Jesus Wins!

About the Book of Revelation

Revelation is the last book in the Bible. It includes many ideas that we can find in other books in the Bible. It tells us about all the future events from John’s time, until now, and until the end of this world. Revelation tells us that all Christians will have troubles during their lives on earth. So they will need to be patient and strong. We think that John wrote this book down about AD 95. That was more than 60 years after Jesus Christ lived on this earth. (But some people think that he wrote it before AD 70.)

It is a letter that Jesus told John to write to Christians. At that time, things were very difficult for Christians. The king of Rome ruled many countries and he was causing a lot of trouble for Christians. His soldiers were killing many of them. John was in a prison because he was a Christian. Rome is the capital of the country that we call Italy now.

Jesus appeared to John, as in a dream. Jesus also sent an angel (a being from God’s home above the earth) to John. The angel showed John many future events that surprised him. These things made John afraid. Jesus told John to write down what he saw. Jesus wants us to know about things that will happen during the last days of the earth. He wants us to be ready.

John wrote Revelation to 7 churches (groups of Christians). These churches were in a place that people called ‘Asia’ at that time. This place is the south and west part of the country that we call Turkey now. In Chapters 2 and 3, there are separate messages from Jesus to each of these different churches. These messages tell us what is most important for Christians. We must continue to love and obey Jesus Christ. We must believe him, even when there is trouble.

‘Revelation’ means ‘to show things that people could not see before’. This book describes many strange events. These events are difficult for us to understand. They are like pictures. They show us an idea of what will really happen. But Jesus wants us to think about these pictures. He wants us to understand as much as we can. He wants everyone to know what will happen, not only clever people.

One day God will destroy this earth and this sky. And he will make a new earth and a new sky. He will not let any bad people live there. But before that time, bad trouble will come to the whole world. Christians should be ready for things to be very difficult. Other people may do bad things to them. They will need to be strong. In many countries today, it is not easy to be a Christian.

But Jesus is the Lord and he will return to this earth. He will beat all his enemies in the end. He will make everything right that is wrong. And all those who love him will live with him always. Then nothing will ever hurt them or make them sad again. Revelation tells us to remember all this. It teaches us to wait patiently.

Chapter 1

John’s message

1 This book describes the things that God showed to Jesus Christ. He wanted Jesus to show these things to his own servants. These events must happen soon. Jesus sent his angel to show these things to his servant John.

2 John has told everything that he saw then. These things are a true message from God. Jesus Christ really said these things. 3 God will be good to the person who reads aloud the words of this prophecy. God will also be good to all those people who listen to these words. So, if they obey these words, all these people will be really happy. I, John, have written all that I saw. Those people who hear these words should remember them. These things are very important and they will happen soon.

John writes to the 7 churches

4 I am John, and I am writing to the 7 churches. You live in the country called Asia. I pray that God will continue to be very kind to you. I pray also that he will cause you to be without trouble inside yourselves. God will do these things for you. He is alive now and he has always been alive. And he will come.

The 7 spirits that are in front of God’s throne will also do these things for you.

Verse 4 We find the number 7 many times in the Book of Revelation. In the Bible, the number 7 usually means that things are whole. It means this: Things are completely what they should be. So ‘7 spirits’ may mean ‘the Holy Spirit’. He is God, so he is completely good.

5 And Jesus Christ will also do these things for you. He always says and shows true things. He is the first person who became alive again after death for all time. He rules the rulers on the earth.

Jesus loves us. He bled and died for us. That is how he made us free. We are free from all the bad things that we have done. 6 He has made us belong to his family, who rule as kings. He has made us priests, to be servants of his God and Father. Jesus Christ will always be very great! All authority is his for all time. This is true.

7 Look, he will come on the clouds! Everyone will see him, even those who pierced him. People from all the countries on earth will be sad because of him. Yes, this is true.

Verse 7 To ‘pierce’ means to use a sharp tool to make a hole in something. The soldiers who killed Jesus put nails through his body to fix him to the cross. (Nails are small pieces of metal with sharp points at the end.) Also, a soldier put a spear into Jesus when he was dying on the cross. (A spear is a long piece of wood or metal with a sharp point at the end. Soldiers used spears to fight.) (See John 19:34-37.)

But we think that ‘those who pierced him’ does not include only those soldiers. The leaders of Israel’s people and of the Roman government in Israel decided to kill Jesus. And perhaps this verse also includes everyone else who does not want Jesus as their Lord. If they had been alive then, they would have wanted to kill him. All these people will see Jesus when he comes to the earth again. Then they will know that he is the Lord. They will know that they should have obeyed him. So they will be sad. (See also Zechariah 12:10.)

8 ‘I cause all things to begin and I cause the end of all things’, says the Lord God. ‘I have all authority. I am alive and I was always alive. And I will come.’

Jesus appears to John

9 I am John, and, like you, I believe Christ. So I am like a brother to you. Jesus is our king. And because we are his people, we are having trouble. So, like you, I need to be strong and patient. I was on Patmos island because I had taught God’s message. I told people what is true about Jesus.

Verse 9 Patmos island was near to ‘Asia’ and the 7 churches. The Romans had sent John to Patmos because they did not like him to teach about Jesus. Patmos was a prison. The Romans would not let John leave Patmos.

10 On the Lord’s day, God’s Spirit caused me to see and to hear things. It was like a dream as the Spirit showed me things. I heard somebody speak behind me. The sound was as loud as a trumpet. 11 The person said: ‘Write what you see in a book. You must send the book to the 7 churches in these cities:

            Ephesus
            Smyrna
            Pergamum
            Thyatira
            Sardis
            Philadelphia and
            Laodicea.’

Verse 10 ‘The Lord’s day’ may mean Sunday, the first day of the week. This was the day when Christians came together. They met to worship God.

12 I turned round to see who was speaking to me. When I turned, I saw 7 lights in gold lampstands. 13 In the middle of the lights, I saw someone like a man. He was wearing long clothes that reached down to his feet. And he wore a gold belt round the top half of his body. 14 His head and his hair were white like sheep’s hair. They were very white, like snow. And his eyes were like fires that were burning. 15 His feet shone like yellow metal that shines brightly in a very hot fire. When he spoke, his voice was like the sound of many rivers. It was like many rivers that were moving very fast. 16 He held 7 stars in his right hand. And there was a sharp sword with two edges coming out of his mouth. His face was like the sun when it shines very brightly.

17 When I saw him, I fell down at his feet like a dead person. Then he put his right hand on me. ‘Do not be afraid’, he said to me. ‘I am first and I am last. 18 I am God who is alive. I died once. But look, I am alive. And I will be alive always. And I have the keys to death and Hades. 19 So write down the things that you have seen. Write about what is happening now. And write about what will happen later.’

Verse 18 Someone who has a key can open a door. Or they can lock a door. They have authority. So, this verse means that Jesus has authority. He can say when a person must die. He can also say where the dead person’s spirit will go. The Bible shows us that Hades is the place for dead people. Hades is like a city under the ground.

20 ‘You saw 7 stars in my right hand. You saw 7 lights, in gold lampstands. This is what they mean. The 7 stars mean the angels of you 7 churches. And the 7 lights in their lampstands mean you 7 churches.’

Chapter 2

Jesus’ message to the believers at Ephesus

1 ‘Write this to the angel of the church at Ephesus:

This is the message from the one who holds the 7 stars. He holds them in his right hand. He also walks among the 7 lights in gold lampstands.

Verse 1 Many people think that the ‘angel’ here means a human person. The angel could have been the person who read this letter aloud to the church. (So ‘angel’ could also mean this in verses 2:8, 12 and 18 and 3:1, 7 and 14. Everywhere else in Revelation, ‘angel’ means a being from heaven.)

2 I know everything that you do. You have worked much for me. You have been patient through trouble. I know that you will not let bad men stay among you. Some men among you say that God has sent them to teach you. But he did not send them. You have thought carefully about what they say. And you have discovered that it is not true. 3 You have been patient and strong. You have had trouble because you are my servants. And still you have not become tired of obeying me.

4 But I have something to say against you. You loved me very much when you first believed in me. You do not love me as much now. 5 So remember how much you once loved me. Be sorry about the bad things that you do. Do again the good things that you did at the beginning. Unless you are sorry about the bad things, I will come to you. Then I will take away your lampstand from its place. 6 You hate what the Nicolaitans are doing. It is very good that you hate it. I also hate it.

Verse 6 The Nicolaitans were teaching the Christians to do wrong things. They were not teaching the same as Jesus had taught. We do not know much about the wrong things that they taught.

7 God’s Spirit is speaking to you in the churches. You should recognise that the Spirit is speaking. Everybody who recognises that should listen. They should listen to what he says. I will let everyone who wins against Satan eat my fruit. This fruit is from the tree that makes us alive. And this tree grows in God’s garden.’

Verse 7 ‘Wins’ here means ‘beats everything that is against Christians’. The Devil is always trying to stop people being Christians. We can only beat him when we go on obeying Jesus always. Jesus will show us what to do. He will make us strong.

Jesus’ message to the believers at Smyrna

8 ‘Write this to the angel of the church at Smyrna:

This is the message from the one who is first and last. He was dead, and he became alive again.

9 I know that bad people are hurting you very much. I know that you are poor. But really, you are rich. Some people there say that they are Jews. But I know that they say bad things about you. And I know that these things are not true. So they are not really my people, who obey me. They are really a group of Satan’s people. 10 I know that trouble will soon come to you. But do not be afraid. Listen! The Devil will cause some of you to go to prison. He wants to see whether you will continue to believe me. And you will have trouble and pain for 10 days. But go on believing, even if you must die. You may have to die because you believe. But if you continue to believe, you can win against the Devil. And then I will give you a gift because you have won. I will cause you to live with me always. I will give you this gift, as they give a crown to a winner.

Verse 10 The ‘10 days’ may mean a short, certain time of trouble rather than a long time.

Verse 11 A winner is someone who wins. In those days, somebody received a crown (a special hat) when they won. This means that they had done something better than other people. For example, they might have run faster than other people. They wore the crown on their head. (The crown was the shape of a circle. Someone tied leaves together to make the crown.)

11 God’s Spirit is speaking to you in the churches. You should recognise that the Spirit is speaking. Everybody who recognises that should listen. They should listen to what he says. The second death will not hurt anyone who wins against Satan.’

Verse 11 The second death is the opposite of when someone lives always with Jesus. It means that a person must go to a place without Jesus. Nobody is happy in that place. The name of that place is hell, or the lake of fire (see 20:14).

Jesus’ message to the believers at Pergamum

12 ‘Write this to the angel of the church at Pergamum:

This is the message from the one who has the sharp sword. That sword has two edges.

13 I know where you live. It is the place where Satan sits as king. But still you go on serving me. You remember Antipas. He continued to speak about me. Some people who live in Pergamum killed him because of that. You saw it happen. But you continued to believe me and you told others about me. And you still do this, even there in that place where Satan lives.

Verse 13 Pergamum city was a place where Satan was powerful. That could be why verse 13 calls it the place ‘where Satan lives’. There was a special building there for people to worship the king of Rome. This king was against Christians because they would not worship him. Also, there was a very big stone table on a hill. People offered gifts to the false god Zeus on this big table. Also, many people worshipped a snake god. The Devil appears as a snake in the Bible (Genesis 3).

14 But I have a few things to say against you. Some people among you do what Balaam taught. He taught Balak to do what was wrong. And Balak caused Israel’s people to want to do wrong things. He caused them to eat food that people had given to false gods. And he caused them to have sex with people who were not their husbands or wives. 15 Also, some people among you do the bad things that the Nicolaitans teach. 16 So be sorry and stop doing all these bad things. If you are not sorry, I will come to you quickly. Then I will fight against those bad people with my sword. This sword comes out of my mouth.

