Week 4

Many Bible scholars believe this chapter presents a metaphor (“the great harlot”) of the demonically inspired belief system and practices of the last days. This pictures a worldwide culture dominated by lustful desire for fornication, sexual filth, hatred, luxurious wealth, and an obsessive, maniacal determination to kill every follower of Jesus. Also described in this chapter is the final overthrow and destruction of this specific aspect of Satan’s authority and influence. Satan (the “beast”) who carries and supports the “harlot” will then turn against her and destroy her.
  1. What will happen when “the great harlot” and the kingdoms of the earth make all-out war against the Lamb?
  2. Who stands with the Lamb in this battle?
  3. What are the three words used to describe the character of those who will be with the Lamb?
  4. How would you define “faithful” in the context of verse 14?
The metaphor of “the great harlot” in the previous chapter focused primarily on the spiritual and moral depravity that will dominate the last days culture. The metaphor of “Babylon the Great” in this chapter seems to focus primarily on the demon-controlled pride, power, influence, and lust for wealth and luxury that dominates the greatest city (or culture) of the day. In a matter of a few hours, Babylon the Great (and all it represents) is reduced to burning embers! What follows is a lengthy description of the world’s mourning at such destruction. The chapter finishes as a mighty angel declares a firm and final goodbye over Babylon the Great.
  1. How does the response in Heaven differ from the response on earth? (hint: verse 20)
  2. In verses 21-24, there are several words to describe those who lived in Babylon and their influence in the world. Is there a lesson that you can learn from this?
We come now to the final scenes of John’s vision. Once again, John is given the opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of Heaven in response to the judgements that have been released on earth.
  1. Verse 5 speaks of a “voice that came from the throne,” instructing all the servants of the Lord, both small and great, to praise God. Later (verse 9), the same speaker instructs John to remind the readers of the blessing that awaits them (and us!). John spontaneously begins to worship the speaker. Refusing to receive worship, the speaker then identifies himself as one of John’s brethren who shares the same testimony (of faith in Christ) as John. Do YOU have any thoughts as to the identity of the speaker? (Obviously, we do not know. Your guess is as good as anyone’s. But it is fun to suppose who among the many followers of Jesus it could be.)
  2. Jesus appears in full glory and splendor, ready to defeat the armies of the earth that have gathered themselves together at the direction of Satan to make war against Jesus and the armies of Heaven. How does the description of the Lord Jesus in this chapter differ from His first appearance to John in chapter 1?
This short chapter briefly describes four significant scenes of action that cover 1000 years of time!
Scene #1:   An angel seizes the devil and throws him into a bottomless pit from which he cannot escape to influence the nations of earth for a millennium.
Scene #2:   The martyred saints of history (and the years of The Tribulation) will be granted offices as Priests and Judges over the nations of the earth for this millennium.
  1. How do you think these two outstanding events will change the culture of the remaining and emerging kingdoms of the world?
Scene #3:   At the end of 1000 years, Satan will be released for a brief period of time. During this time, he will go through the nations and be successful in deceiving multitudes to rebel against the rulership of Christ. The rebellious armies will be quickly destroyed by the fire of God.
  1. How do you think Satan will be successful in deceiving nations once again?
Scene #4:   A long promised final judgement of all humanity (both dead and alive) will take place at a great white throne. All will stand individually before God and He will judge every person according to all they have done during the days of their lives. The Book of Life will be opened and those whose names do not appear in this book will be sentenced to be cast into the “lake of fire.”
  1. Verse 12 refers to “books” being opened. We know that one of the books is the “Book of Life,” and we are left to assume the other books refer to the records of all that each of us has done during our time on earth. How does the thought that you are being “recorded” affect you? Is it comforting to know that the blood of Jesus deletes confessed sin?
This chapter begins to bring the Revelation of Jesus to majestic and soaring heights of glory and beauty. The darkness of wrath and judgement is past, and the brightness of a new Heaven and earth is now revealed.
  1. The first five verses record John’s attempts to describe the beauty and perfection of the new Jerusalem that will be the eternal home of the bride of Christ. A phrase in verse 5 is a key to understanding the references to the “new” Heaven and earth. Notice that God will “make all things new” in contrast to making “all new things.” Every remaining result of any and every influence of Satan on what God has already created is removed so that they are made new! How does this description remind you of the work of the Holy Spirit that makes each of us a “new” creation in Christ?
  2.  Notice verses 5-8 where God reminds John to clearly write the message of the certainty of hope and of judgement that await the readers of his letter to the churches. How does this description make you feel?
  3. The last part of the chapter provides a more detailed description of the New Jerusalem, our heavenly home. It appears to be in the shape of a cube measuring approximately 2400 km in each direction. What part of the description of the city do you find most interesting?
This chapter completes the description of the unique beauty and provisions of the New Jerusalem. The chapter then finishes with further instructions to the Apostle John and the Lord’s final invitation and caution to those who hear or read this book.
  1. In verse 12, Jesus reminds us that He is preparing “rewards” for the saints. The scriptures teach us that our works do not determine our righteousness. We are made righteous by the blood of Jesus. Our name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life determines our right to enter Heaven. But upon His return, when the records of our lives are examined, our works (what we do in life) will determine our rewards. Does this fact motivate you to be faithful and active in service for the Lord Jesus?
  2. Three times in this chapter we read that Jesus said He would come “quickly.” This word does not mean “immediately” or necessarily “in a very short time,” but rather “without any delay” (Thayers Greek Lexicon). The Lord’s day of return, of wrath, of judgement, and of reward is not a moving target!  It is certain. It is set. And it is getting closer. How do you react to these words? How do you think the Lord wants you to react to these words?