Signs of Christ’s Return
24 Jesus left the temple area and was going on His way when His disciples came up to Him to call His attention to the [magnificent and massive] [a]buildings of the temple.(A) 2 And He said to them, “Do you see all these things? I assure you and most solemnly say to you, not one stone here will be left on another, which will not be torn down.”
3 While Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, and said, “Tell us, when will this [destruction of the temple] take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end (completion, consummation) of the age?”
4 Jesus answered, “Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. 5 For many will come in My name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to Me], saying, ‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. 6 You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end [of the age]. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble].
9 “Then they will hand you over to [endure] tribulation, and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will be offended and repelled [by their association with Me] and will fall away [from the One whom they should trust] and will betray one another [handing over believers to their persecutors] and will hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will appear and mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, the love of most people will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures and bears up [under suffering] to the end will be saved. 14 This good news of the kingdom [the gospel] will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end [of the age] will come.
15 “So when you see the [b]abomination of desolation [the appalling sacrilege that astonishes and makes desolate], spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place (let the [c]reader understand),(B) 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains [for refuge]. 17 Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things that are in his house [because there will not be enough time]. 18 Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his coat. 19 And woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 Pray that your flight [from persecution and suffering] will not be in winter, or on a Sabbath [when Jewish laws prohibit travel]. 21 For [d]at that time there will be a great tribulation (pressure, distress, oppression), such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will [again].(C) 22 And if those days [of tribulation] had not been cut short, no human life would be saved; but for the sake of the elect (God’s chosen ones) those days will be shortened. 23 Then if anyone says to you [during the great tribulation], ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and they will provide great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect (God’s chosen ones). 25 Listen carefully, I have told you in advance. 26 So if they say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out there, or, ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms [of a house],’ do not believe it. 27 For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming [in glory] of the Son of Man [everyone will see Him clearly]. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the [e]vultures will flock together.(D)
The Glorious Return
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not provide its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.(E) 30 And at that time the sign of the Son of Man [coming in His glory] will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth [and especially Israel] will mourn [regretting their rebellion and rejection of the Messiah], and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliance and splendor].(F) 31 And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet and they will gather together His elect (God’s chosen ones) from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.(G)
Parable of the Fig Tree
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its young shoots become tender and it puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near;(H) 33 so you, too, when you see all [f]these things [taking place], know for certain that He is near, right [g]at the door. 34 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, this generation [the people living when these signs and events begin] will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth [as now known] will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
36 “But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son [in His humanity], but the Father alone. 37 For the coming of the Son of Man (the Messiah) will be just like the days of Noah. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the [very] day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not know or understand until the flood came and swept them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be [unexpected judgment].(I) 40 At that time two men will be in the field; one will be [h]taken [for judgment] and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken [for judgment] and one will be left.
Be Ready for His Coming
42 “So be alert [give strict attention, be cautious and active in faith], for you do not know which day [whether near or far] your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: If the head of the house had known what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.(J) 44 Therefore, you [who follow Me] must also be ready; because the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant whom his master has put in charge of his household to give the others [in the house] their food and supplies at the proper time?(K) 46 Blessed is that [faithful] servant when his master returns and finds him doing so. 47 I assure you and most solemnly say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that servant is evil and says in his heart, ‘My master is taking his time [he will not return for a long while],’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards; 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour of which he is not aware, 51 and will cut him in two and put him with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping [over sorrow and pain] and grinding of teeth [over distress and anger].
- Matthew 24:1 The massive size and polished surfaces of the fitted stones that formed the temple structure created a magnificent sight (cf Luke 21:5). The refurbishing of the temple was begun by Herod the Great in 20 b.c. and was completed in a.d. 64 by Herod Agrippa II. The rabbis had a saying: “Whoever has not seen the temple of Herod has never seen a beautiful building” (as quoted from the Talmud). They also said that Herod built it of yellow, white, and perhaps blue marble; and that he intended to cover it with gold, but the rabbis advised him not to because it was beautiful just as it was, looking like the waves of the sea.
- Matthew 24:15 I.e. the Antichrist (2 Thess 2:4), “the prince who is to come” who will make a covenant with Israel, then break it in the middle of the tribulation (the seven-year period of Dan 9:27).
- Matthew 24:15 I.e. the reader of the book of Daniel (cf 24:15). Jesus is indicating that the final fulfillment of this prophecy is yet to come.
- Matthew 24:21 The most obvious sign during the tribulation, prior to the second coming of Jesus, is when the abomination that causes desolation (the Antichrist) sets his image in the temple.
- Matthew 24:28 The Greek for “vultures” can also be translated “eagles,” but the reference is most likely to the vulture, which the Greek word includes with eagles as a class. The meaning of this much discussed verse is either that the corpse represents the returning Christ, whose appearance will attract the attention of the entire world, that is, the vultures; or that the corrupt world is the corpse, about to be judged by the returning Christ (Rev 19:18).
- Matthew 24:33 I.e. false christs, wars, famines, earthquakes.
- Matthew 24:33 I.e. the return of the Christ is imminent.
- Matthew 24:40 This is not the removal of the church described in 1 Thess 4:13-18 and Rev 3:10. The one taken is taken for judgment just as the wicked were taken by the flood in Noah’s day. The one left is left to enter the kingdom that Christ will establish.
The Widow’s Gift
21 Looking up, He saw the rich people putting their gifts into the treasury.(A) 2 And He saw a poor widow putting in two [a]small copper coins. 3 He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in [proportionally] more than all of them; 4 for they all put in gifts from their abundance; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
5 As some were talking about the [b]temple, that it was decorated with beautiful stones and consecrated offerings [of magnificent gifts of gold which were displayed on the walls and hung in the porticoes], He said,(B) 6 “As for all these things which you see, the time will come when there will not be one stone left on another that will not be [c]torn down.”
7 They asked Him, “Teacher, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to happen?” 8 He said, “Be careful and see to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name [appropriating for themselves the name Messiah which belongs to Me alone], saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and disturbances [civil unrest, revolts, uprisings], do not panic; for these things must take place first, but the end will not come immediately.”
Things to Come
10 Then Jesus told them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.(C) 11 There will be violent earthquakes, and in various places famines and [deadly and devastating] pestilences (plagues, epidemics); and there will be terrible sights and great signs from heaven.
