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ADULT

Lesson Commentary
Summer Quarter, 2010

Written by Charles Law, Terry Parrish and Roger Stewart


EDITOR IN CHIEF:

Larry E. Clements
larryclements@abaptist.org
BUSINESS MANAGER:

Wayne Sewell
wsewell@abaptist.org
PRODUCTION EDITOR:

CONTENTS
Editors Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

About the Writers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Introduction to the Book of Revelation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Lesson 1

Sally McInvale
ADULT EDITOR:

Lesson 2

Jim Jones
CHILDRENS EDITOR:

Lesson 3

Shawn Blase, Jeff Allen,


Greg Hilterbrand,
Ashley Carozza

Lesson 4

CONTENT EDITORS:

Terry McKellar,
Carolyn Burks,
Deby Turrentine

Lesson 5

Lesson 7

Baptist Sunday School


Committee
4605 N. State Line Ave.
Texarkana, TX 75503-2928
www.abaptist.org
1-800-264-2482

The Victory of the Lamb. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71


Revelation 17:1-18

Lesson 8

The Fall of Babylon the Great . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80


Revelation 18:1-24

Lesson 9

The Marriage of the Lamb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91


Revelation 19:1-10

Lesson 10

The Coming of Christ in Glory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100


Revelation 19:11-21

Lesson 11

Copyright 2010
Vol. 11, No. 1

Seven Last Plagues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60


Revelation 15:116:21

COVER DESIGN:

Jeff Allen

Tribulation Saints and Martyrs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50


Revelation 14:1-20

Lesson 6

PRINT PRODUCTION:

Charles Easley

The Rise of the Beasts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41


Revelation 13:1-18

LAYOUT DESIGNERS:

Bonita McKnight,
Kyle Elkins,
Cindy Butler

The Devil Makes War with Gods People. . . . . . . 30


Revelation 11:1512:17

Connie Spears
GRAPHIC ARTISTS:

The Two Witnesses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20


Revelation 10:111:14

Libby Gill
ILLUSTRATOR:

The Trumpet Judgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Revelation 8:19:21

The Millennial Reign of Christ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109


Revelation 20:1-15

Lesson 12

The Eternal Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119


Revelation 21:122:5

Lesson 13

Get Ready! Jesus Is Coming Soon! . . . . . . . . . . . . 131


Revelation 22:6-21

Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141

Editors Note
The Revelation of Jesus Christ is the most unique book in the Bible. Its
verses carry readers from the current day of its writing through the desperate
years of the Tribulation Period, the rise of the anti-Christ, the beast and false
prophet, to the Battle of Armageddon, the Millennium, and finally, into the
eternal age itself. It was written by inspiration through the hand of the apostle
John on the lonely island of Patmos.
To understand the book of Revelation one must read and study the book
itself and allow it to speak for itself. Credible commentators and scholars agree
that, for proper appreciation, it must be biblically interpreted. My pastor, Hoyt
Chastain, Sr., used to say, The Bible is its own best interpreter. Another truism
about Bible interpretation came from my father-in-law, D. S. Boots Madden.
He would remind seminary students that: The Bible sheds a lot of light on
commentaries. The best understanding of Revelation will probably come
from first reading the plain words of Scripture itself. Then, secondly, compare
references gleaned from other sources, like Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah,
comparing Scripture with Scripture. Many of the symbols in Revelation may
best be explained by Old Testament prophets. As a third step to interpretation
and teaching, good commentaries, like this one, may be used.
God gives both special promise and stern warning to readers of the
Revelation. God promises, Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the
words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the
time is at hand (Rev. 1:3). Later the Lord warns, For I testify unto every man
that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto
these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God
shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from
the things which are written in this book (Rev. 22:18, 19). My prayer is that
each Sunday School teacher and Bible student, as they study Revelation, will
be challenged to live fully for Christ as they approach the wonderful fulfillment
of the prophecies of this great book.
This Adult Lesson Commentary is an in-depth study of the Scripture passages
in each lesson. Every lesson consists of three elements: the narrative of the
Scripture passage; the manna, a discussion of interesting and informative
topics related to the Scripture passage; and the word studies, which are based
on specific words from the original language used in the Scripture text. The
number following each word study identifies the word by the numbering
system of Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and is provided for the
benefit of those who want to examine the Word of God in greater detail.
We appreciate the three contributors to this Adult Lesson Commentary:
Charles Law, who wrote the lesson narratives; Terry Parrish, who translated
interesting Greek vocabulary for the word studies; and Roger Stewart, who
prepared the mannas. We appreciate their hard work.
Larry E. Clements, Editor in Chief of Publications
Baptist Sunday School Committee

About the Writers


Recognized for their knowledge, wisdom and understanding of the Holy
Scriptures, the writers of the Adult Lesson Commentary are faithful pastors,
teachers and spiritual leaders among the Lords churches. Following are a few
biographical notes about these men.

Charles Law was reared in Fort Smith, Arkansas,


where he attended Central Baptist Church from early
childhood. He was saved and baptized as a teenager
and announced his call to the ministry at age eighteen.
A year later he was ordained by his home church.
Brother Law was educated at The College of the
Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas, where he earned a
Bachelor of Arts degree. He then earned a Master of
Bible Languages degree and a Doctor in Bible Languages
degree from the Missionary Baptist Seminary in Little
Rock, Arkansas.
Brother Law pastored churches in Arkansas for several years, after which
he entered the chaplaincy of the United States Air Force. For twenty years he
represented the churches of the American Baptist Association as an Air Force
chaplain. He has served as a writer of various curricula for many years. He
and his wife, Nancy, have two children, a daughter, Paula, and a son, Chancy,
and two grandchildren. Brother and Mrs. Law reside in Sherwood, Arkansas,
where they faithfully serve the Lord.

Brother Terry Parrish is a writer of the Adult Lesson


Commentary. He was born and raised in McDougal,
Arkansas. He was saved and then baptized at age
11 by Pleasant Grove MBC of Success, Arkansas. He
graduated high school at Corning, Arkansas in 1971.
He entered the Missionary Baptist Seminary that fall
and earned the Bachelor, Master and Doctor in Bible
Languages degrees from that school.
Brother Parrish served as pastor of Clearwater in
Judsonia, Graceland in Little Rock, Second Baptist in
Malvern, Baseline in Little Rock and Springhill in Alexander. He now serves
as the Executive Vice President of the Missionary Baptist Seminary in Little
Rock, and pastor of Spring Creek Baptist Church in Benton. He has served as
writer for the BSSC for over ten years. He serves now as one of the Recording
Secretaries for the American Baptist Association.
He is married to the former Sandra Grable of Little Rock. They have two
children, Clay and his wife, Amanda, and Shelly and her husband, Wesley
Loftin. They have one grandson, Spencer Parrish.

Brother Roger W. Stewart was born and raised in


Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he attended Central
Baptist Church throughout his entire childhood. He
was saved and baptized at age nine. At age seventeen
he announced his call to preach before graduating from
Northside High School in 1984. He soon found himself
a student at the Missionary Baptist Seminary where
he earned a Bachelor of Theology degree in 1991.
Meanwhile, Brother Stewart married Gena Ashlock
in 1986 and was ordained to the Gospel Ministry by
Victory Missionary Baptist Church in Sherwood, Arkansas, later that same
year. God blessed the Stewarts with two boysBrett in 1989 and Hayden in
1991. After pastoring in Michigan for nine years Brother Stewart returned
to Southeast Arkansas where he was afforded the opportunity to complete
his Master of Theology (2006) and Doctor of Theology (2008) degrees at the
Missionary Baptist Seminary.
He is pastor of Olive Branch Missionary Baptist Church in Pine Bluff,
Arkansas. He has served ABA churches in Holly Grove, DeWitt, and Star
City, Arkansas, as well as in Coloma, Michigan. He is currently a member
of the Standing Missionary Committee where he serves as Clerk. Brother
Stewart is Vice President of the Alumni Association for the Missionary Baptist
Seminary.

The Book of Revelation


Introduction

These introductory notes include information regarding the book of Revelation


as a whole, some brief observations concerning the second coming of Christ
as it relates to the Tribulation Period and the Millennium, some comments
on Revelation chapters 8 through 22, an overall synopsis of Revelation and a
consideration of the so-called abomination of desolation.
Introduction to Revelation
Title. Most King James Version Bibles have as the title of this book, the
Revelation of John, or The Revelation of St. John the Divine. Neither of these
titles is appropriate, however. The most fitting title for this book can be seen
in its opening statement, the revelation of Jesus Christ. John was neither the
source nor the object of the revelation which he recorded. The subject matter
for this book originated with God. It was given by Him and it focused on Jesus
Christ. Consequently, a more appropriate title for this book would be, The
Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Writer. The Holy Spirit used as the human author of this book a man
who identified himself as John, a servantliterally, a slavewho belonged to
Christ. (See Revelation 1:1.) The New Testament mentions three men by this
name who were closely associated with Christ and the early churches. One of
those men was John the Baptist, the son of the priest Zacharias and his wife
Elisabeth, and the forerunner of Christ. Another was John Mark, who is more
commonly known simply as Mark, and who was a frequent companion of Paul
on his missionary journeys. The other John was a Galilean fisherman. He was
a son of Zebedee, and along with his brother James, enjoyed an especially close
relationship with Christ during His earthly ministry. This John, widely known
as the beloved apostle, is generally acknowledged as the writer of this book,
and the author of the Gospel of John and the epistles of John as well.
Recipients. The book of Revelation was actually an epistle which was
written for the servants (slaves) of Christ (Rev. 1:1). In Revelation 1:4, John
was told that the revelation he was about to receive was to be sent to the seven
churches which are in Asia. Thus, it is evident that the immediate recipients
of this book were the seven congregations in Asia; however, its message is
also applicable to churches and believers of all times and places. (Compare
Revelation 1:3.)
Purpose. The opening verse of Revelation gives its purpose in a concise
statement: to shew unto his [Gods] servants [slaves] things which must shortly
come to pass (Rev. 1:1). This epistle is a book of prophecy. It includes some
references, or at least some allusions, to historical matters, but the primary
emphasis is on things that are yet to occur.
5

Date. Among recognized Bible scholars there is almost universal agreement


that the book of Revelation was written near the end of the first century. The
date of AD 95 is frequently cited, and there seems to be no reason seriously to
question this. During that period of time the Roman government intensified its
persecution of Christians. The banishment of John to the isle of Patmos, during
which he received the visions that became the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:9-11),
most likely was part of that persecution.
Distinctives. One of the most distinguishing features of this book is its
relationship with the number seven, which signifies fulfillment, completion or
perfection. Revelation also includes numerous references or allusions to the
Old Testament. The judgments that will be inflicted on the earth, this world
system and on all who reject Christ are chilling, to say the least. Symbolism
abounds in this book; however, one must be careful to interpret and apply the
symbols properly. A particularly unique matter in Revelation is the promise of
divine blessing for those who read and heed its prophecies (Rev. 1:3).
Organization. Students of Revelation have offered numerous outlines
of its contents. One of the most simple of these is Revelation 1:19, in which
three divisions are named: (1) the things which thou hast seen (chapter 1),
(2) the things which are (chapters 2, 3) and (3) the things which shall be
hereafter (chapters 4-22). A more detailed outline of Revelation can be seen in
the comments under the heading of A Synopsis of Revelation.
The Second Coming, the Tribulation and the Millennium
Ones understanding of the book of Revelation is largely determined by his
or her views regarding the second coming of Christ, the Tribulation Period and
the Millennium. Volumes have been written concerning each of these matters.
Because of space limitations no attempt will be made to examine to any extent
any of these topics, nor to explain the reasons for the writers position on them.
While this writer recognizes fully that students of Revelation are not in total
agreement regarding these all-important issues, he feels it is important that
those who use this commentary understand his beliefs on these matters.
1. This writer believes that the second coming of Christ will be in two
phases, with the seven-year Tribulation Period intervening between them.
First, Christ will come for believers, resurrecting all those who have died and
giving them glorified bodies, transforming the bodies of all believers who are
living and then receive all of them unto Himself. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.)
The Tribulation will close with Christs return to the earth in power and glory,
defeating the anti-Christ and his forces and establishing the kingdom of Christ
on earth.
2. The Tribulation Period, a period of seven years marked by a treaty between
the anti-Christ and the Jews, will begin after believers have been resurrected,
transformed and taken to be with Christ. The Tribulation Period, the last
half of which is often known as great tribulation, could occur immediately
after the catching away, or rapture, of believers, but not necessarily so, as an
indeterminate period of time could elapse between the rapture and the onset
of the Tribulation. (Compare Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15-21.)
6

3. The Millennium will be the one thousand year reign of Christ on the
earth, during which the devil will be bound and confined to the bottomless pit.
Peace and prosperity will prevail among the nations, and more importantly,
with the effects of sin so drastically curbed, righteousness and decency will
also prevail.
Revelation 822
This study will focus on chapters 822 of Revelation. Among the matters to
be covered are the divine judgments that will be inflicted on the earth under
the seven trumpets and seven vials, the account of the two witnesses, the rise to
power of the anti-Christ and the false prophet, the splendor and destruction of
the end-time Babylon, the Battle of Armageddon, the marriage of the Lamb, the
coming of Christ in power and glory, the chaining of Satan and establishment
of the Millennium, the Great White Throne Judgment, the announcement of
the new Heaven and earth and a description of the New Jerusalem.
A Synopsis of Revelation
Previously it was noted that the number seven is stamped indelibly on this
book. This is especially noticeable in the structure of Revelation. The plot,
action or continuity of this book is developed by a series of seven sevens.
Interspersed throughout the book are fourteen parenthetic sections which
provide reviews, sidelights or previews of significant events and personages. In
addition are a prologue and an epilogue. This synopsis of Revelation consists of
these features:
1. The Prologue (Rev. 1)
2. The seven sevens: the seven churches (Rev. 2, 3), the seven seals (Rev.
5, 6; 8:1-6), the seven trumpets (Rev. 8:79:21; 11:14-19), the seven personages
(Rev. 12, 13), the seven vials (Rev. 15:116:14, 16-21), the seven victories (Rev.
19:1120:3, 7-15), the seven new things (Rev. 21:1-8).
3. The Parenthetic Sections: the throne in Heaven (Rev. 4), the sealed Jews
(Rev. 7:1-8), the Tribulation saints (Rev. 7:9-17), the little book (Rev. 10), the two
witnesses (Rev. 11:1-13), the Lamb and the 144,000 (Rev. 14:1-5), the heralds of
judgment (Rev. 14:6-12, 14-20), the blessedness of deceased saints (Rev. 14:13),
the call for separation (Rev. 16:15), the judgment upon Babylon (Rev. 17, 18),
the acclamations of praise (Rev. 19:1-5), the marriage of the Lamb (Rev. 19:610), the millennial reign (Rev. 20:4-6), the glory of the New Jerusalem (Rev.
21:922:5).
4. The Epilogue (Rev. 22:6-21).
The Abomination of Desolation
Although this phrase does not appear in the book of Revelation, an
understanding of it is helpful in ones study of the Tribulation Period, especially
the last half of the Tribulation, often called great tribulation. The Scripture
references to the abomination of desolation are Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15
and Mark 13:14. The abomination of desolation will apparently be some kind
of horrific desecration by the anti-Christ of the Temple which will be erected
in Jerusalem during the Tribulation. (Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:4.) The
abomination of desolation will possibly trigger the Great Tribulation.
7

Lesson 1

For Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Trumpet Judgments

Revelation 8:19:21

The opening of the final seal on the seven-sealed scroll leads to the seven
judgments that will be announced by trumpets. The first six trumpet judgments
are considered in these chapters. In ancient times, trumpets were used to call
people to attention and spur them to action. The trumpets mentioned here
were sounded by angels and foretold divine judgment on those who will have
rejected the true Christ. By viewing the judgments as a whole, one can see a
progressive degree of displeasure and disaster.
THE SEVEN ANGELS WITH SEVEN TRUMPETS
Revelation 8:1-6
Presented in this passage is a different group of angels, plus yet another
angel. The preparations for the trumpet judgments are also the preparations
for the answer to the prayers of the saints.
The Seventh Seal Opened (verse 1). The scroll with seven seals was first
seen in the hand of the occupant of the heavenly throne (Rev. 5:1). A search was
made throughout the universe to find someone who was worthy to remove the
seals and open the book (verses 2, 3). The only One who was deemed able to
open the scroll was Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Root of David
(verse 5). The sixth chapter of Revelation gives the account of the opening of the
first six seals on the scroll. With the removal of the first seal, the Tribulation
Period will have begun. The opening of the sixth seal takes the chronology well
toward the end of the Tribulation Period, as indicated by the announcement
that the great day of his [the Lambs] wrath is come (Rev. 6:17). The seventh
seal includes the trumpet judgments and the vials of divine wrath, which
are denoted as the seven last plagues (Rev. 15:1). Thus, the removal of the
seventh seal from the seven-sealed scroll carries the time line to the end of the
Tribulation Period.
Silence in Heaven (verse 1). The first thing that occurred with the
opening of the seventh seal was silence in heaven about the space of half an
hour (verse 1). There has been much discussion and speculation regarding this
silence. Some people have tried to attach symbolic significance to the silence
mentioned by John. However, it seems probably that the silence in Heaven will
be a reflection of keen interest and intense expectation by those in Heaven.
Up to this time, songs of praise and shouts of victory will have resonated
throughout Heaven with the great host of angels, the twenty-four elders and the
8

The Trumpet Judgments / 9


four beasts expressing themselves in
praise and adoration of the occupant
on the throne and the Lamb. In
Silence in Heaven (Revelation 8:1):
contrast, the earth will have echoed
Like the effective and strategic use of
with the anguished, and angry cries
the pause in public speaking, silence
in Heaven ushered in a profound
of those who are afflicted by divine
moment which made the forthcoming
judgment under the loosening of the
judgment on earth even more
first six seals. Probably such noises
impressive and dramatic. In the larger
will continue to be heard on earth.
picture of the entire Tribulation Period,
However, all the beings in Heaven
thirty minutes may have seemed
will be in rapt silence for about a half
relatively insignificant; and, though it
hour in anticipation of the terrible
was but for a moment, it would have
events that are yet to occur on earth.
demanded a striking break in such
The Seven Angels (verse 2). The
a rapidly moving drama. Neither
John nor the other onlookers from
angels mentioned here appear to
Heaven (Rev. 4:1) uttered a sound
have been a special group or order
during this temporary cessationno
of angels, as they were specifically
elders singing, no angels speaking,
designated by John as the seven
no thunderings booming, no chorus
angels which stood before God
rising and no praise lifting. Heaven
(verse 2). Some scholars refer to them
was awestruck at what was about to
as presence angels because they
unfold on earth.
seemingly enjoyed the distinction of
being especially near the heavenly
throne and its occupant. Their place in Heaven and their standing with God
can be likened to the special attendants of an earthly sovereign. Esther 1:14
mentions seven princes of Persia
who saw the kings face and who
sat the first in the kingdom. Those
princes were honored above all their
Biblical Use of Trumpets (Revelation
8:2): Both Judaism and Hellenism
fellows in the Persian political and
commonly employed the use of
social hierarchy. The seven angels in
trumpets in the ancient world. Their
this vision likely had the privilege
uses varied in sacred and secular,
of being directly in the presence of
military and civilian life. In biblical
God. Their standing was unique,
times, trumpets were used for, but
and their responsibility most likely
not limited to, musical performances,
was distinctive as well.
whether in worship (Psalm 98:6),
The Seven Trumpets (verse 2).
coronations, theatre and so forth;
summoning a crowd for public
Each of the seven angels was given
gatherings, as in the case of an herald;
a trumpet. This action suggests that
readying the troops for battle (Num.
they did not normally use a trumpet,
10:9), announcing the inauguration of
but the circumstances in this setting
a sacred day on the calendar (Num.
are different. Never before had the
29:1-6), and warning the people
angels who stand before God had
against an engaging foe or ensuing
such an awesome responsibility.
catastrophe (Ezek. 33:3); such was
The blasts that sounded from their
the New Testament application of the
trumpet here in Revelation 8.
trumpets signaled the close of this
age. As the seals were removed in an

Manna

Manna

10 / Revelation 8:19:21
orderly manner, so will the trumpets be sounded by the seven angels in proper
order. There are three series of trumpets associated with the end times. There
will be at least two blasts of the trumpetif there is a last trump, there has to
be at least one blast prior to the last onewhen believers of the Old and New
Testament eras are resurrected, translated and raptured. (See 1 Corinthians
15:52; compare 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.) The trumpets by the seven angels
will be sounded during the closing part of the Tribulation Period. In addition,
following the coming of Christ in glory and power, there will be a great sound
of a trumpet by which Jewish people will be called to their homeland from all
over the world (Matt. 24:31).
The Incense Altar (verse 3). The expression another angel distinguishes
this angel from the seven angels mentioned previously. The altar mentioned
in this setting is the incense altar which normally stood in the Holy Place
in the Tabernacle and Temple in front of the veil that separated the Holy of
Holies from the Holy Place (Ex. 40:26, 27). The Tabernacle and Temple were
constructed on the same plan as the heavenly Temple. (Compare Hebrews
9:23.) On the Day of Atonement it seems as if the incense altar was placed in
the Holy of Holies for the rituals of that special occasion. (See Leviticus 16:12,
13; compare Hebrews 9:1-5.) At all other times the priests burned incense twice
daily on the altar in the Holy Place (Ex. 30:7, 8) to signify that the prayers of
believers waft upward to God as the odors of the burning incense filled the
Tabernacle or Temple. (Compare Psalm 141:2; Revelation 5:8.)
The Prayers of the Saints (verses 3, 4). In the last part of verse 3 and in
verse 4, the significance of the incense is clearly stated. The prayers that would
soon be answered are those such as the petition in the Model Prayer, Thy
kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10). For
centuries faithful saints have looked forward to the coming of the kingdom, in
which the Son of God will reign over all the nations from the throne of David
as King of kings and Lord of lords. Another prayer that would soon be realized
is the plea by martyrs for divine vengeance to be inflicted upon those who have
persecuted the followers of God. (Compare Revelation 6:9-11.) Abel was the
first martyr, and during the Old Testament times many faithful prophets and
servants of the true God lost their lives because of their testimony for Him. In
the New Testament era, Stephen started a succession of martyrs, the number
of which will total in the millions by the end of the Tribulation Period.
Fire from the Altar (verse 5). The angel mentioned in this verse was first
introduced in verse 3. The actions described here indicate that God would soon
answer the prayers of the saints. The word censer denotes a container, often
elaborately ornamented or decorated, in which incense is burned, especially
in religious rites or ceremonies. The censer in this setting served a twofold
purpose. The burning of the incense spoke of the prayers that have been lifted
to God. Then after the incense was burned, the angel filled it with burning
coals from the altar and cast its contents on the earth. On the surface, it might
seem as if that in itself was an act of judgment, but it really was preparatory
to the judgments that would follow with the sounding of the seven trumpets.
Previously, John had heard and seen lightnings and thunderings and voices
coming from the throne of God (Rev. 4:5), which denoted the awesome power of

The Trumpet Judgments / 11


God. (Compare Exodus 19:16-19; 20:18, 19.) On this occasion, there was also an
earthquake, thus indicating that the focus of the judgments to follow would be
on the earth.
Preparation for Sounding the Trumpets (verse 6). With the casting of
the fire from the altar onto the earth, the silence in Heaven was broken by the
voices, thunderings and lightnings. The seven angels with the trumpets then
prepared to blow their instruments. Those angels did not execute the judgments
which they announced. That was Gods responsibility. The fact that the angels
prepared themselves to sound their trumpets indicates that there was no rush
to judgment, but the judgments that would follow would be thorough.
THE FIRST AND SECOND JUDGMENTS
Revelation 8:7-9
The first trumpet judgment affected the earths vegetation, and the second
one affected the sea, including the creatures in it and the commercial enterprises
using it.
The First Trumpet (verse 7). The effects of this judgment are a reminder
of one of the plagues that God inflicted on Egypt during the time of Moses.
Exodus 9:22-25 relates that thunder and hail mingled with fire was sent on
Egypt with devastating effects, not only to the vegetation, but to animals and
humans as well. In the first trumpet judgment, hail and fire mingled with
blood were hurled onto the earth resulting in the destruction of one-third of the
trees and all the grass. The reference to blood most likely denotes injuries that
will be inflicted on people and animals from the hailstones. If so, then the hail
stones will have to be quite large to cause such injuries. Although the Scripture
does not indicate it, some humans and animals will probably die from the hail.
The fire will probably be caused by lightning. Since trees are stronger than
grass, they will be able better to withstand the effects of the hail and fire with
two-thirds of the trees surviving. Because of this first trumpet judgment, the
earth will have the appearance of a desolate wasteland.
The Second Trumpet (verses 8, 9). In considering this judgment, one
needs to note carefully what happened and the results of it. The Bible says
that something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the
sea (verse 8). It is evident that this was not an actual mountain because of the
phrase, as [if] it were. What the fiery mountain was is not known for certain.
Since it was cast into the sea, it possibly was something like the eruption of a
gigantic volcano, or a large land mass that seemingly exploded for some reason.
The effects of this judgment were as devastating as those of the preceding
judgment. Like the Nile River in Moses time, the sea became blood when the
fiery mountain plunged into it. (Compare Exodus 7:17, 18.) The contamination
of the waters of the sea will cause one-third of the creatures in the ocean to die.
The destruction also caused by the falling of the molten mountain-like mass
into the sea will affect a third of the oceanic commercial operations.
THE THIRD AND FOURTH JUDGMENTS
Revelation 8:10-12
The third judgment, like the first two, also affected the earth, while the
effects of the fourth judgment reached even further and impacted the entire
solar system, of which the earth is part.

12 / Revelation 8:19:21
The Third Trumpet (verses
10, 11). The first trumpet
judgment fell upon the earth,
Wormwood (Revelation 8:11): Wormwood
while the second one affected
was a proper name attributed to a star
the sea. The third judgment
which poisoned a large portion of the
contaminated one-third of the
drinking water on earth and because the
fresh water sources on the
human body needed replenishing daily, one
earth (verse 10). The means
could easily have identified the problem at
by
which that occurred is
hand. Wormwood, then, is a metaphor of the
described as a great star from
coming destruction and subsequent death.
heaven (verse 10). Unlike the
However, wormwood was actually and
account of the second judgment
literally a plant with a strong, bitter taste
it exuded a bitter liquid. Though most
in which the fiery mass that fell
scholars have insisted that the plant itself
into the ocean was said to be
was not poisonous, its bitterness suggested
as [if] it were a great mountain
death and the sorrow which accompanied
burning (verse 8), no figurative
it. The potency of the wormwood plant was
language is used here. Thus, the
often referred to as Deuteronomy 29:18 and
word
star should be interpreted
Proverbs 5:4 and Jeremiah 9:15 confirm.
literally. Three designations are
Additionally, Lamentations 3:15 suggests
given to the heavenly bodies
the result of its consumptiondrunkenness.
sun, moon, and stars (Gen.
1:16). All heavenly bodies other
than the sun or moon are stars as far as the Bible is concerned. The great star
from heaven (verse 10) mentioned here will quite possibly be a huge meteor
that breaks into many pieces when it hits the earths atmosphere. Any pieces
that land in mountainous regions where many of the earths rivers have their
origin could cause contamination of water sources by the noxious elements
from the great star (verse 10). The Greek term for wormwood is the basis
for absinthe, a bitter-tasting liquid that can cause death in some instances.
(Compare Proverbs 5:4; Jeremiah 23:15.)
The Fourth Trumpet (verse 12). The effects of this judgment were focused
on the heavenly bodies in the solar system. The consequences were that the
third part of the sun, moon and stars were darkened and did not shine for
one-third of the day or night. Although similar occurrences were noted when
the sixth seal was opened (Rev. 6:12, 13), it seems that the respective events
in these judgments were sufficiently dissimilar as to be the components of two
different phenomena. How the light of the heavenly bodies will be reduced
is not clear, nor is it clear whether the darkening effects are permanent or
temporary. Quite possibly, the atmosphere immediately surrounding the earth
will become so heavily polluted that the brightness of the light from the sun,
moon and stars will be reduced by one-third, thus shortening the hours of
daylight accordingly and rendering the darkest part of the night even darker.
The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel both foretold divine judgments that will affect
the brightness of the heavenly bodies (Isa. 13:10; Ezek. 32:7, 8).

Manna

THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THREE WOES


Revelation 8:13
Before the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, there was a pause during which
another angel announced woes regarding the three remaining judgments. The

The Trumpet Judgments / 13


reason for such a pronouncement was because of the nature of those judgments
and their consequences.
The Messenger. According to some commentaries, the word angel should
have been rendered eagle. However, other authorities insist that the rendering
given in the King James Version is correctly translated as angel. This certainly
seems logical to assume since what some people attribute to an eagle is what is
usually and normally done by angels. An angel is a messenger of God, and this
was a critical message that needed to be announced. Thus far in Revelation,
information had been conveyed by an elder, one of the four beasts or by an angel.
There has not been any situation in which anything other than intelligent
beings have served as messengers for God. The Omnipotent God certainly could
use an eagle or some other creature as a messenger, but there is no reason for
Him to do so since other beings are readily available to serve Him in such a
capacity.
The Message. The message delivered
by the angel was, Woe, woe, woe (verse
Woe, woe, woe: the thrice
13). These words were directed to the
repeated term of interjection
inhabiters of the earth (verse 13), a term
calls for emphasis on the
used in Revelation to denote those who
impending doom that is to come.
Anytime words are repeated in
reject the true God and His Christ and
this manner in the Hebrew mind,
embrace the anti-Christ instead. (Compare
it stresses the importance of the
Revelation 11:10; 13:8.) The reason for the
word. Word Study #3759.
threefold message of woe was because the
remaining judgments will be even much
more destructive than were the first four. The Greek word for woe is ouai
(ooh-eye), which is an interjection of intense grief or sorrow. Thus, this verse
introduces in a solemn manner the three remaining trumpet judgments. The
pronouncement of a triple woe indicates a more intensified form of judgment
than any previously inflicted upon the earth. These final trumpet judgments
will extend to the end of the Tribulation Period, a reflection of the fact that the
number three is one of the biblical numbers that denotes completion, fullness
or perfection.
THE FIFTH TRUMPET
Revelation 9:1-12
This chapter gives the account of the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments.
These judgments are distinctive in that they both involve demonic creatures.
During the Tribulation Period not only will there be terrible natural calamities
and awesome solar disruptions, but there also will be instances when demonic
spirits are allowed to torment mankind.
The Star with a Key (verse 1). Two critical matters are mentioned in this
versethe star and the key. It is obvious from the context that the word star
denotes an angelic being of some nature. Some have speculated that it refers to
Christ, an archangel or some other exalted angel. Others teach that the term
star indicates Satan. According to some Greek scholars, the verb fall is actually
having fallen. The angelic being that John saw in this vision was the one whom
Christ mentioned in Luke 10:18, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

14 / Revelation 8:19:21
The fact that Satan was given (Rev. 9:1) the key to the bottomless pit shows
that he is not in control of that place. Instead, the bottomless pit, like all other
regions in the realms of spirit beings is under the control of the Omnipotent
God. Satan was temporarily given the key to the bottomless pit for a specific
reason, as will be noted later. The Greek term for bottomless pit is the word
from which we get abyss. It is the same as the term the deep in Genesis 1:2 (See
also Luke 8:31; Romans 10:7.) and is most likely the same as the great gulf in
Luke 16:26.
The Bottomless Pit Opened
(verse 2). With the key that
had been given to him, probably
The Bottomless Pit (Revelation 9:2):
by Christ, Satan opened the
Many have insisted that the bottomless
bottomless pit. When he did so,
pit (verse 2) was the pit of the abyss.
black smoke billowed out of the
Some have identified it as the abyss of
pit in such great volume as to
sheolthe subterranean underworld,
darken all the earths atmosphere,
concluding that it could never be filled.
diminishing the light of the sun.
This logic lent itself to thought that
The bottomless pit is in the lower
Proverbs 27:20 be taken literally, rather
than metaphorically, when Solomon
regions of the earth. Scientists
noted that hell . . . [is] never full.
teach that the interior of the earth
Isaiah then would have concurred with
is intensely hot, hotter than the
said reasoning of the wise king when
human mind can comprehend or
he stated, Therefore hell hath enlarged
even
imagine. One of the regions of
herself; and opened her mouth without
the underworld is what is generally
measure (Isa. 5:14). Quite literally, it
called hell, where the souls of
was unfathomably deep or without
depth. While many things are not known
the unsaved suffer excruciating
about this pit, many things are. It was
torment while awaiting the
mentioned seven times in Revelation; it
Great White Throne Judgment,
was the abode of the demons; it was the
after which they will be cast into
place of severe torment and isolation; it
the lake of fire to suffer forever
was often equated to Sheol, Hades and
and ever. The bottomless pit is
Gehenna; and, it was one of the most
another region of the underworld,
graphic images of hell.
and in this place are confined
an innumerable host of demonic
spirits. Whether they are suffering or not is not clear; however, since the
demons in Luke 8:31 pleaded for Christ not to send them into the abyss, it
seems as if those confined there certainly could be suffering. It is evident that
the bottomless pit is full of smoke, and if there is smoke there is likely to be fire.
The Demonic Locusts (verse 3). As the smoke boils out of the bottomless
pit, creatures start flying out of the smoke. The Bible calls them locusts (verse
3); however, it is clear that they are not ordinary locusts. These locusts are
invested with power like a scorpion, which means that they are able to inflict
intense pain. Locusts are essentially the same as grasshoppers. While they can
be devastating to crops and other vegetation, they are not harmful to human
beings. In fact, locusts are a source of food in some places. (Compare Matthew
3:4.) The locusts observed by John were given power, a word that is from the

Manna

The Trumpet Judgments / 15


Greek term exousia (ex-oo-see-ah), which essentially means authority. This
is the kind of power Christ mentioned when He gave the Great Commission
(Matt. 28:18). The authoritative power of the locusts was also said to be like the
power (exousia) of scorpions. The power of scorpions is the stinger in their tails.
Thus, the locusts John saw were dangerous, destructive creatures which would
use their tails to inflict pain and suffering upon mankind.
The Torment Inflicted by the Demonic Locusts (verses 4-6). Ordinary
locusts eat grass, leaves and other vegetable matter. Swarms of locusts have
been known to cause famine in third world countries. Even in more highly
developed countries, locusts can wreak havoc with crops. However, the demonic
locusts seen by John were not permitted to harm any green thing (verse 4)
but instead were to afflict those who do
not have the seal of God in their foreheads
Tormented: these would not
(verse 4; Rev. 7:4). The 144,000 Jews who
see death but would receive
were sealed to serve God will be spared the
the harassment and distress of
ravages of the demonic locusts. All others
grievous pains. This verb is used
will be subject to the ravages of the infernal
in the first of three appearances
of the word. The people would
creatures from the bottomless pit. One
be tortured and vexed without
can probably assume, however, that the
question. Word Study #928
brunt of the locust attacks will be inflicted
on the followers of the anti-Christ, while
Tribulation believers will not be dealt with so savagely. The agonizing torment
meted out by the demonic locusts will be like scorpion stings (Rev. 9:5). Even
still the grace of God will be evident in that the locust attacks will last only
for five months. The number five is regarded by many Bible scholars as being
symbolic of divine grace. Perhaps the worst thing about the torment of the
demonic locusts is the fact that their stings will cause such excruciating pain
that those who are afflicted will seek death to escape their horrific sufferings,
but will not be permitted by God to die (verse 6).
The Appearance of the Demonic Locusts (verses 7-10). The somewhat
detailed description of the demonic locusts is indicative of an army arrayed for
battle. In appearance, they seem to be a composite of four beingsthe horse, the
man, the lion, the scorpionwhich makes them an infernal counterpart to the
four living creatures around the heavenly throne. As for a specific description,
the following seven matters are included:
Heads. The crowns of gold indicate they are capable of victory and have a
measure of authority.
Faces. The man-like faces of these creatures indicate that they are intelligent
beings.
Hair. The fact that the demonic locusts have hair like women denotes an
effeminacy and a subjection; however, their subjection is to Satan rather than
God.
Teeth. With teeth like those of a lion, the locusts are vicious and
destructive.
Breastplates. The breastplates of iron indicate that the demonic creatures
will be immune from any efforts to destroy them.

16 / Revelation 8:19:21
Wings. Their wings make them sound like many chariots with horses, thus
striking fear into the hearts of those whom they attack.
Tails. This is the worst part of their composition, as their tails have scorpionlike stingers with which they will inflict intense anguish and pain.
The Ruler of the Demonic Locusts
(verse 11). The ruler of the demonic
Apollyon: the king is called a
locusts is designated as a king who is
destroyer. No matter the language
the angel of the bottomless pit whose
or tongue, the deceiver is one
name is Abaddon in Hebrew or Apollyon
who destroys those around him.
in Greek. Both of these terms essentially
This one of the bottomless pit
mean
destroyer. Bible scholars are not
will destroy any and all who listen
in agreement as to whether these titles
to his lies. Word Study #623.
refer to Satan, or to a demon spirit with an
exalted rank. It is entirely possible that
the angel of the abyss is the same entity as the beast out of the bottomless
pit mentioned in Revelation 11:7. This writer believes that the ruler of the
demonic locusts is a demon who is over the other demons in the bottomless
pit. Since the demon spirits were once holy angels who followed Lucifer in his
rebellion against God, it is logical to assume that there is a hierarchy in regard
to the demons as well as among the holy angels. Death and destruction are the
final results of all with which Satan and his demons are involved. Even though
Satan and the demons are powerful, God is still the supreme sovereign in the
universe. (Note: The reference in Revelation 11 will be considered in Lesson 2.)
The First Woe (verse 12). John concluded his account of the fifth trumpet
judgment by stating one woe is past (verse 12). The verb is past indicates
that the vision was completed as far as its revelation to John was concerned;
however, the effects of this judgment will continue to the end of the Tribulation
Period. John was also told that there were two more woes to follow, which
would be the sixth and seventh trumpet judgments. The sixth judgment is
related in Revelation 9:13-21, while the account of the seventh judgment is
given in Revelation 11:14-19. (Note: The information regarding the little book
in Revelation 10 and the two witnesses in Revelation 11:1-13 are parenthetic
passages which are related to the sixth trumpet judgment.)
THE SIXTH TRUMPET
Revelation 9:13-21
This judgment, the second of the woe judgments, also involves demonic
spirits. It is different from the fifth trumpet judgment in that these demons
were permitted to kill as many as one-third of the earths population.
The Voice from the Altar (verse 13). The altar mentioned in this verse is
the incense altar which was noted previously. (Review comments on Revelation
8:3-5.) Whether or not the voice John heard from the altar was Gods voice is
not clear. However, if the speaker were not God Himself, one can be certain
that whoever spoke the words John heard did so at the direction of God. The
phrase, four horns of the golden altar, denotes the decorative finials that were
included on each of the corners of the top of the incense altar. The term before
God indicates the location of the golden altar in the Tabernacle or Temple. The

The Trumpet Judgments / 17


altar was situated in front of the curtain or veil that separated the Holy Place
from the Holy of Holies. On the Day of Atonement, the incense altar was moved
into the Holy of Holies. Since the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies was regarded
as the throne of God among the Jewish people, the close proximity of the altar
of incense to the mercy seat placed the altar before God.
The Angels in the Euphrates (verse 14). Yet another group of angels
is mentioned in this versethe four angels which are bound in the great
river Euphrates. The number four has been noted previously as the number
associated with the world. On the fourth day the material creation was finished
(Gen. 1:14-19); there are four seasons of the yearspring, summer, fall and
winter; there are four regions of the eartheast, south, west and north. The
fact that these angels are described as being bound indicates that they are
not holy angels, but fallen angels. Holy angels are not bound, but at least
some demon spirits are. (Compare 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6.) These fallen angels are
restrained in the vicinity of the Euphrates River, the region in which the early
worldwide empiresAssyria, Babylon and Persiaarose and the area where
much satanic activity has occurred through the centuries. The permissive will
of God will allow these angels to be released so they can lead a great cavalry
of demonic spirits who will be permitted to inflict intense suffering and much
death on the worlds inhabitants.
The 200,000,000 Cavalry
(verses 15, 16). The time of
the release of the four demonic
Two Hundred Thousand Thousand
spirits will occur exactly
Horsemen (Revelation 9:16): Such an
when God is ready for them to
army, consisting of a massive cavalry, has
never been seen. The combined forces
accomplish their evil mission.
of the allied armies were some seventy
According to many Greek
million at their peak during World War
scholars, the expression, an
II, and here a single army was some two
hour, and a day, and a month,
hundred million stronga thousand
and a year, actually means the
thousand was a million, so two hundred
thousand thousand would be two hundred
hour, and day, and month and
million soldiers. The question remained
year. They will be released from
who was able to assemble such a massive
their bonds at the precise time
military march? The answer has been
when they can most effectively
debated for years, but theologians have
perform their wicked mission
agreed that Red China is, at least, a viable
candidate, since it seems to have been the
of killing one-third of the
only military able to amass such a group.
earths population (verse 15).
The agents of death will be a
cavalry, or an army of horsemen. A similar situation in a positive sense arose
in the time of Elisha, a prophet of the Old Testament era, who was protected
by an army of holy angels (2 Kings 6:17). The number of demonic spirits in the
infernal cavalry of the end time was denoted as being two hundred thousand
thousand, which is the same as 200,000,000. Even if that is a rounded off
figure, it nonetheless denotes a sizeable and formidable force. Under the fifth
trumpet judgment there was no number given for the horde of demonic locusts.
Here, however, the number that is cited is so great as to be mind-boggling.

Manna

18 / Revelation 8:19:21
The Description of the Cavalry (verse 17). Three things were mentioned
specifically by John in regard to the description of the 200,000,000 demons and
their mounts.
The riders breastplates. In ancient
times, breastplates protected the soldiers
Brimstone: twice used in the verse,
from weapons such as spears, swords
the first usage speaks of the color,
and darts. The demonic horsemen in this
yellow more than the second. The
vision were protected by breastplates of
second term speaks of the sulfur
fire, and of jacinth [a blue gem, probably
that emits from the beast. It is a
sapphire], and brimstone [sulfur] (verse
description of the horror of it all.
Word Studies #2303 and #2306.
17).
The horses heads. Lions are ferocious
beasts that are feared by practically all
other animals. Their roar is terrifying in itself, and their killer nature makes
them even more dangerous. The mounts John saw were awesome in appearance,
but were fearless in their assaults against mankind.
The horses weapons. Note in this vision the weapons were wielded by the
horses instead of the riders, which indicates that the horses were demonic
creatures as well as the riders. The weapons used by the mounts released by
the four fallen angels were fire, smoke and brimstone.
The Power of the Cavalry (verses 18, 19). In contrast to the demonic
locusts who did not kill anyone but tormented people with scorpion-like stings,
the horses seen by John killed many people. In fact, one third of the worlds
population was killed by the fire, smoke and sulfur that billowed from the
mouths of the demonic horses. One can only imagine how horrible would be
such an experience of death from these agents. To be burned alive would be
an excruciating way to die, and to be suffocated by sulfurous smoke probably
would be equally gruesome. The supernatural nature of the demonic steeds
in this vision is further emphasized by the fact that their power is in their
mouth and in their tails (verse 19). From their mouths issued the fire, smoke
and brimstone. Their tails were like serpents, and by the heads of the serpents
they inflicted pain. In this regard the horses in the sixth vision were similar
to the locusts in the fifth vision, as both creatures had tails by which misery
and suffering could be inflicted. Thus, the people who were not killed by the
infernal horses were subjected nonetheless to intense, agonizing suffering.
The implication from verse 20 is that the victims of the 200,000,000 demonic
cavalry will be those who embrace the anti-Christ.
The Unrepentant Survivors (verses 20, 21). The account of this vision
closes on a somber note indeed. One would think that such intense affliction
would cause people to turn to the Lord in great numbers, but that will not be
so. Instead of repenting of their sins, those who embrace the anti-Christ will
be even more firmly entrenched in their unbelief and rejection of the true God
and His Christ. The sins in which such people will be involved include some
of the most defiant attitudes and actions against the holy God, as they will
be worshipers of demons (devils) and of all manner of idols. Moreover, they
will be guilty of murder and drug-induced activities. (Note: The word sorceries

The Trumpet Judgments / 19


is from pharmakeia, from which comes
pharmacy, pharmaceutical and so forth.)
Sorceries: our English word
Additional sins committed by the people
pharmacy comes from this term.
The idea is the enchantments that
will be fornication, which includes sexual
cause us to think of something
immorality of all degrees and descriptions
else other than reality. It can also
and thefts. Even though thievery might be
be translated magic arts. Word
regarded as a minor crime, its inclusion in
Study #5331.
this context indicates that lack of respect
for property is likely to lead to even more
serious sins. Those who persistently
harden their hearts against God are likely to become so defiant that they will
become beyond conviction. (Compare Proverbs 28:14; 29:1.)
THE TRUMPET JUDGMENTS
Revelation 8:19:21
Six of the trumpet judgments were considered in this study. The consequences
of the first four of these judgments affected tremendously the earths vegetation,
sea life and oceanic commerce, the earths fresh water sources and the solar
bodies. Great misery and much death resulted from all the calamities associated
with these judgments. However, the remaining judgments were designated as
woes because their devastation was even worse. The fifth and sixth judgments
involved demonic hordes that were unleashed on the earths inhabitants.

