From Now to the End of Time
An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Book of Revelation
This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
The writer of this book simply calls himself John. He wrote to the *churches in Asia. He describes himself as their brother in the family of God. The Christians in Asia probably knew him well. Asia in this book is part of the country that we now call Turkey.
From early times, Christians have believed that the writer was the *apostle John. We know that the *apostle John lived in the city called Ephesus. But he was on the island called Patmos when he wrote this book. The rulers had sent him there as a punishment. He was there because he taught the word of God.
The most likely date for this book was during the rule of Domitian. He was the king of Rome during the years AD 81 to 96. (AD means years after Jesus’ birth.)
The main purpose of the book is to show how Jesus will come again. He will win the fight against the devil. Jesus will save his people. He is with them now. And he will be with them beyond the end of time.
John writes to teach and correct Christians. He tells them to change where they are doing wrong things. He encourages them to continue to do the right things. John speaks about the troubles that the *churches had. He tells them about the troubles that they will suffer. He shows them how in the end Jesus will rule over all. And those who trust in Jesus will be with him.
John calls this book a *prophecy. The *Lord told him to write it. ‘Write what you have seen. Write what is happening now. And write what is going to happen after these things’ (1:19). The *Lord told John to write about the present and the future. The book shows the events that will lead to the end of history.
The book warns those who do not obey it. It comforts those who do obey. It shows the fate of God’s enemies. And it shows how God will provide for his people.
People have tried to explain this book in many ways. There are good reasons for each of these methods.
I explain the book in this way.
· Chapters 2 and 3 were for the 7 *churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. But they contain lessons for the *church in all ages.
· From chapter 4 the book describes events that are still in the future. But in it there are lessons for us today as well.
· The general plan of the book is in date order. But there are parts that are not in this order.
· Some *prophecies are in plain language. We should believe what they say. But many *prophecies are complex descriptions. We need to understand what they mean.
The *Lord meets with John
John tells us about his book
John greets the *churches
Jesus Christ speaks to John
Jesus tells John to write
Letters to the 7 *churches
To the *church in Ephesus
To the *church in Smyrna
To the *church in Pergamum
To the *church in Thyatira
To the *church in Sardis
To the *church in Philadelphia
To the *church in Laodicea
*Worship in heaven
*Worship of God who created all things
*Worship of the *Lamb
The 7 *seals
The first 6 *seals
Security and *salvation
The seventh (7th) *seal
The 7 *trumpets
Preparation for the *trumpets
The first four *trumpets
The cry of the *eagle
The fifth (5th) *trumpet
The sixth (6th) *trumpet
The strong *angel and the little book
John measures the *temple
The two witnesses
The seventh (7th) *trumpet
War in heaven and on the earth
The woman and the *dragon
War in heaven
War on the earth
The *beast from the sea
The *beast from the earth
The *Lamb on the hill called Zion
Messages from three *angels
Harvest of the earth
The 7 last troubles
Preparation for the troubles
The 7 bowls of God’s anger
God destroys Babylon
The *beast and the evil woman
The funeral of Babylon
The crowd praises God in heaven
The return of Christ
The marriage of the *Lamb
Christ the king appears
The defeat of the enemies
The rule of Christ
The *angel binds *Satan
Jesus Christ rules on earth
The end of *Satan
God the judge of everybody
The new heaven and the new earth
The new *creation
The new Jerusalem city
The river of life
The promise that Christ will come soon
An invitation but …
Promise and reply
Verse 1 This verse shows the purpose of the book. In it, God will tell about the things that must happen soon. God gave the message to Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke to John by means of an *angel.
The word ‘revelation’ means that which God now shows. No person could know these things unless God showed them. God gave this *revelation to Jesus Christ.
Only God knows the future and he gave this knowledge to Jesus. This is the message that Jesus gives to John. That message shows us many things about Jesus. We see more of his *glory. We read how he will defeat *Satan and his evil plans. John tells us about the time when Jesus will come. We see Jesus as the king of kings. He will rule on earth and in heaven. But the main purpose is to show us the things that must happen soon.
Many of the things that must happen soon are still in the future. The word ‘soon’ can mean quickly or without delay. When the time comes, these things will happen. Some things in the book have already happened. Other things in the book have not yet started to happen.
*Prophecy tends to speak as if the end is ready to happen. It seems to forget the time between now and then. People should be aware that these things could happen at any time. So, they need always to be ready.
The *angel did not show these things to John in plain speech. John saw and heard strange things as in dreams. But he was not asleep. He writes about these for us as descriptions. We need to understand these descriptions in order to understand the book.
Verse 2 What John writes in this book has no human origin. It comes from God alone. What John writes is the word of God. John is certain of this. And Jesus Christ is a witness that this message is the word of God.
In chapter 21:5 God said, ‘I am making all things new.’ Then he said, ‘Write this. What I am saying is true. You can believe it.’ In chapter 22:6 the *angel said, ‘You can trust these words. They are true. The *Lord God, who gives his Spirit to the *prophets, sent his *angel to you. God sent his *angel to show his (God’s) servants what must happen quickly.’
John actually saw all that he has written here. The *angel of the *Lord showed all these things to John. Jesus himself tells John to write them to the *churches (1:19).
Verse 3 Seven times in this book, the *Lord promises to *bless people.
· God will *bless those who read this book aloud. And those who hear and obey it. 1:3
· The *Lord will *bless everyone who dies for him. 14:13
· The *Lord says, ‘Listen. I will come as a thief comes. Happy is the person who stays awake with his clothes ready.’ 16:15
· Happy are the people whom God has called to the wedding meal of the *Lamb. 19:9
· Happy and holy are those whom God raises from death at this time. 20:6
· Happy are all those who obey the words of *prophecy in this book. 22:7
· Happy are those who wash their clothes clean. 22:14
Those who are happy are those whom God *blesses.
John calls this book a *prophecy. But it is not only about what will happen in the future. The book gives to us moral instruction as well. The purpose of the *prophecy is to help God’s people to live now. It aims to warn and to encourage them.
In the days of John, many Christians in the *churches could not read. When they met together, a reader would read aloud from the word of God. God will *bless the person who reads this *prophecy aloud to the *church. He will *bless those who listen to this *prophecy. God will *bless all who obey it.
We do not know when the end will be. We do not know when Jesus will come. These things could happen soon. Because the time is near, we must be ready for the *Lord to come.
Verse 4 The author is John. He does not need to introduce himself. The *churches in Asia knew him well. He writes with great authority. So he was probably a leader in the *churches in Asia.
He writes to 7 actual *churches. They were in Asia. This was part of the country that we now call Turkey. At that time, the *Romans ruled over Asia.
These 7 were not the only *churches in Asia. In the Bible, the number 7 sometimes means the complete or perfect number. The *Lord chose these as typical of the whole *church. The problems that these *churches had are like the problems of the *church in all ages. The messages were to those actual *churches and to the whole *church.
The order of the *churches is the same as the main routes through the area. If someone starts a journey in Ephesus, the road north goes through Smyrna to Pergamum. Then the road to the south and east goes through Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and it ends in Laodicea.
John starts with the usual form of greeting. He prays that God would be kind to them. He asks God to give them calm hearts. He prays to God in three persons. In this verse, there is God the Father and the Spirit. In the next verse, he includes Jesus Christ.
God met with Moses in the desert. Moses asked God for his name. God said, ‘I am who I am’ (Exodus 3:14). God always is. He was there before he made time. He will be there after time has finished. God did not have a start. And he will not have an end. This is God the Father.
The 7 spirits that are in front of the *throne are the Holy Spirit. The 7 spirits show the work of Christ by the Holy Spirit in the 7 *churches.
Verse 5 In his prayer, John joins Jesus with God and the Holy Spirit. He then describes Jesus in three phrases.
· Jesus is the true witness.
· He is the first person to be born again from death.
· He is the ruler of the kings of the earth.
‘Jesus is the true witness.’ So, Jesus says that the message of this book is true. He received it from God. Then, Jesus showed it to John. And Jesus told John to write it to the *churches. But the phrase means much more than this. Jesus was the true witness to God when he lived on earth. He showed us what God is like. He taught what God has said. He did all that God asked him to do. We can know God only because of Jesus.
Jesus was the true witness even through death. He is the model for the *churches. They have troubles because they belong to Jesus. Many Christians will have to die because they speak for Jesus.
Jesus was born again from death. God the Father raised him from death to life again. He is the first to be born from death. This does not just mean that he was the first in time. He is the first in importance. He now has power over death and the place of dead people (1:18).
That Jesus is the first to be born from death should encourage us. He has the power to raise people to life after death. He has promised to do this for all who believe in him.
He is the first person and the leader of a great crowd of people. These will follow him through death. He will lead his people into new life. He will bring them out of the place of dead people.
Strong nations rule on the earth. Rome was then the strongest nation. They ruled all the nations round about them. But Jesus is the ruler of the kings of the earth. They can only rule if Jesus allows them.
We may not see it now but Jesus is in control. He has all power in heaven and on earth. He is the king of kings. He is the *Lord of all.
One day Jesus will return to the earth. Then he will defeat all his enemies. And he will rule all the nations.
Although he is so great, Christ loves us. His love for us is a continuous fact. He has always loved us. And he will always love us. Because of his love, he died for us. By that death, he made us free from our *sins.
Through all their troubles, Christ cares for his people. They can depend on his love. He will be with them whatever happens.
Verse 6 God’s people are a *kingdom. They are the people over whom God is the king. But more than this, they will share with Christ as he rules. They will rule on earth as kings together with Christ the king (Revelation 5:10; 20:6).
This *kingdom is not like the *kingdoms of the world. It has no boundaries that one can show on a map. But this *kingdom consists of those who believe in Christ. It is all those whom Christ has made free from their *sins.
The *Lord has made each Christian a priest to serve God the Father. Because of Christ, Christians can now approach God the Father. They do not need priests to act on their behalf. They are the priests. The first task of the priest is to praise and to thank God.
The priest is the agent of the people. He comes to God on their behalf. He is also the agent of God to the people. As priests, Christians should pray for the people that the *Lord will be kind to them. As priests, Christians are witnesses to the world about what God has done. They have the message of hope in the *gospel.
All honour is due to the *Lord Jesus Christ. We should always praise him. His power and his *kingdom will never end.
Verse 7 The subject changes to that day when the *Lord Jesus will come. Life was hard for the Christians and they had many enemies. But their future is sure. Jesus is coming. Daniel the *prophet saw this day. He saw someone like a son of man coming. He will come with the clouds of the sky (Daniel 7:13). And every person on earth will see him come.
All who see him will weep. Jesus died outside the city called Jerusalem. The people from Jerusalem will weep and be sad. They killed Jesus and they will be sorry about it (Zechariah 12:10). But Jesus died because of the *sin of all people. Therefore, we all are responsible for his death.
All people will weep because of him. The people from Jerusalem will weep because they *repent. But many will weep with shame. They know that Jesus will be their judge. He will punish them with a terrible fate.
Verse 8 God himself now speaks. He declares that he is the A and the Z. A and Z are, of course, the first and last letters of our alphabet. In *Greek, these letters are alpha and the omega. So, alpha is the first letter of the *Greek alphabet and omega is the last one. These letters represent the whole alphabet. So, this phrase does not just mean the first and the last. It includes all that is between the first and the last. God is *Lord of all from the start to the finish. He made all things. He controls all things. The end of all things is in his hands.
God is alive now. God was there before time began. God will be there beyond the end of time.
God has all power and he rules over all. There is nothing outside the control of God. Nobody can escape from the power of God.
Verse 9 The writer again tells the readers that he is John. He describes himself as their brother in the family of God. He did not think that he was better than them. He was just one of them. He suffered with them the same troubles that they were suffering. Jesus said, ‘In the world, you will have troubles’ (John 16:33). This is what Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:12). ‘All who want to live good lives in Christ Jesus will have troubles.’
The *kingdom refers to the time when Jesus will come to rule. That will be a time of joy for Christians. John expects to share that joy with them. This kingdom has partly come. But when Jesus comes, it will be completely here.
Until that future comes, Christians have to be patient. They must live through all the troubles. They need to look beyond the present and to live for the future. They must put their confidence in Jesus. And they must trust God. John also trusts God with patience.
John was on the island called Patmos. This was a small island of rocks. It was about 10 miles long and 6 miles wide. He did not choose to go there. The rulers sent him there. It was like a prison. His crime was that he taught the word of God. He *preached the *gospel of the *Lord Jesus.
Verse 10 The *church called the first day of the week, ‘the *Lord’s Day’. It was the first day because on that day Jesus rose from death. Christians chose the first day of the week in order to respect Christ. They met on that day to praise God together. John was in the Spirit. This means that the Holy Spirit came on him. The Spirit spoke to him and showed him many things.
John heard a voice behind him. The *trumpet makes a loud and clear sound. So, this voice was loud and clear.
Verse 11 The voice told John to write what he saw. When he had done this, he had to send it to the 7 *churches. These 7 *churches were in Asia Minor. Asia Minor was an area that is now a part of modern Turkey. The *churches were in 7 cities. There was about 30 to 50 miles between them. The list starts at Ephesus. It follows the road north to Pergamum. Then it goes to the south and east to Laodicea.
John had to send the whole book to each of these *churches. In the book, there was a letter to each of the *churches. John wrote the letters to real *churches. They spoke about the problems in each *church. They gave promises for those in each *church who obeyed.
In *prophecy, the number 7 means complete or the whole number. Here there are 7 *churches. So, the *Lord speaks to the whole *church. What John wrote is for the *church as a whole. It is as true for the *church of today as it was then.
Verses 12-13 John heard the loud voice. He turned to see who was speaking. The gold lamp holders mean the 7 *churches (1:20). People use lamp holders so that the light will shine into dark places. That is the purpose of the *church. It is to show the light of God to the people. That light means the *gospel of Christ.
A man was moving among the lamp holders. He was like the Son of Man. This person was a man but not just a man. He is more than a man. He is the Son of God. The Son of Man was a name for the *Lord Jesus. He was the Son of Man. The *Lord Jesus was and is moving in his *church.
The clothes that the man wore were those of a high priest. The *Lord Jesus is our high priest. He has paid for all our *sins. By his death, he has united us with God. And he is always with us to help us.
Verse 14 John then describes the Son of Man. This is not so much a picture as an impression. White hair, to the *Jews, shows age and wisdom. They respected old age and gave honour to the wise person. The Son of Man deserves all honour.
We can hide nothing from the eyes of the Son of Man. So, John describes his eyes in a special way. It is as if the flame of fire sees all things. The Son of Man sees all that happens in the *churches. He knows all of history from the start to the end. He knows the thoughts and actions of each person.
Verse 15 *Bronze is a metal that glows in the fire. People polish *bronze so that it shines in the light. It is a very strong metal. The feet of *bronze show that the Son of Man is powerful.
The sound of the waters reminds us of their immense power. Such is the effect of the voice of Christ.
Verse 16 The stars mean the *angels of the *churches (1:20). Christ holds all of them in his right hand. So, he has total control over all the *churches. He looks after them. And he protects them, because nobody can take them out of his hand.
He has the sharp sword with two edges. This means that nobody can defeat him. The sword comes out of his mouth. So, the sword means his word. In the end, the word of Christ will defeat all his enemies. He will speak. What he says will happen. The word of God is sharper than any sword with two edges (Hebrews 4:12).
The face of the Son of Man shone with a bright light. The strength of that light was like the sun. There is no greater power than the *Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 17 John saw Jesus among the lamp holders. The sight was so powerful that it made John afraid. The effect of what he saw caused him to fall down at the feet of Jesus. John was on the ground as if he were a dead man.
Jesus put his right hand on John. This seems to have put new life into John. Then Jesus said, ‘Do not be afraid.’ For those who belong to Jesus, there is nothing to make them afraid.
Jesus tells John that he is the first and the last. This has the same meaning as in verse 8 above. Jesus is one with God. He is God.
Verse 18 Jesus adds to the meaning of the first and the last. ‘I am living.’ God is the God who lives. Jesus shows that he is the same as God. He is God. The false gods of the world are not alive. There is only the one real God who lives.
Jesus has always been alive but he died. But death could not hold him. He defeated death and he rose from death to live again. He is now alive and he can never die again.
Jesus has the keys of the place of dead people. This means that he has power over that place. Life and death are both under the control of Jesus. He is able to take his people through death to new life. This again shows that Jesus is God.
Verse 19 Jesus then repeats the command to write. John must write all that he has already seen. That is, what is in chapter 1. Then he must write about what is now. That is, to write about the state of the seven *churches. And then he must write about those things that are still in the future. The *revelation that the *Lord gave to John was for those *churches. It is also for the *church during all ages. And it is for the end period of history, which is yet to begin.
Verse 20 The seven stars mean the *angels of the seven *churches. There was an *angel at each *church. This may be a real *angel. Or, the word may mean the person who carried the letters to the *churches. But it is more likely that the ‘*angel’ was not an actual person. Probably the word ‘*angel’ meant the character of each *church. So, the *Lord sent the letters to the *churches by their *angels.
Verse 1 The *Lord told John to write the first letter to the *church in Ephesus. Ephesus was the chief city in the region called Asia Minor. It was a major city for commerce and trade. Three great trade routes came through Ephesus. In it, there were *temples to the Roman kings. But the great *temple was to the female god called Diana or Artemis. It was one of the greatest buildings in the ancient world.
Each letter starts with parts of the description of the *Lord from chapter 1. Here, it is from verses 13 and 16. The letter comes from Jesus, who holds the seven stars. (The word ‘holds’ here is stronger than in chapter 1. The *Lord grasps the stars and he holds them firmly. They are safe in his hand. Nobody can take them from Jesus.) He walks in the middle of the gold lamp holders. Jesus is present with them. He knows their situation. He knows all about his *church, then and now. This should both encourage and warn us.
Verse 2 The *church at Ephesus was active and its members worked hard. They had almost worked too hard. The situation that they were in was not easy. There were many people in that city who hated the *church. However, the *church members did not stop when troubles came. The *Lord approves of what they had done.
Much of the trouble came from people who tried to join the *church. Some of these people were false teachers. They said that they were *apostles. They tried to persuade the *church to believe them. But the *church tested what they said. If anything did not agree with the word of God, the *church refused it. The *church at Ephesus believed that the word of God is the truth. The *church at Ephesus refused those who proved to be false.
Verse 3 This verse repeats that the *church at Ephesus had been patient. They had suffered much trouble. They were patient as they suffered for Jesus. They had troubles because they lived for Jesus. Through all the problems, they remained true to Jesus. They did not turn away from him.
Verse 4 This *church did what was right. They were careful to teach the truth. They would not believe what was wrong or false. All this was good but it was not enough. They had lost the most important thing.
These Christians did not love as they used to. They did not love God as much as when they first became Christians. Their love for each other was not as strong as it had been. But a hot object becomes cool. And their love for God and for other people had become less.
Verse 5 The *Greek says, ‘You have fallen.’ The first love was like a high place. They had fallen from that high place. Their love was not now as strong as it was then. The *Lord says to them, ‘remember.’ At that time, their love for God was so strong. Also, they loved each other. And they worked for each other. Now it was not the same. They had lost something of that first love.
They must turn again. They must do as they used to. Love must again be very important in their lives. Love for God must be the reason for their actions. Their actions must show love for each other. Actions without love have no worth at all.
The *Lord warns them to *repent. If they do not *repent, that *church will end. Jesus will come and remove the lamp holder.
All the other things that the *church in Ephesus did were good. But the most important thing was their love. Love is more important than good actions. But love will always produce good actions.
Verse 6 There was a group of people called the Nicolaitans. We do not know much about this group. But they did things that were not right for the Christians. They ate the food that people gave to false gods. And their ideas about sex were not what Christians should believe.
The *Lord was pleased that the Christians at Ephesus hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans. He also hated what they did. There are many such strange groups. Christians must be careful to obey what the Bible teaches. They must refuse the actions of those who teach against the truth. They should hate all that is false.
