THE APOCALYPSE

Introduction

 

Although St. John the Apostle wrote the fourth gospel and three epistles, he never identified himself as the author of those. But in the Apocalypse (otherwise known as the Book of Revelation) he clearly identified himself as the author (Apoc 1:1, 4, 9 and 22:8). He wrote the book in the island of Patmos (Apoc 1:9), where he was banished by Emperor Nero.

Notwithstanding the fact that St. John identified himself as the author, some scholars doubted the identity of the author of the Apocalypse. They say, for example, that the author must be a different “John,” not necessarily St. John the Apostle. The reason is because the Greek idioms in the Apocalypse differ significantly from those in the fourth gospel and in the letters of St. John. Also, some of the key concepts discussed in the gospel and other writings of St. John, such as life, truth, grace, etc., are absent in the Apocalypse.

 

However, arguments against the Johannine authorship based solely on differences in style are weak when one considers that the author is writing a book of a different literary genre – that is, allegorical prophecy instead of historical narrative. Since the Apocalypse belongs to a different literary genre, then it could also explain the lack of the same theological concepts that are found in the fourth gospel.

 

In spite of their differences, there are stylistic similarities between the Apocalypse and the gospel of St. John. For example, only in the Apocalypse and the fourth gospel is our Lord called the Logos, or the “Word.” (John 1:1; Apoc 19:13) The same may be said of the word “Lamb” (John1:29; 1:36; Apoc 5:6; 21:14), and the “spring of water” (John 4:10-13; Apoc 7:17). The allusion to Mary as “woman” in the Apocalypse 11:19-12:1-6, reminds us of the “woman” in St. John’s gospel (John 2:4; 19:26). Then, the frequent use of contrast in the Apocalypse, such as the beast vs the lamb, the harlot vs the Bride (of Christ), is a literary feature that may also be noted in the gospel of St. John, which contrasted light vs darkness, life vs death, good vs evil (John 3:16-21; 5:19-47). These similarities indicate unity of authorship.

 

But the main reason for attributing the authorship of the Apocalypse to St. John the Apostle is the testimony of the early Fathers. For example:

 

Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-165), in the Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. 81, says, “And further, there was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him, that those who believed in our Christ would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem.” (The “thousand year” reign of Christ is cited in Apoc 20:1-6.)

 

Irenaeus (A.D. 125-200), in Against Heresies, Book IV, Ch. 20, par. 11, says: John also, the Lord's disciple, when beholding the sacerdotal and glorious advent of His kingdom, says in the Apocalypse: “I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And, being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the candlesticks One like the Son of man, clothed with a garment reaching to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle; and His head and His hairs were white, as white as wool, and as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like fine brass, as if He burned in a furnace. And His voice [was] as the voice of waters; and He had in His right hand seven stars; and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword; and His countenance was as the sun shining in his strength.” (Revelation 1:12) Note that St. Irenaeus pointed to John the Apostle, not some other John, as the writer of the Apocalypse. This testimony is valuable because it came directly from the tradition of St. John, since Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of St. John.

 

The most probable date for the writing of the Apocalypse is between A.D. 58 - 64, when John was banished by Emperor Nero to the island of Patmos. Although very many scholars insist a late date (A.D. 96) for the writing of the Apocalypse, their idea was based solely on an ambiguous text by St. Irenaeus and is not very decisive. What is more important is that the Temple of Jerusalem was still standing when John wrote his visions, because he was given instructions to measure it (in Apoc 11:1). Since the Temple was not destroyed until A.D. 70, St. John must have been writing before A.D. 70, not after it.  

 

Also, the Muratorian Fragment, which contains the oldest known list of most of the books of the New Testament, contains the following text: “the blessed apostle Paul himself, following the example of his predecessor John, writes by name to only seven churches” (Lines 47-50). Since St. Paul followed John’s example in writing letters to seven churches, this implies that, at the latest, the Apocalypse was finished before Paul wrote his last letter. But we know that St. Paul was beheaded in A.D. 65. Therefore, the Apocalypse must have been finished before that year. See When was the Book of Revelation Written? 

