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Outline of Revelation
- The Revelation of Jesus Christ is communicated, through an angel, to John the Apostle when he was on the island of Patmos.
- John records the prophetic vision, in written text, and is instructed to send the document to the seven churches of Asia.
- John addresses the church of Ephesus to repent from the ways of the Nicolaitans.
- John addresses the church of Smyrna to warn them of ten days of tribulation that may cost them their lives or imprisonment.
- John addresses the church of Pergamum to repent from the doctrines of Balaam and the Nicolaitans.
- John addresses the church of Thyatira to repent from the teachings of the prophetess Jezebel.
- John addresses the church of Sardis for being "dead" or unaware of things to come, whose works are not perfect before God.
- John addresses the church of Philadelphia to persevere with what little strength they have; to hold fast so that no one takes their crown.
- John addresses the church of Laodicea to repent from investing in material riches that make them miserable; rather, invest in the refined gold of Him who has overcome.
- The heavenly throne with a rainbow around it, having the One seated in it, is revealed.
- Twenty-four surrounding thrones seated with twenty-four crowned elders appear.
- The four living creatures present themselves; each having six wings full of eyes, one having the face of a lion, another as a calf, the third as a man, and the last as an eagle.
The first vision that the author experiences is that of entering Heaven and seeing God's throne ( ). In Revelation, God is described as "having the appearance like that of jasper and carnelian with a rainbow-like halo as brilliant as emerald". Around God's throne are twenty four other thrones, on which sit elders in white robes. From the throne come thunder and lightning and, in front of the throne, the author sees seven torches and a sea of crystal.
The author then sees four creatures which have six wings and are covered in eyes ( ). The creatures are giving eternal thanks to God and, whenever one of them bows down to worship God, the twenty four elders around God's throne bow down to worship God.
- A book secured by seven seals is revealed in the right hand of Him who sits on the throne.
- It is made known that only "the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah" is worthy to open this book.
- The Lamb, with seven horns and seven eyes, takes the book from Him who sits on the throne.
- All heavenly beings sing praise and honor the Lamb.
- The first seal is broken and the first of the four living creatures introduces a white horse whose crowned rider, equipped with a bow, goes out to conquer.
- The second seal is broken and the second of the four living creatures introduces a red horse went out, whose rider wields a great sword.
- The third seal is broken and the third of the four living creatures introduces a black horse, whose rider carries a pair of scales, goes out.
- The fourth seal is broken and the fourth of the four living creatures introduces an ashen horse comes out, whose rider has the name Death and Hades follows him.
- The fifth seal is broken revealing the souls of those who had been slain for the "Word of God".
- The sixth seal is broken "and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, The sky was split apart, every mountain and island were moved out of their places."
- Mankind hides themselves in the caves and mountains acknowledging the presence of Him who sits on the throne and the wrath of the Lamb.
- The servants of God are revealed, those who are to be sealed before the destruction of the Earth.
- The number of these servants is given as one hundred and forty-four thousand who are from twelve tribes of Israel.
- Twelve thousand from each tribe are sealed: from Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.
- A great multitude who came out of the Great Tribulation present themselves in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.
- The seventh seal is opened and heaven is silent for about a half an hour.
- An angel offers incense and the prayers of all the saints, at the golden altar before the throne.
- After the smoke and the prayers ascend to God, the angel fills the censer with fire, from the altar, and throws it to the Earth causing noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
- The first angel of seven sounded his trumpet: "And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth" burning a third of the Earth's flora, scorching all green grass.
- The second angel sounded his trumpet: "And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown in the sea, and a third of the sea became blood" killing a third of everything in the ocean, including ships.
- The third angel sounded: And a great star, named "Wormwood", fell from heaven poisoning the water from rivers and water springs.
- The fourth angel sounded: The sun, the moon and stars are struck, so that a third of their light diminished to the point of complete darkness for a third of a day, even during the night.
- Another angel appears to declare three "Woes" for the next three trumpet blasts.
- The fifth angel sounds his trumpet; this signals the "First woe".
- A star, falls from heaven to the earth and is given the key to the bottomless pit.
- It opens the pit and smoke rises, darkening the air and sunlight.
- The Locusts come out of the smoke, from the pit, and Abaddon commands them to torment any man who does not have the seal of God on his forehead for five months.
- The sixth angel sounds his trumpet for the "Second woe".
- The four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates are released.
- The four angels of the Euphrates raise an army of 200 million cavalry who kill a third of mankind.
- Another mighty angel appears standing with one foot on the sea and the other on land, holding an opened little book.
- The angel cries out and seven thunders utter their voices.
- The apostle John is commanded to seal up what the thunders uttered in the little book, and is told not to write about what was said.
- The angel declares that the mystery of God would be revealed on the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
- John is instructed to take the little book and to eat it.
- John is given a measuring rod to measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship in it.
- It is brought to John's attention that the nations will tread under foot, the holy city of the temple, for forty-two months (1,260 days).
