Search The Scriptures —Study 22 — Revelation 19:11-21

Study 22 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 19:11-21

Following upon the destruction of ‘Babylon’, the beat and the kings in alliance with him (cf. 17:12-14), make war upon Christ, who comes forth from heaven in judgement to overthrow them.  The end of the present age, prophesied throughout the book, has now come, and we have in today’s portion Christ’s second coming described in its aspect of judgment upon His enemies, as in 2 Thes. 1: 6-10 and Ps. 2:9

  • Verses 11-16. In this symbolic picture of Christ seek to appreciate the suggestive significance of each descriptive phrase. Contrast some of the phrases of Zc. 9:9, 10. In what ways will Christ’s second coming be different from His first coming? Should this prospect fill us with fear or joy?
  • Verses 17-21. This is the battle of Armageddon, spoken of in 16:14-16. Note the contrast between ‘the great supper’ of judgment and ‘the marriage supper of the Lamb’ (verse 9). Cf. the contrast in 14:14-20 between the two harvests. See also Mt. 13:30, 40-43. What truths are thus repeatedly emphasized concerning the final settlement and issue of world history?

Notes

  • Verses 13a, 15b Cf. is. 63: 2, 3.
  • Verse 14. These are armies of angels. Cf. Mt. 16:27; 2 Thes. 1:7-9
  • Verse 20. ‘The lake of fire’; so also in 20:10, 14, 15; 21:8; elsewhere called ‘the eternal fire’ or ‘the Ghenna of fire’ (Mt. 18:8, 9; 25:41; also ‘the furnace of fire’ (Mt. 13:42, 50). It is the place of final destruction.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 21 — Revelation 18:21 – 19:10

Study 21 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 18:21 – 19:10

  • What thoughts does the action of the angel in 18:21 suggest as to the purpose of God towards ‘Babylon’? Notice especially how many times the words ‘no more’ occur in 18:21-24. Cf. 19:3. What truth is thus enforced concerning the whole system of godless luxury and lust which the name ‘Babylon’ represents? Cf. 1 Cor. 7:31b; 1 Pet. 1:24, 25; 1 Jn. 2:17.
  • What calls forth the praises of 19:1-3, 4, 5-8, and by whom respectively were they spoken? What truths about God’s character and ways are here acknowledged? Cf. 19:10; Is. 45:21-25.

Notes

  • 19:3b. Symbolic of final destruction. Cf. Is. 34:10.
  • 19:7. ‘The marriage of the Lamb’: the fulfilment of God’s purpose as described in Eph. 5:25b, 26. A final decisive contrast to the harlot and her impurities.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 20 — Revelation 18:1-20

Study 20 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 18:1-20

  • Consider first the messages of the angel and of the voice from heaven. What aspects of God’s judgments do these emphasize? What urgent imperative does the Lord here speak to His own people? Cf. 2 Cor. 6:14-18
  • In contrast, listen to the voices of earth on Babylon’s fall. Who are the speakers? To what fact about Babylon’s fall do they refer, and for what reason did they thus mourn for Babylon?  Observe the difference between the points of view of heaven and of the world. In such circumstances, in which would you join — mourning or joy?
  • When time permits, read Is. 13 and 47; Je. 50 and 51 and Ezk. 27 to see how deeply steeped is the mind of John in the visions and prophecies of the Old Testament.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 19 — Revelation 17

Study 19 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 17

The people of Christ have another enemy—Babylon. Babylon is the name of a city, and John uses it to denote the Rome of his day, seated upon her seven hills (verse 9(, and also upon many waters, i.e., upon nations and kingdoms making up the Empire (verses 1, 15, 18). But, Babylon, like the two beats of chapter 13, is a symbol; not, like the first beast, a symbol of material power; nor, like the second beast, of false religion; but rather a symbol of the world’s lust, of gain, pride and corruption. Wherever these aspects of the worldly spirit find embodiment there is Babylon, and there, God’s judgment will fall, unless men repent.

  • John’s wonder at the woman (verse 6) should lead us to examine her closely. What does each feature of the picture symbolize? Contrast the woman and her brood with the woman of chapter 12 and her seed (with 17:14, cf. 12:17). What, in the face of such a foe, is the prospect before those ‘who follow the Lamb’ (14:4)?
  • Verses 7-13, as the interpreting angel himself admits, require for their understanding a mind that has wisdom (verse 9). Observe that two different meanings are assigned to the heads of the beast. Note carefully also the difference between the heads and the horns. The main lesson of the chapter is the certain ‘doom of Babylon.  How is this brought about? What does this illustrate concerning God’s judgments?