Verse 7 ‘If you have an ear, listen!’ Anyone who is able to hear should listen. The *Lord calls all of us to listen. We all need to hear what the Spirit says to the *churches. It was not just for the *church in Ephesus.
The Spirit of Christ gives a promise to those who overcome. They are those who obey God. They do what the *Lord has said to the *church in Ephesus.
Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. In that garden, there was the tree of life. When Adam and Eve *sinned, God stopped them from going to the tree of life. He put a guard there so that they could not eat the fruit of it (Genesis 3:24). If they ate of it, they would always be *sinners. Then they would not be able to live with God.
Those who overcome will be free from *sin. They can eat the fruit of the tree of life. And they will always be with the *Lord. They will have *eternal life with God.
Verse 8 On the route north from Ephesus, the next city was Smyrna. Its modern name is Izmir. It is about 35 miles from Ephesus. It is on the sea and it had a good, safe harbour. In trade, it was second only to Ephesus.
Jesus writes to Smyrna as the first and the last. He defeated death. He was now alive (1:17). He writes to a *church that suffered much from the local people. Jesus suffered much. He knows what it is to suffer.
Jesus died and came to life again. So, they too can be brave even to die. They can be sure of the life beyond death.
Verse 9 The *Lord knew all about the problems in Smyrna. He saw all the troubles that they had. They were very poor and they struggled to live. Life was very hard for these Christians.
They were poor. But Jesus said that they were rich. They did not have much of this world’s wealth. But they were rich toward God. They knew the *Lord and he appreciated them.
There was a large number of *Jews in Smyrna. These hated the *church. They caused a lot of trouble. They spoke lies and said evil things about the Christians. They turned the rulers of the city against the *church.
Jesus said that these *Jews were not real *Jews. A real *Jew is not just one who has *Jewish parents. A real *Jew is one who trusts God. A real *Jew would not be against Christ or his *church. These *Jews served *Satan and not God. Perhaps they thought that they were serving God. But by their actions, they were against God. They caused trouble for God’s people.
Verse 10 The *church in Smyrna would soon have a terrible time. They would suffer much. The *Lord says that these troubles would last for ten (10) days. Ten is a whole number. ‘Ten days’ probably means a period of years but with a definite end.
The *Roman rulers would put many of them in prison. Some would die because of their trust in Jesus. In all of this, they must remain strong. They must continue to trust in Jesus through it all. They must not deny Jesus. The *Lord allowed such troubles in order to test them, to prove their trust.
People will do these evil things but the real cause is the devil. He uses people to do his work. So, the devil will put them in prison.
However, the *Lord says, ‘Do not be afraid.’ Jesus told his friends not to be afraid of those who could kill the body. They cannot kill the person’s spirit, which lives in the body. Rather we should be afraid of God who can punish the whole person, both body and spirit (Matthew 10:28).
To those who overcome, Jesus will give life as a crown. The reward, like a crown, is life itself. This crown is the sort that the winner in a race receives. They had races in Smyrna. This life is like a race. Those who win the race will receive the prize. All who trust Jesus to the end will win the prize. The prize is *eternal life with the *Lord Jesus.
Verse 11 The *Lord calls all of us to listen. We all need to hear what the Spirit says to the *churches.
There is a second death. We all live and die. The *Lord will raise all people from that death (John 5:28-29). Then he will be the judge of all people. He will decide their fate by what they have done. The second death is the punishment for all who do not trust in the *Lord (20:13-15). But those who overcome will not die a second time.
Verse 12 The road north from Smyrna follows the coast for about 40 miles. Then it turns away from the sea up a river valley. Ten miles from the sea is the capital city, called Pergamum. Here they had a large and famous library.
The city was on a hill. At the top, there was a special place for the *worship of Zeus. Zeus was their chief god. The people in Pergamum had four main gods that they served. These were Zeus, Athene (a special female god), Dionysos and Asklepios. There was also a *temple in Pergamum for the *worship of the king of Rome.
The local rulers had the power of life and death. They could arrest and kill any person. But Jesus has the sharp sword. His sword cuts with both edges (1:16). The power of life and death belongs to Jesus and not to the rulers. They can only kill the body. But Jesus has the power of life and death of the whole person.
Verse 13 Jesus spoke to them. ‘I know where you live.’ He called Pergamum the place where *Satan rules. There were so many false gods. People did so many evil things in that town. It was very hard to be a Christian there. The Christians lived in constant danger. However, the *church there remained true to Jesus. They refused to *worship the king or the gods of the people.
Antipas had been loyal to the *Lord. He had refused to *worship the king or the false gods. But he had spoken to the people about the *Lord. They killed Antipas because he trusted in Jesus. Even then, the *church did not deny Jesus. They were brave. They were even willing to die for Jesus.
Verses 14-15 This was a very good *church. The *Lord was happy with them. But there was something wrong in the *church. Some members did not live as they should.
Some people there did what Balaam taught Balak. The story of Balaam and Balak is in Numbers chapters 22 to 24. To make the *Israelites weak, Balaam told Balak to tempt them with women (Numbers 31:16). The women would attract the men of *Israel to *worship their own false gods. This is how Balak tried to tempt the people of *Israel.
These members did not want to be different from the other people in Pergamum. They were happy to eat the food of false gods. Perhaps they went to the *temples of the false gods to eat. They did the same things as other people. They even had sex with those who did not trust in Jesus. They may have had sex with more than one partner. This is against what Jesus taught. It is *sin.
Some also followed what the Nicolaitans taught. Perhaps they belonged to the same group because they did the same things.
Christians ought to be different from those who do not trust in Jesus. They should live for the *Lord. They should do what he taught. They should not live to the standards of the world.
Verse 16 The whole *church should *repent. They ought not to have members like these. The *church should take action to change the situation. If they do not then Jesus will come. He will fight against those who do not *repent.
Verse 17 What other people do tempts us. We may want to live as they do. But God calls us to live for him. Jesus taught us how we should live. So, the *Lord tells us to listen to the Spirit. We all need to hear what he says to the *churches.
The *Lord will give some secret *manna to those who overcome. *Manna was that bread which God gave to the *Israelites. They were in the desert and he gave them this for food (Exodus chapter 16). So, *manna is food from heaven. Those who overcome will have the food of heaven to eat. This may mean food for the spirit while on earth. It may be a promise of heaven. There they will dine with the *Lord in heaven.
The *Lord also promises them a white stone. On that stone, there is a name. It is a new name and nobody else knows it.
In the law courts, a white stone meant a ‘not guilty’ decision. Jesus died for all people. He *forgives all those who trust him. God is the judge and he will declare them ‘not guilty’.
In the races at Pergamum, those who win receive a white stone. Those who overcome have won the race of life. They have the white stone of success from the *Lord.
The new name on the stone may be the name of the person who overcomes. The *Lord gives that person a new name. That new name is a prize and an honour. This will be the name of that person in the new age.
It may be that the new name is a name of the *Lord Jesus. In chapter 19:12, Jesus has a name on him, but nobody except Jesus himself knows it. He gives his name to his own people. Those who know the name will be close friends of Jesus.
Verse 18 This is the longest letter and it is the most difficult. We know less about Thyatira than the other cities. It is south and east of Pergamum at a distance of 40 miles. It was famous for its trade. There were many trade unions in Thyatira. Each one of these was for a particular trade. These trade unions had a relationship with the *worship of the gods. This caused real problems for the Christians. They had to belong to the union in order to get work in their trade.
Jesus describes himself as the Son of God. This is very different from the local god. His name was Apollo Tyrimnos. He was both the *Roman king and the god of Thyatira. People thought that he was the son of a god called Zeus. But Jesus really is the Son of the real God.
The eyes of Jesus were like a flame of fire. He could see all the problems of the Christians. He could see through all that Jezebel taught. Nobody can hide from the eyes of the *Lord. He sees all things. So, he knows all that happens in the *church in Thyatira.
The feet of *bronze show that the *Lord is powerful. He is able to deal with all the problems. *Bronze seems to shine as it reflects the light. This shows that Jesus is more magnificent than any false gods, or even the king of Rome. So, the church in Thyatira should give honour to Jesus and not to these false gods.
Verse 19 The *Lord Jesus is aware of all that his people do. He knew all about the Christians in Thyatira. He liked so many of the things that he saw.
They had not lost their love. It had not grown weak as it had in Ephesus. Their love for the *Lord Jesus seems to have grown. They believed in him. They trusted him completely. They served God and not the local gods. There was progress in this *church. They were doing more now than they did before.
Life in Thyatira was difficult for them. But they accepted all the problems and they did not turn from the *Lord.
What we do for each other shows our love. When we love the *Lord, we work for him. As the love of the Christians in Thyatira increased, they did more.
Verse 20 In the *church, there was a woman who called herself a *prophet. The *Lord calls her Jezebel. And the *church allowed her to stay and teach.
There had been a queen, also called Jezebel. She was the wife of king Ahab. She was a wicked woman. Because of her, king Ahab of *Israel turned from God. He then *worshipped and served the false god called Baal (1 Kings 16:31). Jezebel encouraged Ahab to do all kinds of wicked deeds (1 Kings 21:25). She even tried to murder Elijah, who was the *prophet of God (1 Kings 19:2). She was responsible for the deaths of many people in *Israel (2 Kings 9:7).
The *Lord uses the name Jezebel for this wicked woman in Thyatira too. This woman was probably very clever. She was able to convince people that she was right. She said that she had special knowledge from God. She taught the Christians to live as the people in Thyatira did. She said that it was right to join the trade unions. This meant that Christians would join the *worship of the false gods. They would eat meals in the *temples. They would even think that it was not wrong to have sex with different partners.
This is an important question for Christians of all times. They have to decide how much they can join in with the local activities. They must not deny what the Bible teaches. But they are members of the society in which they live.
Verse 21 In some way, the *Lord had shown Jezebel that she was wrong. What she was doing was evil. She knew it. The *Lord had been kind to her. He had warned her and he had given her time to change. He desired her to *repent of all the wicked things that she had done. But she would not *repent.
Verse 22 The *Lord would soon punish her. The bed here is a place of illness and pain. She will suffer much for the evil things that she had done.
All those who have *sinned with her will suffer with her. They too will suffer illness and pain. But they still have the chance to avoid the punishment. If they *repent, the *Lord will *forgive them. They must not do those things that they knew to be wrong.
Verse 23 These are not her children by natural birth. These ‘children’ mean those who accepted Jezebel as their leader. She was like a mother to them. They did not just *sin as she *sinned. They believed all that she taught. The *Lord will cause these people to die.
The *Lord searches the hearts and minds of all people. He sees all that we do. He knows all about us. He will be the judge of every person. He will punish or reward them. They will get what they deserve. We know that none of us deserves a reward. We all deserve death. But those who trust in the *Lord will have life. However, he will be the judge of what Christians do. And he will give rewards to some Christians.
Verses 24-25 Jezebel argued that Christians should join in the things of the false gods. She probably said that the false gods were not really bad. Therefore, there would be no problem for the Christians. They would know the secret things of *Satan. What she taught was false.
Most Christians in Thyatira did not follow Jezebel. The *Lord adds no extra tasks on them. They must continue in love and service to God. They must trust the *Lord completely.
The *Lord will come. His people must continue to love him and to trust him. And they must continue until he comes.
Verses 26-27 The rewards of the *Lord are for those who overcome. They continue to the end. They serve the *Lord until death or until Jesus comes.
Jesus will give power to his people when he comes to rule on earth. They will share with Jesus as he rules. They will lead the nations as those who lead sheep. They will be able to encourage the people.
A man who makes pots uses an iron bar to break any bad pots. So, the *Lord’s people will destroy the bad nations.
Jesus has this power which God the Father gave to him. Jesus will share this power with his people.
Verse 28 We do not know what the morning star means. But this is a description of Jesus. He is like the bright morning star (22:16). The *Lord will be with those who overcome.
Verse 29 The *Lord tells us to listen to the Spirit. We need to hear what he says to the *churches. What he wrote to Thyatira is also for the whole *church, and for us now.
Verse 1 Sardis was about 30 miles south of Thyatira and 50 miles east of Ephesus. It was on the side of a mountain. Below it there was a large plain. It was in a good position for an army to defend. It had been a powerful and rich city. But it was not still as strong as it had been. Today, we might say that such a city is ‘living in the past’. In other words, the city’s most successful phase had ended.
The letter comes from Jesus, who holds the 7 spirits of God and the 7 stars. The 7 spirits of God are the work of the Spirit in the *churches. Christ has the Spirit who alone can give life. Jesus holds the 7 stars in his right hand (1:16). These stars mean the *angels of the 7 *churches (1:20). In other words, Jesus holds (looks after) the seven *churches.
The *church in Sardis used to be a lively *church. In other words, the members used to have strong *faith. But by this time, it had lost its life. This means that their *faith had become weak. This process was slow. They did not see it happen. The *church still seemed to be full of life (*faith). But the *Lord saw what it was really like. He could see that the *church was dead. In other words, most of the Christians there had hardly any *faith. So, they did not live as they should.
Verse 2 The *Lord tells them to be awake and to watch. In the past, armies had twice defeated Sardis. They were able to do this because nobody watched. So, the *Lord warns the *church that, like the city guards, the *church must keep awake. In other words, the Christians need to be aware of what is happening. And they need to be ready for Jesus’ return.
It was as if the *church in Sardis was dead. But some things there did not seem to be dead. A sleeper may seem dead until he wakes. But, unlike a dead body, a sleeper is not hopeless. He is still alive. The *church seemed dead. But perhaps it was more like a sleeper. Perhaps it could recover, like a man who wakes. The *church must start to do the work of the *Lord again. It must turn from its wrong actions. The *Lord was not happy with it in its present state.
The Christians in Sardis were doing a lot. Much of the activity seemed to be for God. But God saw the reality. Their actions did not satisfy what God wanted.
Verse 3 Christ tells the Christians to remember what they had received. They had heard the *gospel and they believed it. They received new life from God. They served the *Lord and they did his work. But now they did not still serve the *Lord as they used to do.
Jesus tells them to *repent. They must come back again to the *Lord. They must obey his word and live for him. It is as if they must wake out of their present sleep. Or, as if they must come alive again.
If they do not obey this message, the *Lord will come like a thief. He will come when they do not expect it. He will not announce when he is coming. He will deal with them and he will be their judge.
Verse 4 Most members of that *church did not live as Christians should. They did the same things as other people. Their belief made no difference to their lives. They were behaving like people who make their own clothes dirty.
In Sardis, the people coloured wool and they made clothes. If the wool was dirty, it was not useful. So, the *Lord said that these Christians were not useful to him.
A few people in the *church did live clean (holy) lives. This means that they did not live by the standards of the local people. Instead, they lived by what they had learned from the word of God.
The *Lord will give white clothes to these people. This means that they will be holy. God will free them from *sin. They will walk with him. This means that their lives will please him. The ‘white clothes’ are the result of the good things that Jesus did. He gives to them the reward that he earned. They do not deserve it because of anything that they have done. They obtain it because they believe in Christ. What they believed changed their lives.
Verse 5 There are three parts to the promise for those who overcome. They will wear white clothes. Their names will be in the book of life. Jesus will tell the Father and the *angels that they are his.
Many people died because they were Christians. In heaven, they have white clothes (6:11). The 24 *elders have white clothes. All the people in heaven have white clothes (7:9). The clothes are white to show that they are not dirty. ‘Dirt’ means *sin. There is no *sin in heaven. So, the clothes of Christians in heaven are white because Jesus made them clean. He took away *sin when he died. He gives the white clothes to those who believe. This means that he gives his own goodness to them. He makes them perfect.
Moses first spoke of God’s book in heaven (Exodus 32:32-33). The idea is that God has a book. In it, he wrote the names of all those who would be his people. Those whose names are in the book would go to heaven. Those whose names are not in the book cannot go to heaven. The book records the names of those who have *eternal life. Those who overcome will enjoy life with the *Lord. They will have *eternal life.
Jesus will take those who overcome to be at home with him. He will introduce them to God the Father. He will tell the Father and all the *angels that these are his people. They will be at home in heaven, in the Father’s house (John 14:2).
Verse 6 We all need to hear what the Spirit said to the *church in Sardis. What he said to them, he says to Christians in every age.
Verse 7 Philadelphia was at the east end of a broad valley. The soil in the valley was good for agriculture. Philadelphia was on the main road from Sardis to the port near Smyrna. So, there was much trade in the city. Philadelphia was also famous for its many *temples. The inhabitants of Philadelphia had many parties for their gods.
The name Philadelphia means ‘love of a brother’. There were two brothers, Eumenes II and Attalus II. One of them first built this city. Attalus so loved his brother that they called him Philadelphus (lover of his brother). The name of the city came from this name for Attalus.
Jesus says that he is holy and true. The *Jews knew that only God is really holy. And they would understand that this phrase described the Christ. They expected that Christ would come. But they did not recognise Jesus as that Christ. Jesus writes as God and as the true Christ.
The person who holds the key has the power. David was a great king. He ruled the nation called *Israel. God chose David to be king over his people. One of the names for the Christ was the son of David. The Christ will be king in heaven and on the earth. He will rule over all people and things. Jesus is that king and he has that power.
A person with a key has the power to open or to close a door. So, the key means Jesus’ power. And the door means the events that Jesus controls. So, with that key, Jesus can open or shut any door. No person can open a door that Jesus has shut. No person can shut a door that Jesus has opened. Jesus is in control of all that happens.
Verse 8 Jesus has opened a door for the Christians in Philadelphia. This door means the right to enter into the *kingdom of God. Nobody can shut this door on them. Those who belong to Christ can go in there. And the *Lord was also giving them the opportunity to tell other people about Christ. All who believe the *gospel belong to Christ. It is as if they go through the door to *eternal life.
This *church was small and weak. It did not have a major effect on the city. However, the members of this *church pleased the *Lord. They believed the word of God and they obeyed it. People tried to force them to deny the name of Christ. But they would not. They were loyal to Jesus at all times.
Verse 9 There were many *Jews in Philadelphia. The building where they came together was a *synagogue. They thought that they were God’s people. They said that they were *Jews. They were born *Jews. But a real *Jew is one who believes in Jesus as the Christ.
The *Jews in Philadelphia caused much trouble for the *church. They were fierce enemies of the *church. They denied the *Lord Jesus and they spoke against him. The enemy of Jesus is *Satan. So, Jesus called these Jews the *synagogue of *Satan. They said that they were real *Jews. That was not true. They were lying. If they were real Jews, they would not oppose God’s work.
Jesus will show to these *Jews that he loves the *church. Then they will come. They will fall down at the feet of the Christians. They will know that they were wrong. They will *repent of the trouble that they caused. They will believe that Jesus is the Christ of the *Jews.
Verse 10 The Christians in Philadelphia had obeyed what Jesus taught. They had been loyal to him. They suffered because they belonged to the *Lord Jesus. But they did not disappoint the *Lord. They were strong in their belief.
The *Lord will come to be the king of the whole earth. He will set up his *kingdom here. But immediately before that, there will be a terrible time. It will last for three and a half years. There will be a strong and evil king. His name is *Antichrist. He will rule for this period. Then Jesus will come and punish him. This period is the time of trouble.
Starting in chapter 6, we read about the things that will happen in those three and a half years.
The *Lord promised to protect his *church from the time of trouble. This may mean that the *Lord will take them out of the time of trouble. Jesus may remove the *church from the earth before this time starts. But it might mean that he will protect them from damage during the time of trouble. Christ will come for his *church but we do not know when.
Verse 11 The *Lord said that he was coming soon. This did not mean ‘quickly’. Instead, it means ‘with no delay’. Many people expected the *Lord to come soon in time. That is not what the *Lord meant. God the Father has fixed the date. Nobody knows that date except the Father. When that day comes, Jesus will come.