Lesson 2

For Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Two Witnesses

Revelation 10:111:14

The passage selected for this lesson includes the account of two matters that
could be considered parenthetic portions intervening between the sixth and
seventh trumpet judgments. The tenth chapter of Revelation tells about a little
book which John found to be sweet at first but bitter afterwards. In chapter
11 is the account of Gods two witnesses, a topic which has generated much
speculation and discussion by students of the Scriptures. The events in these
chapters were preparatory for the seventh and final trumpet judgment.
THE LITTLE BOOK
Revelation 10:1-4
These verses give the setting for what could be regarded as a recommissioning
of John in his responsibility to give the revelation of Jesus Christ to the seven
churches of Asia and to subsequent believers and churches. The mighty angel
and the little book reiterated what John was to proclaim concerning things
yet to come.
Another Mighty Angel (verse 1). The statement, another mighty angel,
actually means another kind of angel who was also a mighty angel. The Greek
word for another denotes something of a different kind. This distinguishes the
angel mentioned in this setting from the seven trumpet angels. Mighty is from
a term which indicates strength or ability that one possesses in and of himself.
The mighty angel John saw was Jesus Christ Himself. This instance of His
coming down from Heaven is not associated with either His coming to resurrect,
translate and rapture believers from the Old and New Testament eras, nor is it
His coming in power and glory to defeat the anti-Christ and his followers and
establish the millennial kingdom, although this phase of His second coming
will soon follow the events involved in chapter 10. The coming mentioned here
is a function of Christ as the messengerthe Greek word for angel essentially
means messengerof the Omnipotent, Omniscient Almighty God. The fact
that He was clothed with a cloud (verse 1) denotes His majesty. The rainbow
is a reminder that He is a God who keeps His covenants. (Compare Genesis
9:12-17.) The descriptive terms regarding His face and feet are similar to those
mentioned in Revelation 1:14, 15.
The Little Book (verse 2). In the first part of this verse, John mentioned
that the mighty angel had in his hand a little book [which was] open (verse
2). This scroll is most likely the same one mentioned in Revelation 5:1-9. There
20

The Two Witnesses / 21


the book was closed with seven seals; here it is open because all the seals have
been loosened by Christ and the message on the scroll unveiled for all to know.
The breaking of the seventh seal introduced the seven trumpet judgments, six
of which have been considered. The message of the seventh trumpet, which will
follow soon, is the longest of all those judgments. Since much of the information
in the seven-sealed book has been disclosed, it is smaller in the sense that there
is less that is yet to be divulged. The fact that the little book had been opened
should undisputedly settle the matter about whether the book of Revelation
should or should not be read and studied. Since the little book is described as
having been opened, its contents can be understood as readily as any other
portion of Scripture. Certainly, no one can understand this book, or any other
portion of the Scriptures completely, but believers are encouraged to study all
the Bible. (Compare 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16, 17.)
The Loud Roar (verses 2, 3). In Johns vision of this event, he saw the mighty
angel come down from Heaven and set his right foot upon the sea, and his left
foot on the earth (verse 2). Such a posture is indicative of an assumption of
possession. In short order the Son of God will defeat His enemies and establish
His kingdom on earth. There will not be any region on the face of this globe
that will be beyond the scope of His dominion. For one thousand years He will
be the supreme sovereign over all the nations. In verse 3, John mentioned that
Christ cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth. Previously, references
have been made regarding some lion-like features of demonic creatures (Rev.
9:8, 17), as well as the fact that one of the living creatures was described as
being like a lion (Rev. 4:7). In addition, Christ Himself was called the Lion
of the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5). The roaring like a lion mentioned here is the
second such reference in the New Testament. Satan goes about as a roaring
lion seeking to destroy (1 Peter 5:8). Christ will roar as He prepares to become
the sovereign over the earth. According to Dr. Fred G. Stevenson, who for many
years was professor of Greek and Hebrew at the Missionary Baptist Seminary
in Little Rock, Arkansas, the roaring in this text is said to be his mating cry.
(See A Commentary on Revelation, Vol. 1, page 237.) If this is so, then this roar
will be the announcement of Christs impending marriage to His church ( Rev.
19:6-9).
Forbidden to Write (verses 3, 4). In response to the loud roaring of the
mighty angel, seven thunders uttered their voices (verse 3). This is the fourth
reference to thunder as part of the divine phenomena mentioned thus far
in Revelation (Rev. 4:5; 6:1; 8:5). In each of the previous instances, thunder
was indicative of the majesty and power of God. No doubt, this is true in this
instance; however, when John was about to record the message he heard from
the seven thunders, he was forbidden by God to do so (verse 4). John evidently
understood clearly what the sound of the thunders indicated, but the voice
from Heaven would not permit him to record what he had heard. The fact
that there were seven thunders denotes a complete message, and if the roar of
the mighty angel was indeed a mating call as Dr. Stevenson suggested, then
what John heard probably referred to the marriage of Christ and His church.
However, students of the Bible will have to wait until God chooses to reveal

22 / Revelation 10:111:14
the message of the seven thunders. The prophet Daniel was directed to seal up
some of the prophecies he had received until the time of the end (Dan. 12:4,
9). In this instance, however, no such reference was made.
NO FURTHER DELAY
Revelation 10:5-7
Although this passage includes the expression, there should be time no longer
(verse 6), it is not a reference to the end of time or an announcement of the
resumption of eternity. What it signifies instead is the fact that God would soon
resolve the matter of the devils rebellion against Him and all the consequences
of that rebellion.
The Angels Announcement (verses 5, 6). In verse 5, John reiterated the
position that had been previously assumed by the mighty angel, the purpose
of which was to emphasize His sovereignty over all the creation. The act of
lifting up His hand to Heaven was an indication that He was about to take
an oath, the substance of which can be seen in verse 6. The mighty angel
swore by the One who is eternal, omnipotent and omniscient, the Creator of
all things. This reminds one of how God swore by Himself when He gave the
Abrahamic Covenant (Heb. 6:13). Two things are mentioned in regard to God
His eternality and His creative acts. God is the only being of whom it can be
said that He lives forever and ever. All other beings have a point of origin and,
either directly or indirectly, were created by God. Even the devil and the fallen
angels were created by God, but they were
originally created in a sinless state. Later,
they chose to rebel against God, and the
Time: the chronology of counted
measure of time is implied here.
same can be said for mankind also. In the
This has to do with time counted
phrase, there should be time no longer, the
not quality. The chronology of
word time could be translated delay, as
things will cease in this verse. No
indicated by the verb form of the Greek
doubt this refers to quantity not
term in Matthew 24:48 and Luke 12:45.
quality. Word Study #5550.
Thus, the mighty angel declared that
there would not be any further delay in the
accomplishment of the divine purposes.
The Mystery of God Finished (verse 7). In this verse, John laid out the
chronological sequence of the order of events when the purposes of God will be
accomplished. First, it will occur in the days of the voice of the seventh angel
(verse 7). This will be the announcement of the seventh trumpet judgment,
which will lead to the outpouring of the seven vials, or bowls, of divine
judgment on the earth and its inhabitants. Next, it will mark the fulfillment of
the mystery of God (verse 7). The word mystery indicates a scriptural truth or
teaching, intimations of which are given prior to the time of its full explanation
or revelation. For example, people have known about the mystery of iniquity
ever since the fall of mankind; however, the complete manifestation of this
mystery will not occur until the revelation of the anti-Christ (2 Thess. 2:7, 8).
Some of the other biblical mysteries are the mysteries of the kingdom (Matt.
13:11), the mystery of the fullness of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:25), the mystery
concerning Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32) and so forth. The mystery of

The Two Witnesses / 23


God mentioned in this verse is the fulfillment of all the divine purposes and
promises. The final accomplishment of this mystery will not be realized until
after the millennial reign of Christ, but the beginning of its fulfillment will
occur with the coming of Christ in power and glory.
REACTION TO THE LITTLE BOOK
Revelation 10:8-11
In this passage, the focus shifts from the mighty angel from Heaven to the
little book which He held in his hand. The message on the scroll had mixed
effects on John. On the one hand he was pleased with what he read, but he was
also greatly disturbed by the contents of the little book.
The Voice from Heaven (verse 8). Earlier, the voice from Heaven had
instructed John not to record the words of the seven thunders (verse 4). When
the heavenly voice spoke again, the apostle was told to take the little book from
the mighty angel. In both instances, the speaker was God Himself. During the
earthly ministry of Christ, a voice came from Heaven on three occasionsat
His baptism (Matt. 3:16, 17), at His transfiguration (Matt. 17:4, 5) and during
the final days prior to His crucifixion (John 12:28). Such a voice holds an
authority that surpasses and supercedes anything which might be proclaimed
by any created being. Once again John mentioned that the little book was open,
indicating that the seven seals had all been loosed. The apostle also described
the book as being in the hand of the mighty angel whose sovereignty over the
entire creation was denoted by the fact that He stood upon the sea and the
earth. Note that the angel from whom John took the scroll was the same being
as the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Root of David who had prevailed and
was thereby entitled to take the seven-sealed book and open its seals (Rev. 5:5).
Eating the Little Book (verses 9, 10). In obedience to the instructions he
received from the heavenly voice, John went up to the mighty angel and asked
for the little book. In giving the scroll to John the angel told him, Take it, and
eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth as honey
(verse 9). It is clear from Psalm 119:103 that the little book was a portion of
the Word of GodHow sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than
honey to my mouth! One eats or consumes the Scriptures by reading them and
meditating on them. Studying the Bible gives a great measure of satisfaction
to believers. Johns experience in this matter was similar to that of the prophet
Ezekiel when he was told to eat the scroll that was given to him (Ezek. 2:8
3:3). Even though the message Ezekiel received was one of judgment, it was
sweet as honey nonetheless because it was a word from God. John was told
that the little book would be sweet in his mouth, but it would be bitter in his
stomach. The reason for such differing sensations was probably because the
satisfaction derived from reading the contents of the opened scroll would be
superceded by a realization of the awesome events that would occur as the
Tribulation Period approached its conclusion. Some judgments with horrible
consequences were yet to be inflicted on the earth.
The Recommissioning of John (verse 11). The bitterness John experienced
as he read the contents of the little book quite possibly made him reluctant
to continue giving its message. Under the best of circumstances, his mission

24 / Revelation 10:111:14
was a difficult one, and the horrible events that were yet to come probably
caused the apostle to shrink from the calling he had received. Thus, the mighty
angel told John that he was to continue to prophesy, and his message would go
before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings (verse 11). Since
the immediate recipients of Johns writing were the seven churches of Asia, the
angels words to the apostle on this occasion were not fulfilled then. With the
passing of time, however, the message of the book of Revelation, along with the
rest of the Scriptures, has gone out to people in all walks of life in many nations
and languages. Because of Gods desire to get the end-time prophecies to as
wide an audience as possible as quickly as possible, He promised the threefold
blessing in Revelation 1:3, Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the
words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the
time is at hand. With over half of the message of Revelation yet to be received
and recorded, John was recommissioned for the awesome task that remained
ahead.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF
THE TWO WITNESSES
Revelation 11:1-6
The account of the two witnesses is another parenthetic portion in the
narrative of Revelation. The identity of the two witnesses has been a source
of considerable discussion and speculation throughout the centuries among
students of the Scriptures. Some have taught that the two witnesses are the
Old and New Testaments; others have insisted that they are the nation of
Israel from the Old Testament era and the institutional church from the New
Testament era. Yet, another theory holds that the two witnesses are the Holy
Spirit and the Scriptures. However, the most commonly accepted view is that
the two witnesses are two men of God who will appear during the end times.
Among the men suggested for this all-important function are Enoch, Moses,
Elijah, John the Baptist and the apostle John. While scriptural or logical
arguments for each of these men can be cited, this writer believes that the two
witnesses will be Enoch and Elijah, the only two men who did not experience
physical death when they left this world.

The Preparation for the Two
Witnesses (verses 1, 2). Prior to receiving
Reed: this is the writing
the information regarding the two witnesses,
instrument used in the first
John was instructed to measure the temple
century. The reed here would
of God, and the altar, and them that worship
have been a measuring rod
therein
(verse 1). Since this incident will
cut to a precise length and
occur during the Tribulation Period, the
certified to its accuracy.
Temple indicated here is evidently the one
Word Study #2563.
mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Even
though that Temple will be desecrated by the
anti-Christ, it is acknowledged as the temple of God (Rev. 11:1) nonetheless.
The reason for measuring the Temple, its altar and its worshipers is for their
protection from the terrible calamities that will occur in Jerusalem during the
last half of the Tribulation Period. (Compare Ezekiel 4042; Zechariah 1:16.)

The Two Witnesses / 25


The reference to the court which
is without the Temple (Rev. 11:2)
certainly denotes the Court of
The Tribulation Temple (Revelation
the Gentiles, but possibly does
11:1): The first Temple era was defined
not include the Court of Women
by Solomons Templedesigned after
or the Court of the Jews because
the Tabernacle. The second Temple era
those areas were where devout
was that of Zerubbabels Templerebuilt
Jews gathered for prayer and
after the Babylonians destroyed it in 586
worship. (Compare Luke 1:9,
BC. The third Temple era was Herods
10, 22; Acts 3:1-6; 5:20, 21.) The
Temple (so noted because of his added
architecture)during the days of Christ.
court without the Temple and the
The fourth Temple era was called Ezekiels
rest of the city of Jerusalem will
Templethe millennial Temple. Was this
be trodden under the feet of the
yet another Temple eraa Tribulation
Gentiles for forty-two months,
Temple? Scholars have struggled with
a period equal to three and a
how to handle this interlude (Rev. 11:1half years, 1,260 days and time,
13) prior to the sounding of the seventh
times and a half time. All of these
trumpet. It seems there must be a Temple
references indicate the last half
in Jerusalem during the Tribulation
of the Tribulation Period.
Period (Daniel 9:27; 12:11; Matthew 24:15;
The Prophecies of the Two
2 Thessalonians 2:4). Will this be the
Witnesses (verse 3). In this
fourth Temple era and will the millennial
verse, God abruptly mentioned
Temple be the fifth?
His two witnesses without any
introduction or preliminary re
marks. As stated previously, this writer believes that the two witnesses will
be Enoch, a patriarch who walked with God prior to the flood, and Elijah, a
prophet who ministered to Israel during a time of great spiritual declension for
that nation. Neither of those men experienced physical death but were taken
alive from this world into the spiritual
realm. The substance of their prophecies
Clothed in sackcloth: the
will not necessarily be foretellings of the
witnesses will have draped
futurealthough some predictions will
around them the symbols of
undoubtedly be madebut forthtellings
mourning. Sackcloth is the rough
regarding the purposes of God. A witness is
black goats hair clothing that tells
to give testimony of what he or she knows,
all who look upon the witnesses
of the condition of mourning that
and these witnesses will proclaim what
exists within their hearts. Word
the people of their time, believers as well
Studies #4016 and #4526.
as unbelievers, need to hear. Most likely,
the major part of their testimony will be of
impending judgment, as indicated by the
fact that they will be clad in sackcloth, the clothing of deep grief and great
distress. The duration of their ministrytwelve hundred sixty daysis the
same period of time in which the followers of the anti-Christ will tread under
their feet the city of Jerusalem.
The Pattern for the Two Witnesses (verse 4). John was told that the two
witnesses of the end times were prefigured by the two olive trees, and the two

Manna

26 / Revelation 10:111:14
candlesticks [lampstands], an
allusion to a vision given to
the prophet Zechariah (Zech.
Olive Trees and Candlesticks (Revelation
4:2, 3, 11-14). In that vision,
11:4): The olive tree was noted most for its
there was only one lampstand,
longevity and daily dependence. A few of
the olive trees in and around the Garden of
and the oil from the two olive
Gethsemane are two thousand years old.
trees provided the fuel for
They have an uncanny ability to perpetuate
the lamp. The two olive trees
themselves through a unique reproductive
probably denoted the civil
system, in part, giving rise to their often
and religious leaders of the
mangled and snarled appearance. The
Jews, Zerubbabel and Joshua
finished wood shows a rich grain used
respectively, in Zechariahs
in ornamental carpentry. The olives were
both consumed and pressed for oiloil
time. Oil is symbolic of the
used for cooking, lamps and anointing.
Holy Spirit. The two witnesses
The Mediterranean Sea basin can almost
of the end times will be guided
exclusively be defined as the cultural area
and illuminated by the Holy
for olive trees. Candlesticks were often
Spirit in their prophecies, and
fueled by the olive oil (Ex. 27:20); hence,
as lampbearers they will bear
the relationship noted in the text. The
the light of the Word of God
obvious purpose of illumination through
candlesticks and lamps found its origin in
during the sin-benighted time
biblical custom as far back as Genesis 15:17.
of the Great Tribulation just as
scriptural churches do during
this dispensation. (Compare
Matthew 5:14-16; Revelation 1:20.) The two witnesses will stand before the
God of the earth (Rev. 11:4) in opposition to the anti-Christ and his followers.
Satan is the prince of this world, and his man, the anti-Christ, will be embraced
by the nations of this world, but the true Lord of the earth is Jesus Christ who
will reign from Jerusalem as King of kings
and Lord of lords over all the nations.
Power: the authority to carry out
The Powers of the Two Witnesses
the deed intended is meant here.
(verses 5, 6). The two witnesses will be
This is more than just the ability
or raw strength to carry out a
vigorously and vehemently opposed during
task. This is the exact authority
the time of their ministry. However, anyone
needed. This is the permission to
who tries to harm them will be killed by
execute the assigned task. Word
fire which proceedeth out of their mouth
Study #1849.
(verse 5). While some people might prefer
to interpret this symbolically, the context
of these verses makes it clear that the two witnesses will have the authority
to perform miracles. In view of this, it is certainly possible, and perhaps even
likely, that the two witnesses will be able to defend themselves by literal fire
that comes from their mouths. Because of what is mentioned in verse 6, some
people have concluded that the two witnesses will be Elijah, who prayed that
it would not rain on Israel, and Moses, whom God used to inflict a series of
plagues on Egypt. The miracles that might be invoked by the two witnesses
will undoubtedly have the same general purposes as all miracles that have
been associated with men of Godto provide them a means of defense and to

Manna

The Two Witnesses / 27


confirm their message as being from the Lord. Miracles have never been used
by men of God to attract attention to themselves or to promote themselves in
any manner, and this will no doubt be true regarding the two witnesses of the
end times as well.
THE ABUSE OF THE TWO WITNESSES
Revelation 11:7-11
The two witnesses cannot be harmed by their enemies until they have
completed their ministry. Then, however, God will allow wicked men to vent
their hatred for those men of God by publicly abusing their corpses.
Their Martyrdom (verse 7). The two witnesses will be invincible and
immortal until their mission is accomplished. The focus of their ministry
evidently will be in Jerusalem, the center of prophetic and political interest
during the last of the Tribulation Period. But when they shall have finished
their testimony (verse 7), they will suffer martyrdom at the hands of the beast
that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit (verse 7). This is the first mention in
Revelation of the beast from the bottomless pit, although there is a reference
to the angel of the bottomless pit in Revelation 9:11. Comments regarding
the beast from the bottomless pit will be made in the development of Lesson 4.
For now let it be known that this writer believes that the beast mentioned in
this setting and the beast that will rise up out of the sea (Rev. 13:1) are both
references to the anti-Christ. Moreover, this writer believes that the angel
from the bottomless pit is not the same entity as the beast from the pit. (See
comments on Revelation 9:11, Lesson 1.) The anti-Christ will relentlessly do
battle against the two witnesses, and will eventually overcome them and kill
them. If the two witnesses indeed are Enoch and Elijah, men who did not
experience physical death during their time on earth, then the stipulation of
Hebrews 9:27, it is appointed unto men once to die, will be realized by them
as well.
Their Abuse (verses 8-10). When someone dies, it is customary for the
body to be disposed of in some culturally appropriate manner. Among the
most common means of doing this are burial and cremation. In the case of
the two witnesses of the end times,
however, their corpses will not
be given any kind of respectful
Shall See Their Dead Bodies
treatment. Instead, they will lie in
(Revelation 11:9): The Greek manu
the street of Jerusalem, described as
scripts used the word we would likely
the great city, which spiritually is
have translated corpse (Mark 6:29) or
carcass (Matt. 24:28). Eastern culture
called Sodom and Egypt, where also
considered the refusal to bury a dead
our Lord was crucified (verse 8). The
body a flagrant violation of decency
character of the city of Jerusalem is
(Psalm 63:10). Proper burial was
vividly depicted by the terms Sodom
considered important in biblical life.
and Egypt, both of which were
To have merely discarded the corpse
abominations in Gods eyes in Bible
brought scorn and disgrace. The Law
times. With the corpses of the two
strictly forbad such apathy (Deut.
21:22, 23).
witnesses lying in the street, they
will be exposed to any kind of abuse

Manna

28 / Revelation 10:111:14
that wicked, utterly depraved minds might devise. People in every part of the
world will be able to observe, most likely by satellite telecasts, what will be
done to those bodies. Instead of grieving, most people will rejoice and make
merry, and shall send gifts one to another (verse 10). The reason for such abuse
is because the testimony of the two witnesses tormented the followers of the
anti-Christ by exposing their wickedness (verse 10). The people in that day will
not welcome the truth and will instead stubbornly resist it. Such obstinance
will only cause them to become even more hardened in their rebellion against
the true God and in their resistance to the message of the two witnesses.
Their Resurrection (verse 11). For three and a half days, the corpses of
the two witnesses will lie in the street of Jerusalem exposed to constant abuse
by wicked, diabolical people. All of this will be telecast throughout the world.
In the midst of the rejoicing by the foes of the true God, however, will occur
a most remarkable phenomenon. The spirit of life from God (verse 11) will
enter them and empower them to stand up once again on their feet. The great
rejoicing of the followers of the anti-Christ will suddenly be turned to great
fear, as the bodies which they had seen lying lifeless will be brought back to life.
During their previous time on earth, Enoch and Elijah escaped physical death,
only to experience it as the two witnesses of the end times. Having suffered
physical death, those two prophets of God will also realize the resurrection of
believers. Their resurrection, as with the Tribulation saints also, will be like
the gleanings that God will gather following the main harvest of resurrection.
(Compare 1 Corinthians 15:22-24.)
THE ASCENSION OF THE TWO WITNESSES
Revelation 11:12-14
These verses give the account of some remarkable phenomena that followed
the resurrection of the two witnesses. Their ascension to Heaven was closely
followed byif not actually associated witha severe earthquake that killed
seven thousand people.
Their Ascension (verse 12). Four notable things are mentioned in this
verse regarding the two witnesses.
A great voice from Heaven. The pronoun they in the first part of this verse
certainly refers to the two witnesses; however, it is possible that other people
heard the voice as well. (Compare John 12:28-30; Acts 9:7.) The great voice
which the two witnesses heard was most likely from God Himself, or it was at
least from the heavenly throne.
Come up hither. The directive, Come up hither (Rev. 11:12) echoes what
John heard when he received the vision of the opened door in Heaven (Rev. 4:1).
This will mark the rapture, or the catching away of the two witnesses into the
presence of the Lord. (Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:17.)
Ascending to Heaven in a cloud. The clouds denote divine glory. When
Christ ascended to Heaven, He was taken up into a cloud (Acts 1:9). Elijah
was translated from earth to Heaven in a fiery cloud (2 Kings 2:11), and Enoch
quite possibly was taken into Heaven in a cloud when God was ready to receive
him. (Compare Hebrews 11:5.)
Witnessed by their enemies. For three and a half days the enemies of God
had observed the corpses of the two witnesses lying in the street of Jerusalem.

The Two Witnesses / 29


No doubt, those wicked people were shocked beyond words and were unable
to believe their eyes when they saw the two prophets of God rise to their feet,
after which they ascended into a cloud on their way to Heaven.
The Earthquake (verse 13). With the opening of the sixth seal, a great
earthquake occurred, accompanied by disturbances among the solar bodies
(Rev. 6:12). Since some of the events mentioned in the account of the sixth
seal carry the narrative to the close of the Tribulation Period, it is probable
that the earthquake mentioned here will be the same as the one mentioned
previously. Among the effects of the great earthquake will be much devastation
in the city of Jerusalem, with the tenth part of the city falling. Some Bible
scholars interpret this to mean that ten percent of the population, or seven
thousand people out of a total of seventy thousand, will be killed as a result
of the earthquake. The Greek word for remnant in this verse does not denote
the remnant of Israel (Rom. 9:27; 11:5),
but simply those inhabitants of Jerusalem
Affrighted: the remaining people
who survived the great earthquake. The
were thrown into fear. The
term affrighted essentially means in fear,
events would have terrified
those watching and brought
and indicates that they were in great fear.
about an unparalleled fear. This
(Compare Luke 24:37.) The fact they gave
is beyond saying boo in the
glory to the God (Rev. 11:13) indicates that
night and displays intense fear.
they recognized the phenomena as being
Word Study #1719.
caused by God, but it does not necessarily
mean that they turned to Him in salvation.
When the sixth seal was opened, people acknowledged the awesome might and
majesty of God but did not accept Christ as Savior (Rev. 6:14-17).
The Second Woe (verse 14). In Revelation 9:12, John described the last
three trumpet judgments as being woes. These judgments were so designated
because of their horrible nature and consequences. After giving the account
of the great earthquake in verse 13, the apostle wrote, The second woe is
past (Rev. 11:14). Here as well as in Revelation 9:12 the verb is past is from a
Greek term which denotes a departure or passing that is final or complete. The
trumpet judgments deal primarily with events and phenomena that will occur
during the closing part of the Tribulation Period. With the fifth and sixth such
judgments having transpired, only the seventh and final trumpet was yet to be
blown. The completion of this judgment will mark the close of this dispensation
and the beginning of the Millennium.
THE TWO WITNESSES
Revelation 10:111:14
Inserted between the sixth and seventh trumpet judgments are the accounts
of the little book and the two witnesses. With the reception of the little book
John was recommissioned to record the prophecies of events yet to occur so they
would be a testimony to many peoples, and nations, and tongues [languages],
and kings (Rev. 10:11). The two witnesses will prophesy for God during the
dark days of the Great Tribulation when the anti-Christ is at the peak of
his power. The two witnesses will be silenced, but not until they finish their
testimony.

Lesson 3

For Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Devil Makes War


with Gods People

Revelation 11:1512:17

Two significant matters are included in this passagethe seventh trumpet


judgment and the activities of some important end-time personages. With
regard to the time element, the issues concerned with the seventh trumpet and
the end-time personages occur during the last half of the Tribulation Period, a
time considered by many people to be the Great Tribulation. Those three and
a half years will witness intense persecution of believers, Jewish as well as
Gentile, by the forces and followers of the anti-Christ.
THE SEVENTH TRUMPET JUDGMENT
Revelation 11:15-19
The sounding of the seventh trumpet and the loosening of the seventh seal
have a similar effect in that no immediate judgment is announced and no
events fall directly under them. (Compare Revelation 8:1.) The events recorded
in association with the seventh trumpet are essentially anticipatory, with the
actual occurrence of them happening primarily in the Millennium.
Christ the King (verse 15). When the seventh angel blew his trumpet,
John heard great voices in heaven, a phenomenon similar to previous
experiences (Rev. 4:5; 8:5). The voices he heard in this instance proclaimed
that the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of
his Christ (Rev. 11:15). This was an announcement of the messianic kingdom.
Faithful saints in every generation have longed to see the realization of this. In
the Adamic Covenant God promised that the seed of the woman would crush
the head of Satan, or the serpent (Gen. 3:15). One of the stipulations of the
Davidic Covenant assures that the Son of David will reign from the throne of
David (2 Sam. 7:12-16). At the close of His earthly ministry, the disciples of
Christ asked if He was ready to establish His kingdom on earth even as He was
about to ascend into Heaven (Acts 1:6). The kingdom of Christ will commence
with the establishment of His millennial reign, but it will continue into eternity
because at the close of the Millennium, the Son will give the kingdom over to
the Father (1 Cor. 15:24-28).
The Worship of the Elders (verse 16). This is the first mention of the
twenty-four elders since Revelation chapter 7. In the previous quarter, it was
noted that the twenty-four elders represent believers of both the Old and
New Testament eras. The number twenty-four denotes an entire group which
is represented by the smaller, specific number. When David reorganized the
30

The Devil Makes War with Gods People / 31


priestly and Levitical roles in anticipation of the construction of the Temple
and the changed duties of the priests and Levites, there were twenty-four
elders which were indicative of the whole (1 Chron. 24:125:31). Any priest or
Levite who served at his appointed time was representative of the entire body.
Thus, the twenty-four elders apparently denoted a larger whole, and, since the
term elder is associated with Israel in the Old Testament and the churches in
the New Testament, this group seemingly is indicative of believers of both eras.
The Greek word for seats actually means thrones. In response to the heavenly
voices announcing the coming of the reign of Christ over all the nations, the
elders fell upon their faces and worshipped God (Rev. 11:16).
The Omnipotent, Eternal God (verse 17). The twenty-four elders began
their acclamation of praise with a statement of thanksgiving, We give thee
thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come (verse
17). Two notable divine attributes are readily apparent in this statementthe
omnipotence and eternality of God. The Greek word for almighty appears ten
times in the New Testament, always in reference to God, and is translated
almighty nine times and omnipotent once. Each instance is in Revelation except
one, which is in 2 Corinthians 6:18. The expression, which art, and wast, and
art to come, covers all three tenses of timepresent, past and future. The only
being who has always existed and who always will exist is God. Because of
His omnipotence and eternality, He is entitled to praise and worship from all
creatures, especially those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
Previously, the four beasts offered similar praise to God when they exclaimed,
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come (Rev.
4:8).
The Assumption of the Throne (verse 17). The last part of this verse gives
the reason for the thanksgiving by the twenty-four elders: because thou hast
taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. The Greek word for power
is a term denoting strength, force or the ability to accomplish what one sets
out to do. It is the basis for dynamic, dynamite and so forth. As the Almighty,
Omnipotent God, Jesus Christ was ready to exercise His great power and
assume the throne of David from which He would rule over all the world for
one thousand years. Note that John recorded this as if it were an established
fact even though it had not yet occurred on the timeline of Revelation. Some
time still remained in the Tribulation Period, at the close of which Christ will
return in power and glory and establish His millennial kingdom. However, all
the divine purposes will be accomplished at precisely the right time and in the
correct manner. This is why an event that is yet to occur can be referred to as
if it had already happened.
The Anger of the Nations (verse 18). Included in this verse are five matters
that will be associated with the reign of Christ on earth. The first of these is
that the nations were angry (verse 18). The Greek term for angry is a strong
term which indicates an expression of impulsive passion. The root for this word
is the basis for the word orgy, which describes unrestrained indulgence in an
activity. The nations will be whipped up into a frenzy by the anti-Christ and his
followers. They will be angry with believers because they will have embraced

32 / Revelation 11:1512:17
the true Christ instead of the anti-Christ, and they will be angry toward the
Jews because of their historic identity with Christ. The nations will vent their
anger by persecuting believers and the Jews. As the Tribulation Period moves
toward its climax, the anti-Christ will marshal the nations against the Jews
by drawing them to the Middle East where they will be gathered en masse at
Armageddon and elsewhere in the region. They will be assembled to destroy
Israel, but they themselves will be destroyed by the return of Christ in great
power.
The Time of Divine Wrath (verse 18). The second thing mentioned in this
verse is thy wrath is come. In the two opening statements in this verse is a
significant play on words. First, John related the unrestrained anger of the
nations that will ultimately lead to the Battle of Armageddon. Then the apostle
followed that by his reference that the time of Gods wrath had come. In both
instances, the same Greek word is used to denote the nations anger and divine
wrath. When one yields to human anger, he or she is likely to commit sin.
However, God can exercise wrath without sinning. The eruption of divine wrath
to which this verse refers will be the great slaughter of the anti-Christ and his
armies at the Battle of Armageddon. Chapter 19 describes this as the time
when Christ will tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty
God and the supper of the great God, to which all the birds of carrion and
prey are invited (Rev. 19:15, 17-21). Here again, the same Greek term for wrath
is used as in Revelation 11:18 for the nations anger and divine wrath.
The Time of the Dead (verse 18). Johns statement regarding the time
of the dead, that they should be judged (verse 18) is a reference to an event
following the Millennium when the unsaved dead will be raised and brought
before the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). The purpose of this
judgment will be to determine the nature and extent of punishment which
unbelievers will have to endure for eternity in the lake of fire. There will not
be an opportunity for a second chance for salvation at the Great White Throne
Judgment. No believers will be at this judgment. It is described as the time of
the dead because all of those who are judged on this occasion lived and died in
a state of being dead in trespasses and sins. (Compare Ephesians 2:1, 5.) They
lived and died without Christ, and when they are raised from their graves and
made to stand before the Judge sitting on the Great White Throne, they will
still be without Christ. Since they are without Christ, they will be without hope
at the judgment and they will be without hope in eternity as well.
The Time of Rewards (verse 18). In marked contrast to the time of the
dead and their judgment will be the time of reward for thy servants the
prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great
(verse 18). For rewards to be determined, a judgment will have to be held. This
judgment is described as the Judgment Seat of Christ, at which believers from
both the Old and New Testament eras will be judged for the manner in which
they have served God following the time of their salvation. Even though this is
a single group in distinction to the unsaved who are judged at the Great White
Throne Judgment, John stipulated three sub-groups: the prophets, the saints
and those who fear the name of God. The term prophets is generally associated

The Devil Makes War with Gods People / 33


with those who served God in the time of the Old Testament, while saints is
more readily associated with the New Testament era. The expression, them that
fear thy name, small and great, includes believers of all times and places. Even
though the Judgment Seat of Christ will be held prior to the establishment
of the Millennium, many of the rewards and recognitions will not be effective
until Christ establishes His earthly kingdom.
The Time of Destruction (verse 18). The closing statement in this verse
refers to the destruction of them which destroy the earth. Contrary to what
some might have taught, this does not denote judgment upon people who abuse
the earths environment. Those described here as destroyers of the earth are
those who corrupt the earth with their wicked, vile acts. Once again, a play
on words appears, as those who destroy or corrupt the earth are themselves
subjected to further corruption by being consigned forever into the lake of
fire. The sense of the Greek word for destroy can be seen in the fact that a
related term is rendered corrupt in Revelation 19:2 in the assessment of the
punishment that was inflicted upon Babylon, the great whore, which did
corrupt the earth with her fornication. There is no doubt that God expects His
people to be good stewards of the environment; however, the worst destruction
of the earth is caused by those who promote wicked, diabolical practices, the
worst culprit of whom will be the anti-Christ.
The Temple in Heaven (verse 19). This chapter opens with a reference
to the Temple on earth, and closes by mentioning the heavenly Temple. The
Temple on earth will evidently be the Temple which the Jews will build at
the beginning of the Tribulation Period, only to be desecrated by the antiChrists abomination of desolation midway into that seven-year period (Dan.
9:27; Matt. 24:15). The heavenly Temple is a reminder that Heaven is the
dwelling place of God. The fact that the Temple was opened, thus making the
ark visible, indicates that the fulfillment of the divine purposes was about to
occur. When Christ died on the cross, the veil in the earthly Temple was torn
from top to bottom, thus demonstrating that the Mosaic era had run its course
and a new order was about to begin (Mark 15:37, 38). In Johns vision of the
heavenly Temple, the exposed Holy of Holies indicated that there would be no
further delay in Gods dealing with the anti-Christ and his followers and the
subsequent establishment of Jesus Christ on the throne of David.
Some Spectacular Phenomena (verse 19). Five spectacular phenomena
occurred with the vision of the open Temple in Heaven, some of which were
observed in previous visions. Lightnings, thunderings and voices accompanied
Johns vision of the throne in Heaven (Rev. 4:5), and to these phenomena was
added an earthquake with the opening of the seventh seal (Rev. 8:5). In the
past, these were associated with the awesome power and presence of the
Omniscient, Omnipotent God. (Compare Exodus 19:16-19; 20:18, 19.) These
phenomena are also portends of approaching storms in the natural realm, and
they will signal the storms of divine judgment during the Tribulation Period.
The closing part of the Tribulation Period will be marked by especially vivid
demonstrations of the presence and power of the Almighty God, as terrible

34 / Revelation 11:1512:17
judgments will be inflicted upon the earth and its inhabitants because of their
acceptance of the anti-Christ and their rejection of the true Christ.
SOME END-TIME PERSONAGES
Revelation 12:1-17
In the Introductory Notes, it was mentioned in the section entitled A
Synopsis of Revelation that the action or continuity of this book is maintained
by a series of seven sevens. Thus far, we have considered the seven churches,
the seven seals and the seven trumpets. The next group of seven is the seven
personages which are described in chapters 12 and 13. Five of these end-time
personages constitute the subject matter for Revelation 12.
The Woman in Travail (verses 1, 2). The first of the end-time personages
included in this chapter was described as a great wonder (verse 1) which
appeared in Heaven. The Greek word
for wonder is semeion (say-may-on),
Wonder: this is the word for sign
which essentially means sign. Semeion
used to describe miracles. It means
appears seventy-seven times in the New
more in the sense of remarkable
Testament, and is translated sign fiftyevents that are soon to happen.
one times and miracle twenty-two times.
This is a sign that does not relate
It is rendered wonder three times, all
to information but instead to awe
in Revelation (Rev. 12:1, 3; 13:13). The
because of what has transpired.
purpose of a sign is to convey information.
Word Study #4592.
Most miracles were performed to teach
a lesson or emphasize a biblical truth.
Note that while the sign appeared in Heaven, the object depicted by the sign
was on earth. The description of the woman as given in verse 1 reminds one of
a dream Joseph had while a youth.
(Compare Genesis 37:9-11.) Even
though some details are different in
Johns
vision, it is apparent that the
The Woman and Her Crown
woman the apostle saw was national
(Revelation 12:1): Interpretations
Israel. In verse 2, the woman was
vary, but most agree that the woman
was Israel (Gen. 37:9); the sun was
described as being in the throes of
Jacob, whose name was changed
labor, travailing in birth. The labor
to Israel; the moon was a reference
pains of the woman were indicative
to Rachel, the wife of Jacob and the
of the sufferings of the Jewish people
mother of Joseph; the crown of twelve
because of their identity with the
stars were the twelve tribes of Israel.
Messiah. Satan knew the Messiah
Some of that, of course, has remained
would come from national Israel,
speculation, but what is known is,
John likely did see Israel and its
so he did everything in his power to
faithful remnant in the feminine
keep that from happening. Although
sense. Having been influenced by
he was unsuccessful in those
the prophets who referred to Israel
efforts, he nonetheless caused great
as the mother of the restored future
suffering
for the Jews and continues
remnant (Isa. 54:1; 66:7-10; Micah 4:9,
to do so even today when possible.
10; 5:3), John likely viewed them with
The Great Red Dragon (verses
the same imagery.
3, 4). In addition to the sign of the

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The Devil Makes War with Gods People / 35


woman, another sign appeared, a
great red dragon (verse 3). The
color red reminds one of bloodshed
The Third Part of the Stars of Heaven
and thus indicates a murderous,
(Revelation 12:4): The rebellious atbloodthirsty character. The word
titude of Lucifer was first noted in Isaiah 14:12 and again in Ezekiel 28:12-19.
dragon denotes a creature of
In each narrative, he was recorded as
merciless cruelty. Pharaoh, the
having stated that he was attempting
king of Egypt, is called the great
to assume the heavenly throne. Consedragon in Ezekiel 29:3, 4, because
quently, Jehovah God removed Lucifer
of his haughty independence of
from Heaven, and he became known as
the true God. Nebuchadnezzar,
Satan. However, the departure of Lucithe leader of ancient Babylon,
fer from the heavens was not merely the
removal of one spirit-being; one third
is also depicted as a dragon in
of the angelic host followed Lucifer
regard to his violence and cruelty
on his downward spiral to his hellish
toward the Jews (Jer. 51:34). The
home. The question, then, became, was
term dragon as a designation of
it the entirety of the material realm over
the devil appears only in the book
which Lucifer seemed to have ruled
of Revelation (note especially
or was it a third of each of the angelic
Rev. 20:2). The dragon in Johns
realmsspiritual, intellectual and material? Regardless, the introduction of
vision had seven heads, each
demons into the world was initialized
of which wore a crown, and ten
with this move.
horns. The crowned heads denote
governmental authority, and the
number seven indicates completion. The seven heads of the great red dragon
refer to the seven powerful empires that have oppressed the Jewish people
Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and the anti-Christs
end-time coalition. The ten horns denote ten nations which will constitute the
anti-Christs empire (Rev. 17:12, 13). The third part of the stars of heaven
(Rev. 12:4) refers to the angels which followed the devil in his rebellion against
God. More about them will be noted in the comments on verse 7. Satans
determination to kill Christ as soon as He was born can be seen in the attempt
by King Herod to kill the baby Jesus (Matt. 2:16-18).
The Womans Child (verse 5). This is a reference to Jesus Christ, the Son
of God. Three things are mentioned in this verse regarding the child whom the
devil wanted to kill.
A man child. According to some Greek authorities the term, a man child,
could have been rendered, a son, a male. Although Jesus was the son of the
virgin Mary, He was also the offspring of national Israel. God specifically
protected the Jewish people and maintained their national integrity so the
provisions of the Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic Covenants could be fulfilled,
especially in regard to Christ.
Ruler of all nations. For many centuries the Jewish people looked forward
to the Messiah who would rule over their nation as the Son of David. However,
the Bible teaches that He will not only rule over Israel, but all the nations as
well. That did not happen during His first advent, but it will occur when He
returns in great power and glory at the close of the Tribulation Period.