12 “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, turning you over to the synagogues and prisons, and bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake.(D) 13 This will be a time and an opportunity for you to testify [about Me]. 14 So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; 15 for I will give you [skillful] words and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. 16 But you will be betrayed and handed over even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, 17 and you will be continually hated by everyone because of [your association with] My name. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish.(E) 19 By your [patient] endurance [empowered by the Holy Spirit] you will gain your souls.
20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by [hostile] armies, then understand [with confident assurance] that her complete destruction is near. 21 At that time, those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are inside the city (Jerusalem) must get out, and those who are [out] in the country must not enter the city; 22 for these are days of vengeance [of rendering full justice or satisfaction], so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. 23 Woe to those women who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For great trouble and anguish will be on the land, and wrath and retribution on this people [Israel]. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (completed).(F)
The Return of Christ
25 “There will be signs (attesting miracles) in the sun and moon and stars; and on the earth [there will be] distress and anguish among nations, in perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea and the waves,(G) 26 people fainting from fear and expectation of the [dreadful] things coming on the world; for the [very] powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with [transcendent, overwhelming] power [subduing the nations] and with great glory.(H) 28 Now when these things begin to occur, stand tall and lift up your heads [in joy], because [suffering ends as] your redemption is drawing near.”
Parable of the Fig Tree
29 Then He told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees;(I) 30 as soon as they put out leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is near. 31 So you too, when you see these things happening, know [without any doubt] that the kingdom of God is near. 32 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, this generation [those living at that definite period of time preceding the second coming] will not pass away until [d]everything takes place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
34 “But be on guard, so that your hearts are not weighed down and depressed with the giddiness of debauchery and the nausea of self-indulgence and the worldly worries of life, and then that day [when the Messiah returns] will not come on you suddenly like a trap; 35 for it will come upon all those who live on the face of all the earth. 36 But keep alert at all times [be attentive and ready], praying that you may have the strength and ability [to be found worthy and] to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man [at His coming].”
37 Now in the daytime Jesus was teaching in [the porches and courts of] the temple, but at night He would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet. 38 And early in the morning all the people would come to Him in the temple to listen to Him.
The First Seal—The Conqueror
6 Then I saw as the Lamb (Christ) broke one of the seven [a]seals [of the scroll initiating the judgments], and I heard one of the four living creatures call out as with a voice of thunder, “[b]Come.” 2 I looked, and behold, a [c]white horse [of victory] whose rider carried a [d]bow; and a crown [of victory] was given to him, and he rode forth conquering and to conquer.(A)
The Second Seal—War
3 When He (the Lamb) broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature call out, “Come.” 4 And another, a [e]fiery red horse [of bloodshed], came out; and its rider was empowered to take peace from the earth, so that men would slaughter one another; and a great sword [of war and violent death] was given to him.(B)
The Third Seal—Famine
5 When He (the Lamb) broke open the third seal, I heard the third living creature call out, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse [of famine]; and the rider had in his hand a pair of scales (a balance).(C) 6 And I heard something like a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius (a day’s wages), and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not [f]damage the oil and the wine.”(D)
The Fourth Seal—Death
7 When He (the Lamb) broke open the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature call out, “Come.” 8 So I looked, and behold, an ashen (pale greenish gray) horse [like a corpse, representing death and pestilence]; and its rider’s name was Death; and Hades (the realm of the dead) was following with him. They were given authority and power over a fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword and with famine and with [g]plague (pestilence, disease) and by the wild beasts of the earth.(E)
The Fifth Seal—Martyrs
9 When He (the Lamb) broke open the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained [out of loyalty to Christ]. 10 They cried in a loud voice, saying, “O Lord, holy and true, how long now before You will sit in judgment and avenge our blood on those [unregenerate ones] who dwell on the earth?”(F) 11 Then they were each given a white robe; and they were told to rest and wait quietly for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed.
The Sixth Seal—Terror
12 I looked when He (the Lamb) broke open the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as [h]sackcloth [made] of hair, and the whole moon became like blood;(G) 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, like a fig tree shedding its late [summer] figs when shaken by a strong wind.(H) 14 The sky was split [separated from the land] and rolled up like a scroll, and every mountain and island were dislodged and moved out of their places. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the [i]military commanders and the wealthy and the strong and everyone, [whether] slave or free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne, and from the [righteous] wrath and indignation of the Lamb;(I) 17 for the great day of their wrath and vengeance and retribution has come, and who is able to [face God and] stand [before the wrath of the Lamb]?”(J)
7 After this I saw four angels stationed at the four corners of the earth, holding back the [j]four winds of the earth so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.(K) 2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the rising of the sun, holding the seal of the living God; and with a loud voice he called out to the four angels to whom it was granted [to have authority and power] to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth nor the sea nor the trees until we [k]seal (mark) the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”(L)
4 And I heard how many were sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand; [twelve thousand] sealed from [l]every tribe of the sons of Israel:
Twelve thousand were sealed from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand from the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand from the tribe of Gad,
twelve thousand from the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand from the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand from the tribe of Manasseh,
twelve thousand from the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand from the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand from the tribe of Issachar,
twelve thousand from the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand from the tribe of Joseph, and twelve thousand from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed (marked, redeemed, protected).
A Multitude from the Tribulation
9 After these things I looked, and this is what I saw: a vast multitude which no one could count, [gathered] from every nation and from all the tribes and peoples and languages [of the earth], standing before the throne and before the Lamb (Christ), dressed in white robes, with [m]palm branches in their hands; 10 and in a loud voice they cried out, saying,
“Salvation [belongs] to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb [our salvation is the Trinity’s to give, and to God the Trinity we owe our deliverance].” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the [twenty-four] elders and the four living creatures; and they fell to their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying,
“Amen! Blessing and glory and majesty and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might belong to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders responded, saying to me, “These who are dressed in the long white robes—who are they, and from where did they come?” 14 I said to him, “My lord, you know [the answer].” And he said to me, “These are the people who come out of the great tribulation (persecution), and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb [because of His atoning sacrifice].(M) 15 For this reason, they are [standing] before the throne of God; and they serve Him [in worship] day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will [n]spread His tabernacle over them and shelter and protect them [with His presence].(N) 16 They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun [o]beat down on them, nor any [scorching] heat;(O) 17 for the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of the waters of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes [giving them eternal comfort].”(P)
The Seventh Seal—the Trumpets
8 When He (the Lamb) broke open the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour [in awe of God’s impending judgment].(Q) 2 Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven [p]trumpets were given to them.
