11:15-12:17 War In Heaven
Memory Verse: Revelation 12:11
11:15-19 The Seventh Trumpet Is Blown
- 11:15 The Seventh Trumpet (The Third Woe): When the seventh trumpet was blown, there were great voices in heaven declaring that the kingdoms of the Earth now belong to God and Jesus, and shall be eternally under Their reign. This means that the result of the seventh trumpet will set things right. Satan is the current prince of this world, but he is going to be dealt with, punished and defeated. The host of heaven start rejoicing before the judgement is even carried out because they know it will come to pass.
John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11
- 11:16-18 The twenty-four elders, who are representatives of the church, fell upon their faces, and worshipped the almighty and eternal God, giving Him thanks because He has taken great power and reigned. Their prayers are finally being answered. The elders continued, saying that the “nations were angry” meaning they resented and were in rebellion against God. But God’s wrath and time for judgement has arrived. Unbelievers (the dead) will be judged for punishment. They have destroyed the earth with their sin and God is soon going to make all things new. Believers will also we judged, but for reward. All (small and great) of God’s servants, the prophets, the saints and them that fear His name will be rewarded and ushered into the kingdom of God.
- 11:19 Following the sayings of the elders, the temple of God was opened in heaven and John saw the ark of God’s testament. John who has already seen the heavenly throne and heavenly altar is now able to see into the heavenly Holy of Holies, which is the location of the ark. Both the location and the ark represent the confidence believers have in their relationship with God by the blood of Jesus. Also, there were lightnings, voices, thunderings, an earthquake and great hail—all symbolizing the coming judgments.
Exodus 25:11-18; Hebrews 9:23; 10:20
12:1-12 Three Symbols: A Women, A Male Child, And A Dragon
- 12:1-2 The symbol of a women (the first wonder): John sees a great sign in heaven appear to him and he describe is as follows: (1) It was a woman, which most likely represents Israel. (2) She was clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, which could represent Israel’s glory as God’s chosen people. (3) She wore a crown of twelve stars upon her head, which could represent the twelve tribes of Israel. (4) She was pregnant and crying out in birth pains and pain to give birth. This represents the coming Christ (Messiah) and the pain represents what Israel went through until He came.
- 12:3-4 The symbol of a dragon (the second wonder): Then John sees another sign in heaven appear to him and he describe is as follows: (1) A great red dragon, which represents Satan. (2) He has seven heads with seven crowns, which represent seven leaders of seven world empires (Revelation 17:9-10). (3) He has ten horns, which represent Satan’s final kingdom made up of a ten-nation confederacy (17:12). (4) His tail drew one-third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. This represents that in Satan’s original rebellion he convinced one-third of the angels (stars) to rebel with him, thus being cast to the earth as demons. (5) He stood before the woman ready to give birth so he could kill the child upon birth. Satan did not want the Messiah to be born. He was try to stop it from happening or he wanted to murder the Messiah if He was born.
- 12:5-6 The symbol of a child: Israel (the pregnant woman) brought forth Jesus (a man child). Jesus was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. Jesus was caught up unto God, and to His throne. God has made a promise to save Israel (the woman) and thus God will provide safety and food for them in the wilderness for one-thousand two hundred and thirty days (1,230 days / 30 days = 42 months / 12 months = 3.5 years).
- 12:7-9 After three important people (Israel, Jesus, Satan) are introduced, next we are shown there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against Satan (the dragon) and demons (the dragon’s angels). We don’t know any details about how angels fight in war. We are just told the outcome of the war: Satan lost the heavenly war. (Satan is know by the following names through scripture: the great dragon, that old serpent, the Devil, Satan, and the deceiver of the whole world. They represent his continued rebellion and evil character from the beginning.) He and his demons were cast out of heaven to the earth. Even though Satan lost, he won’t give up and will continue to device people (just like he does today) and try to fight against God and Jesus.
- 12:10-12 Then John hears a loud voice in heaven saying that now has come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ because Satan has been cast down. The saints in heaven were rejoicing that Satan was defeated in the first battle and He could no longer be in the heavenly realm where he could accuse the believers on Earth before God. Even so, the believers in the tribulation overcame Satan: (1) by the blood of Jesus (the Lamb) who paid the price for every sin—no accusation can change that; (2) by the word of their testimony, meaning they remained faithful even through persecution; (3) they loved not their lives unto the death, their faith was so real to them they were even willing to die for the sake of the gospel. Therefore all the inhabitants of heaven should rejoice. But woe to the inhabiters of the earth and sea because Satan has come there with great wrath and only has a short time to fight (3.5 years).
12:13-17 Satan’s Three Attacks
- 12:13-14 The First Attack: Satan is angry and starts to persecute the Jewish believers. But God supernaturally (two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place) is going to protect and nourish them for the whole three and a half years (a time, and times, and half a time).
- 12:15-16 The Second Attack: Satan launches a great attack against Jewish believers (water as a flood, not sure what it symbolizes), but it fails when supernaturally the earth (possibly an earthquake) intervenes, causing the attack to be swallowed up.
- 12:17 The Thrid Attack: Finally, Satan was furiously with the Jewish believers and decides to make war with any and all believers, not just Jewish believers (remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ). This attack as with the first two will ultimately fail.
- What happens when the seventh trumpet is blown?
- What does the women, male child and dragon represent?
- What was the outcome of the war in heaven?
- How did tribulation saints overcome Satan?
- What does Satan do when He is cast to the earth?
10:1-11:14 A Little Book And Two Witnesses
Memory Verse: Revelation 11:3
8:1-13, 9:1-12 The Seventh Seal, Six Trumpets, Two Woes
- 8:1-13 The seventh seal is opened. It contains seven trumpets of judgement. The first four trumpets destroys one-third of the earth’s ecology: land, sea, water and space. There are three more trumpets following these first four, and each of them are considered a “woe” meaning they are going to be more severe than the previous four.
- 9:1-21 The fifth trumpet (the first woe) unleashed a demonic attack against unbelievers for five months where men will desire to die as a way of escaping the pain, but they won’t be able to. The sixth trumpet (the second woe) released four demons were to use three plagues (fire, smoke and brimstone) to slay one-third of mankind. After all of these judgements, mankind will still refuse to repent. God continues with more judgements in the coming verses, but before we get to the seventh trumpet, John receives another vision to show us how God is working in between the judgements, offering more good news.