Until Jesus comes, the Christians must continue to believe in him. And when Jesus comes, he will come with great power. He will take his people from the earth. They will then always be with the *Lord.
The crown is the prize for the winner in a race. All who remain firm to the end are winners. Christians must be careful so that nobody will cause them to fail.
Verse 12 In Philadelphia there were *earthquakes. Sometimes it was dangerous to remain in Philadelphia. The people had to leave the city and live in temporary homes.
Those who overcome will be like columns in the *temple of God. *Earthquakes will have no effect on them. They will be safe from all dangers. They will live with the *Lord and they will never have to leave.
The *Lord Jesus will write three names on them. These are the name of God, the name of the city of God and his own new name. They will belong to God. They will be citizens of the New Jerusalem (chapter 21). And they will always be with Christ himself.
Verse 13 The *church in Philadelphia was a good *church. The Spirit’s message was to them, and to all who are like them.
Verse 14 Laodicea was about 40 miles south and east of Philadelphia. It was the richest city in the region. The people there had sheep with soft black wool. The city was famous for this wool. With it, the people made clothes, which they sold. With so much wealth from farms and commerce, they had successful banks. The banks had large stocks of gold.
The people in Laodicea were proud of their medical school. The school produced a wide range of medicines. The two most famous medicines were *ointments for the ears and the eyes.
There was no supply of water in the city. So, they had to bring water from about six miles away. The water came through a system of pipes. But the supply could dry up when the weather was hot.
*Amen may seem a strange word to use as a description of Jesus. But the word means, ‘It is true.’ And like Jesus (Hebrews 13:8), the truth never changes. It is that which is. It is what will be. It is that which is real and permanent. The *Lord Jesus calls himself the loyal and true witness. What he says is always true. He speaks what he knows. He talks about what he sees. We can believe all that he says. We can trust him.
Jesus is the ruler of all that God has made. He was there at the start when God created all things. God made all things by Jesus. He made all things for Jesus.
Verses 15-16 The *Lord Jesus sees all things. He knows all that there is to know. He knew the Christians in Laodicea. He saw what they had done. He knew their thoughts. He knew what they did. He knew why they did these things.
The hot weather warmed the pipes. The water was warm, not cold or hot. It was not nice to drink. Such water made one feel sick.
The *Lord said that these Christians were like the water. They were not like cold water. Cold water is good to drink. They were not like hot water. Hot water has many good uses. But they were like water that is neither cold nor hot. They were of no use to the *Lord. It was as if they made him sick. He would throw them away as one does with bad water.
Verse 17 Jesus explains why he was not happy with them. They thought that they were doing well. They had all that they wanted. The *church was wealthy and it seemed to be lively. They were rich and they had achieved it themselves. They were proud of what they had achieved. They were so pleased because of their wealth. They did not think that they needed anything.
But their opinions about themselves were not correct. It was true that they had plenty of money. But in their spirits, they were in a bad state. In reality, they were poor. They had nothing of which to be proud. They could not see the true state of their lives with God. So, to God, they seemed as if they were blind. They had expensive clothes. But to God they seemed as if they were naked. Their expensive clothes could not hide their *sins.
The people in Laodicea were proud of their wealth. They were proud of their eye *ointment. They were proud of their wool and the clothes that they made. It was as if the inner life of the Christians lacked all three of these. So, Jesus told them that they were poor, blind and naked. But they did not understand it.
Verse 18 They had plenty of gold but they were poor. The gold from the banks was no use to God. Everything that has real value comes from God. What he gives is better than the purest gold. God told them to buy from him. We buy without price (Isaiah 55:1). We receive from God, as we believe in him.
They could buy clothes of black wool in the market. The *Lord told them to buy white clothes from him. To wear white clothes means to be clean and innocent. These wonderful things can only come from the *Lord. Jesus took all our *sins and blame. He suffered and he died because of them. When we trust in him, he can declare us innocent. He alone can make us clean.
The cause of their problems was that they were blind to their real state. In other words, they could not see that they needed help. With their wealth and easy life, they thought that they needed nothing.
The people in Laodicea sold their famous eye *ointment. People used it to cure diseases of the eye. It helped people to see more clearly. The *Lord told the Christians to put *ointment in their own eyes. It was as if they were blind. But they did not know it. In other words, they could not see (know) the reality about their situation. Until they knew it, God could not cure them. It was as if they needed to open their eyes in order to see (know) the truth.
Verse 19 The *Lord has been severe in what he said to these Christians. The reason for this is that he loves them. God hates all kinds of evil things, wrong actions and bad attitudes. He wants those whom he loves to be free from these. So, God corrects all whom he loves. He trains his children as a good father does.
Discipline is always hard at the time. But it benefits the person. The Christians in Laodicea should be eager to improve. They should want to please God their father. They must *repent and change their way of life.
The word ‘eager’ in this verse also means ‘hot’. See my notes on verses 15-16.
Verse 20 It was as if, by their wrong attitudes, the Christians in Laodicea had pushed Christ out of their lives. The *Lord stood outside of their lives. He demanded that they let him in again. He is like someone who is knocking at a door. A person has to open the door from the inside. That person has to choose whether to open the door or not.
Jesus will come in if they invite him. The *Lord will not come in unless they ask him. When he comes in, they will eat together. They will have a close friendship with Jesus.
Jesus tells his friends about the future. Then they will eat and drink with him in his *kingdom.
Verse 21 Those who live for Jesus now, will live with him beyond death. They are the people who overcome. Jesus will invite them to sit with him on his *throne. They will share with Jesus the king. They will rule with him.
Jesus as a man won the right to the *throne. He overcame, so he sat down with the Father on his *throne. And Jesus has power over all people and things. He is the king of kings and *Lord of *lords.
Verse 22 The Spirit warns the *churches about their failures. He shows them where they are wrong. He tells them to *repent and to change. He gives great promises of reward to those who do. What the Spirit says to these 7 *churches, he says to all of us.
Verse 1 Before he saw those future events, John saw the *throne of God. He tried to describe this in these two chapters. And from chapter 6, he writes about future events.
John saw a door that was open. It was the way into heaven. The voice that John heard before spoke to him again. It called him to come up through that door.
The *Lord told John about the events on earth. But before that, the *Lord showed John something of heaven. There, God is on the *throne. The control of all history is in heaven and not on earth. God has the end of history in his plans. His plans cannot fail. What the *Lord showed to John will happen.
Verse 2 The first thing that John sees in heaven is a *throne. The person on the *throne is the king of all. He is the *Lord God who has all power. This *throne is above all other *thrones. God is king above all other kings.
The *throne of God is the centre of heaven. All in heaven look to the *throne. God sits there on the *throne. All of them *worship and serve him.
Verse 3 John did not write about God as having a physical body. Rather, John gives an impression of God as bright light. This bright light shone as the light shines from precious stones.
The jasper was probably a clear stone like a diamond. The carnelian was red. The *throne was like emerald, which reflects green light. There was a rainbow, which glows with all colours. The effect of all these colours is to show the *glory of God.
John could not describe all that he had seen. He could only give us an impression of these things. The languages of earth are not able to describe what is in heaven. There are similar descriptions in Ezekiel chapter 1 and Isaiah chapter 6.
Verse 4 John does not tell us who the 24 *elders are. But they each sat on a *throne. Each time they appear in this book, they are praising God. They bring to God the prayers of his people (Revelation 5:8). In this, they serve the *church but they are not the *church. We think that they are special *angels. Their job is to serve and to praise God.
The white clothes show that the *elders are clean from *sin. Their crowns show that they are royal people.
Verse 5 The lightning and *thunder give an impression of the power of God. John hears these sounds as the voice of God. God speaks from his *throne.
We cannot see the Holy Spirit. He appeared as flames of fire on the day of *Pentecost (Acts 2:3). So here, the 7 lamps show that the Holy Spirit is there.
He is also the 7 Spirits of God. We should not understand this as 7 Spirits. These show seven views of the same Spirit. The number 7 in *scripture is the perfect or complete number. Here it shows that the person and work of the Spirit is perfect.
Verse 6 The sea of glass adds to the effect of what John saw in heaven. Its clear surface is spread out in front of the *throne. Like a mirror it reflected all the lights that flashed about the *throne.
The four *creatures were by the *throne. They were like an inner circle round about the *throne. They had eyes in front and behind. They saw all that happened. Nothing could hide from them.
Verse 7 John tries to describe the *creatures. They are special *angels. John says that their faces were like those of a lion, an *ox, a human person and an *eagle. They were strong like the lion. They were full of power as the *ox. They were wise as a wise man. They were as fast as the *eagle when it flies.
Verse 8 Each *creature had six wings. The wings show the speed with which they obeyed God. The eyes made them aware of all that was round about them.
Day and night the four *creatures praise God. They cry aloud that God is holy. They praise him for his power. Nobody else has power as strong as his. He is the God of all power. They praise him because he is God. He is the only God. There is no other real god. He has no beginning of life or end of life.
Verses 9-10 The four *creatures praise God because he is always the same. God was there at the start of time. He will be there after time has ended.
As the *creatures praise so the *elders fall down in front of God. They throw down their crowns as an act of *worship. They give all honour to God.
Verse 11 The *elders speak to God. They praise him for all that he has made. God made all things that exist. Because of this, God deserves to have all *glory, honour and power.
Verse 1 On the right hand of God was a *scroll. The *Lord had written on both sides of the *scroll. On it, there were 7 *seals. Each of these *seals locked a part of the *scroll. To read the *scroll someone had to break all 7 *seals in order.
The contents of the *scroll were secret. God’s plans for the end of the world were in it. After each *seal, the *scroll showed the events that would happen.
History and the end of the world are in God’s plan. All will happen as he has decided. Nobody can know what is in God’s plan. When someone opens the *scroll God will show us the future.
Verses 2-3 John saw a strong *angel. This *angel called out in a loud voice. He asked, ‘Who can open the *scroll? Who can break the *seals?’
The sound of his voice went to the ends of space, heaven and the earth.
In all that God had created, nobody could open the *scroll. There was no *angel who was good enough. No man or woman had earned the right to open it. So, nobody could read what was in the *scroll.
Verse 4 It was very important to know what was in the *scroll. A person had to be perfect in order to open the *scroll. There was nobody good enough. This made John so sad that he wept.
Verse 5 One of the *elders spoke to John. He told John not to weep. There is someone who can open the *scroll. He will break the 7 *seals. He has won the right to do it. He has overcome *sin and death. He is perfect and he is able to break those *seals.
This person is Jesus Christ. The *elder used two special names to describe Jesus. Jesus is the Lion of the *tribe of Judah. And Jesus is the Root of David.
Judah was called a young lion (Genesis 49:9-10). The great king would come from the *tribe of Judah. The *Jews understood this king to be their *Messiah. So, the *Messiah is the same person as the Lion who will rule the earth. He is the Christ. He came from the *tribe of Judah.
The Root of David shows that Jesus belonged to the family of David. The *Old Testament speaks about the king who would come. That king would be from the family of King David. That king would be even greater than David was. The *Lord Jesus is that king.
Verse 6 Then John saw the *Lord Jesus. He did not see Jesus as the king. He was not like a lion but like a *lamb. He stood in the centre of the *throne. He was with God. Round him were the *creatures and the *elders.
The *Lamb (in other words, Jesus) had been dead but was now alive. The marks of that death were still there. He had given his life for us and died. But death could not keep him. He had risen from the grave. We call Jesus, ‘the *Lamb of God’, because he died as a *sacrifice for us. He takes away the *sin of the world (John 1:29).
Normal *lambs have two *horns but this one had 7. He also had 7 eyes. The number 7 in the Bible often means that something is perfect or complete. So, this description shows that Jesus has perfect power and wisdom. Nobody can overcome the power of the *Lamb. Nobody can hide anything from the *Lamb. He knows all things.
The eyes are the 7 spirits of God (see 4:5). These 7 are the Holy Spirit. Jesus has sent him into all the earth. He is the agent of Jesus to bring people to God.
Verse 7 The *Lamb stepped forward. He had taken the *scroll from the right hand of God.
Verse 8 Then John saw the four *creatures and the 24 *elders fall down. They praised the *Lamb. They made music to the *Lamb on their *harps.
They gave to the *Lamb what was in the gold bowls. *Incense has a sweet smell. It gives pleasure to those who smell it. This *incense meant the prayers of God’s people. Their prayers pleased God.
The *worship of the *angels is for God alone. Here they *worship the *Lamb. Christ the *Lamb is one with the Father. Christ is God.
Verses 9-10 The four *creatures and the 24 *elders sang a new song. They sang this song to the *Lamb. The song was new not only in time. It was new in quality. It spoke about what the *Lamb had done. He had made a new contract between God and his people.
The *Lamb had earned the right to take the *scroll. He had done what nobody else could do. He alone was able to break the *seals.
They gave three reasons why the *Lamb could take the *scroll.
1. He died and he overcame death. Now, he is alive and he will always live.
2. When he died, he took away the *sins of the people. By his death, he purchased people for God.
3. He made God’s people a *kingdom. He made them priests to God.
Jesus has bought many people by his blood. They come from all the countries of the world. They are from all the nations. There will be in heaven those who speak every language.
All who believe in Christ are part of his *kingdom. Each one of them is a priest to God. As a *kingdom, they will rule with Christ. As priests, they serve the *Lord God. Because of Christ, they can come to God.
Verses 11-12 Then all the *angels joined in with those who were praising the *Lamb. There were millions of *angels. There were so many that nobody could count them.
This vast crowd of *angels live to serve God. They surrounded the *throne of God. And with loud voices, they sang to praise Jesus the *Lamb.
They sang that the *Lamb deserves to have seven qualities. These are power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honour, *glory and *praise. The *angels praise him because he has all these qualities. He always had them as the Son of God. But then he earned them. He died and he rose again from death. He now deserves that all people and *angels should praise him.
Verse 13 Then every *creature joined in the song of *praise. All that God had created sang. They sang to praise God and the *Lamb.
Verse 14 At the end of the song, the four *creatures said ‘*Amen’. The 24 *elders fell down and they praised God.
Verses 1-2: The first *seal.
The *Lamb opened the first *seal of the *scroll. He started the events of the last days. These are in the 7 *seals. The last *seal includes the 7 *trumpets. The last *trumpet includes the 7 bowls. The end of the world comes after the 7 bowls.
One of the four *creatures called out. His voice was loud like the sound of *thunder. He called for the first horseman to come. And John saw a white horse. The rider had a bow and a crown. He rode to fight and to win battles on the earth.
This rider was not Christ. Christ does come on a white horse in chapter 19. But Christ has many crowns. And, in that description, a sharp sword comes out of his mouth. But here, Christ opened the *seal that caused this rider to come.
This was an evil rider. His aim was to hurt people and to fight battles. He was powerful and he did much damage on the earth.
Verses 3-4: The second seal.
The *Lamb opened the second *seal. The second *creature called, ‘Come.’ A bright red horse came. The rider had received a large sword. He received the power to take peace from the earth.
This evil man caused people to kill each other. The red horse was the colour of blood. There were wars across the whole earth. The colour red reminds us about the blood of those who died in the battles.
Verses 5-6: The third seal.
The *Lamb opened the next *seal. As the third *creature called out, John saw a black horse. As it came, he saw the rider. He had in his hands a *balance. People would use a *balance in order to measure the weight of things.
John heard a voice from the centre of the *throne. It spoke about the price of wheat and *barley. A man could buy enough wheat for himself for one day. That would cost all that he earned in that day. *Barley was the food of poor people. It was not as good for food as wheat. So, for the same cost he could buy enough for three people. These food prices were about 12 times more than normal.
There was not enough food. So, the food was very expensive. People were poor and many died. They starved to death.
The horseman could not spoil the oil and the wine. These were necessary for people to live during those times.
Verses 7-8: The fourth (4th) seal.
After the third *seal came the fourth one. Jesus the *Lamb broke it open. The fourth *creature called for the next horse. This horse was pale, which is the colour of the skin of dead people. Death was the name of the rider, and *Hades followed him.
They received the power to kill. They had the right to kill a quarter of all the people on the earth. They used four methods to achieve this. The first was with swords. Many people died because of wars and murder. Many more people died because of lack of food. Many people died because of diseases. Even the wild animals suffered because of lack of food. So, the wild animals attacked and killed people.
*Hades is the name of the place of dead people. In *Hades, they wait for the day when God will be their judge. Those who belong to Christ will not go to *Hades. They go to be with the *Lord in heaven.
Verses 9-11: The fifth (5th) *seal.
The seven *seals divide into two groups of four and three. The first four were about the horses and riders. They were about what happened on the earth. With the fifth *seal, the events moved from earth to heaven.
The *Lord Jesus opened the fifth *seal. John saw an *altar in heaven. Under the *altar there were the *souls of those who had died. These people died because they believed in the *Lord. They believed the word of God. They had been good servants of God.
John speaks about these *souls being under the *altar. When a priest made a *sacrifice, he poured out the blood below the *altar. The idea here is that these people were like a *sacrifice. They were as a *sacrifice made to God. In fact, they died on earth. But by their death, they offered their *souls on the *altar in heaven.
They spoke to the *Lord because he has all authority. The *Lord is holy. And he will do what is right. In the end, he must punish all evil actions. The *Lord will punish the people who had caused their deaths. They knew this. These *souls asked the *Lord a question. They were asking, ‘How long must we wait? When will you punish those who caused our deaths?’
The clear answer was that the situation will become worse first. But, at the time when God chooses, he will answer their prayer. He will show his anger against the people who do not believe in him. That day of God’s anger will come upon the earth.
To each of these *souls, the *Lord gave white clothes. These clothes showed that they were clean from all *sin. In other words, God accepted them as innocent. And he gave them honour. These *souls under the *altar were at rest.
God told them to be patient. They must wait a little time. People on the earth would kill more of God’s people. Then the time will come and God will act.
Verses 12-17: The sixth (6th) seal.
John watched as the *Lamb opened the sixth *seal. The heavens and the earth shook. God had said ‘Once more, I will shake the heavens and the earth’ (Haggai 2:6).
At the same time, the sun became dark. It was as if a black cloth covered the sun. The light could not shine through it. The day became as the night. The moon glowed a deep red colour. It was the colour of blood.
Peter spoke about this event (Acts 2:20). He used the words of Joel the *prophet (Joel 2:30). He said, ‘the sun will become darkness. The moon will become blood.’ This would happen before the great and terrible day of the *Lord comes.
It seemed as if the stars fell down to the earth. They were like unripe *figs that fall from the tree in a winter storm. *Figs are a kind of sweet fruit that grow on a *fig tree.
The ancient people had a tradition. They believed that the stars would fall from the sky. When this happened, the end of the world would come.
The sky disappeared as if God had rolled it up. The mountains and islands moved.
Stars cannot fall to the earth. The sky cannot disappear like a *scroll. This is the language of poetry. It shows how awful these events will be. They will come before the *Lord returns to the earth. But it is not just poetry. It tells about real events that will happen in the skies.
At these terrible events, all the people on earth were afraid. They cried out in terror. They tried to hide from God and from the *Lord Jesus. They tried to escape from the anger of God and of the *Lamb. They would rather die than meet with God.
In the end, there will be no place to hide. All will have to meet with God. And, in that day, God will be their judge. This will be the day of God’s anger. And the *Lamb will be angry with all those who are on the earth. Nobody will be able to escape from the fierce anger of God and of the *Lamb.
Verse 1 Now there is an interval between the sixth (6th) and the seventh (7th) *seals.
John saw these four (4) *angels. They stopped the winds so that the winds could not blow on the earth. No wind could stir up the sea. No wind caused the trees to move. The whole world was still. The *angels controlled the winds until the servants of God had his mark on their heads.
These *angels stood at the four corners of the earth. John did not think that the earth was a square. He meant that the *angels stood over the whole earth. They had control of all wind.
Verses 2-3 The four *angels had power to damage the earth and sea. God had given them this power. But another *angel came from the east. He shouted to the four. He told them to do no damage until God’s servants received the mark of God.