3 Another angel came and stood at the altar. He had a golden [q]censer, and much [r]incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints (God’s people) on the golden altar in front of the throne.(R) 4 And the smoke and fragrant aroma of the incense, with the prayers of the saints (God’s people), ascended before God from the angel’s hand. 5 So the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; and there were peals of thunder and loud rumblings and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.(S)
6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them [initiating the judgments].
7 The first [angel] sounded [his trumpet], and there was [a storm of] hail and fire, mixed with blood, and it was hurled to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.(T)
8 The second angel sounded [his trumpet], and something like a great mountain blazing with fire was hurled into the sea; and a third of the sea was turned to blood;(U) 9 and a third of the living creatures that were in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10 The third angel sounded [his trumpet], and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch [flashing across the sky], and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of [fresh] waters. 11 The name of the star is [s]Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the waters, because they had become bitter (toxic).
12 Then the fourth angel sounded [his trumpet], and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and a third of the daylight would not shine, and the night in the same way [would not shine].(V)
13 Then I looked, and I heard a solitary eagle flying in [t]midheaven [for all to see], saying with a loud voice, “[u]Woe, woe, woe [great wrath is coming] to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpets which the three angels are about to sound [announcing ever greater judgments]!”
The Fifth Trumpet—the Bottomless Pit
9 Then the fifth angel sounded [his trumpet], and I saw a star (angelic being) that had fallen from heaven to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit (abyss) was given to him (the star-angel).(W) 2 He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke like the smoke of a great furnace flowed out of the pit; and the sun and the atmosphere were darkened by the smoke from the pit.(X) 3 Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power [to hurt] was given to them, like the power which the earth’s scorpions have.(Y) 4 They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but [to hurt] only the people who do not have the seal (mark of ownership, protection) of God on their foreheads.(Z) 5 They were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment and cause them extreme pain for five months; and their torment was like the torment from a scorpion when it stings a man. 6 And in those days people will seek death and will not find it; and they will long to die [to escape the pain], but [will discover that] death evades them.(AA)
7 The locusts resembled horses prepared and equipped for battle; and on their heads appeared to be [something like] golden crowns, and their faces resembled human faces.(AB) 8 They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions.(AC) 9 They had breastplates (scales) like breastplates made of iron; and the [whirring] noise of their wings was like the [thunderous] noise of countless horse-drawn chariots charging [at full speed] into battle.(AD) 10 They have tails like scorpions, and stingers; and in their tails is their power to hurt people for five months.(AE) 11 They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss (the bottomless pit); in Hebrew his name is Abaddon (destruction), and in Greek he is called Apollyon (destroyer-king).
12 The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still coming after these things.
The Sixth Trumpet—Army from the East
13 Then the sixth angel sounded [his trumpet], and I heard a solitary voice from the four horns of the golden altar which stands before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the [appointed] hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the troops of cavalry was twice ten thousand times ten thousand (two hundred million); I heard the number of them. 17 And this is how I saw the horses and their riders in my vision: the riders had breastplates [the color] of fire and of hyacinth (sapphire blue) and of brimstone (yellow); and the heads of the horses looked like the heads of lions; and from out of their mouths came fire and smoke and brimstone (burning sulfur). 18 A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone that came from the mouths of the horses. 19 For the power of the horses [to do harm] is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and it is with them that they do harm.
20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, [v]did not repent even then of the works of their hands, so as to cease worshiping and paying homage to the demons and the idols of gold and of silver and of bronze and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk;(AF) 21 and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries (drugs, intoxications) nor of their [sexual] immorality nor of their thefts.
The Angel and the Little Book
10 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed in a cloud, with a rainbow (halo) over his head; and his face was like the sun, and his feet (legs) were like columns of fire;(AG) 2 and he had a little book (scroll) open in his hand. He set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land;(AH) 3 and he shouted with a loud voice, like the roaring of a lion [compelling attention and inspiring awe]; and when he had shouted out, the seven peals of thunder spoke with their own voices [uttering their message in distinct words].(AI) 4 And when the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them down.”(AJ) 5 Then the angel whom I had seen standing on the sea and the land raised his right hand [to swear an oath] to heaven,(AK) 6 and swore [an oath] by [the name of] Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there will be delay no longer,(AL) 7 but [w]when it is time for the [x]trumpet call of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God [that is, His hidden purpose and plan] is finished, as He announced the gospel to His servants the prophets.(AM)
8 Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking to me, and saying, “Go, take the book (scroll) which is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” 9 So I went up to the angel and told him to give me the little book. And he said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.”(AN) 10 So I took the little book from the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey; but once I had swallowed it, my stomach was [y]bitter.(AO) 11 Then they said to me, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”(AP)
The Two Witnesses
11 Then there was given to me a [z]measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “[aa]Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar [of incense], and [count] those who worship in it.(AQ) 2 But leave out the court [of the Gentiles] which is outside the temple and do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles (the nations); and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months (three and one-half years).(AR) 3 And I will grant authority to My two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days (forty-two months; three and one-half years), dressed in [ab]sackcloth.”(AS) 4 These [witnesses] are the two olive trees and the two lampstands which stand before the Lord of the earth.(AT) 5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way.(AU) 6 These [two witnesses] have the power [from God] to shut up the sky, so that no rain will fall during the days of their prophesying [regarding judgment and salvation]; and they have power over the waters (seas, rivers) to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every [kind of] plague, as often as they wish.(AV)
7 When they have finished their testimony and given their evidence, the beast that comes up out of the abyss (bottomless pit) will wage war with them, and overcome them and kill them.(AW) 8 And their dead bodies will lie exposed in the open street of the great city (Jerusalem), which in a spiritual sense is called [by the symbolic and allegorical names of] Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.(AX) 9 Those from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations [ac]look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not allow their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. 10 And those [non-believers] who live on the earth will gloat over them and rejoice; and they will send gifts [in celebration] to one another, because these two prophets tormented and troubled those who live on the earth.
11 But after three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear and panic fell on those who were watching them.(AY) 12 And the two witnesses heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they ascended into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them.(AZ) 13 And in that [very] hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell and was destroyed; seven thousand [ad]people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest [who survived] were overcome with terror, and [ae]they glorified the God of heaven [as they recognized His awesome power].