Verse 14 Balak was the king of Moab. See Numbers 22:1-25:3.

17 God’s Spirit is speaking to you in the churches. You should recognise that the Spirit is speaking. Everybody who recognises that should listen. They should listen to what he says. I will give my special food to everyone who wins against Satan. I will also give them a white stone. And I will write a new name on that stone. Nobody will know that name except the person who receives it.’

Verse 17 The colour white in the Bible usually means being completely good and clean. So, the white stone may show that God will make us like that. He will make our spirits completely clean if we continue to believe him.

Jesus’ message to the believers at Thyatira

18 ‘Write this to the angel of the church at Thyatira:

This is the message from the Son of God. He has eyes that burn like fires. His feet shine like bright yellow metal.

19 I know everything that you do. I know how much you love me. I know that you go on believing me. I know that you are my servants. I know that you are patient and strong. I know that you do more work now than you did before.

20 But I have something to say against you. You let that woman Jezebel teach you. She says that she speaks God’s messages. But she leads my servants the wrong way. God’s rules say that someone should have sex only with their wife or their husband. But she teaches my servants to have sex with other people. And she teaches them to eat food that people have given to false gods. 21 I have given her time to be sorry about these bad things. But she refuses to stop having sex with other men. 22 She has done bad things on a bed. So I will hurt her on a bed. I will cause a lot of trouble for those who loved her. They did bad things because of her. They will have very bad trouble unless they are sorry about those bad things. They must stop doing the bad things that she taught them to do. 23 And I will kill those who obey her. Then all the churches will know that I look deep inside people. I know what they really want. I know what they really think. And I will give each person among you what you ought to have. I will give you this because of what you have done.

24 But you other people in Thyatira, you have not done what Jezebel taught. You have not learned what they call ‘Satan’s deep secrets’. I say something else to you. I will not ask you to do anything that is too difficult. I do not want you to be like people who must carry something heavy. 25 Only be careful that you continue to believe in me. Believe me until I come.

26 Everyone who goes on doing what I say will win. They will win against Satan if they obey me until the end. I will give those people authority to rule all the countries on the earth. 27 They will rule those countries with an iron stick. They will rule like someone who breaks clay pots into pieces. I have received this authority from my Father. 28 I will also give those people the morning star. 29 God’s Spirit is speaking to you in the churches. You should recognise that the Spirit is speaking. Everybody who recognises that should listen. They should listen to what he says.’

Verse 27 The person who rules the countries will be strong. They will rule completely. (Clay is sticky material from the ground. People make pots out of it.)

Verse 28 The morning star appears in the sky just before the sunrise. It is very bright. It shows us that the day is coming. In chapter 22:16, Jesus says that he is the morning star. After times of trouble, that seem dark like the night, he brings the day. He is promising that Christians will not always have troubles.

Chapter 3

Jesus’ message to the believers at Sardis

1 ‘Write this to the angel of the church at Sardis:

This is the message from the one who holds the 7 spirits of God and the 7 stars.

I know everything that you do. I know what people think about you. They think that you are alive. But that is not true, because really you are dead. 2 Wake up! You still do a few things because you believe Christ. Make your lives as believers strong again, because they are ready to die. I have discovered that you have not done everything right. You have not done everything that God wanted. 3 So remember what you have heard. Remember what you have learned. Obey God, and turn away from wrong things. Be sorry for the wrong things that you have done. If you do not wake up, I will come to you. I will come secretly, like someone who robs. So, you will have no idea about what time I will come to you.

4 But you have a few people among you in Sardis who have not done anything bad. They are like people who have kept their clothes clean. They will walk with me and they will wear white clothes. The white clothes show that they are good. 5 Everyone who wins against Satan will wear white clothes. I will never remove their names from God’s book. That book says who will live with me always. And I will tell my Father and his angels that those people are mine. 6 God’s Spirit is speaking to you in the churches. You should recognise that the Spirit is speaking. Everybody who recognises that should listen. They should listen to what he says.’

Jesus’ message to the believers at Philadelphia

7 ‘Write this to the angel of the church at Philadelphia:

This is the message from the one who is completely good. He is really God. He has David’s key that shows his authority. What he opens, nobody can shut. And what he shuts, nobody can open.

Verse 7 David was a great king of God’s people, Israel. David lived on the earth many, many years before Jesus lived here as a man. But both men belonged to the same family.

8 I know everything that you do. Look, I have opened a door in front of you. Nobody can shut that door. I know that you are not very strong. But you have obeyed what I told you. And you have continued to believe me. 9 Some people there say that they themselves are Jews. But that is not true; they are not really God’s people. They are a group of Satan’s people. I will cause them to come and to bend down in front of you. Then they will know that I love you. 10 You have done what I told you. So you have continued to be very patient. So, I will keep you safe from the time of trouble that will come. It will come to the whole world. Trouble will come to everyone who lives on the earth. This difficult time will show me what each person will do.

11 I will come quickly. Be careful that you continue to believe me. Then nobody can take away your crown.

Verse 11 The crown is Jesus’ gift. He gives it to Christians who win against Satan. He causes them to live with him always. See 2:10.

12 Everyone who wins against Satan will always remain in God’s house. I will make them like the strong part of God’s house that holds it up. They will never leave God’s house again. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of my God’s city. The name of that city is New Jerusalem. It will come down from my God. It will come from his home above the earth. I will also write my new name on those people. 13 God’s Spirit is speaking to you in the churches. You should recognise that the Spirit is speaking. Everybody who recognises that should listen. They should listen to what he says.’

Verse 12 Jerusalem was the capital city of Israel. Israel was the country on this earth where God’s people lived. New Jerusalem will be the place where God’s people (all the Christians) will live always. The last two chapters of Revelation describe this New Jerusalem.

Jesus’ message to the believers at Laodicea

14 ‘Write this to the angel of the church at Laodicea:

This is the message from the one whose name is Amen. That name means: ‘God’s promises and purposes will happen because of him’. He always obeys God. He says and shows only true things. Everything that God has made comes from him.

15 I, Jesus, know everything that you do. I know that you are neither cold nor hot. It would be better if you were either cold or hot. 16 But you are only warm. You are neither cold nor hot. So I am ready to throw you away completely.

Verses 15-16 In a place near to Laodicea, hot water came up out of the ground. People used the hot water like a medicine. But by the time this water reached Laodicea city, it was not hot. It was only warm. Also, at another city near Laodicea, cold water came up out of the ground. This cold water was good to drink. But by the time it reached Laodicea through a pipe, it too became warm. So then people did not like to drink it. So, people could use both the hot water and the cold water where they came out of the ground. But they did not like the warm water at Laodicea. In these verses, Jesus is saying that he will not use the Christians at Laodicea. They are like the warm water that is not good for anything.

17 “I am rich”, you say. “I have done well and I do not need anything.” But you do not know how very poor you are really! You are like people who cannot see. You are like people who are without clothes. So that really, other people should feel very sorry for you. 18 I tell you that you should buy gold from me. With my gold, you would be really rich. I have made my gold the very best, because it has been through fire. You should also buy white clothes from me to dress yourselves. Then you will not be ashamed because you have no clothes. You should also buy medicine from me to put on your eyes. Then you will see.

Verse 18 Jesus is not talking about gold or clothes or medicine that we can see or touch. He is telling these people what they need inside themselves. He is talking about what they need in their spirits. These Christians must receive what only he can give them. They must stop thinking that they are all right. They thought this because they had lots of money.

People with ‘white clothes’ are like a picture of people who are completely good and clean.

19 I explain things to everyone that I love. When they have done wrong things, I punish them. So choose only to obey me. Be sorry for what you have done. 20 Look! I am standing at the door of your house. I am knocking on your door. You can hear what I say. So, if you open the door, I will come in. Then we will eat a meal together.

21 I beat my enemies. Then I sat down with my Father on his throne. I will let everyone who wins against my enemies sit with me. They will sit on my throne with me. 22 God’s Spirit is speaking to you in the churches. You should recognise that the Spirit is speaking. Everybody who recognises that should listen. They should listen to what he says.’

Chapter 4

God on his throne

1 After this I looked. And there in front of me was an open door in heaven. As before, I heard someone speak like a trumpet. ‘Come up here’, he said. ‘I will show you what must happen after this.’ 2 Immediately the Spirit caused me to see and to hear things. It was like a dream. I saw a throne in heaven, with someone sitting on it. 3 The one who sat there shone with bright red and white light, like beautiful stones. Round the throne there was a rainbow that shone with bright green light. 4 All round the throne there were 24 other thrones. And 24 leaders were sitting on these thrones. They were wearing white clothes and they had gold crowns on their heads. 5 It was like a storm as bright lights and loud noises came out from the throne. There were 7 lights of fire burning brightly in front of the throne. These lights are the 7 spirits of God. 6 Also in front of the throne there was something like a sea of glass. This sea shone with light like a mirror.

In the middle, round the throne, there were 4 other beings that were alive. They had eyes all over them, on their fronts and on their backs. 7 The first of these beings was like a lion and the second being was like a male cow. The next being had a face like a man’s face. And the last being was like a big, strong bird called an eagle, that was flying. 8 Each being had 6 wings. And they had eyes all over them, even under their wings. All day and all night they never stop saying:

            ‘The Lord God is completely good and clean.

            He is separate from everything that is bad. And he has all authority.

            He was always alive and he is alive now.

            And he will come.’

9 The 4 beings that are alive say how great and powerful God is. They thank God, who sits on the throne. He is alive always. 10 When the 4 beings do this, the 24 leaders bend down to the ground. They bend down in front of God, who sits on the throne. They bend down to worship him. He is alive always. They throw their crowns in front of the throne. And they say:

            11 ‘Our Lord and our God, you are so great and so good!

            Everyone should say how great and powerful you are!

            Everyone should recognise your authority, because you made all things.

            You wanted to make them.

            And they are alive and they are here now.

            That is only because you made them.’

Chapter 5

The book and the Lamb

1 Then I saw a book. God, who was sitting on the throne, was holding the book. He was holding it in his right hand. He had written inside the book and on the back of it. And he had locked the book with 7 locks. 2 And I saw a strong angel who spoke with a loud voice. ‘Who is so good that they can break the locks?’ he said. ‘Who can open the book?’ 3 But nobody in heaven could open the book. Neither could anyone on the earth nor anyone under the earth open it.

Verse 3 The place ‘under the earth’ means where dead people are. The Jews called this place Hades. They thought that it was like a city under the ground.

4 I wept much because there was nobody. Nobody was so good that they could open the book. So nobody could look inside it. 5 Then one of the leaders spoke to me. ‘Do not weep’, he said. ‘Look! The one who is stronger than everyone else has won the fight. His name is the Lion from Judah’s family group. His name is also the Root of David. He belongs to David’s family, but he is greater than David. He can break the 7 locks on the book so that he can open it.’

Verse 5 Judah was one of the 12 grandfathers of God’s people, Israel. Israel’s great king, David, and Jesus Christ both belonged to Judah’s family group. Jesus is like a lion, because the lion is stronger than other animals. The lion rules the other animals.

Jesus was born on the earth into David’s family. So, we could say that he was David’s grandson. Jesus was born as a man many years after David. But Jesus is the Root of David. He caused David to be alive, as a plant grows up from its root. The root is the part of the plant that is under the ground. Jesus is God. He has always been alive in God’s home above the earth. He made everything and everyone else. (See also 22:16.)

