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Revelation 20:1-4 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 20

The Thousand-year Reign. [a]Then I saw an angel come down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss[b] and a heavy chain. He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan,[c] and tied it up for a thousand years and threw it into the abyss, which he locked over it and sealed, so that it could no longer lead the nations astray until the thousand years are completed. After this, it is to be released for a short time.

Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image nor had accepted its mark[d] on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Footnotes:

  1. 20:1–6 Like the other numerical values in this book, the thousand years are not to be taken literally; they symbolize the long period of time between the chaining up of Satan (a symbol for Christ’s resurrection-victory over death and the forces of evil) and the end of the world. During this time God’s people share in the glorious reign of God that is present to them by virtue of their baptismal victory over death and sin; cf. Rom 6:1–8; Jn 5:24–25; 16:33; 1 Jn 3:14; Eph 2:1.
  2. 20:1 Abyss: see note on Rev 9:1.
  3. 20:2 Dragon…serpent…Satan: see notes on Rev 12:3, 9, 10, 15.
  4. 20:4 Beast…mark: see Rev 13 and its notes.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Revelation 11:1-21:2 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 11

The Two Witnesses. [a]Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff and I was told, “Come and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count those who are worshiping in it. But exclude the outer court[b] of the temple; do not measure it, for it has been handed over to the Gentiles, who will trample the holy city for forty-two months. I will commission my two witnesses[c] to prophesy for those twelve hundred and sixty days, wearing sackcloth.” These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands[d] that stand before the Lord of the earth. [e]If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and devours their enemies. In this way, anyone wanting to harm them is sure to be slain. They have the power to close up the sky so that no rain can fall during the time of their prophesying. They also have power to turn water into blood and to afflict the earth with any plague as often as they wish.

When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the abyss[f] will wage war against them and conquer them and kill them. Their corpses will lie in the main street of the great city,[g] which has the symbolic names “Sodom” and “Egypt,” where indeed their Lord was crucified. [h]Those from every people, tribe, tongue, and nation will gaze on their corpses for three and a half days, and they will not allow their corpses to be buried. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and be glad and exchange gifts because these two prophets tormented the inhabitants of the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them. When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, “Come up here.” So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on. 13 At that moment there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell in ruins. Seven thousand people[i] were killed during the earthquake; the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe has passed, but the third is coming soon.

The Seventh Trumpet.[j] 15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet. There were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world now belongs to our Lord and to his Anointed, and he will reign forever and ever.” 16 The twenty-four elders who sat on their thrones before God prostrated themselves and worshiped God 17 and said:

“We give thanks to you, Lord God almighty,
    who are and who were.
For you have assumed your great power
    and have established your reign.
18 The nations raged,
    but your wrath has come,
    and the time for the dead to be judged,
and to recompense your servants, the prophets,
    and the holy ones and those who fear your name,
    the small and the great alike,
and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm.

Chapter 12

The Woman and the Dragon. [k]A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman[l] clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.[m] Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon,[n] with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.[o] Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days.[p]

[q]Then war broke out in heaven; Michael[r] and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent,[s] who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have salvation and power come,
    and the kingdom of our God
    and the authority of his Anointed.
For the accuser[t] of our brothers is cast out,
    who accuses them before our God day and night.
11 They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
    love for life did not deter them from death.
12 Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,
    and you who dwell in them.
But woe to you, earth and sea,
    for the Devil has come down to you in great fury,
    for he knows he has but a short time.”

13 When the dragon saw that it had been thrown down to the earth, it pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle,[u] so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where, far from the serpent, she was taken care of for a year, two years, and a half-year. 15 The serpent,[v] however, spewed a torrent of water out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with the current. 16 But the earth helped the woman and opened its mouth and swallowed the flood that the dragon spewed out of its mouth. 17 Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus.[w] 18 It took its position[x] on the sand of the sea.

Chapter 13

The First Beast.[y] Then I saw a beast come out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads; on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads blasphemous name[s]. The beast I saw was like a leopard, but it had feet like a bear’s, and its mouth was like the mouth of a lion.[z] To it the dragon gave its own power and throne, along with great authority. I saw that one of its heads seemed to have been mortally wounded, but this mortal wound was healed.[aa] Fascinated, the whole world followed after the beast. They worshiped the dragon because it gave its authority to the beast; they also worshiped the beast[ab] and said, “Who can compare with the beast or who can fight against it?”

[ac]The beast was given a mouth uttering proud boasts and blasphemies, and it was given authority to act for forty-two months.[ad] It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling and those who dwell in heaven. It was also allowed to wage war against the holy ones and conquer them, and it was granted authority over every tribe, people, tongue, and nation. All the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, all whose names were not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life, which belongs to the Lamb who was slain.

Whoever has ears ought to hear these words.
10 Anyone destined for captivity goes into captivity.
Anyone destined to be slain by the sword shall be slain by the sword.

Such is the faithful endurance of the holy ones.