John in the Island of Patmos

From Cloisters Apocalypse, ca. 1330

Image source link: commons.wikimedia.org

 
 

PART I - Illustrated Summary, Chapter by Chapter

Chapter 1 - The Vision

 

In the island of Patmos Christ appeared to John in a vision: “I … heard behind me a great voice,” says St. John, “as of a trumpet” (Apoc 1:10) John turned to see the voice that spoke to him, and on turning, he saw seven golden candlesticks. And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, he saw the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the chest with a golden sash. St. John continues: “He had in his right hand seven stars. And from his mouth came out a sharp two-edged sword: and his face was as the sun shining in its power.  And when I had seen him, I fell at his feet as dead” (Apoc 1:16-17).

The Apostle said that the seven candlesticks represented the seven churches in Asia, while the seven stars were the angels of the seven churches. Christ instructed him to write what he saw in the vision as messages or letters to the seven churches in Asia. These churches were in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

Vision of the Seven Candlesticks

A painting by Matthias Gerung (1500-1570)

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

Locatiion of the Seven Churches

Image source link: uoregon.edu

 

Chapter 2 - Messages to the Churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum and Thyatira

 

These were the messages to be delivered to the seven churches:

 

Ephesus

  • Commended for being patient with evil doers and those who said they were apostles but were not, and for hating the work of the Nicolaites. (The Nicolaites were followers of Nicolaus, one of the deacons ordained in Acts 6:5 who became a heretic for his careless attitude toward idolatry and sexual immorality.)

  • Condemned for abandoning their initial fervor. Admonished to return to their original spirit and to do penance for having left their initial charity. Those who overcome temptation against faith in Christ will eat of the tree of life in paradise.

 

Smyrna

  • Commended for being rich while in tribulation, and suffering the blasphemy committed by those who say they were Jews but were not, and by those who were the synagogue of Satan (“The synagogue of Satan” were Jews who betrayed the Christians to the Romans).

  • Admonished not to fear when they suffer or when they are cast in prison or tried by the devil. Those who remain faithful until death will receive the crown of life and overcome the “second death” (The second death is the “pool of fire” mentioned in Apoc 20:14 and 21:8).

Pergamum

  • Commended for holding fast to God’s name and for not denying the faith even in the days of Antipas the martyr.

  • Admonished to do penance for holding the doctrine of Balaam, committing fornication and holding the doctrine of the Nicolaites. Those who overcome will receive the hidden manna (which is Christ Himself) and a white counter (a symbol of acquittal) where a new name is written. Those who do not repent were warned, that if they continue to follow the teachings of Balaam, they will be slain by the sword (as Balaam was in Num 31:8)

Thyatira

  • Commended for their works, their faith, their charity, their ministry and their patience.

  • Condemned for allowing the false prophetess Jezabel to seduce the people to fornication and idolatry. They were given a warning: those that commit adultery with her will lose their children to death, but those who overcome will receive power over the nations (that means, they will preside over the nations at the Last Judgment.)

Chapter 3 - Messages to the Churches in Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea

 

Sardis

  • Admonished to be watchful because their works are not yet full before God. If they do not watch, Christ would come like a thief and they would not know the hour when He would come.

  • Those who overcome will be clothed in white (symbol of purity and victory); their names will not be blotted out from the book of life; and their names will be confessed before the Father and his angels.

 

Philadelphia

  • Praised for keeping God’s word and not denying His name. Those who belong to the synagogue of Satan will be made to adore before their feet.

  • Those who overcome will be as pillars in the temple of God, and the name of God and of the new Jerusalem will be written upon them.

 

Laodicea

  • Admonished to do penance, and not to be lukewarm but zealous. They thought they were rich, not knowing they were actually wretched and miserable. They were counseled to purchase fire-tried gold that they might truly be rich, white garments to cover their nakedness, and eye ointments that their eyes might see.

  • Those who overcome will sit with Christ in His throne, as He Himself sit with the Father in His throne.

John Writes to Ephesus and Smyrna

From the Bamberg Apocalypse, an 11th century manuscript

Image source link: commons.wikimedia.org

 
 

Chapter 4 - The Heavenly Liturgy

 

John saw a vision of the Throne of God with a rainbow round about the throne. Round about the throne were seats, where sat 24 Ancients (or Elders) dressed in white, and with gold crowns upon their heads.

Then John saw four living creatures, each with six wings and full of eyes. One had the head of a lion, the second was like a calf, the third living creature had the face of a man, and the fourth was like an eagle. Before the throne burn seven torches. The four living creatures were always singing, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come” (Apoc 4:6-11).  (This chant resembled the song of the Seraphim in Isa 6:3.)