10:1-11 The Little Book Which Is Open
- 10:1-2a John has a new vision and sees another mighty angel come down from heaven. He describes this angel with symbolism: (1) clothed with a cloud, which symbolizes coming judgement; (2) a rainbow was upon his head, which symbolize God’s mercy; (3) his face was as it were the sun, which symbolizes glory and power; (4) his feet as pillars of fire, which symbolize the presence of God. (5) he had in his hand a little book open, which symbolizes the book that only Jesus was worthy to open.
Genesis 9:12–16; Exodus 13:21–22; Matthew 24:30; Revelation 5:1; 8:1
- 10:2b-4 Then John saw the angel set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth. The angel cried with a loud voice (like a lion’s roar). All of this represents God’s great authority and power. In response to the angels cry, seven thunders uttered their voices. John started to write what they said, but he heard a voice from heaven that said to him not to write the things they said but to seal them up. Thus we can go no farther in speculating what they said, for God did not want us to know.
- 10:5-7 The angel proceeds to lift up his hand to heaven and swear by the eternal and sovereign God, the one who lives forever and created the heaven, earth, sea and everything in them, that there will be no more delay, but the mystery of God will be finished as soon as the seventh angel blows the seventh trumpet. This starts the time period of the seventh seal judgment. All the prophecies will finally come true.
Matthew 24:3; Acts 1:6; Revelation 6:10; 8:3-5
- 10:8-11 The voice from heaven spoke to John again, and told him to go and take the little book from the angel. John then goes to the angel and ask for the book. The angel gave it to him and tells him to eat it, saying that it will taste sweet as honey but make his belly bitter. John ate the little book and what the angel said happened, sweet then bitter. This represent the bittersweet judgements that are coming. They are sweet because to believers God is justly taking back everything that is His and will victoriously reign. It is bitter because many unbelievers will continue to refuse to repent and be punished. John was to record these events for all people, nations, tongues and kings as a warning of the things to come.
11:1-14 Two Witnesses Who Stand Before The God Of The Earth
- 11:1-2 Next, John is given a reed like a rod. The angel stood and told John to rise and measure the temple of God, the altar and them that worship therein. This represents God’s ownership and protection of His people. John was also told not to measure the court which is without the temple because it is given unto the Gentiles and the Gentiles will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months (42 months / 12 months = 3.5 years). Persecution will arise against the people of God for three and a half years.
- 11:3-4 God will give power to two of His witnesses. These two witnesses will be clothed in sackcloth (humble, sorrow) and prophesy for twelve-hundred and sixty days (1,230 days / 30 days = 42 months / 12 months = 3.5 years). These two are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. The bible doesn’t say who these two people are but with the use of the term “witnesses” we know they are two “humans”. Also, because of several reason, many believe these two could be Elijah and Moses (representing the law and the prophets) or Enoch. Their job is clear, to be a witness of the gospel and God’s judgement to the nations.
Deuteronomy 17:6; Zechariah 4:12–14; Matthew 18:16; 24:14
- 11:5-6 These two witnesses will be attacked by people trying to hurt them because of the messages they preach. But they have supernatural ways to protect themselves, guaranteeing the message will be proclaimed. This includes the following: (1) They can make fire proceed out of their mouth to devour their enemies. (2) If anyone tries to hurt them, they will be killed in the same manner. (3) They have power to control the weather so that it doesn’t rain. (4) They have power over water to turn it into blood. (5) They have power to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they want.
- 11:7-10 When these two witnesses have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit (Antichrist) shall make war against them, overcome them and kill them. Their dead bodies will lay in the street of the great city (Jerusalem—where Jesus died—spiritually called Sodom and Egypt because of its sinfulness). All people, kindreds, tongues and nations will see their dead bodies for three and a half days, not putting them in graves. The people on earth will rejoice, make merry and send gifts one to another because the two prophets that tormented them are dead. Their celebrations represent their ultimate rejection of God.
- 11:11-14 After three and a half days the Spirit of Life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet. This caused a great fear to fall upon those that saw them. Then these two witnesses heard a great voice from heaven telling them to come up to heaven. Then they ascended up to heaven in a cloud while their enemies watched them. The same hour there was a great earthquake, which caused one-tenth of the city to fall, killing seven thousand men. Those who were left in the city were scared, and gave glory to the God of heaven, which is a sign of repentance. The second woe is now over and the third woe is coming quickly.
Luke 16:31; 17:18–19
- What does the angel have open in his hands?
- How does the book taste that John eats? Why?
- How many witnesses are there?
- How long will they prophesy?
- What happens at the end on their time?
8:1-9:21 Opening The Seventh Seal Of The Book
Memory Verse: Revelation 8:3–4
8:1-6 The Seventh Seal Is Opened
- 6:1-17, 7:1-8 Jesus has already opened six of the seven seals of the book he took out of the right hand of God (as the only one worthy to do so). These seals represent judgements that will be carried out upon the Earth during the tribulation period. As we studied each seal and its accompanying judgement, the future looked bleak. Then in chapter seven we saw the good news before the final and seventh seal was opened, that God is going to save a countless number of people during the tribulation period. From every nation people will be saved and live in eternal joy with God. Now, we must move on to the seventh seal, as God continues to pour out His wrath upon the Earth during the time period.
- 8:1-2 Jesus opens the seventh and final seal. All of heaven is silent for a time. Then there were seven angels standing before God who were given seven trumpets. Before they prepared to blow the trumpets, which blowing a trumpet symbolizes the start of a judgement on earth, another angel comes on to the scene.
- 8:3-5 An angel with a golden censer came and stood at the altar (similar to the Old Testament) before the throne of God. He was given much incense to offer which symbolizes the prayers of all saints asking God to judge and avenge. These prayers came before God and in response to them the angel took the censer, filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth. This symbolized God’s judgement and vengeance upon the Earth in answer to their prayers. It caused a storm with voices, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake.
Exodus 30:3-8; Isaiah 6:6; Ezekiel 10:2; Revelation 6:9-11
8:6-12 The First Four Trumpets: The Earth’s Ecology Destroyed
- 8:6-7 The First Trumpet (Land): When the first trumpet was blown, hail and fire mingled with blood was cast upon the earth. It caused (1) one-third of the earth to be burnt up, (2) one-third of the trees to be burnt up, and (3) all the green grass to be burnt up. Possible results: grass for the animals to eat would be gone meaning a decreasing animal-food supply, fruit and lumber would be in low supply and parts of the soil would be unusable.