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36 / Revelation 11:1512:17
Caught up to God. This is a
reference to the ascension of Christ,
an event that marked the close of
Ruling with a Rod of Iron
His earthly ministry. The present
(Revelation 12:5): If the woman was
Israel, then most certainly the man
ministry of Christ, in which He
child was her greatest of sonsthe
intercedes for believers, thus making
Son of God. Upon His coronation as
their salvation secure, intervenes
King, Jesus will rule the nations with
between His first and second
the proverbial rod of iron (Psalm
comings. Among the highlights in
2:6-9 ; Rev. 12:5; 19:15). Evidence
has shown that ruling with a rod of
this verse regarding Christ are His
iron will be disseminated to faithful
condescension or His birth, His
Christians (Rev. 2:26, 27). Paul
confirmation, the Fathers stamp of
alluded to the same when he noted,
approval by receiving Him back into
We shall also reign with him (2
Heaven, and His coronation by which
Tim. 2:12). The word translated to
He will become the King of kings and
rule could also be interpreted to
shepherd or to lead. Indeed, this word
Lord of lords.
was more often associated with
The Womans Refuge (verse 6).
shepherding than with rulership.
Two thousand years, more or less, will
elapse from the ascension of Christ to
the time when Israel will flee to her
place of refuge in the wilderness. The word wilderness essentially means a
place of desolation. The same Greek term is used to denote a desert (Luke 1:80;
Acts 8:26). The fact that Israel will be protected for twelve hundred sixty days,
forty-two months or three and a half years, indicates that this event will occur
during the last half of the Tribulation Period. Where this place of refuge will be
probably cannot be determined with any certainty; however, it quite possibly
will be east of the Jordan River in the vicinity of the Dead Sea. Some authorities
think the fleeing Jews will be directed by God to the ancient city of Petra, which
is situated in the rocky vastness of what was known as Edom, a region south
of the Dead Sea. Wherever this place of refuge will be, it is a place prepared
of God (Rev. 12:6) who will move upon nations and individuals who are in a
position to help protect the Jews to do so. This is indicated by the expression,
that they should feed her there. The only way a group of people as large as those
Jews who will flee from the anti-Christ can remain hidden from his forces for
three and a half years is for God to intervene directly to keep them safe.
The War in Heaven (verses 7-9). The
conflict
between God and Satan began even
Prevailed Not: this is one of
before
the
creation of man when Lucifer, one
many words for power or
strength in the Bible. In this
of the exalted angels, decided to rebel against
verse the dragon does not
God (Isa. 14:12-15). The angels under Lucifer
have the strength of body,
evidently followed him in his rebellion, and
nor is in the spiritual health
consequently became fallen angels or demons.
to overcome. His power
Even though Satan fell from his lofty position
cannot be exerted to deliver
in the angelic hierarchy, he still has access to
the needed outcome. Word
Study #2480.
Heaven, an opportunity he uses constantly
to bring charges against believers. (Compare

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The Devil Makes War with Gods People / 37

Manna

The Angel Michael (Revelation 12:7):


Though Gabriel and Lucifer (other
angels given proper names) were
sometimes called archangels, there
could only be one archangel, only one
at the topMichael. Jude gave this
heavenly messenger due credit when
he unapologetically noted, Michael,
the archangel (Jude 9). The use of the
definite article was both necessary and
accurateMichael was the archangel.
Daniel 10:13 referred to Michael as one
of the chief princesGabriel was
likely the other. The context of Daniel
10 strongly suggested that Michael was
successful in defeating Luciferthe
prince of the kingdom of Persia. Such a
demonstrative defeat over Satan proved
the power and authority of Michael
over the rest of the angelic host; hence,
his singular reference as the archangel.

That Old Serpent: throughout the


Scripture, the primary opposition
to God has been likened to a
serpent. From Eden until eternity
the serpent represents subtlety and
deception. This refers directly to the
enemy of God. Word Study #3789.
Devil: the term devil describes the
actions and heart of the enemy of
God. The devil is the accuser and
the chief slanderer of God and all
He does. This is the one who seeks
to destroy God on all levels and
continually fails. Word Study #1228.
Satan: this transliteration tells us that
this is the adversary of God. When
translated adversary, we understand
the purpose and actions of this one
who seeks to lie to all about God,
and how he seeks to change the
hearts of people away from God.
Word Study #4567.

Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6.) The time will come,


however, when God will cast Satan out
of Heaven once for all. This is the battle that is described in these verses. The
protagonists will be Michael, the archangel and his angels, the third and fourth
personages respectively mentioned in this chapter, and the dragon, or Satan
and his angels, the fallen angels or demons, the fifth personage mentioned
in this chapter (Rev. 12:7). Michael and his angels will win this contest, and
Satan and the demons will be cast out of Heaven, never to have access again
(verse 8). In verse 9, the devil is designated by four terms: the great dragon,
which denotes his ferocity, that old serpent, which identifies him as the tempter
(Gen. 3:1-6, 14, 15), the Devil, or the accuser against believers, and Satan, the
adversary of God and His people. The great power of Satan is seen in that he is
able to deceive the whole world.
The Voice of Victory (verses 10, 11). With the devil and the demons having
been cast down to the earth, a loud voice in Heaven proclaimed, Now is come
salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his
Christ (Rev. 12:10). The speakeror speakersis not identified, but their
association with those whom Satan accused day and night indicates that the
voice of victory was from other believers, most likely the great host of believers
from the Old and New Testament eras who, having been resurrected, glorified
and judged, are anxiously waiting to accompany Christ back to earth, at which
time He will establish His millennial kingdom and they will share with Him
in His reign over all the nations. Verse 11 gives some important information

38 / Revelation 11:1512:17
regarding how Gods people can
be victorious over Satan even now
before his final defeat during the
Three Keys to Overcoming
Tribulation
Period. There are two
Satan (Revelation 12:11): (1) They
phases in the believers victory over
overcame by the blood of the
Lamb. Nothing has ever stood
the devil. First, the victory is based
successfully against the shed blood
on the fact that Christ shed His
of Jesus Christ! The blood of Christ
blood for the salvation of all those
is more than the means of triumph;
who trust Him as Savior. When
it is the grounds for victory. (2)
They overcame by the word of
one becomes saved, he or she is
their testimony. The strength of
saved forever as far as the soul is
their testimony was in the truth it
concerned. However, there is another
contained and revealed! (3) They
aspect to overcoming Satan, which is
overcame by being martyrs for
the matter of living victoriously over
Christ. Paul asked, Am I therefore
become your enemy, because I tell
sin in ones daily life. This speaks of
you the truth? (Gal. 4:16). The
an overcoming life-style or a way of
apparent response to Paul was an
living victoriously, which is indicated
emphatic yes and the obvious
by the expression, the word of their
reaction for John was the same. The
testimony (verse 11). Such a life is
martyrs died in Christ because they
chose to live for Christ.
selfless and is focused on serving the
Lord.
Rejoicing in Heaven, Woe on Earth (verse 12). The reason for the
rejoicing in Heaven was because of the defeat of the devil and the demons.
The Greek word for rejoice essentially means to be made glad or to be well
pleased. The scope of the rejoicing in Heaven included all its inhabitants. The
holy angels joined with the redeemed of all ages in expressions of great joy for
the victory of Michael and his angels over the dragon and his angels. There
was a negative side to this report, however. While the dwellers in Heaven were
called on to rejoice, the inhabitants of the earth were warned that great woe
was about to befall them. The reason for that warning was twofold. First, the
devil, having been decisively defeated in a critical battle that resulted in his
being cast forever out of Heaven, hit the earth filled with great wrath (verse
12). In addition, the devil knoweth that he hath but a short time (verse 12) to
do whatever he could to oppose the purposes and people of God. Satan certainly
does not know all that will happen during the end times, but he undoubtedly
will know how long the Tribulation Period will last since it coincides with
Daniels seventieth week, the seven-year period that will be set by the treaty
between the anti-Christ and the Jews.
The Persecution of the Woman (verses 13, 14). In verse 6, it was noted
that the woman will flee from the persecution of the devil to a refuge which
God will provide for her. These verses give additional light on that matter.
With the devil having been cast to the earth and knowing his time is limited,
he will channel all the forces and resources he can muster into persecuting
the Jews, the people of whom Christ was born (verse 13). God will directly
intervene, however, on behalf of the Jews by providing them a means of escape

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The Devil Makes War with Gods People / 39


as well as a place of refuge (verse 14). The expression, two wings of a great
eagle, is unquestionably a figurative term. Some authorities teach that this
is an allusion to aircraft, possibly a large fleet of planes, which will be made
available to the fleeing Jews. Others believe that the metaphor of eagles wings
denotes divine assistance in whatever means the Jews use to travel as quickly
and as unnoticeably as possible to escape the wrath of the devil. In some way
or another many Jews will be successful in reaching the place where God will
secure them and sustain them during the last half of the Tribulation Period, a
period denoted here as a time, and times, and half a time, which is the same
duration as the twelve hundred sixty days mentioned in verse 6.
The Protection for the Woman (verses 15, 16). One of the means Satan
will use to stop the fleeing Jews is described as a flood of water which he will cast
out of his mouth (verse 15). Since the Scripture specifically describes the source
of this great flood as coming from the mouth of Satan, it is readily apparent that
this too is figurative language. A critical point in understanding this account
is the fact that the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth,
and swallowed up the flood (verse 16). Quite likely, the flood which will issue
from the mouth of Satan will be a host of soldiers which will be dispatched
by orders from the anti-Christ, at the direct urging of the devil, to overtake
the fleeing Jews. However, the soldiers will be unsuccessful in capturing the
Jews and, instead, will likely become disoriented in the inhospitable desert
region, resulting in the deaths of many of their number. Such an explanation
shows how the earth could swallow up a torrent of troops that had been sent
to overtake a rather large number of people who were trying to escape their
pursuers.
Satans War with the Jewish Remnant (verse 17). Three things
are mentioned in this verse regarding the Jews in the end times and their
persecution by the devil.
The dragon was wroth with the woman. The Greek root for wroth is the basis
for orgy, which denotes an impulsive, passionate reaction. This expression
of anger is the final chapter in a long saga of harassment, opposition and
persecution of the Jewish people by Satan. Throughout the centuries, the Jews
have been relentlessly persecuted, some of the most recent instances being the
holocausts under Hitler in Germany and Stalin in the Soviet Union.
The remnant of her seed. During the time when the Israelites were Gods
chosen people, there was always a remnant of Jews who remained true to
the Lord and His teachings. (Compare 1 Kings 19:18.) Even today, there are
many Jews who have accepted Christ as Savior. During the Tribulation Period
numerous Jews will turn to Christ in great numbers, probably a response at
least in part to the witnessing ministry of the 144,000 and the two witness
(Rev. 7:3, 4; 11:3).
Which keep the commandments. The Jewish remnant of the end times will
keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev.
12:17). This identifies them unmistakably as Jewish believers in Christ. Their

40 / Revelation 11:1512:17
twofold identityas Jews and as Christianswill cause the anti-Christ to
hate them even more intensely.
THE DEVIL MAKES WAR
WITH GODS PEOPLE
Revelation 11:1512:17
The Tribulation Period will begin with the establishment of the seven-year
treaty between the anti-Christ and the Jews. That agreement will produce a
time of relative peace and calm, as indicated by the appearance of the rider on
the white horse with the opening of the first seal. However, conditions will soon
deteriorate, and the wrath of the devil will be exerted against Gods people,
Jewish Christians as well as Gentile believers. As the Tribulation Period draws
to its close, satanic persecution will become even more intense.

Lesson 4

For Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Rise of the Beasts

Revelation 13:1-18

The two beasts presented in this chapter are the sixth and seventh of the
end-time personages, the first five of which were noted in Revelation 12. The
two beasts are similar in many respects, but it is obvious that the first beast is
superior to the second beast in authority and influence. The first beast denotes
the anti-Christ, who will be the civil and political leader during the end times,
while the second beast depicts a powerful religious leader often called the false
prophet. Both beasts will be motivated and controlled by the devil.
THE BEAST OUT OF THE SEA
Revelation 13:1-10
In this vision, John saw a beast rising out of the sea who will be a masterful
leader among the nations and a powerful opponent of Gods people. He will
suffer a serious wound, from which he will recover with even more power than
before. Although he will be worshiped by millions of people, he will meet his
doom in Gods time.
The Beasts Origin (verse 1). In the first part of this verse John described
himself as standing on the seashore, from which he witnessed a beast rise up
out of the sea (verse 1). Although the pronoun I clearly indicates the apostle,
some commentaries teach that the word he should be there instead, which
would refer back to the great dragon in Revelation 12:7. However, from the
context it appears evident that the one who witnessed the rising of the beast
from the sea was John. A similar vision is recorded in Daniel 7:3-8. The beasts
in Daniels vision denoted four worldwide empires that arose in the past out
of the restless movements of human history. (Compare Revelation 17:1, 15.) In
Johns vision, the beast was more indicative of the leader of an empire. Perhaps
it should be noted that the Greek word for beast in this chapter is the term for
a wild beast, especially a dangerous beast, while the word for the four beasts in
chapter 4 and elsewhere in Revelation is indicative of a living creature.
The Beasts Heads and Horns (verse 1). The beast which John saw in
this vision had seven heads and ten horns. Each of the horns had a crown and
on the seven heads was the name of blasphemy. Previously, it was seen that
the dragon had seven heads, with a crown on each head (Rev. 12:3). Here the
crowns are on the horns instead. In each vision, the crowns denote the exercise
of authority. In the earlier vision, the seven heads emphasized how the seven
worldwide empiresEgypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and
41

42 / Revelation 13:1-18
the anti-Christs empireexercised direct control over the Jewish people. In
this vision, however, the emphasis is on the control over the Jews by the antiChrists empire, which will consist of an end-time federation of ten nations.
Thus, the crowns were seen here on the horns instead of the heads. The fact
that the name of blasphemy was on each of the heads indicates that the empires
denoted by the heads were disrespectful of and antagonistic toward the true
God.
The Beasts Appearance (verse 2). In the first part of this verse, John
mentioned three wild animals that were descriptive in part of the beast out of
the sea. Each of these animals was mentioned in Daniels vision (Dan. 7:3-6).
In Johns vision, the beast had the body of a leopard, which was indicative of
the Grecian empire, the feet of a bear, the symbol of the Medo-Persian empire,
and mouth of a lion, the representation of the Babylon empire. Among the
most notable features of the Grecian empire was the rapidity of its expansion
under Alexander the Great. Likewise, the anti-Christs rise to power will be
mercurial. (Compare Revelation 6:1, 2.) Medo-Persia was known especially
for the effective exercise of great strength in controlling the people it had
subjugated. Similarly, the anti-Christ will be formidable in dealing with any
opposition. (Compare Revelation 13:4.) The Babylonian empire was perhaps
the most regal in demeanor of all the ancient powers, and like the roaring of a
lion, the anti-Christ will strike terror in the hearts of those who might try to
oppose him (verse 5).
The Beasts Authority (verse 2). The unseen force behind the anti-Christ
is seen in the last part of this verse, and the dragon gave him his power, and
his seat, and great authority. The Greek word for power is the term from which
comes dynamic, dynamo and so forth. It denotes forceful ability or strength.
Seat is from thronos (throw-nose), which is the basis for throne. The word
authority is from the term for execute, executive and execution. The power of
the anti-Christ lies in the military might of the ten nations under his control,
and that of other nations over which he will have great influence. The seat of
the anti-Christ speaks of his governmental authority. What his actual position
will be is not clear. He probably will be the president or prime minister of some
nation at the outset of his career, and then somehow extend his authority over
nine other nations, establishing a coalition or federation of ten nations under
his control. As an executive, the anti-Christ will undoubtedly be a charismatic,
persuasive leader with great administrative and leadership skills.

The Beasts Resurgence (verse 3).
Previously,
it was noted that the seven heads
Wounded to Death: the
on the beast out of the sea represented seven
inflicted wound was violent.
This is the term used when
worldwide empires that have been especially
you slaughter an animal. The
cruel toward the Jewish people (comments on
usage of the term indicates
verse 1). One of the heads receives a deadly
that it is without possibility of
wound, but then experiences a revival or
not happening. This is a slaying
resurgence.
Later, it will be seen that the
that will occur. Word Studies
anti-Christ
is
the one who suffers the severe
#4969 and #2288.
wound, from which he makes a dramatic

The Rise of the Beasts / 43


recovery. Comments will be made on these matters subsequently. Note that
the anti-Christ will be so closely identified with his empire that the assault on
him is seen in Johns vision as an assault on his empire. Thus, there will be two
phases to the anti-Christs end-time empire, corresponding to the two phases
in the Tribulation Period. During the first half of the Tribulation Period, the
anti-Christ will secure his position as the leader of his ten nation coalition
and as the most influential leader in the world. However, he will suffer a
deadly wound (Rev. 13:12), most likely an assassination attempt, which will
be healed, after which he will be even more invincible than before in regard to
his authority and influence over nations and people.
The Beasts Admiration (verse 4). The things mentioned in this verse
will occur in connection with the anti-Christs recovery from his deadly wound.
Two things are mentioned specifically: (1) the worship of Satan who directs and
controls the anti-Christs decisions and actions and (2) the worship of the antiChrist himself. This worship will very likely be in response to the anti-Christs
intrusion into the Temple with the claim that he is god and a demand that he
be worshiped accordingly (2 Thess. 2:3, 4), an event that most likely will be
the abomination of desolation (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; note also the comments
on The Abomination of Desolation in the Introductory Notes). Such a move
would cause great confusion and consternationas well as intense anger and
outrageamong the Jews and other people as well. An assassination attempt
against the anti-Christ could well be one of the consequences of the abomination
of desolation. With the anti-Christs seemingly miraculous recovery from his
deadly wound, his power and influence will be even more effective and forceful,
so much so that people will ask, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to
make war with him? (Rev. 13:4).
The Beasts Tenure (verse 5). This verse also denotes the time following
the anti-Christs recovery from his critical wound, as indicated by the reference
to the forty-two months in which he was allowed to rule. During that time, the
anti-Christ will be even more audacious in his claims and assertions. He will
speak great things by which he will emphasize his plans and accomplishments,
making himself appear to be fully entitled to the praise and adulation which
the masses of the people are only too eager to proclaim. The anti-Christ will
also speak blasphemies. His appearance in the Temple, demanding to be
acknowledged as God and worshiped accordingly, will only be the beginning of
his blasphemies. Those who refuse to acknowledge him as God will be severely
punished, even to the point of death in many instances. As has been mentioned
previously, the term forty and two months is designated in other places as three
and a half years, twelve hundred sixty days and time times and a half time. All
of these refer to the last half of the Tribulation Period, a time denoted by many
people as the Great Tribulation. This will be the time when the anti-Christ
will be controlled so fully and forcefully by the devil that no one on earth can
successfully withstand him.
The Beasts Blasphemies (verse 6). It is stated in verse 5 that a mouth
was given unto the anti-Christ. The word mouth is used here to indicate what
is spoken rather than the organ of speech. The fact that the mouth was given

44 / Revelation 13:1-18
(verse 5) to the anti-Christ indicates that
he spoke as he was guided, and the one who
guided him was unquestionably Satan. This
verse emphasizes the blasphemous things
the anti-Christ will declare. Three kinds
of blasphemies are mentioned specifically:
blasphemy against (1) the name of God, (2)
the Tabernacle of God and (3) the inhabitants
of Heaven. The anti-Christ will blaspheme
the name of God by proclaiming himself as
god. Christ warned the Jews that one would
come in his own name whom they would
receive (John 5:43). The reference to the
Tabernacle of God denotes the Temple which the Jews will be permitted to build
as part of the agreement between the anti-Christ and the Jews establishing
Daniels seventieth week. The Tabernacle or Temple will be blasphemed by the
anti-Christs desecration of it (2 Thess. 2:3, 4). The inhabitants of Heaven will
be blasphemed by the ungodly things the anti-Christ will say about the saints
and the holy angels.
The Beasts Victory (verse 7). This verse
begins in the same manner as does verse 5
Making War with the Saints
with
the statement, it was given unto him.
(Revelation 13:7): One of the
In both instances the pronoun him denotes
several embodiments the
the anti-Christ, or the beast out of the sea. It
anti-Christ would assume
was the devil who enabled the anti-Christ to
was that of military strategist.
Making war with the saints
speak so eloquently and yet so blasphemously.
was both an attribute as well
Likewise, it was the devil who enabled the
as an intention of the devil
anti-Christ to make war with the saints,
incarnate. Throughout the
and to overcome them (verse 7). The term
biblical record, it has been
saints refers to believers in the Tribulation
noted that the anti-Christ
Period, some of whom will be Jews and others
had but a singular goal
Gentiles. The anti-Christ will oppose, harass
to massacre the children
of God (Dan. 7:23-25; 8:25;
and persecute believers throughout the
9:27; 11:38; 12:10 and Matt.
Tribulation Period; however, the intensity of
24:16-22 ; Rev. 6:9-11; 11:7;
his persecution will be considerably increased
12:17; 17:6; ).
during the Great Tribulation, or the last half
of the Tribulation Period. God will permit the
anti-Christ to have a great degree of success in his persecuting endeavors, with
the result being a multitude of Tribulation martyrs. The anti-Christ will also
be successful in extending his influence far beyond the ten nation coalition over
which he will rule directly, thus allowing him to exercise power [authority]
. . . over all kindreds [tribes], and tongues [languages], and nations.
The Beasts Admirers (verse 8). The world-wide admiration for the antiChrist will be expressed in worship of him by all that dwell upon the earth
(verse 8). This expression appears in varying forms several times in the book
of Revelation, and in each instance it denotes those who have rejected the
Dwell: dwell and tabernacle in
this sentence are both the
same word. The dragon speaks
against those who pitch their
tent and live there. For us
a tent is temporary but a
tabernacle here indicated a
place to dwell comfortably with
the inhabitants. It is not the
same word as in verse 8. Word
Study #4637.

Manna

The Rise of the Beasts / 45


true Christ and have intentionally
embraced the anti-Christ. This phrase
designates a moral class of people
The Book of Life of the Lamb
who are concerned only with temporal
(Revelation 13:8): Perhaps because
matters and have no interest at all
of the Roman persecution and
in eternal truths. Those who accept
planned annihilation of the Jewish
population by Nero Caesar, the
the anti-Christ are described further
threat of Israel being deprived
in this verse as those whose names
of its citizenship and, ultimately,
are not written in the book of life of
erased from the roll books became
the Lamb slain from the foundation
an obvious point of interest to John.
of the world (verse 8). In examining
His mentioning of these roll books,
this statement, one should note first
[the book of life,] took center stage
that the expression, the foundation
on several occasions (Rev. 3:5; 13:8;
17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19). Emperor
of the world, refers to Christ and not
worshipThe Imperial Cultwas a
to those whose names are recorded
cult phenomenon in that day which
in the book of life. Some people teach
elevated Nero to the position of
that, at the foundation of the world,
a pagan god and demanded that
God recorded the names of those
Rome and all her citizens treat him
who are to be saved. This is not what
as such. Those who did not were
is taught here, however. What was
eradicated and erased.
determined at the foundation of the
world was that Christ, as the Lamb of
God, would in due time die for the sins of all mankind. When one trusts Christ
as Savior, his or her name is recorded in the Lambs book of life, an entry that
once entered will never be deleted in time or eternity.
The Holy Spirits Exhortation (verses 9, 10). The Holy Spirit directed
John to insert this exhortation between the accounts of the two beasts in this
chapter. Included in these verses are a call for believers to be watchful so
they will not be deceived by the anti-Christ or his followers and an emphatic
statement regarding the doom of the anti-Christ.
Ears that hear (verse 9). This exhortation was included in each of the
messages to the seven churches of Asia. In addition, Christ used this admonition
in several of His parables (Matt. 13:9; Luke 14:35). One might hear what has
been said but fail to grasp the meaning or significance of what was spoken. The
Jews of Christs time were so dull of hearing that they failed to understand
His message to them and the fact that He was indeed their Messiah (Matt.
13:14, 15). During the Tribulation Period believers will need to be mindful of
the teachings of Gods messengers so they will not be deceived by those who are
promoting the anti-Christ and his purposes.
Doom declared (verse 10). In the first part of verse 10, believers are assured
that God is mindful of all that will be done by the anti-Christ and his forces.
Retributive justice will be sure and certain. Those who will be subject to
captivity and death are believers. To some extent such threats have always been
viable against those who are followers of Christ, but during the Tribulation
Period, and especially during the last half of the Tribulation, Christians will
be even more likely to face captivitywhether by imprisonment, kidnapping

Manna

46 / Revelation 13:1-18
or some other meansand death.
However, those who authorize such
treatment, as well as those who
Patience and Faith of the Saints (Reveactually inflict it, will be punished
lation 13:10): Everyone has heard it said,
What comes around goes around and
accordingly by God.
Whats good for the goose is good for
Patience and faith acclaimed
the gander. These quotable quotes
(verse 10). Because the antihave carried profound meaning though
Christ and his forces will hold
in clich form. Simple and silly, they resuch powerful sway in the
ferred to truth that was both practical
political, social, financial and
and biblical. The proverbial style of the
religious
sectors
of
society
verb could just have easily caused this
passage to be translated, if any man leads
during the Tribulation Period,
into captivity, into captivity he goes. Thus,
believers might feel completely
the verb form would have stressed that
overwhelmed by the sheer might
the adversaries of the children of God
of their opposition. While it is true
would have been requited for their perthat evil will enjoy many triumphs
secution of Christians in the exact form
during the end times, the ultimate
they had previously employed. As John
victory will be by the true Christ.
so efficiently and effectively noted,
Here is the patience and the faith of
This assurance should encourage
the saints (verse 10).
believers who would otherwise feel
completely overwhelmed. Endtime Christians should have the patience and faith to endure whatever might
be required of them.

Manna

THE BEAST OUT OF THE EARTH


Revelation 13:11-18
The beast out of the earth is the second of the beasts in this vision and
the last of the seven end-time personages. This wicked leader, which is often
regarded as the false prophetor the end-time religious leaderwill be a
close associate of the first beast. In fact, they probably will be alter egos of one
another.
The Beasts Origin (verse 11). John recorded that the first beast rose
up out of the sea, that is, the restless, tumultuous waves of human activity.
However, the second beast was noted as being from the earth. The Greek word
for earth is ge (gay), which is also rendered land in several instances. Thus,
some scholars teach that the second beast will rise up from the land, that is
the land of Israel, or more broadly speaking, the Middle East. Since the Middle
East in general and Israel in particular will play pivotal roles in the end times,
it is probable the other great leader during the Tribulation Period will be either
an apostate Jew or some other Middle East character who will be able to appeal
to Jews, Muslims and so-called Christians. Even though this beast will be a
religious leader, he is designated in the Scriptures as a beast for good reason.
He will be every bit as cruel and vicious as the first beast.
The Beasts Description (verse 11). According to Johns description of
this beast, he looked like a lamb and sounded like a dragon. From this, one
should conclude that his appearance belied his true nature. The horns of a
lamb are mere knobs or protrusions from which full horns later develop. This

The Rise of the Beasts / 47


beast might seem to be meek, but he is not. As has been noted previously, horns
are symbolic of power. The two horns are indicative of civil and ecclesiastical
power. Thus, it seems as if the false prophet will be a religious leader who also
holds a civil or political position. The Roman Catholic pope is not only the head
of the Catholic Church, but he is also the ruler of Vatican City. Similarly, the
chief ayatollah of Iran wields great power politically as well as religiously. For
many years, it has been widely held that the false prophet will be the pope;
however, in view of the rising influence of Islam in world politics as well as in
Middle East affairs, it seems highly likely that the end-time religious leader
could be a so-called moderate Muslim who will appeal to Jews and professing
Christians as well as Muslims.
The Beasts Power (verses 12, 13). The word power in verse 12 is from the
Greek term for authority. The authority which the false prophet will receive
from the anti-Christ is political authority. As a powerful religious leader, the
false prophet will already have sweeping ecclesiastical authority, and the
political clout he will receive from the anti-Christ will make him one of the most
powerful leaders in the world.
The false prophet will use his
great authority to promote the
The Deadly Wound Was Healed
anti-Christ and his purposes.
(Revelation 13:12): Imitating Christ
One way he will do this will be
was yet another ploy of the anti-Christ.
by leading people to worship
His attempts to mimic the Lord Jesus
the anti-Christ. Most likely, the
are found throughout the text of the
ground work for promoting the
Revelation. One of these is his mysterious,
worship of the anti-Christ will
even miraculous, ability to be resuscitated
occur during the early part of
and/or revived after having received
an otherwise fatal injury (Rev. 13:3)a
the Tribulation Period. Then,
pseudo resurrection (verse 14). Perhaps
when the anti-Christ goes into
John saw more than a false Messiah,
the Temple and demands to
perhaps he saw a revived Roman empire.
be worshiped as God, the false
Both contributed to the eschatology in
prophet no doubt will respond
the books of Revelation and Daniel. In
by urging the people to worship
AD 476, Rome was mortally wounded
him accordingly. However, the
when Romulus Augustus, the last Roman
emperor, was captured by the Germans,
anti-Christ will be seriously
but both John and Daniel have suggested
wounded, quite likely the result
that the deadly wound suffered by Rome
of an assassination attempt
would be healed and the Roman empire
arising from the confusion
would live again.
and chaos caused by the antiChrists demand to be acclaimed
as God. The anti-Christ will make a dramatic recovery from his wound,
possibly through the intervention of the false prophet. Then the false prophet
will perform great wonders, such as causing fire [to] come down from heaven
on the earth in the sight of men (verse 13). Whether this is an actual miracle
or only appears to be one is a debatable matter. However, the final effect is the
same because the people will believe that a miracle has been perform by the
false prophet.

Manna

48 / Revelation 13:1-18
The Beasts Deception (verse 14). The first part of this verse mentions
that, by the miracles he appears to perform, the false prophet will deceive them
that dwell on the earth, that is, those who embrace the anti-Christ as the true
Christ. Throughout the years, students of
Revelation have discussed whether the false
prophet is actually able to work miracles,
Deceiveth: the beast leads the
or if he is such a master at deceit that he
people astray. He leads them
in error and causes them to
merely appears to perform miracles. Possibly,
depart from the truth. This
he will be able to work some miracles, as the
implies a standard of truth
magicians of Egypt seemingly did when they
that can be departed from and
imitated some of the feats of Moses and Aaron
that is the deception. Word
(Ex.
7:11, 12, 20-22; 8:6, 7). Any miracles that
Study #4105.
were performed by the magicians of Egypt
were accomplished by the power of Satan
working in those men, and the same can be said for any miracles the false
prophet might work. The fact remains, however, that the people of the end
times will believe the false prophet can work miracles whether he actually can
perform such or merely appears to do so. People who are determined to believe
that the anti-Christ is the true Christ will as readily accept a counterfeit
miracle as a genuine one.

The Beasts Monument (verses 14,
15). The last part of verse 14 teaches that
Image: three times in the verse
the false prophet will direct the followers of
the image is mentioned. The
the anti-Christ to erect a monument to him.
icon or likeness of the beast had
The purpose of such a project will probably
been built. The people would
be to commemorate the anti-Christs
worship and serve this image.
dramatic
recovery from his deadly wound.
The icon is something that one
This monument, called the image of the
would recognize and serve to
remind the people of their god.
beast, is mentioned four times in verses 14
Word Study #1504.
and 15. It is a reminder of the image that
Nebuchadnezzar constructed in his own
honor during the time of Daniel (Dan. 3:17).
Nebuchadnezzars image evidently was
In the Sight of: the actions of
based on a dream, the interpretation of
the beast will be done in the
which was given by Daniel (Dan. 2:31-49).
presence of the adversary.
This preposition indicates the
The end-time image will probably be that
direction and obvious nature of
of the anti-Christ himself. Once again, the
the actions. The power of the
false prophet will perform what will appear
beast cannot be denied or the
to be a miracle by seemingly causing the
deception unattended. Word
image to become alive. Since not even the
Study #1799.
devil can create life, this will undoubtedly
be a hoax, but since the people will believe
the image has come to life, the effect will be essentially the same. Since the
image will be a visible representation of the anti-Christ, the false prophet will
lead the people in worshiping the image, and those who refuse to do so will face
death. (Compare Daniel 3:6.)

The Rise of the Beasts / 49


The Beasts Mark (verses 16, 17). The pronoun he in verse 16 refers to
the second beast, or the false prophet; however, the references to the beast in
verses 17 and 18 denote the first beast, or the anti-Christ. The mark of the
beast will be issued to all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond
(verse 16), and will be administered to the right hand or the forehead of the
recipient (verse 16). The mark of the beast will be used to control all commerce
(verse 17). However, since the false prophet will be in charge of issuing the
mark, there evidently will be some kind of religious association with it as well.
Moreover, the mark of the beast will be readily identified with the name of the
beast, or the number of his name (verse 17). What will constitute the mark
of the beast has been widely discussed and debated for many years. Since the
mark will be applied to ones right hand or forehead, it is quite possible that it
will be a tiny microchip which will include all pertinent information regarding
the individual. Modern technology has already made such a development a
reality.
The Beasts Number (verse 18). This contents of this verse have been the
source of much speculation, some of which has been thoughtful, but much of
which has been bizarre. There can be no debate about the number of the beast,
as it is 666. John also said that this number is the number of a man. What is
not so clear, however, is what does all this mean? Some teachers have tried
to associate a name with 666 by using gematria, which is the assignment of
numerical values to letters. It is certainly possible that the anti-Christs name
will be the numerical equivalent of 666. Perhaps the most conclusive point in
this matter is that 666, as the number of man, denotes the best that human
abilities can accomplish. Six is the number of manman was created on the
sixth day (Gen. 1:26-31)and the trinity of this number, 666, indicates the
completion of imperfection, the culmination of human pride and ambition in
independence of God and in opposition to His Christ. Six is one short of seven,
which is the number of perfection or completion that is associated so frequently
with God. Six hundred sixty-six will probably be so closely associated with the
anti-Christ that some end-time believers will be able to identify him by those
associations.
THE RISE OF THE BEASTS
Revelation 13:1-18
This chapter describes two men, called beasts because of their cruel nature
and actions, through whom Satan seeks to accomplish his objectives in seeking
to thwart the purposes of God. The first beast will be the anti-Christ, a powerful
civil and political leader, who will present himself as god and as one worthy
of worship. The second beast will be a religious leader who will promote the
objectives of the anti-Christ and lead the people to worship him as God. In fact,
a monument will be built in the anti-Christs honor, to which the false prophet
will seemingly give life.

Lesson 5

For Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tribulation Saints and Martyrs


This chapter consists of the accounts of what could be considered three
parenthetical portions in the book of Revelation. (The section designated
A Synopsis of Revelation in the Introductory Notes.) These parenthetical
passages are the Lamb and the 144,000 (verses 1-5), some heralds of judgment
(verses 6-12, 14-20) and an announcement of the blessedness of the holy dead
(verse 13). Among the visions described in this chapter are the martyrdom of
believers and divine judgment on the inhabitants of the earth.
THE LAMB AND THE 144,000
Revelation 14:1-5
The 144,000 whom John saw in this vision are the same as the 144,000 Jews
who were sealed in Revelation 7:4-8. The Jews seen by John in this instance
were with Jesus Christ, the Lamb
of God, on Mount Sion.

The Lamb (verse 1). The first
thing
John mentioned in this vision
The Lamb on Mount Sion (Revelation
14:1): Zion has meant many things
was a Lamb that was standing
to many people over the centuries,
on Mount Sion. The reference to a
but it has always been a landmark
Lamb is to Christ, the Son of God,
in-and-around the holy citya
in
His redemptive role. The word
virtual synonym for Jerusalem.
Lamb
appears twenty-eight times
Here, it may have referred to either
the New Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22-24)
in Revelation as a designation for
or the earthly Jerusalem during the
Christ. The first such mention is
Millennium. Originally, Zion was the
in Revelation 5:6 where John saw
rock escarpment on the ridge between
Christ as a Lamb as it had been
the Kidron and the Tyropeon valleys.
slain.
The Jewish people knew
Subsequently, the term was widened
well
the
significance of the lamb as
to include the entire western ridge
of Jerusalem. Eventually, Zion was
a sacrificial animal. This reference
adapted to mean the southern portion
to Mount Sion is the only place it
of the western hill. Zion has referred
is mentioned in Revelation. Mount
to the city of Jerusalem proper. Zion
Sion, or Zion as it appears in the
has referred to the people who inhabit
Old
Testament, was the highest of
Jerusalem. However, Zion has most
often referred to Mount Zionthe
the hills on which Jerusalem was
Temple of the Jews.
built. It was the stronghold of the
Jebusites until David won it from

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50

Tribulation Saints and Martyrs / 51


them and made Jerusalem his capital city (1 Chron. 11:4-7). The term Sion
has become associated with the city of Jerusalem, the Temple and the people of
God.
The 144, 000 (verse 1). In chapter 7 John saw these 144,000 Jews early in
the Tribulation Period when they were given a protective mark so they could
safely witness for Christ during the time when the Jewish people would be
persecuted so severely by the anti-Christ. The 144,000 were a special group
who were sealed for service, with the protective mark having being applied
in some manner to their foreheads. That mark designated them as belonging
especially to God the Father. (Compare Revelation 7:3.) In this vision the
144,000 were seen with the Lamb on Mount Sion, which was an anticipative
view of the position they will have under Christ during the Millennium. What
their standing or status might be is not clear. However, the fact that they were
seen on Mount Sion, the place that became the site of Davids throne over
all Israel, seemingly indicates that they will hold some special position when
Christ sits on the throne of David and reigns over all the earth.
The Voice from Heaven (verse 2). The anticipation of the millennial reign
of Christ evoked a song from Heaven. The voice which John heard is described
in a threefold manner.
The voice of many waters. Previously John had heard the voice of the glorified
Christ sounding like many waters (Rev. 1:15). The sound described by this
metaphor is that of a roar like the breaking of waves against a rocky shore or
the cascading of a tremendous waterfall.
The voice of a great thunder. This figure of speech has also been used
previously in Revelation (Rev. 4:5; 6:1; 8:5; 11:19). Thunder is indicative of
the awesome power of God, especially in connection with His judgments. (See
comments on Revelation 11:19, Lesson 3.)
The voice of harpers. The harpers were most likely the twenty-four elders
who denoted believers from Old and New Testament eras (Rev. 5:8). The term
harp indicates a stringed instrument that is probably more descriptive of the
modern-day concept of a lyre. In Bible times, the harp was especially associated
with rejoicing. (Compare Psalm 137:1-4.)
The New Song (verse 3). The 144,000 sang a new song, accompanied no
doubt by the harps John heard. The term new song indicates that this song is
one that had not yet been sung, and, according to a subsequent statement by
John, this song could not be sung by anyone other than the 144,000, a situation
determined because no one else had experienced what the 144,000 had. The new
song by the 144,000 was sung before the throne, and before the four beasts,
and the elders. Such a scenario was described in chapter 4 as a heavenly scene
(Rev. 4:1-6). Since Johns vision in Revelation 14:1-5 is in anticipation of the
Millennium, the 144,000 are evidently still on earth, but they sang their new
song before the throne of God in Heaven. This vision seemingly blends earthly
and heavenly praises to God, especially those lifted by such a special group who
alone can sing in such a particular and specific manner of the greatness and
goodness of the Omnipotent, Omniscient God.

52 / Revelation 14:1-20
The 144,000 Described (verses 4, 5). These verses relate six traits that
were descriptive of the 144,000 Jews whom God had sealed so they could serve
Him as His witnesses during the Tribulation Period.
Virgins (verse 4). The fact the 144,000 were designated as virgins possibly
denoted spiritual rather than physical virginity. When the term woman
or women is used figuratively in a religious connotation, it designates false
religion. (Compare Revelation 2:20.) The Jews in this vision had not defiled
themselves with the false religion espoused by the anti-Christ and the false
prophet. In so doing, they remained true to the purpose for which they had
been given the protective mark.
Followers of the Lamb (verse 4). The purity of life and undivided affection
of the 144,000 was reflected in their unflagging obedience to Jesus Christ the
Lamb. The fact they were described as His followers speaks of discipleship.
They submitted to the authority of Christ and learned what He wanted them to
know. Moreover, they went where He sent them
and did as He directed them. The obedience
Redeemed: this is one of
of the 144,000 was in marked contrast to the
two words translated
misguided
obedience rendered to the antiredeemed. This term means
Christ by his benighted followers.
to purchase or buy from
Redeemed from men (verse 4). The Greek word
the market place. In the
noun form it is the market.
for redeemed essentially denotes those who have
We are bought by the
been purchased from the slave market. The
blood of Jesus and our sins
same term is used in verse 3 in the expression,
are paid for by Him in the
redeemed from the earth, and in Revelation
market place of the earth.
5:9,
where the redemption price is stated as
Word Study #59.
the blood of Christ. Redemption is the basis
for all of Gods dealings with believers. Before
the 144,000 could be sealed for
their special ministry of service
to God, they had to be redeemed
Firstfruits unto God (Revelation 14:4):
by their faith in the blood of the
Passover had three components: Passover,
Lamb.
unleavened bread and firstfruits. The Le The firstfruits unto God
vitical practice insisted the crop could not
be used for human consumption until the
(verse 4). The offering of the
firstfruits were offered to Jehovah. Originalfirstfruits was made on the
ly, this feast was not to be kept until Israel
Sunday that immediately folhad arrived in the Promised Land. Later, it
lowed the Passover (Lev. 23:4fell during the harvest of barley and wheat
11).
This offering was in anticibetween Passover and Pentecost (fifty days
pation of the harvest that God
afterward). Paul honored this practice in his
would give in due time. The
writings as noted in Romans 8:23; 16:5; 1
Corinthians 15:23; 16:15 as did James (James
resurrection of Christ is desig1:18). The firstfruits were always the choice,
nated as the firstfruit (1 Cor.
the foremost, the first, the best and the pre15:20), indicating a full harvest
eminent of all that was to follow. These are
to follow. (See 1 Corinthians
they which were not defiled with women;
15:22-24;
compare 1 Thessafor they are virgins (Rev. 14:4).
lonians 4:14-17.) The 144,000

Manna

Tribulation Saints and Martyrs / 53


evidently denote the firstfruits of those who will be saved during the Tribulation Period. A great number of people, Jews as well as Gentiles, will be saved
despite the opposition, harassment and persecution of believers by the antiChrist.
No guile (verse 5). The Greek term for guile denotes deception or
misrepresentation. The 144,000 were always completely truthful and
transparent in what they proclaimed, which was in marked contrast to the
convoluted, devious deceptions perpetrated by the anti-Christ and the false
prophet on the multitudes during the Tribulation Period. As messengers for
the true Christ, the 144,000 exposed by their faithful, consistent testimony and
life-style the lies of those who opposed the true gospel.
Without fault. The anti-Christ and false
prophet undoubtedly had much to say
Without Fault: without blemish
about the 144,000 that was critical and
or fault implies one who has
accusatory. However, they were without
been viewed and tested. The lamb
fault before the throne of God (Rev. 14:5).
without blemish was one who
The expression without fault does not
was not sick or one who had
no outward flaws. This is used of
indicate perfection, but it denotes that the
people whose lives are without
144,000 were blameless before God. In the
blame. Word Study #299.
service which they rendered to God, they
did the right thing in the right way and for
the right purpose.
SOME HERALDS OF JUDGMENT
This passage is the first of
two which address the matter of
divine judgment during the Great
Tribulation. In these verses are three
angels who announce judgment on
the world in general (verses 6, 7), on
the end-time Babylon (verse 8) and
on the followers of the anti-Christ
(verses 9-11). Patience will be needed
by believers (verse 12).
The Angel and the Everlasting
Gospel (verse 6). In this vision, an
angel was dispatched for the purpose
of declaring the everlasting gospel.
Previously, it was noted that an
angel flew in the midst of Heaven
with the announcement that the last
three trumpet judgments would be
characterized by woe because of their
scope and intensity (Rev. 8:13). Here
the angel proclaimed good news. This
is the only instance of the word gospel

Revelation 14:6-12

Manna

The Everlasting Gospel (Revelation


14:6): The word gospel by definition
means good news or good
tidings. It originated from the Greek
word rooted in the same
word from which was derived the
transliterations evangelist, evangelism
and so forth. The debate waged on this
verse has two different arguments.
One was that the everlasting gospel
was the proverbial gospel which has
been preached for millenniathe
gospel of God, the gospel of Christ, the
gospel of grace, the gospel of peace,
the gospel of the kingdom, and/or the
glorious gospel. The other was that
this was a specific gospelone of fear,
honor and worship identified in the
narrative of the following verse.

