An unusual beatitude (Rev. 16:15)

Jesus announces this beatitude in the middle of his description of Armageddon. So it is connected to his second coming, which will come suddenly (the picture of a thief breaking into a building is used frequently in the New Testament connection to the second coming of Jesus). The beatitude is a warning to his disciples and he uses the picture of...

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The plagues (Rev. 16)

The origin of the plagues is shown to be connected to the worship of God in heaven. A heavenly order of process is observed, designed to impress the dignity and the solemnity of the event on those who hear about it. We are reminded here that the source of divine judgement is the holy place where God dwells.

Of course, no real set of bowls can hold...

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The song beside the sea (Rev. 15)

Because they are in heaven – the place of peace, purity and prospect, they engage in praise. What do they say in their song?

The first detail to observe is that the same battle is fought during the Old and New Testaments. The battle is between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Israel had the truth, Egypt was built on a system of lies....

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The location described (Rev. 15)

The sea of glass surrounds the throne of God (Rev. 4:6). Two ideas are suggested in this description – transparency and peace. Transparency ideally is when one has no defects to hide. God is light and his presence reveals it. There are no hidden agendas. Glass also conveys the sense of calm. This is a reminder that there never is disturbance or a...

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Standing Beside the Sea (Rev. 15-16)

There is a connection between this incident and what happened when the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt. Two obvious links are the song of Moses and the plagues. We are told the meaning of these seven plagues – they are a sign signifying that the outpouring of the wrath of God in human history is coming to a completion. This is a r...

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Four applications (Rev. 14:6-20)

Take a look from above on what is happening below. This is the message of the three angelic announcements. We should ask, what is most important now and what will be most important on the Day of Judgement? Will it be the gospel or will it be the city of man with all its failures or will it be the opinions of the political and religious leaders? A...

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The great harvests (Rev. 14:14-20)

Who is described in verse 14? It is obvious that the description is connected to the vision of the Son of Man in Daniel 7. Given that the vision concerns the exaltation of Jesus, it means that we should regard the one like the son of man here as Jesus as he will look on the Day of Judgement. We can see from the description that he will be very...

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Christians here and there (Rev. 14:12-13)

How can we tell a true Christian? Or, to put it another way, what does it mean to endure? It means to live as a servant of God keeping his commandments because it is the path of blessing. And it means remaining loyal to Jesus in all the circumstances of life.

It is not clear whether verse 13 describes Christians in general or if it is a personal...

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The messages of the three angels (Rev. 14:6-13)

The first angel has a message of good news even although the Day of Judgement is about to happen.  This is a reminder that sinners will be saved even shortly before Jesus returns. Who is this message of hope designed for? We see from verse 6 that it is for everyone. Here is evidence that the Lord is not willing that any should perish.

The...

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Pure for ever (Rev. 14:1-5)

The 144,000, when they are said to be virgins, are contrasted with the type of people who thronged pagan temples. To us who have never seen such behaviour the contrast might seem unusual. But it would be an obvious one at that time. Pagan temples were well-known for their immoral practices. Obviously, such behaviour was offensive to God. Several...

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The people who praise (Rev. 14:1-5)

John describes believers as being a specific number who were sealed with a special branding on their foreheads. Back in chapter 7, God had sealed 144,000 before the period of troubles that John described in chapter 6. The period of troubles was that between the two comings of Jesus. In chapter 7, he had also described the outcome of the period of...

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The Lamb on Mount Zion (Rev. 14:1-5)

The location where the 144,000 are gathered is Mount Zion. In the Old Testament, Mount Zion was the place of power where David had established his throne. It is not difficult for us to see here a reminder that the Son of David, whom David had sung about in Psalm 89, was in charge, seated on the throne of God. Although looking by sight does not...

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Think of heaven (Rev. 14:1-5)

In chapter 13, John had described the activities of the two beasts which represented the political and religious powers ranged against the church of Christ. This combination shows itself in different ways. In the days of John, the political authority was Rome and the religious activities that were engaged in supported the authority in Caesar....

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The two beasts and us (Rev. 13)

What lessons can we learn from what John describes when detailing the activities of the two beasts? Here are four.

First, it would be possible to deduce from what is said about the two beasts that Christians should avoid all expressions of political power and religion. Yet elsewhere the Bible makes clear that Christians can participate in the...

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The Second Beast (Rev. 13)

The role of the second beast is to ensure that the first beast remains in charge. It looks like a lamb, yet speaks like the devil (the dragon). The main function of the second beast is deception and it does this by a combination of the miraculous and the oppressive.

We can see the miraculous in the signs it performs and we can see the oppression in...

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The First Beast (Rev. 13)

In this chapter, John describes two ferocious beasts. One came from the sea and the other from the earth. I would suggest that John in referring to their origins says they belong to this creation, to the fallen world. The details given of each beast indicate that the first is mainly political and the second is mainly religious. Both beasts...

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The exaltation of Jesus (Rev 12)

It is obvious that Jesus, in sending the vision to John, wanted him to share with other believers the situation in heaven as they were suffering on earth. First, they should remember that the Father took Jesus to the heavenly throne. The idea behind ‘caught up’ is that of a rapid snatch, but he was not taken there to escape the troubles of earth, a...

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The Dragon (Rev. 12)

It would have been common knowledge in the church that the devil was the enemy of their souls. What does John want them to see from this unusual vision of their enemy? First, John would want them to remember that although the devil is only a creature he does possess unusual abilities (seven heads, with eyes that can see in lots of directions, and...

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The woman (Rev. 12)

Who is the woman or what does she represent? The description of the woman is that of a glorious person with great authority. She shines like the sun because indwelt by God, and her authority is more than earthly because the moon is her footstool. The crowns she is wearing are not so much crowns of royalty as crowns of victory. At the same time,...

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The God of the covenant (Rev. 11:19)

The next stage in the vision is for John to see into heaven. One item was revealed to him – the ark of God’s covenant. The original ark of the covenant disappeared when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple of Solomon. It had been replaced by another one when the temple was rebuilt, but that ark also disappeared when the Romans destroyed the second t...

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The Seventh Trumpet – the Day of Judgement (Rev. 11:15-18)

There are several ways by which we can think about the Day of Judgement. We can consider it from what people will be doing when it happens. Jesus tells us that it will be like what happened on the day when the Flood predicted by Noah came. Or we can look at from how the inhabitants of heaven will react when the day arrives. This second viewpoint...

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What about the two witnesses (Rev. 11:3-14)?

They speak as prophets and dress like prophets. Often a prophet preached about repentance, and this was the message and garb of the two witnesses. We can say that they called people to repentance while themselves living a life of repentance.

Who are they? John answers this question by linking together a range of Old Testament prophets and leaders....

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Measuring the temple (Rev. 11:1-2)

It can help us understand the reference to measuring the temple by recalling when something similar is mentioned in the Old Testament. In Ezekiel 40–44, the temple was measured and in Zechariah 2 the city of Jerusalem was also measured and the purpose of those measurements was to show God’s care and protection of Israel and the future prosperity of...

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The mighty angel and the little scroll (Rev. 10)

Following on from the sixth trumpet, which informed John of the powerful forces ranged against humans and of the refusal of humans to repent of their sins, he observes the arrival of a mighty angel with a little scroll in his hand. 

Who is this angel? He is clothed with glory (wrapped in a cloud), he is connected to the covenant that God made...

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