14 The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
The Seventh Trumpet—Christ’s Reign Foreseen
15 Then the seventh angel sounded [his trumpet]; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom (dominion, rule) of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”(BA) 16 And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell face downward and worshiped God, 17 saying,
“To You we give thanks, O Lord God Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all], Who are and Who were, because You have taken Your great power and the sovereignty [which is rightly Yours] and have [now] begun to reign. 18 And the nations (Gentiles) became enraged, and Your wrath and indignation came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and [the time came] to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints (God’s people) and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and [the time came] to destroy the destroyers of the earth.”(BB)
19 And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning, loud rumblings and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.(BC)
The Woman, Israel
12 And a great sign [warning of an ominous and frightening future event] appeared in heaven: a [af]woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was with child (the Messiah) and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.(BD)
The Red Dragon, Satan
3 Then another sign [of warning] was seen in heaven: behold, a great fiery red dragon (Satan) with [ag]seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven royal crowns (diadems).(BE) 4 And his tail swept [across the sky] and dragged away a third of the stars of heaven and flung them to the earth. And the dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.(BF)
The Male Child, Christ
5 And she gave birth to a Son, a male Child, who is destined to rule (shepherd) all the nations with a rod of iron; and her Child was [ah]caught up to God and to His throne.(BG) 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that she would be nourished there for a thousand two hundred and sixty days (forty-two months; three and one-half years).
The Angel, Michael
7 And war broke out in heaven, Michael [the archangel] and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they were not strong enough and did not prevail, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.(BH) 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the age-old serpent who is called the [ai]devil and Satan, he who continually deceives and seduces the entire inhabited world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.(BI) 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,
“Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom (dominion, reign) of our God, and the authority of His Christ have come; for the [aj]accuser of our [believing] brothers and sisters has been thrown down [at last], he who accuses them and keeps bringing charges [of sinful behavior] against them before our God day and night.(BJ) 11 And they overcame and conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, for they did not love their life and renounce their faith even when faced with death.(BK) 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them [in the presence of God]. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you in great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time [remaining]!”(BL)
13 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who had given birth to the male Child. 14 But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time (three and one-half years), away from the presence of the serpent (Satan).(BM) 15 And the serpent hurled water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon had hurled out of his mouth.(BN) 17 So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went off to wage war on the rest of her children (seed), those who keep and obey the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus [holding firmly to it and bearing witness to Him].
The Beast from the Sea
Then I saw a [vicious] beast coming up out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten royal [al]crowns (diadems), and on his heads were blasphemous names. 2 And the beast that I saw resembled a [am]leopard, but his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth was like that of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 3 I saw one of his heads which seemed to have a fatal wound, but his fatal wound was healed; and the entire earth followed after the beast in amazement. 4 They fell down and worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; they also worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like (as great as) the beast, and who is able to wage war against him?” 5 And the beast was given a mouth (the power of speech), uttering great things and arrogant and blasphemous words, and he was given freedom and authority to act and to do as he pleased for [an]forty-two months (three and a half years).(BP) 6 And he opened his mouth to speak blasphemies (abusive speech, slander) against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, and those who live in heaven.
7 He was also [ao]permitted to wage war against the saints (God’s people) and to overcome them, and authority and power over every tribe and people and language and nation.(BQ) 8 All the inhabitants of the earth will fall down and worship him, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb who has been slain [as a willing sacrifice]. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 If anyone is destined for captivity, he will go into captivity; if anyone kills with a sword, he must be killed with a sword. Here is [the call for] the patient endurance and the faithfulness of the saints [which is seen in the response of God’s people to difficult times].(BR)
The Beast from the Earth
11 Then I saw [ap]another beast rising up out of the earth; he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke like a dragon.(BS) 12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence [when the two are together]. And he makes the earth and those who inhabit it worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs (awe-inspiring acts), even making fire fall from the sky to the earth, right before peoples’ eyes. 14 And he deceives those [unconverted ones] who inhabit the earth [into believing him] because of the signs which he is given [by Satan] to perform in the presence of the [first] beast, telling those who inhabit the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded [fatally] by the sword and has come back to life.(BT) 15 And he is given power to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast will even [appear to] speak, and cause those who do not bow down and worship the image of the beast to be put to death.(BU) 16 Also he compels all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead [signifying allegiance to the beast], 17 and that no one will be able to buy or sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let the person who has enough insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the [imperfect] number of a man; [aq]and his number is [ar]six hundred and sixty-six.
The Lamb and the 144,000 on Mount Zion
14 Then I looked, and this is what I saw: the Lamb stood [firmly established] on Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had His name and His Father’s name inscribed on their foreheads [signifying God’s own possession].(BV) 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of great waters and like the rumbling of mighty thunder; and the voice that I heard [seemed like music and] was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne [of God] and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased (ransomed, redeemed) from the earth.(BW) 4 These are the ones who have not been defiled [by relations] with women, for they are celibate. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased and redeemed from among men [of Israel] as the first fruits [sanctified and set apart for special service] for God and the Lamb.(BX) 5 No lie was found in their mouth, for they are blameless (spotless, untainted, beyond reproach).
The Angel with the Gospel
6 Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an [as]eternal gospel to preach to the inhabitants of the earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people;(BY) 7 and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God [with awe and reverence], and give Him glory [and honor and praise in worship], because the hour of His judgment has come; [with all your heart] worship Him who created the heaven and the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Doom for Proud Babylon
8 Then another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her immorality [corrupting them with idolatry].”(BZ)
Doom for Worshipers of the Beast
9 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “Whoever worships the beast and his image and receives the mark [of the beast] on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he too will [have to] drink of the wine of the wrath of God, [at]mixed undiluted into the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone (flaming sulfur) in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb (Christ).(CA) 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night—those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”(CB) 12 Here is [encouragement for] the steadfast endurance of the saints (God’s people), those who habitually keep God’s commandments and their faith in Jesus.
13 Then I heard [the distinct words of] a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘[au]Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes, [blessed indeed],” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest and have relief from their labors, for their deeds do follow them.”
14 Again I looked, and this is what I saw: a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was One like the Son of Man, with a crown of gold on His head and a sharp sickle [of swift judgment] in His hand.(CC) 15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to Him who was sitting upon the cloud, “Put in Your sickle and reap [at once], for the hour to reap [in judgment] has arrived, because the earth’s harvest is fully ripened.”(CD) 16 So He who was sitting on the cloud cast His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped (judged).