Whenever the living creatures give glory and thanks to him who sits on the throne, the 24 elders would fall down before him and worship. Then they cast their crowns before the thrown singing praise.

The Twenty-Four Elders

By the Limbourg brothers (1402-1416)

Image source link: commons.wikimedia.org

The Four Living Creatures

From the Bamberg Apocalypse, Folio 10v (A.D. 1000)

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

 

Chapter 5 - The Scroll and the Lamb

 

Then John saw God sitting on the throne, with a book with seven seals on His lap. No one could loosen the seven seals and open the book but the Lamb (Christ) with seven eyes and seven horns. When the Lamb opened the book the four living creatures and the twenty-four Elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls of odors or incense, which are the prayers of the saints (Apoc 5:8). Then they sang a new song praising the Lamb for opening the book and its seals. Thousands of angels round about the throne joined singing.  Then every creature in heaven and on earth also started to sing: “To him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, benediction, and honor, and glory, and power, for ever and ever.” The four living creatures said, “Amen!” The elders fell down and worshipped.

The Lamb Opened the Book with the Seven Seals

A painting by Matthias Gerung (1500-1570)

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

 

Chapter 6 - The Seven Seals

 

When the Lamb opened the first seal, one of the living creatures said, “Come, and see.” Then he saw a white horse appear, and its rider had a bow. A crown was given to him and he set out to conquer.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, the second living creature cried out and said, “Come, and see.” Then came out a red horse, and its rider was assigned to take peace from the earth, so that men should kill one another. The rider was given a great sword.

 

When the Lamb opened the third seal, the third living creature cried out, “Come, and see” A black horse appeared, and its rider was holding a balance in his hand. Then a voice in the midst of the four living creatures said, “Two pounds of wheat for a penny, and thrice two pounds of barley for a penny, but do not hurt the wine and the oil” (Apoc 6:6).

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, the fourth living creature said, “Come, and see” A pale horse appeared and its rider’s name was Death, with Hell following him. They were permitted to kill one fourth of the earth with sword, famine, death and wild beasts. (NOTE: These were the same curses that ravaged Jerusalem in the 6th century B.C. (Ez 14:21) as punishments for its infidelity to the Lord.)

 

When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, John saw under the altar the souls of the martyrs who were killed for the word of God, crying out loud, “How long, O Lord, will you not judge and revenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to wait a little longer until those on earth who should be martyred had joined them.

 

When the Lamb opened the sixth seal, John saw a big earthquake; the sun became black; the moon became like blood; and the stars fell to earth as green figs fall from a fig tree when shaken by a great wind. Everybody then hid in the caves and among the rocks, and told them, “Fall upon us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.”

 

Thus, except for the fifth seal, the opening of each seal brought judgment to the earth.

The White Horse Rider

From the 17th century Tolkovy Apocalypse, Moscow

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

The Black Horse Rider

From the Cloisters Apocalypse, ca. 1330

Image source link: commons.wikimedia.org

 
 

Chapter 7 – The 144,000 Israelites Sealed

 

Next John saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds from blowing on the earth. Another angel came ascending from the rising of the sun. This angel told the four angels to continue holding back the four winds and not to harm the earth and sea yet until all the tribes of Israel have been gathered and signed (or marked) in their foreheads. The tribes have a total of 144,000 members. (The 12 tribes of Israel squared, 12 x 12 x 1000, signifies completeness.)

 

 

After this John saw a great multitude of peoples from every nation, dressed in white, and with palm branches in their hands, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, crying out: “Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels, too, joined in worshiping God, saying: “Amen! Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, honor, and power, and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen.” The multitude are those who were rescued out of the great tribulation (that is, from the punishments that came with the opening of the previous seals), and whose robes had been washed and made white by the Blood of the Lamb. They serve Him day and night, and they shall neither hunger nor thirst anymore. The Lamb will lead them to the springs of living water, and God will wipe all their tears away.

The 144,000 Elect and the Multitude Holding Palm Branches in their Hands

Image source link: commons.wikimedia.org

 

Chapter 8 - The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer

 

Upon opening the seventh seal John saw seven angels standing before God. They were each given a trumpet. He saw another angel who came and stood at the altar. This angel was carrying a golden censer, and was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of the saints. The smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints. Then the angel filled the censer with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth. This was accompanied by thunder, lightning and an earthquake.