54 / Revelation 14:1-20
in the book of Revelation. The Greek word
for
gospel essentially means good news or
To Preach: this is our word
good
tidings. The same term is rendered
evangelize. It is to declare the
good tidings in Luke 2:10 and glad tidings
good news. It is used of the
in Luke 1:19. The everlasting gospel (Rev.
military runner who reports to
the officers of the progress of the
14:6) is the good news that people in every
battle. The message comes as it
situation, circumstance, setting, place and
is. When we preach, we tell the
dispensation can be saved through faith
message of Jesus as it is. Word
in
Christ as Savior. (Compare Acts 4:12;
Study #2097.
10:43.) It follows, however, that only those
who trust the true Christ will be saved.
Them That Dwell on the Earth (verse 6). In the last part of this verse, it
can be seen that the message of the everlasting gospel was directed to them
that dwell on the earth. On several previous occasions, it was noticed that this
phrase is particularly indicative of the followers of the anti-Christ. It seems
as if God used this unusual means of having the gospel proclaimed because
those who needed to hear it probably would not be in a position to hear the
gospel from the 144,000 or the two witnesses, or any other messengers of God.
Those in every nation, and kindred [tribe], and tongue [language], and people
(verse 6) were projected as the recipients of the everlasting gospel. During this
dispensation God has chosen to use His churches as the primary means of
sending the gospel to all the nations (Matt. 28:19, 20; Luke 24:46-48). However,
during the closing part of the Tribulation Period, God will use an angel to
proclaim the everlasting gospel.

The Hour of Judgment (verse 7).
The angel with the everlasting gospel had
Loud Voice: if we translitera message that consisted of three essential
ated the terms used here, it
themes, two of which will be noted here. First,
would be megaphone. The
the people were called upon to Fear God, and
voice is above all others and
give glory to him (verse 7). Anyone who truly
it is a sound and tone that
does this will be saved because implicit in
can be heard by all. It is a
such an acknowledgment is ones repentance
great and easily heard tone
and sound. Word Studies
of sins and faith in Christ. For people who
#3173 and #5456.
are living under the rule of the anti-Christ,
any recognition of the true God and any
acclamation of Him will require a radical
change in ones attitude, which is indicative of repentance, and a complete
reliance on the One to whom they have turned. This is the essence of faith.
In addition, the angel warned that the hour [time] of his judgment is come.
This was an announcement of the cataclysmic events that will occur at the
close of the Tribulation Period, the most awesome of which will be the Battle of
Armageddon.
A Call to Worship (verse 7). In the final statement in this verse the third
part of the angels message is given, worship him that made heaven, and earth,
and the sea, and the fountains of waters (verse 7). This declaration emphasizes
the omnipotence and omniscience of God as manifested in the creation. Many

Tribulation Saints and Martyrs / 55


fail to realize how important it is to acknowledge God as Creator. However, both
the psalmist and the apostle Paul stressed the importance of such recognition.
(See Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-23.) People who will accept Genesis 1:1 will
find it easy to accept Christ as Savior. For one to worship God sincerely as
Creator is a giant step toward recognizing his or her need for salvation and
trusting as Savior the One who has made all things. During the Tribulation
Period, however, most people will be so deceived that they will not acknowledge
the true God as Creator or as Savior.
The Angels Announcement of Babylons Doom (verse 8). The second
angelic messenger declared the doom of Babylon. The description of the endtime Babylon and the account of her judgment will not be given until chapters
17 and 18. Here there is simply the announcement that Babylon will be
overthrown. As far as God is concerned, prophecy and history are the same.
Thus, the angel was dispatched with the declaration that Babylon had fallen
before the event had actually occurred. The repetition of the term is fallen
denotes the finality of Babylons doom. The same expression appears in the
prophecy of the fall of the Old Testament Babylon (Isa. 21:9). The designation
of Babylon as that great city (Rev. 14:8) is used to denote both Babylons (Dan.
4:30). While the significance of the end-time Babylon will be addressed in the
comments on chapters 17 and 18, for now note that despite the greatness and
grandeur of the end-time Babylon, it will be fully and finally destroyed by God.
The Angels Announcement of Doom for Worshipers of the Beast (verse
9). This warning of judgment involved three matters regarding the followers of
the anti-Christ. The false prophet will be the instigator of worship of the beast
and his image and the administrator of the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:11-17).
Worshiping the beast. The anti-Christ will present himself as the messiah or
the christ. This will appeal especially to many of the Jews, and as well to many
so-called Christians. However, true believers, whether Jewish or Gentile, will
not be deceived by the anti-Christs claim to be god.
Worshiping the beasts image. The image of the beast will be erected by the
false prophet in honor of the anti-Christ. The site of this image will possibly be
in Jerusalem, which seemingly will be the religious capital of the world during
the Tribulation Period.
Receiving the mark of the beast. Those who receive the mark of the beast
indicate by so doing that they accept the anti-Christs claim to be god and are
willing to acknowledge him. This acceptance will also be a final rejection of
Christ, as the following verse teaches.
The Wine of Gods Wrath (verse 10). The expression the same refers back
to the worshipers of the beast and his image, and those who receive his mark.
To drink of the wine of the wrath of God (verse 10) is to experience divine
judgment for ones sinful actions. Wine is sometimes used in the Scriptures as
a symbol of joy (Isa. 24:7-11); however, in this instance the reference to wine
is indicative of great misery and suffering. The reason for that is because of
the manner in which wine is produced, a matter which will be noted in the
comments on verses 19 and 20. The reference to the wrath of God speaks of
divine judgment. Such judgment sometimes falls, at least to a certain extent,

56 / Revelation 14:1-20
on those deserving of it during this
life. However, the ultimate experience
of divine wrath on sinners will be
The Mark of His Name (Revelainflicted in the lake of fire by the
tion 14:11): The mark of the beast
flames of everlasting torment.
conjured up many notions. The
Tormented with Fire and Brimmark had previously been introstone (verses 10, 11). The last part
duced in Revelation 13:16. Seemof verse 10, along with verse 11, indiingly, the mark was equated to
the name of the beast and/or the
cates that the wrath of God mentioned
number 666 (verse 17). It was quite
in this setting will be when unbelievcommon in Roman times to ideners are cast into the lake of fire forever.
tify a slave or a soldier with some
The phrase, the cup of his indignation,
sort of symbol, brand or stamp.
denotes the anger of God against sin.
This custom actually dated even
further back to the ancient mystic
The term without mixture means that
cults of the east who saw tattoos
Gods wrath will not be diluted or dias an honorable mark of worship
minished in any manner. The expresand reverence. The anti-Christ assion,
fire and brimstone, speaks of the
sumed a similar form of branding,
essence
of the flames that will roil forone that was visible on either the
ever in the lake of fire. This is not figuforehead or right hand. Though
somewhat puzzling, the mark of
rative language, but even if it were,
the beast apparently symbolized
the anguish experienced would be just
allegiance to the demands, includas intense. The reference to the presing worship, of the anti-Christ.
ence of the holy angels and the Lamb
indicates that they will be present at
the Great White Throne when the sentence of eternal doom in the lake of fire is administered. (Compare Revelation
20:11-15.) John mentioned especially that the worshipers of the anti-Christ
will suffer the wrath of God (verse 11).
The Patience of the Saints (verse 12). Previously, John had noted
the patience and the faith of the saints (Rev. 13:10). Despite the almost
universal adoration of the anti-Christ, the followers of the true Christ are
not to become discouraged, but are instead to remain faithful to God and His
purposes regardless of the tremendous oppositionand even persecutionby
the anti-Christ and his followers. The patience of the end-time saints will be
demonstrated in two distinctive waysby keeping the commandments of God
and by keeping the faith of Jesus. The commandments of God (verse 12) and
the faith of Jesus (verse 12) are essentially the same, being synonymous for
all practical purposes. The saints to whom this verse refers probably will be
Jewish believers because what is said of them regarding the commandments of
God and the faith of Jesus were also mentioned earlier in connection with the
Jewish remnant (Rev. 12:17).

Manna

A PRONOUNCEMENT OF BLESSEDNESS
Revelation 14:13
This parenthetical passage is inserted between the two announcements
of judgment by the angelic heralds during the Tribulation Period. This is the

Tribulation Saints and Martyrs / 57


second of the seven beatitudes in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:3; 16:15; 19:9;
20:6; 22:7, 14).
Blessed Are the Dead in the Lord. The speaker of the voice which John
heard is not specifically identified. However, from the last part of this verse,
one can assume that it was the Holy Spirit who directed the apostle to write
this beatitude. Anytime a believer dies is a blessed experience as far as the
individual is concerned because at the moment of death his or her spirit goes
directly into the presence of Christ. However, a special blessing was promised
by God to believers who die during the Tribulation Period and most especially
during the last part of the Tribulation, because physical death will be a relief
from the persecutions and sufferings to which the followers of the true Christ
will be subjected. Many of the end-time saints will be martyred, and even
those who do not suffer martyrdom will have to endure many deprivations and
adversities because of the policies and programs of the anti-Christ.
The Promise of Rest and Rewards. The reason death is a blessing for
the Tribulation saints is because they will have rest from their labors. The
Greek verb for may rest essentially denotes a going back or a restoration.
The same term is used in Revelation 6:11 to indicate all the martyrs of the
Tribulation Period. However, those designated in Revelation 14:13 includes
those who die in the Lord from henceforth, that is, those believers who die
Jews as well as Gentiles, and whether as martyrs or notduring the last part
of the Tribulation. The word labours refers to burdensome toils which exact
a heavy toll on ones body or mind. The same term is rendered weariness in
2 Corinthians 11:27. The labors that will confront believers during the end
time will include the heavy burden of simply existing from day to day as true
Christians in a society in which the mark of the beast will be required for all
economic transactions. The fact that their works do follow them (Rev. 14:13)
indicates that those believers will be rewarded for the manner in which they
live for Christ and bear testimony of Him by such godly conduct.
ADDITIONAL HERALDS OF JUDGMENT
Revelation 14:14-20
In addition to the three heralds of judgment considered in verses 6-12 are
two more angels who declare judgments that shall occur at the close of the
Tribulation Period. These judgments are metaphorically described as the
treading of fully ripe grapes in the winepress of divine wrath. The Battle of
Armageddon will be the primary event in this matter.
The Son of Man on a White Cloud (verse 14). In the Bible clouds are
symbolic of divine power and majesty. (Compare Exodus 34:5; Psalm 104:1-3.)
The color white denotes purity, holiness and victory. When Christ ascended to
Heaven, a cloud received him (Acts 1:9) while two white-clad menangels,
no doubtdeclared that He will come in like manner as ye have seen him go
into heaven (verse 11). This depiction of the Son of man coming on a cloud is
reminiscent of Daniels vision (Dan. 7:13, 14). The fact that Christ will wear
a golden crown speaks of His royalty and His right to reign over the nations.
In short order, the Tribulation Period will be concluded and the Millennium

58 / Revelation 14:1-20
established. However, before Christ can reign as King of kings and Lord of lords,
He must deal with the anti-Christ and his forces, along with all the nations
that will have rejected His righteous rule. The sharp sickle (Rev. 14:14) in the
hand of the Son of man attests to the fact that He will exercise judgment before
He assumes the throne.
Reaping the Harvest of the Earth
(verses 15, 16). The term another angel
Ripe: literally the word means
in
verse 15 distinguishes this angel from
to make dry or wither and
those
mentioned previously in verses 1-12.
dry up. When the harvest
The
Temple
mentioned here is the Temple
comes, the moisture has
departed from the crop stalk
in Heaven. The message proclaimed by this
and it is time to gather it.
angel spells doom for the anti-Christ and
Our term ripe describes what
his forces, as the time had come to reap the
happens. When the sickle
harvest of the earth. The expression, the
comes, the earth is ready
harvest of the earth, denotes the inhabitants
for the harvest. Word Study
#3583.
of the earth, that is, those who have rejected
the true Christ and have instead followed
the anti-Christ and embraced his purposes,
policies and programs. Verse 16 teaches that the judgment will be exercised
by Christ Himself. This will occur when He returns to the earth in power and
glory and defeats the anti-Christ and his forces (Rev. 19:11-15). The judgment
of the nations will also be administered at this time (Matt. 25:31-46), most
likely immediately following the Battle of Armageddon. All of this is included
in the simple statement, and the earth was reaped (Rev. 14:16).
Fully Ripe for Judgment (verses 17, 18). Two angels were described in
these verses, one from the Temple in Heaven and the other from the altar.
The angel from the Temple had a sharp
sickle, the instrument of judgment
(verse 17). The angel from the altar is
Winepress of Gods Wrath (Revsaid to have power [authority] over
elation 14:20): What an incredible
fire (verse 18) which indicates that the
metaphor! The image of treadaltar
mentioned here was the brazen,
ing out grapes, similar in color to
sacrificial altar that was situated just
blood, was a familiar word picture in eastern culture. Indeed,
inside the gate of the Temple courtyard
the treading of grapes was easily
(verse 18). The sacrificial altar spoke of
equated to the execution of divine
Christs crucifixion. However, since the
wrath upon the enemies of God
anti-Christ and his followers rejected
(Isa. 63:3; Joel 3:13). The trampling
the sacrifice of Christ for their sins, they
of grapes underfoot was quite
would suffer the consequences of their
picturesque of unrelenting judgmenta vivid imagery signifying
rejection, as indicated by the angels
a horrible bloodbath. As the juices
directive, Thrust in thy sharp sickle
splattered and oozed from the up(verse 18). The closing statement in verse
per to the lower vat, the ancients
18 depicts a vineyard laden with huge
would have appreciated fully the
clusters of grapes that are so ripe they
metaphor before them.
are ready to burst. When the time comes

Manna

Tribulation Saints and Martyrs / 59


for Christ to return to earth in power and glory, the inhabitants of the earth
will be fully ripe for the judgment He will inflict.
The Winepress of the Wrath of God (verses 19, 20). Previously, it was
noted that two figures in this vision had sharp sickles, the Son of man (verse
14) and one of the angels (verse 17). Some of the end-time judgments will be
administered by angels. (Compare Matthew 13:39.) The expression, the vine of
the earth denotes the anti-Christ in contrast to Christ who is the true vine
(John 15:1), and the clusters of grapes on the vine of the earth indicate the
followers of the anti-Christ. (Compare John 15:1, 5.) The phrase, winepress of
the wrath of God, speaks of divine judgment which will be administered in holy
wrath (Rev. 14:19). In verse 20, the term the city refers to Jerusalem which
will be the focal point in the judgment at the close of the Tribulation Period.
This is especially emphasized by the fact that the human carnage will extend
over the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs (verse 20), which
equals two hundred miles. The last great battle, often designated as the Battle
of Armageddon, will actually include the area stretching from Armageddon
(Rev. 16:16), one hundred miles northwest of Jerusalem to Bozrah, the ancient
capital of Edom, one hundred miles southeast of Jerusalem (Isa. 63:1-5). In
some places the blood will flow as deep as the horse bridles (Rev. 14:20).
(Compare Revelation 19:11-21.)
TRIBULATION SAINTS AND MARTYRS
Revelation 14:1-20
Divine mercy and judgment are contrasted in this chapter. The mercy of
God is seen by His gathering many of the Tribulation saints unto Himself
where they can rest from their labors. However, some horrible judgments will
be inflicted on the anti-Christ and his followers, climaxing in the Battle of
Armageddon.

Lesson 6

For Sunday, July 11, 2010

Seven Last Plagues

Revelation 15:116:21

The seven last plagues are the fifth of the seven sevens which carry the
overall plot of the book of Revelation. (Review comments on A Synopsis of
Revelation in the Introductory Notes.) Chapter 15 serves as an introduction,
so to speak, for the seven plagues, and the account of the plagues is given in
chapter 16. Chronologically, the seven last plagues focus especially on the last
half of the Tribulation Period, the time known as the Great Tribulation and
reach to the close of the Tribulation. In addition, the seven last plagues could
be regarded as the reason why the seventh trumpet judgment is described by
the term woe (Rev. 11:14).
ANOTHER MARVELOUS SIGN
Revelation 15:1-4
This vision actually consisted of two parts, each of which occurred in Heaven.
First, John saw the seven angels with the last plagues. In addition, the apostle
saw the Tribulation saints who had gained the victory over the anti-Christ.
The Seven Angels (verse 1). The Greek word for sign is the same
as for wonder in Revelation 12:1, 3. Thus, the term another sign is used to
distinguish this one from the other two. This
sign
is described as great and marvellous
Filled Up: this term is used
(Rev.
15:1) to emphasize the gravity of its
often in the New Testament
significance.
The essence of this sign is
to refer to maturity or
seven
angels
having the seven last plagues
completion. It is used in our
word telescope. It means
(verse 1). Since the number seven denotes
to bring something to the
completion or fulfillment, the plagues to be
close or finish, to perform or
administered by these angels will complete
execute a command and bring
or fill up the wrath of God. The divine wrath
something to the end. The
mentioned
in this instance refers to Gods
wrath of God is complete.
wrath
in
His
dealings with the anti-Christ
Word Study #5055.
and his followers on earth. There will be
yet another manifestation of the wrath of
God, which is the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20; 20:10-15). The anti-Christ and false
prophet, along with their followers, plus the devil and all those who die in
rejection of Christ as Savior, will be cast forever into the lake of fire.
The Sea of Glass (verse 2). The sea of glass (verse 2) was mentioned
previously in Revelation 4:6 in connection with Johns vision of the heavenly
60

Seven Last Plagues / 61


throne. The sea of glass is reminiscent of the paved work of sapphire stone
which Moses and the seventy Israelite elders saw on Mount Sinai when they
were admitted into the divine presence (Ex. 24:10), and the crystal firmament
seen by Ezekiel in his vision (Ezek. 1:22). Evidently, the sea of glass which John
saw on this occasion was a vast open space before the throne of God. Standing
on the sea of glass were the Tribulation saints who had won the victory over
the anti-Christ. With regard to the harps, it has been noted previously that the
twenty-four elders, who represented believers of the Old and New Testament
eras, had harps (Rev. 5:8; also review comments on Rev. 14:2, Lesson 5). Harps
were used especially to accompany songs of victory and gladness. (Compare Job
30:31.)
The Songs of Victory (verses 3, 4). The Tribulation saints sang a song
of victory which consisted of two elements, the song of Moses the servant of
God, and the song of the Lamb (verse 3). The song of Moses was sung by
the Israelites after they had crossed the Red Sea and the pursuing army had
been drowned in the sea (Ex. 15:1-19). The song of the Lamb was sung by
the twenty-four elders after the Lamb had taken the seven-sealed scroll and
was preparing to loosen the seals (Rev. 5:8-10). Both of these songs were sung
in praise to God for the great victory He had given. The Tribulation saints
continued by praising God for His great and marvelous works and His just
and true ways. Two divine titles were acclaimed, Lord God Almighty and King
of saints. Not only will the Omnipotent God defeat all of His enemies, but He
will rule righteously over all the saints. All the nations will revere the King of
saints and worship Him accordingly (verse 4).
SEVEN GOLDEN VIALS
Revelation 15:5-8
The seven angels which John mentioned in Revelation 15:1 came from the
heavenly Temple. The seven last plagues which they held were carried in seven
golden vials. The glory of God completely filled the Temple until the vials were
emptied.
The Tabernacle of the Testimony Opened (verse 5). In verse 1, John
stated that he saw the seven angels with the seven last plagues. Here he
mentioned how he was able to see them. He saw the seven angels because the
temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened (verse 5). The
heavenly Temple or Tabernacle was the prototype for the Tabernacle erected
by Moses and the Temple constructed by Solomon. The sanctuary in each of
those structures consisted of a larger room called the Holy Place and a smaller
compartment called the Holy of Holies. In the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the
Covenant, or the ark of the testimony. The high priest was the only man who
could enter the Holy of Holies on earth, and he could do so only once a year, on
the Day of Atonement. Johns vision on this occasion was especially remarkable
because the Holy of Holies in Heaven had been opened.
The Seven Angels Described (verse 6). The seven angels were arrayed
in priestly garments. Linen clothing was to be worn by the Levitical priests
in the exercise of their duties in the Tabernacle or Temple (Lev. 16:4). John
specified that the seven angels were clothed in pure and white linen, which

62 / Revelation 15:116:21
reminds one of the garb of the bride of Christ and emphasizes that the fine
linen denotes the righteousness (literally, righteousnesses, or righteous
deeds) of the saints (Rev. 15:6). (Compare Revelation 19:8, 9.) The seven angels
were girded with golden girdles (Rev. 15:6). The color gold speaks of royalty in
general and in this instance the authority that inheres from royalty. The seven
angels themselves were not princes or kings, but they represented the One who
was acclaimed as the King of saints (Rev. 15:3). The seven plagues which the
angels had were described in verse 1 as the seven last plagues.
The Seven Golden Vials (verse
7). The seven angels received their
vials from one of the four beasts.
The Wrath of God (Revelation 15:7):
The term four beasts denotes the
Holy Scripture made much of the anger
cherubim that are associated with the
of God. David used a demonstrative
throne of God (Rev. 4:6-9). The word
word in Psalm 7:6 to describe the
anger of God which might better
vial (sometimes spelled phial) refers
have been translated foaming at the
to a container. In modern usage, it
mouth. The hot displeasure (Deut.
indicates a small bottle generally
9:19; Psalms 6:1; 38:1) and hot anger
used for medicine. However, in
(Judges 2:14; 2:20; 3:8; 10:7) of Jehovah
Johns
time vials were large, shallow
has often been equated to the wrath
containers which could hold a rather
of God (Rev. 15:7). However, only
large quantity, but the contents were
the seven vials of judgment fit the
mold of the wrath of God (verse 7).
likely to be easily spilled. The fact
The narrative of Revelation mentions
these were golden vials associates
seven seals and seven trumpets each
them with God. Even though they
of which represent terrible trauma
were passed on to the seven angels by
and terrific tragedy, but they all pale
one of the cherubim, the One who was
in comparison to the seven deadly
responsible for the vials and their
drinking cups full of poison.
contents was God Himself. In this
verse, as in verse 1, John mentioned
that the golden vials were filled with the wrath of God. When the seventh vial
was emptied of its contents, the Tribulation Period will have closed.
The Glory of God (verse 8). The dramatic phenomenon described in this
verse reminds one of what occurred when the Tabernacle was set up and then
later when the Temple was completed (Ex. 40:34, 35; 2 Chron. 5:13, 14). In
both instances the glory of God filled the
sanctuary so completely that no one was able
Plagues: these would be
to enter it. Likewise, the heavenly Temple
strokes or wounds of death
was filled with divine glory when the seven
brought about by the angels.
Our concept of plague is a
angels came forth carrying the vials full of
disease that rapidly overtakes
the wrath of God to pour out on the followers
and death comes slowly.
of the anti-Christ. The fact that no man was
This is a wound struck, and
able to enter into the temple, till the seven
it brings an immediate heavy
plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled
affliction. Death comes
(Rev. 15:8) indicates that Gods purpose in
painfully and abundantly in this
dealing with the rebellion of the anti-Christ
term. Word Study #4127.
and his followers will be completely and

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Seven Last Plagues / 63


finally fulfilled. Once God has begun the work of bringing this dispensation to
closure, no being on earth, under the earth or in Heaven can stay His hand.
THE FIRST AND SECOND PLAGUES
Revelation 16:1-3
Chapter 16 gives the account of the seven plagues, with the first two being
addressed in these verses. The first and second plagues directly affected the
followers of the anti-Christ and the creatures in the sea.
The Divine Directive (verse 1). Even
though the seven angels had received their
Vials: this is the saucer or bowl
vials filled with the wrath of God, they could
used to hold the wrath of God.
not embark on their mission until they were
These vials complete the set
bidden to do so. Therefore, a loud voice was
of four sevens of horrors to
heard from the Temple directing the angels
be poured out on the world.
to Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the
The vials contain the final
judgments that the earth will
wrath of God upon the earth (verse 1). The
endure. Word Study #5357.
great voice which John heard is reminiscent
of the booming, trumpet-like voice he heard
in Revelation 1:10. Note that the great voice
came from the Temple, and most likely from the Holy of Holies which was the
special dwelling of God. The Greek verb for pour out is also used to indicate
the shedding of blood (Acts 22:20; Rom. 3:15). The followers of the anti-Christ,
many of whom had been eager to shed the blood of the followers of the true
Christ, were to experience the outpouring of Gods wrath upon them.
The First Plague (verse 2). The first angel emptied his vial on the earth,
causing a noisome and grievous sore (Rev. 15:2) to fall on those who had
received the mark of the beast or had worshiped the image of the beast. The
word noisome is from kakos (kah-kose),
which basically means bad or evil,
Grievous Sore: this is the second of
and as used here, has the connotation of
two terms used for evil and wicked
severity in intensity. The Greek term for
in the verse. The sores or wounds
grievous essentially means painful. Sore
are bad and vile in every way. Our
is from a word which denotes an open ulcer
word pornography comes from
which will not heal. The only instances
this term. It is unhealthy in every
of this term in the New Testament are
physical and spiritual sense. Word
Studies #4190 and #1668.
here and in connection with the beggar
Lazarus (Luke 16:20, 21). The effects of
this first plague remind one of the sixth
of the Egyptian plagues, which was an especially loathsome disease that was
beyond the power of the Pharaohs magicians to imitate (Ex. 9:8-11). The endtime victims of this plague will suffer intense, excruciating pain.
The Second Plague (verse 3). In verse 1, the general instruction for the
angels with the seven last plagues was for them to empty their vials on the
earth. In verse 2, a particular group of people was mentioned, those who had
received the mark of the beast and had worshiped his image. Here a specific
part of the earth is indicated, the sea. Because of this judgment, the sea became
as the blood of a dead man (verse 3). One should note especially the word as

64 / Revelation 15:116:21
which indicates that this is figurative language. The water in the sea does not
actually become the blood of a corpse, but it is like the blood of a dead man
in that it cannot support life and causes the death of all the sea creatures.
What will cause such an unmitigated disaster is not stated. However, the
consequences of it are clear, as every living soul died in the sea (verse 3). The
impact of this will be awesome since the sea provides much of the worlds food
supply. This plague is similar to the second trumpet judgment, but the effects
are much worse. (Compare Revelation 8:8, 9.)
THE THIRD PLAGUE
Revelation 16:4-7
This plague was similar in some respects to the third trumpet judgment
(Rev. 8:10, 11); however, the scope of this judgment was much more widespread
even if the resulting deaths were fewer.
The Focus of Judgment (verse 4). The third angel emptied the contents
of his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters (verse 4). This expression
denotes the sources of fresh water. It is possible, however, that in some isolated
areas some water sources could be spared the effects of this plague, especially
in places where there might be pockets of believers who have sought refuge
from the anti-Christs persecution. (Note: compare the fact that the effects of
the first plague affected only the followers of the anti-Christ, verse 2.) As a
result of the second and third plagues, all the water on earth was affected, with
only a few possible exceptions. For people living near an ocean desalination
would not be not an option since the sea had become like the blood of a corpse,
causing the death of all the creatures in the sea. While this plague was similar
to the third trumpet judgment, there were some significant differences.
The Criteria of Judgment (verse 5). The speaker in this verse is designated
as the angel of the waters (verse 5). Such an expression suggests that certain
angels have been set over the various elements of nature, and because of this,
even the forces of nature are ultimately subject to the overall purposes of God.
(Compare Nahum 1:3.) The testimony of the angel of the waters was that God
had judged righteously in causing the rivers and springs to become blood. Two
criteria of judgment are mentioned in this verse: (1) God is righteous and (2)
God is eternal. Because God is righteous, He cannot do anything that is wrong,
nor can He fail to do what is right. His righteousness always causes Him to be
right. The fact that He is eternal indicates that He is omniscient. Nothing in
the past, present or future can be hidden from Him. Because He knows all, He
always knows what is right.
The Reason for Judgment (verse 6). The words in this verse were also
spoken by the angel of the waters. Here he explained why such an extreme
judgment as described in verse 4 was justified. The reason for Gods judgment
was because they have shed the blood of saints and prophets (verse 6). Satan
has always persecuted believers when given the opportunity to do so, but
during the last part of the Tribulation Period, he will lead the anti-Christ and
his followers to intensify greatly their efforts in persecution. Thus, the angel
declared, they are worthy (verse 6) of the ordeals to which they were subjected
in drinking blood for water. The Greek word for worthy conveys the idea of

Seven Last Plagues / 65


a bringing into balance. It was appropriate for those who had shed innocent
blood, or had condoned such actions, to receive exactly what they deserved.
This judgment was, in part at least, the divine response to the plea of the
martyrs in Revelation 6:10.
The Assessment of Judgment (verse 7). In addition to the comments by
the angel of the waters, John heard a voice from the altar declare, Even so,
Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments (verse 7). The fact
that this speaker was identified as another implies that he was another angel.
Even more important than the identity of the speaker, however, is that this
assessment of judgment came from the altar. The altar speaks of sacrifice, and
sacrifice indicates the shedding of blood. Generally speaking, the animals that
were sacrificed on the altar at the Tabernacle or Temple depicted some aspect
of the crucifixion of Christ. The angel that spoke from the altar was certainly
familiar with the significance of the shedding of blood. Without the shedding
of the blood of Christ there would be no basis for forgiveness of sins. (Compare
Hebrews 9:22.) The judgment on those who had shed the blood of believers was
certainly appropriate.
THE FOURTH AND FIFTH PLAGUES
Revelation 16:8-11
These plagues had contrasting effects, as the fourth plague caused a great
increase in the intensity of the sun, while the fifth plague brought darkness
on the anti-Christs kingdom. None of the trumpet judgments were similar to
the fifth plague, but the fourth trumpet judgment was somewhat similar to the
fourth plague in effects, but not in intensity.
The Account of the Fourth Plague (verse 8). The fourth angel emptied the
contents of his vial on the sun, resulting in a tremendous increase in the heat
from the sun. Although no mention is made of any respite from the intensity
of the sun for the followers of the true Christ, it is certainly possible that
there could be some mitigation of the consequences of this plague for at least
some believers. For the general populace of the world, however, this judgment
caused people to be scorched with fire. The Greek word for scorch indicates an
intense effect from heat. The manner in which the suns heat was increased is
not stipulated. However, scientists have determined that solar storms occur
frequently causing relatively minute increases in the suns intensity. This
plague could greatly multiply such phenomena, causing the blessing of sunlight
to become a terrible curse to mankind.
The Effects of the Fourth Plague (verse 9). Three consequences of this
plague are mentioned in this verse. First, men were scorched [burned] with
great heat (verse 9). The intensity of this effect is underscored by the word
great. The rays of the sun felt like flames. Another result of this plague was
the fact that those who suffered from the searing rays of the sun blasphemed
the name of God (verse 9). Thus, the situation became even worse. Many who
were suffering because of their rebellion against the true God became even
more obstinate and blasphemed Him because of the intensity of their torment.
The third consequence in this matter follows logically from the second one, as
those who blasphemed God hardened their hearts against Him even further

66 / Revelation 15:116:21
and repented not to give him the
glory (verse 9). The implication of this
is that they refused to stop giving glory
Blasphemed God and Refused To
to the anti-Christ. The deception of sin
Repent (Revelation 16:9): Three
is enslaving.
times John stated that the victims

The Focus of the Fifth Plague
of the judgment vials blasphemed
God (verses 9, 11, 21). Two times
(verse 10). The first part of this verse
John insisted that they refused to
stipulates that this plague was focused
repent (verses 9, 11). Perhaps it was
particularly upon the seat of the
more than merely ironic, maybe
beast. The word seat is from thronos
even poetic, if not prophetic, that
(throw-nose), which is the basis for
between the occasions when the
throne. Where the anti-Christs seat of
victims of the vials refused to
government will be is not known. Some
repent, they gnawed the tongues
with which they had blasphemed
have speculated that it will be in Rome,
God (verse 10) because of the pain
others teach that it will be in Jerusalem.
they had endured. What a pathetic
Some have even suggested it could
word picture!
be New York City or Washington, D.
C. However, if the anti-Christ rises to
power out of some small or obscure nation, as many scholars believe, his capital
will probably be the seat of government in that country.
The Effects of the Fifth Plague (verses 10, 11). The effects of this plague
were similar to those of the ninth plague on Egypt (Ex. 10:21-23). In both
instances the land was covered with thick
darkness, a darkness that could be felt,
Seat of the Beast: the throne
according
to Moses account of the plague
of the vicious animal that is the
on Egypt. The Egyptians were in darkness
beast is the scene here. The
for three days, but the length of time the
beast will have a power base
and a place where he rules and
anti-Christs kingdom was in darkness is
reigns. The angel now pours
not stipulated. The intensity of the end-time
out the vial against this evil one.
plague seemingly was much harsher, as the
Word Studies #2362 and #2342.
followers of the anti-Christ gnawed their
tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God
of heaven because of their pains and their
sores, and repented not of their deeds (verses, 10, 11). The sores mentioned
here most likely denote those inflicted when the first vial was emptied on the
followers of the anti-Christ. As before, those who suffered the effects of this
plague hardened their hearts even more and blasphemed God and refused to
repent.

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THE SIXTH PLAGUE


Revelation 16:12-16
This plague set the stage for the Battle of Armageddon. In addition to the
removal of the Euphrates River as a barrier, demonic activity became even
more intensified, with evil spirits serving as agents of the evil trinity.
The Purpose of this Plague (verse 12). The Euphrates River was involved
in the sixth trumpet judgment (Rev. 9:13-21). The great river Euphrates is
the largest in western Asia and figures largely in history and prophecy. Three

Seven Last Plagues / 67


of the great empiresAssyria,
Babylon and Medo-Persiarose
to power along the Euphrates.
The Great River Euphrates (Revelation
This river will mark the eastern
16:12): Mesopotamia was the land
boundary of the land promised to
between the riversone of which
was the great River Euphrates. Its
Abraham and his descendants in
counterpart, the Tigris River, made up
the Abrahamic Covenant. When
the opposite and eastern boundary. The
the sixth angel poured out his
Euphrates River basin served as the
vial on the Euphrates, the river
eastern most vein of the Fertile Crescent.
was dried up. Evidently, some
Stretching from the Persian Gulf in the
dramatic miracle was involved for
south to the mountains of Turkey and
such a significant phenomenon to
Armenia in the north, the Euphrates
occur. Human minds might not
provided a physical boundary and
permanent landmark for the greatest
understand how anything like
part the fertile landmass. Often simply
this could happen so quickly, but
known as the river (Deut. 11:24),
if God wills it, it can come to pass.
the Euphrates was the largest river
The effect of the drying up of the
in the region. It was wide and deep
Euphrates was to allow the armies
enough that most of its 1780 miles
from the eastern nations, such as
were navigable by boats thus making it
China, Japan, Korea and India, to
critical for trade and transport.
move toward Palestine.
The Evil Trinity (verse 13).
Another feature of the judgment of the sixth vial was the three unclean spirits
like frogs that came out of the mouth of the dragon [Satan], and out of the
mouth of the beast [the anti-Christ], and out of the mouth of the false prophet
(verse 13). Just as there is a holy Trinity consisting of the Father, the Son and
the Holy Spirit, there is an evil trinity consisting of the devil, the anti-Christ
and the false prophet. The unclean spirits (verse 13) John saw were demonic
spirits. They were said to be like frogs (verse 13) because frogs were unclean
animals according to the Law of Moses. The three persons in the holy Trinity
are united in their purposes for the redemption of mankind, while the members
of the evil trinity are determined to keep mankind in deception and thus in the
bondage of sin and condemnation. The holy Trinity is one Godhead expressed
in three persons, but the evil trinity is limited to three separate beings firmly
bound in a united cause.
The Preparation for the Battle of Armageddon (verse 14). The pronoun
they refers to the unclean spirits mentioned in verse 13; devils is from the Greek
term for demons. The drying up of the Euphrates River and the going forth of
the demonic spirits were in preparation for the Battle of Armageddon. The
demons were sent to the leaders of the nations to entice them to join the forces
of the anti-Christ in a final effort to destroy the Jewish people. Armies probably
came from all parts of the globefrom the east, possibly under the leadership
of China, from the north, possibly under the leadership of Russia, and from
the south, possibly under the leadership of Egypt. This could explain why the
battle line stretched for two hundred miles, from Armageddon northwest of
Jerusalem to Bozrah southeast of Jerusalem. (Review comments on Revelation
14:19, 20, Lesson 5.)

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68 / Revelation 15:116:21

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The Impact of Miracles (Revelation


16:14): One of the ways the antiChrist emulates the true Christ is with
miracles, signs and supernatural
wonders. Great wonders, miracles
and even the healing of deadly
wounds are attributed to the power
of the beast (Rev. 13:12-15). As an
imitator of God the beast has less
than honest motives. Indeed, his plan
is deceptive (Rev. 19:20) from the
beginning and these signs, wonders
and miracles merely facilitate his
ploy. The miracles of the dragon, the
beast and the false prophet (verse 13)
are so convincing that these devilish
spirits persuade the vial-ridden
kings of the surrounding regions to
invade Palestine. Though their battle
is ultimately against God Almighty,
still they, in futility, fight.

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Armageddon (Revelation 16:16): It


has been stated that Napoleon viewed
this valley as the greatest battlefield he
had ever seen. Because of its strategic
location, the plain of Megiddo has
been the site of frequent battles since
the earliest of times. Here is where
Deborah and Barak crushed the
Canaanites (Judges 4). Here is where
Gideon claimed victory over the
Midianites (Judges 7). Here King Josiah
died while battling Pharaoh Neco II (2
Kings 23:29). Here Pharaoh Thutmose
III defeated a Canaanite coalition in
1468 BC. And in AD 1917 the British,
under General Allenby, ended the rule
of the Turks in Palestine by banishing
them from this main route which runs
northeast between the Plain of Sharon
and the Valley of Jezreel. This valley
will host yet another battlethe Battle
of Armageddon.

The Warning Regarding this


Judgment (verse 15). This warning is inserted in this account of the
Battle of Armageddon as a reminder
to believers that they must not allow the events and circumstances of
the world to distract or overwhelm
them. The return of Christ will catch
unsaved people by surprise, but this
should not be so for those who have
been saved. To walk naked (verse
15) is to be caught unprepared. Believers who walk naked (verse 15)
do not live as God wants them to live.
Their lives are more indicative of being followers of the world than followers of Christ. Consequently, when
they appear before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ, it will be as if
they are standing naked in His presence. Believers should wrap themselves in the garments of Christian
testimony and not cast them aside.
The Place of this Judgment
(verse 16). This verse identifies the
place where the armies of the antiChrist and his allies will be gathered
for the final battle prior to the coming of Christ in power and glory. The
term Armageddon literally means
hill of Megiddo. The hill, or mountain, of Megiddo is about one hundred miles northwest of Jerusalem. It
overlooks the valley of Esdraelon, the
great plain of Jezreel which stretches toward Jerusalem. Napoleon, the
famous French general, is reported
to have said that the area of Armageddon would make an ideal battleground for all the armies of the world.
Historically, this region has been the
site of many battles, some involving
Israel and others involving armies
from other nations that engaged each
other at Armageddon. It is certainly
appropriate for the earths last great

Seven Last Plagues / 69


conflict, which will have an extended battle line, to be designated as the Battle
of Armageddon.
THE SEVENTH PLAGUE
Revelation 16:17-21
The sixth vial closes with everything in readiness for the defeat of the antiChrist and his followers. The pouring out of the seventh vial tells the manner
in which that momentous event will occur.
The Seventh Angel (verse 17). The last of the seven vials was poured
out into the air (verse 17). This was undoubtedly the most catastrophic and
most terrible judgment of the Tribulation Period, and that of all time as well.
The term the air denotes the realm where Satan is permitted to reign (Eph.
2:2). Thus, this judgment was focused on the power structure of the devil and
his followers, especially the anti-Christ. The seventh plague also marked
the realization of the announcement that was given in Revelation 10:7. (See
comments on this verse in Lesson 2.) The great voice which John heard was
out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done (Rev. 16:17).
This statement was from God Himself. Although there is a constant struggle
between good and evil and between God and Satan, God is the more powerful.
Consequently, He will ultimately triumph over Satan.
The Awesome Phenomena (verse 18). John mentioned four vivid
phenomena in connection with the seventh plague.
Voices, thunders and lightning. These three matters have been noted
previously in three instances (Rev. 4:5; 8:5; 11:19). These phenomena indicate
the omnipotence of God, especially in regard to the exercise of divine judgment.
As thunder and lightning announce the approach of a storm in nature, so did
these denote the destructive force of the judgment that closed the Tribulation
Period.
The great earthquake. For the past several decades, earthquakes have
increased in frequency and intensity. The book of Revelation includes seven
references to earthquakes, once in Revelation 6:12, 8:5 and 11:19, and twice in
Revelation 11:13 and 16:18. It is certainly noteworthy that this last instance
describes it as a great earthquake, such as was not since men were on the
earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great (Rev. 16:18).
The Judgment on the Cities (verse 19). The judgments connected to the
seventh plague included the great city (verse 19) which was Babylon (Rev.
14:8; 17:18), along with the cities of the nations (verse 19). The destruction
of Babylon will be considered in the study on chapters 17 and 18. For now, it
should be noted that Babylon was divided into three parts (Rev. 16:19) which
probably is an allusion to the political, commercial and religious aspects of
great Babylon. This indicates that the destruction of Babylon will be in stages,
as will be noted in Lessons 7 and 8. The expression, the cities of the nations,
refers to the capitals and other important cities of the end-time nations. The
judgment on Babylon is especially emphasized as retributive in nature. The
vast political-economic-religious system that was such a powerful instrument
for the anti-Christ in persecuting the followers of the true Christ experienced
the fierceness of divine wrath.

70 / Revelation 15:116:21
The Geographic Upheavals (verse 20). Two dramatic geographic
upheavals occurred as a result of the seventh plague, every island fled away,
and the mountains were not found (verse 20). The removal of the islands and
the leveling of the mountains, which could have been some of the effects of the
tremendous earthquake, had devastating effects, especially on the inhabitants
of those regions. Some of these changes occurred with the loosening of the sixth
seal, but to a lesser extent. However, all of this was a means of preparing the
earth for the Millennium, during which topographical and climatic conditions
will be much more favorable. (Compare Isaiah 49:11; Amos 9:13.)
The Intensity of This Plague (verse 21). The intensity of this plague can
be seen in the great hail out of heaven (Rev. 16:21). Previously, hail has been
mentioned in connection with divine judgment. The first trumpet judgment
included hail and fire mingled with blood (Rev. 8:7). The reference to hail
in Revelation 11:19 is in connection with the emptying of the seventh vial.
Additional information given here describes the hail as being of such size as to
stagger the imagination. According to various commentaries, the term talent
refers to a weight of from seventy-five to one hundred pounds. Hailstones of
such size would wreak havoc on buildings and structures and cause many
fatalities as well. However, the people continued to blaspheme God and refused
to repent of their sins.
SEVEN LAST PLAGUES
Revelation 15:116:1-21
The contents of these chapters are directly related to the conclusion of
Revelation chapter 11. In chapter 11, the Temple in Heaven was opened, and
lightning, voices, thunders, earthquake and great hail ensued. Here the same
Temple was opened from which came seven angels with the seven last plagues.
When they emptied their vials, the resulting calamities were similarand in
some cases identicalto the conditions described in chapter 11. Earlier, the
twenty-four elders had declared that the time of Gods wrath had come; here
His wrath was poured out.