6 Then I saw a Lamb. He was standing in the middle of the throne. The 4 beings that were alive, and the leaders, were round him. He appeared to be the Lamb that someone had killed. This Lamb had 7 horns and 7 eyes. His eyes are the 7 spirits of God, that God has sent into all parts of the world. 7 The Lamb came and took the book. He took it from the right hand of God, who was sitting on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the book, the 4 beings and the 24 leaders worshipped him. They bent down to the ground in front of the Lamb. Each leader had a harp to make music. And they were holding gold cups which were full of incense. This incense makes a nice smell when it burns. These cups of incense are like a picture of everything that God’s people pray to him. 9 The beings and the leaders sang a new song. This is their song:

            ‘You are so good!

            You can take the book and break its locks.

            You can do this because they killed you.

            That is how you bought people for God with your blood.

            You bought them from every family group,

            from every language and every country.

            10 You have caused them to belong to your family,

            the family that rules over everything.

            You have made them priests,

            priests who are servants of our God.

            And they will rule on the earth.’

11 Then I looked again, and I heard the sound of many angels. There were thousands and millions of them, and they were standing round the throne. They stood round the beings that were alive and round the leaders. 12 They sang like this with loud voices:

            ‘The Lamb that they killed is very good!

            He is so good that he must receive all authority.

            He is rich and strong and he always knows everything.

            Everyone must say how great and important he is.

            Everyone must thank him!’

13 Then I heard everyone singing. Everything that God has made alive was singing. That included everything in God’s home and everything on the earth. It also included everything under the earth and on the sea. They were singing:

            ‘We thank you, who sit on the throne.

            And we thank the Lamb.

            You must have authority always!

            Everyone must always recognise how great you are!

            They must recognise how powerful you are!’

14 The 4 beings that were alive spoke then. ‘Yes, this is true’, they said. And the leaders bent down and they worshipped God and the Lamb.

Verses 6-14 The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Lamb of God. (See John 1:29, 36.) Many years ago, God’s people killed lambs and offered them as gifts to God. They did this before Jesus died. They wanted God to be happy with them. Then he would not punish them for what they had done wrong. But those lambs could not really take away all the bad things that people had done. Jesus, God’s Son, was the only completely good man who lived on this earth. So when he died for us, he offered himself to God as our Lamb. That is why everyone and everything should worship him.

Chapter 6

The Lamb opens the locks

1 Then I watched while the Lamb opened one of the 7 locks. And I heard one of the 4 beings say: ‘Come!’ It spoke very loudly. The noise was like a storm. 2 I looked, and there was a white horse. The person who was sitting on the horse was holding a bow. Someone gave him a crown. He had won many wars. Now he rode out to win many more wars.

3 Then the Lamb opened the second lock. And I heard another of the beings say: ‘Come!’ 4 Then another horse came out. This horse was bright red, like fire. The person who was sitting on the horse had authority. He could bring war on the earth, so that people killed each other. Someone gave him a large sword.

5 Then the Lamb opened the third lock. And I heard the next being say: ‘Come!’ I looked, and there was a black horse. The person who was sitting on the horse was holding something in his hand. He used it to weigh things. 6 Then I heard a sound like somebody speaking among the 4 beings. ‘A litre of wheat is worth one day’s work’, it said. ‘And 3 litres of barley is also worth one day’s work. But do not hurt the olive oil and the wine.’

Verses 5-6 Wheat and barley are plants that farmers grow. People use wheat and barley seeds to make flour for bread. The person on the black horse weighs the wheat and barley seeds. They are very expensive. So the black horse is telling us about a time of trouble when people will not have enough food. There may not be enough water to grow wheat or barley. But the black horse must not destroy the fruits (olives and grapes). Olives make oil to cook with. Grapes make wine to drink. These plants grow deeper in the ground. They do not die so quickly if there is not enough water. So, this time of trouble will not destroy everything that people need.

7 Then the Lamb opened the next (fourth) lock. And I heard the last being say: ‘Come!’ 8 I looked, and there was a grey horse. The name of the person who was sitting on the horse was Death. And Hades, the name of the place for dead people, was following, near to him. They had authority to kill people in a quarter of the earth. They could kill people in wars, or they could cause people to have no food. They could cause people to be very ill so that they died. They could also cause the wild animals on the earth to kill people.

Verse 8 The ‘grey’ horse is the same colour as a dead person.

9 Then the Lamb opened the next (fifth) lock. And I saw a special table where people offered gifts to God. I saw the spirits of some dead people under the table. These people had died because they had spoken about Jesus Christ. They had said that God’s words are true. Other people had killed them because they had gone on speaking about Jesus. 10 These dead servants of Christ shouted loudly. ‘Lord, you have all authority’, they shouted. ‘You are completely good. You always do what is right. When will you decide to do what is fair to people? You must decide about all the people who live on the earth. How much more time must pass before you decide? When will you punish the people who killed us?’

11 Then each dead servant of Christ received white clothes. And God told them to wait for a short time. They must wait until other servants of Christ have died too. God will still let the people on the earth kill a certain number of his servants.

12 I watched when the Lamb opened the next (sixth) lock. Then the ground moved and everything on the earth moved very much. The sun became black like thick black cloth. The whole moon became red like blood. 13 The stars in the sky fell to the earth. They fell like fruits fall from a tree when a strong wind blows. 14 The sky rolled up and went away. Every mountain and every island moved from its place. 15 Then everyone on the earth hid themselves. They hid in holes in the rocks. They hid among the rocks in the mountains. Even the rulers and the powerful people hid. Even the army rulers, the rich people and other people with authority, they all hid. Also all the other people hid, whether they were slaves or free people.

16 They shouted to the mountains and to the rocks: ‘Fall on us. Hide us from God, who sits on the throne. Do not let him see us. Hide us, because the Lamb is very angry with us. 17 The great day has come. And God will show that he is angry. Nobody can do anything to stop him.’

Chapter 7

God marks his people from Israel

1 After this I saw 4 angels who were standing at the 4 corners of the earth. They were stopping the 4 winds of the earth. So, no wind could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel who was coming up from the east. He was carrying something to make a mark. It was the mark of the God who is alive. This angel shouted loudly to the 4 angels. They had received authority to destroy the land and the sea. 3 But he shouted to them: ‘Do not destroy the land or the sea or the trees yet. Wait until we put a mark on our God’s servants. We must put a mark on the front of their heads.’

4 Then I heard how many people received God’s mark. The number was 144 000 from all the family groups of Israel’s people. 5 There were 12 000 from each family group:

            12 000 from Judah’s family group
            12 000 from Reuben’s family group
            12 000 from Gad’s family group

            6 12 000 from Asher’s family group
            12 000 from Naphtali’s family group
            12 000 from Manasseh’s family group

            7 12 000 from Simeon’s family group
            12 000 from Levi’s family group
            12 000 from Issachar’s family group

            8 12 000 from Zebulun’s family group
            12 000 from Joseph’s family group
            12 000 from Benjamin’s family group

Verses 5-8 The 12 names in this list were all sons of Jacob (except Manasseh, who was Joseph’s son). Jacob’s other name was Israel. He was the beginning of Israel’s people. The angel did not include the name of Jacob’s other son, Dan, in the list.

The large crowd who were wearing white clothes

9 After this, I looked, and I saw a very big crowd of people. There were so many people that nobody could count them. They came from every country, from every family group and from every language. They were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white clothes and they were holding branches of palm trees in their hands.

Verse 9 The branches of a palm tree have big leaves. At the time when Jesus lived on this earth, people used palm branches at special events. They thought that the palm tree was a special tree. The people held palm branches when Jesus rode into Jerusalem city. This was because they were so happy to see him. They were showing that he was a great king. They were showing that he would beat all his enemies. (See John 12:13.) In verse 9 the people in the big crowd are also holding palm branches and worshipping Jesus.

10 And they shouted loudly:

            ‘It is our God and the Lamb who have saved us.

            They saved us from trouble and danger.

            Our God sits on the throne.’

11 All the angels were standing round the throne and round the leaders and round the 4 beings. They bent down so that their faces touched the ground in front of the throne. That was how they worshipped God. 12 They said:

            ‘This is true!

            We want to worship our God.

            We want to say how great and powerful he is.

            Because he knows everything and we thank him.

            He has authority and he will be strong always.

            This is true!’

13 Then one of the leaders spoke to me. ‘Who are these people in white clothes?’ he asked. ‘Where did they come from?’ 14 ‘Only you know who they are, sir’, I replied. ‘They are the people who have come out of the time of bad trouble’, he said to me. ‘They have washed their clothes and they have made them white in the Lamb’s blood.’

Verse 14 This verse is not telling us about clothes that we wear on our bodies. As in verses 3:4 and 3:18, the ‘clothes’ mean what we are really like in our spirits. Jesus lost blood when he died for us. He can make our spirits as clean as white clothes if we believe him.

15 ‘That is why they are in front of God’s throne. They are in his house all day and all night because they are his servants. And God, who sits on the throne, will live among them. He will keep them safe. 16 They will never again be hungry. They will never be without anything to drink. Neither the sun nor any other strong heat will burn them. 17 The Lamb is in the middle of the throne. He will supply everything that they need. He will lead them to water that comes up from the ground. It is the water that makes people alive. Their eyes were wet because they have cried. But God will make them happy. He will cause their eyes to be dry.’

Chapter 8

The Lamb opens the last lock

1 Then the Lamb opened the last (seventh) lock. And it was completely quiet in heaven for about half an hour. 2 Then I saw the 7 angels who stand in front of God. Someone gave them 7 trumpets.

3 Another angel came then. He stood at the special table where people offered gifts to God. He had a gold cup to burn incense. God gave him a lot of this incense which makes a nice smell. He offered it to God, with the words that all God’s people prayed. He offered it all on the special gold table that was in front of the throne. 4 The smoke from the incense went up in front of God when the angel offered it. It went up with what God’s people prayed. 5 Then the angel took the cup and he filled it with fire from the special table. He threw the cup down on to the earth. Then there were loud noises and bright lights, like a very bad storm. And everything on the earth moved.

Verse 3 Many years before Jesus came to this earth, God spoke to Israel’s people. He told them to build a special house for him. In this house they worshipped God and they offered gifts to him. There was a very big table where the priests burned animals and other gifts for God. (See Exodus 27:1-8.) And there was a small gold table where they burned incense. (See Exodus 30:1-9.)

The first 4 trumpets

6 Then the 7 angels who held the 7 trumpets prepared themselves. They were going to make a sound with their trumpets. 7 The first angel made a sound with his trumpet, and then hard rain like stones fell on the earth. It came down with fire and blood. It seemed that God was throwing it down. It burned a third (big part) of the earth. It burned a third of the trees, and all the green grass.

8 The second angel made a sound with his trumpet. Then I saw something like a very big mountain that was burning with fire. It seemed that God threw this mountain into the sea. And a third (big part) of the sea became blood. 9 A third of the animals in the sea died. It destroyed a third of the ships on the sea also.

10 The next (third) angel made a sound with his trumpet. And a very big star, which was burning with a bright light, fell from the sky. It fell on a third (many) of the rivers and on the places where water comes up from the ground. 11 The name of the star means ‘It tastes bad’. So a third of the waters became bad. Many people died because they drank that bad water.

12 The next (fourth) angel made a sound with his trumpet. Then a third (big part) of the sun, a third of the moon and a third of the stars became dark. So there was no light for a third of the day and a third of the night.

13 Then I looked, and I saw a big bird called an eagle, with strong wings. It was flying high in the sky. I heard it say with a loud voice: ‘Great trouble, great trouble, great trouble is coming to the people who live on the earth. When the other 3 angels make a sound with their trumpets, then very bad things will happen!’

