lives in repentance and faith.
While each letter focuses on sin and repentance, the goal of each letter is to strengthen
faith in the victory of Christ. Each letter ends with a promise of eternal blessings for the
one who conquers (through Christ). The promises are directed to the future. Christs
victory finds its full and final meaning in eternal life in Gods presence. The Christian
who conquers endures temptation and suffering and is faithful until the end of earthly life.

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The promises of the letters are:
1) paradise (2:7) (tree of life),
2&3) hell and eternal death are destroyed for the Christian (2:11) and the Christian is
sustained by manna from heaven (2:17),
4&5) Christians will participate in Christs reign (clothed in white and name written in
the book of life, 2:26-29, 3:5),
6&7) eternal habitation of the new Jerusalem (3:12), sharing the Fathers and Sons
throne (3:21).
These promises provide encouragement for the church.
But the church is not there yet. So in the mean time, the prophetic message will guide,
instruct, comfort, and inspire her in her mission until she reaches that blessed end.

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Lesson 3: To the Angel of Ephesus
Read Rev. 2:1-7
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
2:1 Seven stars: the 7 angels of the 7 churches.
2:1 Seven golden lampstands: the seven churches of Asia.
2:5 Lampstand: the church of Ephesus.
2:7 Tree of life, paradise: a reference to the Garden of Eden.
1. Who is the person described that speaks these words to the church at Ephesus
(2:1)?
They are 'The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who
walks among the seven golden lampstands.
We have heard this description in Rev. 1:12-16. Who then is the speaker?
The speaker is the exalted Christ. By this description he identifies himself as
the Son of Man (1:13). He is the churchs Protector (Lord) and her Judge. As
her Judge, he calls her to repentance (2:5), because of his love and concern.
2. The Lord knows the activity of the church. What good things does he have to say
about it (2:2-3)?
2:2a: He knows they work hard and endure patiently.
2:2b: He knows that they are alert to false prophets, who are enemies of the
truth.
2:3: He knows that they bear his name without growing weary, again enduring
patiently.
3. What does the Lord have against this church (2:4)?
They have abandoned their first love.
John is the disciple of love. What does John say in each of the following passages
about love: Jn. 13:34; Jn. 15:13; Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:8?
Jn. 13:34: Jesus said love one another.
Jn. 15:13: Jesus said love lays down its life for friends.
Jn. 3:16: Jesus said God loved the world so much he sent his only Son.
1 Jn. 4:8: God is love.
So who was the first love of the church?
The first love of the church is the love of God in Christ. Jesus is the only Son,
who lays down his life for the world in perfect love.

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A Christian has a relationship with Christ like that of a husband and wife. It is a
loving relationship. In many marriages, at the beginning it is exciting and each
would do anything for the other. But as time goes by the newness wears off and
the routine sets in. Each may stop doing for the other. Christ asks them to
remember how it was at first and repent and do the things they did at first (2:5).
Repentance is a change, a change of heart, a change of mind, a change of
direction. Its a call for immediate action. Remembering their first love will help
move them to repentance. What they did at first was to love. Love always takes
action. Christ loved the world so much that he willing came and died for it. In
return Christians love God and out of that love flows love for their neighbor. They
have lost the love of their life and need to return to it.
This is the first sin of the 7 churches. The sins of the other churches evolve from
and result from this sin.
4. What does the Lord threaten if they do not repent (2:5b)?
I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you
repent.
What does that mean (see 1:12-13)?
The Lord Christ was present with the 7 churches. If they did not repent, he
threatened to remove them from his presence. Apart from Christ the church
cannot exist.
5. Even though they have fallen, they havent fallen so far as to embrace the works
of the Nicolaitans (2:6). Whatever the works of the Nicolaitans were, the Lord
hated them and the Ephesian church hated them too.
6. The words He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches
(2:7a) is similar to the words that Jesus said (Mt. 11:15; 13:9). Everyone can
hear these words if they want to. To not hear them is a willful choice. This same
admonition is given to each of the 7 churches.
7. Besides the Lord Christ, who does this message come from (2:7a)?
The Holy Spirit.
This reinforces that the book of Revelation is given by divine inspiration.
8. What obviously do the tree of life and paradise refer to (see Gen. 2:9)?
They are a reference to the Garden of Eden.
Who is it that will be able to eat from this tree (2:7b)?
The one who conquers or overcomes will eat from the tree of life in paradise.
Who are the ones that conquer?

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The ones that conquer are those who repent and persevere in the faith; they are
the ones who conquer and overcome. They will be restored to the paradise that
God first intended for humans.

The tree of life is mentioned once again in Rev. 22:2, where it describes the
eternal paradise that awaits believers in Jesus, as they spend eternity in the
presence of God the Father and the Lamb.

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Lesson 4: To the Angel of Smyrna
Read Rev. 2:8-11
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
2:8 First and Last: the cause of the Christian faith (the First) and the goal and
object of Christian faith (the Last), Jesus Christ.
2:9 Synagogue of Satan: an assembly of people who follow Satan as their
leader.
2:10 Ten days: a short, known time.
2:10 Crown of life: a laurel wreath awarded to the victorious athlete.
Christians win the victory over sin, death, and the grave.
2:11 Second death: unbelievers will be cast into Hell at the Last Judgment,
eternally separated from God.
1. The city of Smyrna was 35 miles north of Ephesus. It was a prosperous trading
center and was known for its beautiful architecture. It was known to be loyal to
Rome and the emperor. They were also dedicated to emperor worship. Smyrna
also had a large Jewish population, which may explain the letters emphasis on
courage in the face of persecution.
2. Who is the speaker of the letter to Smyrna and what has he done (2:8b)?
These words are spoken by the first and the last, who died and came to life.
The person who speaks has conquered death as he came back to life. This is
obviously Jesus.
What does it mean that he the First and the Last (of the church)?
Jesus was the first to rise from the dead and to stay alive forever. Therefore he
is the First or the cause of the Christian faith and life. And he is the Last
because he is the goal and object of the believers faith and life.
For a congregation that is suffering persecution knowing this would be essential.
3. What does Jesus know about this church or how would you describe this church
(2:9)?
Jesus sees that they suffer tribulations, poverty, and slander. They are a church
that is struggling to survive in a hostile environment.
How were they poor and yet rich (2:9)?
They were poor economically possibly for their loyalty to Christ, but they
were rich spiritually. By faith they possessed the eternal riches of the kingdom
of God.
Who was it that slandered them (2:9)?

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The Jews were saying malicious and false things (slander) about them.

The Jews believed that they were the chosen people of God by being blood
descendants of Abraham. But what does it say in Romans 2:28-29; 9:6 Galatians
3:7?
It says that the true descendants of Abraham, the true Israel and the true Jew is
not by blood but by faith and the Holy Spirit.
As a synagogue they were to be an assembly of Gods people, but whose people
were they really (2:9)?
They are the synagogue of Satan; they are his people.
What does John 8:44 say about Satan?
It says that he is a liar and the father of lies.
So what is it that connects them to Satan?
Because they ruined the name of the Christians at Smyrna by lying about
them, they were following the leader of liars, Satan. As they spread these lies
they showed that they were an assembly of Satan and not God.
4. The Christians in Smyrna are already suffering many tribulations (2:9). Are those
tribulations about to end? What does Christ say is going to happen (2:10)?
They are about to face more tribulations. Some will be thrown into prison and
some may even die.
How long will this last (2:9)?
10 days
This is a known, short period of time. The time and intensity of their suffering is
set by God. What does Christ urge them not to be (2:10a)?
He urges them not to be fearful.
Fear of anything but God is a sin. Fear of other things can lead to idolatry (e.g.,
fear causing them to worship Caesar). We are no different. We become fearful of
things or circumstances, which leads us to make and worship our own idols (e.g.,
money, people, things, etc.). These are things that we put our trust in to help us in
our time of need.
There is a connection between the sin of the church in Ephesus (loss of first love)
and the fear spoken of here. Look up 1 Jn. 4:16-19 and 5:1-5. What does it say
about love and fear (see esp. 1 John 4:18)?
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do
with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

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If Gods people have lost their first love, fear follows because the heart no longer
looks to the love of God in Christ but to other things (see Mt. 14:28-31).The
remedy for fear, then, is to repent and look with faith to Jesus Christ. Through
repentant, faithful focus on Christ there is reborn that first love (1 Jn. 4:16-19;
5:1-5), which sustains endurance through persecution (cf. Heb. 12:1-3).
5. In our day and age we have preachers on TV and in mega-churches that preach
prosperity to those who become Christians and live good lives. Is this what Jesus
promised the Christians in Smyrna? No! He said they had been slandered because
they were Christians. He said they faced persecution and poverty because they
were Christians. He said the persecution would continue and get even worse. The
prosperity preachers have it wrong. They preach that if you are a Christian you
will have a glorious life. Jesus had to suffer first and then enter his glory. It is the
same for Christians. Christians are followers of Jesus. They too must suffer first.
While on earth we suffer. But we look forward to heaven where we will one day
enter into eternal glory. So as Christians we expect to suffer for Christs name.
But the one who has conquered sin and death, the First and Last, promises that
this suffering will last only a short time. The time has been set by God; he is in
control.
6. Who does Christ promise a crown of life to (2:10b)?
He promises it to those who are faithful unto death.
Those who are faithful are those who repent and believe in Christ.
The "crown of life" is the laurel wreath awarded to the victorious athletes of the
Olympic games (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25; Galatians 2:2; Philippians 3:14; 2
Timothy 2:5; 1 Peter 5:4). Those who die in faith in Christ have won the victory;
they receive the crown of life. They have won victory over fear and death and the
grave.
Crowns are worn by the 24 elders and the woman in chapter 12. They represent
the church, the faithful. They have won the victory.
7. The church is again admonished to hear these things that the Holy Spirit tells
them. What is promised to the one who heeds the Holy Spirit and Lord Christ,
who remains faithful unto death, the one who conquers (20:11b)?
The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.
The second death is mentioned later 20:14. The first death is our physical death
here on earth. The second death occurs on the Last Day at the final judgment.
Those who do not believe in Jesus will die a second death, which is an eternal
death, the eternal pains of hell. What great comfort it is to know that in Christ we
are more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37) and as conquerors we need not fear the
second death.

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Lesson 5: To the Angel of Pergamum
Read Rev. 2:12-17
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
2:12 Sharp two-edged sword: symbolizes the judgment of God.
2:13 Satans throne: the place where Satan rules.
2:14 Balaam and Balak: Balaam advised Balak to lure Israel with idolatrous rites.
Balaam wanted to serve both God and money.
2:16 The sword of my mouth: the Word of God.
2:17 Manna: bread from heaven, the bread of life hidden under the form of
normal bread.
2:17 White stone, new name: a white stone with the name of a victorious athlete
inscribed on it was used to guarantee admission to a special feast or celebration.
1. Pergamum was the official capital of the Roman province of Asia, the seat of
Roman authority and power in the region. It was situated fifty-five miles north of
Smyrna and twenty miles inland from the Aegean Sea. Under the Greek King
Eumenes (197-159 B.C.) Pergamum became one of the intellectual centers of the
ancient world. Eumenes established a magnificent library with some 200,000
books and sought to outshine the great library of Alexandria in Egypt. As the
provincial capital, Pergamum was an important center for the official state cult of
the emperor. Pergamum was also well known as a center of medicine. The cult of
the Greek god of healing Asclepius, whose symbol was the serpent was based in
the city. Those who fondled or fed these serpents in his temple thereby worshiped
the god and sought his favor.
2. As we just read in point #1, this is a place of great evil and corruption with its
emperor and idol worship; its a place "where Satans throne is (2:13). The one
with a sharp two-edged sword speaks of this place. The sharp two-edged sword
was already mentioned in 1:16. Who was it that had such a sword and for what
purpose?
The sword symbolizes the judgment of God. Since the Son of Man wields the
sword, he will execute the Fathers judgment. At the End, the Son of Man will
bear this sword of judgment (19:15). The Lord will judge the church, but even
more, he will defend the church as he judges his enemies who afflict his
people.
Here it serves as a reminder that even in the face of the mightiest powers of this
world, the Lord retains the ultimate power and authority.
3. The Lord knows that they dwell in a place where Satan lives and rules. He knows
that Satan is the source of the persecution that his people are enduring. He knows

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of the dangerous situation his church is in. He has not abandoned her but will
avenge her by judging her adversaries.
He also knows their response to their persecution. Have they caved in to it (2:13)?
No. They held fast to Jesus name and did not deny the faith even when
Antipas, a faithful witness to Christ, was killed.
To remain true to the Name of Jesus means to hold fast to the truth of the Gospel
and to refuse to deny or abandon the Lord even in the face of overwhelming
pressure. The required emperor worship and the idolatrous culture put great
pressure on Christians to deny Christ, but they held fast.
The Greek word for "witness" is "martys." The term gradually took on the
significance of one who is willing to die for his beliefs and was carried over into
the English language in the word "martyr."
4. But the Lord also knows some other things about this church which are not so
pleasing to him (2:14-15). Despite their faithful resistance to Satanic pressure
from the government and the culture, the congregation is guilty of harboring and
tolerating false teachers in its midst. John identifies the nature of the threat by
reference to the Old Testament incident of Balaam and Balak (Number 22:5 25:3; 31:8,16). Balaam was the Sumerian prophet/magician hired by the Moabites
to curse the nation of Israel. When God frustrated this attempt, Balaam advised
Balak, the Moabite king, to lure the men of Israel into participation in the
idolatrous rites of Moab which involved feasting, drunkenness, and sexual orgies.
This effort was successful and brought God's judgment upon Israel.
Evidently there were those in Pergamum who saw nothing improper in Christians
taking part in pagan celebrations and ceremonies, many of which involved
feasting, drunkenness, and sexual orgies. To refuse to participate would have
resulted in economic and social ostracism. It has always been difficult to resist the
temptation to try and have it both ways.
Another way of looking at this is that Balaam wanted to serve God, but he also
wanted the money he would be paid when he cursed Israel. Balaams sin was
wanting both God and money, serving two masters. Some people in the church of
Pergamum wanted to serve God, but also be part of an idolatrous and immoral
society.
This is no less of a problem today in our society. We face the same problems. We
live in a godless and immoral society. We too want to have it both ways. But what
Jesus said still holds true. We cannot serve both God and mammon (physical
things).

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The teaching of the Nicolaitans is mentioned again here (2:15). What was the
difference between how the church at Ephesus (2:6) and the church at Pergamum
dealt with these teachings?

The church at Ephesus hated the works of the Nicolaitans, but the church of
Pergamum had some members who accepted their teachings and apparently
the church did nothing about it. The willingness of the congregation to tolerate
these false teachers and their failure to discipline and remove them from their
midst is firmly condemned.

5. What does the Lord admonish this church to do concerning this lack of discipline
and permissiveness (2:16)?
He urges them to repent, to turn away from pagan ceremonies, false teachings,
and immoral living.
How did Jesus lead them to repentance (2:14-15, 16; 2 Cor. 7:8-10)?
He clearly and honestly showed them their sin (2:14-15) and then he
threatened them with judgment (2:16). The Spirit then moves the heart to
sorrow and contrition bringing sin to the throne of Gods mercy (2Cor. 7:810). Godly grief produces a repentance.
If they do not heed his warning, he will come to them and deal with them himself.
He says he will, war against them with the sword of my mouth. His weapon is
the Word of God which is sharper than any two edged sword.
6. Those who do not repent receive judgment. But those who do repent, that is, those
who conquer by hearing the Spirit and taking his words to heart, are promised
blessings (2:17). What would those who conquer receive (2:17)?
They are promised hidden manna and a white stone with a new name written
on it.
Those who caved in to the pagan society ate at pagan idolatrous banquets. But the
Lord offers to those who overcome such temptation a seat at the heavenly banquet
where they will receive hidden manna. From your recollection of the OT, what
was manna?
Manna was the bread from heaven that Israel ate in the wilderness. God
supplied and sustained Israel with that bread.
To those who overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit, God gives a
foretaste of the feast to come by giving them the bread of life in the Lords
Supper. This bread gives eternal life. Yet it is hidden under the simple form of
normal bread. Through this bread God gives eternal life.
The "white stone" further reinforces the idea of admission to the eternal feast. In
the Roman world it was a well established custom to reward victorious athletes or
heroes with a "tessara," that is a personalized pass or ticket to special feasts and

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celebrations. That "tessara" came in the form of a white stone with the victor's
name inscribed upon it. White, in this case, is the color of victory. "To him who
overcomes" the Lord promises to present such a stone guarantying admission to
the heavenly banquet. The name to be inscribed upon that stone is "a new
name...known only to him who receives it." The new name, and the secrecy that
surrounds it signifies the unique intimacy of the believer with His Lord. The new
name also reminds us of Baptism where we are given the new name of
Christian as we are brought into the Christian family, Gods family.

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Lesson 6: To the Angel of Thyatira
Read Rev. 2:18-29
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:

2:18 Eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze: the Lords
righteous anger and his determination to trample underfoot his enemies.
2:20 Jezebel: Canaanite woman who introduced worship of Baal alongside Yahweh.
Represents the false teaching that all religions are valuable and lead to God.
2:23 Her children: not Jezebels physical children, but her spiritual children - those who
have followed her false teachings and immorality.
2:28 Morning star: the sun rises in the morning. It symbolizes the Messianic King who
will come and rule. Christians will share in Christs reign.

1. Thyatira was the smallest of the seven cities, although it received the longest of
the seven letters. It was a military base and trading center located in the middle of
a fertile valley which connected two of the major river valleys of the region and
linked the cities of Ephesus and Sardis. Thyatira remained primarily a garrison
town, although the trade guilds, with all of the idolatrous practices associated with
them, were very prominent here. One of it's primary industries was the
manufacture of bronze armor which was exported throughout Asia Minor and
beyond.
2. The description of eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished
bronze was used in 1:14-15. Who was it that was described this way (see lesson
2, #4)?
These words were used to describe the Son of Man.
In this capacity, the flashing, fire-like eyes suggest the Lords righteous anger
against agents of darkness, the enemies of the truth. The brass-like feet
demonstrate his determination to trample underfoot those same enemies.
But he is not only the Son of Man, who comes as Judge defeating his enemies and
as Savior rescuing his people, he is also the Son of God, the mighty and
everlasting God. As true man and true God he holds the destiny of the human race
and all history in his hands. He speaks for its eternal well being.
3. What does the Son of God know about the church at Thyatira (see the very
beginning and end of v. 19)?
He knows their works or deeds and that their works have increased over what
they were at first when they came to faith.

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Works are a natural outgrowth of faith; they are like the fruit on a fruit tree. So the
works that come naturally from people who have love of God and faith in God
(Christians) are what (middle of v. 19)? And what does that mean?
Service and patient endurance. Providing service is voluntarily providing for
the needs of others. Patient endurance is the willingness to endure hardship
and persecution because of their faith and in order to help others.
As years go by, what would be expected from a fruit tree in terms of its size and
harvest and how does this relate to a Christian?
Over time a fruit tree continues to grow and to bear more and more fruit. That
is also true for a Christian. We are expected to grow in faith and love so that
we do more than we did at first.
4. The Lord moves quickly to something else he knows about this church, an evil
that is right in her midst. What is the problem he sees (2:20)?
He sees that they tolerate Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and who is
teaching false doctrine and seducing them into sinful deeds. By tolerating her,
they were passively approving her false teachings.
Whether Jezebel was actual or symbolic of sin is not known. There was the figure
of Jezebel from the OT. She was a Canaanite who married the king of Israel,
Ahab. She had King Ahab erect a temple and altar to Baal in Samaria. Jezebel
stands for and represents the sin of syncretism, a universalistic belief that all
religions are of value and are able to be of benefit before God. Greco-Roman
society was pluralistic. Many religions were believed to be acceptable before
God. To witness and live the truth that Jesus Christ was the only way to God was
dangerous. So there was the temptation to tone down ones witness for Christ in
order to avoid persecution.
We can really relate to this. We live in a pluralistic society and it is a very
common belief that we all believe in God; we just get to him in different ways
through different religions. But Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). The only way to God
the Father is Jesus. One has to believe in Jesus in order to go to heaven. That
excludes all religions except for Christianity. That doesnt go over well in our
society and world, but it is the truth.
Jezebel claimed to be a prophetess. What was a prophet or prophetess and what
did they do?
A prophet or prophetess was a man or woman who received special revelation
from God and who then spoke Gods word to the people.
Jezebel in the OT was a woman of influence; she was the queen of Israel. She
took advantage of her husbands position to spread her religion. The Jezebel in
Thyatira is also apparently influential. Maybe she was the pastors wife or the
wife of one of the leaders of the church.

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This prophetess and influential woman used her special revelation to mislead
the people. According to what we see in 2:20, what did she teach that God thought
about idol worship, which involved sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed
to idols?
She taught that it was ok with God, that he approved of it. But the physical
adultery that she leads them into is also a spiritual adultery where they leave
their loving husband (the one true God) and go off with another man, a false
god.
5. How has God been gracious to Jezebel and what was her response (2:21)?
God has given her time to repent but she has refused.
What was God about to do to Jezebel and those who follow her teachings and
why (2:22)?
God was about to strike them with sickness and great tribulation. And his
purpose for doing it was to cause them to repent.
What would happen if they continued to have hard hearts and refused to repent
(2:23a)?
God would strike her children dead. Children here does not refer to her
physical children, but to those who have followed her false teachings and have
participated in her immorality.
Who else would learn a lesson from this punishment (2:23b)?
This would serve as a lesson for all the churches.
What would they learn (2:23b)?
They would learn that God is omniscient (all-knowing) and righteous.
Nothing is hidden from him because he can search hearts and minds. We can
conceal evil motives from people but not from God. And God does not allow
sin to go unpunished. And his punishment is absolutely fair. He repays
according to our deeds.
6. What does the Lord say to those in the church who have not believed and
followed Jezebel and Satan in their lies (2:24-25)?
He tells them that they will not be tested further and to hold on until he comes.
The lie of Jezebel and Satan is that Christianity is not unique, that it is not the
only way to heaven. They have been tested by this lie and have not succumbed
to it. They will not face the judgment that she and her followers will face.
What is it that they have that they should hold onto (2:25)?
They have faith in Jesus. They believe that he has done everything necessary
for their salvation. And they believe that he will come again to save his
people. They are to continue to believe in him.

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And we are no different. We face a hostile world that believes all religions lead to
God and heaven, that Christianity is not unique. But we have faith in Jesus, that
he is the way and we must hold fast to that faith until he comes again.
7. Look at Ps. 2, especially vv. 2b, 8-9, and 12a. Who is it that the Lord makes the
King of the nations?
He appoints his Anointed One, his Son as the King of kings. He is the one
who rules the nations and rules with an iron hand. And of course Jesus is the
Son of God who was anointed by the Spirit at his baptism.
Who is promised the authority to rule here in Rev. 2:26-27?
The one who conquers is made this promise.
So the Son of God, the Anointed One first shares his victory, allowing them to
conquer, and then he shares his rule and authority with those who have faith in
him to the end. Gods kingdom will utterly destroy the kingdoms of this world
that oppose him like an iron rod shatters a clay pot into pieces. Those who are
now oppressed and persecuted by worldly kings and powers will reign one day
with the Lord. As St. Paul promised in 2 Timothy 2:12, "If we suffer, we shall also
reign with Him." This glorious reign of the saints is promised on the authority of
the Father Himself - "just as I have received authority from My Father" (2:27b).
8. That was one blessing promised to the faithful. But there is a second blessing
promised in 2:28. What is the second blessing that is promised and what does it
do?
Believers will receive the morning star. The morning star is the sun which
rises in the morning. It brings light that banishes the darkness.
What did Balaam prophesy in Num. 24:14-20 (esp. v. 17)?
He prophesied that a star would arise from Jacob, a Messianic King whose
scepter would crush the princes of the nations.
Thus, to be given the morning star means to share in the imminent rule and reign
of Christ, the Savior King.
Who is it Rev. 22:16 that declares himself to be the bright morning start?
Jesus Christ is the bright morning star.
The darkness of sin's night is almost over. The dawn of heaven's glorious light is
drawing near. All who persevere and overcome share in glory of the Savior's
kingdom and will reign with him forever.
The letter concludes with the standard exhortation to hear and take to heart what
the Spirit says to them (2:29).

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 7: To the Angel of Sardis
Read Rev. 3:1-6
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
3:1 Seven spirits: the Holy Spirit.
3:1 Seven stars: the 7 angels (or pastors) of the 7 churches of Asia.
3:3 Thief: comes at any time. Symbolizes that judgment could come at any time.
3:4 Soiled garments: represents unrighteousness.
3:4, 5 White garments: represents righteousness.
3:5 Name in the book of life: Gods register of all who belong to him.
1. Sardis was located about thirty-three miles south of Thyatira at the western end of
the King's Highway that ran from Susa the ancient capital of Persia. Sardis was
situated on top of a high rocky plateau almost 1,500 feet high, a virtually
impregnable fortress. It became the capital of the Greek Kingdom of Lydia and
under the legendary king Croesus was renown throughout the ancient world for its
abundant wealth. The major industry of the town was the production of woolen
goods. The patron deity of Sardis was the Cybele (Artemis) the mother goddess.
In conjunction with the worship of the goddess, a nearby group of hot springs
were reputed to have not only healing powers but the capacity to raise the dead.
2. The speaker of these words is described as him who has the seven spirits of God
and the seven stars. What are the seven spirits of God and the seven stars
(see 1:4 and 1:20)?
The 7 spirits of God references the sevenfold presence of the Holy Spirit and
the 7 stars references the 7 angels of the 7 churches.
What does it mean to the churches for Jesus to have them or to hold them?
To have or to hold the 7 spirits means that Jesus has the Holy Spirit at his
disposal. He can use the Holy Spirit at any time to accomplish his purposes.
An angel is a heavenly messenger. Jesus uses the 7 angels to communicate
with his churches. In other words, through the 7 spirits and 7 angels, Jesus,
who is Lord over his churches, is present with and communicates with his
churches through the prophetic message of Revelation.
There is also another way to look at this. In 3:1b Jesus says that the church is
dead. The 7 spirits and 7 angels can be thought of in terms of life. Skim over
Eze. 37:1-14 (esp. v. 14). Summarize it in relation to life and how that can be
used to address this dead church.
Israel was as dead as a bunch of dry bones. But Ezekiel prophesied that God
would raise it to life once again by breathing life into them through his Holy
Spirit. This church was dead like Israel of old. Yet, as God raised Israel back

A Bible Study of Revelation


to life as a nation, so God can raise this church back to life through his Spirit
and through his Word, the prophecy of Revelation.
If the 7 angels of the churches are the pastors of the churches then the 7 spirits
and the 7 angels tie together very nicely. In that case Jesus would communicate
with his churches through his Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit causes the pastors of
the churches to preach life into his churches by proclaiming Gods Word of Law
and Gospel. This is the purpose that God has entrusted the preaching of his Word
to the office of the ministry. Pastors and the Spirit use the Word to bring life to
dead sinners.
3. What was the reputation of the church at Sardis (3:1b)? What was their true
condition (3:1b)?
They were known for being a church that was alive. Yet, the Lord Jesus knows
the truth. In actuality the church was dead.
Notice that no mention is made of any enemies attacking the church from the
outside. They are at peace. Perhaps they took on the character of the city they
lived in. It was viewed to be secure and impregnable. Yet it had fallen twice, once
in 540 B.C and once in 218 B.C, because it was left unguarded. They slept
securely while the enemy came upon them. So also the church at Sardis seems to
be complacent and believes that it is secure. But the sleep of the church of Sardis
was the sleep of death from which only the voice of God could raise and rouse
them, which is what he is trying to do here.
4. In 3:2 the Lord gives them an urgent wakeup call. He wants them to wakeup so
that they can see the peril that they are in before it is too late. This is a call for
action; its a call to act now. They are performing deeds but those deeds are
hollow. They are not genuine deeds, the fruit of living faith. Dead faith produces
dead works.
5. In 3:3a the Lord gives a three-fold exhortation which is his remedy for their crisis.
What is it?
First, Remember, then, what you received and heard.
Second, Keep it.
Third, Repent.
What was it that they had seen and heard that had caused them to become
believers in Jesus and to be the church at Sardis?
The way that they became believers and the church is the same as it is for all
of us. They heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ; they heard the Word of God.
Through the Word the Holy Spirit creates faith. They are spiritual weak, at the
point of death. The Gospel is the power of God that can help them recover.
Through the Word the Spirit can breathe new life into them.

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To keep it means to obey it. They must live by the Gospel. Their entire lives
must be centered on the Gospel.
They must repent, that is, have a change of heart, direction, and mind; completely
turn around. Biblical repentance consists of the following components:
1. Recognition of sin;
2. Contrition - sorrow for sin;
3. Faith in Christ's forgiveness;
4. Willingness, wherever possible, to undo the damage of the sin; and,
5. Conscientious resolve not to repeat the sin in the future.
6. Jesus warns of dire consequences if they do not wakeup and repent (3:3b). Jesus
came to earth for us. But if we ignore him and what he has done, he says, I
will come against you. He is loving, but he is also a God of justice. And one day
he will judge. That judgment will come like a thief, and you will not know at
what hour. So when will that judgment come? And what does that mean for
when they should repent?
Judgment could come at any time. They better assume it is coming sooner
rather than later. They better repent now.
7. Even though most people in this congregation are dead, there are a few have
remained faithful to the Lord Jesus. They are identified by the clothing they
wear. How is that clothing described (3:4)?
They wear garments that they have not soiled. They wear clean white
garments.
What does this color of garment represent and what does the wearing of these
garments do for them (3:4b)?
The white garments represent righteousness. Wearing the garments of
righteousness makes them worthy.
Read Is. 64:6. How does it describe our very best deeds?
Our best deeds are like a polluted rag.
If this is the best we can do, how do we obtain pure white, unsoiled garments (see
Is. 61:10)?
God clothes us in garments of salvation and covers us with the robe of
righteousness. We dont and cant do anything. God has to clothe us.
What else does Phil. 3:9 tell us about these garments?
These white robes of righteousness are not our own. The righteousness that
Christians have is Gods righteousness, which comes through faith in Christ.
This is what Luther called an alien righteousness, a righteousness that comes
from outside of us. It must come from outside of us because inside us is nothing

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but evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness,
slander (Mt. 15:19).
So there are a few in Sardis that have remained in the faith despite the apostasy of
the majority and have not been defiled by the corruption of the sinful culture in
which they live. They are worthy not because of anything they have done, but
because by grace they possess Gods righteousness by faith.
Those who wear the white robes of Gods righteousness are conquerors. They will
walk with Jesus (3:4b) and their names are written in the book of life. What do
they know will not happen (3:5b) and what do they know will happen (3:5c)?
They know that their names will never be blotted out of the book of life. The
book of life is Gods register of all who belong to him. No one can remove a
name that God has entered. And they know that Jesus will confess their names
before the Father and angels in heaven. Their future, eternal security is certain.
A few in Sardis have this security and the rest can have the same security if they
repent, if they turn back to God in faith in Jesus. They too can be dressed in white
and they too can have their names written in the book of life and have their names
confessed before the Father.
8. This letter closes (3:6) in the same way that previous letters closed. This letter like
the rest is the Word of God that comes by the Holy Spirit. Whether they heed
these words is a matter of life and death.

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Lesson 8: To the Angel of Philadelphia
Read Rev. 3:7-13
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
3:7 Key of David: symbolizes that Jesus has the authority to give access to the
kingdom of God.
3:8 Open door: Jesus gives the church a chance to carry out her mission, to tell the
Good News.
3:9 Synagogue of Satan: the assembly of those who follow the father of lies
Satan.
3:9 Jews: those who have faith in the promises of God.
3:10 Bow down: a posture of humility.

3:11 Crown: the laurel leaves presented to a winning athlete. The crown given to
those who continue to believe and trust in Jesus is eternal life.
3:12 Pillar in the temple: symbol of stability and permanence.
3:12 Temple: the place where God dwells with his people.
3:12 Write on him the name: Three most sacred names mark and seal the
believer as the permanent possession of God and of irrevocable citizenship in his
kingdom.
3:12 New name: To be given a new name is undergo a change of status.

1. The city of Philadelphia was located in a fertile valley about thirty miles southeast
of Sardis. Philadelphia was the youngest of the seven cities, having been founded
in the Second Century B.C. The city was designed to be an outpost of Greek
culture and civilization in Asia. Its position on an important East-West trade route
and the imperial postal road resulted in prosperity and prominence. The city of
Philadelphia, along with the other cities in the valley, was devastated by a major
earthquake in A.D. 17. The imperial government provided substantial aid for
reconstruction and accordingly, the cult of the emperor flourished in the city. The
fertile volcanic soil of the region was well suited to the cultivation of vineyards
and wine production was one of Philadelphia's major industries. Dionysius
(Roman - Bacchus) the Greek god of wine and the vine was the most prominent
deity of the city.
2. Jesus has set before the church of Philadelphia an open door. What does an
open door in the following verses refer to (Acts 14:27; 1 Cor 16:9; 2 Cor 2:12;
Col 4:3)?
The mission of the church is to tell others about the love of God in Christ so
that other people will believe in him. By providing an open door, Jesus gives
the church a chance to carry out her mission, to tell the Good News.
So this letter revolves around the churchs mission of witnessing to Jesus Christ.

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3. In 1:5 Jesus is said to be the faithful witness. As a faithful witness Jesus speaks
the truth and Jesus is the true one (3:7), the Truth personified, for he is the holy
one (3:7); he is God himself. Jesus holds the key of David (3:7).
The language concerning the key of David is drawn from Isaiah 22:15-24 (esp. v.
22) where a man named Eliakim is chosen by God as the treasurer of the royal
house of Hezekiah. Eliakim, as the Treasurer of the kingdom of Judah, had full
control over all the resources of the kingdom with the authority to withhold or
bestow the king's treasure as he wished. In this sense, he was a type, a
prefigurement of the Messiah who was to come as a royal king of the House of
David. In the case of Jesus, he controls the resources to what kingdom and what is
the treasure that he has the key to?
Jesus has control over the kingdom of God. He alone gives access to the
treasure of eternal life. He alone can open or close the door to heaven.
How is his authority described in 3:7b?
His power and authority in this matter is absolute - "What He opens no
one can shut; and what He shuts no one can open."
4. As we said above, the open door is the Good News of Jesus that because of his
death and resurrection eternal life is available to all people. Since Jesus opened
this door, no one can shut it. And since he has opened the door of eternal life to
them, it is natural that they would want to share this Good News with others that
they might enter the door too.
The phrase I know that you have but little power (3:8b) might be interpreted
two ways. Some have said that the Christians in Philadelphia recognized the open
door and used it to proclaim the Gospel, but not to full advantage. They were
weak in their mission activities.
Others have said this was evidently a small church with limited influence whose
members probably came from the lower classes of society in contrast to the great
wealth and influence of the church's Jewish enemies (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26-27).
The spiritual faithfulness of this congregation (yet you have kept my word and
have not denied my name[3:8c]) is in marked contrast to the church's small size
and influence. The open, joyful confession of the name of Jesus Christ, even in
the face of determined opposition, has characterized the life of the church in
Philadelphia.
5. As in 2:9, the Lord speaks of the synagogue of Satan (3:9). Read Gal. 3:6-14.
Who are the true children of Abraham?
The true children of Abraham are those who have faith. The true Israel was
those Jews and Gentiles who accepted Jesus as the Messiah, the fulfillment of
the covenant with Abraham.

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What happens to those who rely on works of the law instead of having faith and
relying on Jesus?
They are under a curse. No one can be justified before God by the works of
the law.
True Jews live by faith. Those who do not are not the true Israel of God. The
proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah, stirred up opposition in Philadelphia from
the unbelieving Jews. Yet the church at Philadelphia remained faithful in their
witness of Jesus.
In the end, the unbelieving Jews will one day be forced to admit (through
conversion or in judgment) that Christians are recipients of Gods love which
comes through Christ (3:9b).
6. The NIV translation of 3:10 changes Gospel into Law. They translate it as if it is a
command. The Greek literally says, "Because you have kept the word of My
patience." Jesus is the one who patiently suffered humiliation and death. The
Gospel of Jesus Christ then is what motivates Christians to persevere in the faith.
Who does the hour of trial come to (3:10)?
The hour of trial comes to the whole world, to those who dwell on the
earth. It comes to all humans all over the world.
Those who believe in a rapture in which believers are taken up out of this world
so that they will not have to face the tribulation use this verse to say that
Christians will be physically evacuated from the earth. But what does Jesus say
about such a thing (see John 17:15)?
Jesus specifically says in his prayer that Christians will not be taken out of the
world, but be kept safe from the evil one.
The church in Philadelphia was faithful to Christ in the time of trial and now
Christ promises to be faithful to them in the greater trials to come. It is their
preservation in trial that is promised, not their removal from it. They will be
protected spiritually from any threats posed to their faith during the time of trial.
The whole time from Christs ascension to his second coming is the time of
tribulation. Just before he returns the tribulation will intensify; it will become the
great tribulation.
7. Jesus tells them to hold on (3:11). What does he say to encourage them to hold
on (3:11a)?
I am coming soon. There is an urgency to his words.
It is a summons to live in eager anticipation of the return of Christ. We dont
know the day or hour of his return (Matt. 24:36), so we are to live in a state of
constant readiness eagerly awaiting His return.

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Jesus enjoins them to Hold fast what you have. What is it that they have that
they should hold on to (3:8, 10)?
They have Gods word (3:8, 10) and Jesus name (3:8) and they have Jesus
promises (3:10). In these things they are promised a secure future.
3:11b speaks of a crown. This is not a kings crown, but the laurel leaves
presented to a winning athlete. In chpt. 2, a crown of life is promised to those
who are faithful unto death. The crown is eternal life. If they continue to believe
and trust in Jesus they will have eternal life.
8. The promises to those who hold on are particularly meaningful to the residents of
Philadelphia. They had been rocked by a severe earthquake a couple of decades
earlier and were still rebuilding. Now the Lord Christ makes promises of
complete stability and permanence to those who conquer. They will stand forever
("Never shall he go out of it" (3:12).) in the heavenly Jerusalem, the eternal
temple of God as a mighty immovable pillar. They will remain in the blessed
presence of God throughout all of eternity (cf. Ephesians 2:20-22).
Three names will be inscribed upon the pillar. What are they (3:12b)?
The name of my God
the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from
my God out of heaven,
and my own new name.
Three most sacred names mark and seal the believer as the permanent possession
of God (cf. Ezekiel 48:35). To be marked by the name of God means one belongs
to God and has access to his power. To be marked with the name of the city of
God is a guarantee of irrevocable citizenship in the new Jerusalem, the eternal
dwelling place of God (cf. Revelation 21:10ff.). The last name inscribed upon the
believer is the name of Jesus. What do we know about Jesus name (see Phil. 2:911)?
Jesus name is above every name. When his name is uttered every knee of
every person in creation will bow and every tongue will confess that the one
who is called Jesus Christ is Lord over all creation.
The one inscribed with Jesus name belongs to Jesus, the one who rules over all
things. Jesus name is called a new name. In the Bible, the bestowal of a new
name generally indicated a change in status or character. For instance, Jacob (the
deceiver was renamed Israel (He struggles with God) by God. And Abram
(exalted father) was renamed Abraham (Father of many nations) by God. In
baptism the name of the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is placed upon
us indicating that we belong to him and an assurance that we will enter the
heavenly Jerusalem and dwell with God forever.

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9. Again the hearer of this letter is encouraged to hear and take to heart its message
for it comes from the Holy Spirit, the one who uses Gods Word to create faith in
Jesus.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 9: To the Angel of Laodicea
Read Rev. 3:14-22
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
3:14 The witness, the faithful one: Jesus Christ is the witness to the
truthfulness and validity of the message of Rev. from the Father.
3:14 Amen: means this is most certainly true. Jesus is truth personified.
3:14: The beginning of Gods creation: Jesus (the Word) was the source and
cause of Gods new creation, the new heaven and earth.
3:15 Hot: strong in faith in Christ.
3:15 Cold: unbelievers, those who oppose Christ.
3:16 Lukewarm: not strongly for or against Christ.
3:17 Rich, prosperous, wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked: adjectives
that describe their perceived and real spiritual condition.
3:18 Gold refined by fire: purified gold is valuable.
3:18 White garment: garment of salvation.
3:18 Salve: Gods word of Law and Gospel can heal their spiritual blindness.
3:20 Door: the door of peoples hearts.
3:21 My thronehis throne: the Lamb and the Father rule over all things.

1. Laodicea was on the southeast corner of the circuit of the seven churches about a
hundred miles east of Ephesus. The city was founded in the third century B.C. by
the Greek King Antiochus II and named for his wife Laodice. Because of its
location it was a major commercial and financial center. Laodicea was renowned
for the manufacture of a particularly soft black woolen cloth. A major medical
center was also located in Laodicea which specialized in the preparation of a salve
for the treatment of diseases of the eye. There was a renowned cluster of hot
springs within a few miles at Hieropolis. The hot water flowed over a 300 foot
high cliff near the city, gradually cooling and growing lukewarm as it came closer
to Laodicea. Laodicea was a prosperous and economically well established
community. It became a world center of banking and money lending. The
Seleucid kings re-settled about 2,000 Jews in this region after deporting them
from Babylon. The Jewish community in the town was prominent and influential.
St. Paul had a hand in the foundation of the congregation in Laodicea (Colossians
1:6-7; 2:1).
2. The words that Jesus uses to describe himself here in 3:14 are similar to those
used in the prologue in 1:5. In 1:5 he is called the witness, the faithful one. The
Father is the prime source of the message of Rev. (1:1); the Holy Spirit moves the
hearer to receive the message (Rev. 2:7, 11, 29; 3:6, 13, 22); and Jesus Christ is
the witness to the truthfulness and validity of the message that he mediates to

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John and to the churches (1:1-2). When God speaks he provides a witness. By
virtue of his incarnation, baptism, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection, and
ascension Jesus is the witness whose witness is faithful and true (Jn. 5:31; 8:14).
What word do we usually end prayers with and what does it mean?
At the end of our prayers we usually say Amen. It means this is most
certainly true. Sometimes in the OT the word is translated as truth.
This is the only time in scripture that Jesus is given this as a personal name.
The second title used for Jesus in 3:14 has a similar emphasis. When we call
someone a martyr what do we usually mean?
Calling someone a martyr means that that person believed in his cause so
much that he even died for it.
In Greek the word martyrs was originally used for someone who offered
testimony in a courtroom. So in the church this word came to be used for someone
who gave their life in giving true testimony about Jesus. As the faithful and true
witness, Jesus is the truth personified. His testimony in revealing the will and
purpose of God is totally true and reliable. This revelation that is being given to
John by Jesus is absolutely true and reliable and is given with authority.
The third title for Jesus in 3:14 is the beginning of Gods creation. This does not
mean that he was the first thing created. What does John 1:1-3 say about the
Word and what the Word did?
The Word (Jesus, the second person of the Trinity) already existed at the
beginning, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were
made by the Word.
So the meaning here is that Jesus (the Word) was the source and cause of Gods
creation. The one who began and is over all creation is the one who created this
church and who now addresses it. Later in Rev. (19:13), he is called the Word of
God. There (Rev. 19:11-16) the Word of God comes as a Judge at the End. So
Jesus is the first Word that begins creation and he is the last Word concerning
creation.
What does Paul call someone who is in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17)?
a new creation
Jesus is not only the source and cause of the physical creation; he is also the
source and cause of the new creation. He was the first to permanently rise from
the dead and he is the source of power for those who believe in him to rise (see
Col. 1:18). Creation here refers primarily to the new creation, the new heaven
and earth (21:1-22:5). Jesus is not only the Word, the causing power, the agent of
creation, but he is the Word, the first, the power-source of this new creation
of God.

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3. The one who is the Truth and who knows the truth speaks the truth about the
congregation at Laodicea and it is harsh. There are no good words about this
church. To be hot towards Christ is to be strong in the faith. To be cold towards
Christ is to be strong in opposition to Christ. Which of these descriptions fits this
church (3:15)?
Neither. The Lord says that they are neither hot nor cold in the faith. They are
not strongly for Christ and they are not strongly against Christ.
The Lord continues by saying that he wishes that they were one or the other, hot
or cold. What does this mean in terms of the effectiveness of the Law and Gospel
for them?
Hot: If they were hot (strong believers), then the Law and the Gospel has done
their jobs in convicting them and bringing them the great comfort of salvation
Cold: If they were cold (unbelievers), then they could more readily be
preached the Law so that they could see the spiritual peril that they were in
and then the Gospel could follow.
In between: Someone who believes he is a Christian, but is only half-hearted
about it, is in real deadly danger and they cannot see it; they are oblivious to
it. They need to hear the Law in its full force so that the Gospel can be fully
effective.
In 3:16 how does Christ describe them? And how does this description of them
He describes them as lukewarm.
Go back to point #1 in this lesson. How does Jesus description of them in 3:16a
tie in to one of the attributes about this city?
In one direction was the hot springs of Hieropolis. In the other direction was
the cold wells of Colossae. Jesus uses the fact that as the water from the hot
springs reaches Laodicea it has cooled off and become lukewarm. He takes
that physical attribute and applies it to the Laodiceans.
Such was the Christianity of the church in Laodicea. They stood for nothing. They
were willing to go along with anything. Easy, indifferent tolerance characterized
this congregation. They had come to the self-serving conclusion that it was
unnecessary to choose between truth and error, right and wrong. They would
remain comfortably ensconced in the middle, neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm.
What does the Lord threaten to do to them because they are lukewarm (3:16b)?
He threatens to spit them out.
The Greek word behind spit out means to vomit. What does it mean to vomit
and what causes it?
Vomiting is the drastic physical response of the body to expel that which is
nauseating, corrupt, or poisonous.

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So the Lord uses strong Law in threatening to expel them from his church. There
is still time to repent and the Lord will forgive those who repent. But the situation
is dire
4. How do the Laodiceans view themselves (3:17a)? And what is their true condition
(3:17b)?
They think they are rich, prosperous, and need nothing. But in reality they are
wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. So in reality they have nothing
and are in great need, but they dont see it.
5. The Lord has some advice for them in regards to their desperate situation (3:18).
He tells them they need to buy 3 things. Who should they buy them from and
why?
He says Buy from me. They must buy from the Lord because only he can
provide them what they need. Only the Lord can provide what is satisfying
and has lasting (eternal) value.
What three things does he counsel them to buy from him(3:18)?
He says they should buy gold refined by fire, white garments, and
salve.
Since Laodicea was well known as a commercial and financial leader, the Lord
speaks to them in terms that they understand. He speaks of purchasing these three
things. The transaction that he proposes is reminiscent of another proposed
transaction in the OT in Is. 55:1-2. Who is invited to make a purchase in Isaiah?
And how much will it cost them?
Those who have no money are invited to purchase. And the cost to them will
be nothing. Its free.
In Isaiah they buy food that is not nourishing or satisfying. The Laodiceans have
apparently wasted their spiritual capital on spiritual things that have left them
poor, naked, and blind. But even in their poorness, the Lord offers for free that
which will make them rich spiritually. He offers them the pure white garment of
salvation that will cover up their shameful nakedness. And he offers them a
spiritual salve that will heal their spiritual blindness.
6. The Lord has spoken strong words of Law to reprove and discipline (3:19)
them. And then he offered to supply them with what they really need to be
wealthy and clothed and have clear sight. What is it that motivates him care about
them (3:19a)?
He does this because he loves them; he is concerned about them.
This goes along with Solomons advise in Prov. 3:11-12: My son, do not despise
the LORDs discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him
whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. (See also Heb. 12:5-13.)

A Bible Study of Revelation


Instead of lukewarm, what does he want from them (3:19b)?
He wants them to zealous or earnest in their faith. He wants them to turn from
their lukewarmness (repent) and be hot in their faith towards God.
7. Now read 3:20 very carefully. This passage is well known and is often misused.
Who is the main focus of this passage? And what does he do?
The focus is almost entirely on Jesus.
As God, he condescends by coming down from heaven to each poor,
miserable sinner.
He stands at and knocks on the door of their heart.
He calls out to the sinner.
If the door is opened, he comes in to the sinner and eats with him.
What is it that the sinner does?
The sinner either hears the Lords voice and opens the door or he doesnt hear
his voice and leaves the door closed.
Look up each of the following passages and summarize what each one says
concerning the natural condition of people.
Gen. 8:21: Mans heart is evil and corrupt.
Jer. 17:9: The heart is above all things deceitful and desperately corrupt.
1 Cor. 2:14: The natural person cannot accept Jesus or have faith in him,
which are gifts of the Holy Spirit, because in his sinful state he cannot even
see that that the things of the Spirit exist. And even if he could, he could not
understand them because of his corrupt state.
1 Cor. 12:3: No one can say Jesus is Lord unless the Holy Spirit has given
him faith and enabled him to do so.
2 Cor. 4:1-4: The gospel is hidden (veiled) from unbelievers. They are blind
and unable to see the light of the Gospel, Jesus.
Eph. 2:1-5: By nature we are dead in sin and face Gods wrath. It is only by
grace that God makes people alive in Christ.
Rom. 5:6-10: By nature we are ungodly, sinners, and enemies of God. While
in this state, Jesus died for us to save us from Gods wrath.
Gal. 5:17: Our sinful flesh goes against and opposes the Spirit.
How would you summarize the above passages and then relate it to the person
who opens the door?
The natural condition of humankind is that we are evil and corrupt and want to
have nothing to do with God. In fact we actively oppose God as enemies.
Spiritually we are dead. Dead people dont make decisions for Christ and
dead people are unable to open the door of their heart even if they want to.
Only the person made alive by the Spirit and given faith by the Spirit is able to
hear Jesus voice and open the door of his heart.

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Once the door of the heart is opened by faith, a close, intimate relationship
follows. Jesus then enters in and dines with those who trust in him and his saving
work.
8. Those who repent and by grace become hot again for Christ are conquerors.
Through the Holy Spirit they have overcome their lukewarmness and Jesus makes
them a promise (3:21). Through his death and resurrection Jesus has won the
victory over sin, death, and the devil. At his ascension this victory was put on
display as he was exalted to sit upon the throne with the Father (Rev. 4-5). Jesus
told his disciples that once he assumed his rightful place, that they too would sit
on thrones (Mt. 19:28). And now he makes the same promise to those who repent
and turn back to him, their Champion who won victory for them. He will share his
victory with them and he will share his rule with them. Note that the right to reign
with Christ upon His throne is not earned, it is given. They will reign with him
throughout eternity.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Summary of the Letters and a Look Ahead
(This comes from notes from the Concordia Commentary on Revelation.)
The letters to the seven churches are now complete. They form the indispensable,
practical background for all which follows in the remainder of the Book. The Christians
of Asia Minor have been presented with a personal message from the risen and glorified
Lord of the Church. Through these seven churches that message goes out to the people of
God in every place and time. While correction and commendation have varied with the
different congregations every letter included the challenge to persevere and overcome.
The time of testing is at hand, for we have entered upon the last days and the intensifying
conflict between good and evil which signals the onset of the final era of human history.
The grim words of the angel's warning in Revelation 12:12 characterize these times:
"Woe for the earth and for the sea; because the devil is gone down unto you, having great
wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time."
John is now swept up in the Spirit to the very gates of heaven so that he may convey to us
a great word of consolation and courage for the coming tribulation. He is presented with a
magnificent vision of the sovereign God upon His eternal throne in full command of all
of the shifting tides of human events as they surge toward the fulfillment that He has
designed for them. From where we stand evil appears to be triumphant and evil men seem
to have the power to control the destinies of other men and nations. God's people appear
to be helpless pawns in the hands of mighty forces beyond their control. But John's vision
assures us that these appearances are deceiving. God upon His throne remains in absolute
control of history. The seven sealed scroll of the future is in His hand, and only the Lamb
has the power to open those seals and unfold that which is yet to be. Nothing is left to
chance. There is no room for uncertainty here. The Lord reigns. As dark clouds of
impending persecution gather on the horizon, the mighty song of the elders, angels, and
saints reverberates across the vast reaches of heaven to remind us that our all powerful
and all knowing God is still in control.

Overview of the Inaugural Vision of Heaven (4:1-5:14)


The purpose of the vision in chapters 4 and 5, while focusing on the heavenly
glory of the Father, is to demonstrate the enthronement and exaltation of Jesus Christ, the
Lamb who was slain.
In chapters 4 and 5, John views the throne and the glory of Yahweh. Around him are the
24 elders, 4 winged creatures, and angels. He then hears praise to God in the Te Deum
(4:8, 11). While seeing and hearing this, he also witnesses the exaltation and
enthronement of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Gods glory is made full by the Lamb
and one praises God rightly only when one acclaims the enthronement of the crucified
and risen Son of God.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Vision of Gods Glory
There are 4 extended descriptive visions of Gods enthroned heavenly glory in
Scripture: Eze. 1:4-28 (cf. 8:1-3; 9:3; 10:1-22); Is. 6:1-8; Dan. 7:9-10, 13-14; and Rev.
4:1-5:14. When compared, there are similarities and dissimilarities.
1) No saints in OT. In Revelations the saints are prominent.
2) The Son of God is not mentioned in Isaiah and Ezekiel. The Son of Man is mentioned
in Daniel. The Lamb is mentioned in Revelation and is worshipped equally with the
Father.
3) The throne scene in the OT centers on the Father. Revelations centers on Christ.
The purpose of chapters 4 and 5 is to see the victorious Lamb raised to the position of
power, ruling all things on behalf of his church. This vision not only introduces the
prophetic message of Revelation, but it also dominates and shows the direction and
conclusion of it.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 10: The Throne of God and His Heavenly Court (Part 1)
Read Rev. 4:1-6a
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:

4:1 Door standing open: A door opened by God so John could go in and
see what will take place. John is given access to heaven.
4:1 The first voice: the voice of the exalted Jesus.
4:1 Trumpet: used to get peoples attention and used for royalty.
4:2 In the Spirit: the Holy Spirit caused John to have a mystical
experience.
4:2, 5, 6 Throne: Gods heavenly throne.
4:3 Jasper and carnelian: the white light from jasper and the red light
from carnelian may symbolize Gods holiness and fiery judgment. They
also symbolize Gods mercy towards his people.
4:3 Rainbowemerald: shows Gods heavenly glory and majesty.
4:4 twenty-four thrones and elders, crowns: 24 is the number that
represents the entire people of God, both OT (12 patriarchs) and NT
(12 apostles). Christ shares his rule with those he saves.
4:4 White garments: the righteousness of Christ.
4:4 Golden crowns: signify victory.
4:5 Lightning, rumblings, thunder: symbolic of and a part of Gods
majestic and creative power. Used to signal the presence of God.
4:5 Seven torches of fire, seven spirits of God: the Holy Spirit.
4:6 Sea of glass: signifies the perfect peace and order of heaven.

While reading note that the events described in Rev. 4 & 5 occur at Jesus ascension into
heaven.
1. The opening words after these things or after this introduce a new section and
a new vision. The phrase these things refers to the first vision in which John
was commissioned by the exalted Christ to write Revelation (1:9-20) and the
letters to the churches. This phrase does not refer to the events within the visions
but to the sequence of the visions themselves. This introduction is a formula often
used by John to mark a vision of particular solemnity and significance (cf. 7:1;
7:9; 15:5; 18:1).
After the first opening vision John now has another vision in which he sees
something. What did he see, where is it at, and what was its status (4:1a)?
He saw a door which was in heaven and which was open.
This is not mere physical sight. It is rather the prophetic vision of divine
revelation (I was in the Spirit 4:2a). John did not open the door himself, nor did
he see someone open it. Since it is in the passive voice, it is God who has opened

A Bible Study of Revelation


this door and who provides St. John with the unique access which the open door
represents.
2. The first voice that John heard in Revelation was described as a loud voice like
a trumpet (1:10b). That first voice was the exalted Lord Jesus Christ. Now in
4:1b he hears that first voice again. The exalted Christ speaks again as the
mediator of the vision of Gods heavenly glory and he will do so until 8:1, when
angels take over the mediation. The purpose of this vision is to reveal to his saints
on earth what things are necessary to come about quickly (1:1; cf. 1:19).
What does the voice tell John to do and why (4:1c)?
Jesus tells John to Come up here, that is, to enter heaven, to see what must
take place after this.
Having described the present situation of the church in the seven letters, Jesus
now prepares to unveil the future. Look at the following passage: Acts 2:17; 1
Cor. 10:11; 2 Tim. 3:1; 1 Pet. 1:20; Heb. 1:2; Heb. 9:26; 1 John 2:18. What is the
future called?
The future is the last days, the end of the ages, the last times, the last
hour. All of these terms describe the time from Christs death and
resurrection to the time of his return.
Thus, the encouragement and the warning of this book of prophecy are relevant
not only for the first century Christians of Asia Minor but also for the twentieth
century Christians of today's world for we both live in the last days.
Note the verb must (4:1c). What does the verb must relate to in the following
passages (Lk 24:7, 44, 46)?
It refers to the suffering and death of Christ that must occur in order that
sinful people can be saved. God has a plan for peoples salvation. As part of
Gods plan, the things that will happen must take place. He controls and
directs all things for the good of the church and for the salvation of mens
souls.
3. By his own strength John could not obey the call to come up to the door of
heaven. He was immediately in the Spirit (4:2a). In 1:10 John was described as
being in the Spirit on the Lords day. This is the Spirit by which all Christians
participate in Gods Word and Sacraments. Here in 4:2 there is the mystical sense
that this is beyond the normal human experience and reality. It may be similar to
what Paul experienced in 2 Cor. 12:1-4. The prophet Ezekiel had a similar
experience in Eze. 8:1-3 (see also 11:1). By the Spirit, John was lifted up so that
he could receive the vision of God which he was to share with the church (cf. Rev.
21:10).
Note that when the word behold is used it indicates that something important is
about to happen.

A Bible Study of Revelation


4. The vision begins and centers on John seeing God sitting upon his throne in
heaven (4:2b). This is the God of Israel that is enthroned, for he is addressed as
Yahweh, God Almighty in 4:8 and he is the object of worship.
A "throne" is the official seat of a king, the place from which he exercises the
royal prerogative of judgment (cf. Psalm 9:4). It is a prominent symbol for God's
power and authority exercised in judgment throughout Revelation, occurring
thirty-seven times in the Book. In this way John emphasizes the universal
sovereignty of God and His absolute control over all reality.
5. How does John describe Gods majesty in 4:3a?
God majesty appears like the precious stones of jasper and carnelian.
When one buys a diamond, one determines its value by putting it under a light to
see its brightness and clarity. As light reflects with beauty and brilliance through
precious stones, so the glory of God flashed forth from the appearance of the One
seated on the throne.
It may be that the pure white light from jasper symbolizes Gods holiness and the
red light of carnelian symbolizes Gods fiery judgment. The rainbow-like halo
also shows Gods heavenly glory and majesty. The only other place in the Bible
where a rainbow is mentioned is Gen. 9. What was it a sign of (Gen. 8:20-22;
9:12-17)?
There it is given as a sign that God will not destroy the earth again with a
flood. It is also a visible sign that God will bless the earth and sustain its life
with bounty and fruits.
In Is. 54:8-9 the promise and covenant made to Noah reminded the prophet of
Gods saving mercy. For Isaiah, as God had mercy in saving Noah, so God in his
mercy would have compassion for Israel (his wife), because Yahweh was Israels
Redeemer (Is. 54:8).
The rainbow then reflects the majesty of God, the Supreme Being and Creator,
and it reminds one of Gods mercy toward his fallen creation. God is the almighty
Creator, but his almighty creative power is controlled and motivated by his love
and mercy toward his creation.
In the OT, these stones were part of the breastplate worn by Israels high priest
(Ex. 28:15-21). The 12 stones represented the 12 tribes of Israel. Wearing these
stones, the high priest represented Israel before God as he offered sacrifices of
atonement (Ex. 28:29; 1Chr. 6:49). The reference to these stones then, like the
rainbow, suggests Gods mercy towards his people.

A Bible Study of Revelation


6. Around Gods throne were 24 other thrones and sitting upon them were 24 elders.
The number 12 in scripture represents the people of God. What did the number 12
represent in the OT and what did it represent in the NT?
In the OT there were the 12 tribes of Israel. And in the NT there were the 12
apostles of Jesus.
When added together we have 24, which represents the whole people of God in
both the OT and NT. The next question is, who are the elders? Some believe that
these are angels but no where in Scripture is an elder anyone but a human being.
Also angels are never pictured in Scripture as sitting on thrones or wearing
crowns. In the Bible only Jesus and Gods saints are ever pictured on thrones or
wearing crowns. The crown signifies victory. Christ won the victory and shares it
with the saints. Each Christian is promised the crown of life (2:10). In 12:1 the
woman (the church) wears a crown. The church is promised victory because of
Christs victory. Also in Revelation Gods saints are pictured frequently wearing
white robes (7:9-17; like Mt. 22:11-12; cf. 1Jn. 1:7). They were dressed in white
because Jesus blood cleansed them and made them righteous and holy (7:14).
They are in Gods holy presence by grace. The exalted Christs rightful place is
with God the Father. And so his bride, as represented by the 24 elders, is rightfully
with him in Gods holy presence. So the elders are elevated saints of God.
7. What do the lightning flashes and noises and thunders in 4:5a that come out of
Gods throne remind one of (see Ex. 19:16)?
They remind one of the thunder and lightning that accompanied God when he
met Moses and Israel at Mt. Sinai.
These natural forces are symbolic of and a part of Gods majestic and creative
power. They are a reminder of Gods awesome and fearful presence. Throughout
the balance of the Book the flash of lightning and the rumble of thunder are used
to signal the appearance of God and the imminence of His judgment (cf.
Revelation 8:5; 11:19; 16:18).
8. Before the throne were seven torches of fire burning, which are the seven spirits
of God (4:5b). In the OT, in the tabernacle was a lamp stand which had 7 lamps.
It stood before the place where God was present, the Holy of Holies. And
similarly here before Gods presence on the throne were 7 torches of fire.
The Holy Spirit is present in the seven lamps of fire (4:5b) which burn before
Gods throne (see Trinity in 1:4-5). In Zech. 4:1-10 the lampstand and its 7 lamps
remind the people that it is by the Spirit of Yahweh that God is active for his
people and the 7 eyes illustrate the truth of Gods omnipresence by his Spirit. In
Revelation the Spirit of God is symbolized by both the 7 lamps (4:5) and the 7
eyes (5:6).
9. What did the sea represent to a Hebrew (see Is. 27:1; 57:20-21)?

A Bible Study of Revelation

Is. 57:20-21: To the Hebrew, the sea represented chaos and disorder. The
surging waves of the sea became the image for men and nations in endless
conflict with one another.
Is. 27:1: In Is. 27:1 Leviathan is called the serpent which on that day of
judgment and deliverance Yahweh would slay. In Revelation the serpent is the
devil, Satan.

The raging sea then is a symbol of the fury of human sin as stirred up by Satan.
Only God can slay the enemy and quiet the fury of human sin. But the sea in
Revelation 4:5b is transparent and quiet, not the raging sea of evil and chaos of
the OT. What does that tell us and John? It says that the turmoil of sin and Gods
judgment has been stilled. Who was it that conquered the ancient Serpent and the
raging sea and how did he do it?
Christ has conquered Satan and has taken away the raging torment of the guilt
of sin and wrath of Gods judgment. He did it through his death and
resurrection.
The glassy sea before the throne of God signifies the perfect peace and order
which must exist in the presence of the Holy God. Before Him there is no conflict
or disorder. The fact that this remarkable sea of glass is "clear as crystal" further
emphasizes the purity and holiness of God.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 11: The Throne of God and His Heavenly Court (Part 2)
Read Rev. 4:6b-11
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
4:6, 9, 10 Throne: Gods heavenly throne.
4:6 Four: symbolizes the earth, the whole of Gods creation.
4:6, 7, 8, 9 Living creatures: a particular order of angels that are closer to God
than any other creature. They lead the heavenly host in praising God and represent
all living things in Gods creation.
4:6, 8 Full of eyes: can see everything. These angels keep watch over Gods
creation.
4:7 Lion, ox, man, eagle: taken together these things represent all of living things.
They represent all of Gods creation.
4:8 Six wings: represent awe for God, humility before God, and readiness to serve
God.
4:10 Twenty-four elders: elders represent all the people of God from the OT and
NT (12 tribes + 12 apostles).
4:10 Crown: not a kings crown but a crown given to someone who wins victory.
While reading note that the events described in Rev. 4 & 5 occur at Jesus ascension into
heaven.
1. Continuing with the description of the throne of God and his heavenly court, John
sees four living creatures around the throne, on each side of the throne (4:6b).
These creatures are closer to God than any other creature. They are the inner
circle around Gods throne.
There are three visions in the scriptures which describe four living creatures. The
three visions are here in Revelation, in Isaiah 6:1-3, and in Ezekiel 1:5-26; 10:322.
Before going on, read Isaiah 6:1-3, and in Ezekiel 1:5-26; 10:3-22. Note the
similarities and dissimilarities from the vision in Revelation.
The "four living creatures" of Revelation present us with an amalgamation of the
characteristics of the Old Testament's seraphim and cherubim and thus within the
symbolism of this grand vision may represent both of these exalted ranks of
angelic beings.
The four-winged creatures that John saw are, then, a particular order of angels.
They are closer to God than any other creature. Their task is to lead the heavenly
host in praising God. They initiate worship (Rev. 4:9), and the saints and angels in
heaven follow their lead (4:10-11; 5:11-12).

A Bible Study of Revelation


The number 4 is commonly used for the 4 points on a compass, the 4 directions,
or the 4 corners of the earth. 4 n the Bible symbolizes the earth, the whole of
Gods creation. Also note that the Greek word that describes the 4 creatures means
to live. So when you put the number 4 together with to live, you have the 4
living creatures, an exalted rank of angels representing all living things in Gods
creation.
2. The 4 living creatures are covered with eyes in the front and the back (4:6, 8). If
you had eyes covering your front and your back what would you be able to see?
You would be able to see everything that happened around you. And if you
can see it, then you would know everything that is happening to you.
For what purpose then has God given all of these eyes to these creatures?
Nothing happens in Gods creation that escapes the notice of these living
creatures. God has created these angels to keep watch over his creation.
3. Each of the 4 living creatures is then described to be like a certain being (4:7).
What things are each of the living creatures like?
A lion, an ox, a face of a man, and like an eagle flying.
Each of these 4 things is probably representative of a group. What group could
each represent?
The lion: could represent all wild animals.
The ox: could represent all domesticated animals.
The man: could represent all people.
The eagle: could represent all birds.
Taken altogether, the 4 represent all living things. Therefore the winged creatures
are, properly, representatives of Gods total creation in worship before his
heavenly throne (see 5:13-14).
4. The four living creatures are further described as having 6 wings (4:8a). How are
the three pairs of wings used in Is. 6:2?
With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet,
and with two they were flying.
The significance of the six wings may be explained in this way. The two wings
that cover the face suggest the reverent awe of the seraphim who are unwilling to
gaze directly upon the face of God. The two wings that cover the feet denote
humility as these blessed angels stand in the divine presence. The two wings with
which they fly represent obedience, the readiness of these ministering spirits to
instantly go and carry out the commands of God.

A Bible Study of Revelation


It is reiterated that the creatures are covered with eyes (4:8b). These remarkable
creatures exercise unceasing vigilance as they serve and obey the will of their
Creator.
5. The winged creatures serve as heavens choirmasters. They praise God day and
night. As the representatives of creation, they perform the function that creation
was meant to fulfill. They do so without pause or interruption. Compare what the
angels say when John hears them in Rev. 4:8b to when Isaiah hears them in Is.
6:3.
Rev. 4:8b: "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is
to come!"
Is. 6:3: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his
glory!"
The first part of each passage is exactly the same. The Holy, holy, holy is called
the Trisagion (Greek). It is a threefold affirmation of Gods holiness. When a
word is repeated in scripture it intensifies the thought. Here the word holy is
repeated three times, intensifying it to its highest extent, the third degree. These
words constitute the most exalted expression of praise to God in all of Scripture.
Comparing Rev. to Isaiah we see that The LORD (Isaiah) = the Lord (Rev.).
Both are Gods personal name Yahweh that God gave to Moses at the burning
bush. God Almighty (Rev.) = Lord of hosts (Isaiah). Both are the words for
the Lord over armies of angels (Yahweh Sabaoth).
Also note that while the Trisagion is made up of three parts (Holy, Holy, Holy),
there are 3 parts to the hymn and each part can be divided into three segments:
Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord, God, Almighty
Who Was, Who Is, Who Is To Come
In effect, the hymn defines the nature of God. He is the essence of Holiness (holy
means set apart), set apart from that which He has made by His perfection and
purity. The three divine names, "Lord God Almighty," emphasize the omnipotence
of the divine Judge who descends in wrath upon those who dare to disregard or
defy His standards of righteousness. The final divine name also has three parts
and it emphasizes the eternity of God. He always has and always will exist. The
Lord is transcendent - above and beyond this universe of time and space. He has
no source, or point of origin. He is the Source and the Beginning of all that is.
Therein lies the basic difference between the Creator and the creature.
6. In the Trisagion the living creatures give give glory and honor and thanks to him
who is seated on the throne (4:9). The one who sits on the throne is God the
Father, the all-powerful Creator, who is holy and who has always existed and who

A Bible Study of Revelation


who lives forever and ever. Who then joins in this praise and worship of God
(4:10a)?
The 24 elders join in. The 24 elders represent all the people of God from the
OT and NT (12 tribes + 12 apostles).
What is it that the 24 elders do in response to the praise of the living creatures
(4:10-11)?
4:10a: They fall down before him who is seated on the throne.
4:10b: They worship him who lives forever and ever.
4:10c: They cast their crowns before the throne.
4:11: They too give glory and honor to God when they add a stanza to the
hymn of the living creatures.
These actions that the 24 elders take show great humility. They, as living beings,
recognize their place before the all-powerful living God who created all things
(4:11b) and who causes the existence of everything that exists (4:11b). They
willingly subordinate themselves to him.
The 24 elders wear the crowns given to victors. What does it signify when they
remove them and place them at the feet of God (4:10b)?
It signifies that they recognize that the victory they have won is not really
their victory. God has actually won the victory over sin, death, and the devil
through his Son and the Father and Son share their victory with the 24 elders,
the people of God.
What do the elders call the one who is worthy of receiving glory and honor and
power (4:11a)?
They call him our Lord and God.
This may be a dig against the Roman Emperor. The Roman senate assigned this
same title (Lord and God) to the emperor. This was usually done posthumously,
but Emperor Domitian, the emperor when Revelation was written claimed that
designation during his lifetime.
Through this opening scene of the prophetic vision, God's message for struggling
believers is unmistakably clear: Stand firm! Do not despair! The Lord their God
reigns; he is all-powerful; he is eternal! No matter what comes your way,
suffering, pain, or death, trust in him.
7. A few more words about this song of praise called the Te Deum. Holy, holy,
holy is the opening refrain of the Te Deum. Throughout Revelation this hymn is
sung with stanzas being added a various points. Different stanzas are sung by
different groups (angels, elders, creation, saints in heaven, heavenly hosts, the
church on earth, the church triumphant). This is the hymn by which all the
heavenly host praises God, even the suffering church on earth joins with them in
praising God. Rev. 4:11 is the first stanza of this great hymn.

A Bible Study of Revelation


In the ancient creeds of faith, the first article confesses God the Father and his
work of creation. The second article concerns Christs work of redemption.
Creation came first, and then, after the Fall, came the redemption wrought by
Christ. Likewise, John first reports the praise of God the Creator and then he
describes the enthronement of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ (Rev. 5).

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 12: The Victorious Lamb and the Opening of the Scroll
Read Rev. 5:1-7
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
5:1, 7 Right hand: represents Gods power to save his people and defeat the
enemy.
5:1-7 Scroll: Gods plans for the rest of human history.
5:1, 5 Seven seals: seven is the number of completeness. Therefore the scroll is
completely and absolutely sealed.
5:2 Loud voice: designates a message of special importance which resounds
throughout the universe.
5:5, 6 Elder: the 24 elders represent all of Gods people from the OT and NT.
5:5 Lion of the tribe of Judah: Messianic title. The Savior will come from the
royal line of Judah.
5:5 Root of David: Messianic title. The Savior will be a descendant of David and
will be like David in defeating all the enemies of Gods people.
5:6, 7 Throne: Gods holy presence.
5:6 Four living creatures: representative of all living creatures all over the earth.
5:6 Lamb: Jesus is the Lamb of God that allowed himself to slain in the place of
sinful mankind.
5:6 Seven horns: complete and total power-omnipotent.
5:6 Seven eyes: sees and knows all things-omniscient.
5:6 Seven spirits: Holy Spirit.
While reading note that the events described in Rev. 4 & 5 occur at Jesus ascension into
heaven.
1. The opening formula "Then I saw" signals the transition to the next scene of the
vision. The focus shifts from the throne and its divine occupant to the mysterious,
seven-sealed document held in His hand.
According to passages such as Ex. 15:6, 12, what does Gods right hand
represent?
In Exodus God used his right arm to save his people and to defeat the enemy.
Gods right hand represents his powerful to save.
The one who holds the scroll is the one who sits upon the throne, God the Father.
So the fact that the scroll is in Gods right hand means that he owns it and controls
the contents of it and that what is written on it is for the good of his people.
2. What two things are noted about the scroll (5:1b)?
a scroll written within and on the back

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sealed with seven seals.

Typically scrolls are only written on one side, and the text is then rolled up on the
inside. The fact that this scroll has writing on both sides indicates the large
amount of information it contains and the completeness or comprehensive nature
of that information.
Name a modern use of a seal. And what is the purpose of a seal?
Many types of food that we buy have seals on them. The purpose of a seal is
to prevent unauthorized use. In the case of food, it ensures that the food we
buy is safe and has not been tampered with.
What was the purpose for the seal on the scroll?
The scroll could not be opened without breaking the seal, thus preventing
access to its contents by unauthorized persons.
This scroll is sealed not once but seven times. The use of the perfect seven
indicates that the scroll's contents are completely and absolutely sealed. Only
someone with the highest authority could open it and read it.
The document in John's vision also bears a striking similarity to a Roman last will
and testament. In First Century Roman practice, the will itself was written on the
inside of the scroll while its contents were briefly summarized on the outside,
hence the scroll had writing on both sides. A Roman will had to be witnessed and
personally sealed by seven witnesses. The will could only be opened upon the
death of the testator and its provisions implemented. The opening of the will was
carried out by a trustworthy executor who then was given the responsibility to
execute the terms of the will. Thus it may well be that John's seven-sealed scroll
signifies a most solemn and official document, possibly the last will and testament
of God (cf. Hebrews 9:15 - "that those who are called may receive the promised
inheritance.").
3. Next a mighty angel appears (5:2). The angels name is not given. He is simply
called mighty. Many commentators conclude that this is "Gabriel," whose
Hebrew name means "the strong one of God." Gabriel frequently serves as God's
messenger in Scripture (cf. Luke 1:19, 26).
Whoever the angel is, his proclamation goes forth "in a loud voice" (5:2). This is a
phrase which occurs twenty times in Revelation to designate a message of special
importance which resounds throughout the universe.
Who is the angel looking for (5:2b)?
He is looking for someone who is worthy to open the scroll.
What does it mean to be worthy?

