With the end of chapter 16 the plagues on the earth have ended. People have had a chance to see who is really in charge. They have had an opportunity to repent and turn to God. But most people would not. They feared the power of Rome. They are willing to risk eternal torment if they can just avoid the present persecutions. God is now ready to call, "times up", for the earth. Like a game of musical chairs when the music stops, God is going to show who is sitting on the lap of Jesus and who is sitting on fragile and imaginary chairs, trusting "Rome", themselves, their works, or anything else. Only those trusting in Jesus get into heaven and have a glorious forever. Everyone else gets discarded into hell forever.
READ Revelation 17:1-18.
John is in a Roman prison. The Roman guards will read his book of Revelation and censor it. If John criticizes Rome, he will be killed and his book destroyed. But John must tell his people that Rome is to be destroyed in the end and that no one should put his trust in the emperor. He uses coded language to get past the guards. We now meet a "great prostitute". A prostitute sells her body for temporary pleasures, getting people to do what God condemns (adultery). The many waters of verse 1 refer to the position of Rome in the center of the Mediterranean Sea and also to the many rivers surrounding the original Babylon.
How many heads and horns do these beasts have?
The scarlet beast (verse 3) heads ___ horns ___
The beast from the sea (Rev. 13:1) heads ___ horns ___
The red dragon (Rev. 12:3) heads ___ horns ___
Are the three similar?
The red dragon is Satan who opposes the Christians. The beast from the sea represents the Roman Empire which persecutes the Christians. The blasphemous names on the scarlet beast and the beast from the sea probably refer to emperor worship.
What is the name of this woman (verse 5)?
On what has she become drunk (verse 6)?
Obviously, what she symbolizes has killed many Christians.
In verse 8 the scarlet beast "once was, now is not, and yet will come". This is a counterfeit of God, "who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev. 1:8) People who do not belong to God will be fooled by this counterfeit god.
What do the seven heads represent (verse 9)?
Rome is built on seven hills. So this woman who has the code name Babylon is really Rome.
In verse 10, what else do the seven hills represent?
Again John is very specific about what he means. Unfortunately, modern scholars no longer understand those details. Here is one idea. Counting from Julius Caesar, the sixth emperor is Nero, who started the severe persecutions of Christians. Now Nero is a code for the present Roman emperor (Domitian) whose persecution is even worse. Verses 11 and 12 refer to more kings to come after the seven. Ten is the code word for many. In this way John gets over the literal problem of Domitian and many other emperors coming after Nero's successor.
Who is the Lamb (from memory)?
In verse 14 John is saying that the kings of the beast (Roman Empire) will fight against Jesus (and his followers).
Who will win?
Verse 17 is a key verse to the understanding of Revelation!
Who is in control of the hearts of those who persecute the Christians?
This shows how great his power is, that he can even control his enemies.
READ Revelation 18:1-24.
This chapter speaks of things in the future with the assurance that they will happen.
What has happened to Babylon (code for Rome) in verse 2?
In 313 A.D. emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, proclaiming religious tolerance throughout the Roman Empire. Later he declared that everyone in the Roman Empire should become a Christian.. That made it safe at last to be a Christian. About a century and a half later, Rome did fall to barbaric invaders and the Empire died. However, it really rotted from within as the people became more sinful and sought after personal pleasures. John was right, in terms of the fall of the empire of his time period. Other empires have also fallen. But the fall of the secular world system is in our future, and Chapter 18 seems to refer to it instead. However, the kingdom of Jesus has spread ever since, so that today there are Christian ministries in each and every nation on this earth. No kingdom has ever lasted so long. You are invited to become a part of it, now and forever.
What does the second voice from heaven warn (verse 4)?
That means us! (that is, if we are part of "my people", the saints of Jesus.) The world asks us to join in and do many things that might be fun, profitable, or in style, but which are not pleasing to God. If we do not keep apart from such things, then we get to share in the punishments mentioned in the following verses. We need to develop a strong resistance to peer pressure that leads us away from Jesus and God's commands. It is the world system that we are to come out of, not the world itself. Jesus said, my kingdom is not of this world.