The Second Beast.[ae] 11 Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb’s but spoke like a dragon. 12 It wielded all the authority of the first beast in its sight and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. 13 It performed great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of everyone. 14 It deceived the inhabitants of the earth with the signs it was allowed to perform in the sight of the first beast, telling them to make an image for the beast who had been wounded by the sword and revived. 15 It was then permitted to breathe life into the beast’s image, so that the beast’s image could speak and [could] have anyone who did not worship it put to death. 16 It forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads, 17 so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast’s name or the number that stood for its name.

18 [af]Wisdom is needed here; one who understands can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a person. His number is six hundred and sixty-six.

Chapter 14

The Lamb’s Companions.[ag] Then I looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion,[ah] and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. I heard a sound from heaven like the sound of rushing water or a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. They were singing [what seemed to be] a new hymn before the throne, before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn this hymn except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been ransomed from the earth. These are they who were not defiled with women; they are virgins[ai] and these are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the firstfruits of the human race for God and the Lamb. On their lips no deceit[aj] has been found; they are unblemished.

The Three Angels.[ak] Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, with everlasting good news[al] to announce to those who dwell on earth, to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for his time has come to sit in judgment. Worship him who made heaven and earth and sea and springs of water.”

A second angel followed, saying:

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great,
    that made all the nations drink
    the wine of her licentious passion.”[am]

A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice, “Anyone who worships the beast or its image, or accepts its mark on forehead or hand, 10 will also drink the wine of God’s fury,[an] poured full strength into the cup of his wrath, and will be tormented in burning sulfur before the holy angels and before the Lamb. 11 The smoke of the fire that torments them will rise forever and ever, and there will be no relief day or night for those who worship the beast or its image or accept the mark of its name.” 12 Here is what sustains the holy ones who keep God’s commandments and their faith in Jesus.[ao]

13 I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” said the Spirit, “let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them.”[ap]

The Harvest of the Earth.[aq] 14 Then I looked and there was a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man, with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Another angel came out of the temple, crying out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap the harvest, for the time to reap has come, because the earth’s harvest is fully ripe.” 16 So the one who was sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven who also had a sharp sickle. 18 Then another angel [came] from the altar,[ar] [who] was in charge of the fire, and cried out in a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth’s vines, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth’s vintage. He threw it into the great wine press of God’s fury. 20 The wine press was trodden outside the city and blood poured out of the wine press to the height of a horse’s bridle for two hundred miles.[as]

Chapter 15

The Seven Last Plagues. [at]Then I saw in heaven another sign,[au] great and awe-inspiring: seven angels with the seven last plagues, for through them God’s fury is accomplished.

Then I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire.[av] On the sea of glass were standing those who had won the victory over the beast and its image and the number that signified its name. They were holding God’s harps, and they sang the song of Moses,[aw] the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and wonderful are your works,
    Lord God almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
    O king of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
    or glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
    All the nations will come
    and worship before you,
    for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

[ax]After this I had another vision. The temple that is the heavenly tent of testimony[ay] opened, and the seven angels with the seven plagues came out of the temple. They were dressed in clean white linen, with a gold sash around their chests. One of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven gold bowls filled with the fury of God, who lives forever and ever. Then the temple became so filled with the smoke from God’s glory and might that no one could enter it until the seven plagues of the seven angels had been accomplished.

Chapter 16

The Seven Bowls.[az] I heard a loud voice speaking from the temple to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven bowls of God’s fury upon the earth.”

The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth. Festering and ugly sores broke out on those who had the mark of the beast or worshiped its image.[ba]

[bb]The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea. The sea turned to blood like that from a corpse; every creature living in the sea died.

The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water. These also turned to blood. Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:

“You are just, O Holy One,
    who are and who were,
    in passing this sentence.
For they have shed the blood of the holy ones and the prophets,
    and you [have] given them blood to drink;
    it is what they deserve.”

Then I heard the altar cry out,

“Yes, Lord God almighty,
    your judgments are true and just.”

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun. It was given the power to burn people with fire. People were burned by the scorching heat and blasphemed the name of God who had power over these plagues, but they did not repent or give him glory.

10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast.[bc] Its kingdom was plunged into darkness, and people bit their tongues in pain 11 and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores. But they did not repent of their works.

12 The sixth angel emptied his bowl on the great river Euphrates. Its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the East.[bd] 13 I saw three unclean spirits like frogs[be] come from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet. 14 These were demonic spirits who performed signs. They went out to the kings of the whole world to assemble them for the battle on the great day of God the almighty. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief.”[bf] Blessed is the one who watches and keeps his clothes ready, so that he may not go naked and people see him exposed.) 16 They then assembled the kings in the place that is named Armageddon[bg] in Hebrew.

17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. A loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.” 18 Then there were lightning flashes, rumblings, and peals of thunder, and a great earthquake. It was such a violent earthquake that there has never been one like it since the human race began on earth. 19 The great city[bh] was split into three parts, and the gentile cities fell. But God remembered great Babylon, giving it the cup filled with the wine of his fury and wrath. 20 [bi]Every island fled, and mountains disappeared. 21 Large hailstones like huge weights came down from the sky on people, and they blasphemed God for the plague of hail because this plague was so severe.