This mark of God was the name of God and of the *Lamb. God’s servants must have this mark on the front of their heads. The mark was there to give protection to these people. The awful events that were coming would not hurt them.
Verses 4-8 John heard that 144 000 had this mark of God. This is not an actual number. There were 12 *tribes of the *Jews. There are 12 times 1000 from each *tribe. These numbers show that all in the groups were marked.
John records the 12 *tribes by name. This means that all these 144 000 were *Jews. They all believed in Jesus their *Messiah. They were from all the *tribes of the *Jews.
Verse 9 The 144 000 had received the mark of God. Then John looked and saw a vast crowd. This crowd stood in front of the *throne. The crowd was as far as the eye could see. There were so many people that nobody could count them.
These people were from all over the world. They came from every nation. They were God’s people. At that time, they were in heaven.
By *faith in Jesus Christ, these people had received new life. The *Lord had made them perfect with his own goodness. He gave them white clothes to wear. These white clothes meant that they were holy. And they were free from *sin.
They had *palm branches in their hands. The people used to wave *palm branches at their parties. They did this when they were happy. Here, they waved the *palms in order to praise the *Lamb.
Verse 10 The whole crowd cried out together to praise God and the *Lamb. They had all received *salvation from God. God had saved them. This *salvation was because of Jesus Christ. *Salvation belonged to God and to the *Lamb. So, the crowd shouted their praise to God and to the *Lamb.
Verse 11 There were millions of *angels with the crowd. There were the four *creatures and the 24 *elders. The crowd praised God. The four *creatures and the 24 *elders fell down and they too praised God.
Verse 12 They praised God. They cried out seven things about God. All of these belong to our God. The list started and finished with *amen. The *amens insist that these things are true.
God deserves all *praise. *Glory is his greatness, which shines like a bright light. He knows everything and he has all wisdom. We should thank God always for all that he has done for us. He is over all and he deserves honour from all. He is the God of all power. By his strength, he has made all things. He has overcome all that was against us.
Verses 13-14 An *elder spoke to John. He asked John two questions. ‘Who are these people in white clothes? Where did they come from?’ It seems that John did not know the answers. So John asked the *elder to explain.
These people have come out of the great trouble. The great trouble will be the period immediately before Jesus comes back to the earth. It will be an awful time. It will include the events of the seven *seals. During this time, God will take these people from the earth.
These people trusted in the *Lord Jesus Christ. They accepted all that Jesus had done for them. They knew that their *sins had gone. Jesus took their *sins from them when he died. The Bible often describes *sin as if it is something dirty. Only the blood of a perfect *sacrifice could make a person clean (holy). The death of Christ is the perfect *sacrifice for *sin. It was as if the blood of Christ had washed away the *sins of these people. They had white clothes. They had the goodness of Jesus instead of their *sin.
Jesus will take his *church from the world (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). But God has not told us when this will be. Some teachers say that it will happen after the events in chapter 3. John does not talk about the *church on earth from that time. This event must be after chapter 3. But this vast crowd is not the whole *church. The people in this crowd were alive at the time of the great trouble.
Verse 15 This vast crowd stood by the *throne of God. Each person wore white clothes. The white clothes meant that Jesus had made them perfect. They were free from their *sin.
They served God day and night. Day and night are not as we understand them. There is no night in heaven. John used these words to mean that they did not stop their service for God.
They were in God’s *temple in heaven. There, they served him and they praised him. God will always be with them. He will surround them with his *glory.
Verse 16 There will be no more hunger. Neither will they need drink. Jesus promised this to those who came to him (John 6:35). He was not talking about what the body needs. But in heaven, God’s people will have all that they require.
The sun and the heat can be a problem on earth. There is nothing like that in heaven. God’s people will be at home there. They will live in total comfort. There, nothing will disturb them.
Verse 17 The *Lamb changes his role. He is their *shepherd, the leader of the sheep. He is the good shepherd who saves his sheep (John 10:11). The sheep mean the people of God. A *shepherd leads his sheep to the water. Jesus gives the ‘water of life’ to his people. This means that he gives *eternal life to them.
God’s people will not still cry. God will remove all that would cause them to be sad. They will be very happy.
Verse 1 The seventh (7th) *seal.
The *Lamb then opened the seventh (7th) *seal. All the many sounds in heaven stopped. There was a sudden pause. There was complete silence. It lasted for about half an hour.
Verse 2 There was a silence in heaven when the *Lord broke the seventh *seal. In the seventh *seal were the events called ‘the 7 *trumpets’. In the seventh *trumpet, there were the events called ‘the 7 bowls’.
After that silence, John looked. He saw the 7 *angels. These *angels were a special group. They stood in the holy place, ready to serve God. Each of these received a *trumpet. These *trumpets bring the anger of God to the earth.
Verse 3 An *angel came and he stood at the *altar. He was not one of the 7. He had much *incense, which he added to the prayers of God’s people.
The prayers of his people are important to God. He hears them and he answers them.
Verse 4 The sweet smell of the *incense and the prayers rose up to God. God received the prayers of his people. He would answer their cry.
Verse 5 The prayers had risen to God. Then the *angel took the empty bowl. He filled it with fire. Then he threw it to the earth. There were powerful effects in the sky. And the earth shook. The fire and the effects showed that God was angry. He was angry about people’s evil deeds. He was angry that they refused to obey him. He was angry that they would not accept his love. So, he would now act against the earth.
Verse 6 All was ready for the *angels to sound the *trumpets.
The first four *trumpets affect a third of nature.
Verse 7 The first *trumpet.
When the first *angel sounded his *trumpet, there was a great storm. The storm appeared in heaven. The skies were as red as blood. Then the storm poured down on the earth. There was *hail, fire and blood.
The effects of the *hail and fire were terrible. The fire burned a third of the land. All the trees and other plants on that land died.
Verses 8-9 The second *trumpet.
The second *angel sounded his *trumpet. John saw what looked like a huge mountain. It burned with fire. As it burned, it fell into the sea. The effect of this was to make the sea red. A third of the sea became blood.
Then all that lived in that third of the sea died. All the ships on that part of the sea sank.
Verses 10-11 The third *trumpet.
Then the third *angel sounded his *trumpet. A third of the fresh water on the earth became bitter. The cause was a huge star, which fell to earth. Its name was *Wormwood. Many people who drank this bitter water died.
Verse 12 The fourth (4th) *trumpet.
At the sound of the fourth *trumpet, something struck the sun. The result was darkness for a third of the day. The same happened to the moon and the stars. Their light did not shine for a third of the night.
Verse 13 The effects of the first four *trumpets were terrible. But the effects of the last three would be even worse. The *eagle warned that the last three *trumpets would bring awful trouble. The first four affected only part of the world. The last three would affect all the people on earth.
Verse 1 The fifth (5th) trumpet.
John saw a star. It had just fallen from the sky. The star came to the earth.
The star had fallen. This fact shows us that something terrible had happened. Stars belong in the sky. They should not fall. Isaiah uses a similar description in Isaiah 14:12-15. Isaiah seems to be referring to the events when the devil decided to oppose God.
This ‘star’ was really a person or an evil *angel. (In fact, John explains who the ‘star’ was in verse 11.) The ‘star’ had received a key. This key shows that the ‘star’ had authority. The key could open the hole, whose depth has no end. This is a description of hell.
Verse 2 This person (called the ‘star’) opened the door to the hole. Great clouds of smoke came out of the hole. As the smoke rose, it made the sky black. The light of the sun could not shine through the cloud.
The hole was the place where evil devils lived. They were in prison. The *angels who fell went there. It was a terrible place. The *Lord will send *Satan there when Jesus comes back again.
Verse 3 Out of the smoke, there came strange animals that seemed like *locusts. There was a great mass of them. *Locusts are insects. They fly together like great clouds. They destroy all the crops that they can find.
These *locusts were like *scorpions in the way that they sting. *Scorpions are insects that have poison in their tails. It is painful when they sting with their tails.
Verse 4 Unlike natural *locusts, these *locusts did not eat the grass or the trees. They must not damage any plants. But they had power to hurt people. However, these *locusts could not kill anyone. But the *locusts had to sting all those who did not have God’s mark on them.
These *locusts were evil. They came from the place of evil devils. But God would not allow them to hurt his people. God is in control. He sets limits on the power of evil things. Evil things cannot do anything that God does not permit them to do.
Verse 5 The *locusts came to hurt people. For a period of five months, they stung the people. The stings caused terrible pain. The pain was like a *scorpion sting. There was no way to ease the pain. But the *locusts could not kill.
Verse 6 The pain was so bad that people wanted to die. Death would be a freedom from the pain. They wished for death but it did not happen.
Verse 7 John tried to describe these *locusts. He says that they were like horses. They were as horses that were ready for battle. They were like a fierce army that was ready for war.
On the head of each *locust was something that seemed like a crown of gold. These were not the crowns of kings. Rather they showed that the *locusts were strong. They were able to overcome people.
The faces of the *locusts were like human faces. They were as clever as people are. They were not like insects or animals. They were from the devil and they were cruel.
Verse 8 They had long hair, which covered their heads. Their hair was like that of women. Women had long hair in the time when John wrote.
Their teeth were like lion’s teeth. They were strong and fierce. When a lion shows its teeth, people are afraid. The sight of these *locusts frightened the people.
Verse 9 There was no way to kill these *locusts. What seemed to be iron shirts protected them. No sword or arrow could cut the shirts.
As they flew, they made a terrible noise. The sound was like the sound of a great army. The sound was like many horses and carts during a battle. The sound frightened people.
Verse 10 They did not bite with their teeth. They had tails that sting. They were like the tails of *scorpions. The effect of a *scorpion sting is painful. So, these *locusts were able to hurt people. But the *Lord allowed them to do this for only 5 months.
Verse 11 The army of *locusts had a king. He was the *angel of the great hole. This *angel was not a servant of God. In fact, this *angel was a servant of the devil. Or perhaps, he was the devil himself. This evil *angel was the leader of the *locusts. He led them as a king leads his army.
His name in the *Hebrew language was Abaddon. He was the ruler of the world of the wicked devils. In the *Greek language, his name is Apollyon. His name means ‘the destroyer’.
Verse 12 This was only the first of the three troubles. There were two more *trumpets still to come.
Verse 13 The sixth (6th) *trumpet.
When the sixth (6th) *angel sounded his *trumpet, John heard a voice. It came from the gold *altar.
Verse 14 There were four (4) *angels at the river Euphrates. They had control over a vast army from the east. Until now, that army could not cross the river. The voice told the *angel with the sixth *trumpet to free the four *angels.
We think that these four *angels were evil *angels. They wanted to send the army across the river. But God would not let them do it. They could not do their evil work until the time had come.
Verse 15 The four *angels were ready for the task that God would give them. They had to wait until the exact moment that God had chosen. They could not do anything until the exact time in God’s plan. Then they would lead their army to kill a third of the people.
Verse 16 At the time that John was writing, an army of this size was not possible. Since that time, there has been an increase in the number of people on earth. There could now be an army of this size east of the river Euphrates.
Such an army would spread out as far as the eye could see.
Verse 17 John describes what he saw. This vast army was of riders on horses. Each soldier wore an iron shirt. The colour of these shirts was red, dark blue and yellow. These matched the fire, the smoke and the *sulphur. (*Sulphur is yellow. When it burns, the smoke is blue. But the flames are red.)
The horses were not normal horses. Their heads were like lion’s heads. They were fierce and cruel. Fire, smoke and *sulphur came from their mouths.
Verse 18 The riders did not kill people. The horses killed a third of the people. They breathed out fire with smoke and *sulphur.
Verse 19 The power of the horses to kill was in their mouths. But like the *locusts, they had power to hurt in their tails. The tails were like snakes and they had heads. The horses could bite with their tails. When they did, it was like the bite of poisonous snakes. These bites were painful but they did not kill.
Verse 20 God’s purpose in these troubles was that people should *repent. The awful things that happened should have caused them to turn to God. But the people still did not *repent. They still trusted in the things that they had made rather than in God.
The people chose things that they made from gold, silver, metal and wood to be their gods. These gods have no life in them. They cannot hear or do anything. They cannot help and they are not useful. But people turn to these and not toward God.
Verse 21 The people did not *repent of all the evil things that they had done.
Verse 1 John saw a great *angel come down from heaven. It seemed that a cloud covered him like a coat. There was a rainbow above his head. But his face shone with a bright light like the sun. The impression of his legs was like fire.
Verse 2 There was a little book in the left hand of the *angel. This book was open so that people could read it.
The *angel came down to earth. He was a very large *angel. He put one foot on the land and the other foot on the sea. By this, he showed that he had great authority.
Verse 3 When the *angel spoke, his voice was like the loud roar of a lion. At his call, the 7 *thunders answered. The 7 *thunders seemed to speak words. John heard the *thunders. And he understood what they said.
Verse 4 John kept a record of all that he saw. He wrote what he heard. He listened to the *thunders. Then he started to write down their words. But a voice from heaven stopped him. What the *thunders said must remain a secret. The message that they gave was for John alone.
Verses 5-6 The *angel raised his right hand to heaven. By this, he shows that his promise is sure. God in heaven is witness to it. The *angel makes the promise in front of God.
He describes God. God is the God who always exists. He will always be alive. God alone has life and he alone can give life. He made the heavens, the earth and the sea. God is greater than all and he is the ruler of all. He has the power to do all that he has said. The future will be as God has said. The *prophecies that are in this book will happen.
Here is the *angel’s promise. There will be no further delay. The final phase of history has come.
Verse 7 The seventh (7th) *trumpet will sound. In those days, God will finish his hidden plan. This will be the last struggle of evil things against goodness. It will be the last efforts of *Satan to defeat the purposes of God. But *Satan will not succeed. And this time will also be the last chance for people to turn from their *sins.
God has shown some of his plan to the *prophets. His plan for the end times is in the *scroll (Revelation 1:19 and chapter 5). This book of the Revelation tells what is in that *scroll. Some of it remains secret, for example what the *thunders said. And we do not yet understand many things that God has said.
Verse 8 The voice that John heard in verse 4 spoke to him again. He told John to go to the *angel and to take the little book from him. The *angel was still standing with one foot on the sea and the other one on the land.
Verses 9-10 John went to the *angel and asked for the book. The *angel told him to take it and to eat it. John took the little book and ate it. As the *angel had said, the book tasted as sweet as honey. But in his stomach, it tasted bitter.
It was as if John was feeling the effect of the word of God. Afterwards, he would be able to *prophesy. So, he ate the little book. The book contained the message that John had to tell.
We do not know what was in the little book. It was most likely a message to God’s people on the earth. It was like something sweet because the words came from God. But it was like something bitter because it told about troubles to come. God’s people would overcome in the end. But before that, people would suffer and there would be much pain.
The message that there would be no more delay was a pleasant (or sweet) message. The end for God’s people will be pleasant. But the time before that end would be unpleasant (bitter) for God’s people.
Verse 11 Once more, John must *prophesy. He must show what is yet to happen. The end was not yet but it would come soon. The days of the seventh (7th) *trumpet were ready to begin. This was a message to all the people in the world.
Verse 1 An *angel gave John a stick that he could use to measure. It was like the ruler that an architect uses to measure land. The *angel told John to measure the *temple and the *altar. John had to count those who *worship in the *temple. God would protect the area that John was measuring.
There is now no *temple in Jerusalem. The *Roman army destroyed it in the year AD 70 (that is, about 70 years after Jesus’ birth). But maybe there will be a new *temple in Jerusalem. John must measure that *temple.
Verse 2 The outer area of the *temple was for the nations. The nations were those who did not *worship God. They will have control of the outer area. And they will control Jerusalem (called the ‘holy city’) for 42 months. For that time, God would allow them to do this. He would not protect the city or the outer area.
The rule of the nations over Jerusalem lasts for 42 months. At the end of that period, they will not rule Jerusalem. Daniel speaks about a 7-year period (Daniel 9:27). These 42 months are the second half of that 7-year period. After the end of this time the *Lord Jesus will come. He will rescue the city and he will rule over it.
Verse 3 God will send two men to speak for him. John does not tell us who these two witnesses are. Many Bible teachers say that these men are Moses and Elijah. Some teachers say that they are Enoch and Elijah. But we cannot be sure who they are.
These two men will wear rough clothes. This is to show that they are serious. What they have to say is important. They tell about God’s anger against the *sins of the people.
In *prophecy, a month is 30 days. The 1260 days here are the same period as the 42 months in verse 2. They are the last half of the 7-year period before Jesus comes.
Verse 4 Zechariah saw two *olive trees and a lamp holder (Zechariah 4:1-7). Zechariah asked an *angel what these meant. In his reply, this is what the *angel said. ‘Not by force, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the *Lord of armies.’
The *olive trees provide the oil for the lamps. The oil burns in the lamps in order to give light. So, God has given the power of his Spirit to work by these two men.
Verses 5-6 These two verses show the strange power that these men had. Many people wanted to hurt them but none could. Those who tried died. Fire came from the mouths of the two men. Elijah had called down fire from heaven to kill two bands of soldiers (2 Kings 1:10-12).
Like Elijah, these men could stop the rain (1 Kings 17:1). They did this for the period of 42 months. Like Moses, they could turn water into blood (Exodus 7:14-18). God had given to them more power than he gave to any of the *prophets. They could use this power as often as they wanted. They had the power to hurt people and to cause damage on the earth.
Verse 7 These two men finished the task that God gave to them. Then the evil *beast came up from the deep hole (see 9:1-11). This *beast may mean *Satan. He fought against them and he killed them.
Verse 8 The two men had worked in the city called Jerusalem. It was there that the *Lord Jesus died. When *Satan killed the two men, their bodies remained in the street.
Sodom was a very evil place. Egypt was the place where God’s people were slaves. So, the great city had become like Sodom and Egypt.
Verse 9 The bodies were in the street for three and a half days. Crowds of people came to see them. People came from all over the world. Nobody could remove the bodies to bury them.
Verse 10 The people had been afraid of the two men. They did not like what these men had said. What they had done caused so much trouble.
Now the men were dead. News of their death went all round the earth. The news made the people happy. They had parties and they sent presents to each other.
Verse 11 The people were only happy for a short time. After three and a half days, God raised the two men from death. He breathed new life into them. They stood up on their feet. All who saw it were afraid.
Verse 12 A loud voice from heaven called to the two witnesses. ‘Come up here’, the voice said. The two men rose up from the ground. They disappeared from view in a cloud. And they went up to heaven.
Their enemies saw this happen. They had been happy but now they were afraid. They saw the men come alive again. They saw them go up into heaven.
Verse 13 The two witnesses went up to heaven. At the same time, there was a great *earthquake. A tenth (10th) part of the city called Jerusalem fell. As a result 7000 people died.
There was a connection between the *earthquake and the two men as they went up to heaven. By this God showed that they were his servants. He had sent them and he rescued them. The people could see that this was so. They knew that both events showed the power of God. They had to give *glory to God.
This does not mean that the people turned from their *sin. It does not mean that they turned to God for him to save them. But they had to recognise that he is the God of heaven.
Verse 14 The second of three times of trouble had ended. The third and last one would come soon.
Verse 15 The seventh (7th) *trumpet.
As the seventh *trumpet sounded, John was in heaven. There he heard loud voices. They declared that all the earth now belonged to God and to Christ. God had defeated all who were against him. The whole earth was now part of his *kingdom. God will rule as king and his government will never end.
Verse 16 The voices declared that the *Lord is king. The *elders fell down in *worship.
Verse 17 They sang a song of thanks to God. God was before all things. He made all things. He will always be. He had no beginning and he will have no end. All power belongs to him.
By his great power, God will begin his rule of the earth. The *Lord must still fight the final battles. But the result is sure. God will overcome all who oppose him. The *kingdom of earth will belong to God the king.
Verse 18 The nations and their rulers had been angry against God. They had refused to accept him as *Lord. They fought against him and they killed his servants.