Lesson 7

For Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Victory of the Lamb

Revelation 17:1-18

Revelation 17 and 18 are actually a unit which gives the account of the
divine judgment on the end-time Babylon. These chapters also constitute yet
another parenthetical passage in the narrative of the book of Revelation. (See
A Synopsis of Revelation in the Introductory Notes.) Chapter 17 provides
an insight into the religious or ecclesiastical aspect of the end-time Babylon,
while chapter 18 gives the political and commercial characteristics of that vast
system or empire over which the anti-Christ shall rule.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE GREAT HARLOT
Revelation 17:1, 2
The fact that Babylon is referred to as the great whore (verse 1) emphasizes
that this is a system which includes false religion. The anti-Christ will use the
end-time harlot to accomplish his purposes, and God will use the anti-Christ to
judge the harlot.
The Messenger of Judgment (verse 1). The announcement of judgment
upon the harlot was made by one of the seven angels which had the seven
vials (verse 1). This indicates that the account of the judgment of Babylon is an
explanation of something that had already occurred in the book of Revelation,
which teaches that the parenthetical
passages in Revelation provide additional
The Great Whore: the act
information on matters that either are in the
of spiritual adultery and
past or in the future. Since the judgment on
unfaithfulness is set forth
Babylon occurred with the emptying of the
in this image. The one who
prostitutes himself after the
seventh vial (Rev. 16:18, 19), it is most likely
man of sin and Satan is in mind
that the messenger of Babylons judgment
here. This one reveals in full
was the seventh angel. The Greek term for
display a heart of unfaithfulness
the expression come hither also appears in
to the truth. Word Study
Revelation 21:9. However, a different word is
#4204.
used in Revelation 4:1 and 11:12 where the
invitation, come up hither, is given. Whore is
from a term which is the feminine form of fornicator. The word fornication
covers all manner of sexual immorality. Spiritual fornication is to substitute
for God that which is not God or is not of God. While this term includes idolatry,
it can also be applied to improper worship of the true God. People who do not
worship God properly often can be led easily into worship of a false god. (Note:
71

72 / Revelation 17:1-18
The phrase, that sitteth upon
many waters, will be addressed in
the comments on verse 15.)
Sitteth on Many Waters (Revelation

The Reason for Judgment
17:1): Because water was necessary on
(verse 2). This verse gives two
several levels, nearly all large cities
reasons for the judgment on the
sat by a river, a lake or a sea in biblical antiquity. In addition to the need
end-time harlot.
for water in sustaining life, rivers and

Fornication with the kings
seas were critical to transportation
of the earth. The first reason for
and trade. Rare was the occasion that
Gods judgment on Babylon was
a significant city was found anywhere
because the kings of the earth
but on the bank of some waterway.
had committed fornication with
The ancient city of Babylon actually sat
her. This speaks of spiritual
on the narrow land mass between the
River Euphrates and the Tigris; hence,
fornication. Civil and political
Mesopotamiathe land the between
leaders
commit
spiritual
the rivers. Canals afforded access to
fornication by using religion for
many parts of the city and offered a
improper purposes, or by allowing
source for irrigation. The city of Rome
religious organizations or systems
sat on the water from several valleys
to use civil powers to advance
which dumped into the Tiber River.
religious purposes. Theocracies,
People trying to cross the river in either
direction naturally migrated to Rome,
such as present-day Iran, and
amidst the seven hills, where a bridge
countries that have an established
was constructed across the Tiber that
church, such as present-day
connected the civilized world with its
Great Britain, are likely to find
uncivilized counterpart.
themselves on a slippery slope that
can lead to spiritual fornication.
Drunk with the wine of fornication. Those who are said to be drunk with the
wine of her fornication (verse 2) are the inhabitants of the earth, an expression
that has been seen previously to denote the followers of the anti-Christ (Rev.
8:13; 12:12). The drunkenness mentioned here indicates that the followers of
the anti-Christ will be deceived into embracing wholeheartedly the end-time
religious system.

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THE DESCRIPTION OF THE GREAT HARLOT


Revelation 17:3-6
Upon receiving a vision of the great harlot, John was deeply impressed by
her regal splendor, but he was rudely shocked by her ruthless cruelty. The
harlot was thoroughly corrupt from the earliest time.
In the Spirit in the Wilderness (verse 3). This verse relates the conditions
under which John received the vision of the great harlot. The pronoun he refers
to the angelic messenger mentioned in verse 1. The Greek verb for carried
away denotes a removal from one location to another, as seen in Mark 15:1
where the Scripture states that Christ was carried . . . away to appear before
Pilate. The word spirit refers to Johns spirit, and wilderness is from a term
which indicates a desolate, isolated place. The Greek word is rendered desert
in some instances (Acts 8:26). The fact that John was in the spirit (verse 3)
indicates that he was in a trance-like condition when he received this vision

73
while on the island of Patmos. The desolation suggested by the word wilderness
depicts how utterly destitute of godliness and all that could be associated with
the true God was the end-time Babylon.
The Scarlet Colored Beast (verse 3).
The vision John received was certainly
Scarlet Coloured: this is a
dramatic, as he saw the harlot seated on
crimson, expensive color made
a scarlet coloured beast (verse 3). This
from the eggs of an insect. It
is a color that is widely associated with
was designed for royalty and
blood, and the reason why the beast was so
came to represent that which is
unfaithful. It is a deep and rich
depicted is because it has been responsible
red color and easily identifiable.
for shedding the blood of millions of the
Word Study #2847.
followers of the true God. The Greek word
for beast refers to a wild, vicious creature.
(Compare Revelation 6:8; 13:1, 11.) This
beast is the anti-Christ, the same creature John saw in Revelation 13:1. The
fact this beast was full of names of blasphemy (verse 3) speaks of its wicked,
diabolical nature. The anti-Christ was full of blasphemy because all that he did
was in opposition to God. The beasts seven heads denoted the seven powerful
empiresEgypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and the antiChrists kingdomthat have been so
integrally associated with the people
of God. The ten horns indicate the
ten nations that constituted the antiWoman Arrayed in Purple and
Scarlet (Revelation 17:4): These
Christs empire.
colors identified royalty, nobility and
The Harlots Splendor (verse 4).
wealth. Purple was often used in the
The woman John saw seated on the
regal robes of the monarchy while
beast was clothed in garments that
scarlet was a color of magnificence.
were associated with wealth, power
John pictured a high-class prostitute
and prestige. In Bible times, only
as one who intoxicated the nations
royalty or those who were especially
with her hard-to-resist immorality
(verse 2) but was herself drunk
wealthy could afford to be dressed in
with the blood of the saints (verse
purple and scarlet colour (verse 4).
6) as noted in the Archaeological
In the account of the rich man and
Study Bible, page 2066. Proverbially
the beggar Lazarus, Christ made it a
speaking, Babylon was dressed to
point to mention that the rich man was
kill.
clothed in purple (Luke 16:19). Not only
was the harlot dressed in garments of
wealth, but she also was decked with gold and precious stones and pearls,
having a golden cup in her hand (Rev. 17:4). The Greek word for decked is from
the term for gold, and denotes something that is gilded with gold. Precious
stones indicates gems and jewels of various sorts. The term golden cup depicts
further the opulent splendor of the harlot, as most people in Johns day drank
from vessels made of clay.
The Harlots Degradation (verse 4). The last part of this verse indicts
the harlot on the scarlet colored beast because the golden cup she held in her
hand was full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication (verse 4). Even

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74 / Revelation 17:1-18
though she was lavishly dressed and appeared to be wealthy and powerful, she
was morally corrupt and wicked to the core. As a system the end-time Babylon
displayed an external grandeur and glory that appealed to the fleshly nature.
However, the true nature of the harlot was revealed in the golden cup. The fact
the cup was full indicates the depth and extent of the harlots ungodly deeds.
The word abominations speaks of idolatry. (Compare Ezekiel 16:36.) The term
filthiness of her fornication refers to physical as well as spiritual immorality.
Many false religions condone, and often promote, sexual promiscuity along
with their ungodly religious practices and
teachings.
Mystery: in a religious sense,

The Harlots Designation (verse 5).
it is those things which are
hidden or the secret rites
The harlot had a fourfold title on her forehead
of a cult. Here it describes
that aptly described her true nature and acthe name of the whore. She
tions.
is hidden, and now her true

Mystery. This indicates that the roots of
nature comes to light when
the
end-time Babylon extend deep into bibliexposed to the truth of God.
cal history. The first mention of Babylon is in
Word Study #3466.
connection with the tower of Babel (Gen. 11:19). That endeavor was an organized,
united expression of human rebellion
against the stated purpose of God for
wanting the descendants of Noah to
Babylon the Great (Revelation
scatter throughout the earth.
17:5): The mother of harlots and
abominations (verse 5) was the
Babylon the Great. Babylon is
center of human civilization in
mentioned six times in Revelation (Rev.
that day. As ancient Babylon had
14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 10, 21), and in
once led people, nations and kings
each instance the designation great is
into spiritual idolatry, so Rome in
associated
with it in some manner. The
the first century may have started
expression Babylon the Great implies
where Babylon stopped. Rome
that the end-time Babylon was greater
seemed to have fit the description
of seven mountains (verse 9)
than the Babylon of the Old Testament
as it was famous for being built
time. Babylon the Great was indicative
on seven hills. Cicero called these
of the anti-Christs domain and
hills Palatine, Capitoline, Caelian,
influence.
Aventine, Esquiline, Viminal and
The mother of harlots. This term
Quirinal. By 378 BC six of the
speaks of the fact that the end-time
seven hills were enclosed by the
Babylon was, among other things, a
Wall of Servius. Only Esquiline
was without the wall.
vast ecclesiastical system that embraced all manner of false religions.
Apostate Christianity, Islam, the eastern cults and the native religions of primitive people will be included in the
harlots system.
The mother of abominations of the earth. This expression is related to the
preceding one. As was noted previously, the term abominations refers to idolatry.
Idolatrous worship was widespread under the anti-Christ, culminating in the
worship of his image.

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The Victory of the Lamb / 75


The Harlots Shame (verse 6). Of all the sins committed by the end-time
Babylon, the worst was the persecution and martyrdom of the adherents of
the true religion. It was as if the harlot had drunk the blood of the saints
and martyrs. Seemingly, this symbol of the harlot and her diabolical deeds
actually includes all the persecuting campaigns of false religions from the time
of Babel down to the close of the Tribulation Period. This is implied by the term
saints, which probably refers to the followers of God during the Old Testament
time, and by martyrs, which seems to be indicative of believers during the New
Testament era. Note that John made two separate statements regarding this
matter, as he pointedly referred to the blood of the saints (verse 6) and to the
blood of the martyrs of Jesus (verse 6).
The Apostles Reaction (verse 6). At the sight of the harlots lips dripping
with the innocent blood of devout saints and faithful martyrs John wondered
with great admiration (verse 6). The Greek word for wondered conveys the
idea of being amazed, or even startled. The term admiration, as used here,
does not indicate a favorable regard, but something that evokes awe. In this
instance, John was horrified by what he saw in his vision. Rather than being
attracted by the beauty of the harlot, the apostle was shocked by the violence
she exemplified. Many people are impressed by the externals of false religion.
One must look beyond the rituals and ceremonies, however, and try to see a
religious system as it really is.
THE MYSTERY OF THE GREAT HARLOT
Revelation 17:7-13
This passage is key to understanding the nature of the end-time religious
system and its relationship with the anti-Christ. These verses also provide a
good overview of the background and nature of the anti-Christs kingdom.
The Angels Statement (verse 7). The angel to which John referred is the
same angel mentioned in verse 1. In the angels question, Wherefore didst
thou marvel? (verse 7), the Greek word for marvel is from the same basic
term as wondered in verse 6. The significance of the harlot, and of the beast
on which she rode as well, was a source of fearful amazement for the apostle.
The angels promise to give John an explanation possibly was intended more
to alleviate his concerns about the matter than to satisfy his curiosity. As was
noted previously, the word mystery denotes something that was implied in the
past but was not revealed until the appropriate time for doing so had arrived.
Several mysteries are mentioned in the New Testament, three of which are
included in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:20; 10:7; 17:5; also compare the notes
on Revelation 10:7 in Lesson 2). The time had come for the mystery regarding
Babylon the Great to be explained. However, that explanation was so intricately
involved with the explanation regarding the beast that carried the harlot that
the angels explanation, which is given in the verses which constitute the rest
of this chapter, actually was more about the beast than the harlot.
The Nature of the Beast (verse 8). The beast the angel described to John
was indicative of both the anti-Christ and his empire. Some features mentioned
by the angel pertained more to the man, while others were more applicable to
the system of which he was the head. In the opening statement of this verse,

76 / Revelation 17:1-18
the beast was described by the phrase, was and is not, which indicates that it
had a past existence, but did not exist at the present. In addition the angel said
the beast shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition (verse
8). The last statement in this verse reiterates the fact that the beast was, and
is not, and yet is. The verb was refers to the first half of the Tribulation Period,
during which the anti-Christ will rise to power and consolidate his position as
the ruler of the end-time empire. The term is not denotes the brief time when
the anti-Christ will be wounded and seemingly die. The phrase yet is speaks of
the anti-Christs recovery from his wound, after which he will be so completely
dominated and controlled by Satan that it will be as if he had ascended from
the abyss. During the last half of the Tribulation Period, the anti-Christ will
appear to be the very incarnation of the devil, and will be so determined to
accomplish the purposes of Satan that he will go into perdition. (Compare 2
Thessalonians 2:3; note: the word perdition essentially means utter loss.)
The Beast and His Admirers (verse 8). The expression, they that dwell on
the earth, has been noted previously as a reference to the followers of the antiChrist. The Greek word for shall wonder is the same as for wondered in verse
6; however, in this instance the word has a favorable connotation. (Compare
Revelation 13:3.) The anti-Christs amazing recovery from his woundsome
people probably will believe that he actually came back from the deadwas
the reason for the amazement among his followers. John distinguished the
admirers of the anti-Christ from the believers in the true Christ by mentioning
that the names of the followers of the anti-Christ were not recorded in the book
of life. This is the same book mentioned in Revelation 13:8. (Comments on this
verse in Lesson 4.)
The Beasts Seven Heads (verse 9). The description given in verses 9-13
pertain more to the anti-Christs empire than to the man. This verse opens with
the angels statement, And here is the mind which hath wisdom (verse 9). This
declaration is similar to the beginning of Revelation 13:8. In both instances
some information related to the anti-Christ follows. The implication is that
the wisdom needed to understand what has been recorded cannot come from a
human source. One must depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance in interpreting
what was said about the anti-Christ and all that is associated with him. Here
the seven heads are said to be seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth
(Rev. 17:9). In biblical symbolism a mountain denotes a government, kingdom
or empire. David acclaimed God for having made his mountain [kingdom] to
stand strong (Psalm 30:7). Thus, the seven mountains represent the same
thing as the seven heads, which as has been noted previously, are seven
powerful empiresEgypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and
the anti-Christs empirethat have been, or shall be closely associated with
the people of God.
The Seven Kings (verse 10). The seven kings mentioned in this verse
represent the same thing as the seven mountains and seven heads. Even though
the word kings is used here, the reference is not so much to the men who ruled
those empires, but to their kingdoms, that is, the civil and political reigns of each
of the respective empires. The angels statement that five [kings, or empires]
are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come (verse 10) presents yet

The Victory of the Lamb / 77


another perspective in this matter. The five empires that had fallenor which
no longer existed in Johns daywere Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia
and Greece. The one in power then was Rome, and it would continue to survive
until AD 476. The kingdom that had not yet come will be the anti-Christs
empire, which will not arise until the Tribulation Period. The anti-Christs
empire will last for seven years at the most, which will be only a short space
(verse 10) in comparison to the respective tenures of the six empires that will
have preceded it. There will not be any successor to the anti-Christ.
The Eighth King (verse 11). In this verse, the angel referred to an eighth
king and identified him as the beast that was, and is not (verse 11). The
angel further described the eighth king as being of the seven, and goeth into
perdition (verse 11). In verse 8, this king was seen to be the anti-Christ,
the one who was, and is not, and yet is. The anti-Christ is both the seventh
and the eighth king. He will be the seventh king during the first part of the
Tribulation Period, but after he recovers from the serious wound he receives
midway through the Tribulation, he becomes the eighth king even though he
is of the seven [that is, of the seventh king]. (Compare Revelation 13:3, 14;
review comments on these verses in Lesson 4.) Note that even though John was
told about eight kings, there were only seven heads or empires, thus indicating
that while the anti-Christs kingdom will be one in essence there will be two
phases to it answering to the two halves of the Tribulation Period.
The Ten Horns (verses 12, 13). The angel declared the ten horns to be ten
kings, which have received no kingdom as yet (verse 12). From the context
of verses 12 and 13, it is obvious that in this instance the term kings refers
to men who will reign over a nation. They had not yet received a kingdom at
the time of the angels explanation, which was during the time of the sixth
king mentioned in verse 10, but they will become empowered as kings during
the time of the anti-Christ. However, their reign will be brief, as indicated by
the phrase one hour. The ten kings will be united in their support of the antiChrist, thus providing the basis for his end-time empire (verse 13). Many people
have taught that this empire will consist of a ten nation coalition of European
countries. While that is certainly possible, one cannot rule out the possibility
that the anti-Christs ten nation federation will consist of nations scattered
throughout Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere. With modern means of
communication and transportation, countries do not have to be contiguous to
be part of an empire. The ten nations in the anti-Christs empire will constitute
a powerful alliance.
THE DEFEAT OF THE GREAT HARLOT
Revelation 17:14-18
Even though the false religious system of the end-time will enjoy the support
of the anti-Christ and the ten rulers in his coalition, God will judge her through
those who have supposedly been her most ardent supporters.
The Victory of the Lamb (verse 14). The pronoun these refers to the ten
kings mentioned in verse 12. The time when they shall make war with the
Lamb (verse 14) will be at the Battle of Armageddon, which will occur at the
close of the Tribulation Period. On that occasion Christ will return to the earth
in great power and glory and defeat the anti-Christ and the armies of all his

78 / Revelation 17:1-18
followers, including the nations that will constitute his empire (Rev. 19:11-21).
The victory of the Lamb in this matter will affirm the fact that he is Lord
of lords, and King of kings (Rev. 18:14). This verse also mentions that the
victorious Christ will be accompanied by those who are called, and chosen, and
faithful (verse 14). These constitute part of the armies which were in heaven
who are clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Rev. 19:14; see Lesson 10 for
comments on this verse). Those who are called, chosen and faithful are the
believers of the Old and New Testament eras who will have been resurrected
prior to the beginning of the Tribulation Period. The fact that they will be
clothed in fine linen, white and clean indicates that they will have already
appeared before the Judgment Seat of Christ and will thus be ready to reign
with Him.
The Domain of the Harlot (verse 15). In this verse, the angel explained to
John the extent of the power and influence that the end-time religious system
will be able to wield. The word waters refers to the masses of the people
peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues [languages] (verse 15).
This term depicts the to and fro motions of surging water, and is consequently
indicative of the restless, constant agitation of people as they are moved by
ever-changing situations and circumstances. Thus, this designation includes
people of all places and cultures. The false religious system of the end-time
seemingly will include virtually all the organized religions of that day, and
consequently will possibly be far more extensive than the ten nations that will
form the basis of the anti-Christs federation. The vast influence of such an
entity will cause the anti-Christ and his minions to seek to gain the favor of
the harlot. It is certainly significant that the harlot is described as sitting on
the waters, indicating that she is able to exercise great control over the people.
The Destruction of the Harlot (verse 16). God will use the ten nations in
the anti-Christs federation to judge the end-time religious system. The cause
for this dramatic turn of events is not clear. It is possible, however, that the
false religious system will seek increasingly to exercise more power over the
nations, and since false religion will be more widespread than the anti-Christs
empire, the harlots leaders will stand to become more powerful than the civil
and political leaders of the anti-Christs coalition. Because of their hatred for
the end-time harlot, the ten kings will make her desolate and naked, and
shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire (verse 16). When taken collectively,
these terms are indicative of total destruction. Such destruction means that
the religious leaders will be stripped of their positions and power. In addition,
the religious systems properties and possessions will probably be seized by the
governments. Any lay people who try to resist or question the civil authorities
in these matters will undoubtedly be treated harshly also, perhaps to the point
of imprisonment or execution, measures generally meted out to followers of the
true Christ.
The Divine Will (verse 17). The ten kings who will cause the destruction
of the end-time harlot will unwittingly accomplish the will of God. Nothing can
occur in the universe without the permissive will of God allowing it. There are
many things which God does not desire, but He permits them to occur nonetheless. God will allow the leaders of the false religious system to continue in

The Victory of the Lamb / 79


their greed and corruption until the political leaders decide
that their relationship with
Until the Words of God Are Fulfilled
organized religion has become
(Revelation 17:17): The Revelator had
intolerable. When that occurs,
previously put in the hearts of His people
God will allow the civil and
to accomplish the will of God. In Revelation
10:7 John noted, In the days . . . the
political authorities to destroy
mystery of God should be finished, as he
the harlot that was diverting
hath declared to his servants the prophets.
the attention of the people and
Only a chapter later John declared, That
valuable resources from them
they should be judged, and that thou
and their programs to religious
shouldest give reward unto thy servants the
purposes. Even though much
prophets, and to the saints, and them that
bloodshed and loss of life, along
fear thy name, small and great (Rev. 11:18).
with other tragic results, will
Seemingly, nothing was going to dissuade
the prophecies of the prophets and the
be involved, God will permit it
united efforts of the saints until the words
because this will be His way of
of God shall be fulfilled (Rev. 17:17).
judging the end-time harlot.
That Great City (verse
18). The angels description of the woman
as that great city which reigneth over the
Great City: the words simply
kings of the earth (verse 18) is a lead-in to
mean large metropolitan area.
the account of the destruction of Babylon
The concept is far greater than
which is related in chapter 18. Babylon is
this. It speaks that the woman in
referred to as that great city (verse 18)
the chapter represents all that a
in Revelation 14:8, and here, as well as in
large city would be in the sense
Revelation 16:19, is a reference to a great
of how everything is present.
city, with the implication that Babylon is
Word Studies #3173 and 4172.
the city. The false religious system reigned
over the kings of the earth in the sense that
because of wealth, influence, prestige and power it was able to control to a
great degree the decisions and actions of many civil and political leaders. As
the head of false religion, the false prophet will thus be an especially powerful
man.

Manna

THE VICTORY OF THE LAMB


Revelation 17:1-18
Organized religion, under the direct control of the false prophet, will be one
of the most powerful forces during the Tribulation Period. The anti-Christ and
the leaders of his ten nation federation will use religion to accomplish their
goals. The end-time religious system will be destroyed by the civil and political
forces under the anti-Christ. However, the false prophet will continue to be a
close confidant and assistant to the anti-Christ, as indicated by the fact that he
will be present at the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 19:19, 20).

Lesson 8

For Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Fall of Babylon the Great


This chapter is a continuation of the account of the destruction of the endtime Babylon. Previously, it was seen that the great city, which evidently was
a designation for Babylon, was divided into three parts (Rev. 16:19). The three
parts of great Babylon most likely denoted the three major components of the
end-time Babylonthe political or civil structure, the commercial enterprises
and the religious or ecclesiastical system. It seems to this writer that the endtime Babylon, when taken as a whole, is a designation for the anti-Christs
empire. The destruction of the anti-Christs empire will probably occur in
relatively short order, with the false religious system being the first component
to be destroyed, the account of which was noted in chapter 17. Chapter 18
describes the fall of the false religious system from the perspective of the
political and commercial leaders, and how the destruction of that great city
would affect the areas in which they function. The cracks that were driven
into the anti-Christs empire by the fall of the religious system were deep and
wide, and, no doubt, caused great confusion and widespread disarray among
the movers and shakers in the political and commercial sectors of Babylon.
Note that the destruction of the religious harlot seemingly was not instigated
by the anti-Christ, but by his ten lieutenants, the rulers of the ten nations
in his coalition who were used by God as His agents of judgment. (Compare
Revelation 17:16, 17.)
THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF BABYLONS DOOM
Revelation 18:1-3
As was the case in chapter 17, Johns information for this chapter came from
an angel. The extent of the judgment on Babylon, as well as the reasons for
that judgment, is given in these verses.
A Powerful Angel (verse 1). The phrase, and after these things, introduces
a new and subsequent revelation from the one given in chapter 17. This is the
fourth time such an expression, or one similar to it, appears in this book (Rev.
4:1; 7:1, 9). The change in subject matter is further indicated by the appearance
of another angel (Rev. 18:1) that is, a different angel from the one mentioned
in chapter 17 as the messenger. This angel is described as one having great
power, and the earth was lightened with his glory (verse 1). Such a description
reminds one of the account given in Revelation 10:1. The angel in both of
these instances seems to have been a manifestation of Jesus Christ Himself.
80

The Fall of Babylon the Great / 81


The word power in this verse is from exousia (ex-oo-see-ah), which means
authority. The great power [authority] which this angel held reminds one
of the all power [authority] that has been
given to Christ (Matt. 28:18). Only a divine
Habitations of Devils: the
Being could cause the earth to be lightened
dwelling place of demons
with glory. (Compare Ezekiel 43:2.)
has now been fulfilled in the
splendor of what was Babylon.
The Sweeping Announcement (verse
Here the glory of the city is
2). The voice used by Christ in making
replaced with the abode of
the announcement recorded in this verse
those spirits from the pits of
is described as a mighty cry with a strong
hell. Word Studies #2732 and
voice. The Greek term for mightily is a word
#1142.
which denotes strength. Strong is from a
term which is generally translated great.
The voice of Christ in this instance was
especially strong and loud. The repetition of
Foul Spirit: not only is the city an
the fall of BabylonBabylon the great is
abode of demons, but it contains
every detestable spirit you can
fallen, is fallen (verse 2)emphasizes the
imagine. The foul is unclean for
finality of the harlots fall. The expressions,
religious or ceremonial use. It is
habitation of devils, hold of every foul spirit
the opposite of the clean spirit
and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird,
that comes from God. This spirit
describe the demonic, and even satanic,
is impure in every sense. Word
Studies #169 and #4151.
nature of the false religious system of the
end-time. The terms devils, foul spirit and
unclean and hateful bird denote demonic
beings. With the true churches having been removed from the earth in the
rapture of the saints, all the professing Christian churches and organizations
that remain will consist of unbelievers, except for any who later will become
saved.
The Power of Babylon (verse 3).
The vast, sweeping influence of the endAll Nations Have Drunk of
time religious system can be seen in this
Her Wine (Revelation 18:3): In
verse. Three groups are mentionedall
addition to the use of wine as
nations, the kings of the earth and the
an antiseptic, a cleansing agent,
merchants of the earthwhich refer to
medication and social beverage,
the political and economic sectors of the
wine was also used as a numbing
anti-Christs empire. The anti-Christ will
agent in biblical antiquity. Both
not actually rule over all the nations, but
religious Babylon of chapter
17 and commercial Babylon of
he will be able to exert his authority, to
chapter 18 were able to stupefy
a greater or lesser extent, over the most
their victims by exploiting their
powerful nations in the world. One of
inability to properly discern.
the forces he will use in accomplishing
Additionally, the structure of
this is religion. The end-time harlot, or
the Greek grammar suggested
religious system, which will be controlled
continuing results. This indicated
by the false prophet, will consist of
that the deadening effect would
have had long-term effects.
all the organized religions, including
apostate Christianity, Judaism, Islam

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82 / Revelation 18:1-24

Manna

Trade in the Roman Empire


(Revelation 18:3): The Roman
empire expanded largely due to
the economic gain it was afforded
by the many countries it included.
For example, Egypt supplied
grain from the Nile River basin,
and Judea provided fish from
the Sea of Galilee and Jordan
River. Surrounding countries also
provided their goods and wares to
the Imperial empire. An extensive
system of roads was built
throughout in an effort to connect
each of the critical sources.

and the eastern religions. The leaders


of this ecclesiastical system will enter
into various agreements and alliances
with civil and political powers, as well
as industrial and commercial barons to
expand and intensify the power of the
religious system.

A WARNING FOR BELIEVERS


Revelation 18:4, 5
The expression collateral damage refers
to unintended victims in warfare, such
as innocent civilians who are injured
or killed by strikes against military
personnel or targets. God does not
want believers to suffer from collateral
damage in the judgment on Babylon.
The Warning Stated (verse 4). The expression another voice indicates
that this call is from some being other than Christ, the powerful angel whose
activities are described in verses 1 and 2. The fact that this voice came from
heaven (verse 4) denotes that it was either the voice of God or a spokesman
for God. The pronoun her refers to Babylon, the false religious system of the
end-time. The term my people speaks of believers, whether Jews or Gentiles. To
be a partaker of sins is to be associated withif not actually involved insins,
and to receive of her plagues is to experience the consequences of the plagues,
which is the judgment of God. What all of this means is that any believers who
might be involved in any way with false religion during the Tribulation Period
should sever any and all ties to that ungodly system. Such associations might
be due to family, social, business or civil relations. When the ten kings turn
against the end-time harlot, they will not make any allowances for people who
might appear to be connected with the religious system but actually are not
part of it.
The Reason for the Warning (verse 5). In this verse, the voice from
Heaven declared that the time had come for divine judgment upon the religious
harlot. The expression, her sins have reached unto heaven, speaks of a heaping
up of sins. It is certainly ironic that at the site of ancient Babel, the people
were determined to build a tower whose top may reach unto heaven (Gen.
11:4). The spirit of rebellion that was exhibited by that ill-fated endeavor has
continued to exert itself through the centuries, resulting in the persecution of
the worshipers of the true God and the martyrdom of many of His followers.
Finally, the Lord will say, It is enough, and He will allow the ten kings in
the anti-Christs empire to destroy the false religious system. This is seen in
the statement, and God hath remembered her iniquities. The Omniscient God

The Fall of Babylon the Great / 83


knows all the wicked deeds that have been committed against His people, and
He will punish the end-time harlot accordingly.
THE DOOM OF PRIDE
Revelation 18:6-8
Even though the false religious system is guilty of many terrible sins, she
will try to avoid the judgment that will come upon her but will not be successful
in doing so. One of the most distinguishing of the sins of the harlot is pride.
Retribution Justified (verse 6). It is not clear whether the speaker in this
verse is the voice from Heaven that sounded the warning recorded in verses
4 and 5, or some other being. It is certain, however, that the judgment that
would be inflicted upon Babylon would be justified. Addressing his comments
to God, the speaker in this verse called upon Him to reward her even as she
rewarded you (verse 6). The verbs reward and rewarded are both from the
same Greek word, which basically means give back, and is a reflection of the
harvest principle of reaping what was sown.
Down through the centuries false religion has
relentlessly persecuted the people of God, and
Torment: this is the act of
torture and torment that
in doing so the perpetrators of persecution
comes by placing oneself or
have, in effect, persecuted God Himself.
another to a testing stone.
(Compare Matthew 25:44-46.) Because the
This is a trial by torment or
judgment on false religion has been delayed
torture. This was said to be
for so long, the speaker in this verse deemed
a part of a trial that would
it appropriate to ask for the punishment to be
reveal the character of a
doubled. The cup (verse 6) mentioned here
person. Word Study #929.
refers to the cup of suffering and death from
which faithful saints and martyrs have been
forced to drink throughout the centuries.
The Pride of Babylon (verse 7). In this verse, the speaker continued to ask
for retributive judgment upon the false religious system of the end-time. The
leaders of false religion have abused their followers by taking their money and
other possessions and squandering them upon themselves to glorify themselves
and live deliciously. Instead of giving glory to God, they have followed in the
steps of their spiritual mentor and master. (Compare Isaiah 14:13, 14.) The
Greek word for deliciously is from a term that denotes hardness or wantonness.
The picture is that of someone whose primary goal in life is to gratify every
possible fleshly desire, regardless of how his or her actions might affect other
people. The haughty attitude of the leaders of the false religious system is
reflected in the metaphoric contrast of queen and widow. In Bible times, widows
were usually impoverished materially and without any influence politically or
socially. The sorrow the harlot claimed not to see would soon overwhelm her in
judgment.
The Suddenness of Judgment (verse 8). The judgment on the end-time
false religious system will occur swiftly. For centuries false religion has ridden
roughshod over those who opposed it, and in many instances even its followers
as well. But when the time comes for judgment to be inflicted, it will occur
suddenly, as indicated by the fact that her plagues come in one day (verse

84 / Revelation 18:1-24
8). Not only will this judgment be swift, but it will also be thorough. Such
descriptive terms as death, mourning, famine and utterly burned with fire
speak of the finality of the judgment upon the harlot. False religion will become
a powerful force in the anti-Christs empire. With the rapture of the saints and
the removal of scriptural churches prior to the Tribulation Period, there will be
little opposition to the endeavors of the leaders of false religion. Regardless of
the might of the false religious system, however, the Lord who shall judge her
is much more powerful, strong is the Lord God who judgeth her (verse 8).
THE LAMENTATIONS OVER BABYLON
Revelation 18:9-20
This passage gives a good insight into the intricate network of the elements
that will constitute the anti-Christs empire and the extent of the influence of
his kingdom. With the destruction of the false religious system, every facet of
the end-time empire will be affected. Political leaders, industrial and financial
barons and transportation leaders will lament the fall of the entity from which
they had profited so greatly.
The Lamentations of the Kings
(verses 9, 10). Note that the ten
rulers whose nations will form the
nucleus of the anti-Christs kingdom
The Kings of the Earth (Revelation
will be responsible for the destruction
18:9): One theory is, if these kings
of the false religious system of the
were the seven kings on the seven
mountains (Rev. 17:9, 10), then it
end-time (Rev. 17:16, 17). God will
was possible that John had in mind
use those rulers as His agents of
the most recent emperors of Rome.
judgment on the harlot. Because of
The sixth king was said to have
the hatred of those ten rulers toward
been reigning at the time of John
the false religious system, one can
(one isRev. 17:10). If the book of
logically assume that they will not
Revelation was written during the
be among the kings mentioned in
reign of Domitian, it would have
been possible to count back from
Revelation 18:9, 10 who lament the
him so as to determine which ruler
destruction of Babylon. The kings in
might actually qualify as the one
mourning will be other rulers who
that would return and continue
had profited in some manner from
for a short space (verse 10). Simple
the influence of false religion and the
calculation might have pointed
favors they might have received from
directly to Nero. Many anticipated
the religious leaders. The Scripture
the return of Nero well into the reign
of Domitian. In fact, shortly before
pointedly states that the kings of the
the writings of the revelator, a Nero
earth had committed fornication
imposter tricked the Parthian armies
and lived deliciously with her (verse
into following him though he was
9). The fornication mentioned here
quickly identified as a fraud.
refers to spiritual fornication, which
usually indicates idolatry. The nations
involved in this matter will use the power of the state to promote the goals of
false religion and protect its leaders from any reprisals by those who might
be opposed to them. The calloused attitude of the harlot will be matched by
the hardness of the state, with the opponents of the false religious system

Manna

The Fall of Babylon the Great / 85


being harassed, persecuted and perhaps imprisoned, to say nothing of fines
that might be levied and property and possessions confiscated. Not only will
the kings lament the destruction of the harlot, but they also will be in fear
for themselves (verse 10). They will probably realize that the anti-Christs
ten lieutenants were responsible for the destruction of the vast and powerful
religious system, and that such force could easily be turned against them if
the kings who destroyed the harlot were to vent their wrath upon the political
leaders who had supported the harlot.
The Lamentations of the
Merchants (verses 11-17).
The mourning of the merchants
Merchants Shall Weep (Revelation 18:11):
over the destruction of the
Local citizens who joined forces with
Rome profited from imperial enterprises;
false religious system will be
thus, the noted weeping and mourning
especially poignant because of
over an inability to trade. The finer
the great loss of merchandise
products such as were listed in verses 12,
and revenue which they shall
13 were imported by Rome and helped to
suffer. Some of their losses
propagate both the wealth of Rome but
will probably be due to the
also the unequal opportunity experienced
confiscation of property and
in the empire. The luxury items listed
represented a status symbol as well as a
goods from the religious system
hoarding and squandering of resources
by the ten kings. In addition,
that would have otherwise been available
the dissolution of the harlots
to the common man. In this case, however,
organization will result in
they were commercialized at the expense of
additional
financial
losses
essential needs in the average household.
for the business, commercial
John seemed especially concerned over
and industrial sectors of the
Roman exploitation of the economic
world. Perhaps, he saw a dependency on
end-time economic structure.
material overshadowing a dependency on
The plight of the merchants is
God as noted by Jesus in the Sermon on
concisely summarized in verse
the Mount (Matt. 6:19-21, 24).
11: for no man buyeth their
merchandise any more. The
goods and services used by the religious system, from which the merchants had
profited so greatly, could no longer be marketed to the religious organization.
The specific items of merchandise which the end-time harlot purchased from
the lamenting merchants, as given in verses 12 and 13, can be grouped into the
following categories:
Precious metals and gems. These items include merchandise of gold, and
silver, and precious stones, and of pearls (verse 12). For centuries such metals
and gems have been regarded as extremely valuable by people in practically
every culture. If people really knew how much is held in precious metals and
gems by todays religious organizations, they would probably be astounded,
and the end-time religious system will possibly come into possession of much
of this wealth.
Luxurious fabrics. In addition to the loss of trade in valuable metals and
jewels, the merchants lamented because they no longer could traffic with
the harlot in fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet (verse 12). Such

Manna

86 / Revelation 18:1-24
luxurious fabrics are indicative of a material opulence that is beyond the status
of common people. In many religious groups their ministers and officiants wear
distinctive vestments that set them apart from their congregants and make
them appear to be members of nobility.
Valuable crafts. This category includes such items as thyine [aromatic] wood,
and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood,
and of brass, and iron, and marble (verse
12). These products are used to enrich and
Thyine Wood: this is the wood
beautify edifices, furnishings and accessories.
from a citron tree. In this list
With
religious Babylon destroyed, the endof expensive material, this is
time merchants will not be able to sell any
one of a precious and fine
more valuable crafted items to religious
wood. The idea being of the
value involved in this list sets
organizations.
the stage for the purpose
Opulent perfumes and spices. The rituals
of the verse. Word Studies
of many religions include the use of opulent
#2367 and #3586.
perfumes and spices, such as cinnamon, and
odours, and ointments, and frankincense
(verse 13). These items are costly, especially in a time when necessary food
items will be rationed and scarcity will drive the price of bread to prohibitively
high prices. (Compare Revelation 6:5, 6.) However, the false religious system of
the end-time will be able to afford luxurious perfumes and spices up until its
destruction.
Important commodities. Such commodities as wine, and oil, and fine flour,
and wheat (verse 13) will continue to be used by the harlot despite their scarcity
and increased prices. Because of the wealth of the false religious system, the
end-time merchants will make more by selling commodities to it than to the
common people who cannot afford the bare necessities of life.
Livestock and equipment. In Johns day beasts, and sheep, and horses, and
chariots (verse 13) denoted livestock and equipment that were widely used.
During the end-time these items probably will continue to be common in some
lesser developed regions, but the equipment in more highly developed places
will be much more sophisticated. The terms used here can also apply to more
technically advanced equipment, items which the merchants will no longer be
able to sell to the harlot after her destruction.
Human lives. The most despicable thing about the end-time religious system
will be its traffic in human lives, notably slaves, and souls of men (verse 13).
The Greek term for slaves in this instance is the word for body. As shocking
as it might seem to some people, there is more slavery today than at any time
in history. A major factor in this regrettable situation is the great number of
young men and women who are sold as prostitutes. By its involvement in this
abominable crime, the corrupt nature of the end-time religious system will be
exposed for what it really is.
In verse 14 the expressions, the fruits that thy soul lusted after, and, all
things which were dainty and goodly, refer to the things mentioned in verses
12 and 13. The pronouns thy, thee and thou refer to the religious Babylon that
was destroyed. The things alluded to in verse 14 had departed and could not be

The Fall of Babylon the Great / 87


found because the false religious system no longer existed. The destruction of
the end-time harlot will cause the merchants who had been made rich by her
(verse 15) to lose much business. Despite their weeping and wailing (verse
15), however, their mourning will be from afar off (verse 15) because like the
kings mentioned in verses 9 and 10, the merchants will not want to identify
themselves too closely with the religious system which will be destroyed by the
rulers of the ten nations (verse 15). In verse 16, the luxury and opulence that
will characterize the end-time harlot is reiterated and the suddenness of her
destruction is emphasized in the opening statement in verse 17.
The Lamentations of the Shipmasters (verses 17-19). This passage
depicts the mode of transportation during the Tribulation Period as being
primarily by means of ships. In Johns time, that was the most common
methodand in some instances the only methodof transporting goods from
one part of the world to another. Even today most international commerce is
done by ships, with a lesser amount accomplished by airplanes. Thus, John
described the lamentations of the shipmasters as being essentially the same as
those of the merchants and rulers. The entire transportation industry, shipping
and otherwise, is included by the references to every shipmaster, all the
company in ships, sailors and as many as trade by sea (verse 17). Note that
all these stood afar off (verse 17) from the desolation of Babylon, as did the
merchants and kings. They did not come to the aid of the harlot though much
of their livelihood depended on the transportation of goods in which she was
so heavily involved. The reason they stood afar off was because they, like the
merchants and kings, did not want the ten kings who will destroy religious
Babylon to turn upon them and inflict them with reprisals for their alliance
with the false religious system.
The destruction of the harlot was so thorough that John described it as the
utter devastation of a city that had been pillaged, looted and then burned by a
conquering army (verse 18). The actions by the shipmasters depicted in verse
19they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying,
Alas, alasdenote wrenching anguish and deep despair. An interesting play
on words is seen in the terms were made rich and her costliness. There are
many, such as the shipmasters along with the merchants and kings, who will
profit greatly from the vast business enterprises of the end-time religious
system, and that organization will profit greatly also. However, the root for the
Greek term for costliness is also the basis for honor. It is certainly ironic that
an organization utterly bereft of honor and decency will be able to amass such
great wealth as will the religious harlot. Once again the suddenness of the fall
of religious Babylon is indicated by the statement that she was destroyed in
one hour (verse 19). (Compare with verses 10, 17.) The term one hour, as used
here, does not indicate a period of sixty minutes, but denotes a relatively brief
time. The end-time shipmasters, along with the political leaders and the barons
of commerce and industry, will be shocked at how quickly and thoroughly such
an elaborate and powerful organization as the false religious system could be
rendered so utterly desolate and powerless.