Verse 7-12 The troubles that the first 4 trumpets bring only destroy ‘a third’ (one out of every three parts) of the earth. And they destroy the same amount of the sea, the rivers and the light. So these troubles do not destroy everything. They do not cause the end of this world.

Chapter 9

The next (fifth) trumpet

1 The next (fifth) angel made a sound with his trumpet. Then I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. Someone gave a key to that star. It was the key to the narrow way that goes into the deep hole. That hole is under the earth and it has no end. 2 The star opened the way into the deep hole. Smoke came up out of the hole, like the smoke from a very big fire. The sun and the sky became dark because of the smoke from the hole.

3 Locusts came out of the smoke and they came down upon the earth. They received authority to cause much pain. They were like scorpions, which are small animals with poison in their tails. 4 Someone told them that they must not do anything bad to the grass on the earth. They must not attack any plant or any tree. They could only attack people who did not have God’s mark on the front of their heads. 5 The locusts did not have authority to kill those people. They could only cause them very bad pain for 5 months. The people’s pain was like the pain from a scorpion. When a scorpion attacks someone, the poison from its tail can cause very bad pain. 6 During that sad time, people will want to kill themselves. They will want to die because of the pain. But God will not let them die.

Verses 3-11 Locusts are big insects with long legs, and they can jump. They eat plants. They can destroy all the plants in the places that they go through. There are usually very many of them together.

7 The locusts were like horses that were ready to fight in a war. They wore what seemed to be gold crowns on their heads. And their faces were like human faces. 8 Their hair was like women’s hair and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 9 They had something like large iron plates over the front of their bodies. And their wings made a great noise like many horses that are pulling carts. (The horses run with the carts to fight a war.) 10 They had tails, and they had poison in their tails like scorpions. They had authority to attack people with their tails and to cause them pain for 5 months. 11 The king that ruled them was the angel of the deep hole. His name is Abaddon in the Hebrew language, and Apollyon in the Greek language. (This name means: ‘someone that destroys’.)

12 The first great trouble has finished. But there are two other great troubles still to come.

The next (sixth) trumpet

13 The next (sixth) angel made a sound with his trumpet. And I heard someone speak to him from the 4 corners of the special, gold table. (This was the table where they burned incense in front of God.) 14 ‘There are 4 angels at the great Euphrates river’, the voice said. ‘They cannot move. But now you must cause them to be free.’ 15 God had kept those angels ready for that special time in that day, in that month and in that year. And the 4 angels became free to kill a third of (one out of every three) people everywhere. 16 I heard how many soldiers on horses there were in the army. They said that there were 200 million of them.

17 It was like a dream when I saw those soldiers and horses. They had something like big metal plates over the front of their bodies. These plates were bright red like fire, bright blue, and bright yellow like sulphur. The horses’ heads were like lions’ heads. And fire, smoke and sulphur came out of their mouths. 18 The fire, smoke and sulphur that came out of the horses’ mouths killed people. These three bad things killed a third of (one out of every three) people everywhere. 19 The horses could kill people with their mouths and with their tails. Their tails were like snakes, with heads, and mouths that could bite people.

20 All the people that the fire, smoke and sulphur did not kill were still not sorry. They were not sorry for what they had done wrong. They had made false gods with their own hands. And they did not stop worshipping bad spirits or their false gods. They had made false gods out of gold, out of silver (a white metal) and out of bronze (a yellow metal). They had also made false gods out of stone and out of wood. Their false gods could neither see nor hear. Nor could their false gods walk. 21 The people were not sorry that they had done murders. They were not sorry that they used magic. They continued to have sex with people who were not their husbands or wives. They were not sorry about it at all. And they were not sorry that they robbed other people.

Chapter 9 This chapter tells us that a lot of pain will come to the people on the earth. Many people will die in pain and without God because they are not sorry.

God has heard what his people have said to him. He is punishing people who do not obey him. They enjoy doing what is bad. They do not want to be God’s servants.

Chapter 10

The strong angel and the little book

1 Then I saw another strong angel who was coming down from heaven. He had a cloud all round him, like clothes. There was a rainbow over his head. His face was like the sun and his legs were like tall fires. 2 He had a little book, which was open, in his hand. He put his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. 3 Then he shouted with a loud voice like the sound that a lion makes. When he shouted, the 7 loud noises answered him. They were like the sounds of a storm. 4 When the 7 loud noises spoke, I was ready to write. But I heard someone speak to me from heaven. ‘Keep secret what the 7 loud noises have said. Do not write it down’, he said.

5 Then I looked again at the angel with one foot on the sea and the other foot on the land. He raised his right hand to heaven. 6 And he promised something by the name of God, who will always be alive. God made heaven and the earth and the sea and everything that is in them. The angel promised that nobody would have to wait any longer. 7 God will finish his secret purposes, just as he told his servants the prophets long ago. He will finish his purposes when the last (seventh) angel with a trumpet is ready. This angel will make a sound with his trumpet too.

8 Then I heard the same person speak to me from heaven again. ‘Go to the angel who is standing with one foot on the sea and the other foot on the land’, he said. ‘Take the book that is open in his hand.’ 9 So I went to the angel and I asked him for the little book. ‘Take it and eat it’, he said to me. ‘It will be as sweet as sugar in your mouth. But it will hurt your stomach.’ 10 So I took the little book from the angel’s hand and I ate it. It was as sweet as sugar in my mouth. But when I had eaten the book, it hurt my stomach. 11 Then someone spoke to me. ‘You must tell God’s messages to people again’, he said. ‘You must tell about people from many countries, about people who speak many languages. And you must tell about many kings.’

Verses 8-11 Other verses in the Bible tell us about prophets who ‘ate’ messages from God. Then those prophets told the messages to other people. (See Ezekiel 2:8-3:3 and Jeremiah 15:16.) So perhaps the ‘little book’ is God’s message that he wants John to tell people.

When God’s people hear God’s message, they are happy. It is like when they eat something sweet. But later they may also feel sad for other people who do not like God’s message. And they may have a lot of trouble themselves because they are Christians. So, they will feel as sad as when their stomachs are painful.

Chapter 11

God’s two witnesses

1 Someone gave me a long stick, like the sticks that people use to measure things. ‘Go and measure God’s house. And measure the special table where people offer gifts to God’, he told me. ‘You must count the people who are worshipping there. 2 But you must not include the yard outside God’s house. Do not measure that yard, because God has given it to the other people. Those people are not Jews. They come from countries where nobody knows God. They will walk through the whole city where God’s people live. They will destroy it for 42 months.

3 And I will give authority to my two witnesses. Then they will tell my messages during those 1260 days. They will wear cloth that people make from animals’ hair. These clothes show that they are sad.’

4 These witnesses are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand in front of God. They stand in front of the Lord of the earth. 5 If anyone tries to do something bad to them, fire comes out of the witnesses’ mouths. And this fire destroys their enemies. The fire will kill everyone who wants to do something bad to these witnesses. 6 These witnesses have authority. They can shut up the sky and then it will not rain. There will be no rain during the time that they tell their messages from God. They also have authority to cause the water on earth to become blood. And they can send many other troubles to the earth as often as they want.

Verse 4 God showed his prophet Zechariah two olive trees and a gold lampstand. (See Zechariah 4.)

7 When they finish speaking as God’s witnesses, a strange animal will fight against them. This strange animal will come up out of the deep hole that has no end. And he will beat the witnesses and he will kill them. 8 Their dead bodies will lie in the street of the powerful city where people killed their Lord. They killed him on a cross. The name of this city might be Sodom or Egypt, because this city is as bad as those places.

Verse 8 People killed Jesus Christ on a cross at Jerusalem city in Israel. The leaders of Israel’s people caused Jesus to die there. They refused to recognise him as Lord.

Sodom and Egypt were also places where the people did not obey God. (See Genesis 18:20-21; 19:13, 24-25 and Exodus 1:13-14.)

9 People from every country, from every family group and from every language will look at the witnesses’ dead bodies. The people will look at them for 3½ days. They will refuse to let anyone bury the bodies. 10 The people on the earth will be very happy because the witnesses are dead. They will be happy because these two prophets had caused bad trouble for them. They will send gifts to each other because they are very happy.

11 But after 3½ days, God’s Spirit came into those dead bodies. He caused them to become alive again. So they stood up. And the people who saw them were very afraid. 12 Then the witnesses heard someone speak loudly to them from heaven. ‘Come up here’, he said. So they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies watched them. 13 At the same time the ground moved. It moved so much that one in every ten of the buildings in the city fell down. And because the ground moved, 7000 people died there. Then the other people, who were still alive, were very afraid. And they said that the God of heaven is very great.

14 The second great trouble has finished. But the third great trouble will come soon.

Verses 3-12 The witnesses speak God’s messages to the people who are living on the earth. These witnesses may be only two special Christians. Or they may be like a picture of some or all of the Christians all over the earth. The number two is important. There had to be two or more witnesses among God’s people Israel long ago. Two or more people had to hear or see something. Then they could say that it had really happened. Then people would believe that it was really true. (See Deuteronomy 19:15.) So the number two here means ‘a true witness’.

The last (seventh) trumpet

15 The last (seventh) angel with a trumpet made a sound with it. Then there was the sound of loud voices in heaven. They shouted:

            ‘Our Lord and his Christ now have all authority to rule the world!

            God will rule always!’

16 The 24 leaders were sitting on their thrones in front of God. And they threw themselves down on their faces and they worshipped God. 17 They said this:

            ‘We thank you, Lord God, because you have begun to rule!

            You are alive now and you have always been alive.

            You have all the power and you are using your great authority!

            18 The countries that do not know you were very angry.

            But now you are showing that you are very angry with them.

            You will decide what is fair for all the people who have died.

            You will give your servants what they ought to have.

            Your servants include the prophets and everyone who really believes you.

            Some of your servants are strong, important people,

            and some are not.

            Now you will destroy all those who destroy the earth.’

19 Then they opened God’s house in heaven. And I saw God’s special covenant box inside it. Then there were the bright lights and loud noises of a storm. The ground moved a lot and much hard rain fell from the sky. It was just like stones falling.

Verse 19 A covenant is a very serious, special promise between two or more people or between people and God. Many years ago, God told Israel’s people to make a special box. He told them to keep the box in his special house. (See Exodus 25:10-22.) The box made them remember God. They remembered that God had promised to live among them. He had agreed to be their God if they would obey him.

Chapter 12

The woman and the big red snake

1 A great surprise appeared in heaven. I saw a woman who was wearing the sun like clothes. The moon was under her feet and a crown of 12 stars was on her head. 2 She was going to have a baby. And she screamed because the pain hurt her very much.

3 Then another surprise appeared in heaven. It was a very big red animal like a snake. It had 7 heads and 10 horns, and there was a crown on each head. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars out of the sky and threw them down on the earth. Then the big snake stood in front of the woman who was giving birth to the baby. He was waiting to eat her child as soon as it was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, who will rule all the countries with an iron stick. But someone quickly took her child up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman ran away to a country place where nobody lives. God had prepared that place for her. He will feed her and keep her safe there for 1260 days.

7 And there was a war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the big snake. And the big snake and his angels fought back.

Verse 7 The Bible tells us that the angel Michael is a powerful angel. He is a leader of God’s angels. (See Jude 1:9 and Daniel 9:13 and 12:1.)

8 But the big snake and his army did not win. They lost their place in heaven. 9 Michael and his angels threw the big snake out of heaven. They threw him, and all his army of angels, down to the earth. The name of that snake has always been the Devil or Satan. He always says what is not true. So, he causes the whole world to believe what is wrong. 10 Then I heard someone in heaven say loudly:

            ‘Now God has caused his people to be safe and free!