The time had come for God to deal with them. God’s fierce anger would frighten them. He would punish all who opposed him.
The time had come for God to punish or to reward all who have died. He will reward his servants. These are the *prophets and his people.
Verse 19 In heaven, the doors to the *temple opened. The box that held the agreement was inside the *temple. All that God had promised to do he will do for his people. He will reward all those who believed in him. Even in the times of trouble, God’s people can be confident that he will save them.
Then there was a storm on the earth. There were flashes of lightning and loud *thunder. It rained large blocks of ice. The earth trembled because of an *earthquake.
Verses 1-2 The events that follow the seventh (7th) *trumpet include the 7 last troubles. These are in chapters 15 and 16. In chapters 12 to 14, John wrote about events that happen before those troubles.
John saw a great sign in the sky. In other words, he saw a series of strange pictures. And these pictures had a meaning.
The action was in the sky and on the earth. It was not in heaven where God lives. John saw a woman who was ready to give birth to a son. John described her in a strange way. He wrote that her dress was the sun. The moon was beneath her feet. She wore a crown. And there were 12 stars in her crown.
Joseph had a dream (Genesis 37:9-11). In that dream, he saw the sun, the moon and 11 stars. The sun meant Jacob who was also called *Israel. The moon meant Jacob’s wife. The stars meant Joseph’s brothers. The 12 *tribes of *Israel came from Joseph and his brothers. So, the woman whom John saw meant the nation called *Israel.
The woman cried out because of the pains of birth. The Christ would be born into the nation called *Israel.
Verse 3 The next sign that John saw was a great red *dragon. The *dragon had 7 heads and 10 *horns. Each head had a crown on it. This is a description of the last great world government. It will be a *kingdom that unites 10 separate *kingdoms (Daniel 7:7-8; Daniel 7:24). At the same time, the *dragon means someone in particular. The person who gives power to that *kingdom is *Satan. So, the great red *dragon means *Satan.
Verse 4 John saw the tail of the *dragon sweep the sky. A third of the stars seemed to fall out of the sky. These stars seem to mean *angels. When *Satan became God’s enemy, many *angels supported *Satan. These evil *angels had to leave heaven.
The *dragon waited to kill the child as soon as it was born. When Jesus was born, Herod tried to kill him. This *dragon also failed.
Verse 5 The baby boy was born to the woman. That boy was Jesus. He was born to Mary who belonged to the nation called *Israel. But the woman whom John saw was not Mary. The woman in John’s *prophecy meant the *Jews who believed in the *Lord.
The *Lord Jesus Christ will rule on earth as the king over all the nations. He will be a strong ruler. All people will have to obey him. He will be strict with any who do not obey him.
God sent Jesus with his parents to Egypt. So, Herod failed to kill him. Later Jesus died but God raised him from death. Then, after Jesus rose from death, he went up in a cloud into heaven. He went up to God and to his *throne.
The evil plan of *Satan failed. Jesus defeated *Satan. And Jesus went up to God’s *throne in heaven.
Verse 6 During the last three and a half years, *Satan will try to kill all the *Jews. But God will protect those *Jews who believe in him. He has prepared for them a place of safety.
Verses 7-8 There was a war in heaven. *Satan (the *dragon) and his *angels were on the one side. Michael and his *angels were on the other side.
*Satan used to be an *angel. He had tried to be equal with God. But *Satan failed and so he had to leave heaven. He took with him those *angels who had supported him. But, *Satan was still able to go in and out of heaven. So, this event is his final battle in heaven.
Michael is one of the chief *angels of God. Michael fought against *Satan and defeated him. *Satan and his forces failed in the fight. They could not stay in heaven and they had to leave.
Verse 9 The *dragon means *Satan. He is the devil. He was also the snake that caused people to *sin (Genesis 3:1-7).
Michael threw *Satan and his *angels out of heaven. He threw them down to the earth.
Verse 10 John saw *Satan and his *angels fall from heaven. Then John heard a loud voice in heaven. The voice said that now God would rescue his people. God will use his power and his *kingdom will come. Jesus Christ will soon rule the earth. He will rule on this earth for a thousand years (chapter 20).
Now *Satan could not go to God in heaven. From the start, he had been there day and night.
All the time he accused God’s people of *sin. But now the *Lord threw him out of heaven.
Verse 11 The defeat of *Satan was not merely the work of *angels. Jesus died and he rose again from death. This is how Jesus defeated *Satan.
Those who believed in Jesus Christ overcame *Satan. The blood of the *Lamb had removed all their *sins. So, *Satan had no reason to continue to accuse them. They spoke the truth about God and *Satan had no answer to it. They were willing to die if necessary and they were not afraid of death.
Those who believe in Jesus Christ share in his success. What Jesus achieved, he did for God’s people. This is the defeat of *Satan.
Verse 12 The war in heaven has ended. *Satan has failed. The *Lord has sent *Satan away. Those who live in heaven can be happy.
The *Lord threw the devil down onto the earth. The devil will know that his end is near. He will have a short time when he will continue to work on the earth. He will be angry, fierce and cruel. During this short time, it will be terrible for those who live on the earth.
This short time means the same three and a half years as in verse 6. At the end of that time, Christ will arrest *Satan. Chains will bind *Satan and he will remain in the great hole for a thousand (1000) years.
Verse 13 The *dragon could not kill the child. God threw the *dragon (*Satan) out of heaven. So, the *dragon turned his attention to the woman. He tried to kill her.
The woman means the true *Jews. They are the *Jews who trust in God. *Satan will oppose them. But God will protect them.
Verse 14 God gave to the woman a pair of wings. They were like the wings of a great *eagle. The *eagle is a very powerful bird. With these wings, the woman escaped from the *dragon.
The *Lord had prepared a place for the woman. It was in the desert. She flew there and she was safe. The *Lord protected her for three and a half years. The *dragon had just three and a half years before Christ would arrest him. The woman was safe for the whole of that period.
This means that the *Lord protects his own people. So, the *Lord will protect until the end the *Jews who trust in him.
The *dragon tried to reach the woman. But he was not able to hurt her.
Verses 15-16 As the woman flew to the desert, the *dragon opened his mouth. He sent a great flood of water after her. If the water had reached her, she would have drowned. But the earth opened up and it swallowed the water. So, the water could not reach the woman. She was safe from the flood.
The devil will pour out all his evil deeds against the *Jews. He will do all that he can to kill all of them. But God will not allow him to succeed. God has promised to rescue his people (called *Israel) in the last days. And God will do the things that he promised to do. God will save *Israel.
Verse 17 The *dragon was angry because he could not reach the woman. So, he went to fight her other children.
Christ came from the *Jews. He, the Son of God, was by birth a *Jew. Those who believed in him did not become *Jews. The children of the woman were both *Jews and those who were not *Jews.
The *dragon could not hurt the *Jews. So, he attacked God’s people who were not *Jews.
God’s people will suffer terrible problems for those three and a half years. Those who believe in Jesus will suffer much. Many of them will die because they believe in Jesus. It will be a terrible time.
Verse 18 The *dragon stood by the sea. He would call up another *beast from the sea. On behalf of the *dragon, this new *beast would lead the fight against God’s people.
Verse 1 John saw a *beast rise out of the sea. In the ancient world, people often thought of the sea as a place where evil things belonged. So, this awful *beast came from the place of evil things.
People also used the sea as a description for the mass of the peoples. This *beast rises from among people to become greater than them. This *beast is actually an evil man.
The *beast had 10 *horns and 7 heads. The 10 *horns are like those of the fourth (4th) *beast in the Book of Daniel (Daniel 7:7). There the 10 *horns mean 10 kings. The 10 kings rise out of the fourth (4th) *kingdom. The 7 heads also mean 7 kings (Revelation 17:10). (This means that the *beast was such a great ruler that he controlled many other kings.) Each *horn has a crown. Each head has a name that insults God.
This *beast was an agent of the *dragon (*Satan) to fight against God’s people.
This *beast was the head of the fourth (4th) *kingdom in Daniel. That *kingdom is the last great *kingdom on earth before Christ comes to rule.
Verse 2 Daniel saw four (4) *beasts (Daniel chapter 7). The first one was like a lion with wings. The second one was like a bear with three bones in its mouth. The third one was like a *leopard but it had 4 heads and 4 wings. The fourth (4th) *beast was terrible and strong. It had iron teeth and many *horns. Each of these *beasts meant a *kingdom that would fight against God’s people.
The *beast that John saw was the ruler of that fourth *kingdom. This *kingdom had all that was bad in the other three. It fought against God’s people and it killed many of them.
The *beast set himself up as the ruler of the world. He opposed Christ and God’s people. He was against God. He was *Satan’s answer to Christ. He was the man of *sin and he was called the *Antichrist (1 John 2:18).
The *dragon (*Satan) gave his own power to this *beast. The *beast was a man whom *Satan possessed.
Verse 3 One of the *beast’s 7 heads had an injury. But the *beast did not die because of it. He lived and he became famous. The whole world went after the *beast. He became the most powerful man on earth.
The heads seem to mean kings that the *beast controls. The injury should have caused the *beast to die. But the *beast had Satan’s power. And the *beast’s power astonished everyone. This was why the people followed him.
Verse 4 To the people of the earth, the *beast was like a god. He was so strong. Nobody could fight against him. They *worshipped him. They recognised that the power of the *beast came from the *dragon. So, they *worshipped the *dragon (*Satan) instead of God.
Verse 5 The *beast spoke great things. And he insulted God. The *beast did this with the authority of *Satan. God allowed him to do this but only for 42 months. This is the same three and a half years as in previous verses (11:2-3; 12:6). At the end of that time, the *Lord Jesus will come. Jesus will bind *Satan and the *beast.
God allowed the *beast to rule. The *beast could only do what God permitted. God set the boundaries of his rule.
Verse 6 The *apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. ‘This man will oppose God. In fact, this man will oppose everything that people call God. This man will oppose all that they *worship. He will say that he is more powerful than any god. He will even sit in the *temple of God. He will say that he is God.’ (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
The *beast insulted God and all who belong to God. The name of God means all that God is.
Verse 7 The *beast fought against God’s people. He killed many of them. He seemed to achieve what he aimed to do. He defeated God’s people on the earth. But they will go into heaven to be with the *Lord.
He had power over all the earth. The people of the earth accepted him as the leader of the world. But his power came from the *dragon. And God allowed him to use that power for just a short time.
Verse 8 The people of the whole world joined in *worship of the *beast. But those who trusted in God did not *worship the *beast. God has written their names in the book of life.
The idea of the book of life is that God keeps a record of his people. God has a register of the names of those who trust him. God sees the end of things before they start. Therefore, he knew who would trust him. He recorded their names before he made the world.
The book of life belongs to the *Lamb (Jesus). It is because of his death that *eternal life is possible. We can have *eternal life only because of the *Lord Jesus.
Verse 9 It was important that God’s people should listen. They would hear what would come. Then what the *beast would do would not surprise them.
Verse 10 During those three and a half years, God’s people will suffer. Many of them will go to prison. The people of the *Antichrist will kill many more of them. It is certain that this will happen. Although this is so, God’s people must be strong. They must continue to trust in God. They must suffer with patience. God knows what will happen. When those days have ended, he will save all his people.
Verse 11 The *beast who came out of the earth was the false *prophet. He had two *horns like a *lamb. He gave the impression that he was gentle like a *lamb. When he spoke, he was like a *dragon. He was clever with lies. He could easily persuade people to do what he wanted them to do.
Jesus warned about false *prophets. He said, ‘They seem as gentle as sheep when they come to you. But inside they behave like wild animals.’ (Matthew 7:15).
The evil team of three was complete: the *dragon (*Satan), the *beast (*Antichrist) and the false *prophet. Christ received his power from the Father (Matthew 11:27). So, *Antichrist received his power from the *dragon. The Holy Spirit is the agent on behalf of Christ (John 16:14). So, the false *prophet is the agent for *Antichrist (Revelation 13:12).
Verse 12 The *dragon (*Satan) gave power to the first *beast (*Antichrist). The second *beast (the false *prophet) has power from the first one. He does what the *Antichrist desires. He was like a *prophet who served his god.
His purpose was to make all the people *worship the *Antichrist. The *Antichrist had a bad injury and seemed to have died. But he lived again.
Verse 13 The false *prophet did all kinds of magic acts. He even made fire come down out of the skies. All the people could see the fire. These deeds caused people to believe the false *prophet.
Verse 14 He used the powers that he had for the benefit of the *Antichrist. He did many great deeds that astonished the people. They believed the lies of the false *prophet.
Those who trusted God did not believe the false *prophet. They knew that the false *prophet’s words were lies.
The false *prophet told the people to make an image of *Antichrist. And the people obeyed him. They made an image of the first *beast. This was the *beast that had a sword injury. He should have died. But he lived again.
Verse 15 The false *prophet was able to make the image of *Antichrist to come alive. This was powerful magic. But the power came from *Satan. And the image could even speak. It demanded that all people should *worship it. It ordered the death of any person who refused to *worship the *beast.
This is all part of the struggle between *Antichrist and Christ, between *Satan and God.
Verses 16-17 The false *prophet made an order that all people must accept a mark. Each person must have the mark either on the right hand or on the front of the head. It did not matter who they were. Every person must have the mark.
The mark was the name of *Antichrist or the number of that name. Sometimes people used numbers instead of letters for a name. This method was called ‘gematria’. We do not know how they calculated a name. A number was equal to the name of *Antichrist. That number was the mark.
Any people who did not have that mark could not trade. They could not buy from the shops. They could not sell anything. Normal life would not be possible for them.
The only people who refused to have the mark were those who trusted God. They would rather die than have the mark of *Antichrist. They remained loyal to Christ even if they had to die for it.
The mark showed that the person trusted *Antichrist rather than Christ.
Verse 18 The number of the name of the person is 666. This seems to be a puzzle. The number has a meaning. And that meaning is the name of the *beast. That *beast means the man called *Antichrist. An intelligent person should calculate what his real name is. He should work out the name from the number.
Perhaps one day an intelligent person will be able to find the answer. We do not yet know who the *Antichrist will be.
In the first letter of John, we read this. ‘You have heard that the *Antichrist is coming. Even now many *antichrists have come’ (1 John 2:18). Before the *Antichrist comes, there will be many *antichrists. Some had already come at the time when John was writing. There have been many *antichrists since then. Some are working in the world today. They are people who oppose Christ. They try to destroy all that Christ has done. They are the enemies of the *church and of Christians. The *antichrists have the same evil purpose as we will see in the *Antichrist. They hate the *Lord Jesus Christ. They hate all those who belong to him.
Verse 1 Then John saw the *Lamb standing on the hill called Zion. The 144 000 *Jews were with the *Lamb. These all believed in Jesus their *Messiah. They were from all the 12 *tribes of the *Jews.
These *Jews had the mark of God on them (Revelation 7:4). That mark was the name of the *Lamb and of the Father. Since they had received the mark, the *Lord had protected them. Not one of them had been lost.
The hill called Zion was the hill where the city called Jerusalem stood. But here the hill called Zion is not the one on the earth. It is the place of the city of God in heaven.
Verses 2-3 John heard a wonderful sound, which came out of heaven. It was loud, like the sound of a great river or of *thunder. But it was sweet music, like the sound of *harps. He heard a new song. The singers were there in front of the *throne. They were in front of the four *creatures and the *elders.
John does not say who the singers were. But it seems that they were the 144 000. God had rescued them from the earth. They sing a new song that only they can learn.
Verse 4 The *Lord had selected these men for a task (Revelation 7:3). They would serve God on earth during the final years before Christ returns. In order to concentrate on that service they did not have sex.
They did what the *Lamb said. They obeyed him and they were loyal to him. They were his agents on the earth. They believed in Christ and they belonged to God and the *Lamb.
They gave themselves to God. From their work, many more came to know the *Lord. The 144 000 were like the first ones of that number.
Verse 5 During all the troubles of those times, they always spoke the truth. They lived good lives. Nobody could blame them for anything that was wrong.
Verse 6 John saw the first of three *angels. The angel was flying in the sky above the earth. The *angel came to tell people about the plans of God. God said that his people should have *eternal life. This is good news to all who believe God’s words. And they will serve God. The *angel made certain that all the peoples of the earth heard him. Every person had the opportunity to hear the good news.
The *angel called all people to *repent while there was time. This was their last chance. Soon it would be too late.
Verse 7 This is the message that the *angel brought. All people must be afraid of God and everyone must give him honour. They must respect him as the *Lord of all. They must know that he is the God of all power.
The people were surprised at the power of the *beast. But God is so much more powerful than the *beast. And God will be the judge of each person. The time had almost come when he would do this. Those who oppose God cannot expect a happy future.
God made the heavens and the earth. He made the seas and the rivers. God made the whole world, and it belongs to him. So, all people ought to *worship him. They should turn to God and they should serve him alone.
Verse 8 Then the second *angel declared that Babylon had fallen. Babylon was a great city in the ancient region called Mesopotamia. It had been the capital of the *kingdom called Babylon. It was an evil place of luxury and *sin. Worse than that, it was the great enemy of God’s people.
The name Babylon here means the centre (most important place) of all on earth that opposed the real God. It was the centre of all false beliefs. It was the centre of the world’s religion and commerce.
God destroyed the city called Babylon, because it was the centre of such evil practices. But all the nations of the world had become like Babylon. So, all the nations will suffer the same fate as Babylon. God is angry with them and he will destroy them.
Verses 9-10 Then a third *angel came. And he spoke to those who had the mark of the *beast.
The *beast would try to kill those who had not received his mark. But those who had received the mark of the *beast would have a worse fate. They will suffer the anger of God. He will punish them with pains that will never end. When God punished the cities called Sodom and Gomorrah, he burned them with *sulphur (Genesis 19:28). The pains of those who have the mark of the *beast will be like that. This will be the fate of those who denied Christ.
The fire and *sulphur is a description of the place of punishment. God will send the *Antichrist and the false *prophet there. All who follow the *beast (*Antichrist) will go there as well.
The *Lamb and his *angels will see them suffer.
Verse 11 For those who refuse the love of God their punishment will never end. They chose evil ways rather than good ways. They will receive evil things and not good rewards. Their end is to be without God. That place is hell where the fire never stops (Mark 9:44).
Verse 12 God’s people may suffer much here on earth. But the terrible pain of those who do not believe will be far worse. God’s people must be patient and they must trust God. It would be foolish to lose their confidence in the *Lord. Their troubles would soon be over and they will live with God.
Verse 13 Death is not the end. All who believe in God will rise again from death. God will raise them up to live in a place of rest and happiness. The Holy Spirit agrees that this is so. This is true about all God’s people. But verse 13 is mainly about people who die because of their *faith in Jesus. God will make sure that they receive their reward. Their lives on this earth were hard. But God has prepared a place where they will be content.
Verse 14 After the three *angels had gone, John saw a white cloud. A person sat on the cloud. He was like a son of man. The phrase ‘like a son of man’ means that this was Christ (Revelation 1:13; Daniel 7:13).
Christ wore a gold crown on his head. This showed that he had overcome his enemies. He had the power to do what he came to do. Like someone who harvests crops, he had a sharp tool in his hand. This means that Christ will be the judge of all people.
Verses 15-16 An *angel came out from the *temple in heaven. God sent him with a message to the Son of Man. The *angel said with a loud voice, ‘The time has come. The harvest of the earth is ripe and ready. Go and gather it.’
This message meant that the time of the end had come. The *Lord would rescue his own people. But he would punish the rest of the people.
The evil deeds of the people on the earth could not grow worse. The *Lord had to deal with it. So, Christ gathered the wicked people as someone harvests a crop. The account of this event is in chapters 19 to 20.
Verses 17-18 God sent two more *angels. They came from the *temple and the *altar. The first one had a sharp tool for the harvest. The other one had command over the fire.
Fire destroys what remains after the harvest. God sent the *angels to punish the people on the earth.