17 Then another angel came out of the temple (sanctuary) in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came from the altar, the one who has power over fire; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and reap the clusters of grapes from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe [for judgment].”(CE) 19 So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and harvested the grapevine of the earth, and threw the grapes into the great wine press of the wrath and indignation of God [as judgment of the rebellious world].(CF) 20 And the grapes in the wine press were trampled and crushed outside the city, and blood poured from the wine press, reaching up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of [av]sixteen hundred stadia.(CG)
A Scene of Heaven
15 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and wonderful [a warning of terrifying and horrible events]: seven angels who had seven plagues (afflictions, calamities), which are the last, because with them the wrath of God is finished [that is, it is completely expressed and reaches its zenith].(CH)
2 Then I saw something like a sea or large expanse of glass mixed with fire, and those who were victorious over the beast and over his image and over the number corresponding to his name were standing on the sea or large expanse of glass, holding harps of God [worshiping Him].(CI) 3 And they [aw]sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,
“Great and wonderful and awe-inspiring are Your works [in judgment],
O Lord God, the Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all];
Righteous and true are Your ways,
O King of the [ax]nations!(CJ)
“Who will not fear [reverently] and glorify Your name, O Lord [giving You honor and praise in worship]?
For You alone are holy;
For all the nations shall come and worship before You,
For Your righteous acts [Your just decrees and judgments] have been revealed and displayed.”(CK)
5 After these things I looked, and the temple (sanctuary) of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened, 6 and the seven angels who had the seven plagues (afflictions, calamities) came out of the temple, arrayed in linen, pure and gleaming, and wrapped around their chests were golden sashes. 7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath and indignation of God, who lives forever and ever.(CL) 8 And the temple was filled with [ay]smoke from the glory and radiance and splendor of God and from His power; and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.(CM)
Six Bowls of Wrath
16 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath and indignation of God.”(CN)
2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth; and loathsome and malignant sores came on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.(CO)
3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a corpse [foul and disgusting]; and every living [az]thing in the sea died.
4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water; and they turned into blood.(CP) 5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous and just are You, Who are and Who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; 6 for they have poured out the blood of the saints (God’s people) and the prophets, and You [in turn] have given them blood to drink. They deserve Your judgment.”(CQ) 7 And I heard [another from] the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all], Your judgments are true and fair and righteous.”(CR)
8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was given power to scorch humanity with [raging] fire. 9 People were [severely] burned by the great heat; and they reviled the name of God who has power over these plagues, but they did not repent [of their sin] and glorify Him.
10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness; and people gnawed their tongues because of the pain [of their excruciating anguish and severe torment],(CS) 11 and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their anguish and their sores (abscesses, boils); and they did not repent of what they had done nor hate their wickedness.
13 And I saw three loathsome spirits like frogs, leaping from the mouth of the dragon (Satan) and from the mouth of the beast (Antichrist, dictator) and from the mouth of the false prophet;(CU) 14 for they are [actually] the spirits of demons, performing [miraculous] signs. And they go out to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. [bb]Blessed is he who [bc]stays awake and who keeps his clothes [that is, stays spiritually ready for the Lord’s return], so that he will not be naked—spiritually unprepared—and men will not see his shame.”)(CV) 16 And they (demons) gathered the kings and armies of the world together at the place which in Hebrew is called [bd]Har-Magedon (Armageddon).
Seventh Bowl of Wrath
17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne [of God], saying, “It is done. [It is all over, it is all accomplished, it has come.]” 18 And there were flashes of lightning and loud rumblings and peals of thunder; and there was a massive earthquake—nothing like it has ever occurred since mankind originated on the earth, so severe and far-reaching was that earthquake.(CW) 19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And God kept in mind Babylon the great, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce and furious wrath. 20 Then every island fled away, and no mountains could be found. 21 And giant hailstones, as heavy as a [be]talent, fell from the sky on the people; and people reviled and spoke abusively of God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so very great.(CX)
The Doom of Babylon
17 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment and doom of the great [bf]prostitute who is seated [bg]on many waters [influencing nations],(CY) 2 she with whom the kings of the earth have [bh]committed acts of immorality, and the inhabitants of the earth have become intoxicated with the wine of her immorality.”(CZ) 3 And the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was [bi]entirely covered with blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.(DA) 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls, [and she was] holding in her hand a gold cup full of the abominations and the filth of her [sexual] immorality.(DB) 5 And on her forehead a name was written, a mystery: “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES (false religions, heresies) AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” 6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints (God’s people), and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus [who were martyred]. When I saw her, I wondered in amazement. 7 But the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and ten horns.
8 “The beast that you saw was [once], but [now] is not, and he is about to come up out of the abyss (the bottomless pit, the dwelling place of demons) and go to destruction (perdition). And the inhabitants of the earth, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, will be astonished when they see the beast, because he was and is not and is yet to come [to earth].(DC) 9 Here is the mind which has wisdom [and this is what it knows about the vision]. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits; 10 and they are seven kings: five of whom have fallen, one exists and is reigning; the other [the seventh] has not yet come, and when he does come, he must remain a little while. 11 And the beast that [once] was but is not, is himself also an eighth king and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction (perdition). 12 The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but [together] they receive authority as kings for a single hour [for a common purpose] along with the beast.(DD) 13 These [kings] have one purpose [one mind, one common goal], and they give their power and authority to the beast.
Victory for the Lamb
14 They will wage war against the Lamb (Christ), and the Lamb will triumph and conquer them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him and on His side are the called and chosen (elect) and faithful.”(DE)
15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. 16 And the ten horns which you saw, and the [bj]beast, these will hate the prostitute and will make her desolate and naked [stripped of her power and influence], and will eat her flesh and completely consume her with fire. 17 For God has put it in their hearts to carry out His purpose by [bk]agreeing together to surrender their kingdom to the beast, until the [prophetic] words of God will be fulfilled. 18 The woman whom you saw is the [bl]great city, which reigns over and dominates and controls the kings and the political leaders of the earth.”