            God has shown his authority and power as King.

            And his Christ has shown his authority.

            They have thrown the Devil out of heaven!

            The Devil was the one who spoke against Christ’s servants.

            And they are like our brothers and sisters.

            He continued to say bad things to God about them,

            he continued all day and all night.

            11 But our brothers and sisters beat him.

            Because the Lamb died and his blood came out.

            They beat the Devil because they spoke what is true.

            They were ready to die.

            They refused to stop saying what God has done for them.

            12 So be happy, everyone who lives in heaven!

            But you who live on the earth and the sea will have bad trouble.

            The Devil has come down to you now,

            and he is very angry.

            He knows that he has only a short time.’

13 The big snake saw that they had thrown him down to the earth. So, he ran after the woman who had given birth to the baby boy. He wanted to cause trouble for her. 14 The woman received two wings, like the wings of a very big bird called an eagle. Then she could fly to her country place where she would be safe from the big snake. God will feed her and keep her safe there for a time, times and half a time.

Verse 14 ‘A time, times (that is, 2 times) and half a time’ may mean 3½ times, or 3½ years. This is the same as 1260 days (see verse 6, and 11:3). It is also the same as 42 months (see 11:2 and 13:5). (See also Daniel 12:7.)

15 Then the big snake sent water out of his mouth like a river. He was behind the woman. He wanted the water to carry her away. 16 But the ground was a help to the woman, so a big hole opened in the ground. Then the river that had come from the big snake’s mouth went down into the hole. 17 The big snake was very angry with the woman. So he went away to fight a war against her other children and grandchildren. They are all the people who obey God’s rules. They are the people who go on believing Jesus.

Verses 1-6 and 13-17 The ‘woman’ is like a picture of God’s people. In verses 1-5, perhaps she is Israel’s people, and the boy that is born is Jesus. In verses 6 and 13-17, she is like all the Christians on the earth. The Devil is the enemy of all Christians.

Chapter 13

The strange animal from the sea

1 And the big snake stood on the sea’s shore.

Then I saw a strange animal that was coming up out of the sea. The animal had 10 horns and there was a crown on each horn. The animal also had 7 heads, and there was a bad name on each head. Those bad names were not polite to God. 2 The strange animal that I saw was like a leopard. But its feet were like a bear’s feet and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. The big red snake made the strange animal king in his place. The snake gave his own power and great authority to the strange animal.

Verse 2 A leopard is a big wild cat. It runs fast and it kills other animals. A bear is another big, strong animal that has thick hair all over it. It moves more slowly than a leopard, but it also kills other animals.

3 Someone had cut one of the strange animal’s heads. They had cut the animal so badly that it seemed to have died. But the strange animal had become well again and it was alive. This surprised all the people who were living on the earth. As a result, they thought that the strange animal was very great. They were ready to obey what it said. 4 People worshipped the big snake because he had given his authority to the strange animal. They also worshipped the strange animal. ‘Nobody is like the strange animal!’ they said. ‘Nobody can fight against him!’

5 The strange animal could use its authority for 42 months. It could say how important it was. Also, it could speak very bad words against God. God let it have this authority. 6 So the strange animal began to say many false things about God and about God’s name. It spoke bad words about the place where God lives. And it spoke bad words about those who live in heaven. 7 It received authority to fight a war against God’s own people. It had authority to beat them. It received authority against people from every family group, from every country and from every language. 8 Not every person who lives on earth has their name in God’s book. All those without their names in God’s book will worship the strange animal. That book says who will live with God always. It is the Lamb’s own book. From the beginning of the world, the Lamb was ready to die and they killed him.

Verses 1-8 The strange animal from the sea seems to be like a false Jesus Christ. People killed Jesus, but God caused him to become alive again. This strange animal makes people believe that it also became alive again after death. But it is the Devil (the big snake) who gives the strange animal authority. He is against God’s people.

9 Everyone who can understand should listen to these words:

            10 Anyone who must go to prison will go to prison.

            If anyone kills another person with a sword,

            someone will kill him like that too.

This means that God’s people must go on being patient and strong. They must go on believing God.

Verse 10 God’s people must believe that God knows best. He knows what must happen. Sometimes this is difficult for us to understand. This verse may also mean that Christians should not try to fight other people. We should not fight against them, but we must wait patiently. God has all authority. And we must agree with what he chooses to do.

The strange animal from the land

11 Then I saw another strange animal that was coming up out of the land. It had two horns like a lamb’s horns, but it spoke like the big snake. 12 It used all the authority of the first strange animal, on that animal’s behalf. It caused all the people on earth to worship the first strange animal. Someone had cut the first strange animal so much that it should have died. But it became well again.

13 The second strange animal did great things that surprised people. It even caused fire to come down from heaven to the earth. And everybody who was living on the earth saw the fire. 14 They believed what is not true. They believed because they saw these great things. The second animal had authority to do these things on behalf of the first strange animal. It spoke to the people who were living on the earth. It told them to make a god. They must worship this false god that was like the first strange animal. A sword had cut that animal, but it was alive. 15 The second strange animal received power. So, it caused the false god to seem to be alive. Then the false god could speak. ‘Anyone who refuses to worship me must die!’ it said.

16 The second strange animal also caused everyone to receive a mark. They put the mark on their right hands or on the front of their heads. They put the mark on the powerful, important people and on the people who were not powerful. They put it on people who were rich or poor, or slaves or free people.

17 Nobody could buy anything unless they had the mark. Nobody without the mark could sell anything. This mark is the first strange animal’s name or its number, which means the same as its name.

18 Here is a problem that you must think about carefully. Anyone who is clever should try to understand the strange animal’s number. It is a human number. The number is 666.

Verses 11-17 The strange animal from the land seems to be like a false prophet or a false Holy (God’s) Spirit. The Holy Spirit causes people to worship Jesus. This second strange animal causes people to worship the first strange animal. That first animal seems like a false Jesus. The Devil is trying to be like God.

Chapter 14

The Lamb and the 144 000 people

1 Then I looked again and there was the Lamb. He was standing on Zion mountain and there were 144 000 people with him. Someone had written the Lamb’s name and his Father’s name on the front of those people’s heads.

Verse 1 Zion is another name for Jerusalem, the capital city of God’s people, on earth or in heaven.

2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of many rivers that were moving very fast. It was a very loud noise, as in a storm. The sound that I heard was like many people who were making music with harps. 3 The 144 000 people were singing a new song in front of the throne. They sang in front of the 4 beings that were alive and in front of the leaders. Nobody could learn this song except these 144 000 people from the earth that God had saved.

4 These people have kept themselves clean in their spirits, like men who have not had sex with bad women. They are like people who have never had sex. These people follow the Lamb everywhere that he goes. They are those that God saved from among all people. They are the first people to offer themselves to God and to the Lamb. 5 These people never said anything that was not true. They have done nothing wrong.

The three angels with messages

6 Then I saw another angel who was flying high in the sky. He brought God’s message of good news that is always true. He came to tell this news to everyone on the earth. He was telling it to people from every country, from every family group and from every language. 7 He spoke with a loud voice. ‘Serve and obey God’, he said. ‘You should say how great God is. The time has come for him to decide about everyone on the earth. He will decide what is fair for them. Worship him because he made the heaven and the earth and the sea. He also made all the places where water comes up from the ground.’

8 A second angel followed the first one. ‘God has destroyed that powerful city Babylon’, he said. ‘That city is like a bad woman and God has destroyed her. She caused every country to do the bad things that she did. So, they do things that are against God’s rules. She enjoyed doing wrong things very much and all the countries have copied her. They are like people who all drink the same strong wine. They are drunks.’

Verse 8 Babylon was the capital city of a country that was the enemy of God’s people, Israel, many years ago. Babylon had ruled many other countries. Rome city ruled when Jesus lived on the earth. Some people think that John is talking about Rome here. But ‘Babylon’ really means any place that is against God and his people in spirit. That means any place where Satan rules.

9 A third angel followed them and he spoke another message with a loud voice. ‘If anyone worships the strange animal and its false god, God will be angry’, he said. ‘If anyone receives that animal’s mark on the front of their head or on their hand, God will be angry. 10 God will punish all those people. They will be like people who must drink God’s wine. But God’s wine cup is full of very strong wine. He has not mixed his wine with any water, because he is very angry. God will cause those people to have very bad pain. Fire and sulphur will burn them. God’s angels and the Lamb will watch them while they burn. 11 And the smoke will never stop rising while they burn. Because they worship the strange animal and his false god, they will have no rest. They will have no rest during the day or during the night. Because they received the mark of the strange animal’s name, they will always have trouble.’

12 This means that God’s people must go on being patient and strong. They must go on obeying God’s rules and they must go on believing in Jesus.

13 Then I heard someone else speak from heaven. ‘Write this down’, he said. ‘From this time, the Lord’s own people who die will be very happy. Those people really believe the Lord and they obey him’, he said. ‘Yes’, the Spirit answers, ‘they will rest from their work. And nobody will forget the good things that they have done.’

The earth’s harvest

14 Then I looked, and there was a white cloud. Someone who was like a man was sitting on the cloud. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp tool in his hand. People use those tools to cut down plants in the fields. They cut down the plants when their seeds are ready. 15 Then another angel came out from God’s house. He shouted with a loud voice to the person who was sitting on the cloud. ‘Use your sharp tool and start to work. It is time to bring in the harvest. It is time now. You must cut down the plants and bring them in. Your harvest on the earth is ready.’

16 Then the person who sat on the cloud moved his sharp tool over the earth. And he brought in the earth’s harvest.

Verses 14-16 The person ‘like a man’ seems to be the Lord Jesus. He brings in the ‘harvest’ of people from all the earth. He will bring all the people together. And he will decide who is good. He will also decide who is bad.

17 Another angel came out from God’s house in heaven. He also had a sharp tool in his hand. 18 Yet another angel came from the special table where people offered gifts to God. This angel had authority for the fire on the special table. And he shouted with a loud voice to the angel with the sharp tool. ‘Use your sharp tool and cut the grapes from off the earth’s grapevine. The grapes are ready for you to bring in.’

A grapevine is a plant that climbs. It has small, sweet fruits that are called grapes.

19 So the angel moved his sharp tool over the earth and he cut the earth’s grapes. He threw the grapes into a very big hole where they make wine. God was very angry with the harvest of grapes. 20 The grapes were in the big hole outside the city. The Lord Jesus walked on the grapes. Then blood came out of the hole. The blood rose as high as horses’ necks for as far as 300 kilometres.

Verses 17-20 God is showing how angry he is. He is angry with everyone who will not obey him. The ‘grapes’ are like a picture of bad people. At the time when John was writing Revelation, this is how people made wine. They put the grapes in big holes that they had cut in the rock. Then they walked on the grapes, to break them. Pipes went out of the big holes. The red water from the grapes went out through the pipes. It was red like blood. So verses 19 and 20 are like a picture of how God will punish his enemies.

Verse 20 See also chapter 19:15 and Isaiah 63:3.

Chapter 15

The 7 angels with the last troubles

1 Then I saw another great surprise in heaven. I saw 7 angels with 7 troubles. They are the last troubles. And God will stop being angry when they have finished. 2 I saw what seemed to be a glass sea with fire in it. I also saw people who were standing at the edge of the glass sea. Those people had beaten the strange animal and its false god, and the number that means its name. They held harps, to make music. God had given them these harps. 3 And they sang the song of Moses, God’s servant, and the Lamb’s song. They sang:

            ‘Lord God with all authority,

            what you do is great and powerful!