88 / Revelation 18:1-24
Rejoicing in the Midst of Lamentations (verse 20). It seems as if much
of the persecution of believers during the Tribulation Period will be waged by
the anti-Christ and false prophet through the organized religious system of the
end-time. (Compare Revelation 13:11-17.) With that being the case, a voice was
heard, most likely the same voice mentioned in verse 4, calling upon heaven,
and ye holy apostles and prophets to rejoice over the destruction of religious
Babylon. The reference to Heaven probably includes all those in Heaven,
especially those saints of God who had been martyred on earth, as suggested
by the terms holy apostlesrepresenting martyrs of the New Testament era
and prophetsdenoting the Old Testament martyrs. A particular reason for
rejoicing is seen in the fact that God hath avenged you on her (verse 20).
Throughout the centuries false religion has relentlessly oppressed the followers
of the true God, and has often persecuted them, frequently confiscating their
possessions and then taking their lives. The destruction of religious Babylon
will be divine vengeance.
THE FINAL DESOLATION
Revelation 18:21-24
This passage is actually a summary of the destruction of the end-time false
religious system. Moreover, this passage is similar to the instructions Jeremiah
gave to illustrate the destruction of the literal city of Babylon. (Compare
Jeremiah 51:59-64.)
Another Mighty Angel (verse 21). The mighty angel (verse 21) mentioned
here reminds one of the references in Revelation 5:2; 10:1 and 18:1. The
references in Revelation 10:1 and 18:1 denoted Christ Himself. However, the
strong angel mentioned in Revelation 5:2 and the mighty angel (Rev. 18:21)
in this instance are evidently angelic beings with a high rank or standing.
The words strong and mighty are from the same Greek term. Some scholars
teach that the angel in both these references was Gabriel, whose name means
strength of God. Whether that is true or not, the mighty angel John saw here
undoubtedly had an exalted rank. The great millstone which the angel threw
into the sea was a massive stone, one which was turned by an animal rather
than a small hand mill. Such a millstone as the one described here would sink
immediately if thrown into the sea.
The Finality of Destruction (verse 21). The last part of this verse includes
a declaration by the mighty angel describing the nature of the destruction of
the end-time religious Babylon. Two things were mentioned particularly in
verse 21, (1) the destruction will be with violence, and (2) once destroyed,
the false religious system shall be found no more at all. The Greek word
for violence denotes a sudden catastrophe. Related words can be seen in the
senselessly violent plunge off the cliff by the demon-possessed hogs in Mark
5:13. When the ten end-time kings who have benefitted from their association
with the false religious system are finished with the harlot, they will quickly
bring about her destruction. The fall of the religious Babylon will be thorough
and final. As the literal Babylon has not been rebuilt, so will the religious
system she foreshadowed be destroyed fully and finally.

The Fall of Babylon the Great / 89


The Extent of Destruction (verses 22, 23). The activities mentioned in verse
22 and the first part of verse 23 are indicative of a thriving, bustling economy.
Three categories are specifically included: (1) music, as seen in the references
to the voices of harpers, musicians, pipers and trumpeters; (2) manufacturing,
as noted by the craftsman, of whatever craft (verse 22) and the sound of
a millstone; (verse 22) and (3) marriage, as indicated by the mention of the
bridegroom and bride. All of this is summarized in the expression, the light of
a candle shall shine no more at all in thee. The light that shined in religious
Babylon was not the light of the Word of God, nor the light of the Holy Spirit.
Such light was never part of the false religious system. However, the false light
of activity and accomplishments did shine brightly for a brief time, but even
that light was extinguished forever.
The Reason for Destruction (verse
23). In the last part of verse 23 two things
Sorceries: our word pharmacy
are mentioned that reveal the reason for the
comes from this word. The idea
is the use of things to cause
destruction of religious Babylon. First, that
one to be under the control of
system was more concerned about material
another. It is important not to
matters than spiritual matters. The
confuse the word with drugs,
merchants (verse 23) of the harlot brought
but the spiritual aspect of the
great gain to her and the other end-time
control of evil. Word Study
merchants (Compare verse 11.), resulting
#5331.
in a facade of lavish wealth. However,
the opulent religious structure
was utterly unable to provide any
spiritual benefits to its adherents
or associates. Even worse than the
Blood of Prophets and Saints
emphasis on material grandeur
(Revelation
18:24):
Historically
was Babylons sorceries by which
Rome was known for its atrocities
against the people of God. Jesus saw
she deceived all nations. The word
these martyrs and their shed blood
sorceries is from pharmakeia (pharfor what it truly was, righteous
mah-kay-ah), from which comes such
blood (Matt. 23:35). The writer of
terms as pharmacy, pharmaceuticals
the book of Hebrews concurred when
and so forth. From this, it is evident
he described the torture endured by
that a major factor in the deception
Christians in the Roman empire (Heb.
that will be perpetrated during the
11:36-40). What began with Nero,
continued into what was fittingly
Tribulation Period on the masses
called The Dark Ages; and for good
of the people by the devil, the antireason. Rome killed not only her own
Christ and all the forces of evil will
gladiators but Jewish prophets and
be by drugs, whether legal or illegal.
Christian saints. From the massacre
The Final Verdict (verse 24).
at the hands of Nero in AD 64 to
Even though the false religious
Domitian and beyond, the shedding
system of the end-time will not
of blood was more than a sinister
sport and celebrated spectacle. It was
come into existence until the
for all practical purposes a holiday
commencement of the Tribulation
enjoyed by the ruthless Romans.
Period, it will be the culmination of
all false religions of all times. This is

Manna

90 / Revelation 18:1-24
made evident by the statement that in her was found the blood of prophets, and
of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth (verse 24). The expression,
all that were slain upon the earth, refers to those who have been killed by false
religions. Religion has been involved in many of historys bloodiest wars, and
this tragic condition can be seen today in the actions of Islamic terrorists and
other religious factions. The harlot drew her first blood when Cain killed Abel,
and she will ultimately shed her own blood near the close of the Tribulation
Period.
THE FALL OF BABYLON THE GREAT
Revelation 18:1-24
Religion has always played an important role in human life. The yearning
for God in the heart of each individual causes people to want to be at peace with
Him. Unfortunately, this intense desire is often distorted by Satan, resulting in
false religious teachings and practices. The culmination of satanic deception in
such matters will be the end-time religious system headed by the false prophet
and used by the anti-Christ and his minions to accomplish their wicked goals.
In His own time and way, God will destroy this religious monstrosity, which
will be the first step in the destruction of the anti-Christs empire.

Lesson 9

For Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Marriage of the Lamb

Revelation 19:1-10

The destruction of the great harlot of the end-time was recounted in chapters
17 and 18. This passage is a logical follow-up to Gods judgment on the false
religious system. The verses included in this study include two more of the
parenthetical sections in the account of Revelation, with verses 1-5 being the
record of some acclamations of praise because of the destruction of Babylon and
verses 6-10 being the account of the marriage of the Lamb. (Review comments
on A Synopsis of Revelation in the Introductory Notes.)
A GREAT VOICE IN HEAVEN
Revelation 19:1-3
This chapter begins on a note of praise which was lifted by a great multitude
of people in Heaven. The reason for those praises was the destruction of the
ecclesiastical Babylon of the end-time.
Another Voice from Heaven (verse 1). The expression, after these things,
is reminiscent of other instances in which these words, or similar words, have
appeared (Rev. 4:1; 7:1, 9; 18:1). Such a phrase indicates a change in subject
matter even though the passage that follows might be related to what preceded
it. The reference to the great voice (Rev. 19:1) reminds one of several similar
instances in this book. On this occasion the voice John heard was that of much
people in heaven (verse 1). Chronologically, this event seemingly will occur
near the end of the Tribulation Period, by which time there will be many
Tribulation saints who will have died, either as martyrs or otherwise, and who
will thus be in Heaven. Probably, the many people whom John heard on this
occasion were those saints.
Praise the Lord (verse 1). The praises
Alleluia: if you were texting
which John heard consisted of five significant
this word, you would use
PTL. Praise the Lord is the
acclamations.
meaning of this wonderful
Alleluia. This word is the New Testament
Hebrew word brought into
equivalent of the Old Testament term
Greek and then brought into
hallelujah, each of which literally means
English. The great voice starts
praise Jah [an abbreviated form of Jehovah].
by proclaiming its praise for
the power and majesty of
The four instances of alleluia in this chapter
God. Word Study #239.
are the only ones in the New Testament. It
should also be noted that the word hallelujah
91

92 / Revelation 19:1-10
per se does not appear in the Old Testament. Instead, the translation, praise
the Lord, is given.
Salvation. As used here, this term refers to deliverance. The false religious
system had harassed, oppressed and persecuted the followers of the true
Christ, but with its destruction it would not be able to do so any longer. What
the earthly kings, merchants and seamen had mourned and lamented as
destruction and loss was acclaimed by the heavenly multitude as deliverance
and victory.
Glory. Mankind is impressed with the splendor of material opulence.
However, the glory of God is His dazzling luminance, which is indicative of His
purity, holiness and righteousness. When Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord, he
immediately saw himself in stark contrast as a man who was undone and of
unclean lips (Isa. 6:1-5).
Honour. This word also underscores the contrast between human thinking
and divine reality. The leaders in the false religious system probably had been
accorded prestigious titles and positions that were laden with earthly honors.
However, true honor belongs to the true God and to the honor He bestows on
His followers.
Power. The Greek word for power in this setting denotes strength or ability.
God had demonstrated His great power in the destruction of religious Babylon,
and the saints in Heaven acknowledged His omnipotence. The end-time false
religious system will be a potent force, but it will be no match for God.
The Reason for Praise (verse 2). What was implied in the praises
mentioned in verse 1 is specifically stated here. The great voice of the saints
in Heaven acclaimed God for His judgment of the great harlot. Such judgment
was declared to be true and righteous (verse 2) because the false religious
system deserved exactly what was meted out to it. The expression great whore
accurately describes the true nature and essence of the end-time religious
system. Through its teachings and practices great numbers of people were led
to commit spiritual fornication by the worship of idols, and possibly physical
fornication was also encouraged in many instances. Even worse than the moral
corruption spawned by religious Babylon, was the fact that it had shed the
blood of the servants of God. Finally, the anguished plea of the martyrs seen in
the opening of the fifth seal was granted (Rev. 6:9-11).
The Reiteration of Praise (verse 3). Once again the saints in Heaven
acclaimed praise to God with yet another shout of Alleluia (verse 3).
Following this statement John noted that the smoke of the destruction of the
end-time harlot rose up for ever and ever (verse 3). From this it is certain
that the judgment on religious Babylon will be final. It will not recover from
its destruction, nor will it ever be revived. The religious leaders and their
followers will suffer forever for their rejection of the true Christ and their
involvement in the false religious system. From the moment of their death,
they will go immediately to the torment of hell fire. They will appear at the
Great White Throne Judgment, after which they will be cast forever into the
lake of fire where they will suffer eternally. The end-time religious leaders and
their followers will be associated with doomed Babylon forever.

The Marriage of the Lamb / 93


OTHER VOICES IN HEAVEN
Revelation 19:4, 5
In addition to the praises of the multitude of people, John heard voices of
praise from the twenty-four elders and the four beasts or living creatures, plus
a voice that came from the throne itself.
The Praises of the Elders and Living Creatures (verse 4). This reference
to the elders who sat on thrones surrounding the heavenly throne is the tenth,
and final, such mention of the elders as a group. These elders seemingly
represent believers of both the Old and New Testament eras up to the time
of the rapture. (See comments on Revelation 11:16, Lesson 3.) In regard to
the four beasts, the Greek word for beast is zoon (zowe-ohn), which denotes
a living creature. A different term is used to indicate a wild beast, such as
those mentioned in Revelation 6:8. This word is also used to designate the antiChrist and false prophet when they are referred to as beasts (Rev. 13:1, 11). The
four living creatures apparently are representative of the cherubim who seem
to have a special function regarding the throne of God. (See Revelation 4:6-9;
compare Genesis 3:24.) The elders and living creatures exclaimed an Amen to
what was said in verses 1 and 2, and then added their own Alleluia (verse 4).
The Voice from the Throne (verse 5). In response to the other voices
considered thus far was a voice [which] came out of the throne (verse 5). The
origin of this voice is identified, but the speaker is not. Even though it comes
from the throne, it is not God, as can be seen in the directive, Praise our God
(verse 5). This voice is undoubtedly a collective voice, and it possibly consists
of the redeemed saints and the holy angels in Heaven. The tense of the verb
praise denotes continuing action. All the servants of God, whether believers or
angels, who also have a reverential fear of God, regardless of rank or status,
are to keep on praising Him. This exhortation possibly looks backward to Gods
judgment on the end-time harlot and forward to the coming of the marriage of
the Lamb.
THE VOICE OF A GREAT MULTITUDE
Revelation 19:6
This is the fourth reference in this passage to a voice expressing praise to
God (verses 1, 4, 5). The speakers in this instance offered praises to God for the
millennial kingdom which was to follow soon.
A Voice as of a Great Multitude. The great multitude which John heard
on this occasion echoed what he had heard previously (Rev. 11:15). The term
great multitude is the same, in Greek as well as in English, as in Revelation
7:9. The great multitude mentioned in that setting referred to the vast number
of Tribulation saints. This also seems to be the case regarding the great voice
of much people mentioned in Revelation 19:1. (Review comments on this
verse.) In this instance, however, it seems as if the great multitude (Rev.
19:6) embraces more than the Tribulation saints, as indicated by the further
description of this voice in Johns additional comments in this verse. This great
multitude probably included the holy angels as well as redeemed saints.
A Voice as of Many Waters. This voice is also described as having the sound
of many waters (Rev. 19:6). John previously mentioned a similar experience
in which he heard a voice from heaven as the voice of many waters (Rev.

94 / Revelation 19:1-10
14:2). This metaphor indicates a continuing roar, such as that caused by a huge
waterfall or by ocean waves pounding repeatedly against a rocky shoreline.
It also suggests a swelling crescendo in
sound. As the voice continues, other voices
Omnipotent: this is the One
join in the chorus until the noise becomes
who rules over all things.
a deafening roar. What an acclamation
Often we think of it as allof praise this will be, as redeemed saints
powerful, but it is more in
and holy angels lift their voices together,
line with the One who holds
continuing
and increasing in volume,
sway over all things on the
praising the Omnipotent God for His mighty
earth. No other power like
act of destroying religious Babylon and
this exists on earth except our
Lord God. Word Study #3841.
preparing for the enthronement of Christ.
A Voice as of Mighty Thunder. This is
yet another figure of speech describing the
voice of the great multitude, a metaphor that John had used previously as
well. (See comments on Revelation 14:2, Lesson 5.) Thunder, like the surging of
many waters, is indicative of a mighty force or power. In this instance the power
was that of the voice of the great multitude which John heard. It was not the
sound of a few loud voices, but the resounding noise of many reverberations.
The rumblings continued, growing in intensity until the sound John heard was
like an overwhelming storm. This was not a destructive storm, however, but
an expanding eruption of praise lifted to the Almighty God. Instead of evoking
fear, this voice of mighty thunderings (Rev. 19:6) undoubtedly imparted awe
for all the denizens of Heaven.
A Voice of Coronation. The last phrase in this verse states that the voice of
the great multitude exclaimed, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth
(verse 6). Praise was offered to the all-powerful God because He, in the person
of Christ the Son, was about to assume the throne of David and reign over
Israel and all the world for one thousand years. The millennial reign of Christ
will be considered in detail in a subsequent lesson. For now it should be noted
that the coming reign of Christ was acclaimed in anticipation of its fulfillment.
The conclusion of the Tribulation Period, which would include the defeat of the
anti-Christ and his forces at the Battle of Armageddon, was soon to occur, to be
followed by the establishment of the kingdom of Christ on the earth. (Compare
Revelation 11:15-18.)
THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE
MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB
Revelation 19:7
This announcement completed what was suggested in the preceding verse.
Before Christ could assume His millennial throne, He needed to be united with
His Bride, a topic which is described in verses 7-10.
Be Glad, Rejoice and Give Honour. Evidently, the speaker of verses 7
and 8 is the same as in verses 9 and 10. The opening statement in verse 7
is a note of joy and praise, Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to
him (verse 7). The pronoun us is a collective term which denotes all those, the
multitude of redeemed saints and holy angels, who will be pleased to learn

The Marriage of the Lamb / 95


about the marriage of the Lamb. Him refers to God as He was mentioned in
verse 6. The verb be glad is from chairo (kai-rowe), which is generally rendered
as rejoice. The Greek term for rejoice denotes an exultant joy, or joy that cannot
be contained, as can be seen in the kind of rejoicing described in 1 Peter 1:8.
Honour is from the word that is usually translated glory. The marriage of the
Lamb will be an occasion of great joy and praise.
The Marriage of the Lamb.
The marriage of the Lamb will
occur in Heaven seemingly near
The Marriage of the Lamb (Revelation
the close of the Tribulation Period
19:7): Marriage covenants found dating
and just prior to the coming of
to the fifth century BC recorded vows
Christ to earth in great power and
common to the ancient world as noted
glory. The Bride of Christ will be
in the Adamic narrative, This is now
among those who accompany Him
bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh
to earth, and she will undoubtedly
(Gen. 2:23). These were joyful occasions
intended to solemnize a promise between
occupy a place of honor with her
a man and a woman made at the time of
Bridegroom during His millennial
their engagement. The groom declared
reign. The first implication of a
his love for the bride and his intention of
Bride for Christ was given by
keeping and protecting her for eternity.
John the Baptist during his brief
The bride declared her resolve to love
ministry (John 3:29). The apostle
and reverence her husband. Such was
Paul referred to the Bride of
the attire of the bride that Jeremiah
noted that it was unforgettable (Jer. 2:32).
Christ in a couple of instances (2
The bride and the groom looked and
Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:22-32). In Bible
acted like a king and queen. All of this
times, a wedding was usually
and much more was picturesque of the
preceded by a betrothal period,
coming marriage of the Lamb (verse 7).
after which the bridegroom would
go and get his bride and take her
to his home for the wedding ceremony. Soon Christ will come for His bride,
along with all other believers of the Old and New Testament eras, after which
will occur the marriage of the Lamb.

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THE BRIDES
PREPARATION
Revelation 19:7, 8
In anticipation of her
marriage to the Lamb, the
Bride of Christ has made
appropriate
preparations.
These preparations are in
addition to the salvation
one receives when he or she
trusts Christ as Savior.
Has
Made
Herself
Ready (verse 7). The last
statement in this verse, his

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His Wife Has Made Herself Ready (Revelation


19:7): The primary preparation for the wedding
was made by the groomnegotiating to secure
a wife, providing a marriage dowry, initiating
a covenant for the betrothal and retrieving
the bride on the wedding day. However, the
bride was also obligated to prepare herself for
the happy occasion. Her primary duty was to
keep herself pure (2 Cor. 7:1; 1 John 3:3; Jude
21). She was to be chaste, kept and guarded
because everyone watched the bride. She was
strikingly beautiful in every sense of the word.

96 / Revelation 19:1-10
wife hath made herself ready should undisputedly prove that salvation in and
of itself does not guarantee that one will be part of the Bride of Christ. The
fact that the bride has made herself ready indicates that the believer must
do something to be part of the Bride of Christ. The verb made ready is from
a term which basically means prepare. (Compare Luke 1:76; 22:8, 9; 23:56.)
Much has been taught about the qualifications for being part of the Bride of
Christ. Probably, some of these teachings are true, while others might not be so.
However, one must remember that the determination of whether one has made
sufficient preparation to be part of the Bride of Christ will be made by Christ
Himself. This undoubtedly will be among the reasons for the Judgment Seat of
Christ.
To Her Was Granted (verse 8). The verb was granted is from a term
which essentially means was given. It might seem as if this teaches that the
brides clothing was a gift which she received without any involvement in its
acquisition. However, the expression, to her was granted that she should be
arrayed, could have been rendered, it was given to her to clothe herself. Thus,
the bride was allowed, or permitted, to clothe herself in the manner described
in this verse. What this involves will be seen subsequently. For now, it should
be noted that the brides involvement regarding the manner in which she was
dressed was more than passive. She was actively involved in regard to her
clothing.
Arrayed in Fine Linen (verse 8). The Lambs Bride was arrayed in fine
linen, clean and white. The Greek word for arrayed primarily means to throw
around. This term denotes a robe
or similar type of clothing which
one would drape around oneself.
Fine Linen (Revelation 19:8): Pure linens
The garment is described as
pictured pure lives. Like wool, flax,
being of fine linen. Linen was
from which linen was made, pictured
made from the flax plant. The
a sense of purity. Ancient Egyptians
color of linen cloth ranged from
championed the art of extracting strands
buff to gray, with creamy white
of flax and turning them into high
qualitypractically transparentlinen
considered the most desirable. A
clothes used for garments, decorations,
high quality of linen was produced
head coverings, table coverings and
by the Egyptians. Evidently, the

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Fine Linen: throughout the book,


fine linen has been symbolic of
the clean and pure hearts of the
believer. The fine linen of the
saints is the righteousness of
Jesus Christ and nothing else. It
is not a work, but the blood of
Christ that makes a heart clean
and pure before God. Word
Study #1039.

even bed coverings. Varying forms


of alterations were used to discolor
the fabric. Was it dipped in a vat of
juice extracted from some fruit? Was it
plunged into a tub of some other coloraltering liquid, such as blood, as morbid
as that sounds? White means that it
was pure, unaltered, unadulterated and
uncompromised. The linen sheets from
the bridal chamber (Psalm 19:5; Joel
2:16) were often presented to and saved
by the parents of the bride so as to prove
her virginity.

The Marriage of the Lamb / 97


linen mentioned in this verse was made from cloth that had been bleached,
thus giving it the appearance of clean and white (verse 8). Symbolically, white
linen denotes righteousness, whether the imputed righteousness of Christ
one receives in salvation, or the earned righteousness one receives through
Christian service.
The Righteous Acts of Saints (verse 8). The last statement in this verse
clearly declares that the clean, white linen in which the bride was clad is
the righteousness of saints. The word
righteousness is plural in number, thus
Righteousness: this word gives
giving it the sense of righteous acts. Since
the meaning of the standing
the clothing of the bride consists of her
of the law and what is correct
righteous acts, it is evident that salvation
and right. The lawgiver in this
instance is God. So the essence
in and of itself does not assure one of being
of the word is that one stands
included in the Bride of Christ. The Bride
in correct relationship to God
has made herself ready for her marriage
based on faith. Word Study
to the Lamb by good works. The kind of
#1345
good works one needs to perform, and the
amount of such deeds, are not specifically
indicated in the Scriptures. However, Pauls references in 2 Corinthians 11:2
and Ephesians 5:32 clearly indicate that at a minimum a believer must be
associated with a scriptural church to be included in the Bride of Christ.
THE GUESTS AT THE WEDDING
In the consideration of the marriage
have been noted, the Lamb, or
the Bridegroom, and the Bride,
whom it has been seen to be the
church in the institutional sense.
This verse introduces yet another
party, the guests at the wedding.
They Are Blessed. The pronoun
he is identified in the following
verse as the messenger who told
John about the marriage of the
Lamb. The first thing mentioned
regarding the guests at the
marriage of the Lamb is that they
were blessed. This is the fourth
of seven instances of this word in
the book of Revelation. The Greek
word for blessed denotes joy
despite ones outer circumstances.
This is seen in the Sermon on the
Mount in the Beatitudes (Matt.
5:3-12). Even though the guests
at the wedding of the Lamb will

Revelation 19:9
of the Lamb thus far two personages

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Marriage Supper (Revelation 19:9):


The wedding feast was enjoyed by all
the invited visitors, otherwise known
as the children of the bridechamber
(Matt. 9:15). Wealthy families often
provided and required a wedding
garment (Matt. 22:12) for each of their
guests. This elongated supper had
several purposes; (1) To witness that
the marriage had been consummated
(Gen. 29:22, 23); (2) To demonstrate
the prior virginity of the bride through
the blood-stained nuptial sheet (Deut.
22:13-21); (3) To ask for the blessing of
God upon the couple and newfound
family. Some have argued this was why
Jesus was invited to the wedding at
Cana of Galilee (John 2:2); (4) To allow
relatives and friends an opportunity for
eulogies and benedictions (Ruth 4:11)
over the couple.

98 / Revelation 19:1-10
not be part of the Bride, they will be extremely happy, or blessed, nonetheless.
They will join with the Lamb and His Bride in rejoicing over the union that will
occur. Any disappointments or misunderstandings about not being a part of the
Bride will have been cleared up completely.
They Are Called. The fact that some are called unto the marriage supper
of the Lamb (verse 9) indicates that they were guests. The Bridegroom and
Bride do not have to be called to the wedding. Who are those who are called to
the marriage supper? Three groups can be considered. First, the Old Testament
saints undoubtedly will be called. They will not be part of the Bride, but they
can attend the wedding. Second, believers of the New Testament era who for
whatever reason were not members of a scriptural church will possibly be
among the guests at the wedding. In addition, it is certainly possible that the
holy angels will be allowed to observe the wedding of the Lamb. They cannot be
part of the Bride of Christ, but they can rejoice with the Lamb, His Bride and
all the other guests.
The True Sayings of God. This verse closes with the speakers emphatic
declaration, These are the true sayings of God (verse 9). Even though the
messenger was not a divine Being, the message that was delivered to John,
which he was to pass on to others, was as true as if God Himself had spoken it
directly. The Greek term for true denotes a reality that is firm and solid, and
conveys a sense of being sure, certain and valid as well as correct. Sayings
is from logos (loh-gose), which is generally translated word. Logos does not
refer to isolated or independent words, but to the development of a thought or
concept. This can be seen by the fact that suffixes such as logue, in terms like
catalogue, and ology, in words such as theology and geology, are from logos.
JOHNS REACTION TO THE ANNOUNCEMENT
Revelation 19:10
What John had seen and heard so overwhelmed him that he felt an
overpowering desire to worship. He, along with his brother James and Peter,
had experienced a similar reaction many years earlier when they witnessed
the transfiguration of Christ (Mark 9:2-7).
The Apostles Reaction. In reaction to the visions and words he had
heard John fell at his feet to worship him (verse 10). In this statement the
pronouns his and him refer to the messenger which was implied in verse 9
by two instances of the pronoun he and alluded to in verses 7 and 8. Whether
this messenger was an angel or one of the elders is not specifically indicated.
However, it seems possible from Revelation 22:8 that the messenger was an
angel. To fall at the feet of another being is a sign of abject obeisance and
subjection. The word worship in the Bible denotes homage or devotion that is
rendered to God. Thus, in falling to the feet of the messenger to worship him,
John, in effect, equated him with God. That was the same error committed by
Peter, James and John at the transfiguration of Christ.
The Angels Restraint. In response to Johns act of worship, the messenger
restrained him, saying, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of
thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 19:10). Some people
have assumed from the messengers reference to himself as a fellowservant

The Marriage of the Lamb / 99


[literally, fellow slave] with John and a
brother with him in the testimony of Jesus
Fellowservant: a fellowservant
that this messenger must have been one
is one who is a bond slave
together with you to God. The
of the elders. However, in Revelation 22:9
slave who has been offered his
the angel whom John was about to worship
freedom and chooses to serve
described himself as a fellowservant and
the master is the idea. Here
a brother with John among the prophets.
they will serve in the same
The most important thing to realize from
manner and with the same
the messengers restraint of Johns reaction
effort. They will pull together to
is that no being other than God is entitled
accomplish the same purpose.
Word Study #4889.
to worship. The desire to be worshiped led
to the downfall of Satan. (Compare Isaiah
14:12-14.)
Worship Redirected. Having
stopped John in his misguided
worship attempt, the messenger
The Testimony of Jesus (Revelation
then told the apostle, worship
19:10): Witnesses had testimonies;
thus, having a testimony suggested
God: for the testimony of Jesus
that one was a witness in a court
is the spirit of prophecy (Rev.
of law. Several prerequisites were
19:10). The only being who is
required to be a suitable witness
entitled to receive worship is God.
in biblical times. A witness was to
(Compare John 4:22-24.) The
be honest and have integrity; ergo,
reason for worshiping God was
publicans did not qualify. A witness
said to be because the testimony
must have had personal knowledge of
the events and circumstances; hearsay
given by Jesus is the inspiration,
and circumstantial evidence were
or the vital breath, of all teaching
inadmissible. A witness was subpoenaed
and interpretation regarding
by a higher authoritycalled of God. A
the divine will and purpose. The
witness was then determined to be a true
information which the messenger
witness. A witness must also have been
had passed on to John had been
willing to execute the sentence should
given to him by Christ, and that
one be forthcoming. A witness had a
story to tell and was commissioned to
message was what had so stirred
tell it. These were the conditions of a
John as to make him want to fall
witness as a giver of a testimony.
down in worship. John needed to
be reminded that the One worthy
of worship was He who was ultimately responsible for what the messenger had
conveyed.

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THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB


Revelation 19:1-10
This passage is a hallelujah chorus. Praises were raised by redeemed saints
and the holy angels. Praises rang out from all parts of Heaven and from the
throne itself. Praises were lifted because of the judgment on the end-time
religious harlot and because of the marriage of the Lamb. The Bride of Christ
was described as having made herself ready for her marriage by the righteous
deeds she had accomplished. All that John saw and heard moved him to worship
the messenger, but his worship was directed to God instead.

Lesson 10

For Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Coming of Christ in Glory


Revelation 19:11-21

With these verses, the structure of Revelation returns to the series of seven
sevens around which the narrative of the book is organized. This group of seven
items is the sixth such group and could be regarded as the seven victories.
(Review comments on A Synopsis of Revelation in the Introductory Notes.)
The seven victories are, (1) the victory of Christs return in glory (Rev. 19:1116), (2) the victory over the anti-Christ and his forces (Rev. 19:17-21), (3) the
victory over the false prophet (Rev. 19:20), (4) the victory over Satan (Rev. 20:13, 7, 10), (5) the victory over Gog and Magog (Rev. 20:8, 9), (6) the victory
over the present Heaven and earth (Rev. 20:11) and (7) the victory over the
unbelievers (Rev. 20:12-15). This lesson will focus on the first three of these
victories.
THE WHITE HORSE FROM HEAVEN
Revelation 19:11-13
This passage introduces the second section of this chapter with the scene
shifting from Heaven to earth. Previously, it was noted that there was rejoicing
in Heaven because of the judgment on
the end-time religious system and the
anticipation of the marriage of the Lamb.
The Significance of the
In short order the Tribulation Period would
White Horse (Revelation
be concluded on earth, paving the way for
19:11): In antiquity, the victothe establishment of the millennial reign of
rious general nearly always
Christ.
arrived back in the city of
The White Horse (verse 11). Earlier,
his commissioning with a
John
had seen Heaven opened, at which
triumphal processional and
time he was admitted into Heaven and
riding a white horse. Rome
particularly rolled out the
given a wonderful vision of the throne and
proverbial red carpet as the
its Occupant (Rev. 4:1-11). Here the apostle
newfound hero would ride
saw Heaven opened once again. However, on
his war horse up the Via Sathis occasion he saw the coming of Christ in
cra to the temple of Jupiter
power
and glory followed by a great host of
on the Capitoline Hill.
beings clothed in clean, white linen. Some
people have associated the white horse in
this vision with that described in Revelation 6:2. These are not the same vision,
however, nor are they related except for the fact that the rider in Revelation 6:2

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100

The Coming of Christ in Glory / 101


is attempting to counterfeit the Rider in Revelation 19:11. In Bible times, white
horses were symbolic of military conquest. The anti-Christ, seen in Revelation
6:2, will begin his career on a note of victory, as he goes forth conquering and
to conquer. However, the Rider John saw on this occasion will be the true
Christ who will defeat the anti-Christ and all his forces.
Faithful and True (verse 11). The Rider whom John saw on the white
horse was called Faithful and True (Rev. 19:11) a designation in marked
contrast with the rider on the first white horse. As the true God, Christ is
the source and embodiment of all fidelity and truthfulness. John had earlier
acclaimed Him as the faithful and true witness (Rev. 1:5). On this occasion,
however, the word witness is not included because there remained nothing
more to be said in regard to Christs dealings with the anti-Christ and his
followers. In this setting, Christ is the faithful and true warrior who will act
appropriately toward all those who are arrayed in opposition to Him and His
cause. At this point, the time will have come for divine judgment to fall on the
anti-Christ, his followers and all that will be associated with him. The fidelity
and truthfulness of God requires such treatment.
Judging and Warring in Righteousness (verse 11). Because the Rider
on the white horse was faithful and true, He could judge and make war (verse
11) in righteousness. As the divine Judge, Christ will determine that the time
for patience, forbearance and mercy has passed, and the time for vengeance and
justice has come. Having made that determination He will proceed to wage war
on His enemies. The culmination of this war will be the Battle of Armageddon
which will bring this dispensation to a close. This present age began with the
resurrection of Christ heralding the dawn of a new and better day. However, it
will end in the blackness of sin with human rebellion having reached its climax
in the reign of the anti-Christ. The righteous Judge, in whom there is no sin at
all, will utterly destroy His enemies, but it will be a fate which they fully and
justly deserve.
Eyes As Flaming Fire (verse 12). In the initial vision which John received,
he saw the glorified Christ with His eyes as a flame of fire (Rev. 1:14). This
description refers to the nature of Christs judgment. The reference to eyes
denotes discernment. The eye is the organ of sense through which most
knowledge is gained. As God, Christ is omniscient. Not only does He know all
that happens, but He even knows why and how things occur. Fire is symbolic
of divine judgment. The apostle Paul taught that the works of believers will be
subjected to the discerning fires of judgment (1 Cor. 3:13). If the works of Gods
people are going to be given such intense scrutiny, it is certain that those of
the wicked will be so examined as well. With eyes of flaming fire, Christ will
execute upon those who deserve it judgment that is thorough and rigid, but
entirely appropriate.
Wearing Many Crowns (verse 12). The Greek word for crowns is diadema
(dee-ah-day-mah), and this instance is one of only three times it appears in
the New Testament. (See also Revelation 12:3; 13:1.) The usual term for crown
is stephanos (steh-phah-nose). Both words convey the idea of authority, while
stephanos denotes dignity as well as authority. From the context of this setting,

102 / Revelation 19:11-21


it is clear that the emphasis is on the
authority that will be wielded by
Christ at His glorious return. In this
Many Crowns (Revelation 19:12):
vision, John saw Christ with many
Multiple monarchies meant multiple
diadems, which indicates that every
crowns! Said another way, kings who
form and every kind of government
incorporated more than one country
will be vested in Him when He
into their respective kingdoms wore
assumes the throne of David. During
a plurality of crowns. The pharaohs
the Millennium, He will be the King
of Egypt were often crowned with
the Pshentthe united crowns of
over Israel, the bride, all the saints,
Upper and Lower Egypt. When
all the nations and the angels as
Ptolemy Philometer entered Antioch
well. When He came to earth the first
as its conqueror, he was adorned
time, He was crowned with thorns.
with a triple crown, Upper and
When He returns, He will have many
Lower Egypt represented two and a
crowns.
third for Asia.

A Name Known by No Man
(verse 12). This verse closes with the
statement, he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. This
declaration is similar to that which appears in Revelation 2:17, in which the
overcomer is promised a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he
that receiveth it. The word name refers to ones identity. It can also indicate
a title as well as an appellation. Since this name is written on the victorious
Christ, it is undoubtedly the name mentioned in Revelation 19:16, KING OF
KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Further comments will be made on this title
later. Note that this name is known only by Christ in the sense that He is the
only One who is entitled to bear it. The fact that no man knows this name
means that no man is worthy of having it. The anti-Christ will try to usurp this
title, but he will not be successful.

A Vesture Dipped in Blood (verse 13).
The word vesture refers to ones clothing. The
Dipped in Blood: he was
Greek term for this word is most commonly
immersed in the blood. The
translated clothes (Mark 5:28, 30), garment
clothing was baptized or
(Mark
11:7, 8) and raiment (Mark 9:3). The
dipped like a fuller would
clothing, or vesture, worn by Christ was
dye a piece of cloth. Plunge
the cloth all the way under
said to be dipped in blood (Rev. 19:13).
the water to immerse it and
Some people have taught that this refers to
saturate it is the idea of the
the blood which Christ shed on the cross.
term. The substance used
However, that is not the correct application
here is the blood of sacrifice.
of this statement. This was an anticipative
Word Studies #911 and #129.
view which John was given of the destruction
of the enemies of Christ when He returns in
great power and glory. The prophet Isaiah foretold the source of this blood and
what it represents (Isa. 63:1-3). The garments of Christ were stained with the
blood of His enemies whom He destroyed. This bloodbath is also described in
Revelation 14:20. (Review comments on this verse in Lesson 5.) The conquering
warrior on the white horse will be completely victorious over the mighty force
assembled by the anti-Christ.

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103
The Word of God (verse 13).
The last part of this verse adds
that his name is called The Word
The Word of God (Revelation 19:13):
of God. A word is an expression of
Only John attributed this peculiar and
a thought or idea. The Greek term
profound title to Jesus Christ. He did
for word is logos (loh-gose), which
so originally in his opening remarks in
was noted in Lesson 9 in the
the gospel which bore his name (John
1:1) then later in the prologue to his first
comments on the word sayings in
epistle (1 John 1:1) when he characterized
verse 9. John is the only writer
the Word as having been from the
in the New Testament who uses
beginning. The word for The Word was
the title Word to refer to Christ,
logos which means, in its simplest form,
the Son of God. (Compare John
something said. Heretofore, Jesus
1:1, 14; 1 John 1:1.) As the Word
was the divine expression of God the
Father. Paul alluded to that truth when
of God, Christ is the expression,
he referred to Jesus as the image of the
or image, of God. He is described
invisible God (Col. 1:15). The writer of
in the Scriptures as the image
the letter to the Hebrews did the same
of God (2 Cor. 4:4), the image of
when he identified Jesus as the express
the invisible God (Col. 1:15) and
image (Heb. 1:3) of the Father.
the express image of his [Gods]
person (Heb. 1:3). He is the
material essence of the Godhead.
If anyone wants to know what God looks like, he or she needs only to look at
Christ. It certainly is worthy of note that the title Word of God is associated
with both comings of Christ. He was the Word that was made flesh when He
was born in Bethlehem, and He will be the triumphant Word when He returns
in glory.

Manna

THE ARMIES FROM HEAVEN


Revelation 19:14
A great leader has many followers. So it will be when Christ returns to earth
at the close of the Tribulation Period to establish His millennial kingdom on
earth. He will be followed by the armies from Heaven.
Following the Glorified Christ. At His first advent Christ came alone as
a baby in Bethlehem. When He died on the cross, He died alone except for two
criminals who were crucified with Him. However, when He returns to earth in
power and glory, He will be accompanied by the armies which were in heaven
(Rev. 19:14). Some people have speculated that the armies mentioned here are
the legions of angels who will follow Christ to the earth when He returns.
Others have taught that these armies will be the believers who will have been
resurrected, glorified and raptured prior to the beginning of the Tribulation
Period (1 Thess. 4:14-17). It seems to this writer that the armies of Heaven who
shall accompany Christ to earth at His return will consist of both groupsthe
holy angels and the redeemed saints. The epistle of Jude quotes the prophecy
of Enoch on this matter, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his
saints (Jude 14). The Greek word for saints essentially means holy ones, and
in this setting could designate angels as well as believers.

104 / Revelation 19:11-21


Riding on White Horses. The armies of Heaven followed Christ on white
horses of their own. These white horses, like that of Christ, denote victory.
This reference to white horses does not indicate that the armies accompanying
Christ will assist Him in defeating His enemies. He will destroy His enemies
by Himself. However, the holy ones who are with Him will share in His victory.
Among the first orders of business after the establishment of the Millennium,
will be the gathering of the Jews who have not yet returned to Palestine, and
the Judgment of the Nations, both of which will involve the angels (Matt. 24:30,
31; 25:31, 32). As for the believers who accompany Christ from Heaven, they
will share with Him in His reign over the nations (Rev. 5:10).
Clothed in Fine Linen. The armies that followed Christ were clothed in
fine linen, white and clean (Rev. 19:14). When used symbolically, fine linen
that is white and clean denotes righteousness, with the context indicating
what kind of righteousness. In the case of the holy angels, their righteousness
is part of their nature. Evidently, there was a time when the angels were on
probation, so to speak, and some, perhaps as many as a third, chose to follow
Lucifer in his rebellion against God. The angels who did not sin seemingly
were sealed in righteousness, as there have not been any more rebellions since
then. Believers receive the imputed righteousness of Christ when they trust
Him as Savior, and they have the righteousness that is earned through their
good works. Thus, in some sense or another, all the hosts who will follow Christ
in His triumphant return to earth will be clad in fine linen garments that are
white and clean.
THE POWER OF THE GLORIFIED CHRIST
Revelation 19:15, 16
These verses declare the power of the glorified Christ. He will have
authoritative power which He will exercise as the sovereign over all the earth,
and He will have accomplishing power which He will demonstrate by crushing
His enemies.
A Sharp Sword (verse 15). In this
vision, John saw a sharp sword proceeding
Sharp Sword: the word sharp can
from the mouth of Christ. It is obvious that
mean swift is some contexts.
this is a symbolic depiction. The metaphor
The sword is the long fighting
of
the sharp sword was seen previously in
sword of an experienced soldier
Revelation
1:16 and 2:12, 16. This analogy
unleashed with deadly force. It is
is
based
on
Isaiah 49:2 in the Messiahs
without question to portray both
the quickness and deadliness of
statement he hath made my mouth like a
the weapon that these words
sharp sword. The New Testament teaches
were chosen for this expression.
that the symbol of the sword refers to the
Word Studies #3691 and #4501.
Word of God (Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12). Christ
demonstrated the power of His spoken word
in the Garden of Gethsemane when those
who had come to arrest Him where forced to the ground by His words (John
18:6). The universe was spoken into existence by God (Psalm 33:6; compare
Isaiah 48:3), and in the reconstruction of the earth each of the acts of God were

The Coming of Christ in Glory / 105

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Ruling with a Rod of Iron


(Revelation 19:15): Though the
rod was sometimes equated to
the staff of the shepherd wherein
it served as both a hooking and
a prodding instrument, it was
more often considered to be a
separate tool. The rod had a
more club-type character than
that of the staff. Though it was
used to fight off wild beasts,
bandits and other enemies of the
fold, it was also seen as a picture
of authority. He who held the
rod made the decisions.

prefaced with Let there be (Gen. 1:3, 6,


14). The word that was powerful enough
to establish, restore and maintain the
creation can certainly destroy the forces
of evil.
A Rod of Iron (verse 15). Another
metaphor depicting the autocratic power
of Christ in governing the nations is
seen in the fact that he shall rule them
with a rod of iron (Rev. 19:15). After
the sword of destruction will come the
rod of correction. This indicates that the
government established by Christ will be
Winepress: this is the vat where
people would place the grapes
and then the stones would be
placed, and the juice would be
crushed and then flow into the
gathering pots. The imagery
is clear of the pressing of the
wrath of God upon the people.
This illustrates with passion
and clarity the judgment of
God. Word Study #3025

dictatorial in nature. However, this will be


a benignand even beneficialdictatorship
in every respect. During His reign over the
nations, Christ will not allow any opposition
to Him or His principles, but He will enforce
His will on everyone. He will be the Lord and
Master of the world. The Greek word for rule
essentially means to act as a shepherd.
Christ will treat the entire world
as His flock. Since the shepherd
knows better than the sheep, he
sometimes has to force his will
Treading the Winepress of the Wrath
on the sheep for the benefit of the
of God (Revelation 19:15): The
individual animal or the flock as
imagery of the treading winepress (Isa.
63:1-6) was one of divine judgment.
a whole. As the earths millennial
Scholars have argued that: (1) The act of
sovereign, Christ will establish
treading the grapes was representative
and maintain order and justice in
of the vengeance of God against His
a world that has known little of
enemies; (2) Said vengeance might
either. The last part of this verse
have been demonstrated through
depicts the carnage that will result
natural disasters or war among
the nations; (3) The juice produced
from the wielding of the sharp
from the treading of the grapes was
sword by Christ against the armies
metaphorical of the blood of the
that will have gathered against
defeated while (4) the intoxication
the Jewish people at the close of
produced by overindulgence was
the
Tribulation Period. (Compare
typical of the effects of the wrath of
Revelation 14:19, 20; see Lesson 5
God on those whom He judged.
for comments on these verses.)