The *angel of fire shouted to the other *angel. He told him to use his sharp tool. The *grapes were ripe. They were ready for harvest.
The *grapes meant the evil people whom the *Lord would punish. They had refused Christ and they followed *Antichrist.
Verses 19-20 When people make wine, they put the ripe *grapes in large buckets. Then they step on the *grapes until all the juice comes out. They use the juice to make the wine that they drink.
The *angel with his sharp tool harvested the *grapes of the whole earth. He threw them into a large bucket. Then God squeezed the *grapes as men step on natural *grapes. But these *grapes meant the people with whom God was angry. So, in fact, John was describing the deaths of these people. This is why John saw blood flow from the *grapes instead of juice.
This was an awful thing. John tried to show us how terrible it was. A deep river of blood flowed from the people. It was about five feet deep and flowed for 200 miles. God was very angry. He punished and he killed all those wicked people.
It was outside the city where Jesus died. God punished this vast crowd of people outside the city. That city was Jerusalem.
Verse 1 What John saw next was great and wonderful. He saw in heaven 7 *angels. These *angels controlled the 7 last troubles that came upon the world. These will be times of awful trouble and pain, because God will be angry. God will be angry because people refused to accept his love. God will be angry because people became very wicked. And God will be angry because people *worshipped the *beast and his image instead of God.
These last troubles will bring the anger of God to an end.
This does not mean that God’s anger has finished. He still has to punish the devil. And he still has to throw the *beast and the false *prophet into the lake of fire. But it does mean that this will be the final act of God’s anger on the earth.
These 7 troubles will be the last ones. When they have finished, Christ will return to the earth.
Verse 2 John again sees a glass sea (Revelation 4:6). This sea seems to be glass, but it glows like fire. It was a solid sea rather than like water. A large crowd stood on the sea.
The crowd was of all those who had defeated the *beast and its image. They did not *worship the *beast. They did not have the mark of the *beast. That mark was the number of the name of the *beast. God gave to them *harps in order to make music. They held these *harps in their hands.
Verses 3-4 They sang a song of praise to God. They sang about the wonderful things that God had done. They sang the song that Moses had sung. It was a song about how God saved *Israel from Egypt (Exodus 15:1-18). They sang about the way that the *Lamb had saved them.
They praised God because he is all-powerful. God fixed limits on the power of the *beast. God had control over all things. They praised God because he had been with them during the troubles. Now God had brought them to safety in heaven. They declared that all God’s deeds are right and perfect. He is the king of the ages. He rules all things through time and beyond time.
In the end, all who remain will be afraid of God. They will give honour to him. Nobody will *worship another god because there is no other. He is the one and only holy God.
This song is about the time after God deals with the *beast. The nations will then see what God has done. God as the judge will punish the workers of evil deeds. People from all the nations will *worship God.
Each phrase in the song comes from the Psalms or the *prophets of the *Old Testament.
Verses 5-6 Then John saw the *temple in heaven. In the *temple was the most holy place. It was open and 7 *angels came out of it. The *angels came from God. They would bring the final awful troubles to the earth.
Verse 7 Each of the 7 *angels received a gold bowl from one of the *creatures. These bowls contained the 7 last troubles. In other words, each trouble would happen when the *angels poured out each bowl. These troubles were the anger of God. This means that the troubles were the result of God’s anger.
Verse 8 As the *angels received the bowls, smoke filled the *temple. This smoke was from the *glory and power of God. This smoke showed that God was present in his *temple. Because of the smoke, nobody could enter the *temple. Nobody could stop the awful troubles that God sent on the earth.
Verse 1 God did not allow anybody to enter the *temple in heaven at this time (15:8). The voice that John heard came from the *temple. It was loud. And it had great authority. It was the voice of God.
God told the 7 *angels to go and to empty the bowls on the earth. The bowls contained the anger of God. In other words, the people would know how angry God was because of the bowls. When each *angel poured each bowl, there would be terrible troubles on the earth. It was as if the bowls contained the actual troubles.
The *angels went and they poured out their bowls. They went one after another with no time between them.
Verse 2 The *angel poured out the first bowl of the anger of God. Those who had the mark of the *beast suffered much pain. They had terrible sores on their skin.
At the end of time, all people will have to be loyal either to the *beast or to Christ. The anger of God is against those loyal to the *beast.
Verse 3 The next *angel poured his bowl over the sea. The water became like blood. Nothing that depended on the sea could live. All that was in the sea died.
Verse 4 The third *angel poured his bowl on the fresh water. All the rivers and streams became blood. The water was not good to drink. It was bitter to the taste and full of poison.
Verses 5-6 The *angel who had power over the water spoke to God. He first declared who God is. He is the holy God and there is none like him. He is the living God and he always was. He is perfect. And all that he does is right.
God was right to send all these troubles onto the earth. The people deserved them all. They had killed so many of God’s people. They had killed the *prophets that God had sent to them.
The blood of the *Lord’s people had flowed when the evil people killed them. Now God gave to the evil people blood to drink. God was right to do so and they deserved it.
Verse 7 John heard a voice from the *altar in heaven. This voice agreed with the *angel. The *Lord God is the God of all power. He is the judge of the people. He is right to punish them as he did. They were evil people and they were guilty of many crimes.
Verses 8-9 With the contents of the fourth bowl, the heat of the sun increased. It became so hot that it burned people.
The people knew that these troubles came from God. God sent them to warn the people. They should have turned from their *sin and they should have cried out to God. They should have praised God who had such power. Instead, they cursed God. They did not turn from their *sin. They did not praise God.
Verse 10 The *throne of the *beast means all that he ruled. The whole of his *kingdom became dark. There was no light. The dark was completely black. The darkness made the people’s pains feel much worse. So, the people bit their tongues because of the pain.
Verse 11 They had terrible pain, but the people would not turn from their *sin. They knew that God ruled in heaven. But, they would not call out for God to help them. They would not praise him or serve him as their God. They cursed God because of all that they suffered.
Verse 12 The River Euphrates was the boundary of the land that God promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:18). This big river became dry. This made it easy for those who would come from the east to cross over it. The kings of the east were ready for war. They would come across the river for the great final battle.
Verse 13 John saw three *demons. They came out of the mouths of the *dragon, the *beast and the false *prophet. The *dragon was the devil and *Satan (Revelation 12:9). The *beast was the *Antichrist that came out of the sea (Revelation 13:1-10). The false *prophet was the second *beast that came out of the earth (Revelation 13:11-17).
Verse 14 These *demons went to all the kings of the earth. By their astonishing deeds, they were able to persuade the kings to come together. The kings brought their armies to fight against the *Lord. On the day, which God had fixed, there will be the final great battle. The armies of the world will fight against the forces of God.
Verse 15 The forces of the devil will gather for the final battle. Then, when they do not expect him, Jesus will come.
The *Lord says that he will come like a thief. Paul wrote that the day of the *Lord would come like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2). Nobody knows when he will come. He will come but it will be a surprise to all the people.
Those who trust in the *Lord must be ready for this great event. The *Lord describes them like soldiers before the command to go into a battle. Such a soldier has his clothes ready for the battle. And he has his sword ready to put on. So, God’s people must prepare themselves for Jesus to come. They must expect him and they must be ready for him.
Those who are not ready will be ashamed. They will be like soldiers with no clothes to protect them. Or, like soldiers without any weapons (arms) to fight their enemy.
Verse 16 Armageddon or Megiddo is a place in *Israel. There is a large plain there. There have been many battles in that area.
The *demons brought the kings of the earth to this place. There they made their armies ready to fight against the *Lord. John tells about this battle in chapter 19.
The armies will spread out over a large area. But the centre will be in or near Megiddo.
Verse 17 The seventh (7th) *angel poured out his bowl of God’s anger into the air. This is the last one. The voice of God came from the *throne in the *temple of heaven. With a loud voice, God shouts that the end has come. With this bowl, he will complete his acts of anger on the earth.
Verse 18 At the sound of God’s voice, the air and the earth seemed to explode. There were flashes of lightning. There were loud crashes of *thunder in the skies. And the most powerful *earthquake shook the earth. There had not been such a terrible *earthquake since God made the earth.
Verse 19 This great *earthquake shook the whole world. There had been no *earthquake as powerful as this since the world began. Cities all over the world fell and the important city split into three. All the nations on earth suffered the effects of this great *earthquake.
The important city that split into three seems to mean Babylon. Babylon was a city on the Euphrates. It was the heart (most important place) of evil practices. Babylon may become powerful again, and perhaps this verse refers to it. But it is more likely that the name Babylon describes another wicked city. This city will be the most important city for religion and trade. Some people believe that Rome will be that city at the time of the end. It was the greatest city in the world at the time when John wrote the Book of Revelation. It would have been dangerous for him to name it then.
God poured out his anger on Babylon as someone would pour out wine. God was so angry that he destroyed that great city.
John writes about the *ruin of Babylon in the next two chapters.
Verse 20 Islands sank into the sea. Mountains fell down and disappeared. That *earthquake changed the whole surface of the earth.
Verse 21 The storm of God’s anger caused *hailstones to fall from the sky. These were like great blocks of ice. Some weighed nearly 100 pounds (45 kilos). Even this did not persuade people to turn to God. Instead, they cursed God for the terrible storm.
The next event after this will be when Christ comes from heaven (Revelation 19:11). The next two and a half chapters give more detail of the events that have just happened.
Verse 1 One of the *angels invited John to see how God would punish Babylon. Here he describes that great city as an evil woman. She is like a woman who sells her body for sex.
Babylon has two meanings in this passage. Babylon means the power that has always been against God. This power has ruled the *kingdoms of the earth through the whole of history. But Babylon also means the city that will be the most important city in the *kingdom of *Antichrist.
This woman sells her body for sex. By this, she makes what is good to be wicked. God gave sex for a good purpose. But such women use it for wrong purposes. John writes this to describe the character of Babylon. The important city had used everything that was good for bad purposes. All the wicked things that the city did were for power and luxury.
The city controlled many rivers. The rivers meant the nations. Babylon had control over the nations of the world. It led the false religions of the world. From the start, it fought against God’s people.
Verse 2 Babylon showed other nations how to behave in the same evil ways. The kings of the earth shared trade and culture with Babylon. With Babylon, they desired wealth, luxury and false gods. So, the importance of Babylon increased. And Babylon caused the nations to *worship the *beast.
The wicked ways of Babylon spread through the whole earth. It was as if the people had drunk too much wine. They became unable to turn from their evil deeds. Babylon’s false religion had become their religion too. They had joined in the *sins of Babylon. And these *sins were against God. So, the nations of the world could not avoid Babylon’s control.
Verse 3 Next, the Spirit showed a desert to John. This desert is not a place of safety as it was for the good woman in an earlier chapter (Revelation 12:6, 14). For this evil woman, it is the place where she will suffer.
There she sat on a bright red *beast. That *beast was the one that came from the sea (Revelation 13:1). That *beast meant the evil ruler of the last great *kingdom on earth. He was the *Antichrist. He was the great enemy of Christ and God’s people (see Revelation 13:2).
The *beast pretended that he was as good as the *Lord Jesus. The *beast even pretended to be God. On his body were names that were an insult to the real God. He had 7 heads and 10 *horns.
Verses 4-5 The clothes of the woman were purple and bright red. When John wrote, it cost a lot of money to make the colours of purple and red. To wear these clothes meant that she was rich. She wore all kinds of precious things to show her wealth.
The gold cup in her hand was full of awful and evil things. People think that such things will satisfy them. But in the end, such things will ruin those who chose them.
She had a name on her head. That name had a secret meaning. John could understand that secret name. The woman meant the great city called Babylon. And Babylon meant the principal city that the *Antichrist ruled.
So, Babylon means the evil cause that leads people away from the real God. Because of Babylon, people follow *sinful behaviour that will ruin them.
Many people followed the wicked ways of people in Babylon. So, Babylon was like a mother; and these people were like her children. These people spread the evil ways of Babylon to every part of the world.
Verse 6 The woman was like those who drink too much wine. But the cause was not wine. She had drunk the blood of God’s people. This means that Babylon had been responsible for the death of a great number of God’s people. These people had died because they remained loyal to Jesus.
John saw this woman, who was wealthy and successful. She sat on a terrible *beast. John looked at her and he was surprised.
Verse 7 The *angel then told John that he would explain about the woman and the *beast.
Verse 8 The *beast used to be alive. When John wrote, the *beast was not still alive. But the *beast would come soon. John saw that *beast come (Revelation 13:1-4). There the *beast actually came out of the sea. But it had come from *Satan (the *dragon). *Satan was the *beast that came from the great hole (Revelation 11:7). But this *beast (the *Antichrist) came from *Satan. So, the *Antichrist did come from the hole whose depth has no end. In fact, the *beast means both *Antichrist and the *kingdoms over which he has power.
The *Lord will punish the *beast. He will throw the *beast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).
When the *beast comes, he will be most impressive. People across the world will see him. And he will astonish them. They will trust him and they will serve him. The names of these people are not in the book of life.
There is a book of life. God has written in it the names of his people. God wrote that book before he made the world (Revelation 3:5; 13:8). And God’s people will not believe the lies of the *Antichrist. So, they will not serve the *Antichrist.
Verse 9 John will explain the secret of the woman and the *beast. What he wrote is not easy to understand. We can partly understand it. But to understand it will need special wisdom from God.
In the time of John, Rome was the principal city in the world. It was a city on 7 hills. But perhaps John was not writing about Rome itself. John was writing about the city that will come in the future.
The great city, Babylon, will be on 7 hills. The evil woman controlled the 7 hills. She had power over all that the 7 hills meant.
Verse 10 The heads or hills meant seven (7) kings. The word ‘king’ meant also the *kingdom over which the kings ruled. The 7 hills meant 7 *kingdoms. Five (5) of these *kingdoms were past. They had fallen. At the time of John, there was the sixth (6th) kingdom. The sixth (6th) *kingdom out of the 7 was Rome.
After Rome, there will come the last of the seven (7) *kingdoms. That *kingdom has yet to come. When it comes, it will last for only a short time. This will be the *kingdom that *Antichrist rules.
The same evil power that controlled Babylon also controlled each of these *kingdoms.
Verse 11 The *beast is the eighth king. But he is also one of the seven. The *beast was not alive when John wrote. The *beast had been alive and he will come again.
He is not just a human ruler by whom the evil power works. He is that evil power. But, that power will come as a man. He will be *Antichrist. He will rule among the 7 and will be the eighth (8th).
This *kingdom will not last long. The time of *Antichrist will be even shorter. The *Lord will punish him. The *Lord will throw him into the lake of fire.
Verse 12 There will be ten (10) kings. These kings have not yet begun to rule. They will form a union, which will be the seventh *kingdom. They will rule with the *beast over the nations of the world. But they will have power for only a short time.
Verse 13 The ten kings give their power to the *beast. This *beast will be the most powerful man on earth. He will be *Antichrist. He will rule over the kings and the nations of the earth.
Verse 14 Here is the final war. *Antichrist and the ten kings will fight against the *Lamb. The *Lamb means the *Lord Jesus Christ. Christ and God’s people will win this war (Revelation 19:11-21). This battle will be at Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).
Christ is the *Lord over all *lords. He is the king who is more powerful than all kings. Nobody is as strong as Christ.
God’s people will follow Christ their leader. God chose them to be his people. And they have remained loyal to the *Lamb.
Verse 15 John had seen the woman. She was like a city that controls many rivers (Revelation 17:1). The *angel now explains the meaning of the rivers. The rivers mean the people of the earth. Rivers do not remain separate. Instead, the waters flow into the sea. There, the waters mix together. So, Babylon’s evil charm has spread across the whole earth. All the nations and peoples follow the wicked ways of Babylon.
Verse 16 The woman meant the principal city that the *beast ruled. And the 10 kings supported the beast completely. But then a strange thing happened. There was a war among the evil forces. *Antichrist and the ten kings turned against the woman. They hated her.
They destroyed the proud city called Babylon. They took away all that was of value. And they tore Babylon apart. They left nothing. They completely ruined Babylon.
Verse 17 The *beast hated Babylon. But this was God’s plan in order to punish Babylon. The kings gave their power to the *beast. But even this was in the plan of God. God even works by means of evil men to achieve his plans.
God is in control. His plans will succeed because he is the only real God.
Verse 18 The woman meant the great city called Babylon. And Babylon meant the evil power that ruled over the *kingdoms of the earth. Because of Babylon’s power, the people had followed an evil false religion. And Babylon had fought against God’s people.
Verse 1 This chapter is in the style of a song at the funeral of Babylon. Of course, Babylon was a city and there would not normally be a funeral for a city. But the end of Babylon will be very sudden. People will feel as if someone important has died. They will speak about Babylon in the same manner as people speak about a great queen.
The song is in three parts. In the first 8 verses, it describes the *ruin of Babylon. And the song tells God’s people to leave Babylon. In verses 9 to 20, three groups of people cry and are sad because of the *ruin of Babylon. These are the kings, the merchants and the sailors. The third part describes the *ruin of Babylon (verses 21-24).
An *angel came down from heaven. He came with great authority from God. As he came, he shone with a great light. That light was so bright that it lit up the whole world.
Verse 2 With a strong voice, the *angel shouted the news. His voice was so loud that all people on the earth could hear him. He declared that Babylon had fallen. That great city was now in *ruins. Nothing remained there and nobody could still live there.
Evil spirits of all kinds lived in the *ruins. It became the home of all kinds of nasty birds. Perhaps these birds were eating the dead bodies of people who used to live there.
Verse 3 The reason for the *ruin of Babylon is her *sin. Babylon was like an evil queen who caused the nations, the kings and the merchants to *sin. She attracted the nations to share in her *sins. The kings of the earth joined her in her evil ways. The merchants made a profit and they became rich by their trade with her.
Verse 4 The word from God calls to his people. They must come out of the city. They must run from the fate of the city. They must escape while they have the chance. They must not involve themselves in the evil deeds that are round about them.
Verse 5 The *sins of Babylon are like a vast pile, which reaches up to the sky. God knows all that she has done. He will punish her for all her evil actions.
Verse 6 Babylon is like a woman who deserves a terrible punishment. And the voice from heaven now speaks to those who must destroy Babylon. They must do to her as she had done. They must give back to her double the trouble for all that she has done. They must punish her with twice the pain that she had caused. To give back double the amount means that the payment will be complete. The cup that she must now drink means the anger of God.
Verses 7-8 The voice from heaven continues to describe Babylon as if she were a woman. This woman was proud and she made herself great. In her *sin, she had lived a life of luxury. She saw herself as the most powerful woman in the world.
Her pain will be terrible because she was so proud. God is against all who are proud. They raise themselves up but God will bring them down.
The evil woman thought that she was safe. She had ruled as queen in the *kingdoms of the earth. She had never had to suffer the loss of a husband. Nothing could go wrong to make her sad. But God will punish her.
God will ruin the city called Babylon. There will be disease and hunger. And fire from God will destroy Babylon. There will remain nothing except for *ruins.
God will destroy all that the woman and the city called Babylon mean. God alone has all power and he is a fair judge. So, he will punish Babylon.
Verses 9 to 20 are the second part of the song. Here are three groups of people whom the loss of Babylon affects. They are the kings, the merchants and the sailors.
Verses 9-10 The kings of the world had shared sex with the woman. This means that Babylon’s evil ways had spread through their *kingdoms. Because of Babylon, they had *worshipped the *beast. They had lived with Babylon in luxury and *sin. They had turned from God and become his enemies. They had fought against God’s people.
The fire will destroy Babylon and the kings will see the smoke. It will be as if the woman called Babylon will die in the flames. As they see this, the kings will weep. They will be sad but they will not try to help Babylon. They just stand at a great distance.
They know that God punished Babylon because of *sin. Babylon was so strong but the end came in only one hour. God had destroyed that great city. One hour means that this will happen quickly and in a short period.