            You are King of all countries at all times.

            Everything that you do is completely fair and honest.

            4 Everyone will serve and obey you, Lord.

            They will show how great your name is.

            Only you are completely good and clean.

            People from every country have seen what you do.

            So they will come and worship you.

            You always do what is right.’

Verse 3 Moses wrote a song after God had led Israel’s people safely across the Red Sea. (See Exodus 15:1-18.)

5 After this I looked and God’s house in heaven was open. That house is like God’s tent, where he lived among his people Israel. 6 The 7 angels with the 7 troubles came out of God’s house. They were wearing clean clothes that were shining. And they had gold belts round the top half of their bodies. 7 Then one of the 4 beings that were alive gave 7 gold cups to the 7 angels. The cups were full because God was very angry. He is the God who will always be alive. 8 And God’s house became full of smoke because God is so great and so powerful. Nobody could go into God’s house until the 7 troubles finished. The angels were bringing those last 7 troubles.

Verse 5 A tent is a house that people have made out of cloth or animals’ skins. They put the cloth or the skins over long pieces of wood to hold them up. People can move a tent-house to different places. Many years ago, Israel’s people were travelling from Egypt to their own country. They were living in tents. God told them to make a special tent for him. Then he would live there among them. (See Exodus 26.)

Chapter 16

The 7 cups with the 7 last troubles

1 Then I heard someone speak to the 7 angels. He was speaking loudly from God’s house in heaven. ‘Go and pour out your 7 cups on the earth’, he said. ‘The cups are full because God is very angry.’

2 The first angel went and poured out his cup on the land. Very bad and painful places appeared on people’s skins because of what was in the angel’s cup. These bad places appeared on everyone who had the strange animal’s mark on them. They appeared on everyone who worshipped the animal’s false god.

3 The second angel poured out what was in his cup on the sea. So, the sea became like the blood of a dead person. And everything that was alive in the sea died.

4 The next (third) angel poured out what was in his cup on the water. He poured it on the rivers and on the places where water comes up from the ground. And all the water became blood. 5 Then I heard the angel with authority for the waters say to God:

            ‘Lord, you are alive now and you always have been alive.

            You are completely good and clean.

            You are right in everything that you decide.

            6 These people have caused trouble for your people and your prophets.

            They caused them to bleed and to die.

            So you have given the people blood to drink.

            That is what ought to happen to them.’

7 Then I heard someone agree from the special table in front of God. They said:

            ‘Yes, Lord God, you have all authority.

            And you decide what is right and fair!’

8 The next (fourth) angel poured out what was in his cup on the sun. And God gave great power to the sun so that it burned people with its fire. 9 The strong heat burned people and it hurt them very much. Then they said very bad things against God, because he caused these troubles. But they refused to be sorry for the bad things that they had done. They refused to stop doing those bad things. They refused to say how great God is.

10 The next (fifth) angel poured out what was in his cup on the strange animal’s throne. Everywhere that the strange animal ruled became completely dark. And people even bit their mouths because of their great pain. 11 They shouted bad words against the God of heaven because of their pain and because their skins were hurting them. But they refused to be sorry for the bad things that they had done.

12 The next (sixth) angel poured out what was in his cup on the great Euphrates river. So the river became dry, to prepare a way. It was the way for the kings who come from the east. 13 Then I saw 3 bad spirits like frogs. One bad spirit came out of the big snake’s mouth. Another bad spirit came out of the first strange animal’s mouth. And the other bad spirit came out of the false prophet’s (the second strange animal’s) mouth. 14 They are the spirits of demons (bad spirits from the Devil). They also do things that surprise people. They go out to all the rulers in the whole world, to bring them together for the war. That war will happen on the great day of God, who has all authority.

Verse 13 Frogs are small animals that many people do not like. They have big mouths and they live in wet places. They have wet skin. They have long legs and they can jump.

15 The Lord says: ‘Listen! I will come secretly, like someone who robs. Everyone who goes on watching for me will be happy. You must keep your clothes with you all the time. Then you will not have to walk about without clothes. So you will not be ashamed in front of other people.’

Verse 15 Jesus is telling his people that they must always be ready for him. He will return to this earth. He may come at any time, even at night (see 1 Thessalonians 5:2). Christians must not be like people who are asleep. People like that will not be ready to get up when he comes. Chapter 16 describes the last set of troubles before the end of the world. It is very important that Christians go on believing Jesus. They must be ready for him during this time.

16 Then the bad spirits brought the rulers together. They came to the place called Armageddon in the Hebrew language.

Verse 16 Hebrew is the language that God’s people, Israel, spoke.

17 The last (seventh) angel poured out what was in his cup into the air. And someone spoke loudly from the throne in God’s house. ‘It has finished’, he said. 18 There was a great storm, with bright lights and loud noises, and the ground moved very much. The ground has never moved so much during all the time that people have lived on the earth. 19 The powerful city broke into three parts. When the ground moved, it destroyed all the world’s cities. And God did not forget to punish that powerful city Babylon. God was very angry with Babylon. It was like God had a cup of very bad wine. Then he caused that city to drink his wine. The people had to receive all the bad things that God did to them.

20 He made every island go away. There were no more mountains anywhere. 21 Very big stones of ice fell from the sky upon the people. The weight of each stone was about 50 kilos. The stones of ice caused very much trouble. And the people shouted bad words against God because of the trouble that the ice caused for them.

Verses 17-21 The troubles that the 7 cups bring are the last troubles. They seem to be worse than what the 7 locks or the 7 trumpets bring. But the last (seventh) cup brings events like those events that come with the last trumpet. (See 11:15-19.) There is a great storm and the ground moves. These events also happen after the last lock is open. (See 8:5.) So perhaps these verses are describing the same events three times.

(Some people think that the events of the first 6 locks happen before the first 6 trumpets. After that, the events of the first 6 cups happen. Then the last lock, the last trumpet and the last cup may all show the same events.)

Chapter 17

The woman on the red strange animal

1 One of the 7 angels who had the 7 cups came to me. ‘Come with me’, he said. ‘I will show you how God will punish the powerful bad woman. She sits upon many rivers. She is bad like a woman who sells herself to men for sex. 2 The rulers of countries on earth have done bad things because of that woman also. They are just like men who have sex with bad women. The people who live on the earth have done bad things. They have learned to enjoy what is bad. They have copied that woman’s example. They are like drunks from the bad wine that she gave them.’

Verse 1 The bad woman is like a picture of the bad city called Babylon. (See verses 5 and 18, and 14:8, 16:19, and chapter 18.) Many years ago, there was a Babylon city in a place where many rivers came together. But verse 15 of this chapter explains what these rivers mean.

Verses 1-2 The Bible tells us many times about people who have sex with others than their husbands or wives. In the Bible, this idea often means more than wrong sex. It means that people were worshipping false gods. Many years ago, God told his people that he wanted to be like a husband to them. If they chose to worship other gods, they were like a bad wife to him. The people in Babylon worshipped many false gods.

3 While God’s Spirit was causing me to dream, the angel carried me away. He carried me to a country place where nobody lived. There I saw a woman who was sitting on a red strange animal. All over this strange animal, someone had written names that were not polite to God. The animal had 7 heads and 10 horns. 4 The woman was wearing purple and red clothes. She also shone with the gold, valuable stones and pearls that were all over her. She held a gold cup in her hand. The cup was full of the results of the very bad and dirty things that she had done. 5 Someone had written this secret name on the front of her head:

Powerful Babylon

Mother of all the bad women

and mother of everything that is bad on the earth.

6 I saw that the woman was a drunk. She was like someone who had drunk the blood of God’s people. She had killed God’s people, because they had told other people about Jesus. When I saw her, I was very surprised. 7 Then the angel spoke to me. ‘Why does she surprise you?’ he said. ‘I will explain the secret of the woman to you, and the secret of the strange animal that she rides. The strange animal that you saw has 7 heads and 10 horns. 8 This animal was once alive, but it is not alive now. Soon it will come up out of the deep hole again and God will destroy it completely. This will surprise many people who live on the earth. They know that the animal was alive. And they know that it is not alive now. So, it will really surprise them when it appears again. They are the people whose names are not in God’s book. That book says who will live with God always. God wrote people’s names down in his book before he made the world.

9 Here is a problem that you need to think about carefully. The animal’s 7 heads are like a picture of 7 hills where the woman sits. 10 They are also like a picture of 7 kings. Five of these kings have stopped ruling. They are dead and another king is ruling now. The last king has not yet come. When he does come, he must rule only for a short time. 11 The strange animal is another (eighth) king that belongs to this group of 7 kings. The animal was alive, but it is not alive now. And God will destroy it completely.

12 The 10 horns that you saw are like a picture of 10 kings. They have not yet received anywhere to rule. But they will receive authority as kings for one hour with the strange animal. 13 They all have the same purpose. They will give their authority to the strange animal and they will make him strong. 14 Together they will fight a war against the Lamb. But the Lamb will beat them because he is the most powerful Lord. He is the King who rules over all other kings. And the people who go on believing him will be with him. He has asked them to follow him. He has chosen them.’

15 Then the angel spoke to me again. ‘You saw that the bad woman was sitting on many rivers’, he said. ‘Those rivers are like a picture of many countries and crowds of people from different family groups and languages. 16 The strange animal and the 10 horns that you saw will hate the bad woman. They will destroy her and they will take away her clothes. They will eat the meat on her body. Then they will burn what remains of her with fire. 17 God has given them their thoughts and he has caused them to agree. So, they will do what he wants. They will give all their authority as kings to the strange animal. The animal will continue to rule until everything has happened. Everything that God has said will certainly happen. 18 The woman that you saw is like a picture of the powerful city. That city rules the rulers on the earth.’

Verses 9-13 We do not really know what the ‘7 kings’ and the ‘10 kings’ mean. Different people have different ideas about them. There is one important thing for us to understand. The city (the ‘woman’) may not be only one city in only one place at only one time. It is the Devil’s city. And he rules everyone in the world who does not love God. John wrote this book because God told him to. God wanted people of all time to read it.

Chapter 18

The end of Babylon

1 After these things I saw another angel who was coming down from heaven. He had great authority. The bright light that shone from him made the whole world bright. 2 He shouted with a strong voice:

            ‘It is the end!

            It is the end for powerful Babylon!

            She has become a place where bad spirits live.

            She has become a home for every bad and dirty spirit.

            She is a home for every bad bird.

            God hates those birds because they are not clean.

3 The people of all countries have done very wrong things because of that city.

            They have copied her people, like those who have drunk the same strong wine.

            The rulers on the earth did wrong things because of her.

            They were like those who have sex with other people.

            They forget their husband or their wife.

            And the people on earth who buy and sell things have become rich.

            They have become rich because she bought so many expensive things from them.’

4 Then I heard God speak from heaven. He said:

            ‘My people, come out of Babylon.

            Then you will be separate from all the bad things that the people of that city have done.

            Then you will not receive any of their troubles.

5 They have done so many bad things,

            so many that they have reached as high as heaven.

            And I have not forgotten what they have done wrong.

6 I will give her people what they ought to receive.

            I will give it to her people because of the trouble that they have given.

            I will punish them twice as badly as the bad things that they have done.

            Her people caused trouble, like someone who mixes a bad drink for other people.

            I will mix twice as much of a bad drink like that and I will give it to her people.

7 I will give her people as much pain as the pleasure that they gave to themselves.

            I will cause her people to be as sad as they caused themselves to be rich and happy.

            Her people say to themselves:

            “Our city sits here like a queen.

            We will never be sad like a woman whose husband has died.”

8 But her people’s troubles will come all together in one day.

            They will be sad.