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It refers to a combination of proper rank and qualification, moral purity and


competence, and ability, power, and capacity.

He who would "open the scroll or to look into it" (5:3b) must be one who is
capable of serving as the executor of God's testament, not only uncovering but
also carrying out God's plan for the future of His creation.
Who did the angel find that could do it (5:3)?
No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or
to look into it.
The three-fold answer is the Greek way of referring to the entire universe. "No
one in the whole universe had the ability. No one in the heaven, not even among
the greatest angels; no one on the earth among living men; no one beneath the
earth among all who had died." (Lenski)
The dramatic device of the angel's cosmic challenge and the complete absence of
a response emphasizes the uniqueness of Christ and our absolute dependence
upon Him and that which He has done for us and for our salvation. There is no
one else who is worthy. Jesus is the one and only hope of humanity.
4. What was Johns response (5:4)? Why do you think he reacted that way?
John begins to weep loudly; he sobs uncontrollably. He does this because if
the seals cannot be broken then there is no way to see and carry out Gods
glorious plan. With the future of Gods people at stake, someone had to open
that scroll.
5. Who stepped forward to relieve Johns despair (5:5a)?
One of the 24 elders stepped forward and speaks to John.
Throughout Revelation John receives help understanding the visions from angels.
But in two instances an elder attends John (Rev. 5:5; 7:13-14). Why? In the two
visions that have most to do with the redemption and salvation of Gods people
and with the resulting triumphal reign of Christ, an elder attends John, not an
angel. Who better than an elevated saint of God, who has gone through suffering,
but who is now at peace and in Gods holy presence, to tell John to stop weeping
and look at the Lamb of God? This is the same honor God gives to the church on
earth in its proclamation of the Gospel, an honor that not even the angels have the
same measure of.
What does the elder say to calm Johns despair (5:5b)?
He tells John to stop weeping. There is someone who has conquered, so that
he can open the scroll and its seven seals."
This is the same Greek verb ("to triumph," "to overcome," to conquer), which
concluded each of the seven letters to the churches with a promise to those who

A Bible Study of Revelation


would persevere and overcome. The Lord can and will fulfill His promises to His
faithful people because He has Himself overcome. He has overcome sin, death,
and the power of the devil and therefore Christ controls the future and will
execute God's plan of salvation.
Who is it that the elder says is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll
(5:5b)? And who are these the titles of?
The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David These are title for the
promised Savior-Jesus.
What will the Savior be according to these titles?
The Savior will be a victorious king who comes from the royal tribe of Judah
and who is a descendant of the great warrior king David who defeated all the
enemies of Gods people, Israel.
Spoken in the past tense, the Savior has already conquered. He has the power and
authority to open the scroll and the seven seals.
6. Who then did John see standing between the throne and the living creatures and
the 24 elders (5:6a)?
He saw a lamb standing next to the throne.
How is it described (5:6b)?
It looked as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes.
From these OT passages, what concept does a slain lamb remind us of?
Ex. 12:1-30: It reminds us of the Passover lamb who was slain and whose
blood was smeared on the doorposts to protect the firstborn in the house.
Lev. 1-7: It reminds us of the lambs sacrificed on the altar for the sins of the
people.
Is. 53:7: It reminds us of the Messianic Suffering Servant would be led like a
lamb to slaughter.
Jn. 1:29: When Jesus came to the river Jordan to be baptized, John the Baptist
said, Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
The Greek word used here is the technical term for the slaughter of an animal in
preparation for sacrifice. The Lamb should be dead; he has been slaughtered. Its
body bears the vicious marks of slaughter. And yet it is alive. It is "standing in the
center of the throne."
Jesus is the Lion of Judah and the Root of David. He is the victorious King. But to
win the victory he had to sacrifice himself and so he appears as a Lamb who has
been slain. He won the victory by his death and resurrection. He has conquered
and therefore has earned the right to take the scroll and open it.

A Bible Study of Revelation


After his resurrection, what did Jesus do to show his disciples that it was really
him (Jn. 20:20, 25)?
He showed them his hands and side which had been pierced when he was
crucified. His wounds became his identifying marks.
And so it is here. The Lamb near the throne of God bore the marks where it had
been slain and became the center of attention and the recipient of honor and
worship (see 5:9-12).
7. In the OT the horn was a symbol of power in human affairs (cf. Numbers 23:22;
Deuteronomy 33:17; 1 Kings 22:11; Psalm 89:17; Daniel 7:7-8:24). And as we
have already seen the number 7 is the number of completeness. So what do the 7
horns (5:6c) represent?
The 7 horns symbolize that the Lamb has complete and total power in all of
life, in both human and spiritual affairs.
This picture of a lamb that is a all powerful presents us with a paradox. Jesus went
as a lamb to slaughter and yet is the all-powerful God who created and controls
the universe.
And as the seven horns represent the omnipotence of the Lamb, so the seven eyes
(5:6c) signify His omniscience. He sees and knows all things. The text explains
that the seven eyes "are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth." This is
Revelation's fourth reference to the "seven spirits of God" (cf. Revelation 1:4; 3:1;
4:5). As previously noted this imagery for the Holy Spirit is drawn from
Zechariah 4:10. Christ had promised that after His exaltation He would send the
Holy Spirit (John 15:26). This text uses the same verb that Jesus used to describe
the sending of the 7 spirits throughout the world. Within the inner working of the
Holy Trinity, God the Holy Spirit, becomes the means through which the
omniscience of the Father and the Son are exercised throughout creation.
The 7 horns and 7 eyes demonstrate the close relationship between the triumphant
Christ and the Holy Spirit. In his exalted state Christ and the Holy Spirit are
inseparable, especially as Christ works with his church on earth through his Word
and with the Spirit (Rev. 2:1, 7, 11, etc.; Jn. 14:17; 20:22; Rev. 4:5).
8. Rev. 5:7 reveals the simple act of the slain lamb who was now alive taking the
sealed scroll from the right hand of God the Father. The taking of the scroll by the
Lamb recalls the Son of Man before the Ancient of Days in Dan. 7:13-14:
13

"I saw in the night visions,


and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14
And to him was given dominion

A Bible Study of Revelation


and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.
As the Son of Man approached the Ancient of Days, he was given authority and
glory and power over all people and his dominion would be an everlasting reign.
No one anywhere with authority could be found to take the scroll, no evil force
and no creature, angelic or human. Only Christ is worthy to take the scroll and
open it. Therefore, the destiny of the human race is completely under the control
of Jesus Christ. The Lord rules on behalf of the Father and for the benefit of his
church.
The receiving of the scroll is the coronation of Jesus, the slain but risen Lamb
who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is his exaltation. It is the
enthronement of Gods holy Son. It is the beginning of his everlasting reign.
9. The content of the scroll was the prophetic message of Revelation (6:1-22:5). The
prophetic message is about events on earth from the time of Christs victory and
ascension to the End, the trials and tribulations of people on earth, and most
importantly Christs reign and the churchs faith and mission in the midst of
agony and death. As each seal is opened the events are displayed (from 6:1 to
22:5). The first 6 seals control 6:1-7:17 and the 7th seal controls 8:1-22:5.
The ultimate purpose of Christ receiving the scroll is to strengthen and encourage
the church in the midst of its sufferings to remain faithful to Christ. That
faithfulness involves carrying out the mission Christ has given her. The entire
destiny of the church, of the human race, and of all history is revealed as the scroll
is opened.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 13: The Worship of the Lamb
Read Rev. 5:8-14
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
5:8, 9 Scroll: the prophecy of what would happen during the NT era.
5:8, 11, 14 Four living creatures: represent all living things created by God.
5:8, 11, 14 Twenty-four elders: represents all of Gods people from the OT and
NT.
5:8, 12, 13 Lamb: Jesus Christ, the Lamb that was slain.
5:8 Harp: used in thanking and praising God.
5:8 Golden bowls full of incense: prayers of the saints.
5:9 Seals: guarantees no unauthorized use.
5:11, 13 Throne: represents God and his rule over all things.
While reading note that the events described in Rev. 4 & 5 occur at Jesus ascension into
heaven.
1. As the Lamb took the scroll from God the Father what happened (5:8-10)?
The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the
Lamb and they burst into song, praising the Lamb.
What does their posture communicate?
By falling down before him, the living beings and the elders are
acknowledging Jesus, the Lamb, as true God, the second member of the divine
Trinity. They humbly fall before the Lamb as they do the Father (4:10).
What were the 24 elders holding (5:8b)?
Each of the 24 elders was holding a harp and a golden bowl of incense.
What was the harp used for in the OT? (As an example look at Ps. 33, especially
v. 2.)
The harp was the traditional instrument used in singing the Psalms. It was
therefore associated with thanking and praising God for his righteousness and
faithfulness.
Golden bowls of incense also play a role in the elders' worship. These flat, saucerlike vessels were part of the golden utensils of the temple. The use of incense was
a typical feature of Hebrew worship. The sweet smelling smoke of the incense
rising toward heaven represented the God-pleasing sacrifices and prayers of the
faithful. Psalm 141:2 declares: "May my prayer be set forth before You like
incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice." John notes
the meaning of the incense - "which are the prayers of the saints."

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What might the prayers be? Given the context of the book of Revelation, the
prayers in this instance are probably for the coming of God's kingdom and the
vindication of His people who have endured the world's persecution and
opposition. Their prayer was the age-long prayer of the church, "Thy Kingdom
come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
2. The scene of adoration of the Lamb is the greatest scene of worship in the Bible,
for it is through the worship of the Lord Christ that the heavenly Father receives
his highest glory from his saints (cf. Jn. 5:23; 8:54). This hymn, sung by the saints
in heaven, is called a new song (5:9).
This new song is new because it has never been sung before. It contains no OT
quotes. The stanzas of the new song (5:9-10, 12-13) echo the stanza in 4:11,
joining the new song to the Te Deum (4:8, 11). While such a hymn may have been
sung before, it would have only been in anticipation. Now it is being sung because
the promise has been fulfilled, for Christ has won the victory. What word does the
new song begin with (5:9b)?
The new song begins with the word worthy.
As previously noted (Revelation 5:2), the concept of worthiness to unroll the
scroll and break its seven seals signifies the qualification and the capacity to
reveal and to implement God's plan of salvation. He who opens the book not only
knows the future, but controls the future.
What is the reason given why the Lamb was worthy to take the scroll and open it
(5:9c)?
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God.
The two verbs used here are verbs of past tense and completed action. As Jesus
said on the cross, It is finished. The task he came to do had been fully
completed.
The first verb is the word slain. Recall that it has sacrificial overtones. What
Christ did on the cross was to willingly sacrifice himself as the Passover Lamb for
the world. The second verb is translated as purchased or ransomed. It deals
with the payment of the ransom or redemption price. The background of this term
pertains to the purchase and release of slaves in the marketplace. What was the
price paid for this ransom (5:9c)?
The ransom was paid for the blood of the Lamb.
As Martin Luther declares in his classic explanation to the Second Article of the
Apostles Creed : "He has purchased and won me, not with gold or silver but with
His holy precious blood and with His innocent sufferings and death."
The fact that he redeemed us for God indicates that God now owns us; we are
now his possession.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Describe where the people that Christ purchased are from (5:9d)?
They from every tribe and language and people and nation. He didnt shed
his blood for just one group or nation. He died for all people in all nations.
This is a fourfold description of the people he ransomed. Again the number 4 is
the number for the earth in Revelation. Variations of this fourfold division occurs
seven times in the Book (cf. Revelation 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 17:15) It
is broadly inclusive of every part of humanity. The terminology is drawn from the
Book of Daniel (cf. Daniel 3:4, 7, 29; 5:19; 6:25; 7:14).
3. The basis for the worthiness of Christ, the slain Lamb, continues in 5:10. The
people whom Christ purchased with his blood become the royal and loyal subjects
of his kingdom. The kingdom of God is present now, but it can only be seen
through faith. And each person who belongs to Gods kingdom is a priest. From
your knowledge of the OT, in general what was a priest and what did a priest do?
A priest was a go-between between God and his people. The priest represented
the people before God and he represented God to the people. He offered
sacrifices and incense for the people to God and he pronounced Gods favor
and forgiveness to the people.
The concept used to combine the idea of a kingdom and a priest is called the
royal priesthood of believers. Having been made a part of Gods kingdom by the
shed blood of Christ, those who believe and trust in Christ have become priests or
go-betweens between people and God. As priests they bring the concerns of
people before God and they bring the Good News of the blood-bought forgiveness
of Christ to the people. The royal priesthood of believers is a theme repeated three
times in Revelation (cf. 1:6; 20:6).
Gods kingdom exists now. The elevated Christ rules over this kingdom. As Christ
shares his victory with his church, so he also shares his reign. Those who are his
royal priests share in his reign (5:10b).
4. Rev. 5:11 pictures concentric circles around the throne in heaven. What are those
circles?
Surrounding the throne are the 4 living creatures. Surrounding them are the 24
elders. And finally surrounding the elders are thousands and thousands of
angels.
Because of this arrangement, what and who is the focal point?
The focal point is the throne. On it God the Father sits and before it stands the
Lamb. Everything that exists owes its being to Him and only continues to
exist through Him.
5. The myriads of angels join in the praise of 4 living creatures and the 24 elders.
They too affirm and celebrate the worthiness of the Lamb to unveil and

A Bible Study of Revelation


implement God's purpose for the future. Like the living beings and the elders,
they base their assertion of the Lamb's worthiness upon the fact of His sacrificial
death and resurrection. Once again, it is "the Lamb who was slain" that is declared
to be worthy (5:12).
Note that the slain Lamb is due 7 things. The fact that 7 things are listed is
deliberate. They reflect the absolute perfection of the Son of God to whom the
hymn is directed. Also note that the repetition of the conjunction "and" between
each of the seven nouns serves to highlight and emphasize each individual quality
while linking them all together as a powerful expression of divine majesty.
Compare 4:11 with 5:12. What things are both God the Creator and the Lamb who
was slain worthy to receive?
Both are worthy to receive glory, honor, and power.
What other things is the Lamb worthy to receive?
The Lamb is also worthy to receive wealth and wisdom and might and
blessing.
Lets concentrate on wealth and wisdom. Jesus Christ is both the Word (Jn.
1:1) and the Wisdom of God (1Cor. 1:21). While Gods creative power can be
seen by natural knowledge (Ro. 1:18-23), Gods Word is incarnate and his
Wisdom is embodied and recognized only by faith in Jesus Christ. Wealth in this
context refers to spiritual, not material, wealth. It sums up everything that Christ
has done to redeem and save the human race. It is only in Christ that the human
race receives and acknowledges the wealth of Gods saving grace, and it is only
in the Lord Christ that the wisdom of God is received and acknowledged,
especially that wisdom which leads the human heart in repentance to a saving
faith. Thus wisdom and wealth are credited alone to Jesus Christ for these can
only be received through the knowledge of and faith in Jesus Christ.
The Lamb is also worthy to receive blessing. Many Hebrew prayers begin with
the words, "Blessed art Thou, O Lord, King of the universe." Such prayers are
properly addressed to the exalted Son. Like God the Father, the Lamb is God, the
King of the universe and therefore is worthy to receive blessing.
6. Who then joins in with the living creatures, the 24 elders, and the myriads of
angels in honoring and praising God and the Lamb (5:13a)?
Every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and
all that is in them. Every living creature in the entire universe joins in the
celebration and anthem of praise.
Earlier in the chapter (5:2-3) the call went out for someone to come forward and
take the scroll and open it. The result was complete and utter silence. No one in
all of creation was able to respond. In contrast to that impotent silence is the
resounding joyful song sung by everyone. God's plan and purpose will be carried

A Bible Study of Revelation


out. All of the prophecies shall be fulfilled, for the Lamb of God has come. He
who offered up His own life upon the cross is worthy. The future is secure.
Note that once again that the number 4 is the number for the whole earth. The text
clearly states that every creature praised God and the Lamb, but it reiterates that
fact with a list of 4 things. What is that list (5:13b)?
Every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea.
One phrase follows upon another so that there can be no doubt. No living
creature fails to join in this climactic hymn of praise (cf. Philippians 2:10-11).
7. Who was it that began this hymn of praise (5:8-9)?
The hymn was begun by the 4 living creatures and the 24 elders.
Who now concludes and confirms the hymn with a final Amen (5:14)?
The 4 living creatures and the 24 elders conclude the hymn with a strong
Amen!
What does Amen mean? And why is it appropriate here?
It means this is most certainly true. It is absolutely true that the slain but
living Lamb deserves all honor and praise as does God the Father who sits on
the throne.
All of Gods creation (the 4 living beings) and all of the saints (the 24 elders)
attest to this truth by falling down in humility before the Father and the Son in
worship.

A Bible Study of Revelation


A Summary of The Enthronement and the Celebration (Chs. 4-5)
(This comes from notes from the Concordia Commentary on Revelation.)
Chapters 4 and 5 are a glorious vision and the end result of Gods creation and restoration
of fallen humanity. The whole purpose of Gods activity as Creator and Savior is that
people may praise and worship him through his Son. The actual conclusion of this vision
is when the new heaven and earth come about at the End (20:11-22:5).
When did the enthronement in Rev. 4-5 take place? It took place at the ascension of the
Lord Christ. The Lamb who was slain is alive. Stephen saw Jesus in his glory before he
died. According to Peter, the exaltation of Jesus came after the resurrection and before
Pentecost (at his ascension) (Acts 2:32-35; cf. Jn. 7:39; Acts 3:12-13).
The description of Jesus exaltation in Rev. 4-5 is from heavens point of view. The
description in Acts 1:6-11 is from an earthly perspective. At his ascension, Jesus was
taken up from the disciples and was received by his Father where he was enthroned and
crowned. And the celebration, the new song, which began, continues now and into
eternity.
Jesus gave many illustrations of the kingdom. One that stands out is the prodigal son. The
whole human race became lost. Would the Father ever receive back the son who shamed
him, denied him, and disowned him? Yes! He wants all to repent and live (Eze. 18:32). To
make that possible he sent his own Son to take the place of the prodigal. Jesus became the
prodigal for us.
There must have been sorrow as the Son left the Fathers house and ended up at the pigs
trough of the cross. But when the Son arose, heaven burst forth in jubilation. The Son
came back and the party began. Now all of us real prodigals can return to the Father,
knowing we will be received. And each prodigal who in repentance and faith comes to
the heavenly Father is received in joy and honor just like the Son did; it brought
reconciliation with their Father.
The enthronement not only introduces the prophetic message, but it also
dominates and controls it and shows how it is all going to end. After his coronation (Rev.
4-5), Jesus himself (6:1-7:17) introduces the message to John. (The message from 8:122:5 is from Jesus through angels.) Its purpose is to strengthen the saints, help the church
carry out its mission and judge the power of evil. Everything seen and heard in the
prophetic message is to be interpreted in view of this inaugural vision of Christs
coronation, for then and only then, will the individual components of the message yield
their proper interpretation.

A Bible Study of Revelation


The Lamb of God and the Shepherd
(This comes from notes from the Concordia Commentary on Revelation.)
The Lamb as well as the Shepherd are concepts in Rev. that are derived from the
OT. Jesus is the Lamb of God, our Passover Lamb, who becomes our Shepherd. His
blood cleanses us of all sin.
While the Christology of Revelation deals primarily with the exaltation of Jesus Christ
and his glorious reign, the foundation for the exalted Christology is the theology of the
Lamb of God, who suffered and died and rose again. Throughout Revelation the exalted
Christ is the focus of the prophetic message. But also throughout the message of
Revelation there is a constant reminder that he achieved the exalted status because he was
and is the Lamb of God, who was sacrificed for the sins of the Gods people.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Three Prophetic Visions of History. Each from Christs Ascension to
the End (6:1-16:21)
(This comes from notes from the Concordia Commentary on Revelation.)
The prophecy begins in chapter 6. It consists of three visions of events taking place on
earth (6:1-16:21). Each vision has seven scenes (for a total of 21).
The first five scenes of all three visions cover Christs ascension to the last great
battle (Armageddon, 16:16) just before the End.
The sixth scene in the second and third visions covers this last great battle.
The sixth scene in vision one and the seventh scene in the second and third
visions picture the end of the world.
Even though they cover the same period of time, they are not repetitious. Each displays
its own particular events.
The events are not given to predict events in human history. Rather, they are presented so
as to portray conditions, circumstances, situations, environments, and contexts in which
people find themselves during the time period covered. The conditions revealed in this
prophetic message are prevalent throughout all of human history. The purpose of the
prophecy is to give a predictable view of the suffering human condition because of mans
rebellion, and a predictable knowledge of Gods terrible judgment. The purpose is to
move all people to repentance and faith before the End.
Many events are displayed by means of symbols. These symbols used grip the heart,
mind and emotions. They strike fear in the human heart and they fill the heart with peace
and joy and hope for those who repent and trust in the Lamb.
Why three visions? Couldnt the 21 scenes be presented in just 1 vision? This was
possibly done in this way so that the message would be easier to digest. This may be true,
but there are also two other possibilities.
1) The literary structure is controlled by the number 7. Its modeled after the 7 day
creation. 7 is reserved for God, his holy presence, and his perfect creative activity. If
there were 1 vision of 21 scenes, the sevenfold literary structure would be lost. By the
sevenfold pattern, Christians know that the message is from Gods holy presence and that
it is his holy and complete revelation. 7 is a common motif in the Jewish tradition.
Structuring it around the number 7 would help his readers/hearers understand it better.
2) A second reason has been offered for the presentation of the prophecy in 3 visions.
John and his hearers would have three opportunities to understand and apply the message.
By breaking it into 3 parts, they would have time to digest and understand each portion of
it. The purpose of each vision is to work repentance and give encouragement. Each of the
three provides a warning, with each warning growing more dire. Gods people must heed
his warnings and put their trust in the reigning Christ. The ultimate purpose of Revelation

A Bible Study of Revelation


for the Church is to inspire her to pray with John, Amen, Come now, Lord Jesus
(22:20).
A biblical precedent for the three warnings and the seven-fold warnings is found in Lev.
26 (1. earthly plagues [26:14-22], 2. sword of enemies [26:23-26], 3. destroy children and
exile [26:27-39]). The three warnings aimed to move the people to constant repentance,
so that they/we might live under the grace of God according to his faithful covenant
(26:40-45). Four times in Lev. 26, God says he would afflict and punish his people
seven times over if they did not repent (26:18, 21, 24, 28).
The same is true in Revelation. They receive three visions in which he urges them seven
times over to heed his message of warning and hope. This is in order that they enjoy the
Sabbath rest (Heb. 4:9) of Gods covenant with them in Christ.

Introduction to the 7 Seals


(This is taken from The Book of Revelation Scripture's Crescendo and Culmination
by Dr. Laurence White.)
The awesome vision of God's heavenly throne, the exaltation of the Lamb, and the
triumphant anthems of saints and angels have set the stage for the opening of the seals.
The Lamb who was slain has begun His reign! But to hard pressed believers, struggling
to survive in the face of bitter persecution, the evidence of God's coming kingdom must
have been difficult to discern.
"Riders of ruin go forth, four of them, the despairing cry of slain martyrs is heard, and a
convulsed and tottering universe seems to cut off forever all human hope for a better day.
Things are as they have been; war and dearth and death are rampant as heretofore;
indeed, things are to be worse than they have been." (Franzmann, p. 60)
The message of the seven seals, and indeed of the trumpets and bowls which will follow
from them, is that Christ reigns even in the apparent chaos and confusion of this world.
The preliminary judgments depicted here are the signs of the times which herald the great
day when Christ will return in glory to judge the living and the dead. In the meantime,
disaster and suffering do not take place at random or by chance but serve both the
redemptive and judicial purposes of the Lord. The horsemen ride forth only upon the
thunderous command of the cherubim. The Lord reigns! Even those who persecute His
church and oppress His people help to accomplish His purpose and usher in the Day of
Judgment.
Notice the parallels between Mt. 24 and Rev. 6:
Matthew 24
1. false Christs (v.5)

A Bible Study of Revelation


2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

wars and rumors of war (v. 7)


famines (v.7)
pestilences (v. 7; cf. Luke 21:11)
earthquakes (v.7)
persecutions (v.9)
"Then the end shall come." (V. 14)

Revelation 6
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

the white horse(Anti-Christs) (vs. 1-2)


the red horse (war) (vs. 3-4)
the black horse (famine) (vs. 5-6)
the pale horse (death) (vs. 7-8)
earthquake (vs. 12)
the souls under the altar (9-11)
the end (vs. 12-17)

The events described in this segment bear a striking resemblance to the "Little
Apocalypse" of Matthew 24 where Jesus details the signs of the times which will
characterize the last days. The parallel between the two chapters includes not only the
signs themselves, but even the sequence in which they are presented. The signs of the
times, in Matthew and in Revelation, are warnings and foreshadowings of the end of the
world; recurring patterns of events intended to remind those with the insight to see the
signs that the Day of Judgment is coming.

The 4 Horsemen
The 4 horsemen go forth to spread terror and sufferings. The tribulations they bring are
the kind that humans frequently experience in a fallen world. They are common and
natural, not supernatural. This can be seen from the symbols that are used. They are
symbols that are from everyday earthly life.
In the opening of the first 4 seals, the 4 winged creatures invite John to look at the 4
horsemen. The first 4 seals represent tribulation and sufferings under Gods permissive
will and are carried out at times by his heavenly angels (e.g., 2Ki 19:35-37). Ultimately
Christ allows these tribulations for the good of his people and the Gospel message that
they proclaim. Angels can be used to mediate the announcement of such judgments of
God (first four seals, and see also Gen. 19:1-15; cf. Heb. 1:14). But no mediating angels
are used in the opening of the 5th and 6th seals, for these last two seals and what they
introduce are for the hope and comfort of Gods people.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 14: First Four Seals: The Four Horseman
Read Rev. 6:1-8
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
6:1 Lamb: Jesus Christ, the Lamb that was slain.
6:1-7 Seven seals: seven is the number of completeness. Therefore the scroll is
completely and absolutely sealed.
6:1-7 Four living creatures: represent all living things created by God.
6:1 Thunder: connects the voice back to God.
6:2 White horse: white is the color of Gods righteousness. Therefore the
horseman believes it is his divine right to conquer. This rider represents tyranny.
6:2 Bow: symbolizes earthly warfare.
6:2 Crown: symbolizes one who conquers.
6:4 Red horse: symbolizes the shedding of blood. Represents warfare and murder.
6:4 Great sword: instrument of death, causing constant and terrible slaughter.
6:5 Black horse: represents death, calamity, and mourning.
6:5 Pair of scales: used in the sale of food to measure out the right amounts.
6:6 A voice: apparently the voice is that of God or the Lamb.
6:6 Wheat, barley: food. Wheat was more nutritious and expensive. Barley was
less nutritious and cheaper.
6:6 Oil, wine: luxury items.
6:8 Pale horse: a ghastly greenish white complexion like that of a decaying
corpse, the color of death itself.
6:8 A fourth: at any given time a large portion of the people on earth are affected
by the first three plagues to the point of death.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 6:1-11 occur from the time of Jesus
ascension into heaven until the End, the whole time of the church.
1. Chapter 6 begins a new scene in the vision. The Lamb has taken the scroll and
received honor, praise, and worship. He now opens the first of the seven seals.
John is an eyewitness to it, as the events of the future are dramatized. The opening
of the seal sets into motion the events contained in the scroll.
The opening of the first seal introduces the famous 4 horseman of Revelation. In
the ancient world donkeys and camels were used for transportation. What do you
think horses were used for?
Horses were used for war and conquest.
This then gives us a clue to the message that the 4 horseman will bring. If that is
the purpose for horses, then what type of message will they bring?
They bring a message of war and the calamites that accompany war.

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The image of horse and rider as a symbol of the powers that patrol the earth to
carry out God's purposes is drawn from the Old Testament book of Zechariah.
Read Zechariah 1:8-10; 6:1-5, 7.
While John makes effective use of the Old Testament image, he freely modifies
the prophetic symbolism. During the time of Zechariah, the nations surrounding
Israel (Gods people) afflicted and persecuted Israel. The colored horses and
chariots of Zechariah are the agents through which God inflicts punishment on
those nations, thus demonstrating His faithful love for His people. So based upon
that, what do you think the purpose of the horsemen will be in Revelation?
So also in Revelation, the horsemen represent the judgment of God upon a
rebellious and sinful world which continues to persecute the people of God,
the church.
Now read Ezekiel 14:12-23.
The judgments used in Ezekiel (sword, famine, plague, and wild beasts) are
similar to the judgments used in Revelation (conquest, warfare, famine, and
death). The judgments in Ezekiel are against Jerusalem because the people of God
have turned away from Yahweh. Thus both the world and the church must endure
the visitation of the horsemen. These judgments come upon the sinful majority as
punishment, while for the faithful remnant, they are the chastening of God
intended to strengthen and purify believers. As believers recognize this dual
purpose they are enabled to accept God's painful chastening as a positive means
of sanctification.
The horsemen are four in number. Thus the number 4 emphasizes their impact
upon all the earth (4 corners of the earth). They do not correspond to specific
events but represent ongoing, endlessly repeated patterns of events which will
recur throughout the New Testament era - not a particular conquest, war, famine,
or pestilence but each of these grim realities in general in all of their specific
occurrences as they are repeated over and over again until the Lord returns. "Just
as the four living creatures represent the entire creation, so the plagues of the four
horsemen symbolize the suffering of many throughout the earth, which will
continue until the parousia." (Beale, p. 385)
2. As John watched the Lamb open the first of the seven seals, he heard one of the 4
living creatures say in a loud, thundering voice, Come! (6:1). What does the
thunder identify the creatures voice with (see 4:5)?
Thunder connects the creatures voice with the throne of God.
What does that mean concerning the horseman and the judgment he brings?
It means that the judgment comes from God and that God uses the horseman
as his agent to bring judgment. The horseman rides out only at Gods
command which comes through the 4 living creatures.

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3. What facts do we know about the first horse and its rider (6:2)?
The first horse is white.
The first horse has a rider.
The rider has a battle bow.
A crown is given to the rider of the first horse.
The rider is a conqueror.
The rider rides out to conquer.
White is the color of Gods majesty, wisdom, holiness, and righteousness. The
white color indicates that the horseman believes it is his divine right to conquer,
that he conquerors by the authority of God.
The battle bow symbolizes earthly warfare. Jesus kingdom is not of this world
and Jesus never carries a battle bow in Revelation or the NT. In Rev. Jesus is
pictured with a sword to carry out Gods judgment. In some instances, God uses a
country to defeat another country with the bow to carry out his will. Jesus is not
associated with earthly warfare.
Note that there are similarities between the white horse and its rider here (6:2) and
a white horse and its rider in Rev. 19:11-16. In 19:11-16, Jesus, at the End, wears
a diadem and rides a white horse as a conqueror executing Gods justice. Is this a
preview of Christ in 19:11? We have just determined that it is not Jesus. The rider
of the white horse gives the impression that he is from God and carries out his
tasks in the name of God. But this cannot be Jesus because the 4 horsemen are all
equal. And no where in Revelation is anyone pictured as being an equal to Jesus.
The rider is a conqueror and as he rides across the earth he will conquer. This fact
is shown by his receiving a crown and by the double use of the word conquer. So
who is this rider who conquers by earthly warfare?
This rider represents tyranny, that is, those who rule by raw power and force.
They rule by force and claim their rule comes by divine right. This force may be
force of arms, of mind, of wealth, or any other resource. This force refers to any
human entity institutions or individual, lawful or unlawful which misuses
authority to exert tyranny. It can be governmental, educational, or an economic
system; a spouse, parent, or any person or agency in authority in any sphere of
life. Tyranny will be the rule throughout the time from the ascension to the End. It
depicts humanitys inhumanity towards one another.
4. The Lamb opened the second seal and then came the divine summons from the
second living creature to the second horseman to come. This horse follows the
same pattern as the first. He is only allowed to ride on the earth when God gives
the command and allows him to.

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The first four seals comprise a unit, different dimensions of the same dire
warning. The first horse was white and had to do with victory and a crown. But
victory comes with much bloodshed. The second horseman shows the gory side of
winning victory.
What color was this horse (6:3a) and what does this color frequently symbolize?
This horse was red and red is the color of blood.
Notice the passive verbs used. What was the passive verb used for the first rider
(6:2b) and what are the passive verbs used for the second rider (6:4)?
The first rider was given a crown. The second rider was permitted to take
peace and was given a great sword.
What do these passive verbs indicate about these riders?
The passive verbs indicate that the horsemen are not doing this on their own.
They are under someone elses control. They were give permission to go and
carry out these acts.
Since it is God who sends the horsemen out and gives them permission to ravage
the earth, what the horsemen do then is carryout Gods judgment and righteous
wrath upon sinful and rebellious mankind.
Besides representing warfare, this rider also represents any sort of unlawful
killing and murder. The general rule during the time of the church will be wars
and rumors of war, violence, murder, and insurrection (see Mk. 13:7-9). This is
why Paul urged Christians to pray for peace and order (1Tim. 2:1-2), for he knew
that only God could grant such.
How will the second horseman take peace from the earth (6:4b)?
He will take peace away by using a great sword that was given to him. By
using it, he will incite men to violent conflict with one another.
This sword is the short stabbing sword which was the standard weapon of the
Roman legions. Through the centuries of Roman dominance it proved to be a
most effective instrument of death and destruction. It is described as "large" not
because of it's unusual size but because of "the constant and terrific slaughter it
symbolizes." (Lenski, p. 225) The image of the sword is often used elsewhere in
Scripture to symbolize bloodshed and violent death (i.e., Matthew 26:52).
5. The familiar pattern recurs for the third horseman: the seal is broken by the Lamb,
the divine command is given to come by a living creature, and the horseman
appears.
What color is the third horse (6:5b) and what does this color normally represent?
The horse is black and it represents death, calamity, and mourning.

A Bible Study of Revelation


What does the third rider hold in his hand (6:5c)?
He holds a pair of scales.
These were used in the sale of food to measure out the right amounts. When there
is not enough food to balance the scales there is death (black horse).
As the rider appears something "like a voice" is heard speaking from "among
the four living beings." The vague description suggests that this voice was
unlike any other that John had ever heard. Unidentified voices are heard thirteen
times in Revelation (cf. Revelation 6:6; 9:13; 10:4,8; 11:12,15; 12:10; 14:13;
16:1,17; 18:4; 19:5; 21:3). At times the voice is that of an angel speaking for God
and at times it is the voice of God Himself. What is the source of the voice (6:6a)
and what does that suggest?
Since the source of the voice is "among the four living beings," it seems to
suggest that the voice is that of God or the Lamb since they are in Gods
presence.
The voice announces the results of the visit by the black horse. The word
denarius might be translated as a days wages. Looking at it that way, what
does it mean for the price of food (6:6b)?
The price of food is sky high. One would have to work one entire day in order
to afford only 1 quart of wheat or 3 quarts of barley. All of the familys money
would be spent on buying food. This cost is calculated to be 16 times higher
than normal.
What does this say about the availability of food?
When many people try and buy a small amount of food the price soars. Food
is scarce. There will be those who will go hungry.
Wheat was better nutritiously but families would have to resort to buying the less
expensive and less nutritious barley.
Oil and wine (6:6c) were luxury items. During depressed times luxury items are
readily available but only the rich can afford them. Most people are struggling just
to provide the necessities of life. That economic disparity only adds to the tension
of the explosive situation and increases the potential for violence and disorder.
The farmers were not to purposely let them spoil in order to raise the price.
Brighton summarizes the significance of the third horseman:
"The overall picture presented is a condition of both scarcity and plenty, that is, an
economic imbalance in the supply of food and the daily necessities of life...The
horseman on the black horse, then, suggests that throughout the entire period from
the Lord's ascension until the End, there will always be present, at various times
and places, hunger and famine."

A Bible Study of Revelation


6. For the fourth and final time the pattern recurs (6:7-8a). The Lamb breaks open
the fourth seal. The voice of the fourth living being calls out the summons, and
the fourth horseman rides out.
What color is the fourth horse (6:8a)?
The color is described as pale. This horse had a ghastly greenish white
complexion like that of a decaying corpse. This is the color of death itself.
Who rode the horse and who came with him (6:8b)
The rider of this ghastly horse was the grim reaper, death personified.
Accompanying him was his inseparable comrade the grave.
Hades means the place that is not seen. Many times it is used in Scripture to
refer to Hell. But here (and in the rest of Rev.) it is used in a neutral sense to
simply describe the place of the dead, the grave. As Death's attendant, the grave
follows closely along behind, its gaping jaws opened wide, prepared to swallow
up and consume Death's victims.
At the end of such hardship brought about by the first three horsemen the only
victor to the human eye is death. The result of tyranny, bloodshed, and famine is
death. Death reigns. At any given time, one fourth of the earths population may
be dying because of sword, famine, diseases, and wild animals (6:8c).
Like their counterparts, Death and the Grave operate only by divine consent "They were given authority (6:8b)." The Lamb who has broken the seal remains
in complete control, as He implements God's plan for the future. Millions will die,
but Death is not permitted to completely annihilate mankind. What else shows
that Deaths activity is limited (6:8c)? Over what was he given authority?
Death is limited to one fourth of the earth. A major portion of mankind is
affected but not all.
Has there ever been a time since John received this revelation that there has not
been killing with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts
of the earth?
No. Again and again throughout history the horsemen have gone forth leaving
death, devastation, and destruction in their wake.
What should it tell us?
Every one of their fatal visitations should serve to remind us of God's
righteous judgment upon sin and prepare us for the day when He will come
again to judge the living and the dead. It should lead us to repentance and
cause us to turn to Christ.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 15: The Fifth Seal: The Saints Beneath the Altar
Read Rev. 6:9-11
Symbols in this lesson:
6:9 Fifth [of seven] seals: Gods plans for the future of the world and the
church.
6:9 Altar [of incense]: the altar used in the tabernacle and temple to burn
incense which represented the prayers of the people that arose to God.
6:9 Souls slain: the suffering church. Believers who were slain because of
their witness to Jesus.
6:11 White robe: the righteousness and purity of Christ which is God's
gracious gift to every believer.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 6:1-11 occur from the time of Jesus
ascension into heaven until the End.
1. The fifth seal does not follow the pattern of the first four seals. Reading over Rev.
6:9-11, what is the overarching issue that is being addressed?
It addressed the issue of the vindication of the suffering church.
When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, who did John see under the altar (6:9)?
John saw the souls of those who had been slain for their witness of Jesus.
The Bible teaches that man consists of body and soul. The "soul" is the immaterial
part of man, the self or ego, our sense of individual identity and personality.
Physical death is the separation of the body and the soul. The body dies and
decays, returning to the dust from which man was created in the beginning,
awaiting the resurrection of all flesh on the Last Day. The soul survives death.
Unlike the body, the soul does not cease to exist. At the moment of physical death
the soul of the believer is with Christ in heaven while the souls of the damned are
condemned immediately to the torments of hell.
Who are these souls that John sees and what is their state of being?
These souls are Christians who have died. Their bodies have died and returned
to dust. Their souls have gone to heaven and are in Gods presence. They will
remain in this state until Judgment Day.
Based on their question (6:10), what are they fully aware of?
They are fully aware that they are in heaven and that they are before God.
They know that they can communicate with God.
They know that God will one day bring about justice.
They know that they have not yet been vindicated which lead to the question
they ask.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Note that these people have been slain (6:9). Who does this word connect them
to (5:6, 9, 12)?
This word connects them with Jesus, the Lamb who was slain to redeem the
people of God. These souls have willingly followed in the footsteps of the
Lamb that was slain, giving up their lives as he did.
According to the text, why have they been slain (6:9b)?
for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.
What does this mean?
They have stood for the truth of the Word of God and have fearlessly and
faithfully testified (Greek -"martyrian") to that truth despite the opposition of
the world.
Their witness has been very consistent. This might be better understood if it were
translated as "the testimony they had maintained over and over again.
2. Where did John see these souls located at (6:9a)?
John saw the souls under the altar.
In the OT tabernacle and temple there were two altars, the altar for burnt offering
and the altar of incense. Which altar was made obsolete when Christ came and
died on the cross? Why?
The altar for burnt offering became obsolete because all of the OT sacrifices
pointed forward to Jesus one-time sacrifice on the cross which took away the
sins of the world once and for all. No more sacrifices were needed (see Heb.
9:11-14; Heb 10:11-18) and therefore the altar for burnt offering is no longer
needed.
The golden altar of incense stood in the holy place of the temple, directly in front
of the holy of holies, the place of Gods holy presence. The priests would burn
incense on the incense altar daily. As they did the sweet smelling smoke would
rise up before the Lord. This symbolized the prayers of the faithful being offered
and rising up to God. So also the martyrs in heaven (heavenly priests) now stand
before the throne in the presence of the God for whom their lives were given and
offer up their prayers to him.
3. There is an urgency to the saints prayer. The Greek word translated as cried out
is a strong word which means to cry out in anguish during the hour of most urgent
need. In addition to this they cry out with a loud voice.
In their prayer, how do they address God (6:10)
They address God as Sovereign Lord, holy and true.
What does that mean?

A Bible Study of Revelation

They recognize him as the Supreme Ruler, the one who is completely separate
(holy) from everyone and everything. There is nothing false about him.

Who else was called holy and true (Rev. 3:7) and how did that apply to him?
Jesus was called holy and true. He was holy, knew the churches and their
situations, and he spoke the truth about each.
God alone is holy and true. This can be said of each person of the Trinity. This
prayer then is addressed to the one who rules all things. His word states the truth
that he is completely separate from all evil and that he will punish those who
oppose him. They trust that he will do as he says he will do.
Their prayer takes the form of a question, How long? This perplexing question
has been on the lips of the righteous almost since the beginning of the human
race. Gods people, since the murder of Abel (Gen. 4), have been killed for their
faith. Those who testify to the one true God are innocent of any wrongdoing.
What is it that they seek from God (6:10)?
They seek justice from the heavenly Judge and ask him to avenge their
innocent blood that was shed.
So who do they leave the judging and avenging up to?
They leave it up to God. While Christians dont take revenge, they do pray for
justice in Gods own time.
They ask God to judge and avenge those who dwell on the earth (6:10b). This
phrase is consistently used in Revelation to describe sinful mankind in its
opposition to God and His will. Therefore this is not a matter of personal
vengeance or vindictiveness. Their only concern is for the honor and glory of the
Christ for whom their lives were given. Their impatience is motivated by a holy
zeal for the accomplishment of God's purpose and plan.
4. Gods reaction to their prayer (6:11) was a combination of a symbolic action and
of a spoken word. What was the symbolic action (6:11a) and what does it mean?
Each one was given a white robe. White is the color of purity. A long flowing
robe was given to show honor and recognition. The white robes were given as
a heavenly declaration of the saints purity or righteousness and as an
annulment of the guilty verdict rendered against them by the world. Therefore,
receiving the robes is an assurance to the petitioning saints that the
unbelieving "earth dwellers" will be declared guilty and punished for
persecuting them.
In his word to them, God instructs them to rest a little longer. The verb means
"to be at peace" without worry or concern. In this context the phrase might better
be translated "enjoy your peaceful rest a little while longer." To the saints in
heaven (the church triumphant) the delay is itself a part of the reward. The
martyrs can continue in their peaceful rest. To the church militant on earth the

A Bible Study of Revelation


assurance that the evil world will certainly receive its just punishment becomes an
encouragement for Christians to persevere in their witness through suffering.
How long are they to wait (6:11a)?
They are to wait a little longer, a short period of time.
Evidently this short time is the entire NT period. Gods perspective on time is
different from ours. For him the NT period in relation to eternity is a short time.
What will happen while they wait (6:11b)?
More Christians will be martyred. God has determined that a certain number
will be martyred and a certain number saved. When these numbers are
fulfilled then the Lord will vindicate them and carry out his justice.
God continues to provide time in order that those whom he has appointed to be
his witnesses before the world will have the opportunity to offer their witness. In
doing so, the full number of believers will be saved. Only then will the final
judgment and vindication come.
The martyred saints portray the suffering church during the time the 4 horsemen
ravage the earth (ascension to the End). All Christians are martyrs in the sense
that they remain in their faith witnessing even if it means death. Martyrdom not
only delivers the church from the world, but is also the culmination of the
churchs witness to the world. In doing so, they glorify the cross and the
resurrected and exalted Christ.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 16: The Sixth Seal: The End of This World and Its Terror
Read Rev. 6:12-17
Symbols in this lesson:
6:12 Sixth [out of seven] seals: the events that will happen at the End.
6:12 Great earthquake: shaking of the whole universe.
6:12-14 Sun black, moon red, stars falling, sky vanishing, mountains and
islands removed: signs of the final judgment.
6:16 One seated on the throne and the Lamb: God the Father and God the Son.
6:17 Great day of wrath: Judgment day.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 6:12-17 occur at the End, when the
last great battle takes place.
1. The short time of rest is over when the sixth seal is opened. The 6th seal pictures
the End together with cosmic disturbances.
2. The first thing that happened when the Lamb opened the 6th seal was a great
earthquake (6:12b). When there is an earthquake, the ground and everything on it
shakes. The writer of Hebrews cites a passage from the prophet Haggai (2:6-7)
where the Lord says he will shake the heavens and the earth. According to Heb.
12:26-28, when this shaking takes place, what will be shaken and destroyed and
what will be left unshaken?
The things that have been made, the whole universe will be shaken and
removed. The only thing that will not be shaken will be the kingdom of God.
Revelation mentions earthquakes (Greek - "seismos") seven times. Elsewhere in
Scripture, earthquakes often accompany and attest God's mighty acts (cf. Ezekiel
38:19-20; Haggai 2: 6-9; Zechariah 14:1-5; Matthew 27:5; 28:2). The shaking of
the earth serves to represent the tenuous and transitory nature of the physical
world. This is an earthquake of cosmic proportions, effecting not merely one
nation or region, but all of the universe - "a great earthquake" (Greek "seismos
megas") indeed! "Every earthquake throughout history is but a foreshadow of this
great earthquake which moves every mountain and island from its place. Not only
the earth, but the whole universe undergoes radical change." (Becker, p.114)
3. Next John saw 4 cosmic disturbances in the heavens (6:12c-14a). The
disturbances listed here are very similar to the disturbances listed in Matt. 24:29
and Joel 2:31. Take a look at Matt. 24:29 and Joel 24:29 now.
In the first disturbance, the sun turned black as sackcloth (12:6c). Sackcloth was
made of coarse, black goats hair. It was worn by people who were in mourning.

A Bible Study of Revelation


At the End the sun will turn dark in mourning the loss of its light. The image of
the sun losing its light comes from Joel 2:31.
The second of the cosmic disturbances that John sees also comes from the same
passage in Joel the full moon became like blood (6:12c). The pale light of the
moon turns the color red, the color of blood. When the moon turns this color, its a
terrifying indication of the destruction that is coming.
The third disturbance John sees are the stars of the sky falling to the earth (6:13a).
This isnt the disappearance of a couple of stars. How does Peter describe what
will happen to the heavenly bodies (2 Pet. 3:10)?
Peter describes it as the heavens passing away with a roar. He says the
heavenly bodies will burn up and be dissolved.
What picture is used as a comparison for the stars dropping from the sky (6:13b)?
The stars will drop like the winter fruit on fig tree that is blow by a gust of
wind.
Other types of fruit could also be used for the illustration. Under the right
circumstances when a strong wind blows, suddenly the ground is pelted with the
fruit as the wind shakes the tree. Just as suddenly the stars will disappear.
The fourth disturbance in the heavens that John saw was the sky vanished like a
scroll being rolled up (6:14a). This too is a picture used in the OT for the End.
Take a look at Is. 34:4.
One can easily envision the sky stretched out like a scroll completely open. Then
suddenly and quickly the scroll is rolled up and the sky is no longer there.
4. Not only will the heavens be affected, but so also will the earth. In the shaking
every mountain and island was removed from its place (6:14b). All of the
universe, the heavens and the earth, will be affected by this shaking.
5. How does sinful mankind react to the disintegration of the heavens and the earth
(6:15b, 16a)?
They are struck with terror and attempt to run and hide.
Notice that John gives a seven-fold description of who reacts this way (16:15a).
Given the biblical symbolic meaning of the number 7, what does this mean?
This means that the complete number of unbelievers (6:15a), from great to
small, are filled with terror and try and hide from God.
List the seven categories of people who hide from God (6:15).
Kings: the rulers of nations.
Great ones: the princes, the ones that carry out the will of the king.
Generals: In the Roman army, these are the commanders of a 1000 men.

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The rich: Wealthy people who have much influence.


The powerful: Those who exercise much control over peoples lives.
Slave and free: The two classes of people in Roman society. This includes
everyone.

Why was it that God made the martyrs in heaven wait a little longer? God was
giving unbelievers time to repent. Now they have one last chance to repent but
they do not heed the call to repentance and they do not listen to the invitation of
the Gospel. Instead they flee from God in terror.
What is it that they fear (6:17)?
They fear the wrath and judgment of God. No one can withstand Gods wrath.
They fear it so much that they would rather do what (6:16a)?
They would rather die than face Gods wrath and judgment.
Specifically who is it that they flee from and whose wrath are they afraid of
(6:16b)?
They are afraid of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the
Lamb. They are afraid of the wrath of God the Father and of God the Son.
What is the normal picture that comes to mind when Jesus is referred to as the
Lamb?
As the Lamb that was slain Jesus willingly gave up his life to save mankind.
As the Lamb Jesus redeemed mankind. As a Lamb Jesus is pictured as meek
and mild.
What is the Lamb pictured as doing here (6:16-17)?
Here the Lamb carries out the wrath and judgment of God.
Why is the Lamb pictured this way? He willingly gave up his life for the people
of the world and took the punishment they deserved. But they have not heeded the
call to repentance and have thrown away the free invitation to eternal life. They
are unrepentant. Having received Gods wrath on the cross for them, he earned
peoples salvation and he earned the right to judge those who would not accept his
saving work. Jesus the Lamb is both the Savior and the Judge.
6. The great day (6:17) is called the day of the Lord in the OT (Joel 2:11;
Zephaniah 1:14; Malachi 4:5). Judgment day is pictured in two ways in scripture.
How you look at it depends upon your perspective. What does Judgment day look
like for unbelievers (Zeph. 1:15, 18)?
Judgment day will be a day of wrath and retribution for the unbelieving world.
But for believers in Jesus, Judgment day will be a day when God vindicates them
and faith in Jesus. For Jesus sake believers will be pronounced not guilty because

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they have repented and have received the righteousness of Christ. That is why all
Christians pray, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Rev. 22:20b).
7. The opening of the 6th seal introduces to John and the reader to the 1st view of the
end of the world in Rev., and thus it concludes the 1st vision of events taking place
on earth (the Seals, Rev. 6). The whole vision is nothing but woe and lament, even
for Gods own people. But the prophetic message will now continue with a
message full of hope and comfort (Rev. 7, an interlude between the 6th and 7th
seals).

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An Overview of Rev. 7, an Interlude between the 6th and 7th Seals
Between the 6th and 7th seals (6:12-17 and 8:1-5) there is an interlude in which
John sees two scenes (7:1-17). In the 1st scene (Rev. 7:1-8) the 144,000 are the people of
God on earth positioned in perfect order ready to march to carry out their mission (the
church militant). In the 2nd scene (Rev. 7:9-17) there is a great multitude before the throne
of God. This is the church triumphant, the saints in heaven.
In this setting, in contrast to the horror and death of the first six seals, these two
scenes are beautiful and comforting to Gods church.
The 144,000 (the church militant) are ready for their mission, ready to enter the
valley of the shadow of death (see 14:1-5; 15:2-4). But before they do, they are sealed.
This is encouraging because no matter how they suffer, they will remain in the faith and
will fulfill their mission. In the 2nd scene those who came through the great tribulation in
faith (the church militant) become the church triumphant. And as the church triumphant,
she will be elevated and glorified as their Lord Christ was.

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Lesson 17: Interlude (Part 1): The Church Militant
Read Rev. 7:1-8
Symbols in this lesson:
7:1 4 angels, 4 corners of the earth, 4 winds: 4 symbolizes the earth, all of
Gods creation.
7:1 Four winds: represents Gods righteous judgment.
7:2 Rising of the sun: the East, where the sun rises and where the Sun of
righteousness comes from. People and blessings coming from this direction
come from God.
7:3, 4 Sealed: marked as belonging to someone.
7:4 Number of the sealed: Christians, servants of God.
7:4 The number 12 (implied in the number 144,000, 12 x 12,000 = 144,000):
12 tribes, 12 apostles, the people of God, the church.
7:4 144,000: all the people on earth who belong to God and who God will
protect and keep faithful until the End.
7:5-8 12 tribes: represents the people of God, the church.
7:5-8 12,000: the church militant, the church in marching order, 12 tribes of
12,000 each.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 7:1-8 occur from the time of Jesus
ascension into heaven until the End.
1. The customary phrase "After this I saw" signals the change in scene and sets up
the contrast between the turbulent events of the sixth seal and the vision which is
to follow.
What follows here in Rev. 7 might be considered the Revelator's response to the
desperate question which concluded the opening of the sixth seal: "For the great
day of their wrath has come and who can stand?" (Revelation 6:17) The calm
assurance of those whom God has numbered, sealed and arrayed in white stand in
stark contrast to the world's panic and fear.
2. How many times is the number 4 used in 7:1?
3 times 4 angels, 4 corners, and 4 winds.
Using it multiple times emphasizes the number 4. Look back at Rev. 4:6 (Lesson
11, #1). What does the number 4 symbolize? And what does that mean for the
coming scene?
The number 4 symbolizes the earth, all of Gods creation on earth. The scene
that follows will involve the whole earth.

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The "four angels" of the text are not further identified. They are evidently angels
of a rank lower than that of the four living beings or the elders. In the rabbinic
traditions of the Jews, angels are the agents of God's providence in control of the
forces of nature. Revelation 16:5 makes a similar reference to "the angel in
charge of the waters." Hence the concept of angels as custodians or guardians of
the forces of nature would be a familiar idea to John's readers.
At this time please look at Zech. 6:1-8, the text related to the 4 horsemen. Look
particularly for the use of four winds.
The first 4 seals corresponded to the 4 horsemen (6:1-8). The 4 horsemen were
released by heavenly command to bring Gods judgment to the earth. How does
Zech. 6:1-8 connect the 4 horsemen to the 4 winds?
In Zech. 6 the 4 horsemen ride out to the four winds. That is, the 4
horsemen ride out all across the earth.
Here in 7:1 the 4 angels hold back the 4 winds. It becomes clear then that the 4
winds are to be identified with the 4 horsemen of Rev. 6 and thus are another
symbol of destruction and suffering. Thus the 4 winds express Gods righteous
anger and judgment on the sinful human race. So here (7:1) the 4 angels are
pictured as holding back the 4 winds of Gods judgment so that nothing is
harmed.
3. John now sees another angel, a fifth angel, which comes from the rising of the
sun (7:2). The sun of course rises in the east. Look up Eze. 43:2 and Mal. 4:2.
What two things were prophesied to come from the east?
Eze. 43:2: the glory of God would come upon Israel from the east.
Mal. 4:2: the Sun of righteousness would rise from the east.
So Judaism traditionally associated the blessings of God as originating in the east,
the place of the rising of the sun. Since this fifth angel comes from the east, one
would assume that he comes from God with a blessing. The angel comes with
the seal of the living God (7:2a). This could refer to a signet ring or a branding
iron. A signet ring authenticates documents and protects people in their service to
the king by marking them as his property. The mark of a brand indicates who
owns the property. In this case, who was going to be marked or branded? And
who was their owner?
Christians are servants of God. They were to be marked as belonging to God.
They are identified as Gods personal property and are under his authority,
care, and protection.
According to Eze. 9:1-6, what is the purpose of the mark?
The mark was to protect Gods people. They were to be spared Gods
judgment.
When was this to happen (7:3a)?

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This marking was to take place before the 4 winds were let loose upon the
earth. Christians were marked as belonging to God before Gods judgment
was let loose.

The imagery of God's seal upon the foreheads of His servants is a promise of
preservation in the faith amid all of the trials and tribulations still to come. God's
people will not escape the suffering that comes upon the world as the result of sin
but they will be empowered to persevere through all adversity. The winds of
judgment about to be unleashed will serve to refine and strengthen the faith of the
believer. Dr. Brighton summarizes:
"The sealing here in Revelation 7 refers to the ongoing work of the Spirit through
God's Word and Sacraments by which the Christian is kept in faith and protected
in godly hope through all the tribulations and sufferings and persecutions
illustrated by the four horsemen. No matter how dire the dangers become for the
Christian, God will not permit His people to be lost." (Brighton, p. 187)
At any given time, the horsemen may either be restrained or let loose. During the
time of restraint, through the Word and Sacraments, Christians grow and mature
in Christ. When Christians are sent out into the world (the horsemen are let loose)
they are bombarded by the enemy. And if not for the seal, they would be
overwhelmed.
4. As we have seen, the book of Revelation is loaded with symbols. In particular,
numbers are used throughout Revelation as symbols. The number 144,000 (7:4) is
no different. The number 144,000 is the number of people sealed. That is, it is the
number of people that are marked as belonging to God and who God will protect
and keep faithful to the end. But who are these 144,000? Some believe it is
talking about the Jews only. Looking at 1:4, why might one come to that
conclusion?
One might come to that conclusion because it says they will come from
every tribe of the sons of Israel.
But does this make sense? Will only Jews be saved? No, the gospel is preached
around the world so that the Gentiles will also believe. What else could it refer to
if it is not referring to the Jews? We must remember that many times in
Revelation, OT language is used to describe NT things. According to Rom. 9:6-8
and Gal. 3:26-29 who are the true descendants of Israel and who are the true
children of Abraham?
Rom. 9:6-8: The true descendants and children are not those of physical
descent, but all people who believe Gods promises. All who have faith like
Abraham are the true Israel.
Gal. 3:26-29: Those who are offspring of Abraham are those who belong to
Christ. By faith they become heirs of eternal life.

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So the true Israel is not one of physical descent, but is all people from all nations
that believe in Jesus. They are the true descendants of Israel who will be sealed.
5. Lets take a closer look at the number 144,000. In the OT how many tribes of
Israel were there? And in the NT how many apostles were there? What did the
total number of tribes and the total number of apostles represent?
There 12 tribes of Israel and there were 12 apostles. In the OT the 12 tribes
represented all of the OT people of God. The 12 apostles represented all of the
NT people of God.
The number 12 then represents the church, all OT and NT people who believe in
the promises of God which are fulfilled in Christ. The number 144,000 is a
multiple of 12. 12 tribes are listed with a total number of people in each tribe of
12,000. 12 x 12,000 = 144,000. 144,000 is then the whole people of God.
There is another way of looking at 144,000, which is 12 x 12 x 1,000 = 144,000.
In this scheme, 12 x 12 is the 12 tribes times the 12 apostles. And 12 x 12 = 144,
which represents the whole people of God from both the OT and NT. The number
1,000 is 10 x 10 x 10. The number 10 in the Bible is a number of completeness.
So 10 to the third degree would be absolute completeness.
So which ever way you look at it, 144,000 symbolizes the entire people of God on
earth that will be sealed. Gods people will be kept safe during the time that the 4
winds blow, which is also the 4 horsemen bringing Gods judgment on the earth.
During the NT time, Gods judgment will be carried out on the earth. And the
church too will be affected. It will go through much tribulation and will be refined
and purified by the fire of Gods wrath, but she will be kept safe and in the faith
until the end.
6. The 144,000 will be drawn from the precise symmetry of the twelve tribes of
Israel (7:5-8). It lists exactly 12,000 for each of the 12 tribes. The way that these
numbers are arranged has a military connotation to them. When Israel was in the
desert after exiting Egypt, they camped in a perfect numerical pattern around the
tabernacle (see Num. 2:1-34). Israel marched (journeyed) in this order and went to
war from this order. Israel was thus organized as a military camp in the wilderness
for the conquest of the promised land.
The 144,000 that is based on 12 tribes of 12,000 each is a picture of the church
militant (the church on earth that battles the sinful world and Satan) throughout
the prophetic period of Rev. (from Jesus ascension to his second coming) at any
given moment in time. It is a number of perfection. But to the human eye the
church looks anything but perfect as it is persecuted and rent asunder. Yet God has
sealed her so that she will not lose faith or deny her Lord. She will always remain
faithful to the Lamb of God.

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7. In the OT, the list of tribes was either by birth order, birth mother, or allotment of
land. In this list (7:5-8), two tribes who were allotted land are missing Ephraim
and Dan. In Revelation Levi and Joseph have replaced Ephraim and Dan; no
explanation as to why is given. 1 Kings12:25-33 may give us a hint as to why.
What might be the reason?
This may be the result of their traditional association with the idolatry of the
Northern Kingdom in the days of Jeroboam (cf. 1 Kings 12:25-33). He built
two gold calves. He put one in Bethel and one in Dan. He also made up his
own worship system with his own temples and priests, and with his own holy
days and sacrifices.
The tribe of Judah is listed first, although Judah was fourth in birth order (Genesis
35:23-26). But Judah is the tribe of the Messiah from which Jesus came, and thus
receives the position of honor in John's list. The list has been cleansed of any
association with idolatry. It maintains the symbolically significant number twelve.
And it emphasizes faithfulness to God, hence the inclusion of Joseph and Levi.

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Lesson 18: Interlude (Part 2): The Church Triumphant Praises God
Read Rev. 7:9-12
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
7:9, 10, 11 The throne: represents God the Father.
7:9, 10: The Lamb: represents Jesus, the victorious Lamb of God.
7:9 White robes: symbolize the purity and righteousness of Christ that has
been given to his people.
7:9 Palm branches: used by the people to welcome their king.
7:11 Elders: represents all of Gods people from both OT and NT.
7:11 Four living creatures: an exalted rank of angels representing all living
things in Gods creation.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 7:9-17 occur from the time of Jesus
ascension into heaven until the End.
1. The characteristic phrase "After this I looked" signals the shift to the next
scene in the vision. It is important to note, once again, that the phrase does not
indicate a chronological sequence of events, but the movement from one scene
in the vision to the next. In this instance, the scene which now follows is
simultaneous to the one which preceded it. The vision of the 144,000 depicted
the church militant on earth poised for battle, every rank in its proper place,
sealed and protected by the mark of the Almighty God. The glorious sight of
the church triumphant in heaven is now presented before our eyes.
2. How many people are pictured here (7:9) versus the church militant presented
in 7:1-7?
The church militant (the 144,000) of the previous scene seems to be a
much smaller crowd than the great host of heaven that is too numerous to
count. It includes all the saints from the beginning of time who are now in
glory.
Where were they standing at (7:9)?
They were standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
Who did they join around the throne (see 7:11)?
They have joined the elders, the four living beings, and the ranks of angels
around God's heavenly throne.
What would/does this picture do for the church on earth which battles evil?
It strengthens and encourages God's people on earth, who are still locked
in desperate conflict with sin and evil. The message is clear - Do not
despair! Do not grow weary in the struggle! You do not labor in vain! This

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great multitude has already faced persecution and death, but they have
overcome it through faith in Christ. They now celebrate and stand in Gods
holy presence.
3. Where did all of these people come from (7:9)?
They were from all over the world, from every nation, from all tribes and
peoples and languages.
What had God promised the OT patriarchs about their descendants (Genesis
15:5; 22:17; 26:4; 32:12)?
God had promised the patriarchs that their descendants would be as
countless as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore.
That promise is now fulfilled in Revelation as a host beyond counting fills the
halls of heaven. These descendants of the patriarchs are not physical
descendants, but all those who like the patriarchs believed and trusted the one
true Gods promise of a Savior.
4. What was the multitude wearing and what did they carry (7:9b)?
They were wearing white robes and they were carrying palm branches in
their hands.
This is the fifth time that white robes have been mentioned in Rev. In the first
four times, who wore the white robes?
4:4: the 24 elders around God's throne.
6:11: the martyrs beneath the altar.
3:4-5, 18: In the letters to the seven churches those who remain steadfast
and faithful are also arrayed in white.
Looking ahead to 7:14, who are these people who wear the white robes and
how were their robes made white?
These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They are church
militant who has faced great persecution. By faith they have washed their
robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
In shedding his blood, Jesus made a great exchange with us. He took all of our
sins upon himself and then gave us his perfect righteousness. His blood makes
our robes, which are filthy with sin, as white as snow.
Palm branches occur only twice in the New Testament, here in Revelation 7,
and in the account of Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem (John 12:13).
The use of palms figured prominently in the Old Testament Feast of
Tabernacles which commemorated Israel's 40 years of wandering in the
wilderness (Lev. 23:40; Neh. 8:13-17).

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G. K. Beale explains their significance:"Palm branches is an allusion to the
Festival of Tabernacles. In the OT this was both an occasion of national
thanksgiving for the fruitfulness of crops and a commemoration of Israel's
dwelling in tents under divine protection during the journey out of Egypt and
thus a reminder that Israel's continued existence as a nation was traceable
ultimately to God's redemption at the Red Sea and victory over the Egyptians.
In 1 Macc. 13:51 and 2 Macc 10:7 palm branches signify victory over an
enemy...John now applies this imagery to people of all nations, who rejoice in
their latter day exodus redemption, in their victory over their persecutors, and
God's protection of them during their wilderness pilgrimage through the great
tribulation." (Beale, p. 428)
5. What does the multitude do in 7:10?
The multitude shouts a hymn of praise in which they attribute their
salvation to God and to the Lamb. This is the greatest praise that can be
given to God.
This is another stanza in the great Te Deum:
(Stanza 1) Praise to God for creating all things (4:11),
(Stanzas 2&3) Praise to the Lamb for Salvation (5:9-10, 12),
(Stanza 4) Praise to God and the Lamb (5:13),
(Stanza 5) and now praise to God and the Lamb for salvation (7:10).
The translation of crying out with a loud voice could be interpreted more
literally as They kept on powerfully crying out with a great voice..." The
forceful language emphasizes not only the duration but also the intensity and
the enthusiasm of this song of praise.
What is it that they attribute to God and the Lamb (7:10b)? And what does this
entail?
They praise God and the Lamb for the salvation they provide. The
salvation God provides is a complete deliverance from sin and all of its
consequences. It is a "victorious deliverance from a desperate situation."
(Franzmann, p. 65) This deliverance is completely and only Gods doing.
We contribute nothing.
Why is this praise directed to God the Father and to the Lamb? What role did
each play in this salvation?
God the Father as the instigator of salvation. He formed the plan and sent
the Son to carry it out. God the Son is the agent through whom salvation
was accomplished.
The praise of the saints provokes a worshipful response (7:11) from the
angels, the elders, and the four living beings around the throne as the great Te
Deum continues. The angels too now rejoice in the mighty salvation of God,
as they did on the night of Christ's birth, even though they themselves are not

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the beneficiaries of those actions. In doing so, the angels demonstrate their
reverence and awe by falling down upon their faces before the Lord (7:11b).
This is the proper posture of the creature in the majestic presence of the
Creator.
6. Their song opens with a mighty "Amen!" (7:12). Amen means This is
most certainly true. What are the angels, elders, and the living creatures
saying Amen to?
They were agreeing with the church triumphant (the great multitude) that
salvation comes from God and the Lamb. They were affirming it as true.
Those who affirm what the great multitude said attribute to God 7 things:
Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and
might. The number 7 is the number of completeness. Therefore they attribute
to God and God alone complete greatness. He is above and beyond all. They
conclude with another Amen. The final Amen affirms the truthfulness and
validity of all that has been declared about God.

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Lesson 19: Interlude (Part 2): The Church Triumphant in Heaven
Read Rev. 7:13-17
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
7:13 Elders: represents all of Gods people from both OT and NT.
7:13, 14 White robes: symbolize the purity and righteousness of Christ that
has been given to his people.
7:14 Great tribulation: each generation of Christians faces great tribulations
because of their faith in Jesus. And each great tribulation points forward to
even greater tribulations that precede the End when Jesus comes again.
7:14 Blood of the Lamb: the blood Jesus shed on the cross that cleanses from
all sin.
7:15, 17 Throne: God the Father rules all things.
7:15 Temple: Gods dwelling place in the midst of his people.
7:17 Lamb: As the Lamb, Jesus was the sacrifice for the sins of the world.
7:17 Shepherd: Jesus is the Good Shepherd who guides and protects his sheep
(Christians).
7:17 Springs of living water: God is the source of eternal life.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 7:9-17 occur from the time of Jesus
ascension into heaven until the End.
1. One of the 24 elders then asked John a question about where this multitude
dressed in white robes came from (7:13). Perhaps he asked this question
because John had a puzzled look on his face. Earlier who had John seen
around the throne (Rev. 4:4, 6, 9-11)?
Earlier John saw only the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures.
At that time he did not see a multitude dressed in white robes. So the elder
may have seen his confusion and so the elder basically asked the question for
him. What was Johns saying in his reply (7:14a)?
Johns reply was basically, I dont know. You tell me (7:14a).
In Revelation, it is normally an angel that shows and explains things to John.
But here it is one of the elders. This is the second time an elder attends John
instead of an angel. The previous time (5:5) and the present one (7:13) both
point to the victory of the Lamb the victory won for Gods people. So both
times, God gives one of the elders, the representatives of Gods people, the
honor of helping John interpret and understand the vision.
2. The elder then answers his own question (7:14), providing information to John
and to the reader. He says that this great multitude is the people who are
coming out of the great tribulation. John has already seen the tribulation of

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the horsemen (6:1-8), the martyred saints praying for vengeance, and that
vengeance will come only after the saints on earth face persecution (6:9-11).
What do the following passages say about persecution?
Acts 14:22: through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of
God.
Jn. 15:20: Jesus said, If they persecuted me, they will also persecute
you.
2 Tim. 3:12: Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will
be persecuted,
Christians are no stranger to troubles and tribulations. They follow in Jesus
footsteps. In fact, Christians can expect tribulation just because they are
Christians. Notice that the verb in this sentence (are coming out) is a present
participle, which denotes continuous ongoing action. Christians continuously
undergo tribulations and as they are called home to heaven they are coming
out of the great tribulation. So the multitude in heaven continues to grow
each time a Christian dies.
Jesus did talk about the great tribulation in Mt. 24:15-31. The evil days
immediately before Christs second coming, together with their persecutions,
are called the great tribulation (Mt. 24:21).
Thus this vision provides comfort to all Christians. Every tribulation they
undergo points forward to the great tribulation at the End. At that particular
moment it becomes the great tribulation for that person.
3. How was the multitude able to come out of the great tribulation and stand
before the throne (7:14b)?
They were able to do this because they have washed their robes and made
them white in the blood of the Lamb.
The imagery here is drawn from the OT prophet Isaiah. How does Isaiah
describe our robes in Is. 64:6?
He says, All our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
And yet what reason does Isaiah have to rejoice (Is. 61:10)?
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
What else does Isaiah say that God does (Is. 1:18)?
Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;

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though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
So Isaiah emphasizes that though our deed are like filthy rags, God clothes us
with garments of salvation and robes of righteousness. He makes the red of
our sins white as snow.
So is it Gods activity as Isaiah says or the saints activity as Revelation
indicates to wash the robes and make them white? God is the one who washes
and makes us white. So when we hear that the saints washed their robes and
made them white, it is always with the theological understanding that God is
the one who instills the desire, prompts the action (Philippians 2:13) and
accomplishes the result: forgiven sins and eternal glory." (Brighton)
And the cleansing agent in the transformation of filthy rags into pure white
robes is "the blood of the Lamb" (17:14c). Elsewhere John says, The blood
of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1 Jn 1:7). This of course is the
blood of Christ shed on the cross. His blood covers and cleanses our sin,
making us pure white in Gods sight. The price for the admittance of the saints
into heavenly realm was the death of Christ. Through his death we receive the
gift of eternal life.
4. The next verse (7:15) begins with Therefore. This conjunction indicates that
the blessings that follow are a result of their having been cleansed in the blood
of the Lamb (7:14c). The ten-fold list of blessing that follows describes the
bliss of heaven that awaits believers.
Like the most exalted ranks of angels, the glorified saints are "before the
throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple" (7:15). Heaven is
presented as a great temple, the dwelling place of God, and all of the saints are
the priests of God who worship and adore Him.
The One who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them (7:15). Living
in a tent involves intimate family living on earth. In John 1:14 what does it say
that the Word (Jesus Christ) did?
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
The word translated as dwelt is sometimes translated as tabernacled or
tented. As Christ came and tented or lived among us, so in heaven God the
Father invites believers to come live in his holy presence (7:15).
5. When Israel left Egypt where did they go and what did they lack (Ex. 16:1-3;
17:1)?
They went into the desert and they lacked food and water.

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In hearing that there would be no more hunger or thirst (7:16a), what must
John have thought of (see Ex. 16:4-5; 17:3-7)?
He must have thought of the miraculous manna (bread from heaven) and
water from a rock.
What else might John have thought of (see Jn. 6:1-15; Jn. 4:7-15)?
Maybe he remembered Jesus feeding the 5,000 and the living water Jesus
supplies.
What else did Jesus say (Jn. 6:35)?
Jesus also said he was the bread of life, whoever comes to him will never
hunger again, and whoever believes in him will never thirst again.
God always keeps his promises and the promises of God and Jesus are being
fulfilled right before Johns eyes. In the end, Gods people will never again be
pained by the harshness of life.
6. The Old Testament had promised that God would care for His people as a
loving shepherd protects and provides for his flock (Psalm 23; 28:8-9; 78:52;
80:1).
Who did Jesus say he was (Jn. 10:11, 14)?
Jesus who is the Lamb of God said, I am the Good Shepherd, the one
who laid down his life for the sheep, the one who knows the sheep and the
one that is known by the sheep.
In 7:17 John sees the final outcome of the promises from the OT and from
Jesus himself. The Lamb who was slain, but who now stands in triumphant in
the midst of the throne of the Father, will be the Good Shepherd of the people
of God. Through his death and resurrection he has rescued them (5:5-6). And
he cares for them leading them through the great tribulation (7:14) to the
quiet waters (Ps. 23:2-3) of eternal life.
In John 4:10-15, what kind of water did Jesus offer the Samaritan woman
(John 4:10-11)? And what did this water lead to (Jn. 4:14b)?
Jesus offered the woman living water. Drinking this water forever
satisfies thirst and leads to eternal life.
Here in Revelation the Lamb turned Shepherd guides Gods people to springs
of living water. This is the same water Jesus offered to the Samaritan woman.
Springs of living water is an expression for the source of life. Ironically, in
order to give Gods people life, the Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep
(Jn. 10:11). In the resurrection he received his life back (Jn. 10:17-18) in order
to lead his followers to God, the source of life.