- During that same time, two witnesses, dressed in sackcloth, will prophesy and this torments the nations.
- The first mention of the Beast is told to John, who will overcome the two witnesses and kill them.
- For three and half days, the people of the earth will celebrate the death of the two witnesses who've tormented them for three and half years.
- God will resurrect the two witnesses; This strikes fear on everyone witnessing their revival, and the two witnesses ascend to heaven.
- In the next hour, a great earthquake occurs and kills seven thousand people, destroying a tenth of the city.
- The "Third woe" is signaled by the sound of the seventh trumpet.
- Loud voices in heaven proclaim Christ as ruler forever under the "Kingdom of our Lord".
- Thanks is given to God, the Almighty and praise for the wrath that came, the dead who were judged, and the bond-servants rewarded.
- The temple of God in heaven opens and the Ark of the covenant appears in His temple.
- Lightning and the peals of thunder occur followed by an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
War in heaven
War breaks out in heaven.
In the traditional historicist view, Joseph Mede (1627) identified the war of Michael the Archangel and the Dragon as the fall of Paganism by Christianity. This concept was adopted by Campegius Vitringa (1705), Dr. Charles Daubuz (1720), Bishop Newton, John Cunninghame, and Edward Bishop Elliott (1837). Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (17th Century), even marks the fall of Paganism to the death of Galerius Maximus in the year 311.
A woman gives birth to a son who is to "rule the nations with an iron scepter". Satan tries to kill him, but fails to do so. Satan is vanquished from heaven and forced to reside on earth, where he wages war with the rest of the offspring of the woman mentioned above.
A woman clothed in the sun, a crown of twelve stars, and the moon under her feet is pursued by a dragon with seven heads and ten horns. It wants to devour her unborn child. However, the child was born and He will rule with an iron rod. The Child was snatched up to God. Then there was a great battle in Heaven. Michael and his Angels fought the Dragon and his angels. The Dragon lost and was thrown down to Earth and all of its angels with it. The Dragon pursued the Woman. Water came out of its mouth to drown the Woman. However, the Earth swallowed all the water. Then the Woman grew eagle wings and flew away. The Dragon was enraged with the Woman and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Then the Dragon stood on the seashore.
The beast from out of the sea is given authority to rule over the earth, the people of earth marvel the beast's abilities and worship him and "the dragon", saying "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?" (). After the beast from the sea suffers from what appears to be a mortal wound, another beast, the beast of the earth, takes his place and exercises the same authority as the previous beast on his behalf. This beast is able to perform many miracles and forces those without the seal of God on their foreheads to worship both the new beast and the image of the old beast and forces them to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads ( ).
The beast, rising out of the sea, is described as having "ten horns and seven heads", one of which has been injured but later healed. This beast is given authority by the dragon and proceeds to lead the world, being worshipped alongside the dragon. It is shown leading the whole world with the exception of those whose names are written in the Book of Life, and as making war against the saints.
Following this, another beast arises, this one from the earth. This beast exercises authority on behalf of the previous, and through this authority causes "great and miraculous signs" by which to make people follow the beast. The beast from the earth causes all to receive a mark in their Right hand or in their forehead, "that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name" ( ). This beast is described as having the appearance of a lamb while speaking like a dragon.
He is said to be the false prophet, who will exercise the authority of the beast on his behalf, and forces everyone to worship the beast and his 'image', and to take his mark in their right hand or in their forehead. He who doesn't have the mark shall not be able to buy or sell. They will be considered outlaws. The number of the beast is 666 (six hundred and sixty six).
The earth is harvested ().
John writes of Seven Angels with Seven plagues, whose plagues are the last plagues to come - ever. He states that until their plagues are complete no one can enter the temple of God in heaven. In the following chapter, the seven final plagues are written in detail.
The seven Vial/Bowl judgments are similar in nature to the Trumpet judgments, but far more serious for there will be no warning when they come. In addition, there are three key differences between the Trumpet judgments and the Vial/Bowl judgments: firstly, the Trumpet judgments are plagues that bring partial devastation and plagues upon 1/3 of nature and people, while the Vial/Bowl judgments are more severe direct assaults against humanity and nature, thus bringing more chaos on the earth than the Trumpet judgments. Lastly, the Trumpet judgments offer a possibility of redemption and repentance, while the Vial judgments do not; the Vial judgments are a literal assault on those who have taken the mark of the Beast, and to those who are considered incorrigibles and arrogantly unrepentant, thus making them impossible to save. The Vial/Bowl judgments are listed below.
- Noisome and grievous sores (possibly boils or carbuncles) on the worshipers of the Beast. These sores only affect those bearing the Mark of the Beast and the people who worship his image.
- Sea turns to blood.
- Rivers turn to blood.
- A major heatwave causes the Sun to burn with intense heat and to scorch people with fire. (Revelations 16:8-9)
- The kingdom of the beast is plunged into darkness. ( )
- The Euphrates River dries up to facilitate the crossing of the armies from the east, on their way to Israel for the battle of Armageddon. This event corresponds with Daniel 11:44.