As the opening of the seals brought judgment upon mankind, the seven angels with their trumpets brought a second round of daunting judgments upon the people of the earth.

 

The first angel blew his trumpet. Fire and hail mixed with blood fell on the earth and burned 1/3 of the earth, 1/3 of the trees and all the green grass.

 

The second angel blew his trumpet. A great mountain, burning with fire fell into the sea. 1/3 of the sea became blood, 1/3 of the sea creatures died, and 1/3 of the ships were destroyed.

 

The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star, named Wormwood, fell from heaven, blazing like a torch. It fell on 1/3 of the rivers and fountains, making them bitter and killing many men.

 

The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and 1/3 of the sun was struck, and 1/3 of the moon and 1/3 of the stars, so that 1/3 of the light was darkened, and a third of the day was kept from shining.

 

Then John saw an eagle flying in mid-heaven and crying, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth: by reason of the remaining trumpet-voices of the three angels, who are yet to sound the trumpet.”

Opening of the Seventh Seal and the First Four Sounding Trumpets

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

Chapter 9 - Locusts and the Vision of the Army of Horsemen

 

The fifth angel blew his trumpet, and a star (a demon or fallen angel) fell from heaven to earth. The demon was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit, which he opened. From the shaft rose smoke as of a great furnace. The smoke darkened the sun and the air, and from it came locusts with the power of scorpions. The locusts were told not to harm the vegetation, but only the men who did not have the seal of God in their foreheads. The locusts were permitted to torture these men for five months, and the torture was like the pain caused by the sting of scorpions. The men would rather die than be tortured by these, but they would not die. The locusts look like horses arrayed for battle. They had human faces, women’s hair, lions’ teeth, iron breastplates, and on their head were crowns of gold. Their wings made noises like those of chariots rushing into battle. Their tails were like those of scorpions, with power to sting. Their king was the king of the bottomless pit, whose name was Abaddon (in Hebrew) or Apollyon (in Greek). That was the first woe. Two more trumpet blasts would follow.

 

The sixth angel blew his trumpet and was told to release four angels (demons) that were being held at the Euphrates river. These fallen angels were ready to kill 1/3 of humanity, and had a cavalry of 200 million. The troops rode horses that had a lion’s head, whose mouths spit out fire, smoke and sulphur. The horses’ tails look like serpents with heads that wound. One third of mankind was indeed killed, but those that survived did not repent of their idolatry and sins of murder, immorality and theft.

 

 

Chapter 10 - The Angel with the Little Scroll

 

Next John saw an angel wrapped in a cloud (the angel’s blue attire in the illustration below), with a rainbow over his head, and his face like the sun. His legs were like pillars of fire, with the right foot on the sea, and the left foot on the land. He called and seven thunders answered, but John was told not to record what they said. The angel handed John a scroll and instructed him to eat it. John was told that the scroll would be sweet to his taste but bitter to his stomach. He was told to prophesy again about many peoples and nations, tongues and kings (that means, about more visions that he would see in the next chapters).

Angel Talking to Saint John

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

 
 

The Two Witnesses

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Chapter 11 - The Two Witnesses and the Seventh Trumpet

 

John was given a measuring rod to measure the temple, its altar and its worshippers, but not the court outside the temple because it was given to the gentiles who would trample over the holy city for forty-two months. Two witnesses, dressed in sackcloth, would prophesy for 1260 days. These witnesses were the two olive trees and two lampstands that stood before God (Zach 4:1-14). If anyone were to harm them, they would be killed by the fire that came out of their mouths. They had power to shut the sky (to prevent rain), to turn water into blood, and to afflict the earth with plagues. When they had finished giving their testimony, the beast from the bottomless pit ascended to conquer and kill them. Their bodies laid unburied in the streets of the great city (of Jerusalem) that were allegorically called Sodom and Egypt. After three and a half days God revived them and called them to heaven. When they ascended to heaven there was a great earthquake that destroyed 1/10 of the city and killed 7000 people. Those who survived were terrified and gave glory to God. That was the second woe. One more trumpet blast was to follow.