V. The Punishment of Babylon and the Destruction of Pagan Nations

Chapter 17

Babylon the Great. [bj]Then one of the seven angels who were holding the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come here. I will show you the judgment on the great harlot[bk] who lives near the many waters. [bl]The kings of the earth have had intercourse with her, and the inhabitants of the earth became drunk on the wine of her harlotry.” Then he carried me away in spirit to a deserted place where I saw a woman seated on a scarlet beast[bm] that was covered with blasphemous names, with seven heads and ten horns. The woman was wearing purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She held in her hand a gold cup that was filled with the abominable and sordid deeds of her harlotry. On her forehead was written a name, which is a mystery, “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.” [bn]I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the holy ones and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus.

Meaning of the Beast and Harlot.[bo] When I saw her I was greatly amazed. The angel said to me, “Why are you amazed? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, the beast with the seven heads and the ten horns. [bp]The beast that you saw existed once but now exists no longer. It will come up from the abyss and is headed for destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world shall be amazed when they see the beast, because it existed once but exists no longer, and yet it will come again. Here is a clue[bq] for one who has wisdom. The seven heads represent seven hills upon which the woman sits. They also represent seven kings: 10 five have already fallen, one still lives, and the last has not yet come,[br] and when he comes he must remain only a short while. 11 The beast[bs] that existed once but exists no longer is an eighth king, but really belongs to the seven and is headed for destruction. 12 The ten horns that you saw represent ten kings who have not yet been crowned;[bt] they will receive royal authority along with the beast for one hour. 13 They are of one mind and will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will fight with the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and king of kings, and those with him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

15 Then he said to me, “The waters that you saw where the harlot lives represent large numbers of peoples, nations, and tongues. 16 The ten horns[bu] that you saw and the beast will hate the harlot; they will leave her desolate and naked; they will eat her flesh and consume her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their minds to carry out his purpose and to make them come to an agreement to give their kingdom to the beast until the words of God are accomplished. 18 The woman whom you saw represents the great city that has sovereignty over the kings of the earth.”

Chapter 18

The Fall of Babylon.[bv] After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth became illumined by his splendor. [bw]He cried out in a mighty voice:

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.
    She has become a haunt for demons.
She is a cage for every unclean spirit,
    a cage for every unclean bird,
    [a cage for every unclean] and disgusting [beast].
For all the nations have drunk[bx]
    the wine of her licentious passion.
The kings of the earth had intercourse with her,
    and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her drive for luxury.”

Then I heard another voice from heaven say:

“Depart from her,[by] my people,
    so as not to take part in her sins
    and receive a share in her plagues,
for her sins are piled up to the sky,
    and God remembers her crimes.
Pay her back as she has paid others.
    Pay her back double for her deeds.
    Into her cup pour double what she poured.
To the measure of her boasting and wantonness
    repay her in torment and grief;
for she said to herself,
    ‘I sit enthroned as queen;
    I am no widow,
    and I will never know grief.’
Therefore, her plagues will come in one day,
    pestilence, grief, and famine;
    she will be consumed by fire.
For mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”

The kings of the earth who had intercourse with her in their wantonness will weep and mourn over her when they see the smoke of her pyre. 10 They will keep their distance for fear of the torment inflicted on her, and they will say:

“Alas, alas, great city,
    Babylon, mighty city.
    In one hour your judgment has come.”

11 The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn for her, because there will be no more markets[bz] for their cargo: 12 their cargo of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; fine linen, purple silk, and scarlet cloth; fragrant wood of every kind, all articles of ivory and all articles of the most expensive wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13 cinnamon, spice,[ca] incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine, olive oil, fine flour, and wheat; cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human beings.

14 “The fruit you craved
    has left you.
All your luxury and splendor are gone,
    never again will one find them.”

15 The merchants who deal in these goods, who grew rich from her, will keep their distance for fear of the torment inflicted on her. Weeping and mourning, 16 they cry out:

“Alas, alas, great city,
    wearing fine linen, purple and scarlet,
    adorned [in] gold, precious stones, and pearls.
17 In one hour this great wealth has been ruined.”

Every captain of a ship, every traveler at sea, sailors, and seafaring merchants stood at a distance 18 and cried out when they saw the smoke of her pyre, “What city could compare with the great city?” 19 They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and mourning:

“Alas, alas, great city,
    in which all who had ships at sea
    grew rich from her wealth.
In one hour she has been ruined.
20 Rejoice over her, heaven,
    you holy ones, apostles, and prophets.
For God has judged your case against her.”

21 A mighty angel picked up a stone like a huge millstone and threw it into the sea and said:

“With such force will Babylon the great city be thrown down,
    and will never be found again.
22 No melodies of harpists and musicians,
    flutists and trumpeters,
    will ever be heard in you again.
No craftsmen in any trade
    will ever be found in you again.
No sound of the millstone
    will ever be heard in you again.
23 No light from a lamp
    will ever be seen in you again.
No voices of bride and groom
    will ever be heard in you again.
Because your merchants were the great ones of the world,
    all nations were led astray by your magic potion.
24 In her was found the blood of prophets and holy ones
    and all who have been slain on the earth.”