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Finally, God will wipe every tear from their eyes (7:17b). Tears are part of
the experience of Gods faithful people. Tears are shed over sins, over
sufferings, when alone, over the death of loved ones, over Jesus death. Tears
are part of the earthly experience. God, in his grace, turns weeping into joy
(Jn. 16:20; Ps. 126:5). God promised to swallow up death forever and to
wipe away tears (Is. 25:8) and now John sees the fulfillment of that
promise; he sees the peace and joy that the saints will live in forever before
God in heaven.

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Summary and Overview of the 3 7-Part Visions
(This is from Dr. Laurence L. Whites Commentary on Revelation.)
The core of the Book of Revelation is a series of three visions, each with seven parts,
which depict the history of mankind throughout the New Testament era. Each of the
sevens - seals, trumpets, and bowls - show the hand of God at work in history and call
humanity to repentance before the end. The number (3) and the structure (7) of the
visions is consistent with the numerological design of the Book as a whole and serve to
affirm the sovereign control (7) of God (3) over all of history.
The vision of the seven seals confronted us with the harsh reality of a sinful world reeling
beneath the righteous judgment of God throughout the interval between the first and
second comings of our Lord. The successive opening of the each of the seals upon the
Lamb's command assured believers that the sovereign God remains firmly in control of
earth's apparently tumultuous and chaotic events. While saints and angels sing the
triumph song before the throne in heaven, God's judgment upon rebellious mankind
unfolds according to His plan and purpose. The interlude after the opening of the sixth
seal offered the assurance to saints still in tribulation on earth that all those who have
"washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (7:14) will share
in the victory already being celebrated in the heavenly courts. The opening of the final,
the seventh seal, serves as the link to the vision which follows.
The vision of the seven trumpets reiterates and reinforces the message of the seven seals.
It pertains to the same time period - the interval between the first and second comings of
Christ. Once again, it does not focus on particular individuals or historical events but
presents recurring patterns, conditions, and circumstances. The point of the three visions,
and the seven scenes within each of them, is not chronological sequence, but the
reinforcement and development of consistent themes. The vivid symbolism of the vision
is designed to strike fear into the hearts of the impenitent while offering comfort and
reassurance to the believer. The progression from scene to scene in each of the three
visions drives home the dual message over and over again. Judgment is at hand. The
evidence of its imminence is all around us. Sinner repent! Believer persevere!

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Lesson 20: The 7th Seal Introduces the Second 7-Fold Vision
Read Rev. 8:1-5
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
8:1 Lamb: Jesus, who died, rose, and is now exalted and rules over all
things.
8:1,2 Seven: the number of completeness.
8:1 Half an hour: a short period of known time.
8:2 The seven angels: 7 archangels of Jewish tradition or the 7 angels of
the 7 churches.
8:2 Trumpets: used to draw peoples attention to the coming judgment and
salvation from God.
8:3 Altar: the incense altar where incense is burned before God.
8:3 Censer: a fire pan used in burning incense. The smoke that arises
represents the prayers of Gods people rising up to him.
8:3, 4 Incense and smoke: symbolizes the atoning merit of Jesus that
makes our prayers acceptable to God.
8:3 Throne: Gods royal presence and rule.
8:5 Fire: a symbol of Gods judgment.
8:5 Thunder, rumblings, lightning, earthquake: symbolizes Gods holy
presence.
While reading 8:1-5, note that the opening of the 7th seal introduces the second 7-fold
vision, which covers the same time periods as the vision of the 7 Seals, from the time of
Christs ascension to his return at the End.
1. The action of the Lamb opening the seventh seal serves both to conclude the
preceding vision and introduce that which follows. What happened when the
Lamb opened the last seal (8:1b)?
There was complete silence in heaven.
Note the contrast. What had just occurred in heaven (7:9-12)?
A great multitude had cried out in a loud voice giving praise to God and
the Lamb. And then all the angels, elders, and living creatures joined in.
Picture in your mind this loud praise turning into a hushed silence. It is
significant. This dramatic pause has the effect of building suspense and
focusing the attention of all on the next scene.
In the following cases, what happened after God announced his judgment on
Egypt through Moses (Ex. 8:23; 9:5, 18; 10:4)?

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There was a short period of silence between Gods announcement of his


judgment and his action.

Through the plagues God compelled Egypt to let Israel go. But afterward
Pharaoh changed his mind and sent his army after Israel. Israel was trapped
between the Red Sea and the army. The Israelites became afraid (Ex. 14:1012). What did Moses tell the Israelites to do (Ex. 14:13-14)?
Moses told Israel "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the
LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you
see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and
you have only to be silent."
What similarity is there between the plagues and the Exodus and the silence
and the first four trumpet angels (8:6-12)? What two purposes are served
when God acts?
In both cases before God carries out his acts for his people there is a short
period of silence. Then God acts in carrying out his judgment. Gods
action serves two purposes. First he acts to cause sinners to see their sin
and to repent of it. Second he acts to save his people. The plagues served
these purposes and so does Gods judgments in the first four trumpetangels.
Many times in the OT Gods people are commanded to be silent and watch
what Yahweh would do. The silence enjoined upon Gods people in the OT
was an act of faith and worship. Gods people in both the OT and NT wait and
watch expectantly and silently for God to carry out his judgments which will
benefit his church on earth. Those who trust in God stand before him in faith,
in fear, and silence. This awe-inspired silence is to be a part of the Christians
daily worship of Christ, in which we contemplate Gods acts of judgment
which serve the Christians eternal hope.
2. Next John saw the seven angels who stand before God (8:2a). Notice that he
uses the definite article the. This means that they are a definite, known
group of angels. But who are they? Jewish tradition had 7 archangels that
stood before Gods throne. What does the angel Gabriel say about himself in
Lk. 1:19?
Gabriel identifies himself by saying, I stand in the presence of God.
But scripture does not identify 7 archangels that stand in Gods presence.
Nevertheless, most commentators believe that John is referring to the 7
archangels of Jewish tradition.
There is another possible interpretation. There are 3 groups of 7 angels in
Rev.: the 7 angels of the 7 churches, the 7 trumpet angels, and the 7 censer
angels. Does this mean there are 3 groups of angels or 1 group that fulfills all

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3 functions? If there is one group of angels, then the use of the definite article
could point back to the 7 angels of the 7 churches.
The first vision (Rev. 6) assures that God will defend the church and keep her
in the faith no matter what suffering she endures. The second vision (Rev. 7)
assures that God will defend the church so that she will carry out her mission
in spite of the suffering. Who better then to introduce these scenes (Rev. 8-11)
than the 7 angels of the 7 churches?
3. Trumpets in the ancient world were used for initiation of events, like battles or
they accompany the announcement of important events. But particular
attention should be paid to trumpets used to announce eschatological (Endtime) events. In Mt. 24:29-31, what will the loud trumpet signal?
At Jesus second coming, the loud trumpet will signal the angels to gather
Gods elect (believers in Jesus) from all over the earth.
What will the sound of the trumpet signal in 1 Thess. 4:16?
It will signal the resurrection of the dead.
The trumpets of the 7 angels here in 8:2 are used to announce various plagues
(both natural and demonic), which strike humanity (especially unbelievers).
The purpose of the plagues is to move people to repentance (9:20-21). They
help the church proclaim the Law which in turn helps in the proclamation of
the Gospel (Rev. 10:11; 11:3-12) to the repentant. Thus the trumpets and the
plagues of Gods judgment point to the great day of judgment and deliverance
at the End (Rev. 10:7; 17:1; 21:9).
4. In the OT there were two altars in the tabernacle and temple, the altar for
burnt offering and the incense altar. Which altar the angel stood before is not
given. The altar for burnt offering is never mentioned in the view of heaven in
Revelation. The reason for this is that Jesus was the final and complete
sacrifice for sin. There is no longer a need for an altar to burn sacrifices on. It
is mentioned that the angel had a censer. A censer was a vessel used for
burning incense. Given these facts, we are lead to conclude the altar is the
incense altar (8:3).
Based on Rev. 8:3-4, what did the smoke from the incense go up with?
The smoke that rose from the burning incense went up with the prayers of
the saints.
Where did they rise to (8:4b)?
They rose up before God.
The fact that the sweet smelling smoke of the incense "went up before God"
indicates His acceptance of those prayers which are combined with the
incense. It seems to be saying that the incense makes the prayers of God's

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people effectual and acceptable. Our prayers are tainted with sin. What might
the incense represent that makes our prayers acceptable to God?
The incense is the atoning merit of Christ. When it is offered with our
prayers it makes our prayers acceptable.
He is teaching us in symbolic language the same truth here that Jesus
expressed when He said, "My Father will give you whatever you ask in My
Name." The incense interlude offers encouragement to the people of God in
the face of impending judgment. Don't be afraid. Do not despair. God will
hear and answer your prayers in the Name of Jesus. No matter how difficult
your tribulation becomes God is with you and will enable you to persevere
and overcome.
5. After the angel burned the incense, what did he do (8:5)?
He filled his censer with fire from the altar and threw the fire on the earth.
What then does the fire represent?
The fire represents Gods wrath and judgment on sinful humankind.
While saints may take comfort from the knowledge that God hears their
prayers, the unbelieving world remains subject to the terror of His wrath. Note
that the fire does not gently waft to earth, but is thrown or hurled to earth. God
is not pleased with rebellious humankind.
What now takes the place of the silence (8:5b)?
The gives way to peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an
earthquake.
What event does this remind us of (see Ex. 19)?
It is reminiscent of Gods awesome and fearful presence on Mt. Sinai.
In a similar way this was a display of Gods holy presence through natural
phenomena. That these phenomena accompany the fire attests that these
judgments are not only permitted by God, but that they are sent by God. They
will serve his purpose and benefit his people as did the ten plagues that shook
ancient Egypt.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 21: The First Four Trumpet-Angels: Upheavals in Nature
Read Rev. 8:6-13
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
8:6 Seven angels: 7 archangels or the 7 angels of the 7 churches.
8:6 Seven trumpets: used to initiate Gods judgment upon the earth.
8:7, 8, 10, 12, 13 Blew his trumpet: announced an important event.
8:7, 8, 10 Fire, torch: Gods judgment.
8:7 Blood: death and destruction.
8:7, 9, 10, 11, 12 A third: partial but very significant destruction.
8:8 A great mountain of fire thrown: an deliberate act of God that shows
his wrath against rebellious mankind.
8:10 A great star: symbolizes Gods judgment.
8:11 Wormwood: means bitter. It symbolizes the bitterness of drinking
Gods wrath against sin.
8:13 Eagle: a bird of prey. One that will feed upon dead flesh.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 8:6-9:12 occur from the time of
Jesus ascension into heaven until the End.
1. The prayers of the saints (8:3-5) have risen before God and God answers those
prayers as each angel blows his trumpet. Having received their trumpets the 7
angels prepare to blow them (8:6).
Some have noted a similarity between the first four trumpets and the plagues
that God sent upon the land of Egypt. As the plagues of Egypt were not
designed to destroy the land, but to lead pharaoh to repentance and to a
change of heart so also the trumpet judgments of this vision are "warning
judgments" designed to lead sinful mankind to repentance. The plagues of
Egypt did not harm the Israelites and resulted in their deliverance. So also the
trumpet judgments will not harm the people of God but are a sign the
imminence of their salvation. These judgments, so painful and devastating for
the sinful world should serve to constantly remind Christians that Jesus is
coming again soon and spur us on to constant readiness.
The first four trumpets, like the first four seals in the previous vision, are
linked together thematically and structurally. They focus on the judgments of
God as they are manifested by the upheavals and disasters in the world of
nature. Man's fall into sin cursed the entire universe (see Rom. 8:20-22).
Jesus also spoke of natural disasters. When natural disasters occur, how are
Christians to look at them (Lk. 21:11)?

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Christians are to see natural disasters as signs of the day when Jesus will
come again. The chaos and upheaval of the world of nature throughout the
New Testament era should serve as a constant reminder that this world is
passing away and that Jesus is coming again.

The judgments sounded by the first four trumpets each impact different
components of the created order - the land and its vegetation; the sea and its
creatures; the rivers and springs of waters; and the light of the heavenly
bodies. The result is a pattern that one commentator calls "de-creation,"
(Beale, p. 486) - the deliberate undoing of that which God did in the
beginning.
2. The first judgment of God on the earth occurs in Rev. 8:7. This trumpet is
similar to the seventh plague on Egypt (Ex. 9:13-33). What signaled and
triggered the events in Exodus and Revelation (Ex. 9:23; Rev. 8:7a)?
In Exodus the plague was triggered by Moses lifting up his staff to heaven.
In Revelation the judgment was triggered when the first angel blew his
trumpet.
How were the two judgments similar (Ex. 9:24-25; Rev. 8:7)?
In both cases God reigned down hail and fire. And in both cases the
vegetation was struck down.
To these things was added blood. Blood is a sign of death and destruction. It
may refer to the bloodshed of war. What also does blood provide a link to
(Joel 2:30-31)?
Blood also serves as a link to the final judgment and the destruction of the
present universe.
Again notice the verb used for the application of the judgment. The fiery hail
of this storm does not merely fall. It is cast down, as it were, by the hand of
the Almighty, to crush and destroy all in its path. This terrifying image
encompasses all of God's acts of judgment throughout history - wherever,
whenever, and by whatever means the Lord has brought about the destruction
of the earth and that which grows upon it.
In terms of destruction, what does a third was burned up mean?
A third (8:7) suggests partial, not total destruction. Even so, it is massive
in its scope. So at any given time after the ascension a large portion of the
earths vegetation (1/3 of it) is affected.
3. The second trumpet angel blows his trumpet (8:8). John has a hard time
describing what takes place. So he resorts to simile to describe it as
something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea.
Some have equated this to volcanic eruptions flowing into the sea. Others say
that this is not a large enough scale and say a massive meteor hurled into the

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sea would have the described effect. In any case the point being made is that
God in his judgment will strike the earths seas turning them into blood.
Blood again representing death and destruction. The judgment not only affects
the sea. What else does it affect (8:9)?
It affects the marine life that lives in the earths bodies of water and it
affects the ships that sail upon the bodies of water.
The second trumpet is like the first plague on Egypt (Ex. 7:14-24). What
happened in the first plague (Ex. 7:20-21)?
The waters of Egypt were turned into blood. Then all the fish died and
caused the waters to stink.
So in his judgment God will cause a similar event to happen, not just in Egypt
but all over the world. At any given time there are seas around the world that
are unusable by humans and animals.
A third of the water, fish, and ships are destroyed. This again means that the
destruction is not total but it is substantial. The seas, sea life, and maritime
trades are substantially affected by Gods judgment.
4. At the blowing of the third trumpet a great star fell from heaven (8:10).
How is this great star described (8:10)? And what might this mean?
It is described as blazing like a torch. This again refers to fire and fire is
a symbol of Gods judgment.
Where did this star come from (8:10) and what does that mean?
The star comes from heaven. It means it comes from God. He purposely
sends it as part of his judgment on the earth.
It fell upon the rivers and springs of water thereby affecting the fresh water
supply. What is the name of the star and if your Bible has a footnote for that
name, what does the name mean (8:11a)?
The star is called Wormwood. The footnote for the ESV says: Wormwood
is the name of a plant and of the bitter-tasting extract derived from it.
What happens to the water that this star comes into contact with (8:11)?
The star makes the water it comes into contact with wormwood (bitter).
In this judgment a third of the rivers and springs are affected (8:10b). Not
all the fresh water is affected. God limits the damage. Yet a large chunk is
affected. The water is not just bitter tasting. What happens because the water
is Wormwood (8:11b)?
Many people die because of the bitter water. The water is poisoned. When
drunk it becomes deadly.

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This could refer to pollution. Pollution makes water not just bitter but toxic to
drink. So from the time of the Ascension until Christ comes again a portion of
the water supply will be contaminated, undrinkable, and deadly. Drinking
from the cup of Gods wrath against sin is indeed bitter and deadly.
5. What was the ninth plague on Egypt (Exodus 10:21-23)?
The ninth plague was total darkness for three days.
The interruption of the normal reliable course of the heavenly bodies and the
light which they provide is often presented in Scripture as a precursor to what
(Amos 8:9)?
It is a precursor to the day of Gods wrath. It is a precursor to Gods
judgment on those who oppose him.
So here at this fourth trumpet (8:12) the sun, moon, and stars are struck. The
heavenly bodies that give off light are darkened. The fraction of a third once
again indicates that the judgment is not total or complete.
What could cause the darkening of the heavenly bodies? Some suggest an
eclipse, but that doesnt really seem to fit. Perhaps it is smog and air pollution
where part of the light supplied by the heavenly bodies is not able to make it
to the earths surface. Whatever its cause, mankind suffers from it.
6. In the 1st 4 plagues, nature is being physically struck by God and it causes
humanity to suffer. It is a display of Gods anger and is intended to move
human beings to repentance before it is too late (see Rev. 10:5-7, 11; Jn. 9:4)
when repentance is no longer possible when there will be total darkness.
7. There is now a brief pause between the first four trumpets and the last three
trumpets. In it there is a transition is from the natural calamites just described
(8:7-12) to calamites that are demonic (Rev. 9-11) which are terrible and
horrifying.
Next John hears something unusual speak. Who did he hear speaking (8:13a)?
He heard an eagle speak.
The Greek word translated as eagle means bird of prey. A bird of prey
will hover in the sky looking with its keen eyesight for its next prey. When he
sees it, he will swoop down and pounce on it. Birds of prey eat flesh,
especially the flesh of a dead animal.
In the context of the two different groups of trumpets (see first paragraph of
point #7 in this lesson), speculate on why God chose to use a natural animal to
do something unnatural like speak these woes. Also consider the type of
animal it is.

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An eagle is a natural creature corresponding to the natural disasters of the


first four trumpets. But an eagle talking points to something beyond the
natural with corresponds to the last three trumpets which are demonic in
nature. The fact that it is a bird of prey that is associated with death
provides an ominous sign.

This picture of a bird of prey flying overhead gives us the sense of impending
disaster in the next three trumpets. Added to that is what the eagle says. What
is his message and to whom does he say it to (8:13b)?
His message is Woe, woe, woe! And his message is to those who dwell
on the earth.
The Greek word behind this warning means how horrible, how terrible. It
describes disaster, catastrophe, or horror. When will the people of earth feel
this way (8:13c)?
They will feel this way at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three
angels are about to blow!" There is one woe for each of the last three
trumpets. What each trumpet signals will be terrible. The situation on earth
will be very grave. And the angels are about to blow them.
Jesus used the word woe thirty times in the synoptic gospels. In the mouth
of Jesus, the woes pronounced against people and cities indicate a final
warning (often widely unheeded) before judgment and eternal ruin in hell.
When a word is used twice it gives it emphasis. But here the word woe is
used three times. Its triple repetition forms a kind of superlative denoting the
most grievous doom imaginable corresponds to the three remaining trumpets

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Lesson 22: The 5th Trumpet (Part 1): Demons from the Abyss
Read Rev. 9:1-6
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
9:1 Trumpet: blown to get attention and signal an event.
9:1 Star fallen: Satan rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven.
9:1 Key: a key is used to open and close a lock.
9:1, 2 Bottomless pit (abyss): Hell, the prison of demons.
9:2, 3 Smoke, darkness: the results of sin is spiritual darkness.
9:3 Locusts: a symbol for hordes of demons.
9:3, 5 Scorpions: the sting of scorpions brings great pain but it does not
kill. Therefore the demons can harm but not kill.
9:4 Seal of God: those people who are marked as Gods people, protected
from the torment of demons, and kept faithful to the End by God.
9:5 Five months: The life span of a locust. A short period of time that the
demons are allowed to torment people.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 8:6-9:12 occur from the time of
Jesus ascension into heaven until the End.
1. The fifth through seventh trumpet-angels are called woes (8:13; 9:12; 11:14).
They are set apart from the first four trumpet-angels. The first four trumpet-angels
are described in terms of earthly reality. The fifth through seventh trumpet-angels
are described in other-worldly terms. The creatures have both human and animal
features. Only by human imagination can one see them; they are not natural, but
supernatural. They are only understood in the spiritual realm. The first four
trumpet judgments were briefly described in just a few phrases. The relative
significance and seriousness of the last three trumpet judgments is indicated by
their extended descriptions. The imagery becomes more elaborate and otherworldly and is presented in much greater detail.
2. At the fifth trumpet John saw a star fallen from heaven (9:1a). There is a
connection between this star and Is. 14:12 and Lk. 10:18. Is. 14:12 also speaks of
a star fallen from heaven (see Is. 14:11-15). According to Is. 14:4 who is this star?
The star that is fallen is the king of Babylon.
Many times in the Bible this country is depicted as the enemy of God and his
people. So this king from this country is used as a picture of Satan the ultimate
archenemy of God being thrown out of heaven. In Lk. 10:18, what did Jesus see?
He saw the same event. He saw Satan being booted out of heaven and his fall
was very swift, like a flash of lightning.

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John does not see the fall of Satan. He sees the star that has already fallen. So
Satan is introduced here into the prophetic message of Rev. and plays a prominent
role throughout the remainder of the message. In Rev. 12 he appears as the
dragon, the archenemy of God, Christ, and the church on earth.
3. What had the fallen star been given (9:1b)?
He had been given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.
Notice once again the tense of the verb. He was given the key. This is a
theological passive. When it is used God is assumed to be the one who is giving
it. He is the one who is in complete control. Everything that takes place is a part
of God's plan and under his sovereign control. The devil and his minions are not
free agents. They too serve the Lord and accomplish His will. In particular who is
it that controls the key and gives it to Satan (see Rev. 1:8)?
The one who died but now is alive holds the keys of Death and Hades. This
is Jesus Christ. He has been given all power and authority.
The bottomless pit or the abyss is another name for Hell. It is the place made
for the fallen angels, Satan and his demons. They were thrown out of heaven
when they rebelled and were cast into and locked into the prison of Hell.
4. What did the fallen star do with the key and what happened as a result (9:2)?
With the key he opened the shaft to the bottomless pit and when he did clouds
of dense smoke poured out. The smoke was so thick that it caused darkness.
What kind of contrast is made and how is a contrast made in 2 Cor. 6:14-15?
Believers are being contrasted with unbelievers. The contrast is that believers
are light and righteousness and unbelievers are darkness and lawlessness. The
contrast is also between Christ and Satan.
Darkness then is associated with sin. The world became spiritually darkened when
Satan enticed people to sin. How will people who are shrouded in the darkness of
sin ever be able to see?
Is. 8:14: The promised Messiah will be the light that dawns on the people who
dwell in darkness.
Jn. 8:12: Jesus declares himself to be the light of the world.
John 1:4-5: Jesus is the light that shines and overcomes the darkness of a sin
covered world.
So this darkness represents those forces that oppose Jesus, the true light.
Sometimes Satan poses as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), but in reality he is the
prince of darkness. Here he is allowed to let loose the forces of the darkness of
Hell. These forces continually perpetuate and instigate wickedness and corruption.
In this way, the darkening of the sun and the sky by the forces of evil at the
opening of the vision establishes the context and sets the tone for that which

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follows. But the ominous darkness is only the beginning - the horrific imagery
continues to unfold and develop.
5. Out of the smoke came locusts on the earth (9:3a). God's prophet Joel (Joel 1-2)
used the devastation of the land of Israel by locusts as a warning sign of what
(Joel 1:1-2; 2:11)?
It was a sign of the coming day of the Lord's judgment. As no one can stop the
swarm of locusts, so no one can endure the dreadful day of the Lord.
What was it a call for Israel to do (Joel 2:12-14)?
It was a call to return to the Lord, to repent.
Throughout the Old Testament the locust is a symbol of devastation and
destruction (Deut. 28:42; 1 Kings 8:37; Ps. 78:46). Vast swarms of millions of
these voracious insects could strip the land bare of all vegetation leaving
starvation and death in their wake. But this is not a vision of natural disaster. How
can we tell from Rev. 9:4?
These locusts were not to harm any of the plant life. Instead they were to
harm humans, specifically those who were not marked as belonging to God.
Who are those who will not be afflicted by the locusts (9:4b and see Rev. 7:1-8)?
Those who are safe from the locusts are those who have been sealed as
belonging to God. The symbolic number 144,000 refers to all of Gods people
on earth who God keeps safe and keeps faithful until the End.
In Revelation the locust-like creatures portray the hordes of demons from hell
which fall upon the human race. The locusts are like scorpions in that they can
cause very painful injuries to people (9:3b). As was said above, these demons
afflict only those who dont belong to God. In the same way the children of Israel
were protected from the plagues that hit the Egyptians (Ex. 8:20-23; 9:1-7, 25-26;
10:21-23). This does not mean that Gods people will not suffer at all from the
onslaught of demons (that is portrayed later in 12:13-18; 13:1-18). God permits
this affliction in order to move people to repentance (9:21).
6. The power that the locusts (demons) had was given to them (9:3b). Again a
passive verb is used indicating that this power was given to them by God. The
power they were given was that like a scorpion. The sting of the scorpion brings
agonizing pain but it is normally not fatal. This goes along well with the text.
What were the demons allowed to do and not to do (9:5)?
They were allowed to torment and to cause suffering but not to kill and put to
death.
If their king and ruler (the devil) had his way, they would kill rather than injure
(consider Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6). God set limits upon them. Another type of limit was
placed upon them by God. What was it (9:5a)?
The locust could only torment people for a period of five months.

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What might this period of time stand for (9:5a)? The period of time of five
months may be the life span of locusts. When they die a new generation takes
over. So these sufferings come and go; they are not constant. At any time they
might hit.
How is the intensity of the torment inflicted by the demons described (9:6)?
The torment and suffering will be so bad that people long to die. They
would rather die than continue to suffer in this way.
The demons were not allowed to cause death (9:5-6). That limit was set in place
by God in order that through such pain people may become aware of their lost
condition. For the believer, death would bring reconciliation with God. For the
unbeliever though, death does not bring relief, instead it only leads to the second
death (20:6, 14; 21:8). Death flees from the unbeliever so that he might have
time to repent.

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Lesson 23: The 5th Trumpet (Part 2): A Description of the Demons
Read Rev. 9:7-12
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
9:7 Locusts: hordes of demons released from the prison of hell.
9:7 Horses: magnificent animals ridden by warriors of a cavalry into
battle.
9:7 Crowns of gold: not a kings crown, but the crown given to the winner
of an athletic event. It symbolizes victory.
9:7 Human faces: symbol of human intelligence.
9:8 Womens hair: perhaps it represents the long flowing mane of a lion.
9:8 Lions teeth: used by a lion to tear its prey to shreds. It symbolizes
destruction.
9:9 Breastplates of iron: well protected while in battle.
9:9 Noise of many chariots: used to intimidate the enemy.
9:10 Tails and stings like scorpions: the demons are allowed to cause great
suffering and pain.
9:10 Five months: the life span of a locust. The time the demons are
allowed to torment people is limited.
9:11 King: the one who rules. The ruler of the locusts is Satan, the
Destroyer.
9:11 Angel of the bottomless pit: Satan. He controls the fallen angels who
have been cast into the bottomless pit of Hell.
9:11 Abaddon/Apollyon: In Hebrew and Greek they both mean destroy or
destruction.
9:12 Woe: signifies horror and terror.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 8:6-9:12 occur from the time of
Jesus ascension into heaven until the End.
1. The text now continues with a graphic and grotesque description of the
locust/scorpion horde. Each of the details given serves to emphasize the overall
impression of unnatural and awesome cruelty and destructive power. John
repeatedly finds himself unable to offer a precise description of these bizarre
creatures. He is compelled to resort to simile (using the word like), comparing
their features to other things that we have seen and can comprehend. What kind of
similes are used in the following OT passages in Judges?
Judg. 6:4-5; 7:12: the vast numbers of the Midianites is described as a swarm
of locusts.
In comparison with these passages, what has John done in 9:7a?

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John has reversed this popular Old Testament image. Instead of describing an
army in terms of a horde of locusts, he describes the locusts in terms of a
cavalry of horses.

A battle is about to ensue and the demons are prepared for it. They are ready to
destroy the enemy. The locusts wear what looked like crowns of gold. These
crowns are not the crowns that kings wear. They are the golden wreaths given to
the victor. Before the battle is even engaged they wear what looks like the crowns
of victors (9:7b). This army intends to win and their appearance is one of
inevitability. Their faces were like human faces (9:7c). This signifies intelligence
and cunning. These were no dumb creatures. Their actions are carefully crafted
and designed to bring about a malicious end. Their goal is to destroy the human
race.
2. The teeth of the locusts are like lions teeth (9:8b). What do lions use their teeth
to do to their prey?
With their teeth, lions maul their prey. They use their teeth to rip apart their
prey and devour it.
So the teeth of the lion are clearly a symbol of destructive power and might. The
demons will tear their prey apart physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
But what about their hair that is like womens hair (9:8a)? What might it
symbolize? Given the context where it is included in the same sentence with the
lions teeth, it may be used to refer to the lions mane. In this way, the two details
serve to reinforce and strengthen one another. If this were the case, it would be
used in a similar way as the following passage from the first century Jewish work
entitled, The Apocalypse of Zephaniah."
"That same instant I stood up and I saw a great angel before me. His hair was
spread out like that of a lion. His teeth were outside of his mouth like a bear. His
hair was spread out like that of a woman. His body was like the serpent's...Then I
asked, Who is the great angel who stands thus, whom I saw? He said, this is the
one who accuses men in the presence of the Lord." (Apocalypse of Zephaniah,
6:8,16)
3. How else are the locusts/demons prepared for battle (9:9a)?
They where breastplates to protect themselves. And the breastplates are strong
since they are made of iron. These breastplates give the impression that they
are indestructible.
How did they intimidate their enemies (9:9b)?
They intimidated their enemies with the noise of their wings. The noise was
loud like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. This
noise would instill fear and terror into their enemies.

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In ancient times the horse and rider were protected with metal armor. And when
they rode into battle, the speed and momentum of their onslaught struck terror
into their opponents. That is precisely the image John intends to convey in these
phrases.
4. In 9:10 the picture of the locusts with poisonous stingers used in 9:3-5 is used
again. It reiterates that they have the power to hurt people, causing them great
agony. But it also reiterates that they are limited. They ready for battle and ready
to destroy the enemy (all unbelieving people), but God has placed limits on the
locust/demons. They are only allowed to harm them for five months. They are
only allowed to harm them for a short time. Then the locust dies and a new
generation arises to inflict its own pain and torture. During the NT time demons
will come and go harming people. God uses these demons and the hurt that they
cause to show people the helpless situation they are in, in hopes of them turning
back to him in repentance.
5. Who is it that is the king of the demons (9:11a)?
The leader of the evil demons is the angel of the bottomless pit or the angel
of the abyss. This of course is Satan.
What names does he have (9:11b)? And looking at your Bibles footnotes, what
do those names mean?
His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.
Abaddon means destruction. And Apollyon means destroyer.
In 12:3-4 we will see that the Destroyer tried to destroy the Christ child but was
unsuccessful. From there he turned to the church, the body of Christ, and he tries
to destroy the church (Rev. 12:13-18). But here in 9:1-11 his victims are not the
church, but the ungodly, those not sealed. The emphasis here is on his destructive
character and not on his slanderous accusations. He wants to destroy the human
race. But he is restrained from achieving total destruction (Rev. 9:3-5). The Lord
Christ is still in control.
6. The fifth trumpet is also the first woe (9:12a). It has forecast nothing but terror
and horror for unbelievers during the time between Christs first and second
comings. God has allowed the demons to do these things in order to get peoples
attention and to show them the helplessness of their situation. When people are no
longer able to help themselves, they must turn to others for help. In the Gospel
God offers the help and salvation that sinful humankind so desperately needs.
Before people will accept help and an offer to be saved they must first see the
unwinnable situation they are in. Only then will they accept what Jesus has to
offer.
This first woe has finished but there are two more woes to come (9:12). As we
said a woe signifies horror and terror. With two more woes to come, there is
more horror and terror to come.

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Lesson 24: The Sixth Trumpet-Angel: The Last Battle
Read Rev. 9:13-21
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
9:13, 14 Trumpet: blown to get attention and signal an event.
9:13 Four horns of the golden altar: represents the power of God.
9:14, 15 Four angels: the angels who will go forth to the 4 corners of the earth
to carry out Gods judgment against unbelievers.
9:14 Euphrates: the area where the forces of evil arise from to carry out Gods
judgment.
9:15, 18 A third: partial destruction, not total destruction.
9:16 Twice ten thousand times ten thousand: an almost unimaginable number
of evil demons are released on the earth.
9:17, 18 Fire (fiery red), sapphire (dark blue), sulfur (pale yellow): associated
with Gods judgment against the forces of evil.
9:17 Lions heads: terrifying image of a predator that pounces on its prey and
devours it.
9:18 Plagues: reminds us of Egypt where Gods judgment came upon Egypt in
the form of the 10 plagues.
9:19 Mouths, tails: can inflict injury both coming and going.
9:19 Serpents: represents the devil, the ancient serpent.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 9:13-21 occur at the End, when the
last great battle occurs.
1. As the sixth trumpet sounds, John hears a commanding voice (9:13a). Whose
voice it is is not identified. Where did the voice originate from (9:13b)?
The voice came from the four horns of the golden altar before God.
Given this location, what authority does the voice have?
Given that the voice comes from the place where the prayers of the saints rise
up before God, the voice speaks on behalf of God, with the authority of God,
and for the sake of Gods people.
Who might the voice belong to (see Rev. 8:3-5)?
It seems probable that the speaker is the angel with the golden censer from the
opening scene of this segment (Revelation 8:3-5). The strong identification of
that angel with the altar of incense and with the prayers of the saints who are
calling for the vindication of God in the judgment of the wicked reinforces
this view.

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The voice also could be the collective voices of the saints who come together as
one voice. It is also possible that it is the voice of the saints along with the angel
of the altar, again as one voice. The 4 horns of the altar represent the power of
God. What the voice commands then comes forth from the power of God.
2. The voice from the altar commands the sixth angel to "Release the four angels
who are bound at the great river Euphrates." The number 4 is the number for the
earth. So these 4 angels will go forth in all 4 four directions across the earth. They
will carry out the second woe upon all the people of the earth.
The language in 9:14 is reminiscent of the language in 7:1. What were the 4
angels in 7:1 doing?
They were restraining the four winds of divine judgment until the protective
sealing of God's people on earth had been completed.
So what is the difference between the 4 angels of 7:1 and the 4 angels in 9:14?
While the 4 angels of 7:1 restrain divine judgment, in 9:14 the 4 angels are
being restrained (bound) from carrying out Gods judgment.
Whether these 4 angels are good angels or bad angels is up for debate. On the one
hand, these angels were bound. This is a term that is used in Scripture only in
reference to evil angels (cf. Jude 6; Revelation 20:2). On the other hand, the word
angel in Revelation always refers to holy angels of God unless identified
otherwise. Following this logic they are holy angels who act under Gods will.
Whichever way is correct, in the second woe the voice commands the sixth angel
to release the 4 angels that were bound.
The 4 angels are confined at the great river Euphrates (9:14b). From the region
of the Euphrates rose the great enemies of Israel, Assyria and Babylon. When
Israel was unfaithful and worship other gods, Yahweh allowed the Assyrians and
the Babylonians to come in to the promised land from the north and defeat the
Israelites. It was Gods judgment for their idolatry. These countries were evil but
God used them for his purposes. So in the OT it became known that the forces of
evil would arise out of the north, out of the region of the Euphrates River. What
does it mean then that these angels who are bound at the Euphrates are released
(9:14)?
Because the Euphrates was known as the place where God would unleash his
judgment (as he did on Israel with Assyria and Babylon), when the 4 angels
are released at the great Euphrates River, they will go out to carry out Gods
judgment on those who oppose him and his people.
3. The 4 angels who have been prepared and have waited for this hour (9:15) are
released. They are released at the precise moment that God has set (hour, day,
month, year). He is in absolute control of the times and the events which occur.
This is no coincidence. Gods timetable unfolds exactly as he planned it.

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When Gods judgment is unleashed, it will occupy every moment of every day,
every day of every month, and every month of each year in the evil times just
before the Lords return.
Up until now man has suffered from natural forces and demonic forces, but was
not killed. But now what are the 4 angels allowed to do (9:15b)?
They were released to kill a third of mankind.
Like before (Rev. 8:7-12), a third signifies a partial destruction, not a complete
and total destruction. And yet the death caused by this trumpet judgment will be
massive.
4. Who went out with the 4 angels and how many of them were there (9:16)?
Mounted troops went with the 4 angels. The number of troops was twice ten
thousand times ten thousand. This is an unimaginable number of mounted
troops.
Who are these mounted troops? This is not an earthly army. No earthly army has
two hundred million troops on horses. Remember the demons response to Jesus
question: My name is legion, for we are many! (Mark 5:9). This is the demon
army of hell! And they have come to wage spiritual warfare for the souls of men.
These demons wage their warfare through falsehood and error, corruption and sin,
as well as through physical violence. In other words, they use any means possible
to destroy their enemies.
Some might say that John was exaggerating this large number. But John says that
he personally heard what the number was (9:16b). He didnt just make it up.
5. John now goes on to describe the horses and their riders (9:17). The colors of their
breastplate are a fiery red, dark blue (sapphire), and yellow as sulfur (9:17b).
These colors match the fire, smoke, and sulfur (brimstone) that came out of their
mouths (9:17d). What do these things and colors remind one of (see Gen. 19:2428)?
They remind one of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah where God
reigned down fire and brimstone upon it for its rampant immorality.
In the following passages from Rev. what are fire and sulfur (brimstone)
associated with?
Rev. 14:9-10: those who worship the beast and its image will receive Gods
judgment and will be tormented by fire and sulfur.
Rev. 21:8: awaiting unrepentant sinners is the lake that burns with fire and
sulfur, which is the second death.
Rev. 19:20: the beast and the false prophet were thrown alive into the lake of
fire that burns with sulfur.

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Rev. 20:10: the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire
and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be
tormented day and night forever and ever.

These colors are consistently associated in Revelation with Gods final and
decisive judgment upon the devil and all those who follow him. Therefore Gods
judgment will be meted out against an unbelieving world through the 4 angels and
the mounted troops who go out into all the world.
The heads of the horses were like lions heads (9:17c), demonstrating that like
lions, they will stalk, pounce on, and kill their human prey.
6. John refers to the fire, smoke, and sulfur that kills as plagues (9:18). This
reminds us of the plagues God sent on Egypt, especially the last plague when the
firstborn of Egypt died. The plagues that Gods judgment brings on those who
oppose him devastate and kill.
Again the fraction of a third is used saying that a third of mankind was killed
(9:18a). This indicates the destruction is partial and not complete. But even if only
a third of mankind is killed, it is still devastating.
7. The horses can attack with their mouths and with their tails (9:19a). From their
mouths come fire and brimstone that kills. Their tails have the power to wound
(9:19b). The language here is somewhat like that used earlier for the scorpion.
With their tails they injure and torment people. And so the picture painted is that
they can attack coming and going. No one escapes them.
In connection to this idea of attacking while coming and going, some
commentators see a similarity to the Scythians and the Parthians who were
Rome's most fearsome enemies in the East. Their bowmen would ride horses.
When they attacked they would charge full speed ahead. As they did they would
fill the air with arrows. Then, before a counter-attack could come, they would turn
and wheel away on their speeding horses; as they did, each horseman would
reverse himself on the back of his mount and continue firing.
Again John uses simile in saying that their tails are like serpents with heads
(9:b). What does this reference to serpents remind us of (see 2 Cor. 11:3; Rev.
12:9)?
It reminds us of the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan that deceived
Eve and the whole world.
One weapon of these monsters by which they wound people is their deception.
They will use any means they can, including lying, to harm people.
8. In this last battle for humanity before the End, what do those unbelievers who are
not killed do and not do (9:20-21)?

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They do not repent. They continue to worship their demons and idols.

Since there is only one true God, people either worship him or they worship idols.
There is no in between. What is the fate of those who refuse to worship God and
instead worship idols (Ps. 115:3-8)?

They will become just like their idols. They will not be able to speak, see,
hear, smell, feel, or walk. They are destined to die the second death, that is,
eternal death.

When the scriptures talk of the work of their hands it is referring to idolatry.
People fashioned gods out of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood. In
times of trouble these idols became their source of refuge. But the problem for
them was that they could not see or hear or walk. Is it any different today? Do
people have idols today? Explain.
It is no different today. People still have their idols. We believe ourselves to
much more enlightened. We would never believe that some hand formed idol
was a god that could help us. But our idols are fashioned in our minds. What
do we go to and depend on in times of trouble? Our generation flees for refuge
to our money, our things, our possessions, our friends, our family, our sports,
our internet. The list goes on and on. These are the idols of our generation.
They can do no more for us than idols made of gold, silver, bronze, or wood.
They are dead and powerless as opposed to God who is alive, gives life,
sustains life and has all power.
Given this one last chance to repent what do unbelievers do (9:20-21)? Is this
intentional?
The unbelievers who did not die do not repent. In this context, it is intentional.
They refuse to repent. They refuse to turn away from their idols and turn to
the one true God.
When one worships an idol, what does one really worship (Deut. 32:15-18; Ps.
106:37; John 8:39-44)?
Worship of anyone or anything other than the living God, the Triune God, is
really worship of demons. Demons have deceived people into trusting in other
people or things other than God.
In general what does idolatrous rejection of the true God inevitably lead to (9:21)?
It will always lead to immorality of all kinds.
What sins does John list and what commandments are broken by these sins
(9:21)?
Here John lists murder, sorcery, sexual immorality, and theft. These sins break
the fifth, first, sixth, and seventh commandments.

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9. This 6th scene here (9:13-21) is related to the 6th censer-angel (16:12-16). The 6th
scene in the third earthly vision depicts the battle of Armageddon just before the
End and Christs return. Here in 9:13-21 John gets the first glimpse of the last
battle before Christs return. In the 2nd view of the last battle (16:12-16) he sees
the same demonic host pouring out from the Euphrates gathered for battle and
engaged in battle at a place called Armageddon. And there will be a third view of
the last battle just before the End, the vision of God and Magog (20:7-10). The 3rd
view depicts the battles conclusion and the final defeat of the evil forces.

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Lesson 25: 1st Scene of the Interlude (Part 1): The Mighty Angel from
Heaven
Read Rev. 10:1
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
10:1 From heaven: from God and acts on his behalf.
10:1 Wrapped in a cloud: clouds are associated with God.
10:1 A rainbow: reminds us of the majestic God who is gracious.
10:1 Sun: God is described as shining bright like the sun.
10:1 Pillars of fire: the strength and power of God to defeat enemies and save
his people.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 10:1-11 occur from the time of
Jesus ascension into heaven until the End.
1. There is an interlude between the 6th and 7th scenes. In the 1st vision the interlude
(7:1-17) had to do with the protection and comfort of the church in the midst of
her sufferings. The interlude for the 2nd vision pictures the church in mission and
Gods protection of her in that mission. This interlude has two scenes: 10:1-11 and
11:1-14.
2. The first thing John sees in the interlude is an angel coming down out of heaven
(10:1). This angel is not one of the 7 trumpet-angels. This is another angel. So
who is this angel? Whoever this angel is, he is described as being mighty. There
are 3 mighty angels in Revelation (5:2; 10:1; 18:1,21). This is not the same angel
as in 5:2; this angel is described as another angel. In the Greek translation of the
OT, called the Septuagint, the word used here for mighty is always used for
God. Only God is mighty. In the NT no angel is called mighty except for in
Revelation. John would know that mighty is reserved for God and yet he
describes angels in this way in Revelation. So who is this mighty angel? There
are three possibilities.
o Some believe it is Gabriel. The name Gabriel means mighty one of God.
But nowhere in Scripture is Gabriel called mighty.
o Some believe it a particular angel that is identified with God and given certain
divine-like powers by God. This angel is close to God in the heavenly realm
and is sent out by God and is given authority by God.
o Still others believe this angel is the Lord Jesus himself. If mighty only
refers to God then it could apply to Jesus since he is God. While on earth,
Jesus is said to have performed many mighty works (e.g., Mt. 11:20-23).
3. What do we know about this angel from 10:1?
He came down from heaven.
He was wrapped or clothed or robed in a cloud.

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He had a rainbow over his head.


His face shone like the sun.
His legs were like pillars of fire.

4. The temple in the OT was the place where God was present and lived with his
people. Where is Gods temple located according to Rev. 11:19?
His temple is in heaven.
What does that mean concerning Gods presence?
God is present in heaven.
So what does it mean that the mighty angel came down from heaven?
It means that he came from Gods presence, that God sent him, and that he
acts on behalf of God.
In the following Bible verses what were clouds used for and who are clouds
associated with?
Ps.104:1-3: Clouds are described as Yahwehs (the LORDs) chariot.
Ex. 13:21: Yahweh (the LORD) led Israel by a pillar of cloud.
Ex. 14:19-20: The angel of God (the pre-incarnate Christ, the second person
of the Trinity) protected Israel by coming between Israel and the Egyptian
army in the form of a pillar of cloud.
Num. 9:17-21: Yahweh led Israel through the desert sacramentally, that is
the LORD was present in the cloud and through it he determined when they
should camp and when they should set out and move.
Dan. 7:13: the Son of Man (God the Son) approaches the Ancient of Days
(God the Father) surrounded by the clouds.
Mt. 17:5: God speaks to Jesus from the cloud at the Transfiguration.
Mt. 24:30: When Jesus returns to judge the earth He will come "on the clouds
of heaven."
Throughout scripture clouds are associated with God and Gods son. So the
mighty angel who came from heaven came from God.
5. The mighty angel had a rainbow over his head (10:1). Look back at Lesson 10,
point #5 for the discussion of the rainbow around Gods throne. What does the
rainbow remind us of?
It reminds us of the Flood where God made a covenant of grace with
mankind. In Rev. 4:3 the rainbow is a reflection of the majesty of God.
What does that mean for this mighty angel?
It means that the mighty angel is associated with the sign of the majesty of
God and the grace of God. The mighty angel is sent by God. This is true

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whether the angel actually is an angel or if he is the Son of God (as he was
described in the OT as the Angel of the Lord).
6. The mighty angel is next described with his face was like the sun (10:1). Who is
described in a similar way in Mt. 17:2?
At his transfiguration Jesus face shone like the sun.
In Rev. 1:16 a similar description is given. Who did it refer to? (see Lesson 2,
point 6)
In Rev. 1:16 it referred to the exalted Christ.
Some would say because the term mighty is used only for God and because the
angel is clothed with a cloud, with clouds being associated with God, and because
Jesus shone like the sun in the Transfiguration and at the beginning of Rev., that
this has to be describing Jesus, the Son of God.
Others would say that mighty, the clouds, and shining like the sun are definitely
things associated only with God. But the shining like the sun at the
transfiguration affected all of him including his clothes. Rev. 1:16 adds to the
description that Christs shining was like the sun shining at full strength. Where
here in 10:1 it was just like the sun. And when Jesus shone brightly at his
Transfiguration and in Rev.1:16 before John, the disciples fell down and
worshipped and John fell at his feet. When one is in the presence of holy God, one
falls at his feet either voluntarily or involuntarily. Here in Rev. 10:1, while before
the angel John did not fall down at all. So in this view it cannot be Christ.
Whichever case it is, the angel comes from God and is authorized by God. He acts
on Gods behalf.
7. The last description of the mighty angel is that he had legs like pillars of fire
(10:1). No one else is described in this exact way in Scripture. It does remind one
of the feet of Jesus in Rev. 1:15 (feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a
furnace). And it is similar to Dan. 10:6 where the Son of Man was described as
having legs like the gleam of burnished bronze. The only pillar of fire
mentioned in the Bible is the pillar of cloud and fire by which Yahweh led and
protected Israel in the wilderness.
Given these images, these legs suggest stability and power to defeat enemies and
to save Gods people. It says that the mission that God sends the angel on will be
accomplished. And as Gods people carry out that mission God will guide and
protect them.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 26: Interlude-1st Scene (Part2): The Mighty Angel from
Heaven
Read Rev. 10:2-11
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
10:2, 8, 9, 10 Little scroll: the same as the 7-sealed scroll or it represented the
7-sealed scroll, which was Gods revelation of the NT era.
10:3, 4 Seven thunders: thunder represents Gods voice. Seven is the number
of completeness. Gods word is powerful and will achieve its purposes.
10:7 Trumpet call: signals peoples attention.
10:9, 10 Eat it: inwardly digest it. Study it; know it and its meaning.
10:9, 10 Bitter: symbolic of the Law and Gods judgment.
10:9, 10 Sweet: symbolic of the Gospel and Gods grace.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 10:1-11 occur from the time of
Jesus ascension into heaven until the End.
1. The mighty angel held a little scroll in his hand (10:2a). Earlier (Rev. 5-6) John
saw a vision of a scroll with 7 seals. The 7-sealed scroll contained the prophetic
message of Revelation, Gods plan of judgment and salvation throughout the NT
era. It is possible that this little scroll is the same scroll. What small clue in 10:2
might lead one to think this? (Hint: look for the word open in Rev. 5-6 and 8:1)
The little scroll lay open in the mighty angels hand. Earlier John saw the
Lamb open each of the seven seals. The 7-seal scroll was now open.
If it was not the 7-sealed scroll, it may have been part of it or represented the
scroll. What does it say about what is written on the scroll that the scroll was
open?
It says that the contents of the scroll were not secret. It was not sealed shut,
but was open to read.
2. The earth is made up of land and seas. What does it say about the size of the
mighty angel in that he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land
(10:2b)?
It says that the mighty angel was huge, gigantic.
The angel was sent by God the Father and towers over the earth, what does it say
about Gods rule and control of the earth?
It says that God completely rules over the whole earth. He is in complete
control over it.
Later in the interlude, the angel reveals the mission of the church and
commissions it to spread the gospel. And later we will see dragons and beasts

A Bible Study of Revelation


arising from both land and sea. How does the size of the angel and the fact that he
straddles the entire earth relate to the mission?
The size of the angel draws attention to the importance of his mission and that
no power, human or demonic, could push him aside. The dragon and the beast
will try and prevent the church from completing its mission, but the mission
cannot be stopped. It will be completed. No one and no power can resist this
angel and the mission he represents.
3. The mighty angel called out with a loud voice (10:3a). What did his voice
sound like? And what would be the normal response of people to this and why?
The voice of the mighty angel sounded like a lion roaring. The roar of a lion
strikes fear into the hearts of people because he is the king of the jungle. The
lion is powerful and hunts down its prey.
Who does the lion represent in Job 10:2a,16 and Amos 3:8?
These OT passages say God is like a lion who hunts down his prey.
The angel then speaks with the powerful voice of God. He instills fear because he
roars with judgment. And yet God uses the threat of judgment to bring about
repentance.
4. The image of power and authority is further enhanced when the "the seven
thunders sounded" (10:3b-4a). John uses the definite article the in referring to
the seven thunders. So it is a definite known entity to his readers. But nowhere
else do the scriptures speak of the seven thunders. What is thunder associated
with in Ex. 19:16-19 and Ps. 29:3?
Thunder is associated with Gods voice.
So it is clear that the angel acts under the authoritative command of God. The
number 7 is used in the description of the thunder. 7 is the number of
completeness and is used in Scripture to symbolize Gods presence through his
Holy Spirit. What does this say about the message of the angel?
It says that the message comes from God the Holy Spirit and that it is holy and
complete and his word will accomplish his purpose.
5. When John heard the 7 thunders, which was a message from God, he was ready to
record them (10:4), for he had been told in Rev. 1:11 to write what he saw. But he
was stopped from doing so. What stopped him (10:4)?
A voice from heaven stopped him.
Given that God originally told John to write what he saw (1:11), who is the only
person who would have the authority to stop him from writing?
Only God would have the authority to stop him. Only God could counter his
original command.
What did the voice say to do (10:4b)?

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It said, Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down."

So John received more revelations from God than he was allowed to record. The
Bible gives us what we need to know about our salvation, but it is not exhaustive
(John 21:25).
What impression is given here as to when John recorded what he saw in the
visions?
It appears that John saw the vision and then immediately recorded it.
The purpose then for the voice from heaven is not further revelation but to make
stand out the lion-like voice of the angel and the importance of his mission. The
voices here are like the voice of God at Mt. Sinai. As God spoke there, so now he
speaks here through his angel.
6. The mighty angel who straddled the earth raised his right hand to heaven to take
an oath (10:5). An oath is taken to guarantee the truthfulness of the statement.
What statement does the oath guarantee here?
Here it dramatizes the certainty and truthfulness of the contents of the scroll in
the angels hand, which is the message that John is to proclaim, and in
particular the 7th trumpet.
Who is the one that he swears by (10:6a)?
He swears by the eternal One who is the Creator of all things everywhere.
Only the God who is transcendent, absolutely beyond time and space - the God
who is the source of everything that exists throughout the entire universe - has the
power and authority to make such a promise and to keep it. So the angel that
stood with one foot on the sea and one on land now swears by the One who
created the sea and land and all things.
7. What God planned and promised will come true. That there would be no more
delay (10:6b) means that nothing shall interrupt or prevent the accomplishment
of God's purpose. The sounding of the 7th trumpet will bring the End, when the
mystery of God would be fulfilled (10:7).
The word "mystery" refers to that which cannot be known by natural means,
apart from divine revelation. St. Paul uses the term, most prominently in his letter
to the Ephesians, to include the entire plan of salvation by grace through the life,
death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. John's use of the word here in Revelation
10 is similarly broad. It includes the plan of salvation as it was outlined
throughout the Old Testament by the prophets and now comes to its culmination
and completion in the prophecies of Revelation itself.
In the OT God announced this mystery to his servants the prophets (10:7b).
So Gods plan of salvation was made known to the OT prophets and God caused

A Bible Study of Revelation


the OT prophets to include this plan within their prophecies. The Old Testament
is, as Luther remarks, the cradle which holds the Christ child, who Gods plan of
salvation centered on. It is a proclamation of the Gospel from the first promise of
Genesis 3:15 to the closing verses of Malachi. The assurance of the angel's oath is
that all the promises made through God's prophets will be kept without fail.
8. Once again John hears the voice from heaven, that is, God (10:8a). God
commands him to take the open scroll that lay in the hand of the mighty angel
(10:8b). John did as he was told. He went to the angel and asked for the scroll
(10:9a). The angel tells John to do something strange with the scroll. What was
John to do with the scroll (10:9b)? And what does that mean?
John was to "Take and eat it. John was a prophet. A prophet proclaims Gods
word. But before he could proclaim it, he had to inwardly digest the
message himself. He had to know the message and he had to know what it
meant. The little scroll represented the message of God. And John had to hear
it and apply it to himself.
In Greek the word eat is emphatic. It could be translated more strongly as
devour it! In a similar way Ezekiel was commanded to eat a scroll and he
followed Gods command (Eze. 3:1-3). Likewise, Jeremiah ate the word of the
LORD.
9. The prophet is never personally detached from the message that is preached. That
Word impacts and affects him as much as it does his audience. What effect did the
voice say eating the scroll would have (10:9c) and what was the actual effect
(10:10b)?
The voice said, It will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be
sweet as honey." And when John actually ate the scroll, it was indeed sweet in
his mouth, but bitter in his stomach.
In a general type of way, what is bitter about Gods word and what is sweet about
it?
God speaks words of Law and words of Gospel. His Law is bitter because it
shows us our sin and punishment we deserve. His Gospel is sweet because it
shows us that God sent his Son as our Savior from sin and death.
Therefore the effects are the same for John as they would be for his readers and
hearers. Gods word produces bitterness when it produces sorrow for sin. And it
produces sweet joy when the Gospel of forgiveness is heard.
The prophet will also experience a different kind of sweetness and bitterness. As
he proclaims Gods word, his hearers will either accept it or reject it. If they
accept it, they will repent and receive the free gift of eternal life. This will bring
great joy to the proclaimer. Or they will reject the free gift and will doom
themselves to eternal separation from God. This causes intense bitterness.

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10. John was a prophet and as a prophet what did God tell him to do (10:11a)? What
does that mean?
God told him to prophesy, which means he must speak Gods word and he
must speak it truthfully. He has to tell it like it is. He must speak Gods word
of Law and he must speak Gods word of Gospel.
Who must he prophesy about (10:11b)?
He must prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and
kings." Which means he must prophesy about all people all over the world.
Gods word is important for all people.
In describing who he must prophesy about, John uses a 4-fold classification:
peoples, nations, languages, and kings. The number 4 is the number that
represents the whole earth. So in describing them in this way, he reinforces that all
of humanity must hear Gods word.
11. In summary then, the whole purpose of the gigantic angel and his scroll is that
John must proclaim Gods message to all people of the earth. The church must be
engaged in the mission that Christ gave to his church on earth (Mt. 28:16-20). In
his first commissioning by Jesus, John was to give the message to the church
(1:11). In this second commissioning (ch. 10), John is instructed to proclaim the
message to the whole human race.
The colossal angel standing over the whole earth symbolizes that the churchs
mission will dominate all human life, events and history. Nothing can stop the
church in her godly mission on earth (11:1-13). No matter what she suffers, the
church will complete her mission.
The angels dress further signifies that he speaks with Gods authority. And as the
church carries out her mission, she is accompanied by the thundering voice of
God almighty.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 27: Interlude-2nd Scene (Part 1): Temple Measured &
Trampled
Read Rev. 11:1-3
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
11:1 Measure: symbolic of building and protecting. What God builds will not
be destroyed.
11:1 Temple: the place where God dwells among his people. In the NT this is
the church.
11:1 Altar: the smoke of the incense rose up to God along with the prayers of
the people.
11:2 Holy city: represents the church, the place where God dwells with his
people.
11:2 42 months: represents a limited time of persecution and suffering. It
corresponds with the NT era.
11:3 Two witnesses: represents the church witnessing to the world about
Jesus.
11:3 1260 days: represents the amount of time that the church will have to
carry out its mission of witnessing.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 11:1-14 occur from the time of
Jesus ascension into heaven until the End when he returns.
1. The interlude continues, but shifts to a new scene. The focus now shifts to the
status of the church during the unfolding judgments of the seven trumpets. What
is the fate of the people of God while these horrors and woes are being poured out
upon the unbelieving mass of mankind? The ongoing, irrepressible witness of the
church is clearly affirmed in the interlude of the measuring of the temple and the
two witnesses.
In Rev. 10:8-11 John becomes an active participant in the Revelation as he is told
to eat the scroll and proclaim its message. Now his active participation continues
as he is told to measure the temple of God (11:1). John is to not only view the
events but he is to also take part in them. This is not surprising because chs. 10
and 11 have to do with the churchs mission on earth, witnessing about Jesus
Christ to the world, of which John has already been an active participant and will
continue to be until his death.
2. The symbolic action of measuring the temple (11:1) is drawn from the prophecy
of Ezekiel (Eze. 40-48) and Zechariah (Zech.2:1-5). Israel had been defeated and
taken into exile. When that happened the temple and the city of Jerusalem were
destroyed. The prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of a rebuilt temple and rebuilt
Jerusalem. Like Rev. 11:1, Ezekiel sees the temple being measured (Eze. 40:1-5).

A Bible Study of Revelation


This was a promise that the temple would be rebuilt. For what purpose would the
temple be rebuilt (see Eze. 43:1-7; 48:35)?
When the temple was rebuilt Gods holy presence would return to it. God
would then live there in the midst of the people of Israel forever.
The temple described in Eze. 40-48 is not the physical temple in Jerusalem.
Rather it looks forward to the NT when the people of God are the temple, the
church. It is there that God will dwell with his people forever. Paul says in 2 Cor.
6:16: "For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said, "I will live with
them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they will be My people."
What was measured in Zech. 2:1-5? And what did it mean? What did God
promise to do for it?
The city of Jerusalem was measured. This meant that Jerusalem would be
inhabited again and that its people would live under Gods protection.
This promise too was something more than an earthly city. It looked forward to
the heavenly Jerusalem, where Gods people could live without fear for God was
there to protect her.
So the measuring of the temple and Jerusalem in the OT give us clues to purpose
of the measuring of the temple in Revelation. What then is the meaning of the
measuring of the temple for John and NT believers in relation to the troubles and
plagues caused by the 7 trumpets?
There will be a new and different kind of temple in the NT which will last into
eternity. It is the church. God will dwell in his temple (the church) forever.
And his people will live without fear because God will protect her. So even as
the judgments of the 7 trumpets take place on earth, the people of God need
not fear. The temple has been rebuilt as a living temple, the church, and it will
remain intact throughout it all. God will protect it and watch over it. He will
keep it safe and secure.
3. John was to measure the temple proper, that is, the Holy Place and the Holy of
Holies. Besides the inner Sanctuary, what else was also to be measured (11:1)?
The altar was also to be measured and the people worshipping were to be
measured. This is the same altar that has already been referred to in
Revelation (6:9-11). It refers to the incense altar that stood in the inner
Sanctuary. On it incense burned and the sweet smoke from it arose before God
symbolizing the prayers of the Gods worshipping people rising up before him
(Rev. 8:4).
What does it mean that this piece of furniture and Gods people worshipping were
included in the measuring?
Since the incense altar was symbolic of Gods people praying, it meant that
Gods people were going to be protected during the NT time when the plagues
occurred. The measuring of the people meant that they would be protected in

A Bible Study of Revelation


order that they might continue to worship and that they might carry out their
mission from the time of Jesus ascension until the End.
Those who worship in the temple of God are carefully counted and enumerated.
Our God knows each and every one of those who are His own. Not one will be
overlooked or forgotten. The temple and the altar are meticulously measured - the
worshiping congregation is precisely counted - the symbolism repeats and
reinforces itself. God will guard and protect His people even as the trumpets of
judgment continue to sound throughout the world.
4. Weve seen what was to be measured, that is, protected and preserved by God.
What is John told not to measure (11:2) and why?
John is not to measure the court outside the temple. The reason for this is that
it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for fortytwo months.
Some translate nations as Gentiles. The outer court became known as the
Court of the Gentiles. Those who worship and who are counted are believers
from all nations. In contrast then, who are those who trample the outer court of
the temple?
They are unbelievers or pagans. They are the unbelieving mass of mankind
from all races and ethnic backgrounds. The outer court and the city are given
over to be trampled upon by the enemies of God.
The faithful people of God will be called upon, again and again, to offer the good
confession in the face of bitter opposition; to endure bloody persecution as the
devil and those who are his struggle with increasing desperation to stifle the
message of the Gospel. In reality, the testing of that persecution will only serve to
strengthen and renew the faith of God's people. Tertullian, the great historian of
the early church said it well" "The more you mow us down, the more we grow for the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." The devil's assault will
never penetrate beyond the outer court. He can persecute and oppress the church but he cannot destroy it.
Notice that the wording here:"They (the Gentiles) will trample on the holy city
for 42 months," is strongly reminiscent of the words of Jesus: "Jerusalem will
be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled"
(Luke 21:24). Jerusalem, which is "the holy city," is often identified with the
people of God in Scripture. It is a prevalent Biblical symbol for the church. In the
closing chapters of Revelation "the new Jerusalem" becomes the eternal
dwelling place of God's people in the new heaven and the new earth. In this scene,
the trampling of the holy city, extends and reinforces the symbolic presentation of
the church's persecution at the hands of the unbelieving world.
5. How long were the pagans allowed to trample the outer court and the holy city
(11:2b) and how long will the two witnesses prophesy (11:3b)?

A Bible Study of Revelation

They will be allowed to trample the church for 42 months and the two
witnesses will prophesy for 1260 days.

These are two different ways of referring to the same time period. Both equate to
3 years (see Rev. 12:14). So during this time period the pagans will persecute
and try to destroy the church, but God will protect her from total annihilation. And
during the same period the church will witness and speak Gods word to nations.
The time periods are derived from and patterned after Daniel. In Dan. 7:25 the 4th
beast will dominate the saints for 3 years; in 12:7 the saints endure astonishing
things for 3 seasons or years; and in 12:11 the saints endure the
abomination of desolation for 1290 days. Daniel sees this time period as
Revelation does, as a time when the church on earth will be trodden under foot by
the pagan nations. According to Mark 13:1-26 when will this time period begin
and when will it end? (Hint for the beginning of the time period: Who will be the
first to handed over and beaten and give witness (Mk. 13:9-13)?)
Begin: The period of trampling will begin: with Jesus disciples. They will be
the first to be persecuted and to witness. And it will continue on after them.
End: The period of trampling will end (see Mk 13:26): when Jesus comes
again in the clouds with power and glory.
So this trampling and witnessing will occur for the entire NT time, from the time
of Jesus ascension to the time of his return (the church age). The use of this
symbolic number in any of its variations is consistent throughout the Book of
Revelation. Three and a half represents a time of suffering and persecution which
is limited by the sovereign power of God. It will not continue forever.
6. Note that we will cover the two witnesses (11:3) in the next lesson.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 28: Interlude-2nd Scene (Part 2): The Two Witnesses
Read Rev. 11:3-6
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
11:3 Two witnesses: the church witnessing to the life, death, and resurrection of
Jesus Christ.
11:3 Sackcloth: a symbol of mourning, repentance, and humility.
11:4 Two olive trees, two lampstands: the church powered by the Holy Spirit to be
the light of the world.
11:5 Fire: Gods word of Law that condemns and judges. Gods Law kills.
11:6 Turn waters into blood, plague: Gods judgment on those who oppose him
and his witnesses.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 11:1-14 occur from the time of
Jesus ascension into heaven until the End when he returns.
1. John is told that during the time of persecution (42 months, the NT era) two
witnesses will prophesy (1260 days = 42 months) (11:3). What does it mean to
prophesy?
To prophesy means to speak or tell Gods word. God has given his word in the
form of scripture and even more importantly in his Son Jesus, who is the Word
made flesh. Gods Word is to be proclaimed to the world.
Who is it that would prophesy Gods word to the world?
That is the responsibility and mission of the church. The church is to speak
Gods word of Law and his word of Gospel to the world.
Notice that God calls the two witnesses, my two witnesses. So the two
witnesses belong to God (11:3) and correspond to the church. The two witnesses
are not two specific individuals. For what reason are two witnesses used (see
Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6)?
Two witnesses were used in order to provide competent legal testimony which
must be established with the corroboration of at least two witnesses. No one
who has been told Gods word will be able to deny it.
How are the two witnesses clothed (11:3b) and who wore such clothing?
The two witnesses, the church, are dressed in sackcloth. Sackcloth was worn
by those who were in mourning or who were repentant and had sorrow over
sin. This was also the traditional garb for prophets as they called people to
repentance.

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Gods people, the church, then are to live a life of repentance and, with a
penitential attitude of humility, are to call all people to repentance by prophesying
(proclaiming) Gods word.
2. The two witnesses are described as two olive trees and the two lampstands that
stand before the Lord of the earth (11:4). The imagery of "olive trees" and
"lampstands" is freely adapted from Zech. 4:2-14. In Zechariah the golden
lampstand represents Israel, the people of God. The seven lamps upon the
lampstand represent the omniscient "eyes of the Lord which range throughout
the earth." (Zech. 4:10). The two olive trees represent the high priest and the king
as the two leaders who the Lord has anointed to guard and protect His people and
accomplish the reconstruction of the temple (Zech. 4:14). The point of Zechariah's
vision was the assurance that despite powerful opposition the temple would be
rebuilt.
John uses somewhat similar imagery as Zechariah. He uses the images of olive
trees and lampstands. For what purpose are lamps used? And how does that relate
to the church?
Lamps are obviously used to give off light. It is the mission of the church to
bring the light of Christ to a sin darkened world. The people of God are to let
their light shine before others that they may praise God in heaven.
In order for a lamp to burn giving off light and to continue to burn what is
needed? Who and what is the fuel that causes the church to give off light?
Lamps need oil to burn and give off light, hence the olive trees which supply
olive oil. The fuel for the churchs lamp is the Holy Spirit who uses Gods
word to kindle a fire in our heart.
So when the two witnesses who stand before the Lord of the earth prophesy
they bring light to the world which is the light of Christ supplied by the Holy
Spirit. The church has been anointed and equipped by God the Holy Spirit to
serve as His prophetic witness. Apart from that divine empowerment, the church's
witness will falter and fail.
We said above that the two olive trees in Zechariah stood for the anointed king
and priest. Here the two witnesses are described as two olive trees because the
people of God are a royal priesthood. The people of God belong to Gods
kingdom and serve him as priests. It is their task to proclaim Gods word too in
order that others may become a part of the kingdom. This is what Christians do,
missionaries, pastors, and individual Christians. And as priests they have access to
God and therefore it is their duty to bring before God the needs of the world. This
is what Christians do in the prayers each Sunday in the Divine Service.
3. Remember that God called the witnesses my two witnesses (11:3). What will
happen to those who oppose Gods witnesses (11:5)?

A Bible Study of Revelation

Fire from the witnesses will consume them. If they oppose them, they are
doomed to be killed.

The picture of fire consuming the enemies of God and his two witnesses is similar
to that of Elijah. Read 2 Ki. 1:1-15. How did Elijah use fire?
King Ahaziah twice sent a captain and fifty men to arrest Elijah because of his
message from Yahweh. Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume them
and it did.
If one opposes Gods prophet or his witnesses he does so at his own peril. If you
oppose Gods witnesses, you oppose God himself. In this case in Revelation, the
fire that consumes them is not a physical fire. The language here is similar to Jer.
5:14. Read it and explain what the fire is.
The fire that consumes is the word of God that the witnesses speak. Gods
word will judge and condemn those who oppose him. Their judgment will be
like fire consuming wood.
What power does God give his two witnesses (11:6a)?
He gives them the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days
of their prophesying.
This too is reminiscent of Elijah. Read 1 Ki. 16:29 - 17:1. What did Elijah do?
Because Ahab was evil and worshipped Baal Elijah stopped rain from falling
for 3 years by proclaiming Gods word.
What other power does God give the two witnesses (11:6b)?
God gives them the power over the waters to turn them into blood and to
strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.
Who and what does this remind us of (see Ex.7-11)?
This reminds us of Moses and the plagues he brought against Egypt.
At the word of the Lord, fire consumed those who would arrest Elijah. At the
word of the Lord, there was no rain for 3 years. At the word of the Lord, plague
after plague struck pharaoh as he opposed God. God is in control and he will do
whatever is necessary to aid his people and their mission.
The judgment plagues of God are never capricious or vindictive. According to
Amos 4:6-11, for what purpose does God send the plagues of his judgment?
God sends the plagues of his judgment in order to cause people to return to
him, to lead stubborn sinners to repentance.
The point of all this is that no one and no power can stop the church from
completing her prophetic mission (like they were unable to stop Moses and

A Bible Study of Revelation


Elijah). God, ruling through the exalted Christ, provides and protects his church.
John and the church must (10:8-11) witness.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 29: Interlude-2nd Scene (Part 2): The Two Witnesses are
Killed
Read Rev. 11:7-10
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
11:7 Beast: the devil who was cast out of heaven into hell when he rebelled.
11:7 The bottomless pit: hell, the place of torment made for the devil and his
evil demons.
11:8 The great city: Jerusalem, the city where God dwelt among his people,
but which turned its back on him.
11:8 Sodom and Egypt: known for their evil lifestyle and oppression of Gods
people.
11:9 3 days: a short period of time.
11:9 People, tribes, languages, nations: 4-fold, represents the whole earth.
11:10 Two prophets: another name for the two witnesses, the church. They are
prophets because they proclaim Gods word to the people.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 11:1-14 occur from the time of
Jesus ascension into heaven until the End when he returns.
1. When the two witnesses do what their name implies, that is, testify to the truth,
what happens to them (11:7)?
The beast makes war on them and conquers them and kills them.
In general then, what does this mean will happen when the church faithfully
witnesses to the truth of sin and Savior?
When the church testifies to the truth it will always experience the persecution
and opposition of the world. There can be no peaceful co-existence between
the true church and the world. The devil cannot tolerate the proclamation of
the truth. The full weight of his fury will fall upon those who refuse to
compromise and conform to the way and wisdom of this world.
When does the murder of the two witnesses take place (11:7a)?
It takes place after they finish their testimony. They will not be murdered until
their mission is complete. It is the Lord who determines the duration of the
witnesses' testimony.
The two witnesses may be looked at in two ways, as either individual Christians
or as the church as a whole. Individual Christians give testimony to the truth of
Gods word. Only after their full testimony is heard are they allowed to be killed.
But after their testimony has been halted by the devil, God brings forth other
witnesses to give testimony. In this way the church is never silenced. In another
way the church gives testimony as a whole. And until her full testimony is heard

A Bible Study of Revelation


all around the world, the church will not be silenced. At the end when all those
who would believe (the elect) have heard the Gospel, only then is the church
silenced. But that will only be for a very short time as she lives on into eternity.
2. Who is the enemy of the church that persecutes it and tries to kill it (11:7)?
It is the beast that rises from the bottomless pit.
This is the same being that was described in Rev. 9:11. What was it called there
and what did its name mean?
There it was called the angel of the bottomless pit and his name was
Abaddon (Hebrew) and Apollyon (Greek). The names mean destruction
and destroyer.
John has already seen demonic forces and their leader (9:1-11). In ch. 9 these
forces afflict the unbelieving human race. In chapters 12 and 13 they afflict the
church. The devil symbolizes all the enemy forces who are under demonic
influence and control (see 11:9-10).
His warfare against the Gospel and its witnesses is brutal and relentless. He will
never give up or grow weary in this age-old fight. All those who would stand for
the truth of God must be prepared to face his rage. Again and again he will
"conquer and kill" God's witnesses. The majority of people will always be with
him. The forces of falsehood and evil will maintain the appearance of
overwhelming and irresistible power. They seem to move from victory to victory.
3. After the devil kills the two witnesses (11:7) what does he do with their bodies
(11:8a)?
He leaves their dead bodies lying in the street.
What was his purpose in doing that?
His purpose in leaving their dead bodies on display and denying them burial
was to heap contempt, indignity, and humiliation upon them.
What does this mean and say about the church throughout the NT period?
It means that the church (the two witnesses) will endure ongoing shame and
ridicule that the unbelieving world heaps her.
Where are the bodies left on display (11:8b, c)?
The bodies are left on display in the street of the great city where their
Lord was crucified.
Where and who does this refer to?
This refers to Jesus who was put on display when he was crucified in the great
city of Jerusalem.