- 8:8-9 The Second Trumpet (Sea): When the second trumpet was blown, something “as it were a great mountain burning with fire” (which could be a giant meteorite or asteroid) was cast into the sea. This caused (1) one-third of the sea to become blood, (2) one-third of marine life to die, and (3) one-third of the ships to be destroyed (possibly from giant waves). Possible results: the marine-food supply is lowered and ports and ships will be able to do less trade/business causing economic problems worldwide.
- 8:10-11 The Third Trumpet (Water): When the third trumpet was blown, a great star burning “as it were a lamp” (probably meteors or comets) called “Wormwood” fell from heaven down upon one-third of the rivers of the Earth, and upon the fountains of waters. This caused (1) one-third of the waters to become poisonous (wormwood), and (2) many men to die because of the bitter water. Possible results: the fresh-water supply will be poisoned, meaning it will be undrinkable and unusable, thus killing many who drink it.
- 8:12 The Fourth Trumpet (Space): When the fourth trumpet was blown, one-third of the sun, moon and stars were smitten. This caused (1) one-third of them to be darkened, and (2) one-third of the day shone not, and the night likewise. Possible results: the lack of sunlight will cause more confusion and the lack of heat will cause weather patterns to change and cause more problems upon the earth i.e. storms, vegetation growth.
8:13, 9:1-21 Two More Trumpets: Destruction By Demonic Activity
- 8:13 Then John sees and hears an angel flying through the midst of heaven warning there was still three trumpet judgements left and they will be more devastating.
- 9:1-11 The Fifth Trumpet (The First Woe): When the fifth trumpet was blown, John saw Satan (a star) fall from heaven down to the earth. To him was given the key of the bottomless pit. He opened the bottomless pit. This caused (1) smoke to come out of the pit, (2) the sun and the air to be darkened, and (3) powerful demons (locusts) to come upon the earth. The demons are described as locusts to represent their large numbers and the destruction they will cause. Enough time had passed from the first trumpet judgement for the grass to grow back, but they couldn’t hurt it. They were only given power (like a scorpion) to hurt/torment unbelievers (don’t have the seal of God) for five months. These men will desire to die as a way of escaping the pain, but they won’t be able to. John then describes these demons using familiar analogies to help us understand the fierceness, seductiveness and power of these supernatural demons. These symbols are: they were like horses prepared for battle; wearing gold crowns, human faces, women’s hair, lions teeth, breastplates of iron, wings that make sound like chariots of many horses running to battle and stinging scorpion tails. The demons have a king who is the angel of the bottomless pit and his name means destroyer.
Isaiah 14:12–15; Luke 10:18
- 9:12 The demons are the first woe and after their five months is up, there are two more.
- 9:13-19 The Sixth Trumpet (The Second Woe): When the sixth trumpet was blown, four demons (angels which are bound) were loosed to slay one-third of mankind. These four demons would become the executioners of God’s judgement upon the unrepentant. They had an army of horsemen that numbered two hundred million (200,000,000). John then describes these horsemen using familiar analogies to help us understand the danger and death they bring. The riders of the horses had breastplates the color of fire, jacinth, and brimstone or the colors of hell. The horses had heads like lions and tails like serpents with heads, meaning they were powerful and deadly. They used three plagues: fire, smoke and brimstone, or the violence of hell, to kill one-third of mankind.
- 9:20-21 After all of these judgements, including the death of one-third of the human population, mankind will still refuse to repent. They will refuse to turn from their idols, murders, sorceries, fornication and thefts unto the living God.
Acts 14:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:9–10
- What is the first thing that happened when Jesus opened the seventh seal?
- What happened in each of the first four trumpets?
- What happened in the fifth trumpet?
- What happened in the sixth trumpet?
- After these judgements will mankind choose to repent?
7:1-17 The Sealed Servants And The Great Multitude
Memory Verse: Revelation 7:9–10
7:1-8 The Sealed Servants From Israel
- 6:1-17 The story continues in Heaven as Jesus, the only one worthy to open the book in the right hand of God, takes the book from God and opens six of the seven seals. These seals represent judgements that will be carried out upon the earth during the tribulation period. The wrath of God and Jesus will be poured out on the earth during this time. Many will died. Many will remain hardened against God, not willing to repent. But there is good news. Now we get a glimpse of the good news between the six and seventh seal judgement.
- 7:1-3 “And after these things…” indicates the next vision that John is going to receive, but before he sees Jesus open the seventh seal. He first sees four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, representing the north, east, south and west poles. They are given power over nature and specifically power of letting the four winds blow on the earth, which possibly represent more judgements coming from God. When they released these “four winds” it would hurt the earth and the sea. Then John sees another angel coming from the east. The fifth angel cried out loudly to the other four angels not to hurt the earth or sea until something specifically was accomplished, that of sealing the servants of God.
- 7:2a, 3a, 4 This fifth angel had “the seal of the living God.” A “seal” represents being owned and protected by the person who owns the seal. Here the seal is from “the living God,” meaning the our God is not like the idol gods of other nations, but His is alive and forever will be alive. God is not dead. He is alive. There was going to be 144,000 servants of God of all the tribes of the children of Israel that will be sealed with the seal of the living God. God will use these men to preach the gospel during the tribulation.
- 7:5-8 Then John lists what tribes of Israel these 144,000 servants of God were going to come from. There was going to be 12,000 servants from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, which totaled 144,000. These 12 tribes are: Juda, Reuben, Gad, Aser, Nepthalim, Manasses, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zabulon, Joseph, and Benjamin. An important Bible truth to understand is the God is not finished with Israel and still has a plan for them. Israel is not the church. They may have failed in the past, but God will give them another chance and they will succeed. We will study more about them in the coming chapters.
7:9-17 The Great Multitude From Every Nation
- 7:9-10 “After this…” the next vision John had was that of a great innumerable multitude made up of all nations, kindreds, people and tongues. This great multitude stood before the throne of God and before Jesus, the Lamb. They were clothed with righteousness (white robes) and ready to celebrate (palms in their hands). Together they praised God loudly saying, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” This is the worship of the redeemed. They attribute their salvation to their God and Jesus. We know the Lord desires this loud and joyous worship and as believers, we praise God for the work of salvation in our lives. Our salvation is all of God. The grace of God and the death and resurrection of Jesus is the only way for us to be redeemed. Praise them.