Chapter 19

After this I heard what sounded like the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying:

    “Alleluia![cb]
Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God,
    for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great harlot
    who corrupted the earth with her harlotry.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

They said a second time:

“Alleluia! Smoke will rise from her forever and ever.”

The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen. Alleluia.”

The Victory Song.[cc] A voice coming from the throne said:

“Praise our God, all you his servants,
    [and] you who revere him, small and great.”

Then I heard something like the sound of a great multitude or the sound of rushing water or mighty peals of thunder, as they said:

    “Alleluia!
The Lord has established his reign,
    [our] God, the almighty.
Let us rejoice and be glad
    and give him glory.
For the wedding day of the Lamb[cd] has come,
    his bride has made herself ready.
She was allowed to wear
    a bright, clean linen garment.”

(The linen represents the righteous deeds of the holy ones.)[ce]

Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed[cf] are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These words are true; they come from God.” 10 I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t! I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brothers who bear witness to Jesus. Worship God. Witness to Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”[cg]

The King of Kings. 11 [ch]Then I saw the heavens opened, and there was a white horse; its rider was [called] “Faithful and True.” He judges and wages war in righteousness. 12 His eyes were [like] a fiery flame, and on his head were many diadems. He had a name[ci] inscribed that no one knows except himself. 13 He wore a cloak that had been dipped in[cj] blood, and his name was called the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven followed him, mounted on white horses and wearing clean white linen. 15 Out of his mouth came a sharp sword to strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he himself will tread out in the wine press[ck] the wine of the fury and wrath of God the almighty. 16 He has a name written on his cloak and on his thigh, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

17 [cl]Then I saw an angel standing on the sun. He cried out [in] a loud voice to all the birds flying high overhead, “Come here. Gather for God’s great feast, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of military officers, and the flesh of warriors, the flesh of horses and of their riders, and the flesh of all, free and slave, small and great.” 19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered to fight against the one riding the horse and against his army. 20 The beast was caught and with it the false prophet[cm] who had performed in its sight the signs by which he led astray those who had accepted the mark of the beast and those who had worshiped its image. The two were thrown alive into the fiery pool burning with sulfur. 21 The rest were killed by the sword that came out of the mouth of the one riding the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

Chapter 20

The Thousand-year Reign. [cn]Then I saw an angel come down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss[co] and a heavy chain. He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan,[cp] and tied it up for a thousand years and threw it into the abyss, which he locked over it and sealed, so that it could no longer lead the nations astray until the thousand years are completed. After this, it is to be released for a short time.

Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image nor had accepted its mark[cq] on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over. This is the first resurrection. Blessed[cr] and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over these; they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for [the] thousand years.

[cs]When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog,[ct] to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. They invaded the breadth of the earth[cu] and surrounded the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. 10 The Devil who had led them astray was thrown into the pool of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

The Large White Throne.[cv] 11 Next I saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. 12 I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life.[cw] The dead were judged according to their deeds, by what was written in the scrolls. 13 The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades[cx] gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their deeds. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire. (This pool of fire is the second death.[cy]) 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the pool of fire.

VI. The New Creation[cz]

Chapter 21

The New Heaven and the New Earth. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.[da] I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,[db] coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Footnotes:

  1. 11:1 The temple and altar symbolize the new Israel; see note on Rev 7:4–9. The worshipers represent Christians. The measuring of the temple (cf. Ez 40:3–42:20; 47:1–12; Zec 2:5–6) suggests that God will preserve the faithful remnant (cf. Is 4:2–3) who remain true to Christ (Rev 14:1–5).
  2. 11:2 The outer court: the Court of the Gentiles. Trample…forty-two months: the duration of the vicious persecution of the Jews by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Dn 7:25; 12:7); this persecution of three and a half years (half of seven, counted as 1260 days in Rev 11:3; 12:6) became the prototype of periods of trial for God’s people; cf. Lk 4:25; Jas 5:17. The reference here is to the persecution by the Romans; cf. Introduction.
  3. 11:3 The two witnesses, wearing sackcloth symbolizing lamentation and repentance, cannot readily be identified. Do they represent Moses and Elijah, or the Law and the Prophets, or Peter and Paul? Most probably they refer to the universal church, especially the Christian martyrs, fulfilling the office of witness (two because of Dt 19:15; cf. Mk 6:7; Jn 8:17).
  4. 11:4 The two olive trees and the two lampstands: the martyrs who stand in the presence of the Lord; the imagery is taken from Zec 4:8–14, where the olive trees refer to Zerubbabel and Joshua.
  5. 11:5–6 These details are derived from stories of Moses, who turned water into blood (Ex 7:17–20), and of Elijah, who called down fire from heaven (1 Kgs 18:36–40; 2 Kgs 1:10) and closed up the sky for three years (1 Kgs 17:1; cf. 18:1).
  6. 11:7 The beast…from the abyss: the Roman emperor Nero, who symbolizes the forces of evil, or the antichrist (Rev 13:1, 8; 17:8); cf. Dn 7:2–8, 11–12, 19–22 and Introduction.
  7. 11:8 The great city: this expression is used constantly in Revelation for Babylon, i.e., Rome; cf. Rev 14:8; 16:19; 17:18; 18:2, 10, 21. “Sodom” and “Egypt”: symbols of immorality (cf. Is 1:10) and oppression of God’s people (cf. Ex 1:11–14). Where indeed their Lord was crucified: not the geographical but the symbolic Jerusalem that rejects God and his witnesses, i.e., Rome, called Babylon in Rev 16–18; see note on Rev 17:9 and Introduction.
  8. 11:9–12 Over the martyrdom (Rev 11:7) of the two witnesses, now called prophets, the ungodly rejoice for three and a half days, a symbolic period of time; see note on Rev 11:2. Afterwards they go in triumph to heaven, as did Elijah (2 Kgs 2:11).
  9. 11:13 Seven thousand people: a symbolic sum to represent all social classes (seven) and large numbers (thousands); cf. Introduction.
  10. 11:15–19 The seventh trumpet proclaims the coming of God’s reign after the victory over diabolical powers; see note on Rev 10:7.
  11. 12:1–14:20 This central section of Revelation portrays the power of evil, represented by a dragon, in opposition to God and his people. First, the dragon pursues the woman about to give birth, but her son is saved and “caught up to God and his throne” (Rev 12:5). Then Michael and his angels cast the dragon and his angels out of heaven (Rev 12:7–9). After this, the dragon tries to attack the boy indirectly by attacking members of his church (Rev 12:13–17). A beast, symbolizing the Roman empire, then becomes the dragon’s agent, mortally wounded but restored to life and worshiped by all the world (Rev 13:1–10). A second beast arises from the land, symbolizing the antichrist, which leads people astray by its prodigies to idolize the first beast (Rev 13:11–18). This is followed by a vision of the Lamb and his faithful ones, and the proclamation of imminent judgment upon the world in terms of the wine of God’s wrath (Rev 14:1–20).
  12. 12:1–6 The woman adorned with the sun, the moon, and the stars (images taken from Gn 37:9–10) symbolizes God’s people in the Old and the New Testament. The Israel of old gave birth to the Messiah (Rev 12:5) and then became the new Israel, the church, which suffers persecution by the dragon (Rev 12:6, 13–17); cf. Is 50:1; 66:7; Jer 50:12. This corresponds to a widespread myth throughout the ancient world that a goddess pregnant with a savior was pursued by a horrible monster; by miraculous intervention, she bore a son who then killed the monster.
  13. 12:2 Because of Eve’s sin, the woman gives birth in distress and pain (Gn 3:16; cf. Is 66:7–14).
  14. 12:3 Huge red dragon: the Devil or Satan (cf. Rev 12:9; 20:2), symbol of the forces of evil, a mythical monster known also as Leviathan (Ps 74:13–14) or Rahab (Jb 26:12–13; Ps 89:11). Seven diadems: these are symbolic of the fullness of the dragon’s sovereignty over the kingdoms of this world; cf. Christ with many diadems (Rev 19:12).
  15. 12:5 Rule…iron rod: fulfilled in Rev 19:15; cf. Ps 2:9. Was caught up to God: reference to Christ’s ascension.
  16. 12:6 God protects the persecuted church in the desert, the traditional Old Testament place of refuge for the afflicted, according to the typology of the Exodus; see note on Rev 11:2.
  17. 12:7–12 Michael, mentioned only here in Revelation, wins a victory over the dragon. A hymn of praise follows.