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106 / Revelation 19:11-21


A Matchless Title (verse 16). The name that was mentioned in verse 12 is
revealed here as being KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (verse 16).
Previously, John had mentioned this title when he noted the defeat of the ten
kings who will be the anti-Christs lieutenants (Rev. 17:14). The location of this
title is said to have been on the clothing of the conquering warrior and on His
thigh. Ordinarily, soldiers in Johns day wore a sword on their thigh. However,
Christs sword will be the words He shall speak. The title He will bear will be a
weapon, in a manner of speaking, however, because as King of kings and Lord
of lords, He will be the absolute sovereign of the earth. Earthly rulers in the
past have tried to appropriate this title for themselves, but none of them has
been able to do so successfully. The anti-Christ will be able to rule directly over
ten kings and will be able to exert great influence over other rulers. However,
he will not be the omnipotent sovereign that Christ will be.
THE SUPPER OF THE GREAT GOD
Revelation 19:17, 18
The preceding lesson referred to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Here is
another supper, the supper of the great God (verse 17). The former supper will
be marked by much rejoicing; this one will the occasion of great loss and sorrow.
The Invitation (verse 17). The invitation to this supper was given by
an angel, a function consistent with the role of angels as divine messengers.
The fact he was standing in the sun (verse 17) indicates that he was in a
commanding position. Thus, the message he was to convey could be heard by
all for whom it was intended. The invitation was sent to all the fowls that
fly in the midst of heaven (verse 17). Based on the context, the fowls that
were invited to the supper of the great God were flesh-eating birds, such as
eagles, hawks, vultures and so forth. The manner in which this invitation was
extended is not stipulated. However, by some means or another, the birds were
drawn to the scene of this great battle. This supper is the fifth important supper
mentioned in the Scriptures: (1) the supper of sin (Mark 6:21-28), (2) the supper
of salvation (Luke 14:16-24), (3) the supper of fellowship (1 Cor. 11:20-26), (3)
the supper of rejoicing (Rev. 19:7) and (4) the supper of judgment (verse 17).
The Feast (verse 18). The feast described in this verse will be an epicurean
delight for flesh-eating fowls. The carnage on which they will feed will result
from the Battle of Armageddon, which, as was noted previously, will be fought
over an extended battlefield that will stretch for two hundred miles from
Mount Megiddo, about one hundred miles northwest of Jerusalem, to Bozrah,
about one hundred miles southeast of Jerusalem. (See comments on Revelation
14:19, 20, Lesson 5.) The armies will be drawn to the Middle East on this
occasion by demonic deception (Rev. 16:13-16). The fact that the description
of the feast included the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them (Rev.
19:18) indicates that many cavalries will be involved in this great battle, which
in itself suggests that a number of lesser developed nations will participate in
this terrible conflict. The indication that some of those engaged in this battle
will be bond slaves whose involvement will be forced is noteworthy.

The Coming of Christ in Glory / 107


THE GREAT SLAUGHTER
Revelation 19:19-21
This chapter opens with sounds of great rejoicing and closes on a note of
great lamentation. The pride, pomp and strength of the anti-Christs empire
and all those who allied themselves with him are brought to total destruction.
The Opposing Forces (verse 19). The end-time conflict that is generally
known as the Battle of Armageddon will attract the most gigantic confederation
of armies in history. Satan will use demonic deceptions to lure forces from all
over the world to the Middle East. The anti-Christ and his forces will be intent
on destroying the Jewish people. It is entirely possible that some of the armies
that converge on that great battlefield will not necessarily be allied with the
anti-Christ but will be drawn to that battle nonetheless because of demonic
activity. The opposing forces will be the beast, and the kings of the earth, and
their armies (verse 19) in opposition to him that sat on the [white] horse,
and against his army (verse 19). The word beast in this setting refers to the
anti-Christ, the beast which John had earlier seen rise up out of the sea (Rev.
13:1; see Lesson 4 for comments on this verse). The expression, the kings of the
earth, denotes the anti-Christs allies, including some who might not be among
his more ardent supporters. Opposing the anti-Christ and his forces will be the
glorified Christ and the armies of Heaven. It should be noted, however, that
all the fighting in this battle will be done by Christ, using the sword that
proceeds from His mouth (verse 15).
The Anti-Christ and False Prophet Defeated (verse 20). Among
the casualties of the Battle of Armageddon will be the anti-Christ and the
false prophet. Even though the
false religious system will have
already been judged (Rev. 17;
18), many people will still be
Alive in the Lake of Fire (Revelation
influenced by religious beliefs,
19:20): The Greek word zoontes was a
erroneous though they will be.
present (tense), active (voice) participle
Thus, the false prophet will
which was derived from the word
continue to be an influential
which means to live. Not only were
colleague for the anti-Christ
the residents of the lake of fire cast in
the burning brimstone while still alive,
despite the previous destruction
they were going to remain alive while
of his religious organization.

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Brimstone: this is the incense


of sulfur that will permeate
hell. Into the nostrils of lost
will pass the smell of eternal
death under the guise of
burning putrid sulfur. The
stench of death will be a part
of the suffering in the lake of
fire. This is a death that will
never end. Word Study #2303.

there. As there were lakes of water


dotting the landscape of Asia Minor in
the first century, here was a reference to
the lake of firehell fire (Matt. 5:22).
Punishment by fire was prominent
both in biblical and extra-biblical texts.
Jewish literature such as 1 Enoch (54:1)
gave reference and rise to these fiery
trials. Although the designation of
Gehenna (Isa. 66:24 ; Mark 9:43-48) was
not specifically articulated by John, it
was likely the word picture he was
drawing.

108 / Revelation 19:11-21


The two beasts will suffer a horrific fate, as
they both were cast alive into a lake of fire
Mark of the Beast: this is the
burning with brimstone (Rev. 19:20). The
imprint of the man of sin that
fact that they were thrown alive into the lake
some have received because
of fire indicates that they will not experience
of their failure to believe God.
physical death first but will immediately be
The word for mark is the die
that would be cast and a coin
plunged into the place where Satan, the fallen
or medal would be imprinted
angels and the souls of all unbelievers will
from. It is a clear, precise
suffer in indescribable and unending torment
stamp that reveals the design
for all the ages to come. The first occupants of
of the one who made it. Word
the lake of fire will be the two men who were
Studies #5480 and #2342.
responsible for the worst crimes and sins in
human history.
The Great Slaughter (verse 21). This verse provides a summary of the
results of the Battle of Armageddon. Two things are mentioned specifically: (1)
the remnant [all except for the anti-Christ and false prophet] were slain with
the sword . . . which . . . proceeded out of his [Christs] mouth, and (2) all the
fowls were filled with their flesh. This will be a conflict in which there are no
survivors on one side and no casualties on the other. Once the battle begins,
it will be over in short order. In fact, there will be no combating, but only the
immediate and complete destruction of the enemies of Christ. The enormity of
such an occurrence staggers the mind. The quantity of flesh that will be left
behind from the victims of this battle is mind-boggling. The scene of a battlefield
covered completely with flesh-eating birds devouring the corpses of men and
horses until they are fully gorged is a telling commentary on the devastating
effects of sin. Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:15).
THE COMING OF CHRIST IN GLORY
Revelation 19:11-21
This passage sets forth the actual revelation of Christ. He was seen in all
His power and glory. While He is not named, He is described by the attributes
Faithful and True, qualities which markedly distinguish Him from the false
christ. While there might seem to be some similarities in the riders on the two
white horses, the contrasts are vivid. The first rider was neither faithful nor
true, and he was bent on destruction. The second rider will establish a reign of
peace and righteousness.

Lesson 11

For Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Millennial Reign of Christ


Revelation 20:1-15

The devastation of Armageddon will mark the final destruction of the


religious, economic and political systems of the earth. These will be replaced
by the religious, economic and political systems which Christ will establish
when He comes to earth in great power and glory. This period of time, and the
conditions that will so distinctively characterize it, is generally designated as
the Millennium. Included in chapter 20 are Christs victories over Satan, Gog
and Magog, the present Heaven and earth and the unbelievers. The account of
Christs millennial reign, which is the thirteenth of the parenthetical passages
in Revelation is also included. (Note: A review of the topics The Second Coming,
The Tribulation and the Millennium and A Synopsis of Revelation in the
Introductory Notes probably would be helpful.)
THE BASIS FOR THE MILLENNIUM
Revelation 20:1-3
Ever since Adams fall mankind has longed for a utopia with Edenic
conditions. That cannot happen, however, as long as Satan is allowed to operate
freely and the consequences of the Adamic curse are in full effect. These verses
explain how the millennial reign of Christ will become possible.
The Angel with a Key and a Chain (verse 1). The angel John saw in
this vision was Christ Himself. Even though there is a group of created beings
which are called angels in the Scriptures, Christ is sometimes designated as
an angel. (Compare Revelation 10:1.) The Greek word for angel essentially
means messenger. When Christ has a messenger-type function to accomplish,
He is sometimes described as an angel even though He is not a created being,
but is in fact the Creator Himself. John mentioned that the angel came down
from Heaven, implying that He came to earth. Note that midway into the
Tribulation Period, Satan and his angelsthe fallen angels, or demonswere
cast down to the earth (Rev. 12:7-9, 12). Christ came down from Heaven to
earth on a mission regarding Satan, as will be indicated in Revelation 20:2.
John also pointed out that Christ had with Him the key of the bottomless pit
and a great chain in his hand (verse 1). The term bottomless pit is from the
Greek word for abyss. This is one of the areas in the realm of spirits, as was
noted in Lesson 1 in the comments on Revelation 9:1, 2. Previously, Satan
was allowed temporary usage of the key to the bottomless pit. Here, however,
Christ is seen as the One who has permanent possession of that key. The great
109

110 / Revelation 20:1-15


chain (verse 1) which He had in His hand was used to bind Satan. (Comments
on verse 2.)
The Devil Bound for One Thousand
Years (verse 2). What John witnessed
Thousand Years: this is the
in this verse will make the Millennium
period of time often referred to
possible. To have the kind of conditions
as a Millennium. For one hundred
decades or ten centuries the
which the Bible indicates will be indicative
adversary will be bound. In this
of the Millennium, the devil will have to
period of time, Christ will rule
be restrained. Four titles are used here to
and reign on the earth. It is
describe the devil. (Compare Revelation
important to prepare our lives
12:9.) He is called the dragon because
for this time. Word Study #5507.
of his harsh, fierce nature. He generally
exerts his dragon-like qualities through
people in positions of power,
such as political leaders and
those who are especially
Four Descriptions of the Devil
influential because of wealth
(Revelation 20:2): (1) The dragonthe
or social prominence. The
old Greek word (drakon) was actually
term that old serpent is an
quite similar to the modern-day version.
allusion to his antiquity
It means the obvious; he was viewed by
John as a monster. His character proved
his existence predates that
this assessment was accurate. (2) The old
of human historyand his
serpentthe ancient snake once seen in
subtlety. The devil is a master
the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1) resurfaces
at deceit, and he uses it with
at the end of the ages. (3) The devilthis
subtle, but deadly malignity.
name was derived from a Greek verb
The title Devil denotes a
which means to slander or to falsely
slanderer, one who distorts
accuse; hence, he was called the father
of lies (John 8:44) and the accuser of the
the truth and manufactures
brethren (Rev. 12:10). (4) Satanthis
outright lies to accomplish his
title means adversary or enemy. It
purposes. When talking with
is well-established in the Revelation that
Eve in the Garden of Eden,
an enemy existsan enemy of the King,
the devil boldly and directly
the kingdom, the citizens, and the cause.
contradicted God (Gen. 3:4).
Though some scholars viewed titles 24
Another name used by John
as parenthetical to number 1 the truths of
each remains profound.
regarding the devil was
Satan. This word basically
refers to an accuser, as can be
seen in the charges Satan falsely brought against Job (Job 1:6-11; 2:1-5). Using
the chain He had with Him, Christ bound the devil for one thousand years.
The Devil Sealed for One Thousand Years (verse 3). John watched as
Christ took hold of the devil and confined him (shut him up) in the abyss for
a thousand years. That confinement is what will constitute the Millennium.
There are three general views among Bible students regarding the Millennium.
Some people are amillennialists or nonmillennialists. They teach that there
will not be an actual Millennium. The references to the one thousand years are
to be interpreted symbolically according to this theory. In addition, there are

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The Millennial Reign of Christ / 111

Set a Seal: God will mark off


and imprint the adversary so
that all will know who he is and
where he is and why he is there.
Without question it will be a
situation where he is identified
as the destroyer so that all will
know the power of God and the
lack of the power of Satan. Word
Study #4972.

some who hold a postmillennial


view. They believe that through
education and other positive
efforts the world will improve
to near utopioan conditions,
and then Christ will return.
Needless to say, there are
increasingly fewer people who
seriously teach this. The position
consistent with the Scriptures
is that Christ will return and
then establish the Millennium.
This is the premillennial
view, which is widely held among
conservative students of the Bible. The
seal (verse 3) Christ will place on the
devil denotes a legal proceeding which
cannot be superceded by any being
in the universe other than God. With
Satan bound for a thousand years, the
nations will not be deceived, which will
cause them to be at peace among their
own people and with one another.

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The Bottomless Pit (Revelation 20:3):


One might quickly recall that Satan was
previously cast out of Heaven (Rev. 9:1;
12:9). Here, it seemed, he was cast out of
the earth to a place formerly and formally
prepared for him and his demonic angels
(Matt. 25:41). The purpose behind sealing
this prison of devils and demons was
to prevent any attempt to escape and/
or a subsequent attempt to rescue its
inhabitants. Question of interest: Did the
word bottomless describe its geography
and/or its capacity and/or both or
neither? To answer said question might
also have hinted at the location of the
abyssthe deep (Luke 8:31). Was hell
in the center of the earth? Have voices
actually been recorded from the bowels
of the planet? Could the earth have
housed the souls of the departed? What
would happen to them at the time of its
destruction?

Little Season: for a microcosm of time


the devil will be set free. We do not
know how long this will be, but the
word micro is the limit of time. We
use this with microscope so it will be
short and small. Let us pray it will be
but for moments and not hours. Word
Studies #3398 and #5550.

THE ESSENCE OF THE MILLENNIUM


Revelation 20:4-6
These verses give information about those who will participate with Christ
in His millennial reign. This will be a time of peace and glory because those
who will reign with Christ will no longer be subject to sin.
Thrones and Martyrs (verse 4). The reference to thrones in this verse
might seem reminiscent of the thrones, or seats, mentioned in Revelation 4:4
in connection with the twenty-four elders. (Note: The Greek term for seats in this
Scripture is the basis for throne.) While there might be a relationship between
these thrones, these are completely separate visions. John saw the twenty-four
elders, who represented resurrected, glorified and raptured believers of the

112 / Revelation 20:1-15


Old and New Testament eras, as they were between the time of the rapture
and the return of Christ in power and glory. The thrones mentioned in this
verse indicate positions of authority and responsibility believers will have as
they reign with Christ during the Millennium. The statement, judgment was
given unto them, means that the responsibility for administering judgment
was given to them, (verse 4) which no doubt, was a matter that had been
determined by the Judgment Seat of Christ. Another group seen by John was
the martyrs from the Tribulation Period, those who had been beheaded for
the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God. They also will have positions
of honor and authority, as they, along with those mentioned in the first part
of this verse, will reign with Christ for a thousand years (verse 4). Glorified
saints, whether from the Old Testament time, the New Testament era or the
Tribulation Period will assist Christ in His reign over the nations.
The First Resurrection
(verse 5). In verse 4, John
explained the status of all
saints, from the time of the first
The First Resurrection (Revelation
20:6): Though there were several noted
believer to the last believer.
resurrections in Holy Writ there were
All of them were in a glorified
seemingly only two specific kinds
state. However, the rest of the
the resurrection of the spiritually alive
dead
(verse 5) that is, all of the
and the resurrection of the spiritually
unsaved
who had died up to that
dead. One group was promised eternal
point, would not live again until
life with God after deaththe first
the Millennium had run its full
resurrection on such the second death
hath no power. The second would
course of one thousand years, as
endure eternal separation from God
this verse indicates. This verse
following its respective judgment.
closes with the statement, This
Among the New Testament resurrections
is
the first resurrection. The verb
were the precrucifixion resurrection of
is
in this phrase is in italics,
Lazarus (John 11:34-44); Christ, the first
which means that it was not
fruits of the resurrection (Luke 24:1part of the original language but
8; 1 Cor. 15:20, 23); the resurrection of
the dead in Christ (1 Thess. 4:16); the
was supplied by the translators.
resurrection of the martyred (Rev. 6:9The first resurrection is the
11; 19:2); the resurrection of the two
resurrection of all believers.
witnesses (Rev. 11:7-12); the resurrection
However, it is clear from 1 Co
of the Tribulation saints (Rev. 20:4); and,
rinthians 15:23 that the first
the Great White Throne resurrection
resurrection will occur in stages,
(Rev. 20:13).
and the reference by Paul to
the firstfruits invokes the
metaphor of the grain harvest in regard to the first resurrection. In the time
of the Bible, there were three phases to the grain harvest. Phase one included
the firstfruits offering, which involved the offering of a bundle of grain stalks.
This type was fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ and the others who were
raised at that time (Matt. 27:52, 53). Phase two was the main harvest, which
will consist of the resurrection of all believers of the Old and New Testament
eras (1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17). Phase three will correspond to the

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The Millennial Reign of Christ / 113


reaping of the gleanings, which will be the resurrection of the Tribulation
saints, a phenomenon that probably will occur in connection with the coming
of Christ in power and glory at the close of the Tribulation Period. With the
accomplishment of these three resurrection phases, the first resurrection will
have been completed.
Priests of God and of Christ (verse 6). Three things are mentioned in this
verse regarding those who will be included in the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy. The Greek word for blessed denotes a settled sense of
peace and joy one receives from God. This term is especially prominent in the
Sermon on the Mount in the so-called Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-12). There are
seven beatitudes, so to speak, in Revelation, with this being the fifth one. The
word holy is from a term which primarily means set apart. The noun form of
this word is often translated saint. Believers, whether in this life or the life to
come, are set apart to serve, worship and praise God.
Immune to the second death. The second death is the final and eternal
separation from God, the source and sustainer of all life. This matter will be
considered more fully later. Here it should be noted that none of those included
in the first resurrection will ever be separated from God.
Priests of God and of Christ. Under the Law of Moses, the priests had
the responsibility of teaching the people and leading in the worship of God.
During the Millennium, glorified believers, those who were part of the first
resurrection, will teach the nations about the ways and will of God, and they
will also lead the people in the worship of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
THE REBELLION FOLLOWING
THE MILLENNIUM
Revelation 20:7-10
One would think that, after one thousand years of living under the most
ideal conditions mankind has ever known, Satan would not be able to incite
anyone to rebel against the King who was responsible for such beneficent
circumstances. However, the spirit of rebellion lurks deep in the human heart,
thus making possible the revolt described in these verses.
The Release of Satan (verse 7). Why Satan will be released from the
bottomless pit is not stated. Several theories have been suggested by various
Bible teachers and scholars. However, there seems to be a twofold reason God
will allow the devil to leave his prison following the Millennium. First, the
people who will be born during the Millennium will need to face essentially the
same choice regarding the devil as have all preceding generations. Through
the centuries, Satan has been permitted wide latitude in his efforts to entice
people to reject Christ as Savior. During the reign of Christ, however, the devils
activities will be curtailed, so it might be assumed that if faced with a decision
everyone will embrace God and reject Satan. However, this leads to the second
reason for Satans release. By causing people to have to make a choice between
Him and the devil, God will convince mankind once and for all that human
depravity extends to the core of ones being. After one thousand years of the
most idealistic conditions under which mankind has ever lived, each individual
born during the Millennium will need to be faced with the moment of truth and

114 / Revelation 20:1-15


decide for himself or herself whether to turn to God or away from Him. This
was the choice that confronted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and they
chose to accept Satans lie rather than embrace Gods truth.
The Gathering of Gog and Magog (verse 8). Upon being released from
the bottomless pit, Satan will go out to deceive the nations which are in the
four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog (verse 8). This statement mentions
two critical matters. First, the devil will be permitted once again to work his
wiles on the nations. For one thousand years, he will not be allowed to do this,
but that restriction will be lifted. The other significant matter here is that the
nations among whom Satan will seek to work his deceptions are designated
as Gog and Magog. This term is not a reference to Ezekiel 38 in which Gog is
noted as being from the land of Magog and the chief prince of Meshech and
Tubal (Ezek. 38:2). The prophecies regarding Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and
39 seemingly will be fulfilled during the closing part of the Tribulation Period,
perhaps in connection with the Battle of Armageddon. However, the terms Gog
and Magog here are symbolic of the enemies of God and His people. The fact
that the number of people who will be deceived by Satan is as the sand of
the sea (verse 8) reflects the tremendous population explosion that will occur
during the Millennium. Under the beneficent conditions of that age, death will
be practically eliminated for people living in natural bodies. (Compare Isaiah
65:20.)
The Rebellion Quashed (verse 9). The pronoun they refers to the people
from the nations who respond to the enticement of the devil in his revolt against
God and His people. The expression, the breadth of the earth, denotes the extent
of the response from the nations to the satanic allurements. In the phrase,
the camp of the saints, the word camp is from a term which literally means
a putting alongside of. The word saints designates believers, and probably
indicates glorified believers. Seemingly, what is depicted here is Jerusalem,
the beloved city (verse 9) and the residence of the King of kings and Lord of
lords, surrounded by believers encamped around the city evidently in much
the same manner as the tribes of Israel camped around the Tabernacle when
the Jews were en route from Egypt to the Promised Land (Num. 2:1-34). Satan
will attempt to engage in battle with Christ and His people, but there will not
be any contest. The rebellion will be quashed immediately with fire which will
come down from God out of heaven (Rev. 20:9) This will be the final revolt
against God by Satan, and it is certainly noteworthy that he and his followers
will be destroyed in the same manner as were the wicked cities of Sodom and
Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24, 25).
The Final Defeat of Satan (verse 10). Following the destruction mentioned
in verse 9, the souls of those who will yield to the devils deception will go
immediately into hell to await the Great White Throne Judgment which will
occur soon. Satan, however, will be cast into the lake of fire where he will join
the anti-Christ and the false prophet who will have already been in that place
for a thousand years. This will mark the end of Satans career, which began prior
to the creation of man with the rebellion of Lucifer and continued throughout
the centuries of mans existence on the earth. Satan has opposed God and His

The Millennial Reign of Christ / 115


people by every means at his disposal. He has used deception, and he has also
used force. He has been successful at times, but he has also suffered setbacks.
Following his original rebellion, Satan was cast down from the position he had
held in the angelic hierarchy. His plan to destroy the Israelites in Egypt was
thwarted by their deliverance from Egypt. His attempt to kill Jesus after He
was born was stymied, and his brief victory in the crucifixion was cut short
by Christs resurrection. The final defeat of Satan will occur in two phases in
connection with the millennial reign of Christ. First, he will be chained in the
bottomless pit for a thousand years, then he will be cast forever into the lake
of fire and brimstone (verse 10).
THE JUDGMENT FOLLOWING
THE MILLENNIUM
Revelation 20:11, 12
Verses 11-15 give the account of Christs victory over the unbelievers, which
is the last of the seven victories. Verses 11 and 12 describe the judgment that
will determine the extent of suffering unbelievers will have to experience
during eternity.
The Great White Throne and Its Occupant (verse 11). Many people
have taught that the Great
White Throne Judgment will be
a general judgment which will
Judgment of the Great White Throne
follow a general resurrection
(Revelation 20:11): The unqualified
when all the dead will be raised
purity of the greatest of all bema seats
and then judged, with the saints
was solidified in the symbolic color of
and sinners being parted right
the thronewhite. This, the ultimate,
and left, so to speak. However,
supreme court was the final judgment
there will not be a general resur
of the unbeliever. In the courts of ancient
Greece one bema seat (a raised place;
rection or a general judgment.
a platform; a tribune, Matt. 27:19; John
When believers are judged for
19:13; Acts 12:21) was provided for the
rewards, they will stand before
accused and another for the accuser.
the Judgment Seat of Christ
However, later, in New Testament
(Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10). This
narratives bema identified the official
judgment will occur before the
and honorary place of a judge, usually of
return of Christ in power and glory
the Roman governor and/or the emperor
(Acts 25:10); then of God (Rom. 14:10) and
to establish His kingdom. The
of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). No saved person is
Great White Throne Judgment
to be judged at the judgment of the Great
is an entirely different judgment.
White Throne. It is a judgment reserved
It will be at a different time and
for all unbelievers.
setting. It will involve different
people and will be administered
for a different purpose. This judgment will occur after the Millennium. The fact
that this throne is great in size indicates the awesome bearing and appearance
of the One who occupies the throne, while the color white is a symbol of purity
denoting the character and nature of the thrones occupant. This verse also
stipulates that the earth and the heaven (Rev. 20:11) departed from the face
of the awesome Judge. The manner in which the earth and Heaven fled away

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116 / Revelation 20:1-15


(verse 11) is explained in 2 Peter 3:7, 10.
Specifically mentioned is how the heavens
shall pass away with a great noise, and the
elements shall melt with fervent heat, the
earth also and the works that are therein
shall be burned up (verse 10).
The Judgment of Unbelievers (verse
12). In this verse John described those who
will be judged at the Great White Judgment
and the basis for their judgment. The word
dead refers to the expression,
the rest of the dead, which was
mentioned in verse 5. Both of
these terms denote the unsaved
Judged According to Their Works
(Revelation 20:12): Some scholars
dead. The designation, small
have insisted that the books which
and great, is indicative of the
were openedthe books by which
manner in which these people
the populous were judgedwere the
were
regarded during their lives.
record books which God had kept since
Some people are not considered
the beginning of humanity. The books,
then, were records of every thought,
as wicked as others, but the fact
word and deed of sinful man. Biblicists
remains that those who might
with differing views have merely
be good, relatively speaking, are
suggested that the books were the
still sinners in the eyes of God.
precepts and principles of the books of
Whether small sinners or great
the Bible. Regardless, the fact remained,
manboth small and greatwas
sinners, all who refuse to trust
judged accordingly. The perfect passive
Christ as Savior remain lost and
participle seen in the phrase things
will appear at the Great White
which were written indicated that
Throne
Judgment. The word
which stands written. The sentence of
books
refers
to the record of each
the judge is not arbitrary; it rests upon
individuals
life, as can be seen
the evidence of the books.
in that what is included in those
books is the account of how each
person lived on earth. Those who appear at the Great White Throne Judgment
will be judged according to their works (verse 12). The book of life will also be
opened as proof that none of the people appearing at the Great White Throne
Judgment has his or her name recorded in it. (Compare Revelation 13:8; see
Lesson 4 for comments.) The fact that these people will be judged according to
their works indicates that the purpose of this judgment will be to determine
the extent of their punishment in the lake of fire.
Fled Away: on the throne is One
who sits and is to be shunned.
One cannot look on Him
without turning away at the
brilliance of power and ability He
has. On this throne is the Judge
and those around Him will flee
from Him. Word Study #5343.

Manna

THE SECOND DEATH


Revelation 20:13-15
According to Hebrews 9:27, it is appointed unto men once to die, but after
this the judgment. This is a universal principle, as the death to which this
verse refers is physical death. However, a second death awaits unsaved people.

The Millennial Reign of Christ / 117


The Sea, Death and Hell (verse 13). These three terms have important
implications regarding those who will appear at the Great White Throne
Judgment. As used in this context, the word sea is to be interpreted literally. It
is mentioned in this setting because human reasoning finds it difficult to believe
that a body in the ocean, which would be consumed by various sea creatures
could ever be raised again. The term death also denotes the body, while hell
refers to the spirit. What is depicted in the first part of verse 13 is something
like a resurrection of unbelievers. In most cases their bodies have gone to
the grave and back to dust. For some, however, their bodies were devoured
by animals, disintegrated by explosions, reduced to ashes or otherwise totally
consumed. However, the Omnipotent God can raise the body of each individual,
reunite it with the spirit that has been in hell and then bring him or her before
Him for judgment. Such a resurrection cannot be compared with the glory of
the resurrection of believers. However, if there is not to be a reunion of body
and spirit, there would be no reason for the sea and death to yield the bodies
they hold.
Judged According to Works (verse 13). The last part of this verse reiterates
the fact that the judgment of unbelievers will be according to their works. Some
people have concluded from this that, if ones good works outweigh his or her
bad deeds, then he or she will be admitted into Heaven. This assumption is
entirely false. The only people who will be judged at the Great White Throne
Judgment are unbelievers. They will be judged to determine the extent, or
degree, of their everlasting torment in the lake of fire. Advocates of heresy will
be punished more severely than the people who simply attended their classes
or churches. Men like Hitler and Stalin will have to suffer more intensely than
someone who was a good parent, a good neighbor and a good citizen, but failed
to trust Christ as Savior. If there are no degrees of punishment in the lake of
fire, there would be no purpose for the Great White Throne Judgment.
The Second Death (verse 14). This verse includes three critical statements.
Death and hell. This term could be
synonymous with the phrase body and
Hell: there are three words for
spirit. As used in this setting death and
hell and this one is hades. It is
body are equivalent, as are hell and
the place of the departed spirits.
spirit. Following the Great White Throne
It is the place where those who
have rejected God are kept. At
Judgment, all unbelievers will be cast,
its best, it is a place of torment
body and spirit, into the lake of fire.
and trial. It will now get worse
The lake of fire. This matter will be
as it is cast into a lake of fire and
addressed more fully in the comments
becomes the second death for
on verse 15. Here it should be noted that
those who reject Christ. Word
people now in hell are suffering, perhaps
Study #86.
more or less equally, even though they
have not yet been judged. The individual
judgment which will be determined by God will be administered in the lake of
fire.
The second death. The essence of death is separation. Physical death occurs
when the spirit leaves the body to go either to the torment of hell or the bliss of

118 / Revelation 20:1-15


paradise. This is the first death. (Compare James 2:26.) The second death is the
eternal banishment of unbelievers from the presence of God, which will be one
of the consequences of the Great White Throne Judgment. There is an adage to
the effect, He who is born twice will die only once, while one born but once will
die twice.
The Lake of Fire (verse 15). This term denotes the final repository of the
anti-Christ, false prophet, Satan, the demons and all unbelievers. The lake of
fire was begun by God as the place of punishment for the devil and his angels
[the demons] (Matt. 25:41). All others who end up in the lake of fire do so as a
result of their failure to trust Christ as Savior. The location of the lake of fire is
difficult to determine. It undoubtedly is part of the unseen underworld, which
consists of hell [Hebrew, sheol; Greek, hades], the bottomless pitthe abyss, or
the great gulf (Luke 16:26), and the lake of fire. The lake of fire was evidently
kindled when Lucifer rebelled against God, thus becoming the devil, but will
not have any occupants until the anti-Christ and false prophet are consigned
there by Christ when He returns to earth in power and glory to establish His
kingdom (Rev. 19:20). One thousand years later, the devil will be cast into the
lake of fire, and following the Great White Throne Judgment all the unsaved
will join him. Perhaps that is also when the demons, or fallen angels, will be
thrown into the lake of fire. (Compare 1 Corinthians 6:3.)
THE MILLENNIAL REIGN OF CHRIST
Revelation 20:1-15
For many centuries the patriarchs and prophets looked forward to the
kingdom of God in which peace and righteousness would prevail. The New
Testament continues the anticipation of the kingdom, and, in the closing
book of the Bible, the length of the kingdom is disclosed. The kingdom will be
established by Christ Himself, and He will reign for a thousand years. This
provides the basis for the word Millennium, which is from mille, the Latin term
for one thousand, and annus, Latin for year. (Compare Revelation 20:2, 3, 5, 6.)

Lesson 12

For Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Eternal Age

Revelation 21:122:5

This passage consists of a brief description of the conditions that will


characterize the eternal age and a rather detailed account of the glory of the
New Jerusalem. The description regarding the eternal age focuses on the
seven new things, the last of the seven sevens which develop the continuity
of the book of Revelation, while the account of the New Jerusalem is the last of
what could be considered the parenthetical portions of this book. (Review the
comments on A Synopsis of Revelation in the Introductory Notes.)
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ETERNAL AGE
Revelation 21:1-8
These verses carry the history of mankind from time into eternity, beginning
with a statement regarding the new Heaven and earth and concluding with a
declaration about the second death.
The New Heaven (verse 1). Some people have wondered why there will be
a need for a new Heaven. The reason is because Satan has access to the present
Heaven even though he has not been a resident there, so to speak, since his
fall. He is permitted to go before the Father and make accusations against
believers. (Compare Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6.) This is why Christ intercedes daily for
those who are saved (Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1). The new Heaven which will be
created following the millennial reign of Christ will be the third Heaven. Peter
mentioned two Heavens in his second epistle, the heavens [that] were of old
(2 Peter 3:5) and the heavens . . . which are now (verse 7). The original Heaven
was evidently replaced by the present Heaven, a phenomenon that probably
occurred as a result of the chaos that was the outcome of Lucifers rebellion
against God and a condition seemingly described in Genesis 1:2-8. The present
Heaven is the paradise of God, and is where the spirits of believers go following
physical death to await the resurrection of the body.
The New Earth (verse 1). Many people are surprised to learn that there
will be a new earth as well as a new Heaven. The new earth, like the new
Heaven, will be eternal. It is not clear what the purpose of the new earth will
be and who will live on it during the eternal age. There is no question, however,
regarding the need for a new earth, which according to 2 Peter 3:5, 7 will be the
third earth. The present earth is cursed by sin, a curse that will be curbed, but
not completely removed, during the Millennium with the binding of Satan. It
is interesting to note that in Johns vision of the new earth, there was no more
119

120 / Revelation 21:122:5


sea (Rev. 21:1). The oceans play a critical
role in the present earth by controlling
Passed Away: the first heaven
the cycles of precipitation and serving as
and earth are to depart, to
a
means of helping in purification. Since
go away. The idea is that the
neither of these functions will be necessary
departure is complete and
in the new environment, there will not be
thorough. The first ones will
not return, and a new one has
any need for the sea on the new earth. The
arrived. Word Study #3928.
manner of disposition of the present Heaven
and earth is indicated by the phrase, were
passed away, which also appears in 2 Peter
3:10. The passing of the present Heaven and earth will be marked by a great
noise, (verse 10) possibly a tremendous solar explosion of some manner, and
accompanied by the consumption of the earth and all its works in fervent
heat (verse 10).

The New Jerusalem (verse 2).
John also saw the New Jerusalem,
which he termed the holy city. This
city is so described because it will
The
Adornment
of
Brides
(Revelation 21:2): With as many
be set apart for a specific purpose.
precious stones as her family had
The apostle mentioned further that
inherited from previous generations
he observed the New Jerusalem
and could purchase or borrow
coming down from God out of
braided into her hair, the bride
heaven (verse 2). Seemingly, the
looked like a queen (Isa. 61:10;
New Jerusalem will be on earth
Ezek. 16:11, 12). Obviously, this
or hovering just above the earth,
was a costly, elaborate and timeconsuming affair. Much effort was
perhapsduring the millennial
given to make her complexion
reign of Christ. However, with the
glossy and shining with the luster of
destruction of the present Heaven
pure marble (Psalm 144:12). Bathed
and earth, God will evidently
and oiled, perfumed and her hair
move the New Jerusalem to the
fixed, clothed in the finest white her
new Heaven and then bring it
family could afford, she was ready!
back toor nearthe new earth.
The dressing of the bride for her
wedding day was so impressive that
The description given of the New
Jeremiah focused on her inability to
Jerusalem is that it was prepared
forget (Jer. 2:32).
as a bride adorned for her husband
(verse 2). This statement not only
suggests the beauty of this city, but also provides a hint regarding its role in
Gods plan for eternity. The first reference in the New Testament to the New
Jerusalem is in Hebrews 12:22 where it is designated as, the city of the living
God, the heavenly Jerusalem. The first reference in this book is in Revelation
3:12 in connection with Christs promise to overcomers.
The New Tabernacle (verse 3). The new tabernacle is yet another new
thing that will characterize the eternal age. The word tabernacle is from the
term for tent, and essentially means a dwelling place. The words men and
them, as used in this setting, refer to glorified believers. In the eternal age,
God and believers will be able to dwell together as never before. All believers

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The Eternal Age / 121


will be in a glorified condition with no
vestiges at all of the sinful nature, all
Dwell with Them: this is the same
sin will have been forever banished
word used in Revelation 13:6. The
idea is that He will pitch His tent
from the universe and Satan, along
or tabernacle with them. It is the
with all the demons, will have been
sense of a permanent dwelling as it
eternally consigned to the lake of fire.
was in the mind of the first century
Thus, believers will be his people
occupants of Israel. It is not a house,
(verse 3) and He will be their God
but it is a dwelling where they will
(verse 3) in the fullest sense. The word
abide. Word Study #4637.
tabernacle is also a reminder of how
people worshiped God under the Law.
The Tabernacle was not only the symbol of Gods presence among the Jews,
but was also the focus of their worship of God. In the eternal age, the entire
universe will be a Tabernacle, so to speak, in which believers will be able to
worship and praise God in the fullest sense.
The New Order (verse 4). Ever since the fall of man, the things mentioned
in this versedeath, sorrow, crying and painare all associated with tears
in human beings and are all indicative of the consequences of sin as well. The
essence of death, whether physical or spiritual, is separation (James 2:26),
and in the eternal age there will be no separations, especially from God the
source of life. Sorrow is caused because of loss, and there will be nothing lost
in eternity. Crying is the expression of sorrow, and the total absence of sorrow
will completely eliminate this cause of tears in the eternal age. Pain, another
consequence of sin, can be experienced emotionally as well as physically.
However, if there is no sin, there will not be any cause for pain of any kind.
None of the adverse conditions imposed on the human race because of Adamic
sinthe fleshly frailties and failings that cause our tearswill be present
under the new order in the eternal age. (Compare Genesis 3:16-19.)
The New Environment (verse 5). The eternal age will be a new era in
every respect for believers. There will be a new Heaven, a new earth, a New
Jerusalem, a new tabernacle and a new order, all of which will produce a new
environment. God declared, Behold, I make all things new (verse 5). This
statement implies that eternity will mark a new beginning. The Omnipotent,
Omniscient One created all things in the beginning. He is the only thing in
the entire universe that is eternal, with no beginning or end. What he did in
the past, He will do in the future when He makes all things new. Everything
ultimately has its origin and its fulfillment in Him. When Christ delivers the
kingdom to the Father, all things will have been brought into subjection by the
Son (1 Cor. 15:25-28). After making the proper disposition of all the Son gives
to Him, the Father will make all things new. With the new birth a believer
becomes a new creation in Christ. In the resurrection, one receives a new,
glorified body. With the end of time and the onset of eternity, believers will
have a completely new environment.
The New Relationships (verses 6-8). This is the seventh and last of
the new things that will characterize the eternal age. The new relationships
addressed in these verses direct attention upward to the relationship between

122 / Revelation 21:122:5


God and His people (verses 6, 7), and downward to an emphatic description of
those who will not be permitted to associate with God and His people during
the eternal age. Those in this category will be confined forever in the lake of fire
(verse 8).
Alpha and Omega (verse 6). The speaker in this verse was God Himself (verse
5). After assuring John that the words he had heard were true and faithful
(verse 5), God declared, It is done
(verse 6), which reminds one of the
statement made when the seventh
vial was emptied (Rev. 16:17), and
The Water of Life (Revelation 21:6):
the declaration by Christ on the
In the arid land of Palestinea land
where only inches of precipitation fell
cross when He was ready to dismiss
annuallya spring of cool water was
His spirit to the Father (John
greatly appreciated and most often
19:30). What was done or finished
viewed as a symbol of refreshment
in this instance was the making
and renewal. John had previously
of
all things new by God, thus
mentioned these renewing waters in
establishing the new relationships.
the context of the blessings afforded
The phrase, Alpha and Omega,
the great multitude of Gentiles (Rev.
7:17) when he highlighted the living
indicate the first and last letters of
fountains of waters. Of course, this
the Greek alphabet. As the Alpha
would not be the last reference to said
and Omega, God is the beginning
resuscitation. The last chapter of the
and the end. (Compare Revelation
book made mention two times of the
1:8, 11.) The title Alpha denotes
same water of life (Rev. 22:1, 17).
the creation, while Omega directs
Such was but one of the many themes
attention to the consummation.
in the life of Jesus. He had offered the
same satisfaction and sustaining to the
Only the Omnipotent, Omniscient
Samaritan woman at Jacobs well (John
God is capable of truly being the
4:14) as well as to those consuming the
Alpha and Omega, the beginning
bread of life (John 6:35).
and the end (verse 6). His promise
to freely give from the fountain of
the water of life was inserted to remind mankind that no one can participate
in the new creation unless he or she has the proper relationship with God,
a relationship based on ones reception of
the water (verse 6) of everlasting life that
is given only by Christ (John 4:10-14).
Heirs of God (verse 7). This verse
Our Eternal Inheritance (Revelation 21:7): For the adopted
teaches that believers who are regarded
child (Rom. 8:15) the inherias overcomers will inherit all things, and
tance was guaranteed! Adopta special relationship will exist between
ed children, according to Rothem and God. Each of the messages to
man law, could not be written
the seven churches of Asia closed with a
out of the family will. Biologipromise of some kind to the overcomer.
cal children were not promised
The manner in which believers can be
the same luxury. The legacy
was secure in the adopted chilovercomers is given in Revelation 12:11.
dren; hence, eternal.
To be an overcomer, one must have trusted
Christ as Savior, and he or she must also

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The Eternal Age / 123


serve God faithfully. (Review comments on Revelation 12:11, Lesson 3.) The
verb shall inherit denotes a relationship between a testator and an heir. The
Testator, or the one who makes the bequest, is God, and the heir is identified as
my son (verse 7). The word son is from a term which indicates legitimacy as
well as maturity. Believers who have faithfully served God while on earth will
be regarded as His heirs. What is new in this relationship is that the heirs will
be permitted to enjoy their inheritance to the fullest even though the Testator
is still alive. In some manner and to some extent, at least some of the rewards
or recognitions given to faithful believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ will
be effective throughout the Millennium and even into the eternal age.
The outcasts (verse 8). John closed his account of the eternal age by giving
a detailed list of the kind of people who will not be allowed in the new Heaven
and earth, or in the New Jerusalem, but will be consigned instead to the lake of
fire. Eight classes or categories of sinners are specifically mentioned. One must
remember that in salvation ones sins are fully cleansed by the blood of Christ.
Thus, someone could be guilty of any of the sins in this listexcept for that
of unbeliefand still be included in the new Heaven and earth. For example,
Moses and David were each guilty of murder; however, both men were included
in Hebrews 11 in what could be regarded as the roster of the righteous, and
are certain therefore to be in the new Heaven and earth. The people described
by the sins listed in this verse will be so fully characterized by such sins as to
cause them to be identified accordingly.
1. Fearful. This term denotes a timidity that is so intense as to keep one from
having faith in God. Such fear can affect a believers testimony for Christ and
the manner in which one serves Him. (Compare Matthew 8:26; Mark 4:40.)
However, an unsaved person who gives in completely to this fear will not reach
the point where he or she is willing to trust Christ as Savior.
2. Unbelievers. Without doubt this is the largest of the categories of sinners
in this listing. People can be faithful spouses, devoted parents, congenial
neighbors, dedicated employees and upstanding citizens, but if they do not
accept Christ as Savior, they will remain unsaved. They can profess to be a
Christian, but if they die in their unbelief, they will be cast into the lake of fire.
3. Abominable. The Greek term for this word indicates conduct or actions
that are abhorrent. It is a general term that could include a number of different
kinds sins, physical as well as spiritual. The Jews were warned that God
especially regards sexual sins as abominable (Lev. 18:6-30).
4. Murderers. Human life is valued highly by God, even if many people do
not so regard it. One of the Ten Commandments stipulates, Thou shalt not
kill (Ex. 20:13). People who appear at the Great White Throne Judgment with
murder on their record will be punished harshly.
5. Whoremongers. The Greek term for this word is pornos (por-nose), from
which comes pornography and related words. Serial adulterers, rapists,
prostitutes and purveyors of pornography are guilty of sins that often bring its
own punishment in this life in the form of sexually transmitted diseases, with
intense suffering to follow forever in the lake of fire.