Notes

  • Verse 2. ‘Committed fornication’: to the immoral practices which kings and rulers committed in response to the seductions of Rome.
  • Verse 8. It ‘was, and is not, and is to ascend’: the beast is a satanic counterpart of God Himself. 1:4.
  • Verse 10, 11. The Emperor Nero committed suicide, and the historian Tacitus says that a rumour spread abroad that he was not dead and would return. It is commonly thought that there is an allusion to this belief in verses 8a and 11.  This is a satanic counterpart to the death and resurrection of Christ.  Assuming that the seven kings of verse 10 were Roman emperors, the most probable theory sees in the five who ‘have fallen’, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero; in the one who ‘is’ Vespasian (AD 69-79), and in the one who ‘has not yet come’, Titus came Domitian, who would be the ‘eight’ (verse 11), and who resembled Nero so closely, especially in his persecution of the Christian, that he might well seem to be Nero come to life again.
  • Verses 15-17. The harlot city will eventually be brought down by a united revolt on the part of the provinces and their local rulers

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Search The Scriptures —Study 18 — Revelation 15 and 16

Study 18 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 15 and 16 

The series of judgments here described, though similar to those of the seals and trumpets, is seen as a separate ‘portent’ in heaven. What follow are no longer warnings but a final outpouring of the wrath of God.

  • John is looking at the seven angels, when his eye is caught by another vision, which he describes in 15:2-4. No doubt for the comfort of believers, in face of the terrible judgments which are about to fall. What great truths are they thereby assured of, and encouraged to rejoice in? What should such awareness make them—and us—-do? Cf. 16:5-7.
  • In what respects are the ‘bowl’ judgements more severe than those of the seals and the trumpets? What was the reaction to them (a of men, and (b) of the dragon and his allies? Before such a prospect, what ground have we for hope, and what reason for watchful concern? With 16:15, cf. Mt. 24:42-44.

Notes

  • 15:3,4 ‘The song of Moses’: cf. and contrast Ex. 14:30-15:19.
  • 16:16. ‘Armageddon’: the hill of Megiddo’: i.e., the plain of Megiddo, where more than one famous battle was fought (Jdg. 5:19; 2Ch. 35:22), and the hills around.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 17 — Revelation 14

Study 17 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 14

This chapter, like chapters 7 and 10:1-11:13, is an interlude introduced for the comfort of believers.

  • Verses 1-5 present a picture of the true followers of Christ. Although outwardly scattered, suffering and in danger of death, spiritually they are with the Lamb on the impregnable rock of Mount Zion, owned of God, not one missing (verse 1), and sharing in the worship of heaven (verses 2, 3). To what do they owe their position and what four characteristics mark their life? See verses 4 and 5 and cf. Mt. 5:3; Lk 14:27; Eph. 4:25; Phil. 2:15. How does your own life appear in the light of these standards?
  • In verses 6-11 are shown three angels, each with a message for all who dwell upon the earth. Examine the contents of their threefold message. Verse 12 and 13 are addressed to believers. What encouragement do they give to those who may have to die for Christ’s sake?
  • In the twofold vision of verses 14-20 what are the differences between the two parts of it (verses 14-16 and 17-20)? Cf. Ps. 1; Mal. 3:16-4:3; Mt. 13:39b-43.

Notes

  • Verse 3b. The song is ‘from heaven’ (verse 2); the saints on Mt. Zion are learning to sing it.
  • Verse 4. A symbol of purity of heart Cf. 2 Cor. 11:2.
  • Verse 6. ‘An eternal gospel’: cf. Ec 12:13, 14; Acts 14:14-18; 17:24-31.
  • Verse 9:11. The very marks, which once ensured benefits (see 13:15-17), now single out individuals for judgment.
  • Verse 13b. The weariness of labour will be over, the reward of their deeds awaits them. Cf. Mt.25:34-40. Contrast verse 11; ‘they have no rest’.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 16 — Revelation 13

Study 16 From the Book of Revelation is: Revelation 13

Satan in his war against the saints uses two chief instruments: (a) totalitarian world power, hostile, to the true God, subservient to Satan and claiming worship for itself (verses 1-10) and (b) established religion, supporting the claims of the world power, by false miracles and signs (verses 11-18). Such ‘beasts’ were found in John’s day in the Roman Empire and the cult of emperor worship. They have appeared also in later history, and may appear again.

  • Note how the Christians are here distinguished from others (verse 8; cf. 17:8). What experience is inevitable for them in such a world situation as verses 1-10 depict? How is it appointed that they should show their faithfulness? Cf. Mk. 13:13
  • In what respects does the second beast differ in outward appearance from the first? Cf. 1 Pet. 5:8 with 2 Cor. 11:14. How does its aims and methods bring Christians into direct conflict with it? Cf. Dn. 3:4-6; Jn. 15:18-21.

Notes

  • Verse 2. Note a combination of the characteristics of the first three beasts in Daniel’s vision. Cf. Dn. 7:4-6
  • Verse 3. This suggests a counterfeit to Christ’s death and resurrection, intended to lead men to faith and worship.
  • Verse 4. The reason for worship is not moral greatness but brute force.
  • Verse 10. Echoes words in Je. 15:2. In the face of such treatment Christians are not to try to resist or retaliate.
  • Verse 12. This second beast completes the satanic trinity. It is called ‘the false prophet’ in 16:13; 19:20; 20:10. He is the Lie dressed up like the Truth. Cf. Mt. 7:15; Mk. 13:22; 2Thes. 2:9-12
  • Verse 18. Many take the number 666 to refer to ‘Nero Caesar’. Others, because every digit falls short of the perfect number 7, regard 666 as a symbol of the Antichrist.

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