  18. 12:7 Michael: the archangel, guardian and champion of Israel; cf. Dn 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9. In Hebrew, the name Michael means “Who can compare with God?”; cf. Rev 13:4.
  19. 12:9 The ancient serpent: who seduced Eve (Gn 3:1–6), mother of the human race; cf. Rev 20:2; Eph 6:11–12. Was thrown down: allusion to the expulsion of Satan from heaven; cf. Lk 10:18.
  20. 12:10 The accuser: the meaning of the Hebrew word “Satan,” found in Rev 12:9; Jb 1–2; Zec 3:1; 1 Chr 21:1; he continues to accuse Christ’s disciples.
  21. 12:14 Great eagle: symbol of the power and swiftness of divine help; cf. Ex 19:4; Dt 32:11; Is 40:31.
  22. 12:15 The serpent is depicted as the sea monster; cf. Rev 13:1; Is 27:1; Ez 32:2; Ps 74:13–14.
  23. 12:17 Although the church is protected by God’s special providence (Rev 12:16), the individual Christian is to expect persecution and suffering.
  24. 12:18 It took its position: many later manuscripts and versions read “I took my position,” thus connecting the sentence to the following paragraph.
  25. 13:1–10 This wild beast, combining features of the four beasts in Dn 7:2–28, symbolizes the Roman empire; the seven heads represent the emperors; see notes on Rev 17:10 and Rev 17:12–14. The blasphemous names are the divine titles assumed by the emperors.
  26. 13:2 Satan (Rev 12:9), the prince of this world (Jn 12:31), commissioned the beast to persecute the church (Rev 13:5–7).
  27. 13:3 This may be a reference to the popular legend that Nero would come back to life and rule again after his death (which occurred in A.D. 68 from a self-inflicted stab wound in the throat); cf. Rev 13:14; Rev 17:8. Domitian (A.D. 81–96) embodied all the cruelty and impiety of Nero. Cf. Introduction.
  28. 13:4 Worshiped the beast: allusion to emperor worship, which Domitian insisted upon and ruthlessly enforced. Who can compare with the beast: perhaps a deliberate parody of the name Michael; see note on Rev 12:7.
  29. 13:5–6 Domitian, like Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Dn 7:8, 11, 25), demanded that he be called by divine titles such as “our lord and god” and “Jupiter.” See note on Rev 11:2.
  30. 13:5 Forty-two months: this is the same duration as the profanation of the holy city (Rev 11:2), the prophetic mission of the two witnesses (Rev 11:3), and the retreat of the woman into the desert (Rev 12:6, 14).
  31. 13:11–18 The second beast is described in terms of the false prophets (cf. Rev 16:13; 19:20; 20:10) who accompany the false messiahs (the first beast); cf. Mt 24:24; Mk 13:22; 2 Thes 2:9; cf. also Dt 13:2–4. Christians had either to worship the emperor and his image or to suffer martyrdom.
  32. 13:18 Each of the letters of the alphabet in Hebrew as well as in Greek has a numerical value. Many possible combinations of letters will add up to 666, and many candidates have been nominated for this infamous number. The most likely is the emperor Caesar Nero (see note on Rev 13:3), the Greek form of whose name in Hebrew letters gives the required sum. (The Latin form of this name equals 616, which is the reading of a few manuscripts.) Nero personifies the emperors who viciously persecuted the church. It has also been observed that “6” represents imperfection, falling short of the perfect number “7,” and is represented here in a triple or superlative form.
  33. 14:1–5 Now follows a tender and consoling vision of the Lamb and his companions.
  34. 14:1 Mount Zion: in Jerusalem, the traditional place where the true remnant, the Israel of faith, is to be gathered in the messianic reign; cf. 2 Kgs 19:30–31; Jl 3:5; Ob 17; Mi 4:6–8; Zep 3:12–20. A hundred and forty-four thousand: see note on Rev 7:4–9. His Father’s name…foreheads: in contrast to the pagans who were marked with the name or number of the beast (Rev 13:16–17).
  35. 14:4 Virgins: metaphorically, because they never indulged in any idolatrous practices, which are considered in the Old Testament to be adultery and fornication (Rev 2:14–15, 20–22; 17:1–6; cf. Ez 16:1–58; 23:1–49). The parallel passages (Rev 7:3; 22:4) indicate that the 144,000 whose foreheads are sealed represent all Christian people.
  36. 14:5 No deceit: because they did not deny Christ or do homage to the beast. Lying is characteristic of the opponents of Christ (Jn 8:44), but the Suffering Servant spoke no falsehood (Is 53:9; 1 Pt 2:22). Unblemished: a cultic term taken from the vocabulary of sacrificial ritual.
  37. 14:6–13 Three angels proclaim imminent judgment on the pagan world, calling all peoples to worship God the creator. Babylon (Rome) will fall, and its supporters will be tormented forever.
  38. 14:6 Everlasting good news: that God’s eternal reign is about to begin; see note on Rev 10:7.
  39. 14:8 This verse anticipates the lengthy dirge over Babylon (Rome) in Rev 18:1–19:4. The oracle of Is 21:9 to Babylon is applied here.