Psalm 66:1-4; 100:1–5
- 7:11-12 Then all the angels stood round about the throne of God, the elders and the four beasts and the angels fell before the throne of God on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, “Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” They start and end their praise with “amen” meaning, “we agree” or “let it be.” What did they want to happen or agree with? They wanted blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power and might to be given to God for all eternity. He is eternally worthy of all of this. We serve a great God.
- 7:13-14 After these two groups worship God, one of the elders addressed John, saying, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” John answered Him, saying, “Sir, thou knowest.” Then the elder responds saying, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” The elder asked John this question to emphasize who these people are. This great innumerable multitude made up of all nations are believers who were saved during the time of tribulation (when the seals were opened and God judged the earth). This is good news, because not only will terrible things happen during this time period, but God will still be working to save people. Just like today, if anyone repents and puts their faith in Jesus they can be saved. The only reason these people had the right to come before the throne of God was because they had white robes, meaning they were righteous, and they were made righteous through washing them in the blood of the Lamb, meaning they placed their faith in the death of Jesus as the substitute for their sins. Thus, these believers obtained salvation through faith in Jesus during the great tribulation.
Romans 5:10–11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
- 7:15 Because this group of people have been redeemed by God, they have the right to be before the throne of God. They are able to serve God continuously (day and night) in His temple (the heavenly place that God resides during that time). God whom sits on the throne will dwell among them, He will cover them like a tent does, meaning He will protect them. Many of these believers will be martyrs, all had lived during part of the great tribulation and now they have been fully redeemed and will eternally live under the protection of almighty God.
- 7:16-17 In the presence of God, the redeemed will no longer hunger or thirst. The sun will no longer strike them or deal with scorching heat. On earth these believers most likely experience these problems, but now they have been saved from it and will never experience it again. Now, Jesus, the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will be their Shepherd. He will feed them. He will lead them unto living fountains of waters. God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no sorrow or pain. All things will be made new. We will live in eternal joy with the Father and the Son.
Isaiah 49:10; Psalm 23:1–6; John 10:11–18; Hebrews 13:20
- Chapter seven takes place during what two seals?
- How many people is the angel going to seal with the seal of the living God?
- The sealed servants represent that God is choosing to use what nation again?
- Who is the great multitude? How were they redeemed?
- What is it going to be like to be with God in Heaven?
6:1-17 Opening Six Of The Seven Seals Of The Book
Memory Verse: Revelation 6:9–11
6:1-8 The Four Horsemen Of The Tribulation
- 4:1-5:14 In chapter 4 we moved from the earthly realm into the heavenly realm where God on the throne was describe in vivid detail. Then in chapter 5 our attention was turned towards the book in the right hand of God and the One worthy to open it. Jesus was presented as the one and only person worthy to open it because, as the Lamb of God, He died for the sins of the world. He steps forward, takes the book and before He opens it, the heavenly host start worshipping Him.
- 6:1a Now, the story continues in Heaven as Jesus looses six of the seven seals of the book. These seals represent judgements that will be carried out upon the Earth during the tribulation period. The order the seals are opened also most likely represents the sequence in which these events will happen.
- 6:1-2 The First Seal: Deception (White Horse) – Jesus (the Lamb) opens the first seal and John hears one of the four beast (his voice like the sound of thunder) saying, “Come and see.” Then John saw a white horse with a person riding it carrying a bow, given a crown and went forth to conquer. This represents deception. It represents a time of false peace that will deceive the multitudes of the world. This peace will not be won (conquer) through war but through a peaceful covenant (the bow has no arrows). He will be looked to as the world leader who unites the nations in peace for a time (a crown was given unto him). It represents the false Christ: promises peace to deceive the world to follow him.
Matthew 24:3–5; Daniel 9:24–27
- 6:3-4 The Second Seal: War (Red Horse) – Jesus opens the second seal and John hears the second of the four beast saying, “Come and see.” Then John saw a red horse with a person riding it who was given a great sword and power to take peace from the earth, meaning that they should kill one another. This represents war. The world was deceived by a false peace and it results in war in a great scale where there is going to be lots of deaths because of it.
Matthew 24:6-7; Daniel 11:36–45
- 6:5-6 The Third Seal: Famine (Black Horse) – Jesus opens the third seal and John hears the third of the four beast saying, “Come and see.” Then John saw a black horse with a person riding it who had a pair of balances in his hand. Then in the midst of the four beasts John heard a voice say, “A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” This represents famine. Most likely because of the world-wide war, there will be a world-wide famine and food will be rationed (a pair of balances). The voice is most likely the voice of God, reminding us this is a judgment coming from Him. The amount of wheat and barley at the given prices represent the inflated prices of the basic food supply and the limited supply of other food items (oil and wine).
- 6:7-8 The Fourth Seal: Death (Pale Horse) – Jesus opens the fourth seal and John hears the fourth of the four beasts saying, “Come and see.” Then John saw a pale horse with a person riding it whose name was Death, and Hell followed with him. Power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, hunger, death and the beasts of the earth. This represents death. One-fourth of the worlds population will die. They will die as a result of the war and famine, but also because natural disasters, such as earthquakes or diseases (death) and animals attacks or disease carried by animals.
6:9-11 The Martyrs Of The Tribulation
- 6:9 The Fifth Seal: Vengeance – Jesus opens the fifth seal and John saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. These are believers who where martyred during the above judgments. They are “under the alter” because they haven’t been bodily resurrected yet. They were killed because they were faithful to the Bible and boldly proclaiming Jesus in spite of the opposition to the message they preached.
- 6:10 The question of the martyrs: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” These martyrs petition God asking Him when He will put a stop to the evil taking place on the earth and judge those who are working evil against the saints of God, those who are the unrepentant enemies of God.
- 6:11 The response to the martyrs: First, they were given white robes. The white robe represents the righteousness they were given by God. Second, they are told to rest for a little season, because there were other believers who would also be martyred like they were. Martyrdom is part of God’s plan in spreading the gospel.
6:12-17 The Wrath Of The Lamb
- 6:12-14 The Sixth Seal: Destruction – Jesus opens the sixth seal and John sees great destruction caused by natural disasters. Destruction so great that it can only be attributed as the judgement and wrath of God being poured out on the Earth. First, there is a great earthquake, which caused great destruction. Second, the sun is blacked out, it won’t give light like normal. Third, the moon became as blood, the moon will also be blocked causing great confusion and panic. Fourth, the stars of heaven fall to the earth, there will be asteroid or meteor showers. Fifth, the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together, the atmosphere will somehow be affected. Sixth, every mountain and island were moved out of their places, meaning the foundations of the earth are shifting.