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Christians then will follow in the footsteps of their Lord. They and their message
will be ridiculed. The unbelieving world will persecute her and kill her. In every
age the church is put to death and then her enemies openly gloat over her dead
body.
What is the great city symbolically called (11:8c)? And what were they known
for?
It is symbolically called Sodom and Egypt. Sodom was known for its open
and blatant rebellious and sinful lifestyle. They were unashamed of their
disgusting behavior. Egypt was the place known for its slavery of Israel and
pharaohs obstinate opposition to the Lord.
In general this is the worlds response to the churchs witness as it is led on by the
devil. Following the devils lead the world is rebellious and obstinately opposed
the Lord and the witnesses he sends, the church.
4. What did some people not allow to happen for 3 days (11:9b)?
They did not allow the bodies of the two witnesses to be buried.
This again was an insult intended to heap shame on the dead witnesses. Who was
it that heaped this shame on them (11:9a)? Who do they represent?
Peoples and tribes and languages and nations. Given the 4-fold nature of the
description, they represent the whole earth. All of the unbelieving world
scorns and ridicules the church.
The bodies of the witnesses are left out on display for all to see for 3 days. How
long did the church have to carry out its mission (see 11:2-3)?
The church had 3 years to carryout its mission of witness.
How does this compare to the time the bodies were left on display (11:9a)?
When compared to 3 years, 3 days is a very short period of time.
What does this mean for the NT church?
At any time for a short period of time during the NT period (3 years), the
church may be silenced (3 days). But even in death, her unburied body
gives witness.
How might this 3 days of the witnesses being silenced be a warning to the
unbelieving world concerning the End?
The short periods of silence when Gods word is not proclaimed to a sin
darkened world provide a warning that when the End comes, there will be no
more opportunity to hear the Gospel voice of God.
5. What do the unbelieving people do during this 3 day period (11:10a)?

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They rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents. They
celebrate over the dead bodies. Sinful humanity celebrates the downfall and
death of the faithful witnesses with unrestrained jubilation.

It is almost as though a world-wide holiday - an "Antichrist-mas" (Franzmann,


p.81) has been declared with merry making and the exchange of gifts.
The gift exchange may, in fact, be a reference to the Hebrew Feast of Purim - "a
day for gladness and feasting..a day on which they send choice portions to one
another and gifts to the poor." (Esther 9:19,22). The festival commemorated the
deliverance of the Jews from destruction in the days of Esther and Mordecai.
What does the world think it has been delivered from that caused it so much
torment? Or asked in another way, what could the witnesses have said to cause the
world torment?
Sinful mankind feels as though it has been delivered - delivered from troubled
consciences, the torment of guilt, and the accusations of the law. By speaking
the truth, and holding up before mankind the ugly reality of its sin - "these
two prophets had tormented those who dwell on the earth." They also no
longer have to listen to the fact that the only way of salvation is through the
cross of Christ. The world hates the Gospel message and tries to shut the
church up forever.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 30: Interlude-2nd Scene (Part 2): The Two Witnesses are
Resurrected
Read Rev. 11:11-14
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
11:11 3 days: a short period of time.
11:12 Loud voice: gets everyones attention.
11:13 Earthquake: symbolizes Gods judgment.
11:13 Tenth: uses the number 10, the number of completeness. A symbolic
way of referring to the complete judgment of all unbelievers.
11:13 7000: represents the complete number of unbelievers.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 11:1-14 occur from the time of
Jesus ascension into heaven until the End when he returns.
1. The celebration by the unbelieving world of the death of the two prophets was
short lived. Why? What happened (11:11a)?
After 3 days, that is a short period of time, God breathed life into their dead
bodies.
This is reminiscent of an OT story. Read Eze. 37:1-14. What similarity is their
between Rev. 11:11a and Eze. 37:1-14?
In both cases God caused breath to enter into dead bodies and the bodies came
to life.
In Ezekiel this is the raising of Israel from captivity to live in the Promised Land
again. In Rev. 11:11 the church will be brought back to life. The raising up of the
church can be looked at in two ways, in local churches and in the church as a
whole. Throughout the NT time until Christ comes again local churches will be
killed off and silenced by the devil. But after a short period of time God will raise
the church back up to prophesy and witness to a new generation. This resurrection
points forward to the ultimate resurrection at the End of the entire Christian
church. At the End when Jesus returns, the whole Christian church will be raised
up and brought back to life. God will breathe his Spirit into the church and it will
live forever.
2. As the church comes back to life and stands on its feet, what happens to those
who were celebrating joyfully of their death (11:11b)?
Their joyful celebration is suddenly replaced by desperate fear - "and great
fear fell on those who saw them."
Mankind had rejoiced over the downfall of the witnesses because their death put
an end to the troubling message of judgment which they proclaimed. Their

A Bible Study of Revelation


ignominious demise seemed to discredit and deny their warning of impending
punishment for sin from the hand of a righteous God. But now the witnesses are
alive again and their resurrection validates their message. Why do they now feel
such great fear? What do they realize they will face? What does it mean for the
witnesses?
Now the time of grace is over and the time of judgment is at hand. The
resurrection of the witnesses and their vindication before the startled eyes of
the world takes us to the last day and the great day of resurrection when the
Lord shall return in glory and power to judge the living and the dead. The long
awaited vindication will finally come for each and all of the witnesses when
the dead in Christ shall rise to meet the Lord in the clouds.
3. Some people teach of a rapture where Christians are taken up into heaven secretly.
What would argue against that in 11:12?
The two resurrected witnesses are called to come up to heaven by a loud
voice and when they were taken up into heaven they were seen by their
enemies. The ascension of Christians into heaven is not hidden at all. When
they are taken up, it is done in full view and hearing of all.
Given what has happened to the two witnesses in Rev. 11, how does the end of
their ministry parallel the end of Jesus ministry?
Concerning the truth: Jesus came as the truth and spoke the truth that he was
the way and the truth and the life. The two witnesses proclaimed Jesus and the
truths of sin and salvation through Jesus.
Response to the truth: Jesus was killed for who he was and what he
proclaimed. The two witnesses were killed because their message about Jesus.
What happened after a short period: Jesus was raised to life on the third day.
The two witnesses were raise to life after 3 days.
What happened after the resurrection: Jesus ascended into heaven in the
clouds. The two witnesses will ascend into heaven in the clouds.
Jesus and his followers are shamed by the world, but God envelopes them in his
glory.
4. The Lord Jesus had prophesied: "And this gospel of the kingdom will be
preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end
will come" (Matt. 24:14). The church (the two witnesses) had given its testimony
around the world and had now been taken up into heaven. According to what
Jesus said, what must come next?
What must come next is the End, the final judgment of unbelievers. The
resurrection and ascension of the witnessing church marks the end of time.
According to 11:13a, when does the End take place?
At that hour when the witnesses were taken up into heaven is when the End
takes place.

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What happens at that hour (11:13a)?
At that hour there is a great earthquake.
Describing the earthquake in this way really understates its magnitude. This will
be a seismic event of global proportion, literally off the Richter scale. It will
involve not one nation but every nation. Human civilization will totter and fall.
The unbelievers who once cheered the death of the witnesses, but then were
gripped with fear when they came back to life and ascended into heaven, are now
struck with even more fear when they experience a great earthquake.
Earthquakes often accompany Gods mighty acts and fearful judgment (see Eze.
38:19-20; Hag. 2:6-9; Heb. 12:26). So, already gripped with fear, they experience
the world wide catastrophe of Gods judgment.
At times God gives glimpses of the shaking and judgment that is to come at the
End. At times Gods shaking of the world not only causes geophysical tremors,
but also political, economic and social shakings, which shows his displeasure over
how the pagan world treats his witnesses (Examples: Imperial Rome, USSR and
its communist satellites). They wished to trample the church, but God raised it up
and preserved it. And so at the End he raises up the church and judges those who
refuse to believe in him.
5. A tenth of the city fell (11:13a). 10 is the number of completeness. So the fact
that a tenth of the city fell means more than 10% of it was destroyed. The
collapse of the physical universe has commenced. It indicates that in its opening
seconds the city is already decimated and that the entire city will be destroyed.
Lenski aptly compares the tenth that is destroyed to the first complete stone, the
keystone, that falls from the arch, with the inevitable result that all the rest must
now collapse.
The number killed in the earthquake was 7000 (11:13b). The number 7000 is
symbolic also. The number 7 indicates that the 7-fold Spirit (the Holy Spirit) is in
control. The number 1000 is the number 10 (again the number of completeness)
cubed. The 7000 killed then represent all unbelievers. All unbelievers will go to
an everlasting death.
Dr. White believes the number 7000 matches the number of believers in Elijahs
day that did not bow down to the Canaanite god Baal (1 Kings 19:18). So then
7000 was deliberately chosen and was the number of the church, that is of those
who remain faithful to the one true God. The two witnesses, who represent the
church on earth proclaiming the Gospel, are also represented by the number 7000
(as used in the Elijah account). If this is the case, when the church (two witnesses)
is put to death, then 7000 are put to death. Therefore when 7000 unbelievers are
killed in 11:13, it is a judgment of "lex talionis" - eye for an eye and tooth for a

A Bible Study of Revelation


tooth (Exodus 21:24). In the End then, if the whole church dies then all of
unbelieving mankind must also die.
6. What happened to those unbelievers that did not die (11:13b)?
The rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. They had
witnessed that Gods people come back to life and were taken into heaven.
They had witnessed a massive earthquake. They had seen a large number of
people killed in the earthquake. They were indeed terrified.
Some believe that when it says that they gave glory to the God of heaven it
means that some unbelievers became believers (Brighton). Yet the church had
already been taken up to heaven. This scene matches that of the sixth trumpetangel (9:13-21-the last battle). Both cover the End. What does 9:20-21 say
happened to those who were not killed?
It says: The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not
repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of
gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or
walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual
immorality or their thefts.
So it would seem as if the scene at the End is like that of Noah. When Noah and
his family were safely in the ark, God closed the door and shut them in. Mankind
had not believed that Gods judgment was coming and when the door was shut it
was too late for anyone else to enter the ark and be saved. So it will be also at the
End. On that day the moment of final recognition will come for every man on
earth and all will know the fatal error of their ways. All will see God for who he
really is. Every knee will bow before him. But by then it will be too late to be
saved. When judgment comes the time of repentance is over.
7. Between the 6th and 7th scenes (9:13-21 and 11:15-19) of the Trumpets vision
(these scenes are also called the 2nd and 3rd woes) was the interlude, which
consisted of two scenes (10:1-11-the last battle and 11:1-14-the End). The
announcement that the second woe has come and gone (11:14) reverts us back to
Revelation 9:21 and the completion of the sixth trumpet. The announcement here
that the third woe is imminent serves to pick up the narrative where it had been
interrupted after 9:21. This then ends the interlude.
8. In summary, the interlude of Rev. 7:1-17 encouraged Christians that God would
keep them in the faith no matter what they suffered. The interlude of Rev. 10:111:14 shows that although the Church in mission will be persecuted, it will be
protected and the mission will be completed.
The 2 witnesses symbolize the whole church over the entire NT period. They are
also applicable to a congregation and individuals.

A Bible Study of Revelation


As was their mission, the 2 witnesses (the church) witness. And as they do they
are persecuted. Yet they will be protected and accomplish their mission. When it
is accomplished they are killed; their witness is silenced. Yet the church is heard
from again because it is resurrected. The church is raised so that it might witness
again. And so the pattern goes on to the End.
The final assault on the church is Armageddon (16:12-16) and the battle of God
and Magog (20:7-10). The final raising up of the church will be the resurrection to
eternal life at the End (19:1-21; 20:11-15; 21:1-22:5). Each revival of the church
to witness again or of an individual person to heavenly glory when they die
throughout the NT period is a type, a foreshadowing of the great and final revival
the resurrection at the End.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 31: The Seventh Trumpet-Angel: The End and Its Joy
Read Rev. 11:15-19
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
11:15 7th Angel: the last of the trumpet-angels. His trumpet blast ushers in the
eternal reign of God.
11:15 Loud voices: speak so that all can hear the important announcement.
11:16 24 Elders: represents all the people of God from the OT and the NT, the
church universal.
11:16 Sit on their thrones: Christ shares his victory with believers. They rule
with Christ.
11:17 Who is and who was: two thirds of a Hebrew title for God expressing
Gods eternal being.
11:19 Gods temple..the ark of his covenant: signified Gods holy presence
among his people.
11:19 Flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and
heavy hail: represents Gods holy presence.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 11:15-19 occur at the End after
Gods judgment has been pronounced and the faithful have been vindicated.
1. The 7th and last trumpet-angel blew his trumpet (11:15) ushering in the last scene
of the vision. Scanning over 11:16-19, where does the scene shift to? Where does
this scene take place at?
The scene shifts from earth to heaven. All of heaven erupts in song in
celebration of Gods and his Anointed Ones victory.
The 7th Seal (8:1-5) and the 7th Trumpet (11:15-19) correspond to each other, but
there is a contrast between them. When the 7th seal was opened (8:1) what
happened as compared to the 7th trumpet?
When the 7th seal was opened, there was silence in heaven as opposed to the
7th trumpet where heaven erupts in song.
In the case of the 7th seal there is an anticipation of what almighty God will do. In
the 7th trumpet the loud voices in heaven recognize that the final triumph of God
through his Christ has been completed and is a triumph for the church as well.
2. Who are the loud voices in heaven? Some believe them to be angels, or the 4winged creatures, or the saints. If it were the saints (the church triumphant) it
would go along with in 7:9-10. Who and what did they praise in 7:9-10)?
There they shouted their praise to God and the Lamb for the salvation they
won.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Who and what do the loud voices of heaven praise (11:15b)?
They praise God and his Christ for their victory and reign over all of Gods
creation. The triumphant song of heavenly praise welcomes the coming of the
kingdom of God. The kingdom for which God's people have longed and
prayed throughout history has finally arrived and the response is joyful
celebration.
Throughout the long years of human history, from the fall of man until the second
coming of Christ, the universe -"the kingdom of the world" has suffered beneath
the tyrannical domination of sin and Satan. The sovereign control of God over all
things has, of course, always been absolute, but it has not always been evident.
Through Christ's redemption, the power and dominion of sin has been destroyed.
At his ascension Christ took his position on the throne as ruler of the universe.
Only when Christ returns in glory and power to judge the living and the dead will
"the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ" be publically and undeniably
demonstrated before all.
This is the scene here. The first six trumpets have carried us across the New
Testament era to the end of time and now the final trumpet proclaims the
consummation of human history and the culmination of God's age-old plan for the
salvation of His people. The heavenly anthem joyfully acknowledges the end of
time and the beginning of eternity - "and He will reign forever and ever." What
was promised in Ps. 2:4-9 and Zech. 14:9 has come true.
Behind the kingdom of this world is the word cosmos. It may refer to the
entire created universe or to the earth and the human race. Here in 11:15 the
cosmos is that part of Gods creation that was contested by the forces of evil. At
the End in an open display of victory, God will openly claim all of his creation as
his own, especially the part that was contested. He is the Lord of all creation.
3. What does the fact that God and his Christ will reign forever and ever cause the
24 elders to do (11:16a)?
It causes them who normally sit upon their thrones before God to fall on their
faces before God and worship him.
The 24 elders represent the church universal, that is, all believers from both the
OT and NT. With them Christ has shared his victory over sin, death, and Satan
and therefore they sit upon thrones ruling with Christ. But they realize that they
had no part in winning the victory, that God won the victory through his Christ.
So when the final trumpet sounds they take a position of humility before God,
bowing down in adoration and awe they worship him as the Creator and Lord of
the universe.
4. The song they sing is one of thanksgiving (eucharist). How is God addressed in
this thanksgiving (11:17a)?
God is addressed as Lord God Almighty, who is and who was.

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This is a classic Hebrew title for God. It literally means Lord of hosts/armies.
This is also two thirds of another Hebrew title for God. What is the full title (see
Rev. 1:4, 8; 4:8) and what does it express?
The full title is Who was, Who is, and Who is coming. This title expresses
the eternalness of God.
The customary third component in that title has been omitted and replaced with
the phrase - "for You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign."
The Christian prayer during the NT era is Come Lord Jesus (Rev. 22:20b). The
leaving off of the third part of the title and adding a different part is a recognition
by the saints that they no longer need to ask him to come because he has already
come in power and has made his rule visible for all to see. He has taken back that
which rightfully belongs to him and has put it on full display.
5. Note that the 7th trumpet is also called the 3rd woe in 11:14b. While the people of
God celebrate Gods victory and reign and begin their eternal worship of God, at
the same time unbelievers suffer the woe of Gods wrath and eternal judgment.
What does the establishment of the kingdom of God and the return of Christ do to
the pagan nations (11:18a)? Why do you think this is the case?
It arouses the fury of the nations. They are enraged because his coming means
that their day is over and the time of their judgment has come.
What is their rage met by (11:18a)?
Their wicked rage is met by Gods righteous wrath.
As always, the punishment fits the crime. The "wrath" of God is the Lord's
response to the rage of defiant humanity. The language of the phrase clearly
recalls that of Psalm 2. Take a look at it.
6. The last trumpet had sounded (11:15), all believers fell down in reverence before
God (11:16) thanking and praising him (11:17), the unbelieving nations became
enraged at their eternal fate (11:18a), and then came the time for the dead to be
judged (11:18a).
On that great day of judgment, all the dead shall rise to stand before the judgment
seat of God - every human being who has ever lived from the beginning of
creation to the call of the last trumpet. At the final judgment some people will be
rewarded (11:18b). Who will be rewarded?
Gods servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both
small and great. All the saints will be rewarded; all who revere Gods holy
name will be rewarded; all believers whether small or great will be rewarded.
The purpose of that great and terrible day of the Lord is not to decide who is
going to heaven or to hell, for all Christians are already in heaven bowing down

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before God and worshipping him. The purpose is to publically and irrefutably
demonstrate the perfect justice of God before all of humanity. Thus the empirical
evidence of works is presented as the basis for the judgment already rendered (cf.
Matthew 25:31-46). While all who enter heaven do so absolutely by God's
undeserved love in Christ, degrees of glory in heaven will vary in proportion to
the role which every individual was called upon to play in God's work on earth
(cf. 1 Cor. 3:8; Dan. 12:3).
7. What else besides rewarding will happen in the final judgment (11:18b)?
The destroyers of the earth will be destroyed.
Who are these destroyers?
They are unbelievers who participated with the devil in an attempt to usurp
the power of God. Sinful humanity is guilty of destroying the earth not only
literally, but primarily morally, in their opposition to the reign of God and
their defiling themselves and the lands in which they live by their depravity
and sin.
Notice that once again the punishment matches the crime. Those that destroyed
will themselves be destroyed.
8. When the judgment was complete, what happened in heaven (11:19a)?
Gods temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen
within his temple.
The architecture of the temple and the tabernacle was designed to communicate
degrees of holiness, with the room that housed the ark of the covenant (the holy of
holies) being the most holy. What message did that send to sinful mankind?
The closer one got to the ark the more restricted the access was. It was meant
to convey that sinful men cannot stand in the presence of the holy God.
The ark of the covenant resided in the holy of holies. Access to it was restricted
by a heavy curtain. Only once a year was the high priest allowed to enter the holy
of holies. On that day, the Day of Atonement, he was required to go through an
elaborate ritual before he could enter. Upon entering he would sprinkle blood on
the mercy seat. The mercy seat was the lid to the ark. Gods holy presence in the
form of a cloud resided above the ark between the cherubim. The ark was Gods
royal throne. He sat upon the mercy seat granting mercy to sinful people because
of the blood shed for them which covered over their sins. All of this pointed
forward to the blood Jesus shed for sinful mankind. His shed blood covers our
sins and is the basis for Gods mercy.
When Jesus died on the cross the curtain was torn in two, indicating that the way
to holy God for sinful man had been opened up. So the temple and the ark have
always indicated Gods merciful presence among his people. Now in this scene
the temple was opened up and all could see the ark. Because of the shed blood of

A Bible Study of Revelation


the Lamb all barriers to the temple and ark have been removed. The way to God is
open. Believers can now see God face to face without fear and they will do so
throughout eternity.
Some might be tempted to say that the way to the ark was opened and people
could view it because God was no longer present there. But what accompanied the
opening up of the temple (11:19b)?
There was lightning, noises, thunders, earthquake and large hail.
What did these physical phenomena mean (see Ex. 19:16-20)?
On Mt. Sinai these were manifestations of Gods holy presence. So it is the
same here.
So when the temple was opened up and the ark could be seen by all and it was
accompanied by the physical manifestations of Gods holy presence, it meant that
all could now see God sitting upon his thrown in heaven. All barriers had been
removed. The mercy that was needed by sinful people to stand before holy God
had been completely fulfilled. The reward for believers in Jesus is access to Gods
holy presence into eternity.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Introduction to Revelation 12-14, an Interregnum
(Taken from notes on the Concordia Commentary of Luke.)
An interregnum is a pause. It is a pause between the 2nd and 3rd 7-fold visions. It is
more than an interlude (7:1-17; 10:1-11:14). In a lengthy pause, the portrayal of events on
earth is suspended in order to permit John to see a cosmic vision expounding events that
overarch what he has been seeing happening on earth. These chapters visually explain to
John why events on earth are occurring.
The events of chapters 12-14 are cosmic, happening both above and on the earth.
It is a war between God and the prince of darkness, a war that takes place in the heavens
and then drops down to earth. This warfare between God and Lucifer is the source and
cause of the warfare between Gods people and the forces of evil. It explains the events
on earth from the time of Christs first advent until his second advent.
Ch. 12 presents the awesome scene of the woman with Child, the dragons
attempt to destroy the Child, the war in heaven which results in the dragons expulsion,
and the dragons fury against the woman and her offspring. The vision continues in ch. 13
with the two beasts conjured up by the dragon for use in his warfare against the woman
and her seed. The vision concludes in ch. 14 with scenes of victory and rejoicing over the
judgment and overthrow of the evil forces of the dragon.
The Ancient Conflict Between God and Satan
(This section is taken directly from the internet version of Dr. Whites Commentary on
Revelation.)
With the beginning of chapter 12 we enter the second half of the Book of Revelation and
the fourth of its seven visions. Unlike the previous three visions, each of which was
explicitly structured in seven segments (letters - seals - trumpets), the fourth vision lacks
a specific seven part structure. Nonetheless seven different scenes can be observed in this
vision. After the opening scene in Revelation 12:1, each new segment is introduced with
the Greek phrase "kai eidon" - "And I saw." (13:1; 13:11; 14:1; 14:6; 14:14; 15:1).
Unfortunately, most English translations (both KJV and NIV) do not translate the phrase
consistently and thereby obscure the structure of the vision. As in the prior visions of the
seals and trumpets, the final, seventh scene in this fourth vision serves as the introduction
and bridge to the vision of the seven bowls which follows.
The fourth vision presents the vast panorama of the ancient conflict between God and
Satan, the underlying reality behind the sinful world reeling beneath God's judgments
presented in the earlier visions. In a sense, we have now come to the heart of the matter,
as the grim truth is revealed. The previous visions showed us what was happening. This
vision explains why it is happening. The physical world is the battleground upon which
an age-old spiritual conflict is being waged. All of the death and destruction, all of the
violence, hatred, persecution that have been described up to this point are the results of a

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cosmic conflict between the King of Heaven and the Prince of Hell. The demon armies
that have spewed forth from the abyss in previous visions are the legions of an ancient
and implacable foe. Now his identity, his nature, and his strategy will be fully revealed.
Now we will see "the dark satanic depths which underlie the surface operations of
opposition and persecution with which the church must deal." (Franzmann, p. 84) The
devil, to use Luther's apt phrase is "the ape of our Lord God," (Klug, II, p. 265) ever
seeking to imitate, that is to counterfeit and negate, God and His mighty acts. An antiTrinity - the red dragon, the beast from the land, and the beast from the sea - a counter
church, and a resurrection from the dead (13:3) will mock and mimic that which God has
done for man's salvation in the infernal cause of man's damnation. The visions which
follow will demonstrate his downfall and destruction. But first we must see our enemy as
he truly is and understand the magnitude of the conflict in which we are engaged.

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Lesson 32: The Woman with Child and the Dragon (Part 1)
Read Rev. 12:1-6
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
12:1, 3 Sign: something visible that points to or explains something divine.
12:1-6 A woman: personifies the people of God. She is the church.
12:1 Clothed with the sun: the church is clothed with Christ.
12:1 Moon under her feet: shows power and dominion over the powers of
darkness.
12:1 A crown: Gods people have victory in Christ over sin, death, and the
devil.
12:1 12 stars: 12 is the number for the church. Identifies the woman as the
church.
12:2 Pregnant woman: the Savior was to come from the OT people of God.
The OT people of God are represented by Mary who was pregnant with the
Savior.
12:3 Red: the color of blood and the shedding of blood leads to death.
12:3, 4 Dragon: represents the devil.
12:3 Seven heads, ten horns, seven diadems: the devil presents himself as allknowing, all powerful, and the ruler over all.
12:4 A third of the stars: a significant portion of the angels rebelled against
God with Satan.
12:4, 5 Child: Jesus.
12:6 Wilderness: describes life on earth before entering the heavenly promised
land.
12:6 1,260 days: the NT era, the time from Christs ascension to his second
coming.
While reading, note that the events described in Rev. 12:1-6 occur at Jesus birth, his
ascension into heaven, his hidden rule during the NT period, and his revealed rule at the
End.
1. A great sign appeared in heaven (12:1a). A "sign" in Scripture is a visible
presentation which points to or explains something of the divine. Some examples
are:
o The miracles of our Lord are often described as signs which reveal the true
nature of Christ as the presence of God among men.
o The virgin birth would be the unrequested sign for reluctant King Ahaz (Is.
7:14).
o The shepherds were told to look for the sign of a baby wrapped in swaddling
clothes, lying in a manger (Luke 2:12).

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By calling the woman a great sign, it tells us that who she is and what she
represents is of great importance. The fact that the woman appeared in heaven
indicating she is from God and is related to his saving presence.
2. The woman (the church) is clothed with the sun (12:1). Look back at Lesson 2,
point #6 (Rev. 1:16c). Whose face was like the sun shining in full strength in
1:16c)?
It is the face of Christ that shines so bright. It is Christ who brings Gods light
to a world of darkness.
What does it mean that the woman is clothed with the sun (Christ)?
Christ is with the church and it is the church that brings the light of Christ to
the world steeped in darkness. Being clothed about with the sun also suggests
how much God in Christ honors the woman.
What does the position of the moon (12:1) indicate?
Being that the moon is under the womans feet indicates dominion.
What time of the day does the moon symbolize and what in turn does it
symbolize?
The moon is the symbol of the night, the time of darkness. Darkness signifies
sin, death, and the devil.
Given the above, what does it mean that the moon is under the womans feet?
The fact that the moon is placed beneath her feet indicates the victory which
God's people have won in Christ over sin, death, and the devil. It also says she
has dominion and authority as she carries out Gods mission (see 10:1; 11:113).
As we have seen several times before the crown is a victors wreath. Therefore the
victory is further emphasized by the victor's crown upon her head (12:1b). On the
crown are 12 stars. The 12 stars represent the 12 tribes of OT Israel before the
child is born. After the child is born (from the Jews) and goes up to heaven, the 12
stars represent the 12 apostles, the NT church. So in total the 12 stars represent all
of Gods people from both the OT and the NT. Salvation is from the Jews, but
Christ came for the Gentiles too. His people, both Jews and Gentiles, are his
crown jewel, his prized possession in Christ.
3. In Luke Mary was highly favored of God and Gods grace was on her (Lk.
1:28-30). Mary is blessed among women because she would bear the Christ child
(Lk. 1:31-33, 42). In Rev. 12:1-2 Gods favor for the woman is shown in the glory
of being clothed with the sun and a crown, and in the dominion of her feet on the
moon. The woman here in Rev. is also glorified because she will bear a child who
is the Messiah (12:2).

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Mary is a model for the woman in Revelation 12:1-2. And both the woman and
Mary represent the church. The OT people of God gave birth to the child in their
expectant faith. And the NT people of God put their complete faith in the child
who is their Savior, Christ the Lord.
The glory and authority given the church shows that she is the dominant earthly
entity in creation. All creation is governed for the benefit of the church, to
increase it, to care for her, and protect her while in her earthly pilgrimage.
4. A second sign appears. This sign too is in heaven, that is, before God (12:3a). This
sign is a dragon. The word dragon is used 13 times in the NT, all in the second
half of Revelation. The OT equivalent is the Leviathan. It was a monster
associated with the devil and evil. Here too the dragon represents the devil.
The dragon is described as being great or enormous and red. Red is the color of
blood and the shedding of blood leads to death. The color red signals that mission
of the dragon is to cause bloodshed and death.
There are some similarities between the dragon and the Lamb described earlier in
Rev. How was the Lamb described in Rev. 5:6?
The Lamb looked like it had been slain. He had seven horns and with seven
eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
What do the dragon (12:3) and Lamb (5:6) have in common?
Each has multiple horns and they both have the number 7 in common. The
Lamb has 7 horns, 7 eyes, and 7 spirits. The dragon has 7 heads, 10 horns, and
7 diadems.
Look back at Lesson 1, specifically at Rev. 1:4. What does the number 7 stand
for?
7 stands for Gods presence in his creation through his Holy Spirit and it is the
number of completeness.
Also look back at Lesson 12, point #7 (Rev. 5:6). What does the horn stand for?
The horn stands for power.
One more time, look back at lesson 17, point #5. In explaining the 144,000 what
did we say the number 10 stood for? (Look around the middle of point #5.)
10 is a number of completeness like the number 7. Or some might say it is the
number of dominance.
The diadems or crowns on the dragons heads are the crowns that kings wear.
Putting all of this together, what does this say about the dragon?
The dragon makes himself out to be like the Lamb. He uses the number 7 to
make it look like he is from God. By having horns he claims to have power.
By having 10 horns he claims to have complete and dominant power. By

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wearing kingly crowns he claims to rule. And the crowns also indicate that he
enlists the kings of the earth to support his evil cause.
In actuality it is the Lamb who is from God. And it is the Lamb who rules and
who has all power and is present everywhere through the Holy Spirit. The dragon
is deceptively claiming all power, knowledge, and authority on earth. All that the
dragon claims is a lie (Jn. 8:44). And since the color of this dragon is red, the
color of blood, believing his lies brings bloodshed and death.
5. With a sweep of his tail the dragon cast a third of the stars of heaven to the earth
(12:4a). The stars of the heavens sometimes symbolize angels in Scripture (cf.
Jud. 5:20; Job 38:7; Rev. 1:20). In 9:1, the star that fell from heaven was the devil
(9:11; cf. Lk. 10:18). These stars then represent the angels who went along with
the devil in rebelling against God. When they rebelled God threw them out of
heaven and cast them or hurled them to earth. A third of the stars suggests not a
majority, but a sizeable minority of angelic host were involved in the rebellion.
6. It is the ambition of the dragon to devour (12:4b). Who does he focus his attention
on that he might devour?
His attention is focused on the pregnant woman (the OT church as represented
by Mary) who was about to give birth to a child. And more specifically, the
dragon is focused on the child who would be born that he might devour it.
Who is this child that the dragon wants to devour?
The child is Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. Having been booted out of
heaven by God, the devil sees an opportunity to devour the Savior that God
sends to save mankind.
The dragon tried to destroy the Child by using King Herod. But the Child was
snatched away to Egypt. Mt. 2:13-18 is a type of the final snatching of Christ to
heaven at Christs ascension.
At first, the focus of the dragon is on the Child and not the woman (the church).
Only after the child escapes and returns safely to heaven does he vent his anger on
the woman (12:13).
God made a promise to Adam and Eve and mankind that a Seed would crush the
serpents head (Gen. 3:14-15). This promise had been told and retold so that
people across the world knew about it. We know this because ancient mythologies
have a number of stories of a woman with child who is pursued by a dragon. Even
though much is false in these myths, it is clear that they originated from the
original promise in the Garden.
7. The pregnant woman (the church) gave birth to a male child (Jesus) (12:5a). This
verse compresses the entire ministry of Jesus from birth to ascension into just one
verse. It moves directly from his birth to his ascension to God in heaven where he

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rules the nations. Johns purpose is to emphasize the final outcome the dragon
failed to kill the Child. The Child was victorious over the dragon. He is exalted
and enthroned, not the dragon.
The reference to a rod of iron comes from Ps. 2 where Yahweh sets up his
Anointed One as king over the nations. This of course is referring to Jesus. This
verse (12:5) then looks past Christs hidden reign in grace in the NT era to the
future and his revealed reign in power and glory, when all opposition to him will
be shattered. He will begin his revealed reign at the End, at his return. In view of
that future reign, all peoples and kings are invited now to fear, love and have faith
in him and escape Gods future wrath (Ps. 2:11-12).
After Jesus (the Child) had completed his mission on earth he was caught up to
God and to his throne (12:5b). This refers to Jesus ascension. At his ascension
Jesus was coronated as the King of kings (Rev. 4-5). Throughout the NT era he
rules the nations, but in a hidden way. At the End his rule will be revealed for all
to see.
8. After giving birth, the woman fled into the wilderness (12:6a). The purpose of
the OT is point us and lead us to Christ. The OT is filled with many promises,
types, and prophecies of Christ. All of these promises were fulfilled when out of
OT Israel came the promised Christ. As we have seen OT Israel is a type which
looked forward to Mary and the birth of the Child, Jesus. OT Israel is also a type
of the NT Israel, the church. After OT Israel was saved from Egypt by the blood
of the Lamb and God working through the waters of the Red Sea, she did not
immediately enter the promised land. Instead she entered the desert where she
was completely dependent upon God. In the wilderness God provided for, cared
for, and protected her. God does the same for the NT church.
After Christ ascended into heaven, NT believers did not immediately enter the
promised land of heaven. Like OT Israel, they have to travel through the desert of
life on earth. As they go through the wilderness, the dragon (the devil) attacks
them. Because the dragon was unsuccessful in devouring the Child, he now takes
out his fury on the woman (the church). But also like OT Israel, God goes with his
people into the wilderness, providing for them, caring for them, and protecting
them (12:6b). How long of period will the woman (now the NT church) be in the
wilderness (12:6b)? What time period does this correspond to? (see lesson 27,
point #5 (Rev. 11:3))
The woman will be in the desert for 1260 days, which is also 42 months and 3
years. This time period is entire NT era. This was the same time period for
the 2 witnesses to carry out their mission. It is the same time period (42
months) in which the church is trampled. It is the entire time from Christs
ascension to Christs return.

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Lesson 33: The Woman with Child and the Dragon (Part 2)
Read Rev. 12:7-12
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
12:7, 9 Dragon: Satan.
12:10 Loud voice: probably the 24 elders.
12:11 Lamb: Jesus shed his blood as an atoning sacrifice for sin.
Note as you read that the event that takes place in 12:7-12 occurs at Jesus ascension into
heaven.
1. The scene now shifts from earth to heaven. The vision of the woman and the
dragon revealed one dimension of the struggle and the angelic war in heaven
reveals the other. In 12:1-6 we saw that the devil sought to destroy the Child.
Jesus was born on earth. He lived, suffered, died, rose from the dead, and then
ascended into heaven (was caught up to God or was snatched up). 12:7-12 picks
up the story at Jesus ascension into heaven.
First some background information. Before the fall Satan and his angels rebelled
against God. Then Satan convinced Adam and Eve to sin, bringing sin into the
world. During the OT times, what apparently was Satan allowed and able to do
(see Job 1:6-11; 2:1-5; Zech. 3:1-7)?
Satan was allowed to come before God in heaven and accuse people of sin. In
the examples given he went before God and accused Job and Joshua the High
Priest.
But then God sent his Son from heaven to earth to live the perfect life that humans
could not and to die on the cross paying the price for their sin. Jesus ascended
back into heaven. Since Jesus completely fulfilled all of Gods just requirements
Satan could no longer accuse those who had faith. Jesus became the advocate or
defense attorney for all who believe in his saving work.
The picture here is the heavenly courtroom. God is the judge. Jesus is the defense
attorney. Satan is the prosecuting attorney. At the time of Jesus ascension, what
did Satan continue to do (12:10b)?
Satan continued to accuse Christians day and night.
If Satans accusations are validated in the heavenly court, then Gods justice
would cause him to deny his own people because of their sins. As Satan accuses
Gods people, Christ defends them saying that Gods justice has been completely
fulfilled. In the end God ruled for the defense. Satans accusations were a lie and
an offense to Gods justice in Christ. The slanderer was held in contempt of Gods
court and God threw Satans accusations out of court. God also ruled that Satan be
thrown out of heaven so that he could never make false accusations again.

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2. But Satan would not go quietly and a war erupted in heaven (12:7). Who did the
dragon (Satan) and his angels fight against (12:7a)?
Fighting for God and against Satan and his angels was Michael and his angels.
Who won the war and what resulted from it (12:8-9)?
Michael and his angels defeated Satan and his angels. The result was that
There was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was
thrown down he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were
thrown down with him.
In 12:9 the dragon is identified in several different ways. What are they and what
do they mean?
He is called the ancient serpent. This refers to the serpent in the Garden of
Eden who caused Adam and Eve to sin.
He is called the devil. Devil means slanderer or false accuser. He is
certainly true to his name. The devil falsely accuses Gods people and for that
reason was thrown out of heaven.
He is called Satan. Satan means "adversary," "enemy," or "accuser." He
poses as our friend but is actually our deadliest foe. His delight is to demand
our damnation so that we may share an eternity in Hell with him.
And finally he is called the deceiver of the whole world. He not only
deceived Adam and Eve, but he deceives everyone. Jesus said, He is a liar
and the father of lies (John 8:44).
This war is not from the devils original rebellion, which happened before the Fall
(Gen. 3:1). The war and expulsion described in Rev. 12 happened as a result of
Christs victory and elevation. As a result of Jesus ministry (suffering, death,
resurrection, and ascension) Satan fell like lightning from heaven (Lk. 10:18).
And when Christ returns at the End, Satan and his fellow evil spirits will be cast
forever into hell (Rev. 20:10; cf. 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6).
3. Going back to the results of the war, the text says three times that the dragon was
thrown down. Another translation might be that he was hurled down. The
devil and his legions were defeated, but only after great violence and a bitter
struggle. Having been barred from heaven because of Christs death and
resurrection, Satans role as the deceiver and slanderer was sharply curtailed. The
Gospel of salvation will now go forth to the whole world. The devil and his
demons cannot stop or silence that witness. The devil will certainly continue his
deceptive work. He will oppose and he will oppress, but the "gates of hell" shall
not prevail against the church (Matt. 16:18).
4. The apostle John now heard a loud voice in heaven (12:10a). Reading over
12:10-12, who do you think said this and why?
Given the content of the hymn, it is most probably the twenty-four elders who
surround the throne of God representing the church of all ages. They celebrate

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what God has done for them in Christ. Because of Jesus saving work,
salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his
Christ have come (12:10a). They celebrate because they have conquered
him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (12:11a).
Notice that the verb used for what God has done for them in Christ (12:10, have
come) is a verb that indicates action that is fully complete. The song celebrates a
present reality. This is a "done deal." The victory has been won. And because of
the victory the basis for Satan's accusations (12:10b) against the saints has been
taken away. He is no longer able to successfully lodge a charge against any one of
God's elect (cf. Romans 8:33-34).
5. What are Christians able to claim because of Christ (12:11a)? How are they able
to make that claim (12:11a)?
They can claim that they too are conquerors of the dragon.
They have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb. Christ is the Lamb of
God whose innocent blood has taken away the sin of the world. Our sins are
covered over in the blood of Christ. The pure white robe of His perfect
righteousness conceals the filthy rags of our unrighteousness. Now we stand
before the divine judge justified.
What second reason is given for the saints being able to conquer the dragon
(12:11b)?
The have conquered by the word of their testimony. Their testimony is to
the truth that Jesus suffered, died and rose again to conquer sin, death, and the
devil.
How does this help them to conquer the dragon both individually and in a
collective sense?
Individually: This testimony results from faith in Jesus. They are able conquer
by grace through faith in Jesus.
In a collective sense: The testimony of all Christians is the Gospel, the Good
News. This is their mission during the NT era. As they witness to the Gospel
and the Holy Spirit brings people to faith, more and more people are saved
and Satan is conquered.
Because of their strong faith, what are they even willing to do (12:11c)?
They are willing to give up their lives testifying to the truth that the
blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). They will
stick by the truth, even if means death for them.
6. Because of Christs victory and the conquering by the saints through faith and
through the spreading of the Gospel (12:11), the heavens are invited to break out
in celebration (12:12a). Who dwells in the heavens (12:12a) that should celebrate?

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The angels, the elders, and all the saints should celebrate. This is why the
saints who have died in the Lord and who have gone to heaven are called the
church triumphant. They have been triumphant in conquering the devil.

While this is good news for the church triumphant, in a sense it is bad news for
the church on earth (12:b). Why?
The church on earth is called the church militant because it remains locked in
deadly struggle with the devil. This battle continues for 1,260 days (the entire
NT era). It will not be complete until the End. The relentless assault from
Satan continues. Satan's defeat has only served to intensify his fury. He is
determined to do all within his now limited power to drag the souls of men
down into the fires of hell.
It is truly ironic that "the troubles of the persecuted righteous arise not because
Satan is too strong, but because he is beaten." (Mounce, p. 244) The impotent
rage of an already defeated but still powerful foe is a dangerous reality indeed.
Also knowing that his time is short spurs him on even more.

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Lesson 34: The Woman with Child and the Dragon (Part 3)
Read Rev. 12:13-18
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
12:13, 16, 17 Dragon: the devil.
12:13-17 The woman: the church, both OT and NT believers.
12:13 Male child: Christ, the promised Savior.
12:14 Two wings of the great eagle: symbol of Gods protection and care of
his people.
12:14, 15 Serpent: reminds us of the serpent in the Garden of Eden who
questioned and twisted Gods word; the devil.
12:14 Wilderness: must depend upon God in order to survive life in the
wilderness.
12:14 The place where she is nourished: any place where Gods word is read
and believed by faith.
12:14 Time, and times, and half a time: stands for 3 years. The same period
of time as 1260 days or 42 months the entire time from Christs first to
second coming.
12:15, 16 River, flood: represents the flood of evil, lies, and deception that
issues from the mouth of the serpent.
12:17 Her offspring: individual believers are the offspring of the church.
While reading 12:13-18 keep in mind that this text refers to entire time between the first
coming of Christ to the time of his second coming, the whole NT era.
1. Chapter 12 has told the story how the dragon (Satan) went after the Child (Christ)
born to the woman (the OT church) but was unable to devour him (12:1-6). This
led to led to a war in heaven fought between Satan and his fallen angels against
Michael and the angels faithful to God. Michael and his angels prevailed and God
threw Satan and his angles out of heaven which led to a celebration by the angels
and the church triumphant (12:7-12). Now the story continues with the dragon
having been thrown down to the earth (12:13a).
2. Previously we had seen where the woman who gave birth to the child had fled to
the wilderness (12:6). Since the dragon had been unsuccessful in devouring the
Child and since he had been kicked out of heaven, he seeks to take out his anger
on the woman (the NT church on earth) and he pursues her (12:13).
As the dragon pursued her, what was the woman given (12:14a)? And for what
purpose (12:14a)?
The woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly
from the serpent into the wilderness. She was given a way to evade the
dragons pursuit.

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The imagery of eagles wings is used several times in the OT. The most
prominent and the most germane to the pericope that we are studying is from the
exodus account. There God had rescued Israel from Egyptian slavery by their
exodus through the Red Sea. Once safely through God took them into the desert
to his holy presence at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19). Once there what did God say to Moses
(Ex. 19:3-4)?
The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to
the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 You yourselves have seen
what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles wings and brought
you to myself.
The use of eagles wings then is a symbol of Gods holy presence and his care
and protection of his people. What was this place in the desert to which she flew
to provide for her (12:14b)?
The place she flew to was to be a place where she would be nourished.
What is it that nourishes the people of God to make her strong so she can stand
firm and fight off the attacks of the devil?
The churchs spiritual nourishment is Gods Word.
Notice the subtle name change of the dragon in 12:14-15. What is he called and
what event does that name remind you of?
He is called the serpent. This reminds us of the serpent coming to Adam and
Eve in the Garden of Eden where he questioned and twisted Gods word to
create doubt in their minds.
So God provides nourishment through his presence and his Word and the serpent
uses his tried and true method that questions the truth of Gods Word. God's Word
is a spiritual refuge and an unfailing comfort and courage in times of trouble. This
is not a promise of deliverance from deception and persecution but a promise of
endurance through deception and persecution.
The serpent is a master of deception. As he did to Adam and Eve, so he will do to
individual Christians and churches. He will shift their attention away from God
and his promises to themselves. And he will lead them to form false doctrines in
which the focus is on themselves and their works rather than on the Savior and
what he has done. This shift in focus from the Gospel to the Law is a shift away
from the only Way to heaven Jesus. Yet God will keep the elect from such error
and will keep their focus on truths of his Word and on the Savior.
The amount of time she is in the wilderness is a time and times and half a time
(12:14b). This probably is equivalent to the 42 months in 11:2 (trampling); the
1260 days in 11:3 (two witnesses carry out the mission); and the 1260 days in
12:6 (woman in the desert). These all represent the time between Christs first and
second coming.

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3. In 12:15 what did the serpent try and do to the woman?
He tried to sweep her away and drown her in a flash flood.
Where did this great gush of water come from (12:15a)?
The water gushed from the serpents mouth.
So from the serpents mouth comes a flood of evil, a torrent of lies and deception.
He tries to destroy the church through deception and false teaching. It is evident
from the letters to the seven churches in the first vision that false teachers were
already infiltrating the young congregations and causing significant disruption
and defection. This is why the Lord warns the churches through the seven letters.
In the context of the church's sojourn in the wilderness, the waters of the devil's
flood also recall the waters of the Red Sea which threatened to destroy the
Children of Israel when they were pursued by the army of Pharaoh. Yet God led
his people through the sea on dry land. The Lord does the same for the NT church
as she through Gods miraculous intervention walks through the heaped up
deception of the devil until she is safely on the other side in heaven.
4. The earths opening up and swallowing the river that came from the dragon
(12:16) is reminiscent of an OT story. What happened in Num. 16:1-3, 28-34?
Korah and group of men led a rebellion against Moses, Gods chosen servant.
As a result God caused the ground to open up and swallow Korah and his
men. By doing this God delivered the faithful Israelites from the sin of
apostasy.
So God will do for the NT church as he did for Israel in the desert. He will
preserve the church by grace from the onslaughts of evil. The forces of evil will
not be able to sweep away the church. The Lord will preserve and keep it.
5. The dragon (the devil) was unable to devour the Child (Jesus). He was unable to
sweep away in a flood the woman who gave birth to the Child (the church).
Because of this he is enraged all the more. Who now does he shift his fury on
(12:17a)?
He directs his fury on the offspring of the woman. He carries an all out war
against her children. He does all that he can to destroy them.
The offspring of the woman are individual Christians that have been born to her
through the water and the word (Baptism). Each one of them have remained
faithful and are a part of the true Christian church. There is strength in numbers,
so the dragon tries to pick them off one by one. While the gates of hell will not
prevail against the church, individual believers remain subject to the attacks of the
dragon and may be destroyed. How are the offspring of the woman described
(12:17b)?

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They are described as those who keep the commandments of God and hold to
the testimony of Jesus.

Therefore the ones who are steadfast in their obedience to the Word and
commandments of God; those who will not compromise or yield to the world's
relentless pressure to conform; those who faithfully and consistently testify to the
Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ - these are they who become the dragon's prime
target. Their destruction and their downfall must be the devil's basic objective.
As a member of the true Christians church you must remain steadfast in Gods
word and you must have Christ as the only object of your faith. This is how God
saves you. But also know that as a result, you will be the prime target of the devil.
He walks around as a roaring lion seeking to devour you. Yet as we have seen in
Revelation (and this is one of the primary purposes for it), God has promised to
preserve the church. He will watch over you and protect you. He provides you
with his powerful word which will nourish you on your journey through the
wilderness on your way to the heavenly promised land.
6. In the final sentence of chapter 12, the dragon went from the wilderness and
stood on the sand of the sea. This change in the dragon's position signals the
transition to the next scene. In the next stage of the dragons warfare against the
children of the woman, he conjures up the beast from the sea (13:1) and the beast
of the earth (13:11).The two beasts under the control of dragon will cause all the
tribulations and sufferings that the churchs children will endure throughout the
prophetic period.

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Overview of the Two Beasts
(Taken from Dr. Laurence Whites online Commentary on Revelation.)
The beasts of Revelation 13 present different dimensions of the same reality. By splitting
the single reality into two different symbolic figures John is able to highlight and
emphasize particular characteristics of this reality. At the same time, the expansion of one
into two enables him to complete the image of the Satanic Anti-Trinity - the red dragon,
the beast from the sea, and the beast from the land - which reveals the devil as the great
counterfeit. The view that the two beasts represent different dimensions of the same
reality is strongly reinforced by the interchange of their roles throughout their various
appearances in Revelation. In this vision, the beast from the land is portrayed as the agent
and servant of the beast from the sea (Revelation 13:12-15). When they next appear, the
two are presented as equals gathering the hosts of evil for Armageddon (Revelation
16:12-14). Later, in chapter 17, the beast from the land, now in the guise of the Harlot
Babylon, is depicted as the mistress of the beast from the sea, riding upon his back
(Revelation 17:3-8). The beasts are two sides of the same coin, each side presenting a
different face of the same figure.
The subject of this chapter is the "Antichrist" and the host of antichristian powers that
serve the cause of Satan in this world. The composite presentation of Antichrist and
antichrists together is characteristic of St. John. In 1 John 2:18, the apostle had warned
the church of the imminent arrival of the "antichrist" and of the host of "many
antichrists" that had preceded his coming. "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as
you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come.
This is how we know it is the last hour." Now again in the beasts from sea and land we
are confronted by the Antichrist and his entourage.

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Lesson 35: The Beast of the Sea (Part 1)
Read Rev. 13:1-2
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
13:1-2 Beast of the sea: represents all human powers that the devil can use
against the womans seed.
13:1 10 horns: represents earthly power. 10 horns represent a dominant power.
13:1 7 heads, 10 diadems: the beast is described like the dragon. It obtained its
authority from him and followed his directions.
13:2 Dragon: the devil. The mastermind that manipulates and uses individual
rulers and governments in an attempt to destroy the church and its members.
13:2 Leopard, bear, lion: represents all rulers and governments
While reading 13:1-10 keep in mind that this text refers to entire time between the first
coming of Christ to the time of his second coming, the whole NT era.
1. The characteristic phrase "And I saw"(13:1a) signals the beginning of the next
scene in the vision. The dragon had moved to "the shore of the sea" (12:17b) in
preparation for this scene, as if waiting for the monster that will rise to do his
bidding.
Now John sees a grotesque "beast coming out of the sea" (13:1a). ). Beast is
also used in 11:7. There the beast makes war on the two witnesses. That beast was
Satan. Here the beast is not Satan, but is identified with Satan; he is under Satans
control.
To the Hebrew mind, the sea represented chaos, confusion and evil. The upheaval
of its waves crashing endlessly against one another signified the tumult of the
nations constantly in conflict with one another (cf. Is. 17:12; 57:20-21; Jer. 49:23;
Dan. 7:2; Eze. 26:3; Rev. 17:15). For John on Patmos, to gaze out over the sea
was to look to the West and to Rome, seat of the empire that had conquered the
world. That which rises up from the murky waters of the deep is a "beast". The
word indicates an animal of great strength that is characterized by wild,
uncontrolled ferocity. Johns first readers could easily conceive that Rome was the
beast of the sea.
Together, the dragon, along with the two beasts will form an anti-Trinity. The
second person of this trinity is the beast of the sea. He will present himself like
the second person of the divine Trinity. Yet, while he seeks to emulate and imitate
the Christ, he is the opposite and enemy of the Christ. The Lamb is the image of
meekness and vulnerability. The beast is the image of ostentatious power,
arrogance, and invincibility. The beast symbolizes the anti-Christian perversion of
civil government and all the power structures of this world.

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2. List the characteristics of the dragon in 12:3 along with the characteristics of the
beast from the sea in 13:1.
Dragon (12:3)
Red
7 heads
10 horns
7 diadems on his 7 heads
Beast of the sea (13:1)
10 horns
7 heads
10 diadems on his 10 horns
Blasphemous names on its heads
How are the two similar? And what does this indicate?
They both have 7 heads and 10 horns. They both have many diadems. This
indicates that the two are connected. In fact the beast of the sea is an agent and
servant of the devil.
Another similarity is that as Satan rose up from the abyss (9:1-11), so the beast of
the sea rose up from the sea. The abyss was the place of eternal punishment
prepared for the rebellious angels. And as noted above, the sea was the place of
chaos and evil on earth. Only God can control the fury of the sea as exhibited in
Jesus stilling of the tempest (see Ps. 74:13; Mt. 8:26).
What is different about the diadems of the dragon and the beast?
The dragon had 7 diadems which were upon his 7 heads. The beast has 10
diadems which are on his 10 horns.
The fact that the dragons diadems are upon his heads indicates that he is the
brains behind this operation. That the diadems of the beast are upon his horns and
that there are 10 of them indicates that he will be the dominant power on earth.
The dragon motivates the beast to carryout his crafty schemes through the use of
earthly power.
3. What does the beast have on his heads (13:1b)?
It has blasphemous names on its heads.
What does the word blasphemy mean?
"Blasphemy" is all thought, speech, or action which denies, questions, or
challenges the majesty and power of God. The sin of blasphemy focuses
specifically on the misuse or mockery of God's Name or His Word.
"Blasphemy is the defaming and abusive speech by which God and all that
belongs to Him are ridiculed and mocked." (Brighton, p. 350).

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Each head and horn of the beast represents an individual ruler in the world. They
are under the dragons control. They are directed by the dragon to blaspheme God,
to ridicule and mock God (see Mt. 12:31).
When governments go beyond their God-given authority and claim absolute
sovereignty over the hearts and minds of men throughout history, they presume to
take the place of God and their claim to absolute authority becomes blasphemy of
God in action. This applies equally to the divine claims of ancient emperors and
totalitarian demands of modern dictators.
4. The prophet Daniel beheld a vision of four beasts, representing the succession of
world empires that conquered and oppressed the people of God between Daniel's
time and the coming of the Messiah - Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. (Daniel
7:1-7). What four beasts did Daniel see?
Daniel saw:
a lion,
a bear,
a leopard, and
a terrible monster with iron teeth.
How was the beast John saw in 13:2 like Daniels beasts?

John saw a beast that had the combined characteristics of all of Daniels beasts
into one great monstrosity - an almost unimaginable image of destructiveness,
ferocity and power.

As such, this beast does not represent an individual ruler or empire. Instead it
represents all rulers and countries that are manipulated by Satan for his purposes.
In Johns day the beast of Rev. 13:1-2 was the Roman Empire. But it was also a
type of the other tyrannical powers that would arise in the future. The beast
represents every human authority and everything in human nature that the dragon
can use in his warfare against the woman and her seed. This includes: political,
governmental, social, economic, philosophical, and educational systems, as well
as individuals. Satan will use any means possible anywhere in the world at any
time to destroy the church. The Roman Empire was so terrifying that it became
the model for all succeeding powers that oppose the church.
We have alluded to this already, but it is spelled out in 13:2b. Where does the
beast of the sea get its authority and power from?
Its power and authority come from the dragon (Satan). He uses individuals
and institutions to carry out his anti-Christian goals.
The authority of civil government is ordained and established by God (Rom. 13:17). However, when human government oversteps its bounds and usurps the place
or power of God it then becomes demonic, a tool of the devil. The beast
personifies not authority itself, but human authority gone wrong - the anti-

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Christian power of human power and authority that takes for itself the place of
God.

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Lesson 36: The Beast of the Sea (Part 2)
Read Rev. 13:3-4
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
13:3 One of its heads: the 7 heads represent the whole number of world
governments that are under the control of the devil (the dragon).
13:3 Mortal wound..healed: died and came back to life.
13:4 Dragon: the devil.
13:4 Beast: all earthly powers who are under the devils control and do his
bidding.
While reading 13:1-10 keep in mind that this text refers to entire time between the first
coming of Christ to the time of his second coming, the whole NT era.
1. How is the beast described in 13:3a?
One of his 7 heads is described as looking like it sustained a deadly blow. But
miraculously the death blow healed.
This sounds strangely familiar. Who else was described this way (Rev. 5)?
The Lamb is described as having been slain. Yet he is worthy to receive
power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!"
He died but has come back to life and is worthy to be worshipped because he
has ransomed the people of God.
The visible wounds of Christ, the Lamb of God, are of profound theological
significance in Revelation. They link Christ's exaltation to His humiliation and
assert the substitutionary death of Jesus as the sole basis for the salvation of
humanity. The resurrection of Jesus demonstrates that Christ is truly the Son of
God and that He is worthy to rule and reign at the right hand of the Father. The
Lamb who was slain, now lives and has begun His reign.
The beast then is mimicking Gods act of salvation in Christ. Why does he do
this?
Jesus death and resurrection validated that he was the long-promised Savior.
The fatal wound of the beast is designed to serve the same purpose as the
wounds of the Lamb - that is, to validate the beast's message of human power
and pride.
2. The beast of the sea has many heads. These heads represent human governments
throughout the world that are under the control of Satan and do his bidding. Some
commentators try to link the head that was fatally wounded and then healed to
specific governments in history that appeared to be dead but who rose back up to
power. This may be the case, but it may viewed in much larger sense.

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Throughout history many tyrannical governments have come to power. Over time
each of these governments went down to defeat and was cast aside. Yet no matter
how many times the bestial power of godless government is defeated it always
seems to rise again somewhere else. New tyrants arise, seeking new blood,
wrecking havoc and destruction.
It is a part of mans sinful nature to seek power. And so the beast's imitation of the
Lamb has the desired effect. The whole earth marveled as they followed the
beast (13:3b). People are drawn to power and prestige and therefore are drawn to
follow the beast.
3. In the temptations in the wilderness, the devil invited Jesus to fall down and
worship me. What did he offer Jesus if he were to do it and what was Jesus
response (Mt. 4:8-9)?
He offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. In other words,
he offered power and prestige. Jesus refused to do it saying, "'You shall
worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"
Jesus refused to worship the devil but the masses of humanity have always found
that invitation irresistible (13:4a). In reality, who do those who love the things of
this world - power, popularity, pleasure, success, or wealth worship (13:4)?
Whose children are they (1 John 3:10)?
In reality they are worshiping the dragon and the beast that serves him. Those
who will not live in the love of God are "the children of the devil." (1 John
3:10).
Is there a middle ground between being a child of God and a child of the devil?
No, there is no middle ground. You are either one or the other.
When the Jewish religious establishment vehemently rejected Jesus claim to be
the Savior, what did Jesus say to them (John 8:44)?
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your
father's desire."
While the great majority of men would recoil in horror from the vile practices of
overt Satanism, they are only too eager to bow down before the legion of
alternative idols which he makes available to them. All of men's self-serving
bargains with the power-realities and moral ambiguities of this world are in truth
worship of the dragon and the beast who serves him.
4. Those who worship the dragon and beast have their own hymn of praise. It too
sounds strangely familiar. What song is it similar to (Ex. 15:11; Mal. 3:2)? And
what are they doing with this similar song?

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This hymn is a blasphemous parody of the Song of Moses on the shore of the
Red Sea. They are making fun or asserting that their gods (the dragon and the
beast) are stronger than Yahweh.

The name Michael means "Who Is Like God?". This emphasizes the uniqueness
of the only true God and encourages people to worship Him alone. So the masses'
praise of the beast is also a bitter mockery of Michael the Archangel who led the
hosts of heaven against the dragon and his angels. "Who is like the beast?" on
the other hand, twists that mighty name and directs peoples' worship away from
God toward the beast and the dragon whom he serves. The world loves a winner,
and that is exactly what the dragon and his mighty beast appear to be.

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Lesson 37: The Beast of the Sea (Part 3)
Read Rev. 13:5-10
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
13:5 Beast: the whole number of world governments that are under the control
of the devil (the dragon).
13:5 42 months: the entire NT period from Christs ascension to his return at
the End.
13:6, 8 Dwelling, dwell: could be translated as tabernacle.
13:7 Tribe, people, language, and nation: 4-fold division, the number that
represents the whole earth.
13:8 Book of life: the book in which the names of those whom God has
chosen to save are written.
13:8 Lamb who was slain: Jesus offered himself as a sacrificial lamb for the
sins of the world.
While reading 13:1-10 keep in mind that this text refers to entire time between the first
coming of Christ to the time of his second coming, the whole NT era.
1. Notice the passive voice being used in 13:5 (was given, was allowed) and
13:7 (was allowed, was given). The passive voice indicates that it was God
who allowed and gave the beast authority. This refers to Gods permissive will.
God is sovereign. He is in complete control. We cannot always understand why
God allows some things to happen. But Gods complete control is a source of
profound comfort and assurance to every humble believer. The beast and his
infernal master exist only by God's consent and may operate only under the
restrictions and limitations which God places upon them.
2. We have seen that the beast had blasphemous names on its heads (13:1) and that
the hymn of praise that the people sang (13:4b) was a blasphemous parody of
Moses song and Michaels name in claiming that the dragon and the beast were
greater than God. Now the beast is given a mouth that uttered what kind of words
(13:5a)?
With his mouth he utters haughty and blasphemous words.
The Greek behind this phrase indicates continuous, ongoing action. So what kinds
of things was the beast allowed to continuously and constantly say?
The beast is arrogant and he claims for himself the power and prerogative
which rightfully belong to God alone. He is constantly challenging, denying,
and defying God.
The blasphemies which fill the heads of the beast pour forth from his mouth in an
uninterrupted stream. "God lets the beast pour out great floods of blasphemy

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upon men, and the world of men drinks in all these blasphemies. The saints feast
on the holy Word of God; the antichristian power fills men's souls with uncounted
blasphemies, contradictions of God and His Word." (Lenski, p. 397)
How long was the beast allowed to speak these blasphemies and to exercise the
control given to it (13:5b)?
It was allowed do these things for 42 months, the entire NT era, the time from
Jesus ascension to his second coming. During that whole time anti-Christian
people speak derisively of God, seek power over men, and rule ruthlessly.
3. Verse 6 amplifies and explains the blasphemy of the beast. Gods rebellious
creatures get right in Gods face and blaspheme him, constantly and continuous
hurling defiance and denial against the God of heaven. These blasphemous words
are spoken everywhere, all the time, and in every part of life. They are spoken in
parliaments and in courts, in newspapers, in magazines, in books, over the radio,
and on the public forum, in universities, in colleges, and in homes, and on the
street or in the shop." (Lenski, p. 398)
What is the object of their blasphemy (13:6b)?
They blasphemy Gods holy name and his dwelling. His dwelling is further
explained with those who dwell in heaven.
The word dwell could be translated as tabernacle. In the OT the place where
God dwelt among his people was the tabernacle. So it could be translated as
blaspheming his name and his tabernacle, that is, those who tabernacle in
heaven. How does Rev. 21:3 use the word dwell or tabernacle?
It says, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with
them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their
God. God and his people dwell together.
The sense of the text then is that the beast not only blasphemes against God but
also against His people, those who dwell under His protection - "They are before
the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits
on the throne will spread His tent over them." (Rev. 7:15).
4. As we said above, they have been given their authority by God (was allowed)
(13:7a). Who is it that they war against (13:7a)? What does that word mean?
They war against the saints, those who believe and trust in Jesus. When he
could not destroy the Child and the woman, he went after the seed of the
woman. Saints means holy ones.
In terms of holiness, the world is an unholy place and the saints are out of place.
Therefore anything and anyone that is holy must be conquered by the beast.
Where does the beast prevail (13:7b)?
The beast prevails all over the world for "He was given authority over every
tribe, people, language and nation." The fourfold division, utilizing the

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symbolic earth number, represents all of unbelieving mankind. The same
phrase was used earlier (Rev. 5:9) to describe those whom the Lamb died to
redeem.
5. Who is it that worships the beast (13:8a)?
All who dwell on earth will worship it.
Earlier it said that those who dwell in heaven (13:6b) were blasphemed. If
those who dwell in heaven are believers, then who are all who dwell on earth
(13:8a)?
Those who dwell on earth are unbelievers. All unbelievers worship the beast.
This is further made clear by second half of 13:8. The book of life of the Lamb
who was slain is a metaphor in Revelation for God's predestination of His elect
from eternity (Rev. 3:5; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27). Why do you suppose that it is
called the Lambs book of life?
It is the Lamb's book of life because the blood of the Lamb paid the ransom
price which won eternal life for fallen mankind. The blood of the Lamb is the
indelible ink in which the names of the redeemed are inscribed in the Book of
Life.
These names were written in the book before the foundation of the world
(17:8). It was before then that the Lamb of God, the Messiah, was chosen to be
the slain and risen Savior of Gods people. The phrase "of life" indicates the
nature and purpose of this book. Those whose names are recorded therein receive
the gift of life eternal with God in heaven. Those who worship the beast are those
whose names were not recorded in that book before time began.
6. Where have we heard If anyone has an ear, let him hear (13:9) before (see Rev.
2-3)? And for what purpose was the admonition give?
Earlier the churches were called to hear that they might repent.
For what purpose is this admonition given (13:10b)?
This admonition is given here for the purpose of instilling endurance and
faith.
It also recalls the oft repeated admonition of Christ in the Gospels (Mt. 11:15;
13:9, 43). The summons alerts the reader to the particular importance of what
follows. These are not warnings which pertain to a safely distant future. Their
relevance is immediate. Careful attention must be paid to what is said.
God is in control. He has given the beast the authority and power that he has. He
has allowed the beast to war against the saints and to conquer them. In this war
what will happen to some of the saints (13:10a)?
Some will be taken captive and some will be killed.

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This is reminiscent of Jeremiah 43:11 - "He will come and attack Egypt,
bringing death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for
captivity, and the sword for those destined for the sword." - the downfall of
Egypt before the might of Babylon. God will allow this to happen to the saints in
his permissive will and the saints must humbly submit to that will. How are the
saints to respond (13:10b)?

They are to endure patiently in what comes their way and they are to put their
faith in Christ.

It is in such trials that the faith of the Christian shines forth to the world. As it
says in 11:7-13, God uses their persecution for the sake of the churchs gospel
mission. The church entrusts herself to Gods care and trusts that in his own time
he will mete out justice upon her foes.

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Lesson 38: The Beast of the Earth (Part 1)
Read Rev. 13:11-14
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
13:11 Beast of the earth: another minion of the devil. This beast works
through the deception of false religions and apostate Christianity. It is
sometimes referred to as the religious beast.
13:11 Two horns: the number 2 was used earlier in describing the witnessing
church.
13:11 Lamb: symbolic of Christ.
13:11 Dragon: the devil.
13:12 First beast: the beast of the sea, the political beast.
13:12, 14 Wounded..lived: the beast of the sea mimics Christ and deceives
people into thinking it is their savior.
13:13, 14 Signs: miracles that validate spiritual authority.
While reading 13:11-18 keep in mind that this text refers to entire time between the first
coming of Christ to the time of his second coming, the whole NT era.
1. The characteristic "Then I saw" signals the change of scene. With this scene, the
appearance of a second beast completes the anti-Trinity. The dragon/Father, the
beast from the sea/Son, is now joined by the beast from the earth/ Spirit. In the
divine Trinity, the role of the Holy Spirit centers on sanctification, the giving and
maintaining of faith in Jesus, who is the second person of the Trinity. In that light,
the beast from the earth will be presented in this scene as the agent of the beast
from the sea who creates and fosters faith in him, the second person of the antiTrinity. Thus, John's contemptuous dismissal of the devil as the imitator, the
mimic of the true God is completed.
The dragon sends the two beasts to do his bidding. The first beast forces its
tyrannical rule on people. The second wins peoples confidence and leads them
astray.
The picture that arises is the dragon standing on the shore of the sea. One beast
rises from the sea and the other rises from the land. This places one on each side
of the dragon, with the dragon in the center, indicating that both serve and derive
their power from him.
2. In outward appearance what did the beast of the earth look like (13:11b)? How
threatening did he look?
This beast of the earth looked like a gentle, ordinary little lamb. It had two
horns just like any other sheep.

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How is the real nature of the beast of the earth revealed (13:11b)?
His voice gives him away. His voice sounds like that of the dragon who is
intent on hurting the seed of the woman.
The beast from the earth is not what he seems to be. Behind the false facade of the
lamb lurk the deadly jaws of the dragon. Deception is the essence of his being. In
subsequent scenes even his name will change as he shifts from one mask to the
next. In chapter 16 he becomes "the false prophet" (Rev. 16:13) and in chapters
17 and 18 he appears as the "great prostitute," (Rev.17:1) harlot Babylon. At first
the beast represents all false religions and gross idolatry (the false prophet), but
then it develops and evolves into a more deadly form, the apostate church (the
harlot), the Antichrist (see 1 Jn. 4:1-3).
Look back at Lesson 27. In Rev. 11:3-4, what did the number 2 help describe?
In Rev. 11:3-4 the church who witnesses by the power of the Holy Spirit is
described as 2 witnesses, 2 olive trees, and 2 lampstands. Two was used to
represent the church.
So the beast in the form of a 2 horned lamb tries to pass itself off as Christ and his
church. But this is a deception because in reality it seeks to devour the seed of the
woman.
3. Where did the beast of the sea receive its power and authority from (13:2b)?
He received it from the dragon. The dragon gave it his power and authority.
What authority does the beast of the earth have (13:12a)?
The beast of the earth has the same authority that the beast of the sea has.
The beast of the sea imposes its will through the powers of the state. And the state
then uses religion to legitimize its authority to the people.
What does the beast of the earth do with its authority (13:12b)?
It makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast.
Notice the parallel between the Holy Spirit and the beast of the earth. As the Holy
Spirit of God leads people to faith in Christ, crucified and risen from the dead, so
the anti-spirit of the Satanic Trinity leads people to "worship the first beast
whose fatal wound had been healed." The whole process is a blasphemous
parody of the inter-relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
4. The beast of the earth was capable of producing great signs (13:13a) in support
of the political beast. The word signs suggests miraculous activities or pseudomiracles. Miraculous signs accompanied the true church. Jesus performed many
miracles and his apostles performed some miracles as well. God allowed the
prophet Elijah to call down fire from heaven to prove his authority and the heresy
and idolatry of the priests of Baal (1 Ki. 18:36-40; see also 2 Ki. 1:10-14; cf. Rev.

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11:5). What great sign did the beast of the earth perform and what was his purpose
for doing it (13:13-14a)?
The religious beast mimicked the miracle that Elijah performed by calling
down fire from heaven in front of all the unbelieving people of the earth. His
purpose was to deceive them and to prove his spiritual power and authority.
What warning had Moses given to the children of Israel concerning miraculous
signs (Deut. 13:1-3)?
Moses had warned the children of Israel long ago not to judge a prophet
merely by the miraculous signs which accompany his message but by the
substance of the message itself.
What did Paul say would happen when the lawless one (Antichrist) came (2
Thess. 2:9-10)?
He said that the lawless one would come with the activity of Satan with all
power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those
who are perishing. The Antichrist will come with a great display of power
and signs in order to deceive those who do not believe in Jesus.
What must the Christian do in order not to be deceived (2 Cor. 5:7)?
Christians must walk by faith and not by sight. Christians must know the truth
of Gods word so that he is not deceived by the lies of Satan and his beast of
false religions and even false Christianity.
5. Notice again that divine permission is given (and by the signs that it is allowed
to work, 13:14a). God is in control.
Also note that the phrase work in the presence of the beast may also be
translated work on behalf of the beast (see the footnote in your Bible). Either
way the two beasts tag-team together to deceive all those who dwell on earth
(13:14a). As we saw earlier this refers to all unbelievers, for all believers dwell
in heaven (14:6b). The believers home is in heaven. While on earth, he is on a
pilgrimage, making his way back home. The unbelievers home is not in heaven,
but on earth. He is not destined to live in heaven.
What is the purpose of the great signs that the religious beast performs (13:14a,
b)?
The purpose is to deceive people, to get them to worship the first beast, the
political, powerful beast that is endorsed by the religious beast.
The majority of people have always been impressed by the spectacular. But the
presence of the true God is not found in the spectacular of the mighty wind or the
great earthquake but in the still, small voice of His Word (1 Kings 18:11-13). In
the theology of the cross, God is present and active in unexpected ways, in the
ordinary, in words, water, bread, and wine. These are not impressive. They are

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ordinary things. But they are the means by which God comes to us, giving us life eternal life.
In Rev. 12:9 what was the devil called?
He is called the deceiver of the whole world.
In 13:14a, we see where the dragon uses the religious beast to deceive the whole
world. It causes the world to worship the political beast. And the political beast
too deceives the whole world by its appearance of being wounded and yet alive
(13:14b). Everything about the anti-Trinity is a lie. The dragon and both beasts lie.
The Greek word behind deceives in 13:14 is a word of ongoing, repetitive
action. Deception is a primary trait of the beast of the earth and of the anti-Trinity.
He and they will deceive the whole world over and over again.