  40. 14:10–11 The wine of God’s fury: image taken from Is 51:17; Jer 25:15–16; 49:12; 51:7; Ez 23:31–34. Eternal punishment in the fiery pool of burning sulfur (or “fire and brimstone”; cf. Gn 19:24) is also reserved for the Devil, the beast, and the false prophet (Rev 19:20; 20:10; 21:8).
  41. 14:12 In addition to faith in Jesus, the seer insists upon the necessity and value of works, as in Rev 2:23; 20:12–13; 22:12; cf. Mt 16:27; Rom 2:6.
  42. 14:13 See note on Rev 1:3. According to Jewish thought, people’s actions followed them as witnesses before the court of God.
  43. 14:14–20 The reaping of the harvest symbolizes the gathering of the elect in the final judgment, while the reaping and treading of the grapes symbolizes the doom of the ungodly (cf. Jl 4:12–13; Is 63:1–6) that will come in Rev 19:11–21.
  44. 14:18 Altar: there was only one altar in the heavenly temple; see notes above on Rev 6:9; 8:3; 11:1.
  45. 14:20 Two hundred miles: literally sixteen hundred stades. The stadion, a Greek unit of measurement, was about 607 feet in length, approximately the length of a furlong.
  46. 15:1–16:21 The seven bowls, the third and last group of seven after the seven seals and the seven trumpets, foreshadow the final cataclysm. Again, the series is introduced by a heavenly prelude, in which the victors over the beast sing the canticle of Moses (Rev 15:2–4).
  47. 15:1–4 A vision of the victorious martyrs precedes the vision of woe in Rev 15:5–16:21; cf. Rev 7:9–12.
  48. 15:2 Mingled with fire: fire symbolizes the sanctity involved in facing God, reflected in the trials that have prepared the victorious Christians or in God’s wrath.
  49. 15:3 The song of Moses: the song that Moses and the Israelites sang after their escape from the oppression of Egypt (Ex 15:1–18). The martyrs have escaped from the oppression of the Devil. Nations: many other Greek manuscripts and versions read “ages.”
  50. 15:5–8 Seven angels receive the bowls of God’s wrath.
  51. 15:5 Tent of testimony: the name of the meeting tent in the Greek text of Ex 40. Cf. 2 Mc 2:4–7.
  52. 16:1–21 These seven bowls, like the seven seals (Rev 6:1–17; 8:1) and the seven trumpets (Rev 8:2–9:21; 11:15–19), bring on a succession of disasters modeled in part on the plagues of Egypt (Ex 7–12). See note on Rev 6:12–14.
  53. 16:2 Like the sixth Egyptian plague (Ex 9:8–11).
  54. 16:3–4 Like the first Egyptian plague (Ex 7:20–21). The same woe followed the blowing of the second trumpet (Rev 8:8–9).
  55. 16:10 The throne of the beast: symbol of the forces of evil. Darkness: like the ninth Egyptian plague (Ex 10:21–23); cf. Rev 9:2.
  56. 16:12 The kings of the East: Parthians; see notes on Rev 6:2 and Rev 17:12–13. East: literally, “rising of the sun,” as in Rev 7:2.
  57. 16:13 Frogs: possibly an allusion to the second Egyptian plague (Ex 7:26–8:11). The false prophet: identified with the two-horned second beast (Rev 13:11–18 and the note there).
  58. 16:15 Like a thief: as in Rev 3:3 (cf. Mt 24:42–44; 1 Thes 5:2). Blessed: see note on Rev 1:3.
  59. 16:16 Armageddon: in Hebrew, this means “Mountain of Megiddo.” Since Megiddo was the scene of many decisive battles in antiquity (Jgs 5:19–20; 2 Kgs 9:27; 2 Chr 35:20–24), the town became the symbol of the final disastrous rout of the forces of evil.
  60. 16:19 The great city: Rome and the empire.
  61. 16:20–21 See note on Rev 6:12–14. Hailstones: as in the seventh Egyptian plague (Ex 9:23–24); cf. Rev 8:7. Like huge weights: literally, “weighing a talent,” about one hundred pounds.
  62. 17:1–19:10 The punishment of Babylon is now described as a past event and, metaphorically, under the image of the great harlot who leads people astray into idolatry.
  63. 17:1–6 Babylon, the symbolic name (Rev 17:5) of Rome, is graphically described as “the great harlot.”
  64. 17:2 Intercourse…harlotry: see note on Rev 14:4. The pagan kings subject to Rome adopted the cult of the emperor.
  65. 17:3 Scarlet beast: see note on Rev 13:1–10. Blasphemous names: divine titles assumed by the Roman emperors; see note on Rev 13:5–6.
  66. 17:6 Reference to the great wealth and idolatrous cults of Rome.
  67. 17:6b–18 An interpretation of the vision is here given.
  68. 17:8 Allusion to the belief that the dead Nero would return to power (Rev 17:11); see note on Rev 13:3.
  69. 17:9 Here is a clue: literally, “Here a mind that has wisdom.” Seven hills: of Rome.
  70. 17:10 There is little agreement as to the identity of the Roman emperors alluded to here. The number seven (Rev 17:9) suggests that all the emperors are meant; see note on Rev 1:4.
  71. 17:11 The beast: Nero; see note on Rev 17:8.
  72. 17:12–13 Ten kings who have not yet been crowned: perhaps Parthian satraps who are to accompany the revived Nero (the beast) in his march on Rome to regain power; see note on Rev 13:3. In Rev 19:11–21, the Lamb and his companions will conquer them.
  73. 17:16–18 The ten horns: the ten pagan kings (Rev 17:12) who unwittingly fulfill God’s will against harlot Rome, the great city; cf. Ez 16:37.