124 / Revelation 21:122:5


6. Sorcerers. The sin of sorcery in its broadest sense includes those who
practice witchcraft, spiritualism, devil worship, necromancy and so forth. As
used in this setting, sorcerers are those who seek the assistance of demons to
gain information or control.
7. Idolaters. Idolatry is the sin of worshiping or acknowledging any god other
than the true God. Those who worship the true God in the wrong manner could
also be guilty of idolatry. Note that the first four of the Ten Commandments
address how God is and is not to be worshiped.
8. Liars. A lie is anything that is in opposition to the truth. Many people pass
their entire lives in the pursuit and promotion of lies. Satan is a liar and the
father of lies (John 8:44). Those who are deceived by the devil will accept his
lies and reject the One who is the Truth. (Compare John 8:32; 14:6.)
THE GLORY OF THE NEW JERUSALEM
Revelation 21:922:5
After addressing the eternal and unchanging condition of believers and
unbelievers respectively, John turned his attention to the city of the New
Jerusalem, which he described in much detail in this passage.
The Invitation to See the Bride (Revelation 21:9, 10). Previously, one
of the angels with the seven vials had shown John the judgment which God
inflicted on the false religious system of the end-time (Rev. 17:1). The fact that
one of those seven angels spoke to John on this occasion seemingly indicates
that the apostles attention was being directed back to the time prior to the
establishment of the eternal age. The invitation given by the angel was, Come
hither, and I will shew thee the bride, the Lambs wife (verse 9; compare
Revelation 19:7-9.) To receive this vision John was transported in the spirit,
which was the mode in which he received all the visions he recorded in this
book. (See verse 10; compare Revelation 1:10; 4:2; 17:3.) When John was given
the vision of the religious harlot, he was carried into the wilderness (Rev.
17:3); however, he was taken to a great and high mountain (Rev. 21:10) when
he was shown the New Jerusalem. What the apostle saw was that great city,
the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God (verse 10). The angel
told John he would show him the bride, the Lambs wife, but what John saw
was the New Jerusalem. Thus, it is evident that the New Jerusalem will be
inseparably associated with the Bride of Christ. The two matters are separate,
as there will be a city and also an entity consisting of glorified believers whose
righteous acts qualify them to be in the Bride of Christ. (See comments on
Revelation 19:8, Lesson 9.) However, the relationship between the two is so
intricate as to be virtually inseparable. This writer believes the New Jerusalem
will be the abode of the Bride of Christ during the Millennium and in the
eternal age as well.
The Description of the City (Revelation 21:1122:2). The description
of the New Jerusalem in chapters 21 and 22 probably is applicable in the
broadest sense for both the millennial and eternal phases of the city. However,
it seems as if Revelation 22:3-5 especially denotes the conditions pertaining
to this city in the eternal age, while the passage under consideration here,

The Eternal Age / 125


although largely indicative of the New Jerusalem in general, presents some
aspects of this city as being more applicable to its role during the Millennium.
Its glory (Revelation 21:11). The first thing John noticed about the New
Jerusalem was its glory, which he described as a light . . . like unto a stone
most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal (verse 11). The
jasper stone was associated with the divine presence in Revelation 4:3. Some
scholars believe the jasper of the Bible actually denoted diamonds. Thus, it is
obvious that the glory of the New Jerusalem, and that of the Bride of Christ
as well, is the glory of God. During the time of the Old Testament, divine glory
was particularly associated with the Tabernacle and the Temple when God
assumed His residence in the Holy of Holies of each of those buildings (Ex.
40:33-35; 2 Chron. 5:11-14). The glory that was manifested on those occasions
is sometimes referred to as the Shekinah glory. The fact that the glory of the
New Jerusalem is so indicative of the glory of God in the Tabernacle and Temple
suggests that the New Jerusalem answers to the Holy of Holies, which was the
special dwelling place of God among the Jewish people in the days of the Old
Testament.
Its wall (Revelation 21:12). In Bible times, most cities were surrounded by
walls which primarily played an important role in security. City walls also
distinguished the city from its overall environment or setting and provided
important aesthetic features as well. Security for the New Jerusalem will
not be an issue in either the Millennium or the eternal age. However, the
other purposes mentioned for city walls are certainly applicable for the New
Jerusalem. The wall of this city will distinguish it from its setting and add
significantly to its beauty. The wall is described as being great and high, thus
indicating a solid, massive and brilliant structure. The material used in the
walls construction is mentioned in verse 18. There are twelve gates in the
wall, on which are written the names of the twelve tribes of the children of
Israel (verse 12). The relationship between the gates and the twelve tribes of
Israel will be noted in the comments on verse 13, and the material from which
the gates are made is described in verse 21. An angel is assigned to each gate,
adding to the grandeur of the wall and its gates.
Its gates (Revelation 21:13, 21). The New Jerusalem is laid out as a square,
with three gates on each side (verse 13). The twelve gates answer to the twelve
tribes of Israel, and the order in which the tribes camped around the Tabernacle
possibly denotes the arrangement by which the Jews will be situated around
the New Jerusalem during the Millennium and possibly in the eternal age as
well. According to Numbers 2:1-31, the tribes of Judah, Issachar and Zebulun,
under the banner of Judah, camped on the east side of the Tabernacle; the
tribes of Reuben, Simeon and Gad, under the banner of Reuben, camped on
the south side; the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin, under the
banner of Ephraim, camped on the west side; and the tribes of Dan, Asher and
Naphtali, under the banner of Dan, camped on the north side. The gates of the
New Jerusalem are constructed of pearl, a single pearl for each gate, and the
street is made of pure gold (Rev. 21:21), which appeared to be transparent

126 / Revelation 21:122:5


glass (verse 21). Gigantic pearls and paving stone of pure goldsuch building
materials are mind-boggling!
Its foundations (Revelation 21:14, 19, 20). The wall of the New Jerusalem
is massive, and the foundation of the wall is accordingly so. The twelve
foundations are given the names of the twelve apostles (verse 14), reflecting
the fact that the apostles were the foundation of the church, with Christ as the
chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). The materials used for the foundations greatly
enhance the beauty of the city (Rev. 21:19, 20). Jasper is regarded by some
Bible scholars as being a reference to diamonds. (Compare verse 11; Revelation
4:3.) Sapphire is an especially hard stone, usually pure blue or deep azure in
color. Chalcedony has a grayish color, with tints of purple, blue and yellow.
The emerald is a green stone which is said to be the most pleasing or relaxing
to human eyes. The rainbow around the heavenly throne was like unto an
emerald (Rev. 4:3). Sardonyx is generally bluish white in color, occasionally
with red veins. Some scholars regard the sardonyx as a mixture of the sardius
and onyx. Sardius is reddish in coloroften blood redand is probably the
same as the carnelian. Chrysolite is a green stone and is often similar in color
to the emerald. Beryl is a transparent, bluish-green stone that is related to the
emerald. Topaz has a pale green or golden color and was esteemed highly in
ancient times (Job 28:19). Chrysoprasus is a beautiful green stone mingled with
yellow, thus, giving a bluish hue. Jacinth, yet another blue stone, is regarded
by many scholars as being synonymous with hyacinth. Amethyst is essentially
purple in color, being a mixture of strong purple and deep red. Collectively,
these stones would make a brilliant appearance.

Its dimensions (Revelation 21:15-17). The
pronoun he refers to the angel mentioned in
verse 9. The golden reed used to measure the
City Lieth Foursquare: this
dimensions of the New Jerusalem (verse 15)
describes a city whose length,
width and height are all equal
was in marked contrast to the reed mentioned
on all four sides. This will
in Revelation 11:1. That reed was used to
be an unusual sight to see a
measure the earthly Temple and altar, while
city of people and buildings
the golden reed was used to measure the
constructed in the manner.
city that was built of pure gold. The New
The idea of the word lie is to
Jerusalem is laid out as a perfect cube, with
be placed somewhere proper
a distance of 12,000 furlongs, or 1,500 miles,
and in place. Word Studies
#4172, #2749 and #5068.
for each dimension (verse 16). The wall is 144
cubits in height, which is approximately 216
feet. Note how indelibly the number twelve,
the number denoting administrative completion, is stamped on the New
Jerusalem. It has twelve gates and twelve foundations; its length, breadth and
height are 12,000 (12 x 10) furlongs, and the height of its wall is 144 (12 x 12)
cubits.
Its building material (Revelation 21:18). Previously, it was noted that twelve
different stones form the foundation of the walls of the New Jerusalem. Here
it is seen that the walls themselves are made of jasper, which is one of the
foundation stones for the wall. Thus, it is easy to understand why the city glows

The Eternal Age / 127


like unto a stone most precious, even like a
jasper stone, clear as crystal (verse 11). The
Transparent Glass: the
gold will be stone that is
building material for the city itself is pure
as translucent as a piece of
gold, like unto clear glass (verse 18). The
glass. We must understand
purest form of gold known to man is twentythat clear glass as we know
four-carat gold. However, the New Jerusalem
it was rare. Here the idea is
is built of gold so pure as to be transparent,
stones that could be seen
like unto clear glass (verse 18). Throughout
through. The gold used to
the centuries gold has been among the most
pave the streets will have
this translucent quality. Word
highly prized of all metals. People have
Studies #1307 and #5194.
labored, fought, cheated, connived and killed
for gold. But in the New Jerusalem goldand
pure gold, at thatis the common building
material, with even the street upon which people walk being paved with gold
(verse 21).
Its Temple (Revelation 21:22).
Including the Tabernacle, there will
have been a total of four Temples on
No Temple There (Revelation 21:22):
earththe Tabernacle, Solomons
The case has been made that in one
Temple, the Temple built following
sense of the word the entire city
the return of the Jews from their
the New Jerusalemwas a temple.
Babylonian exile and the Temple
Its temple-like features, such as the
that will be erected during the
seating of the Shekinah glory in the
Holy of Holies, lend themselves to
Tribulation Period. In addition, there
such logic. Along the lines of other
will be a millennial Temple (Ezek.
logic the temple was the Lord and
41:1-26), and there is a Tabernacle,
the Lord was the temple. The temple
or Temple, in the present Heaven
was no more a building then than a
(Rev. 11:19; 15:5, 8), which served as
church is a building now. A church
the pattern for Moses when he led
is the people. There was no need
the Israelites in the construction
for a heavenly temple in the eternal
sense because God was the temple
of the Tabernacle (Acts 7:44; Heb.
in which everything existed. This
9:23). The New Jerusalem itself will
thinking seems to have been implied
not have a Temple, however, because
in Revelation 7:15.
the Lord God Almighty and the
Lamb are the temple of it (Rev.
21:22). The Tabernacle and Temple denoted the dwelling place of God among
the Israelites, and His presence was indicated by the Shekinah glory that filled
the Tabernacle and Temple when they were completed (Ex. 40:34, 35; 2 Chron.
5:13, 14). However, the presence of God will fill the New Jerusalem completely.
Its illumination (Revelation 21:23-26). The New Jerusalem does not have
any source of light other than the glory of God (verse 23), that is, the Shekinah
glory which has already been considered, and the Lamb [who] is the light
thereof (verse 23). The brilliance of the divine glory can be seen in Sauls
experience when he was saved outside the city of Damascus (Acts 26:13). The
Lamb is the Light of the world (John 1:5; 8:12), and the One who created the
sun is certainly brighter than His handiwork. The nations of them which are

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128 / Revelation 21:122:5


saved, led by their kings, will come to the New Jerusalem to offer their praise
and worship to God (Rev. 21:24, 26). These references to nations and kings who
bring glory and honor into the city suggest that this will be a millennial event
because there will not be any nationsother than Israel, perhapsduring the
eternal age. People will be allowed to come into the New Jerusalem anytime,
whether day or night, because the light of the city shines constantly (verse 25).
Its character (Revelation 21:27). Those who are allowed to enter the New
Jerusalem are described negatively and positively. Negatively speaking,
nothing that defiles or engages in any abominations or lies will be admitted.
These are descriptive of unsaved people, of which there will be many during
the Millennium, as was noted in Lesson 11. (See comments on Revelation
20:8, 9.) No unbeliever will be allowed to enter the New Jerusalem during the
Millennium. The reference in the last part of this verse to the Lambs book of
life (verse 27) denotes the positive side of this matter. The names of all those
who have trusted Christ as Savior are recorded in this book. Even though the
New Jerusalem is intimately associated with the Bride of Christ, any believer,
whether in the Bride of Christ or not, will be allowed access to the city to
worship God, while those who refuse to trust Christ will not be granted such a
privilege.
Its salubrity (Revelation 22:1, 2). During the Millennium, people in natural
bodies will enjoy long, healthy lives. Peace and prosperity will also prevail
throughout the world. One reason for such conditions will be the fact that the
devil will be bound during the Millennium.
However, another reason for the wholesome
Healing: the leaves were to help in
nature of millennial life will be the pure
the healing or treatment of the
river of water of life which will proceed
nations. Our word therapy comes
from the throne of God (verse 1), and the
from this term. Whatever is done
will help bring about the will of
fruit and leaves of the tree of life which
God in this new city. Word Study
were for the healing of the nations (verse
#2322.
2). Evidently, those who visit the New
Jerusalem to worship God will be able also
to benefit from the water of life and the tree of life. The water of life is one
of the blessings of salvation. (Compare John 4:14; 7:38.) The tree of life was
originally in the Garden of Eden, but evidently God removed it before the flood
to establish it again in the New Jerusalem. (Compare Genesis 2:9; Revelation
2:7.)
The New Jerusalem in Eternity (Revelation 22:3-5). Although the
description of the New Jerusalem is continued in these verses, it seems as
if the emphasis here shifts to the eternal features of the city. It should be
mentioned, however, that many conditions of the New Jerusalem, like many
other millennial aspects, will continue into the eternal age. Three things are
mentioned in these verses that indicate that this is the eternal phase of the
New Jerusalem: (1) the complete elimination of the curse of sin (verse 3); (2)
the full acknowledgment of all believers as the servants of God (verse 4); (3) the
unrestricted shining of the divine light (verse 5).

The Eternal Age / 129


No more curse (verse 3). The curse came because of sin. For there to be no
more curse, three things have to occur. First, Satan, who was the ultimate
cause of sin, must be consigned eternally to the lake of fire. Second, all sinners
must experience the second death. Third, there must be a new Heaven and
earth. When all these have occurred, there will be no vestige at all of the curse
of sin. There are two positive aspects of this matter. One is the fact that the
throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, that is, in the New Jerusalem.
With sin having been dealt with finally, the divine rule will be without any
restriction at all. In addition, his servants [literally, bond slaves] shall serve
him (verse 3). By this time all believers will have received glorified bodies and
will thus be able to serve God in the fullest sense possible. This will be a service
without weariness or cessation. All
the saints will serve in joy and
freedom, a service based on pure
They Shall See His Face (Revelation
love.
22:4): With the exception of His eyes,
Full acknowledgment (verse
which are full of compassion, there is no
4). The pronouns they and their
specific description of Jesus in the Bible.
refer to the word servants in verse
For good reasonlest someone would
3. Believers who were raised in
have captured that image on a bust and
the first resurrection will have
the world worshiped the creation more
than the Creator. While Moses was
already seen the face of God.
prevented from seeing the face of God
However, those who are saved
(Ex. 33:20, 23), many saw the face of
during the Millennium will not
Christ during the first century and were
receive their glorified bodies until
profoundly changed. Imagine what
they experience physical death,
Fanny J. Crosby must have experienced
which will possibly occur near the
when the first thing she saw, with her
end of the Millennium. The fact
own eyes, was the face her Lord Jesus
Christthe One of whom she penned
that the name of God is written
all those lyrics of poetry and song. It
in the foreheads of believers is in
was anthropomorphic language to be
marked contrast to those who were
sure; but it profoundly reminded the
willing to receive the mark of the
reader that immediate presence with
beast on their foreheads during
God and the Lamb was more than a
the Tribulation Period. (Compare
fantasy; it was a reality.
Revelation 13:16; 14:9.) This
reference to the name of God could
very well be related to the mention of the name of my God, and the name of the
city of my God, which is the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven
from my God (Rev. 3:12). When the eternal age begins, all believers will be
fully acknowledged as belonging to God.
Eternal light (verse 5). Night and sunlight are both essential under the
present order. Night is needed now so humans, animals and plants can rest
and be renewed for another day. Through the light of the sun all earthly life is
sustained. However, with the creation of a new Heaven and earth, sin will have
been abolished forever, as will all forms of natural life as well. Consequently,
there will not be any need for night or for the sun. The source of light for the
eternal age is the Lord God, who has always been the ultimate source and

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130 / Revelation 21:122:5


sustainer of life. When God began the work of restoring the original creation,
His first act was to say, Let there be light (Gen. 1:3). The Light that penetrated
the blackness that enveloped the earth was not the sun, which was not created
until the fourth day, but the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh
into the world (John 1:9). In the eternal age, God will be the only source of
light, and the brightness of that light will not be diminished in any way or to
any degree.
THE ETERNAL AGE
Revelation 21:122:5
The eternal age will commence with the creation of the new Heaven and
earth and will be a time of unparalleled and unlimited joy for all believers. The
new Jerusalem, first seen during the Millennium, will continue into eternity.
Believers, whether in natural or glorified bodies, will worship God in the New
Jerusalem during the Millennium, but none who will experience the second
death will be admitted. Among the greatest wonders of eternity will be the
total removal of all effects of the curse of sin and the unrestricted shining forth
of the eternal Light.

Lesson 13

For Sunday, August 29, 2010

Get Ready!
Jesus Is Coming Soon!

Revelation 22:6-21

This passage actually serves as an epilogue to the book of Revelation. John


was reminded that the visions he had received and the words he had heard
were faithful and true. There are also promises of blessings and warnings of
curses, plus the renewed injunction to avoid the worship of any messenger of
God, regardless of how wonderful the message is or how grand the messenger
appears to be. In addition, there is the thrice-repeated statement by Christ
that He is coming soon (verses 7, 12, 20).
THE ANGELIC AFFIRMATION
Revelation 22:6
There have been several solemn affirmations in this book of the faithfulness
and truthfulness of the words and ways of God: by saints (Rev. 15:3; 19:2), by
the altar (Rev. 16:7), by God Himself (Rev. 21:5) and here by an angel.
Faithful and True Sayings. The pronoun he refers to the angel mentioned
in Revelation 21:9. The expression these things includes the detailed description
of the city of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:922:5). In regard to the phrase, these
sayings are faithful and true, the opening verse of this book states clearly
that the ultimate source of the revelation of Jesus Christ came from God (Rev.
1:1). God sometimes used intermediariessuch as angels, one of the elders
or unidentified speakersas messengers, but the message was always from
God. The Greek word for faithful is based on the verb for believe, trust and so
forth. A faithful person or message is one that can be fully accepted as being
completely believable or trustworthy because the individual or the report is
true in every respect. The Greek term for true stems from the basic word for
truth and essentially denotes that which is real, correct and valid. Thus, it is
evident that faithfulness and truthfulness are intricately related.
Faithful Servants of God. Three kinds of faithful servants of God are
mentioned, either implicitly or specifically, in this verse. The reference to the
Lord God of the holy prophets (Rev. 22:6) is a reminder of the Old Testament
prophets who faithfully delivered the message of God to people who often did
not want to hear and frequently would not accept what God said to them. Not
only were those prophets ignored, ridiculed and scorned, but they sometimes
were persecuted and even killed. The term his angel denotes the angel who had
been speaking to John since Revelation 21:9. He was the last of a succession of
angelic messengers that are mentioned in the Scriptures. The designation his
131

132 / Revelation 22:6-21


servants, when used in a setting such as this, indicates believers of the New
Testament era, including the Tribulation Period, who faithfully serve God. The
expression, the things which must shortly be done, refers to all the events that
are so vividly described in this book.
THE DIVINE PROMISE
Revelation 22:7
There are more prophecies of the second advent of Christ than His first
coming, with many of the Old Testament prophecies including allusions to
both comings. For example, the first reference to the coming of the Redeemer,
recorded in Genesis 3:15 and described as the Seed of the woman, speaks of
His coming in powerit [the Seed of the woman] shall bruise thy [the serpent,
or Satan] headand His first comingand thou shalt bruise his heel [an
allusion to the crucifixion].
The Promise Declared. In the first chapter of this book, John was led by
the Holy Spirit to exclaim, Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall
see him, and they also which pierced him (Rev. 1:7). In the message to the
church in Philadelphia, Christ declared, Behold, I come quickly (Rev. 3:11). In
the final chapter of this book are three statements by Christ Himself that He
will come quickly. Thus, the second coming of Christ is the overriding theme
of Revelation. From beginning to end, the fact that He is coming again always
lurks just beneath the surface in the account of all that is recorded in this book,
and His return often comes to the surface in the record of one or another event.
While learning about the things which must shortly be done (Rev. 22:6), John
needed also to remember that the most important of all those things is the
second coming of Christ.
The Blessing Assured. The blessing stated in the last part of this verse is
the sixth beatitude, so to speak, in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:3; 14:13; 16:15;
19:9; 20:6; 22:14). This promise echoes the promise made in the first beatitude,
Blessed . . . [are] they that . . . keep those things which are written therein:
for the time is at hand (Rev. 1:3). To keep the sayings of the prophecy of this
book (Rev. 22:7) is to accept them as being faithful and true and to act on them
accordingly. One who really believes that Christ could return soon will not be
overly or unduly preoccupied with material concerns but will instead be focused
more on the age that is to come. The term this book, or in one instance, the book
of this prophecy, appears seven times in the passage under consideration in
this lesson (verses 7, 9, 10, 18 [twice], 19 [twice]).
THE MISGUIDED REACTION
Revelation 22:8, 9
The visions John beheld, especially those regarding the New Jerusalem, and
the words he heard, particularly those concerning the splendor of the eternal
age, produced a sensory overload for the apostle, causing him to fall in worship
before the angelic messenger.
The Apostles Reaction (verse 8). The apostle John is mentioned by name
five times in this book, three times in chapter 1 (verses 1, 4, 9) and twice
near the close (Rev. 21:2, 22:8). In addition, John referred to himself by the
personal pronoun I on many occasions. John was privileged to receive more

Get Ready! Jesus Is Coming Soon! / 133


information regarding what is to
come than any of the other writers
of the Scriptures. What John saw
Falling Down To Worship (Revelation
and heard, beginning at Revelation
22:8): Worship and reverence during
19:11 and continuing to this time,
the days of biblical antiquity often
so overwhelmed him that he could
took on a prostrate position. This was
no longer reason clearly or logically.
apparently common even to John
(Rev. 19:10). Whether pagan, Christian
He was impelled to fall before the
or born out of Judaism, the habit of
angelic messenger in an attitude
falling down to worship was a sign of
and posture of worship. Some
humility. Kneeling before the object
people might be overly critical of
of worship was a mark of reverence.
Johns response, especially in view
Bowing the head in the presence of
of the fact that he had already acted
someone or something thought to
similarly (Rev. 19:10). However, one
be superior pictured awe. Covering
the eyes (refusing to look upon the
must remember that no other mortal
divine) in the presence of God was
has ever seen or heard, either in
characteristic of admiration. Each of
quality or quantity, such visions and
these word pictures was painted when
words as John had.
the worshiper fell down before the
The Angels Restraint (verse
object of his adoration. Additionally,
9). Previously, John had prostrated
such actions demonstrated begging
himself before a messenger, possibly
and pleading (Mark 5:22; 7:25).
an angel, from God (Rev. 19:10; see
Lesson 9 for comments on this verse).
On that occasion, as here, the messenger restrained the apostle from worshiping
him. In both instances, the angel described himself as a fellowservant (Rev.
22:9) with John and his brethren (verse 9). The term fellowservant, which
appears three times in this book (Rev. 6:11; 19:10; 22:9), essentially denotes
slaves who have the same master. Note especially the angel associated himself
and John with the prophets. The word prophet basically means one who
speaks for someone else, as can be seen in Aarons designation by God as
Moses prophet (Ex. 4:10-16; 6:287:2). In addition, the angel underscored the
obedience rendered to God by himself, Moses and the other prophets. One does
not worship a fellowservant, thus the angel exhorted John to worship God
(Rev. 22:9) and not any other being.

Manna

SPREAD THE WORD


Revelation 22:10, 11
This book begins with the statement, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev.
1:1). A revelation is an unveiling, an exposition or a revealing. The visions and
words that John had received were to be made known, not only to the seven
churches of Asia, but to all mankind as well.
The Unrelenting Situation (verse 10). The last phrase in this verse
declares, for the time is at hand, which is a reiteration of the closing statement
in Revelation 1:3. In both instances the time that was at hand was the occurrence
of the things which must shortly come to pass (Rev. 1:1). The Greek word for
time here and in Revelation 1:3 indicates a fixed time, or an appointed time.
If the time was at hand in Johns day, how much more imminent is the second

134 / Revelation 22:6-21


coming of Christ today. Because the time for the return of Christ is nearer now
than ever before, it is important for the sayings of the prophecy of this book
(Rev. 22:10) to be broadcast by every means possible. When Daniel was given
his visions, he was told to shut up the words, and seal the book [scroll], even
to the time of the end (Dan. 12:4). However, with the time of the end drawing
ever nearer, John was instructed to seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this
book (Rev. 22:10). The time is at hand and is steadily approaching closer and
closer with each passing day.
The Unchanging Condition (verse 11). With the coming of Christ, or at
the time of physical death, whichever occurs first for an individual, ones eternal
destiny is sealed. Those who enter eternity as unbelievers are unjust in their
standing with God and are filthy in comparison to God. As death or the coming
of Christ finds them, so will they be in eternity. After death there will not be
any second chance for salvation for those who refuse to trust Christ as Savior
during this life. On the other hand, those who become believers during their
earthly life will remain so forever. Because of their faith in Christ as Savior,
they were made righteous and holy, and they will continue to be righteous and
holy during the eternal age. The Greek word for still in this verse is generally
translated yet, and as used in this instance, indicates a period of time that is
constant and even unending. Natural man might have difficulty grasping the
concept of eternity, but eternity is real nonetheless.
THE DIVINE PROMISE REITERATED
Revelation 22:12, 13
In these verses, Christs promise to come quickly is accompanied with the
assurance of appropriate rewards for believers and a threefold emphasis on
one of His many titles.
Christs Return and Believers
Rewards (verse 12). This is the second
Quickly: a tachometer measures
time in this passage for the divine promise,
the speed of revolution in an
behold, I come quickly. The reiteration of
engine. This word means readily
this promise emphasizes its importance.
and quick and is the prefix tach.
The apostle Peter warned that in the last
The Lord is coming and it will
days scoffers would ridicule those who look
be soon, and we must not forget
for the coming of Christ (2 Peter 3:3, 4),
the urgency of the task before us.
Word Study #5035.
thus underscoring the need for repetition
regarding the certainty of Christs return.
In this instance Christ added to His
promise to return the assurance that He would have with Him a reward for
each believer according as his work shall be (Rev. 22:12). The Scriptures
mention several rewards that can be earned by Christians through faithful
service to Christ. Rewards should be distinguished from salvation. Salvation
is a gift one receives through faith in Christ, while rewards are earned by good
works. Such a distinction can be clearly seen in Pauls first epistle to the church
at Corinth, If any mans work abide [the fire of divine judgment] . . . he shall
receive a reward. If any mans work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss [the
loss of a reward]: but he himself shall be saved (1 Cor. 3:14, 15).

Get Ready! Jesus Is Coming Soon! / 135


The
Promise
Affirmed
(verse 13). Christ affirmed
His promise to return with
Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13):
appropriate rewards for believers
These title pairsAlpha and Omega,
by mentioning yet again the
the beginning and the end, the first
threefold title included in this
and the lastcharacterized much
verse. (Compare Revelation 1:8,
of who Christ was to the revelator.
11, 17; 2:8; 21:6.) The three titles
An alphabet was both an industrious
mentioned here are essentially
and ingenious way to package and
the same. The terms Alpha and
disseminate thoughts, ideas, narratives
and knowledge. The use of the first and
Omega refer respectively to
last letters of the Greek alphabet lent
the first and last letters of the
itself to the ownership of the cosmos
Greek alphabet. As the Alpha
as well as the endless combinations of
or beginning or first, Christ is
presenting the work and will of Christ to
the Omnipotent, Omniscient
its citizens. These titles proved, among
Creator; as the Omega or end or
many other things, Christ to be both
last, He is the consummation.
Judge and rewarder as demonstrated in
the previous verse. Paul said it like this,
All the prophecies and promises
For by him were all things createdand
in the Bible ultimately have
by him all things consist (Col. 1:16, 17).
their fulfillment in Him. In the
beginning God created man; at
the appropriate time (Gal. 4:4)
God visited man to provide salvation; at the time of the end God will finalize the
redemption of man and create all things new. As far as believers are concerned,
Christ is their be-all and end-all, and their all-in-all as well.

Manna

THE LAST BEATITUDE IN THE BIBLE


Revelation 22:14-16
This passage consists of yet another contrast between the righteous and
the wicked, a reference to the manner in which the message of Revelation was
given and a reiteration of two more titles of Christ.
Those Who Are Blessed (verse 14). The term blessed indicates a beatitude.
This is the seventh and last such instance in Revelation. (See comments on
verse 7 for references to the other beatitudes.) Those who do the commandments
of God are believers who have the privilege of being in the new Heaven and
earth. The term, the tree of life, denotes the ultimate enjoyment of the life one
has through faith in Christ as Savior. In John 10:10, He promised to give life,
Blessed: this common and rich term means
spiritually prosperous. It is far more
than being happy. It is used to describe
the contentment of fulfillment that comes
when a person obeys and completes the
Word of God in his life. It is spiritual good
health. It is not a quick fix but a long term
solution. Word Study #3107.

Right: this is the word authority. This


is the same word used by Jesus to
tell us that He has all authority in
Matthew 28:18. We have the right
or authority to come and partake
from the tree because of the
power of God. Word Study #1849.

136 / Revelation 22:6-21


and even life more abundantly. Believers can experience this more abundant
life to some extent while on earth, but the fullest realization of it will come in
the eternal age. The word city refers to the New Jerusalem, the eternal home of
the Bride of Christ and the focus of worship for all the saints during eternity.
Those Who Are Not Blessed (verse 15). In contrast to the blessed ones
mentioned in verse 14 are those who are not blessed. These are the unbelievers
who were consigned to the lake of fire following the Great White Throne
Judgment. Five terms are used to describe them. The word dogs denotes the
unsaved nature of mankind, as dogs in Bible times were generally savage, halfwild, wolf-like creatures. Sorcerers were described in Lesson 12 in the comments
on verse 8, and this is also the case for whoremongers, murderers, idolaters and
liars. Nothing that is false or hurtful will be allowed in the New Jerusalem, or
anywhere else in the new Heaven and earth. The people described in this verse
will be unjust and filthy for all eternity with no hope for any change in their
status or condition. (Compare verse 11.)
The Messengers of Revelation (verse 16). In the first part of this verse
Christ reminded John of the manner in which the messages that became the
book of Revelation were given to him. This is a reiteration of what John was
told in Revelation 1:1. The message of Revelation was transmitted in this
manner:
1. The message originated with God the Father, who gave it to Christ the
Son.
2. Christ in turn sent an angel to John with the message He had received
from the Father.
3. The angel, assisted at times by other angels, gave the message to John
who received it while in the spirit.
4. Under the guidance of the Spirit, John recorded the visions and words he
had received and sent them to the seven churches of Asia.
5. The book of Revelation was preserved by the providence of God, and was
included in the collection of Scriptures known most widely and familiarly as
the Bible.
6. Believers of all times and places have been recipients of the blessing
promised to those who read, hear and keep the promises and prophecies of
Revelation.
Two More Titles of Christ (verse 16). In the last part of this verse Christ
mentioned two titles which provide helpful insight into His role as King of
kings and Lord of lords.
The root and offspring of David. Previously, Christ was referred to as the
Root of David (Rev. 5:5). That statement was made in the context of Christ
as the Lion of the tribe of Judah who was worthy of taking the seven-sealed
scroll and removing the seals, an act which marked the onset of the Tribulation
Period on earth. Christ is the rightful King, not only of the nation of Israel, but
over all people. As the root of David, Christ is the antitype of Judah, who was
the fourth son of Jacob and forebearer of the tribe of Judah from whom David
descended. Christ is the offspring of David in that both Joseph, the legal father

Get Ready! Jesus Is Coming Soon! / 137


of Jesus, and Mary, His mother, were descendants of David. Joseph descended
from Solomon, the son of David by Bath-sheba, while Mary descended from
Nathan, another of Davids sons.
The bright and morning star.
This title of Christ, or allusions
The Bright and Morning Star (Revelation
to it, appear in 2 Peter 1:19
22:16): Several references were made
and Revelation 2:28. In the
to stars and their connections to Jesus.
natural realm the morning
The Davidic King was called Star in
star heralds the dawning of a
Numbers 24:17. Christ was referred to as
new day. The coming of Christ
day star in 2 Peter 1:19. In Revelation
in power and glory at the close
2:28 Christ used the vernacular the
morning star in describing His own.
of the Tribulation Period will
Though this may well have been Venus,
lead to the establishment of
as most scholars suggest, shining
the Millennium, which will be a
brilliantly in the morning skythe star
new day, so to speak, for a world
that brightly announced the dawn of a
that has been under the curse of
new daywhen Jesus comes, He will
sin for over six thousand years.
shatter the darkness of night and usher
in the dawn of a new and glorious day.
However, the eternal age will be
Much more vividly than Venus had ever
an even more glorious time than
shown was the promise that Jesus would
the Millennium. The light of the
be all the more distinguishable in His
bright and morning star of the
immeasurable brightness, brilliance and
Millennium will become still
beauty.
more brilliant in the eternal age.
The Light of the new Heaven
and earth will be seen in full splendor.

Manna

THE LAST INVITATION IN THE BIBLE


Revelation 22:17
This writer readily concedes that this verse and the two which follow it
are among the most difficult to understand in the entire book of Revelation.
In regard to verse 17, there are threethe Spirit, the bride and him that
hearethwho issue an invitation, or perhaps a request, for someone to Come,
and there are two, the one who thirsts, and whosoever will, who are bidden to
come. Careful consideration needs to be given regarding who is invited and for
what purpose.
The Invitation. It is widely believed that the word Come is an invitation
extended by the Holy Spirit, the Bride of Christ and individual believers for
unbelievers to come to Christ for salvation. While the Bible certainly teaches
this, and even urgently encourages it, the context appears to indicate that
another interpretation should be made. In view of the fact that Christ has
twice been quoted as having declared, Behold, I come quickly, it seems as
if the Spirit and the Bride of Christ are joining to say, in effect, Yes, Lord
come quickly. If this is so, then the identity of him that heareth needs to be
noted, as well as the significance of his invitation, Come. Evidently, this is
a reference to one who hears the message of the book of Revelation. One who
is convinced of the truths of this book will be readily disposed to join with

138 / Revelation 22:6-21


the Holy Spirit and the Bride of Christ and say with them, Yes, Lord come
quickly.
Those Invited. In the last part of this verse, the invitation is extended to all
who thirst, and to whosoever will, to come. The closing statement in this verse
indicates to what they are to come. In view of the imminent coming of Christ,
emphasized by the pleas of the Spirit, the bride and concerned believers, the
unsaved need to be urged to take the water of life (verse 17) before Christ
comes. God chose to include this final
invitation to unbelievers, beseeching
Freely: the water of life is available
them to receive the free gift of everlasting
to all who desire to come. There
life. Believers who profess to long for the
is no cost, nor is there a cause
coming of Christ should also be concerned
that can keep you away. God
about
the plight of those who do not know
makes it available to all and the
Christ as Savior. The Holy Spirit is eager
price has been paid in full by the
to use an evangelistic sermon, lesson or
grace He sent to the world. Word
Study #1432.
testimony to convict the unsaved of their
need to turn to Christ and trust Him for
salvation. God is not willing that any
should perish [in his or her sins], and neither should be churches or individual
believers (2 Peter 3:9).
THE LAST WARNING IN THE BIBLE
Revelation 22:18, 19
For centuries teachers and students of Revelation have struggled to
understand the meaning of these verses. Some people have concluded that
believers who mistakenly interpret or apply the teachings of Revelation will
lose their salvation. This is not so. Careful consideration needs to be given to
the recipients of this warning and the essence of it.
The Recipients of the Warning (verse 18). At first glance it might seem as
if the pronoun I refers to John, the human author of Revelation. However, when
this verse is compared with verse 20, it is obvious that the testimony recorded
in verses 18 and 19 is that of Christ Himself. For some reason few, if any, of
the publishers of red-letter editions of King James Version Bibles indicate that
the Speaker in verses 18 and 19 was Christ. The recipients of this warning are
those who hear the words of the prophecy of this book. Such a designation
can include unsaved people as well as believers. However, based on Revelation
1:3, one can assume that most of the people who hear, or read, this book will be
believers. In addition, it is evident this warning is directed especially to those
who teach others about the book of Revelation, as is suggested by the term any
man in this verse and in verse 19.
The Essence of the Warning (verses 18, 19). To add unto these things
(verse 18) is to teach somethingwillfully, deliberately and intentionally
that is not taught in the book of Revelation, the penalty for which is that
the plagues of this book will be inflicted upon such a teacher. To take away
from the words of the book of this prophecy (verse 19) is to denywillfully,
deliberately and intentionallyany of the teachings of Revelation, the penalty
for which is the removal of ones name from the book of life. It is obvious that

Get Ready! Jesus Is Coming Soon! / 139


neither of these penalties can be
inflicted on anyone who is truly
saved, otherwise the teaching
of the security of the believer
has no validity. This warning
does not apply to a saved person
who unintentionally teaches
something that is not true re
garding the book of Revelation.
However, anyone who blatantly
advocates erroneous teachings
concerning this book, knowing
that he is doing so, indicates
by such actions that he has
not been saved. Such a teacher
needs carefully to examine his
profession of faith, and those
who hear such a teacher need
to examine carefully their
testimonies and his teachings.

Manna

Adding and Taking Away (Revelation


22:18, 19): It seems that such perversions
of the record books might have been
attempts to manipulate the evidence
and alter the integrity of the information
contained within their pages. In addition
to John and Jesus, both Moses (Deut. 4:2)
and Solomon (Eccl. 3:14) understood
the importance of leaving the document
as originally penned. However, Herod
the Great, for example, found great
benefit in making the record read the
way he desired. It is said that, when his
monarchy was challenged, Herod had
the Jewish birth records destroyed, thus
permitting his rulership without any
challenge to its legitimacy. Herod was
not worthy of the Jewish throne, but the
evidence to that effect had been ruined;
thus, the relevance and consequence of
adding and taking away.

THE DIVINE PROMISE


REITERATED AGAIN
Revelation 22:20
For the third time in this passage Christ declared that He will come again,
and do so quickly. Although 1900 years have elapsed since these promises
were recorded by John, the coming of Christ will occur quickly as far as Gods
calender is concerned (2 Peter 3:8, 9).
The Promise Stated. The phrase, he which testifieth these things, refers
to the testimony recorded in verses 18 and 19 and the One who spoke those
words. Since it is obvious that the statement, Surely, I come quickly, was made
by Christ, it is evident that He was the One who issued the warning regarding
those who add to or take from the teachings of the book of Revelation. The
wording of this promise is different in one respect from the previous statements.
Here, Christ prefaced the promise with the word surely, which is from the same
Greek term as the statement even so later
in this verse.
The Apostles Response. Johns
Amen: at the end of this glorious
response to Christs third promise to
book the writer says so be it. This
come again was itself threefold. First, He
wonderful word implies approval
exclaimed, Amen (verse 20). This word,
and admonition. John sees the
which is the same in every language,
events unfold and his heart is full
essentially denotes that which is true,
as he is in full agreement with the
valid or substantial. The apostle added
power of God. Amen and Amen.
Word Study #281.
his own even so to Christs Surely, both
of which are from the same Greek term.

140 / Revelation 22:6-21


John also declared, come (verse 20), thus joining the requests of the Spirit,
the Bride of Christ and other believers for Christ to come quickly. (Compare
verse 17.) In Revelation 1:7 John declared that Christ will come again. Here
he urges His Lord to come, and to do so quickly. The corruption and failures
of this world, along with the persecutions and sorrows of Gods people, call
for a mighty deliverer. All patchwork attempts by human education, political
endeavors and social legislation are hopeless and cannot avail.
THE BENEDICTION

Revelation 22:21
John ended this book as he
began it by invoking the grace of
our Lord Jesus Christ upon his
readers and hearers. (Compare
The Book of Life (Revelation 22:19):
Revelation 1:4.) The word
Actually and literally, this phrase might
grace refers to the unmerited,
better have been translated from the tree
undeserved favor of God which is
of life though much was, in fact, made
of the book of life (Rev. 3:5; 13:8;
bestowed on mankind in general
17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27) and the Lambs
and believers in particular.
book of life (Rev. 21:27) throughout
Divine grace is essential for
the Revelation. The tree of life found
salvation (Eph. 2:8, 9), and for
its origin in the book of beginnings
Christian service as well (Titus
Genesis (Gen. 2:9; 3:22, 24). Beyond its
2:11-13). The members of the
place in the apocalyptic writing, it was
seven churches of Asia, the
also found referenced in the proverbial
writings (Prov. 3:18; 11:30; 13:12; 15:4).
immediate recipients of the book
Additionally, similar Jewish imagery
of Revelation, would learn, as
was found in some of the extra-biblical
did the apostle Paul, that the
writings such as 4 Ezra 51, 52 and 1 Enoch
grace of God is sufficient for all
24, 25. It appears that the Menorah,
the
circumstances of ones life.
with its root (base), trunk (stem), and
(Compare 2 Corinthians 12:7-9.)
branches (arms), was something of an
This is a lesson that certainly
abstract representation of the tree of life.
needs to be understood by Gods
people today as well. Regardless
of what the future holds, the One who holds the future is always in control of
all that happens on earth as well as in Heaven.

Manna

GET READY! JESUS IS COMING SOON!


Revelation 22:6-21
There is no greater promise in all the Bible than the thrice-repeated promise
by Christ to come again. This is His last word to His churches. It is the promise
of promises, the crown and consummation of all promises, and the sum and
summation of all prophecy and prayer. Sin is the root cause of all the ills
and troubles in the universe. However, the Scriptures close on a note of total
victory. The Edenic paradise of Genesis that was forfeited because of sin will be
restored with even greater fullness by the Seed of the woman.

Bibliography / 141
BIBLIOGRAPHY
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Bromily, Geoffrey W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Grand
Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1986.
Eerdman, Charles R. The Revelation of John. Philadelphia: The Westminster
Press, 1936.
The Englishmans Greek Concordance of the New Testament. Ninth Edition.
London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, Ltd., 1908.
Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henrys Commentary. Vol. 6. Acts-Revelation. Old
Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., [n.d.].
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Hocking, David. The Coming World Leader: Understanding the Book of
Revelation. Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1988.
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Brothers, 1973.
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