Babylon Is Fallen
18 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, possessing great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his splendor and radiance.(DF) 2 And he shouted with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen [certainly to be destroyed] is [bm]Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a dungeon haunted by every unclean spirit, and a prison for every unclean and loathsome bird. 3 For all the nations have drunk from the wine of the passion of her [sexual] immorality, and the kings and political leaders of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth and economic power of her sensuous luxury.”(DG)
4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not be a partner in her sins and receive her plagues;(DH) 5 for her sins (crimes, transgressions) have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her wickedness and crimes [for judgment].(DI) 6 Repay to her even as she has repaid others, and pay back [to her] double [her torment] in accordance with what she has done; in the cup [of sin and suffering] which she mixed, mix a double portion [of perfect justice] for her.(DJ) 7 To the degree that she glorified herself and reveled and gloated in her sensuality [living deliciously and luxuriously], to that same degree impose on her torment and anguish, and mourning and grief; for in her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as a queen [on a throne] and I am not a widow, and will never, ever see mourning or experience grief.’(DK) 8 For this reason in a single day her plagues (afflictions, calamities) will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire and completely consumed; for strong and powerful is the Lord God who judges her.
Laments for Babylon
9 “[bn]And the kings and political leaders of the earth, who committed immorality and lived luxuriously with her, will weep and beat their chests [in mourning] over her when they see the smoke of her burning,(DL) 10 standing a long way off, in fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, the strong city, Babylon! In a single hour your judgment has come.’
11 “And merchants of the earth will weep and grieve over her, because no one buys their cargo (goods, merchandise) anymore—(DM) 12 cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet; all kinds of citron (scented) wood and every article of ivory and every article of very costly and lavish wood and bronze and iron and marble;(DN) 13 and cinnamon and spices and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat; of cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and carriages; and of slaves and human lives. 14 The ripe fruits and delicacies of your soul’s desire have gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and extravagant are lost to you, never again to be found. 15 The merchants who handled these articles, who grew wealthy from [their business with] her, will stand a long way off in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, 16 saying, ‘Woe, woe, for the great city that was robed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, gilded and adorned with gold, with precious stones, and with pearls;(DO) 17 because in one hour all the vast wealth has been laid waste.’ And every ship captain or navigator, and every [bo]passenger and sailor, and all who make their living by the sea, stood a long way off,(DP) 18 and exclaimed as they watched the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What could be compared to the great city?’ 19 And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, for the great city, where all who had ships at sea grew rich from her great wealth, because in one hour she has been laid waste!’(DQ) 20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints (God’s people) and apostles and prophets [who were martyred], because God has executed vengeance for you [through righteous judgment] upon her.”(DR)
The Divine Sentence upon Babylon
21 Then a single powerful angel picked up a boulder like a great millstone and flung it into the sea, saying, “With such violence will Babylon the great city be hurled down [by the sudden, spectacular judgment of God], and will never again be found.(DS) 22 And the sound of harpists and musicians and flutists and trumpeters will never again be heard in you, and no skilled artisan of any craft will ever again be found in you, and the sound of the millstone [grinding grain] will never again be heard in you [for commerce will no longer flourish, and normal life will cease].(DT) 23 And never again will the light of a lamp shine in you, and never again will the voice of the bridegroom and bride be heard in you; for your merchants were the great and prominent men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived and misled by your sorcery [your magic spells and poisonous charm]. 24 And in Babylon was found the blood of prophets and of saints (God’s people) and of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.”(DU)
The Fourfold Hallelujah
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory (splendor, majesty) and power (dominion, might) belong to our God; 2 because His judgments are true and righteous. He has judged [convicted and pronounced sentence on] the great prostitute (idolatress) who was corrupting and ruining and poisoning the earth with her adultery (idolatry), and He has imposed the penalty for the blood of His bond-servants [br]on her.”(DV) 3 And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke shall ascend forever and ever.”(DW) 4 Then the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures also fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah (praise the Lord)!”(DX) 5 Then from the throne there came a voice, saying,
“Praise our God, all you bond-servants of His, you who fear Him, the small (common) and the great (distinguished).”(DY)
Marriage of the Lamb
6 Then I heard something like the shout of a vast multitude, and like the boom of many pounding waves, and like the roar of mighty peals of thunder, saying,
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, [the Omnipotent, the Ruler of all] reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and shout for joy! Let us give Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb has come [at last] and His bride (the redeemed) has prepared herself.”(DZ) 8 She has been permitted to dress in fine linen, dazzling white and clean—for the fine linen signifies the righteous acts of the saints [the ethical conduct, personal integrity, moral courage, and godly character of believers].
9 Then the angel said to me, “Write, ‘[bs]Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the [bt]Lamb.’” And he said to me [further], “These are the true and exact words of God.”(EA) 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he [stopped me and] said to me, “You must not do that; I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers and sisters who have and hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God [alone]. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy [His life and teaching are the heart of prophecy].”(EB)
The Coming of Christ the Conqueror
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who was riding it is called Faithful and True (trustworthy, loyal, incorruptible, steady), and in righteousness He judges and wages war [on the rebellious nations].(EC) 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many royal crowns; and He has a name inscribed [on Him] which no one knows or understands except Himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in [bu]blood, and His name is called The Word of God.(ED) 14 And the armies of heaven, dressed in fine linen, [dazzling] white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword (His word) with which He may strike down the nations, and He will [bv]rule them with a rod of iron; and He will tread the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty [in judgment of the rebellious world].(EE) 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name inscribed, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”(EF)
Doom of the Beast and False Prophet
17 Then I saw a single angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he shouted to all the birds that fly in midheaven, saying, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God,(EG) 18 so that you may feast on the flesh of kings, the flesh of commanders, the flesh of powerful and mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all humanity, both free men and slaves, both small and great [in a complete conquest of evil].”
19 Then I saw the beast and the kings and political leaders of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against Him who is mounted on the [white] horse and against His army. 20 And the beast (Antichrist) was seized and overpowered, and with him the false prophet who, in his presence, had performed [amazing] signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were hurled alive into the lake of fire which blazes with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds fed ravenously and gorged themselves with their flesh.
20 [bw]And then I saw an angel descending from heaven, holding the key of the abyss (the bottomless pit) and a great chain was in his hand. 2 And he overpowered and laid hold of the dragon, that old serpent [of primeval times], who is the devil and Satan, and bound him [securely] for a thousand years (a millennium);(EH) 3 and the angel hurled him into the abyss, and closed it and sealed it above him [preventing his escape or rescue], so that he would no longer deceive and seduce the nations, until the thousand years were at an end. After these things he must be liberated for a short time.