The seventh angel now blew his trumpet, and loud voices in heaven proclaimed: “The kingdom of the world has become the Lord’s kingdom and his Christ’s, and he shall reign for ever and ever. Amen.” The twenty-four elders worshipped God, saying that the time has come for God to reward His servants, the prophets and the saints, and to punish those who destroyed the earth. Then God’s temple in heaven opened, displaying the ark of the covenant within the temple. This was accompanied by lightning, thunder, earthquake and heavy hail.

The Seventh Trumpet

From the Bamberg Apocalypse, an 11th century manuscript

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

 

Chapter 12 – The Woman and the Dragon

 

A great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. The woman was carrying a child, which was ready to be born.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then appeared a red dragon in heaven, with seven heads and ten horns, and a diadem upon each head. Its tail swept 1/3 of the stars in heaven and cast them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman preparing to devour the child that was to be born. The woman gave birth to a male child who was to rule all nations with an iron rod, and was caught up to God and His throne. The woman fled to the wilderness, a place prepared by God for her, where she was to be nourished for 1260 days. Meanwhile war arose between Michael and the dragon (Satan), and between the good angels and bad angels (devils). The dragon and the devils were defeated and were cast into the earth. A loud voice was heard in heaven saying, “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night… Woe to the earth, and to the sea, because the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time.” The dragon pursued the woman, but the woman was given eagle wings that she might escape into the wilderness. The dragon tried to stop her by gushing flood water into the woman, but the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth to receive the flood and swallowed up the river. The dragon was so angry with the woman that he made war with the rest of her offspring (Gen 3:15), who kept the commandments of God and bore the testimony of Christ.

The Woman and the Dragon

A painting by Tobias Verhaecht (1561-1631)

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

 

Chapter 13 – The Beast from the Sea and the Beast from the Earth

 

Another beast rose from the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems (or headbands) upon the horns and blasphemous names upon its heads. The beast was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dragon gave the beast his throne and great authority. One head was mortally wounded, but it healed and all the world followed the beast with wonder. Men worshipped the dragon, and because it gave authority to the beast, men also worshipped the beast. The beast uttered blasphemies against God and against all who dwelt in heaven, and was given authority for forty-two months. It made war with the saints (that is, the believers) on earth. Those on earth whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world, worshipped the beast.

 

Another beast rose from the earth. This one had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. It was like a prophet of the first beast, leading everyone to worship the first beast by making great signs and wonders, such as drawing fire from heaven to earth. It deceived those who dwell on earth by bidding them to make and adore an image of the first beast, which was wounded by a sword and yet lived. It was given power to give breath to the image, so that the image could speak and cause those who would not worship the image to be slain. It caused everyone, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or on the forehead with the name or mark of the beast. Only those could buy and sell who had the mark or number of the beast. The mark was the number of a man, and the number was 666.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beast from the Sea and the Beast from the Earth

A painting by Matthias Gerung (1500-1570)

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

The Image of the First Beast

From the Cloisters Apocalypse, circa 1330

Image source link: commons.wikimedia.org

 
 

Chapter 14 – The Lamb and the 144,000 Elect

 

Next John saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, surrounded by the 144,000 elect who had the Lamb’s name and the Father’s name on their foreheads. They were singing a new song that none but the elect could learn. The 144,000 were virgins who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John saw an angel with a gospel telling every nation, tribe, tongue and people to fear and give glory to God. Another angel proclaimed the fall of Babylon, who made all nations drink the wine of impure passion. The third angel warned that those who worshipped the beast and carried the mark of the beast on their foreheads would be punished with fire and brimstone. A voice from heaven said, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”

 

Then John saw seated on the cloud one like the Son of Man, wearing a golden crown on his head and holding a sharp sickle in his hand. Another angel, also with a sickle, appeared and said that the hour to reap had come. So, He that sat on the cloud started to reap the earth, while other angels, also with a sickle, came to gather the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great winepress outside the city. Blood flowed as the winepress was trodden, and covered 1,600 furlongs (approx.. 185 miles).

The Lamb and the 144,000 Elect

A painting by Matthias Gerung (1500-1570)

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

 

Chapter 15 – The Angels with the Seven Last Plagues

 

John saw another sign: seven angels with seven plagues. This was the last of the three rounds of chastisements that came from heaven. Those who were victorious over the beast and its image stood beside a sea of glass mingled with fire. They carried harps in their hands singing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. (They are not depicted in the picture below.) The seven angels came out of God’s temple dressed in bright linen with gold sashes around their chests. One of the four living creatures gave them seven vials of God’s wrath to pour on the earth. God’s temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and no one could enter it until the chastisement is over.