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Lesson 39: The Beast of the Earth (Part 2)
Read Rev. 13:14b-18
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
13:15, 16 It: Refers to the beast of the earth, the religious beast that
deceives.
13:15 Image of the beast: an idol that represents the beast of the sea, the
political beast.
13:16, 17 Marked: a mark placed on a person identifying them as being a
possession of and under the influence of another.
13:17 Number of his name: a system where numbers are assigned to letters of
the alphabet. The numbers became symbolic of a series of letters that made up
a name.
13:18 666: the symbolic number of the anti-Trinity, the dragon, the beast of
the sea, and the beast of the earth.
While reading 13:11-18 keep in mind that this text refers to entire time between the first
coming of Christ to the time of his second coming, the whole NT era.
1. What does the beast of the earth tell the deceived people of the world to do
(13:14b)?
He tells them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword
and yet lived. They are to make an idol of the beast of the sea that they may
worship it.
This is reminiscent of an OT story. Skim over Dan. 3 and very briefly summarize
what happened.
Daniel tells of the golden statue erected by Nebuchadnezzar, which all the
people of Babylon were commanded to worship on penalty of death. The
enforcement of this decree led to the attempted execution of Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, but God rescued them and kept
them from being harmed in the fiery furnace.
The cult of the divine emperor flourished in Asia Minor in the latter part of the
first century. One example of this was Caligula who had established temples
dedicated to himself throughout the region and only his assassination in 41 A.D.
prevented the forced installation of his image within the Holy of Holies in
Jerusalem.
Another example was Domitian, the emperor at the time that John wrote
Revelation. Domitian was an enthusiastic supporter of the imperial religion. In
Ephesus, the site of John's home congregation, the imperial temple housed a
colossal idol of Domitian. Accordingly, John's original audience would have been

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uncomfortably familiar with the scenario outlined in this portion of the vision
depicting the combination of the brutal power of the state with idolatrous religion.
2. When the image of the beast of the sea was made, what was the beast of the earth
allowed to do to it (13:15)?
It was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of
the beast might even speak.
In the ancient world, the priests and priestesses of the various idol cults often
sought to convey the impression that the idol figures could be brought to life,
through the utilization of what would today be called "special effects." Skeptics
and philosophers denounced the priests as charlatans, frauds and imposters who
used ventriloquism, speaking tubes, air shafts, levers, and pulleys to deceive the
credulous masses.
On the other hand, the practice of Satanic magic is well attested in the New
Testament (cf. Acts 13:6-12 - Elymas; Acts 16:15 - the fortune teller at Philippi;
Acts 19:13-20 - the Ephesian sorcerers). Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:9-25) is
reported to have boasted to Peter: "I made statues move, I gave breath to
inanimate objects." (Aune, p. 764). In this instance, the text appears to suggest
that the supernatural power bestowed upon the image by the beast from the earth
is genuine. The statue actually comes to life, speaks, and commands the execution
of all who will not bow down before it. "This is the monstrous tyranny of the
lamb-beast -- death to all who refuse to surrender conscience and soul." (Lenski,
p. 409) Thus, once again John symbolizes the demonic supernatural power of
anti-christian religion through a scenario with which his readers would have most
familiar.
3. What happened to those who refused to worship the political beast (13:15b)?
They were slain. The penalty was death.
The religious beast uses magic, spiritism, and witchcraft to deceive people. Who
especially does the religious beast try and deceive (1 Jn. 4:1-3)?
He especially wishes to deceive Christians.
And how can they know who is a true prophet and who is a false prophet (1 Jn.
4:1-3)?
They test the spirits. If a prophet confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the
flesh, he is from God. Those who do not confess Jesus are not from God.
Any religion that fails to recognize Jesus as God, that he took on human flesh,
that he suffered, died, and rose from the dead is a false religion, a religion that
originates with the devil and is pitched to people by the beast of the earth. The
true church is not deceived by the anti-Trinity. The church knows and trusts in the
Truth. The church resists. It refuses to worship the beast. Therefore it pays the
price; it pays with its life.

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4. What does the religious beast do to the people who worship the idol (13:16b)?
He marks or brands them, indicating that they belong to him. They are his
property or his slaves.
How comprehensive is he in marking people (13:16a)?
He marks both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave. He
marks all those that belong to him.
Why does the beast mark his people? Before we can answer that question, we
must first look at the Lamb and his followers. In Rev. 7:1-8 what did the Lamb do
to each of his followers and for what purpose?
Those who believed in the Lamb received His protective seal to mark them as
His own and protect them during the impending tribulation.
So when compared to the Lamb, what was the beast doing?
The beast was imitating the Lamb. It continues to deceive, to make himself
look like the Lamb.
In Baptism Christ marks people as his own. One action that is commonly taken
during a baptism is to make the sign of the cross upon the forehead. Once again
how does the religious beast imitate Christ (13:16b)?
He too puts his sign upon the forehead of those that belong to him.
What does making a sign upon the forehead signify?
This means that ones mind and intelligence belong to the one who the seal
represents. For the Christian thats Christ. For the unbeliever thats the devil.
5. The religious beast marks his people in one spot that Christians are not marked.
Where else are they marked (13:16b)?
Their seal may also be on their right hand.
If being marked on the forehead signifies that their mind belongs to the religious
beast, what does being marked on the right hand signify?
This mark signifies that what they do has been sanctioned by the beast.
What action do all people need to be able to do in order to survive in life
(13:17a)? How do people obtain food, clothes, and shelter?
All people need to be able to buy and sell.
What happens to people who do not have the religious beasts mark (13:17a)?
Who then does this affect?
They cannot buy or sell. Christians do not have such a mark and therefore
may have difficulty in transacting earthly affairs; they will be persecuted.

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6. What is the mark of beast that is placed upon his people (13:17b)?
The mark is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
The practice of assigning a number to a name is called gematria. Each letter of the
alphabet had a numerical equivalent. The numbers of a name could be calculated
to create a cryptogram which could provide mystic insight into the nature of the
bearer of the name. The Christian is not marked with the beasts name. The
Christian will not bow down before the false gods of this world; he will not play
the world's game by the world's rules. Therefore the Christian will be excluded
and penalized both economically and socially.
7. What is the number of the beast that refers to the name of the beast (13:18b)?
The number of the beast is 666.
According to 13:18a, what is necessary to figure out the name and meaning of this
number?
Wisdom and understanding are necessary.
Daniel 12:10b says, And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are
wise shall understand. This is the spiritual discernment of the believer to
comprehend the true meaning of signs and events in the latter days. Christ is the
wisdom of God sent to men. Only those who know Christ have the wisdom and
understanding necessary to recognize the devil and his cohorts at work and not to
be deceived by the anti-Trinity.
What kind of number is the number of the beast (13:18b)?
It is the number of a man.
This could refer to the fact that man was created on the 6th day and therefore the
number for man is 6. If 6 represents man in general, then 666 could refer to a
particular man. Some have suggested Nero. If so then Nero represents all antiChristian forces.
8. Whatever name 666 signifies, the number has symbolic meaning. The symbolism
of this number is not as difficult to recognize. What is the number of perfect that
represents God?
The number 7 is the number of perfection that represents God.
The number 6 then falls short of perfection. The triple repetition of the number
constitutes the superlative expression of its meaning. The beast then is the
personification of absolute imperfection. His quest to imitate and replace the
perfection of God is foredoomed to failure.
If the number 7 represents God, then the number 777 represents the holy Trinity.
The evil trinity (666) always imitates the holy Trinity but falls short and fails.

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9. One last note about Rev. 13:18. It calls for wisdom and understanding in
determining the name associated with and the meaning of the number 666. This
has not always been the case throughout history. As a result almost unlimited and
extremely fanciful speculation and misinterpretation have come about. Be careful
in discerning the role of the anti-Trinity. It will do all it can to deceive you and
pull you away from Christ. That is his goal. May your faith cling to Christ alone.

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Lesson 40: The Lamb and the Victory Song of the Saints
Read Rev. 14:1-5
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
14:1 Mount Zion: the place where the temple stood and the sacrifices were
made.
14:1, 4 The Lamb: Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was slain but who came back
to life.
14:1, 3 144,000: the whole church on earth that has been marked and sealed
as Gods people.
14:3 A new song: a song that extols the Lamb for his redemption of the people
of God.
14:3 Throne: represents God the Father who rules over all things.
14:3 Four living creatures: an exalted rank of angels representing all living
things in Gods creation.
14:3 Elders: represents all the people of God.
14:4 Firstfruits: the first of the harvest. Given back to God in a thanksgiving
offering for the blessings of the entire harvest that he provides.
While reading 14:1-5 keep in mind that this text refers to the time just before the end of
the world.
1. The first three scenes of the vision (12:1-13:1 the dragons assault; 13:1-10 the
beast of the sea; 13:11-18 the beast of the earth) displayed the rampant power of
Satan and his minions. In an impressive array we have seen the dragon and his
beasts from sea and land come forth for war. All the powers of this world have
bowed down before the masters of hell and have given their aid and support to
their increasingly desperate resistance to the Creator. The Christian reader might
well be growing apprehensive at this point, intimidated by the impressive panoply
of the foe. In chapter 6, Johns terrifying vision of the great tribulation was
followed by the reassuring image of the sealing of the 144,000 (Rev. 6:2-17; 7:117). Now, once again, the fearsome symbolism of the dragon and his beasts is
followed by the comforting vision of the Lamb and the 144,000.
2. "Then I looked, and behold" signals the change in scene. The previous scenes
revolved around the dragon and two beasts. Who now takes center stage in this
scene (14:1-5)?
The Lamb and the 144,000 are the focus of these verses.
A sharp contrast will now be drawn between the true Lamb and the false lamb just
presented. The Lamb was the center of attention in Rev. 5-7. Briefly tell how the
Lamb was described in Rev. 5-7.

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In Rev. 5-7 the Lamb was pictured as victorious through his suffering, death,
and resurrection. At his ascension into heaven, he was exalted and coronated
to rule with the Father. Because of his victory and exaltation, he alone was
worthy to receive the 7 scrolls and open them, revealing what God had
planned for the world in the NT era.

3. Where is it that the Lamb stood (14:1a)?


He stood on Mount Zion.
Mt. Zion is the place where the temple and its sacrificial altar once stood. This
was a place associated with divine deliverance. And now this Lamb comes there
to deliver Gods people from the dragon and 2 beasts. This scene signals the
beginning of the end of this present world, which is pictured in 14:14-20 as a
harvest.
The Psalmist had prophesied that God would install His messianic King upon Mt.
Zion to provide a place of refuge for His people and to bring judgment upon His
enemies (Ps. 2:6-12). Here John envisions the fulfillment of that prophecy as he
depicts the Lamb standing upon Mount Zion.
Who was with the Lamb at Mount Zion (14:1b)?
The 144,000 were with him.
Look back at Rev. 7:4-8 and lesson 17, point #5. Who are the 144,000?
The 144,000 is the whole church on earth, the people of God who have been
marked and protected. They are sometimes called the church militant, as they
battle Satan and the forces of evil on earth.
The church militant (the 144,000) is about to join the church triumphant in heaven
at the End. Only Gods people will go to heaven. How do we know who Gods
people are? In Rev. 7:1-8 it said that the 144,000, the servants of God, were sealed
with a seal on their foreheads. But we were not told what the seal was. Rev. 14:1b
tells us about that seal. What was that seal that marked them as the people of
God?
Those who were sealed (the 144,000) were those who had his name and his
Fathers name written on their foreheads. So John informs us that the seal is
the name of the Lamb and His Father.
The Father sent the Lamb (Christ) for the church. The church has stood with
Christ in faith and now she stands with him as he is about to judge her enemies.
The prayers of the saints (6:9-11) before the incense altar are about to be
answered. The church militant will be delivered from its tribulation and the saints
on earth will join the church triumphant in heaven.
As the beast (the false lamb) had marked those who belonged to him, so the true
Lamb marked those who belonged to him and the Father. The close identification

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of the Lamb and the Father serves to further distinguish the true Lamb of God
from its devilish counterpart in the anti-trinity. The seal is a mark of ownership
and allegiance. Those who bear the name of the Lamb and His Father belong to
Him, are under His protection and care and are empowered to serve Him.
4. In 14:1 John reported what he saw. In 14:2a he reports what he heard. He heard a
voice or sound from heaven. In his description of the voice (14:2a), what does
John stress?
He stresses the sound was like a roar and that it was loud. He stresses the
magnitude of the sound.
How else does he describe the sound (14:2b)?
He also says it was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. It had a
musical quality to it.
The voice was singing a new song (14:3a). Where was the voice that was singing
located (14:3a)? Who does that refer to?
They were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living
creatures and before the elders. The voice is that of the church triumphant,
the saints who have died in faith and gone to heaven, who stand before the
throne of God.
As they sing this new song, the 144,000, who represent the church on earth,
hear the song and learn it (14:3b). Only those who have been purchased by the
blood of the Lamb (cf. 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Pet. 1:8, 9) can learn it.
In our worship on earth we begin to learn and sing and join in the hymns of our
glorified brothers and sisters in Christ who are in heaven. As the Preface in the
communion liturgy says, the entire church in heaven and on earth worships God
(With angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and
magnify your glorious name, evermore praising you and saying ).
5. John heard the church triumphant singing a new song (14:3a). What song was
sung in 5:9 and what was it about?
The hosts of heaven began singing a new song. They began singing this
new song when Jesus, as the Lamb of God, ascended into heaven and was
coronated. It extols the Lamb for having ransomed the people of God and
making them a kingdom and priests for God.
From that time forward the saints in heaven never stopped singing the new
song. For those people still on earth, only the 144,000 (Christians still on earth)
can learn the song (14:3b) because only they have received the redemption bought
by the blood of the Lamb by faith. By faith they are taken to heaven to share in
the victory of the Lamb.
6. What four things do we learn about the 144,000 (14:4-5)?

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It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are
virgins.
It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.
These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the
Lamb.
and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.

First it describes them as male virgins (masculine in the Greek) who have not
been defiled. Scripture often portrays the church as a pure virgin bride. The
church is made up of sinners but they have been washed and cleansed by him
(Eph. 5:25-27); she is holy and pure to her Lord. Paul says that those he converted
had been pledged to Christ as a virgin bride betrothed to her husband (2 Cor. 11:2;
Eph. 5:25-27). Therefore the 144,000 virgins are all those on earth who have
been redeemed, washed and pledged to Christ.
So why are the virgins male in this case? Most times Gods people are described
using the female gender, but there are times where the male gender is used to
represent the church (Israel, Jacob, Judah, and some of Jesus parables [Lk 15:1132; Mt. 20:1-6]). Because the 144,000 is the church militant, Gods army in war,
the male gender is appropriate. In the ancient world armies were almost entirely
composed of men, virgin men consecrated for battle (cf. Deut. 20:7; 24:5; 1 Sam.
21:5; 2 Sam. 11:9-13; Lk. 18:28-30).
The gender shift may also anticipate the harlot of Babylon imagery to follow in
Revelation 17 where the people of God are those who have not committed
adultery with the whore and have not yielded to the temptation of her impurity.
7. Secondly, the 144,000 follow the Lamb wherever he goes (14:4b). The verb here
is a present participle indicating ongoing continuous action. They continuously
follow the Lamb wherever he leads them. According to the following passages
where does following Jesus start at (Mt. 4:18-22; 11:28; Jn. 15:16)?
It starts with Jesus choosing you and inviting you to follow him.
When one follows Jesus how does he do it (Gen. 12:1; Heb. 11:8-10)?
We follow Jesus by faith. We trust that he will lead us through the wilderness
of this life to the heavenly promised land.
Where does Jesus lead us to (Jn. 14:1-4)?
He leads us to the Fathers house, to a place prepared for us. We follow him to
our heavenly home, to the presence of the Father.
8. Third, they were redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb
(14:4c). What were the Israelites to do with the first part of the harvest each year
(Ex. 23:19; 34:22; Lev. 23:9-14; Deut. 26:10-11)?

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They were to bring the first of the harvest, the best of the firstfruits, to the
house of Yahweh (the tabernacle/temple) and offer it as an offering of
thanksgiving in humble gratitude for his blessing.

The saints recognize that they have been redeemed by the blood of Lamb (Christ),
that God has graciously blessed them with faith in Christ. As firstfruits they are an
offering to God. They willingly offer themselves as living sacrifices to God (Ro.
12:1), placing their whole being at Gods disposal.
9. Lastly, truthfulness is set forward as a basic characteristic of those who belong to
Christ (14:5). The wording of the text is very similar to the description of the
Messianic Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53: "Nor was there any deceit in His
mouth" (Is. 53:9). As the Suffering Servant, Jesus was not deceitful and neither
are his followers. In contrast to that, the devil is the "Father of Lies" (John 8:44)
and the pagan world has "exchanged the truth of God for a lie." (Romans 1:25).
Christians speak the truth of Gods Word, which is that we are sinful and need a
Savior and that Jesus is that Savior.
If all are sinful then how can the 144,000 (Christians on earth) be blameless
(14:5b)?
They are blameless in Gods sight because in Christ they stand before God
justified, their sins forgiven and forgotten. Now they are free to speak and live
the truth of God as witnesses to Jesus Christ.

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Lesson 41: Defeat of the Dragon & Beasts Announced (Part 1)
Read Rev. 14:6-8
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
14:6 Nation, tribe, language, and people: the number 4 represents the whole
earth.
14:7 Loud voice: gets everyones attention; it is heard by all.
14:7 Hour of his judgment: the final judgment at the end of the world.
14:8 Babylon the great: represents all of the enemies of God and his people. It
represents the two beasts (political and religious).
While reading 14:6-13 keep in mind that this text refers to the time just before the end of
the world.
1. For the fifth time in this series of seven the typical phrase - "Then I saw" signals
the introduction of a new scene. The first three scenes had portrayed the nefarious
anti-trinity in all of their destructive power. In scene 4 (14:1-5) the victory of
God's people over all the powers of hell was affirmed. The angels of the fifth
scene (14:6-13) now promise that the Gospel will be preached throughout the
latter days and that the devil and all those who serve him will certainly receive the
full measure of their judgment.
In this text, 3 angels announce the judgment of God. Each of the 3 angels is
another angel, a different angel from the 7 trumpet-angels and different from
each other.
2. The first angel John sees in this pericope has a message to proclaim. Who is the
message for (14:6b)?
The message is for those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and
language and people. The message is for everyone.
The angel flies directly overhead to be seen and heard by all since his message is
intended for all of humanity. Note also that as he is seen and heard by all, the
dragon and his two beasts for all their anti-christian power and blasphemies and
the anti-christian deceitful tyrannous propaganda are unable to stop this divine
messenger. The message of the gospel and judgment will be proclaimed and it will
be heard.
3. The angel's message is characterized as eternal gospel." The word for gospel
means good news. It is used many times throughout the NT. But this is the only
place it is used without the definite article the eternal gospel. Does the
message of the angels seem like good news? If you had to summarize their
message in one word, what would it be?

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No, their message doesnt seem like good news. Their message is one of
judgment. It is an urgent warning of Gods impending judgment.

The absence of the definite article signals a broader sense of the word. It covers
the entire message of both Law and Gospel. The angel's warning is not merely a
pronouncement of judgment but is designed to stimulate repentance. The message
that is proclaimed is "eternal," that is to say, it proclaims the changeless counsel
of God for all time. No one or nothing can change it.
As we said above this message is for all people. It is for those who dwell on
earth. Normally when this phrase is used in Revelation it is talking about
unbelievers. But there is a different Greek word that underlies it here. What other
phrase here underscores that the message is for all people (14:6b)? Why does it
refer to all people?
The phrase: to every nation and tribe and language and people refers to all
people on earth. This is the typical use of the number 4 (nation, tribe,
language, and people), the number that means the whole earth.
4. Note that the first angel's proclamation (14:7) is a contradiction and a denial of all
the lies of the devil and his legions of servants. Satan wants to be worshipped.
What happened when Satan invited Jesus to fall down and worship him (Matt.
4:10)?
Jesus said, "Away from Me, Satan! For it is written: "Worship the Lord your
God and serve Him only!"

The proclamation is made in a loud voice, meaning that the message is heard by
all and it gets everyones attention.
What three actions and results does the angel desire as he makes the proclamation
(14:7)?
He wants the people to:
Fear God
Give God glory
Worship God
5. To fear God (14:7) can have a couple of different meanings in Scripture. What
kind of fear does Matt. 10:28 refer to?
This is the kind of fear that smites the conscience through the knowledge of
sin and the threat of punishment for sin from a just God.
What kind of fear does Ps. 130:3 refer to?
For the forgiven sinner the fear of God is holy awe which results from the
contemplation of the undeserved pardon which has come to him from the just
and holy God who is also the God of infinite grace.

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The Lutheran Confessions define the "childlike fear" of a Christian as a fear
which is relieved by faith while the "slavish fear" of the unbeliever is the same
kind of fear, but which is not relieved by faith (Apology to the Augsburg
Confession XII,38). And so the angel wants the people of this world to fear God
in faith.
6. How does one give him glory (14:7)? Who does giving God glory center on?
(see the following passages: Jn. 17:5, 22-24; cf. 13:31-32; Jn. 14:13-14; 15:7-8;
Acts 4:21-22; 11:17-18; Acts 7:55)
Glory is given to God in and through Jesus Christ. In particular, God is
glorified when people come to him and thank him in Jesus name. Gods
exalted Son is Gods glory.
7. To worship God (14:7) as the Creator is the end result of fearful repentance and
giving glory to God through the redemption of Christ. The heavenly hosts
worship God as their Creator (Rev. 4:8-11). The saints do the same as a result of
the victory of the Lamb (5:9-14; 1:5-6; 4:11). For the end purpose of Gods
redemption is to restore his creatures so that they may recognize and worship him
as their God and Creator (Rev. 3:14; 11:15; 21:1, 5-7; cf. Ro. 8:18-25).
8. The first angel's words constitute "one last call for civilization to repent and give
glory to God." (Mounce, p. 273) The appeal is couched in the language of natural
theology acknowledging God as the Almighty Creator of all things. Note the
fourfold repetition - "the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water"
(14:7b). By these words, the angel summons all of creation and all of His
creatures to worship and adore Him. The goal of this proclamation is repentance
and salvation.
9. A second angelic messenger follows immediately in the wake of the first. The first
angel had affirmed the continuous, ongoing proclamation of the "eternal gospel"
and had pleaded with mankind to acknowledge the one true God and worship Him
before the imminent coming of His judgment. The second angel takes the matter a
step further with a more explicit declaration of judgment, actually announcing the
downfall of all of the enemies of God (14:8). Who specifically does the angel say
is fallen (14:8a)?
Babylon the great.
This first appearance of Babylon is sudden and unexplained. John must be
assuming that the audience knows who he is referring to. Where does the title
Babylon the Great first come from (see Dan. 4:28-33, especially 4:30)?
This comes from Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar as he proclaims the great
kingdom, power, and glory that he has built.
Quickly skim over 2 Kings 24 25. What did the Babylonians do to Judah,
Jerusalem and the temple?

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The Babylonian army conquered Judah, exiled the craftsmen, laid siege to and
conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the city, took anything that was valuable, and
burned the temple of God.

Because of the destruction and horror perpetrated by ancient Babylon she


henceforth became a type of all the enemies of God and his people. For the early
church at the beginning of the New Testament era Babylon continued to epitomize
the wickedness and corruption of the world in bitter opposition to the people of
God. The name Babylon was often used by writers of the period as a designation
for the city and empire of Rome. By calling Rome Babylon, it said that Rome had
become what Babylon once had been, the embodiment of all this world's
wickedness and corruption in opposition to the people of God. Babylon in
Revelation is not just Rome but a powerful symbol, a symbol for all of the
enemies and oppressors of God's people, past, present and future. In Rev. 13 who
are the enemies of Gods people?
The two beasts, the beast of the sea (the coercive political, social beast) and
the beast of the earth (the deceptive religious beast) are the enemies of Gods
people.
10. How is Babylon portrayed in 14:8b?
Babylon is portrayed as a prostitute.
What does she do?
She fills her prospective client with wine to deprive him of his judgment so
that she may lure him into her bed.
The point of the text is not physical adultery but the spiritual adultery of idolatry
and false worship. The text also suggests the element of coercion - "she who
made all the nations drink." Babylon uses her power to compel compliance
causing the earth's inhabitants to choose a path that they in no way would have
chosen without her influence. So we have the two elements again of raw power
and deception of false religion. This leads us back to the two beasts. As the great
enemies of Gods people, Babylon represents the two beasts.
11. Note that this is a prophecy of what is about to happen, yet it is spoken of as if it
has already happened. The sovereign Lord is in complete control. His Word is
sure. That which He says will happen is as certain as that which has already
happened in time.

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Lesson 42: Defeat of the Dragon & Beasts Announced (Part 2)
Read Rev. 14:9-13
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
14:9 Loud voice: gets everyones attention; it is heard by all.
14:9, 11 The Beast and its image: this is the political beast which the religious
beast causes people to worship.
14:9, 11 A mark: those who worship the beast are marked as belonging to him.
14:10 The Lamb: Christ, the Lamb who was slain but yet lives, is also the
Judge of mankind.
14:13 Voice from heaven: the voice of God.
While reading 14:6-13 keep in mind that this text refers to the time just before the end of
the world.
1. Now the third and final angel in this scene makes his appearance and proclaims
his ominous message. He proclaims the cup of Gods wrath. Who is it that will
have to drink from it (14:9b)?
Anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead
or on his hand will receive Gods wrath.
This image refers back to Rev. 13:11-18. Who is the beast and its image that is
worshipped (see Lesson 38, point #3)?
The beast and its image that are worshipped are the first beast, the beast of the
sea, the political, social beast.
Anyone who worships this beast has been marked as belonging to him.
2. Each person makes a choice. Either he worships the one true God or he worships
the beast. What awaits the person who chooses to worship the beast and bears his
mark (14:10a)?
He will be required to drink the cup of Gods wrath.
How is the wine described (14:10b)? And what does that mean?
It is described as being poured at full strength. Gods anger will be meted out
as undiluted wine, that is, anger not tempered with any mercy. Those who
align themselves with and follow the beast will be shown no mercy.
How else is Gods wrath pictured (14:10c)?
It is pictured as being tormented with fire and sulfur.
Where in the Bible did we first see Gods wrath poured out as fire and sulfur
(Gen. 19:23-29)?

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God poured his wrath out on Sodom and Gomorrah by destroying it with fire
and sulfur.

Therefore those who worship the beast will be totally destroyed by Gods wrath.
3. Where is the judgment of the followers of the beast to take place (14:10d)?
It takes place in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the
Lamb.
Why do you suppose it takes place in their presence (see John 5:22, 27 and Luke
12:8-9)?
The Son (Jesus) has been given the authority to judge by the Father. So this
phrase emphasizes the role of Christ as the eternal Judge of mankind. The
angelic host becomes the courtroom gallery before whom the judgment takes
place. He makes his judgment in perfect justice and righteousness. His
judgment is final and cannot be appealed.
4. In point 2 above, we looked at Sodom and Gomorrah. How did Abraham know
that Gods judgment had come upon those sinful cities (Gen. 19:27-29)?
He knew it when he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like
the smoke of a furnace.
So also here "the smoke of their torment" (14:11a) signals that the decisive
judgment of God has taken place. How long will the followers of the beast be
tormented (14:11a)?
They will be tormented forever and ever.
What kind of rest or relief will they have (14:11b)?
They will have no rest from their torments. It will last day and night forever
and ever.
And again it reiterates that this torment will be for those worshipers of the beast
and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name."
5. In the face of coercion and deception to worship the beast and the fate of those
who do, what are Gods people urged to do (14:12)?
They are urged to remain steadfast and true, not to yield and follow the
inclination of your own sinful heart or conform to the ways of this world.
Elsewhere in Revelation, their patient endurance in faith is equated to wisdom
(from God) (Rev. 13:18; 17:9). Through such wisdom the Christian can interpret
events in view of the end time judgment (James 1:2-5). This wisdom tells them
that despite being defeated by the beasts on earth (Rev. 13:7), they will be
victorious as they follow the Lamb (15:2-4; cf. 1 Jn. 5:4-5).

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Earlier in Revelation, we read that Christians will face persecution and suffering.
Here it calls Christians to patiently endure. How does the suffering of Christians
and its duration compare to the suffering and duration that the followers of the
devil (unbelievers) will face?
The temporary suffering and persecution which must be endured by Christians
as the price of that loyalty pale into insignificance in comparison with the
eternal torments of the damned.
As Christians patiently endure their suffering on earth, what do they do? How do
they live (14:12b)?
They keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
In Jn. 10:17-18 it is the Fathers commandment that Jesus lay down his life and
take it up again. To those who follow him, Jesus gives eternal life (Jn. 12:50).
The faithfulness of Jesus is the cause of the believers faith in Jesus (14:12 and in
Ro. 3:22, 26). In temptation and persecution Christians cling to Christ.
Along with keeping faith in Jesus, Christians keep the commandments of God.
Jesus summarized the commandments by the word love. Therefore Christians
keep the new commandment that Jesus speaks of (Jn. 13:34) by loving their
fellow human beings.
6. Then John heard a voice from heaven (14:13a). The voice is not identified, but
since it comes from heaven and it speaks with authority, it seems to be the voice
of God. The voice says to Write. This command emphasizes the importance of
that which follows. And that which follows is the second of seven beatitudes in
Revelation.
The word blessed has a basic meaning of happy or happiness. Who is
blessed in this beatitude (14:13a)?
Those who die in the Lord are blessed.
The Holy Spirit agrees that they are blessed. What reason does he give that they
are blessed (14:13b)?
Those who died in the Lord are blessed because they now can rest from their
labors. They have a certain hope of eternal rest.
Therefore the Christian does not need to fear death. The curse of death has
undergone a great reversal and has become a blessing for Christians. By His death
and resurrection Christ has broken the power of death. Death cannot destroy, nor
even interrupt, the relationship of Christ with His people. The blessedness of the
dead who die in the Lord is immediate. The Greek phrase might well be translated
"from this very moment." The blessedness of the dead who die in the Lord begins
at the instant of their death as they are immediately with Christ in heaven.

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7. The Spirit says that they will rest from their labors (14:13b). What labors do
they rest from?
Their labors consist of their struggle against the devil, the world, and their
own sinful flesh that characterized their life here on earth. Their labor is over
as they rest safe and secure in the loving arms of Jesus
What invitation and promise do Christians receive from Christ during their
lifetime on earth (Mt. 11:28)?
Jesus invites them to come to him and he promises to give them rest. At the
moment of death that promise becomes reality.
Note the marked contrast of fates. Contrast the fate of the unbeliever (14:6-11)
with the fate of the believer (14:12-13).
The unbeliever faces an eternity of non-stop pain and torment in hell. While
the believer in Jesus faces an eternity of rest and comfort in heaven.
8. Those entering their eternal rest are accompanied by their works (14:13b). The
persecutors of the saints are never separated from their sin and guilt (cf. Mt.
25:41-46). But the saints are separated from their sin and guilt but not from their
godly works. Faith always performs good works. The two cannot be separated.
God will not forget what they have endured and done in loyalty to the faith.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 43: The Son of Man and the Harvest at the End (Part 1)
Read Rev. 14:14-16
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
14:14, 15, 16: White cloud: the Son of Man comes in righteousness on a cloud
to judge the world.
14:14: Son of man: a reference to Jesus, who became man and represents man
before God.
14:14: Golden crown: a crown given to the victor of an athletic event.
14:14-16: Sharp sickle: used to cut the ripe grain at the harvest.
14:15: Harvest..reap: a figure used to represent the final judgment.
14:15: Temple: the place where God dwells among his people and freely and
graciously favors them.
14:15 Loud voice: gets everyones attention; it is heard by all.
While reading 14:14-20 keep in mind that this text refers to the end of the world, the final
judgment.
1. The scene that we begin here concludes the interregnum (12:1-14:20), the war
between God and the dragon, and between the beasts and the church. It
culminates here with the great harvest, which is the judgment of God.
Briefly in a sentence or two describe the overall picture portrayed in these verses
(14:14-20). Or said another way, what is being described and what picture is used
to describe it?
What is described here is the final judgment at the End of the world. To
describe the final judgment, the picture of a harvest is used. A sharp sickle is
used to cut down the ripe grain and grapes.
Note that the language used here is similar to the language used by the prophet
Joel as he too described the final judgment.
Put in the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe.
Go in, tread,
for the winepress is full.
The vats overflow,
for their evil is great. Joel 3:13
2. The same wording used here (14:14a) - one like a son of man - was used in
1:13. Who does it refer to? (For help see Lesson 2, point 4.)
Son of Man refers to Jesus.

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What did Jesus say people would see the Son of Man doing in the future (Mt.
24:30; 26:64)?

They would see the Son of Man coming on the clouds in power and glory.

The cloud upon which the Son of Man is seated in this vision is specifically
designated as "a white cloud". White is the color of purity, righteousness and
holiness. In this context it signifies the righteousness of God in judgment.
3. In Mk. 15:17 what type of crown did Jesus, the Son of Man, wear and what was it
replaced with here (14:14b)? What does this crown denote?
"Once before the Son of Man had worn a crown: a thorny crown, a crown of
mockery in His suffering (Mark 15:17). That crown has been replaced by a
golden crown, a crown denoting victory. So now in bearing the crown He
comes as the victor." (Brighton, p. 390)
What else do we know about the Son of Man? What does he bear in his hand and
what is it used for (14:14b)?
He bears a sharp sickle in his hand. A sickle is used to harvest grain.
According to Mt. 13:24-30 what has been mixed in with the good grain? What
does that mean?
Weeds are mixed in with the good grain. That is, unbelievers are mixed in
with believers.
How does God handle this situation? When and how does he separate the two?
At the End, at the final judgment, is when the harvest occurs. At that time God
will separate the wheat (believers) from the weeds (unbelievers). The weeds
will be bundled up to be thrown into the fire (hell).
This sickle is "sharp" - it is honed and ready for use. The Son of Man is fully
equipped and prepared for the task before Him, to gather in the harvest of God's
judgment. The job will be done quickly and completely.
4. Next John saw another angel with a message for the Son of Man (14:15a). It
might seem strange that an angel commands Jesus, the Son of Man, to do
anything. But where did the angel come from (14:15a)? And what does that mean
concerning his message?
The angel came from the temple, which is the place where God dwells among
his people. Since he came from the presence of God, his message to the Son
of Man is a message from God the Father.
He called out in a loud voice, in a voice where the message could be heard clearly
by all, especially the Son of Man. The command was important and must be heard
clearly and immediately. There is a sense of dramatic urgency in the command
which the angel relays to the Son of Man.

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5. What is the message that the angel relays (14:15b)?
The message is to start cutting the grain (reaping), for the hour to reap has
come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe."
Mankind is like a field that has reached perfect readiness and ripeness. The farmer
who harvests too soon finds his crop green and incomplete. The farmer who
delays the harvest too long finds his crop over-ripe and past its prime. The harvest
must occur at just the right moment. This is that perfect moment, as the Almighty
Sovereign God sends forth His command. Let the reaping begin now! This is the
right time. Bring in the harvest.
The act itself is described in startling brevity without embellishment or detail
(14:16). Who is it that carries out Gods judgment (harvest) on the earth (14:16)?
He who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was
reaped. It was the Son of Man who sat on the cloud and it is he would carries
out Gods judgment.
Why is he worthy of carrying out Gods judgment?
Representing man, Jesus received the judgment of God the Father on the
cross. Although sinless, he paid the penalty that sinful man deserved. For
those who believe in him, what he endured on their behalf counts for them.
For those who despise his saving deed and refuse to accept his act on their
behalf, they have chosen to bear the judgment of Gods wrath themselves.
In both the OT and NT the harvest is a symbol for the judgment of God. When he
judges he has either condemnation (on unbelievers) or compassion (on believers).
During the period between Christs first and second coming, the church takes
every opportunity to increase the harvest as it spreads the Good News of what
Jesus has done. The churchs work is not done until she hears that final call to
send forth his sickle.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 44: The Son of Man and the Harvest at the End (Part 2)
Read Rev. 14:17-20
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
14:17 Temple: the place where God dwells among his people and freely and
graciously favors them.
14:17-19 Sharp sickle: used to cut the ripe grain at the harvest. Here it
represents Gods judgment against sin.
14:18 The altar: the altar of incense in the temple. The incense that burned on
it produced smoke that rose, representing the prayers of Gods people rising to
God.
14:18-19 Grapes: Represents those who do not believe in Jesus. It represents
those who worship the Beast and its image.
14:19 Harvest: a figure used to represent the final judgment.
14:19-20 Winepress: the place where grapes were pressed or destroyed to
get the juice which would be made into wine. Here it represents Gods
judgment of the wicked.
14:20 Outside the city: the city represents Jerusalem, the place where God
dwells with his people. The city is the church. The judgment was against those
who are outside the city, that is, those who are not Gods people.
14:20 1600: a number that symbolizes all the people that have ever lived on
the earth.
While reading 14:14-20 keep in mind that this text refers to the end of the world, the final
judgment.
1. In the previous lesson we saw where the prophet Joel had used the dual image of a
grain harvest and the crushing of the grapes in the harvest of a vineyard (Joel
3:13). What John sees in 14:14-20 follows that same pattern as the scene unfolds
to represent the violent fury of God's judgment upon His foes.
The picture changes from 14:14-16 to 14:17-20. The grain harvest (14:14-16)
symbolized the ingathering of believers and unbelievers, but in 14:17-20 the
harvest is only the unbelievers, those who worshipped the beast and its image
(14:9-11).
2. What does John see next (14:17)? Where does it come from and what does it
have?
Next John sees another angel that came out of the temple in heaven, and he
too had a sharp sickle. This is another messenger of the holy and righteous
God.

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What does the fact that he too had a sharp sickle (14:17b) mean? What was the
sharp sickle used for in 14:14-16?
The Son of Man used the sharp sickle to harvest the grain in 14:14-16. So here
too the sharp sickle will be used for the harvest.
3. The angel in 14:17 is followed by yet another angel in 14:18. This angel is
probably the same angel as in 8:3-5. If this is true, what altar and fire is this angel
associated with (14:18a)?
This angel was associated with the incense altar that stood before Gods royal
throne. He was in charge of the fire for this altar where incense was burned
before God.
According to 8:3-4, what did the incense represent?
The incense represented the prayers of saints rising up before God.
What did the saints under the incense altar pray for (6:9-11)?
The saints prayed for vindication for the persecution and death that was
inflicted on them by the unbelieving world because of their strong stance in
the word of God and their witness to the saving work of Jesus Christ. They
prayed for the judgment of the wicked.
What did this angel tell the other angel who had the sharp sickle to do (14:18b)?
"Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its
grapes are ripe." Since the grapes represent followers of the beast, this
command is for the judgment of unbelievers.
4. What 3 things did the angel with the sharp sickle do (14:19)?
He swung his sickle, cutting off all the grape vines on the earth.
He gathered in the grape harvest.
And he threw the grapes into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
The winepress was a symbol of Gods judgment and wrath against those who
follow the Beast and worship him and his image. When the End comes, they will
be cut off and receive Gods wrath.
What exactly was a winepress and how did it work in that day? Thomas gives us a
description:
"The winepress in ancient times consisted of two bowls hewn out of solid rock.
One was higher than the other and contained the grapes which someone walked
on to squeeze the juice from them. The juice flowed through a duct into the lower
basin where it was collected until being removed for storage or consumption."
(Thomas, p.223)

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With the imagery of the winepress, what picture emerges of Gods judgment on
unbelievers?
The picture then is that of the wicked being placed in a winepress and God in
his wrath walks on. As grape juice flows from the smashing and destroying of
the grapes, so blood flows from the smashing and destroying of unbelievers.
The winepress as an image of God's judgment upon unbelievers was a favorite
theme in the prophetic writings of the Old Testament. In the closing chapters of
the Book of Isaiah, the prophet foretells the coming of the great day of the Lord's
vengeance and the total defeat and destruction of the enemies of the people of
God exemplified by the heathen nation of Edom, Israel's most bitter foe. Isaiah
depicts the Messiah as a warrior champion returning victorious from the fight, his
robes bloodstained and red (Is. 63:1-6; cf. also Lam. 1:15).
The brutal realism of the vision captures the fury of God's wrath against those
who have made themselves His enemies unto death. The Victorian hymnist
Thomas Kelly composed a classic Easter hymn that expresses the sense of the text
extremely well:
"Who is this who comes from Edom, all his raiment stained with blood,
To the captive speaking freedom, bringing and bestowing good,
Glorious in the garb He wears, glorious in the spoil He bears?
'Tis the Savior, now victorious, traveling onward in His might;
'Tis the Savior, O how glorious to His people is the sight!
Satan conquered and the grave, Jesus now is strong to save.
Why this blood His raiment staining? 'Tis the blood of many slain;
Of His foes there's none remaining, none the contest to maintain.
Fall'n they are, no more to rise; all their glory prostrate lies.
Mighty Victor, reign forever, wear the crown so dearly won;
Never shall Thy people, never, cease to sing what Thou hast done.
Thou hast fought Thy peoples' foes; Thou hast healed Thy people's woes.
(TLH # 209)
5. The grapes "trampled in the winepress" (14:20a) represent unrepentant,
unbelieving humanity. The agent who carries out the treading is not specifically
identified. But who is it that Rev. 19:15 says is the agent?
Christ himself is the agent of Gods judgment.
Where was the place where the grapes were stomped on (14:20a)?
The grapes were trodden outside the city.

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In what city in the OT did God dwell among his people? What was his place of
residence?
God dwelled among his people in Jerusalem. This was the place where the
temple was, his royal residence. His holy presence dwelled in the Most Holy
Place inside the temple.
Any place where God is present becomes holy. The elect live in the holy city with
God and by grace are spared the wrath of Gods judgment (see Joel 3:16). In the
NT, where does God dwell with his people on earth?
He dwells in the hearts of those who believe in him. Or said another way, he
dwells in the church. The city then represents the church on earth where
people by faith are safe from the coming wrath.
The prophets commonly foretold Gods judgment outside the city. In each of the
following cases, where is the place of Gods judgment?
Joel 3:12-16: Joel tells of the great Day of the Lord in the Valley of
Jehoshaphat below Mount Zion.
Zech. 14:1-5: Zechariah describes the Mount of Olives splitting in two to
create a great valley in which the Lord will do battle with the nations.
Jer. 7:30-34: Jeremiah foretold a time when the Valley of Hinnon would
become known as "the Valley of Slaughter" because it would be filled to
overflowing with the bodies of the dead when the judgment of God finally
came.
These three places are outside the city of Jerusalem. Thus, the Revelator's image
of the bloody destruction of the wicked outside the city of Jerusalem would have
come as no surprise to those familiar with the Old Testament.
Once pagans trampled the holy city, destroying it and the temple (Babylonians in
596 BC). But in the End a great reversal takes place. At the End it is the pagan
unbelievers that are trampled (14:20a).
Gods Son too was trampled outside the city (Heb. 13:12) by Gods judgment
for the sins of the world. His trampling was to be for all people as he took the
wrath of God in full force and shed his blood for them. But the pagans do not
believe or trust in his saving work and so they must receive Gods wrath and
trampling themselves.
6. How bad will Gods judgment be (14:20b)?
The blood that flows from the winepress will be as high as a horses bridle,
for 1,600 stadia. So the blood is described as five feet deep and 184 miles
long, an unfathomable amount of blood.
Like most numbers in Revelation, the number 1600 is symbolic and not actual.
The number for the earth is 4. When the number 4 is squared, it equals 16, leaving
no doubt that the judgment affects the whole earth. It then is multiplied by the

A Bible Study of Revelation


number of completion (10) squared. Gods righteous judgment will completely
overtake every unbeliever who has ever lived on the earth. There is no doubt
about this; there will be no escape.

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Lesson 45: Preparation for the Last Plagues: Introduction of the
Seven Censer Angels (Part 1)
Read Rev. 15:1-3a
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
15:1 Seven: 7 is the number of perfection and completeness.
15:2 Sea of glass: the sea of chaos that results from sin has been tamed by
God.
15:2 Fire: Gods judgment on sin. Can also represent warfare and suffering.
15:2 The Beast..image..number: The Beast and its image is the political beast
which the religious beast causes people to worship. Those that worship him
are marked by him with the number of his name 666 (the anti-Trinity).
15:3 Song of Moses: the song that Moses and the Israelites sang in celebration
of their deliverance by God from the Egyptians.
15:3 Song of the Lamb: a song recognizing Gods amazing and righteous acts
for his people.
While reading 15:1-8 keep in mind that this text refers to the time of the church, the time
from Christs first coming until his second coming at the End.
1. Chapter 15 can be seen in two ways. In one way it can be seen as the 7th scene of a
vision of 7 scenes (Rev. 12 15), which is the 4th of 7 visions in Revelation. In
another way, chapter 15 goes along with chapter 16 which presents the third
vision in Revelation of the events on earth. This last sweep of history also has 7
scenes, like the first two earthly visions (6:1-8:5 and 8:6-11:19). Each scene is
introduced by an angel with a censer. The first 5 scenes of the third vision (16:111) take place concurrently. They occur from Christs first advent up to
Armageddon. The 6th scene (16:12-16) describes the last battle (Armageddon)
which occurs just prior to the end of the present world at Christs second return.
The 7th scene is the End at the second coming of Christ (16:17-21).
2. The final scene in this vision of seven scenes (Rev. 12-15) is introduced in the
customary manner - And I saw. As in the previous visions of sevens, this final
scene serves as the interlocking link which provides the transition to the vision
which follows.
What was it that John saw (15:1a)?
John saw another sign in heaven which was great and amazing.
This is the 3rd sign in heaven that John saw. In 12:1, the woman with child was a
great sign. And in 12:3, the dragon was another sign. Initially the 7 angels with
7 plagues are the sign. But one may also think of the whole vision as a sign.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Who are the 7 angels? They could be the 7 angels of the 7 churches (Rev. 2-3) and
the 7 trumpet-angels. What modifier did John use in describing the angels in Rev.
14: 6, 8, 9?
He described each of them as being another angel.
Since he does not use that modifier here, we will assume them to be the 7 angels
that appeared twice earlier. The purpose of the 3rd earthly vision (15:1-16:21) is
similar to that of the 2nd vision (8:6-11:19), namely, to show Gods wrath against
the enemies of his church. Who could better announce these judgments than the 7
angels of the 7 churches? They represent the last great effort of God to move the
human race to repentance before its too late.
3. What OT event does the word plague (15:1) remind you of?
The 10 plagues of judgment that God sent on Egypt (Ex. 7-11). This
connection will be specified and amplified in the verses which follow.
Again, what does the number 7 mean (15:1, 7 angels and 7 plagues)?
7 is the number of perfection and completeness.
In the Exodus event, God sent plagues upon Egypt in order to get Pharaoh to
repent, to change his mind and let Israel go. Knowing this and knowing the
meaning of the number 7, what do think the purpose of the 7 plagues is?
The 7 plagues represent Gods perfect and righteous judgment on sinful
mankind throughout the NT era. He executes this judgment in order to cause
sinful people to repent, to turn away from the Beast and to turn to him instead.
These are the last judgments of God, for when they are complete the wrath of
God is finished (15:1b). These outpourings of Gods judgment will carry us
through the NT era to the end of time and the Final Judgment.
4. What does John see next (15:2a)?
Next he sees what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire.
To the OT Jewish mind, what did the sea represent?
In the imagery of the Old Testament, the surging chaos of the sea is a symbol
of evil, sinful mankind locked in endless violence and conflict.
Earlier in Rev. 4:6 John saw a seal of glass before the throne. What did it
symbolize? (See lesson 10, point #9.)
The crystal sea depicts the chaotic power of sin calmed and contained by the
sovereign power of God and through the death and resurrection of his Son.
5. While the saints in heaven are at rest by the calm sea, on earth the fire (15:2a)
of Gods wrath burns in both destroying and purifying ways. Fire can also
represent warfare and suffering.

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Who are those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its
name (15:2b)? And how did they do it?
They are Christians. They conquer through faith in Jesus. Jesus won the
victory for them and he shares his victory with them.
Both the NIV and the ESV translate that the saints are standing beside the sea of
glass (15:2c). Using this translation continues the emphasis on the picture of the
Exodus with the Israelites safely on the other side of the Red Sea with the threat
of the Egyptian army gone.
While this translation is possible, given the context it may be translated in a
different way. Since the sea is pictured as something solid (glass), in that context
it may be translated as: standing on the sea of glass. This translation would then
emphasize that the saints on earth are standing on the sea in the midst of the
struggle against the dragon and all who serve him. The fiery sea then is the
battlefield on which the warfare between the church and the beasts of Satan is
taking place.
As we have seen, the church is defeated by the beast (11:7; 13:7). But we have
also seen that paradoxically the church is victorious. The victory is not apparent
on earth except by faith. It will be fully exhibited at the End for all to see (see
19:1-10; 20:11-15; cf. 7:9-17). Confident of victory even in defeat, the church
voices her faith in a song of victory-even as she goes into death.
6. The Exodus theme continues in the song the saints sing. What does the song of
Moses (15:3a) refer to (see Ex. 14:30 15:21)?
It refers to the song that Moses and the Israelites sang in celebration after
Yahweh had delivered them from the hands of the Egyptians. It is a song of
thanksgiving to God for salvation.
Why would Christians in the NT era sing the Song of Moses?
Christians would sing this song because, like all of scripture, it points forward
to Jesus. It points forward to the deliverance and salvation from sin and death
that Jesus provides for all people.
As the NT church takes up the Song of Moses as its own, this song is also called
the hymn of the Lamb (15:3). Jesus is the Passover Lamb through whose blood
the church is released from bondage. Moses was the great deliverer of Israel from
Egypt and Jesus, the Lamb, is the great deliverer of all people from bondage to
sin, death and the devil. This song then joins the OT church (the song of Moses)
with the NT church (the hymn of the Lamb) in one grand unity.
The new song in 14:3 celebrated the final deliverance at the End. But this song
celebrates deliverance from the enemy at any time. The Lord is always delivering
his church in times of trouble and death so she can continue to witness. The
church is always being defeated and always being delivered and she always

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(while on earth) sings this song of salvation and thanksgiving until she reaches
her final destination. Then she will sing a new song (14:3).

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 46: Preparation for the Last Plagues: Introduction of the
Seven Censer Angels (Part 2)
Read Rev. 15:3b-4
While reading 15:1-8 keep in mind that this text refers to the time of the church, the time
from Christs first coming until his second coming at the End.
1. In Rev. 3b-4 are the words of the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb that the
victorious saints sing. The first part of the song extols the marvelous works and
ways of God (15:3b). The language of the opening phrase is reminiscent of Psalm
111, which says: Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in
them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures
forever.
Given the context of chapters 15 and 16, what are the deeds of God that are so
great and amazing?
The judgments of God upon sinful mankind are great and amazing.
The title Lord God the Almighty (15:3b) is equivalent to the OT title Yahweh
Sabaoth, which is rendered, Lord God of Hosts. What does this title stress?
The title emphasizes the infinite and complete ruling power and authority of
God.
2. The next line in the song reiterates what the first one says in a slightly different
way. The fact that the ways of God are just and true (15:3b) is based on Deut.
32:3, which says: "The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A
God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he. What is being
emphasized here?
This is emphasizing the absolute justice and complete accuracy and
truthfulness of the judgments of God.
While the title in the first line emphasized Gods complete power and authority to
rule, the second line clearly says that God is the King of the nations. His rule
extends to all people of all nations. And as the King his judgments are just and
true. No one can complain that he is not fair.
3. Rev. 15:4a asks a rhetorical question, Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify
your name? What kind of answer is expected?
A negative answer is expected to a question asked in the negative. There is no
one who will not fear God. Or said positively, all people will fear God.
Again the word fear is to be understood in a two-fold sense. What kind of fear
will unbelievers, the enemies of God feel?
They will be frightened or terrified of Gods righteous judgment.

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In the past, Christians too have known the terrors of a troubled conscience before
a just God. But they have already overcome the terrors of conscience by faith in
the forgiveness of sins. And so what kind of fear will Christians feel when
confronted by Gods righteous judgment?
The fear they will feel will be one of complete reverence, respect, and awe for
a just God who has been gracious and merciful to them.
So in the end, all men will finally fear God, either with the fear of a terrified
conscience or with the awe and respect of a believing heart.
4. The universal fear of God will result in the universal magnifying of His Name.
The name of God is not merely a particular title or designation for God but the
total revelation of Who He is. It includes everything we know of Him from the
Bible - His essence, His attributes, His works, His commandments, and His
promises. The Name of God is God Himself as He has revealed Himself to
us...Gods name is Gods Word. (Poellet, p. 201)
5. The clause, For you alone are holy explains the basis for mankinds fear of God.
What does the word holy mean?
It refers to the uniqueness and the majesty of God as the One absolutely set
apart from that which He has created - the sum of divine attributes
distinguishing God from His creation. (Beale, p. 796).
The qualifier alone reinforces this emphasis. God is to be feared by all because
He is the one and only God. There is none other like Him nor could there be. [All
the other gods of all other religions besides Christianity are false gods. They are
made up in the minds of sinful people. Only the Triune God is the true God. This
will be made clear to all on the Last Day.]
The wording for Rev. 15:4 is drawn from Jer. 10:5-7. In it Jeremiah compares the
one true God with the idols of the nations which are silent and helpless like a
scarecrow in a melon patch. (Jeremiah 10:5). The prophet concludes: Do not
fear them; they can do no harm, nor can they do any good. No one is like You,
O Lord; You are great and Your Name is mighty in power. Who should not
revere You, O King of the Nations? This is Your due...there is no one like You.
(Jeremiah 10:5-7).
6. What effect does Gods universal holiness and his righteous acts have on people
(15:4b)?
All nations will come and worship you. God will be universally
acknowledged as the one, true God and he will be universally worshipped.
Every knee will bow before God.
Again, given the context, the righteous acts (15:4b) of God that have been
revealed are his righteous judgments, the eternal verdicts which He will issue

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upon humanity. On the great day of judgment all mankind shall stand before the
throne as the perfect righteousness of God is demonstrated and declared both in
the salvation of the redeemed, who have received by grace the perfect
righteousness of Christ, and the condemnation of the damned. No one shall be
able to challenge or deny the justice or the fairness of all of Gods acts and
verdicts. This is indeed the purpose of Judgment Day - the public irrefutable
demonstration of Gods perfect justice and righteousness. In this song then the
saints rejoice in the ultimate vindication of the justice and righteousness of God.
7. Lets explore Gods righteous acts some more. As we said, here Gods righteous
acts are his righteous judgments. What is it that motivates God to make these
righteous judgments? It is his righteousness. How does God make his
righteousness known?
He makes his righteousness known in his Word and in Christ.
In Romans Paul speaks of the righteous requirements of the Law. Is man able to
fulfill them?
No. Given mans fallen state, it is impossible for man to keep the righteous
requirements of the Law that God demands.
Based on this, it would appear that man is doomed. But God comes to the rescue
of sinful man. What has God done for man?
He sent his Son who kept the righteous requirements of the Law for all
people.
He then offers Christs righteousness as a free gift to fallen man. How is it that
man can receive Christs righteousness?
He can only receive it by faith.
But there are some who refuse this free gift. So righteous judgments here refers
to those actions by which God shows his anger at the sins of all people who refuse
his gracious invitation to his mercy in Christ. They are followers of the beast and
enemies of his saints on earth. These judgments will be poured out in the form of
plagues from the 7 censer-angels (16:1-21). The purpose of these righteous
judgments is to move the unbelieving world to repentance before its too late
(16:9, 11).

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Lesson 47: Preparation for the Last Plagues: Introduction of the
Seven Censer Angels (Part 3)
Read Rev. 15:5-8
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
15:5-8 Sanctuary of the tent of witness: the place where God dwells and meets
with his people.
15:6-8 Seven angels, seven plagues: representatives of God who deliver the
full measure of Gods wrath on those who refuse his mercy.
15:6 Pure, bright linen: symbolizes that their mission comes from God and is a
mission of purification.
15:6 Golden sashes: they wear golden sashes like the Son of Man and
therefore represent him.
15:7 Four living creatures: a particular order of angels that are closer to God
than any other creature. They lead the heavenly host in praising God and
represent all living things in Gods creation.
15:7 Seven golden bowls: the complete measure of Gods holy wrath that will
be poured out on the earth.
15:8 Smoke: indicates Gods holy impenetratable presence.
While reading 15:1-8 keep in mind that this text refers to the time of the church, the time
from Christs first coming until his second coming at the End.
1. The focus now shifts back to the 7 angels with the seven plagues of Gods wrath.
What does the sanctuary of the tent of witness (15:5) refer to? (See Ex. 25:8-9;
40:34-38.)
The sanctuary of the tabernacle of the testimony (15:5) refers to the
tabernacle, the tent of witness, the place where God dwelled with his people in
their wilderness wanderings after their exodus from Egypt.
It was sometimes called the tent of testimony because it contained the
testimony of the Law in the Holy of Holies. It was also called the tent of
meeting because God spoke to Moses there and the people would gather there to
hear Moses speak Gods testimony to them.
Given this background, what does it mean when it says that the sanctuary of the
tent of witness was in heaven (15:5)? What did the tabernacle in the OT
symbolize?
As the tabernacle was the focal point of Israels life with God, so Gods holy
presence is the center and core of the life of the saints in his heavenly glory.
The earthly tabernacle was a type of the heavenly one, which Christ entered as
high priest with his own blood as the ransom for the sins of Gods people
(Heb. 9:11-12).

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2. The heavenly sanctuary was opened (15:5b) and what came out of it (15:6a)?
Out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues.
What does it say about the plagues that the 7 angels with the 7 plagues came out
of the heavenly sanctuary?
It says that these plagues come from the presence of God and express his
unalterable opposition to sin. And his opposition to sin is witnessed to by the
testimony of Gods Law.
The image of seven plagues(15:6a) is reminiscent of Leviticus where God
threatened to punish His faithless people sevenfold for their idolatrous and
sinful ways (cf. Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24, 28). Recall the symbolic meaning of the
number 7. What does it mean that there are 7 plagues?
7 is the number for perfection and completion. The number 7 is figurative and
not literal and it signifies the fact that Gods judgment will be visited upon
mankind perfectly and completely.
3. Next it describes how the 7 angels are dressed (15:6b). This might seem a bit
curious, but there is a reason for it. In the ESV it is says that they were clothed in
pure, bright linen. In the NIV it says, They were dressed in clean shining
linen. The purity of their raiment is indicative of the mission of purification
upon which they have been dispatched. That they are clothed in shining linen,
indicates that they are his servants who shine from his holiness.
They were also clothed with golden sashes around their chests. These golden
sashes indicate royalty. Who wore a golden sash in Rev. 1:13?
The Son of Man wore a golden sash in Rev. 1:13.
So the 7 angels, clothed in Gods royal holiness, act on behalf of God and his
Christ.
4. The 4 living creatures were first mentioned in Rev. 4:6-11. They are an exalted
order of angels that are closer to God than any other creature. They are full of
eyes and therefore know all that happens on earth. They have seen how man has
rebelled and gone his own way. They see how man refuses to accept Gods mercy.
What did one of the 4 living creatures give to the 7 angels (15:7)?
He gave them seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God. God has
graciously offered his mercy to man through his Son, but the majority of men
refuse the free gift. This ungratefulness and haughtiness angers God.
So the 7 bowls do not originate with the angels; they contain the anger of God;
and the angels are merely dispensers of it. The word translated as bowls or
censers refers to a cultic utensil used in the temple to pour out libation
offerings, typically wine. St. Paul alludes to this practice in 2 Timothy 4:6. What
does he say is happening to him?

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He says, For I am already being poured out like a drink offering. He is


being poured out like the wine from a drink offering is poured unto the altar.

So the picture here is that the bowls are filled to the brim with the liquid of Gods
wrath, which is about to be poured out on all in creation that refuse his mercy and
instead follow the dragon and two beasts.
Whose wrath is in the bowls (15:7b)?
It is the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. This wrath comes from
the living God, the God who has always lived and will always live.
What does the writer of Hebrews say about the living God (Heb. 10:31)?
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. This wrath does
not come from a false god or idol that has no power. No, this wrath comes
from the one true all-powerful God. It is to be greatly feared.
5. After the 7 angels were given the 7 bowls of Gods wrath, the sanctuary was
filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power (15:8a). What did
the presence of smoke indicate in Ex. 19:18-20?
It indicated the presence of God. He descended upon Mt. Sinai in fire and
smoke.
Isaiah had a vision of the Lord sitting upon his throne in heaven (Is. 6:1-6). He
saw foundations shake at the Lords voice and the Lords house was filled with
smoke (Is. 6:4).
And so here too the smoke indicates the awesome and terrifying presence of God
as the 7 angels stand ready to pour out his anger and fury upon the earth.
6. What could Moses not do in Ex. 40:34-35?
Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on
it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
What could the priest not do in 1 Kings 8:10-11?
The priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of
the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
So what do we make of the fact that the sanctuary was filled with smoke and no
one could enter until the 7 plagues were finished? We see three things.
(1) First, since the thick smoke of Gods presence basically closed the temple, the
temple could not be used for its normal purposes. The tabernacle was the place of
mercy and prayer. Now access to those resources is cut off. The time of grace is
over. The time of judgment is at hand.

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(2) Second, as no one could penetrate the thick smoke of Gods holy presence at
the OT tabernacle/temple, so here no can penetrate Gods righteous actions until
they are complete at the End. No one is able to go in and stop them.
(3) And as Gods holy presence was concealed by the smoke, so Gods holy and
just actions are concealed from humankind until the Lord comes again.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 48: The First Five Bowls of Gods Wrath (Part 1)
Read Rev. 16:1-3
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
16:1 Loud voice from the temple: Gods voice; he speaks with authority.
16:1 Seven: the number of completion and perfection.
16:1-3 Angels: the angels that deliver and pour out Gods righteous
judgments.
16:1-3 Bowls of Gods wrath: Gods righteous judgment on rebellious
mankind.
16:2 Mark of the beast...image: describes unbelievers who choose to follow
and worship earthly powers and might that the devil presents as alternatives to
God. They are marked as belonging to him.
While reading 16:1-11 keep in mind that this text refers to the time of the church, the
time from Christs first coming until his second coming at the End.
1. John heard a loud voice that came from the temple (16:1a). The speaker is not
identified. But based on deduction (see 15:8), whose voice was this and why?
The voice came from the temple. And since no one could enter the sanctuary
because of the presence of God's glory (Rev. 15:8) it can be safely assumed
that the voice is that of God Himself.
A loud voice is heard twenty times in Revelation. It describes a voice that
speaks with power and authority. The sound of this voice causes things to happen.
Who does the loud voice address and what does it instruct them to do (16:1)?
The loud voice is addressed to the seven angels introduced in chapter 15. And
it tells them to immediately commence their work of judgment. It tells them to
"Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God" (16:1b).
2. The perfect "seven" serves to emphasize the fact that God's judgment will be
carried out completely without omission or exception. What are the angels to do
with the bowls filled with Gods wrath (16:1b)?
They are to pour it out on the earth.
As we said in chapter 15, the image is one of Gods wrath being poured out like a
libation offering being poured out on the fire of the altar. This image of Gods
wrath being poured out is common in the OT.
o Pour out your wrath on the nations that know you not,
and on the peoples that call not on your name, (Jer. 10:25)
o Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: behold, my anger and my wrath will be
poured out on this place (Jer. 7:20)

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o Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the
kingdoms that do not call upon your name! Return sevenfold into the lap of
our neighbors the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord! (Ps.
79:6, 12).
3. In chapter 15 it says that Gods judgments will come in the form of plagues. The 7
plagues are similar to the 10 plagues on Egypt (Ex. 7:14-11:9) and are similar to
the calamites that the trumpet angels introduced (Rev. 8:6-9:21; 11:15-19). In all
three cases Gods purpose was to move hardened hearts to repentance.
While some of the plagues are similar to the earlier plagues in Revelation, the
emphasis is on the intensification of the judgments. Through these plagues God
warns of the seriousness of his judgment. In previous plagues only 1/3 of the
people were affected. In these plagues all are affected. The message is: repent for
no one can escape the final judgment.
Also in comparing the earlier trumpet plagues with the 7 bowl plagues here, the
trumpet plagues are largely indirect. That is, they impact mankind by striking his
environment. The bowl plagues afflict and destroy man himself.
These differences are indicative of the general progression within the Book of
Revelation. Gods judgments in Revelation continue to become more powerful
and intense. Also each of the seven visions in Revelation, while covering largely
the same ground, focuses more clearly on the last judgment and the eternity which
will ensue as the visions progress.
What are these plagues called in 15:1? And what does that serve to tie them to?
They are called the seven last plagues. This links the plagues to the end of
time and the last judgment.
The progression that the plagues present serves to remind us that God's judgments
throughout time will intensify and culminate in the end of time and the final
judgment.
4. Which of the 10 plagues of Egypt is this first plague (16:2) reminiscent of (Ex.
9:8-12)? What happened in that plague in Exodus?
The plague obviously parallels the sixth of the plagues of Egypt, the plague of
boils which God inflicted upon the land of Egypt.
While the plague of Egypt was for a short time, this plague of sores is for the
entire time from Christs first coming to his second coming. Not all people at all
times will be plagued by them. In general, the plagues will grow worse as the time
of Christs return draws near, even as the 10 plagues on the Egyptians grew worse
before the exodus.

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The horrendous imagery of this plague does not describe a particular ailment but
instead represents the totality of all the physical pain and suffering which sinful
men will be compelled to endure throughout the latter days.
Who is directly affected by this plague (16:2b)?
This plague especially affects the people who bore the mark of the beast and
worshiped its image. It affects all those who reject God and the salvation he
offers. This is meant to get the attention of those who ignore the one true God
and instead worship the power and prestige that this world offers.
Of course it is true that believers must also endure all of these things here in time.
But the physical suffering of those who are in Christ is transformed by the faith
with the recognition "that in all things God works for the good of those who
love Him" and "that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the
glory that will be revealed in us." (Romans 8:28, 18). That trust puts our
physical suffering in an entirely different category. To be called upon to endure
these horrors without the presence and promise of Christ is a tragedy which for
the believer is blessedly unimaginable.
5. Which of the 10 plagues of Egypt is this second plague (16:3) reminiscent of (Ex.
7:14-24)? What happened in that plague?
The first of Egypt's plagues saw the life giving water of the sacred Nile turned
to blood. As a result the fish died and it stunk.
In Rev. 8:8-9 the seas were affected. What happened there? And what was the
result?
Something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea.
The result was that 1/3 of the seas became blood and 1/3 of the fish died and
1/3 of the ships were destroyed.
The plague here (16:3) did more than change the color of the sea. It became like
the blood of a corpse. What was the result of that (16:3b)?
The result was that every living thing died that was in the sea.
The sea which represents the seething chaos of sinful humanity is turned into a
sea of the stinking blood of a corpse. This signifies the fatal dominion of death
over fallen mankind.

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Lesson 49: The First Five Bowls of Gods Wrath (Part 2)
Read Rev. 16:4-11
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
16:4-11 Angel: a representative of God, the dispenser of Gods wrath.
16:5 Who is and Who was: an abbreviated title of God that proclaims his
eternalness.
16:6 Shed bloodblood to drink: punishment fits the crime.
16:10 Throne: represents the king and his seat of power.
16:10 Beast: the earthly powers that are under the control of the devil.
16:10 Darkness: represents separation from God who is Light.
While reading 16:1-11 keep in mind that this text refers to the time of the church, the
time from Christs first coming until his second coming at the End.
1. The first bowl of Gods wrath was poured on the earth (16:2). The second bowl
was poured on the seas (16:3). Now the third bowl is poured on fresh water rivers
and springs (16:4). What is the result (16:4b)?
The waters turn to blood.
What is the most important thing we do with fresh water? Why?
While fresh water has many uses, the most important thing we do with fresh
water is drink it. We need fresh water to live.
So according to 16:6a why is turning fresh water into blood appropriate?
They have shed the blood of saints and prophets.
Said another way, they were blood-thirsty. So in effect the Lord says, If you
really want blood, then so be it. Youll be required to drink blood because thats
what you will have to drink instead of water. You will get what you deserve. As
you put my people to death, so you shall receive death (16:6b). The punishment
fits the crime.
2. The explanation and justification given in 16:5-6 is given by the third angel,
called the angel in charge of the waters (16:5a). And as we said above, the
punishment fits the crime. The One who executes this judgment upon them is just
(16:5b). Who is the Just One? How is he described (16:5b)?
He is called the Holy One, who is and who was.
Holy means set apart. God is wholly other. He is far above and beyond all that
he created. What does the title Who is, Who was, and Who is coming mean?
It is a way of saying that God is eternal. He has always existed in eternity past.
He exists now. And he will exist into eternity future.

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What part of that title is missing in 16:5b? Why might that be?
It leaves off Who is coming. It is probably absent because he is no longer
the Coming One because the angel realizes that these are the last plagues
which are the final set of warnings which illustrate and inaugurate the final
judgment at the End.
3. Earlier in Rev. 6:9, where were the souls of the martyrs located?
They were located beneath the heavenly altar.
In Rev. 8:3-4 what was the prayers of the saints depicted as?
The prayers of the saints were depicted as incense being burned on the altar of
incense and the smoke that arose was like the prayers of the saints rising up to
God.
Now the altar itself, the personification of the prayerful desire of God's people for
the vindication of His righteousness, testifies to the perfect appropriateness of
God's judgment upon the wicked (16:7). The God who is eternal and all powerful
(Lord God the Almighty) is also just and his judgments are just (16:7).
4. In an earlier interlude, which pictured the church triumphant, note the words of
the elder concerning the sun in describing the blessedness of redeemed in heaven
(7:16-17).
the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.
Now the fourth bowl of Gods wrath is poured out on the sun (16:8a). What were
the results (16:8b-9a)?
The result is that people are scorched by its fierce heat. The serenity and
comfort of the earlier image is now reversed as the fourth angel pours out his
bowl of divine judgment.
C.H. Little aptly describes the meaning and significance of the scene as he notes:
"This presents to us a picture of all that makes life comfortable turned into
intolerable burning and poured out unceasingly upon the enemies of God and the
Lamb." (Little, p. 163) The imagery does not merely apply to the natural world,
but to everything in life which was intended to bring man joy and satisfaction. All
is perverted and destroyed by sin and life apart from God is reduced to misery and
torment.
5. What was mankinds response to the plague (16:9b)?
People cursed the name of God and did not repent and give him glory.
The response of sinful mankind is not repentance, but further defiance and
blasphemy.
The plagues presented in Revelation have intensified. Mans reaction has also
intensified. Look up the following passages and note the progression of mankinds

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response and relate it to the response of the beast (Rev. 6:15-17; Rev. 9:20-21;
Rev. 13:5-6).
They have progressed from mere desperation (Rev. 6:15-17), to impenitence
(Rev. 9:20-21) on to the same defiant blasphemy which has characterized the
beast himself (Rev. 13:5-6).
Their obstinate blasphemy (cursing the name of God) reflects that of the false god
of this world to whom they have foolishly given their allegiance. "They have
wholly taken on the character of the false god they serve." (Mounce, p. 297)
Instead of giving God glory, they blaspheme God and his name the only name
by which mankind can be saved (Acts 4:12; cf. Phil. 2:10-11).
6. With unbelieving mankind not responding positively to the first four plagues,
where does Gods judgment hit next (16:10a)?
Next Gods judgment is poured out on the throne of the beast. Since they
will not repent, God strikes the object of their worship and allegiance.
What does the throne normally represent?
It represents the king and all of his power and authority. It represents the
entire kingdom.
This judgment is poured on the entire anti-christs kingdom, on all of power and
authority in the world. This power and authority had been given by the dragon
(the devil) to the beast (earthly powers) (Rev. 13:2).
What happened to the beasts kingdom when the fifth bowl of Gods judgment
was poured out upon it (16:10b)?
Its kingdom was plunged into darkness.
Which Egyptian plague was the plague of darkness (Ex. 10:21-29)? Who did it
affect?
It was the ninth plague on Egypt. The plague affected pharaoh and all
Egyptians-the entire kingdom of the enemy of Gods people. For 3 days it was
pitch dark.
What was Pharaohs response to the darkness and Moses ensuing demands?
At first Pharaoh relented and was going to allow Israel go worship Yahweh.
But when Moses demanded that they take all of their flocks with them,
Yahweh hardened Pharaohs heart and he would not let them go. Because of
this Pharaoh would face the tenth and final plague, the plague of the death of
the firstborn.
What does darkness stand for in the following passages?
Jer. 13:15-19 It represents Gods judgment against Judah. God threatens to
send Judah into exile if they do not give glory to the LORD.

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Mt. 8:5-13 Again it represents Gods judgment. In the place of darkness


there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

So also in this text the darkness into which the antichrist's kingdom is plunged is
not merely the absence of physical light but the lostness, the anguish, the terror
and the torment of those whose defiant sin has separated them from God and
doomed them to death and eternal damnation.
7. What was the result of the fifth plague (16:10c-11)? Did people finally repent?
No, people did not repent. Instead they refused to repent; they gnawed on their
tongues in bitter anguish; and they cursed the God of heaven for their pain
and sores.
The verb rendered as gnawed denotes continuous, ongoing action. It describes
excruciating pain and suffering. But even in the face of this torment they will not
yield nor turn from the way of sin. Like Pharaoh and his heathen priests, they
recognize this judgment as "the finger of God" (Exodus 8:19) but rather than
bow before Him they curse His name and refuse to repent.

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Lesson 50: The Sixth Bowl of Gods Wrath: Armageddon
Read Rev. 16:12-16
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
16:12 The great river Euphrates: the place where the enemies of Gods people
came from.
16:12 Water was dried up: reminiscent of the Red Sea crossing where God
rescued his people and drowned their enemies.
16:12 Kings from the east: East is the direction where Israels enemies came
from.
16:13 Dragon, beast, false prophet: the unholy trinity. The devil (dragon) uses
world powers (beast) and false religions (false prophet) to deceive and control
people.
16:13 Three unclean spirits: from the mouths of the unholy trinity come
demons that are meant to impose their will upon and control people.
16:14 Signs: produced in order to impress and deceive kings and people.
16:14 Kings of the whole world: kings represent their countries. People from
all over the world will follow the unholy trinity.
16:14 The great day: the day of Gods wrath against all unbelief.
16:15 Awake, garments on: Christians are to continue believing in Jesus and
wear the garments of righteousness he provides for us.
16:16 Armageddon: a place in Palestine known for its battles. Used as a
symbol for the world wide war that the devil wages against the church.
While reading 16:12-16 keep in mind that this text refers to the last battle just before the
End.
1. The scene of the 6th bowl (16:12-16) is parallel to the 6th scene of the trumpetangel (9:13-21): the last battle between the forces of evil and the church. The
devils war against the church continues throughout the entire NT period, but
culminates in one last great battle before the End at Christs return. In the 6th
trumpet-angel a host of evil forces are gathered at the Euphrates River. They will
be let loose at a particular time just before the End. Here in 16:12-16, John
receives a second view of the last battle, but in greater detail. A third view will be
given in 20:7-10 when the forces of God and Magog (the devils forces) are
destroyed.
Note that this is not a prophecy of a specific war or physical battle. As the end of
time draws near, Satan's opposition to God and the Gospel will grow increasingly
desperate and increasingly successful. It will finally come to the point where the
true church is driven to virtual extinction. The imagery of the vision depicts the
crescendo of this intensifying warfare throughout the latter days.