These kings were worried. They could see what God did to Babylon. They were afraid that they would share the same fate. They could suffer as Babylon had suffered.
Verse 11 The merchants weep for Babylon. They did not really care about the city. They will weep aloud because they have lost trade and profit. They know that this will mean the loss of their wealth.
Verses 12-13 The merchants sold a great variety of things to Babylon. In the list, there are all kinds of things that show the wealth and luxury of life in Babylon.
Verse 14 All this rich trade had gone. It will never be the same again. Babylon will not recover and nobody will ever buy such things again.
Verses 15-17a (Verse 17a means the first part of verse 17.) The merchants were wealthy because of their trade with Babylon. But in such a short time, the great city was in *ruins. They were afraid and they kept a long way off. They weep because they have lost their trade.
They saw the city as their customer to whom they sold many things. The city was like a beautiful woman who wore fine clothes. She had excess riches, which she wore. The merchants cry out. It is terrible that such a thing should have happened. In one hour, she lost all her wealth.
Verses 17b-18 (Verse 17b means the last part of verse 17.) Fire burned in Babylon and destroyed the city. The sailors and those who travel by ship could see the smoke. What they saw was a shock to them. And they cried out aloud. They said that there has never been a city as great as Babylon.
Verse 19 They were very sad to see what had happened. It was awful that the great city had gone. Babylon had traded much and the people from Babylon travelled. So, those who owned the ships had become wealthy. But now all that had ended. God had destroyed the great city. It all happened so quickly. It was sudden and they had not expected it.
Verse 20 This part of the song ends with joy in heaven. God the judge has found Babylon guilty of many crimes. Babylon has been an enemy of God’s people. Babylon opposed them. Babylon fought against them. And Babylon was responsible for the deaths of many of them. God has punished Babylon for its evil deeds.
Verse 21 This is the third part of the song and it describes the *ruin of Babylon (verses 21-24).
A strong *angel took a huge stone. Then, he threw it into the sea. The stone sank quickly in the water with a great splash. It had gone below the surface and nobody will see it again.
With such force, God will destroy Babylon. It was a great city but in a moment, its end will come. Nobody will ever see that city again.
Verses 22-23 The passage describes some effects of the end of Babylon. All that people enjoyed has gone. There is no music. There is only silence in the streets of the city.
The sounds of the skilled workers have stopped. They have all gone. There is no sound from the mills. They do not produce flour. There is no more food in the city. Normal life will not be possible. There is no light in the houses. All is in darkness. There will be no happy events like weddings. Nothing will remain.
The merchants had been great because of their wealth. They had lived in luxury. This is one reason for the *ruin of the city.
All the nations had believed the lies of Babylon. They all followed Babylon’s evil ways. This is a second reason for the *ruin of the city.
Verse 24 Here is the main reason for the *ruin of Babylon. Babylon was guilty of the deaths of many of God’s people. People all over the world died because they did not *worship the *beast. Babylon fought against God. So, God punished Babylon severely.
Verses 1 God had destroyed Babylon. Then John heard a large crowd in heaven. They shouted aloud their praise to God. They praised God for *salvation. He had rescued them. And he had taken them to be with him in heaven. God had achieved it all, and all the *glory belonged to him. God had shown his power. He had defeated all who were against him. God alone deserves all honour and praise.
Verse 2 God always does what is right. He was right to punish Babylon. Babylon deserved its punishment.
All through history, Babylon (and everything that Babylon means) had caused people to *sin against God. Babylon had drawn people away from God. Babylon had made evil things seem so attractive.
Babylon had caused the deaths of many servants of God. So, Babylon was guilty of their murder. God destroyed Babylon because Babylon had killed his servants.
Verse 3 Again, the vast crowd in heaven shouted. They praised God. They praised him because the *ruin of Babylon was final. Babylon could never rise again. Nobody would rebuild Babylon. The smoke, which was still rising from the flames, proves it. Babylon has gone and it will never exist again.
Verse 4 The *elders and the four *creatures praised God for all that he had done. They fell down to show him honour. And they *worshipped him.
Verse 5 Then a voice called out from the *throne of God. It called to everyone who served the *Lord. It called them all to join in the *praise of our God. All who respect God should praise him. Important people should praise him. And everyone else should praise him too. All God’s people on earth and in heaven will shout their *praises to God.
Verse 6 God’s people answered the voice that told them to praise God. The sound of their *praise was loud. It was as loud as the sound of water in a flood. It was loud like the sound of *thunder.
God had now destroyed all the power of evil things. God has always controlled history. But he allowed other people to rule for a time. Now God had begun to rule as king over all.
The *Lord is our God. He is the God who has all power. He has control. And now he would rule over all things.
Verse 7 The song of *praise continues. It is time to be glad and happy. Praise God for who he is! Praise him for all that he has done!
The wedding of the *Lamb has come. The bride of Christ is ready for the marriage. She has prepared herself for him. The bride means the true *church. So, this is a description of the unity of Christ and the *church.
When John wrote, marriage was in two parts. The first part was the agreement to be married. When the man and the woman made their agreement, they became husband and wife. But until the actual wedding, they did not live together and they did not have sex. The second part was the wedding itself. The bridegroom went to the house of the bride. He then took her back to his own house. There they had a great meal and they were married.
The *church is like the bride of Christ. She belongs to him now. But the *church waits for the *Lord Jesus to come. He will take her and they will be together. In that day, the marriage of Christ and the *church will be complete. It will then be like a great wedding meal.
The *church has made herself ready as a bride does for her wedding. Jesus loved the *church. He gave himself for her by his death. His purpose was to remove all *sin and to make her clean. So, the *church would be fit to live with him (Ephesians 5:25-27). The *Lord has done it all. But, the *church must be active. She must put into effect what Jesus has done for her. In this, she makes herself ready for him.
Verse 8 The bride (the *church) must make herself ready. But she cannot get her beautiful clothes for herself. God must give them to her as a gift. The dress for the wedding is of bright white cloth.
Although the dress is a gift, there must also be action by the bride. The cloth means the good deeds that she has done. She has not earned her *salvation. But she has obeyed the *Lord. And she has done what is right.
Verse 9 The *angel told John to write. Nobody can earn the right to go to the wedding meal. Only those whom God invites can go. Those whom he invites will be happy. This is what God has said. All that God says is true.
Verse 10 The *angel so impressed John that he (John) fell down to *worship him (the *angel). But the *angel told him not to do it. Such *worship would be wrong. *Angels are servants of God. Christians are also servants of God. We should only *worship God.
Christians believe that Jesus taught the truth. They follow what Jesus said.
The purpose of *prophecy is to show who Jesus is. So, Christ is the main subject of *prophecy. The Holy Spirit speaks about him and about things that will happen in the future.
Verse 11 Heaven opens and there is a white horse. The description of the rider tells us who will win the last battle. The rider will fight the last war. He will bring to an end this present age. He is the *Lord Jesus Christ.
In this verse, the name that he has is ‘Loyal and True’. He is right to fight against his enemies. He will be the judge of all who are on the earth.
Verse 12 The eyes of the rider shine like flames of fire. The rider’s eyes are special in this description, because the *Lord sees all things. Nobody can hide anything from him.
He has many crowns on his head. This means that Christ is the ruler over all other kings. He has all authority in heaven and on the earth.
The rider also has a name that only he knows. It is a secret name. We can know the *Lord but there will always be more to know. He is so much more than we shall ever be able to understand.
Verse 13 In this strange description, blood covers the clothes of Christ. It is the blood of his enemies. As Christ goes into the battle, blood splashes his clothes.
The *Lord Jesus has the names ‘Loyal and True’. He also has a secret name. But here his name is the Word of God. In the *gospel of John, ‘the Word’ means Jesus. Jesus was with God in the beginning of time. He is God.
Verse 14 The armies that follow Christ are on white horses. They wear white and clean clothes. This shows that they also win the war. But Christ wins the battle and they follow him.
Verse 15 The rider on the white horse has a sharp sword. It seems to come from his mouth. This description shows us the power of his words. They are like a sword that cuts his enemies to pieces. He will speak and, by his words, he will defeat the nations. Christ overcomes all by the words of his power. This is what Isaiah the *prophet said. ‘He will strike the earth with the bar of his mouth. With the breath of his lips, he will kill the wicked people.’ (Isaiah 11:4).
He will rule the nations like a *shepherd with an iron stick. An iron stick is strong and it will not bend. So, Christ will be strict when he rules the nations. He will punish all who do not obey him. (See Psalm 2:9.)
He will press his enemies as one presses *grapes. To make wine, one squeezes the *grapes until the juice flows out. So, with the anger of God, Christ will kill his enemies.
Verse 16 The rider is the King of kings and the *Lord of *lords. The *Lord Jesus is the king over all the nations. There is nobody on earth or in heaven like him. He alone has all power and he alone rules over all.
Verses 17-18 Christ and his army are ready to fight in the final battle. An *angel appears in the sun. He knows the result of the battle. Christ will defeat all the armies that come against him.
There will be many dead bodies on the ground. So, the *angel calls out with a loud voice to the birds. He calls to the birds that fly high in the sky. These birds feed on meat. He calls them to come and eat. This is the great supper of God for the birds. It is called the supper of God because God provides the food.
The ranks of the enemy include all kinds of men. Among the dead persons, there will be kings, officers and their armies. The horses and those who rode them will be dead. The bodies will include free people and slaves. All of these will be food for the birds to eat.
Verse 19 John saw the two sides. They were preparing to fight. On one side was the *beast (the *Antichrist). The kings of the earth and their armies were with him. On the other side were Christ and his army.
The place of the battle will be Armageddon. The *demons had already called the kings to that place (Revelation 16:16).
Verse 20 This battle is the defeat of *Antichrist by the real Christ. The *Lord took hold of the *beast (*Antichrist) and the false *prophet. He threw them alive into the lake of fire. A fire that burns with *sulphur is extremely hot. And *sulphur burns with an awful smell. This is a description of a terrible place of pain and trouble. Those who are there will always suffer.
This false *prophet had power from the *beast. The false *prophet forced all who live on the earth to *worship the *beast. And the false *prophet did great acts of power. He made fire come down out of heaven to earth. By these acts, he caused the people who lived on earth to believe lies. He ordered that all people must receive a mark. This mark was on their hands or on the front of their heads. Everyone, famous and unimportant people, rich and poor people, free people and slaves had to have the mark. That mark was the name of the *beast or the number of that name.
Verse 21 The Word of God (Christ) defeated the armies of *Antichrist. He killed all the soldiers with the sword of his mouth (that is, by his word). Their dead bodies lay on the ground as the *angel had said. The birds came. And they ate as much of the dead bodies as they could.
Verse 1 An *angel came down from heaven. He had a key and a great chain in his hands. The key was to open the entrance of the hole whose depth has no end. This hole is a description of the place where *demons live. They have to wait there for the time when God will punish them.
This is a description, but it describes real things. There can be no key for a hole. And nobody can bind a *demon with a chain. But the meaning is that the *angel has control of that place. The *angel will be able to bind *Satan during that time. *Satan will not be able to work on earth for those 1000 years.
Verses 2-3 The *angel seized the *dragon and bound him with the chain. The *dragon means the devil and his name is *Satan. That chain will bind him for 1000 years. He will not be able to do anything during that time. He will have no power whatever.
The *angel threw *Satan into the hole and locked the door. The *angel made certain that nobody could open it. *Satan had to remain there during the 1000 years. He will not be able to affect the nations during that time.
At the end of the 1000 years, *Satan will be free for a short period.
Verse 4 Many people died because they would not *worship the *beast. They had refused to give honour to the image of the *beast. They had not received the mark of the *beast. They had obeyed the *Lord Jesus. They believed and they spoke the word of God. God made these people alive again. They sat on thrones.
These are not the only ones who will sit on *thrones. Some Christians who had not died for their *faith will rule the nations with Christ. The *Lord has promised this honour to those who overcome (Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21). Many people believe that all real Christians will receive this honour. Everyone who is a real Christian overcomes the devil. But they do not overcome the devil because of their own efforts. They overcome the devil because they trust Christ.
Christ will rule the earth for 1000 years. Those who sit on the *thrones will rule with him. They will be the judges of the nations. They will live on earth for the whole 1000 years.
Verse 5 These who rule in the 1000 years, God has made alive. Nobody else will live again until the end of the 1000 years. Then God will raise all of them from death and they will live. Then, he will be the judge of all people.
Verse 6 God has been kind to those whom he raises at the start of the 1000 years. They will not suffer the second death. The second death means the lake of fire. They are safe and they will live with the *Lord always. God will be the judge of the rest of the people after the 1000 years. Only those who have trusted the *Lord to save them from their *sins will be safe. They will always live with the *Lord. But many people have not trusted the *Lord. And they will suffer in the lake of fire. In other words, they will die the second death.
These whom God raises for the 1000 years will be his priests. They will know and serve God and the *Lord Jesus here on the earth. They will rule as kings with Christ.
Verses 7-8 At this time, Christ had ruled the earth for 1000 years. But the character of people had not changed. When he is free from his prison, *Satan works his evil deeds again. He lies to the nations. They believe what he says. He causes them to come against Christ and his people.
The armies come ready for war from nations all over the world. These nations are called Gog and Magog. Gog and Magog were countries far from the north of *Israel. But here these names mean all the nations of the world that will oppose God.
There are so many soldiers that nobody can count them.
Verse 9 All the armies joined as one great army. This great army came and surrounded the city of Christ. That city is Jerusalem. God’s people were there and God loved that city.
As the army attacked, God sent fire from heaven. He destroyed the whole army.
Verse 10 *Satan was responsible for this war by his lies. The *Lord did not kill him with the fire from heaven. Instead, the *Lord threw him into the lake of fire. *Antichrist and the false *prophet were already there. They will suffer in that awful place. The pain and trouble that they have there will never end.
Verse 11 John saw a great white *throne. And God, who has all power, sat on that *throne. He shone with *glory and power.
Earth and heaven disappeared. They seemed to run away from that *glory and power. So, the earth and the sky as we know them did not still exist. Isaiah had said that the skies would vanish like smoke. And the earth would wear out like clothes (Isaiah 51:6). Peter writes that heaven and the earth will burn up with fire (2 Peter 3:10-12). The old earth and sky have to go before the new earth and sky can come. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. *Sin spoiled the old earth. The new earth will be perfect.
Verse 12 Then every person who had died stood in front of the *throne. All people from Adam to the end of time were there. This may not include those whom God raised at the start of the 1000 years. But all the rest were there. Nobody was too important to be there and nobody was too unimportant.
There, God was the judge of each person. The record of each person’s life was in front of God. And God knew all that person’s acts, words and thoughts.
There was another book in front of God. This is the book of life. These two books had all the evidence that God needed. So, he decided what the future should be for each person.
Verse 13 John makes it clear that all people were there. Those who died at sea were there. All who were in the world of dead people were there. Everyone who had died was there in front of the *throne. The full account of all that each had done was there. On that record, God gave his judgement.
Verse 14 The *Jews understood that dead persons went to Hades. God threw that place and death itself into the lake of fire. The second death is the lake of fire. That lake of fire continues and it never ends. Those who go there will exist in it. They will be with *Satan, *Antichrist and the false *prophet who will be there already.
Verse 15 Those whose names were in the book of life did not go into the lake of fire. These are God’s people. These people believe in Christ. They believe in the real God. They do not suffer any punishment because Jesus Christ has taken all their *sins. He suffered on their behalf and God accepts them because of the *Lord Jesus.
For those who do not suffer in the lake of fire, there is no more death. God has destroyed death, the last enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). God has raised them to life without end. That life is with God and with the *Lord Jesus Christ.
Those who are not in the book of life will go to the lake of fire.
Verse 1 A new heaven replaced the old heaven. A new earth replaced the old earth. The old heaven and earth will not still exist.
There will be no sea. The sea covers much of this old earth. The new earth will be very different from the old earth. But the new earth will be a better place for people to live.
The future of God’s people is to live on the new earth.
Verse 2 John did not only see a new heaven and a new earth. He saw a city that came down from heaven. This was the New Jerusalem.
This city is the Jerusalem that is above (Galatians 4:26). God designed it and God built it (Hebrews 11:10). It is the city of God. It will come down out of heaven from God (see Revelation 3:12).
The New Jerusalem is where God’s people will live. And God himself will live there with them.
John saw that the city was beautiful. It reminded him of a lovely bride. It was like a bride who is coming to her wedding.
Verse 3 God himself will live with his people in the New Jerusalem. He will always be there with his people. They will come from every *tribe, language, people, and nation.
God lives in his *church now. God’s people are like a *temple where he lives. But we know God only by *faith. We do not see him now. But in the New Jerusalem, his people will see him. They will know him in a new way.
Verse 4 There will be no *sin there. The *Lord will remove all the effects of sin. The *Lord Jesus has defeated death. So nobody will ever die. There will be no reason to cry. There will be no more pain. Death and pain belonged to the old world. That world and all these things will not still exist. Nobody will weep or cry in the new world.
There will be happiness, joy and pleasure.
Verse 5 John had seen something of the new heaven and earth. Now God tells John that he is making all things new. What John has seen will really happen. ‘See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. You will not remember the former things, nor will they come to mind’ (Isaiah 65:17).
God then told John to write this. What God has said is true. All that he said will happen. We can be sure about everything that God has said.
Verse 6 God told John that he had done all these things. To us, all these things are still in the future. John saw things as they will be after the 1000 years. He saw beyond the great white *throne where God will be the judge of all people.
We cannot see the future because it has not happened. But God is in the past, the present and the future. He sees the future as if it were the past. He is the beginning and the end.
God will give water to those who desire to drink. This phrase describes those who look for the truth. God gives them life in Christ. This life is the gift of God. Nobody can earn or buy this life.
Verse 7 Those who overcome will eat the fruit of the tree of life (Revelation 2:7). The second death cannot hurt them (Revelation 2:11). God will give them some of the hidden *manna. They will receive a white stone with a new name on it (Revelation 2:17). They will rule the nations (Revelation 2:26). Their names will be in the book of life (Revelation 3:5). They will be like columns in the *temple of God (Revelation 3:12). They will sit with Christ on his *throne (Revelation 3:21).
More than all these things, God says, ‘I will be their God. They will be my children.’
Verse 8 The list in this verse is of some people who will suffer the second death. These people refused to believe Jesus. So, they could not benefit from what Jesus has done. They have to pay the price for their own *sins. The second death is the lake of fire.
Paul wrote that wicked people would have no part in the *kingdom of God. He writes a list of some of those who are wicked people. He then says ‘some of you were like this.’ (See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.) So, the people of God may have done such things. But God has *forgiven them. He has removed their *sins from them. They have trusted the *Lord Jesus Christ. He has paid for all their *sins by his death. So, their home will be with God in the New Jerusalem.
Verse 9 The bride of the *Lamb means the *church. The bride of the *Lamb is also called the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem includes all God’s people. The *Lamb has joined them to himself in the same way that a man takes a wife. There is unity between them and the *Lamb.
Verse 10 The *angel took John to the top of a high mountain. From there, he could see as the New Jerusalem came down from heaven.
The city is holy because it belongs to God. He designed it and he made it. He sent it to the new earth. It is a gift from God for his people to live there. It is holy because God himself will live there with them.
Verse 11 John tells us what the city is like. He has to use a description that may seem strange to us. He could not describe the city in the languages of this earth. These things are so new to us and they are beyond our experience.
The city came down from heaven. It shone with a bright and special light. The light was the *glory of God.
The light of God shone, as light reflects on a diamond. It glows with the colours of the rainbow. But the light itself is pure white.
Verse 12 There was a great high wall all round the city. There were 12 entrances in the wall. An *angel guarded each gate.
The *tribes of *Israel came from the 12 sons of Jacob. There was the name of one of these *tribes on each gate.
Verse 13 The city was square. There were three gates on each of the four sides.
Verse 14 God built the city walls on 12 strong bases. On each of these bases was the name of one of the 12 *apostles.