The Millennial Reign
4 And then I saw thrones, and sitting on them were those to whom judgment [that is, the authority to act as judges] was given. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had refused to worship the beast or his image, and had not accepted his mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.(EI) 5 The rest of the dead [the non-believers] did not come to life again until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 [bx]Blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) and holy is the person who takes part in the first resurrection; over these the second death [which is eternal separation from God, the lake of fire] has no power or authority, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and they will reign with Him a thousand years.(EJ)
The Final Rebellion
7 And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison (the abyss), 8 and will come out to deceive and mislead the [by]nations which are in the four corners of the earth—[including] Gog and Magog—to gather them together for the war; their number is like the sand of the seashore.(EK) 9 And they swarmed up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints (God’s people) and the beloved city [[bz]Jerusalem]; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them.(EL) 10 And the devil who had deceived them was hurled into the lake of fire and burning brimstone (sulfur), where the beast (Antichrist) and false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night, forever and ever.
The Final Judgment
11 And I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them [for this heaven and earth are passing away].(EM) 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life; and the dead were judged according to what they had done as written in the books [that is, everything done while on earth].(EN) 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and death and Hades (the realm of the dead) surrendered the dead who were in them; and they were judged and sentenced, every one according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades [the realm of the dead] were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire [the eternal separation from God].(EO) 15 And if [ca]anyone’s name was not found [cb]written in the Book of Life, he was hurled into the lake of fire.
- Revelation 6:1 A seal, sphragis, could only be broken by the one who has authority over it. In breaking the seals and disclosing God’s judgments, Christ demonstrated His own divine authority over creation.
- Revelation 6:1 One early ms reads Come and see. Also vv 3, 5, 7.
- Revelation 6:2 Some interpreters note that the rabbis said that if one sees a white horse in a dream, it is a good sign (Talmud). Jewish believers who heard these words being read in their church (see 1:3) probably would think that the vision indicated Israel would soon be freed from foreign domination. In the Roman world a white horse was a symbol of victory in battle. In this case the peace is deceptive because it will not be lasting. Other interpreters argue that the horseman represents the conquering Christ, as in 19:11.
- Revelation 6:2 Without an arrow (if arrows are not to be assumed) the bow may symbolize a bloodless victory or conquest.
- Revelation 6:4 In contrast to the white horse, the rabbis said that if one saw a red horse walking gently, it was a good sign, but if the horse was galloping, it was a bad sign. It was also said that the man riding the red horse in Zechariah’s vision (Zech 1:8) was a sign that God intended to turn the whole world into blood (Talmud).
- Revelation 6:6 This may be a warning to be very careful handling olive oil and wine, which ordinarily are basic commodities, because famine will make them very expensive. The vision indicates that famine and inflation will take such a toll that a laborer will earn only enough to feed himself with wheat, or to provide barley for a small family. He will have almost nothing left for clothing, shelter, and incidentals.
- Revelation 6:8 Or death.
- Revelation 6:12 This was a coarse, uncomfortable material usually made of black goat hair and customarily worn as a sign of mourning or repentance.
- Revelation 6:15 Lit chiliarchs, a Greek word literally meaning a ruler (commander) of a thousand men, but used generally of high-ranking military officers.
- Revelation 7:1 The Jews and other ancient peoples were very observant of the four winds, that is, the winds that came from each point of the compass. It was said in the Talmud that if the winds ceased to blow, the world could not continue to exist.
- Revelation 7:3 The seal indicates both ownership and protection by God.
- Revelation 7:4 The tribe of Dan is omitted from the following passage without explanation. The tribe of Manasseh, Joseph’s older son, replaces Dan, so the count remains at twelve.
- Revelation 7:9 I.e. symbols of victory and joy used on festive occasions.
- Revelation 7:15 Lit pitch His tent.
- Revelation 7:16 Lit fall.
- Revelation 8:2 In the Old Testament, trumpets announced God’s commands to congregate, move camp, and prepare for war (Num 10:1-9). Trumpets were also used to announce celebrations (Num 10:10; 29:1), royal coronations (1 Kin 1:34, 39; 2 Kin 9:13), and God’s impending wrath (Josh 6:1-8; Zeph 1:14-16). Angels will blow trumpets during the judgment and resurrection (Matt 24:31; 1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thess 4:16).
- Revelation 8:3 I.e. a special container for burning incense.
- Revelation 8:3 I.e. fragrant spices which exude perfume when burned.
- Revelation 8:11 Gr apsinthos, cf Eng “absinthe.” This is a plant from which a bitter oil is extracted that is highly toxic to the nervous system. The name “wormwood” comes from the fact that the oil was used medicinally to kill intestinal worms.
- Revelation 8:13 The Greek word used here refers to the meridian or zenith, the highest point of the sun in the sky, where the sun is directly overhead.
- Revelation 8:13 During the first four trumpets, judgment fell on nature, but in the final three trumpet judgments (chs 9-11), unbelieving humanity will be directly punished through torment, death, and at last total destruction.
- Revelation 9:20 The wickedness of idolatry is so deep and deceptive that idolaters refuse to repent in spite of the overwhelming evidence of God’s displeasure with them (Ps 115:8; 135:18).
- Revelation 10:7 Lit in the days of.
- Revelation 10:7 Lit voice.
- Revelation 10:10 I.e. John was encouraged by the Word of God but was saddened as he realized the approaching judgment on unbelievers.
- Revelation 11:1 John is describing a rod that is about six feet long.
- Revelation 11:1 The Greek corresponds to a Hebrew verb meaning “to stand” or “arise” which can be an instruction to prepare to fulfill a command, somewhat similar to the military command “attention.”
- Revelation 11:3 See note 6:12.
- Revelation 11:9 In Revelation John sometimes uses the present tense to refer vividly to the future.
- Revelation 11:13 Lit names of people.
- Revelation 11:13 These give glory out of servile fear, not worship from the heart.
- Revelation 12:1 The woman represents the nation of Israel. The sun refers to Jacob (also called Israel, the name divinely bestowed on Jacob at Peniel Gen 32:28), and the moon to Rachel, while the twelve stars refer to the twelve tribes of Israel, originating with the sons of Jacob and Rachel (Gen 37:9-11).
- Revelation 12:3 The seven heads and ten horns correspond to the heads and horns of the beast in 17:3 ff, and to those of the beast in Dan 7:7 ff as well. Daniel’s description reveals that the ten horns are ten kings who temporarily reign with the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation (cf 17:12).
- Revelation 12:5 This refers to the ascension of Christ to heaven following His death and resurrection.
- Revelation 12:9 The Greek for devil is diabolos, which is actually a translation of Satan, a Hebrew word meaning “adversary” or “accuser.” The Greek word additionally carries with it the concept of “slanderer.” See note v 10.