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2. The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates (16:12a). The
great river Euphrates was referenced in 9:14. From the area of this river came the
enemies of Gods people. It was the symbolic abode of evil.
The great river was dried up (16:12). What OT event is this reminiscent of
(Ex. 14:21-31)?
This is reminiscent of the drying up of the Red Sea for the Israelite escape and
for the Egyptian army to follow in pursuit.
What happened to those who were pursuing Gods people at the Red Sea?
Yahweh destroyed them by covering the horseman with water and drowning
them.
What does the drying up of the great river then suggest is going to happen?
This suggests that God is setting up his opponents for a certain defeat. His
enemies see it as an opportunity to advance, but it is a trap in which he is soon
going to wipe out those who oppose him and his people.
3. The great river is dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the east
(16:12b). As we said above, the enemies of Gods people normally came from the
east from the area of the Euphrates. The Assyrian and Babylonian empires, which
destroyed the northern and southern kingdoms, were east of Israel. What is being
suggested then in 6:12 is that another and greater enemy will come at the church
in one last battle and attempt to destroy her.
4. Rev. 16:13 presents the power behind the kings from the east. Who is it that the
kings answer to?
The power behind the kings is the dragon, the beast, and the false
prophet.
This is the same unholy trinity as in Rev. 12-13 (symbolized by the number 666).
From those chapters who do the following represent?
Rev. 12:13-17 The dragon: represents the devil. The dragon tried to destroy
the male Child (Jesus Christ), the woman (the church), and the offspring of
the woman (individual Christians).
Rev. 13:1 The beast of the sea: represents the political beast. It represents all
the powers of the world that the devil uses.
Rev. 13:11 The beast of the earth: represents all false religions and is therefore
called the religious beast. It especially represents false Christianity. It deceives
people into worshipping the political beast.
Two of the three are the same here (16:13), but one is called a different name.
Which name has changed?
The beast of the earth is now called the false prophet.

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This is the first time that the false prophet is mentioned. (It will recur in
Revelation 19:20 and 20:10.) It appears as if the beast of the earth (13:11) is
here called the false prophet. This becomes certain when one compares 13:1314 with 19:20. Later in Rev. 17 this third part of the unholy trinity is called the
harlot. So the dragon and first beast remain the same throughout Revelation. But
the beast of the earth is also described as the false prophet and the harlot.
To distinguish between the two beasts, some designate them as the political beast
and the religious beast. How does calling the religious beast the false prophet
help us see it as a religious beast? (Think about what a prophet does.)
The primary task of a prophet is to speak Gods word to the people. Whenever
someone claims to speak Gods word but in reality speaks his own word or
distorts Gods word for his own purposes, he becomes a false prophet. He
deceives in the name of religion or in the name of God. That this beast is also
called the false prophet shows us that he is indeed a religious beast, one
who deceives and uses false doctrine.
5. What was it that came out of the mouths of the unholy trinity (16:13b)?
Out of their mouths came three unclean spirits like frogs.
Out of the mouth of prophets comes Gods word. The purpose of speaking Gods
word is to cause people to repent, to turn and to look to God for salvation. Out of
mouth of the unholy trinity comes what sounds like good religious talk. But where
do their words lead people? Instead of leading people to God, they lead people
further away from God. And in fact they lead people to oppose God and his
people. And this opposition will culminate on the Last Day when the great battle
takes place, at Armageddon.
In the gospels when someone was possessed by a demon, he was under the
demons control until Jesus cast him out. So the reason that the unholy trinity
sends forth these three unclean spirits is to control these earthly kings. And the
fact that they use unclean spirits shows that this is not a battle of earthly powers.
Who does Paul say we battle against (Eph. 6:12)?
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against
the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against
the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. This is spiritual warfare for
the hearts and minds of men.
It says that these unclean spirits were like frogs (16:13b). That they are likened
to frogs maybe due to the fact that in Lev. 11:9-11 (cf. 11:41) all creatures living
in water without fins and scales are considered unclean and unfit for human
consumption. How were the Israelites to regard these types of animals (Lev.
11:11a)?
You shall regard them as detestable.

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John would also remember the plague of frogs in Egypt (Ex. 8:1-15). In that
plague where were the frogs at?
The frogs were everywhere. They covered everything, including their homes,
beds, and ovens.
This is how the unclean spirits will be. They are detestable things that Christians
are to have nothing to do with. And like the frogs that covered everything in
Egypt (Ex. 8:3-4), so this host under demonic influence will cover the entire earth.
6. In Mt. 24:24 what does Jesus warn against and why?
Jesus warns against false prophets who produce great signs and wonders. He
warns against them because they perform these signs in order to deceive
people and lead them astray.
That is exactly what is happening in 16:14a. Here the kings of the world are
deceived by the signs of the demons. Having won their hearts and minds and
enslaved them to evil and sin, the anti-trinity then enlists them for battle (16:14b).
Rev. 20:9 (another description of the last battle) makes clear that this deception
and the war it provokes is against Gods saints and against his beloved city. The
war takes place on the great day of God the Almighty (16:14b), the day in
which God will reckon with the ungodly nations.
7. In the imagery of the prophets the details and the locations of the battle sites for
the great day of God the Almighty (16:14b) vary widely indicating the symbolic
nature of the prophecies and their universal application. At what place do the
various prophets say the great battle will take place at?
Joel 3:2 - in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
Zech. 14:4 - on the Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem.
Eze. 38:21; 39:2 - on the mountains of Israel.
Elsewhere in Revelation John places the battle outside of the walls of Jerusalem
(cf. Revelation 14:20; 20:8-9). These are not literal geographic sites but
historically significant places which become universal symbols. This is not an
individual battle fought out on a particular battlefield. It is instead the final
settlement of the age old conflict when all the enemies of God and His people will
finally be called to account. The conflict is not isolated to one nation or to one
group of nations - it involves all of humanity. This battle will not be localized in
one place, but every place across the entire face of the earth. The vaunted strength
and power of the enemies of God will disappear as they stand in terror before the
Almighty Judge.
8. John hears a voice speaking in the first person, Behold, I am coming like a thief
(16:15a). Whose voice is this? To see, look up the following passages and find out
what is said and who says them?

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Rev. 3:1 Jesus said to the church in Sardis, If you will not wake up, I will
come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against
you.
Luke 12:39-40 Jesus uses the imagery of the thief to exhort his followers to
be ready for his coming at the end.
1 Thess. 5:2 - St. Paul reminded the Thessalonians, For you yourselves are
fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. He
speaks of Jesus coming like a thief in the night.

Given these passages, who is speaking?


Jesus is speaking, saying that he will come suddenly and at an unexpected
time.
9. The thief imagery is followed by the third of Revelation's seven beatitudes statements of blessing (16:15a). In terms of sin, what do we know about all
people?
All people are sinful.
If left to ourselves, what verdict would God be required to render?
Guilty.
What defense will Christians have when God renders a verdict (16:15b)? (See
Rev. 7:9, 13-14)
The only defense when the Lord comes again will be the pure white robes of
Christ's righteousness, cleansed for us in His blood.
What does the Lord admonish Christians to do in the beatitude (16:15)?
He admonishes them to stay awake, be alert, keep a hold of these precious
garments. If one doesnt, his nakedness, that is, his shameful deeds, will be
exposed for before the Righteous Judge.
This beatitude encourages Christians to remain faithful even in the fearful days of
the last battle before the End. Fear could cause one to surrender and forfeit his
garment and stand naked in ones shame (16:15) (see also Rev. 3:18). But
mostly this is a word of hope for Christians. The battle will be over soon and
victory will extend throughout eternity.
10. The unholy Trinity assembles their forces at a place that is called Armageddon. In
Hebrew the name literally means "the Mount of Megiddo." The ancient city of
Megiddo, situated on the north slope of the ridge of Mt. Carmel, commanded the
strategically crucial valley of Jezreel which passes through Palestine's rugged
central mountains to connect the coastal plain of Sharon with the trade routes to
Mesopotamia. Conquerors throughout the centuries have recognized that Megiddo
was essential for control of central Palestine and therefore many battles have
taken place there.

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John chooses this ancient place, whose name was laden with historical and
emotional significance, as the symbolic site for the climactic confrontation in the
age old conflict between God and Satan. G. K. Beale correctly points out:
"Like the place names "Babylon" and "Euphrates," so "Armageddon" does not
refer to a specific geographic locale, but the whole world. The battles in Israel
associated with Megiddo and the nearby mountain become a typological symbol
for the last battle against the saints and Christ, which occurs throughout the
earth." (Beale, p. 838)
Armageddon is therefore not a geographical place but a terrifying metaphor for
war that will cover the entire earth (see 20:9). The enemys intent will be to
destroy Gods people (20:9; cf. Eze. 38:7-16). But the enemy will not prevail
(Rev. 16:19; 20:9-10).

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Lesson 51: The Seventh Bowl of Gods Wrath
Read Rev. 16:17-21
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
16:17 Seventh: 7 is the number for completion.
16:17 Bowl: bowl that holds Gods wrath poured out on rebellious mankind.
16:17 Loud voice: a voice everyone can hear.
16:17 Temple, throne: the place where Gods holy presence resides.
16:18 Lightning, rumblings, thunder, earthquake: these phenomena
accompany the presence of God.
16:19 The great city, Babylon the great: represents those who will not
acknowledge and trust in the one true God.
16:19 Split into three parts: represents total destruction.
While reading 16:17-21 keep in mind that this text refers to the End when God judges
sinful mankind.
1. Beginning in 16:17 the seventh angel poured out his bowl. The number 7 is the
number of completion. And so this plague will complete Gods judgment on
rebellious mankind on the Last Day at the end of time.
What did the seventh angel pour his bowl on (16:17a)? What importance does it
have in the life of humans?
He poured his bowl on the air. Air is of great importance for humans since
they need it to breathe. Without it they cannot live.
Given that fact, it shows the importance of this plague. It is a matter of life and
death.
2. Next John heard a loud voice (16:17). What was the origin of the voice? Given
that fact, who did the voice belong to? (See also 21:5-6)
The loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne. Given that it came
from the place of Gods holy presence (temple, throne), it is very likely that
this is God the Fathers voice. In 21:5-6 it explicitly says that God the Father
made a similar statement from his throne.
What did the loud voice say (16:17b)?
God said, It is done!"
In Jn. 19:30 Jesus said something similar. What did he mean when he said it? And
how is it similar to the words of the loud voice (16:17b)? What do the words of
the loud voice mean?

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While on the cross Jesus said, It is finished. It signaled the end of Jesus
suffering and all that was necessary for new life. During the first 6 plagues
God gave time and reason to repent. But now, with the 7th plague, all is done.
As Jesus finished his work of redemption, so here it is the end of the time of
repentance and mercy. The Judgment has come and begun.

Note that this is Johns fourth view of the End.


1 ) 6:12-17 is 1st vision-terror
2) 11:15-19 is 2nd vision joy
3) 14:14-20 is Interregnum great harlot
4) 16:17-21 is 3rd vision terror
3. Compare 16:18a to Ex. 19:16, 19. What phenomena do they have in common?
They both include lightning, thunder, and an earthquake.
What did these phenomena signal in Ex. 19:16-20?
The phenomena signaled the presence of holy God.
Similar phenomena occurred in Rev. 4:5. That occurred in the heavenly sphere
and the earthquake was not present. Note that there was an earthquake in Rev. 8:5
and 11:19. The earthquakes there were a result of Gods holy judgment. Since the
earthquake happens here, this means that God is now present to execute his
judgment of the human race. How is the earthquake described (16:18b)? How
large is it?
It is described as a great earthquake such as there had never been since man
was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. So this earthquake is much
larger than any other earthquake in the history of the world.
It portends the enormity of Gods final reckoning in the judgment at the End.
4. John says, The great city was split into three parts (16:19a). What does he mean
by that? What he uses is a Hebrew idiom. The picture is one of a building in
which one wall falls right, another wall falls left, and the roof and floors in
between fall to the ground. The three parts indicate total disintegration. Such
language is taken from Eze. 5:12. What are the three parts in Eze. 5:12?
Eze. 5:12 describes Gods judgment on unfaithful Israel. A third will die of
pestilence and famine.
A third will die by the sword at Jerusalem.
A third will run away only to be chased down and killed.
This is a way of saying that no one will escape Gods judgment. In Rev. 11:12,
only a tenth of the city fell because of an earthquake. Here the entire city was
demolished. It was sudden, total, and left no time to repent.
5. Who is the target of this total destruction (16:19a)?

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God targets the great city, which is Babylon the great. It represents all the
pagan cities. All pagan people, that is, those who refuse to acknowledge and
trust in the one true God, will be destroyed.

Every generation has its own Babylon the great-those who purposefully oppose
God and do evil. For John and the believers of his time Rome was the Babylon
the great. Babylon was a type of all human institutions which were under the
dragons influence. As Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and brought
about Israels captivity, so she is a type of all the enemies of Gods people.
Romes destruction of the temple and its persecution of Christians became a type
of all future enemies of Christ and the church. Rome was the modern Babylon.
"Babylon the Great" is the personification of all the wickedness and corruption
of mankind - "the satanic powers opposed to Jesus and His Church...in particular
political economic, and social orders, and pagan spiritual philosophies which
under the dragon's influence attempt to destroy God's saints on earth." (Brighton,
pp. 428-429). Babylon the Great is not one city it is every city. This destruction is
not local it is global.
6. God remembered Babylon the great (16:19b). When God remembers, it is
more than a thought process. When God remembers, he takes action. What action
did God take in the following cases where he remembered someone?
Gen. 8:1 - When Noah, his family, and the animals were in the Ark floating on
the water, God remembered them and made the wind blow to dry up the flood
waters.
Gen. 30:22 When Rachel could not have children, God remembered her and
opened her womb so that she could have children.
Ex. 2:23 3:12 When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, they cried out to
God that he would rescue them. God heard their cries and remembered his
covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. He came down to deliver
them from the Egyptians by raising up Moses to lead them out.
What did God do here when he remembered Babylon the great (16:19b)?
God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of
the fury of his wrath. His remembering would cause him to punish
unbelieving mankind for its sinful wickedness, making them drink his cup of
wrath.
His righteous punishment for sin is inevitable. It emphasizes that God remembers
their wickedness and does not forget. As God kept warning the northern kingdom
of Israel through the prophet Hosea (Hos. 7:2; 8:13; 9:9) that he would remember
their sins and punish them for it, so in the same way the final reckoning cannot be
avoided. The day will finally come when God will ultimately and permanently
render justice to all mankind. On that great day those who misunderstood the
patience of God as forgetfulness will be condemned (2 Pet. 3:3-16).

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7. Not only were the pagan cities destroyed, so also was the topography leveled
(islands and mountains, 16:20). The image is one of cosmic upheaval. The old
order which sin ruined was passing away. With the islands and mountains running
away and no where to be found, there is no place to hide, no place of refuge for
the rebellious sinner from the awful justice of the holy God. On that great and
terrible day only those who stand by grace upon the Rock of Ages shall prevail.
What else occurred to show the inescapability of man from Gods wrath (16:21a)?
Great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on
people. Left out in the open on flat land, suddenly giant hail falls upon sinful
mankind. Anyone hit by a hundred pound hail stone would never survive.
Which Egyptian plague did this duplicate (Ex. 9:13-35)? Summarize what
happened in a sentence or two.
In the 7th plague heavy hail rained down on Egypt. Any livestock or people
that were out in the open were killed by the hail. But it did not hail in Goshen
where the Israelites were.
So this plague with which God struck Egypt was duplicated on a world-wide scale
with much greater intensity. Death and destruction rained down upon all
unbelievers from heaven.
8. How do the people of the world respond to the great earthquake (6:18), to the total
destruction of the great city of Babylon and all the pagan cities (6:19), to the
leveling of the worlds topography (6:20), and to the boulder sized hail stones that
fell from heaven to earth (6:21b)?
They cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so
severe. So despite all the evidence furnished by Gods plagues, the enemies
of his saints do not repent. Even to the very End there is no change of heart.
Their allegiance to the dragon is so unshaken that they display defiance and
rage and blaspheme God. Even as damnation approaches there is no regret, no
remorse, and no shame. For sinful man God is always to blame.

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Lesson 52: The Judgment of the Harlot (Part 1)
Read Rev. 17:1-2
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
17:1 Seven angels, seven bowls: in the previous vision (ch. 16), 7 angels
poured out the 7 bowls of Gods wrath on rebellious mankind.
17:1 The great prostitute: one of the names for the beast of the earth, the
religious beast. It shamelessly sells herself and her immorality to anyone
willing to pay.
17:1 Many waters: a reference to evil Babylon which conquered and exiled
Gods OT people but who God would later destroy.
17:2 Kings of the earth: those in power on earth that willingly follow Satan.
17:2 Dwellers on earth: those who the kings of the earth rule over and who
also follow Satan.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. Chapter 17 begins the fifth vision that concerns the End in Revelation. It is a
lengthy vision as it takes up the rest of Revelation (17-22). (This is the view of the
Concordia Commentary. Others split the vision into multiple visions.) This picture
of the End summarizes and concludes all that John has seen in the four previous
visions. It concludes the entire prophetic message of Revelation.
In this vision he first sees the destruction of the two henchmen of the dragon, the
beast and harlot (also called Babylon) (17:1-18:24). John then sees the victory
celebration of the Lord Christ and his second coming (Rev. 19). Then comes a
prophetic picture of the judgment and overthrow of the dragon himself (20:1-10).
This is depicted in two scenes, the millennium and Gog and Magog (20:1-6; 20:710). In 20:11-15 John receives a glimpse of the resurrection of the dead and the
final judgment of the human race. Lastly he sees a glorious picture of the new
heaven and new earth (21:1-22:5).
2. One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls in the previous vision now
comes forward. He spoke to John and said, "Come, I will show you the judgment
of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters (17:1). This vision then is
about Gods judgment. Judgment was the theme of the last three of the seven
bowls. That theme now continues and is expanded and explained in this vision.
Who is the object of this judgment (17:1b)?
It is the great prostitute who is seated on many waters that will receive
judgment.

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This is the first time that the great prostitute is mentioned. Who could she be?
Later on in the vision in 17:7, who is the prostitute with?
She is with the beast with seven heads and ten horns.
We have heard this description before. It was used in Rev. 13:1. Who was it
referring to there?
This refers to the beast of the sea, the first beast, the political beast.
Who arose in Rev. 13:11-18 to plague the church?
The beast of the earth arose. It imitated Christ in order to deceive the church.
This beast was also called the false prophet (16:13; 19:20; 20:10) as it falsely
claimed to speak Gods word. So the great prostitute is yet another name for the
beast of the earth and the false prophet. Why might she be called this? Think back
to many of the OT false religions and even the false religions of Johns day. Many
were known for their cultic prostitution. In these religions sex was used to try and
manipulate their gods. In 14:8 Babylon the great, which represents all the
enemies of Gods people, is portrayed as a prostitute. According to lesson 41,
point #10, what was the purpose of this portrayal?
Like a prostitute Babylon the great used its power of coercion and its power of
deception to lead Gods people away from God. The point of it is not the
physical adultery, rather the spiritual adultery.
Jeremiah used the same imagery to describe the Israelite worship of Baal and
Asherah in the oak groves and the high places: "Long ago you broke off your
yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, "I will not serve You!" Indeed, on every
high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute...You have
lived as a prostitute with many lovers - would you now return to Me? Declares
the Lord." (Jeremiah 2:20; 3:1) The depiction here of false religions and the
pseudo-church as a prostitute serves to emphasize both her attractiveness and her
corruption. She attempts to provide an attractive alternative to the one true God.
Given that Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hosea, and other prophets railed against Israel for its
spiritual adultery, prostituting itself to other gods, makes it clear that even more so
than the idol-worshipping pagans nations, unfaithful Israel was an idolatrous
harlot. So the great prostitute represents the false people of God, those who
outwardly claimed to be a part of the church but who inwardly were spiritually
apostate.
3. The name the great prostitute is similar to the name Babylon the great. The
great ties the two together. At the end of 17:1 John adds another detail that ties
the prostitute to Babylon. He says that the great prostitute was seated on many
waters. What does Jeremiah prophesy in Jer. 51?
Jeremiah prophesies the destruction of Babylon.

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What does Jeremiah call Babylon in Jer. 51:13?
He calls them, you who dwell by many waters.
Jeremiah's reference to many waters is to the River Euphrates and the complex
system of canals and irrigation ditches which the Babylonians had constructed to
draw the water of the river into their fields and city. So the prostitute is connected
to the evil empire of Babylon that God destroyed. What does the angel say that
the waters are in 17:15?
He said, "The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples
and multitudes and nations and languages. So the many waters that the
prostitute is seated on represents all the people that she holds sway over.
4. What will be setup in the verses that follow is that the great prostitute, the falsechurch will be presented as an attractive alternative to the woman of Rev. 12 who
is the bride of the Lamb, the true church in 19:7. While the woman who bore the
child is hunted down and assaulted (12:13-18), the great prostitute is honored by
the world (17:2, 4; 18:3). Both women are set forth as representatives of the
church. One is true and the other false. The harlot is accepted by the world
because she encourages the lifestyles of the ungodly. Her time is now, but later
she will be judged (cf. 18:1-2, 5-6). The other woman is despised and rejected as
she denounces the world and its ungodliness. But in the End she will be raised up
as the bride of the Lamb, the Son, Jesus Christ (19:6-8; cf. 11:11-12).
5. According to 17:2a what has the prostitute done?
She has committed sexual immorality with the kings of the earth. She has
seduced the world with her beauty into committing sexually immoral acts.
In the OT Israel is figuratively pictured as being sexually immoral. This of course
is a reference to Israels spiritual immorality as it worshipped the false gods of the
surrounding nations. Here then the kings of the earth represent the people which
they govern. That the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality means
that the world has abandoned the one true God and instead pursued the sensual
desires put forth by the alluring prostitute. The deceptive false church looks
genuine, but in reality it plays to the sinful desires of fallen man. And man is all
too happy to pay for what his insatiable immoral desires wants. To what level do
people imbibe what the great prostitute sells (17:2b)?
Man imbibes whole-heartedly and to excess. He drinks the prostitutes wine of
immorality to the point that he is drunk. He doesnt just sip or taste it. He goes
on a drinking binge.
The great prostitute is like an equestrian rider. She has tamed and trained world
leaders and governments (the kings of the earth) and the people that those
leaders govern (the dwellers on earth) (17:2). And as a rider controls the horses
every move, the great prostitute sits upon (7:1b) her prized horse, maneuvering
her which ever way she likes. But this lady of night who is in full control of her
clients is about to be judged.

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Lesson 53: The Judgment of the Harlot (Part 2)
Read Rev. 17:3-6a
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
17:3 A woman: the great prostitute, which is another name for the beast of the
earth, the religious beast.
17:3 Scarlet beast: those in royal positions of power and riches dressed in
scarlet which appeals to the world. The first beast (beast of the sea, political
beast ) presents himself to the world in this way.
17:3 Seven heads, ten horns: the first beast (political) is described this way.
17:4 Purple, scarlet, gold, jewels, pearls: the rich and powerful are adorned
with such things.
17:4 Golden cup full of : a brilliant, dazzling, expensive cup would be filled
with the most wonderful drink.
17:5 Mystery: Something that can be known only by divine revelation.
17:5 Babylon the great: Babylon was the great enemy of OT Israel. It is used
as a symbol of the NT enemies of the church. All false religions and false
Christianity seek to destroy the true church of Christ.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. After the angels invitation to come and see the judgment of the great prostitute
(17:1-2), John is carried away into a wilderness by the angel in the Spirit
(17:3a). What this seems to be saying is that John is somehow mystically caught
up by the power of the Holy Spirit not only to see the scene, but also to be there at
the scene to experience it (see also 2 Cor. 12:1-4 and Eze. 8:3; 11:24).
2. This scene takes place at a wilderness (17:3a). In chapter 12 we saw where the
Dragon (Satan) tried to destroy the Male Child (Jesus) born to the woman (the
church). When he couldnt destroy the Male Child, what happened between the
dragon and the woman (12:6, 13-14)?
The dragon went after the woman to destroy her and the woman fled into the
wilderness to a place of safety prepared by God.
The woman (the church) in the wilderness reminds us of Israel in the desert after
its exodus from Egypt. In the desert God was with her, provided for her, fought
for her, and lead her. God does the same for the NT church in the wilderness of
this world as he did for OT Israel as she journeyed toward the promised land.
Now in this scene, who did John see in the wilderness (17:3)?
John saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast. This woman then is the great
prostitute.

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Given who the woman is (the great prostitute), the location of the woman (the
wilderness), her deceptive nature, and your knowledge of the woman (the church)
who gave birth in Rev. 12, why is the prostitute in the desert and what is this
woman sitting on the scarlet beast (17:3) going to do?
This woman positions herself in the wilderness, the same place as the true
church, so that she can deceptively pass herself off as the church. She will
pretend to be the true church in order to pulls people away from the church of
Christ. If she wants to pose as the church and pull people away, she must be
where the church is, which is in the desert where its on its pilgrim trek
towards the heavenly promised land.
3. In 17:1 the prostitute sat upon many waters (many people all over the world that
she controlled). Now she sits upon a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous
names, and it had seven heads and ten horns (17:3b). Comparing this to Rev.
13:1, what is this beast that she sits upon?
This beast is the first beast, the beast of the sea, the political beast.
John provides one significant detail that he does not provide in the description of
the beast in 13:1-3. What is it?
The color of the beast is scarlet.
This is the color of Rome, the color of royalty and power. It further denotes
luxury and extravagant wealth. Similarly, the woman that rides the beast is
arrayed in purple and scarlet (17:4a). She also was adorned with gold and
jewels and pearls (17:4a) All of this was a display of her luxurious and
extravagant wealth in order to attract people to her. It serves to arouse their
admiration and envy.
Note that since the woman rides the beast, the beast serves the purposes of the
harlot; the harlot has control over it. At other times the relationship is reversed
(see Rev. 13). Sometimes the two are equal. No matter how they appear, their
opposition is constant; their tactics are ever changing to meet the needs of the
moment. The goal is always the same, but the means used to achieve that goal political, military, social, economic, theological or ecclesiastical - are adjusted as
necessary to accomplish the goal of the dragon, which is the destruction and
damnation of mankind.
What were the blasphemous names on in 13:1 and what were they on in 17:3b?
In 13:1 the blasphemous names were on its 7 heads. In 17:3b they cover the
entire body of the beast.
The expansion serves to intensify the message that blasphemy is the characteristic
activity of the beast. Thats what he is all about.
4. What does the woman hold in her hand (17:4b)?

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She holds in her hand a golden cup.

This cup is inviting to drink from. By appearances one would never think that it
would be filled with anything bad or harmful. But in reality what is this golden
cup? This cup is the gold of exquisite poetry and prose in the whore's literature;
the chased gold of her seductive science; the exquisite cup of her philosophy; the
brilliance of her music and entertainment. Extend the list yourself. (Lenski, p.
495) Everything that the woman offers appears to be wonderful and reasonable.
Yet despite its inviting appearance, what is the cup filled with (17:4b)?
It is full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality.
What are the abominations referred to in the following passages (Deut. 32:16; 2
Kings 23:24; Eze. 14:6)?

This term is characteristically used in the Old Testament in reference to the


worship of demons and idols. When OT Israel fell away from God and
worshipped the false gods of the Canaanites, they were committing an
abomination against God.

The phrase and the impurities of her sexual immorality reiterates this same
point because this language applies to cultic prostitution and idolatry. What the
woman offers in the golden goblet for the world to drink is a hellish brew of
idolatry and blasphemy. She presents the cup and its contents as something godly
and righteous. But in reality it is just the opposite. It is ungodly and unrighteous.
In every way she opposes the one true God and convinces others to do the same.
5. On the womans forehead was a name (17:5). This name is described as a
mystery. This term refers to that which is secret or concealed, a truth which can
only be known by revelation from God. Its use here indicates the need for divine
assistance in deciphering the symbolism of the harlot. So the harlot presents
herself in a way that people will not figure out. In order to understand who and
what she is, God will have to reveal and unmask her by providing special
revelation. That is what scripture is and that is what he is providing to John.
Beginning in 17:7 the angel will explain the mystery.
What is the name on her forehead (17:5b)?
The name is "Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earths
abominations."
From previous discussions and from your OT knowledge about Babylon, from
Israels perspective, what was Babylon known for?
Ancient Babylon was the enemy of Gods people who defeated them and took
them into exile.
What does this new Babylon (the woman) seek to do?

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This new Babylon seeks to do the same to Gods NT people. She wishes to
make war, destroy them and carry them into the bondage of her immoralities.

The second part of the name on her forehead begins with mother of. A mother
has children. What kind of children does the prostitute have (17:5b)?
She produces more prostitutes and abominations. She produces people who
are unfaithful to the one true God, who worship all the false gods that the
unholy trinity places before them. This is the disgusting contents of the
harlot's golden goblet that they drink in and become inebriated with.
As a mother is the source of her children, so Babylon the Great is the source of all
the wickedness and corruption of this world. She is the most depraved and corrupt
of all.
6. When John saw the woman, Babylon the great, what kind of condition was she in
(17:6a)?
She was drunk.
What did she drink to cause this (17:6a)?
She was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of
Jesus. So it is not wine that the woman is drunk on, but the blood of the
saints.
This blood is available to drink because she has murdered them. Evil cannot
tolerate the good. Those who will not yield and conform must be destroyed.
Throughout history Babylon the Great has and will continue to persecute, oppress,
and murder the saints of God. The woman is like those scavengers and birds of
prey that spot a dead animal and descend upon it to feast upon the slaughtered
carcass, eating its flesh and drinking its blood. This is not a one-time event for the
harlot. This is her lifestyle. This is her diet.
Who are the victims of the woman (17:6a)?
The victims are the saints, the martyrs of Jesus.
What do those terms mean? How would you define them?
Saint means holy one. Martyr means someone who dies bearing witness to
the truth.
Given the definition, what have those who are holy ones done to incur the wrath
of the woman?
They are holy because they have refused to be corrupted by the harlot's
iniquity and are pure - cleansed in the blood of Christ.
Again, given the definition, what have the martyrs of Jesus done to warrant
death in the womans eyes?

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In the face of the lies and the falsehood of Babylon the Great they have
offered the good confession as faithful witnesses to the truth of Jesus Christ.
That is why the harlot lusts for their death and destruction.

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Lesson 54: The Angels Explanation (Part 1)
Read Rev. 17:6b-8
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
17:7 Woman: she is the great prostitute, the beast of the earth, the religious
beast.
17:7 The beast: it is the beast of the sea, the political beast.
17:7 Seven heads and ten horns: a description of the beast of the sea.
17:8 Bottomless pit: also called the abyss or hell. It is the place made for the
fallen angels. The place where Satan and his demons were cast into by God
when they rebelled.
17:8 Book of life: a way of speak of divine election of those who will be
saved.
17:8 Was, is not, is to come: similar to the formula used for Gods eternalness.
Used here as a way to ridicule the beast.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. John has just seen a great and strange sight (17:3-6). He saw the woman (the great
prostitute, the beast of the earth) sitting upon the scarlet beast (the beast of the
sea, the political beast). She was arrayed in luxurious excess and was holding a
golden cup full of abominations and sexual immorality. On the womans forehead
was her name: Babylon the great. And the woman was drunk on the blood of
saints and martyrs of Jesus.
How does John respond to what he saw (17:6b)?
John marveled greatly.
The Greek word describing his reaction also carries the connotation of perplexity
or confusion. The English phrase - "I was overcome with complete astonishment
and confusion" might convey the same intensity.
How does the angel respond to Johns astonishment (17:7)?
The angel responds with a question, Why do you marvel? and then says that
he will explain the mystery of the woman that sits upon the beast.
The angel will go into the details in his explanation, but suffice it to say for now
that the woman is the beast of the earth, the religious beast. And the beast that she
sits upon, which has 7 heads and 10 horns, is the beast of the sea, the political
beast. So religious and political powers team up as necessary to accomplish their
goal of the death and destruction of the human race in general and of the church in

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particular. So that which is hidden in all of the symbolism of the vision will now
be explained by the angel.
2. The majority of the angel's exposition pertains not to the harlot herself but to the
beast which she rides. How is the beast that the woman sat on described in 17:8a?
It is described as one who was, and is not, and is about to rise from the
bottomless pit and go to destruction.
Compare the wording of the first part of the description of the beast in 17:8a in
the previous answer to the description of God in 1:8b. What is the angel doing
here by using this description of the beast?
The two descriptions are very similar. It is the formula used to convey Gods
eternalness. In blasphemy and arrogance the beast tried to pass himself off as
the eternal God. So here then the angels description of the beast in these
terms ridicules his pretensions of divinity. He uses this description to reveal
him as nothing more than a pathetic parody of the only true God.
The primary battle that takes place is between God and Satan. The battle has
raged since the beginning and will continue to the End. In the Garden of Eden
God promised that the Seed of Eve would crush the serpent. That would be the
decisive moment in the battle. That turning point has already occurred. When and
how did the Seed (Jesus) crush the serpent?
The decisive moment and turning point of the battle occurred at the cross and
resurrection of Jesus. There Jesus defeated Satan.
It is around that critical moment that the tenses of these three verbs (past - present
- future) turn. The rebellion of Satan and the onslaught of his minions has vexed
mankind since the beginning ("once was"). The devil's power to condemn and
destroy what shattered at Calvary ("is not"). Nonetheless, he rose up from the
depths of Hell once more and his foredoomed attempts to frustrate God's plan of
salvation continue with the appearance of great power and success ("and will
come up out of the Abyss"). But unlike Christ who rises up to reign forever and
ever, what will happen to Satans rising up (17:8a)?
He rises up only to go down to destruction. After rising up Satan has success
in the world, but in the End he will fail to destroy the church and will himself
be destroyed.
3. How do the people of the earth respond when they see that the beast who was
once powerful but then was crushed has now has apparently risen back up to a
position of power (17:8b)?
The world loves a winner and that is exactly what the beast appears to be. His
seeming ability to overcome God and His Christ, and to recover from the fatal
wound inflicted upon him will astonish and impress all those who lack the
spiritual discernment to see things as they truly are.

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Power, wealth, size and success will always be on the side of the devil until the
Lord comes again in judgment. Until then, the true church will always be a small
remnant, scorned and persecuted by the world while the false church of the
Antichrist glories in its magnitude and majesty.
Those who are impressed by the beast are described as those whose names have
not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. What is
this speaking of and what does it mean?
This is speaking of divine election. Before the world was even created God
had chosen those who would be saved. These chosen ones are described as
having their names written in the book of life. Those who are impressed with
and follow Satan and his beasts have not been chosen by God to be saved;
their names are not in the book of life. This is a way of describing all
unbelievers.

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Lesson 55: The Angels Explanation (Part 2)
Read Rev. 17:9-14
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
7:9 Wisdom: divine revelation and discernment.
7:9 Seven mountains on which the woman is seated: Rome, the city on seven
hills, represents all governments that prop up their power with religion.
7:10 Seven kings: representative of all such kings.
7:10, 11 Fallen, is, and [will] come: a take off on Gods eternalness.
7:10 Five, one, and one: added together make 7, the number of completeness.
7:11-14: Beast: the beast of the sea, the political beast.
7:12-14: Ten horns, ten kings: represents raw, earthly power by governments.
7:12 One hour: a very short period of time.
7:14 Lamb: the Lord Jesus Christ was led like a lamb to slaughter.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. Given the deceptiveness of the unholy trinity and given the complex symbolism
of the woman, the beast, the 7 heads, and the 10 horns, what is needed to
understand the reality that is behind it all (17:9a)?
What is necessary to understand the reality behind the deceptiveness of the
beast and symbolism of the vision is wisdom. This is divine wisdom that is
revealed to humanity whose wisdom has been severely dulled by the effects of
sin.
Only those with spiritual discernment can recognize the true reality behind the
prostitute and the beast. Only those whose names have been written in the book
of life from the foundation of the world can understand the meaning of the text.
2. The angel said, The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is
seated (17:9b) In his great epic the "Aeneid," the Roman poet Virgil describes
Rome as a "city of seven hills." (Virgil, 6, 782-83). Thus Rome came to be known
throughout antiquity as the city built upon seven hills. A Roman coin, minted in
A.D. 71, during the reign of Vespasian, actually depicts the goddess Roma seated
upon seven hills alongside the legendary she-wolf who was said to have raised
Romulus and Remus, the founders of the city. Given this information, what do the
7 mountains obviously represent and what does the woman sitting on the 7
mountains represent?
Obviously the 7 mountains are a reference to Rome. The fact that the
deceptive prostitute sits upon the mountains is a reference to the false religion

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of emperor worship pushed by Rome. It is a supreme example of religion
teaming up with raw political power in order to achieve its goals.
Knowing that the 7 mountains represent Rome doesnt seem to take much
wisdom. However, there is much more than the symbolism of the seven hills. It
will take special wisdom to understand what all this means for the saints of God
(past and present) in their earthly pilgrimage. Only God can grant such wisdom
(James 1:5-6; Prov. 2:1-6; cf. Job 12:13).
3. There is more to the symbolism of the seven hills than a mere allusion to Rome.
What else do the 7 mountains represent (17:10a)?
The 7 mountains also represent 7 kings.
The use of hills or mountains as a figurative symbol for kings or kingdoms is
common in the Old Testament. So John's linkage of the heads with both hills and
kings would be a natural one for his original audience. Throughout the centuries
many attempts have been made to identify the kings. Usually, but not always, the
kings are matched with Roman emperors. But looking at specific kings is looking
for the wrong solution. What has the number seven symbolized throughout
Revelation?
The number 7 is the number that symbolizes totality and completeness.
The use of the number 7 then clues us in that these are not 7 actual historical
kings. The number seven occurs some 45 times in Revelation outside of this
section. In every instance its use is clearly figurative. Seven is the most powerful
numerological symbol in the book. What then would the 7 kings symbolize? And
how would a connection to Rome make this symbolism even clearer?
The 7 kings are types for all earthly powers and rulers who claim spiritual
authority by which they justify their despotic dominion over their subjects,
especially as it opposes the church. Rome was especially such a type with
imperial power along with spiritual and divine-like authority of its emperors.
4. The 7 kings are described as five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not
yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while (17:10).
The endless variety of attempts to identify the "five," the "one" and the "other"
with specific kings or kingdoms is futile and basically misunderstands the
symbolic nature of the language. More important than the numbers are the verbs.
By using these verbs, what is John reintroducting?
John is reintroducing the ironic threefold past/present/future formula which he
had used earlier to mock the divine pretensions of the beast.
Lets put together the symbolism of the 7 kings and the past/present/future
formula to get the real meaning. The 7 kings represent all world powers that use
false religion to shore up their iron rule. Adding the formula to this we can see
kings doing this at any time in NT history. At any given time, one can look and
see despotic rule in the past, present, and future. This represents then the

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continuous rise and fall of the rulers and kingdoms of this earth. This will remain
the case throughout time and history (past/ present/future) as the devil uses and
casts aside his instruments of destruction.
Even though the numbers 5, 1, and 1 do not represent specific kings, the numbers
must have some meaning; otherwise they would not be included. Martin
Franzmann suggests the following explanation. If we add together the 5 kings of
the past with the 1 current king, we get the number 6. 6 is the number that falls
just short of the perfect number 7. It reminds us of the devils number 666. The 1
king yet to come would be the 7th anti-Christian king. This king would be the
Antichrist himself. As the 7th and perfect king, he would set himself up in the
very heart of the church. He would blasphemously try and pass himself off as the
perfect one, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will combine the powers of church and
state in a manner unprecedented in history. Concerning this 7th anti-Christian king,
John adds a word of comfort at the end of verse 10. Why is this comforting?
It is comforting to know that even this 7th and most dangerous adversary of the
faith will not prevail. God remains in absolute control. Even the time of the
seventh is limited. He will only be around for a little while (17:10b).
5. How is the beast ridiculed once again by God through the angel in 17:11?
The formula for eternity is used once again - "that was and is not...and it
goes to destruction." The only problem for the beast is that he does not live
forever in power and glory. Rather, he goes to destruction.
Each of the 7 heads has been pictured as a king. Now the entire beast is said to be
the 8th king (17:11a). This fact should dispel any remaining doubt about the
symbolic nature of these numbers and images. At Johns time Rome itself was the
beast. In Rome each king would rise and fall and a new king would replace him.
Whoever was king did not matter. In the end the powerful Roman empire along
with its emperor worship held sway.
So this 8th king is not yet another monarch in a sequence of rulers. The beast is the
summary and epitome of the other seven He belongs to the seven (17:11) So
for John and his generation Rome itself was the 8th king. It is the beast (the
political power) behind each of the kings. And as we have seen, Rome itself is
symbolic of other empires that rise up throughout the centuries who rule with an
iron fist and who claim religious authority.
We have pointed out how the beast was being ridiculed through the use of the
formula for eternalness. It may be that the beast is being ridiculed here (17:10-11)
in a second way. The number 8 in Christian numerology is symbolic of the day of
resurrection of Christ. He died on the 6th day of the week, rested on the 7th, and
rose on the 8th day. Given this fact and the fact that the beast is the 8th king and the
destiny of beast, how is the beast ridiculed in a second way?
On the 8th day Christ rose in triumph and lives forever ruling over all things as
King of kings. As the eighth king (17:11) the beast rules for only a little

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while (17:10) and then his final destiny is not one of ruling as king, but
instead he goes to destruction (17:11). So this is a jab at the eternal fate that
awaits him. He will not rule for eternity, but he will go to destruction for
eternity.
6. The angel has just explained how the 7 heads are 7 kings. Now he says that the
ten horns that you saw are ten kings (17:12a). How are these 10 kings the same
or different from the 7 kings? As you recall, the number 7 is the number for
completeness. It also involves divine authority. So as an example, it was by divine
command that God created the world in 7 days. The number 10 represents total
earthly power without a claim to divine authority. Did Roman emperors claim
divine authority?
Yes. They claimed to be gods and demanded the people worship them.
So what does that mean concerning the 10 kings and the Roman emperors? Are
the 10 kings Roman emperors?
No. Since they claim divine authority and the 10 kings do not, the 10 kings
could not be Roman emperors.
Therefore they must be other lesser kings. Kings who are dependent upon the
ruling emperor, such as the Herodian kings were dependent upon Rome. But we
must remember that the language used is figurative. These 10 kings, like the 7
kings, are representative of all earthly rulers throughout the NT era who obtain
and maintain their rule through unadulterated power. They are legitimate only
because they have the power. Overall then, what does the beast with the 7 heads
and 10 horns symbolize? And how do they relate to the church?
The beast then, with its 7 heads and 10 horns, symbolizes all earthly powers of
whatever sort (religious or not) which are under the influence of the dragon
(Satan) in his warfare with the followers of Christ (see 12:13-18; 13:1, 11).
This is the beast upon which the harlot sits and is called Babylon the great.
This image of governmental power is directed toward the future for these kings
"have not yet received royal power" (17:12a). Who has the authority to make
them kings? It does not say. But since it is a theological passive, it is the Lord
who allows each of them to be king. How long will each of their reigns last
(17:12b)?
They will receive authority as kings for one hour. Compared to a life time,
one hour is a very period of time. God will raise them up for a short time and
bring them down.
7. Who is it that works with the 10 kings and how united are they (17:12b-13)?
The kings work hand in hand with the beast. They are completely united. They
are of one mind. In fact they are so united that the kings hand over their
power and authority to the beast.

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Satan was defeated by Christ in the cross and resurrection. At Christs ascension
Satan was thrown out of heaven to the earth. Having been defeated in the
heavenly realm, did Satan give up? No! What does Satan, the beast, and the
governments he controls (7 and 10 kings) do (17:14a)?
They will make war on the Lamb. The warfares purpose is to shame and
belittle God and his Christ and to destroy the church.
But what will the end result be of this war (17:14)?
The Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings.
Even with all their combined efforts, their warfare is doomed to defeat for
there is One whose power and authority far surpasses theirs.
What contrast do you see between the Lamb and the description of the Lamb
(17:14a)?
The Lamb, who is meek and lowly, is described as the King that is above all
kings and the Lord who is over all lords. He who freely gave himself to
persecution and death without fighting back is the all powerful God. He who
died for all people defeats and rules over all who oppose him.
The Lamb has with him those whom he called and chose (17:14b). He always
goes with and before them into battle. In the End they have nothing to fear since
he will conquer all their enemies. For those who oppose him and them he will
come as King and Lord in judgment at the End (19:11-16). And those who are
faithful will have everlasting life with the Lamb.

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Lesson 56: The Ultimate Demise of the Prostitute
Read Rev. 17:15-18
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
17:15, 16 Prostitute: another name for the religious beast, the beast of the
earth that deceives people, who is also called Babylon the Great.
17:15 Peoples, multitudes, nations, languages: 4 is the earth number.
Represents the whole world.
17:16 Ten horns: represents raw, earthly power by governments.
17:16-17 Beast: the first beast, the beast of the sea, all human powers used by
the devil against the church.
17:16, 18 Prostitute or Woman: she is the great prostitute, the beast of the
earth, the religious beast, who is also called Babylon the Great.
17:18 Great city: Babylon the Great, the ancient enemy of Gods people Israel.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. In 17:1-14 John sees the awesome and fearful description of the harlots beasts
immoral reign. But then the angel tells John of the harlots destruction. The one
who dominates the people of the earth will be judged. Rev. 17:15-18 is a brief and
partial description of her judgment. It serves as an introduction of a more detailed
account in chapter 18.
2. What did the angel say he was going to do in 17:1b?
He said he was going to show John the judgment of the great prostitute who
is seated on many waters.
That was the first time that the great prostitute was mentioned. We learned that
the great prostitute was another name for the beast of the earth, which is also
called the false prophet. Now the angel returns to that theme of the judgment of
the prostitute and explains the symbolic significance of the "many waters." What
does he say the many waters that the prostitute is seated upon in 17:1 represents
(17:15b)?
Many waters represents peoples and multitudes and nations and
languages.
And what type of dominion does this 4-fold description represent?
4 is the earth number. By giving a 4-fold description, it speaks to the
prostitutes quest for universal dominion over the earth.

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At Johns time, the Roman Empire was made up of people from all over world.
Imperial Rome dominated people of all classes and races. It was a picture of what
the prostitute always seeks to do. It also seems to include Gods people, for when
Babylons judgment comes, God calls his people out of her midst (18:4). (That
calling parallels the call of Abraham out of Ur [Gen. 12:1-3] and the call of the
exiles out from historical Babylon [Jer. 51:45]).
3. In the past the beast of the sea, which represents all political, economic, and
military powers, teamed up with the beast of the earth (the prostitute), which
represents all false religion, including apostate Christianity. They were employed
by the dragon (Satan) and their goal was world domination and the destruction of
the church. What happens now between these two great allies (17:16a)?
All of the political world powers who once teamed up with the prostitute
(false religions) now turn on her and hate her.
The same is often true in life. Once those who have yielded to temptation achieve
the object of their desire, that which had appeared to be irresistible and beautiful
now becomes repulsive and disgusting. In its aftermath, sin's promises of delight
are always revealed to be empty and false.
The specific catalyst which brings about this change is not cited. Given the end
times, final judgment, character of these events, it may be that as the Lord returns
in glory the powers and dominions of this world will realize that they have been
deceived and misled by the harlot. They will be roused from their drunkenness to
sober reality. But at that moment it will be too late. Judgment has come.
4. What the world powers (the beast and the 10 horns) do to the prostitute in 17:16b
is taken from Eze. 23. In Ezekiel 23 the prophet foretells God's judgment upon the
apostate kingdoms of Israel and Judah, depicting them as a pair of adulterous
sisters who have indulged in prostitution.
o Read Eze. 23 now and in your mind take notice of the similarities between it
and our text.
The similarity between the two texts is remarkable. In both instances God uses
His enemies to punish His fallen church, whose unfaithfulness and idolatry is
depicted as adultery and prostitution. Like Israel and Judah, Prostitute Babylon is
stripped and humiliated before her hateful foes. The Great Prostitute is devoured
and burned with fire just as Ezekiel's adulterous sisters see their own children fed
to their idols and devoured by the flames.
Three metaphors are used to describe the total destruction of the prostitute. What
are the three phrases that describe her destruction (17:16b)?
(1) They will make her desolate and naked
(2) devour her flesh
(3) burn her up with fire

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Think about these things in terms of (1) the total defeat of one army over another,
(2) a beast and its prey, and (3) the fall of a city in battle. How do these help us
understand the totality of the prostitutes defeat? What picture comes to mind in
each case?
(1) Sometimes in the ancient world, when one army defeated another army,
the winners would put the losers in chains and strip them of their clothes and
then parade them in front of the people showing off their victory, heaping utter
humiliation upon those who were defeated. Here the prostitute is paraded
around in her element, humiliating her and shaming her in front of everyone.
(2) The picture here is one of a wild beast that has hunted down its prey. It
then tares its prey apart and devours it. Here the political beast tares apart and
devours its fellow beast.
(3) In the last metaphor a defeated city come to mind. When the city falls to
the enemy, the city is ransacked and then purposely set ablaze and consumed
by fire. Here the political powers set Babylon the Great on fire, reducing to
nothing more than dust and ashes.
5. Why does the beast turn on the prostitute his once close ally (17:17a)?
The beasts act this way because God has them carry out his will. God has
caused it to turn against her. God once again uses the powers of evil to carry
out his purposes.
Throughout history God has raised up empires which are evil. He uses them to
accomplish his purposes and then he casts them aside as worthless trash. As he
does throughout history, so he does at the End Time judgment. After they have
served Gods ultimate purposes, he will cast aside all evil powers and bring them
to ruin. The purpose to which he uses them is the salvation of his people.
The method that God uses to bring down his enemies is one that Jesus spoke of.
What is that method (Mark 3:24-26)?
God will cause the followers of Satan to be divided against themselves. A
house divided cannot stand.
In their plans and actions the beast and prostitute will be of one mind. For evil
purposes all of their power is given to the political beast (17:17b). But in his
sovereign control God causes the beast to turn and use that power on his partner.
God doesnt have to lift a finger to bring her demise. And all of this happens
fulfilling the words of God (17:17b). The prophets of old spoke Gods word of
the destruction of Israels enemies. These prophecies ultimately looked forward to
the destruction of all of Gods enemies on the Last Day.
6. Rev 17:18 is the book end of this judgment scene that goes with 17:1. What words
are used to describe the prostitute in 17:18?
The woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of
the earth."

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The scene of the prostitutes judgment is also described in 14:8. Note the
similarities with 17:18 specifically and chapter 17 in general.
In both cases the enemy of Gods people is pictured as a prostitute.
She is called Babylon the Great and the great city.
She has dominion over the kings of the earth" and she made all nations
drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality."
And the woman described in chapter 17 as being totally defeated and
destroyed is said to have fallen in 14:8.
Ancient Babylon and imperial Rome dominated the kings of the earth (17:18b).
There will always be such magnificent and depraved mistresses which are under
the dragons (Satans) control for the purpose of warring against the woman and
her seed, the church (12:17). But all such mistresses will be brought to total
destruction in Gods judgment on behalf of his saints (19:1-2).

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Lesson 57: The Final Judgment of the Prostitute (Part1)
Read Rev. 18:1-3
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
18:2 Babylon the great: represents all the forces of evil, all false religions
which are the enemy of Gods people and seek to lead them away from him.
18:3 Sexual immorality: represents the false religions and false gods that the
prostitute entices the world with.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. The first words of ch. 18, after this is a formula in Revelation for connecting
two sections. But it can, as in this case, be used to move the subject at hand to its
final conclusion. In this case it points John to expect the conclusion of what he
has just seen, the final judgment of the harlot. What follows is a detailed account
of God's judgment upon harlot Babylon, an expansion and explanation of events
already presented in the preceding scene.
In this scene John sees another angel, not the angel attending John (a censerangel). What do we know about this angel from 18:1-2a?
The angel came down from heaven.
The angel had great authority.
The angels splendor and glory light up the earth.
The angel has a mighty voice.
This angel is like the angel of Rev. 10 in his authority, in his voice, in his glory, in
his coming out of Gods presence. Because of these similarities, he may be the
same angel of Rev. 10. The angels in Rev. 10 and 18 stand in for God and are
Gods heralds, announcing the mission of the church (ch. 10) and the final
judgment of the enemies of the church (ch. 18). This angel may be a special angel
that represents God or it may be the Lord Jesus Christ who in the OT is called
the angel of the Lord.
The language here in Revelation 18 is very similar to that of Ezekiel's messianic
vision of God's "shekinah" glory returning to the temple (Eze. 43:1-5). Read the
Ezekiel passage now and notice the following similarities:
o In both, Gods glory lights up the earth.
o Gods glory is accompanied by a loud voice.
o Ezekiel speaks of a vision he had where God came to destroy the city, which
is what John sees here.

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Since these things seen by Ezekiel were all associated with God, this reinforces
the view that this angel is in fact the Angel of the Lord, who is our Lord Jesus
Himself. The angel comes from God (from heaven), with the authority given him
by God, lighting up the world with the glory of God.
2. This angel called out with what type of voice (18:2a)?
The angel called out with a mighty voice.
Other angels have called out in Revelation. What type of voice do they call out
with in the following passages: Rev. 5:2; 7:2; 10:3; 14:6-7?
They call out in a loud voice.
The adjective mighty far surpasses the adjective loud. The word mighty in
scripture (outside Revelation) is never used of angels, but only of God. So this too
points to the angel being the Lord Christ. It emphasizes not only the volume but
the divine authority of the voice which makes this great announcement. What is it
that he announces with his loud, authoritative voice (18:2a)?

The important announcement is that Babylon the great has fallen.

The opening words of the Lord's announcement repeat Revelation14:8. Both texts
are drawn from Isaiah 21:8-9: "And the lookout shouted...Look, here comes a
man in a chariot with a team of horses. And he gives back the answer: Babylon
has fallen, has fallen! All the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground."
Babylon is a type for all the enemies of Gods people throughout all generations.
It is comforting to know that in the End Babylon will fall. There will always be a
Babylon that will afflict Christians in this life, but Christians are comforted in
knowing the certainty of Babylons overthrow.
What is the tense of the verb used in the first line of the announcement (18:2a)?
Has fallen is past tense. It refers to action which has already taken place.
The fall of the harlot, Babylon the Great, has not yet actually taken place yet. It
will take place at the End. So why does the angel speak of it in the past tense?
The angel speaks of it in the past tense to indicate the absolute certainty of the
judgment of God.
3. What was Babylon like before she fell (Rev. 17:4; 18:11-18)?
Babylon was like a woman who was rich and famous who flaunted what she
had and indulged her every desire. Babylon was like a merchant class who got
rich off her merchandize.
How is Babylon described after her fall (18:2b)? What type of human life
remains?

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The harlots devastation would be so complete, that it would be devoid of


human life. Only scavengers that feed upon the dead such as the unclean
birds and the unclean and detestable beasts are left. It is now the dwelling
place of demons and every kind of unclean spirit.

The facade of her luxury and power will be stripped away to reveal the hideous
reality of demonic presence which has always lurked there as Babylon's guiding
and empowering force.
4. What is the reason and basis of this judgment (18:3a)?
For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.
The prostitute has seduced the nations and their rulers into luxurious and
sensual living. The false religions of world, including perverted forms of
Christianity have give license to the people of the world to pursue and have
relations with false gods.
What two groups have benefitted the most from the spiritual and powerful
dominance of Babylon (18:3b)?
The political rulers and the mercantile class have benefitted the most. These
two classes were empowered and made wealthy by the harlot and beast. The
rulers of the earth benefitted when they embraced the prostitute and when she
sanctioned their abuse of power through her pseudo-religions. The merchants
grew fat and rich from the power of her luxurious living."
These two groups will lead the chorus of lament over fallen Babylon through the
balance of the chapter.

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Lesson 58: The Final Judgment of the Prostitute (Part 2)
Read Rev. 18:4-5
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
18:4-5 Her (Babylon): the evil enemy of Gods people that tries to entice them
away from God with a deceptive form of Christianity and other false religions.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. Then John heard another voice (18:4a). Where did the voice come from?
The voice John heard came from heaven.
Given where the voice came from and given that the voice calls believers in Jesus
my people, whose voice would it seem to be?
This would seem to be God the Fathers voice since he lives in heaven and
calls them my people.
But the voice refers to God as someone distinct from the voice (God has
remembered [18:4b]). Who else could the voice belong to? Why would that
make sense?
Most likely this is the voice of Gods son, Jesus. That would make sense
because Jesus is truly God who lives in heaven. And the people who are being
saved because they believe and trust in him are his people. The reference to
God remembering would then be a reference to God the Father.
2. What are Gods people urged to do and why (18:4)?
Gods people are urged to come out of Babylon so that they will not sin
with her and receive the same judgment she receives.
Notice the similarity to the language used by the OT prophets:
o Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy,
proclaim it, send it out to the end of the earth; say, "The LORD has redeemed
his servant Jacob!" Is. 48:20.
o "Flee from the midst of Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeans, and
be as male goats before the flock. Jer. 50:8.
o "Flee from the midst of Babylon; let every one save his life! Be not cut off in
her punishment, for this is the time of the LORDs vengeance, the repayment
he is rendering her. Go out of the midst of her, my people! Let every one
save his life from the fierce anger of the LORD! Jer. 51:6, 45.

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Since Babylon represents all false religions, including a false Christianity, this is
not a call for physical separation from a literal city. It is a call to shun the
temptations and enticements of man made religion. At the heart of all the religions
man devises for himself is self-righteousness and self-reliance. The Lutheran
Confessions call the innate tendency of man's sinful nature to depend upon one's
own efforts and good works the "opinio legis" (opinion of the law). The
Confessions warn that this universal human inclination seeks to compromise and
undermine the teaching of God's grace in Christ at every opportunity (Apol. IV,
146). Since the beginning, the fundamental temptation has been to spurn the
gracious love of God in favor of human effort so that we might ourselves be like
gods. This is the essence of the anti-Christian religion embodied by Babylon the
Great. Beneath the deceiving facade of Christian piety, it glories in human
wisdom and wealth, luxury and power.
Do we see Babylon deceptively at work today? Absolutely! American
Evangelicalism is a perfect example of this. It is a combination of the true Gospel
along with human effort. Instead of relying completely on Christ, they teach that
human effort is needed along with Christ. To make a decision for Christ is
human effort. To cooperate with Christ is human effort. Then once one has
become a born-again Christian, Christ is not preached to the congregation. This
leads to a Christ-less Christianity. Its subtle undoing of the Christians bond with
Christ. Babylons goal is to separate people from Christ and when Christianity
becomes Christ-less, the goal has been achieved. Be very careful and do as the
Lord says here, "Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest
you share in her plagues.
Read through the following passages: Num. 16:25-27; Mark 13:14-16 (which
alludes to Gen. 19:1-29); 2 Cor. 6:14-17. What do they have in common with each
other and with Rev. 18:4?
In each case Gods people are warned to come out, get away from, and have
nothing to do with evil, unrighteousness, and false religion. The concept of
separation from evil, unbelief, and false doctrine in order to avoid
contamination and punishment is a consistent theme in Scripture. At all times
Gods people are to not associate with those who deny the truth of Jesus
Christ. Gods judgments for Babylon are near.
3. What sense of urgency is being conveyed by 18:4? What is at stake here?
There is a deep sense of urgency in this text. What is at stake is true Christians
being drawn away from the true faith into a false faith, which in turn
endangers ones eternal destiny.
The attitude here contradicts the lackadaisical attitude which prevails in much of
the modern church toward false doctrine and moral impurity. The easy going
tolerance of American society bleeds over into the church. This tolerance which
allows truth and error, right and wrong, to comfortably co-exist with one another

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is misguided and dangerous. Sin is never benign. It is always malignant. It
corrupts and destroys.
Those who are outside the true Christian church already belong to Satan. He
needs to expend very little energy in keeping them his own. He expends the most
energy on Christians. In order to pry them away he works in subtle ways. He
disguises himself as an angel of light. He works from within the church. He starts
out by taking one or two Christian doctrines and twists them. As Christians buy in
to his half-truths, he twists and changes them some more, as well as adding new
false doctrines. Once some believe his untruths, he uses them to pull others away
from Christ. Do not underestimate the power of half-truths and false doctrine.
They are subtle and they can lead to sin which can lead to eternal damnation.
The devil also uses the world, society, and culture in his endeavor to win over
Christians. Through them he tries to deceive Christians and convince Christians
that they are intolerant and too rigid. How does Paul say that Christians should
react to the deception of the world and of false religions (Eph. 5:1-21)?
Have nothing to do with sexual immorality and filthiness. Do not be deceived
by empty words. Do not become partners with darkness. Walk as children of
light, discerning what is pleasing to the Lord. Be wise in knowing the Lords
will. Dont be filled with alcohol, but with the Spirit. Give thanks to God
through Jesus. Submit to one another.
4. How great are the sins of all false religions and false Christianity (18:5a)?
The sins of Babylon are so great that they are heaped high as heaven.
The phrase high as heaven connects us to two early OT stories. The first story is
in Gen. 11:1-9. Summarize it and its connection to this verse via the word
heaven.
This is the story of the tower of Babel. The people of the earth refused to be
dispersed across the earth and instead built a tower with its top in the
heavens. Their sins, like the sins of the prostitute, reached up to God in
heaven. Because of their stubborn refusal to obey Gods word, God confused
their language so they couldnt understand each other. Because of this the
tower became known as the tower of Babel.
What materials did they use in building this tower (Gen. 11:3-4)?
They used brick and mortar.
Note that the Greek verb John uses in this passage "ekollethesan" is an unusual
word, based on a root which means to glue or mortar together. This allusion is,
most probably, to the bricks of Babel's tower and Babylon's most ancient pedigree
as a center of anti- Christian religion. The image is used to depict the countless
sins of Babylon the Great mortared together like bricks in a building which was so
massive that it reaches "up to heaven."

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The second story is in Gen. 18-19. This is the story of the destruction of Sodom
and Gomorrah. In chapter 19 we see the disgusting sin of Sodom on display, as all
the men of Sodom desired to have sex with two men (actually two angels) who
were guests in Lots house. How bad had their sin become (Gen. 18:20-21)?
The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was so bad that it reached Yahweh
in heaven and he decided that he would come down and see it firsthand
himself.
He saw first hand the sordid way the two angels he sent were treated. Because of
their sin, God completely destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. And so it is a type for
how God will completely destroy the prostitute for her foul ways at the End.
5. Concerning the sins of the prostitute, it says, God has remembered her iniquities
(18:55b). As we said earlier, when God remembers it means he takes action. His
divine justice and holiness cannot allow sin to remain unpunished. In the Old
Testament to call upon God's remembrance of sin was to call for the execution of
divine judgment (see Hosea 9:9 and Psalm 109:14). Therefore when God
remembered the prostitutes iniquities, he executed his judgment upon her.

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Lesson 59: The Final Judgment of the Prostitute (Part 3)
Read Rev. 18:6-8
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
18:6-8 Her..she: refers to Babylon, the evil enemy of Gods people that tries to
entice them away from God with a deceptive form of Christianity and other
false religions.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. Continuing to think about the judgment of the prostitute in terms of Sodom and
Gomorrah, when did the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah take place (Gen.
19:15-22; see also Gen. 18:27-33)? What had to happen first before the judgment
took place?
God had told Abraham that he would not destroy the righteous along with the
unrighteous. In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah that meant he would not
destroy Lot and his family in his judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. Through
the two angels God called Lot and his family out of Sodom telling them to
leave quickly. When they lingered the angels took them by the hand and
practically forced them to leave.
Now that Gods people had been called out of Babylon (18:4a), the judgment of
Babylon could begin.
2. The Lord's voice from heaven booms demanding that just punishment be rendered
upon the sinful city (18:6). What is her punishment to be (18:6a, 7a)?
Pay her back as she herself has paid back others and give her a like
measure of torment and mourning. The judgment of God is never arbitrary or
capricious. God's punishment always fits the crime. So shall it be in His
judgment upon Babylon. However much pain and suffering she caused others
is the pain and suffering she will be required to endure.
This is the Old Testament's "lex talionis" which reverberates throughout the
prophets' denunciations of ancient Babylon.
3. The next question to consider is, who will pay her back? According to Heb. 10:30,
who is that repays?
For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again,
"The Lord will judge his people." It is the Lord who will repay her. It is not
the job of Christians to repay. Christians trust that the Lord will make things
right.

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OT Babylon, as the enemy of Gods people, was a type for NT Babylon. In the
following passages, who was it that threatened to take his vengeance out on and
pay back OT Babylon?
Jer. 50:15, 29: "Since this is the vengeance of the Lord, take vengeance on
her; do to her as she has done to others... Repay her for her deeds; do to her
as she has done. For she has defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel."

Jer. 51:24,56: "Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in
Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion, declares the Lord....A
destroyer will come against Babylon; her warriors will be captured, and
their bows will be broken. For the Lord is a God of retribution; He will
repay in full."

As God promised to repay OT Babylon for what she did to others and especially
to Zion, so the Lord will repay all those who have defiled the Lord by
worshipping false gods and by trying to destroy the church. The Lord will take
vengeance on them and pay them back in kind.
4. Earlier we said that Babylon will be paid back to the same degree that she paid
others back, that she will receive a like measure of torment and mourning. But
what does 18:6b seem to say that contradicts this?
It seems to say here that her pay back will be double.
One author argues that most English translations of this verse translate it wrong.
He believes that the translators do not understand the Hebrew idiom that is behind
it. The Greek phrase is literally "double the double things." G.K Beale argues that
this phrase means "to produce a duplicate, a matching equivalent." The phrase
would then be translated - "give her the exact equivalent of her works; duplicate
the same mixture for her in the cup which she has mixed." This insight removes
the apparent inconsistency in the text.
The picture presented of her payback at the end of 18:6b is one where the same
cup in which she mixed her deadly concoctions for her clients is now going to be
used on her. The same deadly concoction will be mixed in it. And she will be
made to drink from it. Since through false religion she caused the torment and
mourning of so many, so her punishment will be a like measure of torment and
mourning (18:7a).
5. Again NT Babylon is like OT Babylon. Read Is. 47:7-9 and see the similarities to
18:7b.
Ancient Babylon also boasted that she would last forever as an eternal queen and
would never be a widow (Is. 47: 7-8). The same was true for Rome in Johns day.
Yet God destroyed both, and likewise he will destroy the harlot.

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Notice that there is a phrase used within the Isaiah passage just read and 18:7b
that is used in the OT for the name of God. What is it?
I AM.
What is Babylon doing by using this name for herself?
She is putting herself in the place of God. She is so full of pride and arrogance
that in her heart she thinks she is in full control, that she is God.
So God is going to pay Babylon back. He is going to pay her back for her
deceptive religions that caused people to follow false gods and fall away from the
one true God. He is going to pay her back because of her pride, as she glorified
herself, and arrogance in thinking that she was in full control as if she were God.
6. Because of these things God will rein plagues upon her (18:8a). What does it
mean that they will come in a single day (18:8a, see also Is. 47:9)?
It means that the judgment of God upon great Babylon will be sudden and
complete. The arrival of judgment will be completely unexpected and
therefore all the more abrupt.
By claiming, I am no widow, she claimed the eternal existence of God. But how
will God burst that dream (18:8a)?
The plagues from God will bring her death.
She claimed that she would not mourn, but in reality God would cause her to
mourn. She once lived in opulent luxury. What will that be replaced with (18:8a)?
It will be replaced with the suffering and emptiness of famine.
It says that Babylon will be burned up with fire (18:8b). What does fire
represent in the following verses concerning Babylon in the OT: Jer. 51:25, 30,
32, 58?
It represents the defeat and destruction of Babylon by God.
The fires of hell will rise up to consume the harlot who has served the power of
the devil, and reveled in the empty rewards which Satan bestows upon his own.
The totality and the finality of this awful judgment is the expression of the
almighty power of the only true God - "for mighty is the Lord God who judges
her." At the End God himself will be the harlots judge and executioner.

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Lesson 60: The Lament Over Fallen Babylon
Read Rev. 18:9-19
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
18:9 Kings: represents governments, those in positions of power who are
controlled by Satan.
18:9-19 Her..great city, mighty city: refers to Babylon, the evil enemy of
Gods people that tries to entice them away from God with a deceptive form
of Christianity and other false religions.
18:10, 17, 19 Single hour: a sudden change of fortune, from being on top to
being utterly defeated and destroyed.
18:11-19 Merchants, mariners: represents those who profit from and extend
false Christianity and false religions.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. After Babylon has been destroyed and burned (18:8), three groups mourn over her
destruction. Who are the three groups?
18:9a: The kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in
luxury with her.
18:11a, 15a: the merchants of the earth and The merchants of these wares,
who gained wealth from her.
18:17b: all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on
the sea.
As we will see they mourn not only her end, but they mourn over the end of their
own luxurious and sensual livelihood. They depended on her. Her end will be
their end.
The dirge here in Revelation is similar to that which is voiced in Eze. 27:1-36, the
lament over the judgment and destruction of the city of Tyre. What three groups
mourn the destruction of Tyre?
Eze. 27:29: Mariners
Eze. 27:35: Kings
Eze. 27:36: Merchants
Therefore Tyre is an example of Babylon. Tyre was a Babylon in its day. Tyre
brought luxurious living to mariners, kings, and merchants through the selling of
merchandize all over the world. But now the one they love, the source of their
riches has been destroyed and they mourn for her and for themselves.

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2. The first group to weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her
burning are the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived
in luxury with her (18:9). They stand at a distance (18:10a) terrified that their
moment, when they will receive the fire of Gods judgment, may come at any
time. The kings cry out in fear; their situation is hopeless. Their illicit love affair
and its pleasures are gone forever.
Their cry, Alas! Alas! (18:10b) is a cry of consternation and despair, uttered in
the face of overwhelming catastrophe. What does their three-fold You great city,
you mighty city, Babylon! (18:10b) emphasize about Babylon?
It emphasizes the great strength and power of Babylon.
And yet its great strength was not able to deliver her from the judgment of
almighty God. How sudden and complete was her destruction (18:10c)?
In a single hour the great, vast, and powerful empire was totally destroyed.
The end came for her suddenly and without warning. Her entire kingdom was
obliterated in an instant.
3. The second chorus in the global lament over the downfall of Babylon the Great is
sung by "the merchants of the earth" (18:11a). What causes them to join in the
lament (18:11b)?
They lament the one who made them rich. But now their wealth will disappear
because no one buys their cargo anymore.
The text (18:12-13) continues to follow the pattern of Ezekiel 27, which lists a
detailed inventory of the luxury trade which comes to an abrupt end because of
the downfall of Tyre (cf. Ezekiel 27:12-24). Harlot Babylon is the epitome of
hedonism and consumerism. In her power and wealth she lives for the pleasure of
the moment and satisfies her sensual needs with all that which money can buy.
Keep in mind that these merchants are more than literal merchants. Babylon
represents everything that is anti-Christian. The merchants here represent
politicians, educators, businessmen, etc. that sell their anti-Christian wares to the
world. They were hugely successful for they had become rich. The people of the
world find what they sell very attractive and willingly paid top dollar for it.
4. The items listed are representative of the type of luxury items prevalent in the
Biblical world. They include:
18:12a - Precious metals and stones. They have always defined material
wealth throughout human history.
18:12b - Fine clothing. Extremely expensive and imported from around the
world.
18:12c - Expensive materials used in making furniture and buildings. Some
uncommon woods cost as much as entire estates.
18:13a Spices. Spices in the ancient world were extremely costly.

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18:13b Food items. These items are of gourmet caliber signifying, along
with the rest of the cargo list, self-indulgence and luxury.
18:13c Livestock. The Roman aristocracy had acquired huge land holdings
throughout the provinces on which large herds of cattle and sheep were raised.
18:13d Slaves, human souls. They viewed slaves as mere items of trade and
merchandise. It is estimated that there were as many as 60,000,000 slaves in
the Roman Empire at the time the Book of Revelation was written. The entire
social structure and economy of Rome was based upon the availability of an
endless supply of free labor, both skilled and unskilled. In reality these people
are not just items of merchandise, but the souls of men. The inhumanity of
Babylons system is evil and corrupt. At the End God will do away with such
practices.
What does fruit in 18:14 refer to?
It refers to all those things just listed. It is the delicacies and splendors
that they have amassed.
What has happened to this fruit (18:14b)?
All your delicacies and your splendors are lost to you never to be found
again!" All of their wealth and power and luxuries are gone.
Using fruit to speak of their wealth and power provides a picture for us. The
sweet autumn fruit has come to the peak of its ripeness. The souls of the
merchants longed for this fruit which was there for the taking. But just like that
they are taken away. The fact that their wealth and power are taken away is
repeated three times for emphasis in 18:14. What are those three phrases?
Gone from you, lost to you, and never to be found again.
5. How are the merchants and their reaction in 18:15 similar to that of the kings in
18:9-10?
The kings lived in luxury and sin with her and the merchants gained their
wealth from her.
The kings weep and wail over her and the merchants weep and mourn aloud
for her.
Both stand far off in fear of her torment.
They stand far off distancing themselves from her judgment. Yet their fate is so
closely interwoven with hers that there is no escape for them now. Her downfall
will also be their downfall. This is why their lament is so intense.
The lament for Babylon the Great byr the merchants is similar to that of the kings.
Yet the merchants have a different emphasis. What does each emphasize about the
prostitute (18:10b, 18:16)?
The kings lament that she has lost her great power. The merchants lament her
loss of wealth and luxury.