            They will have no food.

            And death will come to them.

            Fire will destroy the city,

            because I, the Lord God, am strong.

            And I decide what is fair for everyone.’

9 The rulers on the earth will weep and they will be sad for the city. They will see the smoke while the city burns. They will cry because they did many bad things there. They enjoyed being rich in the city and forgetting God. 10 They will stand a long way from the city because they will be afraid. They will think that God will punish them too. And they will shout:

            ‘It is bad! It is very bad for you!

            You are the powerful, strong city that we called Babylon!

            In one hour God has punished you!’

11 The people on the earth who sell things will weep for the city also. They will be sad because nobody will buy their things any more. 12 The things that they sold included:

            Gold and other valuable metals

            Valuable stones and pearls

            Expensive cloth, including red and purple cloth

            Expensive wood

            Many different things that people had made out of horns, and out of expensive wood, metals and stone

            13 Different materials that have a nice smell

            Wine, olive oil, flour and wheat (the seeds that people make flour from)

            Cows, sheep, horses and carts

            Human slaves

14 The people who sold things will weep for the city. ‘You have lost all the good things that you wanted so much’, they will say. ‘You have lost all those expensive and valuable things, and you will never have them again.’

15 The people who sold these things became rich because of the city. They will stand a long way from the city because they will be afraid. They will think that God will punish them too. So they will weep and be sad. 16 They will shout:

            ‘It is bad! It is very bad for you, powerful city!

            You wore beautiful purple and red clothes.

            You shone with gold, valuable stones and pearls.

17 But in one hour God has destroyed all those things,

            all the things that caused you to be so rich.’

All the people from the sea will stand a long way from the city. They include every ship’s captain, everyone who travels on ships, and all the sailors. They also include all other people who get their money because they work at sea.

18 They will see the smoke while the city burns. Then they will shout: ‘There was no other city like this powerful city!’ 19 They will throw dirt from the ground on their heads because they are so sad. They will weep and they will shout:

            ‘It is bad! It is bad for the powerful city!

            Everyone who had ships on the sea became rich.

            They were rich because she was so rich.

            But in one hour God has destroyed her.’

20 You who live in heaven, be happy!

            Be happy because God has destroyed Babylon!

            Be happy, God’s people and his special workers and prophets!

            God has punished the city because of what she did to you.

21 Then a strong angel lifted a very big, round stone. People use stones like that to make flour. The angel spoke while he threw the stone into the sea:

            ‘God will throw you down, powerful Babylon city.

            He will throw you down strongly, as I am throwing down this stone.

            Nobody will ever see you again.

22 Nobody will ever hear music in your streets again.

            Nobody will hear the sound of people who are singing.

            There will be nobody making music with harps, trumpets and other instruments.

            There will be no workers, nobody doing any work.

            Nobody will make flour ever again.

            So nobody can hear the sound of the stones that break seeds for the flour.

23 No light from people’s homes will ever shine in your streets again.

            Nobody will ever hear the sound of men’s and women’s voices at their marriages again.

            Your people who sold things were the most powerful people on the earth.

            You caused all the countries to believe wrong things.

            They believed what is false because of your magic.

24 God punished you, Babylon, because he saw the blood of his people in your streets.

            Your people killed God’s people and his prophets.

            The blood of everyone on earth that other people have killed was in your streets!’

Chapter 18 God completely destroys the Devil’s city, ‘Babylon’. Many people became rich and powerful because of that city. They thought that money and power were more important than God. But nobody who serves the Devil will be happy in the end. Nobody can be really happy unless they serve God.

Chapter 19

The crowd in heaven thanks God

1 After these things I heard a sound like a very big crowd in heaven. They were shouting:

            ‘How great our God is!

            He saves people.

            He is really great and powerful.

            He has all authority.

2 Everything that he decides is right and fair.

            He has decided to punish the city, that powerful bad woman.

            She made many people on the earth bad because of the bad things that she did.

            She caused people to worship her false gods,

            like a bad woman who causes people to have sex with her.

            God has punished her because she killed his servants.’

3 Then they shouted again:

            ‘How great God is!

            The smoke from the fire that burns her will continue to go up always.’

4 The 24 leaders and the 4 beings that were alive threw themselves down. And they worshipped God, who was sitting on the throne. They spoke with loud voices. ‘It is true!’ they said. God is very great!’

The Lamb’s marriage

5 Then someone spoke from the throne. They said:

            ‘All of you, who are God’s servants,

            say how great our God is!

            All of you who serve God and obey him must thank him.

            You must thank him, whether you are powerful people or not.’

6 Again I heard a sound like a very big crowd, and they were shouting. The sound was like the noise of many rivers that were moving very fast. It was like loud noises in a storm. They shouted:

            ‘How great God is!

            Our Lord God has all authority and he rules!

7 We will be very happy with him.

            We will say how great he is!

            The time for the Lamb’s marriage has come

            and his wife has prepared herself.

8 God has given her bright, clean clothes to wear.’

These clothes are like a picture of the good things that God’s people have done.

9 Then the angel spoke to me. He said, ‘Write down these words: “The people that God chooses will be very happy! He will ask them to come to the Lamb’s special marriage meal.” This is a true message from God.’

10 Then I bent down at his feet to worship him. ‘You must not do that!’ he said to me. ‘I am God’s servant, the same as you are. I am a servant, like all of you who go on believing Jesus. You are like brothers because you believe him. Worship God! Those who speak for Jesus know what to say because of his Spirit. His Spirit tells them what to say.’

The great king on a white horse

11 Then I saw heaven open, and there was a white horse. Someone was riding the horse. His name was this: ‘He Always Obeys God and He is Completely Honest’. He is always right when he decides things. He is always fair. He is right when he fights a war. 12 His eyes burned like fires and many crowns were on his head. He had a name on him, but nobody knows that name except himself. 13 He was wearing clothes with blood all over them. His other name is: ‘The Word of God’.

14 The armies in heaven were following him. They were riding white horses and they were wearing clean, white clothes. 15 A sharp sword was coming out of his mouth. He will beat all the countries with this sword. Then he will rule them with an iron stick so that they will obey him. He will punish them like someone who walks on grapes to make wine. This shows that God is very angry. God has all authority, and he will punish people. 16 This king had a name on his clothes and high on his leg. The name is: ‘The King who Rules over All Other Kings; the Most Powerful Lord’.

Verses 11-16 These verses describe Jesus. He is the great king who will beat all his enemies. He has a sword that comes out of his mouth, as in Chapter 1:16. The sword may be like a picture of how powerful Jesus’ words are. He can beat all his enemies with his words because they are always true.

Verse 15 tells us that Jesus will punish people. He will be like someone who walks on grapes (small fruits). This shows that God is very angry. People do not want to do anything good. Like the people in the powerful city (chapters 17 and 18), they think that other things are more important than God himself. People are like the grapes. (See 14:19-20 and the words in the box that explain this.)

17 Then I saw an angel who was standing in the sun. He shouted loudly to all the birds that were flying high in the sky. ‘Come!’ he shouted. ‘Come together to God’s big meal. 18 There you will eat the meat from the dead bodies. They will be the bodies of rulers, captains of armies and strong men. There will be bodies of horses and those who ride them. You can eat all the dead people, whether they are slaves or free people. There will be powerful people and those who are not powerful.’

19 Then I saw the first strange animal and the rulers of the earth and their armies all together. They had come together to fight a war. They fought against the person who rode the horse, and his army. 20 But the person on the horse and his army beat them. He and his army took and held the strange animal and the false prophet. That same false prophet who, on behalf of the strange animal, had done things that surprised people. The false prophet had caused people to believe him. He had told them what is not true. People believed him because of the things that he did. These were the same people who had the strange animal’s mark on them. They worshipped his false god. The person on the horse threw the strange animal and the false prophet into the lake alive. It was the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. 21 The person who rode the horse killed all his enemies’ armies. He killed them with the sword that came out of his mouth. And all the birds ate the meat from the dead bodies until they were completely full.

Chapter 20

The 1000 years

1 Then I saw an angel who was coming down from heaven. He held the key to the deep hole that has no end. In his hand, he also held a big metal chain. 2-3 He held the big red animal, that same old snake who is called the Devil and Satan. And he tied the snake up with the chain. Then he threw the snake into the deep hole. He closed the door to the deep hole, and he locked it over the snake. The snake must stay in the hole for 1000 years. During that time, he could not continue to work. He could not cause the people everywhere to believe false things. He could not work again until the 1000 years have passed. After that, the snake must be free for a short time.

4 Then I saw some thrones. The people who were sitting on the thrones had received authority. They had authority to decide what is fair. I also saw the spirits of those people who had died for Jesus. People had killed them because they had spoken to other people about Jesus. They had spoken God’s messages, so other people had cut off their heads. The people who had died had not worshipped the strange animal nor his false god. They had not received his mark on the front of their heads nor on their hands. They became alive again and they ruled as kings with Christ for 1000 years. 5 This is the first time for this. It is the first time that God caused many people to become alive again. None of the other dead people became alive again until the 1000 years had finished. 6 The people who will become alive again during that first time will be very happy! They are God’s own people. The second death has no power over them. They will be priests to serve God and Christ. And they will rule with Christ for 1000 years.

God sends Satan into the lake of fire

7 When the 1000 years have passed, God will let Satan go out of his prison. 8 Satan will go to people in countries all over the world, the countries that they call Gog and Magog. He will make them believe him. He will tell them what is not true. And Satan will bring them together to fight a war. There are very many of his people, as many as the bits of sand on the sea’s shore. 9 They went across the whole earth. And they arrived at the city that God loves. Then they stood all round the place where God’s people were living. But fire came down from heaven and it destroyed them. 10 The Devil had caused them to believe him. He had told them what is not true. So God threw the Devil into that same lake of fire and sulphur. It was that same lake where the Lord had already thrown the strange animal and the false prophet. The fire there will cause them a lot of pain and trouble all day and all night. It will never finish.

Verse 8 The prophet Ezekiel spoke about Gog, the leader, and Magog, his people, as great enemies of God’s people Israel. He spoke about them many years before Christ came to the earth. (See Ezekiel 38 and 39.) Ezekiel said that God would destroy these enemies with fire from heaven. God himself would destroy them because they were such great enemies of his people. So John uses the same names when he describes the last war between God’s people and Satan’s people.

God decides what is fair for the dead people

11 Then I saw a very big white throne. God was sitting on it. The earth and the sky rushed away from where he was. And I could not see them any more. 12 Then I saw the dead people. They were standing in front of the throne. All the powerful and important people were there. And all those people who were not powerful were there too. Then someone opened the books. In these books, God had written all the things that the people had done. Then someone opened yet another book where God had written people’s names. This book included the names of everyone who will live with God always. Then God decided what was fair for the dead people. He decided because of what they had done.

13 The sea brought up all the dead people who were in it. And death and Hades, that place for dead people, brought up all the dead people who were there. God decided what was fair for each person. He decided because of what they had done. 14 Then God threw death and Hades into that same lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 God threw people into the lake of fire if he did not find their names in his book. Only those people with their names in his book will live with God.

Chapter 21

The new heaven and the new earth

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had gone, and the sea was not there any more. 2 I saw God’s city, which is called New Jerusalem. It was coming down out of heaven from God. The city was ready, like a woman who is wearing beautiful clothes for her marriage. She is ready to meet the man that she is going to marry.

3 And then I heard someone speak loudly from the throne. ‘Now God’s home is with human beings!’ he said. ‘God will live among them and they will be his people. God himself will be with them and he will be their God. 4 Their eyes were wet because they have cried. But God will make them happy. He will cause their eyes to be dry. Nobody will ever die or be sad again. Nobody will ever cry. Nobody will ever have pain again. Everything bad has gone. Everything that belonged to the old world has gone.’