- Worldwide earthquake leveling every mountain into the sea followed by huge hailstones and lightning. The Earth's geography and topography will be drastically altered forever, as every mountain and hill will be leveled, and every island will either be removed from its foundations or disappear. The earthquakes are accompanied by 100-lb hailstones.
Some Christians[who?] believe that the seals and trumpets will occur during the first half of the tribulation. The vial judgments will occur during the second half, as the first judgment refers to those with the mark of the beast. The mark will not be implemented until the Antichrist appears to be resurrected after suffering a fatal head wound, being incarnate by Satan, and after he defiles the Temple; and this will happen precisely at the midpoint of the tribulation. Thus, the vial judgments will be more severe.
Others[who?], such as many historicists, argue that the seals generally cover man's history from after the first coming of Christ up to the End time, with the trumpets generally covering the Tribulation, and the Bowls reserved for the Wrath of God period — preceding the Millennium.)
Next, seven angels are given vials or bowls to pour out upon the earth which contain "the seven last plagues". These last judgments will complete God's wrath. The first bowl produces unbearable sores on humanity. The second bowl results in the death of every living thing in the sea. The third bowl turns the inland waters into blood. The fourth bowl causes the sun to scorch man. The fifth bowl brings darkness over the beast's kingdom. The sixth bowl dries up the river Euphrates to prepare the way for the kings of the east and causes the armies of the Antichrist being gathered together to wage the battle of Armageddon. The seventh bowl results in a devastating earthquake followed by giant hailstones ( ).
The woman who rides on the head of the beast is introduced in the seventeenth chapter. The entire chapter is quite symbolic, but an angel explains to John the meaning of what he is seeing. The woman, who is referred to as "the great prostitute", "is the great city who rules over the kings of the earth" (), who is envied by the ten kings who give power to the beast and is destroyed by those ten kings. "They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled" ( ).
introduces a Woman dressed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold, precious stones and pearls. She sits on a scarlet beast with 7 heads (representing 7 kings) and 10 horns (representing 10 kings). She is described as the "Mother of Harlots" and is drunk with the blood of the saints indicating her intense involvement in persecution. She comes to power and rules the kings and peoples of the earth. Eventually, the 10 kings ruling the kingdoms that give their power to the Beast grow tired of her influence and overthrow her. Her destruction will cause the kings and merchants of the earth to mourn her death.
Babylon falls. This causes the merchants of the earth to weep because no one is able to buy their products anymore.
A "white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True" is introduced. "With Justice he makes war" (). Jesus Christ is the rider mentioned in chapter twelve. John references Psalm 2:9 when he writes "He will rule them with an iron scepter" ( ). This is when the first war between the people of God and rest of the world takes place. After the war has finished the beast and the false prophet are taken captive and thrown into the lake of fire, while all other enemy combatants are killed and their corpses left out on the field for the birds of the sky to devour their flesh ( ).
Jesus returns to earth followed by the armies of Heaven, which are seen riding white horses dressed in fine linen. The Beast and his False Prophet make war with the armies of Christ but are defeated. In the aftermath of their defeat, the Antichrist and False Prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire, which burns forever.
Satan is bound in the Abyss for a thousand years. The Saints who died are resurrected (Resurrection of the Saints) and begin their thousand-year reign with Christ ( ). After the thousand years, Satan is released from the Abyss to deceive the nations and gather Gog and Magog and the people of the world to encircle the camp of the saints and the city of Jerusalem. A fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them. Satan is then thrown into the Lake of Fire forever ( ). The wicked dead and all of those who died during the thousand-year reign of Christ are resurrected and judged ( ).
A new heaven and a new earth with the New Jerusalem (the World to Come) replace the old heaven and earth ( ). This is a reference to Genesis 1:1 and Isaiah 65:17. This verse was used by Europeans to name the 'New World'. Many theologians interpret it allegorically as explaining the drastic difference in this world and 'heaven' when the Christ has been acknowledged as having returned. "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." ( ).
- ↑ For illuminated medieval images of the Book of Revelation drawn from several of the Beatus commentaries, the Bamberg Apocalypse and from the Otthenreich Bible, see: Forbes, Andrew ; Henley, David (2012). Apocalypse: The Illustrated Book of Revelation. Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books. ASIN: B008WAK9SS.
- ↑ Todd, James Henthorn (1846). Six discourses on the prophesies relating to Antichrist in the Apocalypse of St. John (Donnellan lectures ed.). Hodges and Smith. p. xv, See Preface footnote g.
- ↑ "Daniel 11:44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many". Bible.cc. http://bible.cc/daniel/11-44.htm. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
- ↑ Catholic Encyclopedia: General Resurrection: "These three characteristics, identity, entirety, and immortality, will be common to the risen bodies of the just and the wicked. But the bodies of the saints shall be distinguished by four transcendent endowments, often called qualities."
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