Matthew 24:21, 29; Joel 2:31
- 6:15-17 The reaction to all of this is fear among all men not matter their position in society (kings, great men, rich men, chief captains, mighty men, bondman, free man). They hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains. Instead of repentance they cry out to the lifeless rocks. They wish for death instead of facing the wrath of Jesus. This is the great day of His wrath and they know no one can stand against it.
- Who is worthy to open the seals?
- What are the first four seals?
- What is the fifth seal?
- What is the sixth seal?
- Who is able to stand during the great day of His wrath?
5:1-14 The Lamb That Was Slain Is Worthy
Memory Verse: Revelation 5:9-10
5:1-4 No Man Worthy To Open The Book
- 4:1-11 Continuing on from the last chapter, our location is in heaven where John just finished describing the One who sat on the throne, as well as, what was around, before and coming out of the throne. Everything we learned showed Almighty God sitting upon His throne and He is ready for pending judgement. As the Eternal One who sits on the throne, He alone is worthy of our complete devotion. Now John, shifts his focus to the book in the hand of the One on the throne.
- 5:1 In the right hand of God Almighty who is sitting upon His throne John sees a book. This book (scroll) had writing within and on the backside. It was also sealed with seven seals. Although we won’t find out in this chapter what this book contains, we know that it contains lamentation, mourning and woe. The seven seals were used to keep the book closed until it was open by the proper authority.
- 5:2-4 Then an unnamed angel, only described as a strong angel, proclaimed with a loud voice saying, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” He was searching for someone worthy to open the book. As the call went forth, the response came back empty. There was no man in heaven, the earth or under the earth that was worthy to open the book or look thereon. Because there was no worthy man, John started to cry. Would the contents of the book never be carried out because there was no worthy man? These tears symbolize the helpless state of mankind on his own.
5:5-7 The Lamb Worthy To Open The Book
- 5:5 As John was crying because of the helpless state before him, one of the elders told Him to stop crying because there was a worthy One. He said, “Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the sevens seals thereof.” These references clearly point to the Messiah, the One worthy to open this book and loosen its seals. (1) The Lion of the tribe of Juda, represents the Messiah as a powerful leader that conquers His enemies. (2) The Root of David, represents that the Messiah will come as King from the seed of David. Both of these are fulfilled in Jesus, who, (3) Hath prevailed, meaning, as the Messiah, Jesus conquered His enemies through His sacrificial death and rules as King of kings, therefore He is worthy to open the book.
Genesis 49:8–10; Isaiah 11:1, 10; Romans 1:3; 15:12
- 5:6-7 Then John sees the Messiah as a Lamb standing in the midst of the throne, the four beasts, and the elders. He then describes Him: (1) As it had been slain, meaning although the Lamb was standing alive, it had the marks in its body of being killed. This represents Jesus, the Lamb of God who died on the cross and rose again from the dead. Even though Jesus is a powerful ruler and rightful King, He had to win the victory not through the sword but through sacrificing His own life like the lambs of the Old Testament. (2) He had seven horns, which symbolize complete power and might, He is now the prevailing ram. (3) He had seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. The Bible interprets itself here, so we know this refers to the Holy Spirit. The lamb metaphor represents Jesus as a sacrifice for sins and a reigning ruler who brings victory. It is He who is worthy to take the book out of the right hand of God.
Exodus 12:3-6; Isaiah 53:7 John 1:29, 36; Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 1:19
5:8-14 The Worship Of The Worthy One
- 5:8 Jesus takes the book out of the hand of God, this symbolizes that the end is near and full redemption is about to be carried out. Before Jesus opens the first seal, the four beasts and twenty-four elders see this, they fall down before Jesus. Every one of them had harps and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. These prayers represent that all our yearnings for redemption are about to be answered. The harp is connected to prophecy and worship, which could symbolize all prophecy is about to be fulfilled which should cause us to worship.
- 5:9-10 First, the worship starts with the elders as they sing a new song, a song of redemption (most likely just the elders because they represent the message being sung). They said: “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” They restate Jesus’ worthiness to open the book because He died on the cross and redeemed mankind from every nation on earth, making them a royal priesthood. We have direct access to God and will reign with Him.
- 5:11-12 Second, a great innumerable multitude of the angels along with the beasts, and elders who together say in a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” All of then recognize the worthiness of Jesus because He was the Lamb that was slain. Jesus’ death on the cross changed everything and it is what makes all the difference. His sacrifice makes him worthy of it all!
- 5:13 Third, every creature which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, and in the sea said, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” All of God’s creation worshipped Jesus as the worthy One. Jesus provided the way for everything to be redeemed. Everything is going to be made right. All things are going to be made new. Justice will prevail—all because of the Lamb that was slain. Therefore He is worthy of never-ending praise and worship.
Psalm 69:3-4; 150:6
- 5:14 Finally, the four beasts said, “Amen.” They agreed with all that was said and wanted the worship to continue forever. Then the twenty-four elders fell down and worshipped Jesus who lives for ever and ever. The worthy One, Jesus, has possession of the book with the seven seals. He alone is worthy to open in because He alone died on the cross for the sins of the world. As He opens the book the host of heaven know that all wrong will be made right, thus they burst forth in worship. The time has come!
- Why was John crying?
- Why did John stop crying?
- Who does John see in the midst of the throne?
- What is this person described as? What does it mean?
- Who worship this person? What do they say?
4:1-11 The Throne Of The Lord God Almighty
Memory Verse: Revelation 4:11
4:1-2 An Invitation To Come Before The Throne Of God
- 1:1-3:22 The timeline for the book of Revelation is given to us in 1:19: “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” The book of Revelation is patterned after this timeline. We have the introduction in 1:1-8, the vision of Jesus in 1:9-20 which are the things John saw, the seven letters to the seven churches in 2:1-3:22 which are the things which are, and finally 4:1 starts the things hereafter and will continue until the end of the book in 22:21.
- 4:1 After John finished recording the seven letters from Jesus to the seven churches, a door was opened in heaven and he heard the authoritative voice of Jesus talking to him (as it were of a trumpet). The voice told him to go up to heaven and he would show John the things which must be hereafter. This confirms the timeline is switching from “things which are” to “things which shall be hereafter”.