There were the names of the 12 *tribes on the gates. And there were the names of the 12 *apostles on the bases. These 24 names include all of God’s people. The first 12 names are on behalf of those of *Israel who served God. And the names of the *apostles are on behalf of the Christians. But all God’s people were there in unity.
Verse 15 The *angel had a gold stick. He measured the city with this stick. He also measured the gates and the wall. The stick was a little more than 10 feet long (3 metres).
Verse 16 The city was square. Each side was about 1500 (2400 kilometres) miles. The height of the city was also 1500 miles.
This is not a city, as we now understand it. The size of the New Jerusalem would not fit into the country of *Israel. We do not have cities as high as they are long and wide. So, this must be a special description. John describes what we cannot know. He cannot describe what he saw in human language. But John gives us impressions of things that we could not imagine.
The city is large because it needs to be large. It is where all God’s people will live.
Verse 17 The *angel measured the walls. They were about 216 feet (65 metres) thick. The scale that people used was the *cubit. A *cubit was a length of about 18 inches (45 centimetres).
Verse 18 The height of the wall was 1500 miles. A wall on this earth would need to be much more than 216 feet wide in order to support that height. But God did not use the materials of this earth when he built this city. The wall was jasper (a precious stone).
The city shone like the sun. The light seemed to shine through it. The whole city was of the most pure gold. John tries to tell us what this magnificent city is like. Here is a wonderful place.
Verses 19-20 The walls had 12 base stones. Each base of stone had a name on it. The names of the 12 *apostles were on them. Now John says that precious stones make the bases beautiful. He makes a list of 12 precious stones, one for each base.
Precious stones have great value and beauty. They are not common. They have many colours and light shines through them.
The description is of a city, which shone like gold. It has walls of jasper. The city rests on a base of 12 precious stones of all colours. It is a perfect and wonderful place. Our words are not enough to describe it properly. But there, God will live with his people.
Verse 21 Each of the 12 gates was a single *pearl. *Pearls were expensive to buy. People who owned *pearls were rich. But the best *pearls on this old earth are small. In the New Jerusalem, John saw *pearls that were immense. These *pearls were large enough to be city gates. The New Jerusalem will be a wealthy place.
The streets of the city were of pure gold. God’s people will be so rich that they walk on gold. This is a wonderful description. It shows the wealth of God that his people will enjoy with him.
Verse 22 In the New Jerusalem there was no *temple. The *temple on this old earth was the place where the priests *worshipped God. But God himself will live with his people in the New Jerusalem. So, there is no need for a *temple. God and the *Lamb replace the *temple.
The *temple was the place where people went to meet with God. In the New Jerusalem, they will live with him. They will not need to go elsewhere in order to meet with him.
Verse 23 Light will shine out from God and from the *Lamb. God’s *glory is more powerful than any light that we now know. So, God’s people will live in the light of God.
Jesus gives light to all the people (John 1:9). He called himself, ‘the light of the world’ (John 8:12). The light of Jesus the *Lamb will be sufficient for the New Jerusalem. There will be no need for the light of the sun or the moon.
Verse 24 God’s people will live in the New Jerusalem. God’s people means both Christians and the *Jews who trust in Jesus the *Messiah. There will be people who live in the rest of the new earth. We do not know who these will be.
The New Jerusalem will be the centre of the whole earth. The *Lord will be the king of the earth. He will be the king over the kings of the nations.
Verse 25 The guards used to close city gates in order to protect the inhabitants from evil people, especially at night. But the gates of the New Jerusalem will never close. Evil things and *sin will not exist in the new earth that God will make. There will be no wicked people. Nobody will do anything that is wrong. There will be no dangerous animals to keep out. So, the gates will always be open.
When cities had gates, they shut the gates at night. There will be no night on the new earth.
Verse 26 People will bring their wealth through the open gates. They will bring honour to the *Lord who lives in the city.
Verse 27 Only those whose names are in the *Lamb’s book of life may come into the city.
God has dealt with all that is not clean (holy) and good. These things will not exist in the new earth. Nobody on the new earth will do awful things or tell lies.
Verse 1 The *angel showed John the river. This river flowed from the *throne of God and of the *Lamb. The river has clear and clean water. The water shone bright as it reflected the light. John calls it the water that gives life.
In John chapter 4, Jesus spoke to a woman at a well. He spoke about the water that he would give. The water that Jesus gives means *eternal life. The water in the river gives that life.
The river flows from the *throne. God and the *Lamb are the source of the river. All life comes from God. He gives *eternal life to those who belong to the *Lamb.
Verse 2 The river flowed through the main street. This is the river of life. Where the river flows, it gives life. This is an essential part of the New Jerusalem.
God made Adam and Eve. He put them in the garden called Eden. The tree that gives life was among the trees in the garden. When Adam *sinned, God did not allow him to eat of this tree (Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22-24). Adam could not have *eternal life in his *sinful state.
The tree that gives life will be in the New Jerusalem. It will be on both sides of the river. God’s people will eat the fruit of that tree. God has removed their *sins. The fruit will be good to eat.
John saw that the tree had plenty of fruit. It had 12 kinds of fruit. It had fresh fruit each month. What God provides is always new. He gives to us more than we ever need. The tree shows how generous God is to his people. They will eat and the food will satisfy them.
The leaves of the tree were for the health of the nations. So, the leaves were like medicine. This shows that there will be no lack of health. The life to come will be plentiful and perfect. The leaves of the tree help all people to enjoy life.
Verse 3 The trouble that *sin brought will not still exist. The *Lord has taken *sin and the effects of *sin away from us. Those who refused his kindness will not be in the new earth.
All who are in the city will be the servants of God and of the *Lamb. God and the *Lamb will rule the earth from their *throne in the city.
Verse 4 God would not allow even Moses to see his face (Exodus 33:20). Nobody could see God and live. But in the New Jerusalem, all will see the face of God. They will know him well. They will know his name. They will live with him and they will *worship him.
God’s people will have the name of God on their heads. The name means the character of God. It is as if each person will reflect the image of God. They will have a perfect character, like Jesus. They will see him as he is (1 John 3:2).
Verse 5 There will be no night there, because God will be always present. The *Lord God provides the light in that place. The new earth will not have days and nights. It will be day all the time (Zechariah 14:7). It seems that people will not still need to sleep.
Those who live in the New Jerusalem will rule as kings with God.
Verse 6 All that John had seen was genuine. He had heard the words of God. Therefore, this *prophecy is true and we must believe it. God had shown things that will happen soon to John. And these things will definitely happen.
It is God who speaks by his Spirit through the *prophets. He sent his *angel to show these things to John. The *Lord told John to write them in this book.
The *Lord does not say when these things will happen. I believe that everything after chapter 4 is still in the future. We are living in the time of the first three chapters.
When these future events start, they will be quick. The final period will be just seven years. Most of the action will be in the last three and a half years. Then will come the 1000 years when Christ will rule on this earth.
Verse 7 Then the *Lord Jesus spoke to John. Jesus said that he was coming soon. He will come to rescue his *church. We do not know when he will come. He could come at any time. When Jesus comes, it will be sudden. The *church must be always ready for the *Lord to come.
The *Lord has given us the *prophecy in this book. He gave it not only for us to know about the future. Also, he wanted us to live now by what the *Lord says. The future must affect how we live now. We must obey the *prophecy in this book.
God will *bless those who obey him. In the end, those who trust Christ will be safe. Their troubles will only last for a short time. Then the *Lord Jesus will take them to live with him always. They will enjoy all that God gives in the new earth.
Verses 8-9 John declares that this was real. He actually heard and he actually saw these things. He did not imagine this *prophecy. It came from the *Lord and not from John himself. The *Lord had sent an *angel to him. The *angel showed him all that he wrote in the book.
John’s reaction was to fall down at the feet of the *angel. John wanted to *worship the *angel. But the *angel told him not to do this.
John and other *prophets are just servants of God. *Angels also serve God. We must not *worship *angels. We must *worship God. And we must only *worship him.
Verse 10 Daniel had to close the words of the *scroll. He had to *seal them until the time of the end (Daniel 12:4, 9). But what John saw he must keep open.
Nothing in this book is secret. The *Lord intends us to read it. He wants us to understand what these things mean.
Since the death of Christ, we are living in the last age. Christ may return at any time. The future events in this book will happen at the end of this age. We cannot know how soon this will be.
Verse 11 There will come a time when it is too late to change. We should believe what this *prophecy says. If not, God has nothing else to say. The person who does wrong will not change. The evil person will still be evil. But now it is not too late. There is yet the opportunity to turn to Christ. People should *repent while there is still time.
For those who do believe this *prophecy, it is good news. They should continue to do the good things that they are already doing. Those who trust in the *Lord must continue to be holy.
Verse 12 Again, Jesus says that he is coming soon. When he comes, he will be the judge. He will test all that people have done. He will punish those who have done evil things. He will reward those who serve him.
Verse 13 Jesus was there before God created all things. He will be there after the old earth and heavens have gone. He is always the same. He is one with God. He is God. ‘The A and the Z’ means the same as in Revelation 1:8.
Verse 14 In the *Old Testament, priests had to wear clean clothes when they served in the *temple. This showed that they were holy. And it showed that they had made themselves ready for their special work for God. In the *New Testament, all real Christians are called priests. We must be holy. And we must be ready for Jesus’ return. So, the ‘clean clothes’ really means that we need to live holy lives. But we cannot make ourselves holy by our own efforts. Only Jesus’ death makes us holy. It is as if the blood of Jesus has washed our clothes clean. But only those who have accepted Christ into their lives will receive the benefits in this book.
Those who have accepted Christ have the right to eat from the tree of life. This means that they will have *eternal life. They will go through the gates of the New Jerusalem. They will live with God and with the *Lamb.
Verse 15 Those who did not accept Christ into their lives will not come into the city. They have not asked Jesus to take away their *sin by his death. So, their *sin is still with them. They will die the second death when God acts as their judge (Revelation 20:14-15).
John gives a list of those who cannot enter the city. There are those who do evil things. There are those who *worship false gods. There are those who do magic by the power of evil spirits. (This is not describing techniques in shows that use only human skill.) And there are all those who *sin. These people have not asked the *Lord to forgive their *sins. And the *Lord has not *forgiven them.
Verse 16 The *angel, who showed John this *prophecy, came from Jesus. The *prophecy is a message to the *churches from the *Lord. The message was for those *churches to which John wrote. But it is also a message for the *churches of all ages. It is a message for the *church today.
God promised to send Jesus long before he was born. He came from the family of David (Isaiah 11:1, 10). Balaam saw a star come out of Judah. The star that he saw meant a ruler of *Israel (Numbers 24:17). Originally, this star meant King David. But David’s special descendant (person born into his family) would be much greater, like a much brighter star. Jesus is that special descendant of King David.
The morning star is a star that only appears at dawn. When we see it, the night is ending. With this star, there comes a new day. So, this star is like a definite promise that the new day is coming. Jesus will come at the end of this age. When he comes, he will bring in the new age.
Verse 17 The Holy Spirit and the bride invite people to come. The bride means the *church. The Holy Spirit works with the *church to bring people to Christ. Christ offers *eternal life to all who will come to him. Those who really want it can come. They can receive it. It is free. It is the gift of God. Nobody can work for or earn *eternal life. Now all can receive it by *faith in the *Lord Jesus. But when Jesus comes, it will be too late.
Verses 18-19 We must not add to this *prophecy. We must not take anything away from it. John has written in this book what the *Lord told him to write. We must not try to change what God has said. God will punish those who add to it. And he will punish those who take away from it.
Verse 20 Jesus tells us again that he is coming soon. John answers this. He desires for the *Lord to come. ‘*Amen, come *Lord Jesus.’ And John expected to see the *Lord come. This is the attitude that we should have. We should desire him to come. We should live as those who expect him to come.
This is the main message of this book. Jesus is coming and we should be ready for him.
Verse 21 John asks the *Lord to *bless those who read this book of *prophecy. They all depend on God’s gift of life.
altar ~ the special table where priests burned animals and other gifts that they offered to God.
amen ~ a word from the Hebrew (*Old Testament) language, which means ‘we agree’. Or, ‘it is true’.
angel ~ a servant of God from heaven. God made angels to serve him and to take his messages. So, angels are God’s servants from heaven. But there are evil angels who opposed God. These evil angels now serve the devil.
Antichrist ~ a powerful ruler who imitates and opposes Christ. The Book of Revelation also describes the Antichrist as ‘the *beast’. The Antichrist hates Christ. The Bible also refers to many antichrists. These are people who hate Christ like the Antichrist.
apostle ~ someone whom God sends; especially one of the 12 men whom Jesus chose to be his helpers.
balance ~ a tool to measure weight.
barley ~ a crop for food, like wheat.
beast ~ an animal. In this Book of Revelation, the beasts describe *Satan, *Antichrist and the false *prophet.
believer ~ a person who believes in Christ.
bless ~ to do good things for a person.
bronze ~ a metal that glows when people put it into a fire. People polish bronze so that it shines in the light. It is a very strong metal.
church ~ a group of Christians. The word ‘church’ has two main meanings. Sometimes the meaning is one church in a particular place; and the Christians who meet there. But sometimes the word ‘church’ means Christians everywhere, especially in the phrase ‘the whole church’.
creation ~ the act of God when he made the world and everything that exists. Or, ‘creation’ may mean everything that God has made.
creatures ~ Things that are alive. In the Book of Revelation, there are 4 special *angels in heaven called creatures.
crystal ~ a precious stone that is transparent, like glass.
cubit ~ a length of about 18 inches (about 45 centimetres).
demons ~ evil *angels that serve the devil.
dragon ~ an evil *creature, a *beast. *Satan is called the *dragon.
eagle ~ a very large and quick bird.
earthquake ~ when the earth shakes, that is an *earthquake.
elders ~ usually they are older men. In the Book of Revelation, they are the 24 people who sit on *thrones in heaven.
eternal life ~ life of a new quality for those who believe in Jesus. This new life is to be with Jesus always.
faith ~ trust in someone or something; belief and trust in God and in Jesus Christ his Son.
fig ~ a sweet fruit that grows on a tree.
flute ~ a musical instrument; it makes a sound when a person blows into it.
forgive ~ to forgive is to remove *sin.
frogs ~ little animals without tails. They have long back legs and they jump.
glory ~ great honour and beauty.
goods ~ possessions; especially the things that a trader sells.
gospel ~ the good news that God saves people from *sin because of Jesus Christ.
grape ~ fruit of a vine (a climbing plant). You can make it into wine.
Greek ~ the original language of the *New Testament.
Hades ~ the place where people go when they die. It is for people who do not believe. They wait there for God’s judgement.
hail ~ when rain comes down as ice.
hailstones ~ the ice drops that fall when it *hails.
harp ~ an instrument of music.
Hebrew ~ the language of the *Jews and of the *Old Testament.
horns ~ the bones that some animals such as goats and male sheep have on their heads.
idols ~ objects that people *worship instead of God.
incense ~ something that gives a sweet smell when it burns. The priests burned it when they praised God in the *temple.
Israel ~ the country of the *Jews.
Israelites ~ *Jewish people; or people who live in *Israel.
Jewish ~ people or things that are from the *Jews.
Jews ~ people who were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the families of their children.
kingdom ~ the place or territory where a king rules.
lamb ~ a young sheep.
Lamb ~ a name for Jesus because he died as a *sacrifice for our *sin. He is the *Lamb of God.
leopard ~ an animal. The *leopard can run very quickly.
locust ~ an insect that eats the crops.
Lord ~ a title for God, or Jesus, to show that he is over all people and things.
lord ~ a title for someone who rules.
manna ~ the ‘bread’ that God gave to the *Israelites in the desert.
Messiah ~ God promised the *Jews that a special person would come to save them. That person is the Messiah. Jesus is that Messiah but the *Jews did not believe it. Messiah is a *Hebrew word. In the *Greek language, the word is Christ. The word in both languages means anointed (that is, God chose him and sent him).
New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus on earth.
ointment ~ a medicine in the form of a cream.
Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the holy things that the writers wrote before Jesus’ birth.
olive ~ a type of tree or its small fruit (which has a stone). People make oil from *olives. They use the oil when they cook food. And people used to burn it in lamps.
ox ~ a large and strong animal that farmers used.
palm ~ a type of tree.
pearl ~ a beautiful object that is like a precious stone. It is transparent and round. It comes from an animal (called the oyster) that lives in the sea.
Pentecost ~ the time each year when the *Jews thank God for the harvest.
praise ~ words that give honour to God.
preach ~ to speak out the message from God and to teach his word.
prophecy ~ a message from God; a gift of the Holy Spirit.
prophesy ~ to speak a *prophecy.
prophet ~ person who speaks for God. A prophet can sometimes say what will happen in the future. The Book of Revelation also describes a false prophet. This false prophet speaks on behalf of the *Antichrist and *Satan.
repent ~ to change one’s mind and heart. To turn away from *sin and turn to God. To turn one’s mind and heart away from *sin is to repent.
revelation ~ in this book it is that which God now shows.
Roman ~ Rome was the capital city of the rulers at that time. Anything that belonged to Rome was called Roman.
ruin ~ whatever remains after someone destroys a city or a building.
ruined ~ a description of a city when its enemies have completely destroyed it.
sacrifice ~ the priests killed a special animal and they burned it on an *altar. This was to ask God to *forgive *sins. Jesus died as a sacrifice for our *sins.
salvation ~ the result when God saves us from *sin and punishment; the new life that God gives to those who believe in the *Lord Jesus.
Satan ~ the name of the devil.
scorpion ~ an animal that is like a large insect. It stings with its tail.
Scripture ~ the books of the Bible.
scroll ~ a book in the form of a long piece of material. People would roll up the scroll in order to store it.
seal ~ something that people stuck on the outside of a *scroll as a kind of lock.
shepherd ~ someone who takes care of sheep.
sin ~ *sin is the wrong things that we do. To *sin is to do wrong, bad or evil deeds and not to obey God. Those who *sin are called sinners.
sinful ~ evil and wrong.
soul ~ the part of a person that we cannot see. It is in us during our life. And it continues to live after we die. It is our inner life (not the body).
spiritual ~ something that has a relationship with a person’s spirit, not their physical body. Or, something that has a relationship with God’s Spirit or heaven, not this earth.
sulphur ~ sulphur is a chemical. A fire that burns with sulphur is extremely hot. And sulphur burns with an awful smell.
synagogue ~ the place where the *Jews met to *worship God.
temple ~ a special building for the *worship of God. The *Jews had a temple in Jerusalem for the *worship of the real God. But at other temples, people *worshipped false gods.
throne ~ the special chair for the king or for an important person.
thunder ~ the sound that comes after lightning during a storm.
tribe ~ a large family from one man. The nation called *Israel grew from the 12 sons of Jacob. These 12 families became the 12 *tribes of *Israel.
trumpet ~ a musical instrument; it makes a sound when a person blows into it.
vomit ~ to empty the contents of the stomach through the mouth.
winepress ~ a place where people press fruit called grapes in order to make wine.
wormwood ~ the name of a plant that has a bitter taste. But in the Book of Revelation, it is the name of a star. The star fell to the earth and made the water bitter.
worship ~ the act when someone shows honour to God (or to an *idol). Someone who worships, praises God. That person thanks God. And that person respects God.
Robert H. Mounce ~ The Book of Revelation ~ The New International Commentary
George Eldon Ladd ~ A Commentary on the Revelation of John
Leon Morris ~ The Revelation of St. John ~ The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries
Allen F. Johnson ~ The Expositors Bible Commentary
John F. Walvoord ~ The Revelation of Jesus Christ
W. E. Vine ~ Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
Bibles: NIV, RSV, TEV, AV, NRSV, ASV, NASV, NKJ, CEV, GW
A. Marshall ~ The Interlinear *Greek New Testament
Friberg & Friberg ~ Analytical *Greek New Testament
© 2006, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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