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For the kings the prostitutes judgment came in a single hour. What happens in
a single hour from the merchants point of view (18:17a)?
All this wealth has been laid waste." All of her wealth was gone, taken away,
laid waste.
6. The third chorus of Babylon the Great's funeral dirge is sung by the world's
mariners (18:17b). Again John relies on Ezekiel. Who do the mariners mourn for
in Eze. 27:28-32?
The mariners mourn for Tyre, the island city that was the headquarters of the
Phoenician's commercial empire.
Phoenician trading ships set sail from there across the Mediterranean and beyond
establishing colonies and extending their reach throughout the ancient world.
Recognizing this reality, Ezekiel depicts the destruction of Tyre as a catastrophic
shipwreck (Eze. 27).
The picture here is that Babylon employs these mariners to take her goods (false
religions) and export them around the world. This is a very profitable trade for the
mariners. They make a good living and come to wholly depend upon Babylon.
But as God once destroyed Tyre and its shipping empire, so God will destroy
Babylon and its empire of false religions and false Christianity. John knew with
certainty that Babylon, the harlot, would be destroyed in Gods anger and wrath.
7. Like the kings and merchants, when Gods wrath was visited upon Babylon, the
mariners stood far off and mourned for her when they saw her destruction
(18:17b-18a). They agreed with the others that this was a great city (18:17c-18).
What things did they do to show their grief over Babylons destruction (18:19a)?
They threw dust on their heads. They wept, mourned, and cried out.
What was the reason that they mourned for her (18:19b)?
They mourned for her because all who had ships at sea grew rich by her
wealth! So their song is also motivated by self-interest, sorrowing over the
loss of income which Babylon's destruction represents for them. Those in the
world that push false religion benefit from it financially and otherwise. When
they realize that their source of riches is proved a sham and has been totally
destroyed, they will mourn for her and themselves.
And for the third time, the chorus ends with the awestruck, almost disbelieving,
assertion of the suddenness and the totality of Great Babylon's destruction - "In
one hour she has been brought to ruin."

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Lesson 61: A Call to Celebrate and the Mighty Angel
Read Rev. 18:20-24
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
18:21 Mighty angel: probably represents Jesus Christ, who in the Old
Testament is called the Angel of the Lord.
18:21 A stone: used as a sign of the judgment of God on Babylon.
18:21 Babylon the great city: the evil enemy of Gods people that tries to
entice them away from God with a deceptive form of Christianity and other
false religions.
18:22-23 The sound, a craftsman, the mill, the light, the voice: all
the normal sights and sounds that signify life.
18:23 Your merchants: used as a symbol of those who tout money and power
as a god who people should trust.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. Suddenly the whole tone of lament and dirge changes (18:20). What are the
people of God encouraged to do (18:20a)?
They are encouraged to rejoice over the destruction of Babylon.
The underlying Greek word here means more than be happy. It means to celebrate
as an expression of that happiness. The same word was used in Rev. 11:10 to
describe the sinful world's celebration over the destruction of the two witnesses.
But now it is the people of God who are given cause for celebration. Who
specifically does the Lord call on to celebrate (18:20b)?
O heaven a general reference to all who put their faith and trust in the one
true God.
Saints All people past and present that trust in Jesus as their Savior.
Apostles Those sent out by the Lord Jesus to spread the Gospel.
Prophets Those who proclaim Gods Word to the people of the world.
Why are they to celebrate (18:20c)? What does that mean?
They are to celebrate because God has given judgment for you against her!"
The saints, apostles, and prophets have patiently borne the brunt of the
whore's fury and have looked to God to vindicate their trust in him. In that
sense, God's judgment upon Babylon is an expression of His love for them.
This vindication is not a personal vindication but a vindication of the justice
and the holiness of God. This verdict upholds the honor of Gods holy name
and the faith that Gods people placed with him.

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2. Now the total and final destruction of Babylon that was just foretold (18:1-20) is
dramatically illustrated. Who is it that illustrates it (18:21a)?
A mighty angel.
The same word used here to describe the angel was used in 18:2 to describe the
voice of the angel. Look back at lesson 57, points #1 and #2. Who most likely is
the angel at the beginning of chapter 18?
It probably refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as the angel with the mighty voice.
This suggests that the mighty angel referred to here is also the Lord Jesus
Christ. What is it that the angel does to illustrate Babylons destruction (18:21a)?
The mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the
sea.
What was a millstone used for and how large was a typical millstone?
A millstone was used to grind grain. It was typically turned by a yoke of
donkeys or oxen, was four or five feet in diameter and twelve to eighteen
inches thick, weighing thousands of pounds.
The language recalls the words of our Lord in Matt. 18:6, which speaks of having
a millstone around ones neck and drowning in the sea. What obviously would
happen to a millstone that was thrown into the sea?
Obviously the millstone would sink into oblivion, never again to rise.
How does the mighty angel say that this action of throwing a millstone into the
sea represents the judgment of Babylon (18:21b)?
"So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be
found no more. This action represents the ancient enemy of the church now
sinking into the bottomless pit, where it will be found no more.
The end of the enemies of the people of God has been depicted in a similar way
before. What enemy was destroyed by God in each of the following passages?
Ex. 15:4-5, 10: The Egyptian army, in a similar way, sank like a stone in the
Red Sea.
Jer. 51:60-64: Jeremiahs casting of a scroll into the Euphrates River,
symbolized Babylons sinking.
We can be assured that as these ancient enemies of Gods people were destroyed,
so in the end all of the enemies of Gods people will be destroyed never to rise
again.
3. What scene is described in 18:22-23b?
The once lively and active city is now dead, silent, and dark. The joyful
sounds of music and weddings are heard no more. The normal sounds of
everyday life, the sounds of craftsmen at work and the millstone grinding

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grain for bread, are gone. The once bright place is now in darkness. The
destroyer has been destroyed.
4. Rev. 18:23b-24 summarizes the reasons for the judgment of the harlot Babylon.
Who was looked up to and considered great by the nations (18:23c)?
The merchants were considered the great ones of the earth.
What do merchants do? For what purpose do they do it? And why would they be
considered great?
Merchants buy and sell for the purpose of making money. Good merchants
sell for a profit. They were considered great if they made a lot of money. And
those that became rich lived the high life. They lived a self-indulgent lifestyle.
So under the influence of the harlot, commercial gain was the god that drove and
controlled the human race. The harlot promoted world religions that sanctioned
such crass commercialism. She even uses false brands of Christianity to turn
people away from the one true God toward the glory and power of money. God's
harsh judgment upon Babylon shatters the arrogant pride of men who have trusted
in their own riches and power and have lived by sensual and luxurious selfindulgence.
5. Ancient Babylon was renowned for its astrology, occult wisdom, and magic.
Isaiah had denounced the city for these very things. Read Is. 47:9-13.
OT Babylon is one manifestation of the harlot Babylon that has always existed in
every generation. She is condemned because she deceives and misleads the
nations with her sorcery (18:23d). It is the devil who empowers her to work
these supernatural wonders so that people will believe her lies. She will deceive
by any means possible to lead people astray into believing her and putting their
trust in her instead of God. People trusted in the great empires of Babylon and
Rome for their spiritual well-being. When the powers of the state and religion are
combined, they can be hard to resist.
6. What is the last reason that the prostitute must be condemned and destroyed
(18:24)?
Because in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who
have been slain on earth." She has persecuted and executed the prophets and
saints of God. And further, she has taken the lives of the innocent.
Their blood cries out for vengeance (Rev. 6:9-10; cf. Gen. 4:10; Heb. 12:24) and
justice demands that God hear that cry. Throughout history Harlot Babylon has
been characterized by bloody persecution and slaughter of the faithful. Her bitter
opposition to the Gospel has been accomplished by the murder of the Gospel's
faithful witnesses. When she was unable to destroy them herself, she has seduced
the powers of government to act as executioner on her behalf. Harlot Babylon is

A Bible Study of Revelation


covered with the stains of martyrs' blood. In the End, God will exact vengeance
(cf. Rev. 19:1-2) by judging her.

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Lesson 62: A Song of Victory in Heaven
Read Rev. 19:1-5
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
19:1 Great multitude: all the angels in heaven and all believers in Jesus.
19:2 The great prostitute: the evil enemy of Gods people that tries to entice
them away from God with a deceptive form of Christianity and other false
religions.
19:2,5 His servants: Gods people recognize their place before God is one as a
servant before his master.
19:4 Twenty four elders: the 24 elders represent all of Gods people from the
OT and NT.
19:4 Four living creatures: a particular order of angels that are closer to God
than any other creature. They lead the heavenly host in praising God and
represent all living things in Gods creation.
19:5 Throne..a voice: one of the 4 living creatures or one of the angels that
surround Gods throne.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. In 18:20 the invitation was given to Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints
and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!" The
celebration described in chapter 19 is the response to that invitation.
Again after this signals us that there is a change of scene. Compare the mood
and tenor of 19:1 to that of 18:22-23a.
18:22-23a describes the deadly silence that has fallen over Babylon that
resulted from her judgment. In contrast, 19:1 describes the beginning of the
jubilant song of the people of God over that same judgment.
2. John now hears in chapter 19 what Dr. Brighton calls, the Hallelujah Chorus of
the great Te Deum, the continuing song of praise to God in Revelation. This is its
climax. Who is this great multitude that sings the Hallelujah Chorus? Is it the
angels? The saints? The church triumphant? The chorus continues from 19:1-8.
Read through it. What does the setting and the song tell us about those who sing
the chorus?
Those that sing consider God to be our God (19:1, 6). They sing about how
Gods judgment of the prostitute has avenged the blood of the saints (19:2). It
speaks of the 24 elders and 4 living creatures being present and involved in
worship (19:4). It speaks of the Bride of the Lamb being clothed and ready
for the marriage ceremony (19:7b-8).

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Who then seems to be involved in the singing of this song?
It seems that the whole heavenly host of both angels and all of the saints make
up this chorus, with the 24 elders and 4 winged creatures as the choir masters.
Since the whole host of heaven sings, this is why the voice is so loud.
3. What word is the song of jubilation and praise structured around? The word
appears in 19:1, 3, 4, and 6. What does that word mean?
The song is structured around the word Hallelujah. It means Praise the
Lord.
The word is closely linked to the worship of the Old Testament church in the
temple to express intense rejoicing and praise. It was evidently a prominent
component of praise anthems of the priestly choirs who preformed the liturgical
services of the sanctuary. Thus in the Old Testament, it appears exclusively in the
so-called "Hallel Psalms" of the latter part of the hymn book of ancient Israel (cf.
Psalms 104-106, 111-113, 115-117, 135, 146-150). In the NT the word is only
found here in Rev. 19 in the great hymn of praise.
4. Who do Salvation and glory and power belong to (19:1b)?
They belong to our God, that is, to the God of the heavenly angels and
believers, the God of heaven.
When a Christian hears the word salvation (19:1b), what events does he
immediately think of?
The Christian immediately thinks of Jesus death on the cross and
resurrection. Through Jesus God provided salvation for sinful people.
Gods glory (19:1b) reveals Gods holy presence. Gods glory is like the light
that shines from the sun. In what scandalous act and lowly person does God
reveal that he is present for mankind?
God reveals his holy and saving presence through his son Jesus. The supreme
act and showing of his saving presence was his son on the cross. This is a
scandalous act to the world that reveals his glory to believers and hides it from
unbelievers.
In his power (19:1b), God is omnipotent, all powerful. In what two ways does
God make his power known? One way is clear to all people. The other way is
clear to only Christians.
Gods power is clear to all people in the creation itself. The fact that we exist
on a complex planet in a complex solar system attests to the Creator and his
power to create it, regulate it, and maintain it.
Gods power is clear to Christians in Christs act of salvation on the cross.
Through his death and resurrection God showed his power over sin, death, and
the devil. Through this saving act God showed that he has power over all
things.

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Notice that all three salvation, glory, and power are connected to the
Jesus and the cross. God chose the cross as the means to save sinful mankind and
as the means to display his glory and power. Thats why we like Paul preach
nothing but Christ crucified.
5. Not only are his judgments true and just (19:2a), but God himself is true and
just. God is perfect in his holiness and righteousness. And God used his gracious
act of salvation to satisfy his righteousness. Since God is holy he must punish
sinners. Had he not acted on behalf of sinners all people for all times would suffer
eternally for their sin. Gods righteousness demands it. God did not want this to
happen so he provided a way to both save people from eternal torment and to
satisfy his own righteous requirements. He did this in the cross of Jesus. Jesus
took all the sins of the world upon himself and suffered the punishment they
deserved. This was only possible because Jesus is God. Only he was capable of
doing this. With his justice being satisfied, God could rightly offer people eternal
life with him. All that is necessary on the part of each individual person is to
believe that Jesus has done everything necessary to satisfy Gods justice and to
provide them with salvation.
But there are those who do not believe in Jesus and trust that he has satisfied
Gods justice. For them it is as if Jesus had never died for them and paid the price
for their sin. For it is only by faith that the free gift of salvation is received. Those
who do not have faith have no way of receiving this wonderful gift. These are all
the people that the great prostitute has deceived. They put their trust in other
things themselves, governments, money, other people, etc. Because she has
deceived the nations, convincing them to worship the false god of self-indulgence
(corrupted the earth with her immorality (19:2b)), God rightly judges the
prostitute. His true and just (19:2a) sentence on her is eternal death. She shed
the blood of his servants (19:2b), but now God has taken vengeance on her.
Vengeance comes from God who alone has the right to judge and punish the
enemies of his people.
6. Why did the people of God once more cry out, Hallelujah! (19:3b)?
They cried Hallelujah because they saw that The smoke from her goes up
forever and ever."
What they see gives evidence of what?
It gives evidence that the great prostitute has been destroyed. Her judgment
will endure forever and ever. There will be no early release on good
behavior.
Prophetic of this event, Isaiah uttered how the smoke of Edom would never be
quenched and would rise forever (Is. 34:8-10).

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7. Recall that the 24 elders represent the whole people of God both from the OT and
the NT (OT-the 12 tribes of Israel, NT-the 12 apostles) and the 4 living creatures
represent all of Gods creation. (For a review see lessons 10 and 11). What does it
mean then that the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and
worshiped God who was seated on the throne (19:4)?
It means that all of Gods people and all of Gods creation fall down before
him in humble adoration and awe. They recognize that this is their rightful
place when in his holy presence.
What did they say as they worshipped God (19:4b)? And why did they say it?
They said, "Amen. Hallelujah!", which means, This is most certainly true,
Praise the Lord. They said it because they completely endorse and reiterate
the praise of God's justice which has already been expressed.
8. John now hears from the throne came a voice saying (19:5a). The voice is
again unidentified. Perhaps it is one of the 4 living creatures or is one of the
angels that surround Gods royal throne. In any case it is an invitation to Praise
our God. The imperative verb "Praise" (Greek - "aineite") is in the present tense
indicating continuous ongoing action. The words here then echo the command of
Psalm 135:1 which then proceeds for twenty-one verses to define that which is
praiseworthy about God and His mighty deeds.
Who is the command addressed to (19:5b)?
It is addressed to all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great."
The language here is also taken from Ps. 135.
o Ps. 135:1 Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O
servants of the LORD
o Ps. 135:20 You who fear the LORD, bless the LORD!
Who is included in his servants, you who fear him, and small and great
(19:5b)?
The command is universal. It includes all people no matter what their status. It
brushes aside all human distinctions or class or rank. All of Gods people are
to praise God.

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Lesson 63: The Marriage Feast of the Lamb (Part 1)
Read Rev. 19:6-7
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
19:6 Great multitude: All of the angels and saints.
19:7 The Lamb: Jesus Christ, the lamb who was slain for the sins of the world.
19:7 Bride: the church. All those who believe in Jesus.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. One can view the End when Jesus returns from two different perspectives. We
have seen one view in chapter 18. That view showed us the fall and destruction of
the great prostitute. There all false religions will be made known and judged. Now
in chapter 19 we see another view. This view is the view of the church. In this
view the laments of doom and destruction are replaced with majestic anthems of
celebration and praise.
The great multitude (the angelic hosts and the church) which cried out in 19:1
cried out again (19:6a). What does it mean that they sounded like the roar of
many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder (19:6b)?
It simply means that it was very loud, as the multitudes of angels and saints all
cried out in unison.
The word mighty used here (19:6a) is normally used for God. Here it applies to
the sound made by the great multitude. Normally the parents announce the
marriage of their children. Here it is as if the great multitude speaking in the
mighty voice of God announces the wedding of his Son to the church (cf. Mt.
22:2-3) for God.
2. Their response to the command to praise God (19:5) is immediate and
overwhelming (19:6b-8a). This is the last of Revelation's songs, the final
"Hallelujah Chorus" in the magnificent on-going "Te Deum" which is interwoven
throughout the visions of Revelation. (Cf. Brighton, pp.527-532) The song began
in chapter 4 with the eternal "tris-hagion" (Holy, holy, holy) of the four living
creatures around the throne of God, and has been amplified and elaborated by
choirs of men and angels, the church militant on earth and the church triumphant
in heaven, throughout the remainder of the book. It now achieves it breathtaking
crescendo in the awesome "Hallelujah Chorus." George Friedrich Handel
composed the "Hallelujah Chorus" in his oratorio "Messiah" based upon this
text.

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The fourth and final "Hallelujah!" (19:6c) introduces this glorious anthem which
announces the marriage of the Lamb to the church. How is the Lord described?
What title is given to him? And what does he do? (19:6c)
He is described as our God.
He is called the Almighty.
He reigns.
What does this description, title, and action affirm?
It affirms the close relationship between God and his people. And it affirms
the sovereign omnipotence of the Creator over his creation. He is over all. No
one or nothing can stand in his way or prevent him from ruling over his
creation. And the multitude gladly affirms Gods rule in their lives.
3. The Almighty reigns (19:6c). How do Gods people respond to this fact
(19:7a)?
They rejoice and exult. Or the NIV puts it, rejoice and be glad.
The only other text in the New Testament where rejoice and be glad are
combined is in the Sermon on the Mount where Christ urges His people to savor
the persecution of men because of the richness of the reward that awaits us in
heaven - "Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven" (Matt.
5:12). It looks forward to Gods kingdom in heaven. Here in Revelation, Gods
reign in heaven is made known and displayed to all people. And Gods people
rejoice and are glad that God reigns.
Of course God has always been King. But his gracious reign over the human race
was challenged by humanitys rebellion. But God would win back mankind and
again exercise his reign of grace and love and thus take back his kingdom. He did
this through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of his Son.
In terms of Christians being a part of Gods kingdom, why do Christians give
him the glory (19:7a)?
Christians have brought into Gods kingdom through the work of Jesus on the
cross. God's people freely acknowledge that these wondrous events are God's
doing, not theirs. Therefore they "give Him glory!" There is no pretense here
that man has done anything whatsoever to contribute to the coming of God's
kingdom.
4. As chapter 18 showed, the one who challenged Gods reign, the great prostitute,
had been judged and destroyed. For the prostitute and her followers (all
unbelievers) Gods rule is one of Law and judgment. But for Christians his is rule
is one of Gospel and grace. The one who made this Good News possible was the
Lamb who was slain for the sins of the world. But the slain Lamb came back to
life and comes again at the End to marry his betrothed (19:7b). Who is the bride
that the Lamb is going to marry?
The bride is the church. All those who believe in Jesus are the bride of Christ.

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In the following OT passages, what is the relationship like between God and his
people Israel: Is. 54:5; Is. 62:5; Jer. 3:14; Hos. 2:19-20; Eze. 16:8, 32?
In all of these passages God is depicted as the husband of his people. In the
OT God is pictured as being married to Israel. He is a faithful husband.
In the NT the picture of divine marriage shifts to two periods, a period of
engagement and a future wedding. In John 3:28-29 John the Baptist speaks in
marriage terms. Who is the bridegroom and who is the friend of the bridegroom
(the best man) that he speaks of?
Jesus is the bridegroom and John is the best man. The bride of Christ is the
church.
In 2 Cor. 11:2 the apostle Paul also uses marriage terminology to describe the
relationship between Christ and his people. When Paul says, I betrothed you to
one husband, what is he speaking of? Which of the two periods is this, the
engagement or the wedding? What period of time in history does this cover?
Paul is speaking of the engagement period that takes place before the
wedding. The bride that is betrothed to one husband (Christ) is the church.
The engagement period in that day and culture was one where the future husband
and bride committed themselves to each other as they became engaged. When
they became betrothed they became legally bound to each other. They did not live
together during this time but they were fully committed to each other. To break off
the betrothal required a divorce. The commitment was sealed when the
bridegroom paid the brides family a bride price After the engagement period
the wedding occurred and they began living together as husband and wife. For the
wedding both the bride and groom were arrayed in special festive garments and
jewelry, including a beautiful veil worn by the bride. The wedding was celebrated
by family and friends at the grooms house for a period of one or two weeks.
Now lets put all this together. What is the engagement period for the Lamb and
his bride?
The engagement period is the entire NT period. During that time the Lamb is
committed to and engaged to the church. During this time the bride (the
church) prepares for the wedding and looks for the bridegroom to come and
for the wedding to take place.
The best man was John the Baptist. He prepares people for the wedding by
preaching repentance. Only those who have repented of their sin are allowed to
attend the wedding and celebration.
What was the bride price that Christ paid for his bride (1 Peter 1:18-19)?
The price Christ paid was not with perishable things such as silver or gold,
but with the precious blood of Christ.

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The day of the wedding is the Last Day when Christ comes again. On that day all
those who oppose Christ will be judged and the wedding will take place.

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Lesson 64: The Marriage Feast of the Lamb (Part 2)
Read Rev. 19:8-10
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
19:8 Clothe herself with fine linen: the good deeds of the saints, the deeds of
sanctification.
19:9 Marriage: Christ and the church are brought together in an eternal union.
19:9 The Lamb: Jesus Christ, the lamb who was slain for the sins of the world.
19:10 Testimony of Jesus: the Holy Spirit leads people to know and believe
the truth that Jesus is the Savior through the word of God.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. We briefly mentioned that in the NT times the bride and groom wore festive
garments and jewelry for the wedding. What does the bride wear to make herself
ready in 19:8? And what does that same verse say that it represents?
The bride clothed herself with fine linen, bright and pure. This represented
the righteous deeds of the saints.
To get a good perspective on the wedding and the garments being worn, lets look
at a couple of OT passages. Many times Gods promises to Israel provide a picture
of his relationship with the church. First lets look at Eze. 16:8-10. According to
it, what does God do for his future bride when he becomes engaged?
He covers her nakedness.
He made a vow and made a covenant with her and they became engaged.
He washed her and anointed her.
He clothed her with fine cloth and linen.
Looking at this in terms of the church, God chose her and committed himself to
her. He washed her in the waters of Baptism and anointed her with the Holy
Spirit. He covered her with his garment, the fine garment of Jesus perfect
righteousness.
Now lets look at Is. 61:10. What did Yahweh cloth and cover his bride with in
this passage?
He clothed me with the garments of salvation.
He covered me with the robe of righteousness.

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This speaks of two pieces of clothing. And it speaks of God providing both. First
is the garment of salvation. This again, as we saw in the Ezekiel passage, is the
righteousness of Christ. This is the garment of justification. We cannot justify
ourselves or even contribute in any way. The second garment, which is an outer
garment, is the robe of righteousness, that is, the robe of sanctification. These are
the righteous deeds of the saints which are wrought by the Holy Spirit, the same
garment identified in Rev. 19:8.
Ever since she was betrothed and covered with the righteousness of Christ, she
has adorned herself with works that demonstrate that she belonged to Christ and
no other. These works are the works of the saints as they were moved by the Holy
Spirit. These works of sanctification are as much a gift as the saving status they
now live in. And these works are the evidence that God will use to show that they
are his faithful people (Mt. 25:31-40).
All during the betrothal period she wore the robe of his righteousness which
covered her sin and prepared her wedding garment through righteous deeds.
She is now ready for the wedding and its feast to begin (cf. Mt. 22:11-14; Rev.
21:2).
2. What John is hearing about the marriage of the Lamb and his bride is important.
The angel (probably the angel who has been guiding him in this vision, which
started in 17:1) tells him to write (19:9a). What he is to write starts out with the
word blessed, the same word used by Jesus in beginning of the Sermon on the
Mount (Mt. 5:1-12). This is the 4th out of 7 beatitudes in the book of Revelation.
Who is blessed in this beatitude (19:9a)?
Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb."
The Greek word behind the verb are invited means to call. This refers to the
Gospel call through which God makes us believers. What is happening here is
illustrated by Jesus in the parable of the wedding feast (Mt. 22:1-14). Through the
Gospel the entire world is invited to the wedding feast. But unfortunately
according to the parable, what do most people do with the invitation?
The vast majority of those who receive this invitation spurn and reject it.
Therefore, the only ones who are blessed are those who accept Gods call through
the Gospel. At the End when the marriage feast takes place, what will happen (see
Mt. 8:11-12)?
All the people of the world will come expecting to take part in the feast. Those
who accepted Gods call will take their place at the feast. But those who
spurned the call will be thrown into the outer darkness.
The picture then is one of the saints feasting while their enemies who rejected
Christ look on angrily. This is pictured in the 23rd psalm: You prepare a table
before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup

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overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and
I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Ps. 23:5-6).
This feast reminds us of the Eucharistic feast that we celebrate each Sunday in the
Lords Supper, which is a foretaste of the intimate communion of God and His
holy people in heaven. In the Lords Supper a little bit of this eternal feast in
heaven comes down to earth. We get a small taste of what we will experience
forever in heaven.
So in relation to the bride, who are these guests? In reality, the guests and the
bride are one and the same. Those who accept the invitation become the guests of
honor, the bride, as they sit in the very presence of God.
3. After the beatitude the angel adds, "These are the true words of God" (19:9b).
What words is it speaking of? It most assuredly applies to the beatitude just given
in 19:9. And since the beatitude speaks of the marriage supper of the Lamb, it
also applies to the whole marriage and celebration in chapter 19. But the
celebration in chapter 19 celebrates the judgment of the great prostitute which
began in chapter 17. So this statement affirms the whole vision of the End from
Rev. 17 to Rev. 19, which includes the judgment, the celebration, and the
beatitude.
4. What was Johns response to this vision of the End, the judgment and the wedding
feast (19:10a)?
John fell down at the feet of the angel to worship him.
Why John did this is hard to understand. No true son of Abraham would ever
knowingly worship anyone save God alone. John knows that only God alone is
worshipped and that that worship is through Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:6). The simplest
explanation is that John is just completely overwhelmed by the vision he has just
seen and heard (Rev. 17-19). How did the angel respond to John falling at his feet
(19:10b)?
The angels response is immediate and emphatic. First he said, "You must not
do that! Second he said, I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers
who hold to the testimony of Jesus. And third, he told John to worship
God.
The gist of the angels response is this. Worship belongs to God and to God alone.
The Creator is to be worshipped, not the created creature. The angel calls himself
a fellow servant. Another way of translating this is a fellow slave. The angel
knows what the position is of all angels and all people before God. All are much
lower than God and his Son. The angel plays a different role than John and the
saints, but they both stand before and under God as slaves equally.
5. The angel described the saints (your brothers) as those who hold to the
testimony of Jesus (19:10b). The Greek word that is translated as testimony or

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witness is martyria. This word referred to someone who gave true testimony
in a court of law. Christians who testified to the truth of who Jesus was and what
he did even to the point of death became known as martyrs. So in this case, those
who hold to the testimony of Jesus are those who know the risk and
responsibility of faithful witness about Jesus to a sinful world and hold to it.
When faced with persecution and death, they do not back down.
How do people come to know and believe the truth about Jesus Christ?
This is the work of the Holy Spirit who works through Gods Word. The Holy
Spirit teaches the truth and gives faith to believe it.
This testimony of Jesus is called the spirit of prophecy (19:10c). In an earlier
lesson we defined a prophet as one who receives special revelation from God and
then proclaims Gods word to the people (prophecy). Those who believe in Jesus
as the Savior of the world and hold to it have heard proclaimed this special
revelation given by the Holy Spirit. This special revelation that is prophesied is
the Word of God. It is Gods testimony to man of who Jesus is and what he did
and why he did it. They have heard Gods testimony and believed it. And they in
turn, through the power of the Holy Spirit, give their testimony that others might
also hear it and believe. God has graciously given this prophetic word; therefore
he alone must be worshipped.

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Lesson 65: The Appearing of the Word of God (the Rider of the White
Horse) (Part 1)
Read Rev. 19:11-12
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
19:11 White horse: a war horse whose color symbolizes righteousness and
victory.
19:11 Faithful and True: emphasizes Gods reliability in keeping his promises
through Christ.
19:12 Eyes like flames of fire: sees and destroys all evil.
19:12 Diadems: the crown of a king or ruler.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. The characteristic phrase "Then I saw" indicates the beginning of the new scene.
In chapters 17-18 John saw the fall and judgment of the great prostitute. In 19:110 John saw the victory celebration in heaven, the song of victory by the heavenly
host, and the marriage feast of the Lamb to his bride, the church. Now in 19:11-21
John sees a battle. These three scenes are not three sequential events. They are
three different views of the same event. The defeat of the forces of evil and the
victory of God are one in the same. The second half of chapter 19 then depicts the
same events portrayed in the vision of the fall of harlot Babylon, that is, the
ultimate and total victory of God over sin, death, and the power of the devil.
What was the very first thing that John saw (19:11a)?
John saw heaven opened.
What did John first see in the vision that began in 4:1?
There John first saw a door standing open in heaven!
What proceeded then from this open door was the prophetic message of
Revelation. One of the primary points of the prophetic message in Revelation is
the mission of the church. In his ministry on earth, Christ came and died for the
sins of the world. After he ascended back into heaven he set in motion the
worldwide mission of the church, which was to proclaim the Gospel. Now John
sees Christs return at the End. This is a fulfillment of the angels promise to the
disciples when Christ first ascended into heaven (Acts 1:10-11).The mission of
the church is over and Christ returns to vanquish the foe once and for all and to
usher the church into the eternal bliss of heaven.

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2. With heaven opened to his view, what does John see and what is the description of
the one who sits on it (19:11b)?
John sees a white horse and he sees a person sitting on it who is called
Faithful and True.
Rev. 14:14 describes Christs return at the End. In that verse, what did Christ
return on?
In 14:14 Christ returned on a white cloud.
In that vision Christ returned in the clouds of Gods glory. The white color of
those clouds represented Gods purity and righteousness. He returned in
righteousness to judge the world. Here the picture of his return is different. Here
he comes riding a horse. Warriors rode horses into battle. This Warriors horse is
white, meaning it has been victorious over his enemies. He now comes to claim
the spoils of his victory (Is. 40:10; 53:12; 62:11).
3. We said earlier in this lesson that the rider of the white horse is our Lord Jesus
Christ. How do we know? There are many clues that lead us to that conclusion.
First, he comes from heaven. Second, the Rider is the victorious, righteous
warrior. Now third, the Rider is called Faithful and True (19:11b).
At the beginning of the seventh letter, addressed to the lukewarm church in
Laodicea, Jesus identifies Himself as the faithful and true witness (Rev. 3:14).
Concerning this, in lesson 9, point #2 we said:
As the faithful and true witness, Jesus is the truth personified. His
testimony in revealing the will and purpose of God is totally true and
reliable. This revelation that is being given to John by Jesus is absolutely
true and reliable and is given with authority.
Now this same Jesus is riding the white horse and is called Faithful and True. In
this context, the combination of Faithful and True emphasizes God's reliability
in Christ. He invariably fulfills His promises. In this case he fulfills His promise
of judgment upon the wicked and vindication for the saints in His glorious return.
There will be many other reasons given in the verses that follow that tell us that
this is Christ who carries out Gods wrath on the nations.
4. What does the Faithful and True one do when he comes upon his white horse
(19:11c)?
He comes and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
Is he right to judge and make war? Why?
Since he comes in righteousness, he is right to judge and make war. Through
the scriptures God has warned the world of his coming wrath and judgment on
sin. Those who refuse to turn from their sin (repent) to God will rightly be

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judged. By their refusal they make themselves enemies of God and will face
his wrath.
The warfare in question here is not literal military action upon an actual
battlefield. Christ will not physically appear to lead a cavalry charge. Consistency
would require that such a battle literally be fought on horseback with swords. This
is figurative language which graphically describes God's condemnation and
judgment of His foes.
5. The One riding the white horse had eye like a flame of fire (19:12a). This same
description was given in Rev. 1:14. Who did it refer to? (For help see lesson 2.)
It refers to Christ as he stands in the midst of the churches. It refers to the Son
of Man. Jesus favorite designation for himself was the Son of Man.
Here to it refers to Christ. Fire can have good or bad results. What are they?
Good: It can provide heat and light. It can also purify, burning out the dross.
Bad: It can burn up and destroy.
With his fiery eyes Christ can see all. Nothing is concealed from him. Since the
context is one of judgment and war, the fiery eyes will see and destroy all evil.
6. In 14:14 what did the Son of Man wear on his head?
A golden crown.
This is the type given to winners of athletic events. What does he wear on his
head in 19:12b?
He wears many diadems.
This is a different kind of crown. This refers to the royal headgear of a king,
signifying the might and majesty of the monarch. In this case he wears not one
crown but many and in this way is designated not as one king among many but as
He who alone is "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." (Rev. 19:16).
In 12:3 Satan wore 7 crowns, falsely claiming all spiritual power. The beast from
the sea wore 10 diadems, claiming to be the supreme earthly ruler (13:1). But now
the Lord Christ wears many diadems (19:12), far more than the dragon or the
beast. Instead of many diadems, it could be rendered as all diadems, which
are now on the head of the Son of Man, for at his coming to judge no one will
dare wear a diadem of any sort.
7. Names in scripture are very important. In the Biblical world the knowing of a
name was significant of having some degree of control over the one named. The
prerogative of withholding one's name is indicative of superior rank and power. In
Gen. 32:22-30 Jacob wrestled with God. When Jacob asked God what his name
was, what response did he get?

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God did not tell Jacob his name. Instead of giving his name, God gave Jacob a
new name. Giving someone a name, like Adam naming the animals or God
giving Jacob a new name, shows superiority and authority over them.

In this case the Rider of the white horse has a name written. What was it (19:12c)?
And what does this indicate?
He has a name. Yet no one but him knows it. The name is not revealed. Given
what we just discussed about Biblical names, this indicates his unique rank
and stature. He has no peer and none may consider themselves His equal. It
indicates that we have no independent knowledge of Christ. All that we know
of Christ is that which He chooses to reveal of Himself to us.

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Lesson 66: The Appearing of the Word of God (the Rider of the White
Horse) (Part 2)
Read Rev. 19:13-16
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
19:13, 16 Robe dipped in blood: the robe of righteousness that Christ wears,
which was covered with the blood of his enemies that he trod under foot.
19:13 The Word of God: the ultimate communication and revelation from God
revealing his grace and judgment.
19:14 Fine linen, white and pure: represents righteousness and holiness of
Christ.
19:14 White horse: a war horse whose color symbolizes righteousness and
victory.
19:15 Sharp sword: a symbol of Gods judgment against sin and those who
oppose him carried out by the Son of Man.
19:15 Rod of iron: a symbol of the destructive judgment of the Messiah King.
19:15 Winepress of the fury: a symbol of Gods righteous wrath against the
nations.
19:16 King of kings and Lord of lords: the universal ruler over all people. He
determines their eternal fate.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. In Is. 63:1-6 the Messiah comes from Edom, Israels enemy. His garments were
red and the question is asked as to why. What was the answer (Is. 61:3)?
"I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with
me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood
spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. The Messiah crushed
the enemy like grapes being crushed in a winepress. When he did so, their
blood was spattered upon him like grape juice spatters upon the person
crushing them.
The emphasis in 19:13, like Is. 63:1-6, is that the blood on his garment is the
blood of the enemies crushed in Gods judgment executed by the Son of Man.
When Christ comes he comes with a two-fold purpose, to save and to judge.
Ironically he saves and judges by shedding his blood. By shedding his blood he
defeated the enemy and by shedding his blood he saved his people. As a result of
this, the first blood on his garment was his own. Yet when he comes again at the
End the blood of the enemy will be spattered on it as well. It is spattered so
heavily that its as if his robe was dipped in blood (19:13a).

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2. What name does John give to Jesus at the beginning of his gospel (John 1:1-5,
14)?
At the beginning of his gospel, John calls Jesus the Word.
What do we use words for?
Through words we communicate with each other.
Therefore as the Word of God (19:13b), Jesus is the ultimate spokesman of
God. He is the perfect revelation of God to man. At this point in Revelation, he is
the Word of God that speaks, reveals, and executes Gods judgment.
3. In 19:14 the war metaphor continues. It says the armies of heaven were
following him. Who are these armies? The text and context will help us figure it
out. It says they were arrayed in fine linen, white and pure (19:14). Who was
allowed to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure" in 19:8a?
The bride of the lamb was dressed in the same garments in 19:8.
What did 19:8b say these garments were?
the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. These are the deeds of
sanctification which the Holy Spirit works in those who believe in Jesus.
So these garments have to do with righteousness. It also says that the armies
were following him on white horses (19:14b). Their Lord who was righteous
and victorious also rode on a white horse (19:11a). Following him, they too ride
white horses; they too are righteous and victorious. Besides God himself, there are
two groups that are righteous. Who are these two possible parties that could be
following the Lord?
There are two parties that are righteous. The holy angels that did not rebel are
righteous. And the saints who believe in Jesus possess the righteousness of
Jesus.
Therefore one of these two groups makes up the armies of heaven. Lets
consider each group. First lets consider the saints. If it is the saints, the garments
of purity and holiness they wear signify their justification, their declaration of
righteous by God in Christ. They are the same festive robes in which the church
was depicted as the Bride. "This heavenly army, unlike their leader, has no swords
or spears. They take no part in the action. They wear no armor because, being
immortal, they are immune to injury. They are non-combatant supporters of the
Messiah as He wages war single-handedly" (Thomas, p. 387).
Brighton believes there is a problem with this view. Here the divine Warrior
comes from heaven to earth followed by his heavenly host to execute judgment.
The church never follows Christ in order to execute judgment. (Mt. 19:28 and Lk.
22:30 are often misunderstood. To judge is used there in the sense of to lead,
guide, administer Gods people or to deliver Israel as did Israels judges.)

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The other righteous group is the angelic host. The angelic hosts are certainly
righteous and holy as the pure white garments and horses indicate. In the OT God
is sometimes called Yahweh of hosts. In that case hosts refers to armies of
angels. So the picture in this case would be that the holy Son of Man is coming to
bring righteous judgment and he is followed and attended by the holy angels.
4. The description of the Rider of the white horse continues in 19:15. It describes
him as having a sharp sword coming out of his mouth. We have heard this
description before in Revelation. Who was it that was described as having a sharp
double edged sword coming from his mouth in 1:16?
It was the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ.
What did he threaten to do with it in 2:16?
He threatened to use the sword in making war against the church in Pergamum
if they did not repent.
Given that the Rider of the white horse is described in the same way, this is yet
another reason to identity the Rider as the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, early in Revelation the Son of Man threatened to use his sword within the
church. Who does he use the sword against in 19:15a?
In 19:15a he uses it to strike down the nations. He strikes down those
outside the church, the enemies of God and the church.
The word that proceeds from the mouth of the Son of Man is powerful. It has the
power to kill and it has the power to give life. Here his sharp sword represents the
deadly power of the Word of judgment that issues from his mouth.
5. What else will the Lord do to the nations (19:15a)?
He will rule them with a rod of iron.
This is an allusion to Ps. 2:9: You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash
them in pieces like a potters vessel." The word translated as rod in some Bible
translations is translated as scepter. This goes along with the word rule. Of
course a scepter is a symbol of royal power and might. What does it signify that
the scepter is iron instead of the normal gold or silver?
It signifies the destructiveness of the Messiah King's judgment upon the
nations. With it he will dash them like iron dashes pottery.
The judgment language continues in 19:15b. The image of the winepress is used
again. As grapes are destroyed to get the juice, so Gods enemies will be
destroyed by the Son of Man. He carries out Gods righteous wrath on the nations.
It is an absolute victory. Any view of God that eliminates his judgment and his
hatred of sin is not supported by the book of Revelation. God will destroy all
those who reject him and his Son.

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6. In 19:16 the Rider is given another name. This will be the fourth name for this
Warrior Messiah.
o 19:11 Faithful and True
o 19:12 A name which only the Rider knows
o 19:13 Word of God
o 19:16 King of kings and Lord of Lords (more about this name later)
Where is the last name written (19:16a)?
This name is written On his robe and on his thigh.
That phrase is somewhat ambiguous. It may refer to two different inscriptions,
one upon the Champion's garment and the second upon his leg itself. It could,
however, also refer to a single inscription on that portion of the Warrior's robe
which covered His thigh. In either case the words thigh and name remind us
of an OT story from Genesis 32:22-32. How does this story revolve around a
thigh and a name?
In this story Jacob wrestled with God all night. God could not shake Jacob
loose as he held on and demanded God bless him. And in this way Jacob
defeated God in the wrestling match. Yet in the midst of the match, God
touched Jacobs hip dislocating it. God renamed Jacob. He would now be
called Israel, which means he strives with God and overcomes. From that
day forward Jacob walked with a limp.
Jacobs limp was always to remind Jacob that while he fought and overcame God,
he did so only because of God allowed him to in his condescending love and
mercy to him.
So what does this have to do with the name on the thigh here? It very well may be
that the name on the thigh identifies him as the real conqueror of God the one
who successfully endured the judgment and anger of God the Father while on the
cross. Or it may recall how Jesus allowed himself to be defeated by human
adversaries for the purpose of atonement. Either way, Jesus Christ is the ultimate
Israel, who overcame Gods judgment and overcame sin and death by his death
and resurrection. One of the main themes of Matthew is that Jesus is the true
Israel.
7. Who is Yahweh declared to be in the following OT passages? (Deut. 10:17; Ps.
136:2-3; Dan. 2:47)
Yahweh is declared to be God of gods and Lord of Lords.
This name is very similar to the fourth name given to the Rider, King of king and
Lord of lords. By having this name, the Rider is closely associated with God.
This Warrior Champion is the Son of Man and the Son of God. What name did
Paul give to Jesus in 1 Tim. 6:14-15?
He called Jesus the King of kings and Lord of lords.

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This name then shouts out that he is the universal Ruler over all creation and the
human race (Phil. 2:6-11). He will determine the end result and destiny of all
peoples of the world. So for the saints of God who struggle and suffer defeat, they
know the Lamb has won the victory and in the end the victory will be theirs as
well because he is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 67: The Conclusion of the Warfare
Read Rev. 19:17-21
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
19:17 Sun: represents God who is over all and whose holy presence shines in
the glorious splendor of Christ.
19:17 Loud voice: he speaks in a such a way that all will hear him.
19:17, 21 Birds: scavengers and birds of prey.
19:19 Great supper of God: the meal in which the dead bodies of those who
oppose God are feasted upon by birds of prey.
19:18 Kings, captains, mighty men, horses, riders, all men: all those who
oppose God and his Christ no matter what their status.
19:19, 20 The Beast: represents all human powers that the devil can use
against the womans seed, the church. Originally called the beast of the sea.
But normally just called the beast.
19:19 The kings of the earth: Individual powers and governments that believe
in the beast and do his bidding against Christ and his church.
19:19, 21 Him sitting on the horse and his army: the Rider of the horse refers
to the Lord Jesus Christ and his army is most probably the host of angels in
heaven.
19:20 False prophet: represents all false religions, including a pseudoChristianity, that deceive people into abandoning the one true God. Also
called the beast of the earth and the great prostitute.
19:20 Mark of the beast: followers of the beast were marked like slaves to
their owner were marked to show that they belonged to him.
19:20 Lake of fire: Hell, eternal separation from God.
19:21 Sword: represents the judgment that Christ carries out upon those who
oppose him.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. The angel John now sees in 19:17a is apparently the same angel he saw in 18:1
and 18:21. Previously, as the angel announced the coming judgment of the beast
and harlot, he lit up the whole earth with the glory of Christ. He is now standing
in the sun (19:17a). As the sun stands high above the earth and shines in all its
glory, so God stands high above his creation with his glory shining forth through
his only Son. Now the angel stands high above in the sun, in the majesty of
Christ, from which he shouts and heralds the final and complete victory.
2. Who did the angel call out to and for what purpose (19:17)?

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He called out to the birds that hover high in the sky looking for prey. His call
to them was an invitation to a meal, the great supper of God.

What was on the menu for this meal (19:18)? What does this refer to?
the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of
horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both
small and great." God in his judgment was going to slay all those who oppose
him. Their status did not matter. The great and the small would meet the same
end.
Note that the battle has not taken place yet. In 19:14 the armies of heaven
followed the Lord. In 19:19 the beast and the armies of his followers gather to
make war against Christ and his army. What is the angel saying through this
invitation issued before the war has even taken place?
He is saying that although the battle itself has not yet occurred, its outcome is
a foregone conclusion. There is no doubt about it. The beast and his armies
dont stand a chance.
As we said, the scavenger birds are invited to the great supper of God. This
feast is a counterpart to the marriage feast of the bride and the Lamb (19:6-9).
Both feasts will occur at the same time. From a human point of view, how would
one feel being involved in either feast?
To take part in the wedding feast would wonderful. It would be pure joy. But
to take part in the great supper of God would be terrifying, knowing what fate
awaited you, knowing that your body would be the corpse the birds would
feed on.
Why was it called the supper of God?
It is Gods supper because he planned it and through his judgment he provided
the food for it, the corpses of those who have persecuted and oppressed the
church.
In hearing this, John may have remembered a similar banquet in Eze. 39:17-20.
The forces of Gog and Magog were defeating Gods people (Eze. 38:1-23). But
God would intervene, destroy the hosts of Gog and Magog (Eze. 39:1-29), and
prepare a banquet where every bird and all the wild animals would feed on the
corpses.
The point both in Ezekiel and here in Revelation is two-fold. There is a terrible
fate that awaits those who oppose God and there is comfort for the people of God
in knowing that these fallen hosts will never again rise up to hurt them.
3. The fallen ranks are identified in 19:18 as all kinds and ranks of people, mighty
and lowly, slave and free. It includes all those who followed and believed in the
beast and the harlot. In the Biblical world to remain unburied, torn apart, and

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devoured by scavengers and birds of prey, was the ultimate disgrace, the most
ignominious and shameful form of death.
Note that Horses are also mentioned as part of the banquets fare (19:18 and Eze.
39:20). When the riders fall in battle so do their horses. In NT times, whatever
vehicle is used to bring evil, it will be destroyed with him who used it.
4. Who did John see gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the
horse and against his army (19:19a)? Who does that refer to?
He saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies. All human
powers that the devil can use against the church are represented by the beast.
He employees governments and powers (kings) all around the world in an
effort to destroy the church (the kings armies). These powers submit
wittingly or unwittingly to his service.
This is "Armageddon" (Rev. 16:16) the ultimate culmination of the ancient
warfare. The language closely parallels that of Revelation 16:14 - "they go out to
the kings of the whole world to gather them for the battle on the great day of
God Almighty" - and Revelation 20:8 - "and will go out to deceive the nations in
the four corners of the earth - Gog and Magog - to gather them for battle" both
of which describe the same scene. Also as we said above the imagery of the
culmination of Satan's age old conflict with Christ and His church and God's
judgment upon the nations as a great battle is drawn from Ezekiel 38 and 39 (cf.
also Zechariah 12:3; 14:2, 13-14). Note also that the language of Psalm 2:2 "The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against
the Lord and against His Anointed One" also rings true. The Anointed One in
this case is the Rider of the white horse, the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. Rev. 19:19 describes the scene before the battle begins. What does 19:20
describe?
It describes the conclusion of the battle. The battle is over almost before it
ever begins.
Who is the focus of 19:20 on?
The focus is on the beast and the false prophet, the forces of evil which were
recruited and used by Satan.
Remember from chapter 13 the two beasts. The beast of the sea used the power of
force and coercion and the beast of the earth used the power of deception though
false religions. They used their powers together to force and trick the people of
the world to join their side and fight against the Lamb and his church. What
happened to these two figures in 19:20?
They were captured and these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that
burns with sulfur.

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The resistance of Satan and those who are his slaves has been futile from the
beginning. It may not have seemed that way to the church as it endured
persecution and death at the hands of the anti-trinity. Yet the outcome was never
in doubt. Were the beast and false prophet captured alive or dead by their enemies
(19:20)?
They were captured alive. They fell helplessly into the hands of their enemies.
They were taken alive so that they may be appropriately punished.
According to the parallel verse 20:10, when they are thrown into the lake of fire,
do they die?
No, they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. This is a
deliberate punishment that will endure throughout eternity.
This is Scripture's first reference to "the fiery lake of burning sulfur" as a
fearsome image of eternal damnation in hell. It appears a total of six times in the
Book of Revelation (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8).
A word with a similar meaning is used in the NT. The word Gehenna originally
referred to a ravine outside of Jerusalem where grotesque idolatry took place,
including sacrifice of living children in the fires of Molech (cf. 2 Kings 23:10; 2
Chronicles 28:3; 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31; 32:35). The prophets denounced Gehenna
as a place of wickedness and corruption, drenched "in the blood of the innocent"
over which the terrible judgment of God impended (Jeremiah 19:2-10). By New
Testament times the notorious area had become the town dump where fires burned
perpetually. Thus the use of Gehenna for the fires of hell was a natural
development.
6. With the two leaders of the enemies of God being captured and punished, what
happened to their followers, the kings of the earth and their armies (19:21)?
The rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was
sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. They were
cut down by the judgment sword of the Rider, the Warrior Messiah, and the
birds who had been invited to the great supper of God gorged themselves on
the bodies of the slain.

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Excursus: The Millennium
[What follows was taken directly from the beginning of the excursus in Dr. Whites
Commentary.]
The doctrine of the "Millennium" has proven to be one of the most controversial and
divisive topics in Christian theology. Dr. Brighton does not exaggerate in the least when
he contends:
"No other portion of Revelation has caused more confusion and consternation than the
first six verses of chapter 20, which describe what has come to be known as the
millennium. One could receive the impression from the amount of interest caused by these
verses that they are the most important and influential in the entire book." (Brighton, p.
533)
This distorted emphasis is most unfortunate in that it detracts from the real message of
encouragement and hope which God offers His people in this remarkable book of
prophecy.
"millennium" which refers to a period of one thousand years. Millennial opinion
can be summarized in four basic categories. Each utilizes a prefix which signals their
perspective on the millennium and the timing of Christs return in relation to it. Thus,
premillennialists believe that Christ will return before the 1,000 years (Latin - "pre" =
before). Postmillennialists believe that Christ will return after the 1,000 years (Latin
"post" = after). Those who do not believe that the Bible teaches a literal 1,000 year reign
of Christ on earth are known as amillennialists utilizing the Greek negative prefix "a".
[This study believes that amillennialism is what scripture teaches. What follows now is
taken from the last part of Dr. Whites excursus.]
Amillennialism rejects the doctrine of a literal 1,000 year earthly reign of Christ. In the
amillennialist view, the 1,000 years of Revelation 20 are a numerological symbol (10 x
10 x10) for the entire New Testament era, the interval between Christs first and second
comings.
Amillennialism is the doctrine of historic Chrstendom. It was affirmed both by Roman
Catholicism and the leaders of the Reformation. Martin Luther rejected the "false notion"
of an earthly millennium as a basic misunderstanding of the nature of the church and
salvation. God does not promise His church a life of ease and glory here on earth. Instead
the faithful Christian can expect only hardship and tribulation, for the devil will
relentlessly attack the Gospel "with tongue and sword until the end of the world."
"Wherever the Gospel is, one must expect all sorts of plagues, for the devil will assault
that Gospel with all of his hordes and his lies." Luther lumps together the Jews of
Christs time, the heretics of the early church, the Turks, and the Anabaptists of his own
day, as those who have been beguiled by an illusion of worldly ease and glory. (St,L.VII,

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pp.1289-1290). The Reformers insight penetrates directly to the heart of the matter, as is
so often the case. Herein lies millennialisms basic danger. Millennial dreams direct the
hope and expectation of humanity away from the spiritual treasure of the forgiveness of
sins toward that which is much more attractive to our sinful human natures, the worldly
pleasures of an earthly kingdom.
[What follows here is a brief summary of Dr. Brightons excursus on the Millennium.]
How one views the millennium is dependant on how one views the whole book. It should
be interpreted based on its relationship with other events that precede it and follow it in
this section. Before these verses is the overthrow of the beast and false prophet at Christs
Second Coming (19:11-21). After it is the last great battle and Satan being thrown in hell
(20:7-10). Therefore the millennium began when Satan was bound at Christs first advent
and it will conclude when he returns in glory.

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Lesson 68: Satan Thrown in the Abyss
Read Rev. 20:1-3
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
20:1 Angel: a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Angel of the Lord.
20:1 Key: symbolic of power and authority.
20:1, 3 Bottomless pit: a temporary abode where the rebellious demons are
kept until the End.
20:1 Great chain: a chain that Satan cannot break.
20:2 Dragon: the devil, Satan.
20:2, 3 Thousand years: the whole time from Christs ascension to his return.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. What simple phrase is used to clue us in that we are moving to a new scene in the
vision (20:1a)?
Then I saw is a typical phrase used in Revelation that we are about to begin
a new scene in the vision.
While it does mean that we are beginning a new scene, it does not mean that the
scenes are in historical sequence. Elsewhere in Revelation whenever this phrase
occurs in conjunction with an angelic appearance it actually interrupts the
historical progression of events either to introduce another series of events which
are taking place at the same time or to revert back to a time prior to the preceding
segment (cf. Revelation 7:2; 10:1; 18:1). That is also the case here. The verses
that precede it (19:11-21) and the verses which follow it (20:7-15) are parallel,
both describing the events of Armageddon. The verses in between (20:1-6) go
back to the time between Christs first advent and his second advent.
2. What figure does John now see, where does it come from, and what does this
figure possess (20:1)?
John sees an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to
the bottomless pit and a great chain.
Who might this angel be? What similar phrase was used in 1:18 and who said it?
In 1:18 the Lord Christ said, I have the keys of Death and Hades.
In the OT the Angel of the Lord referred to the second person of the Trinity, the
pre-incarnate Christ. So here the one that holds the key and chain and uses them
to bind the dragon is the Lord Jesus Christ.

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3. A key is a symbolic. The person who possesses the key has the authority and
the power to lock or unlock, to open or to close. That person is in control. In this
case the angel has the key to the bottomless pit (20:1b). The image of a
bottomless pit is one of an endless plunge into the dark and limitless depths of a
black pit.
In 9:1 someone else was given a key. Who was it and what did he do with it (9:26)? (For help see lesson 22.)
In 9:1 Satan (see 9:11) was given the key of the shaft of the abyss. He
opened the shaft and demons came out and afflicted the human race (9:3-6).
By being given the key and by using the key, he was given power and authority.
But please note that the devil has no power of his own. Whatever power he may
have has been given to him by God as a part of His sovereign purpose for His
universe. The power that the devil has been granted can only be utilized within the
constraints which God places upon him. Here in Rev. 20 another angel has a key
and he will use the key for a completely different purpose as we will see in the
coming verses.
The angel not only has a key, but also a chain. The chain that the angel was
holding was not an ordinary chain. What was the legion of demons able to do with
the ordinary chains that bound the man they possessed (Mark 5:3-4)?
They broke the chains so that he was no longer bound.
These chains are described as a great chain, a chain that was massive and could
not be broken. They represent Gods irresistible power. This chain cannot be
broken by Satan.
4. Who did this angel, who had power and authority, seize and bind (20:2a)?
He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan.
The dragon was first introduced in 12:3. Who did the dragon represent in chapter
12? (For help see lesson 32.)
The dragon represented the devil as he disguises himself to look like the
Lamb.
The dragon here is the same dragon as in chapter 12. He certainly is no angel of
light. He is given 3 other names here that describe exactly who he is. What are
those 3 names and what do they each mean?
Ancient serpent, a reference to the Garden of Eden where he slyly tempted
Adam and Eve and caused them to sin.
The devil, which means the slanderer or accuser. He accuses people of
sinning against God in the heavenly court.
Satan, which means the adversary. He is the ancient foe of God and his
people.

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5. The Warrior Messiah (the angel) forcefully took the dragon and bound him (20:2).
When did this binding take place? In Mt. 12:22 and 28 what did Jesus do?
Jesus cast out a demon from a demon-possessed man. He forcefully removed
the demon from the man.
When the Pharisees accused him of doing this by the power of Satan (Mt. 12:24)
how did Jesus explain what he was doing (Mt. 12:29)?
He said if someone wants to plunder the house of a strong man, he must first
bind up the strong man. By saying this, Jesus was saying that Satan was the
strong man and that he (Jesus) had come to his house to bind him up to
plunder his house. The house that the devil and demons lived in was these
demon-possessed people. Jesus came, bound the demons, and threw them out
of their house and into the abyss. Those people then became Jesus possession.
There is no other place in the NT that speaks of binding Satan. Therefore Satan
was bound during Jesus earthly ministry, during his life, death, resurrection and
ascension. Especially his casting out of demons from people showed his complete
power over them. He possessed the key and chain to bind them up and he used his
power and authority over them during his earthly ministry.
The imagery is that of a vicious beast being collared and chained. While he is still
deadly, his power to maim and kill is now limited to the length of his chain. He
cannot break the chain that binds him. Only those who are so careless as to stray
within his reach will become his prey.
There are two other references that relate to the binding of Satan. What does 2
Pet. 2:4 and Jude 1:6 say happened to the angels who rebelled and sinned against
God?
They both say that the rebellious angels were kept in chains of gloomy
darkness. That is, they were cast into hell and confined there in darkness until
their final judgment at the End.
If these 2 references refer to the same event in Rev. 20:1-3 (and they probably
do), then Revelation adds a time element during which the demons are bound, a
thousand years (20:2), and a description of what is taking place on earth during
that time period.
The bottomless pit or abyss seems to be the temporary abode of the rebellious
demons until the End. On the other hand, the lake of fire (19:20; 20:10, 14-15;
21:8) appears to be their permanent abode throughout eternity after their final
judgment at the End (20:10).
Satan and his demons fought Michael and the hosts of heaven in a great war. The
devil was defeated and cast out of heaven and hurled down to the earth (Rev. 12).
To save people from being devoured by Satan, God sent his Son to earth. The Son
came to the devils house, bound him, and threw him into the abyss (20:1-3). The

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message is the same in both instances. Our enemy has been defeated. By His
perfect life and innocent death in our place Christ has removed the basis for
Satans accusation against us and broken his power over us. The devil and his
legions are defeated but not destroyed. Their power has been broken, but it has
not yet been eliminated. They will stubbornly continue to oppose Christ and His
Gospel, throughout the New Testament era, but they will not prevail.
6. How long was Satan bound for (20:2b)?
He was bound for a thousand years.
How are we to understand this number? Is it literal or figurative? A thousand
years only occur in two other texts in the Bible. How is a thousand years used
in Ps.90:4 and 2 Pet. 3:8?
In both cases it speaks of a thousand years as a day or night to God. It is used
in a figurative sense. In both instances it is not a specific period of earthly
history, exactly one thousand years long, but a general reference to a lengthy
period of time.
Neither of these two references refer to the 1000 years in Rev. 20:2-3. But they do
suggest the hermeneutical method for interpreting the length of time represented
by the 1000 years. 1000 years should be read as a general reference to a lengthy
period of earthly time, which is brief in Gods estimation.
Backing this up is the use of the word thousand in Ps. 50:10. It uses
synonymous parallelism in which the second line says the same thing as the first
line but in a different way. The first line says that every beast of the forest
belongs to the Lord. So when the second line says the cattle on a thousand hills
[is mine], it is saying the cattle on all the hills is the Lords. One thousand in this
case is not a literal number of hills, but signifies completeness, meaning that all
the cattle of the earth are the Lords.
To understand this numeral as a literal designation for a specific period of time is
inconsistent with its immediate context in Revelation 20 and the pattern of
numerological symbolism which prevails throughout the book of Revelation. A
1000 years is a length of time in which God will accomplish and complete his
purposes and plans.
7. What did the Angel of the Lord do with the dragon after he seized and bound him
(20:3a)? And what does this mean?
He threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him. This means
that the dragon is confined to the bottomless pit, that he is locked in, and that
he is sealed in so that he could not escape. The devil is very limited in what he
can do.
Satan suffered a similar fate as the fallen angels we just read about in the previous
point. And it also should be clear that all of this language is metaphoric,

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describing realities beyond our comprehension. Chains and locks cannot literally
bind spirits. Even darkness and light are physical realities which do not directly
apply to the invisible creatures whom God has fashioned.
8. For what purpose was Satan bound and locked in the abyss (20:3b)?
He was bound and locked up so that he might not deceive the nations any
longer, until the thousand years were ended.
The nations refers to the gentiles. Prior to Christs first coming Satan practically
had free reign on the gentile nations. After Jesus death and resurrection, what was
Jesus command to his disciples (Mt. 28:19)?
Make disciples of all nations. In other words, go beyond the Jewish people
to all the people of the world and make followers of Jesus.
According to Mt 24:14, who did Jesus say the Gospel would be proclaimed to?
It would be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all
nations.
During his earthly ministry Jesus locked Satan up. Satan, although still powerful,
is therefore limited in what he could do. The command of Jesus to his followers
was to make more followers, followers in all the world. This is done when the
Gospel is proclaimed. This is the task of the church. The church is only able to
perform this task because Satan has been chained up. Had Satan not been bound
for a thousand years, he would have continued deceiving people and the Good
News would have no effect. The time given by God for the proclamation of the
Gospel and the making of disciples is the NT age from the time of Christs first
advent on earth until he comes again. This is the thousand years period and that
is the purpose of Satans binding for the NT era.
9. What will happen to Satan after the thousand years (20:3c)?
Satan must be released for a little while.
After that (20:3c) means a time sequence. After the NT era (the thousand
years), which is the time in which the world is evangelized by the church, Satan
is released. Notice that Satan does not break out of his prison through his own
power. He is released by the Jailor. What reason is given for his release (20:3c)?
No reason is given.
Notice that it says that Satan must be released (20:3c). The word must is
consistently used in scripture to refer to that which is necessary according to the
will of God for the accomplishment of the plan of salvation. So Satan will be
released for a little while and during that short time Satan will marshal all his
forces against the church and if the time were not cut short even the elect would
not survive (Mt. 24:21-25). But in consolidating his forces Satan will actually be
playing into Gods hand. He will gather them for battle and in that last great battle
God will destroy them all and his plan of salvation will be complete.

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Lesson 69: The First Resurrection (Part 1)
Read Rev. 20:4
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
20:4 Thrones: represents the seat of power and authority.
20:4 Souls of those beheaded: represents all Christians who have died in faith
in Jesus and whose souls are now in heaven.
20:4 The beast: all earthly and human powers that the dragon uses to war
against the church.
20:4 The image of the beast: the religious beast who makes an image of the
first beast for people to worship. It creates false religions to pull people away
from God.
20:4 Mark on their forehead or hand: identifies people who belong to the
beast, who place their trust in it.
20:4 A thousand years: the whole time from Christs ascension to his return.
While reading 20:4-6 keep in mind that this text refers to the whole period of time
between Christs ascension into heaven and his return.
1. Then I saw (20:4a) indicates a change in scene. What did John see first in this
new scene (20:4) and what attributes does it represent?
First John saw thrones. A throne is a seat of power and authority.
Looking at 20:4a and 20:4d, what two actions are represented by the thrones?
In 20:4a: it speaks of those on the thrones were given the authority to judge.
So here the throne represents a judge who judges a court case.
In 20:4d: it speaks of those on the thrones reigning with Christ. So here it
represents a king who rules and reigns over a kingdom.
The number of thrones is not specified, nor are their occupants personally
identified. What have those who are seated on the thrones been given authority to
do (20:4a)?
They have been given authority to judge.
What did Jesus and Paul say that those who follow Christ, the saints, would do
(Mt. 19:28 and 1 Cor. 6:2)?
They will sit on thrones and judge.
This scene, with its royal/judgment thrones was also anticipated earlier in
Revelation as the twenty-four elders, who represent the people of God, are
depicted seated upon thrones around the throne of God with golden crowns upon
their heads (Rev. 4:4). The text notes that this judgment authority is not inherent,

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it is bestowed by God. The people of God are "those who had been given
authority to judge" (NIV).
So the followers of Christ will judge. But how does the church judge? See Mt.
16:16-19 and John 20:21-23.
Jesus authorizes the church to open and shut heaven by forgiving or retaining
sins. The announcement of forgiveness or condemnation is the judgment of
the church in the stead and on behalf of God.
2. After John saw the thrones, what did he see next (20:4b)?
He saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus
and for the word of God. John does not see physical bodies. He sees the
disembodied souls of those who have died in Christ.
The Bible teaches that at the moment of physical death the soul of the believer is
in heaven with the Lord. It is to such believers, now at home with Christ in
heaven, to whom John directs our attention. The setting is clearly in heaven.
Those who misuse this passage in support of an earthly millennium are forced to
argue that this is not a reference to the disembodied souls of believers who have
died on earth but now live in heaven.
The souls that John saw are the souls of of those who had been beheaded
(20:4b). The word translated as beheaded means axe. The grisly verb literally
means "to chop off ones head with an axe." This is the only time in which the
word occurs in the Bible. If one is to interpret this phrase literalistically it would
refer only to those who have been beheaded with an axe. Is this what the text
intends? For what reason were they beheaded (20:4b)?
They were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God.
Who is it that gives testimony of Jesus and tells the truth of the word of God?
All Christians testify to the truth that the word of God reveals Jesus as the
Savior.
Each Christian lives and dies in such faith and in giving such testimony. Each
Christian dies witnessing to the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done. In
death their souls join Jesus in heaven and are seated upon a throne provided for
them by God and where they are given the authority to judge.
3. Those seated on the thrones are also described as those who had not worshiped
the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their
hands. (20:4c). Who is the beast? It is the same beast as in 13:1-10, the beast
from the sea, that is, all earthly and human powers that the dragon uses to war
against the church. The second beast is the religious beast who makes an image of
the first beast for people to worship. It also places a mark on those who follow
and worship the beast. Christians do not have the mark and they have nothing to
do with the beast. They have their own mark on their foreheads (7:3; cf. 9:4) with

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the seal of the Lamb and the name of God the Father (14:1; 22:4). Those who bear
the mark of the beast are destined for hell (19:19-21) and those who bear the mark
of Christ and his Father are destined for eternal life with God in the new heaven
and earth (22:1-5).
4. What happened to those who died (had been beheaded) giving testimony to
Jesus and the word of God (20:4d)?
They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. They did not
stay dead. They came to life, went to heaven to be with their Lord and Savior,
and reigned with Christ.
How long did they reign (20:4d)? What does that period of time stand for?
They reigned for a thousand years. They reigned for the whole NT era.
The book of John was written for the suffering and persecuted Church on earth.
What message does this give to those who are suffering for Christ?
Even though they suffer and may even die because of their faithful witness to
Jesus, they have the comfort of knowing that death is not the end. They will
immediately be made alive, go to heaven to be with Jesus, and share in his
reign over creation until the End.
This great scene depicts the fulfillment of Christs promise: " I am the
resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die" (John 11:25-26).
How ironic it is that those who give a faithful and true witness about Jesus are
judged and condemned to death in the court of world opinion. Yet they are in
reality not judged and condemned men but the judges; they are enthroned as
judges over all the hostile powers which have apparently triumphed over them. In
the court of God the verdict of the world is reversed; Those who have lost their
lives for Christs sake find their life (Matthew 10:39); they come to life and reign with
Christ" (Franzmann, p. 131).

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 70: The First Resurrection (Part 2)
Read Rev. 20:5-6
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
20:5 The rest of the dead: unbelievers.
20:5-6 A thousand years: the whole time from Christs ascension to his return.
20:5-6 First resurrection: the moment of conversion is when a Christian
becomes alive in Christ.
20:6 Second death: at the End unbelievers will eternally be separated from
God.
20:6 Priests of God and Christ: represent people before God and represent
God to the people.
While reading 20:4-6 keep in mind that this text refers to the whole period of time
between Christs ascension into heaven and his return.
1. An important word at the end of 20:4 and in 20:5a is the word life. It is
important to understand what it is and what it means in order to understand these
verses. To understand it, we need to look at how John uses it and explains it in his
gospel. What does John say about life in the following passages?
John 1:4: Life is found in the Word, Jesus Christ.
John 6:47: Whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life.
John 10:10: The very reason Jesus came was to give a full, abundant life.
John 17:3: Eternal life is knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ.
Summarize then what life is and how one obtains life.
Life is much more than a physical existence. Life is knowing and believing in
Jesus. Life is having a connection with God our creator. Sin separates us from
God and therefore takes away life. Jesus came to give us life, to connect us
back to God. Only through him can we have a real, full, and abundant life.
When a person knows Jesus, he has eternal life.
We saw in 20:4 that when those who trusted in Gods word and gave testimony
of Jesus died they came to life and reigned. What happened to those that died
not trusting in Gods word and not believing in Jesus (20:5)?
They did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.
What this really means is they did not have life on earth because they did not
know the one true God. And after they died, they did not have life for the whole
time from when they died until Christ returns to earth. As opposed to believers
who come to life and reign with Christ during the whole NT era, unbelievers
remain dead this entire period; that is, they remain separated from God.

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2. Having commented on the state of the unbelieving dead, John returns to the main
theme of this scene. The triumphant life of the saints and martyrs in heaven he
now calls the first resurrection (20:5b). Rev. 20:1-10 is a unit and it speaks of
two resurrections. The first resurrection in 20:5-6 is a spiritual resurrection. The
second resurrection in 20:11-15 is the physical resurrection of all bodies at the
End. This is consistent with what Jesus said and what Paul said.
Read through John 5:19-30.
Which resurrection is Jesus speaking of in Jn. 5:25?
Jesus is speaking of the first resurrection, a spiritual resurrection. Those who
are dead [in their trespasses and sins] will come to life when they hear
the voice of the Son of God.
They are going from a spiritually dead state to a spiritually resurrected state of
life. This is called conversion.
Which resurrection is Jesus speaking of in Jn. 5:28-29?
Here Jesus is speaking of a physical resurrection, the second resurrection. At
the End all people who ever lived will be raised to face the final judgment.
Just as Revelation does, Jesus speaks of two resurrections, one through
conversion to faith and the other a physical resurrection at the end of the age.
Now lets take a look at what Paul says. Read Eph. 2:1-6, Col. 3:1-4, and Ro. 6:15. Which resurrection is Paul speaking of in these passages?
In all three cases Paul speaks of the first resurrection, the spiritual
resurrection. In letters to three different churches Paul writes to those who
were once dead in their sins. He says to the Ephesians that God has made
us alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:5) and raised us up with him and
seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6). To the
Colossians Paul says, you have been raised with Christ. In Ro. 6:1-5 Paul
says they have been baptized into his death (Ro. 6:3) and raised even as
Christ Jesus was raised (Ro. 6:4-5).
In these instances, Paul uses death to characterize the state of unbelief and
separation from Christ, as does John in Jn. 5:19-30. And resurrection is used for
conversion and new life.
What resurrection is Paul speaking of in 1 Cor. 15:12-28?
Here Paul speaks of the second resurrection, the physical resurrection at the
End. All people will be physically raised from the dead as Christ was raised
on the third day.
So Paul too speaks of two resurrections, one a spiritual resurrection that occurs at
ones conversion, and one a physical resurrection to face the final judgment.

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Therefore what we learn about two resurrections in Revelation, one spiritual and
one physical, is in agreement with other parts of the NT.
3. John speaks of the first resurrection (20:5b) and a second death (20:6a). This
implies a first death and a second resurrection, even though its not explicitly
stated. What then are the following?
The first death: This is our physical death on earth.
The first resurrection: This is the moment of our conversion where we move
from a spiritually dead state to a spiritually alive state.
The second resurrection: This is the physical resurrection on the Last Day. All
people, believers and unbelievers, will experience the second resurrection.
The second death: This is the judgment on those who do not believe in Jesus.
They will experience the second death and be forever separated from God in
hell.
The beatitude in 20:6 is the fifth of Revelations seven beatitudes. It differs from
its counterparts in that it asserts not only blessedness but also holiness. This
beatitude is given to instill hope and joyful confidence that God will preserve his
people in true faith until the day of Christ Jesus (his return) at the End (Phil.
1:6).
For those who believe in Jesus and therefore are raised in the first resurrection to
a close relationship with God, this is indeed the highest happiness (blessing). As
we said, a significant word is added to this beatitude. That word is holy. What
happens to the sins of the believer the moment he comes to faith?
Faith receives the forgiven of sins for Christs sake. In Gods eyes they exist
no more. He sees only Christs righteousness.
So those who come to faith in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit (the first
resurrection) are truly blessed and are holy in Gods sight.
4. What reason is given as to why those who are granted the first resurrection are
blessed and holy (20:6b)?
Over such the second death has no power.
Believers in Christ will die one time. This is their physical death on earth. There is
the possibility of a second death, an eternal death, an eternal separation from God
and his goodness. How is the second death represented in 20:14?
This is the second death, the lake of fire.
But The " second death" holds no threat for those who have been justified by
grace through faith in Jesus Christ. They stand before God righteous and holy,
cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. Damnation cannot touch them. Its fatal power
over them was destroyed once and for all at the cross. For this they are truly
blessed. Once they have come alive in Christ they will never be separated from

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God again (unless they willfully abandon the faith and fall back into a state of
spiritual death).
5. From the moment of their conversion Christians need not worry about the second
death, eternal death in hell, and at that moment their reign with Christ begins
(20:6). Also when they are converted what do Christians become (20:6c)?
They become priests of God and of Christ.
What did priests do in the OT?
In the OT the priests stood before and in the sacred presence of God
representing the people before God. They carried the peoples needs to God
and they proclaimed Gods blessing to the people.
What do believers as NT priests do?
They do the same thing. They come into Gods holy presence representing the
church and the world. They bring peoples need to God and they proclaim
Gods blessings which are made available in Christ to the people.
Besides interceding for the world and proclaiming the Good News of Christ, the
priests of God and of Christ reign with Christ for the entire NT period. In Rev.
4:4 there were 24 elders who sat upon 24 thrones, which were around the throne
of God. These 24 elders represented the whole people of God, both OT and NT.
And so again here in 20:6c it reiterates that those who die with faith in Christ as
their Savior will be brought to life and reign with Christ in heaven. So if you
suffer for your faith in Jesus and even face death, do not waver. You have a certain
hope of a glorious eternity in heaven.
6. In summary, the 1000 years is a metaphor for the era from Christs first advent to
his second advent. It is the Sabbath day (Heb. 4:7-9) during which the human race
has an opportunity to hear the Gospel. It is designated as 1000 because it is the
time when the Lord God will carry out and complete the mission he has given to
the church: to witness to Christ throughout the entire world. The dragon is bound
so he cannot destroy Christs church. But he can cause much agony and suffering
through the two beasts.
The millennium began at Jesus incarnation, death and resurrection. Satan was
bound during Christs earthly ministry. And his binding was complete when he
was cast into the abyss at Christs death, resurrection and ascension. All Christians
live and reign with Christ during the millennium because of the first resurrection
(Rev. 20:5-6). The millennium will be complete when the churchs mission is
complete. At that time Christ will return and bring this present world to a close.
Those who come to life spiritually by the power of the Holy Spirit (first
resurrection) will reign during the church age (1000 years) with Christ. They sit
on thrones in judgment and suffer persecution because of their witness. The
second death will have no authority over them. They are priests of God who have

A Bible Study of Revelation


the privilege of serving God throughout the millennial Sabbath, as they mediate
the Christ and his redemptive work to an alienated world. This is their mission as
they reign with Christ (cf. 1 Pet. 2:9-10).