- 4:2 Immediately John was spiritually transported to heaven. The first thing He sees is a throne and the One seated on it. He will spend the rest of 4:3-11 describing what He sees and what is taking place at the throne of God. The throne represents God’s place of sovereign rule. For Christians this is exciting, because (1) we get a glimpse into the dwelling place of God, a place we will dwell when we die; (2) because we get to better understand what our God is like as He is reigning in Heaven. We also need to note that what follows is not a literal description of God, not something that can be drawn on a piece of paper, but a word picture that helps us better understand Him.
4:3-6a The Vision Of The Throne of God
- 4:3 John starts with describing what He sees on the throne. He sees God sitting on the throne with the appearance of a jasper and a sardine stone. Then around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. All of these represent beautiful luminous colors that signify the magnificence, glory, splendor and greatness of God. The rainbow could also signify God’s faithfulness (to keep promises) to mankind. All of this should lead us to seeing God with a respectful awe, knowing He is an awesome God.
Isaiah 6:1–6; Ezekiel 1:26–28; Genesis 9:13-17
- 4:4 Also, around God’s throne are twenty-four seats with twenty-four elders seated in them all wearing white raiment and crowns of gold. These twenty-four elders are most likely twenty-four representatives of the church because (1) the seats signify places of authority and believers will reign with Jesus; (2) believers will be clothed in white garments, symbolizing our righteousness in Christ; (3) and believers are promised crowns.
1 Corinthians 6:2–3; 9:25; Revelation 2:10; 26–27; 3:5, 18; 19:8
- 4:5 Next, John says out of the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings and voices. This represents the judgment coming from God. Before the throne were seven lamps of fire burning, which are the seven Spirits of God. The seven Spirits of God is a name that represents the Holy Spirit and the seven lamps of fire burning represent God’s coming wrath which the Holy Spirit will carry out. God’s judgement and wrath will be poured out later in the book of Revelation.
- 4:6a Before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal. This isn’t an actual sea but they are describing what the ground under the throne looked like. The ground was see-through, yet reflected the luminous colors. It was an incredible sight that is hard to describe and imagine. But one day believers will get to be eye-witnesses of this greatness. All of this together shows the Almighty God sitting upon His throne and is ready for pending judgement.
4:6b-11 The Worship Before The Throne Of God
- 4:6b-8a Finally, John describes two groups who are worshipping before the throne of God. The first group is the “four beasts” or cherubims. They are a special type of angel. John sees them in the midst of and around the throne. He described them as being full of eyes before and behind—meaning they are aware of all that is going on. Then he says the first beast was like a lion, the second like a calf, the third had a face as a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of these represent all the creatures that God made. Each of them had six wings—which from the Old Testament we know probably represent their acts of worship. Thus they represent all created beings and worshippers of God.
Ezekiel 10:15; Isaiah 6:2
- 4:8b-9 These four beast rest not day and night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” This helps us understand what the One sitting on the throne is like: (1) The four beast ascribe holiness unto Him, repeating it three times for emphasis. Holiness means that because He is perfect in goodness and righteousness He should be exalted and is worthy of our complete devotion. (2) He is Lord, meaning He has authority. (3) He is God, meaning He is the source of all life, the Supreme Being. (4) He is Almighty, meaning He is the most powerful. (5) He is the Eternal One, meaning He has always existed and will always continue to exist. Understanding what God is like should cause us to have reverential respect and make us to join in with these four beast praising the Eternal One who sits on the throne.
- 4:10-11 When those beasts gave glory, honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, the second group started worshipping God. They are the twenty-four elders. They fell down before the eternal God on the throne, worshipped Him and cast their crowns before His throne, saying, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” God is the Creator of everything. He created everything for His own pleasure. Therefore, because He is the Creator, He is worthy to receive glory, honor and power. These three things are usually attributed to a king or the highest ruler, thus attributing them to God shows He is their Sovereign Ruler above all else. As believers, we only worship God because He alone is worthy. He is worthy of our complete devotion.
Psalm 33:9; 90:2; Exodus 20:3-5
- Are we now studying past, present or future events?
- Where is this scene taking place?
- What is God and His throne like?
- Is God worthy to receive glory, honor and power? Why?
- Are you worshipping God and living a life of complete devotion to Him? Is He worthy?
3:7-22 Letters To The Churches Of Philadelphia And Laodicean
Memory Verse: Revelation 3:15
3:7 Jesus Has A Message For The Church Of Philadelphia
- 3:7a Jesus tells John to write to the sixth church, Philadelphia, by addressing the letter to the angel (pastor) who will deliver it to the church. This church is only mentioned here in Revelation. This city located in a valley that was a center for Greek language and culture.
- 3:7b Jesus starts His letter by clarifying it is He who is speaking: “These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.” This description of Jesus isn’t taken from the previous vision of Him, but from the Old Testament. (1) God alone is holy. Therefore, when Jesus claims to be the Holy One, He is claiming to be equal with God. He is completely separated from sin and perfectly good. (2) Jesus is truth. In a world of lies and error, we can come to Jesus to find real meaning and understanding. (3) He has the Key of David, symbolizing He is the authoritative Messiah. He controls who enters His kingdom. (4) Jesus can open and close the “doors” and no one can reverse His decisions, because He holds the ultimate authority. We should listen carefully.
John 14:6; Isaiah 22:22
3:8-10a Jesus Praises The Church Of Philadelphia
- 3:8a, 10a Jesus praises the church for their works. Jesus gave the church an “open door” which probably symbolizes their opportunity to preach the gospel. Even though their might have been many adversaries, they couldn’t “shut the door,” or take away this opportunity to share the gospel. The church was faithful with their given opportunity.
Colossians 4:2–6;1 Corinthians 16:8–9; 2 Corinthians 2:12
- 3:8b, 10b The church had little strength, maybe because it was a small or poor, but Jesus commends them for being obedient, faithful and loyal. (1) They kept Jesus’ word, meaning they were doing their best to be obedient to the teachings of Jesus. (2) They didn’t deny Jesus’ name, meaning that even though there was opportunity, pressure or gain to deny Jesus, they refused to and remained faithful to Him. (3) They kept the word of Jesus’ patience, meaning that through the difficulties they experienced, they were faithful in persevering.
- 3:9, 10b Because this church was obedient, faithful and loyal, Jesus makes two promises to the church: (1) Jesus will make the false Jews come and bow down before their feet, and they will learn that Jesus had loved them. (2) He will keep the church from experiencing the seven-year tribulation period. This last promise is indicating that Jesus will remove all faithful or real churches from the great tribulation period that is coming.