5 Then God, who was sitting on the throne, spoke. ‘I am making everything new!’ he said. ‘Write this down, because these words are true. Everyone can believe them’, he said to me. 6 Then he spoke again. ‘It is finished!’ he said. ‘I am first and I am last. I cause all things to begin and I cause the end of all things. I will give water to everyone who needs to drink. My water comes up, like a stream comes up from the ground. My water causes people to be alive. And nobody will have to pay anything for it. 7 Everyone who goes on obeying Jesus will win the fight. They will receive all these things from me. And I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But I will punish all the other people. They include:

·           People who are not brave

·           People who do not believe in Jesus

·           People who make themselves like very dirty people because they do very bad things

·           People who do murders

·           People who have sex with someone who is not their husband or their wife

·           People who do magic

·           People who worship false gods

·           People who say what is not true

All these people will go into the lake that burns with fire and sulphur. This lake is the second death.’

New Jerusalem city

9 Then one of the 7 angels with the 7 cups that were full of the 7 last troubles came to me. And he said: ‘Come with me! I will show you the woman who will be the Lamb’s wife.’

10 Then, while God’s Spirit was causing me to dream, the angel carried me away. He took me to a very big, high mountain and he showed me God’s city, Jerusalem. The city was coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It was shining with the very bright light that comes from God. The city shone like a very valuable stone. It shone with bright light, like a mirror. 12 It had a very big, high wall round it, with 12 gates. 12 angels stood at the gates, one angel at each gate. And someone had written a different name on each gate. They had written the names of the 12 family groups of Israel’s people. 13 There were three gates on each side of the city:

·              Three gates were on the east side

·              Three gates were on the north side

·              Three gates were on the south side, and

·              Three gates were on the west side.

14 They had built the city’s wall on top of 12 very big stones. They had written the name of one of the Lamb’s 12 special workers on each big stone.

Verse 14 When Jesus was alive on this earth, he chose 12 men to work with him. These special workers were called ‘apostles’. He sent them to teach other people about him. (See Matthew 10:1-5 and 28:18.) One of these men (Judas Iscariot) did not go on believing Jesus. But later, other men were also called Christ’s special workers (apostles).

15 The angel who talked to me had a long gold stick. He used it to measure things. So he could measure the city and its gates and its wall. 16 The city was square. It was as long as it was wide. The angel measured the city with his stick. It was 12 000 furlongs (2400 kilometres) long. And it was as wide and as high as it was long. 17 He also measured its wall. The wall was 144 cubits (66 metres) high (or thick). People use numbers like these to measure things. And the angel used the same numbers to measure with.

Verses 16-17 People do not often measure things in ‘furlongs’ or ‘cubits’ now. But these numbers (that is, 12 000 and 144) may mean something special themselves.

18 The wall was stone that shone with light, like a mirror. And the city was gold, of the very best kind. The light shone through it, as light shines through glass. 19 The big stones that were holding up the city’s wall were very valuable stones. These valuable stones were different colours, so they were very beautiful. They were 12 different valuable stones:

·              Yellow, brown and green jasper

·              Blue sapphire

·              Green agate

·              Dark green emerald

20 Red onyx

·              Dark red carnelian

·              Yellow quartz

·              Green beryl

·              Yellow topaz

·              Yellow-green chrysoprase

·              Dark blue jacinth

·              Blue-red amethyst

21 The 12 gates were 12 pearls. Each gate was from one separate pearl. The city’s biggest street was gold, of the very best kind. The light shone through it, as light shines through glass.

22 The Lord God, who has all authority, and the Lamb, are there in the city. Nobody needs to go to a special house to worship them. So I saw no special house for people to worship God in the city. 23 Also, the city does not need either the sun or the moon to shine on it. The very bright light that comes from God gives it light. The Lamb is its light.

24 The people in all the world’s countries will live in the city’s light. And the earth’s rulers will bring all their valuable things into the city. 25 Nobody will ever shut the city’s gates because it will always be day. There will be no night there. 26 They will bring beautiful and valuable things into the city from every country. 27 But nothing that is bad or dirty can ever go into the city. Nobody who does what makes people ashamed can go in there. Nobody who says what is not true can go in. Only those people with their names in the Lamb’s book can go in there. They will live with God always.

Chapter 22

The river and the tree in the city

1 Then the angel showed me a river that was bright, like a mirror. Its water causes people to be alive. The river started from God’s throne, which is the Lamb’s throne. 2 It came along the middle of the city’s biggest street. The tree, with fruit that causes people to be alive, was growing on each side of the river. This tree has 12 different groups of fruit. It has new fruit every month. The tree’s leaves are like medicine that makes people well in every country.

3 No bad person, nor anything that God calls bad, will be in the city. But God’s throne, which is the Lamb’s throne, will be in the city. And God’s servants will worship him there. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on the front of their heads. 5 There will be no more night, so nobody will need a light. They will not need the sun’s light, because the Lord God will be their light. And they will always rule as kings.

6 Then the angel spoke to me. ‘All these words are true and everyone should believe them’, he said. ‘The Lord is God and he gives his Spirit to the prophets. He has sent his angel to his servants. The angel showed them what must happen soon.’

Jesus will come soon

7 ‘Listen!’ Jesus says. ‘I will come quickly. Every person who obeys me will be happy! They must remember everything that this book describes.’

8 I am John. I myself heard and saw all these things. I finished hearing them and seeing them. Then I bent down at the angel’s feet to worship him. I wanted to worship the angel because he had shown these things to me. 9 But he stopped me. ‘You must not do that!’ he said to me. ‘I am God’s servant, like you and the prophets, who are like your brothers. Yes, I am a servant like everyone who obeys God. God’s servants do what this book says. So worship only God!’

10 Then he told me: ‘Do not keep the words in this book secret, because these things will happen very soon. 11 Let everybody continue as they choose. Everyone who does wrong things must continue to do wrong things. Everyone who is bad and dirty must continue to be bad and dirty. Everyone who does right things must continue to do right things. Everyone who is God’s is clean and good. They must continue to keep clean and to be good.’

Verses 10-11 Each person has chosen what they will do. They have chosen whether they will do right things or wrong things. And God will decide what is fair for each person. He will decide because of what they have done.

12 ‘Listen! I will come quickly!’ Jesus says to us. ‘And I will give each person what they ought to have. They will receive this because of what they have done. 13 I am first and I am last. I cause all things to begin and I cause the end of all things. 14 Those people who believe me keep themselves clean. They are like people who always wash their clothes. They will be happy. I will let them eat the fruit from my tree. That fruit causes people to be alive. And I will let them go through the gates into the city. 15 But these people must stay outside the city:

·              People who like to do what is bad

·              People who do magic

·              People who have sex with someone who is not their husband or their wife

·              People who do murders

·              People who worship false gods

·              Everyone who enjoys saying what is not true. And everyone who enjoys doing what is not honest.

16 I am Jesus. I have sent my angel to tell you these things. You must tell them to all the people in the churches. I caused David to be alive long ago, and I am David’s grandson. I am the bright morning star.’

Verse 16 See the words in the box that explain chapter 5:5. Jesus made David and all David’s grandfathers before him, because he is God. Also, Jesus was born into David’s family when he came to this earth as a man many years later.

17 God’s Spirit and all God’s people tell Jesus: ‘Come!’ God’s people are like a woman who waits to marry Jesus. Everyone who hears them should also say to Jesus: ‘Come!’ Anyone who needs to drink should come to Jesus. He will give water to anyone who wants it. They will not have to pay anything for it. This water causes people to be alive.

18 I am John, and I say this strongly. I am speaking to everyone who hears the words in this book. If anyone puts more words with the words in this book, God will punish them. The troubles that this book describes will happen to them. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words in this book, God will punish them. He will not let them eat the fruit from his tree. That fruit causes people to be alive. God will not let them live in his city either. This book describes all these things.

20 The person who tells us all these messages is Jesus. ‘Yes, I will come quickly’, he says. This must happen! Come, Lord Jesus!

21 I pray to the Lord Jesus for all God’s people. I pray that he will continue to be very kind to you.

Word List

angel
spirit being. Good angels come from God’s home above the earth. They are God’s servants and they bring messages from God to people. In chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, ‘angel’ may mean the human person who read the letter aloud to the church.
being
a person or animal that is alive.
cart
a thing to carry people in - horses usually pull a cart.
chain
a strong metal line that people use to tie someone who is going to prison.
church
a group of Christians who meet together. A church is not just the building that they meet in. It can also mean all the Christians in the world.
crown
a special hat that a king or queen wears on their head. A king’s crown is often gold. Sometimes they also give crowns to people who win.
Devil
the bad spirit who wants to be God. He is the ruler of bad angels and of all that is bad. He is the enemy of Christians.
harp
an instrument with strings (lines) across it. People pull the strings with their fingers to make music.
harvest
the time when people pick all the fruits that are ready to eat. It may also be the fruits themselves.
hate
to strongly or completely not like something or someone. To hate is the opposite of when you love something or someone.
heaven
the place above the earth where God and Jesus Christ live.
horn
thing like a stick with a point at the end, that grows on the top of some animals’ heads, like cows and some sheep.
incense
material that makes a nice smell when it burns. The Jews burned incense in God’s house to worship him.
instrument
something that people use to make music.
Jew
a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
lamb
young sheep.
lampstand
thing that holds a light.
lion
a big wild cat that kills other animals and eats them.
lock
something that fastens something else and keeps it shut.
Lord
master. Another name for God. It means that he is greater than everyone else.
magic
when people get bad spirits to do things for them. The spirits do things that people cannot usually do.
olive
a tree with small fruits that people use to make oil. They use the oil to cook food.
pearl
a little white ball of hard material that shines. It is very valuable. A small, soft animal that lives inside a shell (a hard thing round it) makes pearls. This animal lives in the sea.
priest
a person that God chooses to be his special servant. Other priests serve false gods.
prophecy
messages (from God), that often tell about future events.
prophet
someone who speaks messages (from God), sometimes about future events.
punish
to hurt someone, or to cause trouble for them, because they have done bad things.
purple
a dark blue-red colour.
Satan
another name for the Devil.
serve
to work for someone and obey them.
spirit
a being that is always alive, even without a body. A person’s spirit is the part of them that will always be alive. It will be alive even after their body is dead. There are good spirits, like God’s Spirit and his angels. And there are bad spirits, like Satan and his angels.
sulphur
a yellow material that burns things.
sword
a long metal knife. Soldiers used swords to fight.
throne
a special, big chair where a ruler sits.
trumpet
a metal pipe with a wide end. People hold it in their mouths to make music.
wine
a drink that contains alcohol. People make it from small, sweet fruits called grapes.
wing
birds and angels use their wings to fly with. Aeroplanes also have wings.
witness
someone who has seen or heard something. Then they tell other people about it.
worship
to love and thank someone (God) more than anyone else.

Book List

A. Marshall ~ The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament

R. H. Mounce ~ The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Book of Revelation

D. E. Aune ~ Word Biblical Commentary Volume 52: Revelation

M. Wilcock ~ The Bible Speaks Today: The Message of Revelation

G. B. Caird ~ Black’s New Testament Commentaries: The Revelation of St John

R. C. H. Lenski ~ The Interpretation of St John’s Revelation

J. D. Pawson ~ Unlocking the Bible: New Testament Book III: Through Suffering to Glory

R. G. Bratcher and H. A. Hatton ~ A Handbook on the Revelation to John

Info

© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1999-2003

This version published March 2003

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.