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 71: the Final Doom of Satan
Read Rev. 20:7-10
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
20:7 The thousand years: the NT era, the time between Christs first and
second coming.
20:7 Prison: the bottomless pit, the abyss, is the place where Satan has been
chained and locked up by God during the NT era.
20:8 Nations, 4 corners of the earth, Gog and Magog: represents the whole
earth.
20:9 Camp of the saints, the beloved city: represents the church.
20:9 Fire: Gods judgment on all who oppose him, that is, all unbelievers.
20:10 Lake of fire and sulfur: hell.
20:10 Beast and false prophet: those who the dragon recruited, earthly powers
and all false religions.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. These verses describe the last battle in which the dragon desperately attempts
once and for all to destroy the church and her mission. The scene of the last battle
at the End has been depicted in Revelation several times from different points of
view. This is the last view of the last great battle. It signals the ultimate judgment
of the devil and his kingdom.
2. At the end of the thousand years (the NT era) Christ will return in glory. What
else will happen at the end of the thousand years (20:7)?
Satan will be released from his prison.
What is this prison?
The prison is the abyss, the bottomless pit, the place where Satan has been
chained up and locked up. It is a temporary holding area for Satan and his
fallen demons. They are locked up in this place until the End of the world.
Earlier in the chapter (20:3) John mentioned this release. How long will Satan be
released for?
He will be released only for a little while.
Notice again that this is not a prison break. Satan is powerless to break the chains
and locks that God has bound him with through the hand of the angel (the Lord
Christ). Instead he is released from prison. Since the passive tense is used, it is
God, the one who put him in those restraints, who releases him.

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Why does God release him only for a little while? (See Mark 13:19-20)
And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved.
But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. Had he
allowed it to go on for a longer period no one would have been saved. He kept
the time short for the sake of the elect.
At the conclusion of the 1000 years Satan is let loose from his prison, from the
abyss (20:7). While in his confinement he could not directly attack the woman,
the church. But through the two beasts he could cause suffering. But at the end of
the millennium he is released to directly confront the church. The opposition to
the church becomes worldwide and deadly.
3. When he is released what does he set out to do (20:8a)?
He sets out out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the
earth.
After being locked up for 1000 years (the NT era) has the devil changed his
tactics? (See Gen. 3:1-7) Explain.
No. The devil does what he always does. From the very beginning he has
deceived people.
Who is it that the devil deceives (20:8a)?
He deceives the nations at the four corners of the earth. He deceives
nations all around the world.
Those nations that he deceives are called God and Magog (20:8a). The last great
effort by the dragon is described in an attack by Gog and Magog. These terms
became associated with evil forces on earth that oppose God and godliness. They
seek to destroy Gods people (Eze. 38-39). In Ezekiel Gog is the prince and leader
of the evil forces from Magog, a land in the north (Eze. 38:2, 15; 39:2). But God
promises to deliver his people just when they are about to be annihilated, by
striking the forces of Gog with fire from heaven (Eze. 39:3-6). The number of
fallen hosts of Gog is huge (Eze. 39:9-10, 12, 17-20). (See also Rev. 19:17-21 for
the great banquet for the birds on the dead bodies of the enemies of God.) In
overthrowing Gog, God would display his glory to the nations and to his own
people (Eze. 39:21-29) (see also Rev. 19:11-16).
For what purpose does the devil deceive the nations (20:8b)?
He deceives them to gather them for battle. He deceives them into joining
his army. They are recruits who will wage war for him.
How large is this army that the devil amasses (20:8b)?
It is vast army; their number is like the sand of the sea. The sand of the sea
is commonly used in Scripture as a simile for countless numbers, enormous
armies, or unimaginable abundance.

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In this passage it serves to emphasize the global nature of Satans final assault and
the almost universal support that he will be able to muster for his last frantic effort
to defeat God and destroy His holy people. Throughout history the devil has had
the numbers. He has consistently enjoyed the support of the vast majority of
humankind. The faithful of God have always been a tiny remnant. That will
continue to be the case right up to the bitter end.
4. At the end of the NT era Satan has been released from prison and has amassed a
vast army (20:7-8). John now describes this huge army as having marched up
over the broad plain of the earth (20:9a). The NIV translates it as marched
across the breadth of the earth. The phrase stresses the unimaginable magnitude
of this vast host. Its point is size, not distance. The Greek text literally says "They
came up across the entire expanse of the earth."
Who is it that they march up against (20:9b)?
They march against the saints, the beloved city. It is no surprise that they
march against the people of God, those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The picture here is that the vast hordes of Satan march from all over the world and
converge at one place. They surrounded the camp of the saints (20:9:b). What
does this camp reminds us of (see Num. 2:2)?
It reminds us of the camp of Israel in the wilderness.
OT Israel was a type for the NT church. Like Israel of old, the saints have always
been a pilgrim people, strangers and foreigners in this world on a journey toward
the land of promise.
The saints are also described as the beloved city (20:9b). This is based on the
Scriptures common reference to Jerusalem and Mt. Zion as representative of the
people of God (cf. Psalm 87:2; Hebrews 12:22; Galatians 4:24-26; Revelation
21:2). As Isaac and Jesus were both the beloved, so those who have faith in
Jesus are beloved as well. They are the object of the enduring and unfailing love
of God,
The small remnant of Gods people are also the object of destruction for Satans
gigantic army. His army marches from across the world and surrounds the camp,
surrounds the beloved city (20:9b). They are so vastly outnumbered that they seen
to be doomed to be utterly annihilated.
Yet, the saints are like Israel camped in the desert in another way. How are they
like Israel (Deut. 23:14a)?
The LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and to
give up your enemies before you. God is with them. He is in their midst. He
will not allow them to be wiped out. He will deliver them.

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How did God deliver the camp of the saints (20:9c)?
Fire came down from heaven and consumed them. God himself intervenes
and strikes down the enemy with fire from heaven and rescues his people.
The daunting appearance of the battlefield notwithstanding, the outcome of this
conflict was never in doubt. The language of the text is almost curt in its
description of the total defeat of Satan and his followers. Just nine words are used
for the ultimate outcome of the ancient conflict!
5. With the evil armys destruction by a single blow from heaven, what then
happened to its leader the deceiver of nations (2010a)?
He was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur. God took him and threw him
into hell.
Who was he joining in hell (20:10b; see also 19:20)?
The beast and the false prophet has already been hurled into the lake of fire
that burns with sulfur. The powers and false religions of the world that had
aligned themselves with the devil are now joined by the devil in hell.
How will the devil and his cohorts be treated in hell (20:10c)?
They will be tormented day and night forever and ever. They will suffer
constantly, day and night, for all eternity.
The concept of eternal torment in hell staggers the human imagination.
Nonetheless, Franz Pieper is completely correct in his assertion: "Holy Scripture
teaches the truth of an eternal damnation so clearly and emphatically that one
cannot deny it without at the same time denying the authority of Scripture.
Scripture parallels the eternal salvation of the believers and the eternal
damnation of the unbelievers. Whoever, therefore, denies the one must, to be
consistent, deny the other." (Pieper, III, p. 544)
What kind of news is this for the saints? What does this mean for them?
This is great news! The devil had by means of the beast and harlot chased the
woman and caused her much grief during the millennial period (17:7-10), but
now he is cast into hell, where he sits in total defeat for eternity. Never again
can he speak against the saints or pursue them. She stands before God
victorious and vindicated because of the victory of the Lamb and she will
reign forever with her Lord and God in his peace and glory.
6. Why would God permit Satan to be unleashed after the 1000 years (20:3)? We
know that the purpose for the locking up of Satan during the millennium is so that
the church can complete its mission. No answer is given as to why God would
release Satan and permit him to tear apart the church. Yet we might speculate.
During the 1000 years (the NT era) the church suffers as she carries out her
witnessing mission, reflecting the suffering of Christ. And by her steadfast faith

A Bible Study of Revelation


and hope she exhibits the resurrection and life of Christ as she proclaims the
saving message of her victory. All this is for the glory of God, so that all might
recognize him as the only God, Creator, Savior and Judge of the human race.
The plight of Christians at the end of the 1000 years when Satan is released might
be similar to that of the Israelites in Egypt. God allowed the Egyptians to unleash
the inhumanity of slavery upon the Israelites. Yet God delivered them through his
mighty arm. In one felt swoop he saved the Israelites and destroyed the Egyptian
army as they crossed the sea. In their destruction God showed the Egyptians and
the world that he was the only true God and that he alone should receive all glory
and worship. It may be for the same reason that God releases Satan and allows
Satan to unleash his fury on Gods people, the saints. In a single act he will save
his people and destroy the enemy, showing the world that he alone is the one true
God.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 72: The Bodily Resurrection and the Last Judgment
Read Rev. 20:11-15
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
20:11 Great white throne: the size and color are symbolic of the great One
who sits upon it and renders his righteous judgment.
20:12 Great and small: symbolic of all people of all time.
20:12 Books: provide evidence of for Gods verdict of each person.
20:12, 15 Book of life: has the names of those chosen by God. It includes all
Christians.
20:14-15 Second death, lake of fire: eternal separation from God in the
unending torment of hell.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. The scene changes again (Then I saw). The devil and his kingdom have been
destroyed. All who would oppose the Lord and His reign have been silenced. The
end of the present order has come. What does John see next (20:11a)?
John saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it.
At the very beginning of the prophetic message of Revelation what did John see
(4:2)?
At the beginning of the prophetic message John saw this same throne and
One sitting on it.
In 4:2-7 it is central and dominant. Here it is the only feature. The scene is like
that of Dan. 7:9-10. What was happening there?
In Daniel, God, dressed in white, is holding court, with the books of justice
open.
The scene in Daniel and the one here are one in the same. God is seated as the
heavenly Judge and is about to pronounce judgment. Both the size ("great") and
the color (white) of the throne are noted. What does this image tell us?
The size of this royal seat of judgment is appropriate for the magnitude of the
great event in which it is used and the divine dignity of the Judge who is
seated upon it. The white color of the judges throne signifies the holiness and
righteousness and purity of his judgment.
Based on 4:2 and especially 5:6-7, it seems obvious that the One who was seated
on the throne is God the Father and he is the Judge at the End. But who is

A Bible Study of Revelation


pictured as the Judge in the following passages: Jn. 5:22-23; Mt. 25:31-46; 2Cor.
5:10?
In these passages the Son of God is pictured as the Judge.
In Ro. 14:10 Paul says, We all will stand at the judgment seat of God. The
ultimate judgment is under and by the authority of God the Father. But Jesus
earned the right through his death and resurrection to execute that judgment. The
Father and Son act as one in the judgment at the End. After the End, the Father
and Son will be honored equally and occupy the same throne (22:3).
2. Not only is Satan, his evil angels, and sinful people affected by the Last
Judgment, what else is affected (20:11b)?
The earth and sky are affected also.
In the beginning God created man in his own perfect and holy image and he
created a perfect environment for him to live in. When Adam and Eve sinned,
they lost Gods holy image and retained their own sinful image (Gen. 5). What
effect did sin have upon the earth (Gen. 3:17-19; Rom. 8:19-22)?
Gods entire creation was corrupted and became subject to decay.
This corrupted creation dare not stand in Gods holy presence, so it attempts to
flee (20:11b). Notice that in another look at this same scene (the sixth seal),
people do the same thing (6:12-17); they attempt to hide. Adam and Eve also hid
when they disobeyed God (Gen. 3:8). But in all these cases there is no place to
hide; there is no place to evade Gods judgment (20:11b).
Elsewhere what does Scripture say will happen to the heavens and the earth (Ps.
102:26; Is. 51:6; Mk. 13:31; 2 Pet. 3:10)?
They will perish. They will wear out like a garment. They will pass
away.
The present physical world will pass away in order to make way for the new
heavens and new earth (Rev. 21).
3. John saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne (20:12a). He also
saw that the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the
dead who were in them (20:13a). Who does this include?
This includes everyone who ever lived from the beginning to the end. All
people stand before the judgment seat of God.
Jesus speaks of the same thing when he says: Do not marvel at this, for an hour
is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those
who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to
the resurrection of judgment (John 5:28-29).

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4. As all people stand before the heavenly Judge awaiting the public announcement
of his judgment, the books were opened (20:12a). According to 20:12-13, what
was written in these books?
Everything each person had done in their life was written in the books, both
good and bad.
On what basis were the people to be judged (20:12-13)?
Everyone was to be judged according to what they had done.
The picture here is that God has recorded mans every action and transgression.
And he has recorded them with unfailing accuracy. This recording of mans deeds
might be called the books of evidence. God will use these books to announce
his judgment and to hand out justice. This does not sound like Good News for
mankind because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Even the
best deeds of man are like filthy, polluted rages (Is. 64:6).
But there was another book opened (20:12a). What was it called?
The book of life.
If God found one guilty of breaking his Law, his punishment for that person was
to be thrown into the lake of fire (20:15b). And if all are guilty of sin and
therefore break Gods Law, how can anyone be saved from the everlasting fire
(20:15a)?
Only those whose name was not found written in the book of life were
thrown into the lake of fire. Those whose name are in the book of life are
saved.
The Book of Life is mentioned seven times in Revelation (cf. Rev. 3:5; 13:8;
17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19). It contains the names of those whom God has
chosen from before the foundation of the world as His elect (cf. Eph. 1:3-6). The
Book of Life in Revelation is the visual symbol of the Biblical doctrine of
predestination, which is the believers assurance that his salvation is secure
because it rests solely upon God gracious plan and purpose accomplished in
Christ.
All the actions of every person are recorded in the books of evidence. But what
happens when one repents (Acts 3:19)?
Those sins which have been recorded are blotted out. In Gods sight they no
longer exist.
All that is left in these books of evidence for those who by faith believe in Jesus
and repent of their sins are the good works that they do as a result of the faith
worked by the Holy Spirit. For those who have no faith, no good deeds are
recorded, for without faith it impossible to please him (Heb. 11:6). To be clear,
we are saved from an eternal hell by the righteous works of Christ. Our works
contribute nothing towards our salvation. Our works, as recorded in the books

A Bible Study of Revelation


opened on the Last Day, are the evidence of whether or not we have faith in Jesus
and his works. Those that have faith have the fruit of faith, good works, recorded
in the books and they have their names written in the Book of Life.
In court cases, evidence is presented to the judge and then based on that evidence
the judge determines if the person is guilty or innocent. Once he makes that
determination, he publically announces his decision. And if he finds the person
guilty he also announces what the punishment will be. We must remember that
when each person dies God makes a decision at that moment whether that person
is guilty or innocent. (This decision is based purely upon whether that person has
faith in Jesus or not.) But the public announcement of his verdict is not made until
the Last Day at the final judgment. The books of evidence are opened which
support the verdict he has rendered. If anyone questions Gods decision the
evidence is available to back him up. For those found guilty, all their evil deeds
will be listed. For those found innocent, their good deeds will be used as a
demonstration of their saving faith by grace (cf. Mt. 5:16; 7:15-20).
5. The beast and the false prophet have been thrown into the lake of fire (19:20). The
devil was thrown into the lake of fire (20:10). What else was thrown into the lake
of fire (20:14a)?
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.
In the beginning God never intended for death to exist. But death came into
existence when Adam and Eve sinned. For those whom God has rendered not
guilty on account of Christ, death will no longer be a possibility. For them God
forever does away with Death and Hades by throwing it into the lake of fire.
What is it that is called the second death (20:14b)? What else is it commonly
called?
The lake of fire is called the second death or being thrown into the lake of
fire forever is the second death. This is another name for hell. Being cast into
hell for eternity is the second death.
The first death is a death that all people go through. It is our physical death in
which our soul and our body are separated. Who is affected and not affected by
the second death (20:15)?
Those whose names are not found written in the book of life are thrown into
the lake of fire. They experience the second death, a separation from God
forever. Therefore those whose names are written in the book of life are not
thrown into the lake of fire. They are not affected by the second death. They
experience eternal life with God.
Those who have their names written in the Book of Life are Christians, those that
have faith in Jesus. They are not affected by the second death. Jesus destroyed the
power of death through his resurrection. Therefore death has no power over those
who have faith in Jesus. For them death has been destroyed in the lake of fire.

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Lesson 73: The New Heaven and New Earth (Part 1)
Read Rev. 21:1-4
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
21:1 New heaven and new earth: a new creation, a new universe, a new and
perfect environment for man to live in.
21:1 First heaven and earth: the physical heaven and earth created by God in
the beginning that had become corrupted by sin.
21:1 Sea: represents the chaos and separation caused by sin.
21:2 Holy city, new Jerusalem: the people of God, all those people who
believe in Jesus.
21:3 Loud voice from the throne: the voice of God or a voice that speaks for
and based on the authority of God.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. The preceding visions have described in graphic detail the outcome and the end of
the first world in the judgment of the harlot and the beast (Revelation 17:1-18:24),
the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and the Lords Second Coming (Revelation 19:121), the unleashing of the dragon - in the context of his having been bound at the
beginning of the New Testament era (Revelation 20:1-10), and the resurrection
and judgment of all humanity (Revelation 20:11-15). Now John gazes beyond
time to the wonderful eternity which God has prepared for His saints. The
appearance of the new scene is signaled by the characteristic "Then I saw".
2. What does John now see in the vision (21:1a)?
John sees a new heaven and a new earth.
The word new indicates a change in quality or essence. The word new has
been used throughout Revelation. Gods people bear a new name (Rev. 2:17,
3:12) and sing a new song (Rev.14:3). Now they will dwell in a new universe.
This new universe has radically changed. Its structure has fundamentally changed,
which includes its physical elements.
Under the judgment of God because of mans sin, the earth was cursed and
suffered from decay and ruin. What do the following passages says will happen to
the old heaven and earth?
Is. 65:17: Isaiah speaks of the old heaven and earth not being remembered.
2 Pet. 3:10: the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies
will be burned up and dissolved.

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2 Pet. 3:12: the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly
bodies will melt as they burn!
Mt. 24:35: Heaven and earth will pass away.

So given the above passages and given Rev. 21:1b, why was it necessary to have a
new heaven and a new earth?
It was necessary because the first heaven and the first earth had passed
away. It was necessary because the prophecies that we just read about that
the first heaven and earth would pass away had come to pass. The old had
passed and therefore a new was needed.
3. What kind of description is given of the new heaven and new earth (21:1b)?
Not much of a description is given. It only says the sea was no more.
In the following passages what was associated with the sea or what was the sea
known for?
Gen. 1:2: Here it is associated with darkness.
Is. 57:20: The sea can never be quiet. It is always tossing about.
Amos 9:3: Here it is the home of the evil sea monster.
Jonah 1:4: Great storms arise on the seas that threaten lives.
Mt 8:24-27; 14:24-33: The sea is known for its storms, the destructive wind
and waves.
Based on these type of passages and Johns use of the sea earlier in Revelation
(see Rev. 13:1-2 where the beast rises from the sea at the dragons beckon), the
sea is a symbol for the evil and the chaos, the fear and terror that are churned up
by sin. In the new heaven and earth there is no more chaos and rebellion because
there is no more sin.
The sea was also a barrier for people reaching other people and places. In like
manner sin was a barrier that separated God and man. Now in the new heaven and
earth there were no more barriers between God and man. All barriers have been
removed; The sea was no more.
4. After seeing the new heaven and new earth (21:1), what did Johns attention turn
to (21:2a)?
The he saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from
God.
In Is. 52:1 Jerusalem is called the holy city. But how do we know that this is not
the old, physical city of Jerusalem (21:2a)?
This is a new Jerusalem that comes from God out of heaven.

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The old, physical Jerusalem was holy because of Gods holy presence there with
his people at the temple. Since the new Jerusalem is also called the holy city,
what is the new Jerusalem? What does it symbolize and represent?
As the holy city, the new Jerusalem represents the church, the people of
God in Christ. God is present with his people (Heb. 12:22). Therefore they are
holy.
What was the Church depicted as in 19:7-8?
The Church was depicted as a beautiful bride who prepared herself for the
wedding by wearing pure, bright linens.
What is the Church described as here (21:2b)?
Here she is similarly described as a bride adorned for her husband..
The figure of a bride-city captures two characteristics of the new Jerusalem:
Gods personal relationship with His people (i.e. the bride) and the life of the
people in communion with God and with each other (i.e. the city with its social
aspects." As a city, it was a planned city. Not just a bunch of buildings
haphazardly thrown together. Who planned and built this city (Heb. 11:10)?
God is its designer and builder.
Besides himself and the angels, who had he built this city for (Heb. 12:22-23)?
It was built for the church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, the
spirits of the righteous made perfect. The firstborn of Israel were devoted to
God. They therefore represent all Christians because they are devoted to God
by faith and are enrolled as residents of the heavenly city. The residents are
righteous and perfect because they possess the perfect righteousness of Christ.
5. We now turn from what John saw to what he heard (21:3). Once again John hears
a loud voice. This voice emanates from the throne. Since it comes from the
throne it has the authority of God. The voice may be Gods voice or it may be the
voice of one the angels or 4 living creatures that surround his throne. It seems as
if it is not Gods voice since the voice speaks about God. What does the voice say
that God will do (21:3b)?
The voice says that God will dwell with man; they will be his people and he
will be with them as their God.
A key word here is dwell. A more literal translation would be: "Behold, the
tabernacle of God is with men..." A tabernacle is a tent. For families that
continually moved from place to place, the tent was the place where they lived. In
the OT when Israel left Egypt, God lived among the Israelites in the Tabernacle.
During the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and for centuries thereafter,
the glory cloud (Hebrew - "shekinah") resting over the Ark of the Covenant
within the tabernacles Holy of Holies assuring Gods people of His gracious and
glorious presence in their midst. In the beginning of his gospel, John uses this

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same word in reference to Jesus incarnation. John said that the Word (Jesus
Christ) tabernacled among us.
What was it that was prophesied in each of the following?
Eze. 37:26-27: God said, My dwelling place will be with them; I will be
their God, and they will be My people.
Lev. 26:11-13: God said, I will walk among you and be your God, and you
will be My people.
Zech. 2:10-11: "Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will
become My people. I will live among you

What then is being described in 21:3 in relation to verses such as those above?
Whats being described in Rev 21:3 is the fulfillment of the prophecies where
God promised he would dwell with his people from all the nations, that he
would be their God and they would be his people.
Notice how the emphasis shifts in the Zechariah passage. In Ezekiel and Leviticus
God spoke of dwelling with his people the Israelites. In Zechariah God speaks of
dwelling with the people of many nations. In Revelation God dwells with man
and with his peoples (see footnote, plural). The inclusion of God dwelling with
the nations in Zechariah is fulfilled in Revelation as it speaks of the End and
eternity.
6. What will life be like since God will dwell with his people (21:4)?
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former
things have passed away.
The description describes what will not be there. What are death, mourning,
crying, and pain a result of? Why do they exist?
These are the debilitating effects of sin. Gods intent for human life was
twisted and distorted by sin and its fatal after effects. The perfect
environment which God fashioned for the crown of His creation was ravaged
and subjected to the bondage of decay (cf. Romans 8:20-25).
Why do you think it is described in these terms? (Hint: who experiences these
things?)
It is described in this way because everyone experiences these things.
Everyone experiences sorrow, death, and pain of one kind or another. By
saying that these effects will be gone forever is something people can relate to
and hope for.
Nearly a 1000 years before, Isaiah recorded the Lords promise concerning the
same thing:

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On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
7
And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
8
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
Revelation sees the glorious fulfillment of these ancient promises. The first
creation that was corrupted and twisted from its original godly purpose is gone; it
has passed away.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 74: The New Heaven and New Earth (Part 2)
Read Rev. 21:5-8
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
21:5 He who was seated on the throne: God the Father.
21:6 The Alpha and the Omega: expresses the eternalness of God.
21:6 The beginning and the end: expresses the idea that God creates his
creation and he in the end redeems and judges his creation.
21:6 Spring of the water of life: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
21:7 The one who conquers: those who remain in the faith are conquerors.
The One they trust in has conquered all their enemies.
21:8 The lake that burns: describes the eternal torments of hell.
21:8 The second death: a permanent separation from God.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. Now for only the second time in Revelation God the Father speaks in the first
person (the other was in 1:8). Throughout the prophetic message he has spoken
through intermediaries. Here he speaks directly to John. What is the very first
word that the Father speaks (21:5a)?
The first word God the Father said was Behold.
This word says that what follows it is significant. God said, I am making all
things new (21:5a). What things is he making new?
The things that he is making new is the old creation. All the things that God
had originally created that had been corrupted will be recreated and restored
to their original pristine state.
Thus the first words spoken by God here are creative words. He is making.
Remember back to the beginning when God created the universe. God spoke and
what he spoke was created. Gods powerful word is creative. And the same is true
here. God speaks and creates a new creation. This is what God promised long ago
to Isaiah (65:17; 66:22).
Next John is told to Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true
(21:5b). John has been repeatedly commanded to record the content of his visions
in writing - (cf. Revelation 1:11, 19; 2:8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14; 14:13; 19:9). The
absolute reliability of this message as the Word of God is the basis for this
command. For what purpose do you suppose John is told to write this down? Who
might it benefit?

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What John has seen and heard was not meant for his eyes and ears alone.
He was to share the message with others. What he produced in this book was
to be a part of the writings which had come into being by the inspiration of
God; it was to become a part of the Holy Writings, the Holy Scriptures, all of
which were written for our learning, to teach us, "so that through endurance
and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (Romans
15:4)" (Becker, p. 331)

What John is to write about in this case is the new heaven and the new earth.
What he sees and hears about it is absolutely trustworthy and true. God will
create a new heaven and earth and it will last forever (Is. 66:22). You can count on
it because God is faithful.
2. Next the Lord said to John, It is done! or "they have come into being!" As we
said above, God said, Behold, I am making all things new and now, in an
instant, It is done! All that God has spoken has come into being. From the point
of view of this grand vision everything is done. The Lord Christ has already come
(19:11-21), the resurrection and the final judgment have taken place (20:11-15)
and the heavens and the earth have been made new and restored to their original
pristine condition. And yet for Gods people on earth it is still in the future, but
they have the absolute assurance that it will take place. The reason for this
assurance is the work necessary for this restoration was accomplished on the cross
when Jesus said, It is finished (Jn. 19:30). All is accomplished.
Who is the one that speaks this powerful and creative word? What titles does he
give himself (21:6b)?
The one who speaks this word says, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the
beginning and the end.
He first called himself the Alpha and Omega in 1:8. Here he adds that he is the
Beginning and the End. The two phrases are not synonymous. Recall that the
name Alpha and Omega refers to Gods eternalness. Also take note of the context.
What did the Father just do (21:5-6a)?
The Father spoke and made his creation new again.
To say that he is the beginning and the end is to say it all starts and ends with
him. So putting together the two titles and the context it means that The one who
has no beginning or ending (Alpha and Omega) is the Beginning and the End of
all creation, of all life (cf. Col. 1:13-20; Rev. 3:14).
A little earlier God revealed the final judgment. Now he speaks of a new creation.
The title of the Beginning and the End then says that God brought everything into
being as its Creator and as the final Judge he ends everything. God the Redeemer
and Judge is the ultimate destination of all things. He is the God of our beginning
and our end.

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3. What does the eternal One who is the beginning and end of all his creation offer
(21:6c)? And who does he offer it to?
He offers to the thirsty the spring of the water of life without payment.
The terminology of this gracious promise is derived from Isaiah 55: Come,
everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy
and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah
55:1). The wording is also very similar to Jesus words to the Samaritan woman at
the well (John 4:10, 13-14). What is this water of life (21:6c) and living water
that gives eternal life (John 4: 10, 13-14)?
This spring of the water of life that is received for free (without payment)
is the gift of Christ and faith in him through the working of the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit works faith in Jesus and salvation he won, one receives
eternal life. These waters are nothing else but the Gospel.
So the one who creates life offers life. Throughout history he has offered these life
giving waters through his Son. Those who have heeded this invitation will now
see the new heaven and earth. John will once again be reminded of this gracious
call to the waters of life given freely (22:17) in the epilogue (22:6-21).
What verb is used concerning the water of life (21:6c)?
God said, I will give.
The Greek word behind this verb indicates ongoing action, which begins in the
present and continues into the future. God wants to give away free of charge the
Good News of salvation in Christ. This expresses the foundational Biblical truth
that salvation is Gods free gift by grace through faith.
4. Rev. 21:7-8 gives a description of those who will inhabit the new heaven and
earth and those who will not. Who is it that will inherit the new heaven and the
new earth (21:7a)?
The one who conquers will inherit it.
Who is the ultimate one who conquers (Rev. 5:5)?
The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered. This of
course is Jesus Christ.
How can mankind conquer and overcome (1 Jn. 5:4)?
Those born of God win the victory by faith. Faith connects us to Christ and
Christ shares his victory with those who have faith in him. They conquer and
overcome through Christ.
The one who is in Christ, who has been clothed with Christ in baptism and
believes in Him as the Savior, conquers and becomes an heir of God, for it is
through the righteousness of faith in Christ that the sinner is adopted as a son of
God and so is an heir. Paul expresses this truth in Rom. 8:16b-17a, We are

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children of God, and if children, then heirsheirs of God and fellow heirs with
Christ.
Faith reestablishes the relationship that was broken between God and man. In that
faith relationship God sees us as my son and we see him as our God (21:7b).
5. We have seen who will inherit and inhabit the new heaven and earth (21:7). Who
are we told will not have any part in it (21:8a)?
The cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually
immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will not inherit it.
Eight categories of vices and those who commit them are listed. The list is meant
to be representative and not comprehensive. Battle language is used in this
description of who will inherit and be blessed and who will not. Those who
inherit are conquers. In contrast, who leads the list of those who will not be a
part of the new heaven and earth (21:8a)?
The cowardly will not be a part of it. They will lead the retreat.
o These are those who know what is right, but who lack the courage in the face
of opposition and persecution to do what is right (cf. Matthew 8:26; Mark
4:20). In this context, the word takes on the specific connotation of those who
profess to be Christians but fail to live their faith because they fear the worlds
reaction. They are unwilling to bear the scorn and opposition of the world.
o Next comes the faithless (21:8a). These are those who deny the one true
faith, whether it be a Christian who denies it in word or deed, or the pagan
who insults and blasphemes it.
o Next condemned are the detestable or the vile (21:8a). These are those
whose lifestyles are saturated in unnatural vices. They engage in behavior
which the holy God detests and which He cannot and will not tolerate.
o Murders (21:8a) will not have eternal life because they care nothing for the
life that God has given. Once the Creator God is removed life is of no value to
them. The weak and the vulnerable among us become expendable, obstacles to
the achievement of our pleasure or our power. Those who are guilty of the
brutal and wanton destruction of human life will not have a place in the new
heaven and earth.
o The sexually immoral (21:8a) are excluded from blessedness as well.
Sexual activity outside of the love and commitment of man and a woman in
holy marriage is nothing more than the selfish pursuit of personal pleasure and
reduces my partner to the status of an object and diminishes and denies my
own humanity.

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o Sorcerers (21:8a) are excluded because they look for help and put their trust
in evil spirits rather than in God.
o The Bible is strictly monotheistic. There is one God and one God alone. All
other gods are false - projections of sinful mans imagination or
manifestations of demonic power from hell. Idolaters (21:8a) who worship
such idols will have no place in the new heaven and earth.
o At the end of the list of those cast out and condemned are "all liars" (21:8a).
Paul reveals in Romans chapter 1 that sinful men suppress the truth by
their unrighteousness and exchanged the truth about God for a lie and
worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator (Rom 1: 18, 25).
Even though God has made his eternal power and divine nature (Ro. 1:20)
clearly known, they do not honor him or give him thanks (Ro. 1:21).
Therefore Gods wrath is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of
men (Ro. 1:18).
6. Instead of receiving the inheritance of the new heaven and new earth, what will
these people (21:8a) receive (21:8b)?
They will receive the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second
death. Instead their inheritance will be hell.
Side by side with the most glorious gospel promises, God also proclaims the most
severe threats of the law, so that the new man may be encouraged by the promises and
the old man terrified by the threats." (Becker, p. 335)

Who will they be joining in hell (see 19:20 and 20:10)?


They will join their fearless leaders, the devil, the beast, and the false prophet.
The eternal fires of hell are once again called the second death. Those who do
not believe in Jesus will suffer the second death. They will be separated from God
and suffer unfathomable pain forever.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 75: The New Jerusalem (Part 1)
Read Rev. 21:9-14
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
21:9 Seven: the number of completeness.
21:9 One of the seven angels: one of the angels that carried out Gods
judgment of sinful humanity.
21:9 Seven last plagues: represents the complete and total righteous judgment
of God.
21:9 Bride, the wife of the Lamb: the church, believers in Jesus.
21:10 Holy city Jerusalem: the place where God is present and lives with his
people.
21:12, 14 Great, high wall: it symbolizes that Gods people will never again
be attacked and never again face the temptation of the devil.
21:12-14 Twelve: the number for the church.
21:12 Twelve gates: symbolize the fact that Gods people in the holy city will
never be attacked again. The city is open for entry in all four directions.
21:12 Twelve angels: they stand guard and watch over the holy people of God.
21:12 Twelve tribes of Israel: represents the OT church, those who looked
forward in faith to the promised Savior.
21:13 Three gates in each of the four directions: easy access to all four corners
fo the earth.
21:14 Twelve foundations, twelve names of the twelve apostles: the church is
built upon the teachings of the 12 apostles about Jesus, the Lamb.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. Then came (21:9a) indicates the next thing in a sequence. First John saw a new
heaven and new earth (21:1). Then he saw the New Jerusalem coming down from
heaven as a bride (21: 2). Then he heard a voice from the thrown (21:3-4). Then
he heard the Lord God Almighty speak from the thrown (21:5-9). What came after
God spoke (21:9a)?
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven
last plagues and spoke to me.
Read 17:1 and compare to 21:9. Notice the parallelism as each section starts in the
same way. This seems deliberate. Chapter 17 spoke of a woman, the harlot
Babylon. Chapter 21 speaks of a woman, the Bride, the wife of the Lamb
(21:9). These two women personify the kingdoms of Christ and Antichrist, the
true church and the false church. In the imagery of Revelation, they are depicted
as rival cities - Jerusalem the holy and Babylon the great. The bride and the harlot

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are the opposite of one another in every way. The angels invitation starts out the
same in both cases, Come I will show you (17:1; 21:9). What is it that the angel
wishes to show John in 21:9b?
He wants to show him the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.
What is ironic about this? (Note who is saying it and what he did previously
versus the scene he now informs John about.)
It is ironic that the one who meted out Gods judgment on a sinful world now
introduces the heavenly Jerusalem in all its glory, paradise reestablished for
those who believe in Jesus.
2. What did the angel do to show John the wife of the Lamb (21:10a)?
He carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain.
Who is the Spirit that is referred to in 21:10a?
That of course is the Holy Spirit.
This is the fourth and final time that John is carried away "in the Spirit" in
Revelations visions (cf. 1:10; 4:1; 17:3). Exactly how the Spirit transported John
is not given. It could have been bodily or not bodily (see Pauls description of a
similar event in 2 Cor. 12:2-4).
Read Eze. 8:3. Johns experience seems to be very similar to an experience
Ezekiel had. What happened to Ezekiel?
Ezekiel was lifted by the Spirit to Jerusalem.
Also read Rev. 17:3. Where did the Spirit carry John to? And what woman did he
see there?
In 17:3 the Spirit carried John away to the wilderness and there he saw a
woman sitting on a scarlet beast.
In our text (21:10a) where did the Spirit take John?
He took John to a great, high mountain.
This location would provide a great vantage point from which he will observe the
Holy City. This is in stark contrast to the barren "desert" (Revelation 17:3) in
which he observed Harlot Babylon.
What did John see from this mountain (21:10b)?
The holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.
This exact same language was used in 21:2 to describe what John saw. And in
both cases the holy city is described as a bride. This of course describes the
church, which is the bride of Christ. The vision will now proceed to describe the

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Holy City in detail. Each symbolic feature will provide insight into the eternal
bliss of the saints.
3. How is the Holy City described in 21:11?
It is described as having the glory of God in it. Therefore it has a brightness
and radiance; it sparkles like rare jewels.
What is the glory of God?
The glory of God is the radiance that emanates from Gods holy presence.
The church on earth is already radiant with the glory of God, but it is unseen by
the human eye. But after the resurrection at the End, the church is adorned for all
to see. Gods radiance shines from her. She is like the stars which shine forth
reflecting the light of Gods holy presence.
The holy city Jerusalem (the church), which is described in 21:11 is also
described in 21:3 and in Eze. 37:27-28. What one thing do all three passages have
in common concerning the relationship of God and the church?
God will dwell with them; he will be present with them; his sanctuary is with
them forever.
Who was it that was described as having the appearance of jasper and carnelian
in 4:3?
As God the Father sat upon his throne he was described in this way.
Because God is with his church his church is described in those same terms. Only
God is the source of the light and the church reflects his light to the world. That
the church possesses this glory of God because of his presence with her is one of
the most striking features of the church. His glory lights up the whole city.
4. The holy city is described as having a great, high wall (21:12a). Ancient cities
had a wall to protect its citizens. But who had been defeated and thrown into the
lake of fire forever (19:20; 20:10; 21:8)?
All of the enemies of Gods people (the devil, the beast, the false prophet, and
all the unrighteous) have been defeated and cast into the lake of fire forever
and ever.
Since there is no threat to the holy city, this great, high wall therefore is merely
symbolic. The OT pictures God as a fortification for and wall around his people
(Is. 26:1; Zech. 2:4-5). In the new heaven and earth, Gods people will never
again be attacked and never again face the temptation of the devil. It represents
eternal security.
Usually ancient Near Eastern cities had only a single gate within their walls
because a gate was more vulnerable to attack than the wall. So what does the fact
that it has 12 gates (21: 12a) say?

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It says that the city is not worried about being attacked. If they were worried
they would not provide the enemy with 12 vulnerable spots. Therefore the 12
gates in walls also symbolize the fact that Gods people in the holy city will
never be attacked again. The fact that there is an extravagantly large number
of gates in new Jerusalem expresses the citys openness and accessibility.

The Greek word translated as gate might also be translated as gate tower.
Since gates were very vulnerable, elaborate towers and parapets were designed
and built to protect the gate and enable defenders to rain down death and
destruction upon their attackers. What was at each of the gates (21:12a)?
At each of the gates was an angel.
For what purpose was an angel stationed in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:24)?
In the Garden an angel was stationed to guard the way to the tree of life.
In like manner, these angelic gatekeepers protect the Holy City and maintain a
careful watch over its blessed inhabitants.
What was inscribed on the 12 gates (21:12b)?
On the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were
inscribed.
What was inscribed on the 12 foundations for the walls (21:14b)?
On the 12 foundations were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the
Lamb.
The 12 tribes along with the 12 apostles represent the whole people of God from
both the OT and NT. The city represents all of Gods people throughout all of
history.
Some might be surprised that on the foundations the names of the 12 apostles
were written instead of the 12 tribes of Israel. It would seem to make sense that
the NT church was built upon OT Israel. Yet the OT pointed forward to the One
who would be the sacrificial Lamb and the NT tells us all about the Lamb who
was slain. Therefore the OT points us to the NT and the NT fulfills the OT. The
OT is the shadow; the NT is the reality. The NT is all about Christ in every way.
And it is Christ who undergirds the church of both the OT and NT.
Where were the 12 gates positioned (21:13)? And what does that mean as far as
access to the city?
There were on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south
three gates, and on the west three gates. There were gates on all four sides of
the city. It means that one can enter the city from every direction and there are
multiple places of entry on each side. Easy access is available to all.

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5. Before any walls are put up on any building, a foundation is laid out and poured.
A solid foundation provides strength and stability for the whole structure. The
wall of the holy city had 12 foundations (21:14a). In what way is the strength and
stability of the foundations described in 21:14b? Or what is it that gives these
foundations strength?
By saying that on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the
Lamb, it is saying that the foundation for the great walls is the teachings of
the 12 apostles of Jesus. The apostles were with Jesus for 3 years. While with
him, Jesus taught them all about himself and they witnessed all he did and all
that he proclaimed. They witnessed how he went silently like a lamb to
slaughter. The city is built upon the fact that Jesus is the long promised Savior
of the world. Nothing could be more important than that for blessed eternal
future.
The repeated emphasis upon the number "twelve" (12 gates - 12 angels - 12 tribes
- 12 foundations - 12 apostles, etc.) signals the identity of the Holy City as a
symbol of the Christian Church. In Biblical numerology generally, and throughout
Revelation particularly, twelve is the "church number" signifying the people of
God. This meaning is derived from the twelve tribes of Israel, the Old Testament
people of God, and the twelve apostles of the New Testament.
The number 12 is used 3 times within one verse (21:14). From the 12 tribes of
Israel, who were very unimpressive and the least of the people of the earth, comes
this great city. The people of this city are known for having built upon the strong
foundation of faith in the Lamb. This strong faith was created by the Holy Spirit
through the teachings of the 12 apostles. This great city is strong and fortified and
is open to and becomes the place of residence for all believers of the world.

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Lesson 76: The New Jerusalem (Part 2)
Read Rev. 21:15-21
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
21:15 Rod of Gold: a majestic tool used to measure the majestic dwelling
place of God with his people.
21:15 City, gates, walls: the Bride of the Lamb (the church) described in terms
of a city.
21:16 Foursquare; length, width, and height are equal: a perfect cube like the
Holy of Holies, the place where God dwells with his people.
21:17 144 cubits: represents the whole people of God changed from the
church militant to the church triumphant.
21:18, 21 Jasper, pure gold, glass: Gods pure glory is seen and reflected
through his people.
21:19 Every kind of jewel: represents the people of God who stand in his holy
presence reflecting his brilliant light.
21:21 Twelve gates, twelve pearls: entrance into the heavenly, eternal city is
so precious that Christ gave up everything to purchase it.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. One of the 7 angels carried John away in the Spirit to a high mountain to show
him the Bride of the Lamb, the holy city Jerusalem coming down from heaven
(21:9-10). The city glowed like fine jewels with the radiance of Gods glory
(21:11). It had a great wall around it. The wall had 12 gates which were inscribed
with the 12 names of the OT patriarchs and guarded by 12 angels. The gates
provided easy access in all four directions (21: 12-13). The wall of the city had 12
foundations which had the 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb on them
(21:14). Therefore the city was made up of all the people of God from the OT and
NT and built upon the sure witness of the apostles to saving acts of Jesus.
Now what did John see that the angel had (21:15a)? And what was he going to do
with it (21:15b)?
The angel had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and
walls.
In Ezekiel 40-43 and Zechariah 2:1-5 an angelic-like being measures the city and
the temple. This measuring signified that the holy city had been designed and
would be built exactly according to Gods plan. Likewise, the accuracy and
perfection of the New Jerusalems measurement here is designed to send a
message of encouragement and comfort to a people who are being persecuted. "It

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is to assure John of the certainty and the concreteness of the new and restored
Jerusalem, which will last forever and which will be Gods holy dwelling place in
the new heaven and the new earth" (Brighton, p. 614). They must endure the
persecution for better times are ahead.
The precious metal gold was used by and often indicated royalty. Usually a reed
that was cut down was used as a measuring rod. Why would this measuring rod be
made of gold? (Consider who lives in the city.)
Remember that from this city Gods glory emanated and the people of God
reflected it like precious jewels reflect light. This was because God lived in
this city with his people. Nothing but the best would do when in Gods holy
presence and used in his service.
The angel is to measure the city and its gates and walls (21:15b). The picture
that the angel paints is one of an actual city. To show that it is real the angel
measures every aspect of the city. John sees the fulfillment of what Ezekiel and
Zechariah prophesied. It will come to pass. He sees the reality of what they had
envisioned through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
(Note: were not saying that the holy city will physically be made in this manner
and to these dimensions. The description and measurements of the city are given
so that man can have some kind of comprehension of something that is
incomprehensible. Symbolic language is used to describe how the holy people of
God will dwell with God forever fully protected and fully provided for by God.
You can be sure that the heaven is real will last for eternity.)
2. When the angel measures the holy city, what shape does he find that it is (21:16a,
c)?
The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. Its length and
width and height are equal. It is in the shape of a perfect cube.
What was it like (1 Kings 6:19-20)? And what did it represent?
It was like the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was. This was
the place where God lived among his people. The lid of the Ark was called the
Mercy Seat. It was the place where God sat on his royal throne and had mercy
on this people by forgiving their sins.
The city of Jerusalem (the bride of Christ) will be the Holy of Holies of the new
heaven and earth. She will be the holy place of Gods dwelling. God and his
people will dwell together.
Using the footnotes in your Bible or a study Bible, in a measurement that you can
understand, how large did the city measure (21:16b)?
It was 12,000 stadia. The Roman stadion is about 607 feet. Therefore 12,000
stadia is equivalent to 1380 miles.

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The holy city is pictured as gigantic. These dimensions defy the imagination and
are clearly figurative. The distance given is roughly the distance between Houston
and New York City. The distance given is 12,000 stadia. This is a highly symbolic
number. From our study, what do the numbers 12 and 10 symbolize?
12 is the number that represents the church and 10 is the number of perfection.
12,000 then is the number 12 multiplied by 1000. 1000 is derived from 10 x 10 x
10. So 1000 is perfection to the 3rd degree. The number 12,000 then signifies the
perfect inclusion of each and every one of God's elect without exception or
exclusion. The city includes all believers in Jesus. Certainly as we have seen the
size of the city is also large enough to include all believers. We see then that the
holy city - that is, the Bride of Christ under God's majestic glory in Christ - will
dominate the new heaven and earth as the magnificent precious stone of a ring in
all its radiant splendor dominates its setting." (Brighton, p.615)
3. Next the angel measured the wall (21:17). It was 144 cubits (21:17a). A cubit is
about 18 inches. So 144 cubits equates to 216 feet. Compared to the other
dimensions of the city this seems rather small. But remember again that these
numbers are all symbolic. What other number does the number 144 remind you of
and what does it mean? (See Rev. 7:4-8; lesson 17, points 4, 5, and 6.)
It reminds one of 144,000 in chapter 7. This number represents all the people
on earth who belong to God and who God will protect and keep faithful until
the End. It represents the church militant, believers on earth who battle Satan
and the forces of evil.
As we have said before, the number 144 is the number 12 squared. The OT people
of God (represented by the 12 tribes) times the NT people of God (represented by
12 apostles) equals the whole people of God for all times. At one time or another
all of the people of God have been part of the church militant on earth battling the
forces of evil. The number 144 then means that within these walls dwells the
whole people of God who were once the church militant but are now the church
triumphant. By remaining faithful the church has conquered and therefore in the
new heaven and earth it lives triumphantly with God in the heavenly city.
By saying that this measurement is by human measurement, which is also an
angel's measurement (21:17b), the angel is explaining that even though it is an
angel that makes the measurement, the measurement is not something unusual. It
conforms to the ordinary human standards which men can understand. The
language is similar to that of Revelation 13:18's description of the number of the
beast - "for it is a man's number."
4. Having described the dimensions of New Jerusalem, the seer now goes on to
narrate the magnificent materials from which it is constructed. The overall image
is one of resplendent glory and unimaginable beauty which reflect the majesty and
the splendor of God. What was the wall built of (21:18a)?
The wall was built of jasper.

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Who had the appearance of Jasper in Rev 4:3?
God the Father had the appearance of Jasper as he sat upon his throne.
Jasper is a sparkling, diamond-like crystal. As Gods glory radiated from him
with the appearance of Jasper as he sat upon his throne, so the walls being made
of Jasper symbolizes that the city glows and reflects the glory of God himself as
he dwells within her.
How is the city described (21:18b)?
The city was pure gold, like clear glass.
The pure gold conveys the supreme royalty of God and his glory. The gold is
transparent in order to allow Gods glory to be transmitted unhindered. This is
designed to remind the reader that the glorious light of New Jerusalem is reflected
not inherent. The true glory of this splendid place is the presence of God in her
midst and that divine presence is the source of her radiance.
5. Next the angel moves to describe the foundations of the wall of the city (21:1920). He said, The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every
kind of jewel (21:19a) and then goes on to list 12 different jewels (21:19b-20).
According to Ex. 28:15-20; 39:8-14 what contained 12 precious stones and what
did they represent?
The breastplate of the high priest was made of gold and inlaid with 12
precious stones, one each for the 12 tribes of Israel.
What purpose did these stones serve? The stones on the high priest's vestments
were a glittering reminder that he stood before the Lord on behalf of all the people
of God, the 12 tribes of Israel. The greatest privilege of the high priest was to
stand in the immediate presence of God before the sacred ark in the Holy of
Holies on the Day of Atonement. Since the precious jewels are on the foundations
of the wall and the wall represents the whole people of God who live in the city
(144 cubits), it means that in New Jerusalem the privilege of standing before
Holy God belongs to all God's people.
The twelve foundation stones include: (1) jasper - a clear, diamond-like crystal;
(2) sapphire - a sky blue gem sometimes flecked with gold; (3) chalcedony - a
green agate found near the Greek city of Chalcedon in Asia Minor; (4) emerald - a
clear green gemstone; (5) sardonyx - a white stone with even layers of bright red;
(6) carnelian - a bright red stone similar to a ruby; (7) chrysolite - a stone of
golden color; (8) beryl - an opaque blue of sea green stone; (9) topaz - a goldgreen gem; (10) chrysoprase - a translucent pale green jewel similar to beryl; (11)
jacinth - similar to the modern sapphire, clear and deep blue in color; and, (12)
amethyst a brilliant violet or purple gemstone.

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The apostle Paul describes the church in a smaller but similar way. He describes
the church as the house of God (Eph. 2:20-22) built on the foundation of the
apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the capstone (Eph. 2:20). The saints of
the holy city as precious stones reflect the multicolored wisdom of God in the
heavenly places (Eph. 3:10).
6. Then in 21:21 the angel describes the 12 gates of the city. What was each gate
made up of (21:21a)?
Each gate was made up of a single gigantic pearl.
Pearls are mentioned in a parable Jesus told. What happened in the parable in
Matt. 13:45-46?
Jesus tells a parable of a merchant seeking pearls. He found one so precious
that he sold everything to purchase it.
This pearl was so precious because it was the entrance into the kingdom of God. It
was so precious that it is worth any cost. Only the Son of God could pay such a
cost. The cost to him was his life. Those who have been baptized into Christ
become one with him and believe and trust in him. Christ purchased this precious
pearl not for himself but for all who have faith in him. This is the one great
possession that a Christian values, having abandoned everything else for its sake.
When one enters these gates of pearl, what does one find (21:21b)?
One finds that the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
The text continues to emphasize purity and transparency. Remember that what is
being described here as a city is the Bride of Christ, the people who are Gods
church. The purity of Gods people in the new heaven and earth is unlike anything
seen or known in the old heaven and earth. And his people are completely
transparent allowing Gods light to shine through them and to be reflected for all
to see.

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Lesson 77: The New Jerusalem (Part 3)
Read Rev. 21:22-27
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
21:22 Temple: the place where God dwells with his people.
21:22, 23 City: the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and new earth is a way
of describing the people of God as they live eternally with God.
21:22, 23 Lamb: Jesus Christ, the One who was willingly slain for sinful
mankind.
21:23, 24, 25 Light, day: light chases away darkness. Darkness cannot exist
where there is light. The light is the glory of God.
21:25 Night: the darkness of the night represents sin and the evil that results
from it.
21:27 Unclean, detestable or false: anything that is abhorrent to God.
21:27 Lambs Book of Life: those people whom God has chosen to save out of
grace from the beginning of the world.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. We have seen Gods people compared to a city, the New Jerusalem. In the midst
of the heavenly city God dwells. In the city are Gods people from both the OT
and the NT. God protects his people as a great wall protects a city. The splendor of
God reflects off of his people like light reflecting off of precious jewels. To be
able to enter the holy city was a priceless treasure. (21:9-21)
The description of the city continues in 21:22. What did John not see in the city
(21:22a)? Why? (21:22b)
He saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and
the Lamb.
Why was the OT temple built (2 Chr. 6:2, 9b, 10b)?
It was built as a place for God to dwell; it was a house for the name of the
Lord. In it God would live and be present with his chosen people.
The temple was made up of three parts: the courtyard, the Holy Place, and the
Most Holy Place. The people had access only to the courtyard. The priests had
access to the courtyard and the Holy Place. Only the High Priest had access to the
Most Holy Place. And he had access to it only one day a year, the Day of
Atonement. The reason why the Most Holy Place had such restricted access was
because that was where Gods holy presence was. If sinful people come into
contact with the holy God they will die.

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So the temple of God is wherever he chooses to dwell with his people and yet he
must shield his people from his holy presence so that they are not destroyed.
Where does God dwell in the new heaven and new earth (21:9-11)?
God dwells in the holy city, the New Jerusalem. Since the holy city is the
people of God, he lives directly with his people.
In another sense, who has become a spiritual house where God dwells (1 Pet. 2:112; see esp. verses 5 and 9)?
Peter is talking to believers in Jesus. They have become a spiritual house
and a holy priesthood, a holy nation that is Gods possession. God lives in
them and among them.
Wherever God dwells is the temple. And he now dwells with those who believe in
Jesus. A physical building is not necessary. He dwells with them wherever they
are.
But how is it possible for God to dwell with people in the NT if they are sinful?
This is possible only because of what Jesus has done. He has taken away the sin
of people through his death and resurrection. Those who believe in him exchange
their sin for Jesus righteousness. Therefore in Gods eyes they are perfectly holy.
2. Besides the temple, what else is not needed in the eternal city and why (21:23)?
The city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives
it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The sun and moon are not needed because
Gods and the Lambs holy presence lights up the whole city.
This is a fulfillment of Is. 60:19 The sun shall be no more your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your
everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Also remember that this is not
saying that there will not be a literal sun or moon in eternity. This is trying to
describe what eternity will be like for believers in Jesus. And such a description is
given in order that we might have some grasp of it as faint as it might be. And in
doing so, it gives Christians hope. For I consider that the sufferings of this
present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
(Ro. 8:18). We suffer now, but will abide in Gods glorious presence for eternity.
3. In 21:24 who does Gods glory provide light for?
The nations walk in his light and the kings of the earth will bring their glory
into it.
Again this is a fulfillment of Is. 60:1-3. Read through it. Who is the light that rises
upon the dark earth? Who is it that appears? What effect does his coming have?
The Light that rises is Jesus Christ. He is the Light to a sin darkened world.
Nations and kings will be drawn to the Light.

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We see a preview of this in Matt. 2:1-12. Who journeyed to the Christ child in this
passage? Where did they come from?
Magi came from far away in the east to see and worship the King of the Jews.
To speak of nations and kings(21:24) is to emphasize a worldwide scope.
Who does nations and kings refer to?
The nations and kings that are drawn to and walk in the light are Christians all
around the world. It includes Jews and Gentiles. The kings could be actual
kings and rulers, but it could also refer to Christians, for they will reign
forever and ever (Rev. 22:5).
What is their glory that they will bring into it? The glory of the kings (21:24b)
and the nations (21:26) are all that they wrought for the Lamb in faith while they
were here on the old earth.
4. Gates to a city were usually closed at night (e.g., Josh. 2:5-7). When will the gates
of the New Jerusalem closed (21:25)? Why?
The gates to New Jerusalem will never be closed during the day. And since
there will be no night there, it will always be day. Therefore the gates will
never be closed.
Remember the symbolic nature being used here. The darkness associated with
night represents sin and the evil that results from it. In the new heaven and earth
sin and evil will not exist, there will be no night there. No enemies remain to
threaten or oppose. There is no need to lock the gates. The security of the saints is
absolute for it rests in the constant presence of God.
5. 21:23-25 has been describing how the light of Gods holy presence will light up
the holy city, the people of God. He provides light that they may see and come to
him. And his light provides security for them. As 21:24b said the kings of the
earth will bring their glory into it, so 21:26 reiterates They will bring into it the
glory and the honor of the nations. As the people of God (the nations), they
reflect the glory and honor and light of God. The glory that shines from them is
the good deeds of the saints that are done out of faith in Christ. They bear the fruit
of faith, many times not even knowing it. The works of faith are natural and
constant. A tree can only bear fruit if it is a fruit tree. And a fruit tree must bear
fruit. Christians bear the fruit of doing good and showing love because they are
people of faith. As it said in 14:13: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord
for their deeds follow them! The deeds of the saints follow them as they enter
heaven.
6. We have seen where the saints (the nations and the kings) enter the city of
God followed by their good deeds (21:24, 26). What will not be entering the
eternal city (21:27a)?

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But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is
detestable or false. Nothing that is unclean, whether a thing or a person, will
enter into the heavenly city.

Unclean in 21:27a refers to anything abhorrent to God (abominable, a lie,


falsehood). No one who does what is detestable or false will enter it. Again we
have the concept that a tree is known by its fruit. If someone does these kinds of
things (21:27a) then what kind of person are they?
If their deeds are detestable and false then they are detestable and false. An
apple tree bears the fruit of apples. We know fruit trees by their fruit.
These deeds are characteristic of the devil and those that follow him. But what
have we seen has happened to them?
They have been thrown into the lake of fire where they will remain forever
and ever.
So this is making a statement about heaven where the saints will live forever. It
will be a place of complete safety and it will a place untainted by evil, corruption,
and sin. Nothing unclean will ever enter it.
Those who do enter the holy city were at one time unclean, detestable, and false.
But they have been cleaned in the blood of the Lamb in Holy Baptism, having
received that cleansing by faith. From eternity God has chosen those whom he
would save and has written [their names] in the Lamb's book of life. So as they
come to one of the entrance gates to the city, the Lambs book of life is checked.
Only those whose names are written in it are allowed to enter.

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Lesson 78: The Garden Restored (Part 1)
Read Rev. 22:1-2
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
22:1 The angel: apparently the same angel that has been attending John.
22:1, 2 The river of the water of life: reminiscent of the river that watered the
Garden of Eden. It is a symbol of that life which God alone can grant and
sustain.
22:1 The throne: the place of Gods royal presence as he rules in the new
heaven and new earth.
22:1 Lamb: Jesus Christ, the Lamb who willingly gave his life for the world.
22:2 The city: the New Jerusalem, a way of describing the people of God who
live with God for eternity.
22:2 The tree of life: reminiscent of the tree of life that was in the middle of
the Garden of Eden. It symbolizes eternal life.
22:2 Twelve kinds of fruit: the tree provides a great variety and continuous
supply of fruit. It symbolizes Gods abundant provision for his people.
22:2 Healing: it means there will be no more disease or sickness.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. The description of the New Jerusalem that began in chapter 21 continues in
chapter 22. The same angel that has been attending John continues to show him
the New Jerusalem (22:1a). The mention of the river of life and tree of life in
21:1-5 instantly brings to mind the Garden of Eden.
The history of humanity comes full circle in the seventh scene of Revelations
seventh vision. Man was created to live forever in the complete happiness of
Gods presence. The Garden of Eden was prepared as the perfect home for the
unique creature fashioned in the image and after the likeness of God. Mans sin
shattered the harmony of the original creation. Fallen Adam was banished from
the presence of God and expelled from the perfection of Eden. The fiery swords
of the cherubim barred the way to the Garden, lest man return in search of the tree
of life (cf. Genesis 3:23-24). In the immediate aftermath of the Fall, God
promised that He Himself would act to undo the damage that had been done.
Through the "Descendant" of the woman He would crush the serpents head and
destroy the dominion of sin, death, [by the] resurrection of Jesus Christ. Johns
final vision anticipates the ultimate fulfillment of that ancient promise with the
restoration of the immortality and harmony of Eden. (White)
2. What is the first thing John saw in this part of the vision (22:1a)?

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The first thing John saw was the river of the water of life.

How is it described (21:1b)?


It is described as being bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and
of the Lamb. The NIV has clear as crystal. The water is pure and its source
is from God and the Lamb.
Read Gen. 2:10-14. What was in Eden and what was its purpose?
The Garden of Eden had a river which flowed through it. It divided into 4
rivers and its purpose was to water the garden.
In both cases, here in Revelation and in Genesis, the river is a symbol of that life
which God alone can grant and sustain. This is made clear in Revelation because
the origin of the river is from Gods presence on the throne (21:1b). The mention
of gold and jewels in the region of Eden in the Genesis account further reinforces
the link between Johns vision of New Jerusalem and the lost Paradise of mans
beginning.
A similar use of a river as a symbol of life flowing from God is found in Ezekiel.
Read Eze. 47:1-12. Where does the water flow from in Eze. 47:1, 12?
In Ezekiel it flows from the temple. The temple was the place where God
lived among his people. Therefore the water flows from God.
What did the water do and provide in Eze. 47:7-12?
The water provided nourishment for trees. It made the dead waters of the
Dead Sea fresh so that all kinds of creatures and fish could live in it. With a
constant source of fresh water, the trees produced food to eat and leaves for
healing. In short, the waters brought life.
The water of the river is called the water of life in 22:1a. In Jn. 4:10-14 Jesus
spoke of living water to the woman at the well. What does the water that Jesus
gives become (Jn. 4:14b)?
The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling
up to eternal life.
Therefore the waters which flow from God represent the abundant eternal life
which God bestows upon His saints in Christ. As the river in Eden sustained
earthly life, so the river in the new Eden is the sustaining power of God giving life
to Gods people throughout eternity. "What is shown to John is the whole tide of
eternal life going out from the throne, or the eternal power of God and the Lamb.
It is the life of glory for the blest who are now in eternal power of God and the
Lamb." (Lenski, p.649)
The river flows from God and flows through what location (22:2a)?
It flows through the middle of the street of the city.

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This description sounds rather awkward. But the picture according to Brighton
and Lenski is one of a main street, with a beautiful park next to it, and on the
other side of the park is the crystalline river.
3. What grew on the banks of the river of life (22:2b)?
The tree of life.
Therefore in between the main street and the river of life, in the midst of the park,
is the tree of life. Where was the tree of life first mentioned in the Bible (Gen. 2:89)?
The tree of life was first mentioned in the Garden of Eden in the creation
account.
What other tree did God plant with it and where were they located?
God planted the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in
the middle of the garden.
These two trees became the focus and heart of the garden. They defined the
existence of man. He could have the knowledge of good and evil but if he did he
would die. Therefore God told Adam not to eat from the tree (Gen. 2:16-17).
Shunning the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and instead
eating from the tree of life gave life. Now the fruit on the tree of life was not some
fruit that magically gave eternal life. Rather the fruit had the power and promise
of God with it. Believing and trusting Gods word is what would cause Adam to
eat the fruit and to receive what God promised. In that sense then the tree was a
sacrament for the first man, that is, Gods word of promise connected with a
physical element, which when received in faith, conveyed what it said - life.
Note, There is a deliberate linguistic anomaly in the Greek text of this verse
[22:2]. John uses the noun "xulon" four times in this chapter to refer to the "tree"
of life. The same noun is used in Revelations only other reference to the Tree of
Life. Ordinarily, this word is not used in reference to living wood or trees. That is
the "Xulon" is the word consistently used in the Gospels in reference to the cross
(i.e. Matthew 26:47; Mark 14:43; cf. also Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Galatians 3:13;
I Peter 2:24). Johns use of the term here, to describe the Tree of Life, is clearly
designed to link the cross with the Tree of Life for fallen humanity. Gregory of
Nazianzus, a fourth century teacher of the church, asserts the same connection:
"Christ is brought up to the tree and nailed to it - yet by this tree of life He
restores us." (NPNF, 7 p.309) (White)
Note also that the tree of life references in Gen. 2:9, Eze. 47:1-12, and Rev.
22:1-2 could be using tree in a collective sense. If someone says, That tree is
an apple tree, he is referring to a kind of tree. There are many apple trees and it is
one of them. Therefore the tree of life might be a kind of tree, a species of tree. If
that is the case then that species of tree served the purpose of pointing man to God
as the Creator and sustainer of life.

A Bible Study of Revelation


4. What did the tree of life bear and how often (22:2c)?
It bore twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.
What message does bearing 12 kinds of fruit month after month convey?
The message it conveys is one of abundance and plenty.
The image here parallels Ezekiel 47:12.
Note the use of the number 12. What does it stand for in scripture and what does it
mean here?
12 is the number of the church. The church is represented by the 12 OT tribes
and the 12 NT apostles. Here God provides a regular constant variety of food
for his church. God will provide for and take care of his people, the New
Jerusalem, through out eternity.
So this tree of life represents God provision for the church. No longer will God
need to guard the tree to keep people from eating it. In the New Jerusalem it is
there easily accessible, providing the food of life.
5. What were the leaves on the tree used for (22:2d)?
They were used for the healing of the nations.
Does this refer to an ongoing activity of healing? No. The use of healing here is
like the use of wiping away tears in 21:4. The use of wipe away every tear from
their eyes refers to the fact that in eternity there will be no more death or
mourning or crying or pain. So the same is true here. There will be no more
disease or sickness that requires healing. Who is this healing for (22:2d)?
This healing is for the nations.
This same term was used in 21:24-26. Who does it refer to both there and here?
It refers to all believers in Jesus. All the people of God from every place and
time are included in this magnificent vision of the blessedness which The
Savior has won for His own.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 79: The Garden Restored (Part 2)
Read Rev. 22:3-5
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
22:3 The throne: the place of Gods royal presence as he rules in the new
heaven and new earth.
22:3 Servants (or slaves): refers to Gods people. They belong to him, are
cared for by him and serve him.
22:4 His name on their foreheads: symbolizes that they belong to God, a
stamp of ownership.
22:5 Night: night is known for its darkness and darkness is associated with
evil.
22:5 No light needed: Gods holy presence provides continuous safety for his
people.
22:5 They will reign: kings reign.
While reading 17-22 keep in mind that this text refers to the End, the judgment of the
unholy trinity and all who follow them, the victory celebration of the Lord Christ and his
followers, the resurrection of the dead, and the new heaven and new earth.
1. What happened to Adam and Eve and their descendants after they sinned (Gen.
3:14-19, esp. v.14)?
Adam and Eve and all their descendants were under a curse.
The curse of sin brought a separation between mankind and God. That is why God
sent his only son, Jesus, to redeem us from the curse of the law by becoming a
curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on the tree."
(Galatians 3:13). Note that in this Galatians passage the word for cross is
xulon. Now through the cross (xulon) of Christ mankinds access to the
"xulon" (tree) of life is restored forever in New Jerusalem. The original curse on
the earth will be supplanted by Gods eternal blessing in Christ. No longer will
there be anything accursed (22:3a) in the New Jerusalem.
We said the curse of sin brought about separation between mankind and God. The
presence of what in the midst of the city (the people of God) also indicates that
the curse has been lifted (22:3b)?
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city. Therefore all who
dwell within this place have constant and immediate access to the divine
presence.
What can be said about the Father and the Son and their relationship by their joint
presence on the throne (22:3b)?

A Bible Study of Revelation

The unity of the Father and the Son and the full divinity of Jesus Christ as the
Son of God are affirmed by the joint presence of "God and of the Lamb"
upon a single throne. They rule and reign together as one.

This unity is also expressed by the use of the singular pronoun his in 22:3c. God
and the Lamb are referred to in the singular as his.
2. The word servants in 22:3c might be better translated as slaves. Slaves were
bought or sold on the slave market. The one who bought the slave owned the
slave. Who owns the slaves mentioned here?
These slaves are his slaves where his refers back to God and the Lamb.
Who was their former owners (Ro. 6:12-23)?
By nature all people are slaves of sin. Sin owns them and rules them.
Who was it that redeemed (bought back) them and what was the price that was
paid (1 Pet. 1:17-19)?
Christ bought them shedding his precious blood giving his life that they might
have life.
As an Owner Jesus is benevolent to his slaves. He provides and cares for them.
He says, Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly
in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden
is light. (Mt. 11:29-30) Having been removed from a harsh and bitter existence
and transferred to a loving and caring environment where they have rest for their
souls, how do the slaves react (22:3c)?
They respond by worshipping God and the Lamb.
In worship we gladly receive the gracious gifts God gives. We acknowledge God
as the gracious Giver and offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise.
3. No sinful man can behold the face of God and live. And yet what does 22:4a say?
They will see his face. It says that the people of the New Jerusalem, the
slaves of God, will see his face.
How is this possible (John 1:29)?
Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, has taken away the sin of the world.
Jesus made a great exchange with sinners. He took their sins upon himself and
paid the price that their sins deserved. And he offers sinners his perfect
righteousness. How is it that sinners receive this righteousness that Jesus offers
(Rom. 1:17)?
Sinners receive the righteousness of God by faith.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Therefore the people of the holy city are able to see Gods face because they are
now righteous. God has graciously given them his righteousness. Because of this
all the saints who are now still on earth can rightly say with King David, As for
me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied
with your likeness (Ps. 17:15).
Seeing God face to face is then the perfect realization of eternal paradise. Eden
means luxury, delight, pleasure. Eternal life will be a life of delightful pleasure
in communion with God. Paradise came to be used for the original Garden.
There they lived in delightful pleasure with God. That was paradise and so will be
the heavenly eternal Eden. As related to this, look at Rev. 2:7b. What two things
are connected for those who conquer?
Eating from the tree of life and the paradise of God.
When Adam and Eve sinned they were expelled from the Garden and not allowed
to eat from the tree of life. They go together. In the new heaven and earth, those
who are victorious in Christ will be able to eat from the tree of life, indicating that
they will have life forever with God. They will literally live in paradise.
4. In a number of places Revelation has spoken of God writing his name on the
foreheads of those who believe and trust in him (3:12; 7:1-4; 14:1). This act by
God identifies them as his people. To those who conquer Christ promises: In the
new heaven and earth, those who are victorious in Christ will be able to eat from
the tree of life, indicating that they will have life forever with God (3:12b).
Now at the End, John sees the fulfillment of Christs promise. Not only will they
see God face to face, but they will also have his name written on their foreheads.
It will be plain for all to see that they belong to him and they belong in the eternal
city. They are true and righteous citizens of the city who live in paradise and can
rightfully eat of the tree of life.
5. 22:5a-b restates and reiterates what was said in 21:23-25. Why is artificial light
(lamp) and planetary light (sun, moon) not needed not needed (22:5b)?
The Lord God will be their light. Wherever God is present, it is lit up by his
glorious presence. All other light pales to the brightness of his presence.
Given what we just talked about concerning light, what does it mean that there
will be no more night (22:5a-b)?
Night is known for the absence of light darkness. Since the light of Gods
holy presence lights up everything around it and since there with be no more
darkness, it must mean that God will continuously and forever be present with
his slaves. Because of his holy presence there will be light and there will no
longer be darkness.
Who did God provide light for in 21:23-25 and who does he provide it for in 22:35?

A Bible Study of Revelation

In 21:23-25 God is the Light for the New Jerusalem. In 22:3-5 God is the
Light for his slaves. They are both describing the same group of people all
believers in Jesus. The first reference was general in nature. The second
reference is more specifically applied to each individual. God is a Light to all
Christians and he is a Light to you. And he will be your Light for eternity.

6. Two passages previously described Gods people as reigning (5:10; 20:4-6).


Where and when do they say Gods people will reign?
They will reign on the earth (5:10). And they will reign with Christ for a
thousand year (20:4). That is, they will share in Christs reign during the
whole NT period.
How long does 22:5c say they will reign?
they will reign forever and ever. The reign of the saints in the new heaven
and earth will never end.
Notice the deliberate contrast. Who is it that will reign (22:3-5)?
His slaves are the ones who will reign forever. The slaves will be kings.
In this eternal kingdom, God and the Lamb are the King and all of their royal
subjects are kings. Its a kingdom of kings. And God and the Lamb are the King
of kings.

A Bible Study of Revelation


Lesson 80: The Epilogue and Conclusion of Revelation (Part 1)
Read Rev. 22:6-11
While reading the text keep in mind the following symbols:
22:6, 8 Angel: the angel through whom God is revealing future events which
are recorded in chapters 4 22:5.
22:6, 9 His servants: refers to Gods people. They belong to him, are cared for
by him and serve him.
22:7, 10 Prophecy of this book: chapters 4 22:5 contain the prophecy of the
future events of the time of the church, the End, and the final judgment.
This text refers back to the entire prophecy of the book of Revelation. And it looks
forward to Jesus second coming.
1. The conclusion of Revelation strongly and uniquely affirms the words of
Revelation. No other book of the Bible has such a strong affirmation. Thinking
about the content and style of the book, why might such an affirmation be
needed?
The book of Revelation is unique. It is written in apocalyptic genre. No other
book has so many visions. It has many strange symbols and actions. Some
might wonder if this is just some human invention of the mind. Men could
easily dismiss it because they cant make sense of it.
The purpose of the epilogue is to attest to the truth of the Revelation, to safeguard
it against tampering, and to urgently recommend its study and observance.
2. Who is speaking the words in 22:6? (see 22:6b)
The text does not specifically say. It uses the pronoun he. (Note that the
NIV inserts the word angel in place of he.) These are probably the words
of the angel that has been attending to John for most of the book. By using the
phrase has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place in
22:6b, the angel is basically saying, God sent me (his angel) to show you
whats going to happen.
What is the angel referring to when he says, These words are trustworthy and
true (22:6a)?
The angel is referring to the whole book of Revelation. He is saying,
Everything I told you and everything I showed you is true. You can trust me
and my message. He is saying that everything John recorded about these
visions is reliable and accurate.
Besides the angel saying so, how do we know that These words are trustworthy
and true. (see 22:6b)? Where do these words originate (1:1)?

A Bible Study of Revelation

They are trustworthy and true because God sent the angel to show what would
take place. The visions and the words originate with God. God gave this
revelation to Jesus who showed his servants through the attending angel what
would soon take place. The same God who revealed his word and will through
the prophets has now done the same through the revelation to St. John.

What was Gods relationship with the OT prophets? How did he work through
them? (see 2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16)
God chose the OT prophets to be his spokesmen. God spoke his word through
the prophets. The Holy Spirit inspired the prophets to speak and write the ve