 

 

              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angels with the Seven Last Plagues

A painting by Matthias Gerung (1500-1570)

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

 

Chapter 16 – The Vials of God’s Wrath

 

A voice from the Temple commanded the angels to pour out the seven vials of plague upon the earth. Each vial has its own chastisement:

First – foul sores came to those who had the mark of the beast and worshipped its image.

Second – the sea turned into blood, killing all creatures in the sea.

Third – rivers and springs of water turn into blood as punishment for those who killed the saints.

Fourth – the vial was poured toward the sun, which produced scorching head. Those affected by the heat did not repent, but cursed the name of God for it.

Fifth – poured on the throne of the beast, which made wicked men curse God for their pain and sores, and did not repent.

Sixth – poured on the Euphrates river, which dried up. Three demonic spirits in the form of frogs came out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. These spirits performed signs to the kings of this world, so they would assemble an army in a place called Armageddon.

Seventh – poured into the air. A voice from heaven said, “It is done.” Thunder, lightning and earthquake followed, which split the city into three. Babylon received God’s fury, and hail fell so heavily that men cursed God again for the plague of hail.

The Vials of God's Wrath

A painting by Matthias Gerung (1500-1570)

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

 

Chapter 17 – The Harlot and the Beast

 

One of the seven angels that had the seven bowls came to show John the harlot who had committed fornication with the kings of the earth. The angel carried John in Spirit into a wilderness where he saw the woman seated on a scarlet beast full of blasphemous names. The beast had seven heads and ten horns, and the woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, jewels and pearls, and holding a cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication. On her forehead was written: “A mystery; Babylon the great, the mother of the fornications, and the abominations of the earth.” The woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and of the martyrs of Jesus. The angel then told John that the beast will ascend from the bottomless pit, and those on earth whose names were not written in the Book of Life will marvel. The seven heads are seven kings, five of whom have fallen, and one still reigns, and another is still to come. The beast itself is the eighth king and is doomed to perdition. The ten horns are ten leaders who have not yet received royal power, but are to receive kingly authority for one one hour, together with the beast. They will make war with the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them. For the Lamb is Lord of lords and King of kings, while those who are on his side are called the chosen and faithful (the elite or the elect).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The waters around the beast are the people and nations of the world. The beast and the ten horns will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, devouring her flesh and burning her up with fire. The woman is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.

The Harlot and the Beast

A painting by Matthias Gerung (1500-1570)

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

 

Chapter 18 – The Fall of Babylon

 

Another angel came down from heaven calling out with a loud voice: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen; and is become the habitation of devils … Because all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her; and the merchants of the earth have been made rich by the power of her delicacies.” Another voice from heaven instructed God’s people to stay away from her, lest they share in her plagues. The kings who committed fornication with her will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning and the swiftness of her judgment. The merchants will mourn that no one buys their cargo (gold, jewels, fine linen, etc.) anymore, and they who became rich by her abundance and luxury, including the shipmasters and sailors, will stand far off as they witness the smoke of her burning. An angel threw a large millstone into the sea and said, “With such violence as this shall Babylon, that great city, be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.  And the voice of harpers, and of musicians, and of them that play on the pipe, and on the trumpet, shall no more be heard at all in thee... And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”

Chapter 19 - The Rejoicing in Heaven

 

There was much rejoicing in heaven due to the fall of Babylon, the harlot. The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God. Then the marriage of the Lamb with the Bride (the Church) was set. The Bride was dressed in fine linen (which represented the righteous deeds of the saints). The angel told John to write this: “Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” John fell to worship him, but the angel rebuked him saying, “See thou do it not. I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren, who have the testimony of Jesus. Adore God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

 

A white horse appeared in heaven (See the picture above). The rider was called Faithful and True. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns (diadems). He had a name inscribed on the crowns, but no one knew but himself. He was clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he was called is the WORD of God. The armies of heaven came on white horses following him. From his mouth issued a sharp sword with which to strike the nations, which he would rule with an iron rod. On his robe was inscribed, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

 

An angel standing in the sun invited all the birds to gather for the supper of God. They would eat the flesh of kings, captains and mighty men who would be defeated and die when they make war with him who sits on the white horse and his army. The battle was fought. The beast (the one that rose from the sea) and his false prophet (the other beast that rose from the earth), by whose signs and wonders many who had the mark of the beast were deceived, were thrown alive into a pool of fire. The rest of the nations were killed by the sword of him who rode the white horse, and the birds were filled with their flesh.