- Revelation 12:10 This is the activity of Satan from which he has earned his name (see note v 9). The activity is most clearly seen in Job 1-2 and in Zech 3.
- Revelation 13:1 The dragon, who is Satan, stands at the head of an unholy, idolatrous trinity, comprised also of the first beast, who is the Antichrist (vv 1-10) and has a healed wound, and the second beast, who is the false prophet and deceives unbelievers to worship Antichrist through false signs (vv 11-18).
- Revelation 13:1 The symbol of political, royal, or military power.
- Revelation 13:2 These animals are mentioned in Dan 7:4-6, where the leopard represents Greece, the bear Medo-Persia, and the lion Babylon.
- Revelation 13:5 The last half of the Tribulation.
- Revelation 13:7 Lit given.
- Revelation 13:11 See note v 1.
- Revelation 13:18 Regardless of the earthly power of the two beasts (the demonically controlled Antichrist/dictator and his false prophet) described in these verses, they and their mentor, Satan, fall far short of the power, perfection, and majesty of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, whose perfection is represented biblically by the number seven.
- Revelation 13:18 This is not actually three sixes (or the equivalent in Greek or Hebrew letters), as commonly represented. Such a combination would not be used; and if it were, the sum would then be only eighteen, because in alphabet-based numbering systems like ancient Hebrew and Greek, place values are not used (10’s, 100’s etc.), but the letters are treated more like Roman numerals. What John is most likely indicating is that the letters of the name will add up to 666 (the best Greek manuscripts have the number spelled out), and there could be many different combinations of letters that would do so. Determining the values of the individual letters is another matter. John probably assumed that the name would be Hebrew or Greek, and in Hebrew vowels for the most part are not represented as letters. Further complications arise when names from other nationalities are considered, and are converted for valuation. For example, at various times it has been argued that the name “Nero Caesar” adds up to 666 when transliterated to Hebrew as NRWN QSR (according to the Greek form); but in the Talmud, the name is transliterated as NYRWN QYSR, which totals 686. Also, the original Latin form of the name (without the second “n”), if converted directly to Hebrew, adds up to 616, and a few ancient manuscripts had that number.
- Revelation 14:6 This term likely refers to the message of God’s impending righteous judgment and a final call to repentance and faith in the risen Lord.
- Revelation 14:10 In ancient times it was customary to mix wine with an equal or larger quantity of water to prevent intoxication at ordinary meals. Here, the mixing is ironic because the “wine of the wrath” is to be consumed at full strength.
- Revelation 14:13 This is the second of the seven promised blessings. See note 1:3.
- Revelation 14:20 About two hundred miles.
- Revelation 15:3 At the end, the old covenant that came through Moses is seen to be in complete unity with the new covenant in Jesus Christ.
- Revelation 15:3 Two early mss read ages.
- Revelation 15:8 The awe-inspiring manifestation of God’s shekinah glory was seen in the tabernacle, then when Solomon’s temple was dedicated, and the prophets said it would be seen again at the end.
- Revelation 16:3 Lit soul.
- Revelation 16:12 Lit the rising sun. Using this phrase, or just the rising, was the ancient way of referring to the east. A dry Euphrates would enable massive armies to travel quickly from the region of Iraq (Babylonia) to territory north of Israel (Syria) in preparation for the battle at Har-Magedon (v 16).
- Revelation 16:15 This is the third of the seven promised blessings. See note 1:3.
- Revelation 16:15 These are metaphorical statements referring to a believer who is always expecting the return of Christ, and maintains a lifestyle (the clothing) of which he will not be ashamed when that day comes.
- Revelation 16:16 The name means “mountain of Megiddo” and indicates a region west and slightly south of the Sea of Galilee.
- Revelation 16:21 A talent weighs about a hundred pounds.
- Revelation 17:1 Some have thought that the prostitute symbolizes a corrupt, apostate religious system.
- Revelation 17:1 For the meaning of the waters in this prophetic context, see v 15.
- Revelation 17:2 This may be a figurative reference to cult worship practices and idolatry.
- Revelation 17:3 Lit full of.
- Revelation 17:16 The Antichrist, the final world ruler.
- Revelation 17:17 Or having a common purpose.
- Revelation 17:18 Scholars have differing opinions on the “great city.” Some believe the context (18:2, 10, 21) suggests Babylon, others Rome, and still others believe it refers to many cities.
- Revelation 18:2 Whatever the exact city, Babylon here indicates human civilization arrayed in opposition to God and ready to be judged.
- Revelation 18:9 In the following verses, the kings (vv 9, 10), merchants (vv 11-17), and sailors (vv 17b-20) mourn the fall of Babylon, just as the same three groups mourn the fall of wicked Tyre in Ezek 26; 27.
- Revelation 18:17 Lit one who sails to a place.
- Revelation 19:1 I.e. the destruction of Babylon.
- Revelation 19:1 The three woes ending ch 18 are now followed by three heavenly praises.
- Revelation 19:2 Lit from her hand.
- Revelation 19:9 This is the fourth of the seven promised blessings. See note 1:3.
- Revelation 19:9 This is the first of seven visions of the final triumph of heaven over angelic and human rebellion in chs 19 and 20 (19:6-10; 19:11-16; 19:17-21; 20:1-3; 20:4-6; 20:7-10; 20:11-15).
- Revelation 19:13 Christ was once dipped in His own blood for mankind’s redemption (1:5; 5:9, etc.), but now in the blood of the wicked for mankind’s judgment.
- Revelation 19:15 Or shepherd.
- Revelation 20:1 The Greek words for “And I saw” are used seven times in chs 19 through 21 to indicate a progression at the end of time from the marriage supper of the Lamb to the millennium to the new heaven and new earth.
- Revelation 20:6 This is the fifth of the seven promised blessings. See note 1:3.
- Revelation 20:8 Non-believing descendants of the survivors of the Tribulation.
- Revelation 20:9 I.e. the world capital of Christ’s reign during the millennial kingdom.
- Revelation 20:15 Lit anyone was.
- Revelation 20:15 Since everyone who goes before the great white throne is to be tried and sentenced for his deeds, and no one is sinless, the only way to escape condemnation and the “lake of fire” is to have one’s name in the “Book of Life” through authentic faith in Jesus as Lord (see Ps 69:28; Phil 4:3; Rev 3:5).