Who is sorry over the destruction of "Babylon" in verse 9?
in verse 11?
in verse 17?
Why (verses 11 and 19)?
From God's perspective, is that a good reason?
Did they repent of their practices?
How long did the destruction take (verses 10,17, or 19)?
This is probably a code word for a very short time. Today such a destruction can be accomplished with nuclear weapons in only half an hour. Or it could be like the rapid destruction of Soviet communism and its economic system in a couple of years.
Who is to be happy over the destruction (verse 20)?
Who sent the destruction?
Notice that all normal ways of life are to cease (verses 22,23). The punishment is in part for the persecutions that the Christians have had to endure (verse 24). Throughout history, all nations which have made it a policy to specifically persecute Christians because of their faith have fallen, like "Babylon". Our nation could be added to the list at a later date if present trends continue.
READ Revelation 19:1-8.
What did the great multitude ask in Revelation 6:10?
What do they now say has happened (Rev. 19:2)?
Has God done what the saints had asked?
What is everyone in heaven doing (summary of verses 1-7)?
The Bride is the Church -- the group of all people who serve and worship Jesus (the Lamb) That may include you!
What is to happen to the Lamb and the Bride (verse 7)?
The fine linen, which makes the Bride attractive, is a code word.
What does it mean (verse 8)?
READ Luke 14:15-24.
What is the great occasion?
Do the invited people come?
What do the invited guests do?
The excuses are similar to the legal excuses for avoiding the military draft, according to Deuteronomy 20:5-7.
Is the occasion well attended?
Believe it or not, you have been invited by Jesus to his marriage banquet in heaven.
Will you be there? ___yes, ___no, ___hope so, ___hope not.
Remember the warning of Luke 14:24 and the declaration of Matthew 7:21-23.
If you plan to go, why should Jesus let you or anyone else into heaven?
READ Revelation 19:9-16.
The saints are invited to "the wedding supper of the Lamb". They are not just guests. They are the Bride!
What does the angel say about them (verse 9)?
Whom does the angel tell John to worship (verse 10)?
Jesus has been called the Lamb for many chapters. Now he appears as a victorious general.
What two names now describe Jesus (verse 11)?
These remind us that Jesus has not forgotten us. He will remain our friend forever and will be with us (Matthew 28:20) through our hardships and come back for us to take us to heaven (John 14:3). In verse 12 his eyes are described in the same words as in Revelation 1:14. His secret name refers to the fact that he does not belong to the beast or to anyone. He is God and belongs to himself alone. The bloody robe is a warning that he is now coming with judgment, as a warrior.
What is another name by which he is called (verse 13)?
Does his army have the stains of battle (verse 14)?
Only Jesus needs to participate in battle, and his weapon is simple.
Who does John the Baptist say is the Word of God in John 1:14? (figure it out)
What is the meaning of the code words "sharp sword" (verse 15) coming out of his mouth?
(Look back at your answer for Rev. 1:16, 2:12, and Hebrews 4:12, or use your memory.) "Word", as used by John, has many symbolic and literal meanings. Jesus will rule by his words even while he is the Word of God.
What comes from the winepress of the wrath of God (Rev. 19:15 and 14:20)?
Will any of it be yours?
What are some more names for Jesus (verse 16)?
At about 1000 A.D. the Byzantine Empire, derived from the eastern part of the Roman Empire and centered around present day Greece and Turkey, minted an abundance of coins on which Jesus Christ is proclaimed "King of Kings". These government coins were totally devoted to Jesus on both sides and were minted for about a century with various designs. Neither the country, ruler, nor coin value are mentioned on the coins.
READ Revelation 19:17-21.
A final battle is described. (Have you been paying attention to who is who?)
What happens to their human allies (verse 21)?
It is mentioned that "the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse" killed the unbelievers. This means that Jesus can have people destroyed simply by telling the truth about them and exposing their sins. You have probably observed how people can "kill" the reputation of another person by carefully choosing words. Jesus will do worse to those who do not belong to him, letting them go to hell.
Whose side do you want to be on then?
Background, Introduction, Lesson 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11