3:11-13 Jesus Challenges The Church Of Philadelphia
- 3:11 Jesus doesn’t criticize the church, but He does challenge them. First, He says, “I come quickly,” meaning that He could return at anytime. Therefore, they need to “hold fast” or continue to persevere, revealing they have genuine faith and no person could take away eternal life from them (the crown). God gives us the power to endure, thus those who leave the faith didn’t loose it but reveal they never had it.
Matthew 10:22; 24:13–14; 1 John 2:19
- 3:12-13 In the end, Jesus will give true believers (him that overcometh) a permanent position in the temple of God (a pillar in the temple of His God – go no more out). They will enter a personal relationship with God (write upon them the name of His God), be given citizenship into the heavenly city of new Jerusalem (write upon them the name of the city of His God), and know Jesus for who He really is (write upon them His new name). If you are willing to hear this message, then listen and obey it.
1 John 3:2
3:14 Jesus Has A Message For The Church Of Laodiceans
- 3:14a Jesus tells John to write unto the seventh church, Laodiceans, by addressing the letter to the angel (pastor) who will deliver it to the churches. This church is only mentioned here in Revelation. The city was a strategically located and prosperous commercial city.
- 3:14b Jesus starts His letter, first by clarifying it is He who is speaking: “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” Jesus is the Amen, meaning that Jesus affirms the truth of God and His will. He is the faithful and true witness because He Himself, bore witness of God without error. He is the source or beginning point of everything that is created, thus holding ultimate authority in His hands.
3:15-22 Jesus Criticizes And Challenges The Church Of Laodiceans
- 3:15-17 Jesus doesn’t praise the church but criticizes them for being lukewarm, meaning they were claiming to be believers but not acting like it. They were not hot—passionately living for God above all else; nor were they cold—openly rejecting God and going their own way. They were materially rich which caused them to think they needed nothing, but spiritually they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. They were hypocrites.
- 3:18 Jesus gives the church counsel, inviting them to salvation. He uses the metaphor of “buying” from Him, which means to have faith in Him, to obtain three things: (1) Gold tried in the fire or salvation; (2) White raiment or righteousness; (3) Eyesalve or spiritual understanding.
- 319-20 Jesus loves the entire world, therefore He will rebuke and chasten them, showing them their false ways, convict them of their sin or judge them. He challenged them to be zealous, no longer passive, and repent. If they did they could believe in Jesus who stands at the door and knocks. Those who hear His voice and opens the door will enjoy a real relationship and fellowship with Him. Will you repent and believe in Jesus today?
- 3:21-22 Believers (the one who conquers) will sit with Jesus on the throne the same way He conquered and sat down with His Father on His throne. If you are willing to hear, obey!
- Who is writing the letter to the churches?
- Why does each church receive praise?
- Why does each church receive criticism?
- What was the challenges to the churches?
- Who are overcomers and what will they be given?
2:18-3:6 Letters To The Churches Of Thyatira And Sardis
Memory Verse: Revelation 3:5
2:18 Jesus Has A Message For The Church Of Thyatira
- 2:18a Jesus tells John to write to the fourth church, Thyatira, by addressing the letter to the angel (pastor) who will deliver it to the church. This church is only mentioned here in Revelation. The city was a prosperous commerce center located on a main road.
- 2:18b Jesus starts His letter by clarifying it is He who is speaking: “These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass.” Jesus is the Son of God. His eyes of fire probably represent His omniscience and His feet of brass represent judgement, that is to say, He is the all-knowing One who has the authority to judge His church. We should listen carefully.
2:19 Jesus Praises The Church Of Thyatira
- 2:19 Jesus praises the church for their works, charity, service, faith, and patience. This church was full of good works. They were loving and serving God and others. They were being faithful and steadfast as their good works continued to grow more and more.
2:20-28 Jesus Criticizes And Challenges The Church Of Thyatira
- 2:20, 24b Jesus criticizes the church because: (1) They allowed a woman to teach, which violates the role of women in the church. (2) They allowed this false prophetess to teach wrong doctrine. (3) They allowed her to seduce believers to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (4) They were involved in what some call the deep things of Satan.
1 Kings 16:30-31
- 2:21-23a Jesus gave this false prophetess time to repent, but she refused, therefore Jesus will judge and cast her into hell (bed). Jesus gives her followers a chance to repent. If they refuse to repent then the unbelieving followers are threatened with death and believers who are deceived by her false teaching will go through great tribulation because they are living in sin.
- 2:23b Jesus’ judgement will cause all the churches to know that He is the one who searches mind and heart, and will give to each person according to their works. He won’t judge those who aren’t guilty, but He will judge sin.
- 2:24-25 Jesus comforts the believers who aren’t involved in this false teaching and challenges them to “hold fast” until He comes. Jesus knows the burden they are carrying because of the false teaching, so He doesn’t add to it but tells them to keep doing what is right even if it is hard.
- 2:26-29 Believers (the one who conquers) are testified by their works and will be given authority by Jesus to rule over the nations in His millennial kingdom. They will also be given the “morning star,” which most likely represent Jesus Himself.
Psalm 2:7-9; Revelation 22:16; 1 Corinthians 13:12
3:1 Jesus Has A Message For The Church Of Sardis
- 3:1a Jesus tells John to write unto the fifth church, Sardis, by addressing the letter to the angel (pastor) who will deliver it to the churches. This church is only mentioned here in Revelation. The city was a prosperous metropolis at the foot of a mountain.
- 3:1b Jesus starts His letter, first by clarifying it is He who is speaking: “These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars.” The seven Spirits of God refer to the Holy Spirit and the seven stars are the leaders of the churches. Jesus works in His churches through the Holy Spirit. Leaders in the church should lead according to His sovereign rule.
3:1c-6 Jesus Criticizes And Challenges The Church Of Sardis
- 3:1c, 2b Jesus doesn’t praise the church like He did with the previous five churches, but instead pronounces the church as dead. The church had a name and reputation of being alive or a church that was doing right, but Jesus said they were living a lie and are actually a dead church. Jesus said their works were not complete before God.
- 3:2a, 3 Jesus advises the church to do five things: (1) “Be watchful,” meaning they need to be awake and alert to their spiritual condition. (2) ”Strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die,” meaning they need to strengthen those spiritual areas that aren’t dead yet. (3) “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard,” meaning they need to remember the teaching they were first taught, the Apostles’ doctrine and the truths of the Bible. (4) “Hold fast,” meaning they need to keep doing what is right even though it is hard. (5) “Repent,” meaning they need to turn from their “deadness” to start living according to and for the greatness of their God. If they would do these things God would bring spiritual revival to this dead church. If they didn’t heed Jesus warning, then He would quickly judge them and they would cease to be a church. (This also works individually. If you think your spiritual life is dead and cold, follow the five steps above.)