The Fall of Babylon

A painting by Matthias Gerung (1500-1570)

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

 

Chapter 20 – The Thousand Years and Satan’s Demise

 

John saw an angel descend from heaven. He was holding the key to the bottomless pit. He was also carrying a chain with which he seized and bound the dragon (that is, Satan or the Devil that St. Michael had cast into earth – Ch. 12), so as to lock him up in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. There the dragon would remain and would no longer be able to deceive the nations until the thousand years were over. After that he would be released for a short while more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then John saw the thrones where the judges were seated, and the souls of the saints, the martyrs, and those who refused to worship the beast or its image. These holy souls rose from the dead and would reign with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not rise yet, but would also rise after the thousand years were ended. The holy souls who had risen will no longer die, but shall be priests of God and of Christ.

 

After one thousand years the rest of the dead will rise, and Satan will be released from his prison (the bottomless pit). He will again try to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, and will gather them for battle against the saints. Their number was like the sand of the sea. They marched up and surrounded the camp of the just, but before they could attack fire came down from heaven and stopped them. The devil who deceived them was thrown into the pool of fire to join the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever.

 

Then John saw the great white throne and Him who sat upon it. Everyone, great and small, stood before the throne, and books were opened, including the Book of Life. The books contain what everyone had done. Everyone would be judged by what was written in the books. Those whose names were not found in the Book of Life would be thrown into the Pool of Fire.

Satan's Doom

A painting by Matthias Gerung (1500-1570)

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

The Communion of Saints

Image source link: marysrosaries.com

Chapter 21 – The New Heaven and the New Earth

 

John saw a new heaven and a new earth. The holy city came down from heaven adorned like a bride for her husband, which was the Lamb. A great voice said, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, for the former things have passed away. He who sat upon the throne asked John to write this: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give of the fountain of the water of life, freely. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the angels who had the seven bowls came and showed John the Bride, which is the Heavenly City. It was magnificent and radiant like a rare jewel. It had high walls with twelve gates with the names of the tribes on them. There was no temple, for the Lord and the Lamb are the temple. There was no sun nor moon; the Lamb was the light. Its gates were always open, but only those whose names were in the Book of Life could enter in.

The Angel Showing John the New Jerusalem

From the Bamberg Apocalypse, an 11th century manuscript

Image source link: commons.wikimedia.org

 
 

Chapter 22 – River of the Water of Life and Final Blessing

 

The angel showed John a river of the water of life flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It passes through the middle of the street of the city, and on each side of the river is the tree of life, whose leaves were for the healing of the nations. There shall be no more curse. The servants of the Lord will worship Him with His name on their foreheads. There shall be no more nights, and no more need for the sun, for the Lord God will be their light. Then the angel said, These words are most faithful and true… Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once more John fell down to worship the angel, but the angel stopped him saying that he was only a fellow servant. The angel instructed him not to seal the prophecy of the book, for He is coming soon. “I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

 

Christ continued saying that those who wash their robes (or keep God’s commandments) will have the right to the tree of life and enter the city gates. Outside are the sorcerers and fornicators, murderers and idolaters, and those who love and practices falsehood. “I Jesus have sent my angel, to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and stock of David, the bright and morning star.  And the spirit and the bride say: Come. And he that hears, let him say: Come. And he that thirsts, let him come: and he that will, let him take the water of life, freely.” Then John warned not to change, add or delete any word from the prophecy of this book; for God will add to him the plagues described in the prophecy of the book, and remove his share in the tree of life. Then he gave his final blessing: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

I am the Alpha and the Omega

(w/ Mary Magdalen and Catherine of Siena)

A painting by Fra Bartolomeo (1472-1517)

Image source link: commons.wikimedia.org

 

© 2018, 2019, 2020 Romeo Maria del Santo Niño - All rights reserved.

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