  74. 18:1–19:4 A stirring dirge over the fall of Babylon-Rome. The perspective is prophetic, as if the fall of Rome had already taken place. The imagery here, as elsewhere in this book, is not to be taken literally. The vindictiveness of some of the language, borrowed from the scathing Old Testament prophecies against Babylon, Tyre, and Nineveh (Is 23; 24; 27; Jer 50–51; Ez 26–27), is meant to portray symbolically the inexorable demands of God’s holiness and justice; cf. Introduction. The section concludes with a joyous canticle on the future glory of heaven.
  75. 18:2 Many Greek manuscripts and versions omit a cage for every unclean…beast.
  76. 18:3–24 Rome is condemned for her immorality, symbol of idolatry (see note on Rev 14:4), and for persecuting the church; cf. Rev 19:2.
  77. 18:4 Depart from her: not evacuation of the city but separation from sinners, as always in apocalyptic literature.
  78. 18:11 Ironically, the merchants weep not so much for Babylon-Rome, but for their lost markets; cf. Ez 27:36.
  79. 18:13 Spice: an unidentified spice plant called in Greek amōmon.
  80. 19:1, 3, 4, 6 Alleluia: found only here in the New Testament, this frequent exclamation of praise in the Hebrew psalms was important in Jewish liturgy.
  81. 19:5–10 A victory song follows, sung by the entire church, celebrating the marriage of the Lamb, the union of the Messiah with the community of the elect.
  82. 19:7 The wedding day of the Lamb: symbol of God’s reign about to begin (Rev 21:1–22:5); see note on Rev 10:7. His bride: the church; cf. 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:22–27. Marriage is one of the biblical metaphors used to describe the covenant relationship between God and his people; cf. Hos 2:16–22; Is 54:5–6; 62:5; Ez 16:6–14. Hence, idolatry and apostasy are viewed as adultery and harlotry (Hos 2:4–15; Ez 16:15–63); see note on Rev 14:4.
  83. 19:8 See note on Rev 14:12.
  84. 19:9 Blessed: see note on Rev 1:3.
  85. 19:10 The spirit of prophecy: as the prophets were inspired to proclaim God’s word, so the Christian is called to give witness to the Word of God (Rev 19:13) made flesh; cf. Rev 1:2; 6:9; 12:17.
  86. 19:11–16 Symbolic description of the exalted Christ (cf. Rev 1:13–16) who together with the armies of heaven overcomes the beast and its followers; cf. Rev 17:14.
  87. 19:12 A name: in Semitic thought, the name conveyed the reality of the person; cf. Mt 11:27; Lk 10:22.
  88. 19:13 Had been dipped in: other Greek manuscripts and versions read “had been sprinkled with”; cf. Rev 19:15. The Word of God: Christ is the revelation of the Father; cf. Jn 1:1, 14; 1 Jn 2:14.
  89. 19:15 The treading of the wine press is a prophetic symbol used to describe the destruction of God’s enemies; cf. Is 63:1–6; Jl 4:13.
  90. 19:17–21 The certainty of Christ’s victory is proclaimed by an angel, followed by a reference to the mustering of enemy forces and a fearsome description of their annihilation. The gruesome imagery is borrowed from Ez 39:4, 17–20.
  91. 19:20 Beast…false prophet: see notes on Rev 13. The fiery pool…sulfur: symbol of God’s punishment (Rev 14:10; 20:10, 14–15), different from the abyss; see note on Rev 9:1.
  92. 20:1–6 Like the other numerical values in this book, the thousand years are not to be taken literally; they symbolize the long period of time between the chaining up of Satan (a symbol for Christ’s resurrection-victory over death and the forces of evil) and the end of the world. During this time God’s people share in the glorious reign of God that is present to them by virtue of their baptismal victory over death and sin; cf. Rom 6:1–8; Jn 5:24–25; 16:33; 1 Jn 3:14; Eph 2:1.
  93. 20:1 Abyss: see note on Rev 9:1.
  94. 20:2 Dragon…serpent…Satan: see notes on Rev 12:3, 9, 10, 15.
  95. 20:4 Beast…mark: see Rev 13 and its notes.
  96. 20:6 Blessed: see note on Rev 1:3. Second death: see note on Rev 2:11. Priests: as in Rev 1:6; 5:10; cf. 1 Pt 2:9.
  97. 20:7–10 A description of the symbolic battle to take place when Satan is released at the end of time, when the thousand years are over; see note on Rev 20:1–6.
  98. 20:8 Gog and Magog: symbols of all pagan nations; the names are taken from Ez 38:1–39:20.
  99. 20:9 The breadth of the earth: Palestine. The beloved city: Jerusalem; see note on Rev 14:1.
  100. 20:11–15 A description of the final judgment. After the intermediate reign of Christ, all the dead are raised and judged, thus inaugurating the new age.
  101. 20:12 The book of life: see note on Rev 3:5. Judged…scrolls: see note on Rev 14:12.
  102. 20:13 Hades: the netherworld; see note on Rev 1:18.
  103. 20:14 Second death: see note on Rev 2:11.
  104. 21:1–22:5 A description of God’s eternal kingdom in heaven under the symbols of a new heaven and a new earth; cf. Is 65:17–25; 66:22; Mt 19:28.
  105. 21:1 Sea…no more: because as home of the dragon it was doomed to disappear; cf. Jb 7:12.
  106. 21:2 New Jerusalem…bride: symbol of the church (Gal 4:26); see note on Rev 19:7.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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