- 3:4 There was a small remnant of believers in the church (whom Jesus praises) who weren’t characterized by this deadness. They aren’t living lives of sin (defiled their garments). They will be rewarded and walk with Jesus in righteousness (in white).
- 3:5-6 Believers (He that overcometh) will be clothed in righteousness (clothed in white raiment) as we participate in the marriage supper of the Lamb. A believer’s name will never be blot out of the book of life, but Jesus will confess his name before God and the angels. This should comfort believers that we are eternally secure. If you are willing, you need to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. If you are not a believer, today, repent and believe. If you are a believer but your spiritual life isn’t on fire for God, then today rekindle that fire and start living the victorious Christian life. Let’s not be a dead church…impressive from the outside but no Spiritual life on the inside.
Revelation 19:7–9; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 13:8; 17:8; 20:12; 21:27
- Who is writing the letter to the churches?
- Why does each church receive praise?
- Why does each church receive criticism?
- What was the challenges to the churches?
- Who are overcomers and what will they be given?
2:8-17 Letters To The Churches Of Smyrna And Pergamum
Memory Verse: Revelation 2:10
2:8 Jesus Has A Message For The Church Of Smyrna
- 2:8a Jesus tells John to write unto the second church, Smyrna, by addressing the letter to the angel (pastor) who will deliver it to the churches. This church is only mentioned here in Revelation. The city was an ancient city devoted to Rome and had pagan religions.
- 2:8b Jesus starts His letter by clarifying it is He who is speaking: “These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.” We know this is Jesus because He is continuing the conversation from above (1:17-2:8) and the description can only describe Him (1:18). Jesus is the first and the last, meaning He is the eternal one. He died on the cross for mankind, but three days laters he rose from the dead defeating sin and proving He is God. He is alive today and has a message for His church, we should listen carefully.
2:9 Jesus Praises The Church Of Smyrna
- 2:9a Jesus praises the church for enduring tribulation. This church was persecuted because of their faith in Jesus. They couldn’t pledge full allegiance to Rome or participate in all the activities of the pagan religions activities.
- 2:9b Jesus praises the church for enduring blasphemy. The church was accused of doing wrong and slandered by unbelieving Jews. When the Jews rejected Jesus as Messiah then they became a tool of Satan. Today, any church that preaches a false gospel can be considered a “synagogue of Satan” and they may speak against the reputation of genuine churches.
John 8:44; Romans 2:28-29
- 2:9b Jesus praises the church for enduring poverty. The believers in this local church were financially poor, most likely due to following Jesus. Jesus not only mentions that they were poor, but that they were rich. He isn’t contradicting Himself, but He is noting that even though they might be financially poor, they are spiritually rich. As Christians, we have different priorities. It doesn’t matter how much money we have, but it matters how much of Jesus we have, how much we know Him, and how much we are living for Him.
2 Corinthians 6:10
2:10-11 Jesus Challenges The Church Of Smyrna
- 2:10 Jesus does not criticize the church, but instead He warns that more persecution is coming. They will be cast into prison for ten days and may even face death. He advises them to “fear not” and to be “faithful unto death.” A reward for enduring this type of persecution is the “the crown of life,” which probably refers to eternal life or a literal crown, either way it would be a just reward from Jesus Himself.
John 16:33; 2 Corinthians 12:9–10
- 2:11 It is the responsibility of individual believers to hear this message. All true believers (one who conquers) will not be hurt by the second death, even though they may experience the first death as a result of persecution.
1 John 5:4-5; Revelation 20:13–15
2:12 Jesus Has A Message For The Church Of Pergamum
- 2:12a Jesus tells John to write unto the third church, Pergamum, by addressing the letter to the angel (pastor) who will deliver it to the churches. This church is only mentioned here in Revelation. Pergamum was the ancient capital of Asia.
- 2:12b Jesus starts His letter, first by clarifying it is He who is speaking: “These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges.” This is Jesus, who speaks the Word of God, has a message for His church.
Hebrews 4:12; John 17:17; 15:3, 11; 16:33
2:13 Jesus Praises The Church Of Pergamum
- 2:13 Jesus praises the church for being faithful even though they lived in an extremely hard place to live. They held fast to Jesus’s name and didn’t deny the faith. One of the believers (Antipas) was even killed for being a faithful witness of Jesus. The place they lived was referred to as “where Satan’s seat is” and “where Satan dwells.” This could mean this was (1) a horrible place filled with sin, (2) a place for worshipping false gods, or (3) a place the contained anything that is against God.
2:14-17 Jesus Criticizes And Challenges The Church Of Pergamum
- 2:14-15 Jesus criticized the churches for holding to the doctrines of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. First, Balaam (a prophet) taught Balac (the King of Moab) to trick Israel to intermarry with the Moabites and follow their false religion (eat things sacrificed unto idols, and committing fornication). Second, the Nicolaitans’ teaching seemed to be similar, teaching that believers could be involved in idolatry and immorality. The scripture is clear that all immorality, idol worship, or participation in pagan practices are sinful for believers. We are called to be separated from the world and devoted to God.
Numbers 22-25; 22:31; 25:1–2; Acts 15:29; James 4:4; Romans 12:2
- 2:16 Jesus advises the church to do one thing: Repent. They should change their mind about tolerating or participating in these sinful doctrines, forsake it, and start doing right. If they refuse to repent, Jesus says that He will come quickly unto them and fight against them with the Word of God, meaning Jesus will bring judgement upon the church.
- 2:17 It is the responsibility of individual believers to hear this message and if their own heart is convicted through the Holy Spirit, they need to listen to its message and repent. All true believers (him that overcometh) will be given spiritual nourishment and blessings (hidden manna), and a white stone with a new name written on it. The stone probably symbolizes the Roman custom of giving a stone to the winners of athletic competitions as an award or invitation to a banquet. Therefore, it symbolizes that, in Christ, we have the victory and heaven is the celebration feast.
1 John 5:4-5
- Who is writing the letter to the churches?
- Why does each church receive praise?
- Why does each church receive criticism?
- What was the challenges to the churches?
- Who are overcomers and what will they be given?